KILLING ME SOFTLY - Teenage Assassin - Chapter 32

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CHAPTER 32:

GABRIEL’S  POV:

As you grow up, the knowledge that you’ll someday have to watch your parents die is always there, in the background of your immaturity and often times, sense of invincibility.  Sometimes you think, they’ll always be there when I need them and sometimes you fear the day that they’ll leave this world and you behind. 

When my dad died, of course the shock and reality of mortality was there.  There have been times when I handled things badly and there are times that I believe I’ve acted the adult that I now am. 

Have I forgiven Annabelle for murdering my dad?  I think so.  I’ve definitely been getting past the past.  Telling myself that it wasn’t completely her fault, that obviously she was misinformed and misguided.  I love her and decided that I had to choose between her and my anger.  I chose her.  Revenge was no longer an option. 

Just like things changed so suddenly all those months ago and I suddenly found myself with a dead father and girlfriend to blame, things have changed again.  I’ve been worried about my mother’s deteriorating mental health and, as a result, deteriorating physical health.  My aunt and Max have been kind enough to keep me up-to-date on her situation while I’ve been traveling with Annabelle. 

News from a couple of days ago was that they had gotten her to eat more and medicate less.  News came again about an hour ago.

My mother is dead. 

Killed by her own hand.  Well, more like killed by the gun she held in her hand. 

Since I got off the phone an hour ago, I’ve been sitting in this hotel suite in Sweden trying to hold off the anger.  Staring at the plush furnishing, the silk comforter covering the Egyptian cotton sheets, I’m disgusted by the surrounding that blood money can buy. 

When my aunt called, I figured it would be another routine call, mostly consisting of me being reassured that my mother was improving.  Instead, it was me trying to hold it together as my aunt gave me a play-by-play of a maid finding my mom in the bathroom, with her brains splattered against the wall and the resulting chaos that ensued.  ‘Come home, Gabriel,’ my aunt had asked. 

Of course I’ll come home.  While I hurt when my father died, it was nothing like what I’m feeling now.  My mother was the one that raised me.  Despite being married, she basically raised me like a single mother.  My father was constantly out of town on business and she was the one to take me to care for me.  Love me. 

How do you say goodbye to the person who was the single greatest influence on who you are?  No, I shouldn’t be burying both of my parents so early in my life.  I still remember the valedictorian at my graduation blabbering on about how at eighteen our lives are just beginning.  Why does it feel more like an ending?

Right after getting off the phone with my aunt, I began sobbing our my sorrow.  My mom didn’t deserve this ending.  The chain of events that led to her taking her life should have never happened.  That lasted about five minutes until a numbness settled over me.  When the numbness wore off, the rage came on. 

Finally getting up out of the armchair, I strip out of my clothes and take a shower.  Resolve and determination are guiding me as I get dressed in a black pair of slacks and black sweater.  I notice that my shoes are a little scuffed, so I grab a washcloth and clean them.  As I pack my belongings into my two suitcases, I leave out a few essential items.  A few minutes later, I’ve called the pilots for my dad’s private jet and have a car on standby downstairs. 

I look around the luxurious suite once again.  Annabelle’s belongings are scattered throughout and it’s the first time that I’ve looked at lingerie of hers and not been aroused.  I think I’m feeling numb again. 

Extreme highs and lows are all I’ve known since I first met her.  Before that, my life was sort of like that movie where the guy wakes up everyday to live out the same day all over again.  Routine, I guess would be a better description of it.  Going to class every day, partying and self-indulging in every way.  Basically, just being your typical spoiled, wealthy teenager. 

Then, bam!  I meet the girl of my dreams. 

Then bam!  The gun goes off that ends my dad’s life. 

Since then, extreme lows, the occasional high and total unpredictability. 

After the assignment in Australia, we were off to Barbados.  That trip consisted of Annabelle’s assignment, Jackson’s annoyingness and finally getting rid of Brent.  His next assignment thankfully took him elsewhere in the world.  After the assignment was completed, we spent an extra week there, making love on the beach, dancing at clubs and actually acting like two normal people in love. 

Love.  Even now, I still love her.  I still love Anna. 

What is so crazy is that I was becoming desensitized to my new environment, my new life.  I didn’t even ask the details of this latest assignment in Sweden.  I have no idea of the name of the person Annabelle has been sent here to kill.  I know that it’s a female and that this female is guilty of some sort of heinous crime against humanity or society. 

Do I want this life?  Do I want to be this kind of person? 

First things first, then I need to go home to bury my mother. 

The thought has crossed my mind that my mother’s soul is in jeopardy from committing suicide.  My father was Catholic and my mom converted to Catholicism before marrying my dad.  Of course, I was also baptized Catholic, but we didn’t go to church much.  Mostly just on the important religious holidays.  According to our religion, when you commit suicide, you lose your chance to enter heaven. 

Is my mom in hell?  Will she suffer eternally in death because she chose to end her suffering in life? 

I have to believe that that isn’t the case.  I don’t think God punishes you for not being strong enough to bear the pain.  But why did she do it?  I know she loved my dad very deeply, but she didn’t need to give up.  I would have even welcomed a new step dad someday so my mom could have love again.  She was still so beautiful, had so much to offer.  Had so much life ahead of her. 

I know now that I shouldn’t have left her alone in Miami to go off on my quest to find Annabelle.  If I had been there to keep an eye on her, maybe I could have coaxed her into better mental health.  I could have somehow saved her.  A change of environment or something.  Anything! 

Now, all there is left to do before I fly back to Miami is to say goodbye to Annabelle. 

She should be back shortly.  She and Jackson left this morning to complete the assignment and expected to be done with it in a few short hours.  ‘Easy kill’ was their description of the target.  Strangely, or maybe not so strange after all, the words bring to mind my parents.  Were they easy kills?  Did I make it oh-so-easy for Annabelle to get to my father.  I’m sure of it.  Will Annabelle get some sort of bonus for indirectly killing my mother? 

You never know.  My dad was supposedly some sort of drug lord, mob boss, murderer-slash-businessman.  Maybe my mom ran a sex slave operation while she wasn’t busy being a socialite housewife.  Maybe she killed puppies and ran over homeless people. 

To this day, I have never seen proof that my dad ever did anything illegal.  I was hoping that one day, when our relationship wasn’t still so new, Anna and I could have a talk about the mistake she made in killing my father.  Maybe we could have investigated and hunted down the person responsible for hiring her.  That’s where I had thought the real villain lay.  Where justice needed to be served. 

During that same talk, I could tell Anna that I forgave her.  That we could really put it all behind us. 

Interrupting my thoughts is the beep of the key card being swiped at the suite door.  The handle goes down and the door begins to open. 

My suitcases are all ready to go and lined up near the doorway. 

Annabelle walks in, smiling.

I raise the gun that I’ve been holding.  It doesn't matter that I love her, she has to pay. 

"I love you.  Goodbye Anna."

I fire. 

Blood begins to bloom on her chest, soaking through her ivory shirt. 

As she looks at me in the shock of betrayal, my numbness wears off. 

As she crumbles to the ground, I realize what I just did. 

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