A/N: Hi everyone, sorry I haven’t updated for a quite a while. This month was pretty busy. I had my finals today in one subject and submitted the first project in another. I still have one more project to complete before the end of the semester. I’ll be able write more on the next few weeks…hopefully. Anyway, I had to revise this chapter – our doctor was becoming too passive for my taste. Sorry for the technical errors, I haven’t been able to edit this. 🙂
A Father’s Confession
Fred swallowed. The food had become tasteless as soon as Cheska’s name was brought up. Then…
Her brother. He hoped to have misheard it. The sharp intake of breath beside him, however, didn’t leave room for doubt. Gerry had confirmed two things that could cause irreparable damage in the relationship between father and son: first, Cheska’s real identity; second, Mr. Roucan’s involvement from the very beginning. Fred knew he would have to explain everything to his mom soon. His first priority was to calm Louis, who had stalked over to the door connecting theirs to the study.
The security personnel blocked Louis as expected. Like a good soldier, the former followed his commanding officer’s every word. The guard, however, found himself in a dilemma. Orders were to keep the people from leaving the conference room and to make sure the heir of Roucan Global Enterprises was out of harm’s way. The source of the conflict lay on said successor.
Louis, his face already white with fury, glared at the human obstacle then sidestepped him. The guard made the mistake of grabbing the younger man’s arm. In one swift motion, Louis wrenched his arm free; used it to twist the poor security personnel’s wrist up at the man’s back; then pushed roughly to the side. The next individual who dared come near Louis flipped in the air and slammed against the tiled floor. It all happened quickly that the rest of the men watching them were discouraged to stop him from leaving. Louis pressed a code in the keypad on the wall. The door opened. He stepped out.
Fred ‘s eyes darted from the man to the closed doors and back. Surely, Louis wouldn’t attack his own father. He rushed to the winded man and checked for injuries. His mom crouched beside him and said, “I’ll see to him. Go. Make sure Louis doesn’t do anything rash.”
He nodded his thanks and strode to the door. The door didn’t move even when he pushed the button on the side to open it. He tried once more. Nothing.
“He’s locked us in,” Allan said behind him.
Fred saw through the glass doors that Louis had seized Gerry by the collar. He looked around for a way to open the doors. His gaze landed on the chair.
“It’s useless. These doors are strengthened to withstand ammunition.”
He whirled on Allan. “You knew this would happen. Why didn’t you stop him?”
“As much as I want to, I can’t,” Allan said, not taking offence at the accusation. “Louis isn’t an easy opponent. He was our former Chief’s best student. Excuse me.” He spoke in code to his earpiece for a moment. Allan then said to Fred: “We’ll get out soon. My man’s trying to override Louis’ encryption.” He paused. “Try the doors again.”
The doors opened when Fred pushed the button once more. He wanted to thank Allan, but the man’s back was already turned, spewing instructions in his earpiece. Fred walked towards Louis cautiously.
“This is the last time I’m asking,” Louis threatened. “Why do you know my sister?”
“So, you were listening,” Gerry lifted a brow at him.
“Answer me, dammit!” He shook the spy.
Fred stopped a good distance from them, unsure of how to proceed. In Louis’ current state, saying and doing the wrong thing would make the situation worse. He looked at Mr. Roucan and saw a subtle change in the patriarch’s demeanor. Sadness flitted across the old man’s expression.
“Son, let him go,” Mr. Roucan said. He moved around his desk to stand nearer to the two men.
“Stay away from me,” Louis gritted.
“Look. As much as I want to tell you, I can’t,” Gerry said. “It would go against my work ethics and I have a reputation—”
“Are you mocking me?” Louis’ eyes narrowed infinitesimally. “If I recall correctly, you knew I would be listening.”
“Incorrectly,” Gerry said, smirking. “I suspected you’d do something naughty when you left without a fuss. See, you’re a like a dog with a bone when it comes to things that matter to you – or should I say obsessed with?” He ignored the murderous glint in Louis’ eye. Unsmiling, he continued, “You’re worse than your father.”
Louis released him abruptly and half-turned. While Gerry attempted to regain his balance, the former rounded on him and swung.
Gerry toppled to the side, his hand cradled his jaw. Physically hurt, his feelings were intact. His laugh rang amid the tension within the room. Louis’ fists clenched and unclenched. He stared down at the spy and advanced on him.
“Louis, stop!” Fred said. He grasped him by the shoulder. Louis paused, his shoulders tensed at the contact. His gaze travelled from the hand to its owner’s face. The dangerous gleam in his eyes dimmed, but there was a silent warning in it. His gaze snapped back to the hand still on his shoulder. Fred held on.
“Let go,” Louis said.
“This isn’t you.”
“You’re a guardian,” Fred whispered fiercely. “Isn’t there a code for what you can and can’t do?”
“Do you think your sister would be proud with what you’re about to do?”
“You don’t know anything about her.”
“She was my best friend,” Fred snapped. “Electra had a temper, but she wouldn’t go on a rampage just because the world was unfair to her.”
“Take it back.” Louis glared at him.
“What, you didn’t like what you heard?” Fred felt his anger rise. He was getting tired of preventing his friend from getting into fights. It was high time Louis woke up to reality. “So you’re going to attack me now just like you did to those men? There are consequences, Louis!”
Louis turned fully at him. Fred braced himself for physical assault. If worse comes to worst, he would zap the younger man even if it meant ending their friendship.
“This isn’t about her,” Fred frowned, “is it?” His grip loosening, Louis wordlessly retreated from him.
“Why do you want to know the truth so badly?” Mr. Roucan asked quietly.
“You know why,” he growled.
Mr. Roucan studied his son for several seconds. “Alright,” he nodded curtly. “Why don’t we all sit down for a moment?”
“Thank you,” Gerry muttered and took the nearest seat.
“Doctor,” Mr. Roucan waved at the chair in front of the desk.
“I don’t think I should be here anymore, sir,” Fred said. He felt he had intruded enough in their family affairs and wished not to be further involved. Moreover, he was still a little angry and disappointed with Louis.
Fred reluctantly acquiesced when Louis didn’t object.
The Roucans remained standing, staring at each other. Then Mr. Roucan began, “I had someone guard her that day. I don’t know why I did it, but I’m glad I had. When I found out about the accident, I headed directly to the hospital. She was in the operating theatre when I arrived. Her heart stopped beating during that time. The doctors worked on reviving her but her body didn’t respond. They had already given up when, miraculously, her heart started pumping again. Then we had to wait.
“It took twenty-two hours, forty-five minutes and six seconds for her to wake. I wasn’t there when she did – I had to come home.” Fred knew that Mr. Roucan was telling the truth. He and Louis knew that Mr. Roucan received a call that Victoria, Electra’s clone, drowned in the bathtub. Still, Fred knew that Victoria committed suicide – another detail the father omitted from his son. James confirmed it when Victoria’s friend had confided in him. Then there was the story online that was a lot closer to being factual than he had ever realized. Again, Fred wondered about the mysterious author while he listened to Mr. Roucan’s confession:
“Your sister was already awake when I returned. The first thing she did was smile at me…because she thought I was one of her doctors.
“The doctors assured me that it was possible to regain her memories with help from those who knew her. That’s when I began to think if she was ever happy. Would she have smiled freely if she hadn’t lost her memories?” Mr. Roucan’s gaze was fixated on his desk. “I saw how she interacted with the hospital staff and to her guard. She was pretty close to him since she believed him to be a family friend.”
“That would be me,” Gerry said. He slipped his hand under his sleeve. His head flickered and left his dark hair peppered with grey and face older and weather-beaten.
“I watched over her at a distance. The more I saw her, the more I was convinced to have her adopted.”
“How could you?” Louis interrupted.
“She was happier in her new life than she would ever be—”
“She was happy. I made sure of that. You’re only justifying your actions.”
“Justifying my…” Mr. Roucan fixed his frosty gaze at his son. “What would I have gained in losing her?”
“You were ashamed of her from the start. You can’t even utter her name. Eliminating your own flesh and blood was out of the question. That’s why you made a copy of her. Then the accident happened.” Louis stalked towards his father. “Problem solved.” He snapped his fingers.
“Don’t you understand, boy?” Mr. Roucan’s voice rose and shook in anger. “I wanted your sister to be happy.”
“You honestly think I’d believe that?” Louis leaned forward. “You were never there for us? You – didn’t – care!” he roared.
“You don’t know what I’ve done—”
“Because you haven’t done anything!”
“—for you and your sister!”
Fred shifted in his seat. His fingertips tingled with electricity that could render a person unconscious for a short while. Louis was becoming more unpredictable. Fred was prepared to use his ability to prevent the son from hurting the father. He kept an eye on the two men’s shouting match. Then Louis yelled, pulling back his arm. Fred raised his hand to release the electricity.
“Stop fighting!” A clear voice sliced through the emotionally-charged atmosphere. Everyone halted and turned to see Cheska standing in front of an opening in the wall – a secret partition. “Stop it. All of you.”
Cheska gave Fred a fleeting look as she strode over to father and son. Then she said sternly, “Father. Brother.” The reaction was instant. Both men stared at her in shock. “Are you going to argue the whole day or are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
“What did you just say?” Louis asked.
“I,” Cheska’s brows furrowed. “I want to know what’s happening…” She trailed off as she noticed Gerry. Her eyes widened. “Gerry? What are you doing here?” Her gaze flickered to all of them. “What the hell is going on?” She backed up a step.
“Cheska, do you remember who I am?” Louis approached her cautiously.
“You’re my brother,” Cheska said flatly, devoid of emotion.
The manner she spoke made Louis stop short. The hopeful expression in his face faltered. “Electra,” he began.
“Will someone tell me what’s going on here?”
Louis appeared shattered; Cheska had cut him off. The woman looked distraught when she saw the effect of her words. Fred took pity on the siblings and decided to take control of the situation.
“How much do you remember about the accident?” he asked.
“I remember the fight but after that…” Cheska rubbed her temple. She lifted her gaze and sought Gerry’s. A question burned in her eyes.
She wasn’t aware of Gerry’s line of work, Fred realized.
Copyright © 2014-2015 Cecilia Beatriz. All rights reserved.
A/N: Judging on how Cheska reacted to Louis, do you think Mr. Roucan was right all along? Stay tuned!
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