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The Family Business
The door was closed. I was alone and would be until they came to see me again. I shuddered at the thought, every time they came to see me, they brought things to tempt me to talk; they brought blankets, food, water and a picture of my parents. When they showed me the picture, I had to bite the inside of my cheeks to stop myself from talking.
As I looked around her cell, I archived everything that I could see as I had been trained to do. There were four grey cement walls, a cot in the corner and a camera in the top left corner. The door was made of reinforced one-way glass, so someone could be standing right in front of me, but I couldn’t be sure.
I sat on the cot and replayed how she got here over and over again. I had been turning onto my street after school last Monday, when I stopped dead after seeing men in masks coming out of her house saying, “She should be here! I’ve watched her for the past two weeks to make sure of her schedule.” I remembered my training kicking in and making me back away slowly and quietly, but I wasn’t fast enough. They had caught me after about a half hour of running and after I had floored four of the six. Remembering that I had done so well put a little smile on my face.
My reminiscing abruptly ended when I realized that two bulky men were standing in front of me. One of the two began to speak,” The boss wants to see you. You must change into this,” the other one handed me a bundle of clothes,” We will leave you to change, be ready in ten minutes.” I stood there for a moment, shell shocked, then looked at the clothes that were in my hand. There was a deep blue cocktail dress, exactly matched to the color of my eyes, and a pair of high heels to match. I wondered if I was really being introduced to “the boss,” or if they just were making me play dress up for the fun of it.
It turns out that I was meeting the boss. I walked into the room with the two thugs beside me, holding each of my arms. Apparently they hadn’t forgotten what I had done to them.
Who I assumed was the boss was sitting in a rotating chair behind a desk, facing away from me. The voice that excused the thugs was one that I recognized instantly, one that I had heard in my childhood memories, but one that I hadn’t heard in ten years, since I was five. It was my twin brother. Drew had always been a problem child. He was always stealing and lying, even when he was four years old. When he was five, and I was sent off to kindergarten, my parents sent him to some private boarding school for troubled children. I was not allowed to talk to him or contact him in any way. When he was ten, he broke out of the school armed with a gun and a hostage who the police say became his partner.
Drew turned around, stood up, spread his arms and said, “Natalie Dear! How nice of you to join me! Would you like something to eat or drink?” I stood there with my mouth gaping for what seemed like eternity. Once I got my wits about me again, I ran into his open arms. I had always thought that Drew was extremely misunderstood. The reason he stole things was to give them to me; he lied to get me out of trouble. When he escaped from the hole they were holding him in, he sent me a letter saying that he escaped so that I could see him again, but he couldn’t see or contact me again because he didn’t want me to get involved with his businesses or what they were involved in and I hadn’t heard from him since.
While I was thinking all of this, I apparently started crying, so Drew was holding me tightly, stroking my hair trying to comfort me. After a few minutes, I regained myself and we sat down and started talking.
He began with, “I suppose I have a few things to apologize for.”
“I would say so Drew! Do you know what I have gone through the past week? Let alone what you put me through the last five years with no letter, phone call or any type of communication what so ever?” I was astonished that it was him that put me through the past week.
“I am sorry for what you have been through the past week, but I was out of town, and the organization tends to do things differently when I am not here. I also apologize for what I put you through while I have been gone, although I haven’t been absent. I watch you all the time; I have posts at your school, where you practice for volleyball and at some of your tournaments.” Sometime during this, my mouth had dropped again, it seemed as if it was doing a lot of that lately.
“Oh,” he started again, ”and I know that you went to a camp starting four summers ago and have gone there every summer since and I think that the camp is where you were trained in the area of special operations. I am glad you went there because now that you know about me and will soon know about my operations, life may become more dangerous for you and may have to use those skills more often.” I was flabbergasted to find out that he was going to tell me about this organization of his because it had kept him from contacting or seeing me for years, but he had apparently decided that I was old enough or mature enough to handle it. Drew had also decided that it was time for our talk to be over.
“It is time for you to go to your room Nat, I have some business to attend to. You can learn about it tomorrow. Oh, and you are not staying in that cell anymore. That is another thing that I have to apologize for. I had a room specially prepared for your stay, but the men that had you here for the past week didn’t know that, but should have. I hope you enjoy your night, just pick up the phone for anything you need or want. Ask and you shall receive!” He flashed me a dazzling smile, then left the room.
After a couple minutes the same men who led me in came to get me, except they acted completely different. They called me Ms. Banks and were leading me like it was a privilege. They also were constantly looking around and I inferred that it was to make sure there wasn’t anybody that was going to hurt me. After we had been walking for fifteen minutes, we stopped at a pair of double doors. I started to walk forward, but one of the thugs stopped me, he checked that the pieces of tape on the top and by the handle were not broken, which they were not, so he nodded to me, and I stepped forward and opened the doors.
My suite was beautiful! The walls were a royal purple, which had always been my favorite color, it surprised me how much Drew had remembered. I had a huge walk-in closet with only name brand clothes, which I had always dreamed of having. I had a king size princess bed with a canopy and a light blue and purple down comforter. In front of the bed, was a fifty-two inch flat screen LCD T.V. My bathroom had everything that I would ever need, along with a phone number that said stylist and make-up artist. I was amazed that my fifteen-year-old twin could afford all of this; he must know how to run an amazing business. I turned on the T.V. to see what was on, and was flipping through channels until I found one of my favorite movies, Independence Day. After watching that for a little while, my stomach began to rumble. I found the iPhone that was left on my bedside table with a note that said, “Every phone number you need for tonight, bring it to your meeting with me tomorrow for more to add. --Drew” I scrolled through the numbers until I found the one labeled food then ordered some corned beef, which I had always loved, and an ice cream Sunday. I fell asleep in my amazing bed thinking about how much I missed my brother, and how much he had gained and changed while he was missing from my life.
The next morning, I woke up to my phone’s wake up call that someone else set. The message said, “Be ready by 10:00, wear something nice. See you soon. –-Drew.” I got ready and at ten o’clock sharp, there was a knock on the door. The same men took me back to the same room as last night’s talk. Drew was already there, reading the paper. When he saw me, he stood up and kissed me on both cheeks before sitting down again, gesturing that I take the seat across from him. “How was your evening?” he asked.
“Amazing, thank you. I love my suite, how did you know what I would like?” I replied.
“Ah Natalie, you forget that I have been your invisible friend for the past three years, I know you very, very well.” I chuckled and smiled.
“What was it you wanted to tell me about this organization of yours?” I asked curiously. It was Drew’s turn to chuckle and smile,
“All in good time sister dear, all in good time.”
“If you don’t want to talk about that now, what are we going to talk about?” I was a little confused that he wanted to wait, he was the type of person that didn’t keep you waiting. Drew was quiet for a minute.
“I am sorry, Nat. I am still trying to figure out how to tell you about the organization, but here goes nothing.” He must be really nervous because he takes a deep breath before speaking.
“We are essentially a government hired agency that is able to do illegal things legally because we are protecting all of the United States people from other organizations who ruin, destroy and sometimes even end people’s lives. These organizations that we are fighting against are the sources of all of the knock-off designer jeans, credit card scams, and identities being stolen. We set up fake people who are very loose with their secure information and get their identity stolen. After the organizations, or individual people, take the bait, we track them, and take them down. We have taken down over one million individuals, and four organizations, which often contain over three million people.” Drew finished his last sentence proudly, apparently it is very unusual for an organization, run by a fifteen-year-old kid no less, to take down another organization.
“So, what do you think?” he asked nervously, as if he was thinking that I was going to disapprove.
“I think that what you do is completely amazing! You save peoples lives Drew! If it weren’t for you, a lot more people would have horrible lives because of those despicable people who steal lives for a living. I am a little confused though. What is the Illegal part? I don’t think that anything of what you just told me was illegal was it?” Drew gave me a look saying that it wasn’t, but there was more to the picture than what he told me.
“What?” I asked softly, “What is the illegal part of the story Drew? What is it?”
He took another breath.
“There is only one organization that we have to use the ability on our contract to do illegal things. The Banko Organization uses insurance scams. They kill people with big insurance policies, pretend to be family and get away with millions.”
“That is horrible! How could anyone do that?”
“There is one more thing that makes it worse,” Drew said, “It is run by our parents. Welcome to the family business.”