Alex went back to the sofa and sat opposite the smiling Allison who is chatting animatedly to Caroline on the phone.
"How are you?"
"Can we meet again?"
"How about tomorrow afternoon? Let's go to the mall and go shopping and catch up with each other's lives..."
"Okay, no problem. I'm looking forward to seeing you again, Allison," Caroline responded on the other line.
"Whoever comes first in the SM Mall will have to wait at Cafe Montana at the ground floor, near the BPN Bank," said the smiling Allison winking at her brother.
Alex gave his sister a thumb up sign, excited by this new development. This is great, after losing hope he will see Caroline again!
"Nice talking to you, Caroline. See you tomorrow for our bonding session, can't wait to see you again, girl!" Allison was all smile.
A moment later, they were done talking.
Allison was satisfied talking to Caroline, she lowered her phone in the center table and looked smugly at her brother. "So, what can you say to this genius sister of yours?"
Alex grinned. His face was glowing with anticipation. "Good job, Allison! You do have your uses," he murmured, praising his sister.
Allison beamed happily. It's seldom to hear her mighty brother openly praising her.
"So, what's the plan?" Alex asked.
"What's in your mind?" Allison asked him back. "I can't blow up my cover. Caroline must not know that you and I are siblings. As much as possible I won't mention you to her. We need this secrecy between us for us to work independently from each other. This way we can not involve each other just in case something will go wrong."
His sister does get a point. "So, what the two of you are going to do in the mall tomorrow?" he inquired.
"Nothing special...just women stuff...shopping for shoes and clothes...we might visit a salon for some pampering and have a dinner in a restaurant after done with our shopping," Allison told him.
"Okay, I want to see and talk to Caroline in the Cafe Montana before you come and see her," he informed his sister.
"What—? You can't do that, brother! Caroline might put things together and she will catch us conniving with each other," said Allison with heavy doubt flashing in her eyes.
"Do not worry, Ali. I will enter that Cafe and pretend to order my favorite coffee latte, then I will sit near her and notice her suddenly and come to her table, uninvited. Don't worry, I will just talk to her in a few minutes, then I will leave after I'm done talking with her. I will text you after I got out of the cafe so that we don't have to be in the same place at the same time. If we follow this set up it will not make her suspicious of us," Alex explained elaborately and confidently.
Allison was analyzing her brother's suggestion at every angle. As long Caroline won't see them together she won't be able to identify their connection to each other. "Brilliant idea, bro!" she agreed, finally.
"Now that this issue is settled, I will go home now," he muttered, feeling lightheaded. He stood up heading for the door. "Bye Ali," he looked at her and smiled before opening the door.
"Bye bro!" Allison responded with a triumphant smile.
She finished the wine in her glass, turn off the light and left the minibar room.
Half an hour later.
Alex arrived at his house and went straight to the basement where his brother was imprisoned.
"Rudy, how is my brother doing?" he asked his brother's companion.
"He's been silent and behaved nowadays. He stopped shouting. He was eating his meals on time," answered Rudy.
"That's good!" Alex said feeling relieved. He produced a key from the pocket of his pants. He ambled towards the close door and inserted the key. He opened the door slowly and disappeared inside.
Inside the room.
Lucas was sitting on the bed, staring at the ceiling, his vacant stare gives away nothing.
Alex sighed and approached the bed. "How are you brother?" he asked gently.
Lucas tore his eyes from the ceiling and shifted his attention to his brother's face. "Do I look fine or awful?"
Alex breathed deeply, it pained him to see his brother this way. He loses weight and his immune system is weak, he got so many complications and there is still no definite cure for this kind of illness. "You are surviving and still breathing brother. That's all that matters to me," he said teary-eyed.
Lucas's expression was that of a trapped bird in a cage.
"I agree to go back here to your house, but I did not expect that you would put a chain in my ankle. Why are you doing this? Why are you making me a prisoner? How I am supposed to see Caroline?" asked Lucas miserably.
Alex breathed deeply.
"Brother, you have to understand that it's no longer safe for you to stay longer outside. You are much safer here. This way we can monitor your health and we are sure you are taking your medicines on time," Alex explained.
Lucas released a deep sigh. "I'm dying, what's the used for the medicine? Just for your happiness, I will take them on time. But what about Caroline? You promise me that you will bring her to me? That she will be the one to take care of me? Why she's not here until now? Are you lying to me?" he said feeling upset.
Alex massaged his temple. "Bro, you have to understand that she got her daughter to take care of and she already had a boyfriend..."
Lucas's eyes widened. "What-? Fuck no!" he blurted indignantly. He knows that she had a young daughter and still single. But boyfriend?
"Yes. Caroline already had a boyfriend. That is why I have a hard time with her. I think you should give up on fantasizing that she will take care of you until your dying days. But I can assure you that I might be able to convince her to see you or visit you maybe once a week or twice a month. Would that be enough for you?" he said. He initially wanted to hide this bad news to his brother but he revealed it now hoping the truth might stop his brother's madness.
"Nooo!" Lucas threw a fit for a few seconds then starts crying like a child, filling the room with his heart-wrenching sob.
Alex rubbed his younger brothers back trying to ease his pain away.
After a few minutes of sobbing, Lucas stopped crying. He looked at his brother's face intensely. "You have to do something for me brother before I die," he demanded.
Alex saw a glimmer of something... flashing in his brother's eyes. "What is it, brother?"
"Please...kidnap Caroline for me. I want her by my side before I die!" he insisted.
Alex was stunned by his brother's request. "No! W-we can't do that bro!" he said quickly.
"Why? You have lots of money right? Why can't you grant my request? It's a dying man's request, for Christ's sake!" Lucas argued. His eyes spoke volumes.
Alex pressed his lips together. He was getting a headache again. "Lucas, it's wrong to kidnap people just because you can," he said gently. "Ask me another thing...just don't mention kidnapping again," he said sighing heavily.
"Go now. Leave my room, brother! I wanna be alone!" Lucas shooed his brother out of the room, feeling upset.
Alex took a deep breath and stood up, he stared at his brother for a few seconds, then walked towards the door with a conflicted emotion plastered on his face.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for voting.
Take care everyone.
Stay safe and healthy!
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.