Undertaking desperate measures to take the story to a happening ending. (Lol) If there are discrepancies; Please forgive, forget and read on…. I need all the moral support I can get.
Scarlett opened the door of Magic Brew and peeked inside. Maggie was beaming at her customers as usual and drawing everyone to her warm self. She missed her more than she realized. When Maggie went back into the kitchen and Scarlett sneaked into the cafeteria and found her table by the window empty and sat down. She ordered her favorite brew and waited for Maggie to discover her.
The waitress brought her order and Scarlett eagerly took the cup and sipped the magical decoction which had seen her through some real crazy times.
“Aaaargghhhh,” Scarlett screamed and spit the coffee.
“About time, my lady…” Maggie was right behind her, both hands on her hips and a very satisfied smile on her lips.
“Oh Maggie, that was so.. so… ?”
“Do you have a stronger word?”
“Of course, it tastes like worry, negligence, hurt and a pinch of concern. How about that?”
“I am sorry.” No response.
“I am still angry…”
“Maggie… I am really sorry.”
“I am listening.”
“Maggie, I am hungry and thirsty.”
“Now, you are talking. Do you even look in the mirror, girl? You are half of what you were, that too in a month. How did you even manage to stay alive?”
And just like that Maggie was back to being her own Maggie. Scarlett couldn’t stop smiling.
“Don’t even dare smile. I am not done with you. Be right back and you are going to listen to me for two days straight and not a word back at me. Understood? Sneaking into my café like a starving skimpy wet kitten, you think… you wait… you just wait…,” and off she went to bring back a tray with her best dishes.
Scarlett stayed at the café till late night, listening to Maggie’s berating, touched by her concern and love. It was only while talking with Maggie that she realized how sad and depressing the past one month had been. When Scarlett was leaving, Maggie hugged her and whispered in her ears, “Scarlett, my child, my only wish is that you to keep an open heart and an even more broad mind when you meet Tristan. Be patient and let the plan unfold.”
She had been patient till now, right? She did not go running back to the antique shop right? She had let the plan unfold. Just when it would finish unfolding…
The next day in office was uneventful. She pestered Leah with questions about the next conference with Chase Holdings. They had refused to give a date and requested some more time. Okay. She needed to be patient. He needed his time with family, to catch up with the life and happenings. He probably had to fabricate a story for the police. The news reports on Tristan’s reappearance did not reveal much and she knew, better than anyone else, it was because there was nothing to report to the world at large. Something more scandalous will happen and this will take a backseat and everyone will forget. People tend to forget things easily.
By the end of another two weeks, Scarlett was paranoid. She started imaging the worst of the worst. Tristan forgot about her. He forgot all about his promises. He did not want to remember her at all. He wanted out. He was avoiding her. It was all a sham.
It was 11o’clock and she was still in the office. She was working frantically, her mind in ten different places and pondering eleven thousand things, and none of it was getting done. Before she pulled all her hair out in frustration, she said, “Enough. I am leaving. Work can go to hell. I’ll think tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day. Better day. Good day. Whom am I kidding? Well, me, because there is no one else here. And there is no bigger fool than me.” She switched off the lights in the cabin and walked out.
It was then she noticed someone in the server room. She was not aware of anyone else working at the office tonight and also it was a strictly off-limits area. She immediately walked to the room and peered inside the small glass window. There was someone, who was not supposed to, inside the server room. Mathew? But the man was thinner than him. Suddenly alert, her mind cleared and focused on the silhouette moving inside the room, she removed her sandals and entered the server room silently.
The room glowed red and blue lights and the electronic bees inside the room buzzed, charging the room with life. Scarlett ran and hid behind the farthest rack and crouched on the floor and moved on her knees. She needed a closer look on the intruder. What was he trying to do? She moved a little more closely and stood up on her knees, and looked through the gap in between the machines and didn’t dare breathe.
His face was covered. Of course, it was covered. Gloved hands. Cap. Tall. All black. Of course, this is the standard uniform of all thieves and criminals who did not want to be identified. She had watched enough action movies to know that CCTV would be the first thing to be cut down. So no point there. What now? Think fast. What an idiot she was! She should have locked the room from the outside and called the security. No. Bad idea. The intruder already had the key to the room. She had to call the security. Now she was definitely the certified biggest idiot. She should have called the security. This was foolish from the beginning. The intruder was still struggling with something in his hands. USB? Scarlett once again tried to get a good look at him. He wiped his forehead, making his cap askew and the mask covering the lower part of his face slipped a little. Still, it was not clear. In the blue light of the server room, Scarlett could not recognize him at all.
She had to get out and call for security. Slowly she crouched and crawled again. Before she lost any more time, before the intruder made any more damage, she had to escape. With her heart thumping in her throat, palms sticking with the sweat, Scarlett made it outside the room. And she ran downstairs to the security.
“Help. Help, There is someone in the server room,” she gasped and panted the words out to the security at the reception. He ran, blowing his whistle, alerting more men and she followed them to the floor. They almost missed him as he was halfway to the emergency window making his escape. It was then in the glaring white light that she saw his profile. Still covered in all black, he was extremely familiar, yet unidentifiable. She was sure it was not Mathew. There was not a spare patch of skin exposed except for his eyes. There was no way they could even guess his age. Then he pulled out a gun and everyone stilled in their place. The security officers were seriously under-equipped to handle a thief wielding a gun. Before she could yell not to, one brave officer, closest to the intruder, hurled a nearby chair at the target.
The boom of the shot echoed through her body and bones. The officer was shot in the leg and he fell face down. The carpeted floor was fast turning crimson right before her eyes. But the chair had dislodged his grasp on the gun and the rest of the officers ran to tackle him. Scarlett rushed to the officer on the floor and dialed 911. The intruder pulled the fire extinguisher from the nearby wall, hit it open and threw it at the security. Gushing white smoke soon turned everyone blind and spread instantly on the floor, choking everyone, and no one saw any more of the thief.
It was absolute pandemonium for the next five minutes. Scarlett coughed and cried in agony as she helplessly held on to the man on the floor writhing in pain and coughing. Somewhere she heard the sirens of the help she had called ages ago. The air was still thick in white smoke when they entered the floor and took the officer on a stretcher and she walked outside, unable to believe the incidents of the night.
It was just past midnight. In less than an hour so much had happened. The police were taking her statement when James arrived. He rushed to her and took her in his arms and then, only then did Scarlett dare to succumb to her panic and distress.
“I am so sorry James. It was my mistake. Should have called the security immediately. I was not thinking. Stupid. So stupid. There was a gun. He shot. He fired. Oh God. I was so scared James.”
“Scarlett calm down, please, relax. It alright.”
“Noooo. It’s not. You should check. You should go and check the server room. Database. Breach. James, something is wrong. Oh no. It’s all because of me James. Nooooo.” Scarlett ran to the office but James pulled her back into his arms again, restraining all her movements. She struggled for some time and then gave up to the sobs which ripped her soul apart.
“Only if I was not so stupid, James… Only if I was not so foolish…”