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Jon Drake: Chapters 1 and 2

As a special treat, I have decided to release the first two chapters of my upcoming book Jon Drake, for free. Enjoy it.


Chapter 1: Sins of the Past

January 1st, 2016, near a dive bar in Brasilía, Brazil.

Jon needed cover to get out of the monsoon that drenched his face. His head bobbed back and forth, looking for a place to shelter. His eyes lingered on a bar in the distance, one he recognized, O’Reilly Pub, the one Irish bar in Brasilía. He hurried toward the venue and entered frantically.

His arrival caused a stir as eyes glued on him. At six-foot-two inches, with drenched brown hair and a disheveled beard, Jon Drake could not maintain a low profile even if he wanted to.

The exterior of the bar was green headstones, to resemble Ireland, with brown doors to allow guests inside. The interior of the bar was far simpler. There was a bar with all the drinks on tap and even a little stage area next to the bar area, where the nightly band would perform.

He saddled his way down to the bar where a bartender cleaned the glasses. He took a stool out from the adjacent table and parked it in front of the bar area, where his bartender stared at him.

“God damn man, it is a shit show out there,” he said bluntly. He realized what he said and just chuckled to himself. The bartender did not look amused.

He was an enormous man, big enough to hold his own. He had long flowing hair and a beard to match, similar to what Jesus Christ looked like. The bartender also looked unassuming. Jon looked at the bartender and figured he was a Pardo. The bartender looked like he was from several countries all at once.

“What do you want?” asked the bartender in Portuguese. Jon smiled as the bartender asked this.

“You should know me by now, João, I roll with your sister, we’re homies.”

“I know you, Jon Drake,” João answered in English. He continued in his native language.

“That’s why I am asking you what you want. I am cool with you and would serve you anything here. But some men do not feel the same appreciation for you. And I do not want that shit in my bar.”

“Obviously not,” said Jon in English, which João understood. “But it’s pouring like a bitch out there. Come on, João, give me a drink.”

As he said this, two men appeared from the background, and they looked unhappy. One was a scrawny little man named Yan. The other was a bigger man named Xoán. They approached Jon as he sipped his beer as they stared him down.

“Can I at least finish my beer before I kick your ass?” he asked them.

They did not look amused. Yan stepped up. João wiped the bar clean, despite it already being clean.

“Where’s my car, Jon?” asked Yan.

“I think I crashed it somewhere down the street, check the nearest bush.”

“You messed with the wrong guys, Jon Drake.”

“I have taken down cartel members and you expect me to be afraid of you? Bitch, please!” Jon replied.

“You should be afraid,” Yan spoke up. Jon sipped more beer. The beer trickled down his tongue, refreshing his dry throat. He took foot of his surroundings, noticing that others looked at them.

“And if I don’t?” Jon challenged them. They looked at one another and both smiled.

“Then we will leave you broken,” Yan replied. Jon smirked, and then took another sip of the beer.

The taste wore off. He held the beer in his hand, frowned, and then quickly unleashed a beer bottle over Yan’s head, breaking it into many pieces as the man fell to the ground from the impact.

“Is that all you got?” Jon grew bored.

Xoán stared at his fallen partner in disbelief, and then grew angry. He grabbed a bottle of his own and cracked it against the bar. He swung ferociously at Jon, who ducked each swipe.

He bit Xoán’s arm, and the thug yelped in pain, then pressed his hands around the man and threw him right across the bar. Xoán slipped down the bar like it was a slip and slide and collided with all the beer glasses and plates. Everyone looked at him now. João just looked exasperated. Jon glanced at him.

“I promise you I will pay for all that,” said Jon. Other patrons stood up and surrounded him. “I also will pay for everything else that is about to happen.”

A massive bar fight ensued. Several men charged Jon. He leaped over the bar counter and took cover.

He searched for anything that could be a weapon and found a bottle of vodka. With quick reflexes, he grabbed it and smashed it over some guy’s head. Another man rushed him, and Jon nailed him with a bottle of whiskey.

“You made me waste good alcohol,” he lectured the fallen man.

The rest of the bar was in disarray, but Xoán and Yan kept their gaze on Jon. Realizing this, Jon quickly thought of an action plan.

His fingers blindly found cool glass as he wrapped them around the neck of the bottle, swinging it over his head. It broke across Xoán’s skull with a sickening crunch.

Yan hurled himself into him, both tumbling onto the floor. The man’s big sweaty body lumbered over him and Jon blindly swung his arms in the air, attempting to haul him away. He stretched his body out and unleashed a right elbow to Yan’s head, causing him to yelp and peel over. Two more men charged at Jon and he sidestepped them and rolled toward the stage. His right hand reached for something and he unleashed a drum set against their heads, knocking them both out.

Chaos ensued as sirens roared in the background and the police stormed the place with their guns drawn. They surrounded Jon, who put his hands up. Jon looked back at João.

“Put this on my bar tab. Just don’t tell your sister. She’ll kill me, even though she’s like tiny.”

Two cops grabbed Jon and held him down against the table. His head squeezed against the table, his face looking puffy.

“Easy on the face,” he yelped.

The cops lifted him up aggressively and hauled him out of the bar. They placed Jon into handcuffs and took him into their squad car and took him to jail.

He sulked in his cell, fiddling with his hands. The guard walked in and opened the jail gate. He was a burly fellow, kind of like the Pillsbury Doughboy. As he opened the door, Jon just waited for him to say something.

“Some man paid your bail and cleared all your charges,” said the guard.

“What man?”

“This man,” said a voice from the distance.

He gazed upon the man, and his jaw dropped. The man was massive, probably six foot four inches. He had long flowing hair with a beard that made him resemble a lion and must have been around 40 years old if Jon had to guess.

“And who the hell are you?” asked Jon bluntly.

“The man who can save your life if you do your part for me.”

“That’s cute, but I need a name. Not going to go off with some random guy who looks like a deformed lion,” said Jon.

The man chuckled. It perplexed him. “Was it something I said?”

“It is funny you mention a lion. Most people around this country call me the Lion. But you can call me Vladimir Ramirez.”

Vladimir extended his hand for him to shake. He hesitated. Something about this man was familiar. But he would remember if he had met this man. This man, Vladimir, was a sight to behold.

A gigantic man with a look of a powerful lion was not something easy to forget. He did not shake his hand. Instead, he glared at Vladimir, hoping for a telling sign. He did not get any.

“Why did you bail me out? And apparently, erase my charges?”

“Because,” Vladimir said. “A man with gifts is too talented to waste his life on meaningless bar fights and jail visits.”

“Oh, you heard about that? That’s nothing. You should see the other ones I have been in.”

“I do and I have Jon Drake.”

Jon’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know my name?”

“Oh, come now, you have established a reputation for yourself around here. It is difficult to not know about you, Jon Drake, or should I say, White Warrior?”

He took this in, hearing his other nickname. He hated that nickname. “What do you want?”

“To offer you a chance at freedom in a philosophical sense,” said Vladimir, who then looked around. “And literally.”

“What is the catch?”

“My organization has been attempting to eliminate a man. An evil man. One that you know very well.”

“I am not going back to São Paulo, after any cartel members.”

He realized at that moment he probably should not have said that. But it was something he could not help. He waited for Vladimir to respond, but the lion-looking man did not give him that satisfaction.

“I know of your reputation with the cartel,” said Vladimir. “But I assure you that the cartel is not who I am going after.”

“Then who?”

Vladimir took out a newspaper and stretched it out. He held the paper out in front of him and he instantly recognized the picture in the front. It was an image of a well-dressed man taking a picture with a group of children to support some cause.

Dreadful memories came flushing back. Jon knew the actual truth. The man in the picture was evil. It would be difficult to not know who that man was. It was Alexander Caine! Jon shook his head vigorously.

“No, I’d rather fight 20 cartel members then deal with that shithead ever again.”

Vladimir folded the newspaper back and placed it in his pocket.

“Jon, you are ideally situated to go after this man. He lives in your hometown and you hate evil as much as I do. As much as we do.”

“We?”

“Yes, we. The Legion of Samurai. I assume you have heard of us,” Vladimir’s voice radiated with confidence.

He knew the Legion of Samurai. He had been on opposite sides of the spectrum with them. He also had worked with members of the Legion in the past. He knew who they were and what they were. The Legion of Samurai were self-proclaimed fighters of the good.

This violent group was like terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, except they were better trained. They also did not cause violence in the name of God but acted on their own belief that they must save the Earth. The Legion of Samurai were extreme climate change advocates.

Whereas most climate change advocators posted about it online or randomly protested in front of city hall, these guys killed in the name. But somehow, he had never met Vladimir. This lion-looking man was unknown to him. How was that possible? Jon did not think about that at the moment.

“What exactly do you want me to do?” asked Jon.

“It’s simple,” said Vladimir. “I want you to go back to your hometown and kill Alexander Caine.”

He took this in, considering it for a moment. Then he looked at Vladimir and could tell that the Brazilian man was not joking around.

“And if I refuse?” Jon asked.

“Then I change my mind and you stay in this jail to rot until corrupt officials try you for crimes they are aware of, and some they are not,” said Vladimir.

Jon studied him but said nothing.

“Find a place to stay tonight and then consider my offer. I will be at my home in the mountains,” said Vladimir, who then handed him a card. He looked at this. The card looked old-school with a number and address written in Old English. Vladimir had planned this. Jon considered his options.

The Next Day: Pico do Roncador.

He found his way toward the area written was on the card. He had to climb a mountain to get to the top of the summit. He knew this and took some hiking clothing he would need, along with the correct gear. He had hiked many mountains in Brazil over the years, mostly in situations of utter chaos. Often, he was usually running away from one guy trying to kill him. That is usually how it would end.

He climbed the summit and noticed how it was getting colder the higher he went. He did not mind the frigid weather, as it was something he got used to.

As he made his way up to the top of the mountain, he spotted a sizeable house on the top of the mountainside. He slowly trekked through the snowy ground and the mini blizzard that was occurring simultaneously. Approaching cautiously, he put his hand on the doorknob and twisted it open and entered slowly and cautiously, not knowing what the next step would be.

A man charged at him with a sword. Jon ducked, barely avoiding getting cut in half. The man kept coming at Jon with the sword.

He swung his sword and Jon caught it this time, deflecting it away. Jon used his right hand to deck the man in the face.

He quickly grabbed the sword up and held it against the now fallen man, while stepping on his chest. Jon heard clapping and turned to see Vladimir walking into the room.

“I see you have passed my test,” said Vladimir.

“Test?” asked Jon, a little bewildered now.

“I wanted to see what you were capable of, and so I had my assistant, Manuel, attack you to see if you would survive,” said Vladimir.

“He could have killed me!”

“Then you would not have been worthy,” Vladimir shot back.

He increased his hold on Manny now, squeezing his boot into his upper chest, choking him.

“And what makes you think I won’t kill your boy right now?” asked Jon.

Vladimir snapped his fingers. Several cloaked men with enormous swords appeared out of nowhere and surrounded them both.

“Because my men would kill you instantly.”

Jon looked at the men, annoyed. He released his hold on Manny. The man scuffled himself off the floor, bowed to Vladimir, and exited.

“Come on, Jon,” said Vladimir. “We have a lot to discuss.”

They headed into another room. This was a training room, it seemed. There were plenty of swords, daggers, and other weapons that Jon was familiar with. He had a feeling that this would be the case when he agreed to come to see Vladimir.

“I want to see just how skilled you really are,” said Vladimir. The long-haired man handed Jon a sword and took his own sword. Vladimir quickly swung his sword, and Jon, on instinct, blocked it with his sword. They exchanged shots with their sword, with neither man coming out on top.

“Impressive,” said Vladimir.

“Not so bad yourself,” replied Jon.

Vladimir tossed his sword. Jon did the same.

“Hand to hand,” said Vladimir.

Vladimir struck Jon with a chop to the chest. His face fell when he realized it made no impact. He tried to chop him again, but Vladimir caught his hands, smiled, and backhanded him across the face.

Jon stumbled a little. He recovered and launched himself into Vladimir’s stomach, taking the bigger man by surprise, causing him to fall to the ground.

Vladimir recovered and then looked at Jon and smiled. Before he could react, Vladimir leaped into the air and roundhouse kicked him in the stomach, sending him tumbling to the ground.

He groaned in pain, and Vladimir extended his hand to help him up. Vladimir pulled him to his feet.

“You are skilled, but very unpolished, Jon,” said Vladimir.

“Not nearly as good as you.”

“Patience,” said Vladimir. “I could raise you to my level. But first, you need to share your pain with me.”

He gave Vladimir a look. “What are you getting at?”

“Tell me about your father,” said Vladimir.

There was a long, uncomfortable silence. He did not like the question and did not appreciate this man coming at him like this.

“Who are you and why do you want to know about my father?”

“As I have told you, we are the Legion of Samurai and we know all. I know about your legend, and I know how you came to Brazil ten years ago. You must not forget, this organization does not get along with the cartels,” said Vladimir.

Now Jon was suspicious. He glared at Vladimir as if he was expecting a fight. Vladimir sensed this.

“If it makes you feel any better, I can share my pain with you,” Vladimir suggested.

“What, you’re going to show me your scars?”

Vladimir shook his head.

“Jon, the only way to heal a tortured soul is to learn how to embrace the pain and fight back against it.” Jon contemplated this but said nothing. “I can help you.”

“How?”

“Allow me to train your body and soul and you will return to your hometown and confront your demon. When you do that, you can finally overcome your fears.”

He considered it. He did not trust Vladimir, but what he did not have much of a life now.

“What’s in it for you?”

Vladimir smiled.

“When evil dies, then I prosper. I want to see the world balanced. I know who caused you significant pain, Jon. I have done my research on you.”

He hesitated. “You creeping on my history?”

“I did not go to the trouble of releasing you from jail without doing research. We share the same enemy. The one called Caine.”

“Yeah, you mentioned him. How do you know Caine?”

Vladimir brushed his hair back from his face. “Let’s just say he has committed atrocities against some of my best interests. I have known of the man for a long time and realize what a terror he is, and what he has become. I know of your history with him and I would like to help.

“Caine is not just an American scum. His reach has extended here, as far as the Legion of Samurai’s efforts. He makes deals with the cartels. The same cartels that my organization continues to hunt and destroy. We must stop him.”

He took this in. He heard Vladimir and immediately thought he was insane. However, the offer intrigued him.

“Alexander Caine destroyed my life,” He informed Vladimir. “He took my father away and ensured that I become an orphan. I have waited years for the chance to take my revenge.

“I don’t completely trust you, but I feel like you and I have the same vision. The same end goals. I’ll accept your help.”

He extended his hand. Vladimir looked at him and then returned the handshake.

“It is good to have you aboard,” Vladimir declared.

He stayed with Vladimir for about two weeks. The man called the Lion by many helped him hone some of his skills, while also teaching him some old Samurai ways. They had a verbal agreement, but he knew that he needed to be careful with this man.

He knew what he had to go. It was time to go home. He had a mission to do, and that was to destroy Alexander Caine.

Chapter 2: Jessica Hudson

January 20th, 2016

Jessica had gone to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings since she was 14 since her father was aware of her drinking and drug problem. It was something she had grown accustomed to. But now she was 22 years old. She did not even feel the need to inject crack into her system anymore. It was a lifetime ago. But her father felt that she needed it.

Jessica was a pretty girl, according to most people. Plenty of guys hit on her, and most of the time it annoyed her. She did not have time for douches that were trying to get into her pants, dress, or whatever the hell she wore.

She was a tall brunette who stopped growing at 17. But by then, she was taller than most girls. It did not hurt her most of the time; it just meant she got more attention than most. Some of it was good, and some of it was bad. Her skin was pale and too white for her taste. It caused her to get sunburned easily. She hated it. Her mother had been the same.

The room was small and uncomfortable. The walls were white and bland. If she ignored these losers, she would watch paint dry. It was an eyesore and not one that she could easily forget.

The ventilation in this joint needed fixing and she could smell the people near her. It was disgusting. She wanted to heave. They needed to make some social distancing rule for people in AA. The rule would state that you cannot sit within six feet of anyone. She needed her space and these fools were up in her business.

Jessica stared at the parasites in this room, and it made her sick. She hated speaking to any of them. They were all attention-seeking, worthless losers to her. One guy even tried to hit on her. Like, who does that?

He used some lame line about her hair looking nice. She knew her hair looked nice, even when she did not attempt to make it look nice; she did not need some creepy weirdo telling her that. A drug rehab meeting was the worst place to meet people. She was not about to fall in love with any of these people. No one had ever made her feel that way. Well, two people made her feel close.

When Jessica was younger, she felt a lot of affection for Jon Drake. But then someone killed his father, and he disappeared. She was heartbroken over that. She felt she was falling in love with Jon. But then, before she had any time to get over that, someone killed her mother.

She could not prove it, but she knew in her heart that someone intentionally killed her mother. She remembered her mother pushing her out of the way, and it all happened so fast. She also recalled seeing a hand poke itself out the window before hitting her. She saw blood on her mother’s chest. It was in a spot that was too precise. It could not have been an accident.

But as Jessica sat there in a chair listening to these miserable losers drone on about their problems, she could not help but feel like she no longer belonged here. Her father made her go to these things. It did not deter her progress.

She could proudly say she had not taken a drink or shot her arm up with crack or any other drug in six years. There was a hazy three-year period where she shot up drugs with Rion Caine on an almost daily basis. But those days were over. She was a rebellious teenager, angry at the world for taking her mother away from her. Now, she was an angry young adult that was still angry at the world for taking her mother away.

Only no one cared anymore. Everyone else dusted off her mother’s body and pretended everything was okay. Stupid adults even kept telling her that everything was okay. How could it all be okay? She watched someone kill her mother in front of her. Jessica was trying to tune these people out, but one idiot broke through.

“It was at that moment where I knew I had to take a drink. I had that urge and I couldn’t hold it anymore,” announced the idiot standing in front of the crowd. This was a new guy who had not been with the class before. He spoke with meek courage and also looked like he wanted to die. If Jessica had to listen to any more of his weak ass monologue, she might help him get there.

The idiot took his seat as the room gave a mild clap, some out of necessity, and some out of actual pride. Jessica was in the former, not the latter.

The head counselor stood up. She was a stern-looking woman. Her name was Shondra Williams. She was in good shape, as Jessica saw her running a couple of times. Shondra was a black woman in her late 30s with three kids. She had short black hair and wore a pink style of lipstick every time. Jessica had always wondered where she got the lipstick, and why she wore it. Shondra had invited her over to her house several times, but she declined, making an excuse each time.

“Anyone else like to share?” Shondra asked the class.

The room was silent. No one wanted to talk. It was like school, except for people who had drug and drinking problems. In this school, you were not learning anything. Instead, you were learning how to not do something by talking about it. Jessica found it weird, and a major waste of time. Shondra looked at Jessica, who did not notice it at first.

“Jessica, you haven’t said anything all day. What’s on your mind?”

Jessica rolled her eyes and looked around the room at all these losers. She was not one to talk; she felt she was a loser too. But she had an excuse. Someone killed her mother. These people had all descended into their issues with idiotic reasons, at least to Jessica. She stood up slowly, not wanting to appear too eager.

“My name is Jessica Hudson, and I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

“Hi, Jessica,” replied the room of idiots.

She waved awkwardly, really wishing for lightning to strike her at that very moment, or at least something to zap her anywhere else.

“I have been coming here for a few years now, um,” Jessica began, not knowing where to go with this.

She cleared her throat. She glanced at the room and was not sure why she was nervous. Jessica could not give a damn what these people thought of her. She was just surprised, and a little irritated.

“I originally came here because I was addicted to Ecstasy and did some crack—crack cocaine, in case you’re not sure what I’m talking about. Also, there was some drinking. Lots of excessive, amazing drinking.”

The entire room was silent. Some of these losers were looking at Jessica like she had killed their puppy. She went on.

“Basically, I was addicted to two powerful drugs and I couldn’t stop myself, so my father put me in here to try to fix me—and it clearly did not work. While I am no longer addicted to crack or alcohol, I am addicted to coffee, so…”

Jessica sat down before she could finish. Shondra’s jaw dropped, knowing that she set herself up for that one. Jessica smiled for the first time in a while.

“Uh thank you, Jessica,” Shondra began. “That was very uh—enlightening.”

“It’s what you wanted,” Jessica snapped back.

“Anyone else like to share?”

“Can I just ask one question?”

“You had your moment, Jessica,” replied Shondra.

“Why are we even here?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Us, all of us,” said Jessica as she pointed at the entire room. “Why are we all here? You haven’t really solved any of our problems.”

“My dear, you are not an addict anymore,” said Shondra.

“Bullshit!” replied Jessica defiantly as she stood up.

“Jessica! You will sit down!”

“I am and always will be an addict,” said Jessica. “You haven’t solved my actual issue.”

“And what would that be?” asked Shondra.

“My mother’s killer is still out there, and no one gives a damn!”

“Jessica now is not the time or place for…”

“No, seriously,” Jessica interrupted. “Talking about our feelings will not solve our issues. All you see are labels. You see each of us as a certain demographic and then try to talk us through our feelings.”

Jessica pointed to the man next to her.

“He’s a sex addict,” she said. “In fact, he’s probably thinking about having sex with me right now.”

Before the man could react, Jessica pointed to the moderately attractive woman sitting to the other side of her.

“She’s a crack whore,” she said.

The attractive woman fumed. Jessica paid her no attention. Now, she pointed to the middle-aged man across from her.

“He’s a drunk that lost his wife and kids,” she said. “I don’t mean that they died, I mean that they left his ass after they saw how much of a drunk loser he was.”

The man’s jaw dropped. Jessica pointed to the handicapped man sitting next to the middle-aged man.

“And he’s addicted to opioids, and instead of helping him with that, you want to talk him to death, you self-absorbed hack,” said Jessica.

“Jessica, that is enough! I will have to ask you to leave!” said Shondra.

“Fine! But I think I made my point,” Jessica stood up and headed out.

It was not the first time they had kicked her out of AA meetings. It likely would not be the last.

They kept allowing her back. The only reason Jessica went was to appease her father. It was ironic how she missed her mother, yet her one living relative was as far as one could be. She saw her father every day, but he had not been the same since their mother died.

She relaxed a little, listening to house music. She had been into that music since her teenage years. Back in the day, she used to sneak off and go to raves. Occasionally, she still did that, but she did not take Ecstasy like before. It might have helped her moods. There was a knock on the door, and Jessica cautiously walked over.

“Who is it?” she asked.

“Your father,” replied the gruff voice.

Oh, great. Jessica figured she knew why her father was here. He probably wanted to check on his only child and see how AA went. Jessica allowed him the pleasure. She opened the door. He stood there, looking as grumpy as ever.

Frank Hudson had always been a big guy, but age and this city had taken a lot out of him. He was not an old man at 52 years old, but he was getting up there. Hudson stood there despondently as if the world had taken a lot out of him. He did not look pleased. Jessica stood her ground, staring at her father.

“What’s up, Dad?” she asked with petty emotion.

“May I come in?” asked Hudson.

Jessica gestured for her father to come in, without realizing how rude she was acting. Hudson did not pick up on this. He walked in without looking at his daughter. She closed the door behind him. Hudson stared around the apartment, almost as if he was timid about what he would do and say. He waited for something to happen, and Jessica just looked at him.

“Well?” she asked.

“How did AA go?” asked Hudson.

Jessica scoffed.

“You already know how that went,” she snapped. “Why do you insist I keep going there?”

“Because you need it,” said Hudson.

“Newsflash, Dad! I haven’t done any drugs nor taken a drink in years and have no intention of doing so.”

“Then go for my well-being.”

“Why don’t we talk about the elephant in the room? The one thing you have never given me!”

“We are not going to talk about this, Jessica,” Hudson said.

“Yes, we are!”

Jessica got in her father’s face. She was as tall as her father now, if not a little shorter. She stood her ground, not showing the fear she once displayed.

“My mother, your wife, was killed 10 years ago and you still haven’t brought anyone to justice.”

“I already explained this to you, Jessica,” Hudson began. “Things are a lot more complicated than you realize.”

“Spare me the bullshit, Dad! Tell it to me straight! Tell me what I have to do to get around the complications.”

Hudson hesitated. Jessica just glowered impatiently at him with a look that could kill.

“Caine,” he said.

Jessica gave him a look. It was one of irritation. She had heard something like this before.

“Then let’s go arrest him!”

“I tried once,” Hudson contested.

Jessica looked at her father with surprise. This was something she did not know. Could she have been wrong? Did her father really put in the effort and fail?

“What are you talking about, Dad?”

“Like I said,” her father started. “I brought him in and charged him. His hotshot lawyer got the charge dropped on insufficient evidence. Then he threatened your life.”

“He what?” asked Jessica.

“Exactly like I said,” said Hudson. “Why do you think I was so opposed to you spending time with his son and daughters so much?”

Jessica considered this. She had spent many nights with Rion and Amy Caine. She even hung out with the youngest one, Scotti. But she rarely ever saw Caine there. She saw their mother, Ivy, a lot.

“All this time, you knew Caine had involvement in my mother’s death and you didn’t tell me?”

“I had to protect you!” Hudson claimed.

“I don’t need protection!” Jessica cried. “You taught me how to defend myself. You taught me how to use a gun and other weapons. Also, my gymnastics training is a help too. I can take care of myself, Dad!”

“Not against Caine and his thugs,” said Hudson. “They’re a unique breed of animal.”

Jessica listened to Hudson’s words but became disappointed. Her father gave up so easily. He was a coward in her eyes.

“If you will not help me find evidence against my mother’s killer, then I will find someone else that will,” said Jessica.

“You’re in over your head, Jessie Bear,” said Hudson.

“I don’t care,” said Jessica. “My mother was killed, and you gave up. You gave up because you got scared. You’re a coward. Get out. The sight of you sickens me.”

“Jessica…”

“Get out!” she said again, louder.

Hudson shook his head and walked out of the door, slamming it behind him. Jessica watched him go, and she was livid. She would get justice for her mother.

Jessica went to work at the Harbor House Diner, where she worked in Sunset Beach. The diner was tight and almost claustrophobic. The exterior was red all over, including the door. The inside had red stools at the counter where customers could eat and several booths inside. It also included a patio on the outside with a covering so customers could get a view of the ocean.

Her job was basically as a waitress until she could get her shit together. She passed the time drawing and also working out details for her new studio she hoped to build.

Jessica had two dreams. The first dream was to start a successful career as an electronic dance music disk jockey. If that dream did not come true, she had a second plan. Her second dream was to open a dance studio and teach young girls how to dance. She was saving up money so she could open up a studio and start that up. But between paying rent and all the other expenses she had, she was in a bit of a bind.

Her shift went by slowly, as they were not busy at all. Most of her clientele were older people, or they were just drunk, but the drunk people usually showed up at night. Thankfully, they gave her the decent shift tonight and she only worked until 11 o’clock.

Eventually, it was 11 p.m. Her shift was ending, and she made her way to the parking lot. It was a foggy night tonight. She could barely see anything. If she could, she would have noticed a shadowy figure lurking near her car. As Jessica made her way to her car, she stopped. She got a sickening feeling that something horrible was going on. Jessica scanned her car in front of her and shook her head. As she took another step, a man with a gun appeared between Jessica and her car. Despite the foggy night, she could see the gun, and for the first time, she felt fear.

“Well, hello there, sweetheart,” said the thug.

The thug was a creepy looking white man in his 30s. He probably was homeless or a convict down on his luck. That was not relevant right now. Jessica had a gun pointed at her.

“What do you want?” asked Jessica.

“Usually money,” said the thug who checked out Jessica, and licked his lips. He was a total creeper. “But tonight I think I will settle for you too.”

Jessica stared at the creep. This was it. This thug would kill her, probably after raping her first. She had self-defense skills but froze. The terror of the gun threw her off. But she realized she had to snap out of it if she wanted any chance of surviving. Before she could do so, something happened.

“Let her go!” a loud voice boomed in the fog.

Jessica turned and saw a man standing there. She was not sure who this is, but he was ruggedly handsome. She could not help but feel a familiarity with this person. Jessica looked at the man and wondered who he was, but something inside her felt like she knew the answer.

The handsome man stood his ground as he stared at the creeper with the gun.

“You better leave, man, this is between me and the lady,” said the thug.

“No, I will be the one between you and the lady,” said the handsome man.

“Is that right? And who the hell are you?”

The handsome man smiled. “I will be the last thing you see before you die.”

He flung a dagger toward the thug, knocking his gun away, causing him to shriek in pain. The thug staggered back, his hand in pain from the dagger. Jessica’s new friend grabbed another dagger and hurled it toward the thug’s chest, instantly drawing blood. The thug staggered toward the floor and succumbed to his wounds. The good-looking man watched him slowly wither over and did not change his expression.

Jessica stared at the thug lying dead on the ground. She looked up at this man who saved her life, but could easily be just as violent. She approached carefully. Jessica got a good look at the man, and they locked eyes. She stared into his soul and saw something troubled, but also saw something she had not seen in a long time.

The man stared back at Jessica. He looked at Jessica like he knew her. The man just gazed at her with a saddened face, and Jessica instantly knew who this was. She was no longer terrified, but now she was in shock. She knew who this was, and it confused and surprised her simultaneously.

“Jon?”


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