The exquisiteness of the party made it easy to guess Abigail spared no expense to impress her latest investors, the biggest yet in the history of the frim. In a few months of running the place, she’d done things no one thought possible. Soma and a few of her contacts from the States, where she returned from, had a common interest in repairing the image of her father’s firm.
The lightening, color, and tone of the hall were the least of the many things the party struck right. If the Chinese hadn’t yet made up their minds, the relaxed atmosphere was sure to make them reconsider. In the splendor of this, Akin sat at a quiet corner, all by himself, constantly refusing different waiter’s offer to serve him a drink. He’d been on a binge since Andrew’s death, and was certain he now had a resurrected drinking problem; he wasn’t going to get drunk here and mess up the night for Abigail. He promised he’d be here for her, and he was going to make sure the night was a success. Debris fell into his eyes in the latest scenario where he refused the offer of a waiter. In trying to wipe his eyes, he caught a glimpse of Larry in the distance. His heart skipped two beats, and for those two seconds he was sure they weren’t beating. Naturally, he got up and followed the path he felt he saw the man he once called friend on. He followed out of the passage into the hall which was scanty. Though confused, he decided it was his grief playing games on his mind by conjuring people who were not there, after all, days ago he could have sworn he heard his late wife, Mark’s mother cooking in the kitchen, singing their favorite tunes – the only difference was that he was drunk two days ago. As he turned to go, he saw Soma arguing with one of the waiters and his mind went back to his sons. Same charisma as Mark, and sharp-witted mouth a Soma was a striking reminder of all he had lost in his old age.
The Chinese delegates finally arrived. They were greeted at the entrance in person by, Abigail and Patricia. Patricia naturally did her job as Abigail’s PA by directing them to the VIP hall specially designed for them. She served them a pot of freshly brewed Chinese tea, showing that the firm did her homework to host the latest addition to her family.
Akin entered the nearest restroom to watch his face. If he could drown all his fears into the running water he would; suicide was something he’d contemplated when Mark died. But by Andrew’s death, he decided against it: All he wanted to do now was to live, for Abigail. As long as she was alive, he too would live, long enough to watch her achieve more feats, and hand her over in marriage.
The central door of the rest room opened and closed, unusually. Akin thought so too. He opened his cubicle to check what was happening, but was greeted with a gun pointed at him by Larry.
“Hello old friend,” Larry greeted. “Kindly follow me if you don’t want to die here.”
Larry easily got hold of him as Akin didn’t put up an iota of resistance. If there was one thing seeing Larry proved to him, it was that he wasn’t crazy as he has initially thought. Larry cornered him into the elevator to the still unoccupied 18th floor, which had been fully renovated. There, Larry cut him loose so they could talk.
“How long has it been? Ten, twenty, thirty years. I can’t seem to be recall anymore” Akin found the strength to joke.
Larry laughed at his old friend’s feeble attempt at humor. “Friend,” he called Akin. He wanted to know how the word would feel from his lips now. It further made obvious the fact that there was so much animosity between both of them, brewed further by the years since they last saw each other.
Larry was rumored to have died in a fire many years ago, but his body was never found. Akin initially harbored reservations that Larry was alive and would one day return to have his revenge against everyone who had done him wrong, especially him, Larry’s best friend. The belief that Larry was still alive waned with the passing years, and so did Akin’s remembrance of the man he once called brother. Larry, on his own, had used the years since the fire incident to recover from the many reconstructive surgeries he had, and also plan his epic revenge. Luckily, he met someone, the mysterious Mister M, who wanted almost the same thing he did – to destroy Akin, for destroying his life. Mr. M wanted something a little extra, which was to destroy every one of Akin’s children as well. Larry went ahead with the plans because of what Akin did to him:
As young men, Larry and Akin were best of friends. When both men got married they still remained good friends and good occasional business partners. Little did Larry know that Akin had been sleeping with his young wife – Jasmine. Yes, Larry was Andrew’s father! The day Larry got to know was the day Jasmine herself told him. He was mad; not at them but at himself for not having seen it all along. He became suicidal when Jasmine told him that Andrew, his only son, wasn’t truly his but Akin’s. Larry was ready to strangle Jasmine with his bare-hands, but the woman was one step ahead of him. Because Jasmine thought she had a future with Akin, she escaped, and set Larry and their house on fire. An act that led everyone to where they were now. Jasmine found of Akin never truly loved her, and wasn’t ready to leave his own wife for her, as she did her husband, that was the beginning of their quarrel. Larry still wanted his revenge on Jasmine (Mother), but for now, he’d settle for the satisfaction that’d come from taking Akin’s life.
“Did you kill my sons?” Akin gently asked; not sure if he wanted the answer to his question. Sadness filled his entire face.
“What did you expect when you made a fool out of my all those years? That ‘d let you be happy?” Larry retorted. As far as he was concerned, he wasn’t yet done with Akin. He was going to savor the moment till the day he dies.
“You killed my sons!” Akin shouted, and charged towards Larry.
Abigail turned the knob of the VIP room for the Chinese delegates, it was locked from the inside. After another forceful trial, it opened. She walked in, naively, yet, quietly. The door shut behind her, and Patricia surfaced. She said to Abigail that their guests requested not to be disturbed. Abigail took the lead to the inner room and turned back in horror to run when she saw what had happened.
Patricia greeted her with a gun to her torso, and asked her to turn around, to appreciate the beautiful work of art she had designed for her. Abigail pleaded to deaf ears as she slowly turned. All seven of the delegates were unconscious, probably dead because one of them was already mutilated, his blood messed the entire room. A bloodied scissors laid on the table, and in the midst of the chaos, KC was tied to chair.
“Don’t kill us, Patricia. Please, I beg you.”
Patricia laughed out loud, and said, “No one is killing you, Abigail. At least not today. You’re still valuable in what we’re doing. We’re not yet done with you.”
Understanding what being valuable meant, Abigail pushed Patricia away, hard, and rushed for the scissors on the table to free KC. While cutting the rope, Patricia came for her, pulling her away by the hair as she screamed. KC freed himself fast enough to go after Patricia with the scissors in hand, shouting.