A Worthy Opponent
A Worthy Opponent3 mins 199 3 mins 199
Read previous part - "Déjà Vu.
Maria returned home that evening and plopped onto her bed, breathing heavily. It was almost impossible to hold her composure in front of Mr. Gonsalves. Was it providence that placed him in front of her once again? Or was it her father turning in his grave, screaming for his daughter, the only witness to his death, to get justice done? Whatever it was, Maria did not know quite where to begin. She could always begin by asking her mother but the woman who had lost everything had tried so hard to forget and move on. How could Maria drag her through the horror once again? And why? Because she thought she knew the truth? No, Maria needed more, especially if it was justice she was looking for.
She spent the next two weeks scribbling names and schedules in her diary. Most importantly, she started looking into Mr. Gonsalves. Who was he beyond her boss? There had to be something more to him besides the two-decade stint he was so proud of. Maria knew well that one doesn't catch a killer without a plan of action, certainly not someone like Mr. Gonsalves. He was a connected man, influential, powerful. She discovered that behind the success of over a dozen political figures, was a vocal journalist who egged his readers towards them. It was inevitable that those men and women, including their minions, owed many favours to her new boss. So much for his lectures on ethical and honest journalism!
On a dim Saturday afternoon, Maria wrapped up her pending articles and editorials, and headed straight to Mr. Gonsalves' office. She pushed open the ground glass door, peered in, cleared her throat, and said, "Sir, I have a request."
Mr. Gonsalves brought out unnerving his wide grin and pressed, "Yes? Miss Maria D'Souza, is it? Come in. Sit down."
"Yes, sir," replied Maria meekly and did as she was told. She was careful not to tip him off through her actions and waited for his signal to place her request.
Mr. Gonsalves smiled, "Are you usually this nervous?"
"Uh, not really. Not always." She paused for a split second. "Actually, I wanted a two week leave starting Monday. There is something in my hometown that I have to take care of."
Mr. Gonsalves raised an eyebrow and scrutinized the thirty something woman sitting in front of him. "Two weeks is a long time in our line of work, Miss. D'Souza."
Maria crinkled her face to show how sorry and helpless she was and said, "I know, Sir. But I don't have much of a choice."
The big man drew in a deep breath and let out a sigh. "Fine. But do remember that I will make you compensate once you return." He smirked. Maria shuddered. She nodded hurriedly and in two strides reached for the door handle. "Don't forget to send an official email requesting your leave of absence," he called out after her. Maria glanced back, gave a curt nod and left.
He loosened his tie knot and reached for the warm sheets of paper that had been resting on the output tray of the printer kept beneath his computer desk to his right. Maria had entered his office before he had a chance to skim through her resume. Derek Gonsalves was not a man who shied away from a little challenge. He knew who she was. The striking resemblance was hard to miss. But he had to be sure. If Jonathan D'Souza's daughter wanted trouble, she would find it...