"We are sorry young miss, we came late," Thea was hell confused when a dozen men bowed in front of her in the middle of the street. It all felt like a dream. And unknowingly, Thea’s hand made its way down on its own and she pinched herself hard on the thigh.
'Aah...' Thea felt the pain jolt her muddled head, 'It's really not a dream... What in the crazy world is going on?'
"I am not sure what is that you guys want, but I think you all are mistaken," Thea finally brought out the courage to speak.
The vibe was already hard and overbearing for her. On top of that, she was afraid that if the men found out that she was not really the so-called young miss, she would be found in some dumpster the next morning. So it was better to clear the misunderstanding in the bud itself.
"It's not a misunderstanding, young miss," the man leading the group smiled at Thea and said, "Let me introduce myself. I am Alfred, and we are here to escort you home."
“Escort me home?” Hearing the man, and seeing him look at her with those gentle eyes, Thea calmed down a bit and looked at everyone around her.
They were all dressed in black suits. Particularly, the man named Alfred. With a bow tie on his neck and shiny shoes, he was leading the others. But in no way did he look like a gangster. In fact, he had this calmness on his face. Even his voice had a magical soothing to it. They were strangers and had met for the first time, but Thea did not feel any hostility towards Alfred.
"Please let us accompany you, and I will explain everything to you on our way," Alfred said as he stepped aside and gestured for Thea to get in the car.
Thea looked at Alfred and then towards the car. She was hesitant, but under the expectant gaze of Alfred and the others, her legs moved on their own.
"Auhh..." But just as she took the first step, Thea cried out in pain and limped. She was so scared moments back that she did not care about anything but getting away from Alfred and the others. But now that she had calmed down, pain suddenly erupted in her legs.
Alfred, who stood close to Thea, reacted swiftly and held Thea, preventing the fall.
"Are you alright, young miss?" Alfred asked worriedly, and his gaze followed down towards Thea's leg. In all the rush, they did not notice, but Thea's right knee had a deep cut. Blood was seeping out of the wound, and her long white socks were bloody red.
‘It would have been very painful. So how did she not feel it till now?’ Alfred thought as he looked at his young miss. He wanted to ask, but it was not the time for questions.
"Let me help you, young miss," Alfred said and put Thea's arm over her shoulder and helped her to the car.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Inside the car,
As she was helped inside the car, Thea’s mouth opened in surprise. This was the most comfortable and luxurious car she had ever seen, let alone sit in. The seats were just so comfortable. Even in this cold weather, they were warm to sit on. Thea could bet it was leather.
"Young miss, let me tend to your wound," while Thea looked around the car, Alfred walked up to Thea's side with a box in his hand. As he said that, Alfred placed a soft, light blanket over her skirt.
"No, it's alright. It's just a small cut. Nothing much," Thea said, "I have had worse," Thea nervously smiled at Alfred.
"That was all in the past young miss. Now no one can even dare to lay a finger on you," Alfred did not laugh along with Thea. Instead, he looked dead serious when he said that.
"You young miss is destined to sit at the top. Above everyone else," Alfred said with determination.
"Umm... Alright," When Alfred put it that way, there was nothing Thea could say. She could only agree with Alfred. But Thea hoped that when the misunderstanding cleared, no new problem was waiting for her.
'That's right. How can I forget about that one million dollars? Shit... I have only three days to pay the money, and here I am playing young miss,' Thea forgot for a while about the deep shit of trouble she was in.
"It is done, young miss," While Thea was thinking about how to get away from all this fiasco, Alfred's voice brought her back to reality. Alfred was already done dressing her wound. And he had done a nice job about it, "We should get going now."
"Let's move out," Alfred straightened up and called out to everyone on standby around them. Then he herself went on and sat beside the driver in the car Thea was in.
"Where are we going?" Thea asked Alfred.
"To your home, young miss," Alfred said as he turned back to look at Thea in the back seat, “To your real home.”
"But it's the other way," Thea was confused. To be more precise, she was still a little scared. She did not believe that she was the young miss these guys were making her out to be.
'Whay if they are Amanda's men? They very well might just be kidnapping her,' Thea even had this thought in her mind. But what could she do? In front of so many of them, Thea was helpless and could do nothing but go with the flow.
Alfred, on the other hand, only smiled upon hearing Thea but said nothing.
"If you have something to ask, please do. Don't hesitate," Alfred initiated the conversation.
"That... Can you tell me... Grrr..." Thea indeed had many things going through her mind, but just as she began to speak, her stomach grumbled. Finally, her body could not keep up with her anymore.
But that growling of her stomach left her embarrassed. Nothing was going her way today.
"Let's talk about the other stuff later. We need to take care of the important things first," Alfred said and tapped the tiny refrigerator in front of Thea, “It is nothing much, but I hope it will suffice for the time being.”
Thea nodded and opened the refrigerator after Alfred told her.
'Nothing much? Are you kidding me?' Thea was amazed as soon as she opened the door. It had everything one could think of. Wine, Champagne, a few cans of beer, soft drinks, snacks and whatnot. It was a nice, moving, high-class restaurant on its own.
Since Thea could not drink, she grabbed a bar of chocolate.
'Snackers? Isn't that around a hundred dollars?' Thea hurriedly checked the price.
Thea remembered buying it once for a guest at the restaurant from the snack shop next door. The shop is an extension of the restaurant itself. But it's unique since only snacks, candies and cakes were sold there. And Thea remembered paying a hundred dollars for this one bar that day. Since that day, Thea had walked past the shop so many times, hoping that she could someday be so extravagant as to buy a single bar of chocolate for hundred dollars. And today, she might be able to do that.
"Fuck it. I don't care what happens. Let's enjoy the moment," The chocolate bar finally made Thea give in. Thea decided to just enjoy the moment. Whatever happens, it could not be any worse. There should be no regret. So, Thea grabbed a couple more bars and a few cans of beer. She then leaned back on her seat, enjoying the extravagant treat for herself.
"Young miss," Thea was woken up by a gentle nudge to her arm.
"Ummm... What? Where am I?" Thea asked.
"Young miss, we have reached home," Alfred respectfully replied.
"Young miss? Was I not dreaming about all that?" Thea asked, unsure.
Just as she woke up, Thea had a thought that everything that happened was just a dream. Barry was still with her, and there was no settlement of any sort.
But guess it was just wishful thinking after a couple of cans of beer.
Rubbing her eyes, Thea stepped out of the car. And in front of her, on the stairs stood someone. Thea had still not adjusted to the light after waking up. So, she could not see who it was, but it looked like a man. And she could see that the man was walking towards them.
Soon, the man stood in front of them. He looked at Thea from head to toe for a while without saying a word. And Thea was also slowly adjusting to the light. But before she could, the man did something unexpected.