January 19th, 2016
I slowly woke up to the sun peeking through my shades, kissing me good morning. It was warm and comforting, but also bright and irritating, so I pulled the covers over my head and rolled over to the other side of the bed with a groan. It took me a minute to realize why it smelled of men’s cologne, but as soon as I remembered my night with Liam, I sat up straight and grinned with embarrassment.
“Liam?” I called out as I pulled my long messy mane into a ponytail.
“Hmm…” I said to myself as I climbed out of bed. Why do men just disappear after sex? I wondered to myself as I pulled on some light colored jeans and a thin nude bra. I looked over at the time as I slipped a white t-shirt over my head, and tried to remember what I had to do this morning.
“What was it?” I asked myself as my eyes dropped down to the floor, resting on a crumbled up sticky note that immediately sent a painful reminder through my body. “Charlie.” I whispered, glancing at the clock again. It read 7:28.
“Shit!” I yelled, grabbing my boots. I pulled them on quickly before grabbing my jacket and running out the door, only to be stopped on my porch by slamming into Charlie’s hard chest.
“Charlie…” I said softly as I took a step back, slowly looking up to meet his sharp gaze. He was in all black, making his appearance all the more intimidating.
“Running behind this morning, are we?” He asked, looking down at me with irritation in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, I forgot to set my alarm. I was up late, writing, and I just conked out… “I started to explain but he stopped me.
“I don’t want to hear your excuses, Kate. I want you to stop wasting my time.” He snapped.
I frowned, “Wasting your time?” I repeated, “Charlie, I didn’t ask for any of this! YOU were the one who set all of this up, not me.”
“You agreed to give this everything you had, and yet here you stand, thirty minutes late and full of excuses.” He said as he folded his arms over his chest.
“Ya know what,” I said shaking my head up at him, “Maybe this was a bad idea..” I said as I opened up my cabin door and walked inside.
“Bad idea?” He asked as he followed me in, shutting the door behind him.
“Yes, Charlie. You and I have had a few of those together.” I said.
“I didn’t think you’d quit that easily.” He said as he leaned up against the dresser.
“Well, that’s what I do. I quit things I don’t enjoy or am terrible at.” I shrugged.
“You’re not enjoying yourself here?” He asked me with a head tilt.
I looked at him in awe, “Charlie.” I said, “I just found out my parents were assassins, my boyfriend was murdered in my bed, and I’m the number one suspect, who is living in my dead parents’ house but also crashing at the camp where my parents trained to kill people at! What do you think?!”
“Well…” He started.
I cut him off, “I know death is a normal thing to you because you’ve been around it your entire life so you just deal with it by becoming more dangerous, but that’s not me. I may look like I have my shit together right this second, but on the inside, I’m terrified. I shouldn’t be out here learning how to defend myself, I should be finding the most expensive lawyer in the state and begging him to take on my case with what I have in my pockets, which, by the way, is fifty dollars and a button.” I yelled, “This isn’t a situation that can be handled in your world, this is reality. I came here, looking for answers, and all I got was distracted.”
Charlie stayed silent for a few seconds before he scratched the back of his head and stood up straight, “Alright.” He sighed, “I get it, but that doesn’t change the fact that someone is after you. You’re not safe alone, Kate.” He said firmly.
“Honestly, Charlie, I really don’t care anymore…” I said, grabbing my weekend bag and tossing it on the bed.
“Where do you plan on going?” He asked.
“Back to my house in the suburbs.” I said as I started throwing clothes into the bag.
“You can’t stay in that big house by yourself, Kate. No.” He said, raising his voice.
“Charlie, I am sick of living out of a fucking weekend bag. Do you get that? I need to live somewhat of a normal life, I can’t keep doing this! It’s exhausting.” I explained to him.
“Fine. Then I’ll send a few of my men to stay with you.” He suggested.
“What? No.” I shook my head, “You can’t uproot peoples lives like that. Especially for someone they don’t even know!” I argued.
“I can send Finn and Anna. You know them best.” He said, ignoring my protest.
“Anna has a girlfriend and Finn has a life!” I said, zipping up my bag once all of my things were collected.
“Anna will be closer to the hospital that way, her girlfriend can tag along if she needs to, and Finn has a job; To be assigned to you. He’ll be fine.” He said, walking to the door.
“Charlie!” I said as I grabbed him by the forearm, “This is not okay. I do not need a babysitter.”
Charlie looked down at me, that fierce look in his eyes that had me fighting the urge to cower down like a dog getting yelled at, but I stood my ground. “No, you don’t need a babysitter.” He agreed, “You need protection.” He said as he opened the door. “I’ll let Finn and Anna know what’s going on, in the mean time, I suggest you go tell Brandon you’re leaving.”
I wanted to argue more about him dragging Finn and Anna into this but I decided to just keep quiet and let him leave. He closed the door with an attitude when he walked out, leaving me irritated and alone in my cabin. Maybe Brandon will let me shoot at a cardboard cut out that ironically resembles Charlie before I leave, I thought to myself as I looked around the cabin, making sure I had everything packed.
When I walked into the bathroom, I noticed a white wild flower leaning against the faucet on the sink, and couldn’t help but blush when I picked it up and twirled it between my fingers. “How cheesy…” I whispered to myself with a foolish grin on my face. Some men know how to make a woman smile, or make a woman moan, but not many men knew how to do both, and do it right. Liam was scoring points left and right, making me all the more curious about who he really is.
After I pulled myself together and came back to reality, I headed out into the woods to see Brandon. I found him sipping coffee and reading a book with his feet propped up on a box in the weapons shed. He was surprised to see me there so early but after I explained what was going on, he nodded in understanding and went back to reading.
I blinked at him for a few seconds, a little disappointed by his lack of response, but I decided to let him be and leave quietly. As I began walking out of the field, he yelled out my name and jogged up to me.
“Take the nine, keep it on you, and don’t shoot anyone unless they’re a threat.” Brandon said as he handed me the gun I spent all afternoon yesterday shooting.
“Oh wow,” I said, “Thanks, I really-“
“Don’t thank me,” He interrupted, “It’s not the greatest pistol here but you’ll feel safer knowing you have it, and try to practice more because your aiming is a bit off… Maybe I should just give you the shotgun instead…” He thought out loud.
“No, this is perfect!” I said, beaming with excitement.
“Just don’t point it at anyone you don’t intend to kill.” He said firmly before he turned around and headed back to the weapons shed.
I checked to make sure the safety was on before I shoved it beneath the beltline of my pants and covered the exposed grip with my jacket as I made my way down the wooded trail and back to the housing area. When I got back to my cabin, Finn already had my bag packed into his Jeep and was sitting on my porch waiting for me.
“You’re here already.” I said as I walked up to him, “Don’t you need to pack a bag yourself?” I asked.
“I always have a bag packed and ready to go. You learn quick working with Charlie that you should always be prepared or else you’ll just go without.” Finn said with a nod.
“I’m so sorry you’re getting dragged into this…” I whispered to him.
“Spending a week in the suburbs is probably the best mission I’ve ever been assigned to, so don’t be sorry.” He laughed.
I nodded, “Got it. Have you uh.. seen Liam around anywhere?” I asked hesitantly.
Finn’s laugh slowly turned into a groan, “Oh god, what did you do?”
“Do? I didn’t do anything. Why would you ask that?” I asked innocently.
“Get in the car, Fox. I’ll text him and let him know you said bye.” Finn said as he pushed me towards the Jeep.
“I cannot disappear on him again without saying goodbye!” I whispered loudly to Finn as I spun out of his grip.
“Oh my god.” Finn said as he pulled out his cellphone and dialed a number before putting it to his ear. “Hey, where are you?” He asked into the receiver, “I have someone here who wants to say bye to you.” He said before he handed me the phone.
“Oh.” I whispered before putting the phone up to my ear, “Hello?” I asked.
“Well hello to you too, gorgeous.” I heard Liam say on the other end, “I hear you want to say bye to me, where are you running off to?” He asked in his most charming voice.
“I-” I laughed and turned my back to Finn, “I’m headed to my house in the suburbs, it’s complicated but Finn and Anna will be with me.” I explained.
“Is everything alright?” He asked curiously.
“Yea… everything’s fine, just a change of plans is all.” I said as I kicked a rock across the gravel.
“You have my number?” Liam asked me.
“Um, no, but I’ll get it from your brother.” I said peeking at Finn over my shoulder.
“Do that and give me a call later, alright?” He asked.
I smiled, “Yea, sure.” I replied.
“We’ll talk soon.” He said, followed by a ‘click’ and then silence.
I handed the phone back to Finn with a sheepish grin on my face, “Thanks…” I said softly.
“Don’t mention it. Ever.” Finn said as he opened up the door for me, “We have to stop at the hospital to get Anna, is that cool?” He asked.
“Yes, that’s perfect actually. I’d like to see Lou if he’s up for having visitors.” I said before Finn shut my door and climbed in the passenger seat.
“I think Lou would like that…” Finn said with a small smile before he put the Jeep in drive and headed out of camp.
I hate the smell of hospitals; that sickness stench covered up by gallons of sanitizer smell. I hate their white walls and florescent lights. I hate that every time I’ve ever been to one they’ve been nothing but the host for bad news and bad apologies, but most of all I hate their silence.
My steps echoed through the empty halls as Finn and I searched for room 111. I had to stop myself from cringing every time I walked past a room that had their door open. “Maybe this was a bad idea, me coming in…” I whispered to Finn.
“We’ll leave in a few minutes, we’re just here to get Anna and then we can go. Maybe Lou is sleeping and we can just sneak out.” Finn said, trying to make me feel better.
“Yea… Maybe.” I whispered as we stopped in front of room number 111. We walked in quietly, not wanting to disturb a resting Lou, but sure enough, he was sitting up straight stuffing his face with green Jell-O.
“Katie, what a pleasant surprise.” Lou said with a smile as he set down his snack, “I wasn’t expecting company today.”
“We had to come get Anna, but I wanted to stop in really fast to see how you were doing.” I said as I pulled a chair next to his bed and took a seat, “How are you doing?” I asked him with a head tilt.
“Tim, why don’t you go find Anna, she’s in the cafeteria getting me more Jell-O.” Lou suggested to Finn.
Finn nodded, “I’ll be right back, sir.” He said before leaving the room.
Lou turned his attention back to me and gave me a faint smile.
“What?” I asked him with an awkward laugh.
“How much do you know about your parents now, Katherine? Did you get the answers you were looking for?” Lou asked with a genuine tone.
“Not exactly.” I said with a small laugh, “I seemed to be wrapped up in my own mess of things, I forgot why I went there in the first place.” I explained.
Lou nodded, “Charlie filled me in on what happened, I’m very sorry for your loss, dear.” He said as he reached out and took my hand.
“Thanks.” I said, surprised. I had no idea Charlie told Lou what had happened. I hoped that had nothing to do with his heart attack.
“The first time I met your father, he came to me out of fear.” Lou explained, “You can tell me anything, I hope you know that…” He said, squeezing my hand.
“What was my father afraid of?” I asked curiously.
I saw the hesitation in his eyes, there was something he didn’t want to tell me, “That’s not a story your father would want me to tell, dear…” Lou said as he shook his head.
“Please, Lou.” I whispered to him with sad eyes.
He sighed, “Alright, fine.” He said. “Your father was sick, Katie. He had an addiction.” He started, “He… murdered people. Random people. It was like heroine to him.” He said softly.
My heart started to race.
“It was never brutal, it was always clean and to the point. He would study people, learn their schedules, find out where they lived. They would become these precious projects to him.” He explained, “He did this for a very long time, Katie. He couldn’t help it, he said it was like a disease. Until one day he decided enough was enough and he needed help. He knew the type of mob business I was involved with, and he always came to me for advice, but he always had that fearful look in his eyes, and I never knew why. We had been friends for about a year when he confided in me, he claimed he was going to end his own life if he couldn’t make it stop.” He shrugged, “That’s when I introduced him to my clientele. I sent him on two assignments a month, giving him every job I had. We built our clientele throughout the following year and then our two man assignments turned into five man assignments and then we came up with the idea of the camp. He finally found a way to live with himself again, and then he met your mother.” Lou squeezed my hand tightly.
I stayed silent. I didn’t know what to say, what to think. I was disgusted, and scared, and angry. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of my father being a murderer. I suddenly started to feel faint.
“I’m so sorry you had to learn about that side of your father, dear. I know that wasn’t easy to hear, but I’m just happy you didn’t get the same terrible sickness he had.” Lou whispered to me as his eyes filled up with tears.
“Sickness…” I whispered as I started to get flashbacks of the morning I found John. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to vanish the terrible visuals of John’s dead body in my bed, but I’m afraid an image like that isn’t meant to be forgotten. I started to get hot and dizzy as Lou’s words filled my head and left my stomach in knots. Could that be true? Was my father really a murderer? I wondered. I stood up and walked to the window, trying to open it to get some fresh air but those big windows didn’t open and I was starting to get nauseous. “Oh god.” I whispered as my mind went to an even darker place. I was starting to panic just as Finn and Anna walked through the door. I saw Finn’s mouth moving as he slowly approached me, but all I heard was a ringing. “I think I’m gonna faint…” I whispered as everything went silent. Finn was talking to me but all I heard was the one question I kept asking myself over and over before everything went black.
Did I kill John?