(Continued from The Age Factor III)
The good news is that Richard is fine. He was hit on the chest but the bullet missed both his lungs and his heart. Doctors have successfully extracted the bullet, and they are upbeat about his recovery. But Margaret is dead.
The old girl has survived for over eight decades, beating cancer once and successfully battling diabetes, angina and blood pressure, only to be felled by a bullet from a senseless thug. Elizabeth is fighting tears. She liked the old lady, and Margaret always made it obvious that the feelings were mutual.
The kidnappers decide against going to Isinya largely because the road to Isinya is fairly straight forward and the cops will catch up with them easily. Instead, while still on Mombasa Road, they exit the highway and maneuver around the roads in South B and C. They zigzag around for a while before entering a fairly abandoned warehouse in Industrial Area.
An old man smiles at them and opens the door of the warehouse. They drive in while the old man closes the door behind them. The three walk to a dark room on one end of the warehouse. The healthy thug is holding his injured colleague by the shoulder and pushing Silvia forward with his gun. The room is stuffy and smells of weed, cigarettes, and cheap alcohol. Silvia twists her nose. The healthy thug switches on the light.
The injured thug lies on the bed and groans loudly. Silvia feels sorry for him. He is a lanky youth, not a day older than twenty years. His thin frame makes him look taller than he actually is. His wide eyes show fear. She tries to touch his face but her hands are handcuffed.
She wonders what happened to the cop who lost the cuffs to the thugs. Because they were obviously pinched from a cop. Maybe they killed him. Or maybe they bribed him to get them. The other thug, who is in his late twenties, pushes Silvia to the filthy mattress on the floor.
As the older thug starts tearing her blouse open, Silvia’s pulse quickens.
“If you co-operate, this is going to be a heavenly experience for the both of us,” he says.
“Remove the handcuffs from me, and I can make this worthwhile for you,” she replies sweetly.
The thug hesitates. This is a new one. His victims do not cooperate. Is this a trap? He looks at the woman. She is licking her lips invitingly, and that drives him crazy. He stands up and goes to lock the door. Then he hides the keys under a pile of dirty clothes, beyond the woman’s eye view.
He puts his gun beyond her reach and approaches the mattress. Hormones are by now racing in his body. He sits beside the woman puts his hand gently around her. He brushes his lips against her cheek. Her cologne intoxicates him.
“Untie me, and we will have some fun,” she murmurs, her scented breath inches away from his face. He unlocks the cuffs and holds her in an embrace, feeling the softness of her embrace with every part of his body.
Suddenly Silvia turns and head-butts him in the face sending a stream of blood gushing out of his nostrils. While he is still stunned, she rises quickly and kicks him twice on the face in quick succession. The injured youth tries to rise and help his colleague but he is still too weak. Silvia slaps him twice, reluctantly, sending him back to the bed.
She picks the handcuffs and cuffs the wrists of the older thug.
The older thug’s phone rings. It is a familiar number, and it takes a moment for Silvia to realize that it is Timothy’s number.
She takes the call and listens.
“Where are you Sam?” he demands. “Do you still have Silvia? Sam? Are you there?”
“Hi darling,” she coos on the phone. “Sam is here alright, but he cannot talk. I may have done a few unpleasant things to him. So babe, where was Sam supposed to take me?”
Timothy is stunned.
“Where are you?” another voice asks, one that Silvia recognizes to be Jared’s. That handsome personal assistant to Timothy. One of her fantasies, while she was living with Timothy, was having a fling with Jared. The boy is not only good looking, but he is also brilliant and dangerous. The type who wouldn’t be working for Timothy for long. He is of the type who only need a little time and a window of opportunity and they have an empire of their own, whether a legitimate business empire or a criminal empire. It makes no difference to men like Jared.
“Hi handsome. You haven’t overthrown my half-witted husband yet?” she knows what that statement will do to the egos of both men, and she wishes she could see their faces.
“Come on, Jared dear. Don’t tell me you don’t know you are smarter and more dangerous than my husband. I am sure you already have a plan on how to knock out both him and Silas?”
The Silas bit is inadvertent. Silvia has no idea that her kidnapping was Jared’s plan of cutting down Silas. But Timothy loses his cool and starts quarreling his assistant. Silvia hangs up and calls the police.
(A few days later)
Elizabeth is sitting at the edge of Richard’s hospital bed. Richard has recovered sufficiently and doctors are even talking about discharging him. But they want to observe him for a few days. Elizabeth comes to see him every day, but Silvia is yet to appear.
Elizabeth can see that Richard is hurt that his wife…or former wife, because the divorce is still in place, has not come to see him in hospital. Timothy and his associates are now in remand, awaiting trial. Except for the young man Richard injured.
Silvia was dramatically rescued by the police from a warehouse in Industrial Area. The police tracked down mobile phone signals to find her and the kidnappers. For some reason, Silvia claimed that one of the kidnappers, the young man that Richard injured, was her assistant and not a kidnapper. She took him to the hospital and is now nursing him at her apartment.
That still does not make sense to either Richard or Elizabeth. But Silvia is a difficult woman to understand.
Richard looks at Elizabeth intensely and she looks away. She has seen that look before. On the day she almost became his girlfriend.
“I am a fool, Liz. You are the woman I should settle down with, not that traitor Silvia. I am so sorry I have hurt you over the past few days. I let Silvia get into my head. Will you give me another chance? Please my love?”
Elizabeth looks at him sadly.
“There is something I need you to do for me,” Elizabeth replies.
“Anything for you my love,”
“I want you to approve an amendment to the articles of the association stating that senior employees of the company will only be appointed if the Directors unanimously agree. If one Director objects, then the name is rejected” she says as she fishes out the paperwork from her handbag.
Richard signs documents without a reading.
“So, what do you say about my request?”
“No Richard. It is better this way. We are better off as friends and business partners,”
“Why? Don’t you love me anymore?”
“I do. But you still love Silvia. Do not even deny it. As long as Silvia is the love of your heart. I will get hurt if I get involved with you. So please don’t do that to me. Let us remain friends as we have always been,”
Richard’s eyes well with tears. Elizabeth rises quickly to stop herself from crying.
“Let me fix you a cup of chocolate,” she says, in a smart move aimed at distracting her from his handsome, teary face.
Maybe one day Richard will get over Silvia. Or maybe she will fall in love with someone else with less baggage. Maybe. But why does life have to be so complicated? She stirs the chocolate vigorously while fighting back tears.
[Continued at The Age Factor (Epilogue)]