A Third Chance at First Love - Chapter Fifteen

The second arc continues.
Chapter Fifteen - The Briefcase

The snow started to pile up.

Before she knew it, two months had passed since the beginning of the year.

Erin looked outside her window, and watched as children who dared to go outside were faced with the harsh wind that caused them to topple over. She felt scared for the bunch until she saw the huge grins on their faces.
"Snow, huh."

When she got out of the bed, she noticed as the door to Aris' bedroom was wide open, revealing the redhead that just got back from 'work.' She was still wearing her boots: the sleek, knee-length, black leather boots that she always wore whenever she was assigned a job. After Gary dropped Erin off at their apartment, Aris had immediately followed Gary like a shadow. As his guardian, Aris can choose between the route of either getting to know Gary as a friend or even a lover, where she can comfortably be at his side at all times, or to stay hidden; invisible from his eyes, where she follow him like a hawk.
She chose the latter.

"I don't like talking to people much," Erin remembered her say, "When the job is over, I can leave without complications."
"So when will your mission be over?"
"That's classified," Aris replied before chucking four spoonful of chocolate ice cream in her bowl.

Slowly, Erin closed her bedroom door before walking to the kitchen. She sat on a long, kitchen island chair and poured herself a glass of water. Before she knew it, she remembered the things that happened last night.

She quickly slapped herself in the face before forcing herself to organize her thoughts. Then she grabbed the yellow folder sitting idly on top of the bookshelf to her right."

"Senator Victor Alfred Dunkley," she said to herself, "46-years-old, and a big time player," Erin almost snorted. She did see the man last night, and from what she could gather, she could almost believe that statement. She observed him as someone two inches shorter than Gary, with a broad back that complimented the navy blue suit he wore. She thought of him as an elegant man; his hair was dark with a hint of silver, his skin showed a golden brown from being too much out of the sun after a trip to the Bahamas, and his stature alone could captivate an audience in a single smile, especially with those dark green eyes - he looked like an innocent puppy and an enigmatic, charming, older man all at the same time.

"He's dangerous," she thought to herself before getting back on focus.

"The senator is divorced, but was married to Estelle Dunkley and had one daughter together - Vienna Elizabeth Dunkley," she paused, "the beloved fiance of Greenwood Hospital Head chief, Derek Matthews. The announcement was made three weeks ago, and made headlines nationwide."

Her eyes stayed on the glass of water.

"Victor Dunkley is an old style conglomerate man. According to Gary, he is one of the hospital's major shareholders and the right hand of Michael Dean, the founder of the Dean Industries." She closed the folder.
"He doesn't get close to just anyone when it comes to official business," she thought, until a thought came in her head. The idea made her scratch her head in annoyance.

Official, my ass.

"To reach Michael Dean, I need to be involved with the Senator."


Aris was gone when she came back from the grocery store.
According to the small sticky note stuck on the fridge, she said she's gone for a bit. Erin saw it coming, as she remembered Gary telling her last night that he'll be in France for a week. She remembered him looking a little anxious last night when he was telling her about it, like a restless owner who couldn't leave his dog alone for a trip to Mexico.
"I'll be fine," Erin said to him. "I'll be here when you get back," she smiled.
"Don't do anything until I come back," he ordered, "Promise me that."
"I promise."

Of course, she didn't mean it. She knew he probably didn't believe it either.

As Erin set aside the contents of her grocery bag, she heard her cell phone ring. She saw the word "Irina" on the screen, and quickly picked it up.

"How is everything?" The voice was low and composed. Erin could hear different voices from the back, as if she was in the middle of a meeting when she decided to call.
"I had a look at Victor Dunkley," she said, "I plan to get in close contact with him."

"Good." The other line said. "Michael Dean is nowhere to be found. Our spy said he was in a hotel in Washington, but he checked out before we could reach him. He caught up - he noticed something was up and hid."
"Then what should I do?" Erin asked.
"If you can get close to Dunkley, ask him where Michael is," her mother instructed, "and when that's done, I'll take care of the rest."

She hanged up.

"Alright, I'll do it," she said to the other line, knowing that it already died. "Mom, I'm okay too."

Her eyes hanged stagnant at the phone screen. Their conversation lasted only 13 seconds. She laughed at the times when her friends would complain about their parents needing an entire hour to ask them repetitive questions, but her own mother couldn't wait to hang up.

Afterwards, Aris noticed the small mail symbol on the top of her screen, indicating a message.
She froze.
It was a message. A message from the dead.


As Derek drove, his mind flew elsewhere.

To the unreachable former chief Jacobs - the one he couldn't reach for weeks.
To the pile of papers in his office - the projects that heaped up after several major companies agreed to help the hospital funding; the powerful alliances made just after hearing his engagement to the Senator's daughter.
And to that woman.

"She was crying," he thought, and his grip on the wheel tightened as he recalled her words.

'Because you chose to be happy,'
'This makes it the third,'
'Stay away from me, I beg you.'

Like hell you can push me away just like that.

Derek took a sharp turn to the right, his speed higher than the posted maximum. He ignored the icy conditions and swiveled his hand to the wheel, making another left - until he found himself in front of a colleague's apartment complex.

Jordan Erikson.

"This bastard hasn't faced me in months," he thought as he got off the car. Afterwards he found himself inside the third floor, and in front of Erikson's door.
He knocked it.

He swore he saw an eyeball peak through the tiny glass hole, but nobody opened the door. Derek knocked again; this time, harder.
"Dammit, Erikson. Answer the damn door before I break it," he paused. "I'm serious."
He is.

It took another few frail minutes before the door slowly opened, revealing a skinny man with thick spectacles.

"...Derek," he said to him. " What are you doing here?"
"We need to talk," Derek replied, and barged his way inside, much to Erikson's protest.

As he entered, he noticed the layers of dirty clothes lying around, Chinese food take-out boxes piled the table tops and even the fridge was wide open - as if a thief had entered his home to steal his produce and bags of milk.
He doubted the thought.

"Why are you here?" Jordan asked him again as he closed the door. "Shouldn't you be in the hospital?"

"Shouldn't you?" Derek grabbed a glass and snatched the bottle of whiskey. "They said you were on vacation," he lifted the glass for a quick sip. "This doesn't look like Hawaii."

Jordan sat across Derek; taking the glass to pour himself some much-needed spirit. They sat in silence for a while; only their glasses clinking on the table were heard.
But all the while, Derek's eyes didn't stray off - his cold glare forcing Jordan to break into heavy sweats.

"I left because I can't take it anymore," Jordan spoke, his voice coarse and somehow condescending. "How can you live knowing what happened?" He paused. "That's right. You don't even remember anymore."

Derek slammed the glass down, afterwards jumping on Jordan, his hand gripping tightly on his collar. "Tell me. What don't I remember?"

Jordan watched Derek for a brief second. A colleague since internship, a companion in the surgical ward, a best friend and a long time role model - Derek was an older brother to him. But after what happened, he felt weak. To see everything before his eyes and not do anything about it, Jordan wanted to keep running away.

But Derek had finally come to see him. This was something he only hoped would happen, and it finally did.

And to see him desperately looking for answers, he knew what he had to do.
Ten minutes before they sat down, Jordan has already noticed the small ray of light coming from the building next door. He wasn't stupid. He knew it was coming from the same man who had been watching Jordan since the accident at Lucinta. He realized that someone had been trying to shut him up for months.

"Derek," he spoke lowly. "Whatever happens, I need you to take my briefcase," pointing slowly on the bag underneath him. "Don't open it here. Just take it and run."
"What are you talking about?" Derek asked him, his hand still stuck on his collar.
"I'm sorry but I can't take this anymore," said Jordan. "I'm a coward." He smiled at Derek. "Thank you for being my friend." Jordan stood up, and for the first time in three month, he looked straight into the direction of the man watching him, and he flashed him a teasing grin.
"Take care of Erin Grey. She's alive."

And just like that, Derek watched as the bullet pierced straight into Jordan's head.

(Author Update: Chapter Sixteen is Uploaded, and will be published by ibuzzle by today or tomorrow,depending on their availability. Thank you for your support.)
Published: 3/16/2015
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