|Subject: Chapter 316 - Part 2 (16 and above) (end of chapter 316)
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Date Posted: Monday, November 26, 07:28:08am
In reply to:
's message, "Chapter 307 - Part 1 (16 and above)" on Monday, October 22, 07:10:11am
It took a lot to make his hand follow his orders anymore, his body failing further by the day--the shock of Enquist's defection the start of his final decline. Still, he eventually got it as far as the button on his intercom, alerting his main helper. "Mr. Donoghue?" He was answered with the expected, "Yes, sir," which he barely heard--the sound so expected. "I want you to deliver that message we talked about earlier. I won't be needing you any further tonight."
There was a slight pause--just enough to be unusual--before he was answered with a "Very good, sir." He let the button go with a definite sense of relief, listened as he heard the man retreating further--followed by the closing of the front door. When the car started outside, fate had already started to take hold, the ends more neatly wrapped up; Jones let out a breath, almost relieved, looking at the device which was his future. Now, all that was left was his one, final act.
His gaze was caught on the strange assembly which would seal his fate. It held a gun which pointed toward his head--a string tied around the trigger, the other end of the line near his hand. It had taken some effort to maneuver the device out of the closet, to set it up in his increasingly shaky state, but now he was set. All he had to do was pull the string, and his life would be over. And, in this one, final act of defiance, he would also see the end of everything he had dreamed.
This was a sad truth but inevitable now, all his previous attempts to mold the future anything but successful. It had been in the last two weeks that he had come to this decision, then, whatever this illness was which wracked his body making his place in command increasingly untenable. His personal doctor--frightened as he had been in giving the diagnosis--had told him that the future held nothing but the existence of a speechless, bedridden invalid, watching everything he had worked for fall apart around him; the last part hadn't quite been said but was intertwined with the first. It had been with this, therefore--as well as Enquist's departure--that his plans had begun to settle. No disease would be allowed to best him. He would take himself, and his empire, to the grave by his own hand alone.
Those hands were decidedly shaky now, this moment left almost too long--this wretched disease about to win. If he waited even another few days, he would have no say anymore; his gaze firmed, resolution steady. But that wasn't the way that a businessman such as he would be remembered by the world.
It was true that there were many people who would never remember him at all--a job such as his a shadow position, when it was done right. But those who did know of him would still tremble at his name. Even his business associates would have to know what he had done.
The final fate of his empire had been taken away in the envelope he had given his helper--although, even if the message weren't delivered, his plans would still be carried out; this way was just a little neater. He had already instructed his lawyer to send a letter to a certain Congressman Vates--the man who had been so aggressively looking to destroy every line of business he and his associates ran--detailing most of the parts of his kingdom. In it was a list of all the details about Jamie's past and current whereabouts as well as many of Jones's own financial activities. Of course, he hadn't ratted out most of his associates, had left just enough holes in the details to assure what he wanted; his eyes looked over the damnable drink again. But it would gain him the elimination of everything he couldn't otherwise take with him.
He was well aware of what would happen to his son once word of his "treason" got out to his colleagues; it was even what he was hoping for--what had been inevitable, ever since Jamie's original errors had made him so notorious. He had already protected the boy for far too long. Now, it was finally time that he find out just what it was to be a man.
This knowledge was, admittedly, destined to be rather short-lived, but that was sometimes the way of things. And even Jones's treason wasn't entirely what it seemed. By the time Vates managed to get any sort of committee together, the businessman's colleagues would already have divided up his many enterprises for themselves, would have moved from any of their better-known locations, cleaned up anyone they couldn't use. Jones's name would become synonymous with corruption for a few days, but it would have another, added benefit. It would protect all his companions from similar embarrassment; a rude smile emerged. And then the bastards would have to honor him, even when he was dead.
This wasn't an altruistic last act, therefore, his memory in the minds of his competitors quite important--all of their identities left out of his confessions to the senator. In his line of work, the amount of respect--and fear--a man's name brought with it was the measure of his success; the smile deepened. And they would remember him for the man he always had been--not the shaky invalid he would have otherwise become.
There was nothing revolutionary in this latest act, nothing that wouldn't have happened, anyway. Were he to be bedridden, his colleagues would have done exactly the same things. But this way, *he* made the decisions. That was what being a man--and a respected businessman--was all about.
His last act could have done more, of course--could have ended his daughter's life; it wouldn't have been difficult. He had thought more than once about mentioning her, about suggesting that she had some part in his activities--knowing that his colleagues would move quickly, rather than let her live as a potential embarrassment to them. But, in the end, he had decided against it. It wasn't sentiment which had moved him, however; it was a sense of the future. This way, some part of his bloodline would go on--Jamie's part of it already over, one way or another. Even if his grandchildren would have an idiot bastard for a father, there would still be another generation. One way or another, Jones would live.
This was, really, a rather ironic--even painful--fact. In the end, it had been Nikita's pregnancy--the one which he had wanted to violently end more than once--which had saved her. As a mother, she was of some vague use to him. Maybe some of her children would be more like him.
It was with this hope that he started on his final course, taking his future into his hands alone, like always. He glared into the drink he had made, willed himself to pick the glass up steadily, to swallow it without spilling its contents everywhere; he would be damned if he were going to be found with cognac all over his shirt, like some sort of baby and its bib. Still, there was more to the act than the simple difficulty of making his shaky hands obey him--some of the glass's contents rather lethal. But it was the sheer *womanliness* of poison as a method of death which made him rather loath to swallow now.
It had to be done, however, was a precaution he couldn't ignore. His hands were shaky enough as they were. As certain as he thought he was of the gun's alignment toward his skull, he might be proved wrong--might even have some sort of problem with his half-rigged machine. If that were the case, he could *not* let himself be found before he carried this final act out--would not let anyone else do this for him. It was for himself alone. He had struggled to his current position in this town solely by his wits. It would be *his* will which would take him out, as well.
He made his hand get as far as the glass, even if he didn't touch it yet--such fine motor control difficult, at the best of times. And, briefly, he considered calling for Jamie, having one final word with the boy. But, on reflection, he didn't see the point. The time for talk had ended years ago--before the child's disgrace; his hand grasped the glass. It was best that the boy be unaware of how little life he had left.
He gave up on all other concerns, therefore, forced both hands to hold the glass steady, bracing himself for the end. While so many regrets would remain, there was nothing to be done about them. Michael would live--would father his grandchildren. Such were the disappointments of parenting; with any luck, the actor would learn a few of those himself. All that was left now was posterity.
It was with this end in mind that he stared down his fate, ready for whatever might come. His look steely, he rushed the glass to his lips, swallowing as quickly as possible; when he let it back down to the table, it nearly cracked with the force. Then--his mouth clamped down tight to avoid gagging on the poison--his hand found the string, one last thought making him nearly smile. Perhaps his grandchild would have Bobbie's eyes. She would like that. Then, he made his choice, pulling the string--and a gunshot obliterated the last of Jones's influence in the world.
[End of Part 316]
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