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   Chapter 15 Roses for Juliet

Roses for Juliet By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 15467

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:09


Chapter 15

Steve blinked his eyes open and found Bryan leaning over him. In an instant he was transported back in time and he felt the pain of the past radiate through his body. He could see the same pain and fear running through Bryan's eyes.

One of his hands fluttered to his chest, hovering over his scars even though the pain was in his head and neck. Bryan registered the movement and swallowed hard. Steve could see the muscles in his friend's jaw jump as memories skittered through him.

"The police will be here in a second Mr. Roberts, " an unfamiliar voice said off to his right. Steve turned his head towards the voice, his vision blurring a little around the edges. The garage attendant was pacing a few feet away, twisting his hands. "I called it in as soon as I saw on the cameras. Maybe I should have called it in before but I didn't know he wasn't with you until he hit you. Maybe I should have called it earlier."

The man continued his pacing. Steve blinked hard and turned back to Bryan. This time he saw the present and not the past. He concentrated on the differences, the thinner hair, the lines fanning out from Bryan's eyes and an extra layer of pudge around the middle. Confirmation that the years had indeed not reversed steadied him. Bryan rubbed his eyes and sighed. The past fading from his eyes as well.

"Can you help me up?" Steve asked.

"Are you sure you should be moving?" Bryan asked even as he reached a hand out to help his friend rise.

"Better than the cold concrete." Steve ran a hand across his neck feeling the pain of what would no doubt become a bruise left by his assailant. He winced and let his hand fall. He was standing in more or less the same spot he occupied before the attack only the garage looked a little different. When he realized what had changed only the immense pain it would have caused him kept him from slapping his own forehead for not noticing sooner.

"My car is gone, " he said staring at the empty space in the garage. "Someone stole my car."

"Yes sir, " the attendant said. "We had a couple of problems a while back but since we installed the new cameras we haven't had anything like this." As the three of them stared at the empty parking space, a police car pulled up in front of the building. The attendant jumped, then sprinted towards the front to let the squad car through the gate.

"My second set of cops in two days, " Steve muttered.

"Probably shouldn't make a habit of it, " Bryan said as they watched the cops pull up, the attendant jogging beside them.

"Probably not, " Steve answered. He was unreasonably pleased to see these weren't the cops from the day before. There was no reason for them to be, with a city this size the odds it would be the same two would be enormously against. But at least if they did put his car being stolen together with his house being robbed at least they would do it when he wasn't around.

'I wonder if they are related or if it's just dumb luck?' Steve thought. Mr. No Name was a professional; surely he would not break into a garage with video surveillance.

Steve thought about the burglary as the two cops walked towards him. Mr. No Name hadn't really broken in there either. At least Steve didn't think he had. He thought Mr. No Name just capitalized on the fact that someone else robbed his house. Maybe something similar had happened here.

"Mr. Roberts?" the dark haired cop asked.

"That would be me, " Steve said realizing the attendant simply pointed towards the two of them.

"Officer Davis. Mr. Johnson here tells us it was your car that was stolen?" The sentence tilted up into a question.

"Yes, " Steve replied. "I was hit from behind as I was unlocking the door."

"With your key?"

"Yes, " Steve answered.

"Don't you have one of those electronic locks?"

"Yes but I tend to only use them to unlock the doors when someone is with me." The officer raised an eyebrow and looked towards Bryan.

"I was just getting a file from my car before meeting Bryan out front."

"I see." He jotted something down in his note pad and Steve resisted the urge to crane his neck and see what it was. Nothing he had said so far was really of interest, but he suspected most cops probably had an even higher amped paranoia streak than he did.

"And you are?"

"Bryan Jeffries, " Bryan said.

"Is that with a y or an i?

"Both actually, " Bryan said, he pulled out a business card holder and slipped a card out. He held it out for the cop to take. Officer Davis took the card and slipped it into the back of the notebook with a mumbled thank y

Bryan gave Elaine his business card and set up an appointment for Thursday afternoon. With another sunny smile and a vague deadline Elaine drove off, the two men following her out of the drive in Bryan's car. She turned left and they turned right, heading towards a late lunch.

"Corporate headquarters?" Steve asked as they drove.

"Yes, corporate headquarters, " Bryan said. "My assistant asked that I stop referring to it as my secret laboratory."

"From which you will launch your world conquest?" Steve responded.

"Exactly. I wonder if she would do my office as a mad scientist's lair?"

"As opposed to how it probably looks now?"

"There is too much paperwork in there to be a mad scientist's lair, " Bryan said with a frown. "Mounds of paperwork."

"Mad scientists don't use paper?"

"No, we use chalk boards. The old fashioned chalkboards with squeaky chalk. Paper makes the ideas too permanent and you can't be mad and have permanence. That's sort of the trick of it."

"I'll keep that in mind." Steve replied.

"She definitely has a thing for you."

"Elaine?"

"Yeah, " Bryan said.

"I was hoping it was just my imagination."

"Nope. It's because you are too sexy, " Bryan said. Steve groaned.

"No please. I beg you, have mercy, " he moaned dramatically.

"You're too sexy for your shirt, so sexy it hurts, " Bryan crooned the Right Set Fred song, dragging the last word out.

"Stop please, " Steve said laughing at his friend. "There is a reason you didn't grow up to be a pop star."

"I'm a model, you know what that means and I do my little turns on the catwalk, " Bryan bounced his head randomly to his off key singing keeping no recognizable rhythm. Steve shook his head and Bryan gave a satisfied smirk. "Okay you have suffered enough."

"And you can't remember any more of the lyrics, " Steve said.

"That too."

"Did you smell any perfume in the bedroom?" Steve asked abruptly switching the conversation

"Elaine's?"

"No, " Steve said. "Juliet's. I could swear I could still smell it."

"Really, " Bryan said. "I didn't smell anything. What did it smell like."

"Like the perfume Jenna used to wear, " Steve replied.

"Oh, " Bryan said. There was silence for a few seconds and then Bryan cleared his throat.

"So did you see anything out of place that maybe looked like Mr. No Name had been there?" Bryan asked.

"No, " Steve said shaking his head, "But then I don't really know Nick's place all that well. I'm usually just a pass through and not exactly the kind of visitor Nick usually takes to the bedroom. Nothing seemed to stand out, but then again I wouldn't really expect Mr. No Name to leave that many clues." Steve's phone rang and Steve glanced down at the number. "Speak of the devil, " he said.

"Mr. No name is calling you?" Bryan said nearly swerving off the road.

"No Nick is. Why don't we see what's going on with him this morning, if you'll pardon the interruption." Bryan indicated he should answer the phone.

Steve pressed the talk button and lifted the phone to his ear.

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