Ink Battling Saltwater

The last ad(venture)

Wilson & Burns Publisher, it could be read by everyone on the street, the great sign had the early 1900's design and was several years old although the golden letters were as freshly painted as always. The large building was huge and modern according the Art Deco style. One could feel so small and insignificant standing at the foot of the skyscraper. Aurora clutched her leather map with the script to her chest when she walked through the big glass doors. The handles were decorated with golden fountain pens. She had to stay and admire them for a while before she walked into the great hall. Her clattering shoes made impact with the marble floor and the footsteps echoed in the luxurious designed hall. Aurora's head span in 360 degrees as she tried to see everything in the hall before she reached the reception at the end. There were palms in golden pots in the corners and beautiful paintings and pictures of famous writers on the walls.

A woman with neat office clothes sat behind the reception desk. She flashed of a warm smile and revealed her white and healthy teeth behind the red lipstick. "Can I help you with something?" She asked and adjusted her perfect styled brown curls. Her Russian accent was not hard to catch.

"Hello..." Aurora squinted with her eyes to read the name tag on the receptionist's name tag. "... Nadia, I'm here to see Henrietta Burns, please."

"Of course." Nadia flashed of another bright smile. She put on her round glasses with thin silver earpieces. "Your name, please."

"Aurora Chastain."

Nadia's finger ran over a long list. "Here you are." She said after a moment of searching. "You're going to meet Henrietta Burns at 01:15 pm today on floor 15. The elevator is on my right side, go to floor 15 and go to the end of the corridor, there you will find her office." Nadia told Aurora.

"Thank you." Aurora said truthfully and her stomach turned as her nervousness increased. What if Henrietta Burns would hate the script and throw her out? What if she started to laugh while she read it?

"The pleasure is on my side." Nadia replied and took of her glasses, straightened her dress and returned to her nails.

With shaky knees, Aurora went over to the elevator and pressed the button. She stared into the mirror, back stared a nervous woman with a pale face and a leather map clutched to her chest.

Ding – a – ling!

The door of the elevator opened and revealed a long corridor with mahogany walls and a creme colored rugs. At the end of the corridor, she found a door made of dark wood. Slowly she raised her hand to knock and tried to calm her heart down.

Knock, knock.

"Come in!" Henrietta ordered from behind the door. She sat behind her over filled desk of scripts, a typewriter, pencils and ink. Behind her back was a marvelous view from her window.

"Good day ma'am, I'm here with the script I told you about. Do you remember me from the book fair back in...?"

"Of course I remember you, you stumbled on me, you clumsy girl!" Henrietta snapped. Her sharp eyes glistered. She waved with her hands to make Aurora come in and sit down. "Come in, don't stand there all day. Give me the script."

Aurora sat down and handed the leather map to Henrietta. The old woman eyed the map but didn't open it. "I hope for your own sake that this is a decent script you've brought to me. I don't have time for moony novels."

"I know, ma'am."

Henrietta turned on the map. "How many pages?"

"About 300 pages, ma'am."

"Decent, not too many but not too few." Henrietta said and opened the map. "You do realize that I will only judge the script from the first page, if you're lucky? I've read horrible writings and the first lines were enough for me."

"I know, ma'am." Aurora repeated like a fool. She bit her lower lip in order to not scream.

Henrietta glanced quickly at her before she started to read. Her eyes moved fast over the page. She looked up again and opened her mouth. Aurora stopped to breath. Here comes the end of her career!

"Out!" The old woman told the younger.

Aurora jumped in her seat and disappointment washed over her. She reached for the script in Henrietta's hands.

"No, I'll keep the script." Henrietta said.

Aurora furrowed her brows. "Why?"

"Come back tomorrow, same time and same place." For the first time did the cruel mouth of Henrietta Burns start to smile. "I'm going to read the rest, your first page caught my interest."

Aurora's jaw dropped. "What?" She couldn't comprehend it.

"I said: I'm going to read the rest, your first page caught my interest." Henrietta sighed. "I can't read a whole script and judge it if the writer is staring at me at the same time." She told Aurora. "It's too stressful."

"Does mean you like it?" Aurora asked with a breathless voice.

"Yes, I do. Your poetic writing is interesting." Henrietta revealed and gestured to Aurora to leave.

"I will be here tomorrow, I promise!" She got up and with an euphoric feeling in her body she walked to the door.

"Miss. Chastain." Henrietta called.

Aurora turned around surprised.

"This is a good sign." She pointed on the map. "We obviously have to make a few changes, every script needs changes. But I think this can have a very interesting future."

::::

Three months later...

Jack Driscoll sat in the dark, watching his latest play. The lines and the acting was phenomenal and amazing as always. His latest play had turned out to be a hit. People all over the state of New York came to see it. Both the audience and the critics loved it, calling it the best humorous play in years with witty and smart lines delivered by wonderful actors.

He loved the feeling of sitting in the dark, in the audience to notice their reactions. He liked to imagine to be one of them, to get a new perspective. People around him laughed and gasped unison, they were the perfect audience. Almost everyone watched the play with interest... Jack turned his head back to see the whispering person's behind him.

Two women sat with their heads together. "I just bought the book and it's wonderful!"

"I've heard about it."

"Of course you have heard about it, there are posters everywhere and radio commercials all the time about the book and the author!"

"It's that woman, Aurora Chastain something, huh?"

"Yes, I love the fact that a female writer get so much attention. The book is on New York Times bestseller list."

"It must be good then."

"It is good! It's a tragic romance on sea and it feels so modern."

"I've heard it got a surprise ending."

"What? No, don't tell me the ending!"

"You sure?"

"Not really, I'm so curious to know. What did you hear?"

"That the sailor kills the lady at sea!"

"No!" The woman with the book exclaimed.

Jack rolled his eyes. "Why can't the two of you be silent? The rest of us are watching a play here!" Why did they even bother to buy a ticket if they just wanted to discuss a book? It's much more cheaper to talk somewhere else.

"I'm sorry." The one with the book said sarcastically.

Jack turned around and continued to watch the play when it struck him. They had said a name he was familiar with, Aurora Chastain. Was it possible that it was her book the spoke about? He was pretty sure it was. Over the last months had she been on posters all over the city, posing with her new book, Heart of the Ocean. One day when he had walked down the street, he had seen a television in a radio store, showing a commercial of the book. Jack had never seen a book being promoted so hard. The fact that they promoted the author too, was something that had never happen before.

"Hang on a second." He exclaimed and turned around again, ignoring the hisses he received from the others in the audience. "What book are you two talking about."

"Heart of the Ocean, why?" The more cocky woman answered.

"By the author, Aurora Chastain?"

"Yes, congratulations on your notice." She said. "It's not like she's been all over the media these past months."

"Even on television, I saw it in the radio store." The other woman interrupted. "She's big."

::::

Aurora stood on the street, gazing up on the wall of a skyscraper, she felt very strange. Back stared herself from a poster. Read the new exciting story by Aurora Chastain! It could be read. It was a funny feeling to find yourself on huge posters, radio commercials and even television commercials. Henrietta Burns had loved the story. She said it was a modern form of Romeo and Juliet with a twist of fantasy, but Aurora didn't quite agree, Romeo and Juliet was always going to be superior towards her story.

The whole company, Wilson & Burns Publisher, had been waiting for a new fresh author and when she came into the picture, the puzzle was solved. The company had developed a new method to promote books, by also promoting the author in new media such as television. They wanted her because she was a young woman and photogenic.

The days before the book, Heart of the Ocean, was about to be released, Aurora had been sick of nervousness. It had been so famous over the months, everyone knew what Heart of the Ocean was, everyone knew who the author was, who she was. What if people didn't like it? Who knows what the audience is going to think? Then the critics, they hated every book they read! She had laid in her bed for days, in the apartment she shared with Ann. Ann who was gone all day long and only came home to sleep. Aurora had tried to contact her again but didn't manage. Ann was distant both physical and mentally. Aurora had been secretly relieved to leave the apartment when the money started to roll into her bank account. Her book was a great success. For the first time in her life, she had more money than she could ever dream of. It was thanks to the hard Henrietta Burns who had made sure Aurora had gotten a fair contract with the company.

The contract had opened a new world. Aurora found herself invited to high class parties, something she wasn't entirely sure of. She was new to this lifestyle and after months at sea with the Venture, this was a shock! The cocktail parties she was invited to was just promoting tours of her book. She had grown sick of always telling the same story and answer the same questions and meeting the same boring types of people.

But even if she had all the money, a new apartment (not too expensive but worth a lot more than her old) and great success, she was unhappy. She felt lonely. Sure, she could just simply walk over to the theater where Ann worked or pay Jack a visit at his theater, but it was a struggle to get out of her bed every day. She wondered why, it wasn't her job. In fact it was her job that kept her going, she thought it was the memories from the voyage.

"You haven't have the change to mourn your own death." Ann's words echoed of her mind.

::::

After three months in other cities and other harbors, Englehorn had finally filled the gap in his crew. He was surprised by the fact that the rumor had spread so fast, no one wanted to board the Venture. Englehorn couldn't bring himself to blame them, after all that tragedy his crew had been through, men who died horrible deaths and the mythical creature the Venture had brought back to New York was enough to give any brave man nightmares.

He had recently discovered that it was extremely hard to get new jobs. Despite the fact that it was depression and no jobs existed, he felt that no one wanted to hire the Venture anymore. Englehorn had thought about rename the steamer but couldn't bring himself to do it. First of all it was a sign of misfortune to rename a ship, second of all the Venture was the Venture and nothing else.

So he sat in the bar, back in New York again with his dark thoughts. After weeks roaming through harbors and cities with no new jobs, he had been contacted by Carl Denham. At first, Englehorn didn't want to accept another job from that man again but as the job crisis increased, he had to say yes. He and his new crew's task were to handle the ape, to make sure it didn't escape and to prepare for the big day. The first day the ape was going to be shown to the world, Kong the great beast! As Englehorn had worked close to the ape he had gotten to the creepy realization that the ape was smart and strange enough... present.

He grabbed the shot and emptied the glass fast. The liquor burnt his throat on the way down and left a warming feeling in his body.

"Want another one?" The shabby barman asked. He was a man in his early forties and his hair had seen better days. The barman wore a constant face expression of sadness, the sad stories his costumers told him had transferred to him.

"Go ahead." Englehorn nodded. He turned his face away from the bar as the barman poured more liquor into his shot. The bar was dark and filled with cigarette smoke. Jazz music came from a ragged radio. He scanned the whole room, the tables were filled with people, some played poker others had more or less drunken conversations.

"Looks like you need it, buddy." The barman said friendly.

"Thank you." Englehorn muttered.

"Is there something on your mind, huh?"

"That's an understatement." Englehorn snorted.

"Want to talk about it, buddy? Old Herman is always there for you and the booze too."

He smiled. Yes, the booze was always going to be there for him. Instead of a certain woman... The snake woman had managed to break down his protecting walls just to rip his heart out and mangle it.

"Buenas noches el capitán." A veiling, husky voice said. "Still too hard on the liquor, I see?"

Recognizing the voice, Englehorn turned his head towards the woman next to him. "Maria?" He had guessed right, it was Maria Gonzales, a Spanish woman who literally lived on her own outer beauty, she was in the escort business.

"You guessed right, captain Englehorn." Maria said, her Spanish 'r' rolled. "Why wont you buy me a drink so we can speak about old times?" She suggested and winked seductively.

"Sure, Maria."

Maria smiled to him and to the barman. No man could turn her down. Besides from her radiant exotic beauty, she was surrounded by a certain shimmer of grandiose elegance. Maria had moved from Spain in her early twenties. Her family had seen the potential in her beauty and had wanted her to marry the son of a rich farmer in their village. Sure, the man had been handsome and very smart, but Maria had longed for adventure and couldn't settle down with marriage in such an early age. She moved to America with a dream of adventure and fortune. With use of her fairness, she had gotten a job in the escort business. It was in a bar she had met captain Englehorn about three years earlier, her escort had turned out to not handle whiskey well and had started to slap her on the face. She was about to slap the escort back when Englehorn came and interrupted their fight. The rest was history.

"What brings you here to my hunting ground, Englehorn?" Maria asked friendly and scanned him. "No ring on your finger yet? I'm surprised a handsome man as you haven't found yourself una novia?"

"It's my job." Englehorn explained. "The women in my age wants a man working in a factory and coming home in the evening."

"I find your job very attractive. Captain, it's so magnetic." Her fingertips trailed over his left shoulder.

"Maria, I'm not one of your escorts, you can stop the cringing."

Her fingers stopped to play with strands of his hair. "You seemed to need to be cheered up." She defended herself.

He snorted. "I don't want to be cheered up." Englehorn emptied his shot.

Maria raised a brow. "Women problem, am I right?"

He turned surprised to her. "How did you...?"

"Please, Englehorn you're like an open book! Your emotions are not hidden deep under your facade." She sipped on her drink and glanced at the lovestruck barman. "Tell me about her." She whispered and leaned forward, her black hair flowed over her shoulders and to the disk. "I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag. You can trust me. Mis labios están sellados. My lips are sealed."

Englehorn shook his head.

"Come on man, how can you say no to her?" The barman suddenly interrupted. He turned to Maria. "If he's too boring... you can always trust old Herman to entertain you." He said to her and flashed of a wide smile.

She gave him a estimating glance. "Lo siento amigo, I'll stick with the boring captain this night."

"You don't know what you're missing." He muttered and returned to clean glasses.

Maria chuckled and turned her warm brown eyes towards Englehorn. "I'm not leaving until you've told me everything!" She sat closer to him. "Go on."

Englehorn rolled his eyes. "This whole conversation is ridiculous!"

"But it's entertaining as hell." Maria replied fast as a cobra. "Come on, give la señorita a treat, she's been working all day long and is exhausted!" She said, referring herself as third person.

Englehorn stared at her for a while, she stared back and wiggled her brows, he sighed. "She's a woman I got to know on one of my journeys at sea."

"Romantic. It's just like the book, Heart of the Ocean." Maria interrupted.

"What book? No, never mind." Englehorn shook the question off and continued. "It was a normal transport of a film team and she got aboard in the last minute. She wasn't a part of the film team but apparently she helped the writer of the script."

"She's a writer?"

"Yes, I remember the endless clatters of her typewriter in the cargo space."

"Why did she write in the cargo space?" Maria asked confused.

"She slept there..." Englehorn admitted. "I put her in one of the cages."

"In a cage?" Maria exclaimed.

"She was annoying in the beginning, in the end too. " He said. "But she got a room after half of the journey."

"No wonder she left you." Maria muttered. "If you put her in a cage."

"It wasn't a small cage, it was designed for elephants." Englehorn defended himself.

Maria sipped on her drink and rolled her eyes. "I'm not surprised though. You're a hard man, captain. Maybe too hard sometimes."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"It means: If you want her back, you have to work hard." Maria said, one of her slender feet kicked his leg. "But if you don't want her back... Just to let you know Englehorn, my door is always open." She winked and sat closer to lean on his shoulder. "Feel honored, not many men have this privilege." Her left hand trailed over his chest to the first button on his shirt.

His hand found hers and removed hers from him. "No, Maria."

She leaned back. "I knew it! She meant something for you." Maria said with triumph.

Englehorn didn't answer. Instead he called the barman. "Another one, will you?"

The barman smiled, mostly to Maria. "Old Herman will never disappoint you, buddy. But I wonder why you want to drink instead of associate with the senorita here."

Maria rolled her eyes in anger. "It's la señorita, you idiot!"

Englehorn knew what was about to come, the fiery Spanish woman would probably start one hell of a fight. "Maria calm down."

"I will not calm down! Not until this ignorant bastardo have learned to..." She turned to Englehorn. "Don't tell me what to do."

The barman put his hands up in the air, in a peace sign. "Calm down lady. I don't want any fights."

"Neither do I." Englehorn said and sent a nasty glare towards Maria. "He's not worth it." He mimed to her.

She primed her lips. "Fine, then." She stared into the ceiling and tapped her foot rapidly on the floor.

"Will you leave us?" Englehorn asked the barman.

"Sure." Herman said and left with mutterings.

A slight chuckled slipped her lips. "Did you see his face?" She asked with laughter in her voice. "He was scared."

"Yes, he was. I would be too if you ever would be so angry with me." Englehorn admitted with a smile. He was relieved that they had changed the subject of the conversation.

"The fact that men are afraid of me does not come in handy in my job." She said playfully.

"No, it doesn't."

"Speaking of my job." Her tone changed. "I'll only continue with it a few more years, til I get enough money... For the first time in my life: I want to settle down." She told him. "I just hope it's not too late by then."

"You still have time."

She smiled unhappily. "I'm 36 years old, the clock is ticking." Her fingertips trailed over her glass and she bit her lower lip. "What I've learned, is to not wait too long with something. Catch the moment instead of wait for something that might not come."

::::

Carl Denham smiled, the plan worked just fine. This night was going to be historical and legendary. This night was going to be the first time Kong was going to be shown to the world. Kong, who was brought to the audience to the price of a ticket by Carl Denham. The great beast. The murderous giant ape. He had risked his life to bring adventure back to the civilization, now was he going to be rewarded for it.

Carl found himself surrounded by people from the voyage once again, as Englehorn's new crew worked with the transport of the gorilla and the security. The sullen writer Miss. Chastain,was back and a part of a promoting tour of her new book. Carl had tried hard to get Jack Driscoll back aboard in the team but he had declined. Carl wasn't so sorry about that after all, he had more problems. He regret that Ann, his leading lady, had turned his offer to be on stage with the gorilla, down. She had snorted and told him that he was a monster before she slapped him. But Carl hadn't been let down by that defeat, he had found a new lady that looked almost like Ann, too bad she was so annoying. But it didn't matter. This new lady had the looks and could scream, it was everything that mattered.

He straightened his shirt and made sure his hairstyle was perfect. Carl stared into his mirror. "Showtime!" He chuckled and put on his jacket. Outside the window of the fourth floor in the five star hotel, it snowed. It was a strange April this year, 1934, still cold as the winter and filled with snow. Not that Carl didn't mind, of course he was a bit affected by all the irritating people who asked him to donate money for the starving and freezing homeless in the city.

"This handsome man is ready to be taken photos of." He smiled and went out to his cab.

In the ride to the great theater with the biggest scene in New York, he hummed happily. This was the night when his name was going to be put in the history books, and he was going to have one hell of a night! To finally prove to the studio people at Universal who he really was. To be respected and prided. Yes, this was his night, Carl could feel it in every cell of his body.

When he stepped out of the cab, he was immediately dazzled by the light of a magnesium – camera flash.

"Hey, Mr. Denham! What exactly is Kong?" Screamed a journalist behind the photographer. "Will you give me the scoop, Mr. Denham? What kind of beast is Kong?"

Carl blinked and tried to get his sight back. He sent a furious glare towards the journalist. "If you have bought a ticket you will find out what kind of creature King Kong is."

The bold journalist journalist replied fast. "If you had allowed journalists into the theater for free, I would take a look." He stepped in front of Carl. The photographer took another photo and the flash dazzled Carl again.

"Can't you afford a ticket for yourself?" Carl asked. "Is that why you're trying to get yourself in by harassing me?" He rounded the journalist and stepped inside before another photo was taken. He got into the great hall and glanced up to the stairs and saw Preston. He stood alone and shot Carl a nasty glare.

"What is wrong with him? Is he never satisfied?" Carl asked himself. Someone brushed past his shoulders. "I'm sorry." A familiar voice exclaimed.

Carl turned around to see the person. First, he didn't recognize her in the black, even silk gown. "Miss. Chastain, don't worry." He told her.

Aurora held a huge pile of books in her arms. "I was just about to start the book signing." She told him.

"Here, let me help you." Carl offered and grabbed a few books. They walked towards a table across the hall.

"How are you, Miss. Chastain?" Carl asked.

"Fine, a lot of work." She shrugged her shoulders. The art deco inspired jewelry shined in the light. "The promoting tour doesn't seem to have an end."

He chuckled. "Do you look forward for the big event this night?" He asked hopefully.

She avoided his eyes, instead she said. "Thank you for the help." She put all the books on the table. People started to gather around the table. Carl left her, busy with the surrounding women who wanted their books signed.

"Carl, old man! Come here and take a photo with us!" A man he knew from Universal called.

He immediately turned towards the group of Universal studio men and their wives (girlfriends actually, the wives were left at home).

::::

"Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you, Kong the eight wonder of the world!" Carl shouted to the audience. The drop curtain opened, the orchestra played tense music and the audience gasped. Kong appeared. Carl continued. "He was a king in his world. But he saw himself defeated by the charm of a woman."

People laughed.

"And lo, the beast looked upon the face of the beauty, and beauty stayed in his hand. And from that day on, he was as one dead." Carl finished his poetic speech, the audience followed his every move as he stepped over the scene to the chained fast ape. "Do you see this, I am now touching the beast." He laid his hand on the fur of Kong.

Kong made a slight move and grunted. Carl jumped into the air. After a half second of fear in the audience, people started to laugh when they realized that there didn't exist any danger. The beast was too dumb and lazy to attack.

Carl smiled a forced smile. "Get the dancers on stage." He whispered furiously to the people beside the stage. The stage technician got his message and gestured to the orchestra to start play again and pushed the dancers on stage.

Carl breathed hard and tried to get the embarrassment of him when he walked off stage. He was given a glass of water and a tissue to remove the sweat on his forehead by Miss. Chastain.

"Thank you, Miss. Chastain." He said gratefully and eyed her. She looked fine in the 'low back' black dress. "We're going on stage again in a few minutes."

"No, I don't want to be a part of this." She said. "I just came here to..." Her voice died and disappeared.

Carl didn't listen to her attempt to get away. "Of course you will be on stage too! You're the star of the project and it's good for your book too." He looked around. "This reminds me: Where is Baxter?" Carl scanned the area. "Baxter, where are you?" He shouted impatient.

"I'm here, Denham." Baxter responded and came walking fast from behind a set piece. "No need to hurry. My hair isn't quite ready yet."

"Yes, you need to hurry, you're going to be on stage now!" Carl barked. "What are you talking about? Your hair? It looks fine!"

Bruce Baxter was pushed on stage and his hat was thrown after him. The audience clapped their hands as Kong's hands were lift up by the chains.

"Great work, guys." Carl shouted encouraging to Englehorn and the other man from his crew who handled the winch. The German shot him a nasty glare.

"What is it with everybody tonight?" Carl asked himself.

The audience stood up in their chairs, cheered and clapped. The stage technician ran up to Carl. "Go back on stage now, there are photographers from every newspaper in the country, waiting for a picture with you and the stars."

Dragging along the unwillingly Miss. Chastain, Carl entered the scene and placed himself between her and Baxter. "You can take your photos now, gentlemen. This angle will give you the best shot!" He instructed them.

The camera flashes were blinding, and they were so many.

Kong growled and tried to cover his eyes. People gasped in unison as he moved, one woman started to scream. The sudden noises and the light irritated and provoked him. Kong started to bend and stretch the chains. More people started to scream in panic as the chains started to collapse. Ann's stand in screamed.

"Oh my lord. Look at that!" Miss. Chastain shouted and pointed towards the ape and the stand in. One of the chains broke and Kong reached for the stand in, who screamed even more.

"Do something, Carl, stop it." Baxter demanded.

Carl was too busy to get the journalists and the photographers away to hear them. Chaos were everywhere. Kong growled loud. Suddenly was the stand in thrown over the floor, her body landed in front of Carl. His face turned green when he saw her neck's strange position. People screamed and ran over the chairs to the exit.

Kong broke completely free.

"Carl, what the hell are you doing standing there?" Miss. Chastain shouted in a very unladylike way. She grabbed his arm. "We got to go!"

He shook her hand off. "This is my work, this is..."

She rolled her eyes and turned around to leave.

Carl Denham felt devastated, he was going to the history books indeed, but in the wrong way.

::::

The hairdressing lady was busy to create the famous finger waves in her hair. Aurora sat in a hairdressing saloon and read a newspaper, the ocean trade part. Her eyes quickly scanned the pages for something interesting. Aurora had heard the Venture was back in New York's dock. She was too much of a coward to go down to the harbor and see if it was true, instead she searched after the name of the steamer in the newspapers. Today's nothing either! She came to the solution after scanning the pages twice.

The rest of the news paper didn't hold anything special at all. Aurora sighed and dropped the paper. Every page was filled with conspiracy theories about Carl Denham's creature, Kong. She tried her best to forget the whole voyage but it wasn't so easy when she was reminded of it every day!

"Sit still!" The hairdressing lady said in an irritated tone.

Aurora rolled her eyes and kept her mouth shut. She just wanted this nightmare to be over. Speaking of nightmares, she had bad dreams every night, every time she shut her eyes she faced memories of the latest months.

"Done."

Aurora opened her eyes again. Returning back to reality.

"Wonderful, if I may say it myself." The hairdressing lady happily said.

"It is." Aurora got up and payed. It was so strange to be able to afford a haircut. She had cut her own hair the past 10 years, before that had her mother handled the scissors.

"Miss. Chastain!" The lady called before Aurora had gotten out of the saloon. She turned around surprised.

The lady blushed. "I just want to say that you're a true inspiration to me." She blushed more and her voice broke.

Aurora opened her mouth and closed it again. What was she supposed to answer to that? "I.. don't know what to say."

"Look!" She stepped closer and showed her left hand.

"What am I supposed to see?" Aurora asked dumbfounded after a second of hesitation.

"It's nothing there." The lady explained.

"You're right."

"Just like yours!" She said ecstatic. "I'm not married either and I'm running my own business, I am an independent working woman, just like you."

Aurora finally got it. "Yeah I see."

::::

The pile of ten books or so were pretty heavy. Her publishing company had planned a big book signing at the first demonstration of Carl Denham's great beast, Kong. Henrietta Burns had claimed that it was great for her promoting tour since Aurora had been a part of Kong project. Henrietta had been right, it was good for the promoting, the show was sold out. Aurora maneuvered through the crowd and tried to not cause any injures. She had almost reached her destination when she brushed someone's shoulder.

"I'm sorry." She said quick. Who knew how the fancy people here would react to being steamrolled by a pile of books and the author of them.

The person faced her and turned out to be Carl Denham. "Miss. Chastain, don't worry." He exclaimed and ran his eyes over her.

Aurora felt a wave of uncomfortableness. "I was about to start the book signing." She said, distracting his eyes.

"Here, let me help you." Carl offered and grabbed a few books. They walked towards a table across the hall.

"How are you, Miss. Chastain?" Carl asked and his eyes roamed her again.

"Fine, a lot of work." She shrugged her shoulders. Her art deco inspired jewelry shined in the light. "The promoting tour doesn't seem to have an end."

Carl chuckled. "Do you look forward for the big event this night?" He asked hopefully.

She avoided his eyes, instead she said. "Thank you for the help." Aurora put all the books on the table. People started to gather around the table. She watched him leave and didn't exactly miss him. With a sigh she sat down and started to sign.

First was an excited woman in her late fifties. "Miss. Chastain, I love your book, will it be continued?"

Aurora mentally rolled her eyes at the woman. "One of the main character died in the end." She told her. "There will be no more book in the series."

"What?" A young man with a body – hugging suit and pink bow exclaimed. "Thank you for spoiling the end!" He dramatically ran a hand through his hair before he left the queue.

The woman continued. "But the shipwrecked lady can't be mortal, right? She must be a mermaid, is she a mermaid?"

"No, she's not." Aurora hated the stupid questions. Why can't she read the goddam book and find out the answers for herself?

"Don't mind them." The next woman said, noticing how annoyed Aurora was. She was in her early thirties and was incredible beautiful. "So tell me, is the story inspired by a real life experience? I heard you spent months on a ship when you wrote the book. Many seamen, right?" She winked and leaned forward, her blonde locks bounced on her shoulder.

Aurora flashed of a perfect smile and told the standard story. "I was a bit inspired by the atmosphere on the steamer."

"And the sailors?" The blonde beauty tried again.

::::

"Get the dancers on stage." Carl whispered furiously to the people beside the stage. The stage technician got his message and gestured to the orchestra to start play again and pushed the dancers on stage. Aurora chuckled, Carl had been humiliated by his own fear, in front of thousands of people. He wasn't as brave as he said he was. One small movement from the ape and Carl was practically wetting his pants.

He walked off stage on stiff legs. Aurora fetched a glass of water and a tissue for him to remove the sweat in his forehead. Poor man, he was really scared. She suppressed another laugh.

"Thank you, Miss. Chastain." Carl thanked. "We're going on stage again in a few minutes."

Aurora was struck by an icy feeling of nervousness. It was bad enough to be here when the whole spectacle aired, she didn't want to be the front of it. "No, I don't want to be a part of this." She said. "I just came here to..." Her voice died and disappeared. Why did she even came here? Was it because she had heard that some people of the Venture's crew worked here? That she hoped she would meet him?

Carl didn't listen to her attempt to get away. "Of course you will be on stage too! You're the star of the project and it's good for your book too." He looked around. "This reminds me: Where is Baxter?" Carl scanned the area. "Baxter, where are you?" He shouted impatient.

"I'm here, Denham." Baxter responded and came walking fast from behind a set piece. "No need to hurry. My hair isn't quite ready yet."

"Yes, you need to hurry, you're going to be on stage now!" Carl barked. "What are you talking about? Your hair? It looks fine!"

Bruce Baxter was pushed on stage and his hat was thrown after him. The audience clapped their hands as Kong's arms were lift up by the chains.

"Great work, guys." Carl shouted encouraging to the people that handled the winch. Aurora saw them in the corner of her eyes.

It hit her like a lightning bolt. He was there, only a few meters away. Her mouth fell open, her eyes didn't betray her. Englehorn was there. The sounds around her muffled and her heart skipped a beat. He didn't pay any attention to her. She felt odd and out of place, standing there in her fancy dress and staring at him like a maniac. He was still wearing the same dirty captains cap.

The audience stood up in their chairs, cheered and clapped. The stage technician ran up to Carl. "Go back on stage now, there are photographers from every newspaper in the country, waiting for a picture with you and the stars."

Aurora was about to take a step towards Englehorn, still in her trance when Carl grabbed her arm. "You're coming with me."

"No, wait." She replied with her eyes fixed on Englehorn. She had just built up the courage to go and speak to him.

He ignored her. When she got on stage, she was dazzled by the light and the flashes. Carl entered the scene like a professional while she almost stumbled. He put an arm around her and the other around Baxter. "This is the moment!" Carl whispered ecstatic to them between his teeth to not loose the plastic smile on his lips. Aurora blinked and tried to get her sight back.

"You can take your photos now, gentlemen. This angle will give you the best shot!" Carl instructed them. He and Baxter clearly enjoyed the moment, taking time to get the best poses. While Aurora struggled to survive.

Kong roared behind them. The chains rattled and the stand in screamed.

"Can't someone stop her from screaming?" Baxter asked quiet. "She's ruining everything!"

Aurora turned around to see what happened behind her, causing the stand in to scream. "Oh my lord. Look at that!" She shouted, pointed towards the ape and the stand in. One of the chains broke and Kong reached for the stand in, who screamed even more.

"Do something, Carl, stop it." Baxter demanded.

Carl was too busy to get the journalists and the photographers away to hear them. Chaos were everywhere. Kong growled loud. Suddenly was the stand in thrown over the floor, her body landed in front of Carl. His face turned green when he saw her neck's strange position. People screamed and ran over the chairs to the exit. Aurora's feet were glued to the floor and her legs were frozen, she couldn't move out of fear.

Kong broke completely free.

The sounds of cracking wood and steel made her wake up from the paralyzation. She saw Carl in the corner of her eye, not moving. First she thought he was paralyzed just like she had been seconds ago. But in this case, it was clear he wasn't. "Carl, what the hell are you doing standing there?" She shouted in a very unladylike way. She grabbed his arm. "We got to go!"

He shook her hand off. "This is my work, this is..." He had completely lost his senses.

She rolled her eyes, decided to not waste time on him and turned around to leave. The first person she saw behind the stage was Englehorn. She literally ran into him in her attempt to get as far away as possible from Kong. "Thomas!" She exclaimed. "We got to get out of here!" She pulled his shirt and him towards the chairs.

"No, not that way."

She didn't listen, instead she saw something else, or rather someone in standing in the empty audience. Jack Driscoll.

"Look, it's Jack." She said breathless.

"Are you sure?" Englehorn asked dumbfounded.

"Yes, it's him, can't you see?" She replied frustrated.

Kong roared again. Both of them saw the great silver back from behind. The ape had stopped, he stood on the broken orchestra and stared at Jack. Aurora knew the milliseconds before Kong attacked what was about to happen. She had lost so many already, to loose Jack also was going to be to much. What would Ann say if he died?

"What are you doing?" Englehorn screamed as she spurted out in the audience side gangway. She didn't think. She never thought when she did stupid things, stupid and dangerous things.

"Hey, you big stupid ape!" She shouted and ran into the ape's eyesight. It turned to see her and forget about Jack for a minute. She waved with her arms. "Do you remember me? I shot you in the neck!" She danced around in the gangway and attracted as much attention from the ape as possible.

The ape tilted it's head confused. He didn't know what to do.

A crystal chandelier fell down on the stage, causing a sudden sound of splitting glass pieces. Kong jumped and tried to locate where the sound came from. Deciding that Aurora was the source of the scary sound, he reached out his arm and roamed the chairs to the floor.

"Watch out!"

She turned to the person who shouted, but was tackled to the floor by Englehorn just in time to avoid being smashed into the wall by the furious ape. Kong let them be and chased after Jack instead, leaving the whole theater in ruins.

Aurora stopped breathing, but not from fear, it was the fact that a grown person laid on top of her, stopping the airflow to her lungs. "Would you mind?" She asked breathless with the very last of her air.

He immediately got off her. Englehorn offered his hand to her.

"Thank you." She mumbled and got up. With wide eyes, she scanned the theater. It was in complete ruins. It looked like a tornado had stormed though the hall. As she brushed dust off her dress, she turned back to Englehorn. "You saved my life." She stated with a dead tone.

He nodded.

"Thank you." She said in the same dead tone. In this moment, standing in in front of him for the first time in months, she suddenly felt extremely embarrassed. Last time they met, she had rushed out of the room and left him.

"You look fine." Englehorn suddenly said, in a poor attempt to break the ice.

She couldn't help herself but snort. She didn't feel 'fine', she didn't look fine either, under the make up of course.

The awkward feeling between them changed drastically. Carl Denham had spotted them and in his madness he shouted. "Englehorn, it's all your fault! I shouldn't have hired you in the first place, you ruined it!" He stumbled across the stage towards them.

Englehorn turned to Carl. "What is wrong with you?" He asked silently, only Aurora heard him.

Carl didn't pay any attention to Englehorn anymore, instead he turned to Aurora. "And you!" He pointed theatrically at her. His whole acting reminded her of a dramatic play. "You think you are something, huh? But you aren't, you are nothing. How was I thinking when I agreed on letting you on the ship?"

His words somehow hurt her badly. It's like they cut through her whole body, leaving nothing than shreds of her. For the first time, Aurora had no witty answers. She had let her protecting walls fall and made herself vulnerable.

Carl stopped and stared into the ceiling. "Why am I surrounded by idiots?" He howled to no one in particular.

Englehorn tugged on Aurora's arm discretely. "Let's go." He whispered into her ear. The skin on her neck got goosebumps.

Aurora nodded and glanced quickly at the now dry sobbing Carl. She felt sorry for him.

Without hesitation, she followed Englehorn back to the hall of the theater. They climbed over piles of wood and stone. Kong had managed to mangle the whole interior of the theater. As they reached the front doors, they started to see the destruction on the street. Aurora gasped when she noticed a cab upside down. Kong was on the loose in the city. She bit her lower lip, not caring if it destroyed her lipstick, Kong loose in a city filled with humans was a bad sign.

"Did you notice that the first thing the ape did was to grab the blonde stand in." Englehorn suddenly said.

"What?"

"She's the reason he broke free." Englehorn clarified.

"So?"

"The ape is not stupid. It's looking for someone."

Aurora's jaw dropped when she realized what he was talking about. "Ann. He's looking for her."

"With his sense of smell, he might find her."

"No, it's impossible. Too many smells from different humans here." She said convincing. "But we have to find her and warn her. What if Kong finds her when she's walking home tonight?"

"Why is she walking around in the city at this hour?"

"She performing tonight." She checked her small wristwatch. "The play is almost over by now unless they called it off earlier. Come on, we have to run!"

He stopped her. "I don't think you should run into the cold night wearing only that dress."

She stopped and looked down on the thin silk dress. Damn! She really missed Jimmy's old clothes. "It's only a few blocks away. We can get there in three minutes, if we're fast." She offered her hand. "Come on!"

He hesitated.

She raised a brow. "I'll go without you if..."

"Fine! I'm coming with you." He interrupted.

Together they ran through the city. Blocks after blocks. The crisp night air was freezing but neither of them felt the cold. Aurora started to get really warm and her breathing more uncontrolled. She was a bit surprised by her own ability to run in heels. As she tried to catch her breath she eyed the theater. It was dark. Aurora checked her wristwatch, it was too late, the play was already over.

"Damn." Aurora cursed. She went up to the door and checked if it was open. It was.

She turned to Englehorn with a surprised look on her face.

::::

"She is not here." It was a true statement. Their search had lasted for a while now. The theater was surprisingly big. Aurora had let her frustration flow free. If you call push a chair over, 'letting the frustration flow free'. Englehorn had remained calm and cool.

"Which means, she's somewhere around in the city."

"Close to the ape."

"But where are we going to find the ape?"

A load growl was heard from distant. Englehorn looked at her. "Follow the growls and the human screams."

"Good idea." She agreed.

Their hands entwined. It just happened. Aurora felt an embarrassing blush appear on her face. Englehorn didn't notice, he was focused in finding the ape.

"This way." He instructed and led her into a smaller street.

Aurora noticed how the sun started to rise. She was freezing cold but didn't feel it. The coat she had 'borrowed' from the costume closet of the theater wasn't exactly made for cold weather.

"The morning is almost here." She commented.

"Strange, it's too early."

They came out on one of New York's bigger streets. A crowd of curious people had formed at the foot of the Empire state building. Suddenly she remembered that she had promised to take Jimmy to the Empire State Building. Well, that was before he had decided to disappear. Planes circled around in the air.

"What the hell is going on?" Englehorn asked out load. He pointed at military men building a temporary base of sand sacks.

"Do you see their weapons?"

He nodded. "They're planning on killing it!"

"Yes." She confirmed his statement.

A wave of a gasp, shared by the whole crowd was heard. People pointed up to the top of the skyscraper. "Look!" Someone screamed.

Both Englehorn and Aurora turned their attention towards the top of the building. The ape had climbed up to the top and now fought the planes. Aurora stopped breathing when she saw a small figure in white dress beside the ape.

"No!" She burst out. "That can't be her, no way!"

"What?"

"Use you eyes! It's Ann up there."

She grabbed his hand and made an attempt to rush into the skyscraper. He didn't move. She turned to him and eyed him questionably.

"What the?"

"Chastain... Aurora." He used her first name. "Whatever you're going to do, it's not going to work. You told me to use my eyes, now I'm telling you to use your own."

Aurora made an attempt to say something.

He ignored it. "Look around. There is a matter of time before the ape is falling down on the street, dead. The planes will bring him down and if they fail, the military men here will make sure he will take his last breath. There is nothing you can do. I'm not going to get involved in this, for certain"

"But Ann?"

"She made a choice. It was her decision." He told her.

She tried to hid her sudden tears. "Why did you follow me all the way here, then? If you would just abandon me on the finishing line?"

His eyes betrayed him.

She sniffed and her dry tears gave her a headache. "So what? Am I just going to stand here and watch my friend die?"

"No, you don't. You're free to go. But I will not follow you."

She bit her lip. "I don't want to go alone." She whispered. For the past ten years, she had been alone. She was sick and tired of it. For the first time in her life, she wanted someone by her side.

Arms were wrapped around her. She rested her head on his shoulder. His navy coat smelled like the sea. Saltwater. She knew her fingers smelled like ink. A strange combination. None of them spoke. The buzz from the situation around them died down. Words couldn't describe what happened. For a second Aurora realized how out of character she acted. The old Aurora would simply ignore Englehorn and rush into the building. This Aurora stayed with him. Because she allowed herself to be selfish.

He released his hold. She looked up. The first sunshine of the day hit them and gave her auburn hair a shine of red. He had lovely eyes. She thought. How could she ever had thought they were cold?

He leaned in. She did as well. Both closed their eyes and their lips met. It was so natural. Like it was meant to be.

A large thump! Was heard. Something massive had landed on the street only a few ten meters away from them. They broke free from each others grip. Photographers crowded around the ape and snapped pictures like maniacs. Ann and Jack burst out from the main entrance. Aurora thanked her lucky star for the fact that Ann was still alive and healthy, physically.

The ape was indeed dead. Thomas' prediction had been accurate. It had been a matter of time. It was over... for the ape. Although not for Aurora and Thomas... their story had just started. Aurora hoped it would continue like this, somewhat calm.

"Aurora, will you..?"

"No!" She interrupted him. She was still very sure of her mind. No marria...

"I was just going to ask you to step off my foot."

She looked down. He was right. She was standing on his foot. "Oops, sorry." She said and stepped off.

He chuckled.

She smiled too. He had a beautiful smile, she noticed. It had the ability to lit up her world. And the world knew she needed it now.

The End.

Last chapter of this story! Drop a review if you like, it will probably make my day :) It was really amazing to write this story, it was so fun. Thank you for reading!

/Verozexistente