Starry Night At Town Park Bridge

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A hidden love that grew between a father and his adopted daughter with a dark past amongst them

Submitted: April 05, 2016

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Submitted: April 05, 2016

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“Sorry, I’m late…”

Jane gasped for breath after running out of the house and stopped in front of a black car parked outside.

“I was wondering if you had actually changed your mind,” said Alan, before he got into the car.

“I was deciding which color to wear,” said Jane, showing two hair clips in front of Alan. “Blue or pink?”

“Pink,” said Alan, without the slightest interest.

“It’s blue then,” said Jane.

“What’s the point if… never mind,” said Alan, before he added. “So, first day of school. Nervous?”  

“Of course I am,” said Jane nervously. “I can’t believe I’m about to go to a real school where there will be real students with uniforms, real school library, real school cafeteria…”

“Okay, Jane, point taken,” said Alan.

“You know, I had a weird dream last night,” said Jane. “In my dream I was drawing something. I couldn’t remember what I drew… Anyway, I gave the drawing to you.”

“And the weird thing is?” said Alan.

“You were wearing a lab coat when I gave you the drawing,” said Jane.

“I was wearing a lab coat?” said Alan, seemed to be uncomfortable.

“Yeah, in my dream,” said Jane, giggling. “An IT consultant wearing a lab coat…”

“Do you like your birthday gift?” asked Alan suddenly.

“Yeah, I like it,” said Jane.

They arrived at Jane’s new high school fifteen minutes later.

“I’m surprised you didn’t find that funny,” said Jane, as they were walking through the school corridor.

“To find what funny?” asked Alan.

“The dream. My dream,” said Jane.

“It’s funny,” said Alan.

“But you’re not laughing,” said Jane.

“I guess this is your new class,” said Alan, stopping in front of an empty class.

A brown haired girl turned to Alan before she stepped into the class.

“Look, you just got a new class mate,” said Alan cheerfully.

“You seemed bothered, when I told you about my dream,” said Jane.

“Why would I be bothered?” asked Alan, in a different tone of voice.

“I don’t know,” said Jane, shrugging.

“Be good at school, okay,” said Alan.

But Jane did not respond. She seemed to have got interested at the brown haired girl in her new class.

Alan leaned to give Jane a kiss on the cheek. Jane, who was unaware, turned to Alan and caused the kiss to end up on their lips.

“I was about to kiss you on the cheek,” said Alan, as Jane looked taken aback.

Jane then smiled before she turned around and walked into her class.

Alan’s cellphone beeped after he left the school building. He sighed in desperate as he read the incoming text message.

Wednesday. 9 PM. Town Park Bridge.

===

“Hi there.”

The brown haired girl smiled as Jane took a seat next to her.

“Cute bracelet,” said the girl, looking at Jane’s right wrist.

“It’s a birthday gift from my Dad,” said Jane, smiling. “He gave it to me yesterday.”

“Happy belated birthday to you,” said the girl.

“Thanks,” said Jane. “My name is Jane Donovan. This is my first day at this school.”

“Really?” said the girls, surprised. “This is also my first day at this school. I just moved here. My name is Janice Wagner. By the way, what junior high school did you go to before?”

“I didn’t. I had been homeschooled,” said Jane.

“Awesome,” said Janice.

“You think so?” said Jane.

“School can be boring sometimes,” said Janice. “You need to wake up early, do homework, and so on. I wonder what it’d be like being homeschooled.”

“Homeschool can be boring too,” said Jane. “Especially if your Dad had been your teacher for nine years.”

“Your Dad was your homeschool teacher? Awesome!” said Janice. “My Dad works all the time. I barely get to see him every day. Even he has to work on weekends.”

“What’s your Dad’s job?” asked Jane.

“He’s a diplomat,” said Janice with a bored voice. “What’s your Dad’s job?”

“He’s an IT consultant but the company he works for lets him do his jobs from home. He only go to his office on Mondays which is today,” said Jane.

“I wish my Dad an IT consultant too,” said Janice.

“Well, at least you still have your Mom,” said Jane, trying to cheer up Janice.

“My Mom died when I was little,” said Janice. “All I have in the house Ms. Brown, the house maid, and Todd, my driver.”

“I don’t have Mom also,” said Jane.

“I wish I could meet your Dad some time,” said Janice.

“You actually can. He’ll be picking me up after school. How about having dinner at my place. Of course if it’s okay with your Dad,” said Jane quickly.

Janice scoffed. “My Dad wouldn’t even notice if I were kidnapped. I’ll just let Ms. Brown and Todd know I would be having dinner at your place.”

“Great. I’ll let my Dad know you’re having dinner at our place. You should try his lasagna. If he weren’t an IT consultant, he would be a great chef,” said Jane.

“By the way, was that your boyfriend?” asked Janice.

“Who?” said Jane, puzzled.

“The one I saw kissing you earlier in front of the class,” said Janice.

“No. He’s my Dad,” said Jane.

“Your Dad? You mean your father?” said Janice, as she turned to Jane.

Jane nodded.

“What?” said Jane, when Janice did not seem to stop looking at her.

“Nothing, it’s just… never mind,” said Janice, before she took out a text book from her bag.

===

“You’re a fan of Matchbox Twenty too?”

Janice looked surprised as she walked into Jane’s room, where big posters of Matchbox Twenty were hanged on the wall.

“Are you also their fan?” asked Jane, who also seemed surprised. “I was worried I would look weird to you once you saw my room.”

“I have all their albums. Even the mini ones,” said Janice. “I’ll bring it to school tomorrow if you want to borrow.”

“Of course. Thanks,” replied Jane happily.

Janice looked at Jane.

“What?” said Jane, when Janice did not seem to stop looking at her.

“How old is your Dad?” asked Janice carefully.

“Thirty seven,” said Jane.

“So, his hair color, which is white, is genetic then?” said Janice.

“I guess,” said Jane. “I would’ve know if he’d been dying his hair, right. I’d been homeschooled.”

“I didn’t see any pictures of your Mom,” said Janice. “Is she happened to be a Korean?”

“Do I look like a Korean?” asked Jane curious.

“Yeah, except for your eyes, which are green,” said Jane, before she added. “Dad and me used to live in South Korea before we moved here two years ago.”

Jane was about to reply when Alan walked into the room to let them know that dinner was ready. At eight pm, Todd had arrived to pick up Janice.

“I wish I could sleep over some time,” said Janice.

“You can sleep over any time if you want,” said Jane quickly.

“Thank you, Mr. Donovan for the great dinner,” said Janice shyly.

“You can call him, Dad,” said Jane. “Just like I do.”

Alan threw a puzzled look at Jane when Janice hugged him. “Goodnight, Dad.”

“Would you tell me what that was about?” asked Alan, the moment Janice’s car had gone out of sight.

“She wishes she had a Dad like you,” said Jane. “Besides she was really nice to me… awh..”

“What’s wrong?” asked Alan quickly, grabbing Jane on her arm when she was about to fall down on her knees.

“I don’t know. I suddenly felt crams on my stomach,” said Jane.

I’ll take you to your room. You need to change,” said Alan, as he saw a blood stain on the back of Jane’s skirt.

“What is happening to me, Daddy?” asked Jane.

“You’re having your first period,” said Alan.

Jane turned to look at the back of her skirt, before he turned to Alan. “Oh, no… this is embarrassing…”

“It would be a lot more embarrassing if you were in school,” said Alan.

“What should I do, I mean, what should I wear? The blood’s not stopping,” said Jane, when she was already in the bathroom wearing a towel.

“I know it’s only a matter of time when I bought you your first bra,” said Alan as he handed over a sanitary napkin.

“How do I use it?” asked Jane, puzzled.

Alan took one of Jane’s underwear from the drawer and put it on.

“Remember to change it every three hours,” said Alan, as he gave the underwear to Jane. “You don’t need to do that during sleeping.”

 “What’s this?” asked Jane, after Alan put her to bed.

“For the crams,” said Alan. “It’s a pain reliever. The pain will wear off in an hour.”

“Please stay,” said Jane when Alan’s hand was already on the door knob. “At least until I get asleep.”

“Alright, Jane,” said Alan, as he sighed.

It only took ten minutes when Jane finally started to breathe rhythmically on Alan’s embrace. He tried to pull his arm from below of Jane’s head, but stopped as he heard a murmur.

Alan smiled. The way Jane murmured in her sleep had not changed at all. Alan closed his eyes and a glimpse of his past occurred.

“Daddy! Daddy! Look what I just made!”

Alan turned when a three year old Jane pulled his lab coat.

“What is it, Jane?” asked Alan, kneeling down.

“I made you a drawing,” said Jane happily.

“Who is this?” asked Alan, pointing at a tall figure next to a much shorter figure next to it.

“This is you and this is me. Forever we will be together,” said Jane.

Alan looked up when he heard someone cleared his throat.

“Hello Nick,” said Alan, before he turned to Jane. “You should get back to sleep, Jane.”

“Goodnight kiss,” said Jane.

Alan kissed Jane on her lips before he walked her towards a small bed inside of a giant cage.

“You shouldn’t do that,” said Nick after Alan turned off the bed lamp and locked the cage, where Jane was now sleeping with the drawing she made. “Letting her call you Daddy, giving her goodnight kiss, playing dolls with her…”

“You can see that my hypothesis is actually working,” said Alan. “That being loved has significantly improved her vitals.”

“And I can see how you are letting yourself build a dangerous connection with her,” said Nick. “You know, Mangla is making us do the test regularly. If she finds out, she’ll take her right away.”

Alan and Nick startled when an emergency sirens started roaring. The next minute, an older woman came running towards them.

“What happened, Ms. Mangla?” asked Nick worried.

“CIA found us. Take your specimen with your emergency bag, NOW!” said Mangla.

Alan quickly ran towards Jane’s cage and opened it.

“What happened, Daddy?” asked Jane, as she was now awake.

“We need to get out of here, Jane,” said Alan, lifting Jane on his arm.

“Daddy, I’m scared,” said Jane, when people in the lab started running towards the secret back door.

“I’m here with you, Jane. I won’t let anything bad happen to you,” said Alan.

“Promise?” said Jane.

“I promise,” whispered Alan, to a sixteen year old Jane who was sleeping tightly on his embrace.

===

Jane woke up the next morning and found Alan still sleeping next to her. Jane leaned closer to give a kiss on his cheek when Alan suddenly opened his eyes and turned to her. Jane looked taken a back when her lips touched Alan’s.

“I didn’t mean to kiss you on the lips,” said Jane, feeling embarrassed.

“It’s okay even if you actually meant it,” said Alan, as he looked at Jane in her eyes.

Jane turned away when her cellphone rang.

“It’s Janice’s video call,” said Jane, as she took her cellphone on a table nearby and got up from the bed. “Hi, Janice. I just woke up.”

“Hey, I’m at your front door. Can you hurry and open it? It’s cold outside,” said Janice.

Alan, who was lying awake on the bed, sighed after Jane walked out of the room. He took a picture of him and Jane on a table nearby, thinking about how true Nick had been about him letting himself build a dangerous connection with Jane. Then why had the test, which he had been regularly taking every Mondays, been showing negative results?

The bedroom’s door suddenly got opened, followed by Janice walking in.

“I’m sorry, Dad. I thought it’s Jane’s room… wait a minute, it is indeed Jane’s room,” said Janice, the moment she saw Matchbox’s Twenty posters on the wall.

“Dad, why are you still here?” asked Jane, who came in afterwards.

“Still here?” Janice turned to Jane. “Were you sleeping with your Dad?”

“Well, I…”

Jane seemed to have lost her words when Janice looked at her.

“Jane had her first period last night, Janice,” said Alan, as he got up from the bed. “I guess I fell asleep when keeping her company during her painful crams.”

“It’s so nice of Dad,” said Janice, before she quickly added. “I really need to use your bathroom.”

“How’s the crams now?” asked Alan, just before Janice went into the bathroom.

“It’s okay,” said Jane.

There’s a long pause when Alan stroked Jane’s face whilst looking at her in the eyes.

“Good,” said Alan, before he left the room.

“Where’s Dad?” asked Janice, who just got out of the bathroom.

“Gone,” said Jane.

“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost,” said Janice.

“I guess I have,” said Jane.

“Where are you going Dad?” asked Janice when Alan walked past Jane’s room. “I thought you only go to the office on Mondays.”

“Emergency call from the office, Janice,” said Alan, before he turned to Jane. “I can’t take you to school and I won’t be able to pick you up after school. I might as well come home late. Don’t wait for me, okay?”

“Jane can go with me to school, Dad. I’ll also sleep over tonight to keep her company,” said Janice to Alan.

“Thank you, Janice,” said Alan, before he kissed Jane on the cheek and left.

“Is it my eyes or Dad really look cool wearing that white shirt and black suit?” said Janice, the moment Alan had gone out of sight.

===

“You seemed bothered. Is it because of your period?”

Jane turned when Janice looked at her. They were walking through the corridor towards school cafeteria.

“I guess,” said Jane in a weak voice, before she quickly added. “Actually, it’s not. It’s my Dad. He was being weird this morning.”

“I would be surprised if he wasn’t,” said Janice.

“What do you mean?” asked Jane quickly.

“Even Todd, my driver, was being weird when he knew I had my first period,” said Janice.

“It was more than that,” argued Jane. “It was like he was missing me or something.”

“It’s because he knew he would never see you as her little girl anymore.”

“You’re right. Maybe I was overreacting... aww!”

Next thing Jane knew, someone accidentally bumped her. Making all her books scattered on the corridor floor.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t see you,” said a boy with black hair and thick eyebrows. He added when he handed a notebook to Jane. “Jane Donovan. It’s a nice name. I’m Justin Fergusson. Sophomore. Nice to meet you, Jane.”

Jane did not respond.

“I guess we’ll meet at the cafeteria,” said Justin, when Jane was about to leave.

Jane shrugged without the slightest interest.

“Looks to me you have a fan now,” said Janice when Justin had already gone out of sight.

“He’s not my type,” said Jane.

“What’s your type?” asked Janice curious.

“Thin, tall, pale skin, white hair, brown eyes…” Jane stopped when she realized she was describing Alan.

“I was wondering to straighten my hair so we can look like sisters. What do you think?” asked Janice happily, as they were already seated inside school cafeteria.

“Is this seat empty?”

Jane and Janice looked up when Justin took a seat in front of them.

“How come I never see you around? Are you new in this town?” asked Justin, before he took a bite of his sandwich.

“It’s because she’s been homeschooled,” said Janice.

“Really?” said Justin, looked impressed, before he added. “Is this your cellphone?”

“Hey, give it back,” said Jane annoyed, trying to reach out her cellphone which Justin just took.

“I will, after I get your number,” said Justin. “There, now you have my number and I have yours. I guess, I’ll call you tonight.”

Jane’s mood had not improved even after she got home and had dinner with Janice.

“Aren’t you going to answer that?” asked Janice, when Jane’s cellphone text message beeped for the fifth times.

“It’s from Justin,” said Jane, seemed not interested.

“It might be from Dad,” said Janice.

“I set it at different message tone,” said Jane.

“You seem to be worrying about him so much,” said Janice. “More than just a daughter worrying her father.”

“The call directly went to his mailbox and he’s not answering my messages,” said Jane sounded desperate. “It’s just… it’s not like him.”

“Let’s get to bed. We have school tomorrow,” said Janice, right before she yawned widely.

Jane could not shut his mind although her eyes were closed. She carefully listened to any door being opened or steps through her bedroom corridor. It was already past midnight when she carefully got up from the bed and opened her bedroom door.

“You’re still awake, Jane?” asked Alan, when he walked past her.

 “How’s work?” asked Jane.

“Fine,” said Alan, as he walked into his bedroom.

“I want to ask you something,” said Jane, following Alan into his bedroom. “But I guess I’ll just ask it tomorrow morning. You must be very tired.”

“I’m not tired,” said Alan, closing the door. “What is it you want to ask me?”

“How come you never showed me Mom’s picture?” asked Jane. 

Alan stopped in the middle of undressing his suit, followed by a long pause.

“It’s because I don’t have it,” said Alan, turning to Jane.

“How come you don’t have it?” asked Jane.

“Because I never got married,” said Alan.  

“How old was I when you adopted me?” asked Jane, after a long pause.

“Five hours,” said Alan.

“Why adopted me if you were not married?” asked Jane.

“Because I fell in love with you,” said Alan.

There was a long pause when Alan looked at Jane in her eyes.

“You have school tomorrow, Jane. You should sleep now,” said Alan, before he bent down to give Jane a kiss on her cheek.

Being out of her mind, Jane turned her face and replied the kiss. Alan looked taken aback before he quickly pulled himself.

“You said it’s okay even if I actually meant it,” said Jane quickly, knowing she was being out of her mind again.

“It is,” said Alan, before he opened the door for Jane. “Good night, Jane.”

===

“Is it me or we just had the most awkward moment in the car?”

Jane turned to Janice and forced a smile, as they were walking towards their class the next day.

“What’s wrong?” asked Janice, when Jane sighed.

“You were right. I was adopted,” said Jane.

“How did you know?”

“He told me.”

“He just told you?” asked Janice in surprise. “When? Why would he do that?”

“Last night. I don’t know,” said Jane, shrugging,

“This must be very hard for you…” said Janice, giving Jane a compassionate look.

“You didn’t reply my text, Jane,”

Out of nowhere, Justin put his arm on Jane’s shoulder.

“What do you want?” asked Jane, releasing Justin’s arm on her shoulder.

“I want you to be my girlfriend,” said Justin.

“No, thanks,” said Jane, before she walked into a girl’s rest room.

Three girls were already inside the restroom when Jane came out from a toilet.

“I noticed that Justin had been texting you last night and just asked you to be his girlfriend,” said the only blonde girl when Jane was washing her hand in the sink.

“Let me guess. You’re his girlfriend,” said Jane, without looking at the girl.

“You’re a smart girl,” said the girl. “But being smart is not enough.”

“Hey, what are you doing?” asked Jane when the other two girls held both her hands.

“I just don’t want people to hear what we’re actually doing,” said the blonde girl, before she put a tape onto Jane’s mouth.

Jane threw horrified look when the blonde girl took out a big scissor from her bag and started cutting out the front of Jane’s shirt.

“I think this is enough to keep your mouth shut and think twice before flirting at my boyfriend,” said the blonde girl, before she took a picture of Jane.

Jane felt a severe pain on her cheek before the other two girls released their grip.

“Oh my God, Jane. What have they done to you?”

Janice came in the moment the girls left the rest room.

“Here, put on my sweater. We’ll report this to headmaster,” said Janice, before Jane’s cellphone beeped.

“I can’t,” said Jane. “She’ll put my picture on the web.”

“What picture?” asked Janice.

Jane showed Janice her half-naked picture an anonymous number just sent her.

“Then I’ll take you to the clinic. Your face is bleeding,” said Janice.

“The nurse will ask questions,” said Jane.

“We’ll sneak out of school,” said Janice.

“Security school will deliver us back to class,” said Jane. “I’ll just wait here until school ends.”

Janice pulled Jane into her embrace, before she took out a cellphone from her pocket.

===

“Good day, Detective Morgan.”

A man, looking in his forties, looked up from behind his newspaper when Alan took a seat in front of him. The next second a waitress came approaching and put a cup of coffee onto the table.

“I’m Alan Donovan,” continued Alan, after the waitress left their table.

“And what can I help you, Mr. Donovan?” asked Morgan, as he continued reading his newspaper. “Or should I say, the guy who had been stalking me all day yesterday?”

Alan looked taken aback before he carefully continued. “My real name is Daniel Schmidt, and I want to make a deal with you.”

There was a tense long pause before Morgan finally put down his newspaper.

“Are you saying that you are one of those guys we’ve been trying to find for the past twelve years?” asked Morgan.

“Everything about our new lab,” said Alan as he put a flash drive onto Morgan’s desk. “I would like to trade this with the safety of Jane.”

“The kid you took away with you when we took down your previous lab,” said Morgan.

“Yes,” said Alan.

“No, thank you,” said Morgan calmly, before he re-opened his newspaper and continued to read.

“For your information, you can easily track down others like me through this information and save all the kids,” said Alan.

“I said, no thank you,” said Morgan, from behind his newspaper.

“What do you want?” asked Alan impatiently.

Morgan looked up at Alan and smiled. “I’m glad now you start to learn how to make a deal with your soon to be ally.”

“We’re not allies,” said Alan at once.

“Yes we are, because you will show me where and when you will return Jane to the woman,” said Morgan, as he started to eat his breakfast.

“How did you know she called me? Did you hack into our system?” asked Alan.

“Believe me, Mr. Donovan, I neither have such ability nor willingness to understand anything about information technology,” said Morgan. “I just happened to spend two solid years waiting for those IT guys to hack into your computer system and another three to learn all of your lab reports. I must say though, that I found your reports intriguing, especially your hypothesis that ‘Being loved had made the vital organs of the specimen improved and stabilized significantly’. After comparing the trends between Jane and other kids that almost made me lose my mind, I could finally conclude that Jane only needed twelve years to be ready. It’s only a matter of time, I guess, after Jane turned fifteen two days ago.”

“Someone will introduce himself as Mangla and pick us up at nine pm tonight at the Town Park Bridge,” said Alan.

Morgan smiled satisfyingly. “Ms. Mangla, the owner of that illegal lab where you and others like you were hired to engineer babies, raise them, then cut them open to sell whatever it is you’ve created and modified of them to those world class vigilantes. I bet it must be easy to have raised a kid with the ability of her tissues to selfheal hundreds of times faster than average human being.”

Alan seemed to look uncomfortable.

“You can catch and interrogate the man to track down the real Mangla,” said Alan.

“I think I have a better plan,” said Morgan. “We’ll put a tracking device on Jane, let her be taken, follow her, catch the real Mangla, and put all of you to jail for the rest of your life.” He added as he sipped his orange juice. “Or you can just take Jane with you and run away.”

“We won’t last six months,” said Alan, just before his cellphone beeped.

“I know. She’ll have you tracked down as simple as reading this newspaper,” said Morgan, before he added. “Then I guess the first offer is the best you can get.”

Alan answered the phone before he quickly got up and left Morgan.

===

“Daddy! Right here!”

Alan came running towards girl’s toilet the moment he saw Janice.

“She’s still inside,” said Janice.

Alan felt heart-broken when he saw a bruise on Janice’s cheek.

“Who did this to you, Jane?” asked Alan, examining Jane’s face carefully.

Jane shook her head.

“They’ll put her picture on the web, Dad,” said Janice, as she showed Alan the picture from Jane’s cellphone.

Thank you, Janice. I think you should go back to your class,” said Alan.

“Okay, Dad,” said Janice, before she left the restroom.

Jane felt hear heart beat fast when Alan embraced her as they walked out of the rest room. He did not even let her go when explaining to Mr. Finnigan, the school headmaster, about the bullying. He also borrowed Mr. Finnigan’s laptop and found the anonymous number that had blackmailed Jane. In less than five minutes, the blonde girl was called. Alan redialed the anonymous number from Jane’s cellphone, which straightly proved that the number belonged to her, before questioned a blood stain on her ring. The blonde girl was then interrogated further after Alan and Jane left the office.

“I’m alright now, Dad,” said Jane, after the nurse finished putting a bandage on her cheek.

Alan forced a smile before he added. “Come on, I’ll take you home. You’ll need some rest.”

It was really heartwarming for Jane when Alan took her hand and walked her through the school corridor, ignoring the staring of students who had just got out of their classes.

“I love you,” said Jane, when Alan finally put her to bed.

“I love you too, Jane,” said Alan, before Janice walked into the room.

“I decided to skip my classes and followed you here, if it’s okay for you, Dad,” said Janice. “And you have a guest. His name is Mr. Morgan.”

“Thank you, Janice,” said Alan, before he left the room.

“I brought you flowers,” said Janice happily.

“It’s very nice of you,” said Jane.

“How’s the bruise?” asked Janice.

“It doesn’t hurt anymore,” said Jane in amazement as she touched her cheek. She then added, “Remember what we talked about this morning?”

“Oh yeah, about Dad telling you that you had been adopted,” said Janice. “This whole kind of situation must be very complicated for you…”

“Not as complicated as how I feel about him right now,” said Jane in a desperate voice.

“You want to talk about it?” said Janice, who seemed clueless about what Jane was meaning to say.

Jane looked at Janice and sighed. “I think I fell in love with him.”

“With who?” said Janice, puzzled.

“With Dad,” said Jane, gulping.

“You what?” said Janice, totally looked surprised.

“First of all, I lied to you about him telling me that I had been adopted. I was the one who asked him after he arrived home,” said Jane.

“Why would you do that?” asked Janice, curious.

“After you gave me a hint that I might’ve been adopted judging by how different we look from each other. Also, I realized that he never showed me Mom’s picture,” said Jane.

“I’m sorry,” said Janice.

“I should’ve known,” said Jane, before she quickly added. “Anyway, it turns out that he never got married.”

“Are you saying that you’ve been living with an unmarried cool boyfriend daddy?” said Janice.

“Cool boyfriend daddy?” repeated Jane, throwing a puzzled look at Janice.

Janice took out a cellphone and showed it to Jane.

“Some students took a picture when Dad walked you out of the school building,” said Janice.

“He indeed looked cool in that white shirt and black suit,” said Jane, who then regretted what she just said.

“Anyway, why did he adopt you if he never got married?” asked Janice.

“He said he had fallen in love with me,” said Jane.

“As a daughter, right?” said Janice, uncertain.

“I don’t know. The way he was saying it last night, I think it was much more like…” said Jane sounded wondering.

“More like what?” said Janice.

“Anyway,” said Jane quickly. “The way he way saying it last night had actually made me do something inappropriate.”

“What did you do?” asked Janice curious.

“When he bent down to give me a goodnight kiss on the cheek, I turned and replied the kiss,” said Jane quickly.

“Please tell me you didn’t just say that,” said Janice.

“Actually, I didn’t do it for no reason. I did it because I think he might’ve actually fallen in love with me.”

Janice looked at Jane, followed by a long awkward pause.

 “Yesterday morning when I woke up, I accidentally kissed him on the lips. But he said it was okay even if I meant it. Last night, he knew I meant it when I kissed him on the lips. But again he said it was okay,” said Jane.

“No offence, but it seemed to me that you like having the thought that he might have fallen in love with you,” said Janice. “Not that there won’t be a chance, but you’ll have to prove it, right?”

“I guess,” said Jane.

“I have to go,” as she looked at her watch.

“You’re not sleeping over tonight?” said Jane.

“I can’t. My sister, Laura, is coming over to stay for a couple of days,” said Janice apologetically.

“Jane?”

Jane and Janice turned when Alan walked into the room.

“I want to take you out tonight,” said Alan, glancing carefully at Janice. “Just the both of us.”

“That’s alright, Dad,” said Janice at once. “I’m not staying for sleep over tonight either.”

“Good. Great,” said Alan, seemed relieved, before he walked out of the room.

Jane blushed when Janice threw a meaningful smile at her before leaving the room.

===

Jane started to wonder whether Alan had changed his mind about taking her out when the time already showed 8:30 pm. They had also been spending an hour on the couch watching the television whilst holding hands, which to Jane’s point of view was not enough to prove Janice’s opinion about Alan might have had feelings towards her.

“Get your sweater, Jane. We’ll be leaving in five minutes,” said Alan suddenly, before he turned off the television and stood up from the couch.

Alan took out an ear plug from his pocket, which he would be using as a communication device with Morgan and his team.

“Can you hear me clearly?” said Alan.

“Yes we can. How about you?” asked Morgan

“I can hear you fine,” replied Alan.

“Remember to stick the tracking device to whatever it is you will be giving her,” said Morgan.

“Understood,” said Alan.

Jane was looking at herself on the car’s side mirror when Alan came approaching.

“The bruise vanished,” said Jane in amazement, as she examined her face. “It’s as though it never happened.”

“You’re ready, Jane?” asked Alan, as he held out his hand to Jane.

“We’re not going by car?” asked Jane, when Alan walked her past the car.

“We’re just going to the Town Park,” said Alan.

“You know, I had a dream last night,” said Jane, as she was looking at the starry night. “It was at night. You were carrying me in your arm and you said, ‘I’m here with you, Jane. I won’t let anything bad happen to you’. It was before we jumped into a boat.”

Alan turned to Jane as they arrived at the town park bridge.

“I know it sounds stupid,” murmured Jane, suddenly feeling embarrassed.

“It doesn’t sound stupid,” said Alan, before he took out a small package from his pocket. “I have something for you, Jane. I hope you like it.”

“It’s beautiful,” said Jane.

Morgan spoke through the communication device as Alan put the ring onto Jane’s ring finger.

Be prepared. Black hoodie with a red bag. One of my men has confirmed by x-rays that there’s money in it. He’s walking towards you now. Time to say goodbye, Mr. Donovan.

“Jane, I….” said Alan, as he could see a man with a black hoodie came walking towards them.

Jane could feel her heart beating fast when Alan looked at her in the eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Jane,” said Alan, before he pulled Jane into his arms and kissed her on the lips.

What happened? What is he doing?

Alan let go of Jane just before the man in the black hoodie walked past them, followed by a ringing sound of Alan’s cellphone.

“Can you tell me how the CIA effortlessly has found our lab and taken all of our specimens?” said a woman voice over the phone. “Well except yours off course. You don’t have to tell them that I indeed cancelled tonight’s plan. I’m sure they’re listening now. But I promise you one thing, Professor, I won’t use any anesthetic when I cut her open, and I will send you her mutilated corpse with a ribbon on it.”

“Who is it from?” asked Jane, when she saw the look on Alan’s face.

“Someone from work,” said Alan.

“You’re okay?” asked Jane worried, when Alan seemed to lose his grip.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” said Alan.

“Are you sure? You look sick,” said Jane, before she quickly added. “Let’s go home.”

Put her to bed then come join us in the minibus. We need to set up a new plan. Three of my men are now watching outside your house. We’ve also installed surveillance camera at every corner of the rooms.

“I’m not sure I’m ready for this,” said Jane nervously as they arrived in front of Alan’s bedroom door.

“I understand how you must be feeling about this, Jane,” said Alan carefully. “But please try to accept the fact that I’m no longer seeing you as my daughter.”

“Me too but I’m really not ready for this,” said Jane, stepping away from Alan. “At least not now.”

“Ready for what?” asked Alan, puzzled.

I’m quite sure she was meaning to say she wasn’t ready for the sex.

“Where did you get that idea?” asked Alan, who did not seem to realize he was actually speaking to Morgan.

Please, after what happened on the bridge, she’d surely think you’d ask her that.

“After what happened on the bridge I thought…’

“No, Jane,” said Alan quickly. “Besides, you’re still underage.”

 Good answer.

“Then why are you taking me to your bedroom?” asked Jane, puzzled.

Good question.

“Because I thought it would be safer for you to be in the same room with me tonight,” said Alan truthfully.

Good thought.

“I’m already safe just being here with you,” said Jane.

“You have school tomorrow,” said Alan quickly. “You should sleep now. I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Where are you going?” asked Jane.

“I need to finish some jobs,” said Alan.

“The phone call?”

“Yeah.”

Jane quickly took out her cellphone after Alan closed the door.

“You won’t believe this,” said Jane, the moment Janine’s face appeared on her cellphone.

===

Jane woke up the next morning and felt a jolt of happiness when Alan came into the bedroom and was looking cool in his white shirt covered by his black suit.

“Are you going somewhere?” asked Jane, as she got up from the bed.

“Work, and Janice is in your room now,” said Alan. He looked at Jane, before added. “Jane, I think it would be better if you don’t tell Janice about what kind of relationship we now have.”

Jane gulped and forced a smile to Alan.

“You told her,” said Alan, in disbelief.

“Last night, sorry,” said Jane apologetically.

Alan sighed and made a face palm.

“I’ll be waiting in the kitchen,” said Alan, before he left the room.

“Surprise!” cried Janice, as she took off her hat when Jane had entered her bedroom. “What do you think?”

“What did you do to your hair?” asked Jane, in amazement.

“I straightened and colored it black so we can look like sisters,” said Janice happily. “I can’t wait to be at school. Will our friend get confused recognizing us?”

“I bet they will,” said Jane bemused, before she got into the bathroom.

“So, what’s next?” asked Janice when Jane finally got out of the bathroom.

“I don’t know. I haven’t asked him,” said Jane shrugging.

“I wonder what it would look like being dad’s girlfriend now,” said Janice.

“Want to find out?” said Jane, as she took out her ring and handed it to Janice.

“You’re kidding, right?” said Janice.

“You’re my twin sister now. Of course I’m not,” said Jane. “Just don’t let him see it.”

“Twin sister…” said Janice, throwing a naughty look at Jane as she put on the ring.

“No,” said Jane firmly.

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” said Janice. “Besides, it’s not like I’m stealing your boyfriend daddy. I’ll just kiss him on the cheek and we’ll see if he notices.”

Jane eventually put a smile on her face when Janice pleaded on her. They walked out of the room and found Alan sat on the kitchen table and seemed busy typing on his laptop. They giggled before Janice walked into the kitchen.

“Morning,” said Janice, kissing Alan on the cheek.

“Morning, Jane,” said Alan.

Janice gave a thumbs-up from behind Alan’s back before Jane walked into the kitchen.

“Morning,” said Jane, kissing Alan on the cheek.

Alan stopped typing on his laptop and quickly looked up.

“Didn’t you just…”

“What do you think, Dad?” asked Janice, showing herself from behind Alan.

Alan looked in turns at Jane and Janice, amazed.

“I’ll get that,” said Janice quickly when the doorbell rang.

“So,” said Jane, glancing nervously at Janice before holding Alan’s hand on the table. “What’s next?”

Alan, are you expecting a plumbing service?

Alan and Jane ran towards the front door as they heard Janice’s scream.

“Daddy…” cried Janice in fear, as a guy wearing a plumbing service uniform pointed a gun towards her head.

The next moment, two other guys with plumbing service uniform came in with guns on their hands.

“There are two of them. Which one?” asked the guy with a tattoo on his hand.

“Why don’t we ask him?” said the guy, who was the tallest.

“And he’ll tell us the wrong girl,” said the guy with a gun on Janice’s head.

“Let’s take both of them to Ms. Mangla,” said the guy with the tattoo. “She’ll know who the real girl is."

There was nothing Alan could do when the tattooed guy dragged Jane towards a fake plumbing service minibus.

A black car minibus stopped in front of the house after the fake plumbing service minibus took a turn to the next block.

“They took both of them,” said Alan, when the door was opened for him.

“We saw what happened,” said Morgan.

Alan could see several monitors showing several places of his house.

“And it’s a good thing they took Janice too,” said Morgan.

“We don’t need another girl to be saved,” said Alan.

“But we need Janice as a guidance to where they’re taken,” said Morgan. “She’s the one with the tracking device since Jane somehow let her wear the ring.”

“Mangla will hurt both of them to prove which one is Jane,” said Alan worried.

“I hope she hurts them badly. We need as much time as we can to save them,” said Morgan. He added when Alan looked at him. “I’m not very good at joking.”

Their minibus stopped at a marina ten minutes later.

“Seems that they took a boat to get to that yacht, Sir. It’s not far but we’ll need a boat to get there,” said one of Morgan’s people as he showed a blinking dot on his laptop which seemed to have stopped moving.

“What are you doing?” asked Morgan, when Alan got out of the minibus and took off her suit and shoes.

“What do you think I’m doing?” said Alan.

“It’s winter. Even you could die of hypothermic without having stayed all night watching for Jane,” said Morgan.

“I won’t die. I promise,” said Alan.

“Take this,” said Morgan as he thrust a gun onto Alan’s palm. “We’ll be there as soon as possible.”

===

“Good morning, Professor Schmidt.”

Three guns were pointed at Alan’s head the moment he managed to climb onto the yacht, where Jane and Janice lied unconsciously on its floor with a small cut on each of their cheek.

“I started to wonder whether you’d come or not,” said the old woman whom Alan recognized as Mangla. “You know, Professor, I did believe your hypothesis of how being loved had significantly improved and stabilized your specimen. It is proved when indeed it only took twelve years for her to be ready,” Mangla glanced at Jane and Janice. “And I did believe that you have no father-to-daughter feelings towards your specimen based on the psychological tests you’ve been taking every week for the past twelve years, which also had been the reason why I had been letting you raise and take care of your specimen outside the lab. But when I saw both of you at the town park bridge last night, I realized I had missed something.”

“And what was it that you had missed?” asked Alan, wondering when Morgan and team would show up.

“I had missed the fact that you had actually loved your specimen not as a daughter. That is why I couldn’t find any flaw in your psychological test result,” said Mangla. Mangla continued when Alan did not respond. “And it became as clear as sunrise in the morning that how CIA came to find my lab was not a coincidence.” 

Alan and Mangla turned when Jane made a sign of waking up.

“I guess we have the winner now,” said Mangla, as she stroked Jane’s cheek. “And I’m impressed you didn’t only make your specimen have the ability to selfheal hundreds of times faster from a wound, but also from drugs effects.” Mangla turned to Alan. “Any last words to her, Professor?”

All of a sudden, a helicopter came approaching and started firing, causing the tree men surrounding Alan to fall down on their knees at once.

“I think my last words will be to you. Goodbye, Mangla,” said Alan, before he took out a gun from the inside of his shirt and shoot Mangla right on her forehead.

Jane immediately got up and run towards Alan as she woke up.

“You’re safe now, Jane,” said Alan, as he hugged Jane tightly.

Mr. Wagner ran approaching as the helicopter that brought them back arrived on the marina.

“I can’t say how much I owe you for saving my daughter, Mr. Donovan,” said Mr. Wagner to Alan.

“Would you mind taking the girls to paramedic, Mr. Wagner?” said Morgan. “I need to speak to Mr. Donovan here. You know, procedures.”

“Of course,” said Mr. Wagner.

“You’ve kept your promise. I’m impressed,” said Morgan, as Jane, Janice, and Mr. Wagner had gone out of sight.

“And so have you,” said Alan, making a gesture to be handcuffed. “You can arrest me now before Jane comes back.”

“For saving the daughter of a diplomat from a tragic abduction?” said Morgan. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Alan looked at Morgan.

“You need sleep,” said Morgan, patting Alan on his arm. “I’m sure Jane’s shoulder is the perfect place for you to lay your head…”

Morgan stopped in the middle of his sentence when Alan suddenly hugged him.

“Thank you, Detective,” said Alan, as a tear came running down on his face.

===

“So, what’s next?”

It had been two years after the incident on the yacht when Jane, wearing a graduation robe, took Alan on his arm as they walked away from the crowds.

“College, of course,” said Alan.

“But you’re almost forty,” argued Jane.

“I get my bachelor degree at age 19. I’m sure I can wait another year,” said Alan.

“Are you kidding me? I’d be lucky for a ‘C’ written on this graduation paper roll,” said Jane.

“Maybe it’s not written ‘C’. Maybe it is written ‘M’,” said Alan.

“There’s no M for the graduation passing grade,” said Jane.

“Then ‘A’,” said Alan, ignoring Jane.

“Haha,” said Jane in a sarcastic tone of voice.

“Then ‘R’, said Alan. He added when Jane looked at him. “Then ‘R’ again.”

“M, A, R, R…” Jane started to spell.

“Then ‘Y’…” Alan turned to Jane and threw a meaningful look.

Jane stopped, before she quickly opened the paper roll.

“There’s nothing in here,” said Jane, sounded upset.

“There must be something in there,” said Alan. “Look, a ‘C+’.”

“You’re so mean!” said Jane, turning away from Alan with a grumpy face.

“Let’s take a bus this time,” said Alan giggling, taking Jane on her arm.

“How about the car?” said Jane.

“I’ll pick it up tomorrow,” said Alan.

“I’m not wearing this graduation robe in the bus,” said Jane.

“Then leave it in the car,” said Alan.

“Why suddenly take the bus?” asked Jane, as they were already sitting on the bus, heading home.

“So that I can do this,” said Alan.

Alan put his head onto Jane’s shoulder and closed his eyes, remembering the very moment when he did so. Only this time his shirt was not soaked wet.

“Let me know what movie is playing tonight at the cinema,” said Alan, when Jane held his hand. “I might want to ask you out.”

Jane turned to read the banner in front of the cinema when their bus took a turn on the next block. There, written on the banner : Will YOU MARRY ME, JANE?

“Yes, I do, Alan,” whispered Jane, smiling happily before she kissed Alan on his head.

===

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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