"I had a question, aunt." Jared spoke cordially, not wanting to insult her or his ever silent uncle.
"Ask away!" She replied happily, always at his service it seemed. She stirred her tea and blew on it before sipping it. This stale and tasteless tea was obviously her pride.
"It's about the family who owns the Cafe' Royale." It slipped off his tongue so easily. He was so anxious to go there and see how everything would unfold.
"What of them?"
"Well who are they? I'd assume they are famous. Everyone seems to rave about that cafe..."
"Oh yes. Mr. Samson Murray is one of the wealthiest men around. He inherited an oil well back in America, a timber factory and on top of all that his cafe'! I'd assume that his little food venture is only a hobby as he doesn't need much money at all."
Jared couldn't lie and say that the news of this mans immense wealth didn't excite him further. This meant more possibilities than he had initially set out hoping for. Perhaps this was, after all, his chance.
"And his daughter?"
A smile crept onto her lips. Those thin, paled, and peeled lips. "Farrah Murray?"
"Is that her name?"
She nodded. "She's a sweetheart, that one. She comes down to these parts, not caring what rubs off on those fine clothes of hers and she visits so many of us. Gives us money, brings food, talks to the children."
"An everyday saint." He thought of those wide and curious eyes and inwardly relished. This plan was getting better.
"Oh yes. And she is rather beautiful too. Must definitely be a jewel in her father's eyes."
"And is Mr. Murray married?"
"That's a sad tale, that one. His wife died in childbirth. She had delivered a boy and yet Mr. Murray's son died not a few days after."
"So he has no heir?"
"None to speak of."
He made a noise of understanding and nodded.
"What is the sudden fascination with Mr. Murray and his family?" She asked like she was longing to know what was going through his mind. Was she really so lonely?
"People fascinate me." Jared replied simply, a smile on his face.
"I know you told me all about my sister in your letter but you must tell me, Jared. Her last days, were they very harsh?" Her face had darkened a bit and out came the sad side to this woman who always wore a happy and ruddy complexion.
Lightly he tapped his napkin to his mouth and looked her directly in the eyes. "Not at all, aunt. She was happy. She had myself and my father at her bedside. It was what she wanted."
His aunt sighed with relief and began at her tea again. Jared watched her a moment, wondered when in life people decided to just give up. He believed that anybody in this world, if they had enough ambition, could find themselves a higher place in life. No one was eternally condemned to their station. He believed it was a choice. One that didn't sit all too well with him.
"I'm thankful for my mother's family." His words perked his aunt's attention again. "If not for them I would be left talking like my father, eating like an animal and smelling like a goat." He wanted to say that at least some people had ambition but he held his tongue.
"There is nothing wrong with humble and small upbringings." It was one of the first things his uncle had said since his arrival. He got the feeling that he didn't like him much.
"Of course not but education and speaking and writing...well it helps." His aunt replied, giving Jared a nod that said she agreed with him completely.
"Now if you both would excuse me I would like to freshen up before I head out." He stood up, set his napkin down and left the table.
He made his way through the small, crumbling house and slipped into the small washroom. He wondered how much money this Farrah Murray had given his family, and how often. Did his aunt spend it on tea? Did she waste it all on finery that could not mask her poverty instead of repairs? Or better yet an upheaval?
He looked at his own reflection. He couldn't lie and say that he wasn't completely thrilled by the face looking back at him. His wide eyes were the color of jewels, blue glittered wildly within them. His face was handsome, his jaw sharp and his lips thin. His hair was dark and brushed back off his forehead. The only thing he disapproved of were his clothes, those tattered clothes that didn't suit him at all. He couldn't change it though, at least not yet.
He hurried himself up, freshening as much as he could before leaving the bathroom. His aunt was busy in the kitchen washing up the dishes when he came out. But his uncle was sitting in an arm chair near the door. He tried to ignore the old man, that aged glare but as he made his way to the door he held out his cane and tapped it loudly against the door.
"Am I not allowed to leave, uncle?"
"I don't care if you are my sister-in-law's son. Nor do I care if you are my wife's nephew. You, boy, are not allowed in my house for long. I will not permit you and all your filth to remain in my house."
"My filth, uncle? Honestly, you shame me."
"I intend to if you continue staying here. You have a fortnight and then I want you out."
Jared smiled. "Trust me uncle, it will be sooner than that."
The man furrowed his brows with confusion. Jared was so confident, he hadn't even been taken aback by the harshness of the order.
"And when that time comes you will be sorry you spoke to me this way. Because who, other than me, will lift a finger to take you out of this mess?" His smile then was more arrogant than before. He didn't wait for another word, he simply opened the door and slipped out.
The evening awaited him and once he got out of the poverty stricken area he could smell the fresh scents of the earth. Flowers were blooming, he knew that somewhere among them he smelled roses. The sky above was dark but glittered brilliantly with a million stars as did the moon who tried its hardest to be the only light. The wind was gentle, it would no doubt pick up later. He welcomed this new found city. It was slowly making him a new man. He praised the day he had set his foot on that boat to sail here, it had been the best thing he had ever done.
He wasn't nervous, neither was he afraid. He was right where he had to be and he could feel the confirmation of that strongly in his soul. This was his path, this was definitely where he was meant to be. He had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. To become the man he was meant to be this was the path he had to go down, these were the choices he had to make. He wasn't going to lie down and take the beating the world had abused so many with. He was going to take what little he had, what decisions he could and become a newly born man.
His feet swiftly took him to the Cafe' Royale. It was closed, exactly as he had expected. He smiled to himself when he saw movements behind the nearly sheer curtains. They were waiting for him. It was no doubt not out of fear but instead out of curiosity. What sort of man threatened one of the most wealthiest men the way he had over a bit of money? What sort of man would appear in a high end cafe and demand payment for treatment? They probably had never met a man like himself in their entire lives. That was because there were no other men like him.
He made his way to the door. It was locked. Lightly he knocked and there was a scuffle inside. He nearly laughed aloud. Were they actually panicking?
Finally the door slowly opened and the waiter from the day before stood there. "Who calls?" He questioned, looking down into Jared's eyes.
"I'm expected." He stated, moving past him and into the restaurant.
The dining room was filled with smoke and the sharp smell of alcohol. In the darkness it wasn't the same kind of atmosphere. He saw Samson Murray, it was nice to finally put a name to the face. He smiled.
"Hello Mr. Murray. Are you ready to lose everything you've ever worked for?"