Love or Live
Love or Live
Author: Stephen
Chapter One

Dawn's sky blue hue washed over the pompous mansions, majestically constructed chateaus and grand, imposing manors that distinguished the ever tranquil Estate – Fairford Overlook, from the ruckus New York City was famous for. 

Fairford was the paradise of New York, the safe haven for the lofty-minded honeybees to produce the financial honey in pacification before consumption from the insatiable city of New York. It was the estate said to be ever flowing with wealth as indispensable as the pacific. It was where I, Harvey Rhett, 19 year old undergraduate from the prestigious Starglint College and heir to BlueStream Advercomp lived – with my family… until things happened.

**

I used to believe there was nothing better than a quick morning jog on my street, Vine Cutaways, with the clear morning breeze trickling down my windpipe, the melodious but unstable, high-pitched chirrups of birds filling the atmosphere and the cold, sweet feeling of perspiration sliding out of my skin as I waved at old folks with a smirk etched on my face. I used to believe a lot of things and one was that I was untouchable with all of my parents' wealth and fame but time, and murders, and Maisie changed my perception of life… forever. 

That morning was nothing out of the usual, it was the beginning of winter and it was the tradition of Fairford folks to import trees – the bald cypress, Texas ash, Pecan and other trees that could survive the winter. 

The cold strong winds nearly knocked me off my feet as I stepped out of our villa onto our thick green garden that swept across our porch but was adroitly interpenetrated by gray fancy stones that thrust a path between our house's building and the rest of the world.

My fingers were curled up deep into my woolen gloves and my beanie was pulled over my ears, close to my chin before a whitish cold fog escaped from my nostrils. Winter! 

I turned on my phone’s GPS tracker and set my Nike Run Club application to notify me as I hit my mark, 500 metres – a little distance after the well known Magnolia brothel and I took off, my locks of long, shiny black hair bouncing out of my beanie every time the soles of my Nike came in contact with the cold tarmac as the twiddles of birds motivated me. 

**

I was 2.4 seconds from setting a new record for myself but failed after an incisive knee sprain quaked through my right leg bringing me to halt. I strolled home feeling incomplete, drenched in my sweats, gasping for the cold winter air to moderate the hot air in me as I stopped over at my friend’s – a flaxen colour haired, 17 year old Kathy who had bright, innocent green eyes that reminded me of grasses and fields. 

She was two years my junior and we were once very close before life drifted us apart and I barely met anymore for little chats about the latest stores or movies or musicians. If only I had known it was the last time she’d get to hobnob with the Russell she knew, I’d have lingered longer and given her a big hug. Little did I know that…

**

As I turned the doorknob and opened the door slowly to attenuate the implicative squeak, the crimson carpet imported from Italy and the milky unblemished walls where fancy bronze candleholders were splendidly hung were revealed. The Rhett Villa.

I stopped to grab a Starbucks Refresher from the fridge as I made it up to my room for a warm bubble bath.

**

My father came from a family that's deeply into fashion. If you see any sweatshirt, jeans, shoes, face caps and chains with "Rhett-ina" inscribed on it or it’s emblem, bright blue eyes. It's my dad's family. Unfortunately, my dad's elder brother was the one that inherited the company. My dad, being a proud man, wanted to start from the scratch but if you asked me, he really didn't.

**

My dad's company was once a regular participant in the rat race but through his family's connection with people at the top of the ladder, in no time it had left the rat race and was the leading runner in the "money" race. His success today still had some things to do with his family and although "Rhett-ina" went down another bloodline, everyone of us had a lot of their products and that explained why he didn’t flinch at the financial burden I placed on him when he told us over dinner that he was going on a three day trip to Sofia, Bulgaria for a summit which I mentioned I’ll go with him on, at least, to evade the boring holiday with lots of snow in an environment I was accustomed to already.

**

My mum's family was filled with mostly models, actors and actresses, musicians and the "black sheeps", pornstars. My mum was a model, a successful one but she still assisted dad with advertisement and some office work a lot and sometimes my uncle, the CEO of Rhett-ina with advertizing. My dad's company mostly produced sleek magazines, hosted world-class events and invited the la-di-da class (another means of advertizing his company) for peerless parties in high calibre hotels like MeadTown (a 6 star hotel owned by my dad's pal). My dad also had a radio station, BlueStream FM, where they had nice menus and a lot of paid adverts to keep each day running smoothly but it was just another means through which he could reach his audience.

**

Maybe if I had known that going with my dad to Bulgaria was the beginning of a journey through the dark side of life – aching griefs, disappointments, gory murders and deaths, kidnaps, too, betrayal and… love, I’d have remained in America – my homeland, jogging every morning, catching up on friends, keeping my snitch twin siblings – Mason and Madison out of my business, cruising Fairford Overlook and all of New York City with an almost inexhaustible dough. But I didn’t know of the consequences of a simple three day business trip to Bulgaria, and I paid for it… dearly.

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