Erased

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
What if there were days in your life in which you couldn’t remember what had happened? Laura had those two days. What could have possibly happened to her?

Submitted: November 07, 2016

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Submitted: November 07, 2016

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“Ready?”

Laura nodded nervously as she laid on his back on an examination table, wearing nothing under her hospital robe. She flinched when Frank prodded his index finger into his vagina, whom she noticed had been throwing careful glances towards a pair of husband and wife sitting on a couch in his office.

“I was wondering if we can have a cup of coffee after this.” Frank lowered down and spoke in a low voice.

Laura snapped her neck to Frank.

“You do realize that you just asked me out while doing this, don’t you?” Laura hissed.

“Come on, Laura. One date wouldn’t hurt…”

“Is there something we should know?” asked the wife, clearly getting aware some aura of secrecy amongst the patient and the doctor.

“It’s all good, Mrs. Finley,” said Frank with a fake smile. It wouldn’t be fake if the wife hadn’t happened to be the sister who owned the hospital. Frank added after helping Laura got off from the examination table. “I’ll schedule for the injection this Friday, then Dr. Stone can have the pregnancy test two weeks later.”

The wife smiled in satisfaction before leaving the office. The husband followed suit.

“Laura,” Frank called when Laura’s hand was already on the door knob. “Why are you doing this? Has some guy turned you down?”

Frank didn’t know the reason she accepted Mr. and Mrs. Finley's offer to become a surrogate mother was actually the other way around. She had actually turned down a guy whom she promised to be there to meet him fifteen years ago.

The first time Laura saw the guy was through her bedroom window. She was only at the third grade of elementary and they guy was around her age, or at least Laura thought so. He had dark curly hair and bright green eyes. He had just moved into the neighborhood and was sitting on his bedroom, which was also on the second floor adjacent with Laura’s. His elbows were on his knees. His palms supporting his face, which was looking down at the floor beneath him. It took a while before he turned to look at Laura.

Laura took a piece of paper and starting to write in big letter.

You’re okay?

Laura showed him the paper.

The boy turned his gaze back to the carpet.

Laura sighed.

Maybe the boy did not know how to read yet, though Laura didn’t find it possible because the boy seemed to be at the same age as hers and she was already on the eighth grade of elementary school.

Just when Laura was about to close the window curtain, the boy moved. The next minute he showed Laura what he had written in a piece of paper in big letters.

No. Thanks for asking.

Feeling her heart beating a little faster, Laura grabbed a piece of paper.

I’m Laura.

I’m Tom.

By the end of the week, there had been no single night when Laura’s dustbin not full with crumpled papers. At this state, she had learnt that Tom lived only with his Mom, who worked two separate jobs to support their lives. He himself was homeschooled since her mother couldn’t afford to give her formal education, even in public school.

You should go to sleep. I saw you yawned twice already.

Laura actually felt disappointed when she read the message from Tom. Nonetheless, she drew a smiley face on her paper and showed it to Tom. Tom showed his message.

What would you like to be when you’re grown up?

Your wife.

Laura never showed Tom her message. Instead, she wrote on another piece of paper and showed it to Tom.

A surgeon. A Doctor at least.

Well, good night, Doctor.

I’m not yet a doctor. Though I very much hope to become one.

You’ll become one. I’m sure of it.

Thanks for the faith.

I’m imagining you wearing a white coat now.

What about you? What should I be imagining you about?

A good man.

The girl drew a frowning icon on her paper.

I don’t know yet.

Tom quickly wrote another message and showed it to the girl.

You really need to go sleep now. You’ll be late for school tomorrow.

Okay. Sweet dreams, Tom.

Sweet dreams, Laura.

It was a week later when Laura heard a knock on her window bedroom. Apparently Tom had climbed the tree in between their house building to get to Laura’s bedroom. Without a second thought, Laura opened her window and let him stepped in.

“Off to work already? Your Mom?”

Tom nodded with a heavy sigh. The next nights Tom would knock on the Laura’s window, only to return back to his room when he saw his Mom’s car approaching the front yard of his house which could be visibly seen from Laura’s window. They spent hours talking and Laura felt happy when doing so. Every time Tom made his way back to his room by climbing the tree branches that separated their house buildings, Laura would watch Tom until he closed his curtain window and switched off the lamp. This continued for the next two months until that day when he saw Tom carrying boxes towards their car one afternoon.

“Are you moving out?” Laura asked him, soon after getting off of her bus school.

“Yes, we are.” Tom replied with a sad voice.

“Why?” asked Laura, unable to restrain the disappointing tone in her voice.

“We just have to,” said Tom.

“Tom, we need to leave.” Tom’s mother had just come out of the house, holding a box.

There was something in the way Tom looked at Laura. The next moment he sucked a breath and put both his hands on Laura’s shoulder.

“This time fifteen years later. I’ll be here to meet you. I promise.” was all Tom had said before he got into the car and left.

When Laura turned fifteen, she managed to open her Facebook account. She was a year late but better late than sorry. He found a profile which matched Tom’s an hour after searching, and quickly sent a message. She waited until tomorrow, but no reply. She waited until next week. Still no reply. Even there was still no reply the next month. She finally gave up waiting and concluded with stoic that maybe it was just another teenage boy who happened to have the similar face and appearance with what Tom would look like after five years who wasn’t interested in being her friend.

When Laura turned sixteen, a guy asked her out for a date for the first time. She rejected without a second thought. She went to prom night alone after rejecting at least three boys prior to the event and felt totally fine with it.

When Laura turned eighteen, she got enrolled in medical school in Hartford University.

When Laura turned twenty one, one of her friend in college asked her out for a date. It wouldn’t have surprised her if it hadn’t been a woman. Nonetheless, Laura politely told the woman that she was not interested in that kind of relationship.

When Laura turned twenty four, she became a surgeon in Hartford Hospital.

When Laura turned twenty five, she already circled April 28th on the calendar and she had been getting more and more agitated as the months of that year passed by. Nonetheless, it never occurred to her to have forgotten the said day when she woke up one morning and found Ivy, her colleague at the hospital she worked in and whom she shared a flat with smiling playfully at her over the kitchenette.

“So, how did it go yesterday?”

Ivy, Laura’s colleague at the hospital she worked in and whom she shared a flat with, spoke when Laura entered the kitchen.

“It went well, despite the fact that Frank asked me out whilst having his fingers shoved in me.” Laura replied after gulping two large glass of water and continued.

Ivy threw a confused look at Laura.

“Laura,” said Ivy, after a pause. “You already told me that.”

“Really?” said Laura, puzzled. “I didn’t recall we talked about it last night.”

“You told me that yesterday morning, right before you told me you had planned to go to Springfield,” said Ivy.

“I am planning to go to Springfield today,” said Laura.

“Today’s Friday, Laura.” Ivy retorted.

“No, today’s Thursday,” said Laura.

Ivy threw a compassionate look at Laura before adding. “It’s alright, Laura. I’ve been in your state before, losing track of dates thanks to our crazy O.R. schedule at the hospital…”

But it wasn’t alright to Laura. Practically, she had been waiting for that particular day half of her life yet she had forgotten it due to her lack of ability to keep track of the dates. The guilt even became more unbearable when she decided to go to Springfield a week later.

“Can I help you? Are you looking for an address?” asked the old woman who apparently had resided Tom’s childhood house.

The old woman threw a questioning look at Laura who had been standing in front of her childhood house for a while. A rush of guilt came over her every time she dared to glance towards the house next to hers.

“No,” replied Laura, smiling politely. “I just happened to drop by. I used to live in this house when I was a little.”

The old woman smiled and nodded before she spoke. “Please, have a seat at my porch. We can have a nice cup of tea whilst we talk.”

Laura looked taken aback by the old woman’s generosity but decided to accept the offer anyway.

“You know,” the old woman said as they were both already seated on the porch chairs and tea was already served. “Last week, a young man also happened to drop by this neighborhood. He said he had used to live in my house fifteen years ago. His name is Tom. Do you know him?”

Laura’s heart skipped a beat.

“I know him,” said Laura, stuttering. 

“He was standing there with a bucket of flowers.” The old woman nodded towards the front gate. “He said he was waiting for his woman. He was a romantic guy.”

Laura nodded approvingly before hesitantly spoke. “I guess the woman didn’t show up.”

The old woman shrugged. “I don’t know. When I came inside to retrieve more tea, Tom had already gone. Maybe the woman did show up.”

“Laura?” A voice dragged Laura back to Frank’s office.

Laura gulped inaudibly. She knew that at some point she had to move on with the guilt and the fact that she would probably never had the chance to see Tom again. Even if she had one day, she would probably see Tom walking side by side with another woman, pushing a baby stroller on the town park.

Laura sighed heavily before turning the door knob and left, not bothering to answer Frank’s question.

 

===

 

“Do you need anything else, Ms. Stone?”

Laura looked up at the air hostess and shook her head in content. She never thought that flying on a first class flight heading towards a five star hotel in Colorado to spend a three days pampering herself in its international standard salon and spa as a compensation from Mr. and Mrs. Finley would ever be this pleasing. She got all exited and she couldn’t wait for morning to come. When she arrived at her hotel, exhaustion overpowered her. She fell asleep soon after sprawling on a king-sized hotel mattress, not bothering to take off her sweater or slipped herself inside the duvet.

The following morning, she woke up sprawling on the mattress, feeling happy and excited. She spent another minute and two to enjoy the exceptionally comfortable mattress for a longer time.

Suddenly, she heard a soft snore and felt the mattress stirred. She turned her gaze aside and found a fully clothed man sleeping next to her with his left hand cuffed to the headboard of the bed.

Was she dreaming?

Of course she was, because when she sat up straight on the mattress her hand was also cuffed to the headboard, when she took a look around she was obviously not in her hotel room, and when she look at herself she was wearing her night dress in which she was certain she hadn’t changed into last night.

Then why did it all seem so real?

Laura pinched her cheek. It hurt. Her heart started pounding. She was about to scream when the man opened his eyes and quickly sat upright as soon as he saw Laura.

“You were kidnapped too?” the man exclaimed in surprise, just before door got opened and a middle aged woman wearing a white coat came in, dragging what Laura knew well as USG machines. A man in his fifties with grey hair and bright green eyes and a younger man followed suit. Laura had a weird feeling that the face somehow seemed familiar.

“Lay back on the bed and lift up your dress,” said the woman ready to spread a bluish gel from a tube in her right hand. She added when Laura didn’t seem to make any move. “Please don’t make it harder than it already is for you, Mrs. Michaels.”

Laura felt her face blushed. She realized she was wearing nothing but only a panty under her dress. Thankfully, the woman handed a blanket for Laura to cover the lower part of her swollen belly and the handcuffed man turned away when she hesitantly lifted up her dress, showing her swollen big belly.

“Congratulations, Mr. Michael. Your grandchild is a boy,” said the woman. “She’s due in two months.”

“Very well,” said the old man, smiling in satisfaction.

“Look, I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else,” said Laura at once as she hastily covered back her big belly.

“Have I?” The old man turned to Laura.

For some reason, Laura felt herself shiver when the old man fixed his gaze at her.

“Show it to her, Steve.” The grey haired instructed.

A man whom the old man addressed as Steve, produced a tablet and held it so that its screen was adjacent to Laura’s line of sight. He then tapped a blue triangular icon on the screen, showing what seemed to be like a footage of the hotel corridor she was staying last night.

“That man in the footage is my son. My blood heir son,” said the old man. “Would you like to explain what you’re seeing now?”

Laura dropped her jaws as soon as she saw a pair of man and woman in the video facing each other. There was no way she would and could deny that the woman in the footage was not her. From the footage, the woman stood facing the man whose face was against the CCTV camera. The next minute, the woman grabbed the nape of the man’s head. The man leaned down, giving her a deep and passionate kiss. A minute passed before they broke apart, catching for breath. The man caressed the woman’s big belly in a sensual way, before once again leaning down for another kiss. This time more passionate than before...

“I… I don’t…” Laura stuttered. She couldn’t remember that happening and she was sure there was no way it could’ve happened but unfortunately it had.

 

===

 

“Who is this woman and why is she in the same bed with my Ian, Tom?”

Harriet showed Tom her cellphone, which the screen was showing a picture of a pregnant woman sitting on a bed next to a man. Both of them were handcuffed to the headboard.

Tom’s jaws dropped. He knew perfectly well who the woman was. It was fifteen years ago when he first saw the much younger woman in the screen, holding a piece of paper.

You’re okay?

Tom had never had a friend before. He had been homeschooled by and live only with his mother. It took him several minutes before writing on a piece of paper and showed it to the girl.

No, thanks for asking.

By the end of the week, there was no single night where Tom’s dustbin not full of crumpled papers. At this state, he had learnt that Laura was actually the same age as him.

You should go to sleep. I saw you yawned twice already.

The girl drew a smiley face on his paper and showed it to Tom. Tom showed his message.

Well, good night, Doctor.

I’m not yet a doctor. Though I very much hope to become one.

You’ll become one. I’m sure of it.

Thanks for the faith.

I’m imagining you wearing a white coat now.

What about you? What should I be imagining you about?

Your husband.

Tom never showed the paper to the girl. Instead, he showed another paper.

A good man.

The girl drew a frowning icon on her paper.

I don’t know yet.

Tom quickly wrote another message and showed it to the girl.

You really need to go sleep now. You’ll be late for school tomorrow.

Okay. Sweet dreams, Tom.

Sweet dreams, Laura.

The next nights, Tom would go to Laura’s bedroom by climbing the tree branches that separated their house buildings, only to return back to his room when he saw his Mom’s car approaching the front yard of his house which could be visibly seen from Laura’s window. They spent hours talking and Tom felt so happy when doing so. This continued for the next two months until that day when Tom’s mother told him that they needed to move out, again.

Tom knew it would happen but it never occurred to him that it would happen this soon. As he put box after box into the car, he found himself throwing anxious glances towards the corner of the block, where he knew Laura’s school bus show up from the corner of the block any minute. He didn’t know which hurt him more, saying goodbye or leaving her.

Tom was about to put the third box into the car when Laura came approaching.

“Are you moving out?” asked Laura.

“Yes, we are,” replied Tom.

“Why?” asked Laura, looking sad.

“We just have to,” said Tom, trying to suppress the sad tone in his voice.

“Tom, we need to leave.” Tom’s mother had just come out of the house, holding a box.

Tom sucked a breath and put both his hands on Laura’s shoulder.

“This time fifteen years later. I’ll be here to meet you. I promise,” said Tom. It wasn’t just a promise. It was how he had been feeling towards Laura the moment he set eyes on her.

Nonetheless, just when he thought he couldn’t have been sad enough, he had got it wrong.

The day when he and his mother left Springfield had turned out to be the last day he spent with her mother. That very night when they finally arrived on a cheap motel to rest for the night before continuing their journey running away from something or someone whom Tom’s mother had never told him why, a couple of men in black suits burst into their room after one of them shot a bullet into her mother’s forehead. Tom, who managed to run out of the room when the horrible incident happened, ran towards the office where he knew the motel manager would be. To Tom’s surprise, when they made it back to the room, they found no dead body of his mother. Even her belongings had miraculously gone along with the car they had used to get to the motel. It was as if his mother had never been there.

“She’s gone, kid.” The motel manager said, giving a compassionate look at Tom. “This happened before. I’ll have to call Social Service to pick you up.”

The motel manager hadn’t believed him. Why would he have? There had been no proof and no witness other than a nine year old boy who looked confused, terrified, and seemed unable to accept the fact that his mother no longer wanted and was able to take care of him. Tom had been taken by the social service team that very same night and in less than a week, he had been adopted by a man named Morgan Michaels, whom he learnt also had adopted a young boy the same age as Tom a year earlier, named Steve.

Morgan had a lot of servants, most of them were underage girls, and exceptionally rich.

When Tom turned fourteen, he got exited there came Facebook. After getting his own Facebook account, he searched for Laura. Nonetheless, there are thousands of teenage girls under the name of Laura and Tom regretted why it had never occurred to him to find what her last name was. He spent most of his time looking at those profile pictures under the said name but no picture seemed to match her profile. Only after he had been doing it consecutively for three days that Morgan snatched his laptop and threw it onto the wall. Tom never put his fingers on laptops ever since.

When Tom turned fifteen, he happened on Morgan and a client in Morgan’s office room in his manor. He caught a glimpse of white powder lying on Morgan’s desk before the client himself hastily shoved it into the inside of his grey suit pocket.

“I’m surprised it took you long enough to figure out, Tom,” said Steve when Tom told him after dinner. “Our father is a drug cartel kingpin. He also runs business in human trafficking.”

When Tom turned sixteen, Morgan started to teach him and Steve hand to hand combat and how to use a handgun. During a shooting practice, Steve kicked a teenage slave on his ribs for being too long to fetch him a soft drink. Tom never wanted to practice shooting ever since.

When Tom turned seventeen, Morgan brought at least twenty young women into his bedroom.

“You will give your seed to these women, Tom. I want at least one grandson.” Morgan exclaimed, before leaving Tom’s bedroom.

It had been a joke, Tom thought, which unfortunately had not. After spending three awkward nights with those women, who had been instructed to not leave the room before getting laid by Tom himself, Morgan apparently had decided to take the matter in a much more humiliating and less human manner. With both his hands tied to the headboard of his own bed and his ankles held by two strong minions of Morgan’s, the naked Tom had been forcedly stimulated by a naked girl whom he doubted was not even of age before the said girl climbed onto him and started pounding. Morgan only left with a smug smile on his face after Tom had ejaculated inside the girl and there had been no single night without Tom got forced under that particular circumstances for the next five days. At this point, Tom knew that his promise to Laura had already been a wishful thinking.

When Tom turned twenty four, Tom tried to reason with Morgan after a young girl was dead due to severe internal bleeding caused by an abortion.

“You could’ve just not aborted the baby.” Tom said, after having Morgan let him come into his office one afternoon. “You can sell them afterwards.”

“Human trafficking business isn’t as easy as drugs, Tom,” replied Morgan. “They need to be guarded and taken care if sick. It would be easier to just kill them.”

“Why are you doing this?” asked Tom.

“I told you I need a grandson.”

“But why me? Why only me? Steve can also give you grandsons.”

Morgan put down his whiskey glass and stared at Tom. Tom felt a shiver in his spine.

“Because I planted my seed inside the woman who gave you birth eighteen years ago,” said Morgan. “I need my own blood grandson.”

The answer struck Tom like a bolt of lightning in a broad day light. That very moment he knew Morgan had been behind the death of his mother. Although he had always been made believe that his mother had left him, he had always believed his mother had been murdered by one of the three men in black suit that came bursting into their motel room nine years ago.

“Why?” was all Tom had managed to say as he tried to restrain the urge to put his hands on Morgan’s neck and choke him to death right then and there caused by the feeling of betrayal emerged from his mind and body.

“He had taken you away from me, my heir and my own blood.” Morgan answered.

“You could’ve left her live.” Tom said. “With what you were capable of doing it would’ve been easy for you to just take me away from her.”

“And then have you crawling back to her when she finds you?” Morgan replied with a scoff. “I can’t take such risk and let that happen.” Morgan continued when Tom didn’t respond. “I don’t like living with a thought that one day you might find out about this then ruin my kingdom by running away from me or other sentiment and stupid thing you might be doing. But I also don’t like the idea of having to force you run my kingdom. My kingdom should be run with a sincere and full passionate of heart. Therefore, I gave us a solution. You should be grateful, Tom.”

Having lived with such a man, Tom knew he needed a plan to escape and brought justice for his mother.

“So.” Morgan continued. “You need to figure out how to produce a baby boy if you wish to let them have more chance to live.”

Tom showed blank expression on his face, something he had grown accustomed of since the day he was wrongfully made believed that his mother had left him alone in that motel.

===

 

It had been a month since the talk with Morgan along with dozens of abortion and Tom still hadn’t come up with an escape plan. He knew sooner or later he would be forced to plant his seed to some other young women. Nonetheless, it never occurred to him that the night when a brunette young woman was brought to his bedroom would be the night he finally had gotten able to escape from Morgan’s manor. He should thank the women, who apparently had managed to smuggle a kitchen knife, when she stick the said knife on Tom’s neck and shouted to the bodyguards to back off.

“I know you,” said Morgan when he finally showed up in the living room. Tom and the brunette young woman were already surrounded by at least twenty body guards. “You’re that little girl who had to watch her mother die running out of blood whilst being hung upside down on my back yard twenty years ago.” Morgan suddenly added. “You should be grateful, Tom. At least that bitch you call mother hadn’t had to suffer from such pain. Though I did regret not having been there to witness that bullet on his pathetic face.”

Tom could feel the brunette’s hand holding the knife trembled a little.

“I’ll find you and take my son back.” Morgan said, as he instructed his minions to back off and let them through. “And when I do, I promise it will be ugly for you. Just like I’ve done to his and your mother.”

Tom let the brunette young woman walked him towards the thick and dense forest whilst catching glimpse backwards to check whether Morgan’s minions were following. When they finally got out of the forest and reached a road, Tom decided to open his mouth to speak.

“It’s alright now. You can stop a car and ask for help. Leave me here and I will not harm you.” Tom said.

The brunette let out a long whistle towards the end of the road before turning to Tom and spoke.

“I’m not asking for help nor leaving you here. I’m taking you as my hostage.” She said with a glare.

Right then Tom realized that he was not dealing with a terrified victim of human trafficking, but someone of some people who were holding grudge against his father.

“I’m not anyone’s hostage. Not anymore.” Tom glared back at the woman.

To Tom’s surprise, he found himself lying helplessly on the ground when he tried to take down the woman.

“Don’t test me,” said the woman, whose bare feet was already on Tom’s neck, right before a minivan pulled over in front of them.

A minute passed before the woman finally let him stand.

“Get in.” The brunette woman shoved him into the minivan, where one of the three people inside already held a gun and pointed towards his dead spot.

They were only driving for five minutes when Tom started mentioning names.

“They’re Morgan’s most trusted and powerful minions.” Tom said, after having finished mentioning the names. “The last three names work for the police. The first two names works for the government.”

“How do I know that you’re not just telling me some random names?” asked the brunette.

“I want justice for my mother. You heard what Morgan said,” replied Tom.

The following day, Tom was brought to CIA headquarter. At that point, he learnt that the brunette was a CIA agent who had infiltrated into Morgan’s manor and been posing as a slave for a month before she finally made her way become whom Tom was supposed to plant his seed into.

Tom had just got out of a car, sandwiched between two officers when a head was thrown from a black minivan before rolling over and stopping right in front of the brunette’s feet. There was a message written on a piece of paper stabbed on the forehead.

Good Morning. I’m sure this belongs to you

Tom recognized the face. She was the obstetrician whom his father had hired for those young women Tom had been forced to sleep with.

Three months later, after capturing three minions of Morgan’s, the brunette woman finally let Tom out of his room of the safe house he had been kept in and took him to have a look around. Tom noticed that all the people in the safe house addressed the brunette woman as Miss Harriet.

“You don’t have to call me Miss Harriet. You don’t work for me but with me,” said the woman.

“What do I call you then?” asked Tom.

“You can call me Harriet,” said the brunette, after a pause.

A couple of weeks later, Harriet took him to a room where dozens of Morgan’s minions were tied on a chair after getting captured.

“What’s that you’re giving him?” asked Tom, when he saw Miss Harriet stabbing a syringe on the upper arm the fourth minions of Morgan’s they managed to kidnap yesterday.

“Oblivior,” replied Harriet.

“What is it?” asked Tom, curious.

“It’s a potion that erased your memory today when you wake up tomorrow morning.” Harriet explained. “We prefer Morgan’s minions knowledge about us or what we’re doing stay where they are.”

“Does it really exists? Is it even legal?” asked Tom, curious.

“Yes and no,” replied Harriet briefly.

“But you work for the CIA. If they finds out…”

“It works effectively and CIA has decided not to fuss over it.” Harriet cut off, just before a man about Tom’s age came into the room and handed Harriet three vials of bluish liquid. Harriet quickly introduced Tom to the man, who was much shorter than Tom but slightly taller than her. “This is Tom. He’s been helping us in capturing Morgan’s minions,” said Harriet, somehow sounded careful when saying so.

The man’s face tensed when he saw Tom, but quickly relaxed afterwards. He gave Tom a small smile.

“This is Ian, the man behind the potion,” said Harriet, as Ian and Tom shook hands.

Tom raised his eyebrow when Harriet rested her hand on Ian’s shoulder, slid it down to his bicep, and let it stayed there longer than Tom thought was necessary.

“Is there anything you need, Miss Harriet?” asked Ian politely, just before Harriet let go of her hand.

“Not at this moment,” said Harriet, letting her gaze linger a bit longer around Ian’s face. Also longer than Tom thought was necessary.

Ian, who seemed oblivious to both the touch and the lingering gaze, left the room afterwards.

Having witnessed for months of how strict and cold Harriet had been treating his male subordinates which had caused the said subordinates to believe that there would never be a man sane enough to have the guts to tame the heart of such single strong-willed thirty seven year old woman, Tom had to admit he found Ian exceptionally interesting. It didn’t surprise him when he ended up playing around in Ian’s lab the following day, feeling smug for having known that such man apparently existed whilst wanting to know whether Harriet and Ian had actually been dancing around each other.

“Harriet is one unique women. I wonder if she already has a boyfriend,” said Tom.

Ian threw a sharp look at Tom. “Every man seems to be doing so,” said Ian in a cold voice.

Too soon to jump into conclusion, thought Tom.

“I wonder what type of a guy she’s looking for,” said Tom, studying Ian’s face.

Ian didn’t respond. Either he was being smart or simply didn’t know the answer.

“Is she your type?” Tom pushed.

If Ian answered yes, then they indeed had been dancing around each other. If Ian answered no, then probably he just didn’t want people to know he had the same feelings for Harriet.

Ian threw a sharp look at Tom and spoke. “What about you? Is she your type?”

To Tom’s surprise, Ian questioned back. He scoffed before adding nonchalantly. “She’s definitely not my type.”

Tom chuckled when Ian looked relieved. Apparently they had been dancing around each other.

“Then what’s your type?” asked Ian, unlike a minute ago, he sounded cheerful and happy.

Tom sighed, pretending to be examining a vial he took from a table in front of him as he started picturing what would the girl he had fallen in love with fifteen years ago look like.

“Blond, blue eyes, 165 cm height, wearing white coat…” Tom smiled to himself and only turned back to Ian when he thought the silence took longer than necessary. Right at that moment Tom realized he had described Ian more or less.

Ian cleared his throat. “Okay… I won’t judge.” Ian said, almost stuttering.

Tom scoffed but made no comment.

“Can I borrow this?” Tom asked as he saw a newspaper on a table.

And that’s when Tom realized he had lost track of dates and months for having worked with Harriet in capturing his father’s minions. That’s when he realized he only had a week before meeting Laura, just like he promised her fifteen years ago.

Tom seriously contemplated not meeting Laura. She wouldn’t have a decent future with him, the son of a drug cartel kingpin who also ran human trafficking business. But the feeling of having a chance to see her right then and there was so overwhelming. He wondered if Harriet would let him visit Laura for just a couple of hours.

Tom startled when Ian cleared his throat again.

“Look, I’m flattered by your interest but I’m not interested in that kind of relationship.”

Ian’s face was visibly blushed after having said so. Tom just realized he had been staring unconsciously at Ian when the idea popped into his mind.

Oblivior.

 

===

 

“I need to go to Springfield tomorrow.”

It had been a week since Harriet introduced him to Ian. Harriet looked up from her laptop.

“Why?” asked Harriet.

“I had to meet someone I promised several years ago,” said Tom carefully.

“Someone special?” Harriet asked in a teasing voice.

“Used to be special.” Tom said, feeling a slight pain in his chest to find it to be the truest answer.

Tom was a bit surprised when Harriet didn’t ask further questions though he wasn’t when Harriet decided to tag along. They went there by car, keeping in silence along the trip. It was when Tom parked the car a block away from his childhood house that Harriet spoke.

“Where exactly are you supposed to meet him?” asked Harriet, glancing at a bucket of flower Tom managed to buy from the nearest flower shop earlier.

“Why do you think it’s a man?” asked Tom, bemused.

“Why would I think it’s a woman?” Harriet asked back. She added when Tom frowned at her. “You’ve been spending a lot of time with Ian in his lab lately.”

Tom suddenly felt aware of a vial placed securely inside his pocket suit, the one he finally managed to steal from Ian’s safe box the day before.

“Ian and I had a small talk yesterday,” said Harriet. “Apparently he’s under the impression that you’re still into him even after he had turned you down as soon as he found out about your preference.”

Ian had every right to have thought that way. Tom had blatantly and relentlessly flirted at Ian in order to get one of the potion vial from Ian’s safe deposit box, which successfully had caused enough distraction for Ian not to be able to notice Tom’s true intention.

“I just found him to be a good companion. He’s a nice guy,” Tom finally managed to speak before adding with a shrug. “My preference might have biased him.”

“I hope it has.” Harriet said, and Tom had a feeling that Harriet purposely caressed her hand gun when saying so.

There was a pause before Harriet opened her mouth to speak.

“I’m marrying him next year.” Harriet blurted.

“You and Ian are a couple?” Tom looked surprised.

“No, but I will make us one after we finish Morgan, which I plan to have done next year,” said Harriet.

Tom was still overwhelmed by this piece of information when Harriet produced two carton of each apple and orange juice from her tote bag. She then added. “Which one does he prefer? Apple or orange?”

“Apple,” said Tom, not bothering to correct the mistaken gender.

The puzzle look on Tom’s face eventually vanished when Harriet took out a syringe, which Tom had once seen injected into all Morgan’s minions upper arm. Now he knew exactly where this was going.

“No offence, but I don’t trust him. I hope this doesn’t change the flavor,” said Harriet as she stabbed the syringe carefully on the top of the carton box. She then added. “You know how to get back to the safe house, do you?”

“You’re not waiting for me?” asked Tom, surprised. He had actually been wondering how Harriet’s face would look like once she found out that he had been lying about his preference and this ‘someone special’ had actually been a woman.

“You don’t need a baby sitter,” replied Harriet.

“What if I run away?”

“Be my guest,” said Harriet nonchalantly. “You’re no longer of any use.”

“What if I return back to Morgan and divulge what CIA is up to?”

“After what he did to your mother?” snapped Harriet.

“I was actually joking,” said Tom, rolling his eyes.

“I know and I don’t like it,” said Harriet, before she quickly added. “Now, get out.”

Tom stumbled when Harriet shoved him out of the car. He could only stare in disbelief as Harriet’s car drove away from the neighborhood. When the car had gone out of sight, Tom turned around and started walking towards his childhood house, feeling his heart pounding fast as he was doing so.

 

===

 

“Can I help you, Dear? Are you looking for an address?”

It was ten minutes after standing in front of his childhood house front gate that someone called out for him. Tom turned around and saw an old woman approaching. Apparently, the said woman was now residing his former house.

“No, I’m waiting for someone. We’re supposed to meet here,” said Tom politely.

“Not that I disapprove, but don’t you think it would be more convenience to meet up at the park or a nice decent café?” asked the woman with a friendly smile.

Tom shrugged. “I wish I could’ve promised her that fifteen years ago.”

“Oh…” The old woman’s eyes got widened as she saw a bucket of flower in Tom’s hand.

Tom blushed.

“Please come in. I’m sure you can do with a cu of nice tea. Besides, I’d like to hear your story…”

Tom was about to open his mouth to speak but the old woman already opened his front gate and took Tom on his arm. Taken aback by the old woman’s generosity, Tom eventually decided to comply. In ten minutes, he already told the woman those stories behind crumpled papers in his dustbin whilst sitting comfortably on a chair at the porch of what had used to be his childhood house.

“How romantic…” said the old woman, seeming overwhelmed by the story.

Tom sighed, wishing it had been his mother saying that to him.

“I’ll go and make some more tea and you will tell me what you’re planning to say to her when she comes,” the old woman said before vanishing into her house.

Tom’s turned his gaze back towards the front gate and his heart skipped a beat.

There she was.

Tom immediately stood up from his seat and walked towards the woman whom he longed to see and had fallen in love fifteen years ago.

 

===

 

“There, I’ve put my number in yours.”

Tom handed Laura’s cellphone back, relieved to find Laura not bothering to check whether the number had already indeed been in her contact list, which hadn’t. It was almost midnight when they arrived at the front of Laura’s door flat. They had spent the rest of the day talking and catching up with things.

“Will call you call me tomorrow morning?” asked Laura expectantly.

“Of course.” Was the first lie Tom said to Laura. He added when Laura suppressed a yawn. “You should go sleep now.”

Laura nodded approvingly. “Will I see you again? Tomorrow evening maybe?” Laura hoped she hadn’t sounded too eager.

“I’ll be at your flat door at 7. Will that be okay for you?” was the second lie Tom said to Laura.

Laura nodded eagerly. She looked expectantly at Tom. Tom knew just what to do.

“I’m so happy to see you, Tom,” said Laura breathlessly after Tom gave her a chaste kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Laura.” Was the first truth Tom said to Laura.

 

===

 

It had been seven months after the kiss and Tom was already at the brink of desperate longing to see Laura again. He knew he had one vial of Oblivior in his possession, which he would definitely use shall he had the chance. Unfortunately, Harriet didn’t seem to approve with the idea of letting him out even for a walk around the block in a broad day light, not after they had to be moved to another safe house when Morgan managed to spot the location of their previous one by letting them caught one of his minion who had been planted with a tracking device, who was captured a week after Tom was let to meet Laura.

Having had to live in an isolated life inside the safe house disguised as office building for months, with boredom, and with missing Laura painfully every day, Tom ended up spending most of his time with Ian in the lab, which to his surprise at the first time he found out, equipped with a cable TV with hundreds of channels, unlike the one he had in his room with only five pathetic local channels.

“Exactly how do you manage to survive without internet?” asked Tom, switching the programs randomly whilst sitting on a comfortable couch.

Harriet blatantly had rejected his plea in lending Tom a laptop with internet access for the sakes of updating Laura’s whereabouts and latest activities through Facebook. He hated Harriet for saying the truest fact if she ever let him: it would only make him suffer from the longing. Even, borrowing Ian’s cellphone was of no use since there turned out to be no signal inside the safe house building.

“Miss Harriet doesn’t want to risk our new safe house getting spotted of having misused such connection after the ambush. Only limited people including Miss Harriet have that access and it’s highly secured.” Ian explained. “Besides, if I need internet access, I just go to a café that has Wi-Fi.”

“You do?” asked Tom, surprised. The fact that he had never seen Ian out of the building had made him gotten under the impression that Ian was also not allowed to go out.

“Seldom,” replied Ian. “I prefer watching TV or doing my experiments.”

“I mean you can go out?” asked Tom impatiently.

“Of course I can,” said Ian. “If I’m not allowed to go out how am I supposed to buy my chemical supplies?”

“Would you have some coffee with me at the nearest cafe?” asked Tom, wasting no time.

“You know I’m not interested in you or that kind of relationship,” said Ian sternly but a bit nervous.

Tom rolled his eyes. “Is there something wrong with two grown up men hanging out together?” Tom reasoned.

It took a while before Ian finally responded.

“No,” said Ian.

“Good. Now let’s go,” said Tom happily.

“I mean, I don’t want to go out with you,” said Ian, snatching the remote from Tom and sat on the couch next to Tom. Immediately, he switched the channel into Korean drama series.

“Don’t you have some experiment to do?” asked Tom irritated, since he had just started to enjoy listening to some rude comments of a jury from a singing contest channel.

“Don’t you have somewhere else to be?” Ian replied, sounded as irritated.

Tom sighed heavily. He had indeed nowhere else to go other than his room. Ian was the only person in the safe house building who would have him around without throwing a condescending and disgusted look at him and Tom could understand why. The keepers of the safe house building had once been victims of his father, the doctors, the nurse, and the chef had family of the said victims, and the IT guys… well, they were a bunch of nerds.

Several minutes passed before the lab door got opened and a staff brought in their trolley of food. Fortunately, Ian preferred having his lunch in the lab. Tom preferred it to since the other option was to eat alone at the cafeteria whilst bearing those disgusted look from others.

“How come you get extra chocolate pudding and I not?” said Tom, examining both their food trays.

“Not everyone is chef’s favorite,” said Ian with a smug face.

“And not everyone is tall,” said Tom at once. The said pudding was already in his hand, lifted up and out of reach of Ian’s.

“Hey!” Ian grabbed Tom’s shoulder with his left arm to have more access to grab the pudding using his right one but failed miserably. On his second attempt, some vials on the table next to them jerked off, rolled dangerously, before shattering into pieces on the floor. Right at that moment the door lab got opened.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Tom turned to Harriet, who was already standing on the threshold with both arms folded on her chest.

“I’m sorry, Miss Harriet. It won’t happen again.” Ian stuttered in shame and guilt after peeling himself off of Tom.

Tom had a feeling that the question wasn’t meant for Ian, judging by the way Harriet now glared at him. Harriet dangerously approached him when Ian went to retrieve a broom.

 “I was just playing around with Ian’s pudding,” said Tom, gulping audibly as he put down his hand, the one that clutched the pudding.

“Put. It. Back.” Marry hissed, glaring at Tom.

Tom hastily put the pudding back on Ian’s tray.

“I need four vials of Oblivior by the end of this week,” said Harriet when Ian returned with the broom.

“Yes, Miss Harriet.” Ian replied before he quickly added. “I’ll need to buy some chemical supplies.”

Harriet nodded curtly before leaving the lab and shut the door with more force than necessary. Tom decided to watch some news from the TV whilst Ian starting making lists of chemical supplies he would be buying on a piece of paper. He was absent mindedly watching news about a house blown to pieces caused by bomb assembled by a teenager when Ian snorted loudly.

“What?” Tom turned to Ian, curious.

“I once made such a bomb and blew my friend’s house into pieces. It only took some cleaning supplies from a bathroom,” said Ian nonchalantly.

“Really?” said Tom, surprised.

“Yeah. His parents didn’t take it well though. He pressed charges against me, causing me to end up in the juvenile prison for six months.” Ian replied.

Tom was actually more interested in how Ian managed to make a bomb using some cleaning supplies rather than listening to his life story.

“When I got released, everything changed. They couldn’t seem to understand me, or maybe they stopped to try to understand me.” Ian shrugged before continuing. “Then one day I simply walked out from home. Before I knew it Morgan already kidnapped me along with other homeless teenagers. I suffered being one of this slave for a year and there’s no single day when I thought I had preferred he kill me right then and there rather than suffer one more day as his slave. I once saw you when on one of your practice shooting session.”

“Shouldn’t you hate me?” Tom asked after a pause.

“Why should I? It was your father’s doing, not you. Besides, I seldom saw you in the camp. Even if you were there I never saw you tortured a slave. Unlike your brother Steve. I think he was just as bad as your father. He kicked me on the ribs one time,” said Ian.

Before he knew it, Tom already stood up from his seat on the couch, walked towards Ian, turned him around, and pulled him into a tight and grateful embrace. Ian, who looked taken aback, immediately pushed Tom away, which was a mistake because it led him to stumble backwards. Instinctively, Tom put his arm around Ian’s back waist and his other on Ian’s hand. If someone happened to walk into the lab right there and then, he or she would see two grown up men were dancing.

Unfortunately, someone had indeed happened to walk into the lab right there and then. Worst of all, that someone was Harriet. Ian hastily peeled himself off from Tom. His face flushed red.

Tom looked somewhere else but Harriet, Ian looked nowhere else but his feet, and Harriet looked nowhere else but Tom. Two minute passed before Harriet finally broke the awkward silence.

“Use this credit card,” said Harriet, handing a card at Ian.

“Yes, Miss Harriet,” said Ian under his breath.

“That hug,” said Tom, when Harriet finally left the lab. “It was nothing but a thank you.”

Tom smiled when Ian sighed in relief.

“You know, your preference is biasing me,” said Ian, rolling his eyes.

Tom smiled fondly when Ian seemed to be much more relaxed. There was a pause before Tom spoke. “What happened afterwards? How did you ended up here?”

“There came a day when Morgan stuffed me with no less than a hundred slaves into a container, ready to be shipped to another part of the world. I thanked that day the most because it had been the day Miss Harriet saved me and the day I fell in love with her instantly….” Ian stopped abruptly. Obviously, he had just said something anyone wasn’t supposed to know. With a pleading tone of voice, he managed to speak. “Please, don’t tell her that.”

Something popped into Tom’s mind.

Café with a Wi-Fi.

 

===

 

“It’s blackmail. What you did to me. ”

Tom ignored Ian’s grumbling as they made their way towards the main entrance of the safe house building.

“You’re not allowed to go,” said a guard standing on the threshold, as soon as he saw Tom approaching.

“It’s fine. He’s with me,” said Ian quickly.

“I’ll need to inform Miss Harriet about this,” said the guard.

“Okay,” said Ian, knowing well he had no other words to reply. He added after they were already out of the guard’s ear shot. “He will definitely tell her.”

“Which is why we will tell her that I offered you help with carrying your supplies.” Tom smirked as he took out a piece of paper from his pocket trousers.

“When did you… never mind,” said Ian, looking surprised but much more relaxed.

In an hour they were already seated side by side on a table inside Starbucks café with bags of chemical supplies rested next to Ian’s feet. Now that Tom had enough information about Laura, he could easily found Laura through Facebook using Ian’s smart phone. Of course he hadn’t been able to find her before. It turned out that Laura had opened her account several months after Morgan crashed his laptop onto the wall.

Her newest post was half an hour ago. Laura took a selfie in front of what seemed like a hotel in this town. Tom could feel his heart pounding fast when he googled the name of the hotel and found out that the distance between their safe house building and the hotel was only two blocks away. Tom didn’t know what drove him when he put a sloppy kiss on Ian’s cheek. Even he was too happy to be bothered by Ian’s blushing cheek and people throwing amusing smile at them. What he needed was a plan to visit Laura in her hotel room with a vial of Oblivior.

As expected, they were greeted by the glare of Harriet when they returned back into safe house building fifteen minutes later.

“You’re not allowed to go out of this building, not without my permission,” said Harriet sternly.

Tom glanced at Ian, wondering why he hadn’t said a single word before he then decided to speak.

“I offered him help to buy some supplies,” said Tom.

“I need to start working, Miss Harriet,” said Ian, somehow seemed wanting to be anywhere else but there.

Harriet nodded curtly before Ian left. Tom was about to leave too when Harriet grabbed him on his elbow.

“I think I’ve made myself clear as of what Ian is and will be for me,” said Harriet.

“Yes you have,” said Tom, wondering where the conversation headed.

“Then make yourself clear as of what he is to you,” said Harriet as she fished out a receipt from the pocket of Tom’s jacket in which Starbucks logo was visibly noticed.

“He was just being kind to me since I offered him some help,” replied Tom, hoping he would get a chance to rehearse it with Ian before Harriet confronted it to him.

Harriet narrowed his eyes before turning around and left. Tom followed on her heels, getting more and more agitated as he starting to realize just where Harriet was heading.

“I need to speak to him,” said Harriet, pushing Tom away as he was about to enter the lab too. “You stay here.”

Tom had no choice than to stay still on the lab threshold, watching Harriet and Ian talking. When Harriet finally turned to look at him, he knew at once that Harriet had figured it out.

Tom quickly reasoned as Harriet walked closer towards him. “Please, Harriet, understand how I’ve been feeling…”

“Three meters,” said Harriet in a dangerous tone of voice. “That will be the nearest distance you get from Ian at all times. You are also banned from his lab until further notice.”

The door was slummed shut in front of him before Tom could give his protests.

 

===

 

It was around dinner time and Tom sat miserably on his bedroom, torn between the choices of skipping dinner or bear those disgusted glares in the cafeteria when he heard a knock on his door. To Tom’s surprise, it was Ian who stood in front of his room holding a tray food as he opened the door. Ian looked sideways before walking past Tom and closed the door.

“I brought you dinner,” said Ian, placing the tray on Tom’s bed.

“Thanks,” said Tom, sounding more like a question when saying so.

“I’m sorry, I overreacted,” said Ian, looking guilty. “I shouldn’t have told her about the kiss.”

“Oh!” Tom’s eyes got widened. Now he understood why Harriet had behaved that way.

“I wish I could be brave like you being open about your feelings towards someone you like,” said Ian with a small smile.

“Just tell her. She likes you too,” said Tom blatantly.

“Miss Harriet?” Ian scoffed. “That’s not possible.”

“Why do you think he did this to me? She got jealous. She’s in love with you just like you with her,” said Tom. “For all I know, both of you have been dancing around each other.”

“How… how about you?” asked Ian, sounding worried.

Tom decided it was time to end up all this bullshit of misunderstandings.

“Laura Stone. A surgeon in Hartford Hospital and a woman I fell in love with fifteen years ago. She’s the one I searched through Facebook from your cellphone. She’s here in a hotel two blocks away. I saved her picture in your cellphone.”

Ian quickly fished out his phone from his pocket.

“You were describing her back then, not me,” said Ian, examining the picture.

“Of course I was.” Tom rolled his eyes.

“Why didn’t you correct me?” asked Ian, irritated.

“It had been fun,” lied Tom.

“You fucking bastard,” said Ian.

“I need a couple of hours,” said Tom, looking expectantly at Ian.

“You know I think I know a secret passage,” said Ian, grinning at Tom.

Tom smiled from ear to ear.

 

===

 

 “There she is.”

They just stepped into the hotel lobby when Ian exclaimed in excitement. Tom followed Ian’s line of sight. Laura was sitting on a lobby couch, flipping a magazine nonchalantly. Tom’s heart fluttered as he made his way towards Laura, who was just about to get up from her seat.

Tom stopped abruptly.

“She’s… pregnant.” Ian, who had followed Tom on his heels, stated the obvious.

“This is a bad idea. Let’s just go back,” said Tom, turning around.

“Wait. She spotted you,” said Ian, grabbing Ian on his elbow.

“Tom?” called a voice Tom had longed to hear since seven months ago.

Tom gulped inaudibly. He contemplated to just leave but somehow he found himself turned around to face Laura.

“Oh my God, it’s you.” Laura gasped in surprise, clasping both his hands on her mouth. “It’s really you.”

“Yeah, it’s me.” Tom finally managed to speak before glancing around. “Uhm… where’s your husband?”

Laura frowned at Tom, before looking at her swollen big belly.

“I don’t have a husband. I’m a surrogate mother. I’m actually still single,” said Laura, failing to sound too eager. The next moment she added hesitantly. “Are you here with your wife? Or girlfriend?”

“I’m still single too,” replied Tom at once.

Ian patted Tom on his back before excusing himself. Tom smiled thankfully at Ian before turning to face Laura again.

“What’s wrong, Laura?” asked Tom, as he noticed the sudden change on Laura’s face.

Laura spoke in a low voice. “I’m sorry I didn’t keep my promise…”

Laura couldn’t finish her sentence, simply because Tom’s lips were already on hers.

“That’s fine. That’s all fine,” said Tom, lingering his lips on Laura’s as he was saying so.

Laura grabbed Tom’s nape and kissed him passionately, only breaking apart when someone cleared a throat.

“I’m sorry to interrupt but there are children around watching… Mr. Michael?” The man who seemed to be the hotel manager raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I didn’t know you are staying here.”

“I’m not. I’m visiting my wife,” said Tom confidently, tilting his head towards Laura.

The manager frowned at Laura before quickly adding. “I must’ve missed your wedding invitation. Have a nice evening.”

The manager smiled and nodded to both Tom and Laura before leaving.

“Your wife?” Laura raised her eyebrow.

“It wouldn’t sound decent if I told him you were my pregnant girlfriend,” said Tom in a teasing tone of voice.

Laura chucked before she spoke. “I’m staying at this hotel. Would you like to…?”

“Of course,” said Tom at once.

Tom shamelessly took Laura’s hand, Laura shamelessly leaned her head on Tom’s shoulder, and together they walked side by side towards Laura’s hotel room. There was no one along the corridor when they arrived in front of Laura’s door. Tom leaned down and gave a deep and passionate kiss when Laura grabbed his nape. A minute passed and they broke apart, catching for breath. Tom caressed Laura’s big swollen belly sensually, before once again leaning down for another kiss, more passionate than before.

Laura suddenly flinched.

“Alright?” asked Tom worriedly, breaking the kiss.

“Yeah, the baby just kicked,” said Laura guiltily. She then opened the door and added after closing the door. “What would you like to drink?”

“No, let me. You look tired,” said Tom quickly, when Laura was about to walk towards a small fridge.

Laura smiled happily when Tom sit her on the couch nearby before heading to the small fridge and taking out a bottle of apple juice. He glanced carefully at Laura before carefully taking out the vial from under his jacket and an empty glass nearby. Taking a desperate sigh, Tom turned around and walked towards Laura before handing her the apple juice in the glass which he had mixed with Oblivior.

“I’m staying here for the next two days,” said Laura, after finishing her juice. “Compensation for the…” Laura tilted her head towards he big swollen belly. “… this.”

Tom threw a fondly smile before giving a kiss on her forehead. They spent another hour talking and catching up with what they had missed for years apart, of mostly Tom had listened nearly seven months ago.

“You should rest, Laura,” said Tom, after catching Laura yawned twice.

“You can stay,” said Laura expectantly.

“I’ll come tomorrow morning,” said Tom, knowing how painful it was to have just lied to Laura.

“I’ll walk you out,” said Laura, standing up.

“No. You really need rest,” said Tom, looking worriedly at Laura’s belly.

“Okay. See you tomorrow, Tom,” said Laura.

Tom didn’t reply before walking out of the room.

 

===

 

Tom made it to the front door of his room in safe house building fifteen minutes later. He stepped in and was about to close the door when Harriet suddenly burst it. Next thing he knew, he already got pinned on his front against the wall with his hand twisted and pulled painfully on his back. Harried showed him a picture of Ian inside a minivan with a tape covering his mouth.

“I shouldn’t have trusted you. I should’ve known that it’s all been part of Morgan’s plan,” said Harriet, furiously.

“What are you talking about?” Tom managed to speak, suppressing the pain on his left shoulder caused by Harriet’s doing.

“He let me kidnapped you so that he can get Ian kidnapped. You lured him into following you out tonight. Who else knows about how I feel about him?” said Harriet.

“Do you think I would return here after they kidnapped Ian?” Tom reasoned.

Harriet loosened her grip, but still not letting go of Tom.

“Ian came into my room, Harriet. You can check the CCTV footage,” said Tom.

A minute later Harriet’s cellphone beeped. Tom knew he could take down Harriet right then and there but he chose to remain still. To Tom’s surprise, Harriet let go of him.

“Who is this woman and why is she in the same bed with my Ian, Tom?”

Harriet showed Tom her cellphone, which the screen was showing a picture of a pregnant woman sitting on a bed next to a man. Both of them were handcuffed to the headboard. He knew perfectly well who the woman was.

“Tom?” Harriet snapped, when Tom seemed to have lost in his thoughts for a while.

“She’s that someone special I met seven months ago,” said Tom.

“It was a woman?” said Harriet surprised, examining the picture as if by doing so might change the obvious fact.

“Of course it was a woman,” said Tom, rolling his eyes.

“Did you sleep with her?” asked Harriet.

“What? No, I didn’t,” replied Tom, taken aback by the blatant tone in Harriet’s voice.

“Then why is she pregnant?” asked Harriet.

“She happens to be a surrogate mother,” replied Tom.

“Then why does Morgan believes she’s your wife and the baby is yours?” asked Harriet, puzzled.

Tom, who had been contemplating the reason replied. “The hotel manager knows me. He must have contacted my father before my father kidnapped her. We…” Tom glance at Harriet before he continued sheepishly. “…did inappropriate things at public before he happened on us.”

Harriet scoffed before adding. “And Ian?”

“He must have still been around the block before they kidnapped him. They must’ve gone through the CCTV footage of the hotel,” said Tom, thinking it was the only possible reason.

Another beep. This time was a text message.

Bring back my son or I do this man what I did to the poor obstetrician. Only on your own, Little Girl.

Harriet looked at Ian.

“Don’t look at me like that Harriet. Of course you’ll take me to him. We will save your Ian. Besides, I owed him for helping me meet my Laura.”

“What will happen to you and Laura?” asked Harriet. A compassionate tone of voice was visibly heard from her voice.

“I don’t know,” said Tom, sighing desperately. “But I will kill Morgan if he dares to touch Laura.”

 

===

 

“You know at first I thought he’s gay.”

Laura, who seemed to have lost in her thoughts for a while, turned to the handcuffed man next to her. The grey haired man had already gone, along with the young man and the woman with USG machines

“The older one or the younger one?” asked Laura, surprised to find herself interested on the subject.

“Your husband,” replied the man.

This wasn’t something Laura wanted to hear or would want to hear from a total stranger if one day she had a husband.

“He blatantly flirted at me the same day my Miss Harriet introduced me to him.” The man quickly added as he saw the look on Laura’s face. “Don’t worry. I turned him down the moment I knew about his preference.” Ignoring the total confused look on Laura’s face, the man added. “We need to get out of here.”

“How do we get out of here?” asked Laura.

The Laura’s surprised, the man suddenly sucked a breath.

“GUARD!!!” He managed to shout.

A minute passed before he shouted again, followed by a door being unlocked.

“What?” snapped the guard, stepping into the room and looking confidently scary.

“I need to poop. Please…” The man said with a pleading tone of voice and a puppy dog eyes.

“If you try to escape I’ll do something very ugly when I catch you,” said the guard with greeted teeth before uncuffing the man. “You have ten minutes.”

If it hadn’t been for the situation, Laura would find it funny to watch how the man fled to the bathroom.

“You can handcuff me with her.” To Laura’s surprise, the man proposed to the guard, after coming out of the bathroom. “That way I won’t need to call you for another pee or poop.”

The guard looked taken aback but eventually decided to agree with the suggestion. The next minute he left the room and locked the door.

“We have five minutes,” said the man, carefully dragging Laura towards the bathroom.

“Are we planning to escape through there?” asked Laura, tilting her head towards the small window of the bathroom.

This man had to be joking. There was no way Laura would climb through that window. Besides, it was way too narrow for the man, let alone Laura’s swollen belly.

“No, but we’re planning to blow up this bathroom,” said the man, dragging Laura out of the said room with a what seemed to be like a bottle of cologne made of glass.

“We’re planning to what?” asked Laura, gaping at the man.

“Hold this for me, please.” The man ignored the look on Laura’s face. Instead, he handed the bottle which miraculously starting to fume greenish smoke.

“Was that a gun shot?” asked Laura, cringing at a sudden sound.

“Come on,” said the man, dragging a sofa towards the corner of the room and placing it like a bunker for them to take cover. At this point, Laura believed the man hadn’t been joking about the bomb. There was smoke emerging from the bathroom and Laura knew better than to comply when the man instructed her to crouch behind the said sofa. The man tightly embraced her before the bathroom’s door blew up with a deafening noise.

“You’re alright?” asked the man in a worried tone of voice.

“Yes,” replied Laura, feeling her knees shaking as the man helped her standing up.

“Give me the bomb,” said the man, gesturing towards the bottle in Laura’s hand.

Laura hastily shoved the bottle into the man’s free hand, right hand before two guards burst into the room.

“I’m holding a bomb that will blow up this entire building if I drop it to the floor.” The man shouted when the guards finally located them. “Back off and let us through.” The man added when the guards didn’t make any sign to comply. “Want to find out?”

The guards immediately took a step back when the man slightly lifted up the bottle held tightly in his free hand. The man took Laura’s handcuffed hand in his and Laura could feel his sweaty palm in hers. Still holding the bottle with his free hand, the man took a step forward as slowly as the guards taking theirs backwards.

“He’s holding a bomb. It’ll blow if he drops it,” said one of the guards as they reached the corridor and more guards gathered around them with guns pointing towards their dead spot. Laura had no idea how long they could keep up with this kind of state forever.

Miraculously, all of the guards put down their guns as they reached the front yard.

 

===

 

“Welcome to my manor, Little Girl.”

Morgan smiled in satisfaction as he watched Harriet walked Tom through layers of bodyguards from the front gate of Morgan’s manor. Tom had his hands artificially tied on his back and Harriet’s gun pointed towards his dead spot.

“I will let your son live if you return the man as an exchange,” said Harriet, when they arrived at a gazebo, where Morgan and Steve had been waiting.

To Tom’s and Harriet’s surprise, Morgan laughed histerically.

“I did say I want my son back, but it didn’t mean I want him alive,” said Morgan with a smug grin on his face. “I just want you to come to your own grave, Little Girl, just like your poor mother. Only this time I’ll make it quick and easy for you.”

“Can I have the honor, Father?” said Steve suddenly, when Morgan already pointed a gun towards Harriet’s forehead.

“Of course, Steve,” said Morgan.

Morgan handed the gun and Steve immediately fired a shot. But it wasn’t Harriet who fell on the green grass with a bullet hole on the forehead.

“You know, I’m so sick of your own blood heir, dear Father.” Steve sneered towards a dead Morgan lying stiff on the floor, clearly ignoring the surprise look on Tom’s and Harriet’s face. “I mean, what is it that you can’t see from my loyalty all this years? What is it that you see from your betrayal blood heir?”

Steve threw a disgusted look at Tom, right before they heard an explosion coming from the other side of the hall. Using the distraction, Harriet immediately took Steve down.

“Tell them to throw away their weapons,” said Tom, who managed to grab the gun that Steve had let loose from his hand.

Having the gun pointed towards his dead spot, Steve complied.

“Take us to where you kept them,” said Tom, after all the guards have their hands up in the air.

“Apparently I don’t need to,” said Steve, when a man whose hand fuming a greenish smoke and a pregnant woman emerged from the front big door of the enormous house.

 

===

 

“Miss Harriet!”

Laura followed the man’s line of sight, where a brunette young woman running towards him. When she stopped right in front of the man, she turned to Laura.

“Take of your hands of him!” said the woman, glaring at Laura.

Laura looked at her hand and realized it was still entwined with the man’s. When she looked up again, the brunette already crashed her lips on the man’s in and passionate and dominant kiss. The man dropped the bottle, which apparently had been a fake bomb, before snaking his free hand around the brunette's waist.

Having the brunnete and the man melted in the kiss, Laura turned her gaze towards somewhere else.

Then her heart skipped a beat. There he was, the man whom she had longed to see and fallen in love fifteen years ago.

“I believe it’s my turn now,” said Tom, when the brunette finally broke her kiss.

The brunette hesitantly took a gun and pointed the gun towards Steve. Tom then walked towards Laura and planted a chaste kiss on her lips.

“Now you will not definitely forget that,” said Tom.

Tom chuckled when Laura frowned at him.

 

===

 


© Copyright 2017 kajoel. All rights reserved.

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