Chapter Five: The Real Fun Begins
As the clock strikes seven, the squeaking sound made by the humongous vintage doors indicated that Deja Vu Cafe was opening for the day, and Zena, forced to wake up in the morning - begrudgingly welcomed the first customers raring to get their coffees in their hands as the first snowfall of the year dropped nearly five meters last night.
"Welcome!" She greeted them, but most of them passed her by as if she was nothing but weightless paper.
She sighed loudly, which caught some of the customer's attentions. A hand softly touched her on the shoulder.
"You've got to stop doing that." Aris pleaded, a serving tray on her right hand.
Zena shrugged her shoulders. "Tell them to stop ignoring me! Eugh, this is why I hate morning shifts!" Aris merely handed her the tray and held her shoulders.
"Why are you working here?"
"Because I spent my money on a boat."
"And what happened to that boat?"
"So what are you doing now?"
"Earning money for a new boat."
"Then go start earning, bud."
Aris handed the tray full of coffee to her unwilling best friend, and let her go. The two met coincidentally last year, at the most unexpected way. At that time, Aris had just finished her "assignment" in Florida and was aching to find a hotel. It was her twenty-fourth birthday, and although she had no one to celebrate it with, she thought spoiling herself with room service wasn't such a bad way to do it, considering the unlimited cash just hiding itself in the platinum card given to her by Barclay.
"For emergency," he said to her.
Well, I guess you consider this self-pity situation an emergency, she thought to herself, and checked in.
There, she met the very drunk Zena who had just broken up with her boyfriend, lounging around the hotel lobby - penniless. For some reason, Aris decided to walk up to this girl and have a talk. They talked about the boring atmosphere in Florida, the sunny weather that won't quit; they even talked about each other's problems, although Aris had to do a little revision in her part of the conversation.
While in the middle of their heartfelt conversation, Aris realized that she had been sitting in the hotel lobby for the past two hours, talking to a complete stranger - and nothing more. She realized that this time, she wasn't talking to this stranger because she was a target, nor was this stranger trying to run away from the sound of her footsteps.
"So this is what it feels like, huh." Aris wondered.
This must be what it feels like to have a friend.
"So, what's your name?" The girl asked, her innocent blue eyes big and intense from pure curiosity.
"Nice name," the girl replied. "I'm Zena. Zena Thomas."
Zena stood up and held Aris' hands.
"Say, Aris, you wanna go to Denver with me?"
After Zena's sudden invitation, Aris was intrigued by the idea of having a new life, and thoroughly talked things through with Barclay. He agreed, as long as she doesn't forget about her "real identity." Eight months later, she found herself getting used to her new lifestyle - that is until she met Zena's cousin. Aris felt like her mood darkened after the last thought.
Aris sighed, and silently thought of the things she found out about this 'interesting' man.
Christopher Thomas - 25 years old, a Cambridge University Graduate with a PhD in hand. Intensely rich - sole heir of Thomas Hotels and Industries. Resided in Cambridge, United Kingdom, but previously lived right here in Denver until he was Seventeen Years old. He had been a target of assassination since he turned twenty-two, when his name became big in the business world.
Marital Status: Single.
Aris mentally slapped herself for suddenly feeling giddy about his marital status. She never usually cared if her target was in a relationship or was married, but this man wasn't a target - not hers anyway.
Even so, why does she care? When he kissed her, she was mad - wasn't she? Because that was her first kiss. She laughed at herself - an assassin scared of big bad boys who knew how to kiss.
Besides, Aris doesn't have any responsibility with this man - she doesn't even know why she cared. Barclay knew nothing about her mess up, so she should be fine.
"Hello, Aris." A hand took a hold of her fingers, and delicately kissed it.
If it was another person who had done that, her instincts would have reacted quickly enough that the person in question would be kicked right out of the roof by now. This man however, holds power enough to counter her attack. She just stared at him as he looked up, his hands still holding hers.
Tyler Jenkins - Barclay's grandson and second-in-command. He had been trying to propose Aris for quite a long time, along with the other girls on his very long list.
"Big time playboy, this man." Aris thought to herself. He definitely has the looks - short dirty blonde hair, gray eyes just like his grandfather, and a smile that won't quit. He had the body too - she actually thought he was hot, but that was before.
"What is it?" She asked, curious as to why he was there with her in Denver, when he should have been in Malaysia on a "business trip."
"The air is chilly, don't you think so, red? Lots of things are going on." He replied in a monotone voice. When he noticed that this got her attention, he went close to her and whispered; "You're being targeted, Crimson. Watch out for your witness too. Barclay said to watch him."
When Tyler pulled away, he noticed her frozen expression. Both of them were now sitting on the corner of the cafe, with nobody to overhear their dire conversation.
"He knows." She whispered in disbelief - Barclay knew about Christopher Thomas.
Tyler merely smirked. "What doesn't he know?" He said in a matter-of-fact tone.
He stopped talking for a second, and then he looked at her.
"I have no idea what's going on, but CIA's in your ass again. I tried to get them off your trail the past few months, but we got info that they sent someone again, and this one ain't normal." Aris listened intently to Tyler, her mind getting weaker with every word. Since CIA found out about a family being in a mysterious "car accident" eight years ago, they were able to gather information that an assassin with codename "Crimson" had done the deed, and many more devious ones as well.
They had been trying to find her ever since, but with the help of Tyler and the others, she was able to escape them. However, the case this time had not seem to differ from her previous cases, so she asked Tyler something else.
"Wait. Why does Barclay know about Christopher Thomas? And why would he want me to protect him?"
Tyler took a sip from the coffee she gave him earlier. "Eugh, too sweet. Sugar?"
Aris nodded, and he shrugged. "No frickin' idea. But word is, Barclay and your witness' grandpa were tight before, so when Barclay found out you didn't kill the grandson, he was more relieved that angry. The old fart basically sent me to tell you to protect his best buddy's grandson."
"Why?" She couldn't help herself.
He looked at her. "Because there are others besides us that kill people for a living. This time, Barclay found that they're after that Thomas guy. His family got eyes all over UK when he was there, but none in Denver since it was off-limits for them here or somethin'. The grandpa talked to Barclay, and magic! Here I am telling you to protect him."
"But.. But..." She tried to say that she couldn't stand him, but was somehow resisting. Tyler stood up.
"I know about that kiss too, little lady." He smiled. She stood up to punch him when his left hand caught her wrist and his right hand touched her face.
"I wasn't joking about that proposal, you know." He whispered, his gray eyes suddenly clearer and his expression abruptly soft.
Tyler pulled Aris towards him when something strong took a hold of Tyler's hand and pushed him away.
Aris turned to see Christopher standing right in front of her, his broad back towards her as a means of protection as he faced Tyler.
"Excuse me for interrupting. but I see that she doesn't like you very much, so you should get the hell away from here." Christopher tried to calm his voice, but irritation got the best of him. Tyler merely stared at him, and started laughing.
"Speaking of the devil," he said in a low voice. He put his hands up as a sign of surrender, winked at Aris, and walked away, leaving Christopher and her alone.
"Christopher." She said.
He turned around to face her, and she noticed that his green eyes were quite fuzzy.
"Are you okay?" He asked. He looked at her, top to bottom; to see if the man she was talking to had done something stupid.
She simply nodded; she was stunned. It was the first time anyone tried to protect her, even if it is from Tyler. She tried to clear her head.
"Are you looking for Zena? She's inside, if you want me to call he-"
"No." He responded, and then he smiled. "I just wanted some coffee. Can you get me some?"
She turned to prepare his coffee when he spoke again.
"I'm sorry about yesterday." He said in a low voice. She turned towards him. On the coffee table wearing an elegant dark midnight suit sat a man praised for both his masculine looks and hard work - the same man she would soon start to protect, was now awkwardly covering his face in embarrassment as he tried to apologize.
"Don't worry about it." She finally responded, and his eyes lit up. She giggled inside her head. "Don't worry about it; I've kissed other guys worse than you." She continued, and walked away, leaving a very stunned Christopher behind.
Derek checked his watch to see that it was already two in the afternoon.
"That punk's late." He said to himself as he waited for Christopher to pick him up from the airport. This will be the first time the two would see each other again since he visited Christopher six years ago in UK.
He remembered being at Priscilla's funeral and how completely devastated he was to see Priscilla's closed casket on the middle of the chapel. They said her limp body was completely destroyed that they needed to close it; this killed him inside.
However, he was more furious that Christopher wasn't there at all. When he asked Christopher's mother, she told him that he had already been living in Cambridge for months after the two had broken up. At that time, Derek was still trying to make a name for himself after making it to the Federal Bureau - months before the Central Intelligence had noticed him.
Derek visited Christopher after the funeral to see that he was just as destroyed as Priscilla was; he looked like a living corpse, so Derek refrained from asking him anything. Seven years later, here they are now.
He had always thought Christopher would become a great man, who would use his own efforts to succeed, and he did. What he didn't know was that he would make it too - he thought he was going to be nothing more than a cop in Denver, but to make it as far as Central Intelligence and to become a promising one at that, he was impressed.
"Besides, I need to find Crimson. She's here somewhere." He thought. When his superiors finally noticed him, they gave him the case that had four of their people dead on spot. It was a top case - a secret case. They called it Mission: Crimson.
Crimson was the codename of an assassin who had been having fun killing people around the world, but was never noticed until she made the stupid mistake of killing a whole family in plain sight.
"I'll get you." His hands turned into a tight fist, when someone slapped his shoulder. He turned around to see Christopher standing behind him, a huge smile on his face.
"Hey, bud. Good to see you again."
Sitting on top of the Thomas Mansion was a woman. She climbed up and tiptoed from the edge of the roof until she reached Christopher's window. She looked to the left, and then to the right to see if anyone had followed her.
"Great." She thought. She was about to enter the opened window when she realized that she had just walked into a trap, and was too late. A hand grabbed her inside and before she knew it, she was knocked down.
"Good grief." Aris thought to herself as she looked down at the unconscious body of the woman who planned to infiltrate Christopher's room with the main objective of killing him.
"That makes her the third to try today," she said out loud. With a flick of her fingers two men appeared from nowhere and took the unconscious assassin.
"Don't kill her, just try to get information. You guys can go." Aris ordered them, and they were gone. The Mansion was empty today, since Mrs. Thomas was away on another vacation and allowed all of their help to have a vacation as well.
"They thought it was the perfect time to get rid of Christopher," she realized. But they were wrong, because they didn't know - hell even Christopher didn't know - that she was there to protect him now. As she waited for the others to attack, she walked around his room. It was humongous - she felt like she could fit in thirty people inside and still have room for a swimming pool.
She plopped herself in his bed. "King-size, of course." She laughed. It was soft, and it smelled like him, like sweet cologne. She felt her cheeks go red. Before she could swear she got up suddenly as something caught her eye.
It was a necklace.
Lying on top of the mahogany study desk was a simple, silver necklace. She stared at its quiet beauty; the simple chain appeared light, but if you looked clearly white gold was encircling the whole chain as if depicting letters. A message, she thought. She held it up on the light, trying to decode the message written on it. But before she could read the words, the door opened revealing a puzzled Christopher.
She dropped the necklace, and before she had the chance to pick it up, the glass window shattered revealing three men in full - black, their guns in hand. "This is good distraction." She thought to herself.
As fast as humanly possible she flew from the end of the room towards the door where the confused Christopher was. Holding the door in her hand she faced him.
"I'll protect you, so run." Then she slammed the door, leaving her alone inside with the three men.
"Who the hell are you?" The first one glowered, his bald head covered with what looked like wrinkles. "So he's the leader of the goons," she thought. She looked at them with a sickening grin.
"I'm Jessica Parker's daughter!" She said with enthusiasm. This irritated the goon leader as his wrinkles doubled in number, and his eyes got darker.
"She's just a kid." The second goon said as he tried to calm the first one. Leader goon raised his hand and pointed his pistol towards Aris.
"Let me make things easier," he said. "How about you get away from that door and give that billionaire to us, huh? His head's worth enough for us all!" He snorted, and his companions did the same.
"Disgusting." Aris thought. She stepped one foot forward and the three suddenly stopped laughing. "Hey, by any chance. Have you heard about someone named Crimson?" She asked them.
"I have." The third one finally spoke. "I hear she's really good with them, guns. I hear she wiped New York clean of them nasty gangs in three days. Legend, of course." He said in a proud tone, as if he doesn't believe such one exists.
She smirked. "So they keep getting worse day by day, huh. Well." She moved forward again, this time, reaching something out of her bag. "Say, what gun does she use?" Aris asked him again, her voice sly this time.
"I hear it's a Celeb prototype. It's rare - that kind of pistol."
She showed them her gun. A Celeb 3000 - her favorite. They froze in place. "Last question - why do you think they call her Crimson?" She asked the leader this time, and he started shaking. Not long ago she was several feet away, but suddenly she was right there, inches in distance and a smile on her face. He knew the answer to her question.
"Because she has the longest, most beautiful crimson colored hair."
Christopher had been banging on the door for the past several minutes; his hands were bleeding from the force he was putting it through.
"Aris, open the door!" He yelled out, but she didn't respond. He heard muffled voices on the other side of the door, but he couldn't make out the words. Then Gunshots.
"ARIS! DAMMIT! OPEN THE DOOR!" He yelled out again, this time he started kicking it. She must have locked herself in, with all those dangerous people inside, he thought. He remembered her say that she would protect him before she locked herself in with them. His mind darkened.
"What the hell! Protect me? I'm supposed to be the one protecting you! Aris!" This time, he kicked it so hard the door practically flew open, revealing a lifeless body in the middle - Aris.
Without hesitation, Christopher ran straight to her and held her tight.
"Aris, wake up!" He started shaking her. Seconds later he heard her grumble and her brown eyes opened slowly.
"You're alive," Christopher said in relief, and moved her hair away from her face. Aris pushed him back.
"I'm fine." She said simply, and tried to stand when she felt a sudden pain. She looked down. Christopher followed her gaze and saw that her right leg was bleeding - she was shot. "This is nothing." She tried to take another step when all of a sudden her feet weren't touching the ground, and she felt like she was flying. She looked to see that Christopher had carried her in his arms.
"Put me down," she ordered. He pretended not to hear her, and carried her to his bed. "Let me go!" She pounded on his back, but he didn't care. When they reached his bed, he pinned her down. He took her gun and threw it all the way to the other side of the room, then finally he looked her straight in the eyes.
"You and I are going to have a very, very long talk tonight."
That ends up Chapter Five of "She Will Be Loved." I thank everyone who took the time to read it from Chapter One to now, and shout out to all those who bothered to comment! I read each and everyone of them - thank you very much! Don't worry, it's not done yet. And trust me when I say, MORE surprises to come!