31 January 2011

Run & Hide

Chapter 3

"So, how did your date go the other night?" Katrina asked, leaning towards her brother who was seated in the lounge chair in the living room.

"Abysmal, you don't really know me at all Kat," Javier responded.

"Hey! I'm trying to help you out here... don't forget mum and dad being on your case to get settled," Kat said as a matter of fact, "I'm just trying to get the ball rolling."

"It wasn't love at first sight, if that's what your intention was... she was more in love with herself... why on earth do women need all that lip gloss anyway?" Javier shrugged.

"Maybe she was trying to communicate something to you... y'know using her lips," Kat winked.
"Yeah, like her lips were dry," he laughed. "Honestly Kat, no more recommendations... I'll just find my own women from now on."

"Fine, have it your way then," Kat laughed.  They had been sitting amongst their nieces, nephews and family enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon, "Speaking of women, I heard you rescued the heiress."

"I didn't rescue her, she was just there... any one with a heart would have done the same," Javier said, watching the TV screen.

"Always so modest bro, so how is she?" Kat asked.

"I'm not sure, I haven't been in to see her, if that's what you mean," Javier replied, paying more attention to what the kids were watching on screen then the actual conversation.  The door bell chimed and everyone in the room looked at each other, he watched as his mother went to the door. Javier turned his attention back to the TV. 

"Javier there is someone to see you," his mother spoke and like a beacon that she is, garnered the attention of everyone in the room, even his nieces and nephews.  He stood up and walked down the hall, to see Ruby standing quietly by the stairs.

"I'm sorry to turn up here unexpected but they gave me this as your address," she said.  Her face was pale and she looked tired.

"They?" Javier asked.

"Tom," she replied. 

Javier was about to reply but his mother appeared by his side to scold him, "Dove sono i vostri modi Javier? Una signora viene a vederla e voi incitarla a levarmi in piedi fuori nel corridoio, non lo ho alzato di destra?"

"I'm so sorry Mrs Romano, please do not blame Javier, he has been really kind to me... I have turned up here, completely unexpected so it is not his fault, nor his manners that are to blame," Ruby replied, knocking Javier back.

"You understand Italiano?" his mother asked.

"Yes, I have been to Italy many times," Ruby smiled, in turn making Javier's mum smile even wider.

"Then you must come and eat, you must be..." Javier began, only to see his father approach them.

"Hello my dear," he took Ruby's hand and smiled at her, "I am Antonio, Javier's father... please don't be shy and come and join us, my Rosa can be pushy sometimes but she means well."

Javier watched as his family fussed over his expected visitor.  Ruby walked into the room with them and they seated her in a comfy chair at the dining table, her eyes widened when she saw the amount of food left over.  He saw her wince as she sat down, exhaling and he knew instantly why she felt such discomfort, he was by her side in a flash.

"Are you okay?" he said taking the seat beside her, as his mother fussed over her,  piling food on her plate regardless of the mounting food.  

"I'm fine, why would you ask?" she said, fighting back the pain creeping up her side.

"My family can be blind to your discomfort, but I'm not. I know your injuries and I know you are in a hell of a lot of pain right now."

"Well thanks doc, I appreciate the diagnosis but I'll survive," she smiled charmingly at his mother.

"What did you want?" Javier asked watching her intently.

"I need your help..." she touched her side, "I wouldn't ask, if it wasn't important..." she picked up her fork and delved in, chewing and then pausing with a smile, "Oh my gosh."

"You like that?" Javier said with a grin.

"Do I like that? That would be the understatement of the year, I love it. This is just too good... I haven't had a home cooked meal in a while," she turned to his mother Rosa, "La sigra Romano, il vostro alimento è assolutamente divina fa la mia acqua della bocca."

His mother smiled, "Grazie il mio tesoro."

His mother reluctantly left them and sat next to his father but he knew, they were all curious about the expected visitor, especially as she was now walking and wearing something other then a hospital gown. There will definitely be questions later, he didn't doubt that.

"So, what's important?" Javier looked at her.

"I would like to hire you, whatever your rates are... I want to hire you as a PI.  I don't trust any of my father's men and Tom had recommended you were the best, so here I am." Javier was silent. "I was discharged from the hospital yesterday and as you can tell, I'm not exactly in the best state to conduct my own investigation right this minute but I need some one to do that for me, whilst I work."

"And what exactly do you work as?" Javier asked.

"I'm a jewellery designer, my work is in my studio at home... but I have a collection I have to unveil at London Fashion Week in two months time, but I can't- I can't sleep, I've just about regained my appetite now... there's something niggling at me, but I don't know what and I need you to find stuff out for me."
Javier was quiet, he was deep in thought.  He wasn't exactly busy at work at the moment... he could do with something to keep him occupied.

"Let me think about it," Javier said and in that moment, something beeped, "What's that?"

Ruby stood up too quickly, losing her balance but Javier was on his feet and grabbed a hold of her, just in time to see the pain etched in her eyes, "What's that beeping?" He repeated, impatient.  

"Some one's broken into my house" she said, her head sinking low then looking straight at him, "And this is why, I need your help."

~ * ~

"What do you mean there was no breaking and entering? Her remote beeper went off," Javier said into his mobile phone to his friend Tom.

"I'm telling you mate, we checked out the premises and everything was locked tight.  It must have been a false alarm or maybe a cat or something," Tom replied.

"I don't like the sound of this..." Javier said.

"Your girl needs protection... and the best."

"She's not my girl..." Javier said.

"Might you forget you were the one who found her, rescued her and damn well saved her life," Tom remarked, "And if you say she's there, then it's obvious she wants it.  She didn't ask me, so what's stopping you? You afraid she's another Tia?"

"This has nothing to do with Tia," Javier responded,  looking at Ruby who was talking to Millie, his niece.  The little girl was talking to her, watching her every reaction, at one point, she was jumping up and down and something inside of him tingled, he couldn't explain it but it was raw and unexpected.  A complete surprise.  Ruby was smiling, she stroked the hair of his niece and said something to her that elicited another jumping episode.  In that moment, she turned to him and she smiled and he couldn't help himself, but smiled back.

*** ***

*Dove sono i vostri modi Javier? Una signora viene a vederla e voi incitarla a levarmi in piedi fuori nel corridoio, non lo ho alzato di destra - Translation: A woman has come to see you Javier and you leave her in the corridor, have I not raised you right.

**La sigra Romano, il vostro alimento è assolutamente divina fa la mia acqua della bocca - Translation: Mrs Romano, your food is so divine

***Grazie il mio tesoro - Translation: Thank you my darling