The night was completely cold and wet. The rain had started early Sunday evening; disrupting the picnic at the beach. William had intended to stay longer but the rain made it completely impossible. Everyone took to their heels when they saw the clouds gathering up in the sky; they knew it was going to be a heavy rain and no one was interested in being around when it started. The beach always overflowed when it rained heavily and sometimes, dangerous sea animals came out to play on land.
William secretly watched Monica for the rest of the day. He would not have left if Monica had stayed but since it was impossible to keep her, he had to go. By the time he got to his secret cave house, he was completely drenched. Mark looked at him with questioning eyebrows when he came in.
"How come you left as William and came back, soaked in the rain, as the bush man?" He asked, as soon as he recovered from seeing his friend, drenched.
"None of your business, Mark" William replied as he walked passed and went into his well furnished bedroom.
Mark on the other hand was not about to allow sleeping dogs lie. He followed William into his room.
"Look, I know I sound like your mother right now but hey! I'm your pal, as well as your friend. If you don't tell me what's up who will you tell?"
"Mark, I'm not in the mood for this." William insisted, trying to keep a straight face.
"You have to be, because you went out as William and came back as the bush man. To make matters more interesting you let the rain beat you. You never do that. Once you see the clouds you get back here before the rain so much as drops but today, you strolled in the rain, so, I am asking, what happened?"
William knew that if he ignored Mark long enough, he would get tired and let him be, so, he pretended like no one was around as he whistled and went about changing his wet clothes. When he was about to take off his boxers, Mark sighed in defeat and left the room. He was not interested in staring at Williams nakedness.
William chuckled; he knew it was just a matter of time before Mark gave up. Although Mark was his ex employee, he couldnt help taking him as a friend and brother. Mark was always around to help him when he had serious issues in the past and this time was no different. After William called him and told him about his sisters death and how he suspected foul play due to the evidence Louise showed him, Mark instantly left what he was doing and vowed to help get Greg, no matter the cost. The only issue he had with Mark was his being too inquisitive about things that did not concern him. Well, in a way it concerned him because he had talked about Monica for a long time, and although William did not give a hoot then, after his second encounter with the beauty, he was sure that she was the kind of woman he wanted. The only problem was her taste in men. He had suddenly become obsessed with her after their first meeting at the shop; she was beautiful and had a free spirit. Since he started appearing as the bush man, all he heard was insults and threats from the residents, nothing more. Monica was the first to give him attention and even respect him as a bush man. The most incredible part was that she looked like she really had a crush on the bush man, but how? He thought.
Throughout the walk home he evaluated himself and his lifestyle because of Monica. Was William such a sucker that Monica had to treat him so bad and then treat the bushman with more love and respect? Well, not that he was jealous; after all he was both William and the bush man. As William, he tried as much as possible not to treat people bad. He treated everyone he met with kindness, that was what his beloved mother taught him and he never deviated from it.
I'm going to try as much as possible to warm my way into her heart. He thought. Not as the bush man, but as William, because it was obvious that she already liked the bush man, it was William she had a problem with. He was determined to find what the problem was and take care of it once and for all.
He was still changing his clothes when Mark suddenly barged into his room with seriousness written all over his face.
"Louise just called." He said. "He was able to tap Gregs phone; Greg is carrying out an operation tonight."
"That was so stupid of you Monica, completely stupid."
Janet continued to scold and lash at Monica for being so stupid enough to totally ignore a wealthy, neat, handsome looking man and instead, fall for the most annoying man in the world. "Kiss a bush man? What if you have contacted something bad? A disease." She queried with concern in her voice.
Monica was totally confused and embarrassed. Though Janet had promised not to let anyone know about what happened, she still felt like a thief caught in the act. She justified her actions by saying he made her do it, but Janet was not accepting such lame excuse.
"What I saw Monica, was two people totally engrossed with passion for each other. Passion! You know what that means? It means that you have feelings for a bush man!"
"But what?" Janet interrupted. "Did you even think about JJ before going that far? If you want to get yourself infected with something feel free but please, spare JJ the agony of going through it with you."
The rain had made everyone leave the beach earlier than planned. Before heading home that Sunday evening, Janet pulled over at Dr. Eling's home. Dr. Eling was Janets family doctor and so her kids were wondering if their mother was not well. They didn't know how true their thoughts were. Janet was sick, but that was because of Monica's careless attitude. She wanted the doctor to check Monica and give her some disease prevention pills, just in case there was a threat. After seeing the doctor, Janet took Monica and JJ home before going home with her kids.
The evening was cool and after eating and getting some chores done, Monica gave JJ and herself a hot bath before going to bed. JJ was the first to fall asleep. He slept off while playing with his toys. Monica put him in the baby cot standing next to her big bed and pecked him on the head before turning off the light and getting on her bed.
Although she was weary of the day's event, she still could not put the bushman out of her mind. The effect of the kiss they shared was still very strong and she was beginning to wonder if she was okay at all. Having deep, intimate feelings for a man that was un-kept, lived in the bush and smelt like rotten egg? Talking about smell, now that she thought about it, she did not remember perceiving any bad odor, in fact, he was wearing a perfume, or was it a deodorant and the smell was somewhat familiar to her. Well, a lot of things about him at the beach seemed familiar, but whenever she tried to remember where she had come in contact with anything that was familiar about him, William Osborne came to mind, even though she had met him only once. He left an impression on her and his voice sounded the same as that of the bush mans. The only difference being that while the bush man's voice was low and firm, William's was light and teasing. Also, William had dark blue eyes but the bush man had brown eyes.
Well, that afternoon was the last time she was ever going to set eyes on the bushman or even have anything to do with him. She knew she needed a man but, she did not need a bush man. Funny enough, he had awakened feelings she did not know she still had. She knew she had to rethink her actions and be sure not to take decisions or actions that would harm JJ in the long run. He was all the family she had and no matter what, she had to protect him, even if it meant putting aside her own happiness.
At about mid-night, it was still raining heavily and Monica was still wide awake. No matter what she did, she just could not get to sleep. She was still struggling with her restlessness when she heard noise coming from the kitchen. At first she ignored, but when it continued, she got out of bed to check it out.
She had walked past the sitting room and was heading towards the kitchen when someone covered her mouth and pulled her into a dark corner. Out of fear, she struggled to free herself but the person only tightened his grip and then hushed her to be quiet and watch. The person felt wet and so she knew that whoever the person was, he must have come from outside because the rain was still very heavy.
When she saw that it was useless battling against the strong grip, she agreed to stop struggling and became quiet as the person had ordered. After she agreed, the grip on her mouth loosened and the person released her. Turning around, she saw that her supposed adoptor was the bush man. She was about to yell at him when he quickly covered her mouth again.
"Shhhh!" He whispered into her ears. Just watch quietly. This is important."
That said, he removed his hand from her mouth and pointed toward the kitchen. Monica's eyes followed the direction of his pointed finger. A man in black skin mask emerge from the kitchen and started to head towards her bedroom. Monica pushed forward and was about to yell at the intruder but the bush man quickly placed his hands over her mouth again and whispered for the second time,
"Shhhh! You have to be quiet" He said. "This is not a case of robbery; they are here to assassinate you."
Monica gasped in total shock but the firm hand covering her mouth muffled her sound. At that same moment, another man walked in. He was without a skin mask. Between intervals, he drew smoke from his cigarette and puffed it as he casually moved around the small living room. The intruder looked relaxed as he waited for the first man. From time to time, he would check his wristwatch, probably wondering how much longer before the other man came out.
Monica and the bushman quietly watched him; moving from one picture to another. He looked at them one after the other with a familiar sigh occasionally escaping his lips.
As Monica continued to watch him, something about the mans aura and movement caught her attention. It was as though she had met him somewhere before. The bush man freed Monica, brought out a phone and began to send an SOS message. When he was through and looked up again, his heart raced and his thoughts grew wild. Monica was no longer in front of him. She had quietly walked away while he was busy. As he made a move to find her, the lights suddenly came on, revealing the intruder as well as the bush man's position. However, she didn't see the intruder's face because he was backing her.
Everyone froze in their spot. The bush man and the intruder faced each other. Both their chins clenched and their fist set for a fight. Monica who was standing by the switch yelled at the intruder.
"Who are you? And what do you want?"
The intruder felt caught in his own game and so, he slowly turned around to face her. When Monica saw who he was, she froze, her breath caught in her throat and her head felt faint. She was indeed totally shocked at the person the intruder was.
"Jeff?" She managed to ask before dropping to the floor and passed out.
The place was dark and quiet when Monica finally regained consciousness. From the feel of the softness beneath her, she could tell she was lying on a bed, but, she did not know where she was. Her body was a little wet but she did not mind. As she sat up on the bed, so many thoughts raced through her mind.
Did Jeff and the other man succeed in kidnapping her? Where was she? She wondered, where was the bush man, what exactly was going on? How come Jeff was alive and even planned to assassinate her?
All these questions continued to run through her mind. She never expected to see Jeff again, she thought he was dead but after seeing him, she was beginning to be sure that the man she had seen outside the shop on Saturday, was really Jeff. But how? She wondered. How could he be alive? She saw his dead body. She mourned him and she buried him. What was really going on? She had escaped from corrupt police men only to be hunted by a man who looked so much like her late husband? It was too much for her. She did not want to believe that man was Jeff. As far as she knew, Jeff was dead.
"Maybe I'm going crazy" She said, out loud.
"No you're not." Said a male voice from across the room. "You only hit your head hard."
Monica quickly jumped up from the bed. She recognized that voice anywhere.
"So you are the one who kidnapped me?"
The sound of a switch clicked and the lights came on. The room was simply furnished. It had a red carpet; the bed was large and there was a wardrobe, a table and two chairs. Also, there was a flat screen TV hanging on the wall, directly opposite the bed. The curtains were milk in color and the brown book shelf by the side complimented it. The bush man sat on a rock chair close to the window and JJ was sleeping peacefully on his laps.
"JJ!" She whispered his name. She had not even thought about him. What kind of a mother was she? She wondered. The bush man who she was supposed to be mad at was the one who thought about the safety of her child, or maybe it was a ploy to get her to trust him. But all the same, how could she not have thought about her own son? She had gotten used to Janet taking care of him and now she was being careless. In as much as she wanted to slap herself, she was not going to do it in front of the bush man so, she asked instead.
"Where are we? What is this place? And why are we here?"
"As you already know," He said. "You and your baby are in danger. Your supposed late husband tried to assassinate you. I had to take you away from your home to a place no one knows about, only the people I trust enough, know about this place."
"Since you say we are in danger, why didnt you just take us to the police station instead?"
"Really?" His brows shot up. "To the station? So that other corrupt police men will get to you? And turn you over to the same person you are running away from?"
"You can't really be sure that man is my late husband."
"He is?" She scoffed. "And how would you know that?" She asked. "You don't know me, you know nothing about Jeff and you certainly know nothing about what kind of protection I need."
"I know a lot more than you think, Monica."
"Don't you say my name. I take back that privilege. Just take me and my son back home."
"That would be a big mistake." William said quietly, but his patience was wearing thin. It seemed he was helping out a complete ingrate but, he already put himself up to the task and there was no turning back. Although Monica did not seem to appreciate what he was doing for her, he knew he had to protect her and JJ.
"No!" Monica argued. "The only mistake is staying here with you when I can get to the police station."
She knew she was only saying what she was saying because she just wanted to get away from the bush man before she finds herself kissing him again. Her emotions were totally out of control when she was around him and so being ungrateful and hostile was her best weapon. She couldn't continue to kiss a man that could infect her with something bad which she may later pass on to JJ. Janet was absolutely right about thinking of JJ's safety first.
While she was still argueing, the door opened and Inspector Louise stepped in. Monica was surprised to see him. It was the first time in a long while, she was seeing him.
"Hello Monica." He greeted. "Nice to see that you are safe."
"Louise!" She called his name like he was a long lost brother who was finally found. Without thinking, she ran forward and gave him a hug. Louise was confused and did not know if to hug her back or not. While he was still deciding what to do, Monica pulled back and looked at him.
"I'm so glad you're here. I don't know how come you know this man." She said, nodding at the bush man. "But please take us somewhere else? Please."
"No madam." Was the response. "Mr. William is right. This is the safest place for you and your boy."
"William? Who is William?" She asked confused.
"I am William." The bush man replied without looking at her. He was already too angry at her ungrateful attitude. "William Osborne at your service."
To be continued...