game of the planners
“when the hunter becomes the hunted”
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE 1
CHAPTER TWO 10
CHAPTER THREE 19
CHAPTER FOUR 29
CHAPTER FIVE 36
CHAPTER SIX 44
CHAPTER SEVEN 53
CHAPTER EIGHT 62
His legs carried him as fast as he could. He’d made certain not to look back when he saw them, but even he had come to realize it was too late. They spotted him and it meant one thing and one alone. It meant he had to run and give into a chase he hoped to win. His legs moved at a tidy speed for a boy his age, and his shoes made it easy to race across the rough terrain without worrying about falling or tripping.
He could feel his breath heighten and become difficult to come by as the mile extended and his pursuers refused to give up. Their persistence marveled him, but it was no time to ponder after he knows the horrible thing he had done to them or to him in particular. He knew it would have been easier had it been one person he saw, but the four of them at the same time and exactly in the same location meant the afternoon would be nothing but hell for him.
Jack kept his legs swinging and his arms moving in opposite direction at the same time. He wasn’t sure he’d performed as good as he was on the school’s track during sports, but it meant a lot for him not to stop unless he was willing to get what he deserved for his ill actions and usually irritating personality to those around him. In his defense he didn’t care about them or whether they got hurt by his deeds. He just wants to be himself.
There was a saying around school, and it bothered around hisses and sniffs in a derogatory manner when you see Jack coming your way. Jack’s tale as a pain in the ass and the reject of his family for his madness and vile nature was legendary, from ignoring those who try to become close with him to continuous offensive actions on intent. He just didn’t care, and right now he knew he might have to pay for his sins. He was gasping badly though, and his heart was racing as hard as he could.
Something didn’t feel right, and his legs yielded and stopped moving with the required pace to outrun the boys closing in on him fast from behind. Jack halted to catch his breath momentarily, not expecting the heavy knock he would receive to the back of his head from Thomas’s right hand man, Andy. Andy was a large boy for his age, and used it to his advantage when acting as shield for Thomas and his other friends.
Squirting in pain, Jack struggled to his feet as he held the back of his head. The pain was sharp like he had been hit with something, but it was just Andy’s gorilla hands that had done the job. He took one good look at his hand to ascertain he wasn’t bleeding, and rightfully and thankfully, he wasn’t yet at least.
Trying not to turn around and have to look into the face of the brown haired kid Thomas Brown, Jack maintained his gaze towards the road ahead where he hoped to gain an edge possibly with a weapon he can find around once the opportunity presents itself. He could hear his heart continue to thump, and his chest continue to ram hard like the organ underneath it wanted to tear the skin and make a run for itself. Jack had his own evil thoughts going on in his head though. If he had been faced with just one of them, then he would have handled things differently, even if it meant getting into trouble again with the school authorities which was a norm for him.
“You’ll pay for what you did. You cannot continue to run”, Thomas’s distinctive tone of voice echoed as his footsteps neared Jack.
Jack remained still. He ran the vile thoughts of his actions through his mind, and let out an odd, irritating smile across his usually cold and emotionless face.
“I’m talking to you, you little piss of shit!” Thomas perceived Jack’s lack of response as an insult and yanked his shoulder until he turned around to look at him. “Look at me when I’m talking to you”.
Jack did his best to disobey the command being forced upon him. He couldn’t succumb to cowardice in obedience to Thomas and his crew. He definitely had wronged them in a terrible way, but nothing within him felt sorry about his actions. He already feels humiliated having to run the mile from kids his age. He had given all he could. With his head down and his cold eyes fixated on his shoes, he kept mute.
“The boy’s a dummy Tom”, Andy jested nudging Jack forcefully by the shoulder.
Jack staggered backwards involuntarily.
“I believe you owe us an apology”, Thomas demanded. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”
Jack couldn’t find the words to give as response which wouldn’t make him seem more of an obnoxious person than he already naturally is. He sure as hell wasn’t scared to speak, but mostly felt his pride was being dealt a painful blow by the boys. He thought of causing more ruckus and fighting it out till the end, but kept his cool albeit with great difficulty.
His temper, vileness and inability to act in a courteous manner like other kids is the reason his father disowned him in the first place and kicked him out of the house temporarily before deciding to let him go for a stipend in sale to another family. It was a well-known fact, but he didn’t care. He never cares about anything or what anyone feels.
“Fuck off!” he reacted, shoving Thomas back in the chest.
It was quick and without him seeing it. The other three immediately pinned him down to the ground while Thomas took time to readjust his dented ego. Andy placed his heavy weight on both Jack’s knees, crippling him as he yelled for freedom, while the other two pinned down his hands on either side. They waited for Thomas to make his move. There was an array of punishment they could vent on Jack, and Thomas went for the one by which he would always remember him by.
In the boys’ defenses, it was well warranted after the girth of the crime he had committed. Their rage needed some appealing, and Jack’s inability to grasp empathy or acknowledge when he’s been horrible to people just wasn’t going to be tolerated.
Nearby was a slender rod, rusty to the touch, but sharp at its end. He picked up the metal and pinned it down upon Jack’s face. With the rod nearing his face, and an idea of Thomas’s intent gracing Jack’s mind, he still wouldn’t beg and would rather watch with his deep, cold eyes. His lips remained shut and his gaze fixated on the boys.
“You owe us an apology”, Thomas asked once more but got nothing.
The pain was unbearable, and the blood gushing out the torn flesh on his face didn’t make it better. Thomas dug the metal deeper as he made his caught in an absolutely devilish, sickening and twisted way. Jack filled the air with his screams as the pain shot through his entire body from the loci of contact of the rod. He couldn’t bare it, and all he wanted was to be let free. The other boys joined in on the beating, scratching and peeling away at his face with the pent up anger within them for what he’d done.
“You’re dead…you all are dead…aaaargh”, Jack yelled atop his voice without considering to beg.
He closed his eyes, hoping it would come to an end, with beads of sweat dropping from all over his face. He couldn’t feel his limbs as the pain mulled their existence from his senses. Jack opened his eyes to look into the eyes and face of Thomas and his vengeful friends. Thomas had stopped, but the pain refused to ease off as Jack closed his eyes hoping the day would come to an end already.
He wanted it all to stop…he wanted nothing more of the pain…he wanted calm, but he got nothing but the head seeping pain jetting out from his cheek. With a loud cry, Jack woke up to the sight of a friendlier and equally familiar face of a lady he knew too well. Julia was by his side, staring down on him as the environment he was in slowly dawned on him.
He could feel himself wet all over from the copious amount of sweat he had exuded. He looked around the room to the men donning white lab coats and scrubs. He was in the theatre room where he was to have a face surgery, and Mr. Kent his boss at the Law firm he now works in had sent Julia to check in on him.
Jack as usual with his cold and badly scarred face remained without any words. Julia could sense he just had a bad dream, but he masked his emotions so well it was impossible to tell what the man was feeling or going through. He ran his hand across his face, swallowing the lump of worry as he felt the stinging scars still embedded into his skin in remembrance of what had happened years before.
“It is time Mr. Jack”, the lead surgeon said.
Jack couldn’t wait for it to be over as Julia took her leave.
She had no idea what for, but she shot him a smile as she walked away.
Six Months Later,
Jack ran his finger along his scare-free face, feeling the beautiful jobs done by the surgeons in the process. The day felt as beautiful as his face was, and the wonderful view his office provided him as he sat on the topmost floor and gazed out the window of his glass encased office. It felt good being successful and even better being a handsome man, again, but he wasn’t one to dwell on such emotions and feed off it.
He looked as serious as ever without a smile across his face as Julia sat and watched him from the corner of the room.
He glanced at the expensive diamond crested wristwatch on his left wrist, which he specifically ordered from overseas, noting it was just a few minutes to his meeting with Alex, Robert and Julia about a new client they hoped to win over to their side. He had on his newly tailored suit as was the norm he had created for himself to wear an expensive and new suit every Monday morning.
He glanced down at the hundreds of people walking about, indulged in their various daily activities with some deep condescension about being atop of them, and very much more wealthy than most of them can come to be. The alarm clock on his table chimed aloud once, before coming to a halt. It informed him it was time for his meeting, and like clockwork, they walked into his office one after the other.
He motioned for Julia to head around the little conference section he fashioned within his office, where he conducted business meetings for a crowd larger than three with himself inclusive. The ebony table, made from old oak wood and the finest furniture firm in the country. Everything around him spoke taste and elegance and he wouldn’t settle for less.
He buttoned his suit as she approached him with an outstretched hand first.
“Sir, these are the files you asked for”, Julia smiled at him while she handed the man the thick padding of notes.
He has come to rely solely on her through the years, and she has equally become a part of him as she shadow his every move. Julia’s role in his life can’t entirely be quantified as she mediates in between situations, especially ones that needed much conversations and indulgence, which he quite frankly isn’t one for. She has come to know Jack, and useless chitchats are not his thing, so she takes it upon herself while he listens and takes notes.
As expected, he gave her no response as he did walking into his office to take the seat he fancied at the edge of the table. His face was blank with expression as he looked from Alex to Robert. They both struggle in meetings with him and this wouldn’t be any different. His demeanor scared them most times and it was easy to spot.
Having being in the office times without count, they knew their designated seats. With Jack it was all about precaution and precision and nobody goes against his rules when it was his domain. Julia sat patiently, waiting for him to give her the go ahead, while Robert and Alex stared at the man whose actions and level of interactions can be counted as stupid by those who don’t really know him except Mr. Kent and Julia. Jack looked as confident as always, and without stuttering, he signaled her to begin the meeting.
“I’m glad you could all make it on time”, Julia smiled wildly at everyone seated around the table. “You can help yourself to some coffee right around the corner if you’re interested”, She offered.
Alex walked away to pour himself some, while bringing back a cup for Julia. Robert wasn’t really one who fancied coffee so he didn’t mind not being served.
“As you’ve been briefed by the dossier I sent you in your mails, we have a big decision on our hands this week”, She began. “It comes in the package of handling and landing the wealthiest fashion designer and model in the country by the name Gabriel Venza”.
“We all knew who he is. It would be stupid not to recognize someone who was in and out of the court every now and then and made lawyers billions in the process”.
“If you’d ask me, I believe we can make things work with him”, Robert spoke first while trying to look solely at her and not Jack.
Jack scribbled down notes in silence.
“Yes, I agree too, but he is a lose canon who can come to bite us in the behind as well”, Alex did well to point out as he sipped from his cup of coffee.
Julia listened while the men spoke on. She could tell Jack waited for her input, but quite frankly they had said the words she hoped to provide.
“I’m well aware of his various frivolous law suits as well as his over the edge personality, but when has that stopped us from making money from such clients and representing their interests in the best possible way?” She made do to point out. “I believe we represent the sect and select others dare not stand for because we never assume we’d fail where they can”.
Jack nodded at her insight, and brought the meeting to a close. He would task himself with the responsibility and challenge of poaching the client from his incompetent group of lawyers, but in a lawful way of course. Jack loved such challenges as daunting as they came. He had absolute trust in himself and his prowess, and the opportunity to show it was one he always seeks.
“Thank you all for being here. I believe the meeting has come to its end”, Julia applauded gently before walking to his office table where he would begin work on the task at hand immediately.
She stole one more glance at the ambitious man as everyone left her with him in his office. She couldn’t leave him…he needs her, and she’ll always be there for him. The enemies he had come to have since he began working for Mr. Kent and till he became his own man never stopped growing. In every corner, lurking is a prospective foe, and he knows it too…
Nobody fancied his methods or uncomprehending actions. Nobody liked his silence which had a more staunching and disrespectful effect than speaking. Nobody liked the fact he never smiles or show a hint of emotion. Nobody liked Jack.
Drowning in the Past,
It was the summer things were about to change for Jack. Melissa was the object of thought plunging hard against his heart as he made the lonely walk down the street opposite his favorite café where he had just had himself dome sandwich and a nice cup of coffee for a ridiculously cheap price. It is all he could afford at least, and it felt good.
The cold wind howled against his nimble heart, which felt sore for the love he felt for Melissa. Thoughts of her ran wild across his mind, galloping in sync with his heartbeat and casting various emotional responses into his brain which he could barely comprehend. She always had that impression on him even when she wasn’t around and it felt pretty strong at the hour.
Jack could make out her pleasingly symmetrical face in the distance like she was there, down to her well curved body and perfectly carved smile lining her beautiful face. She remains the perfect woman he had ever come to see, and admiring her had been all he could do since the first day he met her and through the three years they’ve become close friends and companions.
“Why can’t I tell her how I feel?” he asked himself as he bowed his face to the ground as some students walked by. He recognized them as his course mates, as their ever so gawking expression at the mask on his face, underneath which he hides the horrible scars Thomas left him with. He couldn’t help it and to make things worse he could feel doubts growing within him about his eligibility to become a lawyer or even stand before people to tender his case when he dons a mask to conceal his true identity.
“How will you study law when you can’t even defend yourself as to whom you are?” a professor once asked him after he refused to take off his mask.
It was staunching in remark and very much gut wrenching, but Melissa had come through on that day. She was there when it happened and while the other kids laughed hard, she simply patted him on his back and smiled the way through. He didn’t care though. They don’t like him and he didn’t share the sentiments with them as well. As far as he was concerned, in his world, none of them exist.
“You don’t need them to tell you who you are Jack”, she tried encouraging him. “Only you know exactly what should you do and how far you can go with your dream, I believe some day you will become the man you want to be, now let’s go home, my parents are waiting for us”.
Her words still ring in his head till this day. Her ever so thoughtful touch, words and occasional smiles through which he went through every day in the university in Cologne. She had become the backbone to which his entire being hung to and lived every day. He found himself loving a lady he couldn’t and dared not tell her of his affections and emotions for her, in worry he would be nothing but a man subject to ridicule and heartbreak.
“Going out on a walk without inviting me?” the soft and ears melting tone of her voice called to him as he took the walk that evening.
He turned around and there she was, dressed in a blue gown and red in cheeks like an angel in human form. He took in a deep breath before responding, trying to mask the worries that plunged his heart on that day. He had too many of them, but showing her wasn’t something he fancies doing.
“This world is against me, everyone denied my efforts, what do I do Melissa?”, he confessed, with his eyes beaming back at her from behind his mask.
“The man who dared to fight alone was the strongest man in this world, Jack, the path you are walking on is the path of winners, keep going and don’t turn back!” she smiled before walking up to him to sneak her hand underneath his.
She pulled him forward with her while they headed towards the empty park just by the end of the street where they spend time discussing on occasions. The dilemma he was faced with was never more glaring. He was walking with the most beautiful woman in the world and he still didn’t feel like he belongs with her. It was a damning feeling which mirrored what he was battling with as regards studying law with his hideous and hidden face.
They arrived at the bench where they both sat down. He stared from behind his mask, with the deep blue eyes into her dark brown romantically with unsaid words echoing out loud. Jack would give anything to tell her how he felt, but how he felt was painful to spill and he couldn’t see himself doing it. He just had no believe he could let her in on his emotional rollercoaster and pain.
It was there he made the decision. It was that painful evening while staring into the eyes of the lady he loves and always will, that he made the life changing decision to quit everything… to quit law school…to quit loving her or being with her…to quit pretending or giving himself the painful hope of having either of them.
“I’m leaving law school”, he said to her, without realizing the words didn’t go past his lips.
It was a done and dusted decision, and Jack stuck with it as he promised himself he would. He simply quit…he left Germany for Manchester.
It was Friday night and Jack decided to have a treat for himself as the weekend neared. The hard day’s work needed some nice dinner to make things perfect he had thought to himself, which was why he made a reservation for all the tables within the walls of the Italian Restaurant just a mile from his office where they served the most expensive bottles of wine and a really nice Italian treat of different assorted meals.
His action was obviously going to irk those who hoped to dine there for the night, but he doesn’t care one bit. He had the power to do so and he did without a tincture of guilt in his heart. As he sat with his fork lodged between his fingers, and looked around the restaurant which had nobody else dining on the floor with him, he cast his thoughts back in time.
It was about three years ago, about an experience he had with a doctor in a hospital. It was a moment Jack could still remember vividly like it was just yesterday.
Sitting within the office painted in the mood drenching color of grey, he crossed his legs over one another as he waited in the chair the doctor offered him while he got his hands disinfected. Jack had stolen a quick glance at his watch as he waited impatiently for the discussion the doctor had asked him over for rather than speak about on the telephone. His face bore a cold look to it, and his ever sealed lips refused to twitch or move one bit. He looked through his mask and fixated his gaze on the empty chair before him.
“I believe you understand the position we’re in Mr. Jack as regards the current situation and conditions of your face”, Doctor Mark spoke as he slid into his chair before Jack.
The man once confessed to me that Jack’s presence from their first ever meeting scared the living hell out of him. He said something about Jack in the room with him didn’t just fare well and he tried his best to get the meeting over with as fast as possible. I understood what he meant without doubt. He has the intimidating aura and a quite annoying one too which can’t be helped.
Jack remained silent. He wanted more before he would speak.
“We need to make the decision right now, whether you’d be willing to have a complete makeover for your face, or you’d want the continuous reconstructive surgery to keep the scars unseen”, he laid down Jack’s options to him without looking at the man.
Jack was presented with a difficult choice to make. He obviously would be faced with the knife, but in different circumstances. The man before him was the best plastic surgeon in town and his work and success rate was legendary and spoke volumes from reviews and recommendations. He had little to no doubt about his work, but the pain of having something stuck into his face again was an ordeal he still couldn’t grasp his guts around.
“I agree”, Jack responded in brief as always.
Doctor Mark raised his brow in question of his specific answer.
‘You agree to what?” he asked.
“The makeover”, he enlightened the inquiring surgeon.
Doctor Mark tried his best not to smile. He was glad they could now end the meeting fast
“There is a catch to the deal at hand”, he warned.
His words struck Jack like an arrow to his heart. Complications about such surgeries often times are dire and he couldn’t imagine himself become a victim of one. As much as the face transplant and makeover would make him a completely different person, he would rather have it in joy than with some complications he wouldn’t be able to live through life with.
The suspense alone was killing. He wanted the man to spill whatever he had to say right out.
“It isn’t something dire or things you can’t live with. In fact, almost everyone with a cosmetic surgery have to live with such circumstances”, the doctor coughed. “You will not be able or permitted the virtue of smiling or laughing after the procedure has been done to your face, else you run the risk of damaging the fragile tissues”.
It sounded troubling and Jack couldn’t wrap his head around it. The options he was being presented with didn’t sound normal to him. He would have to give up the ability to give any facial expression unless he was ready to run the risk of bringing more harm to his delicate skin. It was a nightmare of circumstance to navigate everyday with, and he could feel the pressure swell already within him.
Jack rested his back into the chair, closing his eyes to think it through for the next few minutes. A sudden rush of heat engulfed him as he sat in the air-conditioned room. He was simply numb without a response and the man before him could see it too well. The surgeries would be difficult and with them will come much more pain than he has ever felt in his life, but it was a dilemma he had no choice but to face.
It was one the scars on his face demanded.
“This is your cheque sir”, the voice of the waiter broke Jack’s thoughts from three years ago and dragged him back into the present.
He smiled at the man as he laid the cheque bearing a bill of almost one hundred thousand Euros on the table. He felt powerful in such cases and it felt good.
Jack sat in his room with a large box before him yet to be opened. The old, dusty object was smeared with enough dust it had gathered over the years, containing files and documents from when he first arrived in Manchester upon leaving Germany. He let off the lid of the box, opening it wide and revealing the various notes he hadn’t taken a look at in a while.
He picked up the first which was a receipt for the first electronic he purchased upon arriving, before placing it in the corner of the box to pick the next one. It was thick, and still possessed the quality showing it was an important paper. The writing, stamp and signature brought memories of none other than Mr. Kent, the 57 years old man whom previously owned all the wealth Jack now calls his own legally.
Within the box were pictures of Melissa as well which he gawked over briefly with fondness and heart melting remembrance of his times with her.
He took the time to picture the early beginnings when he arrived Manchester newly. It was a time in his past he could never forget, especially for the struggles and suffering he was fazed with the entire time. He arrived without a dime to his pocket, and barely survived through the first few days with little food he could get from the community kitchen and shelter.
The decision to get a job was the only practical thing he could do and it wasn’t easy in any way either. Most wouldn’t hire him for reasons he couldn’t understand and for the first few weeks he practically lived like a hobo. He had no money; he had stopped law school and banished the thoughts of practicing or learning law, while he lived for each day as it came.
It was practically hell for him until he found his first job as a cleaner in a local restaurant. The owner had hired him because he was young and willing to work for something rather than indulge the life of a crook which boys his age ventured into on the streets. The job wasn’t the easiest in the world, but Jack stuck his guns to it and was able to afford a tiny apartment after three months of having to sleep in the restaurant store through every night.
He got some more odd jobs after that and had to shuffle in between one to another in a life of struggle and penury until he met Mr. Kent. Their meeting had been preordained to come to pass while Jack worked in a coal factory owned by Mr. Kent when one morning a man escorted by a group of policemen came into the building to apprehend a thief. The man had seen the person committing the crime earlier and was certain he could finger him out in the midst of the workers.
Jack could feel the staunching eyes of those around him judging him without using words. It wasn’t news that they didn’t like him. In fact, he didn’t fancy them either. He kept to himself and made his rounds without bothering anyone. He was himself and it irritated them duly. He heard someone whisper but the words weren’t clear enough to be heard.
It was a dilemma Jack couldn’t scrape through as he couldn’t let off his mask to reveal his true identity. The horrendous scars he donned confined him to such fate and even with the persistence of the police officers, he refused to take it off until Mr. Kent came to his rescue. The man took a intrigue to him immediately and so did Jack who was glad to be rescued from the humiliation he would have had to suffer from the event.
It was precisely six months after he began working there when the rather unfortunate incident he now regards as fortunate, came to be. He met with Mr. Kent after that and things rolled on smoothly. The man took kindly to him and sympathized about his situation, but something else was on its way and Jack could never have thought it out.
After months of closed communication, Mr. Kent helped him with the needed surgery his face deserved. Jack spent six months in the hospital before coming out. He offered Jack the opportunity to go back to law school and quit working in the coal factory. He footed the bills and helped Jack into a good job in one of his law firms around the country where Jack made a good living for himself. It was there he began working closely with Julia.
With six months left in the year, and the past months going so smoothly for him with the assistance of Mr. Kent, Jack decided to thank the man by helping him achieve any feat he deemed as his heart desire. Mr. Kent had found his desire quite awkward, but decided to thread along while he allowed Jack name his price. The meet had occurred in his office one late afternoon.
Jack decided to draft the man a hearty proposal immediately stating that he would help him get his estranged wife back, bring his son whom he has very little relationship with and who hates him more than anyone in the world, help bring down the business of a renowned Mrs. Sandra, his enemy down, and make certain the tasks were completed professionally and within the rights of the law.
“You’re telling me you’ll accomplish those three tasks for me?” Mr. Kent asked in shock.
Jack nodded “Yes sir”.
Jack continued “Mr. Kent, I knew Mrs. Sandra, the owner of all Sandra law firms in Manchester is a very powerful woman and also your biggest enemy in this city, or in England, I also knew your only son, Robin and your ex wife never want to see you again for your mistakes and problems in past, however, you are a different person now, you changed, that is why I want to help you get all those things back, you can believe me!”
- Jack, are you serious? I spent many years to solve those three things and I could not achieve any of them, you know what is it mean?
- Mr. Kent, I just want to know, are they the most important things in your life?
- Yes, Jack, they are my everything, I am an old man now, I need a family, I want to have a son, I want to talk with my son, I want to see my family every morning…they are just my everything now Jack!
- Ok Mr. Kent, I will help you. Before the new year comes, they will come back to you and you can start a family again and Mrs. Sandra would be never your biggest enemy anymore. I promise!
- and what can I do for you Jack?
- well, I will help you to get back your “everything”, and I just want to have a half of your “not-everything” now Sir, how you think about this deal?
Mr. Kent decided to set a reward price for the three tasks in return; he decided he would give Jack half of his entire earnings, 400 million EUR, and half of his law companies and firms around the entire country.
It was Jack’s first deal ever and he made sure as hell not to fuck it up. He spent months developing plans, but kept in mind Mr. Kent’s warnings.
“You have till the end of the year”, he spoke on that day. “I’m not getting any younger, and I would rather you accomplish them fast and well”.
“Everything will be done by the end of the year Sir. We’re in June and it gives me enough time to get them sorted”, Jack responded.
With a glass of wine in hand in his present room, he couldn’t help but reminisce on the plan itself…He kept his promise.
It all began with…
Manchester Current Time
Jack remained seated while he let down the piece of paper carefully into the box as he had retrieved it earlier. The memories still flashed across his mind, but not for long for him to keep dwelling on as he took note of a familiar one, carefully wrapped within the comforts of the box. He clenched his fists gently before reaching over to pick the dusty note.
He could very well tell what it was…he had written it after all.
In his hand was none other than the list containing the names of the seven people whom had wronged him. The memory never fades, and he had kept the names in his head ever since the unfortunate incident that befell him aged seven in the hands of the horrible kids and all those who he deemed as co-conspirators in the crime.
Slowly like he was holding an egg, he unwrapped the paper, lengthening it in height and falling his gaze upon the top of it. The letterings had been scribbled with black ink, and still remained fresh like he had written it yesterday. He cleared his throat as he slowly perused the content on the list with his eyes and mind. Within him, he read the names out loud without really speaking.
The list with the seven names felt heavy in his hand as he held it high enough for the light in the room to illuminate them properly.
He’d written the list aged 24, seventeen years after the incident which left him with a scarred face. It had come after he arrived in Manchester aged 21, and spending the next few years working in the coal factory, before getting acquainted with Mr. Kent and assisting him with the three major agendas he promised and becoming a Multi-millionaire with an array of five big companies underneath his supervision.
The accomplishment and assurance of stability had prompted him to list those who brought turmoil to his past and he made certain he didn’t forget a single name.
Atop the list like it should be was the curator of his scars, Thomas. Thomas deservedly warranted the position, being the boy who decided his means of getting revenge for Jack’s deed was to give him a permanent reminder. Thomas, who was three years older at the time he made the list, had become a really accomplished man. He had made a name for himself, as the owner of two big private schools, three luxury hotels in Cologne and Dusseldorf, and had become the husband of Melissa, the woman Jack could never forget.
Jack couldn’t let Thomas share the pain alone. He wanted him and everyone around to partake in the punishment he would deal, which included listing Thomas’s sister, Natalia in second place. The thirty-one years old lady would also have a taste of his vengeance. Following her on the list in third place was a place for Andy, the notable second in command to Thomas, who had succeeded in becoming a professional boxer but had been sentenced to prison for the duration of five years after accidentally killing his opponent in a boxing game.
The incident wasn’t his only undoing, after sources found his responsible for some high stake illegal gambles as well.
Sofia was forth by virtue of her relationship with Thomas right about then. She was his girlfriend and it was only befitting that she shared in his pain as Jack never really fancied her, and quite frankly couldn’t forget or forgive her indifference when her boyfriends messed up his face. He had scribbled her name down on that night while making the list with a beating heart.
Finally, he fell his gaze upon the name of the one person he was sure had he been responsible enough to let justice prevail; maybe he wouldn’t have scribbled the list in the first place. The old man was a cheat, a liar and an irresponsible fellow who in all sincerity decided to take his son’s life and well-being as top priority even though he almost killed another man’s.
Fifth on the list without an atom of doubt about him being listed there was Thomas’s father. The man whom bribed those he needed to, including top lawyers and judges, as well as Jack’s own father to help keep the heinous crime under wraps. Jack could remember seeing the group of lawyers the man hired, donning their suits with cocky smiles across their face while they defended the boy.
He remembered seeing his father collect an ample sum of money from Thomas’s father, which the man ended up blowing on bets, while ignoring the fact his own son needed money for a face surgery and possibly transplant. His inconsiderate actions only made things worse for Jack, as the months went by. He remember his face losing any feel the skin used to provide it, while all the nerves slowly died after they’d been brutally destroyed.
The pain to live with such face was something he could still recall as he penned down the man’s name as his fifth victim. The events that followed were nothing but trauma for Jack and everyone around him. When he was ten years in age, he had a little sister, whom would scream and get terrified trying to tear her eyes out with nightmares when she looks at Jack.
The horror and constant battle with being able to accommodate his horrifying look had been the reason Jack was cast away from home in the first place. His parents decided it was best they sent him far away where they wouldn’t have to look at his nauseating face ever again. With the pen in his hand, he remembers his mother’s words vividly, claiming she wanted nothing to do with him ever again.
The decision came easy after then. His father whose knack for betting and owing people, put him up for sale for the sum of fifteen thousand Euros to a lender in bid to clear his debt. It would be the last time he’d see his family, as a new life begun to for him immediately. Jack would find life anew, but in a more strenuous manner for a young boy his age.
His new owners at the point in time made him take care of their horses and clean the stables. It was a shitty job but he had no choice. His legs were constantly chained as they couldn’t take the risk of him escaping and making a run for it. His home was behind a stinking hors stable, while his real parents wined and dined in a comfortable environment, at least without much stink.
His bed was made of hay, stacked in a corner of the stables where he laid his head to rest every single night. He was given a bath every week like an animal would, and a bowl of porridge every day, and sometimes half loaf of bread which was dry and hard as a rock. The half loaf would get tossed at him simply because it wasn’t deemed eatable by the owner anymore and not out of the mercies his heart granted.
They saw him as nothing but a monster, and he was constantly treated like one.
The lonesome childhood memory was vivid and clear, with lonely days without friends to speak with and without tears to cry. All he had were horses neighing and chewing their hay all day, while he tended to their crap. He was there till he clocked thirteen, on which day, Mr. Klein the boss of a local newspaper came to rescue him from the horse farm and took him home. It was the first feel of goodness anyone had dealt him and it felt too good to be true at that time.
Mr. Klein assigned him the task of taking care of his horse, but with a better bed to sleep in at night, and proper meal on his table. He sent Jack back to school again and allowed him time to study with his daughter, whom Jack still recall as his first ever love till date, Melissa. From their first meet, she became his friend.
Melissa was the first friend and best he had as well as the only one.
The years rolled by and she remains in his memory still as he stared at the list in his hand in his room, which had brought with it a host of bad memories. Her sonorous and ear melting voice rang aloud in his head every time, the sound of her contagious laugh, as well as her cries when she hurt herself by falling while riding her horse, remained with him still.
Melissa and Jack passed high school together, and eventually ended up attending the same university to study law, to which effect, he would split and end his time there.
He folded away the paper slowly, while taking one last peek at the last names on it.
On it was Henry, the forty six years old teacher back then whom had refused to testify against Thomas for his wicked crime. The man denied knowing anything and it proved to be one of the defining reasons for the case. Jack was about closing the list finally when he saw the seventh number…
It was named “Unknown”. He couldn’t remember who the person was exactly at that time, but he would find out later.
The first night was the most difficult. He lay with his back against the bed and his eyes shooting into the distance ahead. The bland ceiling mirrored his thoughts, and the fan continued in its endless chase of its own tail, while Jack wallowed in thoughts. He had his mind troubled deeply, not just by anything surreal, but things of grave importance that could come to shape his future and life ultimately.
He tried closing his eyes to think, but his sense of focus was off. He wanted something concrete upon which he could lay his plans and come with a solution, but it felt even more difficult the more he thought about it. The question was simple, yet it plagued his heart badly.
“How to solve the problem of Mr. Kent’s son and his wife”, was the sentence he read across his mind over and over and again.
There seemed to be no particular answer for the question, and the suggestions on what could be done even seemed impossible to achieve. The dilemma attached with getting Robin’s documents was an almost impossible one. It included going to the university where he schooled to attain them and most definitely going through some good amount of security and scrutiny.
He needed to know more about the wife as well and that would take its own perseverance and some proper research. Jack could find no sleep through that night, and he was only convinced morning had dawned when he heard the loud crow of a persistent cock just outside his house. It was mentally draining, but equally challenging for him.
He needed a good plan else he could be staring at the end of a barrel pointed against him by himself. He could become the architect of his own undoing and that wasn’t going to become an option. He was a determined man and one who had seen too much to know he needed to grasp opportunities when they come his way.
After three sleepless nights spent on thinking and planning on what to do, Jack finally headed off to Robin’s University to carry out his research on the boy…
Germany…Same Time…Years Ago…
It was no news they have been dating or having affectionate feelings for one another. Thomas had made his move on Melissa after Jack left, asking her to become his girlfriend without a single pang of discomfort in his heart about Jack liking her. They attended the same university there in Cologne, which made things pretty awkward.
Months had gone by, and Melissa had fallen pretty much for the dashing man who made her feel special. Jack’s absence had brought with it a rise in the time Melissa spends with Thomas, as they grew in desire for one another, and ultimately decided upon taking things a notch. It was Thomas’s will and idea, and she agreed with him without a muster of decline.
The night was set for a cold Friday. She had on her favorite blue gown, while he donned a nicely fitted black suit for the occasion. She harbored her nervousness within until they reached the door.
‘What if they don’t like me?” she turned to him to ask with her face showing just how terrified she was.
Thomas lit in face with an assuring smile of his own. He felt her face with his warm hand and leaned over to kiss her cherry lips.
“You need to trust me”, he said. “They’ve been waiting for you and I’m sure they would”.
His words didn’t sound entirely convincing, but she was at the door and would as well just go on right in when they come to answer it. She nodded for him to knock and he did, with the calm voice of an elderly woman responding on the other side. The door swung open slowly and before her stood a lady with brown hair and a quite prominent physique showing she kept herself fit even though she had grey hair.
“Tommy…“, she greeted, hugging her son before casting Melissa a look.
Melissa gulped some worries down her throat before watching the elderly woman smile brightly.
“Come in here you. Tommy has told us a lot about you and quite frankly wouldn’t shut up”, she smiled, hugging Melissa.
Melissa felt her chest get lighter, but she had his father to meet next and she still remained skeptical. They walked into the large living room which bore beautiful portraits on the walls, with one catching sculpture of a Roman goddess in the corner of the living room just by the television.
“Let me get your father”, Thomas’s mother excused herself before disappearing into the inner room.
Thomas turned to his girlfriend with an “I told you so” expression across his face.
“All right, I believe you now”, she managed to chuckle as he led her to the couch to sit.
The tempting allure of blueberry pancake being made in the kitchen came seeping through. They were to have dinner, and it felt good already.
Seated around the large table were the intending father and mother-in-law to Melissa, as she kept her head down shyly and continued eating her meal. Thomas had asked her over for dinner at his parents’ in bid to introduce her to them and get things running smoothly as it ought to. They were both welcomed with open arms by his parents who were people of influence and wealth.
She didn’t care much about that, since she equally came from a stable background boasting riches and comfort as well as connections Thomas’s parents can only come to dream of. She loved the man and wanted nothing else but to share everything she had with him. They were obviously young, but it still wasn’t a criterion to hide from how they truly felt.
‘So Melissa, my son tells me you studied law”, his father engaged her in a chatty conversation.
Melissa let down her fork from the spaghetti she was taking to respectfully answer the man.
“Yes I did”, she simply replied.
“He also tells me how fond he is of you and the plans for the future”, the man crackled with laughter.
She knew the reason they were there for, or at least she thought she did. It was for her parents to see firsthand the woman their son intends to get married to. It was the necessary step to take their relationship further and she hoped to do the same with her parents after their dinner with his. Thomas simple chuckled where he sat, before sneaking his hand towards hers and locking them together.
“Isn’t she beautiful mom?” he asked.
“She’s even more beautiful than you said she was”, his mother replied.
Her words of flattery set Melissa blushing as she commenced on her meal. They spent the next half an hour discussing about life in general before Thomas got up and headed for the kitchen. His father soon followed while the ladies were left alone discussing. It felt refreshing for Melissa that his parents liked her and it made her more comfortable.
“You’re right, she is stunning”, his father patted him on the back.
Thomas winked at the man as he took a bottle of beer from the fridge and rested his back against it.
“Her father is wealthy and quite influential”, he told his dad who listened.
“Does she know anything about the other woman?” his father asked after ascertaining the ladies were still at the dining table.
“No, she doesn’t, but we need to wrap thing up fast with Melissa and her father”, Thomas sounded in haste. “I need the man if my company is going to get the massive support it needs to grow into what I want it to”.
His father understood his words pretty well. The man walked away, leaving Thomas to finish his beer. He knew within her he was just using her, but he could care less. He had his ambitions and that was all that mattered. He’d figured out her powerful and quite influential father would only be of use if they became a family.
And, a family is exactly what he was going for with Melissa for the sole purpose he just shared with his father.
…from Julia’s diary…
He came to pick me from my house. I could see the man waiting outside impatiently while I tried to make myself ready. Jack glanced at his watch impatiently, waiting for me. Being my assistant wasn’t rosy at times when he had to wait on me, but he needed my help, which was the reason for the organized dinner.
He chose my favorite, which is Thai food just by the corner a few blocks from the office. The reservations had been made for 8.p.m, but it was half an hour past already and I still hadn’t shown up. He had a whole lot more to worry about than my lateness though. He still hadn’t figured out the best ways to go about the dilemma he had in hand. Being my assistant wasn’t something he saw himself living the rest of his life as. Had it not being because he didn’t finish law school, he obviously wouldn’t have been my assistant.
The requirement had stated he would remain an assistant for the next two years and it meant working under me through the duration before he’d be set free of his shackles. He bent his head before raising it up to look at the door. I came rushing out through it with the swerve and swagger I constantly upheld my beautiful physique with.
He waved me over.
“You look beautiful tonight”, he whispered shyly.
I blushed red in my cheeks as he spoke and tucked my hand into his.
“You look dashing yourself and wanting to make a woman steal you”, I teased.
The walk was long, but it was beautiful.
“I was almost thinking I’d eat alone tonight”, he joked. “It feels perfect having you with me though”.
His confessions hit me right and well to the heart. It sounded sincere and it melted away my soul.
We arrived at the restaurant after chattering away. Our table was in the corner of the restaurant where we had a good view of the surrounding and the street without hinder. The spot was perfect for the both of us to discuss discreetly without external intrusions. I walked over; looking tall from the heels I donned and smelling nice from the lavender perfume I wore.
“You chose my favorite spot”, I smiled at him while he helped me with my seat like a gentleman.
“I was considering another less fancy hotel”, he joked, while trying to tease me about being late.
He couldn’t be mad at me. It wasn’t something he could, seeing the position he was in and aside the fact we have grown pretty close and fond of one another over time working together. He simply accepted my apology with a nod. I didn’t expect many words from him either.
“You said you needed my help with something”, I grinned.
Jack waved at the waitress to hand us the menu. Meals at the Thai restaurant aren’t cheap, but he chose it either ways. Living life as someone who deserves it rather than suffering himself had been the motto for a while. His past had been filled with so much turmoil and pain he didn’t see himself reliving such again. He would enjoy life and with it the pleasures it brings.
“Bring the best wine you have and your special order”, he spoke in brief without collecting the menu from the waitress.
I trailed the waitress with my eyes before taking my focus back to him.
“What is it Jack? I can tell you’re struggling with something”, I spoke insightfully.
Jack cleared his throat. He meant to speak and he would try his best to do it as little as possible. I understood him too well and it wouldn’t be a problem.
“I’m stuck with Mr. Kent’s deals”, he said.
His words rang how worried he was. I could read the sadness dancing on his lips as he spoke. I did not want that. I never wanted to see him down or in a horrible state. Our work together had made me grow pretty fond of him as well as caring towards him. We’ve shared so much together to the point he told me about his revenge and those who had hurt him.
It was the one reason I hoped to stick with him as best as I could. I hoped once he achieved better after completing the deal he promised Mr. Kent, those things would automatically sort themselves out and he would be stable and accomplished enough to forget about some petty revenge.
“I might be able to help you with that”, I smiled.
I laid down some proper advice for him and stated things he had neglected. He listened attentively, feeling wowed by my level of reasoning but not entirely surprised. He obviously trusts me intelligent and my work shows that every day. The hour passed without us really realizing it while we took timely sips from our wine and ate to our fill.
The night was well spent and it further strengthened our bond.
I duly pointed out the need for him to complete his task, which bordered around him taking power from Kent and becoming his own man in Manchester. The deal would obviously bring him a new life and recognition around Manchester, and I secretly thought it to be a good avenue for him to forget his nonsense about revenge… I was wrong in the end.
All I harbored in thoughts was the possibility of a wonderful life together after he becomes the best man he can be through my guidance. The deal was the one thing standing in the way of that realization and I was there to help him scale through. He had his own ideas too, with his burning eyes filled with thoughts and ideas, which he laid out to me through the dinner.
Staring into his eyes that night made me realize I wanted the man. I wanted him deeply from there into the future when we could be together forever. I could taste the reality coming nearer as I hoped to become his woman and he my man. I envisaged the future where we will have babies and every day after work, I would be able to go home and have dinner with the man and our children.
It was meant to be perfect and it was all I could think of.
We got through with dinner, and he walked me out of the restaurant. His silence had always been something I admired about him. He gave the listening ears any lady wants and I provided him with companionship as best as I can. His soft hands slid into mine as we took the walk on the clod night. I leaned my head towards his shoulder, and he wrapped his other arm around me in shelter.
My heart raced loudly and I wished he could hear how it beats for him.
“Will you come home with me for the night?” he asked in a romantic voice. “I happen to have whisky”.
I couldn’t refuse. We headed to his place underneath the beautiful moonlight and night. I spent the night with him drinking and jollying away.
“I need you to promise me something”, I asked him with my wine glass in hand.
“What?” he asked.
“After this deal falls through, no more vengeance”, I asked.
It sounded difficult for him, but he agreed with a nod.
“I promise”, he assured me before pouring me some more wine.
The night grew older and we found ourselves in bed making out romantically till we fell asleep. It was late into the night when I woke up to the screaming noise from Jack. He was having a nightmare, and his face was hurting like hell. He groped his with his hands and sweat rolled down his body. I managed to calm him down and set him back to sleep after some minutes, but I remained awake through the night.
I could tell the man’s pain was too much for him to bear and he couldn’t stick with his promise. The pain from the injury was severe during cold nights like that one in particular, and worse all through winter. He had gotten a new face lift with medications from the surgeon, but they still weren’t enough to mask the horror he felt within him.
“They must pay”, he muttered that night before falling back to sleep.
I believed him more than I did when he assured me he would keep off any vengeance mission. He just was too scared to do so. I watched him sleep, while wiping the blood dripping from his face and nose through the night. It was a norm for the man… it was what he was dealt every night because of them…
I had barely slept through the night, but I made certain I was awake before him. I quietly went about doing the dishes while the tired man slept, before preparing a nice meal and doing some of his laundry for him. It was the least I could do for the man and it felt good doing it either ways.
I exited his room by closing the door behind me slowly, but not before taking a good look at the man I shared both a wonderful and scary night with. It was my first time seeing for myself the terror he had to go through, and all I could do was pity him. He would have some proper meal when he woke up and that gladdened my heart.
I left without saying goodbye to Jack…
Manchester…Days after Dinner
Jack had gathered enough information about Robin and his confidence about solving the problems at hand looked good. He sat in his chair in the depth of the night, staring at the bulk of informative materials he had been able to gather about the guy. It was quite a lot to go through, but with a cup of coffee, it was easier.
He figured out the hatred the boy had for his father would have to be subdued somehow, and judging from personal experience, it wasn’t going to be easy. Jack stared blankly at the paper containing Robin’s likes and interests in his hand, with wonders on what to do screeching through his mind. He needed a way out and fast as time ticked past.
The solution to counter his hate would have to come from something strong enough to negate it. In such cases it would have to be love, but there was no love lost between the pair and it was no use barking up that tree. The hatred accumulated all through the years wasn’t going to make it easy. He needed another approach entirely.
He tossed aside the sheet of paper in his hand to pick another. The information he sought was right before him and he didn’t know. On the sheet before him was the statement telling how much of an active member Robin is at the Animal Welfare and Protection Association. According to the information, Robin was well fond of organizing rallies during the festive periods in Spain when bulls are brutally killed during festivals.
The organization he was involved in simply wasn’t for profit, which meant they regularly needed willing sponsors to come invest in and with them. It wasn’t easy getting sponsors, which was a quirk they had to deal with on a regular basis. The boy had a disdain for the abusers and it was the perfect means through which Jack hoped to warm his way into his life.
He kicked his feet together in a slight show of being joyed, without really letting out much emotion. It was the first move that looked solid and he would approach Robin in bid to support his team while temporarily keeping his personal interests at heart and hidden until the time presented itself.
Without further ado, Jack booked a ticket to Madrid, where Robin and his team will hold the biggest rally of the year to protest against the mischievous killings of the bulls in the capital of Spain. Robin was sure to be there leading the rally as always. The man’s willingness to help the animals was the perfect opportunity for Jack.
He wouldn’t miss such an opportunity for anything in the world. He headed for Spain late the following day.
Jack sat alone in the darkness of his room with his eyes fixated on the wall before him. He had a lot coursing through his mind and they sent pangs of headache through his brain every time he attempted to shelve them off. It was structured around the next move he hoped to make. He had so much going on for him ad more coming his way that he needed to make the right calls.
The darkness mirrored his hearty feeling and what exactly he felt within. He clenched his fists as he thought of everything and everyone in his life. He gave some good reasoning into his work and life as a whole, before helping himself to a good glass of wine from the bar rack just at the corner of the room, using the moonlight’s guidance to allocate it.
Being twenty eight years in age, and precisely four years after completing his deal with Mr. Kent, Jack felt restless than ever. A lot was happening, and he needed to get a firm grasp on things. He had things yet to be done, and commitments he just couldn’t see himself not getting through with. The list was complete and yet still unfulfilled. He wasn’t a man to get things done half way and he wasn’t about starting at this state of his life.
The silence was killing until his phone rang aloud from the table by the chair he was previously occupying. It was pretty late and he wasn’t expecting anyone to reach him, not at least on his personal line. He let it ring for a while before the call dropped and silence resumed. He had barely taken another sip from his glass when the phone rang out once more, prompting him to deem it someone of importance.
His didn’t really want to speak with anyone, but on seeing the caller id, he felt the temptation to. It was Julia calling and for no other reason obviously but to change his mind. He remained hesitant the moment he picked up the phone, before caressing the green button on the dial pad with his thumb briefly.
James looked around the room once more, towards the corner with his parked box and other luggage standing neatly atop one another. He hadn’t packed much, but needed the essentials with which he could make smooth transition once he got to where he was heading for. His heart was yearning far away from here already, and the woman on the phone obviously didn’t want that.
“Hello Julia…“, he spoke in a soft tone before returning to his chair.
My breath greeted Jack in response, before my melodious voice came through the speaker of the phone. I sounded like I was panting and he could hear the violent brushing of breeze against the leaves of a tree of some sorts in the background, coupled with the chirpings of crickets.
“Jack…I know you’re leaving”, I went straight to the point.
Jack had made it his intent to let me know of his plans to return to Cologne. After all he had everything he needed already in Manchester from a luxury house to the best cars money can buy as well as other businesses raking in millions on a regular basis. The yearn to return to cologne had been brought about by a whole lot of factors, which I just couldn’t in any way prevent even if I had called him in the middle of the night to do so.
“You cannot do this”, I pleaded in a strained tone.
“Do what Julia?” he asked, feigning ignorance.
“You know…Cologne…going back to Cologne in Germany”, I duly responded with my voice not sounding any better.
“Are you okay? You sound stressed?” he sounded emotional, even though it was nothing but an attempt to shy away from their topic of discussion.
He could hear me sigh against the howling wind in the background. I had snuck out to receive his call; under the watchful eyes of Robin and his pesky guards set about to curtail my movements.
“I’m calling from the garden”, I responded. “It is a bit chilly out here tonight, but that is not the topic of our discussion”.
I saw right through his actions, but it didn’t bother him. His mind was made up. The fact I was with Robin had been something he had been coping with for a while. From our time together while I worked as his assistant after his increase in rank, to the point in time when I decided I was no longer working for him and went on ahead to do so with Robin, who was now a big shot in Manchester and the man inheriting his father’s fortune.
“You’re still hiding your calls and interactions with me from that pompous child”, Jack sounded like a jealous man with his emotions almost not checked.
The fact was, he knew Robin understood there was chemistry or still remains chemistry between Jack and me. The man had done everything possible to make certain that chemistry remains unlived by the both of us, which included the preventing me from ever getting to see Jack at all cost. He had devised several means of keeping me entrapped underneath his wings and subsequently phased Jack out and away from me to the best of his ability.
Jack had equally grown to see him as an enemy, which made it rather difficult for me to make any attempt to go and see him talk less of spending time with him as much as I would have loved to. Robin had become nothing but a thorn in Jack’s side, but he kept that little fact to himself. The man was nothing like him and his self-righteous personality was sickening at times.
“What about Manchester?” I laid down a marker for her argument.
“What about it?” Jack asked in response.
He wasn’t going to roll over for my inquiries without giving me a tough time apparently. He could hear me sigh on my end of the line. He could feel the frustration from my breath alone, talk less of my words. I desperately wanted him to remain and not pursue his personal vendetta of which I had stood against several times.
His stubbornness on every occasion had been well tabled, while he continued to refuse to grant those who have wronged him any form of forgiveness. He had fashioned the existence of his being after them and barely had anything else to live for except making more money and ultimately ticking away every single box that needs to be filled for his plans to work out.
Jack’s hate was something I wished I could take away from his heart. As sweet as I found him to be on a personal level, I had come to understand the man is a beast on the inside borne out of hurt and pain he was subjected to from a rather tender age. He had his faults too though and his personality warranted a lot of things coming his way, but either ways, things could have been treated differently.
I helped myself unto a bench in the garden where I was, with the beautiful skies above and the full moon shining brightly. My skin felt cold, but not as much as my heart as I longed for Jack to regain some form of sanity and remain in Manchester. As much as I and Robin were involved, I still feel my heart beat for him and skip when U thinks about him.
It is the reason I painstakingly decided to place the call through, even though it could very well bring trouble from Robin who hopefully was sleeping like a child from the slight doze of valium I snuck into his drink earlier. I couldn’t risk our conversation getting interrupted, but Jack’s stubbornness was apparent even without being with him.
His determination wasn’t something I fancied at a time like this. He always had the knack for seeing things he intended to do through and I wished this one time would be an exception.
“Within the past years, you’ve achieved a lot in Manchester Jack, and I don’t think it wise for you to throw it all away”, I reminded him.
The Manchester point was a valid one, and one he had sent a whole lot of time thinking about. The truth was, he and Robin ruled the entirety of Manchester ever since Mr. Kent decided to hand over his entire properties and wealth to his son solely asides the share Jack rightfully owns. The decision which Mr. Kent had based solely around him being old and in need of enjoying the rest of his life with his wife in a secluded part of Manchester away from the worries work brings had been the uprising of his son.
Robin had become brutal in his dealings, and heralded a new legacy under his father’s name, which was the reason he became a competitor to Jack and his group of companies on the native soil. They currently had their heads and powers pit against each other for what would be a promising outcome for the young and innovative minds of Manchester as they vied for the position of becoming the elected Mayor of Manchester.
“Do you think going away at appoint like this is something you want? Do you see Robin laying low and allowing you succeed while you’re on foreign soil and he has every delegate he needs in his back pocket to help him win?” I made a compelling argument.
Jack rubbed his temple gently, feeling a slight headache begin to settle in. He had his mind troubled and for good reasons, but he wasn’t willing to budge.
“I have everything under control”, he boasted in a calm tone in response.
His voice obviously irked me as I screamed in frustration on my end of the line.
“I’m quite surprised you still will go out of your way against your boyfriend”, Jack reminded me where my loyalties should lie even though it sounded harsh.
“I don’t care what you hope to say to dissuade me from asking you to stay back, but you will lose your foothold on the Mayor chair if you leave at this point”, I warned fervently. “Robin has contacts and connections even you don’t have, and right now things look rosy and perfect for you but you want to mess it up”.
My sentiments were well read and understood, but he just didn’t see himself spending the following night in Manchester. His parked luggage before him was testament to that and he only wished I could understand thing from his perspective. He had a lot to cover and a whole lot of people from his past he needed to sort out.
Those who partook in various actions resulting to the horrendous past he had were still back home in Germany and doing well in their various fields with the exception of the one in prison. He wouldn’t miss the opportunity to make them pay and the time was ripe already even if she didn’t want him to. His decision will stand and her persuasion would fall on deaf ears.
My sadness from the tone of my voice and the sorrow I currently inhabited within my chest as regards him leaving was something he could hear too well. He could imagine my face and how I must be looking at the moment, but his own heart bore some amount of sorrow as well. His heart bore a lot of pain and anguish which cannot be extinguished by remaining in Manchester.
I wished I could reach him right there and them… I wished I could look into his eyes and ask him to remain here and not leave even though he would definitely turn me down. We remained silent for a minute while I could tell the man I cared deeply for was on the other end of the line. His tender breath sent ripples of concern down my spine as I hoped he would speak and agree with me.
“You’re making a mistake Jack”, I finally broke the silence. “You’re almost making the mistake of allowing the power you wield consume you, when you can make better use of it”.
The words obviously had hit a nerve with him, even though they were true.
“What about your boyfriend?” he simply asked.
“I want you to stay. Even if he is my boyfriend, I care a great deal about you”, I assured him of my loyalty to him.
His next words would hit my heart like a sharp spear thrust into it.
“Juli…“, he called by the nickname he alone used for me.
I could feel my heart thump in anticipation of something positive. I wanted the right answer badly as I waited for the man to speak.
“Please stop caring about me Juli”, he voiced in words that sent the spear into my heart painfully. “I need you to forget any wonderful times and memories we’ve shared, and commit yourself towards enjoying the life you have right now”.
I could tell there was no going back with those words being said. I froze with the phone pressed to my ear, hoping I hadn’t heard the man correctly, but sadly I had. The night got colder for the both of us. He refused to end the call from his end as I refused to from mine as well. My words were missing from my lips and my mouth felt dry of any kind of response.
I remained awake through the night with thoughts of Jack abreast my mind. He didn’t either, with loads of memories about his time in Manchester as well as that of Cologne raging through his mind in conflictions. He thought of those who had hurt him deeply, and the select few he cared about.
He thought of Melissa into the early hours of the morning before his flight to Cologne… He was going without a doubt… I could do nothing about it. Nobody could…
I couldn’t wait for morning to grace its head through the night. The day coincided with a lunch I was to have with Robin and a group of sponsors for his campaign. I remained with my back glued to the bed and face stretched in view towards the ceiling as I allowed myself get lost. I could still hear his words ring aloud in my ears as I laid there until Robin walked in.
“Good morning darling”, he said, leaning over to kiss me on the forehead.
His lips lingered on her skin, while being fueled by genuine emotion from the man but her heat and thoughts were elsewhere.
“You’re still on for lunch with the Mr. McGregor I believe?” Robin asked.
How could I forget? It was all he spoke about for the week. His position and power had the habit of dragging me to such lunches and dinner parties which quite frankly were often nice, but time consuming for me. I used to have a hard time accepting them while I was still simply working for him, but now things were different and I owed him some sense of support whether it be against Jack or in his favor.
I nodded in acknowledgment while Robin headed out the door. I took the time to grasp the concept of the large life Jack had asked me to keep enjoying rather than brooding over him. The man was right; I had everything I could ever ask for, but I could still feel myself feeling empty from within.
The expensive gold encrusted bracelet Robin had gotten me on his trip to Spain was a perfect example, let aside the fact I dined in the best restaurants, drove the best cars as well as having a host of trained professionals in their various skills and works of life working for me and catering to my every need. I breathe and live in wealth, yet I felt incomplete for some odd reason.
Stepping out of bed reluctantly with a heavy heart and mixed feelings in her heart, I headed to the bathroom to run herself a warm tub. I would rather drown myself and let the pain go away before heading out for Robin’s function. I had to look her best as expected and I would do nothing less.
“Why couldn’t you just stay Jack?” I asked as she slid into the mass of warm, foamy water.
Two hours later, I was out donning an expensive Gucci gown Robin got me on the night he announced his running to become the Mayor of Manchester. The fitted black gown stuck to my skin and brought with it my curves perfectly. I admired myself through the reflection of the black Cadillac my driver made available for our trip as the body guards my paranoid boyfriend provided me circled like vultures.
Five of them as they always were in count split into a group of two, with two riding in the car with me while the rest followed in a SUV behind. I sat at the back of the car feeling trapped as my boyfriend’s loyal guard whose sole role and purpose was to snitch on my activities to the man. He duly reported his findings on my outings and movements, especially if any of it had anything to do with Jack.
Since Jack found a means of reconciling things between Robin and his father which was a rather uphill task, they’ve been on opposite ends and it wasn’t difficult to see. For one reason relating with Robin’s privileged childhood and past, he remained favorite with a host of friends in high enough places than Jack could amass through his sheer personality.
He attended his medical school in London and graduated with a host of other wealthy kids whose connections keep him afloat till this very day. He had the willing and ever present friends who would stick by him and his course should he ask them. It made him into an entirely different man from Jack both outside ad within Manchester.
Jack on the other hand had his power and grip within Manchester…
Robin’s list of associates outnumbers those of Jacks, but Jack still holds the higher numbers of enemies irrespective. It is the world I find myself trapped in as we journeyed to the restaurant where I’m to meet with Robin and his group of wealthy associates. I just couldn’t find myself taking my mind off of everything as the car sped on.
I wondered where Jack was and how he was doing in Cologne.
Jack arrived in Cologne by nightfall with his two most trusting assistants by his side; Masha and Alex. He had made the decision to give Robert temporary control over his companies and law firms in his absence on the agreement he would get reported t =o everyday on occurrences and issues regarding each and every one of them. If he could trust anyone to get the job done without doubt, it would be the intelligent and apt Robert.
Robert remains his smartest man and the most trusted, but Jack knew he left himself a sore spot to be poked at by leaving Manchester. For one reason, Robin would see it as a time to exploit and get ahead of him, but he had other heart desiring decisions he hoped to make. He would rather carry them out than continue to languish in heart ripping nights, yearning to come back to Germany.
I worried for him during this period. It stung my mind like a bee every single day but there was nothing I could do. Jack is a big man with ambitions and without them; no man can truly call himself a man. More so, he isn’t just any ordinary man but one with age long ambitions and decision he had promised himself to make.
On his first night, he rented out the Quinne’s hotel which was a luxurious hotel visited by Senators and people of wealthy importance. The entire fourth floor with the suites in it was paid for by jack for himself and his crew. He took his time to settle in before laying down the plans for the next couple of months. It wouldn’t take long and he moved swiftly to assure it.
Alex walked into his room first on his request for the both of them. Jack waited for Masha to arrive before speaking.
“I need you both to begin getting the required buildings and structures we need to set up here”, he simply said to them before waving them off.
Within the month, they acquired two might big law firms, and a host of other legitimate buildings through which he would run his businesses while Robert took care of things in Germany. He saw it as an opportunity to stretch his tentacles and he made it happen. He acquired a fleet of expensive special edition cars as well, with which he stood out everywhere he went in Cologne.
Jack introduced himself in style and would settle for nothing less.
On one cool afternoon, sitting behind the marble desk of his new office, Alex walked into his office with an invitation with the images of disabled kids plastered across the surface. It was the third one he had gotten within a few weeks but it brought his heart joy as he stared immensely at the leaflet in his hand.
“They just invited you to their charity event Sir”, Alex bowed.
Jack had guessed as much. He took out his pen to write a check of two hundred thousand Euros to the charity organization, which he handed out to Alex to deliver on his behalf. It was a means of giving back to those who through one means or another weren’t recognizable or deemed unfit by the world as he was.
It was his show of support for every scar, every hurt, every rejection and belittling he received from judging eyes and scornful tongues that wagged against him when he was down. Such charity events reminded him of the kicks he received when he was down, and the various ones who spat at him thinking he could never come to rise.
Jack would give back as best as he can… He would always remember his past, which was partly why he came back to Cologne. The childhood memories he had were just too strong to ignore… He couldn’t take the sight of another disabled child in pain as he used to be.
Jack still couldn’t feel fulfilled until he got one thing done… He wanted to go back home.
For a man accomplished in almost every corner of his life, he had a void in his heart he just couldn’t feel. The urge to go back to Cleve, the small town just 200 kilometers from Cologne where he resided was even more bothering than the need to keep amassing wealth. The void grew with each passing day and work began to suffer greatly because of it.
He spent nights staring out the window in pain and sweet memories circling his mind and bed of thoughts. He was trapped in the confusion of visiting home and not going anywhere near the place he received nothing but constant torture and betrayal in plenty. It kept him up for nights until he made the decision he would visit his home.
He thought of his father, his mother and his little sister who should still be living together. He hadn’t the slightest idea how they were since everyone chose to keep away from his and not keep in touch like he was a plague. It was damning but it got better in time and he learnt to deal with it until he returned to Cologne.
The decision was a heavy one to make, but Jack set on out that early morning donning his perfectly tailored Gucci suit. In his luxurious ten million Euros special Edition Black Rolls Royce, Jack stepped out from his mansion in style seated at the back of the car while his personal chauffeur commandeered the car. He watched his two body guards get into the car with him.
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He spent almost 10 years planning a revenge list on the seven people who had destroyed his face for a same reason in the past, everything was perfect, the revenge plans of the young and intelligent lawyer were extremely sophisticated, however when everything was ready, he suddenly realized that the plan he was working on was actually the final step of another person's plan. Will Jack be smart enough to rule the game against those who are standing in the dark and silently affecting his thoughts and actions? What would he do when his enemies who were set to be taken revenge on was planned by another person, and Jack would have to change his moves to take control back those who were in shadow and influencing his thoughts. The game of intelligent planners in manipulating people, who is more adventurous and smarter to beat the others?