Chapter 9

That was the first time when Howard felt uneasiness around men. He was feeling suffocated to breathe as he noticed four eyes were staring holes in his body.  “Are they gays?!”, was the only question circling his head. He couldn’t meet their eyes and kept looking at the casino downstairs. 

Feeling the pressure and not being sure if his boss was going to start the topic first, Paul broke the silence in the room, “Haha, the meeting was unexpected. Don’t you agree, Sir?”

Mr Dixon kept looking at Howard without replying to Paul and that confirmed Howard’s doubt, declaring Mr Dixon as a homosexual. Howard thought of making himself clear before a misunderstanding had started. He cleared his throat, “I’m straight!”

However, hearing Howard clearing his throat, Mr Dixon also at the same time said, “I’m sorry.” But then again, Howard’s weird line forced him to ask again, “I’m sorry?!”

“Ya’ve been staring holes in me!”, Howard protested.

Realising their mistake, Paul and Mr Dixon started stammering, “Oh! No... No!! We...We’re just..hahaha!”

Their laughs made Howard sigh in disappointment. He felt the anger that started to grow inside him for wasting his valuable time. Howard thought he was meeting the man who built a huge empire on his effort, the billionaire businessman, Nile Dixon. But he turned out to be the lame and excusing person Howard never wished to face. 

He kept the glass on the table and crossed his leg, sitting comfortably on the couch. Tilting his head a little bit, he asked, “So, what’s the business?”

Howard’s tone was strict and serious. Nile was aware of that kind of voice. It meant, “Stop wasting time and come to the point!” He was just about to start when Paul interrupted him, “We are here to discuss the new product of our company. We wanna launch it in Roveign city first.”

Nile was burning in rage. He was about to get to the point and ask Howard about his identity. But because of Paul, he had to wait then. Moreover, he didn’t know about the new product that was being discussed. 

Howard intensely stared at Nile who was looking anxious and kinda distracted. Even Neo could feel the uneasiness around him. He was smiling looking at the old man fidgeting and spoke on his behalf, “Is that the real issue?”

Nile looked at Neo who was making another glass for Howard. The corner of the glass was glittering when he held it under the light. Nile hid his eyes from the light, it was disrupting his vision. Howard somehow noticed when he gasped from the pain. Without any hesitation, he got up from his couch covered up for Nile. 

Neo was shocked at his sudden behaviour. But he wasn’t the only one who was shocked, Howard was confused himself. He couldn’t guess why his body moved on its own watching Nile in pain. Everything was happening so fast that everyone in the room was in a typical position. Nobody understood what they needed to say or do in those moments. Although Howard felt the urge of getting out of the room as he could feel the gazes around him after behaving weirdly, Nile held him back. He grabbed Howard’s rushing figure.

“We need to talk…”

Howard glared at Nile who was gripping his hand. Feeling the pressure, he let go of his hands. But this time he wasn’t anxious or troubled. He cleared his voice, “We aren’t here to discuss our new product. There’s something else for us being here.”

“What the!! My guess was right then?!”, Neo cried out loudly. He was clapping his hands, “Bro! What do ya think?”

Howard jolted Nile’s hands away. He was so furious that he could kill both Nile and Paul on the spot, but he signed his men to do his part. He was just about to exit the room when Nile shouted, “Don’t you wish to know who you are?”

Nile suddenly felt the coldness of guns on his neck and head. He rolled his eyes around and saw Howard’s men pointing guns at him. The one who shouted first was Neo, “Don’t ya joke around!! One blow and yar head will fly in the sky!!!”

Quell opened the lock on his gun to fire at Nile and Paul. Right, that moment Howard shouted, “STOP!!” His voice echoed in the room. 

“But…”, Leo protested to Howard. However, he had to stop. Howard’s sharp gaze even pierced Nile’s soul. “He looks just like Ian, yet nothing like him. More like...Diane!!”

“Get outta here!!!” Howard shouted at Nile and Paul. His eyes were red and he was breathing heavily. Nile could see the veins on his head and hands. Howard was undoubtedly angry. Not only that, he could even kill them. But as one said, strike the iron while it's hot, Nile also struck Howard’s hot head with his words.

“I know about your past and your true identity!! Don't you wanna know?”

Howard took the gun from Quell’s hands and pointed it straight at Nile’s forehead. Seeing that Paul fainted on the spot. He had been dealing with that don and his goons for a while. Unable to take anymore, he gave up the rest in God’s hands.

On the other side, Nile was planning to play on his own. He wasn’t ready to give up so soon after crossing the difficulties of the past years. So he held the pointed gun and said, “Shoot ahead! I don’t care..” His hands were shaking, yet he wasn’t ready to let go. 

Howard suddenly relaxed his grip, releasing the trigger and taking the gun away, “What proof do ya have?”

“If you’re the real Howard Dixon, then you must have a locket of white gold”, Nile confidently replied.

Howard blankly stared at Nile. His gaze was so firm that Nile couldn’t guess if he had hit the mark or not. So he just kept looking for another solid proof. While thinking about it, Howard asked, “What if...I don't have the locket? Then?”

“The locket isn’t the only proof I have. If you are the real one then you have had an abscess on your right leg since your birth. Howard’s eyes were about to pop out. And that confirmed Nile’s suspicion about Howard. He knocked his hands together as soon as he found his real nephew. But he was careful. So he slowly approached, “Look! I’m not here to take you back with me. You’ve grown up here. I can’t just drag you now.”


“Why, you ask?” Nile came closer to Howard and gazed inside his eyes. “I’m here to share the truth.”

Neo had anxiety in his voice as he screamed out, “The truth?! What is the truth and why after all these years?”

“Neo!!”, Howard’s growling voice put a stop to his anxiety. He backed down, making way for Howard who came forward to Nile. “Spill it!!”

Nile’s face brightened up. He tightly hugged the unprepared Howard, standing before him and whispered, “I’ve been looking for you for a long time. I can’t describe how happy I’m now!” Nile grabbed Howard by his arm and scanned him thoroughly, “I was worried for you to be growing up like a weak boy. But you’ve proved you’re Diane’s son!”

“Diane?!”Howard gasped!

“Ah..”, Nile took out the money bag from his pocket. There was a picture of four people in it. A man who had a bright smile on his face. There was a woman, holding a baby in her arms and a young boy who was a teen. A perfect picture of a perfect family, still looked new as if it was taken the day before. 

Nile pointed at the woman, “Look! She’s Diane, your mother. But if you ask're more like your father.” 

Howard bent down to look at the picture carefully. However, the hazy lights made his vision blur. So he snatched the bag from Nile’s hands and checked the picture again. The woman in black hair in the picture had a fierce look on her face, standing boldly with the child. Her royal blue eyes were shining brightly even if it was just a picture. What more was that Howard could see his reflection on her! 

Neo, Quell and Leo surrounded Howard to take a peek at the picture. The other men stood far from him, being unable to guess his mood. It was certain that they wished to live longer. So maintaining a safe distance seemed to be the right decision for them. 

Leo almost fell on Howard but Neo got his back. He thanked Neo and murmured, “That beauty in the picture!”

“SHH!!!”, Quell slapped Leo’s back.

“What, man? She is the copycat of our boss!!”, Leo protested on his behalf while suffering from the hit.

Nile came forward and took the photo from Howard’s hands. He intensely gazed at it, “More like...your boss is her copycat.”

“Where is she now?”Neo suddenly asked, “Why now?!”

“Yeah! He’s right! Why now, man? Where’ve ya been all these years?”, Leo chorused with Neo. “Ya’r a scam dude!! Get outta here!”

Nile looked back at Howard avoiding Leo. Howard could feel his gaze on him even though he was staring aside with a painful look on his face. He took a deep breath before he said, “Where are they now?”

“That’s the reason why I’m here after so many years.” Nile dropped the pic on the glass table and sat on the couch, beside fainted Paul. After a lot of suspense, he said, “We need to talk.”

It was the time that he faced the truth, Howard knew that. He could see the hesitance among his men. But the curiosity to know about the past that he had brushed aside, putting his future before him, was then poking his interest. And men can barely fight with it, So Howard also went along. At least he thought that he had the right to know about his identity. But once he was the one who said, “Ya’r the national ID of yar life” and then he ran after the fake one. Who would’ve known that the truth could be so hard that would change many lives and open vaults that were supposed to be closed forever?

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