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Ayden Taylor: The Missing
Ayden Warren Taylor straightened his tie. Or rather, his bodyguard did. Ayden Taylor was an intelligent, wealthy 14-year old boy with brains of a scientist. Every word that came out of the British boy’s mouth came out as a lecture given to bore people to sleep. He had fair skin, long brown hair that laid on his shoulders and bright blue eyes that dazzled with amazement when he taught a new human being a new excerpt of information to insert into their minds.
His bodyguard, Colonel Joshua Fleming. He had a shaven head, but wasn’t bald, he had dark brown eyes, had very pale skin and always shielded his eyes with dark shades. He was tall, 7 feet and was bulk and muscular. He had been Ayden’s guardian since the arrival of the boy was discovered the very next day. He had seen the up’s and down’s of the teenage boy, but never questioned him. He was always armed and dangerous, he was skilled with a first degree black belt, a Dan, and had been trained to conquer criminals since he was five-years old.
Today, Ayden seemed ore distracted than usual. He didn’t start talking like he would normally do, he kept quiet, looked at the ground and kept still.
“Is something bothering you, Ayden?” The bodyguard said with a slight British accent. The young boy looked up.
“Pardon?” His accent sounded almost like a whisper, coming from the back of his throat.
“I said, is something bothering you?”
“Why would you think that?”
“You’re quiet! That’s unusual for you!” The bodyguard was finished and the boy didn’t bother looking in the mirror like he always did, checking that no lint was upon his 3-piece suit and a single strand of his hair was not sticking up.
“I don’t know.” The boy sighed. He walked around his room towards his bed. He sat down and looked at a picture of his parents and him a couple of years ago. They were at their private summer house. Ayden remembered that day like it was yesterday. His parents had forgotten about the stock markets and their business and had actually spent time with their only child. The bodyguard understood completely and placed a meaty hand on the youngster’s shoulder. He didn’t react.
“I think I know. Your parents will be back soon, Ayden. Give or take a few days.”
“But what’s really the point, Joshua? All I ever do is spent time with them once a year, they go away, leaving me at Taylor’s Manior,” The word said with a French accent. “And educate myself with tutors, even though we both know that I don’t need them.” The bodyguard frowned.
“So you want to be a normal teenager?”
“NO!” Joshua was now completely confused, a reaction the boy had on many people. He sighed.
“Ayden, please elaborate.” Even though that meant a whole lot of talking coming from the boy’s mouth.
“Joshua…isn’t there anything we can do while my parents are off? Anything that requires high intelligents, skills and a job for an adult that could and can be covered by a boy like me?” The bodyguard smiled. He hadn’t elaborated that shortly, but he was quite alright with it. He sat down next to him.
“Do you have anything in mind?”
“Discoveration of ancient mysteries, perhaps?” The man’s eyes’ widened for a second and Ayden noticed. He cleared his throat nervously.
“Anything specifically?” He shook his head.
“No, but do you?” He quickly shook his head. The boy sighed.
“Very well. I will need to do some further research before we actually go on an adventure as big as my ideas.”
“If I’ve known anything about your mind, this adventure isn’t going to be small.” The boy smiled.
“You know me so well, Joshua.”
“I’ve known you since your birth.” The man informed the boy.
The bodyguard paced around the manor nervously. He could only hope that Ayden wouldn’t think of the specific thing he was thinking of. He could only hope that it wouldn’t be necessary to contact his parents. He had been hiding a big secret from the boy and he had known what it was. His parents had informed that he not speak a word about it. But it would be so tempting sometimes.
He decided to make dinner, but he couldn’t concentrate on what to actually make. He decided to make some spring rolls with lobster, not that Ayden would be in the mod to eat if he had found something to study about or something that would amuse the youngster. Joshua had been in the Army for more than 20 years before he had a job of a bodyguard. He would have continued his life as a Colonel if it hadn’t been for the incident that changed his entire life.
He had been stabbed in the chest several times, damaging his ribs and lungs. He was in no condition to be a solider anymore, but he could still continue his dream of serving for a purpose, by guarding the billionaire couple’s son. Ayden Warren Taylor had been known to be the world’s richest child. His parents, Scarlet and Daniel invested in almost the entire United Kingdom’s stock market. Mr. Taylor was the Prime Minister of this country and Mrs. Taylor was the CEO of the stock markets all around the country.
Ayden came running down the steps quickly, yet without a tap on the marble steps. He smiled.
“I guess you have a plan?” The bodyguard said, trying to hide his nervousness. He had been trained to so his owner would never see his true colors. The boy’s smile seemed almost teenage-like. But Joshua knew that whatever the mission was going to be, it would be no teenager-like stuff. Ayden was much more advanced for that. He had successfully completed High School and had a Ph.D. degree, a Master of Science degree and a Bachelors of Arts degree. Their parents hoped that once their child was mastered in what the real life was like at an early age, he would be able to take over his parent’s job one day and keep the country of Britain in order.
“Plan? No. I have something far more extreme and highly intelligent than a plan, my dear guard.” A compliment, Joshua grumbled. He wasn’t going to like this.
“Well, out with it. But I’m not going to like this.” The British boy sat down on the chair as he watched Joshua cook and talked.
“Listen to this, Joshua: detectives! We could solve crimes with the powers we possess!”
“You sound like you have magic powers.” The man chuckled softly, yet nervously.
“Well, with money, it is sort of like magical powers. But no, this can help many lives. Wouldn’t you want to do that, Joshua?” He struck his knife on the baboon cutting board with so much pressure that Ayden jumped.
“Is it really that you want to solve crime, or because you want to prove to your parents that what they are doing isn’t right?” The boy was actually stunned at the response. But recovered quickly and turned around.
“Don’t be so absurd, Joshua.”
“You’ve told me that a few times.”
“Maybe I just want to have a hobby of my own.” The boy snapped at his bodyguard for the first time. Then, he rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry.” Joshua placed a hand on his shoulders.
“Maybe it is a hobby. But let’s start tomorrow. Would you like some dinner?” The boy shook his head.
“Apprehensive has filled by stomach.” And he walked up the stairs, away from his bodyguard.
Ayden Taylor could be mysterious sometimes, but Joshua was used to it. He closed the lights around the mansion and did his usual security check at nights. He walked into the security video room and entered, to only be reminded that he was now in the world of the 21st century. Technology of the future was already hooked up and given to Taylor’s Manior. A smart board covered the entire four walls of the room. On the ceiling was a digital version of the night sky. Joshua sat down on a chair and spook to the technology.
“Perimeter of the manor’s video footage.” The computer’s obeyed and responded back with a few beeps. The walls were now dark and filled with grass. It was so realistic, Joshua could almost smell the freshly trimmed grass lawn, and he could almost smell the fresh winter air in the UK and could almost hear the owls hooting.
But then, he saw a figure move within one of the security footages. It was hidden behind a bush. Joshua zoomed it. There wasn’t one…but two figures! Joshua’s hand quickly went to his side, where his 9mm Submachine gun was hanging from. He ran out of the security room and outside.
* * *
The boy and girl finally spotted the house and hid behind the bushes.
“Kayden, we shouldn’t be here right now.” The boy was nearly shouting her name. The girl scowled at the boy.
“Yes, Naythan, just announce our names to the whole world, why don’t you?!” He raised his hands up for innocents. The girl looked at the house again. “If only he knew.” She touched the air, as if reaching out to someone.
“We will. We’ll get him away from here…soon. But not now. He’ll be safe there.” She stared at Naythan, tears nearly forming in her eyes.
“But for how long, Naythan. I want to see him. I want to see the boy who lives with these people! I want him safe with me!” He placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Soon, now please, let’s go. We can’t keep on doing this until we have a plan. We can get Hailey to watch over him. Hire her as a maid or something. I’m sure she’ll like that.” She nodded slowly, then sighed.
“Alright. Let’s go.” Then, a buff-looking man came out with a gun in his hand, pointed at a bush, the exact same bush they were hiding behind. Naythan clapped a hand over Hayden.
“WHO GOES THERE?!” He yelled.
* * *
The bodyguard had a job to protect his owner’s boy. If he couldn’t do a simple task like that, then he didn’t deserve to call himself a Colonel.
“I say, who goes there?!” Then, he heard a rustle behind the bushes. His eye’s widened. He knew exactly who they were. He quickly jumped on the bush. But all he got was a field of grass. He cussed out loud. He knew exactly who was here and he knew he couldn’t let them get to Ayden. He called over 10 security guards. “You are to watch the mansion while we are gone tomorrow! Don’t be fooled, don’t be stupid and protect this house with your lives! Because if you don’t, you can kiss your sorry ass’s good-bye! Understood?” The guards all nodded and placed their machine guns by their chests. They all started to complete their mission today and watched the bodyguard run inside.
Ayden couldn’t sleep. He had just thought of a place he could help solve a mystery. They could go to Ireland and solve the mystery of the robbed bank. Or, they could solve the mystery of the missing disappearances of the children in France. Almost 15 children had been missing. Or maybe he could investigate the shooting of those innocent lives in Italy and find out what was the killer’s motive. His bodyguard came rushing in without knocking. Ayden looked up.
“Is anybody with you?”
“What?” The bodyguard literally grabbed Ayden by the shoulders and let his sunglasses glare at his frightened blue eyes.
“Is anybody with you? Did anybody message you? Are you hurt? Answer me!” Ayden quickly shook his head no, unable to speak. The bodyguard let his arms drop to his sides and stood straight, letting so of the boy’s skinny frame. He looked almost shaken. “I’m sorry. I just thought someone was here.”
“Did you see anybody?” The boy asked. The bodyguard bit his lips.
“It’s nothing. Have you thought of something?” It took a few moments for Ayden to process what he just said.
“The great mystery solving adventure. Where are we headed?”
“It’s still in the process of-”
“You have 2 hours to decide. Then, we depart at dawn.” Ayden’s eye’s widened.
“Dawn? Whatever for?”
“It’s at dawn, or never at all, Ayden. Understood?” Ayden blinked. He thought he was the one who gave orders or his parents. He never thought his bodyguard would be the one to snap at him.
“Okay.” The boy said softly, his eye’s dropping onto his laptop.
“I’ll be back in 2 hours. By then, I want you cleaned, bathe and packed. And I want an answer so I can tell the pilot our destination, and for how long.” Ayden nodded again. The Colonel smiled and ruffled his hair.
“Good.” And he left his room.
Ayden rolled his eyes. He never imagined his life normal, but this was beyond preposterous. But as an intelligent boy like him, he loved challenges, mysteries the most of course. He laid back and closed his eyes. The windows were open and the air of the November breeze came rushing in. It had been snowing for a couple of days, but now the sky was bare and gray and the trees were naked. He laid farther down in his bed and soon was in REM sleep mode
His dream was almost terrifying. He imagined two more of him. But only one of him was a boy and the other was a girl. They both were babies, sitting in a crib and huddled together, sleeping. But then, a fire broke out in the crib. The babies started crying all at once. The whole perimeter of the crib was covered in flames. The cloth in the crib was starting to catch the flames as well. They circled around the babies. Tears formed in their eyes, rolling down their cheeks and they were coughing as smoke was inhaled and filled into their lungs. Ayden could almost imagine that he was there and could feel his lungs crying for oxygen.
Then, a man quickly came in the house. He looked around and when he spotted the fire, he smiled. But then, he did something unusual. He grabbed one of the boys, cradling him in his arms and ran out, leaving the other two babies. Ayden suddenly became that baby in the man’s arms. He had the strangest urge to stay behind and be with those other babies. But they suddenly stood in their cribs.
“Ayden! You need to get out!” A boy and a girl’s voice hissed, but coming from the babies mouths. “Get out!”
The bodyguard was shaking Ayden with all his might. He didn’t seem to wake up. His forehead was filled with sweat and his frame seemed to be trembling. Joshua held his fear in, he had always been trained to. But he had no idea what was happening to the boy. His pulse rose, his body shivered, and not by the cold, and his face paled up. Then, his eye’s snapped open with terror and he screamed,
“FIRE!” The bodyguard became stiff. The boy looked around with his head rapidly turning around, almost like an Owls.
“Ayden.” The man said softly. The boy faced him in terror. “There’s no fire. You were probably dreaming.”
“It was just a dream, Ayden. Come on, it’s dawn.” Ayden looked out the window. He wasn’t even packed but the bodyguard didn’t seem to mind. He opened his closet and had a bag in his hands. He started packing a few suits and a few warm equipment. “So, have you decided?” The boy got up.
“France?” The bodyguard seemed to agree with his response.
“Excellent choix. France is beautiful in this weather.”
“Cold and freezing is pretty?” Joshua cracked a smiled.
“The snow brings out its true beauty.”
“You sound absurd. Are you even listening to yourself? You’re speaking like a poet.” Joshua smiled and turned towards the boy.
“The most talented peace of art is snow. It falls, it drizzles, it splashes, it pricks. Its different forms make it different but in winter, its form is but one and one alone, snow. The soft blanket place don top of the city, the shadow casted on mountain tops and the delightful material used to play with. The bare trees? The coldness? No, but one thing makes winter special. Snow.” Ayden clapped with a smile.
“Brilliant work, my dear friend. But it could use a bit more of a rhyme scheme.” He rolled his eyes.
“Not everybody is a genius like you, Ayden.”
“Not everybody has to be, Joshua.”
Ayden gathered his laptop and placed on a fresh new suit. He needed to dress for success while being the son of the prime Minster of his country and the son of a CEO. What did they expect from their son to look like? A normal teenage with baggy jeans and sweatshirts? No. They expected him to look like every day was a day with business, no matter what age he was. At 2-years-old, he was wearing his first suit. He had gone to many places around the world to give lectures, speeches and scientific answers to medical, historical and mathematical questions that no ordinary scientist could answer or come close to concluding to an answer.
They were in the private jet’s moments later, flying over to France. 2 hours on a plane didn’t seem so bad for Ayden. His bodyguard relaxed. Ayden thought he deserved it. He sat there, staring at his laptop. Was Joshua right? Was he only doing this to prove to his parents that how they were working wasn’t actually helping the world? Or was it actually a hobby? Ayden thought about it. H never thought his parents were real bright people most of the times. They would make illogical verdicts as if they were actually considering for one second that they had the right quantity of powers in their hands and knew precisely how to use it.
Ayden blew a strand of hair away from his eyes. They had ordered many innocent people dead and taxed poor citizens of his country higher, no matter if they were poor, wealthy or in the middle-class. His father always talked about having a 5-point plan, but where was it? He said, building a stronger economy, creating more jobs for students after the graduate from high school and for adults, being a better leader and listener with nations all around the world, trading and negotiation with proper actions (without breaking the law), and creating lower taxes. Ayden almost laughed out loud.
Those were everything he promised in the elections, but the election is different from the real thing. He was nowhere to becoming a great leader. His mother was the same story. Stock markets were going up higher every second! She seemed to be enjoying having money in her pocket and seemed to be adoring it even more by taking money from others.
His laptop dinged once. He looked and saw he had received mail. He opened it with a click of a mouse. The mail opened up with red bold letters. HELP ME!
It said. Ayden couldn’t identify the e-mail without a few minutes to track it down. He typed back,
What’s wrong? The reply came almost instantly.
I’M IN FRANCE AND I NEED YOUR HELP TO FIND OUT ABOUT MY PAST!
Eagerness made his heart pound faster. He didn’t even speak to anybody about going to France, let alone solving a mystery. And one just happened to…pop up? Ayden typed again. About what? The response came back,
WITH FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO SOMEONE WHO IS NOW MISSING.
They started chatting for an hour. Ayden was very quiet so Joshua wouldn’t notice anything. If he knew that he was chatting with a total stranger, he would never give him internet privileges again. Even thought he had the right to make his own decisions, he wasn’t allowed to do anything without his bodyguard being with him 24/7. If they ordered from a restaurant, the bodyguard would look over at the chef preparing the food. If they were at a library, Joshua would personally take every single book and see if it was contaminated. Ayden wasn’t even allowed to stay in one place too long without the Colonel.
Ayden started learning more about the person. She was a girl, but refused to give her name, so did Ayden. He questioned many times how she had found he was going to France, but she had simply said that the word had gotten out. Ayden wasn’t sure what she meant by that. He threatened to turn off the chat if she didn’t elaborate. She then explained that she asked his parents if he could help her because they said he was intelligent enough to understand the riddle. He was still puzzled, but the girl’s tone seemed almost scared. She was nearly begging for his help. He decided to.
I don’t have anywhere else to go. My family says it was too long ago.
What about the Police?
Sure, and while they’re at it, they can just goof around, drinking coffee and eating doughnuts, not actually helping the citizens, but taking advantage of the government’s money and gaining more weight!
Ayden had to try not to laugh or his bodyguard might wake up.
Alright, Police isn’t the best option. But I still can’t promise anything. I can try.
Thank you, Ayden.
Ayden’s fingers were lifted above the keyboard. He didn’t move. He hadn’t told her his name, how did she find out?
How do you know my name?
There was no response.
* * *
Kayden felt his finger’s raised on top of the keyboard, but she had no idea what to type.
“Nice going!” Naythan shouted behind her. “Now he’ll never agree to help!” They were at their home in Los Angeles. “If Mom or Dad found out about this, they’ll kill us!”
“Shut up! Let me think!” She quickly started to type.
Your parents told me. Also, I watched your speech made about Global Warning in Washington D.C.
Was the response.
Who is missing? How can I help?
Hayden felt a tear escape her eye.
A dear friend. I need him back. You can meet one of my owner at the L'Enclos du Temps Café in exactly two hours. Her name is Hailey.
Last name? Description?
You don’t need one. And remember, this stays between us, nobody else.
There was a pause as no reply came back. Hailey held her breathe. Was it possible someone found about what they were talking about? Was he going to be in trouble now? Would that person track her down? Then, she got a new mail. She sighed with relief and opened it.
My bodyguard will find out. It’s the reason I came to France in the first place.
But don’t tell him about what you know. Tell them you called a person and she told you to meet her there, Hailey. And she’ll take you to the answers…without your bodyguard. Understand?
And they both ended their chats. Hayden let out her breath that she didn’t realize she was holding in. Naythan placed a hand on her shoulder.
“We can’t be the only ones who know about this. We need to call the LAPD, the FBI, and our parents!” Hayden nodded.
“We will. After we have him.”
“But what if they plan to kill him?” Hayden faced him, her expression deadly serious.
“Don’t. Ever. Say. That.” She turned around towards the computer’s screen. The picture of the boy she was chatting with was the one on his Facebook page. He had a kind smile, gentle and handsome features and beautiful long brown hair and intelligent blue eyes. Hayden let her finger’s brush the boy’s digital cheek. “We’ll take care of him. Even if he doesn’t know it.” She faced Naythan. “Send Hailey. Tell her…it’s time.”
* * *
Ayden erased all his messages and laid back and fell asleep again. His mind was exhausted of the adventure that laid ahead for him. His eyes were snapped shut and his chest inhaled and exhaled in a pattern. His bodyguard woke up quite before he did. He did his routine check-ups. He checked that Ayden’s pulse was right and his heart was breathing normally. He checked around the planes for anything that seemed wrong. He used his bug finder and found no explosives placed on the plane, he found no trace of any sign of harm that might have been placed for Ayden. He sighed and snaked in his seat. His job wasn’t exciting, but it was what he was being paid to do. And he would do it with honor.
He stared at Ayden for a while. So many memories flashed right before Joshua’s eyes as he remembered every single one of them. Most of them were just sitting at home while one in particular was terrible. He never talked about it. Not with the boy’s parents, himself, and especially not Ayden. But the boy didn’t even know. Joshua took out his cell phone and called his bosses, making sure that he would inform them about where they were going. After 3 rings, someone picked up.
“Joshua, how are you?” The man spook in a British accent. Only one cell phone of the man’s was taken for only his son and Joshua. And no one else.
“I am very well, sir. And you?”
“I am doing marvelous. How is our boy?”
“As safe as you, sir.” There was a chuckle over the other line.
“That is wonderful, Joshua. Is something troubling you?” Joshua drummed his fingers on the arm rest and looked again at Ayden.
“We are just headed to Paris, France. Apparently, Ayden feels like he can do more than stay at home.” There was silence over the other line for an insufficient time.
“Alright, Joshua. But I trust you can be trusted to guard him?”
“Without a doubt, sir.”
“Because my boy means more to me then my own life. My own job and wife. Even more than you. And you know exactly why. Right, Joshua?” He gulped.
“I understand, sir. Is Mrs. Taylor alright?”
“Yes, she is fine.” He sighed. “Just take care of my child, Joshua. Don’t Let Ayden out of your sight for a moment.”
“Yes, sir.” And his owner hung up. Joshua placed his phone away and saw Ayden stir to the right. They would be landing in a few minutes. Joshua wished his bag was with him. His gun was unloaded and packed underneath his feet’s. He felt empty and useless without his gun to protect his primary reason of being a bodyguard. He felt bare without his gun. He felt that both he and most important, Ayden were in grave danger. He couldn’t wait to get out of the airport and keep his gun by his side.
Ayden Taylor wished that the woman, the one the girl who kept e-mailing him, would be here already. He was growing impatient. But as Joshua had always told him, “Patients is the key to success.” But was it really relevant to compare patients when it came to a crime? Ayden didn’t think so. He sat outside of the café the girl had told him about. The sky was bright blue and snow was falling. Ayden had on a long black trench coat. He wore gloves. He was glad that even though they were outside, they were protected by the snow but not by the coldness. He wondered how he could even recognize a person named Hailey with no last name or description of the person he was meeting.
Getting Joshua to come over to the café was the difficult part of the task. He refused to come unless he knew exactly where Ayden had got this information from. Ayden told him that he had called the woman who needed his help before and had agreed to meet her here.
“And you chose this place?” He questioned.
“No. Hailey had chosen where we would meet.” He grumbled.
“Figures.” He had his gun drawn to his side and seemed almost eager to use it. On hand was drawn on his gun while the other was on the table, ready to take action if he had to. He looked around the whole café, studying every detail from the floor plans of the café to the furniture and the city.
“Joshua, you must calm down. Nobody is here to harm me.” He snorted.
“You’re a juvenile…and naive. You don’t understand the dangers the real world has. The blood that is shed almost every second, the terrible criminals waiting, eager to just have the feeling of killing back in their bloods and letting innocent lives population fall.” Ayden stared at his bodyguard for a while, then threw back his head and laughed.
“How many crime shows have you been watching, Joshua?” The man looked at the boy seriously.
“Ayden, you don’t know the world of violence like I have.”
“I understand that, I really do. But you have to understand that I am old enough to handle myself.” The bodyguard didn’t respond. “Remember, you can’t stay here.” He quickly looked at Ayden.
“I just want you a few feet away from us, that’s all. You can watch if you want, meet her if you want. But I need to do this all by myself. Please, don’t you trust me?” Joshua was almost speechless.
“I do trust you…I don’t trust you in the cares of this world and other people.” The boy smiled.
“Joshua, I mean it. I need to talk to this woman by myself. I can-”
“Hello.” Both Ayden and Joshua looked up. They saw a young woman in front of them. She was maybe in her late twenties. She was intelligently pretty. She had bright amber eyes that dazzled in the sunlight, tight blonde curls that rested on her shoulders and her cheeks were rosy red. Ayden and Joshua both got up. She was dressed nicely in a red coat and long black gloves. From that one word Ayden caught, eh knew that she was from here with her French accent. She stared at Ayden for a couple of moments, and he found it hard to let his stare drop.
Then, the woman extended out her hand. Joshua stood in front of the boy first.
“Hailey Charles.” Joshua faced the boy behind her, raising his eyebrow in question. He nodded. “Do you have any weapons?” He asked the woman.
“No.” She said flatly.
“Do you own a gun?”
“Of course.” She said. Joshua stepped to the side.
“I am not saying I trust you. And if you even try anything-”
“Joshua.” Ayden said slowly and soothingly. “Let us be, please.” He nodded.
“But don’t think I’m far away. Call me if you need me.” Ayden nodded once and watched his bodyguard disappear within the snow. Hailey faced the boy.
“Some bodyguard.” Ayden sighed.
“He’s nice…once you get to know him.” Ayden noticed the woman’s hand was still extended towards him. He spook it warmly. “Ayden, Ayden Warren Taylor.”
“Nice to meet you.” They both sat down.
“Would you like anything?”
“Not at the moment, thank you.” She looked around. “Maybe a warmer place would have been better.” Ayden smiled.
“I don’t mind. The weather seems...fine today.”
“If negativity is what you prefer.” The woman laughed and it was a delight for Ayden just to hear her voice.
“I haven’t heard much about you-”
“Strange. I’ve heard nothing about you, either.” Her smile faded.
“Because talking about me isn’t the main priority.”
“Then what is?” She leaned forward.
“You.” He sat perfectly stiff.
“If you don’t mind, can you please elaborate?”
“Of course.” She laid back and folded her legs and hands. “Did you chat with a girl?” He nodded. “Good, then I believe you know what this is all about.”
“I believe you know much enough. We need your help to uncover the secrets that lie behind a mystery of a missing person.”
“Who is it?”
“I am not allowed to say yet. You will find out.” She smiled and tilted her head. “You look so much like-” She quickly stopped.
“Who?” She shook her head.
“Just a friend I knew.
“Knew?” He asked.
“The person who is missing.”
“So he is a male.” It was hard for her to hide her astounded expression from the boy.
“How did you know?”
“Simple. You say I look like your friend. You can’t be comparing me to a female, unless that’s what you think me of.” The woman cracked a smile. “If you do tend to hide information from me, you should really decide if anything will be given away.” The woman laughed.
“That really is quite something. No, you are quite something.” He smiled.
“I have that effect on people. Now please, let’s hear about this person missing. How long has it been?” The woman frowned.
“A decade and a half.” It was Ayden’s turn to frown.
“Why have you come to me?”
“I know you can solve this case. He Police refuse to look back on a case that was long before this year. They believe that he is forever gone and wouldn’t be able to be found again.”
“What do you believe?” Ayden asked.
“I believe there is still hope.”
“What is your relationship with the person missing and the girl I was talking to on the computer? Who is he? Who is she?” The woman was silent for a moment.
“She is a friend. The boy…is a friend as well. But not very known to me. I never knew how he looks like now, what he likes or what he doesn’t like. It is a real tragedy.”
“That’s terrible to be friends with someone for…what, couple of months?”
“He was taken when he was 6 months old.”
“Do you even know where he is? If he is…alive or not?”
“I’m not precisely sure where he is and…no, I do not know if he is alive or not. But I need to know where is he and if he is indeed alive or not.”
“Rest in peace?” Hailey nodded.
“Exactly. He needs to rest in peace.”
“Did he have a name?” She bit her lip.
“Let’s move on.” Ayden stared at her for a moment.
“Alright. I really want to help. But I need to know what I can do to actually help. I am only 14-years-old.”
“You are the 14-year-old boy who is both powerful and smart. You are the son of the CEO and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. That is something. Not to mention that you are very intelligent.” Ayden felt his face burning. “You want to help me and my friend, don’t you? Do you want to help that boy rest in peace finally, with his family?” Ayden nodded.
“I do.” The woman smiled and patted his hands.
“Wonderful. I don’t want you to start right now. You need some rest after your trip. How long are you gong to be here?”
“A week.” He answered.
“Good. But I do need you to study these.” She slid a small envelope across the table. “Try not to look at it while you’re picking it up. Your bodyguard might notice.” So, Ayden tucked it inside his coat pocket casually. “Good. Now, I need you to study those pictures in private. Remember, all the information I am giving you is for your ears and eyes only.” Ayden nodded. Hailey smiled. “I’ll tell my friend that you will help us. It really is kind of you to.” He shrugged.
“Honestly, I’m not just doing this to help others, but I don’t feel like my parents do enough for my country.” Hailey frowned.
“How do your parents treat you?” He didn’t respond at once.
“I only see them once a year. On my birthday. I’m mostly with Joshua Fleming. He’s a retired Colonel.”
“Do you know your parents well?”
“Well enough, I guess. I still talk to them once a month, though.”
“Are they overprotective?” Ayden was about to question all the questions about him but decided that it wouldn’t hurt to share his lifestyle with someone. He didn’t have any friend either.
“My parents are overprotective about me staying with Joshua 24/7. I don’t go to school. Because of that either. He’s sort of like my godfather in a way. He’s known me since my birth. He’s pretty much been through everything with me. From trips around the world to restaurants. It’s hard to separate him from me.”
“How is he?”
“He’s gentle around me. But people around me, not so much. He doesn’t let anybody even lay a finger on me. But I don’t know why they’re being so overprotected with me. I’m old enough.” The woman was rubbing her chin with two fingers.
“Interesting.” She got up and as Ayden was taught for respect, so did he. They both shook each other’s hands. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Ayden. Thank you once again for willing to help.”
“It is my pleasure. But I must say that I cannot declare that I can solve this mystery.” The woman nodded.
“Completely understandable. Good-bye, Ayden Taylor. We’ll meet again tomorrow.”
“If I may, I will choose the restaurant this time.” She laughed. Hailey took out a piece of paper and pen and handed it to Ayden. “This is my number. We’ll schedule a call then.”
“Alright then.” And he watched the woman disappear.
Ayden had the urge to take out the photos and study them. But then, a hand was placed on his shoulder and he jumped.
“It’s only me, Ayden.” Joshua said.
“My god, Joshua. What were you trying to do, scare my life out of me?” He smiled.
“Not necessarily. So, how was your talk?”
“Did she ask questions?”
“We both did.” He placed a hand on Ayden’s shoulder and the two of them walked to their hotel.
“Are you going to accept it?” Ayden nodded.
“I want to. It’s a terrible tragedy of what happened to a family. My parents wouldn’t’ care less-”
“But the great Ayden Warren Taylor never says no.” The boy laughed.
* * *
Hailey Charles watched Ayden laugh away with his bodyguard. Hailey scowled at the bodyguard. What was there funny about him? He was a terrible person who was going to pay for his actions. She took out her phone and dialed a number. The other line connected almost immediately.
“Hailey, tell me you found something?” A girl’s voice said, nearly shouting.
“Yes, I did. A lot.”
“But is it enough?”
“No. Not unless he remembers.”
“He wouldn’t be able to.” Hailey heard crying at the other line. “Hailey, what will it take?”
“A few more days. Just hang in there, darling. Everything will be alright soon.” The girl sniffed.
“Hayden, tell your Mom and Dad, now.”
“You can’t hide this, Hayden. I can’t let you do this by yourself. You need to inform your parents, alright?” There was a moment of silence.
“Alright, Hailey. I’m trusting you to get him back.”
“You can count on me, little cousin. It’s time for some payback.”
Naythan stood beside Hayden. She smiled at him, her cheeks filled with tears of joy.
“I hope your crying because we’ve made progress.” She nodded.
“For 14-years, finally the time has come.”
“Is it time to tell them now, Hayden? Mom and Dad don’t like surprises.” She nodded.
“It’s time. But not the way that they would want us to let them know.”
“Then…how?” She smiled.
“How do you prefer on being a plan for 12 hours?” He frowned.
* * *
Ayden Taylor and Joshua Fleming checked into the most Luxurious hotel in Paris, France. The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. Ayden was so exhausted, he nearly collapsed in the lobby.
“Wait till we get to your room, Ayden.” Joshua mocked. Ayden managed a ghostly smile.
“I’m tired.” Joshua took their luggages and went up the elevator. The Hotel was an 8-story building with classical French furnishings 17th-century Flemish tapestries, and 18th-century Florentine chandeliers. They went into their joined suites. Ayden barely had enough time to admire the scenery before he collapsed on the bed. They had taken the Presidential Suite. The whole room looked like a blue wonder land to Ayden.
“Don’t you want dinner?” But Joshua heard only the snores of the young Taylor’s boy. Joshua closed the lights and looked out the window, wondering if it was a good idea to even be here. This wasn’t a good idea, Joshua kept thinking. He’ll try to escape his life of being protected if he is influenced by the others. Joshua didn’t want Ayden to think that he was being overprotected, this was for his own good. His own good of never figuring out the truth. Truth to be spoken, Joshua knew that it was actually him being the one protected of himself and protecting the Taylor’s. He took a seat on his bed, but didn’t sleep. He stared at Ayden until morning.
Ayden Warren Taylor was wide awake now. He looked at the time. It was noon. He groaned and got out of bed. He looked around. There was no sign of his bodyguard. Strange, Ayden thought. He saw a table rolled in with two notes on top of the trays. He took one of them and read it.
Went to check around the city. Will be back in an hour. Explore, but keep your cell phone with you. And eat breakfast, ALL OF IT!
Ayden smiled and rolled his eyes. He read the next note, and knew it was not from Joshua from the different penmanship.
Dear Ayden W. Taylor,
I hope you are well-rested. Please inform me of when we should me tonight. I look forward to meeting you again.
Ayden seemed to be staring at both notes for a while. It was like two offers were being made. One was his bodyguard being protected while another was asking for his help. He couldn’t decide between the two of them, he had to take both offers. He sighed and sat on his bed. Then remembered the envelope Hailey had given him. He went over to his coat, which was drying behind a chair and took out the envelope. It hadn’t been opened yet, so Joshua must have not looked at it.
The envelope was yellow, big enough to fill a file. He opened it and that was precisely what he found. A manila folder. He sat on his bed again and laid the file flat on the bed. He opened it up and found his breath taken away.
The file was filed with pictures of a burned down house, but it was really a mansion. It was almost as big as his. The whole building was torn down and survival was not even possible, thought Ayden. He flipped through the files and found out that there was no way the building could be repaired. It happened in Los Angeles. Then, there were details on the family. Mr. and Mrs. Paris were also survivors of the fire that caused the falling out of their house. They also had three children. But no details were given on that. But only one detail was given. One of them was missing for many years, but never found. Most of them thought he had died in the fire, but the parents said that they had seen the boy was kidnapped by a man.
Ayden tried to analyze all of the information he was given, but his starvation buried his train of thoughts and knowledge deep into his mind. He ate from fruit, bread and cheese. He bathed and placed on a purple collared shirt, black trousers, a gray stripped tie and a gray vest. He placed on his coat and dark sunglasses as it wasn’t snowing anymore but seemed to be sunny. He placed his cell phone in his pocket and went outside.
He went outside with no problems with the weather. He walked on the snow like they were part of the ground. He took a deep breath out and found his own breath formed into a cloud. He felt…fresh today. Like he was reborn. He felt like this was the time to prove to his parents that what they were doing was what they wanted, but what Ayden decided to do would actually help innocent lives.
* * *
What Mr. and Mrs. Paris would find instead of their children in their rooms was a note on their bed.
Dear Mom and Dad,
We are going to Paris, France. Why you may ask? Because we’ve found answers to a problem we’ve all been wondering. Where is the other child, Mom and Dad? We found him! You might not care after so many years have passed…but we do. We love him and want him back. The Police are useless and you don’t care. We will get him back with or without you. One way or another.
Hayden and Naythan Paris
What would the parent of two children do now? They did what any parent in Las Angeles would do. They contacted their private jet, which seemed to have flown off with their permissions. The parents quickly called their pilot to turn around, but it was too late. Mr. and Mrs. Paris decided to chase after their children with the police by their sides, hoping that they wouldn’t get into too much trouble. But of course, they were wrong.
Hayden and Naythan Paris watched a young boy who looked more like a young man walk down the sidewalk. Hayden almost cried. All his features were alive and real. His tight cheekbone structures, his deep dimples and his light brown hair that seemed almost longer than Hayden’s. If only I could see his blue eyes again, she thought. They look so perfect on him.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this. This is a crime! And Mom and Dad will kill us!”
“This is for his own good.” Naythan stared at Hayden.
“His own good…or yours?” Hayden scowled at him.
“What are you saying? You don’t want him back? You want him missing and lost forever?” He shook his head hard.
“You’re not the only one who misses him, Hayden!” He snapped. They both turned away from each other.
“Just get ready.” She grumbled. He wanted to glare at her, but just sighed and got ready. They watched him come down the streets.
“Get ready,” He whispered to the boy.
* * *
Ayden’s eyes were so glued on his files that he didn’t even know what happened next. Before he could take another step, his mouth was covered and his arms were twisted behind him, his file dropping down to the ground. He was dragged tot eh side. Regrettably, the streets of Paris weren’t very crowded. Many of them would have been eating lunch.
Ayden’s grip was tightened even more and he tried to yell over the hand over his mouth, but he just squeezed tighter, telling him to shut up. Someone took off his glasses. He saw a girl smiling at him. She had long brown hair and brilliant blue eyes that were misty, as if she were in the verge of crying.
“Hi, Ayden.” She said. She was clearly from America. He stopped yelling just enough so he could see what this girl had to say about him. His mouth was uncovered.
“You…know me?” She smiled.
“I only wished I knew you sooner. I’ve been counting down from years, to months, to weeks, to-”
“Okay, Hayden. I think he gets it.” The boy behind him said, also American. He let his arms free and stood next to the girl. He had long brown hair but his blue eyes seemed almost saddened than misty. They both wore trench coats and looked almost like Ayden.
“Who are you?” Ayden asked.
“Hayden and Naythan Paris.” Ayden tried to keep a straight face.
“Didn’t your house burn down?” Hayden’s eye’s widened.
“You remember!” He stared at her funny.
“What? No.” He pointed at the file by her feet. She picked it up and quickly flipped through it. Then, she frowned.
“Oh. Hailey gave it to you.”
“Let me guess. You’re the girl who e-mailed me?” She smiled.
“What did you mean by me remembering?” Ayden asked. Naythan and Hayden both bit their lips as they stared at Ayden.
“Let’s walk on it.” The boy, Naythan said.
“And why should I?” Ayden asked.
“Do you want answers or not?” Hayden asked, almost mocking his intelligents. He stood still for a moment, then shrugged.
“You’ve got 2 minutes to explain everything.” And they both started to walk down the streets in Paris.
Hayden wanted so bad to hold the boy’s hand and hug him so hard. But she couldn’t. Naythan had warned her not to do that because it would freak him out and they wouldn’t be able to talk. Naythan took out a deep breath.
“There was a fire, 14-years ago. It was started by-”
“The crib. The cloth caught the fire and it started to spread rather quickly.” The two stared at Ayden.
“How did you know that? That’s not in the file!” He blushed.
“Um…instincts. Move along.” Naythan cleared his throat.
“Anyway, in that crib were three children, triplets actually. The youngest was Naythan Paris, next was Hayden Paris and the other one is…missing. He was kidnapped actually. The security camera…well, it was accessed by a site because it burned down as well, showed a man start the fire…but the weird thing-”
“He took that child, leaving the others alone to die.” Hayden finished.
“Alright. So, what are you trying to say?” Ayden questioned. Hayden stopped and took him from the shoulders, which shocked Ayden. He wondered if Joshua was here if he would beat these two funny.
“We are saying that our brother is missing. Do you know who that is?” Ayden thought about it, then faced the two, jaw wide opened.
“No.” He said, his voice nearly a whisper. Both of them nodded. “But…I’m an only child! My name is Ayden Taylor! Not Ayden Paris!”
“Ayden, you have no idea what we have gone through to find you. The police have given up on you…even our parents! Your parents, Ayden!” Hayden had a few tears escaping her eyes. Ayden felt his shoulder’s drop. Then, a thought occurred to him. He faced Naythan.
“If you guys are claiming to be my real siblings…then…what about the family I live with? And my bodyguard?” Hayden wiped her tears and her expression turned serious.
“They will pay for what they did to you, Ayden. They will pay for torturing us.”
“Wait, are you saying that-”
“Those sick bastards you call your parents and bodyguard, they’re the kidnappers you’ve lived with for 14-years. Your entire lives.” Naythan explained.
“They were overprotective because they didn’t want anybody noticing you, or us finding you and taking you back, Ayden. But do you think just because a few police men and our parents and family stopped looking, we would too?” Ayden was almost too stunned to speak. Almost.
“I never even knew you guys existed. I thought…I thought I was living with my real family.” Hayden tilted her head and smiled at the boy.
“You look so much like us. You have no idea how long we have worked to find you.” She touched his face and he didn’t even squirm away. He just stared at the girl who was claiming to be his sister and the boy who was claiming to be his brother. She took her hand back. “I’m sorry, but…it’s nice to have someone other than Naythan. He is so pesky!”
“Me! What about you? ‘Oh, Ayden. I want to see him so badly! Do you think we’ll get him back?’” Ayden cracked up without noticing and the others joined in. Ayden pushed his hair back from his forehead.
“So, what are you planning to do?” He asked.
“We’re going to smuggle you out of the country.” Ayden stared at Hayden and Naythan.
“You can’t be serious!”
“We don’t have any other option, Ayden. The Police and our parents are useless. We can’t let you be with those people you call your parents and your bodyguard.”
“Why?” He asked.
“Because the truth is…their cons, Ayden. Criminal’s really. They kidnapped you and could have killed you any day…but for some reason, didn’t. They cheated their way in life to become successful.” Naythan explained. Ayden held back a gasp.
“We can’t let you stay with them. We’ve been trying to track your every move since last year, after one of our friends in Los Angeles spotted you and gave us a picture for proof.”
“I went there for a trip for a week. But it was cut short by 5 days.”
“Exactly. They were afraid someone else might notice you and then, you would be taken away from them and they would be taken to jail.” Hayden explained.
“So, what are we going to do?”
“When does your trip end?”
“About 5 days.”
“Good, then we have enough time to plan out our escape. Did you tell Hailey where you both are meeting?”
“I could reserve a place on the Eiffel Tower.” Ayden told them. They nodded.
“Good. We can all meet there. But no bodyguard. If he’s there, then he’ll recognize us and we’ll be spotted.”
“How do you know Hailey?” They smiled.
“She’s our cousin. Your cousin. We’ll meet tonight at 8PM. All of us. We aren’t going to leave France without you, Ayden.” Hayden explained.
“That goes double for me.”
“What about you’re…our parents? Wouldn’t they question you two being here and call the police to take you back? And if the police are contacted, then they’ll find me, leading to Joshua finding out, contacting my parents and then we’re all doomed.” Hayden sneered at Naythan.
“He is way brighter than you, Naythan.” He snorted.
“Sure he is.” Ayden smiled at them both.
“Alright, then we’ll both meet tonight.” His phone started to ring. “I better go. Joshua will kill me if I’m late.” Hayden and Naythan winced. “It’s just a manifestation.”
“Right. Just don’t look too suspicious in front of him or when speaking to your parents.” Naythan informed him.
“Don’t worry,” Ayden grumbled. Hayden frowned.
“We will see you tonight, right?” She begged. Ayden smiled at Naythan, who rolled his eyes. Then eyes his sister.
“Of course you will. I promise.” She smiled and fought the urge to hug him so hard. Ayden turned around and walked away from his siblings.
Joshua was growing nervous. Ayden wasn’t answering his phone. He always did! Then, his phone rang again. He quickly answered it.
“Hi, Joshua.” He sighed with relief.
“Where the hell have you been? I called you 10 seconds ago!” He heard a small cackle over the line.
“Sorry. I was distracted by the view of Paris. It is very marvelous to gaze at. Don’t you think?” Joshua rolled his eyes.
“Yes, Ayden. But if you don’t answer my calls again, the only thing you’ll be seeing is stars.” Silence came from the other line.
“I apprehend completely. And Joshua, I need to meet that woman, Hailey again tonight. At the Eiffel Tower. Alone. Tonight.” The bodyguard took this thought to consideration. “I understand that you have to protect me, but I must go alone so I can understand the-”
“Alright, just don’t give me a lecture!” Silence was the response.
“You are…supportive of my decision?”
“Not appreciating. I will keep guard, but from a distance from below. This was, I will expect everybody who enters the building. An ingenious plan, if I must say so myself. I will disguise myself as a security guard.”
“Ingenious plan, my friend. Ingenious indeed. I must call Hailey. Where are you located?”
“I am now going to the Eiffel Tower to reserve the place. What would you prefer?”
“Table for 2 by the window on the second floor, the Grand Cuisine, please.”
“Right away. Please, go back to the hotel and don’t go out. It would mean a lot.”
“Alright then. I am fatigued anyway.”
Ayden hung up and stared at the phone for a moment. He felt betrayed. He felt like his whole 14-years had been a falsehood. He only wished he had known his real siblings. He had only wished he had known his real parents. His chest hurted with the idea that his family and bodyguard were criminals, that they had kidnapped him. He couldn’t imagine his parents being criminals. It seemed like such a lie. In a few days, it would be his birthday. But would be actually spend it with his real family? Would he actually be free?
He sighed and rubbed his head. It felt like ti was going to explode. So much was kept from him. Did he actually trust that girl and boy as they told Ayden they were his siblings? Or did he trust Joshua and his parents? Who was telling the truth? Who was he going to go to? Would be really get out of the country without his bodyguard? It seemed almost impossible. Ayden started to feel light-headed. He got out his phone to make two calls. One to Hailey, and one to reserve his table of two for a table of four for Hayden and Naythan, his supposed siblings.
* * *
Hayden squeezed Hailey.
“Oh Hailey, he was wonderful! I couldn’t believe I was meeting him! He looked so tall and so adorable that I just wanted to pinch the life out of him!”
“And creep him out.” Naythan grumbled.
“God, Naythan. You sound like you don’t want him back.”
“I do, but your rushing into this. If it were me, I would be passing out right now. You can’t just rush information like that to somebody.”
“He’s right.” Hailey told him.
“I think he handled it quite well.”
“Possibly hiding it.” Hailey and Naythan said together.
“I don’t care! I just want him back!” Her eyes stinging with tears now. Naythan placed an arm around her and hugged her.
“We will. But you have to be patient. Mum and Dad will already be tracking us down and flying here.” Hayden nodded.
“I know. It’s just…14-years I’ve been away from one of my brothers. Those sick bastards! They’ll pay with their lives if I can say anything about it!”
The night came quicker than anybody anticipated it to be. Ayden placed on a similar apparel to this afternoon. His bodyguard had taken a tour operator undercover job at the Eiffel Towers. They were both ready for what they were going to do tonight. Day 1 of getting me to my family, thought Ayden. But as he knew from both experience now and his intelligence, it wasn’t going to be easy. They would have to make a flawless plan to succeed in this mission. Getting Ayden away from Joshua was like getting education away from Ayden. He knew that it was going to be difficult to trick this Colonel. But Ayden loved puzzles. They gave away so many wonders and questions to the victim, yet there was only one answer and one wonder. In this puzzle, he needed to get back to his family, undetected. A wonder would be to reunite with the ones who he loved and the answer…was still undetermined.
They took a limousine to the Eiffel Tower. Late in November, the Eiffel Tower looked like it always did. It radiated with light and hope. Its thin layer of snow that had been applied in the morning was taken up by dazzling yellow lights. Joshua got out and profiled his duty around the Eiffel Tower, but first muttered,
“Be careful.” Ayden nodded, not making a sarcastic comment and entered the Eiffel Tower.
The insides were a better view than its architectural structures. The wonderful décor seemed to amaze Ayden more than it had ever before. He nearly gasped at every single detail of the way he got up to the second floor. Ayden was never afraid of heights, but he wondered how a 3 floored building that held a maximum amount of people could hold it all together by metal trusses. It gave Ayden an eerie feeling just to think about what might happen if one little bolt was misplaced. Would the whole settlement collapse? Would it still stand for a couple of years? Judging by Ayden’s calculations, one bolt may not be a problem. It may tilt the building just by an inch, but it wouldn’t cause any severe damages to the tower, causing it to collapse.
On the other hand, there were the disadvantages of how the building was treated. Were the bolts maintaining their strengths? Were they supportive enough? Were they rusty? Was the building cleaned? Ayden shook his head and remembered that he had bigger problems. He had been living with kidnappers his whole entire life. Planning on getting out was the main priority, then maybe he could e-mail them about if the Eiffel Tower would maintain its structure from the care it was receiving.
Ayden was directed to his table. He saw Hailey already there. She smiled, got up and extended out her hand. Ayden shook it gladly.
“I must say, you have a better taste in choosing your locations than I do.” Ayden smiled.
“Sophistication is one of my qualities.” They both sat down. Hailey had her hair in tighter curls, her amber eyes were dazzling with delight and she had an elegant golden dress on. Ayden placed his coat behind his chair, revealing a blue collared shirt, a black tie, trousers and jacket. “Are our other cousin’s here yet?” He asked casually. Hailey smiled.
“You found out.”
“And?” She asked. He raised a brow.
“You’re not scared, nervous, anxious?” Ayden was silent for a few minutes.
“Honestly…none of those fall in my category. I’m just…curious right now.” Hailey’s eyebrows crossed.
“Curious? About what?”
“Let him be, Hailey.” To his left, he saw his siblings dressed almost fancier than he was. He smiled. Hayden sat next to him while Naythan sat across from him. “I knew you would come.” Hayden said. Naythan rolled his eyes.
“Sure. That would explain the-”
“Shut up, Naythan.” She hissed. Ayden could only smile. Hailey and Naythan started talking to themselves about what to order. Hayden and Ayden held their menus up as well, but not really paying attention to the options.
“Can I ask you a question?” Hayden asked as she placed her menu down. Ayden did the same and faced her.
“Certainly.” She bit her lips.
“To be honest, I don’t know how all of this is going to work out. I don’t want any trouble, though. For a year now, Naythan and I have hid this from the police and our parents. About you. Our brother. But…now that I’ve actually met you,”
“I’m terrible?” He said with a humorous tone. She nudged him.
“Not at all. But…”
“You’re afraid if it might go entirely wrong? You’re afraid if something might happen to me? You’re afraid that something might happen to you guys?” She flushed.
“Am I that transparent?”
“Yes, you are.” From under the table, he held his sister’s hand. She became warmer as his touch soothed her whole body. “But I trust your decisions. If you have waited a year to find me, then I am sure that you can wait 5 more days before I am entirely yours. Am I correct?” She smiled and wrapped her arms around him.
“God, I hope you wouldn’t be as this annoying at home.” They both cracked up.
They ordered a few minutes later. Everybody enjoyed their meals, all except Ayden. He circled his fork around his plate. He could only wonder why his parents kidnapped him and not his other siblings. Why did they want to set the house on fire? And more importantly, why start it at the source where they all were? Ayden only wished his parents and Joshua would tell him the truth. But with finding out the truth, comes a great about of research, intelligence and note-taking. But after a few days, Ayden would be taken back to the United Kingdom, to celebrate his birthday with some people who he thought were his family.
But weren’t they? Who were these people to just follow him and assume he was their brother? What if it were a coincidental mistake? How did they know it was Joshua and the Taylor’s that kidnapped him? What if they really were his parents and these were just criminals, ready to kidnap him for a ransom? Ayden felt his whole head spinning now. His brain was having a war with who to decide with. Were the Paris’ his family, or were the Taylor’s?
Hayden was the only one who noticed Ayden not eating and he was sweating and turning pale. The others were busy talking about the Eiffel Tower. She nudged him and he quickly looked up.
“What’s wrong?” He knitted his eyebrows, then sighed and placed down his fork.
“I…I don’t know.” She frowned.
“You don’t entirely trust us yet, do you?”
“Yes…no…maybe,” He sighed. “Hayden, I know you’ve done a lot to come here, but what if your wrong about who I am? What if it’s just a mistake? I know I look like you, but you can’t prove I’m related to you by appearance. You need actually genetic proof, like a DNA sample.”
“What’s your blood type?” She blurted out. He didn’t question her.
“So are Naythan and I.”
“Hayden, those are still guesses.” He rubbed his temples. “I mean, your making me believe that my parents and bodyguard kidnapped me? Just like that, out of nowhere you receive a picture and you assume it?”
“Video camera footage?” She asked.
“Still…” Hayden now understood by what Naythan and Hailey meant by not rushing into things so quickly. The poor boy was having a headache about what to believe. But Hailey was 110% sure that Ayden Warren Taylor was her long-lost brother. She plucked a sample of his hair. “OW!” She waved his hair in front of him and placed it in a tissue and into her purse.
“After we get you out of here, we’re going to get this tested.”
“And if your wrong and you’re the one who kidnaps me?” He asked nervously. She gave him a sad smile.
“Then I hope you wouldn’t charge us with felony …and we can still be friends.”
“Alright, now let’s discuss what we have to do,” Hailey said.
“We sneak him out of the country and assume he’s our brother, what else is there to it?” Naythan asked. Ayden raised a brow.
“Really? That simple? Don’t you know anything about crime?”
“Welcome to my world,” Hayden grumbled.
“But why make things complicated?” Naythan asked.
“Naythan, things aren’t going to get complicated. They already are complex.” He sighed.
“I’m going to regret asking this, but why?”
“One, my bodyguard, Colonel Joshua Fleming. He’s…not going to let me roam around Paris like that while I fly 12 hours away from him. He’ll never let me go. Two, my parents…formal parents…whatever, the Taylors. They expect me to be home by November 28th, 5 days from now for my 15th birthday.” Hayden’s eye’s widened. Ayden knew what she was about to say. It was their birthday as well. “And if they find me 6000 miles away from them, they’ll report me missing.”
“You already are missing.” Hailey reminded him.
“We don’t know that for certain.” He informed. “I know it’s been 14-years since you’ve seen your brother, but what makes you so sure I’m him?”
“You have our exact same features, same blood type, same birthday, and our brother’s name was Ayden.”
“Spelled with a Y or an I?”
“Y.” He turned pale again.
“Hayden, Ayden’s right. We’ll get him out of the country, if he wants to, then we’ll find out for sure if it’s him or not.”
“Does he want to be smuggled out of the country?” Naythan asked. They all looked at Ayden, who was actually surprised by the question.
“Well…I…I’m…”He paused, then nodded. “Alright. I don’t see what harm it could do.”
“But what if we’re wrong?” Naythan asked.
“Then I’ll try to break you out of prison.” Ayden joked. Everybody smiled.
“Alright, on with the plan. I believe that we should create a distraction for Joshua so Ayden can get out of their…where are you settled in right now?”
“Then we’ll need a distraction.”
“What kind of distraction?” The three, supposedly siblings, asked simultaneously.
“What will he leave the room for, Ayden?” Hailey asked.
“Safety concerns, health problems. If he thinks I’m in danger, he’ll run out of the room faster than a Cheetah and find the person.” Hailey smiled.
“What if someone is paid to say that there is a shooting going on? We pay a boy to run around, firing with a Nerf gun that is painted black, all around the hotel making Joshua believe that Ayden’s in danger.” The boy she was referring to smiled.
“I must say, that is a very creative plan, Hailey.”
“On to step 2; how to get Ayden out of the country.”
“Well, our private jet is still here.”
“I think Mom and Dad would have probably taken it back.” Naythan told his sister.
“We can use mine.” Ayden suggested. They all nodded with agreement.
“Wouldn’t the pilot say anything?”
“He can, but by the time I am done on the phone, his tongue will be cut off for questioning me. I’ll tell him Joshua left for an emergency flight and he left me to your care.”
“Wonderful. And then, we take you to Los Angeles to get tested. If you are our brother, we’ll be happy and glad. And if you’re not…”
“I’ll get you out of prison and criminal charges.” Ayden chuckled.
“Good. Then it’s settled.” But Ayden couldn’t help but complain in his mind about the plan. It seemed too simple. What could go wrong? Numerous possibilities, really. His bodyguard wouldn’t let him out of his sight, he found Ayden before they deported and Joshua might beat them to Los Angeles and get the others arrested before Ayden got tested. “Ayden?” He looked up and found everybody looking at him. “Are you in?” Hailey asked. Ayden nodded.
“Absolutely. Every mission has its ups and downs. Let’s just hope this is all up’s.”
“That’s the spirit. Now, we’ll confirm the plan tomorrow and then begin it the day after tomorrow. Understood?” They all nodded. Ayden got up. He had to leave now. Hayden quickly got up.
“Don’t worry. We’ll meet again tomorrow. I promise.” She sighed but nodded.
“Alright.” Ayden said his good-byes and left.
Joshua found the youngster walking towards him. He quickly went over to him.
“Are you hurt? Injured? Chipped? In danger?” Ayden gave him a croaked smile.
“I’m fine, really.” The bodyguard sighed and placed a hand on his shoulder, guiding him to his ride.
“Did you eat?”
“Yes, I did.” Ayden lied. He couldn’t eat anymore. He never would until the matter was settled and he was safe with his true parents. The Taylors…or the Paris’. Only faith could decide, Ayden thought as he sunk into the leather seats. Only faith can decide.
The next day, the plan was all set. Day 2, thought Ayden. Everything was happening so fast, neither time nor could he keep up. What if the Paris’s really were his parents? What would he think of the Taylor’s the one who he thought he loved, treated with respect and adored. Or were the Taylor’s his real parents? If that were the case, what about the Paris’? What would he do about them?
He would help them find what happened to their actual brother. He would find the actually Ayden Paris if it wasn’t him. When he saw Hayden again, she had mixed emotions piled high on her face. She was anxious, worried, scared, frightened, upset. Ayden tried to comfort her that she wouldn’t go to jail if she were wrong. But she told him that she really wanted to know what happened to his brother. She wanted to know if he was alive or dead. Ayden knew that because he admitted that he might not be Ayden Paris, really made Hayden lose a lot of confidence. But he tried to tell her that she would always be like a sister to him if they were wrong. She smiled brightly at him and kissed him on the cheek.
Ayden paced around his room like he had ADHD and couldn’t say still. His bodyguard was off, looking over at his master’s dinner. But Ayden felt like his diet didn’t matter right now. He needed to know who he was. Now. Was he Ayden Warren Taylor, the son of the CEO and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, or Ayden Paris, oldest triplet and son to billionaires in Los Angeles? Ayden had been told by Hayden that her parents were rich and had always saved a room for Ayden. The real Ayden.
So many things could go wrong. So many advantages and disadvantages popped up into Ayden’s mind. He grew dizzy just thinking about it all. He tried so hard to distract himself from the night before the kidnapping of Ayden Warren Taylor to see if he was who he says he is…or Ayden Paris, kidnapped for over 14-years.
Finally, the day came of the kidnapping of Ayden. He didn’t trust his own last name anymore. He knew he was Ayden, but not from what family. He started to think about what the mission was mostly about. But his train of thought was blocked by the negative and positive ideas that popped into his brain every second he tried to think. He collapsed on his bed. His head throbbed, his eyes were dazed and his hair was brushed nicely, but he still felt like he wasn’t ready yet. Sweat beaded down from his pale forehead down to the side of his temples.
Joshua was busy polishing his gun. Ayden gulped. He could only hope that those bullets weren’t his. Then, he heard screaming coming from the hallway. Joshua looked up and held up a finger, telling Ayden to keep quiet. Then, the screaming’s grew louder. Joshua was up on his feet with his gun drawn to his side.
“Stay here!” And he ran out of the room, leaving Ayden by himself and he disappeared within the walls. Ayden stood outside his suite and waited. He felt a hand come upon his shoulder and he quickly turned around. Hayden and Naythan stood behind him with dark clothes worn.
“Are you ready?” They both asked simultaneously. He nodded.
“Let’s go.” He grabbed his bag and closed the door behind him of his suite, leaving Joshua.
He was taken in a black Toyota. They were supposed to go directly to the airport, but Hailey was caught up on something so they had to go pick her up. Ayden’s hand couldn’t stop squirming. He felt his life slowly fading away. Who was he? Who was the real Ayden? Who was his real family? Thoughts and ideas came rushing again and he sunk down deeper in the car’s seat. He felt a hand being placed over his. Hayden smiled at him.
“I don’t care if you aren’t the real Ayden or not. I wouldn’t stop looking until I know what happened to him.”
“Neither will I. I’m now involved in this whether you like it or not.” She smiled.
“I don’t mind.”
“Can you please drive faster?” The driver scowled from the rear mirror but drove faster, as his company policy prohibited employees questioning customers.
They finally reached where Hailey was. They all waited by the sidewalk when they heard screaming. They all got out and followed the screams of a woman to the place where trees seemed more common than the air. Ayden listened closely. He heard more screaming’s coming from the West.
“Come on!” The other two followed him.
As they slowly approached to their destination, they found Hailey with her hands raised in the air, her eyes filled with horror. In front of her, pointed with a Machine Gun, was Colonel Joshua Fleming. Tears ran down Hailey’s eyes.
“Ayden, she was planning to kidnap you, wasn’t she?” Ayden suddenly found the strength to concur his bodyguard after a few moments. Ayden stepped forward.
“Joshua, I am fine. Please, put the gun down.”
“She tried to kidnap you, did she not?”
“No, she didn’t. She was just…”
“Just what, Ayden?” He cussed to himself.
“She was taking me to where the fire of the house was. That’s all, Joshua. She wasn’t out to get me.” He took a few more steps forward and placed a hand on his bodyguard’s gun. He lowered it down slowly. “Now, put the gun away, Joshua. I’m fine.” Joshua did place the gun away, but smiled.
“Oh, I’ll put the gun away, but you, my dear boy, are anything but fine.” He was quicker than Ayden anticipated hi to be. The boy soon found an arm around his throat. He placed his own hands on the meaty arm, but it was no use. Oxygen was everywhere, willing to allow itself to fill Ayden’s lungs. But he refused to take it. Hayden and Naythan screamed.
“Hailey! Help him!” Bu she only smiled, wiped out her tears and stood by the bodyguard’s side. The three teenager’s expression turned dark. “No.”
“Oh, yes! My dear, did you really think I was helping you?”
“You’re our cousin!” Naythan shouted.
“Yes, but who says families get along?” Naythan then felt a sting on his back. He thought that it wasn’t as important as the pain in his chest, so he ignored it.
“Hailey, we trusted you! We thought you were actually helping us find our long-lost brother!” Hayden cried, tears flowing down her cheeks.
“Oh, but I was helping. But getting him again to kill him.”
“You don’t know if it’s him or not!” Joshua let his arm loosen up so the young boy could breathe. But his breaths were only short breaths now.
“How do you know?” Hailey mocked. Joshua smiled.
“You thought you idiots were anywhere close to finding Ayden? The real Ayden? You are so wrong!” He felt the boy’s frame leaning on his.
“How could you, Hailey! We thought that you were better than the police! Than our own parents!” Hayden cried.
“Well, that was your big mistake. Why are you blaming it on me?”
“Because you were in on this!” Naythan and Hayden stared at Ayden. He didn’t look so good. Even in the dark, the full moon gave enough light to see his face. He was pale and sweating now. His eyes started to droop and his breaths were short and sounded painful. He had his hands on the bodyguard’s arm, trying to remove it from his throat, even though he wasn’t squeezing yet.
“Ayden, are you-” He closed his eyes and collapsed on the ground. Hayden screamed and ran to him. Naythan kneeled next to him. He checked his pulse. It was irregular. He looked up.
“What did you do to him?!” Joshua smiled and waved a syringe in the air. Both siblings gasped. He had given Ayden an Insulin syringe.
“Me? I did nothing. This is just the result of Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar. Insulin really shouldn’t be given to non-diabetic patients. But since it was, he’s in an Insulin coma now and will probably die.” Hayden sobbed and gipped Ayden.
“How do we make his blood pressure rise?!” Naythan demanded.
“Well, sugar for once. And a lot. But you don’t have any handy.” Then, he produced a syringe. “But I never said I didn’t have some.” Both teenager’s looked up.
“W-what’s that?” Hayden asked.
“Sugar water. It’ll raise his blood sugar. Only if you take 40 steps to the right.” Hayden gripped Ayden tighter. Joshua shrugged. “Fine. Have it your way. His life is in your hands.” Hayden looked at Naythan, who scowled at Joshua, then sadly nodded at Hayden.
“How do we know you wouldn’t just let him die?” Hayden scowled.
“Because, he still needs to talk to his parents.”
They both stood up and slowly took 40 steps to the right. They saw Joshua kneel down and placed the syringe in the boy’s arm. He got up and placed the boy around his shoulders. “Enjoy your evening!” He called ou and disappeared with Hailey. Hayden cried into Naythan’s shoulder. He patted her head.
“Come on. We need to call the police.”
* * *
Mr. and Mrs. Paris sat at the Los Angeles police department. They had tried to go to France, but the LAPD told them that they would have their children found and taken back over here. It took a couple of days before they found them. And when they did, Mr. and Mrs. Paris couldn’t be happier. It still took more than 12 hours for them to arrive, but it was worth the wait.
When they saw their children walk into the Los Angeles Police Department, they hugged them to death.
“What the hell is the matter with the two of you?” Their mother asserted.
“Are you crazy? You went alone on a plane without our permission?” Their father declared. A young woman with blonde curls and blue eyes came from behind in a power suit. Detective Arista Arson.
“Do you know that you two could been in so much trouble right now?” She bellowed. “Your minors, traveling on your own!” She saw the girl’s face redden.
“For your information, we have been trying to search for our long-lost brother! You and the whole police department stopped looking for him 14-years ago!” She snapped.
“Young lady, we have other cases to deal with.” Detective Arista Arson said impatiently.
“Well, here’s a new case for you. I think I found my brother and I want him with me!”
“How long have you two been searching for this 14-year old boy named Ayden Warren Taylor?”
“A year.” The boy said. “We’ve been following him.” And Naythan began telling the story of who Ayden was and their last adventure together.
“So you have been spying on this boy as well and tried to kidnap him?” The detective asked.
“Sweetheart, you have no proof.” Their father said through grinding teeth. Hayden produced a tissue and gave it to the detective’s hand. She stared at it, then opened it up.
“A hair sample of his hair. Analyze it with mine and you’ll see he’s our brother, my parent’s long-lost son!” The detective scowled at the little girl as she was instructing a detective. But then, she just sighed.
“Travis! Two plastic bags!” A man came running over. The detective placed the hair strand with the tissue in one bag and got a hair sample from one parents and it was off to the lab. “It’ll take 24 hours to analyze it. But the tow of you should understand, that even if this is your brother, you have placed him in terrible danger.”
“He’s been kidnapped for 14-years!”
“Maybe. And even of that may be, he wasn’t being held captive, now was he? And now…they’ll probably kill him. And we have no idea how long that will take. It may already be too late. Now we have to find that out.” The Detective sighed.
“And what if it’s not him? What if the boy was just kidnapped by his own bodyguard?” Mrs. Paris asked. The Detective placed her hands on her hip.
“Then, your children will face criminal charges and I have to review this whole case again and find out why on earth that bodyguard kidnapped his principal.”
* * *
Joshua was in a good mood now. He could finally reveal his secret to the young boy. He had called Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, telling them the whole story. They couldn’t be more contented. Joshua and Hailey both went to the boy’s private plane and rode their way to the UK. Hailey was calm and quiet the whole ride. She had been on this mission ever since he was discovered by Hayden and Naythan Paris in Los Angeles a year before. She looked to her right and found the boy, still unconscious and laying in his seat.
“You are sure he is alive, right?” She asked again. The body guard sighed.
“Yes, Hailey. I’m not supposed to kill him yet. I still have more to accomplish. Then, I wait for my instructions to kill my young master…or move him with his so-called family. The Taylor’s are almost home from their trip to England. Just have patients.”
“I wonder what they’ll choose.” Joshua glared at the pale boy.
“We’ll find out soon enough, Hailey. We’ll find out soon enough.”
After they reached Taylor Manior, a huge gray mansion built entirely out of stone, Joshua carried the boy inside to his room and settled him onto his bed. He sat the young boy up on his bed and handcuffed his wrists behind the bedframe with steel metallic manacles.
“What about his ankles?”
“Hailey, let me do my job.” She raised her hands up for innocents and sat by a chair. She watched Joshua chain up the boy’s ankles but they weren’t attached to anything. Before Hailey could question his idea, he held up a hand. “If he has no hands, what good will his feet do for him?” She nodded.
“Alright then.” But the bodyguard wasn’t that cold-blooded. He let the young boy rest on a pillow and placed a blanket over him. Hailey rolled her eyes. “Honestly, how attached are you to this boy?” She demanded. He shot her a glare.
“I have no further instructions of what to do with him yet, so I will treat him like I always do, Hailey. But you wouldn’t know much about being consistent, as you betrayed your own cousins.” She got up to protest.
“Listen here, Colonel, I did it for the exact reason what you did 14-years ago! For money!”
“So am I. I am being patients.” She growled.
“I’m going downstairs.”
“Try not to steal anything.” He muttered.
It had been a day now since the Taylor’s called. They had said that there were snow storms that were delaying their flights and that they shouldn’t do anything with Ayden yet. Joshua obeyed their commands. He didn’t question their response. It had been over 24 hours and Ayden was still unconscious. Joshua could only hope that he hadn’t fallen in an Insulin Coma. He would occasionally check is temperature, which would be lower than the normal body temperature and he had dilated pupils. Not something that a bodyguard would want.
The morning of the next day, Ayden finally managed to open his eyes. He mouth was dry and sore, his insides felt like they had been burned up and cooked and he had a huge throbbing sensation on his head. He tried to rub his head but his wrists wouldn’t obey. He quickly opened his eyes and tried to sit up, but he noticed his wrists were tied behind the bed frame and his ankles were chained as well. He struggled to get free, but it was no use. He felt a warm liquid flow off his wrist. He sighed. He had just cut into his wrist. He struggled to at least sit up.
Joshua walked in a few minutes later and smiled. Ayden stiffened and didn’t even breathe at that time.
“Well, look who’s up?” Hailey came behind him and sneered at Ayden.
“The zombie lives.” She joked. The two came in front of him and just stared at him. Ayden tried his best to hide all his emotions. “Well, aren’t you going to say anything?” Ayden kept silent.
“Well, at least he’s not causing any trouble. He usually doesn’t. But Ayden, that little trick you pulled off in Paris wasn’t very smart. We were all fortunate that it was Hailey providing the false information to you or we would have been all doomed.” Hailey smiled.
“Well, I have been told that I am amazing at times.”
“Anyway, it’s very amazing that you got so far into your plan without me knowing. Maybe I have been teaching you too well.” Ayden kept quiet. Hailey tilted her head.
“If we do release his chains, will he be cooperative?” Joshua pulled out his Machine Gun, studying it.
“I don’t see why not. All the guards have been told that if you escape, to shoot you. That is an order they’ll follow.”
“You’ll shoot me…but not kill me?” Ayden managed to say. Joshua smiled.
“I still need your parent’s approval of what to do with you now. Kill you, or hide you somewhere. I don’t know. I don’t care.” He placed his gun away and took out a pair of keys. “So I am asking you kindly, Ayden. Don’t try to be a smart aleck, we’ve known each other for 14-years and now I expect you to obey me now.” Ayden said nothing. Joshua freed Ayden’s wrists and ankles. He only moved enough to snatch his wrists from behind the bed frame and straighten his legs.
“Well, it’s a start.” Hailey muttered. Ayden found his wrists, bloody and scratched. He then found Joshua sitting beside his bed, tying the injuries with gauzes.
“Are you going to tell me?” He asked quietly.
“Who am I really? What actually happened to me?” Joshua felt a touch of excitement.
“Why, yes. I will tell you…eventually. After your parents arrive in a few minutes.” Hailey locked the windows with key locks and left. Joshua made Ayden some breakfast. “Eat up. You’ll want to be strong enough to hear what will happen to you. And one more thing. Happy 1th birthday.” And he left as well. Ayden sighed with nothing to do but eat his food quietly. What a great 15th birthday, he thought. I’m held captive in my own house. Just what any child wants for their birthday.
* * *
The Paris’ waited in the Los Angeles Police Department for the results. Their children’s were fiddling around, only talking to themselves. Their parents were growing worried. Who was this boy? Why were their children so interested in him? And then, the real question. Was he really their son? The Detective came back with the Criminologist. Everybody stood up.
“Well?” The children demanded. The man beside the Detective smiled.
“Its’ a boy!” Hayden felt a huge surge of relief flow through her.
“Well, you wouldn’t be pressed with any charges, that’s for sure.” The detective said.
“But what about our brother?” Naythan asked.
“The Taylor’s have just broken the record for the International Child Abduction Act. He’s been missing for 14-years now?”
“15, today.” Naythan reported. Hayden felt tears rolled down her cheek.
“We find our brother, but he’s with criminals, held captive.”
“It looks like this case is going to be re-started again. Does anybody have any pictures of the boy?” Hayden pulled out a folded piece of paper and handed it to the detective. She unfolded it and stared at the picture for a couple of moments. The boy was with his parents and bodyguard. The boy had intelligent blue eyes, a wonderful smile, long brown hair up to his shoulders and fair skin. The detective turned the picture towards the Paris’. Mrs. Paris clapped her hands over her mouth and touched the boy with one finger. He had all the features of the family. Their blue eyes and their brown hair. But his features were much sharper, intelligent and handsome.
“My little boy…lost and missing.”
“Not technically, Mrs. Paris. If I’m not mistaken, they may have gone home right about now. When he gave Ayden the Insulin, he gave him the sugar water, didn’t he?” The children nodded. “Then he may not want him dead yet. But we are now going to call the police in the UK quickly and demand that they inspect their houses.”
“And us?” The Paris’ asked.
“How would you like to come along with getting Ayden Paris back from the UK?”
* * *
Ayden thought it was no use in trying to see if the windows would open. It didn’t look like it would. He stared at the picture of his mother and father. His mother, Cecelia Taylor had blonde hair and bright blue eyes. His father, Carter Warren Taylor had black short hair and green eyes. Ayden never questioned that he didn’t look anything like his parents. Parent’s offspring’s sometimes didn’t. But now he did. Was he really Ayden Warren Taylor? Was he really the son of Cecelia and Carter Taylor? What was the truth about his childhood? What had actually happened to him? He threw the picture to the corner of the room and watched the frame break into tiny pieces of glass. He fought the urge to cry. Tears and sadness does not resolve problems, thought Ayden.
15th birthday. It was his 15th birthday and he was held captive by his “parents” and bodyguard. He had never felt this frightened in his life. He had never thought that all those criminal books he had read or even thought of would actually happen to him. Why did it happen to him? What had he done to deserve the situation he was in right now? He covered his face. He had nothing now but hope. He had nothing now but the thoughts piled high in his brain and his ingeniousness plans. Would that actually save him? Maybe…maybe not.
Finally, his door opened. He quickly sat up and found his parents walk in. They were smirking at him. Both his mother and father were alone, but Ayden felt like two more people were at their left sides. The devil. They sat on either side of Ayden’s bed and smiled. Ayden could only sit there, and stare back at his parents.
“Well Ayden, happy birthday, my dear!” His mother kissed the top of his forehead. He winced.
“Do you want anything special, son?” His father asked.
“Answers.” Was Ayden’s response. Their parents looked at each other, then nodded.
“Fair enough.” His father said. His mother placed an arm around her boy and drew him close.
“Tell us.” His mother asked. Ayden took a deep breath out.
“Who am I? Really, legally. Am I your son…or did you kidnap me?” His mother frowned.
“So…you found out.” Ayden nodded slowly. “We’ve raised you too well to lose you, Ayden. You have to understand that.”
“I do. Honestly. Even if I am not your son…you’ve been grateful parents.” The youngster said, not knowing himself if he was lying…or telling the truth. His father nodded.
“Very well. He deserves to know.”
“Alright. But Ayden, remember this, don’t think of us differently. We did this out of love.” Ayden nodded.
“I know Mum and Dad. I know.” His mother drew his closer to her. She was nearly squeezing the life out of him.
“Then let’s begin.” His father said. “It was 15-years ago now. You were 6 months old. But, you weren’t our child. You were the oldest of the three triplet’s Morgan and Christina Paris had given birth to. All of you were twenty-seconds apart exactly. You were first, then Hayden then Naythan. We used to be great friends with the Paris’ before you three were born. We lived in Los Angeles. Your mother was going to have a child as well. But…he died in a car accident.” Ayden saw his mother shed a few tears. He almost felt sorry for her. Almost. “After that, your mother said she couldn’t be near the Paris’ as they had three chances in a perfect life with three children, while we had none. So after that, we asked Joshua to burn down their house after all of you were born, but old enough to be mischievous so they wouldn’t expect anyone to break in. We burned down the house.”
“But then I thought, why we should kill three children when we could have them. We then asked Joshua to take one child. One first born.”
“Why only me? What about the others?”
“The first born is the more grown up one, the intelligent one, the brighter one. The middle child is the wisest, but differently ignored. And the youngest is only there to entertain the family. The oldest is what we were more interested in. But after we took you, we knew the LAPD would track us down. So we decided to smuggle you out of the country. We took you to the United Kingdom and raised you as our own. You grew up too fast and we were afraid that someone might take you back. That was why we are so overprotected with you. We do it out of love, Ayden!” His mother cried.
“As much as our work means to us, so do you. We could only spend time with you on your birthdays though and it was as if you were actually ours entirely. You were a delight to be with.” Ayden caught one word in particular.
“Were? What do you mean by, were?”
“As in no longer,” Said his mother. “You have caused too much trouble, Ayden. For that, you must pay with your life, my dear.”
* * *
10 hours is long enough, thought Hayden. I want my brother back! She squirmed in her seat. The Detective was reading over Ayden’s files, going through his and the Taylor’s Facebook pages. Hayden finally got up and found the courage to confront the Detective. She stood by her.
“Can I ask you a question? Do you think my brother is alive?” Detective Arista Arson stopped typing and looked up, her blue eyes were emotionless.
“Sweetheart, we are trying everything in our power to succeed with this-”
“Answer the question.” Hayden said bitterly. The Detective sighed.
“Honestly…I don’t know what is going to happen. Is he dead right now? Is he alive? Where is he? Did they smuggle him again out of the UK and to another country? I don’t know, Hayden. Judging from his parents files, I have no idea what could be happening to him right now.” Hayden sat next to the Detective and caught the picture of Ayden.
“My poor brother, he’s been missing for 15-years and it’s his birthday today. All I want is him. That would be more than enough of a present to me.” The Detective smiled.
“You really care for family don’t you? I have an older brother, no parents or relatives and two children, a son and a daughter. 13-year old twins. Family is very important when that’s all you got, sweetheart.” Hayden frowned.
“But what if one of your family is hours away from you? About to die? What would you do to save him?” The Detective sighed and then stared at the girl with determination in her eyes.
“I would save him at any costs. I would break all the rules applied and I would make sure he came first. But I need you to promise me and you will follow all the rules because we have more than enough back-up by our side. We have enough to bring those criminals to jail and get your brother back. Do you promise?” Hayden nodded.
“I promise.” She lied.
* * *
Ayden quickly sat up and his mother’s arm fell to her side.
“B-but…you said that…why?”
“Ayden, we wanted a son who was well-behaved, patient, and above all, intelligent. You have proven to use you are all of these things and more.” His father told him.
“But the act you pulled in Paris…well, that deserves a punishment. You’ve never actually had a punishment, but today is your day that you will receive one.”
“I thought you loved me!”
“Ayden, I have brought you into this world, and I can bring you out of it. A mother wants, a mother gets.” Ayden stared at Cecilia Taylor in the eye, his frightened blue eyes staring into her cold, soulless blue eyes.
“Like you said, you aren’t my parents. And I’m not your son.”
“We have raised you like our own from the goodness of our heart! What else do you want?” His father demanded.
“You did nothing parenting at all! You leave me by myself with a retired Colonel as a bodyguard! You only visit me once a year, and that’s for my birthday! If I’m sick, you don’t care! If I’m upset, you don’t care! If I’m going through puberty, you damn care about me!” Cecelia’s face turned red and before anybody saw what happened, she slapped Ayden across the face.
“Watch your language, young man.”
“Sure, after you set me free to my real family!” Both parents got up and walked towards the door.
“You are going to die, son. Accept it, because we’ll be here in an hour to kill you. Enjoy that hour while you can.” And they slammed the door, leaving Ayden alone. He felt his first tear roll down his cheek and onto his shirt. He was sure he was going to die today. No doubt about it, he thought. He quickly got up and tried to open the door, but it was locked. He cussed out loud and tried the window. It was closed with the lock. Ayden felt his heart pounding harder and his hair sticking to his forehead due to his sweat.
Then, Ayden saw the lamp on his night stand. He looked around. What else did he have? He quickly ran around his room, gathering all the equipment he had in his room. He got a clothes hanger, turned it into one and made it into a huge stick of metal. He then found a whole shelf packed with books thicker than dictionaries. He remembered what Joshua had once said to him before.
“It’s not about how hard you hit the enemy, but where you hit him/her. The temple, now that’s a place where the person will be out cold if hit there.”
“I see. Because the brain is just floating around in our heads. So if we hit the enemy on the temple,”
“Then the brains bounces off the side of the head, which is what causes the blackout.”
Ayden smiled at himself. He knew exactly what to do now. He wouldn’t go down without a fight, which was for sure. He was going to fight for his freedom. He was going to get out of this crappy place and get back to his real family. He touched his cheek where he had been slapped. He finally knew who he was. He wasn’t Ayden Warren Taylor, son of Cecelia and Carter Taylor. He was Ayden Paris, son of the Paris’, brother of Hayden and Naythan Paris. He wasn’t from the United Kingdom! He was born from Los Angeles! He sneered. And that was where he was going to return to. He laid back in his bed and closed his eyes, slowly waiting to live…or die.
* * *
The Police in the United Kingdom were informed by the LAPD to search the Taylor’s mansion. The head director of the Police department thought it was absurd that two wealthy couples would have kidnapped a son from their friend’s family. But when they were informed that MI6 had also joined the picture, matters had gone from another kidnapping, to a deadly race with time to save an innocent boy from his death.
The head director of MI6 had been contacted and had been told numerous evidence of why the LAPD thought that a British boy was kidnapped 15-years before and was now held captive in his own home. Of course, the thought of that idea seemed almost outlandish! But after they were told of what the parents, bodyguard and his cousin was capable of, MI6 had decided to take the matter seriously and descended to the Taylor’s mansion. As time flew by, the race was on to save a young boy who had never known he had been kidnapped by his real parents, to only be raised by disappointment parents.
MI6 was by the Taylor’s mansion now. As they asked a guard to retread forward and search the premises, he threatened then that if they didn’t hit the road, they were going to pay with their lives. That was when it became certain that something was definitely wrong at the mansion. Something was being hidden from the public eye and MI6 and the police found their courage to raise their guns at the guard, threatening them that they would pay with their lives.
Finally, the owners of the mansion came out with optimistic smiles applied onto their faces. They faced the MI6 head director, Mrs. Chelsea Brooklyn.
“Why, is something the matter?” The woman asked kindly with a gentle tone, not at all startled.
“Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. We have reason to believe that your son, Ayden Warren Taylor had been kidnapped 15-years ago from the Paris’ and you have held him captive here.” Both couples exchanged glares, then threw back their heads and laughed.
“Officers, is this a joke?” The man asked.
“Not at all, Mr. Taylor. If you would just let us inspect your homes?”
“Of course. Right away.” As Mr. Taylor led the army inside their homes, Mrs. Taylor stepped to the side and pulled out her cell phone.
“Joshua, kill Ayden immediately. No distractions and no hesitations. Make it quick and painful for the boy. Then, get out of there. Conceal the body.”
* * *
Joshua snapped his phone closed and nodded at Hailey.
“Get out of here. The police and MI6 is already here.”
“What?” She hissed. He placed a finger on his lips.
“Don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine.” He took out his gun and screwed on a silencer.
“And what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to kill the boy. I’m going to follow directions and follow them.”
“Good luck.” Hailey muttered, running out of the room. He then proceeded upstairs, quietly without any noise coming from his shoes. His footsteps were inaudible than a cat sneaking up on a mouse.
As Joshua approached the young boy’s bedroom door, he placed his hand on the knob, ever so gently turning it clockwise and opened the door a crack, letting not the squeaky sound of the un-oiled doors disturb his silence. He entered with his gun drawn to his side. He saw that Ayden wasn’t in his bed. Joshua quickly glanced around.
“Ayden, come out come out wherever you are!” He sung with a bitter mocking tone. Ayden surprised the bodyguard and attacked him with a dictionary, hitting him on the side of the temples and thus, letting the bulky man fall on his back and his eyes were dazed. Ayden kneeled next to him.
“You were never anything but a crook. Enjoy prison!” And he clapped his hands on both the man’s temple. His eyes rolled over his head and he let his head come down with a big bang. Ayden quickly stepped away from the unconscious body and ran.
Hayden was finally in the United Kingdom…along with the others. They were less than 2 minutes away from saving Ayden. But was it too late? Would he still be alive? Was he even here?” Hayden shook the negative thoughts out of her mind. Of course he’s fine! She reassured herself. He’s probably just waiting for you to save him! But then, her expression darkened. What if his spirit was waiting for her? Waiting for him to be buried? Her eyes stung, but she didn’t allow herself to cry. She wanted to be brave, for her brother’s sake. She had to.
Ayden ran out the back way, to be only stopped by Hailey. She smiled when he bumped into her.
“Well, hello Ayden. Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Ayden ran again, up the stairs, all the way to the top. He heard heels taping on the stairs as well. Hailey was following him. He didn’t stop to catch his breath, he ran like crazy. When he got to the last step, he opened the metal door and was finally outside in the open. The air was frigid and aggressively tough on him, almost throwing him back. He was on the roof of his mansion, a 4-story mansion that could lead someone to their deaths by jumping off.
He found Hailey near him now. He took a couple of steps back, turning around to see the police surrounding the whole area of his house. Then, an officer pointed up and they all drew their attention to the boy nearly at the end of the roof, ready to jump off. Was he committing suicide? Was he in danger? As soon as they saw the woman with the gun pointed at him, they ran to his parents and arrested them. Ayden turned to face Hailey.
Hayden ran out of the car and gasped. She saw Ayden at the edge of the building, ready to fall to his death. Before anybody could stop her, she grabbed Naythan’s hand and they both ran inside, avoiding all the guards and running to their long-lost brother.
Ayden raised his hands up for surrender.
“Hailey, don’t do this.” He said in a soothing voice. Calm, yet firm. “You’re my cousin. You can’t be serious about killing me, are you?” She sneered.
“Do you think I care about family? Money is the new family for me!”
“With my parents and my bodyguard arrested, how can you get paid?” Hailey’s expression turned grim. Ayden tried to keep a straight face, trying to avoid the thought of the gun that was nearly on his chest, ready to kill him.
“I don’t care! I’m not letting you live after all you have done!”
“What have I done? Arrested your bosses? Big deal. They were going to get rid of you anyway. Do you really think you would be able to get away with all of this?” Ayden kept on talking as he saw his siblings sneaking up behind Hailey.
“Do you think I’m going to let you get away with living?” Hailey said, mimicking his tone. Ayden smiled.
“Yes, you are. And you know why, because I have an army. But what about you, Hailey? What do you have? I have a real family now. And they know I’m in danger and they know that I’m here.” Hailey raised her gun to shoot, but Hayden then smashed the door in her head and she went down on her knees.
“Did you really think I’d let you kill my brother?” She shouted. Ayden smiled. Hayden looked up. “You alright?”
“I’m fine, now.” As was Hailey. She got up and smiled at the siblings.
“You all think you’re so smart. Well, so am I!” She aimed at Ayden and shoot him in the chest.
The next few seconds for Ayden were filled with screams and blood. He collapsed on his knees, his hand on his chest where blood sprouted out. Naythan tried to snatch the gun away from Hailey, but she was too strong. The two of them started to fight for the gun. Hayden ran to her brother and held his head on her lap, cradling him. She felt warm tears come from her face. She brushed his face with her fingers. He only smiled.
“Hi, Hayden.” She cried some more.
“You’re my sister. Too bad I didn’t get to know you more.” She brushed his hair back.
“You will. I promise. Just hang in there, Ayden. Just hang in there.” He nodded once, but she could hear his breaths as nothing more than short breaths. Then, she saw his blue eyes roll over his head, showing only whites and his eyelids carefully and slowly settled down. Hayden shook him. “Ayden? Ayden?” He didn’t wake up. Hayden felt herself crying even more. Then, she heard a scream and saw her brother on the ground and he slid towards her. He laid on his side, not moving. Hayden grabbed both boys towards her, only she was the only one protecting them both. Hailey got up and raised her gun at Hayden.
“You have caused me so much pain and misery! It’s time to return the favor!” But before she could even pull the trigger, 10 police officers had their gun drawn on her and two of them pushed her down onto the ground. Hayden sighed with relief. She placed two fingers on Naythan’s neck. He still had steady pulse. But when she placed her fingers on Ayden’s neck, there was no pulse. She cried, shaking him and chanting his name, but he wouldn’t wake up. She saw paramedics heading towards her. She saw her hands. They were bloody as she had kept her hand over her brother’s chest wound. She brushed his face one last time before he left her.
Ayden finally opened his eyes. He felt his chest screaming with pain and his head throbbed. But then he noticed, he hadn’t opened his eyes. Only his mind. But his other four senses came through. He could smell the aroma of medicine all around him. He could hear the sounds of monitors and people talking, he could taste the dryness of his mouth and lips and he could feel one of his fingers in a pulse monitor. He wanted to wake up, but his eyes remained like the light. Closed.
He only stirred his head to the right a little as he heard a voice calling his name is no emotions. It was his name being chanted…almost like done a tunnel.
“Ayden? Are you awake?” If Ayden could have said yes or nodded, he would have. “Your sleep patterns have changed, so you’re probably awake.” Probably, thought Ayden. What kind of doctor are you? He thought. “Move your finger’s if you can hear me.” Ayden did, but it was nothing more than a twitch. “Alright then. I’m Doctor Stan Monroe. I need you to do me a favor and tap twice on the bed sheets for yes and once for no. Can you do that?” Ayden tapped twice. It felt like a lot of effort for him. “I’ll just be quick. Do you have a headache?” He tapped twice. “Does it hurt anywhere?” He tapped twice again. “Alright, I’m just going to give you some anesthetic to let the pain subside and let you rest for a couple of hours.”
Ayden then felt himself floating up into the air. He felt light-headed and he felt his mind slowly calming down and he fell out of consciousness.
When Ayden woke up again, he finally got up and sat up. He looked around. He knew he was in the hospital now. The light outside told him that it was morning. He touched his chest and winced. It still hurted, but at least there wasn’t a bullet in his chest with blood sprouting out. He looked all around and gasped. There were cards, balloons and little bears all around his room. He scratched his head. Who was there left to send him all these things? His parents and bodyguard were arrested and he didn’t have other relatives. Then, he looked to his right and smiled. That’s who, he thought.
Hayden and Naythan were asleep on a chair next to his bed. They had dark circles so dark, they almost looked like bruises and Naythan seemed to have dry drool on his chin and cheek. Ayden chuckled.
“A little early to be having a sleep-over, isn’t it?” He asked. Both siblings woke up quickly. Hayden smiled.
“Ayden!” She squeezed the life out of him.
“OW! I’m in the hospital for a reason, Hayden!” She let him go and wiped a few tears.
“Sorry. It’s just…never mind.” Naythan rolled his eyes.
“Confusing as ever.”
“Shut up and wipe the drool on your face, you idiot.” Hayden informed him. He did. Hayden faced Ayden with her eyes twinkling in the hospital light. “So, it’s official. You’re my brother. How exciting!”
“What am I, Chopped Liver?” Naythan complained. Ayden and Naythan laughed.
They sat together, talking about what would be next for them in the future. The thought made Ayden silent for a few moments that Hayden held his hand and squeezed.
“We’re sorry. We’re rushing onto this. You still want time to process all of this.”
“He’s been out for 3 days. How much more time do you want ot give him?” Naythan asked. Ayden’s eye’s widened.
“3 days! I’ve been out for 3 days!” Hayden scowled at Naythan.
“Smooth, Naythan. Why don’t you go and make some toddler’s cry while you’re at it?” He shrugged.
“Sorry. I was just stating the facts.” Ayden laid back in his bed.
“It’s just…It still feels like everything’s happening too soon.” Hayden nodded and sat on the edge of his bed.
“I know. If it makes you feel any better, they’ve arrested Hailey. That lying, back-stabbing cousin of ours.” Naythan rubbed his head.
“While you got shot, she gave me a huge bump with that stupid gun of hers!” He complained.
“So, what did happen to my parents?” Hayden frowned.
“They were taken away, arrested for the crime of committing the International Child Abduction Act of the century. They took you away when you were 6 months and for 15-years now, and out of the country. That’s a whole new level of insanity! Your bodyguard was committed the same crime, as he went along with it and knew about it.” Ayden paled up. Listening to his sister call the people who had raised him insane hurted him a little. They were still his parents once.
“Maybe they did it for a reason.” He said quietly.
“Kidnapping you from their own friend! Starting a fire in our own home! How is that for a reason?!”
“She lost her own child. Maybe the loss of her child took over her and made her commit the crime she did.” Hayden scowled at him.
“They took you away, my brother!” She said bitterly. “If she thinks kidnapping and smuggling another child out of the country is the right thing to do, then I protest against it and I can’t wait to face them at court, which I will! I’ll make sure they get the death penalty for what they did to you, Ayden! Why don’t you care?” He sighed.
“I do care. It’s just…”
“Just what?!” Hayden bellowed so loudly that Ayden winced.
“Hayden, they were his parents. They took care of him and for the time being, he thought they were his biological parents. Talk about insensitivity. And you call me stupid.” Naythan complained. Hayden suddenly felt stupid.
“I-I’m so sorry, Ayden. It’s just…what they did. It was so cruel!” She said, letting her hands turn into fists, ready to punch someone. But Ayden took one of her hands and placed it into his.
“I know. And it’s over now. I’m here now.”
“After 15-years.” He laughed.
“Happy birthday to the all of us, then.” The Paris triplet’s shared a warm hug.
A few minutes later after Ayden and his new siblings were done laughing as Naythan had accidentally collapsed on a doctor, sending them both down to the ground, a couple stood by the door of the room. They had brown hair and bright blue eyes. The woman, Avery Paris stared at the boy on the bed, laughing with her other children. His face was a little paler than she had seen in the pictures, but he looked perfect with his brown hair that nearly covered his brilliant blue eyes. He was tall and thin, but still athletic-looking in a way. The man next to her, Sean Paris, reached out and took his wife’s hand.
“Ready?” She frowned.
“What if he doesn’t like us?” He laughed.
“Why wouldn’t he?”
“Maybe he blames us for his parent’s arrest.”
“They weren’t his real parents.” Her husband said seriously.
“To him, they were. What if he thinks we didn’t do everything in our power to save him before? What if he thinks that we just lacked his disappearance, not even caring?!” He sighed.
“We’ll find out, now wouldn’t we?”
Ayden saw a couple walk in. They looked like older versions of Hayden and Naythan. The man had his same long brown hair and his mother had his same thin lips and a fine-chiseled nose. They walked towards him, holding hands. Hayden introduced each other.
“Mom, Dad, this is Ayden. Ayden, these are our parents.” They shook hands, as if meeting each other at a conference meeting. Then, his mother hugged him tightly. To their surprise, Ayden hugged her back as she sobbed with relief. Ayden felt a few tears coming down with cheek. He finally knew who he finally was. He was no longer Ayden Warren Taylor. His fake name was the memory of his terrible kidnapping of him and him losing a dear family he wish he had known. He now knew he was Ayden Paris, the older child from triplets and the son of Avery and Sean Paris. He finally knew where he belonged.
* * EPILOGUE * *
Ayden Paris finally knew where he belonged. He had a real family who was with him 24/7. His real parents had insisted that Ayden have a bodyguard again. He didn’t mind. As long as he had enough freedom to spend time with his family now. His parents had been the most supportive. They had taught him all the activities of normal teenagers. While his siblings went to a private school, Ayden choose to still stay home-schooled. He didn’t like the idea of completely changing who he was. But he had plenty of more friends as his appearance had been in the news now.
He had been questioned by so many news reporters everywhere he went, especially by his new home, a mansion, that it wasn’t until Hayden and Naythan decided that they were going to be Ayden’s 24/7 bodyguards to protect him from the press. His bodyguard had to take much of the credit as well. He knew almost everybody in Los Angeles now. Along with a few other relatives. Hayden and Naythan would always be supportive of whatever Ayden wanted to do. They taught him how to act and behave like a normal teenager, which Ayden didn’t accept at all. But he did learn one thing. He learned how to be with a real family, on who loved him and was there by him for his life time.
Their mother was busy cooking while she and her husband watched their children playing tennis out at the court. Ayden seemed to be the one winning all the points and laughing it up. Mrs. Paris smiled.
“What a wonderful view.” She commented at her husband, who nodded.
“Who would have ever thought we would get him back? Our son?”
“I’m just glad I have all my children safe with me now. I would kill anybody who even dared lay a finger on them. We have to be more protective of them. Look how careless we were in the past. Look what had happened to one of my poor little babies? And then my other children decide to chase after Ayden, tracking him down like a chip.” Mr. Paris laughed.
“Yet look at how things turned out. If it wasn’t for Hayden and Naythan, Ayden wouldn’t be here today, now would he?” She shook her head.
“Not at all.” She sighed. “I just can’t believe it’s him. Living in our home.”
“But don’t think he’s settled in yet, Avery. He still needs time to adjust. Physically and mentally.” She nodded.
“I know.” She opened the window.
“Come on in, children. You’ll catch a cold!” Ayden laughed as Hayden had thrown a snowball and aimed it right at Naythan’s head. He then threw the snow ball at Hayden, but it landed on Ayden’s head. All three of their children’s started throwing snowballs at each other. “Now what?” Her husband smiled.
“When in doubt, join them!” He said and both he and his wife ran outside.