Joan

in The Ink Well3 months ago (edited)


Photo by Kebs Visuals:

Jack was charming and charismatic, and from the moment they met, Joan felt a connection. Although her intuition told her that something was off. Her thoughts kept circling, whispering that Jack seemed off, like a missing puzzle piece eluding her heart. Yet, try as she might, her understanding just couldn't grasp whatever it was..

Joan had always trusted her intuition. It was like a sixth sense, guiding her through life, helping her to make decisions and avoid danger. But she never knew just how powerful it was until the day she met Jack which she could still remember clearly.

It was on a summer Saturday afternoon, and Joan was shopping at the mall. She was browsing through the clothes racks, looking for a new outfit to wear to an upcoming event at work, which she hated so much but still kept it going because it was a family heritage.

Business wasn't booming at that time so she was always running a bit low on funds, not until she met this client, Mr Red, who asked that her firm help him to manage his wealth. That was the turnaround for her firm.

"Try again," she said softly.

And again it was declined.

Feeling all embarrassed, she rushed to get out of the store, but this stranger in line behind her, stopped her in her tracks.

"Chill, no biggie," he chipped in. "I'll cover your purchase."
"Awwn, that's very generous of you, but I couldn't possibly let you do that," she said, surprised by such kindness and keeping a smile. "I can't accept such a gift."

"Please, It wouldn't hurt to do something nice for someone today. I'm Jack, by the way." He pleaded.

The man said, extending his hand for a shake.

Joan, reluctant at first, but eventually she gave in.
"Alright," she agreed, extending her hand. "I'm Joan".

As they shook hands, Joan noticed how strong and warm Jack's hand felt in hers. It wasn't a regular kind of hand but she liked it.

" So, I'm kinda trying to snag a bite," Jack throws in. "Thought maybe you'd want in? No strings attached"

"Thank God. I thought that was your way of wanting me to pay back for your kindness" she paused."Well since I will be idle for the next few minutes if I get home, apart from trying the new clothes. No problem" she added although she was still feeling a bit flustered, but she agreed to join Jack for a quick meal.

They grabbed seats at a close-by café, and Joan kinda marveled at how easy the convo with him felt. They went on about life, work, what gets them ticking. And, well, the rest is what's unfolding on these lines you're reading now.

Somehow her intuition kept telling her something was off about Jack, but she kept on dismissing it because she was so drawn to Jack.

Now, they're casually wandering in the park, like their usual hangout. That's when Jack said

"Joan, there is something I haven't told you and at this point I'll like to tell you. You've asked me about it several times in the past. Hold up, before I spill the beans, gotta be sure you'll love me still when the whole this truth hits you.

Joan's heart was pounding, she withdrew her hands from him. She had no idea what Jack was about to say. Of Course several times she had confronted him on how she felt he was hiding something from her and he has always denied it. Now she hoped he wasn't about to prove her right.

"I can't promise you that jack, but I can promise that I'll listen to you with an open mind ," she replied.

Jack took Joan's hand in his again and looked her in the eye. "My name isn't Jack, it's Daniel. And I'm not just some guy you met at the mall. I'm actually an undercover cop, and I've been working on a case that involves you. I was at that mall that day because I was protecting you"

Joan's jaw dropped. It felt as if the floor was slipping away beneath her. "A case about me?" she blew a hard, "What kind of case are you even talking about?" Her curiosity demanded, asking again for clarity.

Jack took this big breath. "I can't spill all the beans, but you need to know, you're in some kind of danger with the folks I'm investigating? They're dangerous, and they're or have been using you to dodge the law. That's why I've been playing the watchdog, your watchdog. I should've been plain from the get-go. And I'm sorry I kept it under wraps, but I dreaded losing you. Honestly, it started off as work, with you. But now, I'm really crazy about you, and all I want is to make sure you're safe and sound."

Joan's head was spinning. Mind blown! The guy she figured she had pegged turned out to be a cop, a cop that was spying on her, no less. She couldn't tell if she was mad or kinda relieved? It was hard to say.

"So, what now? It has all been a lie" she asked. "What happens next? Can I at least know who you're investigating that involves me?"
"I can't tell you that," James said. "But I can promise it has been real for me too the more reason I'm revealing this to you. And I promise, I'll do everything in my power to protect you."

"Cut the crap and tell me how I'm involved in all this Jack!" she paused, scoffed again" or should I say Daniel "

Jack sighed. Realizing she had a point, he admitted he couldn't keep her in the shadows any more. "Alright, I'll spill what I can," he declared. "But it's heavy stuff, and you gotta get that it's crucial not to spill this to anyone else."

Joan nodded, her heart beating faster with anticipation and anger. She wasn't sure what Jack was about to tell her. "I won't tell a soul."

Jack took a deep breath. "The organisation I'm investigating is known as the Red Hand," he said.

"Wait. Red Hand Organisation? Owned by Mr Red? My biggest client" She asked repeatedly, surprise laced in her voice.

"Yes, they're responsible for a wide range of various illegal activities. They're this mighty, risky bunch, not shy to throw punches for their desires. I suspect they're messing with your company's money papers, washing their own. Been keeping tabs on you, fearing you might be their ally, but hey, you're clean. I should've spilled sooner, but I hesitated, fearing I'd drag you into a mess and lose you.

Joan was speechless. It felt unreal to her, getting tangled up in this risky business unknowingly. Wrapping her head around it; it was her top client who was into shady stuff. And James, silently watching her back? So much to take in. Right then, all she could really wrap her head around was needing some time to let it all soak in.

"I do understand," she said, withdrawing from him. "I just hope you understand that right now, I'm not sure I can deal with all this. It's too heavy on my mind" she said walking away.

"Joan I-"

She turned, "Don't call me or my phone. Don't come to my house" With that she walked away from him, she wasn't ready to be a work tool to him or anyone. She bites herself for not listening to her intuition.

She never called Jack again and as for her client she terminated the contract she had with Mr Red. Few months later she heard the news of the arrest of Mr Red by Jack.

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Hmmm! Well I was hoping she would understand and still be friends with Jack or Daniel, whatever his name was. He only wanted to protect her and having worked with dangerous people, she needed him around. Nice story by the way. I enjoyed reading it.

Ofcourse Jack had clear intentions towards her. But maybe there's a reason she had to cut him off.

This is very well told. There is only one place in the piece where the reader might be a bit confused.

"Try again," she said softly.
And again it was declined.

It becomes obvious eventually, given the context, that her credit card was declined. However, you don't actually write that anywhere. For a moment one wonders if the benefactor you refer to (the windfall client), is Jack, but then it is apparent this is not the case.

Also, not many women would go off with a man who offered to pay their bill. It's just too suspicious. More than intuition kicks in: reality and common sense.

However, once the reader gets past these two bumps in the piece, everything goes smoothly. The ruse Jack uses is believable. It's a clever plot line. And, we are also pleased as we read that Joan decides she cannot trust this man in the future.

Overall, an interesting, good piece, @marriot5464. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Correction taken. Thank you.

She wouldn't have cut with Jack like that couple with that fact that Jack was only protecting her. Although I know how it feels but she would have at least understand that Jack was a good guy.

Well I guess she had her reasons. And yes Jack only meant well.

@marriot5464
Sometimes we ignore our hunches because we give importance to our likes and dislikes. That can be devastating.
In the end, the girl made a good decision.
Congratulations on your participation, very good.
Greetings from this corner of the planet.

A story that surprised me. It's a difficult situation to deal with because of the distrust but I understand that Jack wanted to protect her and at the same time was doing his job.
Very well told.
Regards @marriot5464

Thank you for reading