True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 17
Determination

I trudged back up to my room with Mr. Stone and a goon named Jed at my side. “I’ve been told that your guard wasn’t exactly awake when one of my men came to escort you to the mess hall.”

            “I said that he could be with me.  You didn’t say that he had to be conscious.” Jed looked at me like I was crazy to talk to Mr. Stone like that. “Besides, it’s not like he missed anything at lunch.  If he’s really that hungry, he can have the food that your minions didn’t eat.”

            “They ate all of it,” Mr. Stone commented.  I smirked.

            “I’m sure there are a few scraps left.” I waited while Jed opened the door.  I was not looking forward to this kind of life. “I want Lena to stay here.  She can have a cot or something in the den.  But I want her here, with me,” I said, knowing that as soon as my back was turned, Mr. Stone would have her killed for stealing.

            “That’s not very wise of you, Camille,” he chided, using my name for the first time in a long time. “Getting attached is most definitely not wise.”

            “I’m not getting attached, I’m keeping her safe.”

            “And the difference is?” Mr. Stone asked, dismissing the goon into the room.

            “What are you saying?  That you have to put someone in danger to prove yourself unattached?” I asked, not understanding.

            “No.  The simple fact that you should be able to; proves it.” He grinned and motioned for me to enter the room and I did so quickly, scanning the room for the unconscious goon.  I only saw Jed and my furniture. “Go get unpacked,” he suggested in a firm tone.

            “Why me, again?” I asked, needing confirmation before I could carry on here.

            “You made someone heartless fall in love with you.” I had made many people fall in love with me.  It had been my job, after all.  I shook my head and he continued. “That, and you have much potential.  The right state of mind.”

            “And which state would that be?” I wondered, sitting down next to Jed.

            “The state where no one else lives,” he answered with a grim smile.  Somehow, Lena was there.  Though I hadn’t seen him call for anyone or seen Jed call for anyone, Lena was there.  I watched as she stood at the threshold, hands folded, head bowed.  She had crinkly brown hair.  I ran my fingers through my own. “I’m off.  I’ve got other things to do.”

            Mr. Stone left and Lena looked up at me timidly. “You don’t have to be scared to talk, Lena.  Talk whenever you feel like talking.  Do whatever you feel like doing,” I assured her.  I turned to Jed. “You too, Jed.  Really, I’m not going to have you killed.”  I stood up when silence followed and turned to go into my bedroom.

            “Wait!” Lena exclaimed.  I turned and Lena’s slight frame crashed into mine forcefully.  I barely budged.  She hugged me and I stroked her hair. “You are my guardian angel.  You saved me.” She was crying into my torso remarkably hard.

            “I’m not an angel, Lena,” I corrected softly.  I was too cold to be an angel.

            Peter and I had both been cold souls at first.  Neither one of us liked the other.  I remember when we had warmed up to each other as much as possible, I had agreed to have dinner with him.  Peter had decided on a nice, small, secluded restaurant called The Den.

            “There’s one just like this in Paris,” he told me, seating me in a small black chair.  There was a dance floor and a small orchestra playing classic dance music. “The food is a little more authentic, though.” I smiled and took a tentative sip of my sparkling water.

            “I’ve always wanted to go to Paris,” I said, lying because I’d lived in Paris for a few months.  I’d had a job to do.  I folded my hands underneath my chin and leaned slightly over the table in Peter’s direction.  He leaned forward as well and smiled.

            “Really,” he mused, leaning even further across the table.  A slight cough made Peter jump.  I just tilted my head to view the waiter, standing with our order.  I sat up straight slowly, flicking my hair with my forefinger and thumb.  I had ordered grilled chicken and a Caesar salad.  Peter had some sort of French pasta drenched in various cheeses.

            “So, what were we talking about?” he asked after he’d taken a bite of his pasta…thing.  I happily munched on my salad and shrugged. “I think we were on the subject of how gorgeous you look tonight.” I smiled at the compliment.  I was wearing a dark blue ballroom dancing dress that had silver lining on the hem.

            “I don’t think that was the subject.” I faked a blush.  Peter grinned and I tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear.

            “Why was I such a jerk to you?  You’re so beautiful.” I was happy my job was moving along so well.  It would be no time before I would have him practically screaming out the ‘l’ word.

            I laid down on my bed and Jed asked me if I wanted him stationed in my bedroom.  I gave him a big negative on that.  He decided to stay in the den and set up for Lena.  Jed was a pretty cool guy.  His brown skin was only a few shades darker than mine was.  I began to unpack my duffel bag.

            It didn’t take a long time.  I didn’t have too many things to do.  I carefully organized my toiletries on the counter.  My toothbrush next to my toothpaste, my face wash next to my washrag, etc.  Then I put away my clothes in different drawers.  In the pocket of the duffel bag I thought was empty sat a tiny ring.  The diamonds in it were set in the design of a ribbon.  I gasped and Lena ran in.

            “What?” she asked, panicked.  I shook my head and sank down onto the bed.  She stood by the bed and held onto the bedpost. “It’s a nice ring.” I nodded. “It looks like—”

            “An engagement ring?” I guessed. “It is.”

            “Who is going to be married?” Lena breathed, feeling her forehead.

            “I was,” I murmured.  Lena nodded as if she understood and tenderly took the ring from me.  She examined it closely and turned it over and over in her fingers. “Why don’t you go take a bath in the tub?  Go ahead.  You can change into something of mine.” Her eyes gleamed and then she took off for the bathroom.  I tucked the ring into my jeans pocket.  I walked into the den.

            “I think…” Jed started when he saw me.

            “What do you think?” I urged positively. “It does matter, you know.” He smiled.

            “I think it’s good what you think you can do here,” Jed said with a hint of sadness in his tone.  What I think I can do?  Just watch me.  I can do it.

 

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