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(Unexpected meeting (1)

Derek was waiting for Joe outside the school gates. He had already called the Principal of Joe's school and told him that Joe had to take some days off school. Considering that Joe was Jackson's son and Derek was the CEO of JS Group, the Principal had no choice but to agree. He dare not offend either Derek or Jackson, after all.     

Jackson was walking out of the school, carrying a colorful cartoon-painted schoolbag, when he noticed Derek outside. He saw Derek pacing to and fro looking anxious. His teacher had told him that he had a visitor outside school and his Principal had also informed him that his parents had specially asked for a few days of leave for himself. Joe had a lot of thoughts going on in his head.    

 All of a sudden, he panicked, 'Something must have happened at home! Why didn't dad pick me up himself, ' he thought worriedly.   

As Joe walked towards him, Derek heaved a sigh of relief.     

"Uncle Derek, why are you here?" the little boy asked, as he sized up his uncle, looking positively curious.    

 Derek knew that this clever boy would never go home with him, if he didn't have an answer right away. So he paced himself and said,"Listen Joe, you are not safe at school anymore. That's why you cannot go to school for some days,"  he said and hoped Joe would listen to him. 

Cherry had been kidnapped by Bobby and nobody knew about her whereabouts and her condition. Jackson had asked Derek to look after the boy and he was going to do that to the best of his abilities.     

Joe noticed the worry and anxiety on Derek's face and immediately asked,"What is wrong, Uncle Derek?" As his uncle didn't respond, Joe asked again,"Has something bad happened?"  

Derek had decided that he would not tell Joe anything. But then again, Joe was a sharp boy and he would notice everything, so he decided to tell him the truth.    

 He got straight to the point and said,"Joe, your mother was kidnapped by Bobby. Your father is on his way to save her but he was very worried about you. 

So he asked me to keep you safe. That is why I am here."    

Joe's expressions turned dark, the moment he heard this. 'I know Bobby, a dangerous guy who worked for my father. Has he betrayed him so that he can destroy him?' he thought. He was most worried about his mother. 'What if they hurt her?' He suddenly panicked at the thought, 'Mommy's pregnant! What if they hurt her?'  

  In an impulse, he grabbed Derek's hand and asked him,"Uncle Derek, where is Mommy?" He was impatient to know how Cherry was and where they had taken her.   

"I don't know. You dad is looking for her,"  Derek replied. He didn't know the specific location where Cherry had been taken. 

But he assumed that she would be taken to a place which was under Eric's complete control. Jackson was driving there right now.     

But just then, Joe started crying,"Uncle Derek, take me to mommy right now. I want to see her. I hope she is safe! If they do anything to hurt her, I promise I will not spare them."    

Derek realised that Joe was becoming a little unstable, so he pacified him and said in a soothing, kind voice. "Joe, first you must sit in the car. Once we leave from here, we will call your daddy up and ask him where he is. Then we can go to him, okay?"   

 "Alright, let us hurry up!" Joe urged him.     The moment they got into the car, Derek called Jackson up. But Jackson wasn't answering his phone.   

Joe asked anxiously,"Can't you get through to him?" Derek tried to comfort him,"Daddy is fine. The moment we know where he is, we'll know where Mommy is. Don't worry."   

 "The phone went unanswered, maybe your daddy is driving. He was very worried when he found out that Cherry was missing,"  Derek said patiently. But he could feel a tumultuous storm erupting in his mind, he was worried that Cherry might be hurt. He was also thinking that Jackson might be injured. 

The only good thing was that Joe was safe and with him. Eric had not been able to kidnap the little boy at least.    

 Joe suddenly said,"I'm going to search for daddy's location."    

He quickly opened his schoolbag and got his tablet out. His tablet was connected to the WiFi and all he had to do was put in Jackson's phone number. He could trace him by that.     

He immediately put in the details required and a red dot appeared on his screen.   

"Uncle Derek, I found dad. Look!" Joe exclaimed happily, pointing to the screen.     

Derek glanced at the map and knew at once where Jackson was heading. The route showed the way towards Eric's lair. It would take Jackson a while to reach there.   

  "I know where he is going,"  Derek responded. Without looking at the map or at Joe, he put the gears in full swing and his car galloped at top speed.    

 "We must go straight there so that I can protect mommy and not let anyone touch her or hurt her,"  said Joe with resolution.     

"Fasten your seatbelt, Joe. We're going to go very fast now,"  said Derek. He couldn't think straight right now and was only worried about Jackson's and Cherry's safety.     

Joe did as he was told.   

Lily looked around to see a dark, cold warehouse. It was a large room with broken window panes and vents, through which the sunlight entered. There was dust flying all around them, in the air as well as on the ground. In spite of the bright sunlight, Lily felt scared inside this dungeon-like place.     

Lily grasped at Cherry's hand and walked ahead, tightening her grip. She knew that with six burly men behind them and Bobby walking ahead of them, they had no chance to escape.     

Walking forward, Cherry saw a man sitting in the distance. Behind him was a line of men dressed in black clothes, all standing upright.     

Looking all around, Lily saw Eric sitting on a stool. She squinted her eyes and realised it was definitely him, Eric- the merciless, stone-hearted man. Anyone who had met him for the first time would think he was the leader of some gang.

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