Chapter Fourteen: Blackmail
The temple sucked. She hated the frost that crawled on her skin. The food was too boring for her tastes. She found the uniform lame – the sleeves annoyed her with its tightness. Chore after chore was an excessive bore. She didn't want to return to prison, yet had an agonizing temptation to leave. Too bad she was doomed to stick around the temple. Larry instructed her to obey Sister Bikini until he arranged the money he promised her. The only thing she found fascinating was the fund Sister Bikini mentioned last night. Since a former nun was jailed for helping out on a murder, they had become ridiculously rich. Bikini didn't even need the money.
Sister Andrews seemed nice when she first met her, but now she's becoming suspicious. She'd follow her every step, and have an awkward freak out afterwards. What was up with her?
Larry was a complete gobemouche. Anything she said, he would believe it in an instant. Larry would even believe that her ex-fiancé was abusive if she told him. Bless the naïve underdog, she thought. Just the odd sneak outs of the temple wouldn't go unnoticed. She could buy some stuff and make the excuse that she was going shopping when she returned.
Lying free of her nun uniform, Alita slipped on a pink dress from Larry's shopping bag. He's suppose to be saving the money for her to make her get away, but since Larry bought all this stuff for her, she'll let him off.
The shade of lipstick matched the color of her dress- a strange coincidence. She wouldn't be surprised if it was Larry's intention. He seemed to be making more of an effort now she's left prison. She looked at him, patting Larry. She then stroked his back as her eyes caught attention to the bruises on his cheek.
"Larry," she said, cradling his back. "What's that mark on your face? Did they gave you a hard time at work today?"
"Nah, it was Pearl..."
"She's a friend of mine," Larry replied. "She used to be so nice, but she's..."
"She's what?" spat Alita.
"SHE'S DATING WOCKY!"
"Must have rubbed off on her," Alita muttered. She marched to the bedroom which was rather plain and orange. She looked around the wooden cabinets, and bounced on the bed. "You know that scar around my neck?"
"The one your old boss got when he tried to strangle you?"
"Yeah," Alita nodded, removing her scarf. A red ring around the back of her neck looked as it if had been freshly bruised. "Well that was just the icing on the cake. Wocky's attacked me ... lots of times."
Alita got just the reaction she wanted. Larry gasped, his eyes widened in horror and his jaw opened like a cave's entrance. His fingers tickled her ears, and if she wasn't mistaken, he was weeping. "You didn't tell me he was physically abusive..."
"He strangled me once a week," Alita spoke in a morbid tone. "He always slapped me. It was pretty normal for him. If I refused to have sex with him, he's just kick me until I say yes."
"That's so mean of him," Larry whimpered. "Why did you want to marry him?"
"I needed the money," Alita said with glistening eyes. "My parents had high expectations of me, then they abandoned me when I failed an exam. You're my last chance, Larry; you have to save me."
"I will save you." Larry cornered Alita, then pinned her to the bed. "We're gonna be rich baby?" Larry growled. His breathe smuggled her ears and the grip of his hands made Alita pant. "Anything you want, I'll fight to get."
"I should go soon," Alita said. "They'll wonder where I am."
After a long silent stare, Larry said, "I'll make something up for you."
"So do you wanna go out anywhere?"
"Clubbing?" Larry gasped. "But what if people find you?"
"They won't," Alita hissed, leaping off the bed. "My hair is longer, my style is different and I got lots of make up – they better not recognize me." She glanced in the mirror, then turned to Larry. "You have any sunglasses?"
"Yeah!" Larry reached his pockets. Then threw a pair of sunglasses which landed into Alita's hand.
"Perfect," she muttered. She raised her gun as she slipped on the black shades. "How do I look Larry?" Alita asked in a seductive voice.
"Very fine baby!"
"One crate left," growled Matt. "And you guys better make the most of it."
"Okay guys," Wocky announced to his group of friends, leading them through the back passage of a building. "It's party time!"
"Why do we have to go the back passage?" asked Trucy.
"They won't ID you that way," replied Matt. He wrapped his arm around Trucy and Machi like his own children. "Besides, I got a nice place reserved for us."
The more Matt grinned with flashing teeth with alcohol waving around, the less Apollo trusted him. He was getting horrible images of him molesting Trucy, and he hoped it was all it would be. Red flashed from blue to purple to yellow and back to red in the room. "Follow me!" Matt shouted to them. The beat of the loud music echoed in their heads. Vera had been holding tight onto Apollo's arm he whole time since entering the club.
"YOU ALL RIGHT VERA?" Apollo asked.
"It's scary," Vera admitted. The last time she was surrounded by such an intense crowd was when she was on trial for patricide. Her was never revolved around wild nights, so Apollo understood why Vera was so afraid of the people dancing about. He even spotted something who looked a little like his former mentor, Kristoph Gavin. Might have even been Klavier. It was a miracle Vera's breathing.
"Here we go," Matt yelled. "VIP area here we come."
"Wow," gasped Trucy, it sure is a nice room. The half-aqua and half-transparent walls glowed in various hues. She even spotted goldfish swimming around. Bright red leather sofas backed against the wall, with a round table to match. The table also had a pole in the middle. In a close look, there were compartments to the table. Trucy opened the draws to see poker cards and chips. This was place was excellent, she thought.
"All of these folks better be older than eighteen," the bouncer warned Matt.
"As eighteen as my soul," Matt roared as he placed the drinks down on the middle of the table. "I'll see you later."
The bouncer left, closing the door behind him.
"I'm gonna have a cigarette," said Wocky.
"Can I come with you?" asked Cody.
"This place is so cute," Pearl shouted, her palms set out flat on the walls, she followed the fish around.
"I know," agreed Trucy.
"Now is a great time to drink up," Matt growled like an over excited lion. "And this one the best clubs in the U.S."
"OKAY!" yelled Trucy. Her head rested against Machi's shoulder, waving her vodka about.
"A tiger bit my nose this morning, and everything became sparkly," said Matt after four bottles. Apollo felt left out: he was still on his first. No matter how much everyone else seemed to have fun drinking and smoking God-knows-what, Apollo knew he had to steer clear from the temptation, and watch over Trucy. So far, not much progress has been made, she was on her third bottle and was mixing drinks.
"Sounds interesting," murmured Vera. She had been giving Matt strange looks ever since he got here. She seemed content until Matt graced (or disgraced) them with his presence. She glared with anxious eyes hugging her sketchbook tight. Apollo wouldn't be surprised if Vera started drawing pictures of Matt being a devil. She would not touch the drinks.
"You two like whisky?" Matt asked, rolling on the table.
"It's all right," Apollo replied.
"What about you babe?" Matt asked, holding onto Vera's hand.
"I've never tried it... My dad wouldn't let me?"
"Your daddy won't know will he?"
"He's dead," Vera said. Apollo hated how Matt just grinned; Vera seemed to be close to tears.
"Well he's in heaven, he can't do a thing," Matt spat, leaving a smirk. He grabbed a bottle of vodka and whisky and placed them in front of Vera. "Come one darling, have a drink."
Fucking insensitive jerk!
"I'm okay thanks," Vera said. She sounded morbid and depressed.
"You know you want it," slobbered Matt.
"Someone kick this dude's head" prayed Apollo. His sister granted his wish. Trucy who had began playing on the pole flicked her leg causing Matt to roll off the table.
"Shit it's him," Alita muttered under her breath. She saw Wocky along with Cody walking around the club. Cody used to be Alita's neighbor before being jailed. She wasn't surprised of their friendship though – she never liked them. So far so good; he didn't spot her. She turned. Larry struggled to gulp down his drink and clenched his eyes. His knees faced the legs of the stool.
"I told you this was a bad idea..." squeaked out Larry.
"Forget about him," Alita said. "Let's just carry on."
"You still wanna stay?"
"Yes," Alita hissed. "I don't care about him. Anyway I'll be right back."
"Hey Alita!" Larry dragged Alita onto his chest. "Where are you going?"
She crept behind the dancers, and spied on Wocky's movements.
"Where ya going? Asked Cody.
"Having another cigarette!" Wocky replied. "I'll be back in a bit okay"
Alita had found her opportunity. She tip-toed towards the side of the of the wall and leapt through the door outside. The night was black. The wind was singing a hallow and almost non-existent melody. There her ex-fiancé was – standing with his back against the wall smoking a cigarette.
"So how's it going Wocky-pocky," Alita whispered. She walked over to Wocky, removed her shades, and then grinned.
"Fuck off and die Alita," Wocky requested in a bitter tone.
"We need to talk," Alita said. "I'm not happy that little slut of yours gets away with beating up my boyfriend."
"Like you give a shit about him," Wocky laughed. "The minute he gives everything to you, you'll be out be out of his life and you'll smash his heart apart. Just like how you did it to me."
"And the minute you notice Pearl is a complete retard, you'll dump her."
"FUCKING BITCH," Wocky spat, "I'LL KILL YOU!"
"Then Larry will kill you," Alita hissed and remained calm. "He's works his ass off everyday, stealing money, making money, and buying gifts just for me. This necklace I'm wearing costs a thousand dollars, but he took it just for me. So what are you getting me for Christmas?" Alita giggled stroking Wocky's cheek.
"Fuck all," Wocky snapped. He slapped Alita's wrist, then stepped backwards.
"You know what I want?"
"No," Wocky mumbled. "I don't care either."
"I want nine-thousand dollars by the 26th December."
"Hell no!" Wocky snapped. In fury, he threw his palm across Alita but she dodged. She grabbed countered him with her first and held his arm like a strict mother. The wrinkles that formed from her anger melted away. She pouted her lips and stroked Wocky. Just how she used to when they were together. "And why not?"
"You humiliate me in court, you lie to me, you almost got me killed!" Wocky reminded her. "I never thought I would see the light of day. You left me running out the door and crying myself to sleep. I'VE GOT A QUESTION FOR YOU! Why the hell do you think I'd give you nine-mother-fucking-thousand dollars after the way you treated me?"
"It took a lot of motivation to act like I love you," Alita hissed. "And what did I get? A jail sentence for life. You still owe the money you brat."
"I owe you nothing, so you can go away!"
"But Wocky, I haven't got anything to lose," Alita smiled. "You've got everything to lose."
"You'd be fucked without Larry," Wocky fought back and pointed at her. "You're nothing without Larry."
"You'd be just a sorry little twerp without that slut of yours."
"YOU'RE THE SLUT NOT HER!" Wocky pounced on Alita and banged her head against the wall. "Leave. Pearl. Out. Of. This."
"Says the brat that raped a married woman."
"I didn't rape her," said Wocky. He raised his eyebrow, getting his teethe he continued, "she even admitted that she only used me to have a baby."
"I feel really sorry for the child," Alita muttered. "It's going to be ugly."
"Dessie was more prettier than you. It's gonna be a good kid." It was a shame what he did
"Online relationships suck and you had zero chance with her anyway. I feel sorry for her husband – seeing your hideous body is enough to make anyone vomit."
"How the hell do you know about my private life?"
"Larry tells me everything," Alita's smile became more intense. Curling her fingers together she said, "So I told Larry you're a wife-beater."
"What?" Wocky croaked. Although it was rather tempting just to punch her face for feeding him lies. "I didn't do anything to you. You know that!"
"Like he'll take your word over mine?" Alita giggled. She wrapped her arms around Wocky and continued. "He didn't believe you, when I said I'm trouble. There's no way he's gonna believe you now. What would you do if Larry told everyone what I said?" Alita asked in such a sincere fake tone. She tutted and touched Wocky's cheek again. "Larry seems to know her ... pretty well. He's got a big mouth, and he's not afraid to use it." The more she spoke the more seductive she became.
"Your trying to set me up again ain't ya?"
"If you don't give me nine-thousand dollars by Christmas day. Larry's gonna tell everyone you're abusive, and I'll kill Pearl." She could see him shiver the moment she mentioned Pearl's death. They both engaged in a long piercing stare until Wocky bowed his head. His eyes were clenched. "I knew you'd do it if I brought her into this," Alita cackled.
"Wait, just said the 26th earlier," Wocky snapped.
"I changed my mind," said Alita. "I'll be waiting in that car park near the courtroom. I'll be there from eleven till midnight," Alita yawned as her hand rested on her hips. "I'll want the money then. You've got twelve weeks to do it in, so you'll be fine."
"And you'll regret it one day." Wocky gritted his teeth. "You'll regret bringing Pearl into this shit!"
"Anything else you want to say to me?" Alita asked. Wocky quickly shook his head and stuck his two fingers up at Alita and walked away. "In that case, I'll bid you goodnight."
Vera had dashed out of the room as soon as Matt bounced of the floor. Apollo followed her because everyone else was having too much fun to notice. Besides, the club was an unhealthy place, especially for Vera. It would have been a better idea just to stay at the park. He followed Vera until she went outside. She hurdled to the corner, hugged her sketchbook and cried.
"Vera are you okay?" Apollo asked. Of course she wasn't okay, but it slipped out of his mouth. "Matt was a jerk just now."
"I don't like him," admitted Vera. "He smells, talks and acts weird."
Her father, Drew Misham wasn't much of a drinking man it seemed.
"I don't like him that much either," said Apollo, checking his phone. "Something's not right about him."
"I was having a good time," Vera whispered, "until Matt came along."
"Me too," Apollo said to make her feel better. To be honest, he had a bad feeling something bad was going to happen anyway. He had missed a call, and his heart skipped a beat when it was Phoenix that tried to ring him. He rang Phoenix, knowing that this it was a somewhat important call. Phoenix was quick to pick the phone up.
"Hello Apollo," Phoenix said.
"Hey there, ya called."
"Tell Trucy to turn her phone on," he requested sounding angry.
"Her phone ran out of battery," Apollo replied. "And she's in the bathroom right now," he lied, knowing Phoenix was going to ask to speak to her.
"As soon as she's out, get her to call me!"
"Okay," Apollo nodded.
"And I want Trucy home by eleven. I'd be grateful if she comes home sober."
"We'll be there on the dot!" Apollo promised. At least he hoped he could keep that promise.
"I'll be seeing you at eleven."
And Phoenix hung up.
"HEY THERE YOU ARE POLLY!" Trucy screamed. She jumped down the stairs as her legs shook like an earthquake. "THE VODKA AND WHISKY ARE LUSH," she screamed. "I LURVE YOU POLLY AND I LURVE YOU VERA!"
"...What about Machi?" asked Vera.
"I ADORE HIM TOO!"
"Why are you shouting?" questioned Apollo. "We're not deaf."
"BECAUSE I WANNA MAKE SOME NOISE!" screeched Trucy. "IT'S PARTY TIME ANYWAY!"
Apollo knew it was a bad situation, but Phoenix wanted Trucy to call him on her phone. He rang Phoenix again and passed the phone over to her. "Trucy, your father wants to talk to you."
Trucy snatched the phone and before Phoenix could even get the chance to reply she screamed, "HELLO DADDY I LOVE YOU!"
"I love you too," Phoenix chuckled. Apollo could feel his brain about to explode. God knows what the call was going to be like. "So are you having a good time?"
"YEAH! I'M HAVING AN AMAZING TIME WITH PEARLS, POLLY, VERA, WOCKY, CODY, MATT AND MY BOYFRIEND MACHI!"
"You have a boyfriend?" Phoenix asked. "When was this?"
" HE ASKED ME OUT TODAY, HE WAS SO SWEET HE GAVE ME A DRINK AND I FINISHED IT."
"Lovely," said Phoenix. "I want you home by eleven!"
"WHAT?" Trucy snapped. "ONLY ELEVEN? BUT I WANNA PARTY ALL NIGHT LONG!"
"Are you drunk or is this not Trucy?"
"YES IT'S ME TRUCY, NO I'M NOT DRUNK I'M JUST HYPER."
"... just be home by Eleven!"
"OKAY BYE DADDY!"
As the phone call ended she crawled over Apollo's lap, stretched and hopped back up on her feet.
"I'm feeling better now," Vera announced. "Thanks for making me feel better you two. Let's go back in."
The three of them returned to the VIP room, and they were no more drinks from Matt's supply. It didn't surprise Apollo one bit. He checked his watch; the little hand was on ten, and the big hand was on the twelve. They didn't have much long, so he thought he might as well make the most of it. He was staying sober and even if Matt forced it down, he'll spit it out. Apollo and Vera looked like the odd two out as the only sober people in the room. Wocky and Pearl were under the table making love, Trucy, Matt, Machi and Cody were bouncing around the room like balls in a football match.
Then there was Apollo and Vera, sitting on the table, chatting and doodling in Vera's sketchbook. They didn't need to be drunk to have a great time. And time sprinted to the morning.
Late, dark and cold. Apollo was exhausted, whilst Trucy insisted on partying. Everyone else crashed out at Wocky's house apart from Matt who went off in the same car he came out from earlier. Apollo hoped Vera was okay, no doubt it would be the first time she's ever had a sleep-over before. He wouldn't have minded crashing out at Wocky's but he remembered what Phoenix said: home at eleven and no later! It was now three minutes away from Three O'clock in the morning. The funny thing was that Phoenix hadn't rang at all.
Apollo and Trucy were playing tug-o-war with their arms. Apollo trying to take Trucy home, and Trucy trying to run back to the club.
"We're going to wrong way home!" Apollo told her.
"Polly it's only 3:AM"
"You should have been home four hours ago," Apollo reminded him. It shouldn't take more than four hours to take her home, but she kept going AWOL. Apollo almost had a panic attack. Vera did too. "Besides, some of you lot aren't even allowed to be in them clubs."
"Relax Polly," Trucy giggled. "Being a rebel is fun." She pointed at the lamppost, dashed to it and shouted, "POLEDANCING!"
Apollo knew that the pair of them must have looked like idiots, what made it worse was the the streets were filled with more drunks. Apollo tried to catch up with her, but by the time he reached the lamppost Trucy was interested in she had already started climbing on it. He wanted to slap all the other drunks who persuaded Trucy to keep climbing.
"GET DOWN PLEASE TRUCY!" Apollo demanded.
"But I love it up here," moaned Trucy. Her fingers dangled from the poles and her legs were tangled where her fingers were. It didn't look like a comfortable position to be in. She absorbed the attention she received and lifted her dress a little higher. Apollo closed his eyes and slapped himself on the forehead. He knew should have looked out for her much more than he did.
Suddenly, she jumped off the lamppost. Apollo leapt below, reached his arms out to grab her, but he slipped and his forehead faced the cold pavement. The pain from falling over was nothing compared to the shock in his heart. Trucy could be dead and he failed to save her. But he didn't hear anything crash apart from himself. His body ached too much to get up, he could feel his eyes shut and his mind about to melt into a deep sleep. And he couldn't even hear her anymore.
"What are you doing walking in the streets at this time?" That voice, that deep voice was so familiar. Apollo rolled over to his his father's visor glow into his eyes. Trucy was slouched over in his arms. "Trite rang me," Godot announced.
Apollo raised an eyebrow. "Trite?"
"Phoenix Wright obviously," he snapped. "Anyway, I told him you guys were sleeping at mine."
That explains why Phoenix didn't call.
"Thanks Dad," Apollo smiled.
"You're welcome," Godot responded. "Now let's get you two to bed." He dragged Apollo off his feet and took him to his house which was right in front of him. "And I'll give you some nice black coffee to keep you warm."