This goes back to that night Matthew had threatened spilling to the paparazzi. I hadn’t cared then and still do not care now what the world would think of me, I had my own reasons for going to those part of the streets that night and the world doesn’t need to know them.
But I do care how this will corrupt Jeremy, how this ‘juicy tale’ will affect his public image and maybe even his company.
“Why would you do this?” I hate how shocked and wavering my voice is. God, I sound weak.
She looks at me, and as I stare back at her, I see a twinge of reluctance, a small fear of something imbedded within her, compelling her do this. It’s as if, if she doesn’t do this, she’ll face punishment. It’s a small fleeting emotion crossing her eyes and it is quickly hidden with her resolve.
“I told you my reasons.”
I frown, “You do know that blackmailing has consequences.”
She presses her lips but doesn’t dispense her composure.
“And you do know that it’s useless to blackmail me since I have nothing I have to give that’s mine, right?”
She then smirks. “You do. I am sure Jeremy has been paying you well for your service.”
“That’s where you are wrong.” I tell her and then I feel a presence behind me.
I turn to face Mitch’s concerned expression.
“Is everything alright?” He glances warily at Sav, his stone expression telling me fully well of his mistrust.
I nod at him. I can handle Sav on my own.
He frowns unsure by my expression.
“Oh I get it now. He must be your body guard. Wow, a bit over the top just to protect a whore.” Sav mumbles sniggering to herself.
Mitch’s stance freezes as he glares daggers at Sav, her blatant comment going unmissed by his ears.
I move towards him, putting my hand in his arm. “She’s just an old friend Mitch.”
He doesn’t believe my lie as he scowls deeply. He doesn’t say anything, however, as he accepts my lie and retreats.
I turn back to Sav.
“As I was saying–”
“Stop. You’re lying he has paid you money, probably a lot.”
“Sav, my relationship with Jeremy is not like that. I am not his whore as you proclaim and misguide me to be.” I speak calmly which is rather surprising considering the annoyance and impatience brimming inside me.
That makes her hesitate for a moment. She narrows her eyes me and I can tell there’s belief in them.
“So you’d rather me spilling to the paps, because I will do it, Leyla. Don’t for a second fool me because I know he’s at least given you money.”
Impatience has slowly made its way. “Go ahead, Sav. Go and spill to the paparazzi. Don’t for a second dare threaten me. I don’t care how desperate you are but something tells me they won’t believe you anyhow. Do you even know how powerful Jeremy is?”
My outburst surprises her as he moves back slightly. She swallows, obviously waned by how dominantly calculating my voice sounded.
I don’t care at this moment I feel good at standing up for myself. My annoyance at her seriously had peaked.
How dare she actually try to blackmail me? Her of all people.
She presses her lips. “They’ll believe me. They’re paparazi right. They feed on this sort of stuff.” She falters obviously this hadn’t gone according to her plan. Somehow I had feeling she’d wanted Jeremy’s money.
Somehow I had feeling it wasn’t even her doing, I had feeling someone had corrupted her to come here to blackmail me.
Someone like Devon.
A sense of pity washes over me for her.
She senses my tone and frowns. She begins rubbing her arms around her body as if it’s a nervous gesture.
“What?” She starts breathing in pants, barely managing to stand up straight.
What is happening to her?
“Sav are you okay?” My voice is filled with concern.
She seems out of it. Her eyes lids begin to twitch uncontrollably as her fingers scratch her arms. And before I even know it, she’s balling down, heaves of tears streaming endlessly from her eyes.
Her mouth is moving, forming incoherent words but I just manage to make out what she’s saying before I hear the tell-tale sound of the door indicating a customer entering.
“Stupid bîtch!” A menacingly familiar voice sounds behind me.
Julie, Hilly, Effie even Mitch are beside me in a moment at the scene taking placing, in fact the whole cafe is watching.
“Is she having a seizure–?”
“Somebody call a doctor–!”
“What’s he doing?”
I hear all the voices behind me as I am crouching down in Sav’s level trying to ascertain her state of discomposure. Then I feel firm hands grabbing my arm and pulling me roughly away.
I spin around and watch dumbfounded as Devon curse profanities at Sav who barely seems to be able to breathe.
He roughly grabs her arm and she jerks up at him as he starts dragging her out of the cafe.
“Hey!” I shout as I follow and everyone follows behind me.
But we all stop as the ambulance and police patrol the parking lot, blocking exist for Devon whose scathing grip is on Sav’s disoriented form.
I watch the panic seizing him slightly as one of the paramedics approach them and take a hysterical Sav from his grip, guiding her through to be consoled in the ambulance.
For a moment I want to go to her, with her. But a voice tells me it isn’t my place.
I watch the suspicious looks the police men give Devon as he enters the ambulance also. Somehow I get a feeling that they must know of his business with those girls.
Minutes later the ambulance and Police retreat away from the lot. And silence fills in the cafe for mere seconds before it erupts again with voices and activity.
“What happened?” Julie asks me and I have all four eyes gazing at me curiously. Even though Mitch is discretely spaced away I know he’s listening.
“You guys were having a heated conversation one minute and then she starts having a panic attack.” Julie continues.
I am still stunned at what has just happened, that I absentmindedly say,
“She was trying to blackmail me but it didn’t go according to her plan.”
“What?!” Julie is frantic and Mitch’s face turns hard as stone. His jaw twitches.
“Long story short, I think the man with her was the one who forced her to.”
“Forced her?” Hilly chips in.
“I don’t understand Leyla–”
“You can tell by what she was wearing Jules, what do you think I mean?” I cut her off.
Realisation dawns on her features and Mitch’s hard face glowers at the floor.
“Figures,” Effie says after a moment of silence. “I smelt prostitution the minute she stepped in the café.”
“Wait…wait a damn minute, Leyla?” Julie holds her hands up, confusion setting in.
“How exactly do you know her and what do you mean by forced her?”
“I’m not sure, but I think he has some sort of hold on her and not only her. I have a feeling the police knows about his ‘business’.” I shift in my feet frowning momentarily.
At this moment I wished Jeremy was here. He’d comfort me and reassure me not to worry about anything.
I fold my arms around me. I need to talk to him, to tell him what happened.
“Wow,” Hilly says shaking her head. “That is lot of baggage, I did hear of something like that happening, but then it was at the other part of town, no one dares to go there.”
Julie is still in a state of confusion.
“You have a lot of explaining to do.” She whispers to me. As everyone else leave for their stations. I take note of how my shift is ending.
“I know but not right now. I just want to go home and shed this off my mind.”
She looks at me with a concerned expression. “Okay. Tomorrow.”
I nod at her as move toward the changing room.
Afterwards, Mitch leads me to the car and we drive off to Jeremy’s house.
His face is still hard as stone and I can tell he’s angry.
“Mitch?” I look at him through the review mirror, probing his eyes with my glance.
“I’m sorry.” I tell him. I know with my futile attempts earlier to not involve him has somehow insulted his job description.
His face loosens for a moment. “You have nothing to apologise for Leyla.”
“I do. I know it’s your job to protect me.”
He presses his lips.
“And I know, you can handle just about anything learning from this previous example.” He smiles reluctantly.
I give him a small smile. “Not anything.”
He shakes his head but smiles anyhow.
When we get home, I don’t realise how exhausted I am until I’m at Jeremy’s bedroom looking at his bed longingly.
It isn’t until I realise that I have napped for two hours until I hear a familiar ringtone pulling me from my dreary sleep.
My eyes barely adjust to catch Jeremy’s face popping in the screen before I answer.
“Hi.” I say.
“Hi.” His voice is grim as if he’s exhausted.
I can’t help the rush of warmth running through me, increasing my heart rate just by hearing him.
“You sound as if you just woke up.” He comments.
“I have. Long day.”
“Yeah?” He snorts.
I frown at my phone.
“Why didn’t you call me?” He sounds worried.
“I…I slept. When I got home I didn’t realise I was exhausted and I just forgot. I’m sorry.”
He takes a deep cleansing breath.
“I was worried.”
“And angry. Someone was threatening you Leyla. That’s my worst fears realised.”
“She didn’t exactly threaten me, it was more like blackmail.”
“Blackmail?!” He breathes sharply.
“Remember the night you met me?” I sit up leaning against the pillows.
“Yes. What about it?”
I take a deep breath and then tell him everything. About meeting Sav and Monica even Devon; seeing them again yesterday, and again today. I tell him all that was said all the way down to my suspicions about her being forced to blackmail me by Devon.
Jeremy listens attentively on the other end of the phone.
“I’m coming home today.” He says, his voice strained of emotion.
“Jeremy you can’t drop your work, really it’s nothing.”
He groans. “Nothing? Leyla I won’t have it, someone tried to blackmail you, who knows what else they could’ve planned just to get my money.” His voice strangles at the end and I imagine him fearing the worst.
“They didn’t. I don’t think they would have. Anyhow, I made it clear for her and I think the police are suspicious of him.”
“Damn right they should. The fûcker needs to be locked in bars for what he does!”
“I know. But I am fine everything is fine. So no talk of coming home with your work unfinished.”
He breathes exasperatedly on the other end but I sense his smile.
“You sure you’re fine though?”
“Yes and I’ll be better when you come home safe and soundly tomorrow.”
He breathes sharply. “I love the sound of that”
“What?” I ask.
“Home. It gives me hope Leyla, when you say home. I want to make a home with you.”
My heart lurches and I swoon inwardly.
“So no temporary stay until I figure it out?”
“Do you really think, for one second, that I’ll let you get your own place after what we’ve shared?”
“Maybe. A tiny bit.” I confess.
“I’m telling you right now, I’m never letting you go.”
“Jeremy my home is wherever you are.” I admit. Giving him another small confession.
I can feel him grinning. “I can’t wait to get back. I miss you too much, the next time I have a trip you’re coming with me. No arguments.”
I grin too, my heart lurching. “Okay.”
“You’ll allow it?” He sounds incredulous.
“Yes. I’ll allow it.” I grin.
I feel him grinning too and at that moment I want to tell him. I want pour my heart and soul to him. But saying it through the phone didn’t sound much effective.
That’s when I vow to tell him when he gets back.
Yes, I am not afraid anymore. I’ll tell him.
If he doesn’t say it back, I won’t mind because I have enough love for him and for the both of us.
“I’ll let you get back to your sleep, baby.” He says.
“Okay.” I swoon, his endearment never failing to send a warm shiver through me.
“I’ll see you tomorrow evening.”
“I can’t wait.”
I hang up, my heart pounding irrevocably fast as I grin in the darkness of the room.
I go over my day and soon drift off, wondering what tomorrow may bring.
✍️To be continued ✍️
Few chapters to go…….