It was the first day back to my office in the city after the holidays and you can imagine that no one felt like working really, it didn't matter it was in the middle of the week. I had spent the entire morning setting up the strategy for the current month with the boss and revising some old projects to determine whether they were worth pursuing or not and in the beginning of the afternoon I was done and on my way home. I would have even made it home in less than half an hour if I hadn't stopped by a store to see for a watch I wanted to buy for Demetrius' birthday. Technically it was Christian Bale's birthday but we wanted to make him a surprise. Well, the surprise was going to be mine.
I went out of the store happy to have found a watch I knew Demetrius would like and with the small box in my purse I walked to the car parked down the street in a busy parking area. I reached for the keys inside my pocket when I heard a voice coming from very close behind me:
"I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to give me those, ma'am."
"Excuse me?" I wanted to turn around to see what the man was talking about and mostly who was talking to begin with but strong hands holding my both upper arms held me in place.
"It would be safer for you if you didn't see my face." the voice warned me. "Now give me the keys, please."
I might have fallen for it if it hadn't been for that 'please', I would have taken him for an ordinary robber and given him the car keys praying to the Gods for him to take the keys and leave before he could change his mind and want something else too. But that 'please' was so out of place that it made me think twice. The voice was cultivated and the tone was not as threatening as he probably wanted it to be. He wasn't pressing a gun against my back nor a knife at my throat, he wasn't a regular thief, he probably wasn't armed at all.
"You're not taking my car." I said calmly and turned around to test my theory. "Oh, hello…" I grinned recognizing the face.
"Hi." he replied mechanically. "What do you mean I'm not taking your car?" he sounded disconcerted.
"Like I said, you're not taking the car." I repeated. "Look, if you need a ride I'll take you wherever you want but this is my car and I won't give it to you to trash it and abandon it on the side of the road only God knows where. You're not taking my car and this is final." I stated. "So what it's gonna be?" I asked.
He growled and quickly looked around like someone was following him and he could find him and jump on him any second from now.
"Get in!" he grumbled.
I hid a smirk and unlocked the car so we could both get in, me in the driver seat of course. Actually it was safer that way. Ever since Demetrius had started to work at the City Hall and became sort of an important person in the high circles all our cars had been put under light surveillance and if anyone outside the family had been driving any of them someone somewhere would have known.
"Where to?" I asked starting the engine.
"Just drive." he ordered restless looking back and forward but there was no one showing a particular interest in us on the street.
"OK…" I shrugged and pulling the car from the sidewalk I engaged into the heavy traffic. "May I ask who are you running from?" I asked after a short pause.
"Who do you think? Cops!" he said and turned to look at me suspiciously. "You're not one of them, are you?"
"No, I'm not a cop…" I smiled amused by that idea.
"Good. I had bad experiences with female cops." he muttered and if before I wasn't quite sure where to place him, now I knew.
"So what did you do this time?" I asked with a smirk.
"Broke out of prison…" he shrugged like it was no big deal.
"Again?" I chuckled. "Don't tell me you robbed another bank… this is real life, not a damn movie!" I shook my head. "Sheriff Beibe must be really pissed." I mused grinning. "OK, change of plans." I announced him and turned to the left.
"What? Hey, where are you going!" he reached out to take control of the wheel.
"I'm gonna offer you one last meal before Bridgid finds you and kicks your ass back to jail." I smiled at him maliciously.
"I'm not going back there." he frowned. "What do you know about robbing banks? And I don't know any sheriff Beibe and who the hell is Bridgid?" he questioned me.
"You're not from Havensport, are you?" I realized while waiting in an intersection for the light to change.
"Never been there." he claimed.
Well, it did make sense, sort of… He wasn't from here that was for sure. Not many famous people clones lived in the city or in the surroundings, they tended to gravitate around Havensport in this part of the world. Actually beside my guys who weren't that well-known except for a certain category of people and our family doctor I hadn't seen any other clone in the city. And he was a clone, there was no doubt about that. Something wasn't entirely right though. When offered the chance of a new life clones usually managed to stay out of troubles at least as far as the police was concerned.
What had gone wrong in his case? Or maybe… maybe it hadn't gone wrong yet, he just thought it did, and there was still time to prevent it from happening. Those RMs were a tough shit to deal with, I knew it from my own guys, they still dreamed about friends being shot, getting lost in a desert or swamp, and being assaulted by fans. He wore that haunted look I had seen before and not just once so it could be his case too.
"Tell me one thing… where is your Mistress?" I asked watching him with the corner of my eyes.
"My mistress? I don't have one." he gave me a puzzled look. "I've been married once, but no mistress… Why? Are you offering?" he joked. "You're not afraid of me, are you?" an eyebrow rose seeing my mysterious smile.
"No, I'm not." I told him. "I'm confident you're not gonna hurt me. You're a Clooney and they are usually nice." I grinned.
"I don't plan to… Hey, who are you calling a loony, lady?" he argued. "Look at yourself first before starting calling people names, I'm not the one who offered to give a convict a ride and even buy him lunch!" he mocked me.
"True." I laughed. "But what I was saying was that you're a George Clooney… clone." I made a pause before saying the incriminating word.
"Clone?" he stared at me like I was nuts. Yep, I had been right, he was totally lost.
"Come on, I'll explain everything while we eat." I told him and pulled the car in an empty parking lot in front of the restaurant.
He hesitated a second before following me but my statement had raised his interest and even if it turned out to be only the inventions of a hyperactive mind he was hungry and could use a free meal not mentioning the fact that he didn't exactly mind the company after not having seen a woman in too long according to his memory.
"Bonjour, Pierre." I nodded at the waiter who knew me and came ahead to welcome us and take my coat. He walked us to the best available table and returned with two menus. My companion opened one and pushed it away with a groan. He couldn't read French obviously. A whole life spent in and out of jail hadn't done much for his education level. "Pierre, we're really hungry, just bring us something that doesn't require a long waiting, please." I smiled. As it was I doubted it was not a good time to show off with my French.
"You'd better have a good explanation for… this!" he motioned with his hand not really sure what this was.
"I do, and it might shock you in the beginning but I promise it's good, Jack…" I started but he interrupted me.
"You know my name!" he exclaimed surprised.
"Yes, and more than that." I nodded. "The truth is whether you like it or not that you've been created after a movie character. There's a real actor somewhere out there looking exactly like you, well maybe with a little more gray hair…" I smirked "…who played in front of a camera most part of the memories you can remember."
He stared at me for a long moment then he declared: "You're insane."
"You might be right but not when it comes to this." I chuckled. He wanted to say something but the first course arrived and he found himself too busy stuffing food in his mouth to talk. "How long have you been running?" I asked slightly concerned. Convincing him about how the things were could wait, I needed to find out if there really was a reason for him to run away like that.
He reached above the table to catch my wrist in his hand and he looked at the watch I was wearing:
"Thirty six hours…" he answered after a short hesitation. No wonder he was hungry! No food, no rest, no warm place to stay… he looked like hell, I couldn't let his Mistress see him like that. A plan was starting to form inside my head.
"During all this time did you have any good reason to think that someone is after you? Think really hard Jack…" I asked him.
He stopped from chewing trying to come with arguments and when he couldn't find any he looked at me confused. There was a small breach in his confidence, I could see it in his eyes, and I pushed further more not to lose the occasion.
"What is the last thing you remember before running away? Where were you? What happened?" I insisted.
"I'm not sure… I woke up in some sort of a box, not sure how I got there, but it was dark and I couldn't breathe so I forced it to open…" he muttered struggling to put some sort of order in his memories. My eyes fell upon his bruised knuckles and it wasn't hard to imagine what a fight that must have been.
"Where you in a kitchen by any chance?" I ventured.
"Kitchen? No! It was some room, rather empty, not many things in there beside that box I had been locked in… and another one… closed… near the wall." he remembered. So he wasn't one of Max's clones, he had just confirmed it. Besides if Max had made any Clooney clone I would have known already.
"Where there any other people?" I questioned him.
"I didn't see anyone… but I heard several voices arguing in another room…" It sounded like something that could have happened in Max's house, I thought amused. "…and since there was no one around and the corridor was empty I looked for the nearest exit and I was out of there." he finished.
"OK, maybe you shouldn't have done that but there's no harm done yet… what else have you done since you 'escaped'?" I sounded a bit worried. For his sake I hope he hadn't done anything stupid that would require for him to have to deal with the authorities.
"Hiding and running mostly… stole a car but I had to abandon it when I ran out of gas… I didn't have any money on me… it was late when I got to a town with a bank, couldn't rob it, didn't have the means and they wouldn't have even let me in with the way I looked by then…" he raised his shoulders "I tried to rob a small store… it turned bad and I almost got caught… I don't know, that's about it…" he sighed. "Are you gonna finish that?" I shook my head and pushed my plate towards him still thinking about what he had said. "I probably shouldn't tell you anything, I have now idea why I'm doing it… my brain must have frozen outside." he said ironically but it didn't fully masked the insecurity in his voice.
I knew why he was doing it. Alone in a place he didn't know, wanted, with no other perspective for the future than jail, he needed help and he was getting desperate.
"I have some good news for you, Jack." I told him leaning forward a little. "There are people out there looking for you, but they are the good guys. They want to take you to a warm home with a woman who loves you, the one that ordered you. The only reason why they didn't find you already is because they didn't expected you to head this way. This is a clone free area mostly…"
"I just asked someone on the road where's the nearest city. It's easier to hide in big cities." he explained.
"Nevertheless they will find you eventually and if you fight back it will get messy, but there is no way to get away with it, not for a new clone. Older clones can leave their house, they can even move in with another Mistress…" my voice became slightly bitter and I lowered my eyes "…but everyone assumes they know what they're doing, while a new clone is treated like a stubborn kid who needs guidance. Do you understand what I mean?" I narrowed my eyes at him.
"I'm trying to!" he snorted. "You seem to know a lot about clones…" he noticed.
"I've got five of them myself." I admitted with a modest smile.
"No kidding?" he laughed. "All criminals? How… how do you handle them?" he tilted his head on a side looking curious.
"They're nice guys… mostly… no conflicts with the law so far." I chuckled.
He used the dessert as a break to meditate on the issue.
"What you're telling me is very hard to believe, you know?" he said while he was eating the last bite.
"I know, but I'm gonna prove it to you." I promised.
He had finished eating so he followed me without complaining when I got up. I took him to a video store and it wasn't hard to find what I was looking for. While he stared at the Out of Sight video tape and read the synopsis on the back I browsed through the CDs shelves and returned to him with a particular CD in my hand.
"Looks familiar to you?" I handed it to him.
"Karen…" he exclaimed.
"Also known as J. Lo. She's a singer but she's much better known for her butt and her love affairs." I informed him.
"She does have a nice… butt." he agreed.
"Men!" I rolled my eyes dramatically and he glanced at me and grinned. Stop doing that! I scowled silently at him. "Do you want to keep those?" I asked instead.
He looked at the tape and then at the CD and shook his head a bit melancholically.
"No, if all you said is true… then this… pointless…" he shrugged "…and I'm afraid I'm starting to believe you." he muttered and frowned.
"Good choice!" I congratulated him. "Your Mistress wouldn't be quite happy to see you showing up at her door bringing these two things as your most treasured earthly possessions."
"That is if I can find her and she still wants me…" his head laid low full of pessimism.
"If she doesn't want you you can always find a spare room in my house…" I winked "…but I have a feeling she will."
"Can't you take me now? I'm in a desperate need of a shower…" he put on his best impersonation of puppy eyes look.
"And a shave." I agreed. "We can fix this but first we need to find you some clothes. You can't go to your Mistress looking like this." I stated. "First impression always matter."
So I dragged him after me to the first men clothes store we ran into, which happened to be a very expensive one. An hour later we were returning to the car with a complete set of clothes and by the look on his face it was fair to assume he was thinking it was better to be in jail than shopping with me.
I took him to the small apartment I had in town and without much fuss I directed him straight to the bathroom where he stood for a long time. While waiting I made a coffee thinking he might like one before leaving, I checked my messages but I didn't call home knowing that if the guys started asking question I would never hear the end of it and in lack of anything else better to do I turned on the TV.
"I'm afraid I left quite a mess in the bathroom." I heard Jack saying and when I turned around to look at him I had to swallow twice before I could speak.
"That's all right, that's what we're here for." I smirked, hardly a remark my guys were ever going to hear coming from me but the way he was standing there in the doorway with his hair half dried and wearing just a towel around his waist, damn he was looking good!
I left him there so he could change in the new clothes we had bought and I went to the bathroom to check the damage. I wasn't such a disaster and soon everything was back to order except for my heart, which was still racing. I was looking in the mirror with my hands propped on the edge of the sink and taking deep breaths when I heard the sound of his steps on the corridor. The door wasn't locked, it wasn't even completely closed and he pushed it with one hand and walked in. I didn't turn around, I didn't say a thing not even when he stopped behind me and placed his hands on my hips.
Damn it, why did I have to pick that suit for him? He looked absolutely gorgeous wearing it. I felt my knees getting weak. With one hand he pulled my hair on a side and lowered his head to nibble at my exposed neck. My eyelids became heavier and heavier and threatened to close my eyes while his hands continued to fondle my hips for a while, then moved down along my thighs until they reached the end of my short skirt and they changed direction moving back up this time inside the skirt pulling it up along with them.
My breathing was becoming very irregular at this point. Fingers traced the outline of my panties and finally pulled them down exposing my behind to the fresh air and I instinctively arched my back forward while pushing back. Warm hands caressed my cheeks spreading them and a hand went between my legs to cup the mound. Juice was dripping of me in his palm and he used it to moisture his fingers before probing both entrances and plunging inside me. I bit my lips but I couldn't prevent the moan from escaping. While one hand was busy moving in and out of me the other was fondling my breasts through the thin fabric of my blouse driving me crazy. My head fell back on his shoulder my lips searching desperately his to be kissed by them. I heard the sound of a zipper going down and... Stop! Rewind. Where were we?
Yes, he was nibbling on my neck and his hands were resting on my hips…
"How long it has been since you last had a woman, convict?" I asked teasingly.
"Two years, four months, three weeks and six days…" he replied promptly.
"Then you can wait one more day." I chuckled and turned to him placing my hands on his chest. "I wouldn't like it if one of my guys had sex with another woman before even meeting me. I doubt your Mistress would like that too." I told him. "Let's start this new life the right way, OK?" I smiled.
"OK…" he sighed and rested his head against mine for a moment. "Now what?"
"Do you think you could find your way back to the 'prison' you've escaped from?" I wondered.
"I can if you give me a map…" he nodded.
"I might just happen to have one laying somewhere around here." I smirked.
We returned to the living room and after unfolding a large map of the area on the table almost spilling the coffee we turned it on all sides until he was able to point at a town and say "This is the one."
"Great, then I'll be your driver once again." I grinned.
"I could always get a cab… I mean if you're willing to pay for it." he added.
"Good point!" I chuckled. "No, I'm not going to let you out of my sight until I'm sure you're in good hands. I'll deliver you to your clonemaker wrapped in shiny paper with a bow on top and a leash to make sure you won't be able to run away again." I joked. "It's not even that far, in four hours I should be back home ready to listen to my guys' lecture." I said making a funny face. "No arguing, this is final!" I warned him. "You'd better get used to it from now, a Mistress' word is like law around here." I told him with a stern face. He was going to find out soon enough how much truth was in that affirmation.
"Now let me look at you…" I muttered and straightened the collar of his shirt. "Looking good!" I whistled appreciatively and he grinned. "Something's missing though… hmm…" I frowned.
I went to get my purse and took the watch I had bought for Demetrius out of its box and handed it to him. I could always get another one for Demetrius but Jack, this Jack, I might never get to see again and I wanted him to have something to remind him of me.
"This is better." I beamed. "Let's get you one step closer to your Mistress!"
We talked about all kind of things in the car, and I tried to explain to him the mystery of the clone and Mistress relationship the best I could, but the closer we got to our destination we seemed to be running out of words. We wandered on several streets until he identified the house in which he had been created and I stopped the car on the opposite side of the street. We stared at the entrance for a little while and then he sighed.
"I guess I should go inside…" he mumbled talking to himself. Unknown was always scary no matter how brave one was.
"Yeah…" I replied on the same tone. "It will be fine, you'll see…" I gave him an encouraging smile.
He nodded and got out of the car but then he came on my side and I rolled the window down to listen to what he had to say.
"This is it… I'm not gonna see you again, will I?" he wondered.
"Probably not… but hey if you ever run away again, or get lost, you know where to find me." I smirked.
"Yeah, I do… thanks." he nodded.
"You're welcome. Don't screw up!" I told him.
"I'll try not to… wish me luck." he said looking into my eyes.
"Good luck." I murmured.
He squeezed his head inside through the open window to brush his lips against mine and then looking on both sides of the street he walked to the house and knocked on the front door. I waited until he was let inside, I couldn't see clearly who welcomed him just that it was a man and he didn't look menacing at all. I waited a couple of minutes and seeing that the house remained peaceful and quiet and no one threw Jack out in the street I turned on the engine and returned to the road. Once I got out of town I reached for my cell phone and dialed a number.
"Guys, I'm coming home." I announced grinning.