"I love you." he said, as he sat with Diya, the love of his life on a park bench on the perfect evening of the year. Diya shifted her head on Tyler's shoulder as she sat next to him, and for that one moment everything was perfect.
After half an hour they started walking up to their hotel in perfect silence. Tyler didn't like awkward silences, but in the last few days, he had become used to them. Once they reached their room, Tyler told Diya that he was going to get some ice. She nodded as she settled on the bed and started going through her phone.
Taking a last look at her as he left the room, Tyler remembered how he had fought with his family for this girl, how he had been denied all his worldly possessions and his inheritance by his extremely loaded family all because she wasn't from the richest section of society. How both of them had renounced his family and set out on their own. That's how he knew she loved him as much as he did her because even when he had nothing, she was ready to be by his side.
However things didn’t stay that way forever, two weeks ago his family had contacted him and told him that they were willing to accept her, given that he returned home immediately. Tyler and Diya accepted his family's invite and considered it a blessing for their time in exile. Thus, to celebrate they had taken this trip out to the islands with their newly acquired wealth.
However, Tyler noticed that ever since they landed here, she had been awfully quiet. He really didn't mind it because he felt that it was only right for someone to be surprised after coming into unexpected wealth. Like the fits of joy experienced by those that win a lottery. While filling ice he noticed a man arguing over the phone with someone. He heard him say,"... but that was the deal! Right now, he is worth more to us dead than alive! Why don't you understand that?"
Tyler smirked to himself and thought, “How could someone discuss a murder so casually over the phone?”. He didn't even consider calling the cops on this guy because he knew that people who plan to kill someone over the phone, rarely go through with their plans, unless they are extremely dumb.
He got up to the room to see Diya frantically pacing around the room. As soon as she saw him, she exclaimed, “Tyler we have to get out of here right now!"
"What's the matter? Are you okay?"
"There's no time to explain, let's get in the car and get away. People are coming here to kill you!"
"All in the car let's go!"
"Alright", said Tyler as he grabbed his keys and the two of them ran to their car, not bothering to check out.
After they got out of there, Tyler asked, "Well, would you care to explain? Who is trying to kill me and why?"
"I'm sorry Tyler, I really am." said a sobbing Diya.
"For what? For God's sake what is going on?" blasted Tyler, almost losing control over the wheel.
"There was a group that hired me."
"So you're a part of a cult? That's alright, it’s not a problem that can't be made to go away by throwing money at it."
"No Tyler, you don't get it" she wiped a tear off her cheek, "They....they hired me to date you."
"WHAT?" Tyler pulled the car over and stared at Diya with the utmost intensity.
"No Tyler, please don't get me wrong, I love you, that's why I stayed with you once your family denied you all your money and that's why I'm telling you that we need to get as far away from this place as possible" Diya was almost wailing right now, "Please Tyler, you have to believe me."
Tyler's head was filled with confusion, but finally, his love for Diya won the argument. "Alright. Where do we go?"
"Take the third right off the highway and follow the road, I've got a safehouse up ahead."
"No, the safehouse sounds too shady and I'm not completely sure that I can trust you."
"I get it Tyler, but there is no time, just drive."
Tyler nodded in a slow manner to show that he still protested against this idea, but he didn't have a better one.
"Ok. Get in quietly, you can go sit on the couch." whispered Diya.
"Alright, alright." said Tyler and he settled down on the couch and was about to let his tired muscles relax when suddenly he heard a gun click right behind his ear.
"Damn he's such a loser. He fell for the ruse" said a harsh voice right behind followed by rough laughter that filled the room.
Tyler tried to turn to see who was holding the gun, when he heard the man speak, "No no, you sit still Tyler, no moving."
Another voice answered him, "Ohh come on, let him see our faces, it's not like he's going to live to tell anyone."
"Diya, what is going on? Who are these men?" , asked Tyler who was now actually scared.
"Oh Tyler honey, these men are here to kill you, since you have added me on your will and now you are affluent, all of your money will come to me and these fine gentlemen get a fair share for their help." Diya was sounding like a lunatic by this point.
"But...but you said that someone had hired you? And that now you love me?" said Tyler with a teardrop running down his face.
"Oh please, no one could ever fall in love with you, I just pretended because I knew that you and your soft-hearted family would give in soon enough. How I suffered all those times when you had no money and no brains to earn any, but who am I to complain? A small price to pay for being so rich that even my grandchildren will never have to work a day in their life!"
Tyler was panting by now, but he had to think of a way out of this situation. Suddenly he spoke, "Diya, if you kill me, you will be directly linked to my murder. You won’t be getting any money."
Diya just laughed, then said," Tyler do you seriously think I am that dumb? Obviously, I'm not going to put a bullet in your head."
"Then what is your plan? I don't see any way you could kill me that doesn't implicate you for murder."
"Well, I suppose telling you won't hurt me. You are almost a dead man anyway. You see Tyler, you came here in a car in which you were driving at the most reckless speed, and then you took a turn off the highway. Now suppose someone finds your body on the dirt road, I am wounded and the car was blown to bits, no one will for a second doubt that your reckless driving led to your demise. Plus, the people at our Hotel will swear that you were behaving oddly because you left without checking out."
At this point Tyler accepted his fate, he was a dead man by all means and his face reflected the loss of his will to fight.
Diya picked up on this and ordered her men, “Boys, let's take this sad show on the road now, shall we? And you know what, there is no need to restrain him, just keep the gun pointed at his head and walk him out."
That's when it clicked to him, these men were here only to intimidate him, they wouldn't dare shoot him and risk losing all their money, so when Diya had her back turned to talk to one of her henchmen, Tyler knew that there was only one person watching him. In one quick movement, he twisted his body and grabbed the gun out of the man's hand and pointed it at his head.
Without thinking much about it, he swung the gun and aimed at her heart.
It was general knowledge, kill the leader and the followers will disband.
When he tried to pull the trigger, something came over him, he just couldn't do it. Flashes of how happy they had been came across his mind and his eyes blurred with tears.
Quietly he said, “Shooting you wouldn’t make me better than you. You loved my money but I loved you. If money is what you still want, come and take it.”
He dropped his gun to the ground and said, “Just know, that I love you."
Author ~ Suansh Joshi
Editor ~ Ananya Chaure