“Democracy, my friends, is dead. The experiment of our ancestors has failed. It is time to look ahead to what the future holds. Time we stopped believing the lies that we were told in the past. Time we built for ourselves a new and prosperous nation.
It is a new world that we live in. One of violence, poverty and lies. We will take action against the tyrants who haunt your children's sleep. We will create jobs and safe housing to eradicate poverty permanently. And in everything, we stand for truth and openness and we fight for justice. For you, your families, your communities, our country.”
The young, dark-haired man concluded his speech and left the platform to the sound of loud applause. His quick, pale green eyes observed the reactions of everyone in the room as he turned to leave. Questions would be addressed after an hour break.
He pushed past the deep blue curtain and took the glass of water his young secretary offered him. There were tears of emotion in her eyes, not hidden by her dark rimmed glasses. He knew that she practically worshiped him.
James, always strong and steady, gave him a gentle squeeze on the shoulder and murmured, “You speak well.”
Jeremy nodded almost imperceptivity to his bodyguard and took a long sip of cool water. He noticed with annoyance that his hand was shaking, making the water shiver in the glass. He fought his exhaustion and nerves until his hand steadied. After another sip, Mr. Arnold entered, worry lines creasing his quickly aging face.
“Jerald, report,” Jeremy addressed Mr. Arnold, having to make a conscious effort to use first name, not last, as he had grown up doing.
“It is not going well—at all. Many people have died.”
“How many?” Jeremy demanded without emotion.
“Twenty-five, at least. Probably more. And the fighting is only getting worse.” Mr. Arnold’s face, in contrast to Jeremy’s, was taught and stressed. His jaw ground back and forth.
“We will go immediately to Plan C,” said Jeremy, glancing up to acknowledge the entrance of the tall and imposing Ms. Radiant Jay. She raised her dark eyebrows at Jeremy’s words.
“Plan C?” said Mr. Arnold with obvious surprise. “But that could cause more civilian casualties. Many people are allergic…”
“I have decided that Plan B will not work. Put Plan C into action immediately, please.”
Mr. Arnold looked like he wanted to protest, but thought better of it and left without another word.
When he was gone, Ms. Radient addressed Jeremy. “Your sister is causing problems again. She wants to speak with you.”
“Tell her I’m busy.”
“I don’t think that will work.”
Ms. Radient had barely finished speaking when the door burst open and Riana swept in. Jeremy had never seen his sister look so beautiful. She wore a deep purple, full skirted, embroidered gown. Long sleeves fell gracefully from her pale slender arms and her dusty blond hair was swept up so that loose curls fell about her finely boned face. Riana was usually quite homely in her glasses, braids and jeans, so this fine young lady was quite a contrast to what everyone in the room was used to.
She held in her petite hands a cream envelope with Jeremy’s name written in swirling black letters on its surface. She said nothing upon entering, but handed Jeremy the envelope. She met his eyes and held them for a moment. She then left the room.
He opened the envelope and read the handwritten letter inside.
You are invited to join me at Hailey’s Restaurant at 5:00 for dinner. Be there, and dress well. We need to talk. Do not disappoint me. ~Riana~
Jeremy folded the letter and pushed it back into its envelope which he tucked into his pocket. Ms. Radiant gave him a questioning look which he ignored. His sister was none of her business.
It wasn’t until he collapsed onto his bed late that night, exhaustion stripping his body of strength, that he remembered her letter in his pocket.