X. The Contact

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"Where the hell have you taken her?" Richard roared the exact moment Desiree stepped a foot inside the house. She met her brother-in-law's fury with equal fashion but did not say anything. Theo was silently sitting in one corner of the living room but Desiree could feel the same level of anger emanating from him, only that his had a mixture of disappointment when their eyes locked.

"I couldn't let you kill that girl," she uttered coldly, meeting her husband's gaze, her voice shaking.

"Monica Jiang is not a fucking girl, Desiree," Richard said behind her, stalking into the room as he spoke. If it was two years ago and she was still Theo's slave, Desiree was sure that Richard would have already choked her to death like he did at least twice in the past. But things had drastically changed and she was one of the few people he could not lay his hands on. "She is a grown woman who can manipulate anyone. And it seems that she was successful with you!"

Desiree whirled around to face him. "She's your fucking sister!"

"We don't have any fucking sister or sibling! She's Hong's daughter and we had no idea she even existed until now! Hong's the only person she knows as family as far as I am concerned so how do you fucking know she doesn't fucking know anything?!"

"Enough!" Theo roared from his corner.

Desiree walked to a chair and sat down, her chest heaving. "I am not telling you where she is unless you give me your word that she does not end up dead." She shot Theo a look. "I will not have you commit murder. The only—and I say ONLY—exception to that rule, Theo, is if it's Hong's murder."

"I am starting to hate your family dramas," Marco spoke from the kitchen. "I'm off for now. Need to go somewhere. Call me once you're all done with this shit." He was out the door without a word spoken from anyone.

Theo turned to Richard. "Since we all know that Monica Jiang is better to be in our presence at this very moment, I suggest we give our word."

Richard was already shaking his head before Theo finished speaking. "I cannot promise anything."

Theo turned to Desiree. She did not flinch or move at all. "Speaking in behalf of Richard, Des, I have a proposition." Desiree waited and did not say anything. Theo pushed his hands deep in his pockets. "We promise not to kill the girl," he held up his hands when Richard started to advance toward him, his mouth open and ready to contradict, "but IF she does something stupid, anything at all that will jeopardize our plans, she's out."

Desiree wasn't convinced. She didn't want to have any conditions. She wanted one simple promise: Monica stayed alive.

Her husband met her eyes. "If you refuse, you know we will find her somehow. We know how to look. And the longer Monica Jiang is out of our sight, the bigger the chance things will blow up for all of us. You may have taken her somewhere safe, but that place won't be safe for long."

She suddenly jumped off her chair and started for the stairs. "I'll have to think about it," she coldly said.

"Why did you fucking marry that bitch again?" she heard Richard ask Theo before she reached the top of the stairs.

*****

If Richard and Theo Karlsson were her brothers, Monica was inclined to believe that her father had done something bad indeed. And that was raising two fucked up sons who wanted to ruin him after everything they did to them, who wanted nothing from him but his money. The longer she was in the company of Ms. Kane, the more she was starting to believe the two were her brothers.

She had brothers. How marvelous, right? When her mother died, and when her father couldn't be with her 24/7 because of work, she had thought that she was alone. Yet there were other two people somewhere who shared the same blood as hers.

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