Copyright © 2012 R. P. Martin
Part 4 of A Suitable Suitor Series
Part 1: Man of Her Dreams (complete)
Part 2: Waiting My Whole Life (complete)
Part 3: Walking Away (complete)
Part 4: The Stalker (complete)
Part 5: The Nightmare (complete)
Disclaimer: May contain offensive language.
Almost Six Years Ago
“I can't believe this is really happening. Well, actually I can. If Brandon Jackson knows what's good for him, he'll hire me right on the spot. It's about time the world sees what I'm made of.”
The applicant was getting ready for the job he had been waiting for his whole life. It had taken him years of schooling, dedication and hard work but everything was about the pay off. Working for a company tycoon like Jackson Inc. not only was an achievement but it was also a prestige advancement in his desired social network. He would finally be noticed by his fellow peers and that is exactly what he needed.
The man walked out of his small bathroom, the only one in the apartment, and sat on his bed contemplating how this new job would affect him.
“I'll be getting out of this crap hole soon enough. With all the money I'll be making, I'll be able to live on Bleecker Boulevard after all.”
Bleecker Boulevard was the street to live on, especially if you were rich, well off. The houses were huge; in fact they were always called plantations or estates. The mansions reeked of money, the trophy wives dedicated their lives to taking care of their husband's and their homes, the children were spoiled rotten and more importantly, those who owned homes in that neighbourhood oozed superiority. In his eyes, there was nowhere else to live because he would certainly make an impression, especially with the ladies.
“I just have to be patient now. Mr. Jackson will offer me that job because there is no one else out there who is good enough. Now, what should I wear? Does it really matter? I could go in there wearing jogging pants.”
The man laughed out loud and ventured to his closet, picking out a simple dark blue pin striped suit. He chose a bright yellow tie to go with his suit and began to dress. While dressing, he continued to day dream of the life that surely awaited him. He couldn't help but fantasize about what his life would be like in the next few weeks. Everything was going to change but as much as it was exciting and thrilling, he knew he had to stay focused on what he really wanted which was a wife who would become the mother of his children.
After eating a plain bagel with peanut butter, the man left his tiny apartment and walked to his rusted old Honda. As he unlocked his car door, the hinges half off, he grinned knowing that soon, he would be able to purchase that Cadillac he's always been dreaming about. Hell, he would be able to roll with the big boys and buy a Bentley.
“Soon, I'll get rid of this piece of junk. Soon!”
The over confident man made his way downtown where the tallest business building stood. Jackson Inc. was massive and absolutely majestic. It towered high above any of the other downtown buildings which only fueled the man's ego. The impressive architectural piece of art radiated wealth and power which is exactly what the interviewee was looking for. He wanted to be part of this social network so bad. He truly believed he belonged in this environment and had pledged to the Heavens that he would one day rule the business world. It was his place in the realm to conquer over all of those who were inferior to him.
“You see baby brother; this was the plan all along. And you thought it would never happen. Once I'm sitting pretty in that office building, you'll change your mind and you'll kneel and beg for forgiveness. This is the chance for you to see who I really am.”
The man parked his old beat up car in the underground parking lot and frowned as he thought back to the last time he had seen his younger step-brother.
“You don't have a chance and you know it. She'll never go for you.”
“What are you talking about? She's looking straight at me.”
“In your dreams big brother, she already winked at me.”
“Please Bobbi, really? We both know I'm the better looking one.”
“Whatever man. I'll betcha $100 bucks she sits beside me.”
Johnny watched the pretty blonde look their way but for an instant, wondered if his younger step-brother had been telling the truth. Growing up had always been games like this for the two. Bobbi was overconfident and Johnny, although confident, lacked the ability to assert himself in certain situations, especially when it came to his brother.
As the woman started making her way to their booth, Johnny's confidence built and he started to smirk only for it to immediately disappear the second the blonde sat beside Bobbi. The blonde politely smiled at Johnny but she turned and focused all of her attention on the man sitting beside her.
“I told you she was looking at me dick head.”
“You can have her. She ain't good enough for me anyway.”
“Either way, you owe me $100 bucks. Sucker!”
“Oh come on big brother, are you going to be a sore loser in front of this fine lady?”
Johnny took another look at his brother and the woman he would most likely go home with that night. He then slammed a stack of five dollar bills on the table and got up, not wanting to succumb to his brother's cockiness anymore. One day he would prove to his brother that he was worth it and that the women would fall at his knees. He walked out of the local university pub still hearing his baby brother laughing out loud. He would one day prove to the man that he was better than him.
“I'll show you Bobbi. What are you going to do when the women fall at my knees now?”
The man entered the building and instantly put his game face on. Over the years, he had constantly battled his step-brother on everything they did. This time, he would come out on top. There was nothing his baby brother could do this time. Not that it mattered anymore anyway seeing as how they had lost touch the minute their mother had passed away. Bobbi wasn't around to torment him but still, he wanted the last laugh. He wanted to prove to his brother and family that he was finally going to get what he rightfully deserved.
The man entered the elevator and pushed the button of his desired floor. As the doors were closing, his thoughts were shattered by the silkiest voice he had ever heard in his life.
“Stop the elevator please.”
He quickly put his hand out effectively stopping the elevator doors from shutting. As the sliding doors opened up allowing the new passenger to entre, the man's heart instantly stopped beating. There beside him stood a flustered woman whom had somehow imprisoned his heart. In those precious moments, his life turned upside down. His hands grew clammy and his knees were weak. The Heavens had brought him this treasurable gift, this immaculate woman who would be the mother of his future children. He couldn't believe how intense the force of his feelings were and soon he was silently chanting his undying love to her. He turned to the beautiful woman and saw the woman's bright smile.
Of course, she's yours! A man of your stature always has a woman like that on his arm. Yeah right man! Dream on looser.
Johnny couldn't help but make a face but quickly smiled at the woman when she looked at him. The last thing he wanted was for her to think that he was making a face at her.
“Thank you so much.”
“Not a problem.”
The woman smiled another time which only made him more confident that she had heard him as he professed his undying love.
“That's where I'm heading.”
The man thought it was fate that they were both heading in the same direction. From the corner of his eye, he watched as the woman's breathe controled the movements in his chest. The pounding of his heart kicked in the second he saw those beautiful luscious breasts rise and fall. He was mesmerized by her beauty and for the life of him couldn't look away. The short breaths she took hypnotised the man standing beside her.
Never had he seen such an exquisite woman like that before. It took him everything to conceal his erection.
And look at that? That smile is all for you. HAHAHA. Yeah right. Wow, she's hot but she'll never be yours Johnny.
“Are you by any chance meeting with Mr. Jackson?”
“Yes I am, in fact I have an interview with him this morning.”
The woman half faced him and smiled yet another time. The man's face flushed wondering how hot it had gotten in the few minutes he had been in the elevator with the stunning woman. He couldn't believe how wonderful this connection was and was about to ask the woman to go for a drink later but the elevator doors opened.
“My father is as tough as nails but if you have an interview with him, it must be for a good reason. Good luck and thanks again for holding the elevator for me.”
Her father? Oh this just gets better and better. She's Jackson's daughter. HAHA. I knew this was too good to be true. You don't have a chance in hell now buddy.
“You're welcome Ms. Jackson.”
As the man casually but confidently walked out of the elevator, he kept a watchful eye on the beautiful woman who had changed his life forever. The gorgeous blonde kissed a man, whom he assumed was Brandon Jackson, on the cheek and they briefly talked. The interviewee walked to the receptionist and introduced himself. He couldn't stop staring at the woman from the elevator and when the tall greying man approached him, he realized it was time to do everything he could to get this job so he could see that girl again. Nothing was going to stop him this time.
The interview went as expected for the man. He was poised but there was still something in the back of his mind that concerned him. He wondered if he had thought about the woman too much during the interview but felt that in those moments, it wasn't fair not to think about her seeing as how they had connected so well. It was something he needed to rejoice in which he did. In the end however, it didn't matter because like the man had predicted, Brandon Jackson, the CEO of Jackson Inc. offered him a permanent position as one of his employees.
The man was pleased but knew deep down that the reason he was offered this position was because of whatever prophecy there was out there about his journey. His predictions were coming true and it was thanks to the fact that he was there at the right time and at the right place.
He stood up and shook the CEO's hand and soon thereafter left his office only to have the wind knocked out of him. His heart felt like the life was being squeezed out of it. He looked up at the man, who looked awfully familiar, who was holding the hand of the woman who was supposed to be his future wife and sneered. He momentarily stopped walking when he saw the man tighten his grip on the woman's hand.
Now this is funny.
The interviewee slightly turned his head and whispered into the air.
“Are you mad, this isn't funny? This must be a test of some kind.”
Nope, it isn't a test idiot and no she isn't playing hard to get. She's with that bastard and most definitely didn't feel what you think you felt before.
“It can't be. What in the hell is he doing here?”
HE is going to ruin things for you. He wins again Johnny. Are you really going to let him do this? How many times are you going to let these guys walk all over you? Why do you think I'm always around?
The man didn't have time to think of an answer when the blonde approached him.
“Well, how did it go?”
The man whipped his head into the direction of the woman. He was apprehensive but slowly smiled when he noticed the emerald coloured eyes shining through the florescent light. The pounding in his chest increased and yet again he was unnerved by the intensity this woman was causing in him.
Nope, sorry Johnny, she doesn't feel that. HAHAHA
He mentally cursed the “voice” for what it was doing to him at that moment but tried to keep a straight face.
“You were right Ms. Jackson, your father is tough as nails.”
“Oh come on, he isn't that bad honey.”
The man looked into the face of the new Jackson Inc. employee and smirked. Johnny couldn't help but feel the blood boil in his body. The last time he had felt that it was the last day he had seen his step-brother.
“Robert, Robert O'Neil.”
Both men stood there with their chests puffed out as soon as the introductions were done. The tension immediately appeared and made the room's temperature uncomfortable. The stunning blonde looked from Robert to her father's new employee and wondered what was happening between the two. The man realized he was staring so he stopped the minute he thought people would find out their secret.
“It was nice to meet you both but I should be going now.”
The man didn't want to be humiliated anymore so he left the office of his new employer. He couldn't however leave without making that connection with Brandon's daughter on last time. When he looked into the eyes of the small woman, his heartbeat increased again.
You're a bigger loser than he is. She won't ever break up with him you know. Stop dreaming man!
Late that Evening
The man lay in his bed, in his crappy apartment thinking about what had happened that afternoon. Up until that day, he had struggled with everything in his life and for the first time, he felt like whatever was happening, was happening for a reason. He was part of a bigger plan and whatever was going to occur, he was ready for it.
What the hell was he doing there? Is he trying to screw up your chances with the hottie? What a trip? I mean really, do you think she could ever love you?
It seemed surreal that he loved a woman after meeting her only one time, but the sparks he felt from their brief interaction just proved to him that some things were meant to be. Ms. Jackson literally was the woman for him and soon enough he knew she would see the truth as well and get rid of that other guy.
Johnny had been home for the better part of the day not even realizing that he had spent most of his time, daydreaming about the woman. He was happy that he was now a new Jackson Inc. employee but more importantly was thrilled that he had met his future wife. He closed his eyes and thought of the beautiful woman who had stolen his heart from the moment they had met. The icing on the cake for him was, that soon she would realize that she was also in love with him and they would share the rest of their lives together. He eventually fell asleep basking in his rejuvenated feelings of longing, love and justification.
“Good night sweet goddess of mine. I'll be seeing you soon.”
What kind of crap are you telling yourself? You're insane man.
Four Years Later
“When is this going to happen? Haven't I proved myself enough to YOU?”
The man walked back and forth from his bedroom to the living room, not caring that his repeated motions were causing a slight discolouration in the carpet. As he traveled from room to room, his thoughts zoned in on what had been his main focus for the last four years.
“You told me she'd be mine. Why isn't she? Why the hell is she still with HIM?”
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee had always thought that by now Ms. Jackson would be his bride and that they would be living on Bleecker Boulevard. His lack of focus on improving his home life and environment were replaced by the thoughts of the beautiful blonde. He remained in his decrepit apartment and as expected, traded his old rusted Honda for a beaten up Toyota. Life hadn't turned out the way he had anticipated but for whatever reason, he had remained cautious when it came to anything having to do with Piper because he loved her. He believed she was waiting for the right time to leave Robert.
It however had been a painful and long four years for the man who was insanely in love with the blonde artist. His patience was wearing thin but as long as he kept his focus on his queen to be, it wouldn't ruin anything. Besides, he knew without a doubt that Piper loved him. She was just with Robert because her father had pressured her into dating a man like that. Had he come around before the Financial Advisor had, none of this would have been an issue.
“Piper and I would already be married.”
The man stopped in the living room and realized that he was talking to himself but made no attempt to stop. He knew someone was listening to him so he continued.
“She will be the mother of my children and at night, she'll always come to me in my bed. I just have to be a little more patient. It's time something changes for us. I'll approach her tomorrow at her first art show.”
At The Art Gallery
The man slithered his way into Piper's art gallery without being noticed. There was something uniquely comforting about being in the artist's space without her knowing. It was a feeling that he couldn't help but love. The more unnoticed he was around the blonde, the more he was able to experience who she was in her truest of forms. Not for a second did he think his behaviour was odd, unwanted or creepy. He believed in his heart that Piper always knew he was there lurking in the darkness and it sexually stimulated both of them knowing he was watching her. He knew without a doubt that Piper approved of his possessive behaviour because to the both of them, this chase was a game they were both willing to play.
He stood in the corner watching the gallery fill with a magnitude of professionals, fellow artist and art lovers. Johnny's chest proudly expanded to its full capacity when he saw Piper's paintings being sold. He told himself that they had a top secret relationship.
Way to go man! You're such a genius. I'm stoked she's finally leaving that chauvinistic pig and coming home to us. I bet you can't wait to celebrate tonight. No wonder she's been happy these last few days. I didn't know you had it in you.
The long-time employee of Jackson Inc. smiled. He watched his dreamlike girlfriend walk around greeting potential buyers until the hair on the back of his neck uneasily rose like quills on a porcupines when they feel threatened. The man looked into the direction that his leading lady was looking in and couldn't believe what he was seeing. Up until now, Piper had never ever reacted like that to Robert, in fact, most of the time, she seemed annoyed with him. Johnny silently made his way a little closer to the two while trying to stay unnoticed.
“Hello. I couldn't help myself. I had to come over here and introduce myself.”
“It seems you haven't lost your cockiness Bean.”
“Have we met before?”
“Not exactly. Welcome to my art gallery. My name is Piper Jackson.”
The man felt like a knife had cut through his soul. Everything in his body violently jerked at the sexual tone and comfort in Piper's voice. He had no idea that Piper knew who Blake Beaner was. The kind of connection Johnny was seeing between the two made him feel uncomfortable. He wondered why his girlfriend of five years was openly flirting with his colleague, the Chief Financial Officer of Jackson Inc.
The rage that flowed in his body simmered to a terrifying temperature. He had never felt anything like it. Nothing had really happened between the two but there was something incredibly close about them and it literally bugged the long-time Jackson Inc. employee to the core.
Something smells fishy around here. What the hell is he doing here and how does Piper know him? Guess Bobbi was right. You can't keep a girl, let alone get her.
He no longer could take the eye contact between the two and before making a scene, he left the art gallery. He would have another night to celebrate with Piper. For now, he needed to think about what was happening and how the two knew each other. No one was going to stand in the way of his happiness, especially after waiting all this time. He wasn't going to allow his girlfriend to just leave him and be with this new guy Blake.
About twenty minutes later, the furious and confused man entered his dark apartment. Not bothering to turn on any of the apartment lights until he reached his small bedroom, the man quickly ripped his clothes off, leaving his boxers on. Once the dim light flashed the shadows on the bedroom walls, the man looked at several of the pictures that covered every inch of the wall. He sat on his bed, stared into the eyes of the woman whom was supposed to be his girlfriend and openly talked out loud.
“What the hell are you doing Piper?”
He waited for an answer but nothing came.
“What, you aren't even going to answer me now? Am I not worth it anymore? I thought we had this connection. I thought we were a couple. Was I wrong in thinking that?”
The Jackson Inc. employee jumped off his bed and paced the length of his bedroom, demanding a response. He was frantic with what had happened and needed answers, a new plan of action.
“Why did you give me mixed signals? I'm a man Piper, you can't be treating me like a yo-yo. If we are going to be in this relationship, you have to be honest with me. What the hell is going on?”
He stopped at the desk and methodically struck a match and lit the candles that surrounded some of Piper's personal belongings she'd given him over the years. He smelt Piper's hair, sniffed her half used bar of soap and smiled as the bulge pulsed against his boxers. When he touched the silkiness of Piper's sexy black negligee the storm in his mind calmed. There was no way he could be upset with the beautiful blonde. He just needed to figure out how Blake fit into his girlfriend's life.
The man took his underwear off and climbed into bed immediately closing his eyes and placing the lacy negligee around his swollen shaft. He could smell Piper's sent in the room, believed he could feel her softness on him and allowed the moment to take him where his nightly rituals did. They convinced him that Piper did in fact love him. As the sweat poured down the sides of his face and the sounds of his grunting increased, all he could do was picture Piper's hands aggressively stroking and taking him over the edge.
“Oh yeah baby, just like that. I love you so much Piper. That's a good girl.”
Eventually his body stilled and any leftover negative thoughts he had of the new CFO vanished. He fell asleep convinced that Piper would soon be safely tucked in his arms.
The Next Day
“Baby, can you get my tie out of the closet?”
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee walked naked around his apartment thinking about how the evening would unfold.
Johnny's smile crept to his ears at the sound of his angel's beautiful voice. He had no idea she would respond but was thrilled to actually be having a conversation with the blonde. He hesitated for a minute but decided to temp faith again just to hear her voice one more time.
“Well, what colour is your dress?”
“I'm wearing red tonight.”
“Perfect, pick out a red one that will match.”
Unconsciously, Johnny walked to his bedroom praying the artist would be there. When he noticed that Piper wasn't in the room, he ventured to the closet and picked out his suit, a red tie and threw them onto the bed so he could change. He didn't however stop his conversation with his beloved bride to be. The long-time employee made no attempts to accept the hallucinations.
“Oh thanks baby. That will go perfectly with that stunning cocktail dress you have on.”
“Let's make it quick at mom and dad's so we can come back home and get comfy if you know what I mean.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
The man quickly dressed and before he knew it, he was entering his boss's house. He knew very well that Blake would be there but wondered for the millionth time that day if Piper would attend. She nearly always attended her father's dinner parties but he just wasn't sure this time.
You'd think you would know. Weren't you just with her?
Johnny had always attended Brandon's parties because they were part of his responsibilities. He didn't enjoy them that much but because Piper attended, it made it more tolerable and worthwhile. When they couldn't go together which was almost all the time, he was delighted that she always followed him back to his apartment.
“Hello Mrs. Jackson, how are you this evening?”
“Good evening…what is it that you are going by these days, Johnny. I apologize, I'm still getting used to that nick name young man.”
“It's nothing to worry about Mrs. Jackson.”
“Please, it's Daphne. Don't make me feel any older than I am.”
“Of course Daphne.”
Johnny politely smiled and looked around for his prize possession. She was nowhere to be found but he hoped it would only be for the time being. He knew she was around and at that exact moment, he saw the woman of his desires walk into the lounge. He was gasping for air as he watched Piper's red cocktail dress flow around her knees. That was another sign convincing Johnny that the artist had dressed especially for him.
He couldn't look away but was caught off guard by the formal introductions Brandon was giving his daughter. Johnny was almost disgusted by the behaviour and wondered why Blake would get such a warm welcome from the old man. It didn't take long for Johnny's blood to soar.
“How dare he embarrass me like that?”
Are you hearing yourself Johnny? You're pathetic you know that. And just so we're clear, Robert is nowhere to be found.
The Jackson Inc. employee disliked what was happening between the two Jacksons and the CFO. He instantly got jealous and felt like he could climb the walls. There was an annoying feeling in the pit of his stomach that made him want to vomit all over the place. He couldn't believe that Piper was paying any attention to the new CFO. There was something oddly strange about the new employee and everything about Blake sent him red flags. He wondered why he was the only one to see it.
Over the course of dinner, Johnny kept a watchful eye on the two. There was something happening between them and he didn't like it. He had worked so hard to have the kind of relationship with Piper and now, it seemed like everything that he worked hard for was being thrown out the window. He had no idea what he was going to do except for now, he would have to practice his patience a little more and find out what Blake Beaner's deal was. He would have to know every single detail about all the players in this particular game in order to make the right move to finally claim his queen.
When the meal was done, the flustered man left the dinner table unnoticed and walked outside to wait for whatever was going to happen. He wasn't sure if he would face Blake or if he would talk to Piper but something in him drew him to stand guard and watch the situation unfold. He wasn't surprised when he witnessed Blake put some kind of piece of paper on the windshield of Piper's BMW. The minute he saw Blake leave the estate, he skidded to the fancy car and quickly read the note. The more he read, the more his cheeks filled with blood. The fury engulfed his insides to the point where nothing around him made any sense.
Did you really think she was in love with you?
The long-time employee couldn't avoid the “voice” any longer. Johnny tried to keep the tears safely tucked inside his soul but the further he walked away from the note, the more his rage encompassed his being.
Really JOHNNY, did you really think a woman like that could love YOU? Come on, you had to know she could never love somebody like you.
The man finally snapped and answered the “voice” he so desperately tried to keep a lid on. It seemed like an impossible task.
“The note doesn't say anything. It's nothing so what are you talking about?”
Please, give your head a shake man. Secrets, please? What else could it be? You never were the smartest huh? By the way, they're not the only ones who have a secret, are they Johnny?
“Stop, she isn't cheating on me. She wouldn't do that.”
The infuriated man jumped in his car still talking to himself, battling the voices that always seemed to invade his deep dark desires. He constantly fought to prove them wrong and vowed on his life that Piper loved him. Robert had simply been a pawn in her game and now Blake was another piece of the puzzle. The artist couldn't and wouldn't jeopardize what they had together. Would she?
She isn't even yours. Are you that delirious?
Johnny expectedly drove the dark city streets and made his way to Blake's house. He had memorized the address of the new employee before heading to Brandon's dinner party. He parked his car across the street from the CFO's house and got comfortable in the front seat. He couldn't keep his eyes off the bay windows of the man's house. When he saw Blake pick up his smartphone and smile, Johnny's jealousy kicked into overdrive. He couldn't be sure what was coming through the cell phone but tried to convince himself that it wasn't a text message from his love.
He grabbed his telephoto zoom lens, clicked it into place on his digital camera and started snapping photos. He swiftly took some pictures of the man who now was his competition because Piper had never looked at Johnny that way.
“How can she be talking to him? I know it's her. I know she's texting him. What could she possibly want with him when she has me? Maybe it's nothing. Maybe they're just friends. Yeah that's what it is.”
Are you sure about that Johnny? I don't know how many times I have to tell you.
“How many times do I have to tell you to shut the hell up? Let me think about this for a little while. Let's see what happens before making the next move. I don't know anything about him yet.”
Sure loser, sure.
Touchy, touchy Johnny. Calm down.
“I'll deal with this.”
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee waited a few more minutes after the living room light had been turned off to start the car engine. He didn't want to alarm Blake by hovering around and, watching him so he made sure the coast was clear before leaving the area. When he got home, he neurotically walked the carpeted floor from the living room to the bedroom. He knew Piper wouldn't be there but needed to think and talk to her.
“What the hell was that all about Piper?”
He stopped pacing long enough to turn his lamp on in the bedroom. Johnny stared at the desk where the picture of the blonde beautifully shined.
“Do you think it's funny to embarrass me like that? Isn't it enough that your father doesn't know about us, now you make the rest of the world think we aren't even together? What's going on?”
Johnny eventually stopped, pointed his agitated right index at the picture on the wall and sat down at the desk. Johnny took a few deep breaths and tried to calm his nerves. He didn't want to be angry with Piper but he just wasn't sure how he could get his point across to her. Couldn't she just hear him?
You should just forget about the bitch.
“Shut up! Shut UP! SHUT UP!”
Easy now Johnny, you'll have a heart attack. I'm just telling you the truth.
“Don't you ever talk about her that way again, you hear me?
You know it's the truth.
His wrath broke out and the monster he tried to keep silent in his soul since birth, emerged. For the first time in a long time his anger blinded him. Everything came crashing against his bedroom walls. His temper reached the violent brink where if he didn't calm down he may do something he would regret later on and that wasn't something he wanted to deal with, especially if he still had a chance with Piper. After all he wasn't really sure what happened.
“Maybe she's innocent in all this.”
He somehow managed to calm down but the silence in the room was deafening. All that remained was that constant “voice”.
She'll never love you. Bobbi was right. You're worthless and wasting my breath.
“Please go away, you're not even real”. She loves me, I know she does. She's told me herself.”
If I'm not real, why are you talking to me? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Johnny grabbed his head squeezing both sides of his temporal lobe trying to push the “voice” out of his mind. When had the “voice” gotten this loud? He didn't understand because for the most part, the voice never appeared but in the last little while, it seemed to be monopolizing his thoughts.
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! PLEASE JUST SHUT UP!”
Johnny ultimately lost his battle against the “voice” and allowed it to torture his soul the way it always had, exactly like his little brother did. He wondered if Robert had been right all along. The confusion took over again and the viciousness of his delusional cycle sent him in a downward spiral. In time, he fell asleep feeling exhausted and defeated. The “voice” had crawled under his skin and wasn't going anywhere soon.
A Few Hours Later
The exhausted man woke up the minute the sunlight shined through his dust covered blinds. He couldn't help but stare at the mess he had made the night before and instantly started apologizing to Piper. He didn't want her to think he had lost hope. He placed everything that had been flung across the room back in its proper positions and allowed a few tears to come out.
“I'm so sorry honey. I didn't mean to act like a jerk. I know you hate it when I'm like that. It was a bad night but I plan on fixing that. I promise. I'll see you later on OK?”
He finished cleaning his bedroom, dressed and virtually flew out the door without settling his stomach with food. When he thought about it, he wasn't really sure when he last ate and mentally slapped himself for not taking better care of himself. It's true he had eaten a full meal last night at Brandon's dinner party but wasn't sure when he ate before then. Piper deserved a strong and healthy man so he vowed to take better care of himself. He would need to be resilient when she gave birth to his sons.
Johnny got into his car and instead of heading back to Blake's house; he ended up at Piper's. He knew the way by heart and could easily make his way to her place without anyone noticing. Every time he went, he always made sure to use a different route just in case anyone spotted him.
He parked his car and waited to see movement coming out of Piper's house. Late that evening, the long-time Jackson Inc. employee finally noticed Piper walking around in her bedroom. He took out his digital camera and took a few snapshots. He could always use more pictures of Piper for his wall.
When the sun started setting, Johnny thought Piper might be staying in again so he packed his camera and contemplated leaving the area. He had been there long enough that day anyway and moving his car from one location to another was beginning to be too risky. As he was about to start his engine, he noticed a big black motorcycle park in front of Piper's house. When Johnny saw that the rider was Blake, his possessiveness kicked in.
“What the hell is he doing here? And you, shut up about it! Let's just keep looking and see what happens.”
The man, who now felt incredibly comfortable with being a prowler, followed the two riders to Fluchia's, a renowned Italian Bistro in the city. Johnny kept his distance but maintained a watchful eye on the duo. Just when things couldn't get more complicated, he saw a familiar face in the corner of his eye. When he looked toward the man, he knew right away that it was Robert and he wasn't happy with what he was seeing.
“What is Robert doing here? I didn't think he was in the picture anymore.”
He's not you idiot. He's doing the same thing you are.
“I doubt it. Look at him; he looks like he's on the verge of wanting to kill someone.”
“What's that sir?”
Johnny realized he was talking out loud and excused himself the second he managed to formulate the words he needed to convince the bartender that he wasn't crazy because he was
talking to himself.
“Sorry about that. That was out loud wasn't it?”
“Long day, huh pal?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
Phew, that was close.
At the end of the night, he followed Robert back home instead of following his lovely make-believe girlfriend. He could always go see her later but for now, he had to see what Robert had planned for the two. He wondered if he could finally use Robert against Piper in a plan that would hopefully get rid of all the players in this game. It was time to claim his beautiful queen and take revenge on those plotting against him.
A Month Later
The last month had been extremely busy for Johnny. Not only did he have to work nearly every day at Jackson Inc., but now it was imperative that he follow the two people that made his life a living hell because he couldn't be with Piper. He hardly slept and wondered if anyone him at work had noticed his behaviour or not. Trying to keep up with all the characters in the game was like having a full time job. They were all pawns in his mind and knowing every single move they made ahead of time would eventually lead him to choose the right way of executing his plan.
Unfortunately, because as how he spent so much time keeping track of Piper and Blake, now he was kneed deep in overtime. If that wasn't enough, he now had to continue attending Brandon Jackson's dinner parties. Jackosn Inc.'s CEO had hired another round of new employees which meant that the prowler had to spend yet another evening away from his nightly activities. Johnny had to sit around a dining room table full of nimrods instead of finalizing his plan. Had the new employees been anything like Nimrod, the mighty powerful king and hunter, things would obviously be more interesting but they weren't.
What a bunch of dipsticks.
Johnny nervously walked around the lounge suspiciously looking at everyone who made eye contact with him. He knew he had lost a little bit of weight and for the most part looked exhausted but wondered what kind of excuse he could come up with if someone asked what was happening to him. His blood flow froze the second Blake walked into the room. He gave the CFO a quick nod but refused to hold the gaze in case he would give himself away.
When he looked back, he watched Brandon put his arm around the shoulders of the newer Jackson Inc. employee. The prowler had been working for Brandon for years and this uncharacteristic behaviour made him bitter to the bones. Brandon had never showed any kind of friendly gestures like that towards him so that only fueled his dislike for Blake. As the minutes went by, he observed the comradely between the two grow. Johnny was happy and was irritated by the change of events.
Look, even the honcho likes him better then you.
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee, now turned prowler, turned away from the scene and walked towards the bathroom but not without commenting to the “voice's” comment.
“Oh shut up. It doesn't mean anything.”
Really? What planet do you live on because that my friend is a father welcoming a son-in-law!
“STOP. I've had it with you tonight. Disappear before I do something drastic.”
Alright, alright, calm down. I'm not going anywhere just yet but I'll shut up for a little while.
He headed back towards the lounge after finishing up in the restroom but still felt like he was battling his soul. He had just enough time to whisper one last thing before entering the crowded area.
“Wasn't it enough that Bobbi continually hounded me, now “He” has to?”
When he entered the crowded room however, all those unwanted feelings flew out the window. His stomach formed a tight knot when he saw the gorgeous blonde in a beautiful black cocktail dress. She took his breath away and he couldn't help but smile at her, even if she didn't see him. His heart never failed to flutter when he saw the talented and beautiful artist talk to Daphne, her mother. It seemed that Piper was like an addictive drug that he just couldn't quit. He was mesmerized by her beauty and charm and tonight he promised himself he would get noticed.
“Dinner is served. Please follow me.”
Johnny picked up the pace as the guests walked into the Jackson formal dining room to snag a seat beside the sweet gallery owner. Luckily he was able to grab a chair beside his future wife but came dangerously close to lashing out when Brandon specifically asked Blake to sit on the other side of Piper. It disturbed Johnny so much. That's when he knew Blake had to disappear. Blake needed to be gone from the picture and whatever was happening between Piper and CFO needed to permanently be extinguished.
The prowler wasn't ever going to give up because in the bottom of his heart, he truly believed Piper loved him. He looked at the side of Piper's face only to be rewarded by a slight smile when the artist happened to turn around and catch his glance.
Say something you idiot.
“Hi, how are you?”
“I'm well, yourself?”
“Great. How is….?”
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee was thrilled and nervous to be talking to the stunning woman. When Piper abruptly stopped talking and quickly gazed at Blake, Johnny's blood rushed to his brain creating an instant headache. The second she looked back, Johnny could see the glitter of excitement in her eyes and for the first time the man had proof the reaction had not been because of him.
Told you so.
He ignored the “voice” and re-focused on the conversation, trying to pull Piper back under his spell. He needed to stop whatever Blake had done to cause such a reaction.
“How is what?”
Piper whipped her head back and looked at Johnny.
“Sorry about that. How is business?”
“Wonderful. I'm just waiting for another promotion.”
Johnny knew Piper wasn't into the conversation. She was distant and it seemed like she was only being polite which only infuriated him that much more. He observed the artist glance several more times into Blake's eyes and each time when he caught the expressions and feelings in the art gallery owner's eyes, it made him want to retch.
“What did one lesbian say to the other?”
The guests in the room including Johnny all expectantly looked at Brandon, waiting for the obvious pompous response he would no doubt give. Johnny maintained visual contact with both Blake and Piper because he sensed something unnerving from both. He observed a slight shift in Blake's posture when Brandon started the joke which sparked his curiosity.
Hmmmm, what do we have here?
“Your face or mine.”
Johnny sat back in his chair and inquisitively watched what was unfolding in the room. He was interested in Blake's behaviour, although he could tell; the CFO was trying hard not to show his distaste for the joke. The restraint in Blake was memorable but it only intrigued the prowler that much more.
That's it! You need to keep an eye on that CFO. Something is up and he's your answer. You need to pay a little more attention to Blake.
At The Restaurant
The prowler religiously followed Blake around like he was the plague. He captured as many pictures as he could but at night, when he went through every individual shot, he could not find anything substantial. There was nothing to reveal and that aggravated Johnny. As he quietly sat in his car, observing Blake get into his Land Rover, he wondered if tonight would be like the rest. His patience was wearing thin but something compelled him to continue searching. After all, the man had stolen his girlfriend right from under his nose. He wasn't going to allow that to continue.
When he arrived at the restaurant, he took his usual spot in the back of the wide open room and maintained his cover. Once again, he suspiciously watched Robert who was publically causing a scene. He made no attempts to hide the fact that he was gawking at the couple.
Come on man, you should be in there instead of him. You could learn something from this guy. You're such a coward. At least Robert is making it known that Piper is still his.
Johnny couldn't help but stroke his curiosity when Robert got up and furiously made his way to the table where the couple was sitting. He grinned from ear to ear as he watched the man slap Piper, his wife to be.
Finally, a man who has the guts to show his bitch whose boss!
As much as the long-time Jackson Inc. employee disliked that someone had caused any harm onto the future mother of his children, he was secretly pleased about it because the “voice” was right. She needed to know her place in the world and it was on his arm, not Robert's or Blake's for that matter. Now he only needed to get rid of both of them. He envied Robert for being so bold and that of course made him resentful.
Now that's a man who deserves a woman like Piper. I see nothing's changed since you were a kid. Johnny, you're a coward just like you always were. Bobbi was right you know.
When the police arrived, a few minutes after Robert had left the restaurant; Johnny's emotions were in shambles. He envied Robert for what he could publically do but also laughed at him because he wasn't smart enough to stay unnoticed. He observed the Bistro's patrons calm down and waited for the perfect time to make his exit. He made his way to Robert's house and slothfully watched the man's jealousy control him. He couldn't help but laugh as he witnessed Robert completely trashing his house. Robert was furious with Piper and that made him a loose cannon.
“Finally I'll be able to get rid of Robert and Blake once and for all. Those bastards won't win this time.”
Do you think you have what it takes? They're not idiots like you, you know.
“Who's the dickhead who revealed himself tonight?”
Good point .
“I'll have my revenge and Piper Jackson will be mine.”
Late that night, after making his way back home, he found his apartment as empty as he left it. Johnny walked to his bedroom and turned his small lamp on. He sat on his bed and stared at the wall where the love of his life lay plastered all over it.
“I really thought you would be here tonight, Piper.”
Johnny was sad and upset because he couldn't console his artist. He convinced himself that she just needed some time apart and being away was what she needed. He wanted to be snuggling up against the beautiful blonde but that wouldn't happen tonight.
“You don't have to be afraid of me Piper. I love you and would never hurt you. I just want to protect you. I'm here for you and you should be here with me. Damnit PIPER!!!”
He got up from the bed and took a few strides to the wall. As he stood there staring into the eyes of the gorgeous artist, he knew she could hear him talking to her. The prowler instinctively knew that Piper was listening and that his words could be heard. She obviously knew Johnny could telepathically talk to her, which is how he knew she loved him in return.
“Have your time alone tonight my love but I'll see you tomorrow. Sweet dreams. I love you.”
He kissed the picture on the sombre wall and eventually looked away from those soulful eyes he loved so much. He undressed, got into bed and closed his eyes yearning for some peace and quiet as well. He thought of Piper and all he could see was the big purple bruise that had started to form on her cheek after Robert had hit her. Johnny grew more serious about the attack on his girlfriend and planned to come up with a solid plan of action to get rid of Robert. No man but him was going to punish his bride to be even if she deserved it. If anyone was going to show Piper who was man enough, it would be him.
“You'll never touch her again.”
And who's going to show him, YOU?
“I've had it with all of you. When I'm damn ready, I'll show you. Now shut up and leave me the hell alone.”
You're too weak. You are nothing more than a weakling.
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!”
Again, the prowler spent most of the night fighting with the one thing that had haunted him his entire life. True that at times, the “voice” was quiet and calm but now, it seemed chaotic and always in the back of his mind expressing his opinion. He wasn't really sure what to do about it but knew he had to make it stop. Eventually he fell asleep after he had yelled and begged the “voice” to be quiet. He needed to do something quick to prove to everyone that he was worthy of Piper's love.
Two Days Later
“I can't believe she spent the night there. Is she ever going to change her mind about him?”
It was early in the morning and the prowler had not gone home at all the previous night because Piper's BMW never left Blake's driveway. He had tried to take periodic naps in his car throughout the night but something always kept him up. Now that the neighbourhood was extremely quiet, it was the perfect time to climb the tree beside the house and see what was happening.
Are you really sure you want to see another man having sex with your future bride?
“We both know that is not what they're doing.”
What else do you do when your girlfriend sleeps over? IDIOT!
YOU'RE completely oblivious aren't you? Are you that mental to think that she's not up there having sex with him?
“She loves me, now shut the hell up.”
Johnny exited his car and crept his way to the side of Blake's house, trying hard not to make a sound. He re-adjusted his digital camera and slowly climbed the tree. He had used this tree a few times before when taking pictures of Blake but now he needed the proof to shut his “voice” up about what was happening between the two. Parts of Johnny wondered if there was some truth to what the “voice” was telling him but he mostly disregarded it when he could because he believed that Piper loved him. Didn't she?
Once he made it to the designated spot where he could settle in and have a good view of what was happening through the window, Johnny took a few deep breaths in preparation of what he would see. He closed the one eye and left the other eye open to see through the lens. When he focused on what was happening through the semi-opened blinds, Johnny nearly fell out of the tree. The prowler couldn't believe what he was seeing. He stood there shocked beyond belief and froze. He couldn't even take anymore pictures of what he was seeing until he forced himself to.
Take the fucking picture jerkoff.
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee quickly snapped a few pictures capturing Blake's secret. On the last digital snap, he accidently put too much weight on the branch he was standing on and it cracked loudly.
HIDE ASSHOLE, HIDE!
Johnny knew it had been too loud for the couple to just ignore so he climbed down the tree as fast as he could and headed for the bushes near the living room window to take cover.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”
Just as he got to the bush and lifted his head up bringing his eyes towards the window of the master bedroom, he saw Blake standing there looking outside, searching and scanning the area. As he held his breath in, Johnny's stare bore into the eyes of the impostor. His heart violently punched his chest, claiming the severity of what he had just seen. His soul literally cracked in a million pieces leaving the unknown of what was about to happen as clear as a blue sky. As Blake continued to stare into his direction, Johnny silently dared the CFO to learn his identity.
In that moment, something developed in the prowler. It had taken him a fraction of a second to learn the truth about Blake but a lifetime to finally gather the confidence to do something about this disgusting situation. He was a tad embarrassed because he had never put two and two together and now that he looked up into the window and egged the CFO on to continue investigating, Johnny felt betrayed. More importantly, Piper had taken him for a fool.
He felt the power within him creep into every nook and cranny of his body. Johnny had allowed everyone around him to humiliate his character. He had, had enough and no one was ever going to hurt him again, especially not the love of his life.
Are you just going to stand there and let that bitch humiliate you, I mean let both of those bitches humiliate you? What kind of fucking man are you?
“Don't worry! That disgusting pig will get exactly what's coming to her. As for Piper, I'll find a suitable solution for her.”
You're going to have to teach her a lesson you know.
“I'll decide what I need to do.”
When the prowler watched Blake leave the side of the window, Johnny gasped for a breath of fresh air. His body trembled in anger and his thoughts were viciously circling around and around about what he had just learned. The long-time Jackson Inc. employee's vision blurred as the images of a naked Blake lay on top of his beloved bride to be. He couldn't shake the thought that after all this time; Blake hadn't been a man but a woman, a simple inferior human being.
Johnny waited a few more minutes while he tried to control his emotions. Now certainly wasn't the time to enter the house and take care of Blake. He really needed to formulate a better plan so he could get rid of the CFO. All he knew right now was that if he impulsively acted, he would risk his future with Piper. He had to get Brandon involved in all of this and that is exactly what he was going to do. He needed to get away from the duo and as soon as he reached his car, he traveled downtown, heading directly for Jackson Inc.
“What the heck brings you by this morning Johnny?”
“Well Sir, I thought you should know what kind of daughter you have.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
The prowler's rage and confidence stuck out like a sore thumb but a little part of him slightly feared Brandon's intimidating tone, especially when it came to his daughter. Johnny snickered at his boss and grinned while he took out the yellow envelop from his jacket pocket.
Johnny looked into the eyes of the angered man and flinched a little wondering if Brandon would attempt to hurt him for what he had photographed. It however was worth the risk because now, he probably wouldn't have to do much to get Blake out of Piper's life. The CEO would most likely take care of that problem, seeing as how he was the biggest bigot around town. Although the prowler was embarrassed and humiliated by Piper's behaviour, he convinced himself that Blake had actually forced Piper into that filthy act.
We'll see who has the last laugh. Dyke.
The long-time Jackson Inc. employee handed Brandon the large envelop and silently stood there watching the man's reactions seep out into the open. Mr. Jackson's temper flew over the top when he saw photos of his daughter naked with another woman.
“What in the hell is this?”
“What the hell does it look like Brandon?”
Johnny thought he might have gone too far by using the CEO's first name but his anger had allowed his mouth to run off. It wasn't like him to be so blunt but this was the new Johnny, the confident one who in the end would get the girl.
“You mean to tell me that Blake Beaner, my CFO, is a woman?”
“Yes, she sure is. More importantly, your daughter is sleeping with her.”
“That's bullshit. My daughter isn't a gay!”
Johnny's boldness kicked into overdrive knowing that Brandon wouldn't tolerate having his perfect daughter sleep around with a woman. He couldn't help but smile at how cleaver he had been in finding out Blake Beaner's secret. He wouldn't have to do any work from now on knowing that Brandon would take care of the issue. No daughter of his was a lesbian. He'd make it impossible for the two to be together.
“Think what you will Sir, that's your daughter half naked with your CFO. I took the pictures myself.”
Well I'll be damned Johnny. You did it. She'll be yours now, for sure. Who would of thought?
The prowler knew his place when it came to Brandon and didn't say another word. He wiped his smirk off his face and observed Brandon's blindsided fury showing his true colours. Johnny maintained his distance from the flying objects that came crashing all around him. By the time the CEO was finished wailing his hands and arms around, his desk had been completely wiped cleaned. His office floor was cluttered with everything that had previously been neatly piled on his working desk.
“You will continue to follow my daughter.”
“And why would I do that?”
“It's your job.”
“What's in it for me?”
“Why were you following them in the first place?”
Johnny quickly thought of a response before answering the enraged man. It wasn't the right time to tell the old man that he was in love with his daughter and that she would be his wife and mother of his children.
“I just thought there was something fishy about Blake. Clearly I was right.”
“Continue to follow my daughter and I'll make it worth your while.”
You already are old man! You already are.
“You better Brandon.”
Johnny watched the CEO's nostrils flare again but there was no going back now. He was in control and he needed to know that all party members knew he was in charge. There was no two ways about it, anyone standing in between him and Piper would be properly disposed of.
“Don't take that tone with me.”
“I'll do what I want and take whatever tone I want. It's my neck on the line here! You damn right, you'll make it worth my while. If I'm here to do your dirty work, you'll compensate me very well.”
Brandon flinched at the words coming out of Johnny's mouth. He had never seen his employee so confident but there was something off about him. His eyes were dark, almost empty and the CEO couldn't shake the uneasy feeling he had in the pit of his stomach. Those thoughts however vanished when he looked at the picture of his naked daughter with a very naked Blake. He looked away and sucked in a breath before exhaling and cursing the heavens for what his CFO had done to his innocent daughter.
“If that woman so much as touches my daughter again, I'll kill her.”
Johnny left Brandon's office feeling high and mighty. Things were finally starting to look up for him. Finding out the truth about Blake was the key. Fortunately for him, he wouldn't have to wait long for what would surely happen next. He couldn't wait to get back into the office to see Blake's face when Brandon would approach her. Things were looking up all right. It had only taken a few years.“Piper Jackson, you will be mine!”
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