Still, on the edge of his seat, Shawn asked Eddie to drive past. The ambush earlier was a surprise and he was thankful that he listened to his grandfather and purchased a bulletproof SUV for his everyday use. It was late morning now, and still, he hadn’t bought Catherine’s exotic jackfruits. “We have to go now, Eddie.”
“How about the wife’s craving, sir?”
“I will find a way. But if what you say is true, Elizabeth could be the one behind this.”
“It was obvious, sir. The b***h wanted you, and she is insane. I was just exploiting her, and I think now she knew that I was never on her side, or not.”
“Thanks, Eddie, I know I can count on you. But I want you to work with her. I want more of her plan. I think you know what I mean. Right?” Shawn asked. Grateful for his butler’s loyalty. Earlier that morning, Eddie told him everything about Elizabeth’s plans, and he was grateful to have him.
“Yes sir,” Eddie replied as he reached up and clicked the remote to the front gate of the mansion a few seconds before they pulled in.
An hour later, Shawn was now driving another SUV to go to his private rest house with Catherine on his side, trying not to be infuriated. “Shawn? What’s the rush? And two sets of luggage? Where are we going?”
“To my vacation house,” he explained as he looked around. Three other SUVs were on their backs and two were on their fronts. From the empty street, it was difficult to see what lay beyond the huge brick wall and the spruce trees behind it, which was kind of the point of the wall. Shawn swung the car into the driveway and passed the garden as the gate opened completely. Once the cars passed through, it began closing again.
“Shawn, why so much security?” Catherine asked, turning her head and furrowing her brow-mouthed, she shook her head, “It’s for our safety, Catherine.”
“I will tell you later, OK?” he replied and followed the convoy. She’d not said anything since leaving for her early lunch at the garden. Yes, she was shocked when a rattled Shawn came back without her jackfruits and ordered her to pack up. And by the look of it, Shawn was not happy and on edge. He kept asking her how she felt and if she had received any unknown calls. Of course, it was getting on her nerves, but by the look of her husband, she should wait. She assumed her entire life had been spent far away from things like what most rich people do. Maybe a sudden vacation on their private island? Who knows?
Five hours later, Catherine saw a vast collection of trees, shrubs, and flowers decorating the whole estate. They were on his farm. Huge magnolias dotted the large yard with their dark, waxy leaves, massive oak trees. Azaleas surrounded the manned gatehouse, along with a few of those long grassy plants popular on golf courses and suburban neighborhoods. Poplars, Bradford pears, and even some coniferous spruce fences stood in
rows in the tremendous clearing. More hardwoods lined the driveway on both sides.
“Wow! Shawn, are those maples?” Catherine broke the silence and the amazement in which she had been at the wonderful landscaping.
“Good eye,” Shawn responded, glad to see she wasn’t sleeping anymore. Her silence earlier was unnerving and he hated her. He was used to her being chatty. “Eddie and I planted alternating assortments so when the fall colors peaked, there would be a more contrasting display of color. There is silver, chalk, sugar, and my personal favorite, the crimson king maples. See the one on the left side of the little lake? The colors have started to change, but
it will be another week or two before they really look amazing.”
“They’re beautiful.” Catherine continued to look around as the cars sped up the driveway.
“I’m kind of a plant lover.”
“I think it’s incredible,” she mumbled with a squinting glance. Even though she was talking, her voice was still different. Her mind was possibly still asking him.
“Shawn, what’s the sudden rush? You better tell me now.”||
“Earlier, going to the Asian fruit market, Eddie and I were ambushed by three unknown gunmen.”
“Why the hell didn’t you tell me that earlier… Are you OK?” She looked at him discreetly and scanned his body for any secret wounds. “Yes, I’m fine, the car is bulletproof.”
“Who could they be?”
“I have my suspicions that it was Elizabeth or my company’s rival, but I don’t know yet.
That’s why we’re here.”
“Elizabeth?! As in your Ex?”
“But why? I assumed you know…you guys had parted ways with no… you know… hard feelings?”
of onion but al.
“Sorry about this mess, but for now we will be safe here.”
“Shawn, you’ve killed men before, haven’t you?”
He had anticipated this question and had been pondering what to tell and what not to tell. After all, she was fragile, and he didn’t want her to stress over his past. “No, I’ve never killed before.” He replied, for sure, it was a lie. But only out of necessity situations where it was either him or the other guy. He just looked at it like it was something that had to be done. It has always been about survival. Nothing more. “To tell you the truth, Catherine, I don’t think about it too much. Elizabeth might be capable of hiring a gunman, but I know she didn’t order them to kill me.” “How sure are you?” “She wanted me, my money. Maybe she wanted to scare me but never order to kill me. He needs me alive.” Shawn added.
“Or me! What if she wanted me dead as well?”
“That too.” “Goodness me, this is messed up.” She sighed.
However, Catherine didn’t pursue the topic, though she was curious. She would ask later.
Minutes passed, a beautiful cream-colored bungalow stood at the top of the driveway. The two–story Mediterranean villa with a Spanish-tiled canopy was not vast by any means. It could not have been more than three thousand square feet. She had expected a large manor to accompany such a palatial garden scene. Rather, the residence before her was certainly nice, but it was reasonable in a way.
“I bought it two years ago,” he started again whenever I needed to be alone. Since I live alone, I didn’t need a big house, but I loved the property here. I spend a lot of my free time out here working.”
“Yes, I enjoy the work. There’s something liberating about physical labor.” His response was truthful.
The rest of the SUVs came to a halt, and his security detail surveyed the area for about five minutes before informing Shawn that it was clear.
Hidden from thedrion the bounoutatyotohodnutianll..from 1.Locanned
appeared to be virtually half the size of the residence. When one of the two wooden modern garage doors opened, Catherine could see there was another car in the spot where they were about to park. Then she realized that the garage had doors on both sides. It was convenient for a person with a lot of cars to park. In her husband’s case, a few cars and many motorcycles. Shawn parked the car, and they stepped out into a small collection of old and new bikes. Her gaze went past the latest white Hummer in front of her to at least five motorcycles of varying types. There were cruisers and sportbikes from different eras; “. Those two are my favorite.” Shawn pointed at the two Harleys as he read the fascination on her face and acknowledged the massive bikes with a nod. An hour later, they enjoyed a meal, talked about their situation, dozens of phone calls later, and their security details were scattered all around the vacation house.
Two days later without any prior problems, Catherine awakened. She smiled with contentment when she felt the warmth of the morning sun on her bare skin. She stood on the back veranda of her secluded lake bungalow and closed her eyes as she luxuriated in the peace and tranquillity of her surroundings. The sun’s warm smile kissed her upturned face, and the cool breath of the sea breeze teased her walnut dark nipples to hardness. As she basked in the morning sun, Catherine listened to the powerful sound of the lake as the rolling tide crashed against the breakwater a short distance away along the shoreline.
As she lay in their bed at night she would listen to the soft lullaby of the waves breaking over the sand when the ripple was right. It was at moments like this, moments when she could move naked and free around the house and garden that Catherine gave thanks for her good fortune. But she knew it would never happen. Shawn’s men were everywhere with their heavy guns. She was bored to death, and even the evening chat with Jane and Chelsea and even Dave didn’t change her boredom especially when Shawn was always on his laptops and phones.
She spent her days idly exploring the surrounding area and took long walks along the shoreline with Boxy, Shawn’s golden Labrador. She dabbled in painting, not because of any particular latent skill or talent, but simply because she found she was drawn to do so, and now that she had the financial freedom to indulge herself, she thought – why not? But of course, being pregnant and the only lady in the house, she was so bored and exhausted all the time. Her pregnant belly was visible now and started to have swollen feet.
Her reverie halted from the knock of the kitchen door, “Shawn? Is that you?” “Yes, I’m sorry but I have to go… I will be back soon.”.
“Where? Why?” Catherine asked as she drank her morning milk.
“Hospital…grandfather is dead.” Shawn almost whispered and closed his eyes for a moment while Catherine gasped and covered her mouth in shock. “I- I received a c-call from the…p-private nurse.”
“I’m sorry Shawn, but I want to come.”
“No! You need to be safe here.” Shawn declared as he stepped away from her, it was too difficult, he didn’t know how to show grief, he wanted to cry and scream so loud but he couldn’t. It was a foreign emotion. When he has ridden the waves of grief he couldn’t see clearly, couldn’t glimpse that he had someone who cares for him, that he needs to have a strong, strong heart. He only saw that the pain stands as a witness to the loving bond of his grandfather and his passing. He lost the only person who he could count on. Now he was alone again. “Stay here. I will go now! If you need something, call me.” Shawn added without even looking at her as he left, Shawn didn’t notice the tears that shed Catherine’s eyes. The pain and the disappointment, she wanted to be with him. Hold him, be with him, and grief with him. But he was leaving her. Shawn had become distant again for the past two days, he was always busy and seldom talked to her and now he was leaving her, here, all alone with the men she didn’t even know.
“Why does it feel like this was a goodbye?” Catherine whispered in the air as she dried the tears that started to roll down her cheeks.