Jeremy slowly turned the brass handle of the old door. He didn’t mind that it was dirtly, covered in dust and cobwebs. Surprisingly, the door gave way; creaking open. He maintained his pace, pushing it slowly. Soon enough, it was wide open, suitable for them to go through.
The scent that greeted him was familiar. It was strange. The whole house – parts that he’d been through smelled of dust and age. It was different here. The smell was feminine and it was hers. He looked around the room. His eyes slowly darting around it. She’d been kept here, she’d been in the room for days, but she was no where to be found.
His eyes caught a slender figure of a man. He was kneeling besides the window, his head bent. Who could that be? Jeremy mused, silently. Why wasn’t Purity here? What was happening? Without much ado, he hurried off to the unknown man, yanked him to himself and held him by the throat, trying to choke him. To his utmost surprise, it was Ernest.
“Where the f–k is she?” Jeremy roared, his eyes unreadable.
Ernest was taken aback when he felt a hand grab him roughly. He was unprepared to fight back. He let his cousin position his hands on his neck. That was what he wished for, he wanted death to take him away. He’d been so stupid, now she was never going to belong to him or his cousin. He displayed another act of stupidity by not even noticing the door creak and two people invaded his privacy; all because he had been absorbed in his thoughts. He was mourning his loss, his failure.
“Answer me!” Jeremy demanded, choking him.
Ernest had wanted to speak. It was impossible. Very strong hands blocked the easy flow of words in him. He remained mute, bearing the pains as his punishment for being stupid.
“Let him go,” he heard another voice order. He shifted his gaze. That was the man he had met the night he cleared the room for Purity. He had also been fooled by him – all the more reason he wished to die.
“Let him go,” Darren instructed a second time. He held out his gun and pointed it at Ernest. “He can’t speak when he’s about to be strangled. And you have no right to take a life. I can handle this.”
The anger burned more fiercly within Jeremy as he listened to Darren’s lecture. Resignedly, he removed his hands from Ernest’s throat. Darren was right. “Good thing he saved you from my wrath!” he grunted.
“I….think….. I deserved that,” Ernest responded amidst coughing gasping for air.
“Hold it!” Darren commanded, just in time to stop Jeremy from putting a punch on Ernest’s mouth. “I got this.”
“How did you find me?” Ernest questioned, unafraid.
“You should be worried about what’s gonna happen to you and not that,” Darren replied.
Ernest tittered, “I don’t care about that anyway. She’s gone.”
David sighed. Dealing with the new version of Tricia Cayson was of more importance to him. That was his promise to his late wife. “I was busy before you came in. We can talk about that later,” he spoke his mind, rejecting the offer to get busy to work.
“I beg to disagree sir,” came Allan’s voice, cutting Detective Myles off, “It does affect me personally and I need immediate action.”
“Who are you?” David demanded. He was already irritated.
“Allan. Doctor Allan,” he boldly answered, smiling.
Tricia froze on hearing that name. A million and one thoughts ran across her mind. He had come to report Purity’s case to the cops? Does he have any evidence implicating her and Ernest? Oh, no! Not in the presence of her papa. He’d lose his trust, more of it in her. He’d be disappointed in her. He’d resnt her, never love her or care for her. She had brought disgrace to him and she’d be all alone in the world.
“What can I do for you, Dr. Allan?” David asked.
Allan and Myles fully entered the room.
“This is a private investigation,” Myles informed Supt David. “Do you mind if you do this alone?”
David shook his head. He wasn’t gonna let Tricia out of his sight. Its time she started taking her profession seriously – just as he does. “Nope. Let me do some introductions,” he swiftly turned Tricia to face the men. “This is my daughter, Tricia Cayson. Tricia, meet Myles, another superintendent and a man with an urgent case – Dr. Allan.”
Tricia’s entire body quivered under the gaze of the doctor. She was short of words. Didn’t know what to say to him. She hadn’t yet cooked up a device on how to deal with him, she was facing him again. She s—-d at unplanned visits. She nodded mechanically, in replacement of her not-to-be-found-words.
Allan smiled silly. “Nice to meet you, again.”
Myles had no idea what was happening.
“You two know eachother?” David enquired.
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“Where are you taking me?” Purity demanded for the umpteenth time. She was bundled up, riding in a red SUV in the middle of two bl0*dy looking men. “Let me go!” she spat out.
“Shut up!” one of the men chided. His eyes narrowed at her. “Don’t make any more sound!”
Purity snorted, “I demand to know! I have every right to, where are you taking me?”
“For the very last time,” he warned again. “Shut your mouth up!”
The feeling of rage burning within her was instense, it intensified as the man kept rebuking her. That, she wouldn’t take. She didn’t know them, never seen them all her life. “Where the hell is Ernest? Who are you people? Leave me alone!” she defied their orders outrightly. She wouldn’t be taken to a place she never knew of without a fight. For Ernest to abduct her and put her through hell was what she could pull through. She knew what he was capable of doing and that he’d never hurt her. Presently, she was with men she had never seen in her entire life, riding to an unknown destination. She couldn’t understand why all that was happening. Her life was suddenly upturned. Jeremy never even came for her. All her hopes were dashed. She’d depend soley on herself. “Just give me an answer! Where are you taking me to? Where is Ernest Turner?”
“What do you mean ‘she’s gone?’” Jeremy retorted.
Ernest coughed and spat out. “He doublecrossed me. He betrayed me. She’s gone,” he repeated.
What was he talking about? Betrayed? By who? He was speaking in riddles. “Just get to the point,” Jeremy snarled. “Where is she?”
Ernest didn’t think much about it. He had no option than to open up to them. He musn’t have Melisa. He’d do what he could to correct his mistakes. He didn’t get what he wanted. He cleared his throat, “Jayden Cristiano. He helped me. Promised to make her mine. It was all a trick. He took advantage of my desperation. How much I wanted to be with her. Now, she’s on her way to him. We didn’t plan it this way,” he lamented. “She was to be with me and not him.”
Jeremy sank deeper into confusion as he listened to Ernest’s story. He sighed. Only if he knew it’d be this difficult and confusing.
“You know where he’s taking her to?” Darren questioned.
“Move it! We’re going to get her.”
“Jeremy, I’m sorry,” Ernest admitted that he was wrong. He regretted his actions. Few words had changed him. Words he never wanted to affect him. They did have very powerful effects on him.
“Don’t you think its too late for that?” Jeremy asserted, sarcastically.
“I know…. I know I’ve been wrong. I feel guilty, remorse for what I’ve done.”
Jeremy scoffed. “Then you must have felt it when you had her for days! Much more, even before you did all of these!”
“I love her! I felt I was doing it for love and she’ll get to love me back.”
“Screw you!” Jeremy snarled.
Ernest exhaled. He never imagined apologising to anyone. He had never been in the wrong. He wasn’t fallible. He could do whatever he wished. He could get anyting he wanted, nothing could stop him. That was how he was taught – by his mother. He had lived that way; always getting what he wanted till he met Melisa. Now he realized his mother was wrong. Getting what you wanted always doesn’t bring real happiness. Letting go and making others happy actually brought real peace of mind. A doctor made him understand that and he was going to right his wrongs. “Are you going to at least listen to me?”
Darren sighed. This was a family issue – meant for them only. He wasn’t gonna interfere. They both deserved to voice out their feelings and make decisions.
“Yeah, I’d wanna listen to a whole lot of crap,” Jeremy spat out. Apologies and all that bullshit were the last things he wanted to hear. He only wanted his demon of a cousin to bring back his Purity safe, without any scratch. Maybve after that he’d give a thought to what he was saying.
“Um, yeah,” Allan answered still smiling. He knew she’d expect him to spill the bean. But he was too smart for that. He was going to take everything slow and steadily. “We’ve ran into eachother a couple of times when Jeremy Broderick was hospitalized,” he said, giving her some advantage.
Tricia heaved a sigh of relief. She was relieved he kept his mouth shut. How was she sure he’d had other plans, waiting to be unravelled. She waved such thoughts aside. Feeling fagged out, she wanted to leave, get home, shower and sleep.
“I’m leaving now. Bye papa.” she said and found her way out of her dad’s office.
“Tricia,” David called to her retreating figure. He sighed sadly as she did not respond to his call. It was really devastating. He shook his head, he must work now, then get home to his daughter. He hoped she’d not do anything stupid to herself.
“So, lets hear your case. We have enough privacy already.”
Myles was the first to speak. “Its a kidnap case. For some reasons, it was hidden and now it has to come to light.”
“Hidden? I don’t understand you.” He turned to Allan, “Why was it hidden?”
“So many reasons,” Myles answered, regardless of the fact that he was not spoken to. “It was the best option.”
A frown creased David’s face. What sort of stupid explanation was he gonna listen to? “I’m getting impatient.”
“We have all evidence, sir. I knew about it all,” Myles answered.
“Show them to me,” David demanded.
As Myles reached out to hand the evidence to David, Allan said, “Take a deep breath, sir. What you’re about to see might shock you.”
David’s hands steadied for a shile. He shot Myles a questioning look.
“We’ve got a whole lot of explanations to do.”
Purity was led into a dynamic mansion. Everything she saw reeked of wealth and power. The black gigantic gates, the inter-locked ground, streams of the latest vehicles parked chronologically, a tennis lawn, a swimming pool……. she snorted. They weren’t new to her. Her father could afford more of what stared at her. The big question still crossed her mind – what was she doing there? Was this another of Ernest’s plot? Or was it Jeremy who had done it? He actually had her at heart? She couldn’t help but wonder, Jeremy was stinkingly rich and so was Ernest. The more she pondered over it, the more perplexed she became. She heaved a weary sigh. Following their orders could provide the answers she needed. They were even too strong for her – the men. She resigned to doing so.
As the door to the mansion opened, she was greeted by five young maids, in their uniforms, ready to recieve her. They took her from the bl0*dy looking men, leading her to a room. She got confused. Where to now? She didn’t give protesting a single thought, it wouldn’t save her.
Jeremy exhaled, looking out the window. Silence filled the moving vehicle. The silence was only broken when Ernest gave further directions to the place Purity was taken and after that, they relapsed to silence. He was glad it was thay way. Hearing Ernest speak to him was repulsive. It only ignited the feeling of anger and hatred he felt for him. Keeping his d–n mouth shut was good for them. Something else was of importance to him. He needed to get to her, to see her. He wished she was okay and that it wouldn’t be impossible to help her out by the time they find her.
“I wanna call Allan,” he said to Darren. “I need to know the situation over there.”
“Go on,” Darren replied absent minded. His thoughts were far away. He hoped they wouldn’t fail, he wouldn’t fail his friends.
“Allan,” Jeremy breathed out when the phone was answered. “What’s up?”
“Its not that easy,” Allan drawled in a disappointed tone.
That response made Jeremy’s heart lurch, “What’s happening? It should be easy.”
“It happens that the cop to help us out turns out to be Tricia’s dad. We’re tryna convince the old man to be on our side.”
Jeremy sighed, “That’s one hell of a job.”
“We’re working on it. Will get back to you when we’re ready.”
“What do you want with me? Why bring me here? Who are you all?” Purity asked the maids when they were finally locked up in a room – a very beautiful one at that. But her mind wasn’t settled. She had to know.
None of them agreed to speak up. They just looked at her and exhcanged glances among themselves. It looked as if they communicated with their eyes, reading eachother’s minds. And they tried reading hers. They had no idea if they were to carry out their duty or not.
“Please,” Purity insisted. “I don”t know what I’m doing here. Make me feel comfortable.”
A sigh came from one of the maid, probably the oldest. “We just want to dress you up. The boss gave us that order.”
“Who is your boss?” she questioned, her hope lighting up, “Who wants me dressed up?”
“Please, ma’am. We don’t want to get to trouble. Let’s do our jobs.”
Purity frowned. Who is the boss? Could it be Jeremy? Musing wouldn’t get her anywhere.
Tricia lay lazily in the bathtub. Her body covered with soapy water and her left hand hand out, dripping slowly with water. She closed her eyes, thinking deeply. The soapy water kept dripping off her hand at intervals making a soft noise as it touched the tiled floor.
The bathroom remained still except for the little drops of water that decreased each time one fell off. She laid still, motionless. Silence. Silence. Beats of silence.
“Nooo!!!” she shrieked suddenly, lifting herself off the tub. She placed both hands on her ears frantically. “It can’t be,” she whispered to the air. “It just can’t be,” she cried out again.
With quivering hands, she covered her nudity; wrapping a white cotton towel around her body. “They won’t let me be,” she muttered, stepping out of the bathtub, “Please, go away,” she sobbed.
And they wouldn’t just listen. They just continued speaking at the same time. Tricia felt her head was gonna split into two. She really couldn’t take it anymore. She covered her ears with her hands a second time and found her way out of the bathroom. On getting to her bedroom, she sank into her bed, weeping. “I’ve got to be her. If I’m not her, they’d never leave me.” More determined, she repeated, “I’ve got to be her. Tricia Cayson no more exists. I am Purity Theodore.”
“Give me a name,” Purity persisted. She was sure it’d get a good result. Without anymore whinnings and protests, she wholeheartedly submitted herself to the maids. They had done whatever they wanted, and she smiled at the perfect reflection of herself in the mirror. She never believed she’d be as pretty as she was after all that Ernest put her through. She exhaled, “I’m really curious to know,” she flashed the maid who had earlier answered her questions a broad smile, “Please…..”
The maid was between crossroads. A part of her wanted to jump right at the miss’s offer and tell her all she wanted to hear. The other part declined, and for good reasons. She had to keep her job and talking would do no good, it might cost her her job. Then, she’d be out on the streets with her son – begging. It was something she never wanted to happen. She closed her eyes, inhaled and exhaled sharply as she weighed the outcomes of her intended actions in her head. “Miss,” she called out softly, opening her eyes, “I can’t do it. As much as I want to, I can’t. Please, don’t ask any further questions.”
A frown curled Purity’s lips. She thought of a better idea. “Um, why don’t you give me the letter his name starts with. Trust me, if you were in my shoes, you’d be dying to know as much as I am.”
She felt sorry for her. She knew that feeling too – being kept in the dark while everyone else was aware. Its unbearable. This wouldn’t hurt, right? “Its a J.”
Purity grinned. “A J.” she repeated. “Its a J,” she said again. She felt her stomach flutter. “A J.” It was Jeremy. He was actually the one behind the facade, just to show how much he loved her. She felt loved. “Um, does he by any chance have a Y in his name?”
“Uh…..yes, he does.”
That’s it! Her guess wasn’t hazarded. It was a good guess. Jeremy, Jeremy. Oh, how she had missed him. She was finally gonna see him and determinded to love him back. Nothing was going to deny her of being happy, especially with him. She wasn’t scared anymore, she was more than willing to love him and have him as hers.
“Miss, its time. He awaits your presence,” the maid informed, breaking into her reverie.
Purity smiled dreamily. Excited she was. She couldn’t wait to lay her eyes on him. The only man who had succeeded in breaking the walls around her heart. Staring at the mirror, she said, “Lets do some finishing touch.”
“Two turns at your left,” Ernest directed. He was going to help get Melisa back. He was sure of it. Good thing he realized his mistakes, but it was a little late. Despite that, he was determined to be a good guy and love enough to let go, just like Jeremy.
Darren felt the piercing silence eating him up. He decided to take advantage of it. “Ernest,” he called out, exhaling. “Are you sure you’re taking us to the right place? If this happens to be a set up, I’d personally put a bullet to your skull,” he threatened.
“Its the right place.” He thought for a while, “I’m not wrong. If we don’t get to find her, they might have moved.” He looked scared. They shouldn’t move, he prayed. “I swear it-”
“Don’t you f—–g swear!” Jeremy exclaimed, irritated. “Do not swear in my presence,” he warned.
“Relax brother, he’s tryna convince -”
“I think we’re here,” Ernest cut him off.
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Darren forgot he was about to chide his friend on hearing Ernest’s statement. Without a thought, he hit the brakes and slewed the vehicle off the road and shut the engine. “Sure this is it?”
“It sure is,” Ernest confirmed.
Jeremy did not utter a word. He just stared at the big black gate. “Whoever did this must have a lot of power,” he mumbled.
“Ernest, you’re gonna go to jail. Why do you even wanna help us?” Darren asked.
“Its not in anyway gonna reduce your sentence,” Jeremy curtly said.
Ernest sighed. “I know all of that. And I’m not doing this just to get out of prison or escape it. I deserve to pay for my crimes. But I wanna do something good before ending up there.”
“Are you sure about this?” Darren questioned.
Jeremy was not interested if Ernest had changed or not. It didn’t appeal to him. He just did not give a d–n about that. Saving Purity was of more concern to him. “How do we get her?”
“I have an idea.” Darren smiled.
David Cayson sat behind the wheels of his police car, driving to a street he never knew existed in New York city. Three other vehicles of similar brand trailed behind his. Riding with him were Myles and the doctor he just met. They were on a rescue mission.
“Forgive me, Tricia,” he whispered bitterly. The pain he felt at his heart could not be compared to any physical pain. The pain was doing a lot of damage to him. He was unable to accept the fact that his daughter – his very on little girl of yesterday had become something else, someone he does not recognize. Hearing it from the two gentlemen sounded ridiculous. But they convinced him, it was true. Now, his daughter was not just a shadow of herself but an imagination of her own self. She lived according to her thoughts. Her new self was merely of fantasy.
He sighed, wringling those thoughts out of his head. He’ll figure out a way to save her later. Now was the time to save Purity. Purity Theodre – his daughter’s role model and arch-enemy.
“They’re at his place,” Allan broke the silence, interrupting David’s thinking as well. “The place of the guy who had her kidnapped.”
“Have they gone in yet?” Myles asked.
“Um… It seems so.”
“We gotta hurry.”
“No,” Allan refused. “They’ve got a plan. Lets not burst in there and ruin it! Spoil their show.”
David chuckled. “Is this what it means to you? A show? Its live and direct boy.”
“I know. I-”
“Lets hope his mighty ‘plan’ of theirs doesn’t get them into trouble.” He breathed deeply. “I’m gonna step on the accelerator and the rest would follow.”
They led her gently out of the room she had just changed in. She was going to meet with Jeremy. At last! Acting like a baby was what she thought of doing. Screaming excitedly, jumping exhilaratingly and scurring off to find him. She just had to act cool and bottle up those feelings inside of her. She wasn’t gonna let people wonder if she had gone crazy.
“Do you speak French?” the maid inquired.
“What? What did you say?” Purity asked. She hadn’t quite heard her vividly.
“French? You know it?”
“Nope. I do not know. Why should I?” Purity asked, bewildered.
“The boss does. Just got back from Paris.”
They stopped right in front of a massive door. “This is it.” the maid finally said and they left Purity standing by herself.
She did not have the chance to reply the maid. Jeremy speaks French? She had no idea he did. Or was it not Jeremy? Was it someone else? The happiness she felt slowly crept away. The feelings of anxiety, fright, nervousness found their way back into her. Purity groaned. “Don’t I deserve to be happy?” she whispered. “I’m gonna know what this is about.”
Shuffling towards the door, she pushed it open and it gave way easily. That added to her fears, but she wasn’t gonna back out. She quickly stepped in, hoping to keep the door open. But it jammed itself right after she got in. That did not make her comfortable. Sighing, she turned her back to the door. She looked around; it was study room, but it wasn’t her business.
“Bonjour Mademoiselle,” a masculine voice greeted.
“So it was never Jeremy Broderick.”
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