Attention: NSFW, violence.
There’s this twisting in my gut that hurts whenever I think about it. I know it now.. It’s a fact in my mind that I can’t escape, it had to be.. Hannah had to be cheating on me, or else none of what’s been happening would’ve occurred. I’ve realized that her income from the bakery doesn’t add up to what is usually is, or should be.. When it would normally add up to a cent amount, lately it would come out to a perfect flat sum and it made me think she was getting paid but not giving change..? It even seemed as if she was being given money outright instead of earning it from the bakery.. It’s been a few years since the Easter Festival and I’ve been watching our money flow a lot more than I had. When I had noticed that we were getting more money than I thought we were supposed to be getting, I did my own investigating and the money she had been getting goes back even since before the Easter festival.. How could I have not noticed back then?
But.. What does this all mean? Was she really cheating on me..? For how much she seemed to be bringing in, it almost made me think she was doing something for this money and she didn’t want me to know, going behind my back and trying to add it into her monthly deposit in hopes of me never finding out.. And there was no evidence of this money disappearing from our account to pay it back, it never balanced out and we were always in the positive now, so she hadn’t taken out a loan without me knowing.. What was she doing to get this money? Who was giving it to her?
I sat at my desk in the bedroom before work, looking at our bank account and my mind was going crazy trying to figure out any other explanation I could think of for where this money was coming from.. Is this why she’s been so distant with me? We’ve been intimate like any other married couple, but when I thought about it more, the times that I would get her into the mood was changing, and I’d be left with Hannah trying to sleep afterward instead of cuddling or talking to me like we usually once did. She was distant, too distant. I was convinced that she was getting something from someone else and it’s been bothering me to the point where I’d get mad about nothing in front of her and it would explode into this huge ordeal that never needed to happen and I would never come out with what I was truly thinking.. She was hiding something and trying to make me feel like the bad guy in those situations, diverting the attention from herself onto either me or the kids.
Hannah had gotten pregnant a little after the spring festival and she had given birth to our little girl, Camilla.. But, as bad as I felt for thinking this, I couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t mine. No matter how many times I looked into her eyes, it still didn’t sit right with me.. None of it. Camilla was so innocent and I hated the way I looked at her, I know I should show her unconditional love like I do for Oliver, but.. I.. I just couldn’t.. Yet another reason for Hannah and I to grow apart because she felt as if I preferred Oliver over Camilla.. But, that’s exactly how I felt.. Hannah wasn’t wrong in that one aspect. I still played with her, let her sleep in my arms, fed her and made silly faces to make her laugh, but my heart just wasn’t there.
Camilla reminded me of my grandfather that I remembered seeing in pictures, her hair and eyes just as brown as his, but then again, they also might not be my genes at all if she truly isn’t mine like I thought she wasn’t.. She was a very friendly little girl, though she hated being outside because it was so hot here in this climate.. She much more preferred the cold. She was beautiful and I had always dreamed of having a little girl now that Hannah and I had a boy, but every time Camilla looked at me and smiled, it was hard to return the same expression..
Oliver loved Camilla and I liked how inseparable they were, he was already great at being an older brother and I could already tell that Camilla idolized him. I remember imagining to myself that if I had a little girl, I would adore her and she’d adore me.. She’d be sad to see me leave and excited to see me when I got home, and that’s exactly what Camilla did, yet I was less excited than I thought I’d be whenever I got home and she was waiting for me.
Before I left for work, I left my bedroom and got Camilla dressed and ready for the day, seeing Oliver still in his bed, though he was sitting up and awake, watching me dress Camilla, “Come on, bud.. Time to go to school, get dressed,” I said softly, smiling his way before looking to Camilla and adjusting the outfit I chose for her so it would fit nicely. Oliver finally got up and went out of the room, going to brush his teeth and fix his hair and he came back into the room minutes later.
“Why doesn’t Millie have to go?” He complained quietly and I chuckled.
“Because, she’s still too young.. Her vocabulary still consists of about ten words.. She’ll be going in a few years though,” I replied.
“Is she going to go to an all-girls school like I’m going to an all-boys?” He wondered, getting out his uniform from the dresser for school.
“Yeah, making sure you two go to good schools and get good educations are our top priority. The private schools you go to are the best to be in around here, you’ll get used to it,” I preached, fixing Camilla’s hair after putting her dress on.
“I don’t like my school, it’s really small,” he complained, getting dressed into his uniform as I continued to fix Camilla’s hair and waiting for Oliver to be ready.
“Well, have you made any friends yet?” I asked, not hearing Ollie answer me and I looked towards him, “Oliver?”
“..No,” he replied quietly, “I get made fun of a lot,” he replied even quieter and I let go of his sister so she could go and play, seeing him look up to me with sad eyes.
I walked over to him and knelt down to his level, putting my hands on his arms and turning him towards me, “What do they say to you?” I asked sternly, getting a little angered at how anyone could find even one flaw about him.
“They make fun of my backpack because of the color, they think it’s for girls and they call me princess a lot,” he replied softly, averting his eyes elsewhere and I sighed as I looked to his backpack, then back to him.
“Why don’t you get a different one then?”
“But it’s my favorite color! Mom and I searched for backpacks for a long time and I finally found this one that I liked,” he answered.
“Well, then just ignore them, they only do that because they’re jealous of it. I bet they didn’t get the ones they chose and they’re jealous that you got exactly what you wanted,” I replied, putting my hand to the side of his face and making him look at me, “It’s just who you are.. Don’t let them get to you, getting upset by it only fuels those little monsters to keep doing it. If you don’t let it bother you and you ignore them, they’ll stop.. Trust me,” I replied with a smirk, seeing him nod to my words and I stood up, walking back over to Camilla and picking her up, “Come on, let’s get you two some breakfast.”
I walked out of the kids room holding Camilla and Oliver walked next to me, “Did you ever go through stuff like this when you were in school?” He wondered and I smiled while chuckling.
“Of course, no one goes through their school career without getting made fun of at least once. People are always going to find something they don’t like and exploit it.. I used to get made fun of for getting excellent grades, but I got over it by realizing that I was just better than everyone else, and since I was, they took the best thing about me and made fun of it.. The word nerd was said a lot I recall,” I replied and Oliver laughed softly.
“Well, I don’t think you’re a nerd, Dad. I’m gunna be as smart as you one day,” he said happily and I looked down to him with a smirk.
“No, you’ll be way smarter. You probably already are since you got to go to such a good school at your age. I would’ve done anything to convince my Dad to let me go to a school like you are had I ever known about them,” I replied, stopping by the door and watching Oliver set his backpack down by the door and he then walked with me towards the kitchen where Hannah was.
“Wait, did you ever go to college?” He asked and I shook my head.
“No, even though I very well could’ve. Some family issues happened around my Senior year of High School and I got distracted, way too distracted by it and I ended up almost failing my last year, which resulted in me losing all the scholarships I thought I was going to get,” I replied, seeing him show remorse in his eyes as if he felt bad for me but I chuckled softly as I put Camilla into her high chair, “Don’t worry about it.. Had I went to college, I would’ve never met your mother, and you wouldn’t be here. I’m very glad I never went just for that one reason,” I added, seeing him smile and he laughed as I tousled the hair on his head.
“What do you want for breakfast, sweetheart?” Hannah wondered towards Oliver as he climbed into a bar stool to watch her cook for him.
“Hmm.. An omelet? With.. Bacon, cheese, mushrooms, annndddd.. Green peppers?” He wondered and she smiled with an accompanied giggle.
“Omelet it is,” she replied happily.
Hannah looked over to me with a blank expression as I sat in the stool next to Ollie, “I thought you would’ve left for work by now..?” She wondered, looking away from me then and preparing Ollie’s breakfast. I scowled just slightly towards her without Oliver noticing and I then let out a sarcastic chuckle, though I was the only one who knew it was sarcastic.
“I know you’re eager to get rid of me, but I let Jaime open this morning because Ollie wanted me to drive him to school,” I replied, looking to Ollie and patting his back as he smiled towards me.
“Gibson, don’t imply such things, it’s ridiculous.”
“Is it?” I asked and she looked to me for a few long seconds, then went back to making Oliver’s breakfast, ignoring me and I chuckled softly. She hated spending even a few minutes with me and she made me feel unproductive since I wasn’t already at work, but I tried to ignore my urge to be at my job as I looked at Ollie, glad that he had wanted me to drive him to school.
“Can you take Millie today?” Hannah wondered as she finished up Oliver’s breakfast and placed it before him.
“Why can’t you take her?” I asked in return.
“It’s Friday, Gibson, you know I get swamped at the bakery at the end of the week,” she pointed out and I sighed, looking over to Camilla in her high chair then back to Hannah, nodding softly.
“Yeah.. I can take her,” I reluctantly agreed and she walked away from me without so much as a smile to my response and she began cleaning up the kitchen.
“Can I come with? Pleaaasseee?” Oliver whined and I shook my head.
“Nope, you gotta go to school and face those guys, and you’re not missing any school unless you’re sick, you know that,” I replied and he sighed heavily.
“Fiiiiiine..” Oliver reluctantly replied.
“What do you mean ‘face those guys’? Are you being bullied, Ollie?” Hannah wondered with concern and we both got off the bar stools to get ready to leave.
“No, he’s doing just fine. I’ve got it covered already,” I reply, watching as Hannah looked to me as if she was offended that she wasn’t involved in this situation.
“Is that right? Because I thought I asked Oliver a question,” she replied with slight attitude and I scoffed quietly.
“Well, Ollie? Your mother asked you something.. Answer her.”
“It’s okay, Mom.. I can handle it, don’t worry,” he replied with a smile her way and Hannah crossed her arms over her chest. “I’ll be outside by the car, Dad.. Bye, Mom! Love you!” He called out as he grabbed his backpack by the door.
“Love you, baby,” she called back to him and he went outside to wait for me.
I went to Camilla and picked her up out of her high chair, about to walk towards the door to go outside with Oliver, but I caught Hannah staring at me with her arms still crossed over her chest, still waiting for an explanation, “What..? He probably didn’t want to tell you because no boy wants to look weak in front of a girl. He was just getting made fun of because the kids don’t like the color of his backpack, that’s all.. Like he said already, he can handle it, so stop worrying so much.. It’s not like he’s getting beat up,” I said with little patience.
“And what happens when he does get beat up? What did you say to him when he told you all of this?” She asked as if anything I said to him was going to be the wrong teachings, as if I couldn’t handle my son having bullies.
“You say that as if it’s a sure thing that’s going to happen.. I just said he’s fine the way he is, those kids are just jealous of him and he needs to ignore them because it doesn’t matter what they say,” I replied sternly, “Was that not the right thing to say? Should I have told him to beat the hell out of them? Make them eat dirt?” I asked sarcastically.
“No, of course not, Gibson..” She replied angrily, shaking her head towards me as if I was the only one being difficult right now.
“Oh, well then it does look like I had it under control, huh?” I asked and she turned away from me, not replying and I scoffed, “See you at dinner..” I ended the conversation abruptly with anger and I left, bringing Millie with me and getting in the car with Oliver to take him to school.
“Is Mom mad?” Oliver asked in the car as I drove him to school and I looked to him through the rear-view mirror.
“No, not at you.. You did nothing wrong, okay?” I said, seeing him look to me through the mirror and he nodded.
“Then was she mad at you?”
“No..” I lied, not wanting him to ever figure out that Hannah and I weren’t doing well lately, “She’s just worried about you and she doesn’t want her son being bullied, that’s all.. No parent wants their child to be tormented for being themselves,” I replied, seeing him nod in understanding and I smirked. “It’ll be okay, bud.. If you can get through today when dealing with those guys, you can get through anything,” I continued, then my voice got a little quieter.. “Don’t tell your mother I told you this, but if those guys ever want to hurt you, or beat you up or anything like that.. Don’t be afraid to defend yourself. Don’t by any means throw the first punch, but if they do, don’t run away, you hear me? Always stand up for yourself,” I finished, seeing him smirk and nod in acknowledgment towards me in the mirror and I smiled as well.
“Did you ever get beat up?” He wondered and I thought for a moment, though it wasn’t that pleasant of a memory and I didn’t want to share it with him, but I decided to anyways.. He needed more information, and it was a little obvious he was nervous about the subject of violence.
“Yeah, I was maybe a little older than you are now.. It was winter and you’re Uncle Gareth was out sick one day, but I still had to go to school. My brother and I always stood by one another and watched out for each other, so no one would usually mess with us if we were together.. But separated? That’s usually when we got picked on a lot more. The day he was sick and I still came to school, there was one kid in particular that hated our family for whatever reason, pushing me up against a locker and he even took my glasses and threw them down the hallway.. Shoved me down to the floor, told me to lick the bottom of his shoes but I refused, so he kicked me in the stomach a few times for not doing it.. Then told me some nasty things and left,” I replied, seeing the worry in Oliver’s eyes through the rear-view mirror. “It was the same boy, too, that beat up your Aunt Bahiti a day later, shoving her face in the snow and giving her a bloody nose.”
“..What happened later, when Uncle Gareth came back to school? Did he defend you guys, or did you two get him back?” He wondered and I shook my head.
“Nah.. I can’t tell you what we did.. I don’t want to give you any ideas.. Let’s just say he never bothered us again,” I replied, watching the road and unable to forget how that day had ended..
I.. I remember.. I remember the sky being dark that day after school, as if the world knew what my brother and I were planning and it set the perfect ambiance. After our target had beat me up in the hallway, and about two weeks after he white washed Bahiti in the snow, resulting in her coming home with a bloody nose, Gareth and I scoped out our bully for a few days..
We watched, waited, planned.. He usually walked home by himself, he took the route that was behind the school passed the baseball diamond, alone, the perfect time to strike. It was our duty, our right, our will to take him down, especially for what he had done to our little sister.. He only brought this upon himself.
Gareth and I took that route home one day, waiting within the dugout of the baseball field, waiting to see him walking home alone like he usually did, and eventually, we saw him. We waited until about four thirty, the time around when the ones that were stupid enough to get caught got out of detention and he walked through the baseball diamond as both of us watched him carefully. “That’s him, right?” Gareth wondered, wanting me to make confirmation before we made any moves and I nodded even though Gareth wasn’t looking at me.
“Yeah.. That’s definitely him..” I confirmed.
Without any more words, I watched as Gareth rose from the bench and grabbed a baseball bat, holding it up and inspecting it carefully, blissfully.. “I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time.. You ready?” He asked, seeing him look to me and I nodded.
“More than ready,” I answered, seeing him smile and he looked towards the boy, still venturing through the baseball diamond.
I stood up slowly, following Gareth out of the dugout and we walked to the pitchers mound, stopping behind Gareth and I watched as he lifted his arms, smelling the air loudly and letting out a loud, pleasureful sigh. “Well, it sure is a lovely day out, isn’t it, Gibs?” He announced loudly, both of us watching as the boy stopped and looked back at us.
I took in the same breath of winter air that Gareth had and smiled, looking towards the boy and I nodded, “Beautiful..” I confirmed towards Gareth. “What do you think?” I asked towards our bully, seeing his expression unwavering as we both starred at him.
“What are you two idiots doing here? You two just can’t get enough of my fist in your face, can ya?” He taunted and I looked towards Gareth, seeing him tap the end of the bat against the white snow in a calm manner.
“Come on, Henry.. You know why we’re here, don’t tell me you’re that stupid,” he taunted back, seeing Henry grow angered and he began walking back across the baseball diamond towards us.
“I don’t care that you two are together, it just makes it easier to beat the shit out of you two at the same time rather than apart,” he replied and I heard Gareth laugh.
“Funny.. Because I don’t care that you’re alone. I actually love that you are, because unlike you, I’ll never be that pathetic.. No one to have your back.. No one to help you win fights.. Well, this is going to be one fight that you don’t walk away from. You’re going to pay for what you did to us.. To our sister.. Right now, actually. I know from beating up others, you might’ve gotten some blow-back, some of their blood on your face or in your mouth.. But, have you ever tasted your own?” He asked and I grew a little nervous, looking towards Henry and I watched as he smiled, still approaching us.
“You two think you’re soooo tough..” He replied and Gareth laughed again.
“No, we just know that you’re weak right now. Vulnerable. ..Deserving. In need of a little wake up call. Don’t you agree?” I heard Gareth ask with a voice I was beginning to become unfamiliar with. He was turning into such a collected, calm person as he stood there and taunted Henry, and even though he was standing right in front of me, it was hard to tell if it was the Gareth I knew. I always knew us to be different, and so did he, but he embraced the side of us that we couldn’t control, whereas I questioned it, though I enjoyed watching it unravel through Gareth.
“Wanna play baseball, Henry?” I heard Gareth question and my heart began to beat a little faster, knowing that Gareth was growing impatient and his need to let everything out was growing. There was no stopping this now. I needed to regain my composure and be Gareth’s backup, taking a deep breath in and letting it out slowly.
“No, I don’t want to play, Gareth.. What are you, stupid? There’s snow on the ground, plus, why the hell would I wanna play with you idiots?” Henry asked angrily in return and I began to get irritated by his constant insults.
“Does anyone else want to play, Gibson?” Gareth asked and I knew what he was implying, turning my head all around and not seeing anyone in sight.
“Not a soul,” I confirmed for him.
“Well, looks like it’s just the three of us then..” Gareth continued and it was silent for a few long seconds. I could hear my heart beating hard under my winter coat with the anticipation of when the fight would start, watching Gareth’s every move and waiting for this to begin..
Henry got mad and came at Gareth suddenly, but Gareth was more than ready.. He gripped the bat tightly within a split second and swung it upward as hard as he could and I flinched at the sound of the bat connecting with Henry’s nose, knowing instantly he had shattered it and I stood there stunned, unable to move as I watched everything finally begin to unveil.. Henry fell back into the snow and I watched as he rolled back and forth slightly, physically unable to call for help, or even cry, though he managed to let out some eerie moans of pain. Blood poured out of his nose, falling down his face, his neck, into his mouth.. I could even hear him beginning to gurgle from the blood filling his throat as he struggled to breath and I thought he was going to die from drowning, but before we gave him that luxury, Gareth gripped the handle of the bat again, “How does it taste, Henry?” He asked, then swinging the bat down as hard as he could on Henry’s head and his body jerked a little at the sudden force.
I watched as Henry’s fingers began to twitch inside his gloves and I knew he wasn’t dead yet, looking to Gareth then and I noticed him breathing heavily as if he had just ran around the track to do The Mile in gym class, his expression filled with nothing but delight and he looked over towards me with droplets of blood speckling his face. “He’s not dead yet, is he?” Gareth asked and I slowly shook my head ‘no’, hearing Gareth chuckle softly then and he looked back to Henry, “Good..” He continued, watching Gareth then grip the bat again and he began swinging it down onto Henry’s head, over and over and I watched as more and more blood sprayed across the surface of the snow as well as on Gareth with every swing of his bat, painting the white backdrop with nothing but red.
I couldn’t describe the amount of excitement as well as fear that I felt coursing through me, the smell of the blood alone gave me a slight thrill and I watched as Gareth continued his barrage of hits among Henry’s head. I continued to stare, unable to blink in fear that I would miss something exciting and every hit made a blunt sound on impact, though when it continued more and more, the sound seemed to dissipate and I knew he wasn’t quite hitting only the hard surface of his skull anymore.
I flinched at Gareth’s last hit, a droplet of blood hitting my cheek and I snapped out of my trance. I reached up slowly, wiping it off with my middle fingertip and I looked at my hand, seeing a tiny, smeared trace of blood on my skin and I bent down to grab some snow, heating it up in my hands and I wiped away the red trace on my fingertip. This was it, this was our first time, our first victim, our first kill. Even though I had done nothing and Gareth did all the work, it just seemed like the right thing to do, to let him unleash his anger as I got solace from simply watching everything being taken care of right before my eyes.
I looked up towards Gareth, seeing him already looking at me, still breathing heavily and he let out a soft laugh, “The look on your face is priceless,” he said with a grin, then I watched as he looked up towards the sky, “How do you feel? Do you feel better now?” He asked, watching as he looked back to me and I starred at him for a few long moments before answering.
“..I don’t know exactly.. H-How do you feel?” I asked in return, looking down at the still body of Henry, then back up to Gareth.
“I feel..” Gareth began, taking in a large breath of air and letting out, as if he was alive for the first time, “I feel excited.. New.. Like something’s been lifted from me that I’ve needed to get rid of my whole life. Do you feel that, too?” He asked, looking back to me and I slowly nodded, unable to disagree with him.
“What do we do about him?” Gareth asked, thinking to myself for a moment and I looked around, noticing an area just outside of the field with trees and bushes.
“Over there, we’ll just drag him over there, mess up the snow, bury him and all of this left behind.. No one will find it until the snow melts,” I replied, seeing Gareth look to the area I mentioned and then back to me, seeing him keep his grin, “We should get home soon, too, before Dad does.. You need to clean up and wipe off all of the blood.. We should throw out that hoodie, too,” I continued and he looked down at himself, seeing the blood sprayed over his hoodie and he nodded in agreement as he looked back up to me.
“Damn.. I really liked this hoodie.. Next time, I’ll let you have all the fun, how’s that sound?” He asked. Next time? There’s going to be a next time..?
“Sounds excellent,” I replied with a grin of my own.
I dropped off Oliver at school and wished him luck, driving to work afterwards and I walked in the store with Camilla in my arms. Jaime noticed us as he was stocking the bookshelves, smiling towards us and I was pleased that the store was doing well without me. I had made Jaime the Assistant Manager like I had planned and he was proving to be quite a good worker when it came to running the store whenever I couldn’t. “Hey, would you mind?” I asked, offering him Camilla and he smiled.
“Not at all! Hey, Millie,” he said happily, taking her from me and I walked upstairs to my office as Jaime followed.
“Did Belle have the baby yet?” I asked, unlocking my office door and going in to get settled.
“Nope, not yet.. It should be any day now, though,” he replied happily and I smirked.
“It’s going to be difficult running the place without you for a few months,” I said with a chuckle and he smiled, setting down Camilla so she could play with her toys.
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll manage.. You did it well even before I became assistant manager, you don’t need me to keep this place afloat,” he replied and I nodded appreciatively, “I wanted to thank you for giving me maternity leave, too, whenever Belle has the baby.. It means a lot,” he continued and I brushed him off.
“No need for thanks, you should be with your wife and newborn whenever that day arrives.. I feel like my wife is still punishing me for not being there for Oliver every second of the damn day when he was born, I’d hate for that to happen to you,” I said with a chuckle as I sat at my desk and he snickered softly.
“Is that why you’ve been bringing them to work with you more? Well, not anymore for Oliver because he’s in school, but you’ve been bringing Camilla here ever since she was born. Is this your way of kinda ‘making up for lost time’ or something? Trying harder the second time around?” He questioned and I looked to him for a moment. I couldn’t tell him the real reason, that I believe the only reason the kids have been coming to my work with me was so that my wife could stay later at the bakery to get money and get fucked by someone other than myself and I had no idea who it was. The very thought of it twisted my stomach and I cleared my throat before answering him.
“Yeah.. Exactly,” I lied, giving a fake smile, “Well, I need to get some work done, let me know if anything goes wrong downstairs, otherwise I’d like to be left alone,” I continued and I watched as he lost his smile.
“Sure thing.. Want me to take Millie for a little while? Give you some time to yourself?” He asked, thinking to myself for a moment before finally nodding.
“Actually.. Yeah, if you don’t mind.. Millie, you wanna go with Jaime for a little while?” I asked and she smiled shyly, something she did all the time around Jaime and I chuckled, “Thanks,” I said towards Jaime and he nodded.
“Not a problem at all,” he replied, excited to spend time with Camilla and I watched as he took her, leaving my office and shutting the door behind them.
I sat at my desk in silence, starring at the keyboard as I spaced out, letting my thoughts take over and dwelling within my own mind. I began wishing that I was back at Jaime’s age once more, wanting to relive the past six years of my life and wishing I had done things so much more different. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for the debt, for the lack of luster in Hannah and I’s marriage, for the reason she could be sleeping with someone else.. Part of me didn’t want to know, it wanted nothing to do with the thought of Hannah being unfaithful, but a large part of me, the one that I couldn’t ignore, wanted to know so badly to the point I wanted to rip it out of her and figure out the truth.
I wanted to find out everything, I wanted to know if she was cheating, and I especially wanted to know for how long. If it turns out to be true, I had no idea what I was going to do.. Why does this keep happening to me? It’s as if no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep someone all to myself, I always find a way to screw things up or I find someone I think is the one and they turn out to be someone completely different in the end and I realize it far too late.
I couldn’t help it, I needed to call someone.. But not just anyone. I wasn’t going to call my brother, he wouldn’t even bother to listen to my drama and I couldn’t call Nina because the conversation would just end up on her involving Gareth.. I couldn’t call Bennu because I was too prideful to let someone within the family know that something like this was happening and I couldn’t call Bahiti, either, for the same reason.. Was I alone in this predicament like almost every other aspect of my life?
Wait.. There was one person.. One person I could call for this type of thing, and it wasn’t to vent.. I stood up, pacing around the room as I looked through my phone and I came across the name ‘Ezra’, an old friend of Gareth and I. I knew he dealt with personal affairs, but I wondered if he did any investigatory work as far as tailing people..? His name echoed in my ears as I looked at his name in my contacts. I knew Gareth, him and I used to be close friends when we had first moved to Lucky Palms, but I wondered if he was still in that line of work, and I wondered if he could help me..
I pressed the send button and the phone rang on the other line about five times before he answered, “Gibson, holy shit.. I haven’t heard from you in so long! How have you been, man?” He answered wholeheartedly and I smirked, liking that he had actually made it a point to keep my number just in case I ever called.
“I’m doing alright.. How about yourself?” I asked.
“Good, good.. Wow, it’s good to hear your voice, even if you sound just like your brother.. Ha ha! There’s still subtle differences that I always notice, though.. Oh, hey! I heard you got married a few years ago! Congrats!” He replied and I lost my smirk, though he couldn’t tell obviously.
“Yeah.. I did, thanks.. I had two kids, too.. A boy and a girl,” I replied and he laughed joyfully.
“Ahhhh the married life.. Such a beautiful thing,” he replied, though I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic.
“Hey, so.. I know you used to deal with personal matters and I actually called to see if you still did that kind of thing?” I wondered.
“Oh, well.. I, uhh, don’t really like to discuss that kind of thing over the phone.. Is there anywhere we could meet?” He asked and I thought for a moment.
“Well, I’d like to talk about it soon, but I’m at work until about seven or eight..”
“Can I stop by there or is that out of the question?” He wondered and I thought for another moment..
“..I guess you could come by here, but you can’t stay long, my daughter is here.. We can talk alone in my office,” I replied.
“Great, where do you work?” He asked and I told him the I still worked at the same bookstore that I had been since we moved here.
Within the hour, Ezra got to my work and he knocked on my glass door, smirking when I saw him and he came in when I had stood up from my desk to go greet him. “Hey, man! Long time, no see,” he began and I chuckled as we hugged briefly. “Saw your little girl downstairs with someone who worked here, she’s a real beauty.”
“Thank you.. It’s good seeing you again, Ezra. Please, take a seat,” I offered and he accepted, sitting down comfortably on the sofa and I pulled the chair out from my desk to sit in and face him.
“So, what kind of services do you require exactly, my friend?” He began right away.
“Well, I was wondering if you, uhm.. I just need you to find out some information for me,” I replied, my expression turning serious.
“Oh? That’s not like you, Gibs.. Usually you’re smarter than me when it comes to this sort of thing,” he said with another laugh.
“Yeah, well.. I think I need some help, if you’re willing..? I can’t do it myself because I got work to worry about and I don’t have the time.. I’ll pay you, of course,” I replied.
“No, don’t even bother.. I’d be happy to do a favor for an old friend.. What do you need, my man?” He asked, giving me his full attention.
“Well.. Uhm..” I struggled, my heart beating faster and I was even a little ashamed that I was seeking help for this kind of thing. It was demeaning and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d be looked at differently, like Hannah possibly being unfaithful was my fault and I didn’t want to be looked at as if I was the screw up with all of this..
“Come on, I’ve heard the most ridiculous shit for me to do, so anything you say I’m sure I can handle,” he replied with a laugh and I sighed heavily.
“..I, uhm.. I kind of want you to- To Keep an eye on my wife, I think she’s been.. Seeing someone,” I finally spat out and I could feel his demeanor changing.
“Oooohh.. Uhhh.. Well, I guess my congratulations earlier was a little.. Pre-mature?” He said reluctantly and I sighed once more, “But, since you’re calling for those kinds of services, I’m sorry to hear that, man.. It always sucks to be forced to think that someone is doing that kind of shit with someone else,” he said sadly.
“Yeah, whatever.. Just, I need you to follow my wife.. Let’s say.. One week. Even though you said it’s free, I’m still willing to pay for you to do this for a whole week.. It’s just.. Something that I need to know and get passed.. I want to know if she’s seeing someone else or if there’s some other reason she’s been so distant,” I reply.
“I’d be glad to do it for an old friend. Still, no charge” he added and I smirked.
“Thanks, man.. I really appreciate it..”
“Not a problem.. So what’s the details? Tell me everything. Where she works, for how long, who she works with, when she’s supposed to be home.. Tell me everything, if you can.. Every little bit helps when I’m looking for results,” he replied, “Wait, lemme get a pen and paper,” he requested and I gave him what he needed, “Alright, go ahead.”
“Well..” I began, telling him the days she works, what her normal hours were, when she was usually home, everything.. Everything that I could possibly think of, even if it seemed like useless information. “I want you to follow her for a week, 24/7 if you can.. Or, at least from when she wakes up and leaves for work to when she gets home, that’s all..”
“Yeah, I can do that, no problem. It’s Friday now, should I start Monday then?” He asked and I nodded.
“Yeah, that sounds good. And, if you can, please call me after you’re done watching her every day.. Just call me whenever she leaves her bakery to come home and tell me if you notice anything weird that I haven’t told you in this conversation,” I requested.
“Again, not a problem, my man.. Whatever you want, goes,” he replied, smiling towards me and I smirked as well, glad that I had someone like him I could count on and get an outside opinion on all of this. I needed to know if I was just being crazy or if all of this was my gut telling me my assumptions about my wife were right.
“Thanks.. I hate to get in contact with you for such things since I haven’t seen you in a while, I wish I had called you for better reasons, but.. I guess I’m desperate, I’m just glad you can help,” I answered.
“My pleasure to help out an old friend. Well, I guess it’s not really a ‘pleasure’ given the situation, but.. Uhh..” He answered unsteadily and I chuckled with remorse.
“I get it, Ezra.. But, anyways.. Thanks,” I answered, beginning to lose my patience.
“Sorry,” he said with a nervous chuckle, ripping out the piece of paper from the notepad he had used and tucking it into his front pocket, then standing up to leave and I rose from my chair as well. I shook his hand, “I’ll call you Monday when my first day is over,” he continued and I nodded.
“Sounds good, talk to you soon,” I replied and he nodded in return, walking towards the door and out of my office.
Was it wrong, spying on my wife like this? Sending someone to follow her, watch her? The thought of me not doing it myself irked me a little.. I knew I could trust Ezra, he’s good at whatever he does even though I’m still unaware of where he draws the line when it comes to certain jobs. I had always wondered if he did more than just follow people, find missing persons.. I wondered if he’s ever spilled blood before and what he felt if he had. Would he have felt as exhilarated as Gareth and I did when we had dealt with Henry? Did he get a rush out of it, or was it just for the money? Either way I chose to look at it, I was glad that he was where I couldn’t be to find out the truth, I knew I could trust him to get all the information I needed to see if this relationship I had with Hannah was about to take a turn for the better, or a turn for the worse.