P R O L O G U E
Cale Davenport glanced across the room one last time just to ensure he had everything for his trip. He was only a few hours away from absolute freedom. It had taken an act of congress to convince his father that he was long overdue for a vacation. The endless hours and demands of running one of the world’s largest conglomerates had taken its toll on him. His nights were restless and his appetite nonexistent. The world continually speculated about his gaunt features and pale skin as of late. There were a ton of memes at his expense, likening him to The Walking Dead.
The stress he constantly endured aged him and Cale knew if he did not make immediate changes to his life, his entire well-being was at stake. His father, Makhail Davenport, was a tireless tyrant. There was no sugarcoating it; his father was everyone’s worst nightmare. He was well known for his complete devotion to the company and his full emersion into every aspect of running the business. When Cale’s mother passed away from brain cancer, Makhail lost all interest in life outside of Davenport Industries. Cale doubted he would even see his father if he did not work at the company with him. His little sister, hopefully too young to be affected by her father’s neglect, was well cared for by Cale and a team of personnel hired after his mother passed.
Cale smiled fondly to himself. His little Alessandra was growing into such a beautiful young lady. Guilt overcame him every time he thought about the week he would be away from her, but Cale knew he needed this break before he broke. He wanted to be alone with his thoughts and escape the chaos of the city. He was headed to the Morningside Ocean Estate on Vancouver Island. The majestic retreat was well known for its rock and glass structure that projected a perfect view of the waterfront.
A little kayaking, sunbathing, and swimming were on his immediate agenda, if he could just wrap up a few loose ends at the office. He actually would have preferred a more low key resort but his father insisted since the owner was a former business partner. It was always business with his father; even vacations were strategically planned to further the future of the Davenports.
It was beyond frustrating how much control Makhail exerted over his son. Cale’s entire existence was carefully calculated, thoughtfully planned and meticulously executed. His father’s plans for his life took precedence and Cale was left with little choice but to follow as instructed. Hell, he wasn’t even allowed to date without Makhail’s interference. His father was adamant that Cale not think about settling down until he was officially head of Davenport. Makhail trusted no one with the family’s legacy and this forced Cale into the middle of unnecessary schemes to keep the board members in the dark about various activities within the company.
He often wondered if his mother’s death had left his father a little crazy. There were several moments of each day where Makhail appeared to be completely delusional. Cale kept his suspicions to himself. The last thing he needed was to show any weaknesses where his father was concerned, on the off chance there was a shred of truth to his father’s paranoia.
Cale glanced at his watch and realized he better hurry before he missed his flight. Grant, his faithful driver, was waiting curbside with all his baggage already secure in the trunk of the limo. “Did father make you upgrade the limo again, Grant?” Cale inquired. “No sir, it was the only one available and I didn’t have time to get the whys without risking you being late for your trip” Grant explained. “No problem my good man, I was just curious. Off we go, I am anxious to escape my imprisonment” Cale jokingly stated.
Grant was one of the few people he could be absolutely candid with as he knew he would never betray his trust. “All set, sir Davenport and I have the temperature just the way you like it and Matilda provided a light snack for your journey” Grant offered. No matter how much Cale insisted, Grant would never dispense with the formalities, it was just his way. And Matilda, their long time cook could always be depended upon to have something delicious and ready for him to eat, especially with his recent weight loss. Comfortably ensconced in the limo, Cale finally allowed himself to just lay back and relax as he was on his way to peace and quiet. His phone immediately started buzzing and without a second thought, Cale turned it off and instructed Grant to not disturb him. He was on vacation damn it – the world could wait.
But it was at that moment that a strong sense of guilt hit him again. What if it had been Alessandra trying to reach him? What if something bad had happened to her? He shook off the feeling. He certainly didn’t want to start becoming as paranoid as his father. He had left Alessandra in the very best care and knew he really didn’t have any worries. Besides, Alessandra was very independent and willful. Cale would be the last person she would try to call for rescue. She always tried to solve her own problems, even if it meant getting in trouble with their father.
Thinking of his sister, he realized how different they both were in mentality. Despite the hardships from losing a mother at an early age and enduring a father who basically ignored her existence, Alessandra took it all in stride. She hadn’t shed a tear when their mother was laid to rest and she never backed down from the verbal abuse heaped upon her by Makhail when he was displeased with her actions. Cale found it quite exhausting playing the referee between the two and found it best just to simply keep them apart as often as he could – which neither seemed to mind in the least.
Alessandra had only shown affection to her mother and Cale, but for Makhail, she emanated nothing but hatred. Cale never could figure out the animosity between father and daughter. The times he had broached the subject, neither one would say much about the matter. So Cale quickly learned to leave well enough alone. Cale loved his sister to distraction and had taken great pleasure in helping to raise her. There was nothing he would not do to please her. He promised himself that he would spend more time with her once he returned from his trip. She would be graduating from high school soon, and much to his dismay, she planned to study abroad.
Cale had hoped she would study closer to home so he could keep a close eye on her but he wasn’t overly surprised with her decision. Alessandra had very definite ideas about joining Davenport Industries, but Cale knew his father would never allow it. Makhail felt it was a man’s world and a woman’s place was at home with children. His archaic way of thinking was responsible for many battles with Alessandra, not to mention some pretty hefty lawsuits within the company. Cale hoped to dissuade Alessandra from her ambitions with Davenport Industries and had already initiated efforts towards her being able to manage a spinoff company that he owned separately from DI.
It was unfortunate that Alessandra was not the first born and a boy. She had so much more strength than Cale would ever hold. He was used to bending to his father’s every whim, he simply felt it made his life easier, if not more stressful. But there were times he really feared for his sister, for he had seen things in her that really concerned him. He didn’t want to believe Alessandra was destined to grow up and become like their father; cold, heartless, and ruthless. He desperately wanted to believe the darkness he saw in her was simply due to a hard upbringing with the loss of their mother and an impossible father.
Cale shook off these thoughts as they were beginning to really depress him. Right now, he planned to simply relish the freedom he had been afforded. He closed his eyes and fell into a deep slumber. It was several hours before he awoke, still groggy from his long nap, he realized they should have arrived at the jet by now. He looked at his watch that read 7:05 p.m. and he realized he was four hours late for his flight.
The partition was up but Cale simply pushed the button to lower it so he could speak with Grant and find out why they were not at their destination. But it didn’t budge, so Cale picked up the phone to call Grant on his mobile phone, but it went straight to voicemail. He had forgotten he told him not to bother him with any calls but he should at least answer the phone. Cale began to bang on the partition, “Grant, Grant, can you hear me? What is going on? Grantttt?” Cale shouted. It was at that moment that he was slammed to the back of the seat as the car abruptly speed off.
Cale felt panic and a sense of dread that something was very wrong. He tried to roll down his window but it was stuck as well. He tried the door latch, and realized he was locked in the car with no way out.
He began to pound on the partition again, this time even kicking it but failed again to break the barrier between him and whoever was driving. He was thoroughly trapped and he had no idea why. It was dark outside and the dark tint of the windows made it impossible to see where they were going. The car once again started to increase in speed. Cale prayed they would be pulled over by the police. By now he knew it wasn’t Grant at the helm of the wheel, he just prayed they hadn’t hurt the poor man.
Finally, the car began to come to a halt. Cale was anxious to find out what this was all about. His first inclination was ransom. If that was the case, his father would happily pay it and Cale could go on with his life; if they didn’t mean to kill him first.
It was at that moment that the partition slowly started to lower. Cale sat up and tried to see who was in the driver seat. He could only see two figures dressed all in black, one in the driver’s seat, and the other in the passenger seat whispering amongst themselves. He strained to hear, but could not make out what they were saying. “If it’s money, my family will pay. Just make your demands, and it will be paid. I am Cale Davenport son of Makhail Davenport!” Cale told them immediately. No response. Cale felt a cold chill run throughout his body. Were they going to kill him? Who were these masked men and what did they want?
“You do realize I am a Davenport and all hell will break loose if I am harmed? You better think twice about what you are doing. There is still time to let me go!” he screamed. The two figures began to mumble again. Then the driver turned around and looked him straight in the eyes with a piercing stare.
His eyes were such a light blue they were almost white and Cale felt a shiver go down his spine. Cale could tell from the way the man’s eyes shifted that he was smirking and Cale became enraged. He began screaming for his life and pounding on the windows trying to break free.
What happened next took him by surprise and he froze from sheer fear. The two men put the car in drive and jumped out. Cale began to frantically pull at the door and tried to climb over the partition to escape, but his kidnappers had not left enough space for him to squeeze through. All he could see were the headlights shining into pitch black-ness ahead of him. Then the car tipped and took a nosedive and Cale was falling. His last thought was Alessandra.