"A woman can be anything the man who loves her would have her be."
It was days like this that Samuel knew he lead a charmed life. He was taking his daily five mile run and decided to stop and enjoy the day. It was a nice seventy-five degrees with the sun shining and people milling about. There was a faint breeze that ruffled his dark hair and cooled the sweat on his skin. He slowed and began a sedate walk. Samuel enjoyed people watching.
It was only until he met Marissa that he had gotten in the habit of idly observing those around. Not for a purpose or because they were potential threats, but because she said that people offered an endless source of amusement. His Marissa often came up with stories about those around them. Each more outlandish than the last. She always began her stories with "Sammy meet…" and from there she'd spin an exotic tale. Or maybe just hilarious.
Sometimes they were even depressing. He could always tell when her day hadn't been good because her stories became dark. Samuel hated those times. It meant that he couldn't do anything. Of course, she always said that his presence was enough, but the sense that he had to fix his girl and make it better always settled onto him.
Marissa even coaxed him to play her little game. He wasn't as good as she was, and he could rarely make them funny. Despite this, Marissa always said that it was the best story she'd ever heard. Samuel never did understand why she wasn't a writer or a teacher to some gaggle of kids. Instead, she appraised jewelry for the idle rich. Her talents were wasted on such a boring job, but she said it made her happy. She said that it wasn't just the idle rich. Sometimes she got to see the jewelry of some old grandmother, who would regale her with stories of some family heirloom. Samuel knew that she lived for those days.
His girl wasn't a beauty. Samuel could admit that. The features of her face were too strong to be considered pretty. But he only had eyes for her. Samuel had seen beauty. He'd even been fooled once or twice by it so he knew that the greatest beauty could merely be the top of the ugly underside. As trite as it was, Samuel loved her heart.
Her voice was beautiful. When he told her how much he had loved to hear her talk, she'd blushed prettily and laughed. He was often lulled to sleep by her humming. Somewhere deep down inside he knew that he loved it because of some buried mommy issue, but it didn't matter.
Samuel also loved the fact that there was no quit in her. She never gave up. When they had first met, she had a part time job waitressing and lived in some run down apartment on the not too good side of town. She doggedly faced her day and clawed her way out of those circumstances. Marissa had refused his help at every turn. But he had never been more proud of anything than when she paid for her own place and got a better job. He'd seen her wait in line for two hours only to be turned back because of some paperwork issue. Instead of huffing and storming off or making a scene, she corrected whatever mistake was made and got back at the end of that line.
There was no defeat in her shoulders nor was there irritated resignation. It was then that Samuel knew that she was the only one for him. That there was nothing that he wouldn't do for her. Marissa was it for him. No other woman would be as patient with him. Would overlook his stiffness.
He remembered when she first asked what he did for a living. He gave some vague answer and it seemed to satisfy her. It didn't, however, satisfy him. He couldn't lie to her and he couldn't make her doubt him so he dusted off his degree and played on the fact that he had served in the military to get him a job as a market research analyst.
It was a lot of number crunching, but it was something he could do at home. He was one of many consultants and it didn't matter if he worked much. All he needed was the veneer of a legitimate job to alleviate her worries. Samuel didn't like feeling guilt. Until he got a job he could tell her about in great detail, he had felt it often.
Marissa wasn't working today so he was looking forward to doing something with her. It didn't really matter what. She was always up to going out and doing whatever came their way or whatever he had planned. Marissa was remarkably understanding when it came to the fact that he had to have a plan. It kept her grounded and freed him. Truly a case of two people uniquely suited to being together.
Samuel saw a flower vendor on the way to their apartment and bought some flowers. It was a mix of daisies, tulips, and sunflowers. They reflected his mood and the brilliance of the day. He once made the mistake of buying her some roses. She'd given him a tongue lashing. He recalled it vividly.
"Roses? Seriously? You're giving me roses? Sweet of you to think of me like this but roses are just too cliché, Sammy. Next time, get me flowers that you don't recognize. It means I'm special."
The memory brought a smile to his face. She had fluttered around the apartment and put the roses in water and a vase. She wasn't rejecting his gift…just telling him how to please her better. He liked it that way. So many women were passive aggressive about things like that, but not her. Samuel also loved that she called him "Sammy". His parents always called him "Sam" or "Samuel" at their drunkest and meanest, but surprisingly never "Sammy".
She was the only person who did. His coworkers called him Kale and none of his marks really had the chance to say his name. It just added another way to compartmentalize everything in his life. His Marissa was separate from his jobs and that was the way he liked it.
Just as he was about to reach the stairs that lead to their shared apartment, Samuel's phone rang. It was his private number. Only Marissa had this number. His business phone was tucked safely away in the drawer where he kept his gun. There were times when the feeling of dread overtakes you completely and leaves you breathless. Now was one of those times.
"Mr. Kale I presume?"
The voice on the other end was rough as though whoever had been yelling until he was hoarse. Samuel recognized that voice. In fact, he had just killed the brother of the voice.
Samuel's voice was tight when he answered, "Hello to you too, Mr. Randolph. I must confess that I am more than surprised to hear your voice and not Marissa's. Tell me, where is she?"
Sean Randolph chuckled on the other end, "I'm curious. What will it take to penetrate that calm and cool exterior? Maybe it would be the fact that I have your lady friend. Or maybe it will be the fact that I found great amusement when she fought back? She's safe. If you want her to stay that way, you'll do what I tell you to do. I want you. I plan on killing you slowly and making you pay for killing my brother. I'll be calling you in two days with the location where I want you to present yourself like the sheep you will be. I'm giving you two days to settle your affairs. I suggest you make the most of them, Sammy."
The line went dead. Samuel ran to their apartment. He wanted to pace. To throw something. To yell in rage and fear. "She's probably afraid right now. Hurt. Confused." Samuel had to shove everything he felt for her aside and get her back. Of course, he knew exactly where to start. After he dealt with Randolph, Samuel would be paying a visit to the person who sold him out. In his profession, such an affront couldn't be tolerated.
"They will all pay for this."
Samuel staked out Randolph's home. It was a huge mansion with many security guards and even more entry points. He had meticulously timed their coming. He had only a day to do so, but Samuel had been able to do what he needed to do. He was now the proud kidnapper of Randolph's wife, his sixty year old mother and his strapping sixteen year old boy.
After Samuel had calmed down, he realized something. He couldn't let Marissa be a bargaining chip. He had to do whatever it took to keep her safe. Samuel had found a long abandoned stretch of subway where he took his prizes. It wasn't too terribly difficult to find such an area in New York. All he had to do was follow the homeless and then kill said homeless. He made sure the wife was dirty, slapped around the mother and broke a few of the boy's fingers. Samuel had to make sure that it would be a Kodak moment for the ages. He was more than prepared for the phone call when he received it.
Samuel wasn't disappointed when Randolph's irate yell sounded over the phone. "You sorry son of a bitch! You will regret this!"
Samuel made sure to lace his voice with smug indifference, "There is no reason to not keep a civil tongue in your head. We're both businessmen here. I'm sending you something."
Samuel took a few pictures of his captives and sent them to Randolph
"If you hurt them, Kale, you will regret it! I'll make sure this piece of trash bitch pays for it!"
This was where Samuel had to steel himself. This was the moment that he had to forget her smile. Her stories. The way she made him feel. He had to be strong. No enemy of his could be allowed to get away with touching her. There was no reward in it and he had to make that clear. Here and now.
Samuel's voice was still smug but there were traces of irritation, "Then do it. Send me pictures. I'd love to see your technique. I want you to know something. I will gladly watch her die here and now and then I will proceed to do some very heinous things to your son. And then your wife. And then I will gird my loins and do them to your mother. I mean it will be depraved things. I have all kinds of toys to rip that boy of yours in two. I'll have him screaming. And there are many, many organizations that would just love that pretty, white wife of yours. It's a cottage industry in Mexico. So do your worst. Just know that I'll make a few home movies just for you. And if that isn't enough, I persuaded a few of your associates to cough up some documents clearly detailing some highly illegal dealings of yours. You'll spend your days in prison being anally violated by some bruiser that goes by the name of Cindy. I'm sporting wood just thinking about it. Gives me a head start."
Randolph sputtered. He could not believe this madman, "You're bluffing. There's no way you could've done this."
"Then call my bluff. Say the words and my game will begin. Or rather, hurt and kill Marissa. In fact, now I'm curious as to what will happen."
There was only silence on the other end. Samuel wasn't lying. He'd take all the grief and pain from losing Marissa out on this fool's family. Samuel would spare nothing in his vengeance. Word of this would get around in the correct circles. He'd make sure of it. Marissa could never be put in danger like this again. And woe betide the fool that dared it. This was the first and last warning.
Hearing Kale's calm voice and his demeanor chilled Sean to the bone. The way he said it. The way he was so calm in the face of his girlfriend's possible death…it was unbelievable. When he met the eyes of the woman he had kidnapped, he realized that this man would do what he said.
"Mr. Randolph? You still there? I'd hate to think that I've run you off."
Sean licked his lips, "Yes, I'm still here. I presume you want her release?"
Samuel let loose a laugh. A genuine laugh, "Of course, Mr. Randolph, let Marissa go right now. And when I have verified that she is fine then I will call you. You won't be getting out of this alive. In fact, I'm going to bludgeon you to death. With my fists. I'm going to hit and kick you until you stop moving. I figure it would take you around two hours to finally die. There will be nothing pleasant about it. It's a catharsis you see. I have to see you broken literally and figuratively. If not, well your family will suffer and the anal violation will be yours. I have deep pockets as well, Mr. Randolph. I plan on bribing numerous officials to get what I want. And I will. Get what I want that is."
Sean Randolph's gut did flip flops. "He's insane. What have I done?"
Kale's voice sounded in his ear, "Kill the guards that you had kidnap Marissa. You're not helpless and they won't suspect a thing. I'm guessing that you hired around three men. You can put bullets in them before they even know what happened. Defy me and maybe I'll cut something off Junior. You have one hour."
Samuel hung up the phone. He had no doubt that what he wanted would be done.
An hour on the dot found Samuel on the phone talking with Marissa. He hurried to their apartment, but he did make sure that he wasn't being followed. As soon as he was through his door, Marissa rushed to his arms. He had come up with a plausible story as to why someone would hurt her. He was in the marines. It stands to reason that he had come across questionable situations. Samuel explained to her that that was the reason why she had been taken. He knew that she was terrified and if she wanted out, then he would accept that. Now was not the time to force something on her.
He made her drink some tea and put a mild sedative in it. She would sleep through this night. He needed time to deal with the Randolphs.
Early morning saw Samuel Kale going on his daily five mile run. After disposing of the Randolphs and setting up some fairly sane hobos for the fall, he had taken a shower and gone on his run. Killing Sean Randolph had felt good. Samuel figured it to be the anticipation. When he got back to the apartment, he had turned on the television. It was big news. Three unidentified men were found in an empty house and the Randolphs were found in the subway system after a Good Samaritan alerted the police. Things weren't perfect, but they would get better in time as would Marissa.