A/N: For anyone who noticed the time this chapter was released, I didn’t stay up until midnight. Wordpress has a feature that lets you set up the exact time you want a post uploaded. 😉 And, yes, it’s a few days early. Explanations can be found at the end of the chapter.
The bright golden gaze reminded Fred of Electra. Memories of her wearing those particular set of eyes were in situations where she was excited, sad or angry.
“I called you, you know,” Cheska said. Was there a tremor in her voice that he heard?
“My phone was on silent mode. I’m sorry,” Fred said. He patted the seat beside him, inviting her to sit down.
Her hands fell to her side. She sat at the opposite end of the sofa. “Tony told me what happened.”
“He did?” he kept his tone even. The issue of the guardians was a secret. What excuse did Tony tell her? The chauffeur hadn’t even warned him about this! What if she starts asking him more than what he could tell her?
“He saw somebody hurt when he was on his way to my house. Tony told you the situation and came to pick you up from your patient’s home. How is he?”
“She’s going to be alright.” Fred wracked his brains on how to prevent her from asking for details.
“Me?” Fred asked stupidly.
“Aren’t you supposed to take it easy today, doctor?” She arched her brow.
His forehead creased. The sarcasm whenever they addressed him doctor was getting to him. “I am now.”
“You’re not tired or in pain?” Fred saw the same worried expression she wore when he left her in James’ home. “No side effects, nothing?”
“N—” he stopped. Fred felt guilty for getting annoyed. Tony already lied to keep Cheska from getting entangled in this new problem. She deserved to know his condition, at least. “Just a mild headache. It’ll be gone by tomorrow,” he added when Cheska stared at him intently.
“Is it really? Because this morning, I swear I saw you gingerly holding yourself up in my room. That doesn’t look like someone who should be up and running like you did.” She smiled wryly.
“I’m alright,” he reassured her. Cheska’s gaze drifted down to the hand on top of hers. Awkwardly, he patted the back of her hand and withdrew it, wondering what came over him.
“There’s another reason why I came.” Her eyes returned to his.
“There is?” Those amber orbs had a magnetic pull to them unlike Louis’. It mesmerized him to the point he could no longer hold a coherent thought. How long has he known this woman again? Two, three days?
“—called.” Fred heard the tail end of the sentence. Reluctantly, he pulled his gaze away from her eyes. “I told her that I would relay the message to you. “Dr. Williams said that she’ll be staying at Alfred’s while she’s here.”
“Mom’s here?” he breathed. Why now?
“She was quite expressive with her feelings over the phone. She wasn’t too pleased to be the last person to know that her son’s in town,” amusement colored her voice. “She found that out from Alfred, I think.”
Fred’s brows drew together. “How do you know each other?”
“I told you. She called James and mistook me for Diana when I answered it.”
“She didn’t think you were…” he trailed off.
“The phone’s holographic-thingy malfunctioned.”
They couldn’t see each other. Fred leaned back. The tension was beginning to leave him when he realized that they would probably meet again at Alfred’s, Louis’ father and probably hers. He hoped Louis would See and delay Cheska and his mom from meeting each other.
“And since I wasn’t sure in what condition I would find you in, I had to tell her that you bumped your head.” Cheska wrinkled her nose. “Understatement of the year, but she still freaked out.”
Fred covered his face with his hands and moaned. “What exactly did you say to her?”
“I asked her about head injuries in passing and,” she wrung her fingers, “and when she mentioned the symptoms, I panicked. I swear I didn’t mention your name, but your mom suspected it had something to do with you. So I came up with that lame excuse of bumping your head,” the words dwindled into a small voice.
“Ugh,” he groaned. His morbid side wished he was unconscious. A gentle hand was placed on his shoulder.
“I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.” Fred stayed frozen in place, torn between pulling away from Cheska and staying close to her. The gesture and her warmth, however, were comforting that it was easy to choose the latter.
“No, it isn’t that. Your mom sent a car to fetch you.”
His jaw slackened. Why in the world would mom do that?
“When?” he asked, looking out the window.
“Now. She was adamant to see you. She sent it to me first since she was afraid you would disappear again.”
It wasn’t hard to find the vehicle he was looking for. His mom’s navy blue car with dark windows was parked across the street. The driver was also his mom’s personal bodyguard. Fred ran a hand through his hair and paced. This wasn’t about his accident at all. For her bodyguard to leave her side meant the situation was serious. Then he remembered his phone was in his bag which was still in Tony’s car. Fred cursed under his breath.
As if on cue, Tony’s head popped out of the kitchen’s divider with a questioning look at Cheska, who shook her head.
“My bag’s still in your car,” Fred said to him.
“Shall I bring it up, sir?”
“No, we’re coming with you. We’re supposed to leave anyway.” He wasn’t surprised to see a nondescript man in a suit standing outside Tony’s door. The bodyguard greeted him with a curt nod and walked ahead of them. On their way down the stairs, Fred left Cheska to explain their departure to Tony.
After retrieving his bag, he turned to his chauffeur. It was supposed to be the last day Tony worked for him, but ended up to have gotten him embroiled in his problems. Doubtful in seeing him later, Fred doubled back and searched for where to start.
“I’ll send a message when she comes to,” Tony promised when the doctor’s silence lengthened.
“Thank you, Tony.” He paused, heaved a breath and said: “Why don’t you work for me directly?”
“I’m offering you a position. We can work out the details so you could continue your studies.” The chauffeur’s surprise was expected and Fred could already see the answer in his face. The doctor held up a hand to stop Tony from speaking. “I’m not saying you should decide now. Think it over first.” He didn’t wait for his response. Fred gestured to the bodyguard that he was ready to go.
Cheska, who was already in the car waiting, glanced curiously at him and her friend.
As the bodyguard maneuvered the car out of the street, Fred fished out his phone from the bag. The battery was running low. He hadn’t charged it in a while and would shut down in a few minutes. The number of missed calls he received were twenty-eight in total from the previous day up to the present. There were also thirteen voice messages from his mom as well. He tapped on the last one and listened.
“Fred, where are you?” his mom’s frantic voice came through the speaker. “I don’t want to say this on the phone but you’re not answering my calls. The police came by last night. Your secretary was found dead in her apartment this morning. Someone killed her and left a message for you. Please, call me when you get this so I know you’re okay.”
He lowered his phone, fear slithering down his spine.
“What is it?” Cheska asked worriedly.
“My secretary. She was murdered.”
“That’s terrible,” her hand covered her mouth. “What happened? Was she in some sort of trouble?”
“I don’t think so,” he fibbed. “We’ll know for sure when I talk to my mother.” He gently squeezed her hand. The contact sent an electric current running through their joined hands. Cheska inhaled sharply. He immediately let go, an electric spark appearing between them, apologizing.
His heart hammered in his chest. It wasn’t supposed to come out. There were only two reasons: either his ability was reacting to her or he’s starting to lose control. Out of the corner of his eye, Cheska’s face was to her window. Did I hurt her? Fred turned his head to have a better look. Her reflection bounced off the glass. She was biting her lower lip. Her lashes were cast down that he couldn’t see what she was looking at.
A growl broke inside the car. Cheska’s head whipped at the same time the noise came again from his stomach. Fred remembered he hadn’t taken breakfast and lunch was almost over.
Amusement danced in Cheska’s eyes, a faint pink colored her cheeks. She produced a candy from her tote bag. “Here,” she handed it to him.
“Thank you.” The smile on his lips froze as the world slowed around him.
The traffic light turned green in their street. Still, a fast moving truck was approaching on their left. They wouldn’t make it. Fred pulled Cheska to him. He raised his free arm with the palm facing the truck. An electric current surged out of his hand towards the vehicle. Yet, it continued to eat away the distance between their car and it.
Gods help us, he prayed. Fred wrapped the woman to his chest with both arms and squeezed his eyes shut. The impact sent him toppling forward, pinning Cheska underneath him. Glass shattered and metal crushed against metal.
Once the metal box of a car encasing them stopped moving, Fred tilted his head towards the driver’s seat. It suffered the most in the accident. Half of the bodyguard’s head was smashed and covered in blood. His mom’s bodyguard was dead. At the back of his mind, Fred felt sorry for not having known the dead man’s name and wondered if he had a family somewhere waiting for him to come home.
He shifted his gaze to Cheska. She was pale but seemed unhurt.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
She nodded, unable to speak. He pushed himself up and checked the area. A dozen men descended from the truck and approached their vehicle. Sunburnt skin and black hair with black checked scarves around their necks, he knew who they were after. Him.
His mind raced, searching futilely for an escape. Cheska’s door was wrenched open.
“Are you guys okay?” the man asked. His foreign accent wasn’t too strong. It was probably why he was the group’s representative.
“The driver’s dead,” Fred said in a flat tone.
“That’s too bad.” The man clicked his tongue. “Why don’t you and your lady friend come out here while we call for help, doctor?” He moved his arm deliberately to show the armed weapon hidden within the shirt sleeve.
Cheska saw it too. Her eyes were wide with terror as she stumbled out of the car.
“There you go. Take deep breaths, darling. Everything will be fine.” She jumped when the man started to rub her back.
“Don’t you dare touch her,” Fred hissed.
The man held his hands up in surrender and winked. “Oops. I didn’t take you for a jealous lover, doctor.” He lifted a brow. “But, honestly, I am sorry for your driver’s death.”
“What do you want from me?”
“For starters,” the man’s easygoing attitude disappeared, “help me get rid of them.” He swerved to his right and aimed. His closest comrade went down, a dart protruded on his neck. “Five.” He shot another man. “Four.”
Fred realized the man was counting down the tranq darts in his person.
The remaining men standing were rousing from the shock of betrayal. They were coming down hard on the traitor. Their attention focused on a single person, Fred stretched his arms out and shot bolts of electricity to stun them. Five changed direction now that he was considered a threat.
He made a mental image of a thunderstorm and told Cheska: “Run.”
“I’m not leaving.”
“I can’t fight while you’re here.” The clouds above them were roiling and graying. He was planning on using lightning and he couldn’t unleash it while she was in harm’s way.
“I can protect myself.” Her chin lifted defiantly.
The sky overhead rumbled ominously. “Fine.” In frustration, he shot the bolts in succession against their enemies with less concern for their lives.
Their abductors out cold on the pavement, Fred glared at Cheska, who returned it in equal measure.
“Now, now, don’t go having a lover’s tiff on me. We can’t have that,” the stranger said moving closer to them. His face was grim despite the playful tone. “Not when help is just a few feet away.”
Fred followed his gaze and saw Louis weaving through the crowd towards them.
“Who are you?” Fred demanded.
“Plenty of time for that. Introduce me as ally, friend or savior, yes?” The edge in his voice made Fred pause. The man wanted to make a good impression. He slung his arms around Cheska’s and the doctor’s shoulders. On seeing Fred stare at the arm on Cheska, he released her and grinned wickedly. “Spoilsport.”
Copyright © 2014-2016 Cecilia Beatriz. All rights reserved.
A/N: Progress at last! A literal spark is coming off between our doctor and his “lady friend.” 😉 Is it protectiveness or guilt that drives Fred to protect Cheska from his enemies? And what happens if she’s the deceased Electra? Is he going to run away from her or stay? Oops… I think I said too much. Hehehe… (evil laughter)
That aside, you might have noticed I posted this chapter ahead of schedule. The early updates (please refer to the Table of Contents) are becoming a recent trend that I’m inclined not to follow the schedule I set up for the uploads.
My posts are usually every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, but I need to prioritise things if I wish to survive the year (~_~’). I’ve responsibilities at home, projects at work, 6 units at uni this June, and insomnia to boot. I realized the next coming months are going to be pretty hectic…after learning who’s teaching my Statistics subject (and at 8-11 am, my head’s going to hurt!). That and my love-and-hate relationship with numbers! Thank goodness, the second course is something I’m actually interested in.
What I’ll do for now is write a chapter (oh yes, I love the feel of paper and pen when am making a story), encode, then post as soon as I finish it. Sorry if there will be delays in some posts… 😦
Anyway, likes and comments are welcome and much appreciated. 🙂
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