Jack walked into his apartment after discarding the woman he hired to take to the boutique. He had always known that his good looks were useful for some things, today had just proved him right, once again. If what he saw in Lara’s eyes was anything of a sign, he surely would remain in her mind, and he needed that! He smiled bitterly to himself
He closed the door behind him and shrugged out of the suit jacket he wore.
“I honestly don’t want to know what is responsible for that smug smile you have on”
Jack didn’t have to turned his head to know the speaker, but he did anyways, staring at his only friend – Felix. To many people, they weren’t really friends, because Jack was just too closed up and scary to have any friend, but then, Felix was the only person that Jack hadn’t been able to drive away. Jack had always made it abundantly clear that he didn’t need anyone, much less a friend, in his life, but try as he may, Felix just wouldn’t go away. It had become whose when Felix became homeless and moved in with him. It was not like Jack had a choice! He preferred his solitude, but no matter how cold he was, he couldn’t turn away a homeless person. Life had thought him what it means to be homeless and he couldn’t bare to see anyone experience it.
Now, looking at Felix, he had a deep frown on his face as he scowled at Jack. Jack ignored him and dropped his jacket, taking his time to spread it on the backrest of the couch. “Even if you wanted to know, I wouldn’t tell you” He finally responded.
Felix shook his head. “What on earth do you think you are doing?” Alarm was clear in his eyes as he glared at Jack. “You are playing with fire Jack”
“And that is a dangerous thing to you?” Jack shook his head with a cynical smile. “You are such a sissy; you need to grow up Felix”
Felix left the lying position he was in and sat up straight. “I saw the picture of the governor’s daughter on your camera”
Within the twinkling of an eye, the amusement on Jack’s face vanished, leaving behind a cold dangerously threatening look. The air in the room seemed to freeze as Jack’s eyes grew darker. “You went through my things” he muttered, daring Felix to confirm that.
Felix hissed, even though he was a bit distressed. “Would you cut out the sarcasm? You can’t succeed in scaring me because, even if you never admit it, you need me to keep you sane. Now, what on earth are you doing?” His voice rose a notch as anticipation set in. Jack seemed to be growing angrier by the second, but he risked it all and forced his throat to continue while masking his fear. “I have noticed you a few times collecting data on the governor for a while now. What are you getting yourself entangled in Jack?”
Jack watched Felix silently with his eyes burning with suppressed anger. “It would be wise for ‘you’ to check what you are getting yourself entangled in. I am the worst kind of enemy to have Felix, you are overstepping your bounds.”
“I don’t care what you do to me Jack, I will tell you the truth. You need to be very careful Jack, it is okay to be dark and mysterious, but these are high government personnel we are talking about. Don’t get yourself in trouble. You should be really careful”
Weirdly, the intense glare on Jack’s face slowly faded, replaced by a small smile which was both unsettling and confusing. “Actually, that advice is meant for someone else. They’ll need it”
Felix’s face showed his confusion but Jack didn’t bother elaborating. He stood up and walked slowly towards the bedroom but turned back to Felix before entering. “Don’t get yourself in the crossfire Felix, you would only get hurt”
Lara pulled the dress she wore over her head and sighed. Sighing seemed to be the only thing she did successfully these days. Everyone just had a way of working on her nerves until she was a jumbled mass of frustration. Just when Lara had been happy that her friends had stopped talking about Derin, everything had crumbled. And all because of what? A handsome nameless man who walked about the boutique with his girlfriend mooning over his arm? Lara hissed as she pulled her nightie over her head, grabbed a novel and jumped on her bed.
Those hideous girls even made it obvious to the guy that he was being admired! Lara hissed again. And the obnoxious guy, he actually ate up the attention. Lara shook her head, deciding that she hated the guy already, whoever he might be. It doesn’t matter if he has an irresistible body or dark penetrating eyes, she thought with a smirk as she opened her novel to read. She had met and dated several handsome in her life, outward appearances didn’t matter to her anymore. She flipped unseeing through the pages of the small novel but those eyes continued to haunt her. There was something about his eyes; something that made her feel that despite his brief look of flirtation, a wall of ice lay beneath.
She shook her head. She had read too many novels that she was beginning to think stupid thoughts. She sighed again, since that seemed to be the in-thing for her. She picked her phone. She had been calling Derin and he hasn’t picked up all day, neither has he returned her calls. She had sent messages, but he hadn’t replied. Something had to be wrong somewhere! She dialed two more times but like the others, it went unanswered. Frustrated, she dropped her phone on the bed and tried hard to focus on the novel in her arms.
Jack walked into the cemetery with a bouquet of flowers in his right hand, three days after his boutique escapade. He wore black glasses, black shirt, a black trouser and black shoes. His gaze was hotter than the hot sun burning against his shoulders as he walked through a path, leading to his desired tomb. It had been months since he last visited but now, he knew his visit was necessary.
He got to the tomb he needed and stood still as various emotions took root in him. He removed his black glass and hung it in the opening of his shirt. He read the name written on the tomb. ‘Margaret Andrews’. Here is mother lay, sent untimely into the other world crudely and heartlessly. She shouldn’t be here! She shouldn’t be lying six feet below! But she was and the pain tore at his heart daily. He should have been a better son! He should have protected his mother the way any normal son would! But he hadn’t, and he would hate himself for it until his last breath.
Jack slowly bent down and squatted before the tomb. He leaned forward and placed the flower at the middle of the tomb. “Mother” he whispered, as though he was conversing with a physical being. “I am here again. I have really missed you. I really wish you were here with me today… but then, I have been wishing for twenty years and nothing has changed” he sighed. “I really hope you are happy mum, where you are now. It is probably good that you are gone, that way you are saved from the evil people who couldn’t leave you to be happy.” He shook his head. He had gone past the time where he would cry. The last time he cried was twenty years back, he had instead channelled the energy into building himself. He knew that this time would come when he would really need his strength. “I am here to renew my vow mother. I would avenge you!” His face took on his dark deadly look. “I would avenge your death mum, I swear it!” He said forcefully at the name inscribed on the tomb as though he was speaking directly to his mother. He felt a new surge of energy, the same one he always felt whenever he visited this tomb. Seeing the tomb always renewed his resolve and filled him with the rage he needed to carry out his task. He stood up, pulling himself to his full height. “I love you mum; I am doing this for you” he breathed and with a lasting look at the tomb, he walked away steadily, boiling with renewed rage.
He took out his phone and dialed a number as he walked on. His face was as hard as granite and his jaw was clenched tight. When the call was answered on the other end, he growled. “Tonight”
Lara sat at the dinning, eating dinner with her parents. Unfortunately, her father had been able to extract himself from his demanding office and he now sat at the head of the dinning. The chicken on his plate covered more than half of his plate and Lara wondered – not for the first time – how he can chew so much chicken and not have a toothache. Her mother sat at the other end of the dinning, also very focused on her meal, leaving Lara to occupy the very large middle. The sounds of cutlery clicking against glass rang out until it became a deafening sound in Lara’s ears. She was on the edge. She had called Derin endlessly and he hadn’t picked. She had even visited his apartment but had knocked endlessly without a response. Anger had set in when she called with an unknown number and he had picked up. She had ended the call without even speaking. He was avoiding her! She gripped her fork like a weapon, pushing it forcefully against her chicken until she heard her father chuckling. She raised her angry eyes to her father and from the way he looked at her, she could clearly tell that she was the subject of his jest.
“Things are going well with your carpenter?”
Lara’s eyes narrowed as anticipation set in. What has he done? She didn’t have to ask though.
“I told you. That little piece of snake is only after the money”
“What did you do dad?” She asked, her voice going over the bar. She had had enough with her dad always interfering with her affairs!
“What any sensible father would do” he responded hautily.
Lara tapped her foot impatiently under the dinning table as she glanced at her mother. Her mother seemed to have frozen at the other end of the table, also staring at her husband. “What did you do Tunji?”
Mr Banks seemed unconcerned as he ate his food as though nothing out of the ordinary was taking place. “I offered the bastard money to leave my daughter alone”
Mrs Banks’ fork dropped with a cling, ringing in the large dinning hall, immediately followed by deafening silence. Her jaw had practically dropped onto her plate as she stared openmouthed at her husband. Lara on the other hand stared at her father like a zombie. She was frozen in her seat, numb as she stared at the man at the head of the table.
Mr Banks looked at the two women and smiled. “Why are you both looking at me as though I declared that I have the president buried in the basement?” He asked, cracking with humor. “What I just said is nothing out of the ordinary, in fact, you should be thanking me”
“What did you say you did dad?” Lara gasped out as her heart raced heavily in her chest.
The governor stared directly into her eyes. “I gave that swine ten million Naira to leave you alone, and guess what, after protesting halfheartedly for about a minute, he gave in. I told you, the bastard was only after your money. I won’t open my eyes and watch a filthy carpenter use my own daughter as his ladder to greatness”
Lara jumped to her feet. Her head was banging so hard, she feared it might explode if she remained there for another second. She clenched her fists so tight, her veins protruded in her arms as she pushed away her chair with the back of her legs.
“Lara” her mother called softly with compassion in her voice but her rage had taken over her senses, she couldn’t hear a thing. Tears burned at the back of her eyes as she stormed out of the dinning, absently happy that her mum wasn’t following.
“She is just too ungrateful” her father’s fading voice said, as she marched up the stairs. She needed to scream, to cry, to run, anything to drive away this craziness. Her world seemed to be spinning out of control and she knew it was just a matter of time before she fell, hit her head and die. Who actually angered her the most? She wondered as she raced to her bedroom. Her father who had the audacity to buy off her boyfriend or the boyfriend who proved that ten million was more important than her? Why couldn’t she just die?
She opened the door of her bedroom, entered and slammed it behind her. If she had been in her right frame of mind, maybe she would have mustered enough strength to scream, maybe she would have struggled a bit and just maybe… she might have been able to escape the fierce grip that captured her from behind, but as the white handkerchief covered her nose, she totally lost the ability to resist. She had wished for death, maybe she was getting it after all. The quote ‘be careful what you wish for’ became abundantly clear within the space of a nanosecond. She vaguely tried to protest as uncontrollable fear engulfed her but it was an aimless effort. She went limp in the arms of her captor as the drug set in and was plunged into the void of dark nothingness.