When Colin has saved Jared on this bridge, he can’t explain why but he felt responsable of him since this night. And seeing Jared so broken on this motel room, the same feeling invades him again. No more that. He doesn’t want Jared has to suffer that again. Why to save his life if it is to let him live a such gloomy faith ? How many times, has he had to suffer that treatment from Arslan or his men ? He doesn’t want ever to think about that.
The first time, he saw him and in spite of what he lived, Jared keeps in him something untouchable. A kind of purity. But for how long time again ? He is sure this life will destroy him. Destroy what he is. He can’t anymore stay a simple spectator of this massacre.
A knock on the door. Colin gets up from the bed, leaves the room and closes the door. Taking his arms, spreading a little the curtain, he can see it is Sam. He opens the door to let him get in.
“Hi, boss !”
“How is he ?”
“Asleep under the effect of the sedative. You’re late !”
“I know. I come as soon as I could. It was not easy, Arslan was always on my back today. Because he put me responsible of the prostitutes.”
“What happens to your predecessor by the way ?”
“It’s seems Osman had used the money of the prostitution business for his own interest. But He lost a lot of money with his investments. Unluckily for Osman, Arslan discovered the lost before he could repay. He was furious. Then he learned that Osman was without news from Jared since three days, he was so upset that he made him execute. Later, Jared was found in the streets by some of his men. In spite of the fact he said that he was with a costumer during these three days, and showing the money that he bring back. Arslan was too much in anger and made him payed, as you know. He said he wanted to remove in him the need to flee like his father.”
“I see. Sam, I need to know if Adrian is always searching Jared’s father.”
“Oh, yes ! Adrian wants his head dead or alive. He had learned recently Jared’s father has meet the FBI. It seems this one was ready to testify against Adrian. This latter is really upset, as you can imagine.”
Colin nods and takes a moment to think before to add :
“Sam, I will take Jared in a safe place.”
“Boss you can’t do that, or you will put me in a bad situation. Arslan is obsessed by Jared. And always wants to have an eye on him.”
“Could you give me the guaranty Jared will be safe ? That Arslan or another of his men will not do that again ?”
“No. You‘re right. I can’t.”
“I don’t want he suffers that again. This poor guy has lived enough ordeal like that until now. And on another side I don’t want to put you in danger and ruin months of work you did…”
He sighs. At this moment, Henri comes back at the motel room.
“I need time to find a solution who put you and Jared out of danger.”
“Wait Boss ! Maybe I have this one. You took Jared with you and you let in place a bag with inside the sum of the debt with a message to Adrian. During this time, I will make my report to Arslan. Then, as if I wanted to take some news of Jared, I will come back and discover his leaving. Cause of the letter I will report directly to Adrian what happened in bringing back the money. Maybe Adrian will bowl me out but in contrary to Arslan he will not « fire » me.”
“Reason why you want me to address the message to Adrian.”
“Yes, and as I have been with Arslan all the day, nobody will suspect anything.”
“All that is well, but what if Adrian is not satisfy with this and decide to pursue us and Jared ?” — Says Henri.
“Reason why you have to keep an joker in your hand. And you have to contact Adrian as soon as you are in security, to see if he’ll accept the deal. Honestly, it could work if you treat directly with Adrian, Arslan is too unpredictable. If he will not agree, use your joker. But knowing Adrian, he is not interested in Jared but only the father and the money. The only difficulty will be Arslan. He is obsessed by Jared and asks after him regularly. So you have to convince Adrian first. If Adrian accepts the deal, Arslan will be obliged to agree with that.”
“This plan sounds good for me. We will do that. Henri, I want you to go and come back with the money. I will write the message and prepare our leaving for Ho’ola. I don’t want to lost time anymore. As soon as you come back we will go with Jared to the airport.”
He opens his eyes, his mind mists yet by the sleep. He looks around and can’t believe what he sees. What is he dreaming ? Yes he must be a dream. Outside, the sea and the sunset. Palm trees and tropical flowers around. It can’t be true. Maybe he is dead and he is in paradise. But a simple move of one leg, comes him back straight to the reality. His body is only pain. Every part of his body aches. And with the pain, the memories and all his angsts wake up. Where is Sam ? And where is he ? Seeing the luxury around him maybe he is in the house of a costumer. Maybe Sam following the order of Arslan, bring him here. The fear. He can’t support anymore to be touched. No, not anymore. He had to escape this life. He wants to flee in a way or another. But first he had to know where he is.
Slowly he sits on the bed then gets up with some difficulty. Finally he is able to stand up. Each move hurts. But he doesn’t listen the pain. Slowly he starts to cross the big house. This one is strangely quiet. No voice, no move. Except himself. As if the house has been deserted. Only the noise of the sea can be heard in the background. Jared arrives near the entry. Nobody. He can’t believe his luck. He opens the door. And go and get out when he hears :
“Where do you think you go ?”
He tries to escape but strong arms grab him. He recognizes the man with the scar and fight to free himself in spite of the pain.
“Get your hands out of me. You have no right to keep me closed.”
“How could you believe a skinny boy like you could resist me ?”
“I am not skinny and I am not a boy.”
“Ha ! Ha ! Really funny !” — Jared answers with disdain trying to kick Henri.
“Stay here and stop your childish behavior. Here you are safe !”
“Safe ?” — Jared sneers with scorn. — “How can I trust you ?”
“Maybe effectively you can’t trust me. But I know something. Adrian and Arslan are not your concern anymore.”
Henri tries to explain what Colin did :
“The debt of your father have been paid. And from now on…”
Listening this news, mixing feelings cross the mind of Jared. First the relief, but also the anger and without let Henri finish his explanation, he shouts :
“You buy me ?! You buy an human being ?! I prevent you, I will never belong to you. Never.”
“We agree both on this point little brat, because it is not me who buy you as you say.”
“What ? But… who?”
At this moment, Colin enters in the hall.
“I see that you two have some fun.”
Colin says smiling. Henri turns to Colin, letting Jared go.
“Yeah ! This stubborn child wanted to escape.”
And showing Colin, he says to Jared with some sarcasms :
“And by the way, it is him your owner.”
“I am not a child.”
Henri rolls his eyes, making laugh Colin.
“I let you with your pet.”
And he leaves.
“And I am not a pet either.”
This time his words are merely a whisper. Jared feels exhausted. He has put all his strength in fighting with Henri. Colin seeing his tiredness, wraps his arm around his waist to sustain him.
“Don’t touch me !”
Jared tries to protest. But Colin brings him to a living room.
“Don’t be stubborn you’re on your last legs.”
And saying that he installs Jared on the sofa. He calls a domestic and gives some order. Some minutes later a man comes carrying a tray with sandwiches and tea. He puts this one on the coffee table in front of Jared.
“Eat something, you need to take strength.”
“Why did you buy the debt of my father ?”
“Eat first, we will talk later.”
Jared drinks the tea, but he is too tense. And he doesn’t do justice to the meal. So much questions turn in his mind. « Why does this man seem so interested by him ? Why is the real reason he payed for his father’s debt ? » He needs to know.
He observes the man in front of him. This last months to survive in the street, he learnt to judge quickly people. His instinct says that Colin seems different of Adrian and Arslan. But can he trust him ? He doesn’t know. He has been betrayal so much time. He feels lost and tired. He didn’t want to hope. He didn’t want to be deceived again. Not another time. He knows that he couldn’t cope with a new deception.
Finally he looks at the sandwich with which he plays since some minutes. And put in, in the tray. Even if he has eaten just a little bit, he feels better. And he wants some answers.
“Where are we ?”
“In an island called Ho’ola in the archipelago of Hawaï. I bought this island some years ago. Nice place, isn’t it ?”
A private island in the middle of the pacific ! Jared for a moment stays open mouth with astonishment, he didn’t expect that. How could he hope to escape now ? As if he is reading his mind Colin says :
“You are free to leave or stay. I will respect your choice. But first I want to talk to you.”
Jared just nods.
“You and me, we have the same enemies : Adrian and Arslan.”
At the name of this latter, Jared closes his eyes. And in an unaware gesture, folds his arms as to protect himself against an invisible enemy. Colin notices the move and adds :
“Jared, you have nothing to fear. Here you are safe.”
Jared doesn’t answer.
“I bring you here for this reason. Nobody knows about this island.”
“Why did you buy the debt of my… father ?”
This last word seems so bitter on his lips.
By his side, Colin doesn’t want to compromise the cover of Sam in the Adrian’s organisation. So he just explains :
“I have some informers who survey Adrian and his men. One of them informed me about what happened to you. I had already asked to my detective to make an investigation about you. And…”
“Why about me ? cuts Jared.”
“I will be honest with you. Arslan seems really interested in you and I have thought that maybe I can use you against him.”
Jared jeers and adds with bitterness :
“Interested in me ! Arslan are only interested in his own person. This man has no heart. He just likes to torture people around him.”
“The fact remains that it is like this I learnt about the deal your father did with Adrian and how he fled letting you coped with the situation.”
Then he explains how he made the deal. How he payed the debt of his father. How he gained after a long discussion the words from Adrian that Jared will not be chased anymore by the Adrian’s men. And he explains too that Arslan was furious, but was obliged to bend to Adrian’s decision.
Adrian agreed to the deal, especially after Colin told him how Arslan has treated Jared. Taking advantage of this, he explained that if Arslan continues to treat Jared like that, Adrian will never recover his money. In listening that and as soon as he has confirmation from Sam about the Arslan’s behaviour, Adrian accepted all the terms.
In listening the story, Jared is under shock. He can’t believe his ears. He has some difficulties to realize what happened. Colin knows Jared will need time to think about all that. He just adds :
“For the moment, as long as you are by my side you fear nothing. We have to be sure that Adrian, and most particularly Arslan, will keep their word. I want you to know that my home is yours as many time you want. Take your time to heal and to think about what you want to do then. Nobody will hurt you anymore.”
Seeing the look of Jared, he decides to cut the talk. They will have time to speak later.
“I let you now. Take some rest. And do as you please.”
At the exit of room, he hears Jared asks in a whisper :
“Why did you save me, in real ?”
” Why ? It is a good question. What can I answer ? ” – Thinks Colin. — ” Because I fell in love with you at the first sight. Because the sadness in your eyes touched me so much that I wanted to save you. To protect you. Because since you tried to kill yourself I feel responsible of you. Because I don’t want to lost you like I lost Peter. “ — Without turning, he just answers :
“In memory of a friend.”
And Colin leaves, letting a puzzled Jared in the room.
After the leaving of Colin, Jared stays a long moment thinking about what colin learnt him. So much things happened in few time. Does he have to believe his luck ? He is afraid to hope. A domestic comes in to clear the coffee table and asks him if he wants something else.
” What does he want from now ? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what his life will become. “
He thanks negatively the domestic who leaves as soon as. Jared looks around and decides to visit the place. Outside the sea seems to call him. The garden with its tropical flowers and trees, is so beautiful. It is the first time he comes in a place like this. Hidden in the vegetation, he discovers a swimming pool. Around, sofas and tables are spread. The place is lovely. He continues his way to the sea. During a long time, he walks without precise aim. His head full of thoughts. Tired, he sits under a coconut, the noise of the waves which come to die on the beach apaises him. He falls asleep. It is like that Henri found him some time later. This one would like to wake him up but seeing the shadow under his eyes he decides to wait a moment before to do it.
Henri is not the tender guy but this man touches him in a way. He doesn’t know why. Some minutes later, Jared wakes up. And looks with some surprise Henri. He says on the defensive :
” Did you come to survey me ? “
” No. The diner will be ready soon. “
“Oh ! I see.”
The two men come back to the home.
“For how long did you know Colin ?”
“Long time ago.” — Henri answers laconically.
“How did you meet him ?” — Jared insists.
“A long story. “
He answers in the same way, then he adds :
“He saves my life.”
“How so ?”
“I was mercenary in this time. I was made prisoner and tortured by my jailers. Colin was in mission in this part of the world and discovered what happened to me. He didn’t even know me but he decided in spite of his mission to save me. I owe him my life. So I decide to stay with him to be his bodyguard.”
After a long silence, Jared dares to ask :
“He said he saved me in memory of a friend. Who is this friend ? And what happened to him ?”
“It is not me who has to answer this question. Only Colin can.”
Jared is astonished by the faithful of Henri.
“You seem to love him a lot.”
Henri stops and turns to Jared with an intense look.
“Colin can be rude sometimes but he has a big heart. So I prevent you. If you hurt him in any way, you will have to deal with me.”
“How could you think I would hurt him ? He saved me too.”
“I know what I mean.” — He adds without other explanation.
Letting a puzzled Jared who tries to understand what he talks about.
They continue their walk to the house. There, Henri drives him to a part of the garden where a table have been dressed. Colin sits on a chair waiting for them.
“I hope this walk made you hungry. I am starving. Come on and sit with me.”
Jared and Henri take a chair too. Jared realizes in seeing the foods on the table that he too is hungry. They start to share the meal. Henri and Colin talking and joking about all and nothing, while Jared observes the two men. His gaze often staying on Colin more longer than necessary. He is intrigued by the man. He can’t say Colin is beautiful. But he has this kind of charm who makes you believe when he looks at you, that you are the most important person in the world. Turning his head, he crosses the eyes of Henri who watches him with a look he can’t decrypt. He lowers his gaze and continues to eat. From how many time, hasn’t he share a moment of peace like that ? He thought sadly in thinking of his mother.
Colin looks at Jared and see him deep inside his thoughts.
“Are you fine Jared ?”
“Oh ! Yes. I am just tired. If you don’t mind, I will leave you and go to sleep.”
“Yes, you seem tired. Go and rest.”
With a last salute, Jared leaves. Henri and Colin decide to drink a beer on a sofa near the swimming pool.
“What ?” — Says Colin.
“What what ?”
“I can almost hear your brain working from my place.”
“I am not sure it is a good idea you keep Jared near you.”
“Here we go again.”
“I am serious Colin. Maybe Adrian will keep his word but I don’t trust him and ever less Arslan. I fear this later will try to find Jared. And finding him, he will find you. Remember what Sam said about Arslan. He is obsessed by him.”
“And what would you want me to do ? That I let Jared without protection, at the mercy of this man ? No. I have take him under my protection and I will not abandon him. And, by the way, I want you to be his bodyguard from now on.”
“What ? Why ? If it is a kind of punishment, it is not funny at all.” — Henri says in seeing Colin laughing.
“It is not a punishment. I know you and I trust you. You know how much I care about Jared. I know how much you can be protector with me. Treat him like you treat me. At least if you don’t do it for him, do it for me.”
After a silence. Colin hears Henri sighs.
“Ok I will do it… for you. But at one condition, I will renforce the security around you. And you don’t have to say a word about that.”
“Sometimes, I have the feeling you treat me like a baby. You seem to forgot I was mercenary too. But OK I accept your condition. Deal ?”
Colin says in holding out his bottle of beer to Henri. And this one does the same and knocks together the bottles to seal the pact.
And they take a swallow of beer together.
“I like this place you know. When all this will finish, I will come and stay here for a long time.”
“Since I know you, you are unable to stay in the same place more than some months.”
Henri snorts and adds.
“I would like to see that.”
Later, when Colin went to sleep, grace to the beers, he felt asleep like a baby. But in the middle of the night, something wakes him up. A sound. Some kind of cries. He gets up and leaves his bedroom to understand the origin of the noise. Not so far from his one, the bedroom of Jared. The shoots seem to come from here. He hurries up to see what happens. In the room, Jared seems to fight against an invisible enemy. Colin comes closer and tries to take Jared in his arms. Wrong choice. Jared fights with more energy to free himself. Crying :
“No. Please. No. “
Colin search to wake him up :
“Jared stops please. It’s me Colin. It is just a nightmare.”
But this one, search always to avoid the hand on him. Colin is afraid to hurt him. Finally he takes him in his arms and rocks him like a baby.
“Shusss ! It is just a nightmare. You’re safe. All is fine. Shusss !”
Exhausted, Jared finishes to abandon the fight. He grabs desperately Colin as if he is a lifeline, sobbing on the shoulder of Colin. A long moment Colin keeps Jared in his arms whispering words of reassurance until he becomes calmer. But when Colin wants to let Jared, this one in a unaware move tightens the grip. Finally Colin has no other choice than to stay with him? He lays by the side of Jared keeping him in his arms and on his turn, falls asleep like that.
In the morning.
An unusual heat behind him. And an unusual weight around his waist. This feeling wakes him up with a start. Jared opens his eyes and turning he sees Colin asleep in his bed. One of his arms wraps around Jared. This latter freezes first but soon realizes he is dressed and Colin too. But this doesn’t explain what this one does in his bed. He goes to wake up colin when he stops. He looks the face of the man in front of him.
With a finger he draws the thick eyebrows. But realizing what he does he stops in front of his audacity. Blushing a little. Colin has a very manly face. Regular lines, a nice mouth. Even if he can’t see them he likes the softness of his two brown eyes.
Jared frees himself from the Colin’s embrace and gets up. He goes to the bathroom to take a shower. He undresses slowly. His body aches yet from the bruises. He looks at him in the mirror for the first time since Arslan beats him. He can open his injured eyes a little bit more now. But soon he avoids his reflection. Dark memories coming back in his mind. After his shower, he dresses with a peignoir and returns in the bedroom. Colin laying on the bed has opened his eyes. In seeing Jared, he gets up quickly as catching in the act. Jared looks at him uneasy. Colin hastens to explain :
“I am sorry. I didn’t want to stay all the night but you hold me so tight, I couldn’t free myself.”
Jared blushes and asks :
“What are you talking about ?”
“You had a nightmare this night. I heard your cries. I came and tried to wake you up. I don’t want you to think I take advantage of the situation. But you didn’t let me go, so I stayed a moment with you. And, I fell asleep.”
It is the turn of Jared to be embarrassed.
“I suppose it is rather me who has to be sorry to wake you up.”
“Don’t worry. It’s nothing. I hope you are better now.”
“I let you now. There is some clothes for guests in the armoire. If you want to change you. Tomorrow, if you want Henri will accompany you in Hawai to buy some clothes.”
“It is not necessary. I will do with what I have.”
“As you want. The breakfast will be served soon on the patio.”
Jared nods as Colin leaves the room. When this one closes the door, Henri arrives at this moment. And seeing him in pyjama exits from the Jared’s bedroom, he looks Colin with an explicit gaze.
“What ? It is not what you think. He had a nightmare.”
Henri answers with a smile.
“I don’t know why I try to justify me with you.”
Henri settles for sneering. Colin rolls his eyes and taking the direction of his bedroom, he leaves in grumbling. Making laughs Henri.