As my eyes spring open accepting the morning sun, I glance at the clock, 7.30AM. Jumping up out of bed, I strain my ears, to see if I can hear anything breaking from the rest of the apartment. He should be awake by now, thankfully all seem's calm, I sigh and roll my eyes. The boss is going to be well pissed today, I wouldn't want to be Mia, when Grey get's hold of her, I'm so glad I'm out of here, speaking of which. I grab my phone off the bedside table, hitting 2 on speed dial, I flop back on the bed and wait eagerly for the best sound in the world. I smile, as I hear a yawn filled greeting,
"H.. eelll...oo" Gail's soft voice makes my day,
"Morning baby... Sorry I woke you" I whisper into the handset, she perks up immediately, her reply much brighter,
"Jason... Morning to you too, where are you? Are you safe?" she gushes, "I missed you" she whispers,
"I'm fine baby, and God I missed you too. We got back last night... Listen I'm gonna come over soon, Grey has told me to go, given me the weekend off, so I'm jumping at the chance"
"Oh great, how soon?" she has perked up no end, I love it, when she misses me,
"Well I certainly wanna be out of there in the next half hour at least, I wanna get out of here, before Grey surface's" I'm surprised he's not up already, but hey... I ain't gonna wake him.
The shit's gonna hit the fan today, and I don't wanna be anywhere near when it does. Climbing off the bed, I go to the closet pull out my backpack and throw in some fresh clothes. The unpacked case from last night, that is sitting at my feet, can wait till Sunday, time is of the essence here. A Mia and Christian confrontation, is not my idea of fun, so I've gotta run,
"What's happened?" Gail ask's dubiously,
"Mia happened that's what, she made a few changes while we have all been away and the boss ain't happy. He couldn't get hold of her last night, so today is dee-day so..." I hear Gail giggle as she ask's,
"What kind of changes,? she hasn't knocked down any walls or installed a pool has she?" nothing could be put past Mia Grey, she is a force unto herself,
"No nothing that drastic I don't think but, well I haven't looked properly yet, from what I saw last night though, the place looks great, a few walls have been painted, odds and sods scattered around, place looks more lived in somehow, but as I say, boss aint happy. Look I need to hustle, I will be over soon baby" I start to throw on some clothes, I can shower with Gail soon enough, I smile at the image,
"Take some pictures" Gail yell's pulling me out my daydream,
"What..." I mumble,
"On your phone, take some pictures of the apartment I want to see what she's done, I can't wait till Sunday, that place so needed brigtning up. Is he really mad at Mia? What did he say?" the questions start to pour thick and fast,
"Look your holding up my great escape here baby, and if he nab's me, I won't get to see you, so hush, go back to sleep and I will wake you in 20, I've missed you baby" I hear the heat in her voice as she murmurs,
"Oh Jason be quick..." I throw on a t shirt grab my bag and head for the door.
I lay still in bed, keeping my eyes shut, trying hard to keep the beginning of this dreadful day at bay, but as I vaguely hear the elevator sound, I reluctantly open my eyes. Glancing at the bedside clock, I'm alittle shocked to find it's nearly 8AM, my brow furrows, as I try an recall if I woke during the night but to my surprise I don't think I did. I do vaguely recall dreams, of White flash's and ladder's, and feeling very warm, sighing heavily I resign myself for what's ahead... I have to face it today... Mia's interference.
As I roll myself out of bed, I sit for a moment on the edge and put by head in my hands. I can feel the burning desire to rip someone apart rising again, but I must try and calm myself, this is Mia I have to deal with after all. I should probably try and hit the gym, before I actually see her.
Pushing myself from the bed, I head for the bathroom, pulling my T-shirt off as I go. Once my head is clear, my eyes are suddenly drawn to the far side bedroom wall, I halt my strides and stare... The once stark White wall, is now a soft gray, a very pale hue of the colour but it's there, and I don't know why but I'm drawn... The colour works, It takes a chill off the room, I never even realized was there. I glance around and only just realize my sheets are new too, they're the same soft gray as the wall, the bedside lamps have been replaced, there now tall silver based ones, with large black, white and gray striped shades, the room does look good but... NO I DIDN'T WANT THIS... Continuing forward I enter the bathroom rip off my pajama bottoms and throw myself into the shower. As the cold water finally warms, my thoughts build again, how could Mia do this, take over my home, let a stranger invade my personal space, I feel violated and so fucking angry.
Finishing my shower, I quickly dry with what I also notice, is a brand new soft gray towel. I dress in sweats and a fresh T shirt, heading into the kitchen I shout for Taylor, then I remember the elevator from earlier and my insistence last night, that he go and spend the weekend with Gail. I chuckle to myself, he's not soft, he scarpered as quick as he could, he didn't want to be around for this. I can't say I blame him really, me he could deal with, but Mia and I are another matter entirely.
Opening the fridge I grab some juice and a bowl of chopped fruit, keeping my eyes focused ahead of me. I head straight to my office, not wanting to focus on the changes around the apartment, knowing it will certainly rile me again. I know my office is safe, nothing changed in there, at least she had the sense to not invade my office, but as I push open the door I freeze. Above my desk is a large canvas, an abstract painting in many shades of blue, it's hard to tell if it's meant to be the sky or the sea, but instantly I smile, it's very pleasing on the eye. Under my desk, is a large fluffy, sky blue rug, and my eyes roll as I imagine it would probably be really nice underfoot. What the hell, my thoughts are still all over the place... God that girl gets under my skin.
I place my breakfast on my desk turn on my computer and take my seat, and a smile hits my lips, the rug does feel good under my bare feet. Shaking my head clear, I hit my phone to loud speaker and dial Mia's number. Once again, her shrill jovial voice floods the room, asking who ever, to leave a message. Oh I'd like to leave a message alright, but I stop myself and end the call.
Glancing up I see that the wall opposite me is now blue, a soft powder blue, and it instantly draws my eye along the wall to the window. The sky is bright not too many clouds and my office suddenly feels wide open, as if it's flouting along with the clouds. The sky continues uninterrupted in to my office and I feel myself instantly relax... Wow... Who would have thought, a bit of colour could make all the difference. I've never really liked blue, always thought it was a cold colour but in here, this blue works. I can't help but smile, but I still need to show some authority and rant at someone and if it can't be Mia then the next best thing will have to do. Hitting my phone to speaker once again, I dial Welch, he answers on the second ring,
"Morning Mr Grey, what can I..." I don't have time for pleasantries so I dive right in,
"I need you to find someone Welch, a decorator who was in my apartment while I was away, pull the tapes and see what you can find out. I want a full background check, I want them back here, I have no information to offer, Mia hired them but I can't reach her, so find them" I demand,
"How soon do you want the information Sir?" Welch asks and I can already hear him getting to work,
"As quick as you can" I snap and with that, I end the call.
I turn my attention to my computer, log on to work, and get stuck in. Calmly I work my way through, the most important things, but find my mind keeps wandering. I find myself constantly drawn to the blue wall, I notice also that my feet keep involuntary moving along the rug. As a frustrated scowl try's to reach my face, my phone rings. I notice with surprise it's welch and that it has been a few hours, since I last spoke to him,
"Anything Welch?" I ask without greeting,
"Sorry Sir nothing, nothing showed up on face recognition, the trademens register brought nothing up on this person and the van is a hire vehicle, which is still in the Escala car park, it must have only been hired very recently as the paperwork is obviously not up to date. There are no adverts, no contact numbers, relating to this person. I have traced Miss Grey's phone, to a spar on the other side of town, I could..." I interrupt him, angry that I still have nothing to go on,
"No I will deal with Mia another time, I just need to find this man... This..." Welch interupts me this time, a slight amused tone to his voice,
"Man...Sir have you viewed the tapes yourself?" with a huff I answer,
"OF COURSE NOT... That's what I pay YOU FOR" I hear more humor in his reply,
"Well Sir...I suggest you do" and with that he ends our call.
Why in the hell do I need to waste my time reviewing tapes? If he can't find anything, why in the hell, does he think I could? But now my curiosity is piqued.
I head to Taylor's office and on entering, I switch on all of the small CCTV screen's. Reaching his desk, I sit, turn on his computer and after loading up the CCTV control's, I select the time we arrived home last night. All the little screen's shuffle at once and I'm faced with looking at myself once again, shocked by the wall in the hallway.
On another small screen, I see a different view, the back of the decorator standing on the top of the ladder, the ladder falling and their body momentarily being in the air. It's a good job I caught them, they fell from quite a height, I don't need a lawsuit. As the body hit's my arms I see my reaction and can't help pausing the tape, forwarding it frame by frame, I try to read my face. I see shock, revulsion at the close contact then... I can't describe it, I look calm, almost happy... Then my anger again, as I drop the body and leave the room. Pressing play, I'm keen to see what happened next, but what I see, causes me to gasp and jump from Taylor's seat and head to the wall, for a closer look at the screen's.
After I left the room, I see Taylor offering an outstretched hand, to the person still kneeling before him. They take it and once risen, they pull off the big mop cap that was obscuring their face. I notice Taylor's surprise but it is no where near mine.
It's a girl... No a woman... A beautiful chestnut haired, waif of a woman, and my heart beat quicken's. I can feel it in my ear's, and I can't help but press rewind.
After a couple of hours, I have reviewed the last few days of the tape's and I'm totally in shock, no I'm mesmerized. I have seen it unfold before me, the story of her time here, how she changed my home. On arrival I see her awe filled face as she appeared from the elevator, how she felt her way around my apartment spending time contemplating in each room. I wonder what she felt, what she picked up on about me, from her stark surroundings, what she read between the lines about the person that lived here. I watch her fascinated, as she spread colour charts out in front of her on the dining room table, opened catalogues of household items and smiled as she wrote in a small book, she left only to return a few hours later wearing work attire.
I watch as she set's up her work thing's in a corner of the kitchen and sits eagerly awaiting the arrival of the supplies she needs. Two men appear an hour later, laden with paint, ladders and accessories, and I'm relieved to see that they don't linger. She eagerly gets to work, and watching her is a joy, she's happy in her toil. Using an iPod to lose herself in her task of painting, she sings and dances around when off her ladders, placing things around the room and I can see the transformation of my home take shape. I quickly move forward past the time she's not here.
On the second day I notice her notice the locked room at the top of the stairs, my heart stops and I can feel the perspiration hit my top lip. She approaches the door, turn's the handle and isn't gained entry. I let out the breath, my body involuntarily held, with a whoosh. She then heads down the stairs to the kitchen, continues through to the utility room where she finds the keys, Mrs Jones's keys. She heads back to the stairs and starts to climb, I pause the tape... Oh no... She went in... No wonder she didn't look at me when I caught her. I frightened her, sicken her... What must she think of me?... I'm surprised by my own thoughts and reactions, but her knowing this about me, just seems to panic me and I can't think why... It's close to what my reaction would be, if my family ever saw that room, and it's confusing as hell. I resign myself to know my fate and press play.
As she reaches the door she inserts the key and slowly pushes open the door. I see her freeze, her hand flying to her throat and she can't seem to shut the door quick enough. She turns and runs but stops short at the top of the stairs, she sits, putting her head in her hands. She sits stock still, for what seems like forever, she then again rises and heads downstairs, and carry's on working.
I don't know what to make of this, her first reaction of shock was just, anyone would be shocked coming face to face with my playroom but she seemed to calm enough to carry on, and stay anyway. She must think I'm some kind of monster, and I don't know why this would bother me, but it does... A lot.
I don't see Mia till the third day and only then it's a flying visit. Running from room to room, I notice at one point the decorator steers Mia away from my playroom dismissing it. What did she tell her? Mia seem's happy at the decorator's choices, she seems happy though, so maybe things are ok. What does surprise me though, is when I see them hug and kiss goodbye... It must be a woman thing, Mia is very touchy feely, as I know first hand.
Not long after Mia leaves I see a change in the decorator, distraction. She keeps heading to my playroom, then stopping herself, but after a while, she gives in. I see her enter and my heart falls... She is in there for quite some time. My chest is tight as I ponder... What was she doing? What did she think.? I skip ahead until she reappears and I can't read her face, that stupid big floppy hat, has obscured her face a lot over the past few days and now is no different. But when she did remove the hat and I saw her face fully, I was blown away, I still am, she's beautiful...she's...
I can't get enough, I need to see this again. Rewinding the tape's I save certain part's and transfer them to Taylor's iPad, that's sitting on his desk. With it in hand, I leave Taylor's office and press play... I walk in her foot step's... Touching what she has touched... Running my hand over the keys of the piano, following where her's have been. I can't help but wonder if she plays, it held her interest, she even sat down, maybe I could play for her. Christ... Where did that come from? I play for no one, my family occasionally but only under duress. I get pulled along with the tape... Pausing in the places she danced while painting, I want to know what she was listening to. I want to feel her, get to know her, she must have felt me, to choose her colours so well. I need to know what she thought, what she feels about all of this.
I find myself finally, in front of my office. I enter, sit at my desk and prop up the iPad and continue to watch. I try Mia's number once again, but still no joy.
I need to find this woman, I don't know what I would say to her, if I did... But, I desperately need to know who she is. I don't even know her name... I pause the iPad at my favourite bit. The image of the beautiful women, curled up in a dustsheet covered armchair, eating a sanwich, reading a book, while enjoying some down time, is fascinating. Her face... I could stare at her forever, she's beautiful, no wonder my heart stopped when I held her... I shouldn't of let her go, and then it hit's me... Taylor drove her home. I pick up my phone. Taylor pick's up after a few ring's and I can't control my rushed words
"Taylor where did you take her? I need an address, did she..."
"Who Sir?" Taylor interrupts,
"The decorator, the woman that was here last night" I snap at him, pulling what feel like clumps from my hair,
"Sorry Sir, I never drove her home, she was running late to dine with friends, so I took here straight to the rest..."
"What restaurant? Who were her friends?" I can't get my questions out quick enough, please Taylor give me something,
"Sir... She met up with Miss Grey she..." but I don't need to hear anymore. Slamming down the phone, I curse, he has no useful information, Mia still holds the key to my finding her. I can't believe the disappointment I feel, and it's confusing as hell,
"MIA" I can't help but yell, she won't be back until after the weekend at least, spa's and Mia go hand in hand, so I know she will be away for a while. I know she won't be in a rush to see me, not until she know's of my reaction, knows my anger has subsided... Oh hell... Maybe I could get Welch to check the CCTV at the restaurant, he could follow her home... Wait...
Her van... Welch said, it was sill in the car park down stairs, it's 2pm maybe just maybe she hasn't took it yet. Jumpin from my seat, I dash from my office, not even caring my feet are bare and I am still in comfort clothes. I run to the elevator, I'm on pins all the way down, has this thing always been so slow? Eventually the doors open, I run out and my heart plummets, the bays are empty, I've missed her.
Standing just staring, I try to comprehend what I feel and I can't... Why do I feel so strongly about finding her? Seeing her in person, talking to her... I turn to head back to the elevator feeling totally dejected, when suddenly my eyes widen as they fall upon a big pile of trash near the service elevator, it's all the packaging and paint can's from upstairs, I run over,
"Oh please" I mutter, as I fall to my knee's in front of the trash, pulling at the torn packaging tryin to read the labels. I'm finally given a ray of hope... GIA... It's all from her new studio, she must know who she is. Standing suddenly, I run back to the elevator, eager to get back upstairs.
After speaking to Gia I feel exhilarated and nervous too somehow... Why would I be nervous? I don't do nervous, I am a CEO for god's sake... But now I know her name... Anastasia... Her phone number, Gia has her address if needed, but for now her number is enough.
Now what do I do now?... Do I just ring her?... What would I say?... I could thank her for the work she has done here... No she must hate me... Wouldn't want to speak to me... She is probably afraid... Wouldn't of understood... I need to know... I know... Mom can help.
Picking up my phone, I ring my Mother. she will still be at the hospital but hopefully not too busy, I wait impatiently, listening to the endless rings when finally she answers.
"Mom... I need your help... Sorry I'm fine...Yes my trip went well... Mom please listen... I need you to get the decorator in... Yes I am being serious... Mia's friend...I will send you her number... Yes just give her a small job to do... Dosen't matter... Well get her to paint things the same colour I don't care... I know Mom but please for me... Just get her to your house tomorrow, I don't care how you do it, offer her anything... Yes... that's fine... Ring me the minute you have something arranged... I need to go... Thanks Mom... Fine... I will explain later I promise... Goodbye mom" My breathing is heavy, my heart is pounding, and I have only one thought running through my head.
I'm going to see here again.