Author's Notes: You do know that I love your reviews, right? :grin: thank you so much for responding so kindly to that weirdness of mine. You know me, I'm very weird :p Anyways, from reading all your reviews I've noticed that most of you want to see a continuation to my 'Fate has No Hold' and that you wanted to see what happens in New York… so, here it is. I apologize for my laziness this past two weeks. I was busy consuming every TLW fic I can find… :) :) :)

This story is for TLWROX, because she bullied me to making this fic… I just so love you, girl!!!!

Anyways, I was just very glad that Taz caught the glitch in the last one. You see, I was indeed contemplating on making a sequel of some sort… or perhaps, a larger story. And to answer A.Windsor's question, no, there's no back story to that one. But I will be making a grander picture to tie up all the loose ends. I swear!

Oh, and consider this my offering, something else to read while I crack my head open to solve the three major problems I've encountered with my 'Cry of the Blood'… *beats head on the table* ARRRGGGHHH!!!!

Again, thanks to all who reviewed! You will be receiving a three-layered chocolate cake (my specialty!) sometime soon. TLWROX, I KNOW you like cake! :p

Oh, and uhm… ahem… I think this is a bit darker than FHNH…Read at your own risk (again)!

Disclaimer: Anything related to 'The Lost World' is not mine. Speculations about Ms. Krux are only mere… speculations, so please, no bashing!

Midnight Tryst

New York, America

Finally, she has arrived.

A genuine smile touched her lips as she viewed the passing images by the tinted window of a cab that was sent to fetch her from the train station. Though the slight discoloration provided some degree of darkness in the already shadowed night, it did not, however, lessened the grandeur that the city had. She leaned towards her window, captured by the beauty that the place offered. It had been too long, she mused. The last time she was here, she was pulling a large heist to steal some worthy amount of gold from some stupid gentlemen. That was more or less seven years ago. She'd been a honed thief then. She'd come to New York to 'earn' the money she needed to find the other half of the ouroboros, of what she'd come to know was on a secluded place somewhere in South America. She left New York, fully knowing that the money she'd garnered was enough to fund an expedition she heard was heading towards the area.

And now, she was back; this time, she was more than a mere thief. She was more than a person driven only by a carnal lust for treasures and money.

No, she'd become so much more, thanks to the experiences she'd come to have in the plateau.

The cab stopped in front of an elegant hotel; it's bright lights and welcoming presence was enough to convince her that indeed she was back in New York. Hotel Rembrandt, that was the name of the hotel. She'd stayed there seven years ago, and she'll stay there again.

She stepped down from the automobile, and picked up the suitcase that sat beside her. Thank God I packed light, she thought, as the weight of her bag only managed to give her a little bit of discomfort. She only packed a few things since she wasn't planning on staying long. Maybe a night or two, three nights at the most.

Her vacation would only be very brief, after all, she knew that a certain gentleman – or a married one, if she dared to be completely, painfully accurate – would be looking for her anytime soon.

And after the conversation they had whilst they were in London, she had no desire of ever seeing, or talking to him again.

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

"Ah, Miss Montreal!" A man in his fifties came forth from the grand entrance of the hotel, his dark face lighted with a bright smile. "So, so wonderful to see you again!"

Miss Marguerite Montreal. How long ago had she used that name to call herself. She gave him a brief smile. "Roberto." She said, recalling the name of the man she'd called to make reservations in this hotel. "You don't know how glad I was to hear that the room I requested was available for my little visit."

"Oh, only the best for our best clients." He said proudly.

Together they walked towards the balcony, their feet treading on red velvet carpet. She discretely looked around her, making observations and comparisons left and right. All in all, the hotel looked the same. The antique grandfather clock by the wall, the crystal chandelier hanging by the ceiling, the delightful little fountain at the center. Smiles from the staff were rampant, nods from the guests were widespread. She glanced at Roberto to find that he was looking at her expectantly, as if waiting for a kind comment about how he kept the place as splendid as it was. "I am pleased that nothing has changed." She said.

"As much as we are pleased to have our favorite client again." The smile he gave her was authentic, that she could be sure of. After all, men like him, entrepreneurs in their own ways, always display real emotions to clients who were rich and laden enough.

He guided her towards her favorite room; one that was overlooking the entire city. She wasn't sure if what he was saying was true, that they've christened her room the 'Montreal Suite' after she left. "I am touched." She said without much feeling.

"Oh, only what's best for our best clients." He said proudly. Again. Like it was his personal motto.

They stepped inside her room, and quickly she laid her suitcase on the bed, and then turned towards the owner, her eyes scanning the contents and finding for herself that she was fully satisfied. "Thank you for the lovely reception." She said.

He was pleased that she was pleased. "Would you like something to drink? Wine, or coffee perhaps?"

She shook her head, although it was tempting to have her favorite beverage by her side. "I will call if I need anything."

Roberto looked contented to hear that. "Then all is settled. A pleasant evening, Miss Montreal." And then, he was gone.

How odd, she thought, as a sad smile made its way to her face. She sat by the bed, her eyes on the large window that offered a generous view of New York in the evening. Miss Marguerite Montreal. She'd been rather fond of the first name she gave herself, and that was why she kept it. But with all the troubles she'd caused here, it was considered utter stupidity to keep the last name. So she changed it.

If only I could change things in my life as easily as I could change my name…

Quickly, she pushed the melancholy thoughts away. Cursing herself for dwelling on her sadness for even the fewest of seconds, she opened her bag and pulled out a silk scarf. It was rather chilly that night, and she had intended to take a brisk walk around the hotel. She wrapped it around her shoulders, the colorful hues accentuating the deep red of her dress quite strikingly. Her hair, dark again as she had received an admonition for changing its color, was tied at the back, with only a few tendrils escaping to frame her face. She took her purse and hid it in the folds of her skirt, and then set out into the night.

It was a beautiful evening. The streets were well lit, but by far the most beautiful light was the one cast by the moon and several thousand twinkling stars above. She was among many who were obviously entranced by the fullness of it. But, unlike many, she was wary of the things around her. Even though she has been brought back to civilization almost four years ago, that doesn't mean that her instinct had diminished. To others, she was just a lovely young woman with her eyes on the lovely sky, totally unaware of the things around her. Inside, though, she was keeping her guard.

She set out, her eyes now on the road ahead of her. She wasn't planning on staying outside long, after all, she knew that thieves and other crooks are on the lookout for potential prey. That was how she herself was able to quench her greed. And she wasn't planning on becoming somebody else's victim.

Suddenly, her instincts kicked in. Several meters behind her, a pair of footsteps easily matched hers, stride per stride. The footsteps were mere scratches in its loudness, but she knew she was being followed. She quickened her pace, though not that blatant as to not let the follower know that she was onto him. She passed by several shops and several homes on her way to the hotel. She passed by a lot of people, and yet, the footsteps behind her didn't cease. On the contrary, it only followed her lead.

There was no fear on her part. That she knew, because the stranger behind her wasn't a stranger at all – it was Lord John Roxton. She could feel his presence behind her, like a shadow pulling at her heart. She hadn't felt this way in almost four years – except the night they danced in London – and she was certainly feeling it now. How he was able to find her, she could never tell, except, of course, if indeed he has connections that told him where she was going, and when. Or maybe he'd heard her words to Duchess Miriam, that she'd be in New York these days. 

Damn it, I should have known that he'd hear…

She was tempted to look behind her. But does she have to? She only need to remember his face that night, and it'd be enough to haunt her dreams for the coming days. His nearness, his touch… it was enough to drive her insane, to have her craving for more. Being inside his arms, even for one night, was enough to fill the emptiness that his absence brought about.

Then a shadow fleeted through her eyes, and her steps slowed. Even this, Lord John Roxton matched with ease.

Who was he, anyway? The question once again nagged at her. He wasn't the man she knew at the plateau. He wasn't the man from whom she accepted a marriage proposal. He wasn't the one she had finally learned to love…

But of course, as he had said so himself, maybe she was to blame as to why he had changed so dramatically. But so was fate. They had the circumstances against them. There was nothing left to do except—

Without warning, a hand pulled her out of the streets and into a dark, secluded alley. She had no time to scream, for one hand was covering her mouth and nose, the other pressed on her stomach that kept her firmly against the wall. He smelled of garbage and cigar. Though the shadows kept his features from becoming clear, she could see that he was a large bulk of fat and muscle. He had a crazed look on his face, and he was looking at her with both greed and desire. "You look pretty," he said, his foul breath enough to make her faint on the spot. But will took over. "I bet you taste pretty too." He was about to remove his hand from her mouth to take a sample from her when his eyes rolled up and he fell to the floor with a disgusting thud.

Surprised to say the least, she looked at the unconscious man, and was able to see that blood oozed from a wound on his temple. She looked at the side to see Lord John Roxton, his hand firmly around his gun, a loathsome expression on his face. "John—" she said.

His eyes left the gruesome corpse and went to her. "Are you alright?" he asked.

For a moment, she was utterly speechless. He sounded… concerned. He actually sounded like his old, normal self. "I… I am." She said to him. "Thank you."

He just shrugged. "Why are you walking around the streets so late in the evening?! It's already midnight for crying out loud!"

Despite the situation they were in, she suddenly felt the urge to laugh. She hasn't heard that line of protective reasoning for so long, it was actually heartwarming. "I'll take a walk when I want to," she said, her tone duplicating his. "Besides, I know that I'll be safe—" her eyes darted to the corpse, then she changed her words, "I know that I'll be saved whenever I needed to be."

He smirked. "Thank your lucky stars that I was following you, or else who knows what will happen."

"Oh, I know that the same thing will happen to this disgusting jackass." She retorted. "I would've done the same thing."

"Shoot him in the head?"

"Or far worse than that." She said. Then she halted, and sobered. "So. It seems as though you found me again."

A smile filled with pride appeared on his face. "And I always will." He took a step closer to her. "I never lied when I told you I'll follow you anywhere, my dear Marguerite. I'm simply being honest."

She felt a thrill going through her at hearing his words. As always, he looked handsome. What woman won't be filled with pleasure at having an Adonis following her anywhere? And yet… "Where's Katharine?" she asked suddenly.

"In a place where she won't bother us again." Was his fluid response. "Marguerite," he said, his voice lowered, almost husky. "You don't know how much I—"

She shook her head, then stepped back, almost stepping on the hand that covered her face a full ten minutes ago. "Roxton," she said. "This is insanity."

"It's forbidden." He supplied, then stepped closer. "But that doesn't stop me from loving you still."

"I—" The words died in her throat as she heard him say it again. "No—" she began to say. "We can't—"

"Hmm?" By now he was already in front of her, hands on her waist, as if they were ready to dance. Indeed they are, but they were dancing a different tune.

She watched as he lowered his face, as his lips neared hers. They were only a breath away when she spoke. "You're already married."

He pulled back, then chuckled at her response. "You seem to use that line every time I'm about to kiss you," he said. "But this time, I'm not falling for it." And with that, he sealed any further discussion with a kiss.

She almost gasped; this was not like anything she had experienced with Roxton before. He was almost bruising her lips, his kiss as rough as he had become. She wanted to pull away, but can't. His arms imprisoned her and trapped her inside his heated embrace. She placed her hands on his chest, intent on pushing him away.

He stepped back when she used all her might to push him off of her. They were both breathing haggardly; but not from the pleasure that the kiss brought.

Her eyes were wide and luminous, her lips full with the imprint of his mouth. Her hands flew to her face. "You—" she started to say, her words already tainted with tears. She took a deep breath to calm herself, to try and slow her heart rate down. She closed her eyes before she could shed a tear.

"Marguerite—" He said, but then paused. She looked bewildered at his actions. "Marguerite—"

"Stay away from me," came her raspy voice, each syllable filled with conviction. "I don't know who you are anymore."

With one last glare at him, she ran out of the alley and into the arms of her hotel.