Chapter 2

1694 Words
In less than two hours, Julian was already seated in his uncle's sitting room. It was really huge, but he was used to it. He was from a lineage of wealthy folks. Fred Anderson was a very big name in the United States. He was one of the wealthiest men in the country. Just like his father, Uncle Fred has made a name for his business as well. Already retired, his son, Liam, has already taken over from him. Liam has been doing very well in the world of business, making his father proud. One of the reasons his father, Albert, has always wanted him to take over the company after he retires. "It's nice to have you here, Julian," came his uncle's baritone voice as he ascended the stairs. It's been quite a while, and he truly misses his uncle. "Uncle Fred, I've missed you." Julian took a few strides to where his uncle stood and hugged him. "I've missed you too, son. How was studies? I'm very certain you came out with flying colors," his uncle asked with a familiar grin. "Certainly, uncle, I sure did." Of course, failure isn't an option in the family he comes from. He can't get anything short of the best. He graduated as the best student in business school. "Ready to explore the world of business, huh?" Fred asked Julian, who only nodded slightly and smiled. "Look who we have here! Julian, my boy! Come here, darling," Mrs. Sophia welcomed Julian happily. Everyone was happy to see him. "Uncle, this is for you. Dad insisted I bring them myself. Says it's confidential," Julian explained as he handed the envelope over to his uncle. "Oh, thanks for coming all the way here to deliver this. It's truly very important." His uncle stretched out his hand and collected the envelope from Julian. There was something in his uncle's countenance that Julian didn't quite understand. "Is everything okay, uncle Fred?" He asked curiously. "Yes, son. Everything will be fine," Fred managed to say. "Let's go have dinner," he added. "Uhm... Sorry, uncle, but I have to be on my way already. I have an appointment to catch up with," Julian explained. He still had his date with Adi. He couldn't miss that. "Not letting you leave here without having dinner, boy. It's been ages. Eat with us now, will you?" His uncle wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer. "But..." "No, I'm not buying that," Mrs. Sophia cut him off. "Food is ready. Come on," she added. He knew arguing was pointless. He just had to stay and eat dinner with them. He couldn't say no. *** An entire hour had elapsed since the trio had taken their seats for dinner. The atmosphere was charged with amusement - spending time with Fred and Sophia was always an enjoyable experience, never lacking in excitement. Julian had lost track of time and was unaware that the night had progressed far later than he had anticipated. "Thank you so much, uncle and aunt Sophia, for the meal, but I have to be on my way," he said as he gulped down the last contents of his glass. "It's already late. You can't leave now," Fred quickly responded to him, as if preventing him from taking a step. "Uncle Fred..." Julian started but was interrupted by his uncle. "Here..." Fred said, handing Julian the brown envelope he had brought to him earlier; "your flight leaves in two hours," he added. "My flight? What flight? I don't need a flight to go back home," Julian replied to his uncle, a little bit confused. This must be one of his uncle's silly jokes, but this particular joke seemed too extreme. It wasn't going down well with him, but he chuckled as he made his way out of the dining room. "I'm going home, uncle; I know you want me to stay longer, but some other time," he added. "Julian," Fred sounded a bit more serious now, "the envelope is for you. It was never mine," he added, handing the envelope over to Julian again, looking more serious. With an air of gravity permeating the room, Julian accepted the envelope from his uncle's outstretched hand. As he carefully tore open the seal, the contents inside caused him to gasp in utter disbelief, startled by the unexpected revelation. "What? What's going on, uncle? A trip to Scotland?" Confusion clouded his mind as he stared at the papers in his hands. It was the necessary documents he needed to attend one of the best art schools in the world. Trembling hands clasped the curious note, and a bewildered thought flashed across his mind. The disapproval of his parents regarding his career in arts had always been a fixed reality. The sudden change in their decision had caught him off guard, and the pace at which events were unfolding left him dazed. His mind raced with questions, and the need for answers prompted him to reach for his phone and call his parents. "Dad?" He started when his dad picked up the phone and asked, "What prank are you playing on me? Why am I leaving in 2 hours? I never even got the chance to put things in order. I can't do this, dad. I'll take another flight. There are things I..." Julian went on breathlessly but was interrupted by his father. "Julian, you want to be an artist? Now is your time. It's now or never. If you don't take this opportunity, be prepared to take over the company, and you'll never talk about arts ever again in your life. The choice is yours." With that said, Albert ended the call before Julian could utter another word. Why does it seem the whole world was against his date with Adi? He thought to himself. This was the chance he had yearned for all his life, yet his emotions were in disarray. The decision to go or stay weighed heavily on him. What would Adi think? He knew he had not been the best partner to her, they barely spent quality time together. Just the thought of it weighed heavily on him, casting a pall of sadness over his heart. "I have to make a call," Julian said in a low tone as he stepped outside to talk with Adi. Numerous attempts to reach her went unanswered, and his heart sank with guilt. Not only had he broken his promise to meet her at 8 o'clock, but now he was also leaving the country. A lone tear trickled down his cheek, and he surrendered to his emotions as he sat on the pavement outside the house. *** Adi's day had been a whirlwind of activity, and as she glanced at the clock, she was surprised to see that it was already 7 o'clock. "Oh my God, it's almost time." Eager to make it to her long-awaited date, she rushed out of her office and briskly made her way towards the gate, determined not to be late. This was a day she had been eagerly anticipating, and she wasn't going to let anything get in the way of it. She flagged down a taxi, but it sped past her. She'd been waiting for a taxi for close to 10 minutes, but she wasn't in luck. Suddenly, she remembered her phone had been on DND. "What the hell? I totally forgot. Julian must have tried reaching me already," she mumbled as she searched frantically for her phone in her bag. As she unlocked her phone, she was greeted with a barrage of missed calls from Julian. Letting out a deep sigh, she immediately attempted to return his call, but to no avail – his phone was unreachable. Undeterred, she continued walking down the lonely path, persistently dialing in the hopes of getting through to him and finding a taxi to take her home. "Maybe he's already home waiting for me. Gosh, he should have come check up on me at the office instead," she thought to herself as she tried calling him again. Just then, she heard footsteps approaching her from behind. She turned to look around to see who it was, and there she saw three hefty men approaching her. Initially, she paid no attention to the footsteps behind her, dismissing them as those of a passerby. But her sense of security quickly vanished as they closed in on her with a purposeful gait, causing her heart to race with fear. As they drew near, their pace slowed to match hers until they were standing right beside her. Suddenly, she found herself face-to-face with a gun, leaving her paralyzed with shock and terror. "Hey, b***h! Hand that phone over to me now!" Came the husky voice of one of the thugs to her. "Down on your knees!" The other motioned towards her as he dragged the phone out of her hands. "Please, I beg you, don't kill me, please," she cried in horror as she knelt on the ground, her head facing the floor. "Don't worry, darl, we ain't here to kill ya, we just want your phone." The voice of one of the men echoed in her head, and she tried to plead even more. "You can take my bag; there is money in there, but I beg you, don't take my phone away from me. Please!" she was in tears now. Clutched tightly in her hand, the phone was like her lifeline to Julian, the only means of communication she had with him at the moment. She couldn't bear the thought of losing it, especially now that she couldn't reach him over the phone. Anxiety gnawed at her as she realized the gravity of the situation. She had to get through to him, to make sure he was alright, and she couldn't do that without her phone. "Please... I can give you all the money I have, but...” She went on, but she was welcomed with a loud laugh from one of the men. "Let's go, guys," the leader of the gang said to the rest, and they left her crying helplessly on the floor.
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