Luke heaved his shoulders heavily, he couldn’t get last night off he’s mind. He called in sick, he couldn’t work in his current state. He hadn’t heard from Miles, Ethan, Annie and Desireé, he wasn’t sure they slept at home and that worried him. He stood by the window, his mind drifted to last night.
Mrs Jefferson couldn’t help her curiosity, what does she have up her sleeves? she wondered. The party was gradually coming to an end, friends and well wishers bid the celebrant farewell. The crowd dwindled down, Desireé haven’t said a word besides telling Miles to wait till aftermath of the party.
‘I can’t lose Luke and my family, i’ve worked hard to keep this family together and i won’t allow `Her` tear it apart. What if she tell everyone that i knew she was alive and never said anything?’ A sudden fear creep in. ‘Luke, Miles and Ethan will never forgive me. I’ve to make sure she doesn’t spill’ Miles and Luke were a little distance away.
“Zoe” Desireé answered.
“Can i talk to you?”
“Of course Zoe” Mrs Jefferson sighed. She knew she was about to ask the impossible.
“Leave Luke and your family out of it, they have nothing to do with it”
“Is that what you think?”
“Leave them out of it, don’t hurt Luke please” Mrs Jefferson pleaded.
“Annie?” She repeated puzzled.
“Miles could you come closer” Desireé said relaxing fully in her seat. Luke gave her a knowing look, she haven’t said anything and she sat close to his mom. That can’t be good or maybe they’re finally patching things up and putting all the hate behind.
“Why her sudden interest in me?” Miles asked Luke “She does like anyone except you”
“Just go meet her Miles”
“Why? She suddenly snapped and accepted reality” Miles retorted.
“Where’s Desireé? It’s been awfully quiet” Annie said walking towards them
“Though no surprises. It’s good” Luke said.
“Zoe, will you tell them or should i?” Desireé said sipping her drink.
“Desireé, don’t! You’re not a mother, you won’t understand why i did what i did”
“Oh! I’m a mother….” Desireé said sitting up. “Rather was a mother, i did what’s right for my children”
Mrs Jefferson gasped. “Children?”
“Ethan should be nearby, and it seems you don’t want to do it; i’ll. Luke your mother flirted with Ethan and Julie found out, she warned Zoe. She got the next available thing Ryan. Zoe knew i was alive four months after i was abducted, but she made her second mistake…confronting Ryan who threatened to kill you Luke” Desireé said loud enough to draw attention
“What are you talking about?” Luke asked bridging the gap between them.
“Tell him Zoe”
“Mrs Jefferson?” Miles called
“That’s not all, her confronting Ryan caused Holly’s death. If you ask me, she had it coming. Her third mistake was telling Ryan i knew his family’s location. The last time she went to Ryan, Julie and Holly died. How many deaths will-”
“Mom, is she lying?” Luke cut her off
“Desireé….” Mrs Jefferson said barely audible. Desireé ignored her and continued.
“Miles, Ryan threatened to kill you if your father alerted the authorities, he didn’t tell you about Serena who was abducted probably so you won’t do anything”
“How did you find out?” Ethan asked from behind Desireé. All eyes turned to his direction.
“Like i told Zoe, i was far away yet so close”
“How could you mom? She was like a daughter to you, her mother help you get back on your feet. She took us as her own family” Luke couldn’t believe his ears. No one could believe it either.
“Is that why you didn’t tell me i had a sister? Is that why you have been preaching peace? He abducted your daughter dad!” Miles yelled.
“He didn’t tell you why did it, did he? His business rival instructed Ryan to abducted Serena so Ethan could withdraw his stakes from a huge contract. Ryan did it for cheap money so he could clear his debt.”
“What do you stand to gain in all these? Why are you tearing the family apart?” Annie asked with in a low tone
“The family in question is built on lies, everything i have said is the truth barbie. I’m building it up without secrets”
“You really want to expose all the secrets?” Mrs Jefferson asked fighting back her tears
“Everyone in this room knows what i went through, even Miles is aware of every detail and has evidence of it. Miles tell them you have seen your nephew and niece, my children. Besides i got nothing to hide like you guys”
“Children?” Luke, Ethan and Annie chorused
“Where are they? I’m sorry for everything Desireé. We can still be a family” Ethan told Desireé reaching for her hand, but she immediately shifted away from his reach.
“Stop apologizing for them!”
Luke didn’t know what to do or say, his mother’s silence confirmed Desireé words. Ethan had grieved for Desireé and her mother knew a certain time that she was alive and did nothing. He still found it hard to accept, his mother is that heartless? She saw our agony, and did nothing? He didn’t want to pass judgment on her but it was hard not to. Now he understood why Desireé hated his mother, why she never had any ounce of respect for her. She even returned the necklace his mother had given her during one of her christmas holiday before she was abducted.
Maybe he shouldn’t be too hard on her, anyone in her position would do the same. Maybe she regretted her actions…maybe she’s reaching out to her. But after all these years Ethan or my mother didn’t say anything, how did she find out?
“How did you find out? How come you knew so much when you were abducted?” Luke asked. All eyes were on Desireé.
“A little black bird told me” she replied with a smile
Miles sighed and sat on a nearby chair, the aftermath of the party was everything Desireé said it would. The family he loved was built on lies brought about by the action of one man: Ryan. He didn’t blame her when she told him earlier that all the secrets would surface and have revenge on those found wanting. She’d apologize for being mean to him earlier. Just like her, he too was a victim of a dysfunctional family, caught up in the middle like her.
Ethan sat quietly somewhere in the room, he didn’t say a word. Miles watched Luke fall heavily into a chair behind him, he clearly wasn’t the only one surprised and probably affected by the revelation. His mother didn’t do anything to help Desireé when she knew she was alive years ago definitely puts a twist and strain in their relationship. Why then does his mom hate Desireé so much? was a question he was itching to ask but couldn’t muster the courage.
“Let’s call it a night” Annie said breaking the awkward silence. Miles nodded. Ethan and Luke didn’t respond.
“One more barbie”
“Come on! There’s enough secret exposing already don’t you think?” Luke said in frustration. He couldn’t take anymore, he has been trying to figure out how to look at his mom in the morning without remembering tonight and there’s one more?
“One more barbie” Desireé repeated.
“Desireé, it’s enough for one night don’t you think? You said you wouldn’t do anything during the party. You gave me your word remember?”
“I said i won’t do anything during the party, i never said anything about the after-” Mrs Jefferson interrupted Desireé.
“You have done enough damage, just go….leave Desireé. Why did you come back? Mission accomplished, leave…walk away, disappeared like you did before….just leave God damn it!. Leave Desireé” Mrs Jefferson yelled in frustration. She couldn’t handle anymore, she’d lost her family’s trust and respect, her family is shattered by the secrets, she probably lost her-
“Zoe, will you tell Luke or should i?” Desireé asked cutting off her raging thoughts.
“What else is there to tell?”
Desireé nodded. “Barbie will you tell Luke?”
“Me?” Annie gaped.
“Dr Luke Jefferson, Annie Rosner is your sister”
“Whaaaatttt?” Annie and Luke exclaimed.
“Oh! God, do you hate me so much? You’re the devil Desireé, i hate you” Mrs Jefferson said letting the tears flow. Her biggest secret has been revealed.
“Wh….what did, wh…what did you…..say Desireé?”
“I hate you more Zoe”
“Desireé, i know you’re hurting, you were caught up in all these but don’t say something….”
“Something i’m not sure of?” Desireé said cutting off Luke.
“Zoe, tell Luke and Annie that they’re related, tell them they are slibings”
Ethan was surprised but kept mute, Miles watch as the event unfold, a birthday party had become a night of revelation. ‘Desireé is determined to shed light on all secrets. Though i got heads up, i’m shell shocked. I never anticipated any event unfolding tonight.’ Miles thought within himself.
“I hate you Desireé!” Mrs Jefferson said clenching her teeth.
“I hate you more, with everything i got” She said grinning.
“Stop you two!” Annie yelled, turning to Desireé “I know you’re hurt, she didn’t do anything to rescue you and if she had, you…..you wouldn’t be a mess, you…wo…wouldn’t be shattered” Annie sucked in air, she suddenly felt suffocated, she muttered courage and continue. “But don’t say anything you’re not sure of. My parents traveled out two years ago and i wasn’t adopted or found in trash or in a subway. You can’t possibly say Luke is my brother”
“Luke is your brother Annie” Mrs Jefferson said amidst tears.
“The people who raised me are not my parents? Who are my parents?” Annie said sitting. Luke merely stared, he didn’t say a word. Ethan and Miles sat quietly in a corner. Mrs Jefferson left after what seem like an eternity.
A knock disrupted his reminisce, he turned and saw Desireé holding roses. “Am i still welcomed here?” He nodded. She walked in and handled him the roses, he held them close to his nose.
“I didn’t know what to bring so i settled for roses”
“About last night…..i’m sorry”
“You shed light on the family’s secret and it tore apart” Luke said looking out the window.
“How are you?”
“Hanging in there”
“Did you sleep with her” Luke turned to face her immediately. He wanted to ask who she was but he knew who she was referring to
“Maybe you should have told me about it first, you dropped some pretty huge news yesterday” Luke said staring at her.
“I don’t want us to start a family based on lies”
Desireé was leaving the office when her phone rang, she looked at the ID; Unknown number. She smiled, she knew it was either Ryan or Joe. ‘Only one way to find out’ she said to herself before pushing the green button
“We have to meet up” She recognized the voice immediately. Ryan.
“Lovely evening to you Ryan, how are you? How’s your-”
“You can do better than that” Ryan chipped in
“Still grumpy uh?”
“Still nosy as always” Desireé chuckled, she knew he was cajoling for her but she knows better.
“You know where Julie and Serena were laid, meet me there in an hour” she said and hanged up.
Ryan would probably get there before me and set an ambush, but the element of surprise was better in this case. Desireé knew she might not walk out of the cemetery alive, she might be wounded. That she knew but she wasn’t one to walk away from a confrontation.
This would be the first time they met on their own terms, neither of them knew what to expect. Ryan was thrown off guard when she accepted to meet up, he’d thought Desireé would turn him down. Obviously, she’s not that little girl he exploited. He suspected she had something up her sleeves.
Desireé got to the cemetery, there was no sign of Ryan. She traced the name engraved on the tombstone with her finger, she had spent every day dreaming about the day she would be united with her mother. Though Ryan kept her informed about what was happening in her family, she refused to believe her mother had died.
She heard someone approaching, she knew it was him. “An hour, you should know better than to keep a lady waiting. Not just a lady but the one whom you desire”
“Search her, i don’t want any foul play” Ryan told the two men standing besides him. She stood up and turned to them.
“I knew you’d suspect a foul play so i didn’t bring anything along”
“Search her” Ryan instructed ignoring her statement. They searched her but found nothing on her.
“Search the flowers on the graves”
Desireé gasped “why would i disrespect they memories by hiding discriminating evidence there?”
Ryan didn’t just stared at her, he knew she was up to something but he couldn’t wrap he head around it.
“Tell your puppets to leave us” Desireé said
“It’s ok, you two wait for me in the car”
“It’s been years…i missed you Ryan, i miss us. Remember how we would be so high on smack, we did lots of crazy and mind blowing stuffs. I was the only one you dreamt about, thought about and the only one you desired. I’m your desired one: Desireé, death couldn’t separate us even when you tried so many times, i fulfilled you every fantasy. I satisfied your urges, i got you in ways no one else has. Not even your wife Paige-” Ryan cut her off with a resounding slap.
“Leave my family out of it” He said pulling out his gun.
“I knew you would bring your doll along” Desireé said smiling.
“You know i can end it right now Desireé”
“I have yearned for you to call me your desired one” She said in an unusual yet provoking tone.
“Then pull the trigger and end it” Desireé said closing the gap between them. She pointed the gun to her heart.
“Tomorrow’s headlines: Ryan McCarthy’s dirty secrets exposed, your dirty money lundrys, underground workers, ring of sex slaves, illegal arms….the list goes on. So know that whether i die or not you’re going to jail, if anything happens to me your dirty secrets are exposed but i wouldn’t do that immediately. I want you to suffer, to know what it means to be powerless, to be used, to crumble, you pray for death but it won’t come”
“You’ve to play with the cards you’ve been dealt with, if you have no cards then you bluff”
“You taught me never to hesitant, not to think so your opponent won’t take you unawares. You know I’m the key to your downfall, to your ruins…pull the trigger Ryan McCarthy. You let me live once, don’t make that mistake again, your wife Paige, your daughter Tiffany, her husband Alvin, your grandchild April and your unborn son or daughter will suffer the consequences, in the good book…..he said a life for a life, a child for a child”
Ryan was really angry, he didn’t want his family in the midst of her sick game or vengeances and would do anything to protect them even though it meant killing Serena all over again.
Ryan raised his gun he lowered earlier, he pointed the gun at her heart and pull the trigger.