Chapter 1

2088 Words
It was sometime past midnight. Leon was driving his silver Porsche back from office to his condo which was his bachelor’s pad rather another name for heaven for him. Being an un-attached and highly successful lawyer at 33 made him an eligible bachelor in town but to his horror he never ever had met any woman who had made him want to call her back again. And tonight was the worst of all. He thought about when it all had started. He had no idea how to meet people so he himself had signed up on a dating website which was suggested by his assistant. Fred was a ladies’ man all in all, unlike his boss. The woman whom he met tonight after work was undoubtedly gorgeous, with her dirty blonde hair artistically swept up which had at the least taken an hour to pile and her dress was a classic mixture of sensuality and seduction. Leon had thought that he would be having a good time after all the cases that he was handling, he needed something to take this mind off all those stuff. The woman introduced herself as Lisa, and Leon ordered drinks for them. After sometime of the basic dating rituals, Lisa started talking animatedly about her dress and its history and how it was lucky for her and Leon thought that in all his life he was doomed to be a bachelor. Because if women are like this them he dared not come back home to such a woman. He already had a fail-safe to rescue him from situations like this. Fred, his assistant called him to remind him about the urgent meeting he had with one of his clients. Leon thanked Fred in silence and paid the bill as he smiled apologetically at his date. “It was really nice meeting you Lisa and I hope we can do this sometime soon again. I am really sorry but you see, clients always come first,” said Leon. “Oh I do understand you see, I also have to deal with it every day. You have my number right? Call when you want to catch up,” said Lisa as she stood up and kissed his cheek lightly. “Sure Lisa… I shall do that as so as I am free from my work,” replied Leon, knowing very well that such a time was never going to come, at least never for Lisa. He left the bar and called Fred thanking him once more for saving him from such an unwanted situation. “You got it Boss,” replied Fred, with a chuckle which Leon could understand even on phone. “Is there anything you want to tell me at all Fred?” asked Leon, not understanding the reason behind his laughter. “Nothing as such but I think, if you ask for my honest opinion then you are not ready to give any woman a chance at all,” said Fred gingerly. “Wow…gee…thanks Fred, I did not know that you were such an authority on my psyche,” replied Leon, biting his words. “Ooops…someone is in a pretty bad mood tonight…You have a good night boss. See you tomorrow at work,” said Fred as Leon hung up without any other word. Not to mention the fact that his family had a highly successful law firm which was their ancestral business and they were pretty good at it. When he had just passed law school from Harvard he was a strapping young man of twenty-two and he had high hopes and dreams for himself. But it was not at all pleasant to find out at your home-coming party that you were engaged to the rival firm’s senior partner’s daughter. The moment his mother said about that he left his own party without telling anyone and just taking his essentials and cash. Leon had covered his tracks well since his family could not trace him from the last eleven years. Some of the times he thought that was it really a correct decision he had taken that night, or should he have listened to his parents and gone with the engagement. He did not even know who he was supposed to give his Grandma’s ring to. Was that girl really going to be his life-partner? As his mind was addled with all these thoughts and he did not even look at what he was running into when suddenly his car started beeping loudly and he saw that a huge row of trees had fallen on the street blocking his entire pathway. Bringing the car to a halt Leon got down and stepped out of the most cherished thing he had brought after waiting for six years. There was no way that he could cross this way and go home. Suddenly Leon remembered seeing a patrol car a few kilometers behind. He got in his car and turned back the car and drove until he found the car stationed at the side of the highway. “Officer, if I may ask what did exactly happen at this place? Today morning also I drove through this path,” said Leon after the officer had lowered his wind-shield to his knocks. “To be truthful we have never seen anything like this in the state of California before. Some onlookers reported a small tornado rushing from the top of the mountain with a lot of trees in its swirl and probably one or two cottages as it went downhill and vanished,” said the officer as he took a sip of his coffee. “Tornado? In California? You must be kidding right?” asked Leon with a smirk. “Why would I joke about something as serious as that? There might have been casualties but we could not find anything until now. And the fire-fighter team won’t be until morning to clear off the road, if that is what you want to know,” replied the officer taking up his talkie as it crackled with something. But Leon had stopped paying attention to it. He was walking back to his car when the officer called him back. “If you are looking for refuge for the night then I am pretty sure I can point you in the way?” Leon was not sure if it was such a great idea but he did not have any option at the moment rather than take his advice. So he replied with an ascent. “If you drive for two minutes from here you will find there is a path which forks sharply left. There is an old bed and breakfast there. Nothing fancy judging by the car you are driving but sure you can rest for the night,” replied the officer. “Thanks officer. It was really a great help and great talking to you, by the way. My name is Leon Casterfall, call me if you face any problem ever,” said Leon taking out his card from his breast –pocket and handing it to the officer. The officer’s eyes grew wide as he looked at the card and tipped his two fingers to his forehead as he said,” Well you owe me one.” Leon smiled at him and got in his car and carefully drove not to miss the left fork on the street. And to his surprise he really found one which he had never noticed earlier in his daily trips back home. The whole street was covered in a light mist which was pretty uncommon in California. It seemed that he would have to enter the streets blind. As Leon entered the street he found something heavy settling on him and invading his thoughts and mind lulling his senses. After driving for a few minutes he found a sign-board saying “Taffy’s Bed & Breakfast”. Knowing he was on the right track Leon drove on to find a small motel by the end of the road. He parked the car in the empty space in front of the property and entered the motel. The street he walked on was covered with red gravel, which crunched under his feet and made an odd sound. It seemed suddenly he had entered a movie set from the 1960’s American horror film where they killed women in their baths and then disposed off their cars and bodies in the river. Leon shuddered as he recalled his first night after he had watched ‘Psycho’. He might be an ace in the courtroom but he never had the stomach for digesting horror and gore. It was a cold damp place which was sparsely lit, the furnishing very well said the sob-story about the place. As he went to the desk which he considered to be reception and was about to ring the bell which must have been an antique from 19th century a woman in a floral house-coat came out of nowhere. The dread which was already acting up inside Leon now settled in the pit of his stomach. “Oh dear!! Imagine our luck, we have another guest and handsome at that too,” beamed the woman. She looked at him with genuine smile on her lips which put Leon at ease immediately. Leon looked at her and found that the clothes that she were wearing were clean but the edges were frayed with washings from over the years. This place had not seen a guest in quite some time and Leon felt bad for this woman. “And what might be your name good sir?” asked the woman as she had brought out a huge dusty register. They did not have the condition to afford a computer or such modernity, it seemed. “Can I get another whiskey with a dash of lime please? You have got good stuff Flora,” called out a voice from the end of the room and Leon looked back to see who was talking. He had never met any woman before who drank whiskey and then again asked for more. Normally he was used to seeing women taking those sweet fruity drinks like raspberry slushies and all. Tonight was supposed to be many of his first experiences it seemed. “Just in a moment dear,” replied the woman whose name was Flora,” If you could please fill up the register and I shall back with you in one quick moment,” she continued with an apologetic smile. Leon filled up his details in the register which were absolutely false according to his knowledge. Flora came back and he handed her a bill of fifty dollars and raised his brow as if asking if it was enough for the night. “Oh dear!! Absolutely Mr. Rhys Wilde. I shall give you the change,” beamed Flora once more as Leon held up his hand and said,” There is no need Flora. Keep the change. I can very well see you need it badly.” “That is so generous of you Mr. Wilde but I cannot…” Flora tried to say something but was interrupted midway. “Sometimes it is alright if you take help from others, because it is just that might you deserve it from someone else but it is being given to you from hands of someone other. So just accept it with an open heart, and be glad that you can get help when you need it for I know what is like to be thrown away and out of doorsteps and not having a place to stay the night,” said Leon with a sad smile. “I could have never suspected that a man of the age young enough to be my son would be speaking like that of my father,” replied Flora as they both laughed at her joke. “If you do not mind I would like to have a drink too. Whiskey if you please,” said Leon with a wink as he turned to find the woman in semi-darkness still sitting. “Oh of course… Please take a seat. I shall bring your drink,” replied Flora as Leon walked to the back of the room to the table where the woman was sitting alone in darkness.
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