Hello everyone! Thank you for being so patient. I have to write this fast so here's what going on. This chapter has taken me at least two months to write, and it's really short, so you can imagine how much free time I have. Any energy I have goes to college, alas, there is no energy left for my imagination. My muse, Erik D. just eats Rocky Road ice cream and doesn't help much. I haven't given up on A Memory's Phantom so please bear with me. Please check out my newest (yeah, wrote it in june and haven't updated since but still, its new) fic. It's from D.N.Angel. It's called Lost Dreams. I really like that story and it would be a shame that I never get to write it because no one reviews. Thank you all again. Take care!!
He couldn't very well speak ill of Christine. He almost expected her to leave quickly but not because of what happened. Not because of what he said.
She was very short tempered but he didn't think that the small comment he had said could drive her out. He didn't really blame her. He temper was her only defense mechanism. Or the only one she knew.
When Erik saw that she was missing, he went out to look for her but with no luck. He even went to the apartment building that she had walked out of the other day and found nothing.
He was surprised with what he found. How could anyone live in such a place? How could that place even exist? He stopped thinking about it, he would go looking for her after work, he really couldn't afford to miss a day of work. He misses one day and the project gets delayed a week. He couldn't afford that.
A worker, younger than him approached him, completely drenched from head to toe, dirt spread across his face. "Sir, I think there's something you need to see"
Erik followed him through the labyrinth of workers, beams and tubes that would soon be Giovanni's new wing in his mansion. All of this was almost his new home.
He knew what it was even before he saw it. The workers that rushed by him were completely soaked and he could hear water rushing. He ran to the noise and found himself ankle deep in water.
"What the hell happened?" He yelled to the men.
"An unexpected water leak, sir!" Someone hollered.
"We're trying to fix it!"
Erik pushed the people in his way aside and made his way to the source. He couldn't identify where it was that it was coming from, even when he was standing before the rupture.
The water poured all around him, making it almost impossible to move around the small space the water was leaking from. It was impossible to breathe with all the water spraying him in the face but in the end the he and the workers managed to close the large fissure with a large monkey wrench.
"Fucking plumbing," one of the workers mumbled, turning to Erik, he said, "We've managed to hit a large underground water main."
Erik ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "Jesus Christ." This meant that they were to be delayed more until they called a plumber to fix it, not to mention how much the plumber would cost, how long he would take…
He took a deep sigh. "Take a break guys, then we'll clear this out."
He left to the outside of the new, damaged wing and sat down in the sun, taking off his shirt. A hundred curses came to mind, this had not been his day. First with what happened with Christine, now this.
How could he explain this to Giovanni?
"Damn it all," he said softly.
"Good afternoon, Erik."
Erik inwardly groaned. As if his day couldn't get any worse.
Some would think that if an Italian goddess addressed them, they would consider it a blessing.
He thought it a curse.
"I see that daddy's new wing is damaged," she said as she sat next to him. She took off her Gucci sunglasses and placed them on the top of her head. "He won't be happy about that."
Erik sighed. He knew that, and she didn't need to tell him. "Damn plumber didn't do his job right. I have to call him again and make him come down here." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "This is going to take forever."
He felt small hands at his shoulders. He would have politely pulled away but he was in fact enjoying that small massage Lucianna was giving him. "Come now, Erik," he could hear behind him. "Don't be so hard on yourself. You do the best you can and you go home with the satisfaction of a job well done." Small arms encircled around his neck from behind and she whispered in his ear, "I'll talk to daddy about this. Leave it up to me."
"It's fine, Lucianna," he said to the girl. "It's my responsibility, I will handle it."
Erik made a movement as if to get up, making Lucianna let go. As he stood, Lucianna did also. "I'm going to go talk to your father."
He began to leave but stopped when Lucianna called him back. "Wanna go for a couple of beers tonight? My treat."
Erik smiled slightly. He had to admit that going out with Lucianna would be a great distraction and it was no secret that she wanted something more from Erik than her father would allow. Tonight, he probably could indulge her, finally give in. God knew he needed the distraction.
He was a man after all, he couldn't help feeling that way.
Christine still lurked somewhere in his mind, he couldn't stop thinking about her, especially when he didn't know how she was or where she was.
Perhaps she never needed his help after all and she was just making fun of him. Humoring him.
No, it couldn't be that. He saw the ways her eyes lit with fascination when he played the piano. He could almost hear the passion in her voice. She wasn't faking.
"Lucianna-" he started but stopped. "Excuse me."
He reached into his ringing pocket and took out his cell phone. He placed the phone to his ear, after he looked at the caller ID. "Madame Giry, good afternoon."
"Oh Erik, my dear boy."
Erik frowned. "Madame Giry, what's wrong?"
Her usually cheerful voice and calm demeanor were absent. She sounded worried and out of breath. "It's Jessica."
Erik was instantly worried. "What happened to Christine?" He had forgotten that she didn't know that he knew Christine's true name not the name she had put so no one knew her real identity.
It seemed as if she didn't notice or care because she kept talking. "She's in trouble."
That was all he needed to hear. He began walking to where he kept his things. "What kind of trouble?"
"Deep trouble, Erik."
"Worse than the police, Erik." He could hear her sniffle. "It's Jo. He's a drug dealer, he knows her from when she was little. He's always been after her. He's the only person she is scared of."
"Where is she?"
"Her apartment, God help me Erik, I don't know where it is. I'm so scared!"
"I know where it is," Erik said, still walking, looking for Nadir wherever he may be. At least the thought he knew where it was. He only prayed that the apartment building he had gone to before with her to get her things was the one where she lived. It had to be.
"I will help her, Madame Giry."
"Erik," she sounded as if she had calmed down. "My daughter is with her."
Erik stopped. This was the first time that he had heard about her daughter coming from her directly. He had heard about her before but that was when he was eavesdropping on her conversation with Christine. He felt that circumstances being what they were, he wouldn't ask her about the girl.
"I can't call the police. When Jo gets out, he'll do anything to them. Please help them."
"Madame Giry, there is nothing you can ask that I could refuse."
Christine stood frozen against the wall. She couldn't move. Couldn't think. Just stare at the men before her. Raoul and Jo terrified her. Not so much Raoul, she could punch the smug look off his face but not Jo.
Jo wasn't afraid of her because he knew her since she was small. He knew her father better than she did. They were friends since before she was born. He was the one that made all the funeral arrangements. He had helped her.
That was why she had thought she owed him so much …
They had barged in more than an hour ago laughing and drunk (at least Raoul was), being loud and obnoxious. They were insulting Meg but Christine remained frozen against the wall, trying to make herself as small as she could.
"J-J-Jo," she could hear Meg plead. "I-I'm sorry, I don't have your m-money. I-If you could just please, please, give me a couple of days, I'll get it for you."
She heard Jo laugh, she could hear the cold venom in his words. "I gave you a certain time Meg. More than fair-"
"I-I'm sorry, I'm sorry-" Meg said, tears in her words. "I tried, I did-"
Meg stopped talking. Though Jo had said her voice low he said it with a commanding tone and that was enough to make any man stop what they were doing. Jo wasn't the most feared drug dealer in the city for nothing.
Jo wasn't exactly unattractive. He could have any woman he pleased, every knew he had enough to keep any woman attracted to him. It just so happened that the only woman he wanted was Christine. Why he wanted her, Christine didn't know. She could never predict Joseph Buquet's thoughts or moods. That was what made him dangerous. He could be nice to you one minute then the next minute he could beat you senseless and make you disappear.
"You have the money, Meg," Jo said confidently with a smile, approaching her. "I gave you more than reasonable time." He touched her cheek with the back of his hand. "I never give people as much time as I gave you."
"Get away from her."
Had she said that? How had she managed to find the words?
He hadn't said her true name but the thought of him actually acknowledging her made her freeze, a lump in her throat appear. Now he walked to her, making Christine uneasy. "I haven't seen you in a long time."
Christine swallowed the lump in her throat. "Give or take a year."
He smiled. "I'm honored that you remember our last encounter." He unbuttoned the first three buttons of his shirt and pulled the collar to his shoulder. She could see a line there, whiter than the tan skin around it. "It's healed nicely, don't you think?"
He laughed. "I see it every day and I remember that night. Do you know what I think?"
His hand quickly went for Christine's throat. She tried to avoid it by moving away from him but he was fast. As his hand went for her throat, he put his whole body into the action, crushing her to the wall behind her.
He pinned her against the wall, his body against her, his hands crushing her windpipe. The weight of his body wouldn't let her move and she clawed at the hands at her throat helplessly.
Jo continued his sentence. "How the fuck I'm going to make that bitch pay!"
She heard Raoul laughing somewhere behind Jo.
She could see out of the corner of her eye Meg run to Jo, possibly to help her but then Raoul grabbed her by the waist and pushed her the other way.
"No!" Meg screamed. "Let go of me, you prick!"
"Stay away, Meg," Christine wheezed.
"Yes, Meg," Jo said in a teasing tone. "Stay away. This is between me and Jessica."
"Hey, boss," Raoul said eagerly. "What do you want me to do with this one?"
"Do whatever you want, I don't give a shit," Jo then looked at Christine, smiling. "This one owes me something."
"Take her jacket off!" Raoul said laughing loudly. "Let's see her face!"
Jo gave a cold smile and spoke so only she could hear him under Raoul's laughing. "Oh, yes, why don't we do that, Christine? He slowly let go of her making her cough uncontrollably, dropping to her knees on the floor. It felt good to have air in her lungs.
"I remember, you were once so very beautiful. You had blue eyes."
Christine felt her anger burn inside.
"I had been watching you for a long time, Christine."
Christine's hand balled up into a fist and before she could stop herself, she was throwing herself on Jo, knocking him to the ground.
"Christine, stop it!"
She ignored Meg's cries and began to punch Jo as hard as she could. Or at least she tried. Before she could land the first blow, Raoul had taken her by the shoulders, taking her hands, he put them behind her back.
She took the heel of her boot and stepped on Raoul's foot as hard as she could.
He screamed in pain and fell back when Christine turned and kneed him in the groin. As soon as he fell, she heard a heavy metal thud on the carpeted floor. Turning to Meg, she screamed, "Meg, run!"
Meg didn't have to be told twice, she leapt for the door and ran clear outside of her room. Christine followed suit but fell short. Just as she was about to run to the door, a hand grabbed her ankle, making her stumble forward, hitting her chin on the floor.
Pain shot through her, but she ignored it, kicking viciously at the hand at her ankle. She looked at the man grabbing her ankle. Jo's face was red, his eyes were burning with hate.
"Get back here, Christine!"
"Fuck you!" She kicked at his face but missed, but he didn't. He grabbed her other ankle and with great force, he pulled her to him. The carpet burned her back and she desperately looked around for anything to defend herself with.
"I'll finish what I started."
He threw his knee on her thigh with all his weight, making her cry out in pain. Once he was on top of her, he punched her face, making her senses explode in pain. She could hardly think from the pain.
"Does this remind you of anything, my dear Christine?" He asked as he pinned her hands beneath his at her sides.
"Get the fuck off of me!" She cried out, her breath leaving her. He was too heavy.
He placed his mouth on hers again and bit her lip, the coppery liquid filling her mouth. His hands tugged at her jacket and before she knew it the one thing that protected her from the world was discarded and Jo could see her face.
Tears filled her eyes and she couldn't bear to look at his disgusted face. She turned away, trying to place her hair across her marred skin without the use of her hands.
"God," he said his disgusted tone apparent. "You're hideous."
Christine bit back a sob but used her remaining strength to spit in his face.
This time he slapped her, making her gasp in pain. Suddenly she felt the weight of the man being lifted off her. She crawled away from where she had been and looked at where Jo was presently being pulled to. A man, not much larger than Jo himself was proceeding to kick and punch Jo against a wall.
Christine frowned, the only other person in the room had been Raoul and he had always been afraid of Jo. Raoul was much smaller than Jo, not like this man. Raoul was weak, this man was strong, which was apparent in the way he was leaving Jo almost unconscious.
Christine looked around for her jacket and when she found it, she put it on, automatically placing the hoody on her head. Abruptly, she heard an all too familiar click. Christine turned sharply and saw that the man was pointing a gun at Jo on the floor.
"You'd defend that whore?" Jo said, spitting blood on the ground.
"Yes, I would."
Christine almost melted at the sound of his voice and she felt the tears she had been holding back flood to her eyes.
He did care about her. Even after everything she had done. He was willing to defend a perfect stranger. She felt her heart flood, and a new sense of respect grow for her angel. He saved her because he believed in her.
"Call her that again and you will regret it," Erik said in a cold voice. "Christine."
She looked up when he called her. "Are you all right?"
She nodded, not trusting her voice lest it broke in the middle of the sentence. When he wouldn't look at her, she said, softly, "Yes."
He didn't look up. "Let's go." He walked away from Jo, facing him the entire time, the gun pointed at him. When he was at the door, he took Christine's hand and they left.