Here’s chapter 2 of the new book, “Dangerous Roommate.” Enjoy reading. Let me know your thoughts about this chapter in the comment section below.
It was broad daylight. Though warmer than a few months ago, it was cheerful and colorful. Bright-colored beach umbrellas were scattered everywhere, from red to yellow, big and small. With several limestone formations surrounding them, people lay on their backs with their sunglasses on and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine, relishing the warmth as it touched their skin. Children played around with their fellow kids, building white sand castles. Their laughter and loud chit-chat filled the air. Teenagers, old enough to flirt and fuck, swam the turquoise waters, screaming their lovers’ names. What an incredible day for everyone.
But not for Stefan.
He had been sitting there for an hour, feeling the tense swelling in his body, with his back pressed against the plush of the couch. His defenses were up as anxiety blanketed his head to toe. As his eyes meandered the room, he saw four big men, ready to grapple and break his neck when needed, surrounding him.
His face was tight, though remorseful. While the room was quiet, he could hear his breath escape his mouth. He could hear his chest pounding him, hammering him with loud triple beats. He threaded his fingers as he leaned forward, drawing his eyebrows in, watching the old woman’s smug up close. He thought there was something he needed to understand.
“Why?” he asked grimly.
The old woman expelled a loud disappointing sigh without losing his piercing stare at him. “You’ve got to do something for me.”
Stefan couldn’t help but straighten himself up and let out an insulting giggle. He flashed a forced smile. “Of course. You’re Madam Gertrude, my grandma. That’s what you do best, right?” And that same smile faded. “You only like me because I’m useful. Not because you love my mother, not because you care for me.” He stared into his eyes, giving him a long look. But to his surprise, she ignored it and beckoned her secretary instead.
When the secretary handed him an envelope, wordlessly, Stefan took it and slowly pulled out several photos. Each had an angle in an extremely detailed, high-definition format, ensuring no detail of the subject was missing.
It was a sculpture that looked like a figurine of a bird made of bronze with distinct artistic elements. There was nothing special about this art piece, he thought. It looked ordinary compared to the ones he had taken into his hands. He looked at them, stared at them, trying to get familiar with the item. It was his job, and he had been doing this since he barely entered young adulthood.
But then, he stopped when his eyes reached the last few photos in his hand. The subject had changed. When he threw his eyes on the next photo, he stopped dead with his eyes widened, hovering over the close-up image.
Even with a red cap on, Stefan saw the man’s distinct facial features. A man who looked pristine. Strong but fragile. Masculine but delicate. His skin was beige. Neatly shaved. His wavy long, chocolate-brown hair was a bit mussed. His build matched his green plaid polo and denim pants and black Raccini bag. He even had a wireless headphone pressed against his ears.
His eyes widened and narrowed while he placed the photos on the glass table, shoving them in her direction. “Who’s he?”
“This is your man. Frank Erik Zambrano. Frank, as most people would call him. Currently working at San Carlos University. Department head of School of Arts.”
Stefan looked surprised, as though he would have never expected such a title from an ordinary-looking man like him. He thought, well, Frank was decent enough to roam around the streets during daylight. With the people surrounding him in the traffic, he stood taller than the group. And from how he angled his body and the look of his surroundings, he guessed the stranger was waiting for a bus to arrive. That means he didn’t have a car. So, he had to commute to return home and work, home and work. Over and over again.
Ugh, if getting close to this man was his mission, this would be the most boring he’d ever got. “Why would I need him?”
“He knows this piece better than anybody else.”
He scoffed, thinking who would know better than him with an arched eyebrow. “How can you say so?”
Gertrude dipped her hand in her purse and took out a box of cigarettes. “Because he’s the one who made it.”
“Why wouldn’t you just take him somewhere like you used to?” His voice sharpened.
She shook his head in a nonchalant answer. “It’s messy,” she murmured, lighting up the stick between her lips, and then puffed a cloud of smoke before she caught his smug.
“You’re getting old. You’re losing the spark,” Stefan replied, knowing it was enough to punch the old woman’s gut. When he immediately noticed how her face had shifted, he couldn’t stop giving himself a good laugh. “Where’s the aggressive kingpin?”
“Shut up.” She screamed as though lashing out and was about to rise from her seat. But she managed to restrain himself and looked away to ease with a loud exasperated sigh. “We have to be extra careful these days. Unlike in my day, it isn’t easy to keep our job without getting noticed,” she said, sucking the cigarette into the depths of her lungs and out into her nose.
“Do you really think you could convince me to say yes to this?”
“Yes, I do.” Her voice was low, grainy of old age.
Stefan let out a rueful sound from his mouth and then chuckled. He shook his head, threading his fingers, when he caught that distinct Gertrude look.
“If you want to see your daughter again…”
That one-liner was enough to stab his heart, enough to shrink his overpowering confidence. He was at a loss for words. The fact his mind was being uncooperative made him even more frustrated. He wanted to say something. He needed to speak about it. He desired to lash out and scream at her.
Yet, she interrupted his inner monologue. “Make sure he’ll trust you and take you wherever it is without questions asked. And when he does, that means you’re on the right track. Because then, it would be easier for us to take it without having him know it. Isn’t that genius?”
He expelled a sound from his chest. A worried sound. Unlike most tasks he had received, this was the first time he was assigned to target someone. It wasn’t just about something, but someone to deal with. He wasn’t there just to steal an object. He was there to target a human being.
Sure, he had kicked thousands of asses and broken a few bones in his lifetime. After she had him under her wing, he had successfully stolen more than a handful of expensive things and conned hundreds of dozens of people. He was surprisingly good at it. With a small team, he was used to planning the art of stealing while enjoying the thrill of telling them what to do.
But this one. It was different. Because this mission would involve him being alone with someone. No team. Extremely targeted. A one-man show. Unlike his previous missions, he would need this man’s help to keep this mission going. He would have to waste more time knowing each other, pleasing a stranger’s heart to get what he needed.
For how long? He didn’t know. Damn. He was in deep shit, and he knew it so well. But for the sake of his daughter, he would do it. He had no other choice left. Except this one. Strike when the iron was hot, he thought.
But knowing his disadvantage, Stefan clucked, expressing his dissatisfaction. He sighed as he leaned back against the couch, planting both hands on his lap. “How would I do that?” he asked as if defensively, hoping she would get he was on guard.
“He’s been working hard for a yearly art exhibition, and he hadn’t been long in that position after the previous one resigned. That means he would need help from someone to set it up this year.”
“So?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow.
“In that case, you’ll introduce yourself as his sponsor.”
“A sponsor?” Stefan repeated with an insulting grin, cocking an eyebrow. “Like I would pay him for this fucking companionship and then leave? Like a prostitute?”
She expressed an annoyed, irritated groan. “You’re creative, Stefan. I don’t need to tell you what to do. Just do your job. You’ve been great at it. Now, do it.” She rose from her seat, grunting, and then walked past him. Because in her mind, she didn’t need to wait for her grandson’s answer. She wouldn’t take no for an answer.
And Stefan knew that so well.
Thank you so much for spending time reading this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I wrote this part months ago. This chapter, in particular, reminded me of those times when I sat before my desk, seemingly prepared to type in words, but I struggled to keep it up.
It took an external motivation to get it through, and, at that time, the NaNoWriMo event was upcoming. At that time, I thought, “This could be a great opportunity to try and give this a shot one more time. You’d done an excellent job with ‘The Rival,’ so you could do it, Mecyll.”
You know, it’s easier said than done because writing a chapter with a clear intent to finish it requires more than just a skill. Since I started writing fiction, I realized how much this work demands my ability to be naked and the guarantees to answer whether I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to face my fears, conscious or unconscious.
So, being able to write this down meant I managed despite the countless times dancing around with depression and enjoying the roller coaster rides my anxiety provided me.
This is why I don’t know how to thank you for your support, regardless of the scale or contribution size, from sharing my work with others or buying my books. It doesn’t matter because, for me, every small act you show is appreciated.
Again, thank you, and have a great day!
If you like to support my writing life, here’s what you can do:
- Get a copy of “The Rival” Uncensored Gay Romance Novel.
- Read “Dr. Clay” (Cult of Eros #1)
- Check out my latest book, “Non-Native Speakers Only.”
- Find more writing tips on my website (i.e., content writing, freelance writing, copywriting, self-publishing, novel writing, and many more!)