*Not a suitable story for children*
Although he knew the inevitable plan, Marc never thought he would have to say goodbye to his son on such an awfully cold night. The leaves whip around their feet, dancing gleefully in the quickening wind. Aiden stares up at his Father with twinkling eyes full of love and like a cougar he jumps forward wrapping his arms around him. Marc smiles sadly, crouching down to his sons level- it was only now he realised his little arms still can’t reach all the way around his thick waist. Still locked tight in the embrace Aiden tilts his head back, their faces only inches apart and stares deeply.
A sharp sound causes them to jump apart, Marc looks up towards the noisemaker. His ex-wife has started to flash the headlights at them, eager to get herself and Aiden back to the hotel before the storm hits.
‘’You’ll see me again soon kiddo, remember that.’’ Aiden smiles and reaches one hand as if to stroke his Father’s cheek, only to pinch his nose and pretends to throw it away.
‘’If you carry on like that, I won’t have any more noses left!’’ jokes Marc. Aiden giggles until the sound of another horn snaps him back to reality.
Aiden bends down and picks it his backpack, with icy fingers he pats his coat pocket. ‘’I’ve left my toy in the house’’ he whispered, panicked.
Marc reaches into his own coat pocket and pulls out a psychedelic looking kaleidoscope and hands it back to a relieved Aiden.
‘’You keep that safe’’ he mutters. ‘’We don’t want your Mother knowing I’ve been buying you anymore more crap, you hear me?’’ Aiden smiles and winks cheekily. Getting back to his feet Marc ruffles his son’s hair and nudges him in the direction of the car. He laughs to himself silently as he walks back into his home, that kid is five going on fifteen.
The warmth engulfs him as he wanders back into his dining room. His toes tingle when he kicks his shoes off.
‘’Had to be done, my friend.’’ starts Seb who is sat at the head of the table, his shirt buttons straining. ‘’No place for kids in our world. Sweet lad though, giving me a hug goodbye.’’
Marc seats himself opposite Seb, ignoring his comment. Leon walks out from the corner of the room and places a supportive hand on the back of his brother chair.
‘’So tell me, what is this infant doing here then?’’ Leon gestures at the baby faced man stood next to Seb.
Seb folds his arms over his chest, adding more pressure to those poor little buttons.
‘’I’ll have you know I am no child.’’ starts Isaac, his face reddening. ‘’My name is Isaac. I’m thirty years old, not that it is any of your business.’’
Marc waves Leon away, who retreats back slowly. ‘’We are not here to make small talk.’’ he begins. ‘’Let’s get this wrapped up quickly before the blizzard hits. I am not interested in having a sleepover with you two clowns.’’ Marc gets to his feet and starts pacing.
Seb watches him walk for a moment, thinking. ‘’Well, so far so good. This one here was in and out as fast as your ex wife.’’ he smiles, gesturing at Isaac. ‘’Shame he couldn’t have taken as much with him as she did, mind you.’’
Marc grinds his teeth but doesn’t take the bait. ‘’Won’t the target notice them missing?’’
‘’We replaced them with the highest quality cubic zirconia from down the market.’’ smirks Seb. ‘’Anyway I’ll be long gone by the time she does. Once I’ve got my cut, that is.’’
‘’You won’t be getting anything until I’ve seen the goods.’’ Marc states, irritated. He wrings his hands together and Leon steps forwards instantly.
‘’I think we could all do with a Scotch, Isaac? Come give me a hand.’’ Leon turns to walk out the door but stops when he realises no one is following.
Isaac shuffles his feet and his cheeks begin to flush, again. ‘’No, none for me. I’m driving.’’ he looks at each face quickly. Marc has stopped his pacing and glances at Leon.
‘’But I could do with using the toilet?’’
‘’Are you kidding me? You went before you came!’’ Seb shakes his head. ‘’We are trying to do business here, in case you hadn’t realised’’.
Marc turns to look at his two guests. The wind has started to bang against the house, echoing through the many rooms. Snow is now falling thick and fast, he hopes Aiden is out of that car and is getting ready for bed somewhere warm.
‘’I will not have anyone pissing themselves on my new carpet.’’ gesturing for Isaac to follow, Marc walks out of the room.
Leon shakes his head, bemused. ‘’I reckon you should ask to see his ID.’’
Even though he knows this house inside out, Marc can’t help but feel anxious. Their footsteps ring eerily against the backdrop of the blizzard, which is starting to get more aggressive.
‘’I am afraid all the toilets down here are on the blink.’’ Marc starts up the vast staircase, Isaac following suit. ‘’You’ll have to use the en suite.’’
Once in the bedroom Isaac, who is a renowned thief, is in his element. ‘’I’m gonna buy myself a place like this, when all this is sorted’’ he turns his back to the bathroom and Marc. ‘’Somewhere warm, though. Don’t like the cold.’’ he mutters, fingering the delicate crystal decanter that is on the bedside table.
Too engrossed in the luxuries that surround him, Isaac doesn’t notice Marc picking up a solid looking floor lamp. Nor does he notice him holding it like a sword, directed right at him. With one swift blow aimed straight at the temple, Isaac topples onto the bed- out like a light.
Marc drags the unconscious man off the bed, ties his hands and stuffs his mouth with a sock, unsure if it is even clean, and locks him in his wardrobe. Sighing, yet feeling ever so buff, he heads back downstairs.
Back in the dining room Leon is pouring drinks for everyone. He looks up as his brother, knowingly, and hands Seb a large measure.
Marc stays standing and ignores his own glass of amber liquid. ‘’We are running out of time, I meant what I said before.’’ he barks. ‘’Blizzard or no blizzard. When we are done, we are done.’’ Seb nods and drinks deeply from his glass.
‘’We need to wait for Isaac.’’ states Seb. ‘’He may be the biggest idiot I have ever met, but he is as much a part of this as you are.’’
So they wait, and wait. With each minute that passes, Seb becomes increasingly frustrated. His eyebrow is now thick with sweat, and under his jacket his shirt is turning a darker shade of blue. Marc pours Seb another overly large helping of scotch.
‘’Right I’ve had enough of waiting.’’ Seb stands up too quickly, wobbling slightly showing this might not have been his first drink of the night, and knocks his chair clean over. Once steady he reaches into a hidden pocket on the inside of his jacket. His eyes widen with realisation. Frantically he pats each one of his pockets, before falling to his knees scouring the floor.
He pops his head up over the dining room table. ‘’..They’re gone’’ Seb mutters, the sweat is now running down his cheeks. ‘’Gone.’’
Leon pulls out the handgun he has had hidden down the back of his trousers, pointing straight at Seb and cocks it. Seb slowly strands up, his bleary eyes fixed on Marc, to reveal he too is holding a gun.
Marcs eyes flit between his brother and tipsy traiter. ‘’You had £1.5 million worth of diamonds loose in your pocket?’’ he asked quietly, Seb cocks his gun in reply. ‘’Answer me!’’ bellowed Marc.
Seb sneered. ‘’Loose? No.’’ Leon doesn’t take his eyes away from the other gun. ‘’In my pocket? Yes. No one gets close enough to me to even smell them.’’ Seb finishes.
Leon walks briskly out of the room, taking his gun with him. Seb pulls back the hammer and places it on the table. ‘’He’s a liability, that one.’’
It has started to hail stone, it taps against the window harshly. The blizzard has well and truly hit.
Leon bounds back into the room, skidding when he comes to a halt. ‘’That scumbag is gone.’’ he growls. ‘’I checked each bathroom, he is gone.’’
Seb runs like a headless chicken into the hallway, not remembering the way to the front door. Marc and Leon hurry after him.
‘’I can’t believe it…’’ like a mad man, Seb bumbles around whispering frantically. ‘’No money, no airplane, no car, no hair transplant. I am going to get that son of a…’’
‘’He is long gone, Seb.’’ states Marc. Seb falls to his knees, laughing hysterically.
‘’Look at the weather. He is either halfway to the airport or halfway dead.’’ Leon grimaces, looking out the window into the white unknown. ‘’Better him than me.’’
Seb stands up, his eyes bloodshot and forehead creased in disbelief. He catches Marc’s gaze and frowns. ‘’Got anything stronger than scotch?’’
The condensation has frozen solid on the bitterly cold window of this roadside motel room. The blizzard has started to subside, leaving a blanket of icy snow in its wake. A tree has been knocked over blocking the way out of the carpark, but this will a worry kept for the morning.
Aidens breath lingers in the air, he likes it. It makes him feel like a dragon. When he is bored of breathing fire, he pretends he is smoking one of his Mum’s cigarettes but that’s no fun.
The bundle of blankets on the double bed moves up and down with each breath. Aiden tip-toes over and peeps under the covers to check his Mum is asleep, the soft snoring tells him not even an earthquake wouldn’t wake her.
Aiden scurries over to his backpack, sits on the floor and smiles. Once the zip is open he reaches in and pulls out the gift from his Father. With one more glance at the bed, he puts the kaleidoscope to his eye and holds it up to the light.
As he twists the end, a world of colour opens up before him- blue, green, pink, orange all working together to create wonderful shapes. Something glittering catches his eye, not once or twice but three times. In amongst the plastic multicoloured beads sit three large, beautiful diamonds. They seem much bigger than Aiden remembered, he is surprised he was able to fit all three in his little hand.
As soon as the blizzard settles completely he knows his Father and Uncle will be hammering on that door, ready to whisk him away. Aiden smiles once again, he may be young but he isn’t stupid. He was given an opportunity to stay with his Father, an opportunity he would never think about passing up.
Hug the strange sweaty man goodbye, was the plan. Which he did, of course but he needn’t have. Something on the floor caught his eye mid hug and he couldn’t believe his luck. Aiden didn’t like the idea of pick pocketing, but when he saw the three rocks lying there even he knew they should be kept somewhere safe. Certainly not loose in a jacket pocket, that’s for sure.