"It's the opportunity of a lifetime. But. It could also get us killed," Jak stated simply, leaning over his patio railing.
They were once again eating breakfast on his patio. He'd called a meeting with Chara and Anna that morning so they could discuss how they were going to respond to Sunny. They'd told him the day before that they'd come back to him with an answer this afternoon. Sunny had been clear that he was keen to get started.
"We have to be careful," Jak explained. "The Koh Phangan mafia is real, and it's real dangerous.
"Yeah, Lek's mentioned it here and there," Anna chimed in, taking a bite of fresh mango, "but I always just thought he was exaggerating."
Jak shook his head.
"So are you like, a part of this Mafia?" Chara asked, suddenly wondering if her new boyfriend was the Don Corleone of Koh Phangan.
"Indirectly, I guess. I try to stay out of mafia politics, but most of my friends and family are involved with them in one way or another." He turned to them and hesitated for a moment. "And I've managed to make mortal enemies with the biggest mafioso on the island..."
Chara and Anna's eyes widened simultaneously. "What!?" they said in unison.
Jak moved to a lounge chair and sat down, leaning back and putting his hands behind his neck, clearly preparing to tell them a long story. He was shirtless this morning and wore only his blue swim trunks. He let out a long sigh. "Yeah, his name is Pong. We grew up together on the island. We were inseparable. So much so that we decided to go to university together in America. We got a dorm room together and lined up all our courses together. But it all changed when we fell in love with the same girl."
He stopped for a moment and sighed. Anna and Chara stared at him with big eyes, urging him to continue.
"Rebecca," he said wistfully, looking off into the distance. "She stole my heart and Pong's too, and so our first year of university was devoted not to studying but to winning her heart. So what started as a friendly competition between the two of us morphed into something of a war. Pong always saw me as a threat. But I had no idea until Rebecca came about that this was the way he felt. So when Rebecca chose me, that was the last straw for him, I guess. We got into a fist fight and he spit in my face said he would piss on my grave one day. He changed rooms, phone numbers, emails, and just blocked me from his life completely. The next time I saw him was when I caught him in my bed with Rebecca, a month later."
Jack stopped again and shook his head. Chara thought for a moment that he was going to cry, but he didn't. "It's a horrible feeling, being cheated on, especially by your first love and your best friend. I was so broken, I almost quit university and moved back to Thailand. I told Pong that our friendship was really and truly over and that if he doesn't piss on my grave first, I'll be the one pissing on his."
"I'm so sorry, Jak. That's just awful," Chara uttered softly, getting up to sit beside her boyfriend. She put her arm around him.
"Pong and his family essentially own Haad Rin beach," Jak continued. "It's the only beach that my mom and our family don't have a stranglehold on. And of course, it's also the most profitable beach on the island. Pong and his family make a fortune from the Full Moon Party, and are known for quashing any competition that comes their way."
"Woah, OK. So this is where it gets dangerous," Anna nodded. She wore a string bikini with a pair of short shorts for bottoms. It was a particularly hot day, so they were all in minimal clothing.
Jak nodded. "It does, yes. But. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. I've been looking for a reason to get off Haad Rin for years. I hate being here, knowing that it's Pong's domain. It drives me crazy."
"This girl must have really been something, to have you two turn on one another like this," Chara laughed, feeling slightly jealous but trying not to let it show.
"Oh, it goes way beyond Rebecca. He's been trying to sabotage me for years since we both got back. And he's turned into a real asshole. A real dangerous asshole, too. Some of the things he's done..." his voice trailed off.
Chara wanted to know more, but she didn't press. She figured it would come out eventually.
"My mom probably won't be thrilled that I'm staying in the party industry, but she'll at least be happy to know I'm putting my education to work."
Anna scrunched her eyebrows. "How so?"
"Well, I would insist on having a hand in designing the place, of course," Jak explained. "And you girls should have a hand in the aesthetic design. It sounds like he needs all the help he can get, anyways."
The girls nodded.
"Sunny's eyes also perked up when I mentioned my family's construction company, so I bet I can convince him to use that too, for the build. It's a huge job and we're the only ones with the equipment to pull it off unless he were to bring one down from Bangkok at a huge expense. That would be a huge contract for us. My mom would be thrilled, and I bet she'd help us get this whole thing past the police," Jak winked.
They'd already discussed with Sunny that there would be a sea of red tape to get through, for him to be able to pull this off. He'd also probably have to spend a lot of money on bribes. He didn't seem to be phased by this, as if he'd expected it.
"And we could all make a shit tonne of money from this. Plus, it sounds like a blast!" Anna exclaimed, rubbing her hands together.
"I say let's do it," Chara asserted, putting her hand out in front of her.
"I'm in," Anna put her hand on top of Chara's.
Jak added his to the top of the pile. "Let's do this."