The line was filled with Vlad breathing heavily and the sound of cars whizzing by, and then Dean finally heard “Boss, I got kidnapped and was just released on the side of the road with a bruised face, no shoes, and bloody clothes..”
Snapping his brows in confusion, Dean looked at his mother, who had a serious expression on her face and was glaring at him as he let out, “What are you talking about?!” “Someone has people watching the motel… I don’t know, boss… I don’t know who it is… I don’t know who the men were or how many they are because I was blindfolded, but they didn’t like that I had been snooping around the motel!” Vlad explained, sounding frustrated. A sense of worry and anger welled in Dean as he tried to control the emotions rising inside of him, clenching his fists, he hissed, “What?!… What did you tell them then… huh? Did you tell them who asked you to spy on the motel?!” “No! Of course not, boss. I would never betray the Hayes family like that.” Vlad protested, his voice full of determination.
But Dean was unconvinced, shaking his head in response as his temper flared, yelling,” Bullshit, Vlad!! Why the hell will they let you go if you didn’t rat us out?!” When the line went silent, Dean’s eyes darkened as his breathing quickened and his thoughts started racing in his mind. “Fuck!” He shouted when Vlad ended the call abruptly. “That bastard!! All the money I paid him, and for what, to get his ass caught!! I swear if I get my hands on him.” “What happened? Why are you angry?” Madam Jewel cut in, her eyes full of curiosity.
Heaving out a deep breath, Dean turned to her and replied, “Vlad got kidnapped. Apparently, someone had eyes on the motel and didn’t like him snooping around, and a bunch of men kidnapped him for questioning…”
“Did he mention who hired him to spy on the motel to them?” Madam Jewel inquired, her eyes widening in shock, her hand flying to her chest, where the diamond necklace hung proudly in its place, her eyes filled with fear.
“The bastard ended the call… I don’t know how much he said to these strangers.”
The atmosphere in the living room grew tense once again and a silence fell upon it for quite some time until madam Jewel asked, “Do you think it’s Bryan protecting her again… Peach… the way he did with the media?”
“That’s my only sensible thought. Who else will have such power and wealth to hire a gang to protect the motel.” Dean responded bitterly, his eyes hardening with hatred. Pacing back and forth, Dean cursed every moment that passed, his anger mounting by the minute, and he whispered, “None of this is making sense… Nothing is adding up?!” “Things don’t need to add up for us to know that there’s an uprising storm, and even though
it hasn’t hit yet, we can not take risks anymore…” Madam Jewel stated calmly, her voice steady and strong
A look of stress clouded her expression as her gaze darted left and right, deep in thought, and then she whispered, “I will have to see him,”
“Huh?” Dean questioned curiously, confused over what she said. Raising her gaze to meet her son’s, she shook her head and said, “Nothing. Forget about it.” Although Dean was reluctant not knowing what she said, knowing how serious their situation was, he nodded his head and muttered, “If you say so..”
The room was silent as Elijah watched the evening sky, out his window before focusing on his ceiling, allowing his brain to wander from one idea to another, knowing that to take down a family like Hayes you need a plan that is nothing short of perfection.
The sound of his phone ringing snapped him out of his train of thought and he glanced down at his phone before sighing and sitting up. When he saw Jerome’s name on his screen, his brows furrowed, then he answered and spoke,” J, what is it?”
“It’s Vlad… It seems like he’s going on a little trip.” Jerome’s voice came through his phone, concern lacing his tone. “Rick tracked him to the airport.”
Hearing that information, Elijah sat up straighter and narrowed his eyes as a frown tugged on his lips and he let out, “What flight is he taking?”
“I am not sure. We were not expecting him to make such a move… so soon.” Jerome responded truthfully, causing Elijah to groan inwardly. “Neither did I… Where is he now?”
“He’s already in the waiting area of Terminal B… Do you want Rick to get him out and…” “No. Even though I want to know why he’s leaving, it’s too risky for Rick. Right now, I bet Vlad is alert, one wrong move from Rick will cause a scene… I can not risk that happening. Tell Rick to stay on his tail and find out which flight he’s taking and what country, and report back to me. Nothing else.”
The one fear Elijah had in the back of his head is that Dean Hayes had uncovered where he was from and was sending Vlad to find out more, and the thought caused Elijah faint anxiety.
“Yes, boss.” Jerome agreed before hanging up.
The sound of the plane taking off echoed into Rick’s ear as he sat on the bench, a hoodie covering his face, and watching Vlad like a hawk
The buzzing of his phone didn’t make him take his eyes off Vlad as he withdrew the device from his jacket pocket and answered, “), what did the boss say?”
“He wants to know why Vlad is leaving but doesn’t want you to risk it. So your order is to find out the flight he’s taking and report back.” Jerome’s voice filtered into his ear as he took in a breath, letting it out softly. “He cares that much more about me than what he wants?”
“Yeah, so don’t get your ass caught, and don’t let him down. Make sure that you get the right information.”
Watching as Vlad woke from his seat, Rick’s gaze followed him for a second, and then he got up as he mumbled, “Okay, talk to you later.” After shoving his phone back into his pocket, he began following Vlad’s movements, keeping a distance between them in case something went wrong. Finally, Vlad stopped at the male bathroom door and then pushed it open, walking inside, leaving Rick standing outside.
The stake of the thought that crossed his mind was high, but the fact that Elijah put him first before the mission made Rick want to risk it and he slowly walked over to the door, watching his back before he quietly opened it and peeked inside.
Once he was in, he realized that it was just him and Vlad in the restroom, and in a flash, he moved for Vlad, not giving him a warning noise, and quickly put him in a rear naked choke.
A struggle immediately erupted from within Vlad’s body, but then Rick tightened his grip around him as he whispered, “Shhh!!! Shhh!!! I just want to talk, but if you make this hard for us to do, I might just silence you in another way… Is that clear?”
Feeling Rick’s arm slightly loose on his neck, giving him a chance to breathe a bit better, Vlad stopped struggling and asked, “What do you want… Who are you?” “Why are you leaving the country, Vlad?” Rick
asked bluntly, not wasting any time. “How do you know my name?!”
“I know a lot, Vlad. Like how you work for the Hayes-”
“It’s you… You are one of the guys that kidnapped me this morning!”
“Well, since the introduction has been made. All I need from you is to tell me, why are you leaving the country?”
A tense silence filled the small space as Rick paused for his answer. But knowing that he didn’t have the patience to wait, his grip tightened until Vlad’s face turned red.
Struggling, he tapped Rick’s arm, fighting to get air into his lung, and then Rick’s hand slightly loosened, allowing him to gasp loudly.
“Dean Hayes!! I am escaping from Dean Hayes… I made a fool-ish mis-take… I told him about the kid-nap, and I know my life is not spear because of my incompetence, and I don’t have… I don’t have the money he paid me to get the job done!
“Vlad struggled to speak.
“I see,” Rick said, his eyebrows raised.
“I swear on my life that that’s the truth, so, please… Please don’t kill me.”
Slowly, Rick loosened his grip, causing Vlad to gasp for a breath of air, but, within a split second, he instantly whacked Vlad in the back of the neck, knocking him off onto the floor.
A knock on Elijah’s room door made him open his eyes and then he heard, “It’s Peach!! May I Come In!!”
A smirk made its way to his lips and he nodded, saying, “Yeah… come in.”
Slowly the door opened, and Peach’s head popped through, her dark hair falling softly over her shoulders, and she smiled brightly before stepping fully inside, closing the door behind her, and saying, “James has dinner ready.”
The smile on his face slowly faded as his eyes rested on her cheeks, and even though the wound was less severe than it had been, the sight of it still made him feel sick inside.
Recognizing the look in his eyes, she widened her smile, not flinching at the pain, and said,” James went all out tonight. The table is filled and if you don’t join, I think he’s going to feed me to death.”
When she giggled at her own words, Elijah’s expression softened, and he was about to wake from his bed when his phone rang. Picking it up, Elijah glanced down at the caller ID and then looked back at Peach, saying, “Go ahead. I will be down in a minute.” ‘Who could it be…’ Peach thought as she gave him a big smile and nod before making her way out of the room and shutting the door behind her. Elijah leaned over and pressed the green button before bringing the phone to his ear. “What’s up, J?”
“Vlad is escaping to Dinland… Well, Rick and he had a little interaction in the airport bathroom, and he’s leaving only because he’s scared of Dean.” Jerome’s voice came from the other end.
“Did Rick leave the airport?”.
“Yes… He’s on his way back.” Holding back his words, Elijah let out a shaky exhale as he rubbed his temple with his fingers and said, “Tell him thanks for me.” “Sure thing, boss,” Jerome said before Elijah ended the call and tossed his phone onto his bed. Sighing deeply, Elijah buried his face into his palm as he thought, ‘Keep your enemies closer than your friends… I need an ear inside the Hayes mansion, and soon.’