The person in question was one of her husband’s long-lost relatives. He’d been serving a twelve-year sentence because of racketeering and was only released a few days before showing up at their shop.
Knowing his past with the man, her husband didn’t want his wife to meet him, at least not yet. He also didn’t want the man in the shop at that particular moment. He started by asking him to meet him elsewhere so they could talk, but the man had other things in mind.
It’s said that every family has its secrets. For some, these hidden facts are related to scandals, while others have hidden truths about the true source of unexplainable family wealth.
For the McCallister family, the secret would go beyond what Alicia McCallister could handle. It would leave her in tears before her husband and his long-lost cousin.
Alicia McCallister, born Alicia Humboldt, was your average twenty-nine-year-old mom living in North Carolina with her husband Kenny and two-year-old son Bret.
A graduate of Duke with a botany degree, Alicia had always dedicated her life to two things: her work and family. She’d worked hard to find the perfect balance between the two, taking pride in what she had achieved in her life.
Alicia and her husband Kenny had dated for almost ten years before Kenny got on his knees and asked her to marry him. The two met while still in college, beginning their relationship as friends before graduating to best friends and then lovers.
Alicia was sure she knew Kenny inside and out, seeing they had been together for so long. She didn’t know the secret he and his family were keeping for her.
Most people worldwide go for ages without finding their perfect soulmate. For those lucky enough to find the one they were meant to be with forever, everything else seems to pale in comparison.
They become blind to some of these people’s bad habits, sometimes unknowingly nurturing these traits. Something similar would happen to Alicia. It would be too late when she discovered what was genuinely happening under her nose.
Alicia and her family lived a good life in a small coastal town in North Carolina. Alicia worked as a wildlife consultant for the area’s marine plantlife, while Kenny was a mechanic in town.
But although Kenny had a job that he was passionate about, even Alicia could admit that his venture wasn’t as successful as it should have been. Owing to the global pandemic that had swept the world then, this didn’t come as a surprise.
Like any loving wife, Alicia supported her husband through his business’s dark times. It wouldn’t be long until everything would take a turn, and Kenny’s shop would start bringing in significant cash.
Of course, Alicia was proud of her husband and all the hard work he was doing. If only she knew what was truly happening at her husband’s shop while she was away.
Many criminal activities usually use physical cash-based businesses as a front for racketeering. Fines for such activities can accumulate to $25,000, while jail time can go up to 20 years per racketeering count.
For Kenny, his car shop, which operated on physical cash, was the best place for someone to carry out their hidden activity. He didn’t know that someone from his past would soon force him to blow the lid on what he was doing.
The person in question was one of Kenny’s long-lost relatives. The man, Derrick, had been serving a twelve-year sentence because of racketeering and was only released a few days before showing up at Kenny’s shop.
Knowing his past with the man, Kenny didn’t want his wife to meet him, at least not yet. He also didn’t want Derrick in the shop at that particular moment. He started by asking him to meet him elsewhere so they could talk, but Derrick had other things in mind.
Derrick talked about what transpired twelve years ago before he went to prison. Although they were the same age, Derrick looked older, with a bushy beard and a muscular body covered in tattoos.
He reminded Kenny of what happened before the police surrounded them, saying he’d had all the time in prison to think things over. That’s when Alicia walked in.
Alicia had been taking a short break from work when she pulled up at the shop. After a day of sorting through files at work and studying a few animal cell samples from her boss, she was ready for a breather.
Normally, she’d spend an hour from work in the middle of the morning before clocking back in. She would spend this time with her workmates in town before driving back to the office. But today was different.
Alicia had made a habit of spending her break with her friends in town, but today, she felt like she needed to see Derrick.
The feeling kept her on edge as if something terrible was happening. With her bag over her shoulder, she grabbed her keys and headed for the parking lot. She’d spend some time with her husband if it were the last thing she did that day.
Alicia had always been a spiritual woman. She never believed in coincidences and held that everything happened for a reason.
Her stomach had knotted throughout the morning as she thought about seeing her husband. She couldn’t explain what was happening, only knew that something was steering her to Kenny’s shop. She had no clue what she’d find there.
Alicia parked her car on the shop’s driveway and hurried up the cold tarmac. But something snared her interest as she was walking to see Kenny.
The object in question was a vintage Charger, too good to be sitting without an owner in sight. Although Alicia didn’t doubt that her husband could pull a customer with such a good vehicle, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was tied to it.
She pushed the feeling aside and stepped toward the car to have a look. It looked new from afar, but Alicia realized it was anything but standing close.
Its paint was chipped in places, with the front dents all over the car’s front. The interior had worn leather seats, the steering wheel seeming to have seen better days. Looking at the car, one thing became clear.
Alicia realized one thing as she studied the vehicle. It was not only vintage, with most of its original parts still intact, but a rental. It even had the dealer’s information if the car got lost or impounded.
Alicia knew Derrick loved working on muscle cars and wondered if a customer was asking him to take a look at this rental. Knowing Derrick and how much he loved to help people, Alicia knew he’d say yes. If only she knew what was truly happening.
After her five-minute-long scrutiny of the Charger, Alicia took a step back and turned to her husband’s office. Immediately, the ache that had brought her here flashed through her body again.
She stifled a cry and straightened herself, wondering if she was a little out of the weather. But knowing she needed to be back at work in less than an hour, she hurried to the shop’s doors.
Alicia pushed the doors open, stepping into the garage area of the shop. But something was off. Her husband kept the doors and windows open, allowing natural light to flood the entire place.
Today he kept each of them closed, choosing to turn off the radio too, which usually serenaded the place with soft country music. What was happening?
“Kenny?” Alicia called, her brows furrowing as she walked to a window and pushed it open. Light speared through the space, highlighting the grimy garage in all its oily glory.
But Kenny was nowhere to be seen. Alicia couldn’t understand it. Her husband rarely closed the shop during the day. She was about to call his phone when she heard voices coming from the back of the premises.
Alicia walked further into the shop, following the voices, which were low but deep. Two people were conversing, and one of them was her husband.
She didn’t know what to think, but she knew she’d stand by Kenny no matter what. If he were in some trouble, she’d stand behind him as any soulmate would. She didn’t know what she was stepping into.
Kenny was still trying to convince Derrick to meet him elsewhere for lunch when Alicia walked in. Her eyes took in the room, flitting over Derrick before finally landing on Kenny.
She broke a smile, slightly tilting her head as if to ask Kenny what was happening. When Kenny didn’t answer, she stepped forward, fully meeting the towering man he was talking to.
“Hello,” Alicia greeted the burly man talking to her husband. As she had done with the Charger outside, she scrutinized the man as best as possible, learning all she could in seconds.
At first, she thought he was one of his customers here to discuss matters pertaining to some vehicle, but after taking him in, she saw things that suggested something more sinister.
Alicia had heard the stories of crimes taking place in cash-based businesses. She knew people who had been caught in such problems before and prayed she and her husband wouldn’t fall in that number.
But the man before him looked like someone who thrived in such shady dealings. Alicia didn’t want to profile him the way she was, but her mind had already started overanalyzing everything about the man.
The man was tall with a rugged face covered in a full beard and scars. His temples, down to his neck, chest, and arms, were dark with tattoos. And every inch of his body rippled with restrained muscle.
She stepped to Kenny’s side, her heart thumping within her. She didn’t know what was going on, but she would face it with her husband. It was too late to walk away now.
The tall man presented his hand to her with a crooked smile, and Alicia shook it quickly. “Derrick,” the man introduced himself as a matter of fact, although his smile spread fully.
“Alicia, I take it?” His voice was gruff, but there was a gentleness to it that Alicia couldn’t explain. She only nodded to his question, forcing a smile to diffuse the awkwardness seeping into the garage.
Seeing the man’s smile hold fast, Alicia introduced herself. She explained that she was taking a small break from work to see Kenny and wouldn’t mind buying them lunch so they could conduct their business on full stomachs.
Kenny pulled her aside before she could engage the visitor, only for the man to come between them and ask if he could talk to both of them.
Kenny was about to ask him to reconsider, but Derrick cut him short. He introduced himself, talking about his relationship with Kenny and why Alicia hadn’t ever met him despite him being family.
He opened up about what got him sentenced to a dozen years in prison and what Kenny had done before the police got to them. The secret would leave Alicia shaking where she stood.
“I was running some illegal businesses which went wrong,” Derreck shared. “I got shot severally and would’ve died if my cousin here didn’t open his door to me and help me dress the wounds.”
Seeing how shaken the secret left Alicia, he continued with the story, revealing more information that had the woman walking to her husband with glossy eyes.
Derrick shared that after spending a few hours at Kenny’s, his cousin convinced him to turn himself in. The way he talked about Kenny, terming him as the reason he chose to reform, left Alicia in tears.
She hugged Kenny tightly, kissing his cheek. But Kenny said that he, too, had a secret he’d been hiding from Alicia. He walked to the back of the shop, calling the two after him.
Kenny revealed what he’d been doing behind his wife’s back. He’d been working on the derelict Shelby in secret, mainly because it used to be Derrick’s old car, and he wanted to surprise him when he came home. He revealed that he’d kept this secret for a better half a year, working on the car whenever possible. Alicia’s tears doubled as she hugged him again. In a world where some people never find their soulmates, hers was not only faithful to her but selfless in every way possible.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.