Chapter II: MR.WEST I

Peter the Hermit

From inside the car, it seemed like Mr. and Mrs. West were trapped inside a little metal bubble. The minute metallic ping of raindrops drops bouncing off the top of Mr. West’s chauffeured car made the wonderful nostalgic sound from his childhood, however, he watched the rain trickle down the side of his car’s window with a melancholic expression. When he turned to see his wife, he saw she was doing the same.
Adrianna Jasmine, now very recently, Mrs. West, was everything he had ever wanted and more. Adrianna was beyond average beauty, her skin was a light brown with a baby’s softness, and deep green eyes like a mirage of an oasis. Her hair was done into a fashionable bun, she wore a simple black dress, pearls, and no lipstick, but above all her physical traits Mr. West loved her mind. She was brilliant. Mathematics, science, politics, business, she had an in-depth understanding of all to the point where Mr.West lost her in knowledgeable jargon.
Mr. West had realized that he had stared at her for quite some time. Her face was stern and he knew that her mind was racing a million miles a minute. She must have been thinking deeply, her eyes always darted at an imaginary screen when she was thinking intently.
Mr. West then looked at his chauffeur in the rear-view mirror. Mo, as they call him, was a quiet Indian man with thick white hair who never said much, but he would look into your eyes if you looked into his. Mo nodded sullenly and rolled up the window between them.

Mr. West held his wife’s hand and she turned to face him. As their gaze met they communicated in whispers and leaned closer.
“I’m worried for you, and for Peter.” her face making worry lines. The thought was fair at this time. Mr.West stared forward sullenly.

“Everyone is hiding or dead, If he wishes to depart as well then we shall let him die a shadow of whom he was,”

Peter Understock was one of the men who had gotten West started. In a sense, Peter Understock, the long resident philanthropist of their city, was the reason West had his wealth and business. Though Peter isn’t retired, many want him to be. Peter’s recent attendance dropped and hence his responsibility. When people began to make executive decisions on Peter’s behalf he hadn’t reacted. He had stopped coming to the offices entirely.

Peter did go into their main office two weeks ago and behaved oddly; as if something had planted itself in his mind and forbade him to do anything businesslike. He broke dress code with a plain white t-shirt and simple hoodie with jeans and wandered the halls to talk to low-level strangers about their personal beliefs in the company. He gave four of them a million each and the rumors are the chosen four said negative things.

It hurt Mr. West to find his teacher seemingly become old and senile for a man of his mid-fifties. There was nothing Mr.West could do. He spent many hours trying to tell Peter that if he didn’t take hold of board meetings then others would not only undermine him but lose their respect as well before Peter’s recent stunt.

Mr. West’s blacked out car pulled in front of Peter’s house. It was a large urban concept home which technically was within the cities limits but seemed too far away to really be a part of anything. It resides in a snuggly little area called THE OAKS.
West noticed the incredible amount of glass walls in the house. “You wouldn’t ever expect a guy like Peter to live in a visible thing like that?” He asked not entirely expecting a response.
“Perhaps it is not meant to be a private house?” His wife said as she opened her door into the rain, Mo went to her with the umbrella.
“Pointless to be out here otherwise,” Mr.West muttered before hastily stepping towards the door while Adrianna walked with Mo.

Their dinner was calm and peaceful but there was no Mrs. Understock or their daughter Hailey. Peter had been unexpectedly enthusiastic about West’s latest business ventures and Adrianna was happy to give her voice whenever she could. Mr.West loved when she spoke what he thought and the three almost seemed to get along.

After the dinner, when Peter excused himself West sought out to speak with him after a firm slap on the leg from Adrianna. He wanted to give him one last offer of peace, and if Peter didn’t comply, it would be the end of him. Mr.West was powerful enough that he could dissolve Peter if he wanted to.

He found Peter outside in the rain smoking. Peter had never put a cigarette in his mouth in all the time West had known him but he seemed to do it so naturally that he must have done it in secret for years.
“Nice of you to join me Rich,” Peter said aloud while never truly making eye contact with West. West walked forward onto the balcony and watched as the rain came down in front of them.

“I wanted to talk you, Peter.”

“Thought you might,” Peter said as he puffed a cloud and then looked down below him.

“It’s about my behavior, again.”

“You know I’m just trying to look out for you. Why are you doing this?” Mr. West said pleadingly, but Peter shook his head.

“Have you ever heard of Plato’s Allegory of the cave?”

Instinctively Mr.West thought the question was stupid, annoying, and disrespectful. Mr. West looked down at the ground then back up to Peter very stern.

“I do, and now is not the time for little stories or metaphors, now is the time for action Peter. Act pleasant at dinner all you want, you swore to something bigger than this.”

It was harsher than intended and Mr. West knew it before he said it. Mr. West hadn’t even said his intentions to save Peter, but now, he just wanted to take it all from him.

After what felt like ages, Peter broke the silence. “I wish to resign from my position across the boards until further notice.” He said this as if he had some control over it. Mr. West figured Peter must have known that the board would kick him out.

“I’m going to retire from the business world Rich. Time I took up things that troubled my soul far deeper than what used to trouble my pockets.”
Peter looked out at the sky, the rain was beginning to clear up and a little sliver of a moon peered through the clouds.

“There have been drastic changes in my family dynamic, it was entering into my everyday life.” West stood there next to Peter taking in the view. It was gorgeous even for a man of West’s tastes. The balcony had a perfect view of the city’s skyline. There was no ugly spot by trees, or other nefarious natural obstructions, The moonlight shone dully overhead and barely lit the two men’s faces.

“Solves my problem,” Mr. West said brutally honest. “Where you gonna go, what are you gonna do?” Mr. West knew Peter was hatching some sort of plan.

“The Mayor’s office,” Peter said sternly before flicking his cigarette off the balcony into a little puddle.

Mr.West snickered.

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