A Third Chance at First Love - Chapter Eleven

The second arc of the series.
Chapter Eleven - Arousal

"The dead can only hope to live once more," he said, sniffing her as she placed his head on her neck.

"Of course," the woman replied, and he pulled her head down to meet her lips with his.

The man surrounded her tiny waist with his left hand as his right busied itself on the hem of her satin mini-skirt. The woman, with her long brown hair and those killer long legs surrounded his body like a snake about to devour its victim.

He could have succeeded undressing her in his own record time if it wasn't for the old British man standing awkwardly beside the door.

"Mr. Dean, the preparations have been made. It is time to go."

Gary sighed. "A great way to ruin the mood, Jack." He stood up to button up his white-collared shirt, while his new assistant hurried herself out of the room.

"I'll see you later, Edna." Gary flashed a quick smirk before looking down to find his jacket. He was sure he didn't leave it at the bar earlier.

Jack, his father's secretary, released a slight cough. The old man was nervous. He was, after all, standing in the very depths of hell.

And this man standing in front of him was Satan himself.

"Mr. Dean, your father ordered that you head back to Toronto by the earliest tonight. You must leave right now in order to catch up to them."

"Them," he thought, referring to the Japanese investors that came in to hear the Dean Hotels' proposal for another expansion in Asia.

"Of course," Gary replied, and he said nothing more as he got himself ready. That made Jack nervous.

"I beg you," he said to him, "Please do hesitate in seducing any more women in this flight. You almost got caught in a scandal a while back from making out with the French President's daughter."

Gary laughed at this. " She kissed me first," he replied as they walked towards the car.

"They all kiss you first," Jack mumbled.

"But not her," Gary said, but not loud enough for Jack to hear in the driver's seat. She never even tried.

"Are you ready to go?" Jack turned to him.

Gary nodded. "I'm ready."

A couple of minutes was all it took before Gary found himself inside LAX airport. After a brief goodbye, Jack went back to the office to settle a few last-minute changes.
"No kissing president's daughters in this flight." Gary assured the old man.
"--Or anyone else's daughters," Jack muttered on his way out with a disgruntled expression.
"That I can't assure you," Gary thought to himself with a smile on his face.

Now alone, Gary sat comfortably inside the first-class flight straight to Toronto after an exhausting 10-day conference in Los Angeles. After taking over the company as President, he hadn't had any time for himself. No time to eat, to think, or to go to bed.
Unless you count the beds of every woman he slept with.

But of course, even a child would know why he was acting this way.

Gary then opened the envelope sitting idly on his lap. It was the same manila envelope that sneaked its way into his briefcase a few days ago. "Strange," he thought back then. After all, no one could possibly enter his hotel room without permission, much less open his belongings. Or even touch them.

When he first opened it, he felt like ripping them apart, as its content could almost kill him. It just wasn't possible that someone could hate him so much to pull such a disgusting trick.

They were pictures of Erin Grey. Erin Grey in her college days, Erin Grey finishing a press release, Erin Grey window shopping at the local boutique. Erin Grey smiling.

Erin Grey.

Gary punched the cemented wall.
It was all he could do to stop himself from tearing up her pictures. When he heard about her death three months ago, he didn't believe it. It seemed so surreal. She was like bubbles; the way she waltzed in to his life, and the way she left.

As he tried to pile the photographs together, he noticed the small piece of paper hiding under it.

"The woman is still alive," it said in a faint, bloody red writing.

"Damn it," he cringed, getting the attention of the man in a business suit sitting beside him. When did he become such a mess?

Gary closed his eyes. He was exhausted- so much so that if his body were placed in the dirty streets he wouldn't mind at all, as long as he could rest. He slept the entire flight, which was a surprise, and before he knew it he was standing inside Toronto's Pearson Airport waiting for his car to be sent down to him.

Gary hated airports even when he was a child. He remembered crying every single time as he saw off either one of his parents whenever they head off to a business trip. He remembered when he was nine, and as his mother bent down to give him one final kiss before her flight to Paris, he blurted out "I hate you" before running back to the car.

Had he only known it would be the last time he would ever see her again.

As the valet handed him his keys, he thanked the young man and gave him a crisp $100 bill. He went in and headed off straight to the office, grabbing a hotdog on the way.

"Still better than airplane food," he thought as he ate it. In no time he reached the entrance and went inside to prepare himself for the meeting.

"Welcome back, sir."
He turned and smiled at Rita, a jolly forty-year-old woman who had been working for his father for years. Although he couldn't care much else for the other employees, seeing this woman's face gives him relief.

"Thanks, Rita." He answered. "How is your son?"
"He is doing much better," she sighed. "He caught another cold from playing outside last night. Troublesome, that boy."

Gary laughed. Ten-year-old Mike was Rita's son whom she raised all by herself. He did see the kid a few times, and he reminded him of his own self back then. Smart, troublesome, and witty.

As he was about to leave, he noticed a magazine in her hand. Written on top... were the words " Greenwood," and in the glossy front cover was the picture of a man who looked oddly familiar to him.

"Ah, Derek Matthews," Rita gleamed. "That handsome man is the main chief of that grandiose hospital in New York. The girls here have been talking about how handsome he is, and surely enough his looks make people talk." She giggled. Gary tried to look at the cover again. He definitely met this man before, but he can't remember where.

"Oh! I almost forgot," Rita said to him. " The guests have arrived, and is waiting for you. They seem like tough people, but I'm sure you can handle them."

Gary nodded. "Of course."

He walked away from the front desk and towards the elevator, hitting the button for the 27th floor. As Gary waited, however, he felt a sudden pang of pain throbbing from the back of his head. It was a sudden sensation; so completely unnatural he knew it was a set-up.

Then the elevator lights turned off.

He banged the doors as hard as he could, but it was no use. The elevator was suspended between two floors so it would take a while for help to arrive. It didn't help that Gary was starting to lose control of his body, like a feeling of coma was coming to him. He couldn't move, and could only sit on the floor.

"This is how I die," he thought to himself. Although he couldn't move, he did notice one thing - that he wasn't alone anymore. That somehow, the culprit has gotten himself inside the elevator while it blacked out. Gary noticed him too late.

"Are you here to kill me?" Gary said in the darkness.
There was no reply.
"You know," he continued," If I'm going to die, at least show me your face."
Still, there was no reply.
"Maybe if my family were bakers instead of moguls, I'd be baking bread right now. Dying inside a dark elevator isn't exactly ideal," Gary sighed. "At least be a girl."

"You're not going to die, stupid."

Gary blinked at the response. It was a woman's voice. But more importantly, it was her voice. He didn't have to see her to know.
It was Erin.
For a few minutes he didn't speak. After all, what could he say?

"I apologize for what you are about to see once you enter that room," she said to him, although he couldn't see her. "And for everything else."

She didn't say anything more, and the elevator fell silent.

"...You." He tried to speak, "...are you alright?"

He heard her chuckle softly. "...Yes."

Gary wanted to ask her more - how could she still be alive? What happened to her? Where did she go in the past three months? Is she hiding from someone? Does she need his help?

"But she's alive," he thought. Erin was still alive. That was enough for him.

For now, anyway.

"The dead can only hope to live once more," Erin whispered, and Gary realized it was the same thing he said before, when he was in Los Angeles.

Erin had been with him all along.

Before he could say anything else, the elevator started moving again, and the lights started flickering to life. But by the time the lights turned into a solid white she wasn't there anymore, and he could finally feel movement from his body.

The doors opened, and as he walked out he noticed the shrieking of his employees. One of the security personnel told him that the investors they were expecting called in ten minutes ago to postpone the meeting to next week, and that those inside the conference room were hired killers, aiming to kill him.

"I don't know how it happened, but when I entered they were already dead," he informed him. "I didn't hear a thing."

Gary suddenly remembered her words before she escaped.

"I'll be around," she said in haste.

"Because from now on, I'll protect you."
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Published: 10/3/2014
Bouquets and Brickbats