FictionSeries: Playing With Fire
Novia’s staring at me from across the room. Confusion written on her face.
“Why hasn’t he called? Maybe we should call him.” Isaiah breaks the silence.
“Nigga, shut up.” Mario hits him. “The first person to speak loses. You don’t know shit.” He looks over at Paxton for approval. Paxton nods his head. Mario relaxes in his seat and takes out his phone. Isaiah observes the exchange and jumps on Mario. “Nigga, you just learned that shit yesterday!” He puts Mario in the chokehold. “Tap out!” Mario attempts to flip him onto the floor.
Cruz clears his throat. “Young brothers, are you really going to roll around in my money?” Isaiah immediately releases Mario. They both adjust their jackets. Mario hits Isaiah one more time getting back in his seat. Cruz shakes his head. “Camren, did you pick this up before we left Seoul?” Cruz refills his glass.
“I did, brother. Right after our last---“
Novia cuts him off. “What the fuck? Is everyone losing their fucking minds?” Novia stands as tears begin to fall from her eyes. She’s near tantrum. “You fucking abducted me!” She turns to me. “Enrique, what the fuck is going on? Are you really this mad at me? That you would keep me here…” She walks toward me.
Miguel stands. “Novia, you should calm down.”
“Shut up, Miguel!” She keeps stalking towards me. When she’s close enough, she slaps me. Paxton and Cruz watch in amusement. Isaiah and Mario stand to their feet. “Enrique, answer me!” I bite my bottom lip as tears well in my eyes. I look down at her. She hits me in the chest. “What do you want from me? I’m sorry. I just don’t want you anymore!” She hits me again.
Suddenly, the sound of moans fills the room. The television comes alive. We all turn to see Novia’s naked body pressed against the table in front of Nuri. Cruz and Paxton look at one another. My brothers look away. I close my eyes and lower my head. Novia’s body begins to tremble. “Wha---What is this? How did you get this?”
The sound of heels captures our attention as Mrs. Camren enters the room. Her hair is straightened. She’s wearing a fitted black dress that accentuates her body. Her sweet scent fills the room. I watch as she goes to Paxton. He whispers to her. She gently kisses his lips and turns towards Novia. “Love, I suggest you keep your hands to yourself.” She sits on the arm of Paxton’s chair. “Come to me.”
Novia looks from me to Mrs. Camren and then back to the television. Mrs. Camren lets out a breath. “Love, I will not ask you again.” Novia looks at her again wiping her face before turning and making her way over. “Oh, Love. Look at your face.” Mrs. Camren motions for Novia to kneel in front of her. Novia doesn’t hesitate this time. Mrs. Camren gently caresses her face using the back of her hand. Novia begins to cry again. “Calm down. I'll explain everything soon enough.”
Mrs. Camren looks up at me. “Love, in the future, I want you to remember this moment.” She tilts Novia’s head back admiring her face for a moment. Then, she backhands her. I wince as the sound echoes through the room. Novia falls to the floor. “In this family… we do as we’re told.”
Paxton’s phone rings breaking the tension. “Mario, help her off the floor. The rest of you come with me.”
“Man, why I gotta stay with her?” Mario objects. Paxton narrows his eyes. Mario looks away. “Okay, Okay…”
“Nuri… Nuri… you’ve caused quite the mess.” I’m sitting at Paxton’s desk. Nuri is on speaker. Everyone is listening intently.
“I’m surprised this---situation---has made its way to you. I meant to handle it without----“
“Do intentions matter now? I’m involved.”
“You don’t have to be. Just bring me back the girl and I’ll end this.”
“Are you telling me what to do now? I’m almost certain that’s not how this goes.”
“No. I’m simply suggesting…”
“You don’t get to make suggestions. You have disrupted the system. These things need order."
Nuri is silent. “You have twenty-four hours and then you’ll meet my legacy.”
I hang up the phone. Cruz looks at Enrique. “You better be ready.”