|J is for Juliet
Author: lilyofthevalley2 PM
While Ladd is in prison, Lua is offered the chance of a lifetime—or is it a deal with the devil?Rated: Fiction T - English - Lua K. & Adelle D. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,739 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-02-11 - Published: 12-26-10 - id: 6593145
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Adelle DeWitt smoothed her dark blue skirt down absentmindedly and sipped a cup of tea as she looked over the file for a possible new recruit.
Lua Klein. Female, 28 years old. Quite attractive, though none of the pictures available of her featured her actually looking at the camera. Her fiance was a rogue member of the Russo family, known for having a taste for violent, bloody death. Lua rarely appeared without him, but it was unclear if she was genuinely devoted to him or simply afraid. She had no other family, no known friends. And her fiance had recently been sent to Alcatraz, following a massive brawl in his first prison, and she was staying with another member of the mafia. According to the rumors, she was being kept under surveillance by the mob to ensure her fiance's good behavior. All in all, she was the ideal candidate—no friends and no family who would miss her, and moreover, someone the Dollhouse might be able to help, if she would let them.
A light knock at the door, and Adelle set down her tea as Mr. Dominic, the firm's security consultant, entered. "Ma'am, Miss Klein is here to see you."
"Oh good, Mr. Dominic. You've made the arrangements so her visit will go unnoticed by the Russo family?"
"Yes, but are you sure about this one, Ma'am? We had trouble getting information on her, but there are some suggestions that she may be a killer herself. It may not be safe." He crossed his arms, looking at her in that annoyed, grumpy look that meant he was worried about a situation.
"Yes, I read your report. However, we cannot hold her responsible for what her fiance has done. Being married to a murderer does not make her one as well. Even if she is, we can hardly claim our hands are entirely clean." There had been more than one time that they or their Actives had been required to kill. It was unfortunate, but necessary.
Mr. Dominic scowled darkly. "Yes, but the last time we took on a killer, we ended up with Alpha."
"Alpha was a special case. Besides, he was driven mad by having multiple imprints. I've no intention of letting that happen again." Alpha was a mistake, not a pattern. As a rule, they had no difficulties with any of their Actives in their doll state. "Send her in, Mr. Dominic," she said.
He shook his head but left without another word, letting the door shut a bit too loudly behind him. Adelle smiled slightly. Mr. Dominic was a good security man, but sometimes he rather gave the impression of being an overprotective bulldog.
Lua pushed open the heavy, carved mahogany doors and entered the office. It had a deep carpet that didn't make any sound when she walked over it, and all the furniture was covered in dark leather, with all the tables and chairs made out of hardwood. It was the kind of place that screamed money; it was also the kind of place that Ladd would have said was just perfect, both because the rich bastards who lived there would never expect anything bad to happen to them, and because the thick carpet and decorative paneling would muffle the sound of the screams.
"Miss Klein, I'm so happy you're able to join us today." Lua looked up to see a woman wearing a navy blue day suit and jacket stand behind a desk and come down to meet her. Her appearance screamed money, too, and she had a funny accent. Maybe English or something, Lua wasn't sure. And she also had the kind of smile Lua recognized: a fake smile, the kind of smile you used when you were trying to sell something. "My name is Adelle DeWitt. May I get you anything? Tea, coffee—or something stronger?"
Lua considered the probability that she might drug the drink, but decided that if they wanted to take her, they could just have the big blonde man she saw on the way in do it. They wouldn't need to use drugs—and they didn't have any reason to kill her. She looked at the sideboard. It had a teapot, as well as several different glass containers of alcohol. "Brandy, please," she said softly.
"Of course," Miss DeWitt said, taking out two glasses and pouring brandy into them. She handed one to Lua, who sipped it. It tasted different, not much like the stuff she'd had before. It didn't have such a sharp taste. She supposed that rich people wouldn't like that kind of brandy. "Shall we have a seat?" asked Miss DeWitt, motioning to a black leather chair.
Lua nodded took a seat and sipped her brandy. The other woman seemed to be studying her, but Lua wasn't sure what she was looking for, or what she was finding. "Why did you bring me here?" she asked finally.
Miss DeWitt leaned back a bit in her chair, as if she'd made some sort of decision about her. "Miss Klein, have you heard the rumors about the Dollhouse?"
Her eyes widened. Of all the questions to ask, that was such a strange one. She'd heard stories since she arrived in New York—about a strange place that took handsome men and beautiful girls and hypnotized them to take their memories away and make them into someone else. She hadn't paid it too much attention. "Yes." She fell silent, but she realized Miss DeWitt wanted her to say what she'd heard. "They say the Dollhouse can take your memories away and make you into anyone."
"It's a bit more complicated than that." Miss DeWitt leaned forward, her face lighting up with that smile—more sincere now. "You see, in this world, few people are ever truly what they seem. They lie or hide the truth, and inevitably, people are disappointed and lonely."
Lua nodded a little. She knew that was true. Nobody was ever what they seemed to be, like her old boyfriend. Nobody until she met Ladd. Ladd was exactly what he seemed to be. He never lied to her; he told her exactly what he was going to do, and he always did it. She never had any doubt that he'd come back in time to kill her some day. She just had to stay alive for him until then.
Miss DeWit continued, "What we do here, Miss Klein, is offer the truth you can't find anywhere else. The lover who doesn't just seem to be perfect for you, but who truly is perfect for you. The friend who only wishes to be there for you without hope of gain. We provide people with not simply what they want, but with what they need."
What they need…it was a wonderful thought. Ladd didn't need her while he was in jail, no one in this world needed her. She had no purpose—she'd have killed herself if it wasn't for her promise. "What do you want with me?"
"I'd like to offer you a job, as one of our Actives. We can offer you a contract. Five years for us, and we'll make all the arrangements. The mafia members who are holding you at the moment will find other pursuits more…worth their time. For you, the time will pass in an instant; you won't remember any of it. And when your term is up, you'll be quite wealthy. You can go anywhere, do anything you'd like," her eyes watched Lua closely, gauging her reaction.
Five years, gone in an instant. Five years without Ladd, years she wouldn't have to remember. Being needed again. She wanted that, wanted someone to need her so much that she was the only person who could give them what they wanted. She'd do anything for that. "Ladd won't be out in five years…" she said, a little wistfully. She'd love to sleep until he was free again.
"Indeed not—and if you wish, we can arrange it so you don't have to see him again," Miss DeWitt said.
Lua jumped up, nearly upsetting her drink. She couldn't do that! Ladd would think she'd broken her promise. "I won't do it if I can't see him again," she said.
"Then we wouldn't dream of separating you," Miss DeWitt assured her. "After all, we wish to provide our Actives with what they need, just as much as our clients."
Lua considered it. It was a good deal—almost too good. Forgetting everything for five years, being needed, not having to stay with people who hated Ladd. "Why did you pick me?"
"It's not so complicated. We look for people who have no close connections, no family, who cannot bear the troubles of their life, and we offer them a better path. Many of our Actives had run out of options when they came here." Adelle sipped her brandy and set it on the table between them. "It's a mutually beneficial arrangement. My company collects a fee, and we provide what people need."
It made sense. If someone had lots of family they wouldn't be a good choice. But she only had Ladd—and she couldn't even visit him. All at once, Lua remembered being on the balcony of the bedroom in that building, about to jump off, and she saw Ladd come in the door, shotgun over his shoulder. Heya, dollface. You shouldn't jump off yet! If you want to die that badly, stick around with me, and when I'm done killing the people who actually want to live, I'll make sure I kill you—slowly and personally. She shuddered with pleasure just remembering it.
Five years. Five years closer to being back with him. "Yes," she said softly. "But…is there any way I could stay until Ladd is released from prison?"
Adelle smiled more widely and stood up. It really was a smile that reminded her of Ladd, when someone started blustering at him—a pleased smile that said things were going well. "I'm sure we can work something out. I'll have my secretary draw up some papers for you to sign."
Lua stood as well, downing the rest of the brandy in a single gulp before she headed towards the door, padding silently across the red carpet. "Thank you," she said quietly, and pushed the doors, ready to start a new life she wouldn't have to remember.
AN: To those who have been following my other fics, I promise, I haven't forgotten any of them! I will be getting back around to them as soon as I can.