I woke up after another restless night the third time in a row. For some reason, I couldn’t get the thought of Montserrat out of my head.
Three whole fvcking days.
I couldn’t help but wonder how she was doing, whether she was in any kind of danger.
Yes, I’d warned Mateo and his mother not to even dare think of hurting her, but there was no way in hell I could trust that they would listen.
What if they’d paid another person to do what I’d refused to do?
After an internal battle with myself, I finally got out of bed, took a quick shower and put my signature black leather jacket on a black undershirt on top of black jeans. Then I locked the doors and grabbed my motor.
No, I wasn’t going because I cared about Montse or anything. I was only going to make sure Mateo and his mother hadn’t disobeyed me.
If they had, God help them.
I rode till I got into the woods and parked my bike where I’d parked it three days ago, deciding to walk the rest of the way. I would just take a peek and then leave without letting her see me. At least, that was the plan.
Until I got to the spot behind the bushes where I’d hid the other night. She was stepping out onto the porch of her cabin, singing with the melodious voice of hers as she locked up the house.
I stood there still, listening to her sing, so entranced that when she spun around, her eyes darting in my direction, I didn’t have enough time to duck.
She saw me, and I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.
“Goodness gracious, it’s you. Thank God.” She placed a hand on her chest, sighing dramatically. “I know you’re a shy person, but I’ve told you before that you don’t have to be shy with me.” she said.
She began to descend the stairs that led up to her porch, flashing me her megawatt smile as she approached. The smile did strange things to my stomach, and I stifled that reaction instantly.
When she rounded the bushes and came closer to me, I knew what she had in mind. Remembering the way her hug had made me feel three days ago, I stepped away immediately.
“Jeez, I’m not fire, you know?” She raised her hand in surrender, not sounding a bit offended.
“Went for another trek, didn’t you?” She wriggled her brows at me, letting me know she was teasing me.
God, where the heck did she get all that boisterous exuberance and optimism from? While I was a quiet person, I bet she couldn’t stay a single minute without talking or singing.
“I have to go.” I told her, then turned to leave instantly.
For some reason, her presence was making me uncomfortable, and I never got uncomfortable. Hell, I hadn’t counted on her catching me when I decided to check on her.
Before I knew it, she’d run to block my path. “Not so fast, shy one.”
“I’m not shy.” I bit out, irritated.
“Yeah, sure.” She said noncommittally. “But you came to see me. You can’t leave that suddenly. You’re going to escort me somewhere I’m going right now whether you like it or not!”
I could’ve said no, snugged her and left. Instead, I allowed myself to be dragged with her by the hand. We got to the path where I’d parked the motorbike. She paused and looked back at me.
“Is that yours?” She asked. I nodded.
Excitement blazed in her eyes as she let go of my hand and rushed to hop on the motor.
“Oh my God, it’s been so long since I rode one. I’m definitely riding. Come on, hop on.” She held the handles earnestly.
“Haha, nice try.” I said humourlessly. “Get down and get behind me. I’m riding.”
She didn’t even look like she could ride a rollerskate. No way was I going to give her the opportunity to kill both of us by letting her ride.
“But I…” She began to protest.
I held up my hand. “No buts. Now get down.”
Pouting petulantly, Montse finally got down. I hopped onto the motor and steadied it so that she could climb behind me with ease. I turned the ignition, and she placed her hands on my shoulders as I rode off.
While on the road, she didn’t shut up for a second. She kept on talking and talking about nothing and everything; the pine tree this, the butterfly that, St. Patricio this, even as she gave me directions to where I was taking her.
I was so immersed in her annoying, never-ending chatter that the familiarity of the environment went unnoticed until she said we were at the destination. As I drove through the opened gates, I froze.
We were at Mateo and his mother’s mansion.
Why would Montserrat bring me to the house of the people who’d accused her of killing her own father?
As we got off the bike, I looked at Montserrat. She was skilling and being her usual self.
No murderer could return to their victim’s house and still be themselves, without even showing a twitch.
This only proved that she had nothing to do with the man’s death. Not that I had been doubting her.
Montserrat held my hand and began dragging me towards the house. She pressed on the bell before looking at me.
“Don’t worry. You don’t have to be shy. They are good people.” She smiled reassuringly.
Good people my ass. If only she knew.
The door opened to a middle aged stout woman in a uniform and an apron. She beamed immediately her eyes fell on Montse.
“Montserrat! Oh dear, I’m so happy to see you again.”
“It’s so good to see you again too, Lolita!” Montse squealed, and the two of them hugged.
Lolita’s eyes squinted in curiosity when she finally noticed me. She pulled out of the hug, looking at Montse inquisitively.
“Who’s the young man? Is he your…”
“Oh no, Lolita!” Montserrat told her, her cheeks turning crimson. “We’re just friends.”
I blinked. I didn’t even know that there was a ‘we’, much less that she and I were friends.
Lolita let us into the house and went to call her mistress. A minute later, the door to the study opened, and Rita stepped out.
“Montse, I’m so glad you…” she froze for a second when she saw me. “…decided to come.”
Mateo appeared from the study too. His arm was in a sling, probably to stabilize the joint I’d dislocated three days ago. Fear ran through his eyes when he saw me.
Hmm, had they been planning something?
“Who’s this man if I may ask?” The woman said sweetly.
Montse beamed even more. “Oh him? He’s my bodyguard, Rita.”
It was very obvious from her teasing smile that she meant that as a joke, but still, I could sense the fear that ran through Rita and her son.
Rita tried for a smile that appeared very forced.
“Oh good. But you understand that he can’t be part of the discussions we’re going to have right?”
“Of course, Rita, and I was only joking. He’s just a friend.” Montse finally clarified, then looked at me. “You wouldn’t mind me leaving you alone, would you?”
I shook my head curtly. Before they left for the study, I threw Rita and her son a warning glare.
I retreated to the living room to make myself comfortable in one of those soft, fluffy couches.
Lolita brought me a glass of pineapple juice which I accepted and sipped.
Fifteen long minutes later, the three of them finally got out of the study accompanied by a man who must’ve been waiting for them inside. The smile on Montse’s face seemed more forced this time.
I jerked to my feet instantly and crossed over to them.
“Are you okay?” I asked her, shooting Mateo and Rita a glare.
The amount of concern I felt in that moment shocked me.
“I’m fine.” Montse answered, her eyes brightening considerably when she looked at me. “Hope I haven’t prevented you from doing something important? We can go now.”
She said goodbye to Mateo and his mother and went to say goodbye to Lolita. The atmosphere shifted from tensed to super tensed right after she left. I glowered at Mateo and Rita and they bestowed me with spiteful gazes.
Montse returned from saying goodbye and we finally left the house.
“Do you have any plans for the day?” She asked as we settled on my motorbike. I didn’t answer.
“Well, I take your silence as a no. So guess what?” She squealed. “You’re going to spend the whole day with me!”
I kept riding on without saying anything. But this time, I wasn’t protesting because I was burning with curiosity. Why was she visiting the people who’d accused her of killing her father?
Except if Rita had lied about everything just to create a story compelling enough to get me to kill her, it didn’t make sense.
Montse made me take us to a restaurant after she asked me what I’d eaten and I’d answered her with silence. She even ordered my food for me. Of course I refused to let her pay.
Next, she told me to ride to one of Aguazul’s deserted beaches. She made us sit on the sand as she talked about the wonders of nature and how beautiful the sea was with it’s rippling waters.
I was a man of little words, but she didn’t seem to mind. She had enough words for the both of us. She talked endlessly and never seemed to run out of words.
“How are you related to Rita Valdez?” I finally cut through her long talk, asking the question that had been uppermost on my mind.
Looking towards the sea, Montserrat let out a sigh that was so unlike her.
“I found out a year ago that my father isn’t as dead as my mother had made me believe. At least, wasn’t.”
She told me her lawyer, the one who’d emerged from the study with them, had sought her out to inform her that she was the daughter of the deceased Miguel Valdez, one of the richest men in the town, and that he’d included her in his will.
It’d felt like an ocean of cold water had been poured on her. Her father had been so wealthy and well-known, and yet he’d never acknowledged her as his.
She wouldn’t have attended the will reading had it not been for the lawyer’s persistence.
The will had shocked everyone including herself; Valdez had left everything in her name. Not even half a percentage for his wife and son. The will had clearly stipulated that she couldn’t transfers the assets or money to anyone else’s name.
If due to any circumstance she didn’t want the inheritance, the properties which were worth millions of dollars would be put on the market for just 1 dollar.
Otherwise, the properties and money could only be given to Rita and Mateo if Montserrat was dead.
Rita and her son had been furious, but they’d seemingly later come around the fact that it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t want any of what was being given to her, and they were all trying to find a way out of this mess.
I listened attentively without a word, but inside, I was fuming with rage. Rita had told me that Valdez hadn’t left Montse a single penny and that was why she’d killed him.
No wonder she and her moronic son had been so desperate for Montse to die.
Montserrat was in more danger than I’d imagined. I need to protect her.
“Hey, are you okay?” Montserrat’s eyes were filled with concern as she scanned my face.
I quickly let go of the sand I’d been fisting without even knowing and unclenched my jaw. I nodded curtly to her question.
She suddenly jerked to her feet. “We’ve been here for too long.” The talkative Montse was obviously back. “Let’s go somewhere else. I know, let’s go watch a movie!”
Looking around, I realized that the sky had already turned dark. Wow, I can’t believe we’ve spent so much time here just talking.
We went to the cinema as she suggested. Montse initially wanted to watch one of those sappy romantic movies, but thankfully, the next on the list was a dark horror-thriller, and we settled on that instead.
It was about a guy who returns from a trip to find his wife brutally raped and murdered. His wife had been recording a video of herself masturbating to send to her husband which served as the perfect evidence. After watching the video that reveals the identity of the men who killed his wife, he sets out in a quest of vengeance, killing all six rapists one by one.
The movie was packed with suspense, and the murder scenes were brutal and gruesome; bursted testis, dissected erect penises, heads chopped off and bodies maimed by bullets and knife wounds.
I saw myself in the main character.
The first thing I’d done after being trained as an assassin was to kill the four men who’d brutally murdered my parents. However, I still hadn’t been able to get to the man who was the mastermind behind it all.
He was the Godfather, the Mafia boss, way too powerful and had too much influence.
I wasn’t about to give up though.
After the movie, Montse asked me to take her home. It suddenly occurred to me that the cabin was too dangerous for her to be living in.
It was practically in the middle of nowhere. Someone could kill her and nobody would know.
But of course I couldn’t tell her that she was in danger. That would lead to many questions, and I certainly didn’t want her to know that I was an assassin and I was sent to kill her three days ago.
Montserrat had strangely fell quiet after the movie.
Even when I parked in the woods so that I could walk her the rest of the way home.
I thought that I would be glad for her silence since I’d always found her talkative nature very annoying.
Instead, the fact that she’d suddenly turned so quiet made me restless.
“Why are you so quiet now?” I had to force the question past my teeth, unable to take her silence any longer.
“What? You’ve missed my voice so soon already?” She was trying to smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes. I wondered why.
Her cabin came into view, and I gave the cozy building a survey.
"Doesn’t it get scary for you here? Aren’t you afraid that someone might hurt you?”
She shrugged. “I’ve lived here all my life. Moving would be so hard. Besides, who would want to hurt a harmless woman like me?”
As soon as she said that, several gunshots sounded in quick succession, bullets rushing past us.
Someome was shooting at us.