A/N: Hope you had a good weekend. Let’s dive back into the world of Virtuoso, shall we?
Chapter-4: Candy Wrapper
Three days later
Just as I lift the pizza slice to to my mouth, the dreaded cackling sound comes through the speakers. “Well, hello!” Esme’s voice greets me. “You’ve had your breakfast, right?”
I aim a dark look at the grinning Daffy Duck which is her caller symbol and pretty much growl. “You have a camera installed around here, haven’t you?”
“Who, me? Why would you even think that?” She sounds way too innocent to be sincere.
“Because you seem to call exactly when I’m sitting down to eat,” I tell her in a no-nonsense voice.
“Aww …” she croons. “I was offering you some company while you enjoyed your frozen dinner.”
“Hah! So you have installed a camera in here!”
“Yes,” she says simply, without offering me the location of the camera in question. “Now do you think you’ve recouped from the delivery job?”
“What? The currier from L.A.?” I ask with a scoff. “It was a breeze, Es. Although Volturi’s people showed up at the pick up point, it went smoothly.”
Esme lets out a small curse at that information. “Volturi Guards? How did they know about this?”
I shrug. “Volturi’s got his resources,” I say thoughtfully. “Besides, they’re our top competitor in the business. Although they pretty much suck at the job,” I add.
Esme snorts at my remark. “If only we had the gadgets they have!” I detect a little wistfulness in her tone. “It’s a pity they don’t have my genius to tell them how to utilize those.”
“Aren’t you the epitome of humility!”
She lets my smartass comment slip and instead says, “I’ve got another job queued for you.”
“Already?” I groan. “It’s only been two days since the last job!”
“It’s from an old customer,” she tells me. “The DNA sampler.”
“Oh!” For a moment, I’m stunned that they need my services again. Then I ask, “What’s the job?”
“Remember the girl you collected DNA samples from?”
“Vividly,” I say, a small smile coming over my face as I remember how brave she was.
“You need to find out if she’s truly happy where she is.”
I blink. “That’s it?” I ask.
For a second, I consider not accepting the job because of its simplicity, but the thought of seeing that fire in her eyes once more make me say yes even before I know what I’m saying.
After Esme has given me the details on Isabella Barone, aka the DNA girl, I set out for her listed place of residence; which happens to be on the top floor of a building owned by her father, Eleazar Barone, public prosecutor.
When I reach the address, dressed in casual attire, I’m greeted by the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns. For a moment, I’m baffled by the presence of a café in the ground floor of the place that’s supposed to house the office of the lawyer. But then, I notice a movement from inside through the window … a couple dancing to old 80’s music.
Curiosity gets the best of me and instead of observing from afar like my usual style, I find myself pushing open the door to the café, Tasty Treat, and stepping inside. What I see is shockingly sweet and I feel my lips stretch into a smile on their own volition.
There, in the middle of the empty café, stood DNA girl with an elderly man who I assume is her father, Eleazar. The duo dances in horrible imitation of 80’s moves complete with lip syncing with the music blaring from the sound system. But it’s their smiles that make me stop. Their goofy smiles tell me one thing and that is, Isabella Barone is anything but unhappy. The café gives off a warmth like I’ve never felt before—the warmth of a happy home.
I almost think of walking out of the door when a woman comes down the stairs, her eyes finding me immediately. With her dark hair and soft blue eyes she emanates kindness in a way only a mother can. She smiles warmly at me as she walks up to me. “Hi, welcome to Tasty Treat,” she greets me. “I’m sorry about those two. They can’t help themselves when there’s music.” She looks behind her and shakes her head at the father and daughter duo amiably. “I’m Carmen Barone. Please have a seat.”
Motioning me toward a table, she moves to hug the DNA girl from the side and whispers something in her ear. I watch as DNA girl’s face reddens as her mother possibly informs her of my presence. She looks in my way and offers a small smile before rushing up the stairs.
Her father bursts into laughter and comes to me. “I’m sorry you got caught into our impromptu dance party,” he tells me apologetically. “May I take your order?”
Few minutes later as I’m biting into the fluffy pieces of heaven called Cinnamon buns, I realize that Isabella Barone has the perfect life and I can’t help but envy her a little.
I hang around her house until she gets out to take the bus and then I’m on her tail … staying just out of her sight, but never letting her out of mine.
When she gets on a bus, I hail a taxi. After a bit, she gets off of the bus and takes a taxi. When we reach an apartment complex instead of the office of a newspaper’s office where she’s supposed to work, I’m at a loss. What’s she doing here?
I let my taxi go when she gets off of hers and enters the complex.
I know I should leave her be now that I know she’s got a loving home, but I can’t let her go … not yet. Driven by a thirst to find out more about her, I stick to the shadows, hoping to see this through.
However, instead of heading for the elevators, she runs through the parking lot, looking at the number plates of the cars parked there. Just as I’m wondering if she’s a thief or something, I hear her speak to herself. “063 – LXS, yes! Gotcha’, Laurent Stalin!” She fist pumps in the air in a silent celebration, leaving me thoroughly confused.
Who the fuck is Laurent Stalin? I wonder.
She starts to walk toward the elevators when a car rushes into the lot. I watch her duck behind a car and I follow her lead, hiding behind a pillar myself. From my hiding place, I see as the car door opens and a woman is almost shoved out of it. “Fix your face, you bitch,” someone snaps at her.
The woman tries to get back into the car. “Please don’t do this,” she pleads with whoever is in the car. But the man inside just pushes her away, spitting at her fit. “Make me proud,” he says in a leery voice. And then after closing the door, the car drives out of the lot, leaving the woman standing there all alone.
She slowly walks toward the elevator, dashing away what must be tears. I decide to not get caught up into her drama when I’ve got another to focus on, but when I look at Isabella, I realize that I just might get caught up in it anyway. Because a few feet away from me, crouching behind a car, Isabella Barone was wiping away at her eyes and standing up.
Damn! I don’t do crying chicks.
I watch as Isabella reaches the elevator just as the doors close. “Shoot!” she cries out as she watches the floor number go up … up … up to the top floor. “I’m sorry, Leah,” she speaks to herself once more, making me wonder whether she’s a little cuckoo in the head or not. “I think she’s a jumper. I have to cover that instead of the Denali-Stalin fling.” Then she’s pressing her finger down on the call button, tapping her foot on the floor in impatience as the elevator comes back down.
Heaving a sigh, I realize what I must do to keep an eye on her and make my way to the stairwell. I take three steps at a time and manage to reach the rooftop right when the elevator doors ding open. I stay hidden in the shadows as I watch Isabella rush to the roof and then stop in her tracks.
From my position, I watch the blonde woman from the parking lot as she stands in the ledge of the roof. With her arms spread out, she shakes like a discarded candy wrapper about to take flight. And then, she jumps.
A/N: So … intrigued? Share your thoughts with me and leave a review.
Thanks for reading.
See you Wednesday.
Image Source: Pinterest