A/N: Just couldn’t keep away… Since it’s almost New Year, here’s another chapter. Enjoy! 😉
“I’ll find you,” Louis had said.
Did he know that I would visit James? Is that why he was there the whole time? Fred wondered just how powerful Louis had become since he left the Mysts.
Two days, he kept watch of his surroundings, expecting Louis to appear before him any moment. Still, Louis hadn’t come. In vain, Fred wished Louis wouldn’t do anything rash without consulting him.
On the third day, Tony called him on his phone asking if he knew a man called Louis. He was described to be in his twenties, messy brown hair, and slight build.
“Did he say his last name?” Fred asked. He had taken to reading a novel in his room when Tony called.
“He wouldn’t say, sir. He just told us that you know him and could prove that he’s not mistaking Cheska for his sister.
His sister? Fred jumped to his feet and readied to leave. “Where is he?”
“In Cheska’s kitchen, sir.”
“Wait for me there.” Fred pocketed packets which he kept in his bag and strode out.
“I’m already at the hotel, sir,” Tony said hesitantly.
Fred paused in mid-stride and asked, “Then, who’s keeping an eye on him?”
“He was harassing her, sir. So, I had to restrain him.” Tony sounded apologetic.
“I’ll be down in a minute.” Fred hung up and quickened his pace. Louis, what have you done now?
Once Fred entered the car, Tony advised him to buckle up. The chauffeur drove at surprising speed but slow enough not to violate traffic regulations. In less than an hour, they stopped in a beach resort and took the last block to Cheska’s home on foot.
“That’s hers,” Tony said and pointed at the house walled in with a half-finished mural of sunflowers. He jogged ahead and met Cheska by the door.
It was the first time Fred saw Cheska with her hair down. He could see why Louis thought that she was his sister. In the distance, her long wavy brown hair, slim figure and regal bearing reminded him of Electra. Why hadn’t he seen it before? What if she is actually Electra? Hope leaped in his heart. If she’s alive, he would finally be free of her.
Cheska isn’t Electra, his logical side dictated. Their dispositions were completely different. Cheska’s sunny personality contrasted Electra’s intensity and bitterness.
“Fred. I’m glad you came,” Cheska said, relieved. Her face was drawn and her shoulders were tense. She rubbed her arms unconsciously. “I caught your friend watching me since the other day. When he sneaked inside the house earlier, I panicked and called Tony.”
His heart went out to her. He wanted to draw her in his arms and brush her anxieties away. Yet, he couldn’t do that to her. She would only feel awkward to be embraced by a stranger. Instead, he said: “I’m sorry about what happened. May I see him?”
“He had quietened after Tony left to pick you up.” Cheska led the way to the kitchen and stopped by the door frame. “I’ll stay here, if you don’t mind.”
The sound of approaching footsteps reached Louis’s ears. Slowly, he raised his head. The man, who had tied him to the chair, had brought Fred. They whispered to each other discussing him. Louis couldn’t care less. His sister stood the furthest from his reach. He had thought to surprise Electra earlier not scare her. She couldn’t remember him. Why can’t she remember him? Why?
“Louis,” Fred said. His friend looked miserable, covered in orange paint and tied to a chair.
Louis didn’t want to let Electra out of his sight. It was his fault that he lost her. I shouldn’t have given her up so easily, he thought.
“Louis,” Fred called again. He moved forward, momentarily blocking Louis’s view of Cheska. “Louis, look at me,” Fred said firmly.
Reluctantly, Louis did as he was told.
“I’m going to free you but you have to promise to behave.”
‘Behave’, he says. Twenty years, I behaved for father. Twenty years, I kept a blind eye to father’s – no, Alfred Roucan’s despicable deeds. My sister lives and you tell me to behave! Louis silently screamed at Fred, who returned his rage with calm. Can I still trust him or anyone? Then, he remembered: the day Electra disappeared, the accident, and Fred’s faith in him.
Fred saw the dangerous glint leave Louis’s eyes. It was a good sign. Fred removed the gag and began untying him.
Tony stood guard with Cheska behind him. He didn’t trust someone who creeps into another’s house. How is he connected to Fred? Could he possibly be a patient? Louis looked docile with Fred around. The same man had displayed the skills of one who had trained to fight at an early age. It was sheer luck that Louis slipped on spilled paint in Cheska’s studio that Tony was able to hold him down.
While the two were preoccupied with a difficult knot, Tony reached for the nearest object and hid it behind him.
“I won’t come near you if you’ll just let me see your eyes,” Louis said. He gently rubbed his hand on the angry red lines which circled his wrist. The cable had bit into his skin when he struggled against his bonds.
Cheska didn’t answer.
“It will prove to me and Fred that you’re my sister.” Louis put his hand in his pocket. He pulled out a photo of Electra and him. The last memento he had of his sister.
“And if you’re wrong?” Cheska said, finding her voice.
“I won’t bother you again.”
The moment Cheska removed her sunglasses, time stood still.
“Electra,” Fred breathed.
Then, Cheska put it back on and saw him advance slowly towards her.
“You’re alive,” he said. “How could this be?” His hands went over her shoulders. The physical contact proved she was real. Not a dream, not a figment of imagination.
“I’m not her. My name is Francesca,” she said. What is wrong with them?
Victoria had Electra’s face, Fred recalled. Suddenly, his thoughts took a dark turn.
“If you’re not her, who are you?” he said. “Who do you work for?” He felt anger rise within him. “Were you ordered to play his twisted games with us?”
“What are you talking about?” Cheska said, bewildered.
“Stop acting like you don’t know.”
“Fred, stop!” Louis pulled on his arm.
“Tell me the truth,” Fred said.
Thunder boomed and lightning crackled outside. Cheska winced as his grip tightened on her shoulders.
“Hey! You’re hurting her,” Tony said. He shoved Fred but the doctor was immovable.
“You don’t know what we’ve all been through because of you,” Fred said. His anger overwhelmed him that he couldn’t think straight. He kept seeing Victoria and Electra in Cheska’s face. Then, something snapped inside him.
“Let go of me,” Cheska squirmed and beat at his chest. She had never been so frightened and helpless until now.
The wind howled and thick grey clouds threw them in darkness. Her eyes darted to the window and to Fred. What’s going on?
“She doesn’t remember!” Louis shouted. He hadn’t expected Fred to react this way and the weather… Is he doing this? Louis made eye contact with Tony and Saw.
“Fred!” Louis yelled at the same time Tony struck Fred with a cast iron pan.
Fred crumpled to the ground unconscious. The wind died down and the ominous clouds scattered as if it hadn’t happened.
“Is he…” Louis stared at the body lying on his feet.
Tony placed his fingers over Fred’s nose and said, “He’s alive. Are you alright?” he asked Cheska.
“You could’ve killed him,” Louis accused Tony.
“It’s your fault too, you know,” Tony answered back.
“Why did you have to hit him?”
“Got any better ideas?”
“You should’ve punched him instead.”
“If you thought of that, why didn’t you?” Tony waited. “Never crossed your mind, did it?” he said smugly.
“Enough!” Cheska stepped between them. “This isn’t the time to be bickering. Tony, stop baiting him. And you,” she turned to Louis. “He only did it to protect me and, maybe, all of us.”
They fell silent, the eerie weather earlier still fresh in their memories. A saying in the Mysts came to mind: In the Mysts, anything and everything is possible.
Cheska sensed that the men were ready to listen to her instructions.
“Help me carry him to my room,” she said.
“Your room?” Tony couldn’t believe what he heard. “He hurt you.”
“He wasn’t himself,” Louis defended.
“One more word and I’ll throw the both of you out,” Cheska warned. She didn’t allow herself to think about what Fred had said. It had shocked her to see him with such cold fury. He wasn’t the same doctor she first met at the restaurant. Whatever had happened in the past had caused him to act this way.
What kind of secrets does he hold so closely in his heart? She shook her head. This was the second time Fred confused her. Ever since their last meeting, Cheska couldn’t stop thinking about him. She didn’t want to think, she needed to act.
Cheska glanced at Louis and Tony and heaved a breath. If only these men would stop throwing dirty looks at each other. She said, “Are you helping or not?”
Silently, Tony lifted Fred by the underarms and Louis took the legs. Together, they carried the insensible doctor to her room.
She was about to follow them when a piece of paper on the floor caught her eye. Cheska picked it up and flipped the paper. It was a photo of a younger Louis and a girl on a swing. The swing…She felt the wind against her cheek and smell the scent of warm summer. She heard a child’s voice urge, “Higher, higher!”
Her legs weakened and she accidentally dropped the picture.
“Steady there,” Tony said, breaking her fall. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” Cheska brushed away his concern and retrieved the photo.
What was that? She felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. A minor discomfort, Cheska disregarded it as her mind began to consider the possibilities.
Copyright © 2014-2016 Cecilia Beatriz. All rights reserved.
A/N: Well? What do you think happens next?
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