“Please tell me because maybe I’m
slow or maybe I’m just plain stupid but how the hell did you lose a grown
woman?” Benjamin barked at X. He was fuming at the boy for his carelessness.
Everything was now at stake and he wasn’t in control anymore. So many thoughts
were running through his mind that he was struggling to fix his tie.
“What do you want me to say man? I’ve told you like a thousand times what happened” X was sitting in front of his computers. His head was bowed his elbows rested on his knees and rubbing his hands together in a panic. There was never any telling what Benjamin would do when he was angry X had the bullet scar to show for it. He was just praying that he wouldn’t get another one.
“Then tell me again boy! Because I’m having a hard time believing that Miracle walked out of here like a ghost without any help. She was a hostage tied to a chair for crying out loud. Not to mention that you were the same one who told me that she offered you money. For all I know you two could’ve struck a deal and you thought instead of running away it would be smarter to stay and play the victim while Miracle goes to the police and they come for me” Benjamin’s voice reverberated throughout the warehouse. His mind was working overtime.
“Come on dude. I would never do that to you I’m not that stupid.”
“If you weren’t that stupid Miracle would still be here. So I’m having a hard time believing that you didn’t betray me and the more I think about it the angrier I get. The angrier I get…” Benjamin moved towards X and grabbed him by the throat “…the more I want to put your head in a long-distance relationship with your body. You better think and think very carefully boy. Tell me what the hell happened while I was gone? And if you tell me the same story” he shook his hand slowly “You will find out the hard way why they call me the wolf.”
X tried to talk but his throat was still in the tight grip of Benjamin's hand. He gasped for air and coughed profusely as soon as it was released. He tried to catch his breath “She seduced me man” he mumbled.
“What?” Benjamin exclaimed with the disbelief of someone who was looking at winning lottery numbers.
“She didn’t want to eat and when I went closer to feed her she kissed me dude. I kissed her back next thing I know our clothes were on the floor. Everything happened fast I was so horny I didn’t even think straight when she told me to go get some condoms. We didn’t have any here so I quickly drove to the garage. When I came back she was she was gone dude.”
“How could you be so stupid? It’s the oldest trick in the book.”
“I’m sorry man. I’ve never been with a woman before I figured this was finally my chance.”
Benjamin couldn’t believe what he was hearing “You need to stick to what you know best boy. And that’s computers. What am I going to tell Richard night now? I’m supposed to bring Miracle to him by tomorrow.” This was the worst-case scenario. He never saw the game that he was playing get to this point. He wasn’t so worried about what Richard would do. He was more worried about what this would do to his credibility with the Knights especially Katherine. He’d made so much progress with her over the past few weeks that bringing Miracle home would be like closing a billion-dollar deal. But deep down he knew he’d been in more challenging situations than this one. He didn’t survive being almost killed in prison staying in solitary confinement for three years faking his own death to escape from prison changing his identity and involuntarily disowning his family just so he could see everything crumble down because of a small hiccup. If there was someone who could think his way out of this it was him. His thoughts were disturbed by a text from Katherine it read: “Come to the house immediately.” The expression on his face was so disturbed that even X picked it up.
“Is everything okay?” X asked brushing his long brown hair back.
Benjamin closed his eyes and grabbed the bridge of his nose “You’re the last person who should be asking me that right now. The fact that I haven’t knocked all of your teeth out and broken your ribs is still a mystery.”
“Jeez dude I said I’m sorry. I’ve acknowledged that I made a mistake. At least give me a chance to make it right. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”
“There’s nothing you can do for me at this point but shut up until I tell you to speak.”
He shrugged and turned to his computers. As soon as he turned them on a notification popped on one of his screens then the second one then the third one. “Holy shit!” X exclaimed with his hands on his head.
Benjamin was already halfway across the room striding towards the door when curiosity forced him to make a u-turn “What now?”
“You need to see this.”
“What is it boy speak up!”
“Katherine’s husband Lamar held a press conference at the Knight’s home about ten minutes ago it’s all over the news. The headline is ‘Miracle safely returns home.’” X muttered barely able to finish the sentence.
“So that’s why she sent me a text” Benjamin mumbled to himself “It’s either Katherine is excited and she wants to share the news of her sister’s return with me or Miracle has helped them piece everything together and I’ll be walking into a police trap.”
“Damn. What are you going to do?”
“If I stay away I’ll be in the dark about what’s going on and we might be ambushed. I have no choice but to go there and find out what’s going on. You have brought a shit-storm to my door boy. I’m so disappointed in you right now.” Benjamin banged the door on his way out.
An awkward silence made itself comfortable in Katherine and Lamar’s bedroom. One wouldn’t be blamed for not believing that the two had been married for almost ten years. Pretty smiles and pretending were for the public all bets were off once they were in private.
“Aren’t you at least going to congratulate me on how I handled the press conference?” Lamar broke the silence.
“Oh? I’m sorry I thought one of your prostitutes had congratulated you already” Katherine shot at her husband.
“How many times Katherine? How many times must I apologise to you before you believe me? I ended things with that girl it was a stupid mistake. If you keep on bringing it up we can’t fix our relationship.”
“Dropping a glass and breaking it is a mistake. Burning chicken is a mistake. Cheating on me with a twenty-one-year-old prostitute twice and having the audacity to make a sex tape in the process is not a mistake. It’s a choice a choice to humiliate me in front of the world my family and our kids. You’re lucky my father didn’t deal with you.” There was a time when saying that would bring tears to her eyes but that time was gone. The first time she found out about Lamar’s infidelity was like a dagger to her heart. It took her months to get back to her old self. It took her over a year to forgive him and the minute he regained her trust a sex tape surfaced. All she felt was anger and disgust towards him.
“That video was never meant to reach the internet. It was a moment of weakness baby you know how much I love you.” He approached Katherine and cupped her face in his hands “It didn’t mean anything you know that. You mean everything to me.”
Katherine grabbed his wrists and gently removed his hands from her face “The only person who had a moment of weakness was me when I believed you the first time. The only thing that doesn’t mean anything is the nonsense that you’re telling me right now. Let’s get one thing straight my husband. This marriage is as dead as brown grass. The only reason that I’m with you is to protect our children and have them grow up with both parents so that they don’t turn out like you. I will never believe anything that comes out of your mouth again. For all I care you can go to Las Vegas and sleep with all the strippers there and I couldn’t care less.” Katherine tried to brush past him but Lamar quickly grabbed her arm. “Let go of me Lamar.”
“I’d get off my high horse if I were you. Do you think I didn’t see how you’ve been going on secret dates and spending time with that baboon of yours? How do you think your father will feel when he finds out that his perfect Katherine is a cheating whore?”
“First of all that’s racist and I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that. Secondly are you having me followed?”
“Are you sleeping with him Katherine?” Lamar asked struggling to keep the anger out of his raised voice.
Katherine smiled at the irony of her husband’s question “Really? You of all people are asking me that?”
“I asked you a question. Are you fucking that baboon behind my back? Because if you are then I swear to –”
“You’ll what? What will you do Lamar? Whether or not I’m sleeping with Benjamin is none of your business. He’s twice the man you’ll ever be in every way that you can imagine.” The satisfaction that she felt at seeing the bruises she had just put on Lamar’s ego
Breathing heavy and his face now pink he reluctantly let go.
“I thought as much.” Katherine shook her head in irritation and disappeared into the bathroom.
Katherine’s phone which lay on the bed rang and Lamar quickly jumped at it and when he saw the caller ID he replied with a text message that read “Can’t answer now where are you?” He waited a few seconds before a text came back it read “I’m here.” Lamar replied “Meet me at the garden I’ll be there in a few minutes.” He sent the text switched off the phone then hid it under the pillow.
Lamar arrived at the garden and observed a calm Benjamin dressed in a sharp grey suit with a white shirt and brown leather brogues. He had his back turned to Lamar.
“What kind of man are you Benjamin?” Lamar announced his presence. He’d known the man was a snake from the moment he saw him but he just couldn’t put his finger on what was off about him.
Benjamin turned around to face Lamar “Excuse me?”
“Oh I’m sorry let me rephrase that. What kind of snake are you trying to worm your way into our lives? In fact don’t answer that I’ll answer it for you. You’re a fraud I know you’re not who you pretend to be. You’re not his hotshot accountant that you want everyone to believe you are.”
Benjamin felt his heart slowly start to knock at his chest with fast thuds but he’d been in these type of situations long enough to know how to deflect and maintain his composure. “Where’s Katherine? She’s the one I’m supposed to be meeting. I don’t have time for this.”
“Katherine is busy she doesn’t have time for scum like you. That’s not even the worst of it. You see the minute I met you something in my bones just didn’t feel right and the fact that you were always snooping around my wife made me more curious. So I asked one of my friends in the SAPS to do a background check on Benjamin Leno guess what? The only Benjamin Leno he had on his system died in a car accident in 1999. So either you’re a ghost or a fraud. Which one is it Benjy?”
Benjamin swallowed hard. His mouth felt dry and he could feel his body temperature rising. He’d had so much faith in X he hadn’t bothered to double-check if the boy had covered all of his bases. By the looks of things it was clear that he hadn’t and once again Benjamin had found himself caught off-guard because of X’s carelessness. “There must be a mistake I don’t know what you’re talking about” was all he could say. Was this a trap? Were the police already waiting for him? Did Katherine know about this? He overloaded his now aching brain with these questions as he desperately tried to figure out how he went from being in total control a few weeks ago to having his freedom on the line.
“If there’s a mistake we can go to the police station now and have it checked out. I’ll personally drive you there you’ll give them your fingerprints and in a matter of minutes your true identity will be revealed” Lamar revealed with a smug smile on his face. He had all the cards and he knew it. People didn’t mysteriously appear dead on police records unless they were hiding something.
Benjamin was lost for words all he could do was wait for Lamar to tell him what his next move was. If he wanted him arrested he would’ve done so long ago but here they were. That meant that he wanted something from him.
“Or instead of wasting our time and going through all of that you could turn around and walk away. Forget about Katherine my wife forget about the Knights. I want you to disappear and cut all ties with Katherine. If I ever see you again I will tell her and the rest of her family everything that I know about you and you will rot in jail. I’ve worked for years to get to where I am. I will not sit quietly and watch you take it all away from me.”
“You haven’t told Katherine?”
“No I thought I’d give you a chance to leave with a little dignity.”
He was the only one who still knew Benjamin thought to himself. That was all he needed to know to make his next decision. “Okay I’ll disappear and you’ll never hear from me again.”
“Just like that? You’ll leave the country?”
“I’ll leave the country. Just like that.”
“That’s a good boy. I expected a challenge from you but then again all your kind is good at is striking and corruption. Now turn around and walk away like the little coward that you are. Next time you decide to mess with my family again remember that you’ll have me to deal with. I’ll kick you to the curb like the little dog that you are.” Lamar turned around to walk away.
Furious at the disrespect that he had just endured it took Benjamin seconds to scan the area for any witnesses. As soon as he realised it was just the two of them in the large botanical garden he lunged at Lamar catching him off guard and knocking the wind out of him. In a matter of seconds they were both struggling on the ground and he was on top of Lamar with both of his hands clasping tightly at his throat with the grip of a constrictor reptile. But Lamar was stronger than he expected. He struggled until he shoved Benjamin to the side then proceeded to water Benjamin with a rain of punches on his face and body. Without warning Lamar turned around and picked up a small but heavy porcelain flower pot as he lifted it over his head to bring it down on Benjamin’s face Benjamin rolled over the pot shattered into pieces and Lamar lost his balance. Benjamin crawled in desperation at one of the sharp broken pieces. As Lamar rose and lunge at him Benjamin buried the sharp piece at Lamar’s stomach. Lamar gasped for breath as he looked at Benjamin in the eyes.
“My real name is Thomas Reeves and nobody disrespects me like that” he said then proceeded to stab him in the stomach repeatedly until Lamar fell off him. Sweaty covered in dirt and blood Benjamin tried to catch his breath and think his way out of what had just happened and how he was going to deal with it. His phone rang it was Katherine. He took a deep breath and picked it up “Hey Kat.”
Katherine giggled on the other end “You sound tired what’s going on?”
I just killed your husband is what’s going on Benjamin thought “Do I? It must be the heat.”
“Right listen I just found my phone under one of my pillows and saw the recent WhatsApp conversation. I didn’t send those texts. It was Lamar being his insecure self. Don’t waste your energy on him I’m on my way there to give him a piece of my mind.”
“No no no don’t bother. I’ve sorted that out.”
“Oh? Where are you now? Because I just saw your car in the driveway” Katherine asked.
Benjamin closed his eyes in frustration “Uhm I’m on my way.”
“Oh don’t worry I can already see you” Katherine said.
Benjamin picked up his head and on the other entrance of the botanical garden about fifty meters away from him was Katherine waving at him. He swiftly moved towards one of the large plants to hide his bloody shirt then faked a smile and waved back at her. He then looked down at his feet about a meter away from him was the dead body of Lamar. Panicking tired and trying to think straight he had a feeling in him a feeling he hadn’t felt since he was betrayed by Cindy in that restaurant all those years ago. As Katherine got closer he realised it was a feeling of not knowing what to do a feeling of defeat.