“So, I’ll be seeing you again in six months,” Fred said to his patient, Mrs. Simpatico.
“Thank you, doctor,” she said, smiling.
The girl Leila – the daughter seated next to her gazed fixedly at him. The mother had apologized for Leila’s behavior. It was her first time to meet a person whose face has appeared in the news several times.
He doubted Leila was awed by his presence. He was used to being stared at, but this was in a whole new level. The girl would be champion of the staring contest if she entered into one. However, she wasn’t staring with shining eyes. It was a sure clue of admiration from a fan to a celebrity. Instead, Leila was studying him – scrutinizing every detail about him ever since he entered the room.
Fred nodded, relieved to finally be able to put some distance between his patient’s daughter and him.
He had walked several feet from the room when Fred sensed he was being followed.
“Doctor Williams,” Leila called.
Now that she had said his name, he looked back and waited.
Curiosity burned in her eyes. A wry smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. And her cheeks, now that she was nearer, were pink.
She’s shy, he observed. But whatever lurked behind her open gaze must have gotten the better of her. He decided to help her out.
“Is there something you wish to ask?” he asked.
“Is it true?” she blurted out. “Did you really study at Roucan Academy in the City of Mysts?”
There was only one City of Mysts in the world: Lemuria. The question had surprised him. It wasn’t a topic he liked to discuss. Let sleeping dogs lie, he wanted to say.
Leila is your patient’s daughter and the inquiry seemed harmless, his conscience intervened.
“It is,” he answered, warily.
“Then, you’re friends with the Roucans?”
He stopped in his tracks.
“How did you…” Fred trailed off.
For an eight-year old, Leila knew more than most people do about him. He has always been careful to keep his personal life from the public.
“The Roucan patriarch is an old acquaintance of my mother,” he replied at length.
The Roucans were just as tight-lipped about their private affairs as he is. Fred’s mother was their family doctor. And that particular information was only known in inner circles.
“I wasn’t asking about your mom’s friends,” she said, her brow arched.
What a nosy little thing, he thought. Changing tactics, Fred said, “May I ask why you wanted to know?”
“Oh, I’m just trying to confirm a few things.”
“Yes. I found this story online about you and Electra. And I so wanted to know how much of it is real from made up.”
Fred’s heart raced. Electra. No one should know about her. They had all vowed to protect that secret. Who would dare reveal it? A rival organization, perhaps? The Roucan Group was influential in many social circles. Its downfall would benefit its rivals. Alfred Roucan was a good man despite his failures as a father. Who would betray him?
The girl was staring at him again. He had been lost in his thoughts for quite some time. Thankfully, being in the limelight had enabled him to perfect a few things: the art of keeping a polite mask.
“That’s very interesting. Would you mind telling me where you read it?” he said.
Celebfanfic.com boasted stories about famous people all over the world. Most of it was fictive: Da Vinci was depicted as an androgynous extraterrestrial that came to share his technology with the Earthlings; the Russian president was said to be in contact with an intergalactic organization; and Fred’s mother, Dr. Cassandra Williams, was turned into a Goddess-touched individual, giving her the ability to bring the dead back to life. Fred found the latter amusing and made a mental note to send his mother a copy on her birthday.
He shook his head. Fred had almost forgotten his purpose for visiting the website. It was partly due to his reluctance. Anything about the Mysts pushed him to reliving the past. A past he rather wished to forget but couldn’t let go.
Fred typed “The City of Mysts” into the text box and hit search. One result was found dated fifteen years and authored anonymously. He leaned back in his chair. He had come to the city ten years ago. Maybe, it was just a coincidence. Still, he would read it for his own peace of mind.
He clicked on the link and waited for the page to load.
Copyright © 2014 Cecilia Beatriz. All rights reserved.
A/N: Hi, everyone. Since this story is actually a revision of what I wrote a decade ago, I had trouble connecting parts 1 and 2. So, I decided to add a short prologue to bridge the two. Am really sorry about this.
If you’ve read the original manuscript, then you’ll understand when I say Part 2 is a big mess. It’ll probably be unrecognisable once I’m done hacking it to pieces. Hmm.
Anyway, for those who have only started reading this story, you’re in luck. 🙂
Don’t forget to comment. Your opinion and questions are appreciated.
I offer my thanks to the readers, who have read and/or consistently liked the chapters I’ve posted so far.