I always knew how I was going to die. It was written on my skin from the day I was born. Some die of illness, some by accident. But mine is weirder or more unusual, I could say. "Refusing your friend’s offer." it says. But what makes my life funnier is that I only have one friend. It seems like the one who gave me this fate is doing a favor for my friend. Nevertheless, I am always glad I could at least extend my life by accepting my friend's offer.
I am the owner of a big corporation, as far as I know. I am suffering from memory loss at the moment. It was caused by an accident I had lately, as the doctors told me. I have no recollection of what my life seemed like before my accident. If it were not for my friend, Aaron, I would be in the worst position of my life.
The smell of the coffee Aaron was making took me out of my thoughts. "You good?" asked Aaron while giving me a cup of coffee. "Yeah, I was just thinking. What is so important that you called me this early?" I asked while taking a sip from the cup. I was in a deep sleep when Aaron called and told me to meet him.
"It’s about your company, Eve. Do you have any idea how bad it is now after your accident? The subsidiaries are on the verge of bankruptcy." I could see his deep concern in his eyes. I felt glad that I had him beside me, unlike my family. "I know I shouldn’t bring up this topic when you are still recovering. But the moment you are all okay, there will be no 'belle corporation'. Your hard work will vanish."
"So what are you suggesting? What should I do?" I said as I placed my cup on the table and turned to him. "I have an idea that could help you. But of course, if you are willing to accept my offer and make a deal," he said as he stretched his legs on the chair he was sitting on beside me. For some reason, my heart tingled when I heard the word 'offer'.
"What kind of deal? I asked while trying to erase the weird feeling I felt. I could see he was trying to prepare himself for whatever he was trying to say. After a moment of hesitation, he spoke. "Transfer me your management rights." He paused and studied my face, then continued, "I will take over your company. I will do whatever I can to bring it back the way it was before."
"I ..." I tried to search for words in my mind, but nothing came up. "It’s only temporary; don’t worry. You will have your company back when you recover fully, for sure."
I stared for a minute into his brown eyes. It is as if they are telling me I can put my trust in him. I let a deep breath out and said, "I trust you. Fine, let’s do that. I have no choice other than accepting your offer anyway."
He smirked. "Are you agreeing with me because you trust me or just because you want to live?"
"Let’s say both," I replied, thinking about the tattoo I have under my collarbone. "You know I never have used you for my good, Eve. And I never will. That’s not how friendship works. But perhaps I'll make another offer since you can’t refuse. Buy me lunch," he said as he picked up the cups and went to the kitchen. It’s always funny how I act like a guest in my own house in his presence. "I know. But the lunch?...I will think about it."
As I was waiting for Aaron in my office, I tried to look for any documents or letters that could tell me about my past. After a little searching, I found a photo album. I felt it was more like a family photo album. There were images of people I didn’t recognize except myself and my dad. A knock on the door took my focus off the album.
"Sorry, I was late; I was printing the contract," Aaron said as he put the contract on the table. After we discussed our next action, I signed the contract, even though part of me was in deep hesitation. I shoved my wavering thoughts to the back of my head and returned the contract to Aaron.
"Are you okay? It seems something is troubling you." I thought of telling him what I was thinking, but I chose another topic instead. "I want to ask you something, Aaron," I continued when he gave me a sign he was listening. "About my dad, you told me that all of my family were dead. I got a call from my doctor yesterday. He was asking me how my dad and I were doing. Only then did I find out that I wasn’t alone when the accident happened? My dad was there, and he was also in the same hospital as me." I took a deep breath.
"Why did you lie?" I asked. I gazed at him as if his silence were telling me something.
He sighed. "What good would it bring you knowing that, Eve? You and your dad were not even that close. That day, he only came to ask you for money. That’s what he has been doing for years after abandoning you. I was going to tell you after you fully recovered. But not now; it has only been 3 weeks since the accident. I promise I will tell you everything. For now, you should rest." He got up and went to the door. He paused and said, "Is he awake?" while grabbing the door handle. "No, I was going to talk to him, but he is still unconscious," I said, sensing the mood shift after asking about my dad. "Okay. Let’s have dinner tonight at my house. I will be waiting." He went out.
I wondered if he knew something about my dad that made him act this way. I brought my eyes to the album I was looking at before. I kept flipping the pages until one picture caught my attention. I was wearing a long strapless dress. But my focus was on my collarbone. There was nothing written on it. There was no tattoo on that part of my skin like I have now.
I decided to take a walk to Aaron’s house. After seeing the photo, I was quite confused about all of the things that were happening. I had to constantly stop myself from calling Aaron and asking him about everything. I promise I will tell you everything. For now, you should rest. I reminded myself of his words and tried to calm myself.
I paused for a moment, took a deep breath, and started walking through the crossroads. But a sudden and loud honk from my side startled me and dropped me to the floor. My head started hurting. I became dizzy, and I closed my eyes. Some pictures started to appear in the darkness I was seeing. Some guy was chasing us. I was running with my dad in front of me. But we stopped when we saw a car rushing toward us.
"Ma'am, are you okay?" The voice of a stranger brought me to the present. I opened my eyes and noticed that I was still on the ground, my hands shaking. "I am okay," I replied with a shaky voice. Still thinking of the things I saw, I got up and started walking with trembling legs. I sat on a bench I found and tried to calm myself down. "What did I just see? Was it real? Or was it just a daydream?" I said to myself.
I was lost in thought when my phone buzzed. It was a text from Aaron saying, Bring some wine with you. I almost forgot that I was supposed to go to his house.
"Sorry, I am late," I said as I took off my coat. "At least you came." He said with a smirk. After dinner, I decided to tell him about what I saw. "Aaron, I think some of my memories are coming back. Earlier, I saw something. I was running with my dad. Perhaps we were running away. I just..." His laugh cut me off. He got up and took the wine to the kitchen. A startling pop-up sound came out as he opened the wine. The house was silent except for the sound Aaron was making in the kitchen. For some reason, I felt like I shouldn’t talk about what I saw. Or I shouldn’t have come here, I thought.
"You know, I like you," he said as he came toward me holding two glasses of wine. "It’s a good thing you lost your memory," he said, putting one of the glasses in front of me and sitting on the chair across from me. "What do you mean?" I asked as I took a sip of the wine.
"What I am saying is, it is good that you don’t know what happened. It is good for both of us. But too bad you are starting to remember, Eve." I noticed my heart is beating a little faster. "What are you talking about? Is there something I should know?" I asked as I tried to keep myself calm. The fact that I felt this uncomfortable feeling around Aaron for the first time concerned me.
"You don’t know anything at all from the start. You are such a soft-hearted lady. You believed that I was your close friend because I lingered around you after your accident and told some fake stories. You never doubted me. If we had met at the right time, we would have been friends." he said, finishing his wine with one gulp while I just took a sip. Too many questions were storming through my head, but I couldn’t bring myself to choose one. "Do you know what my tattoo says?" he asked. He then pulled his shirt up and showed me his back. As I squinted my eyes to read, he said it aloud. "A bullet in your heart from your dad," he said, pulling down his shirt. "That’s what it says. My dad wants to kill me. Or should I say your dad?" I choked on the wine I was drinking. "What?" I said, trying to comprehend what he said.
"Don’t worry, I am not your brother," he laughed, "but I am sure your dad wants to kill me though when he hears I am now your company’s owner." Shivers run down my whole body. My heart felt like it was going to explode. “Aaron-”
"I am going to keep it short. I work for my dad. If I don’t complete my mission by the time your dad is awake, my dad won’t hesitate to pull the trigger."
"What mission? What the hell are you saying?" I said it with a quavering voice. "Take over your company and deal with you. As far as I know, you were digging up the secrets of my dad. His corruption and his body count. One accident should have been enough. But you look quite strong for that."
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. "You are crazy," I said. I got up and tried to walk to the door. But my head says otherwise. I felt dizzy, and my heart was trembling too much. "Have you noticed that the tattoo under your collarbone is fake?" His voice stopped me. "Do you want to know what your real tattoo says? Alcohol poisoning from your dad’s enemy," he smirked and pointed at my glass. "I got you, Eve." he chuckled. I tried to grab the door handle but plunged to the ground. "Mission accomplished!" I heard.