Adriana hadn’t slept in days. Thailand hadn't returned any of her texts or phone calls, and Aaron's status hadn’t changed. Since the day she could hold a paintbrush, Adriana had painted her pain until she couldn't muscle up the strength to stroke any longer. She put her hair in a ponytail and pulled a stool up to a blank canvas. A heart shattered into pieces is what she felt and so she would paint. Short or long, every brush stroke helped her breathe a little easier. A knock at the door startled her, causing her to drop the paint brush onto her pants.
"Shit. WHO IS IT?!" she yelled.
"Hello, I'm looking for Ms. Adriana Jackson?" the voice on the other end said.
"I'm sorry, but the gallery isn't open today, Tuesday through Saturday only." Adriana stated, annoyed by the interruption.
"Oh I know. I was hoping to talk to her about creating a painting for a special friend of mine; Aaron." Well shit, now I have to open the door, thought Adriana.
"Hi, I'm Adriana."
"Yes, I know. I've always wanted to meet you. Your work is well known all over Chicago. It is an honor."
"Thank you. Please come in."
You're going to regret this. Once I'm done with you, no one will be able to recognize you, the visitor thought.
"So how do you know Aaron?" Adriana wanted to know.
"I'm a regular at his restaurant. The menu and entertainment are exquisite, can't get enough of the place."
"Yea his place is one of the best in all of downtown Chicago. I take it you two are pretty cool?"
"Oh yea, we share a passion for art. He never shut up about his all-time favorite painter, Ms. Adriana Jackson. After hearing about his tragic accident, couple of the other regulars and I thought it would be nice to chip in and ask you to create an exclusive piece to hang inside his restaurant."
"That is so sweet. Of course I will create a piece on you guys’ behalf. It will be free of charge."
"Oh no! You don't have to do that. We are more than willing to pay you for your services, Ms. Jackson."
"No, no I insist. What concept did you all come up with?"
"Well we all thought that whatever you came up with would be fitting. Your work is known for exuding strength through pain, triumphs over tribulations, persevering through the storm; you know things of that nature. I think you should paint like it’s your very last time. It just might be."
"What do you mean by...?” Pain rushed through Adriana's head like a freight train. Dizzy with blood dripping in her eyes, she tried to get up off the floor.
"Who...who are you?"
"Who am I? When you opened that door, I became the worst decision you've ever made, that's who I am!" She struck Adriana again, causing her to black out. Standing over her, she began to go off into a rant.
"You think you can just bat those exotic green eyes, and walk around Chicago like you're the shit! You and Thailand MAKE ME SICK! Always hugging and kissing, taking trips around the world, and smiling in everybody faces." She kicked Adriana before continuing her rant.
"You think you are going to reap what I sewed?! I DON'T THINK SO! That's okay, either he's going to give me what I want or I'm getting rid of your ass. LET’S SEE HOW MUCH HE REALLY LOVES YOU!" She tossed the wrench she used to hit Adriana with across the room, and then she began dragging her towards the back door. She put Adriana in the trunk of her car and went back to clean up the few specs of blood that spilled. You better hope he complies with my demand or else you will never paint again, she thought. She drove to a remote area an hour outside of Chicago and parked on the side of an abandoned house. As she was tying Adriana's wrist behind her back, she began to awake.
"Where... Am... I?" Adriana was disoriented.
"You wouldn't know if I told you."
"Why am I here? Why are you doing this?"
"You ask a lot of questions. Do you always talk this much?" Tightening the knot on the rope, she continued…
"Do you love Thailand?"
"Yes." answered Adriana.
"You think he loves you?"
"Really? Well we shall see."
"What do you want from me?"
"It's not you that I want something from. It’s him. He owes me, and it's time to pay up."
"How much? I'll pay you. Just tell me how much and it's yours." Laughing she smacked Adriana across her naïve face.
"Like I said! He owes me, not you!" She force fed Adriana some pills and poured water down her throat.
"Bottoms up bitch."
"What the hell did you just give me?"
"Just a little something to keep you calm and relaxed, now I'll be back to check on you later, don't bother screaming. No one will hear you." Adriana watched her abductor leave the barn. Minutes later she heard a car start and then drive away.
"Oh my God Thailand, what have you gotten us into?"
Before driving off she took out a sheet of paper and an envelope. She wrote twelve words, put the note in the envelope, and sealed it with a kiss.
"How deep is your love Thailand? We are about to find out." She sped off smiling at the fact that what she's waited on for so long will be hers sooner than later. She parked a few house down from his.
"I can't wait to see the look on his face when he reads this." She said to herself. Carefully, but swiftly she placed the letter on his front porch and rang the doorbell. Thailand looked out the window to see no one outside. He opened the door thinking that maybe some bad ass kids were trying to ruffle his feathers for fun. He spotted the envelope and picked it up. "Another one?" he said aloud. The contents of the note made him do a double take as his heart instantaneously dropped.
"If you ever wanna see her again, you'll give me what’s mine."
"Oh my God…Adriana." Thailand looked around one last time but didn't see anyone. He went inside and immediately called Ethan.
"Yo E, I got another one."
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