“I thought you’d never ask…” Trystix motioned to William, who walked towards the door.
After what was no more than a moment, in walked my sister Olivia, and out went any lingering tension from just a few short minutes before her entrance. It had been a long time since I’d seen her, but I instantly felt the spark of familiarity. We had always had a strange connection; always seemed to know when the other was close. She looked older, wiser perhaps. But she looked well. I doubt she expected to see me again, let alone sprawled on a chair looking like a savage. They weren’t real picky what my hair and beard looked like in prison.
She wore a crimson dress, probably silk from the look of it. Her long curly hair bounced with every step; her piercing blue eyes taking in her long lost brother. She wore more jewelry than I’d ever seen in one place before. But what drew my eyes most was the enormous diamond on her left ring finger. Apparently the last year had been good to her.
Olivia wore the smile that made her famous in high school. She slowed to a stop in front of me and reached out her arms for a hug. She didn’t even change expressions when I looked confused. She laughed and pulled me up and in to her arms. She smelled the same as always; light, sweet, and a little like cherries.
“I’m so glad you’re here, Jared. I mean it! I’ve missed you so much.” Liv sounded choked up.
“I’ve missed you too. Liv, what are you doing here? I thought you were working for some law firm.”
“Oh silly boy! Don’t you know where you are? You are at the top of Tryst Tower…As in Trysticorp, the law firm I used to work.” Liv winked at Trystix.
“Trysticorp! That was the name! I was having a meaningful conversation with my cell about that last night. I haven’t been able to think of it since I got your package. Thanks by the way.”
“You‘re welcome. I‘m glad Regan brought you here. Has he shown you your room yet?”
“Honey! Don’t ruin my surprise! We’ve been talking business.” Trystix interrupted with a pained look.
“Oh sorry! I thought you were done. Are you excited to be a dedicated nine-to-fiver, J?” she asked.
“Nine-to-what?” Trystix winked at me and held a finger in front of his lips. “Oh…Yeah sis sounds great…”
“Oh good! I’ll get to see you all the time!”
“So does that mean my…uh…desk is near yours?” I asked.
“No silly! I don’t work anymore. Regan is a good husband and doesn’t want me to work anymore. Not since I got pregnant.”
“What? Pregnant? Wait…husband? Who’s Regan? You’ve got me turned around sis…What’s going on?”
“Well, last I talked to you, I had just started as a legal consultant. Alex, the vice president, took an interest in me and gave me a promotion. I worked hard, but the hours were long and I wasn’t sleeping much. He put me on paid vacation for two weeks, to try and catch up. I fought him on it, but he insisted. I took the time, but when I came back, he was gone.”
“He just stopped coming to work one day. Strangest thing I’d ever seen; his things are still in the same place as when he left. It’s been months since anyone has seen or heard from him. Not even a peep.” Trystix added.
“Yeah, isn’t that weird?” Olivia asked with a mystified look in her eyes.
“Yeah sis that’s weird…Pregnant, married, and who is Regan?”
“Oh! Sorry. Regan is right there!” She pointed to Trystix. Wasn’t this something. She didn’t want to get involved with someone in her professional life, and now she was married to the CEO. I put together that Alex was Alex Ryder from her letter. The Alex Ryder she had an attraction to but didn‘t want to be involved with because of his station. And now she was married to his boss. Interesting.
“When Alex didn’t turn up, Regan took me on as his assistant so I wouldn’t lose my job. He and I just hit it off I guess. We got married in the spring, and now our baby girl is due in the spring right around our anniversary. It’s been a whirlwind kind of year! What about you? How are you doing?”
“Liv, I’ve been in prison. I don’t think my ‘friendship’ with the guards is going anywhere near a church for a long time…”
“Jared! Still no manners? What would mom say?”
“Very little. She’s in a box in Ohio.”
Trystix came up and put his arm around my sister. For some reason that didn’t feel right with me.
“Let’s show you to your room, Jared. You will think about my offer, then?”
“Yeah…I’ll definitely think on it.” Apparently there was a lot more to consider, with Liv so close to Trystix, not to mention my niece on the way.
Trystix walked towards the elevator, Liv and William in tow. I brought up the rear, still thinking about Liv and her baby. This was not what I had in mind when I got in to that limo. Trystix pushed a button to the floor just below, and the whisper-quiet elevator began its decent. The doors opened to a slightly less furnished, slightly less exotic penthouse. It had similar features; the floor, the desk in the corner, and the fireplace. But I immediately noticed the windows. I reminded myself to ask about that.
“What do you think, my boy? Not bad, eh?” Trystix asked.
“Big!” Liv finished.
We walked through the living area towards the back of the room. Behind two large double doors was the bedroom, furnished with a queen size bed and a beautiful cedar dresser. The room had a closet filled with suits and clothes tailored for someone my size. Unfortunately, the colors were a little…bright.
“I took the liberty of filling up your wardrobe for you. I wanted you to look professional. I can schedule an appointment with our stylist if you like.” Trystix offered.
“I don’t know what to say. Thank you…” was all I could get out.
“Thank me by saying yes. Think on it.”
After a bit more small talk, Trystix, Liv, and William left my floor to attend to some ‘personal business.’ I laid down on my bed, considering all that was before me. A stranger had offered me a job, bailed me out of prison, given me my own place, and asked me to become a monster in less than twenty-four hours. Then I find out he married and impregnated my sister. This was definitely a man who knew what he wanted and was used to getting it. But could I unleash the darkness inside of me, all for substantial gain? Could I destroy lives for someone, just so my employer’s hands stay clean?
Death is an interesting thing. We all die, in one way or another. Sometimes it’s time that catches us, sometimes it’s an accident, and sometimes people get killed. But one way or another, when someone’s time is up, there is no negotiating with death. I was faced with a decision; one part of me must die. I must forever embrace the darkness inside of me and be rid of a conscience, or I had to walk away from my new home, my sister, money, and apparently anything I could ask for. I would be alone forever, but no one would get hurt because I was following orders. Trystix had me in a tough spot.