#101 15th Aug 2018 at 11:37 AM
Thanks: 571 in 2 Posts
As mush as I don't really like Leona, i can't say I m comfortable with all this bullying to her. Edric, grow up and treat her better! :P
#102 Yesterday at 7:22 AM
Chapter 48: Interruptions
Illyana was done with her Tuesday class and was digging through her backpack, looking for her notebook. It was the one she wrote all her lyric ideas on when she was feeling inspired, and sheâ€™d had it since she was in junior high. Bent, faded, and worn to all Hellâ€“it contained her joy, her sorrow, and her fears all in a form of poetry and phrases spurred on by each emotion. She had brought it along with her to Pandora just in case inspiration should strike but hadnâ€™t gotten a chance to write in it. This day, she was feeling cheerful, an emotion she hadnâ€™t experienced in full for more than a few minutes for the past few weeks. She felt a steady optimism spreading through her; as if maybe it wasnâ€™t all bad and there was a sliver of light in what seemed to have been an endless tunnel of darkness.
Now only if she could find that damned notebook and write some of this stuff down!
A loud â€™thumpâ€™ came from above and made her stop searching, tilt her head back and stare at the ceiling in a scrutinizing manner. The floor above was where the guys at the community college kept residence. What the heck was going on up there?
She shrugged it off and continued to look through the outer pockets on her backpack but was again, startled by another loud â€™thump.â€™
She took in a frustrated breath before propelling herself off the bed and going to check out what and who was making such a ruckus above her. She grabbed the stair rail and swung herself 180 degrees around, taking two stairs at a time to the next floor. She saw some boxes in the hallway, right outside of the room above hers.
Suddenly Franz Schoulsburg stepped out of the room with another of the same in his arms.
â€śWhat are you doing?!â€ť she asked with wide eyes.
He looked at her with a blank expression before unceremoniously dropping the box next to the others, which caused the loudest â€™thumpâ€™ yet, â€śMoving out.â€ť
Of course, he didnâ€™t explain why. He never seemed to be the type to elaborate in any wayâ€”only concerned with answering as simply and succinctly as possible before moving on from the conversation. He disappeared back into his room and Illyana peered in after him. His room was bare bones, if he ever had anything on the walls, they were stripped off. The only things left were the furniture the room had come with, smaller boxes and some piles of books. She noticed a double bass leaning against the mirrored closet. She had forgotten he had even played it, only seeing it in action once upon a time at the Battle of the Bands.
He put a pile of books in a box, ripped a line of packing tape from a roll and closed it up. She had to wonder why he was moving out, but didnâ€™t know if they had enough of a rapport that she could ask that and get a straight answer.
He stopped in the doorway, seeing her curiously looking into the room. â€śYou have a vehicle, donâ€™t you?â€ť
Her gaze abruptly went from studying the room to him, â€śYeah, a Jeep, why?â€ť
He seemed to clench his jaw before mumbling, â€śCould I ask a favor?â€ť
Illyana raised her brows at the fact he was asking for a favor, but she knew immediately what it pertained to considering the prerequisite. Many people in Kashmire didnâ€™t bother buying their own vehicle because the public transit systems were well maintained and affordable. However, no one would use a taxi or bus to move their belongings from one place to another. Illyana didnâ€™t have anything expensive or fancy but the old Jeep got the job done and thatâ€™s why her driving services had been requested many, many times in the past from people who knew her. She would have been annoyed any other time but she owed Franz thisâ€”it was the least she could do after he let her rant out her frustrations at him. He absorbed it and yet deflected it in such a perfect way that she felt better and he didnâ€™t feel worse. Plus, if she spent some more time with him, maybe he would explain why he was moving out of the dorms. Probable explanations flashed through her headâ€”heâ€™d failed his module, heâ€™d given up on school, heâ€™d run out of moneyâ€¦
She ended up nodding as he sheepishly asked if she could drive him and his belongings to his Motherâ€™s home.
â€śYou need help carrying things?â€ť She entered the room, looking around at what was left.
â€śIâ€™d appreciate it,â€ť he admitted.
She took a seat on his bed and peered into a box, â€śYou have a lot of books.â€ť
â€śI like to read.â€ť
â€śWhatâ€™s this?â€ť She reached into the box she had been looking into to find a mask of some sort. It had a bad-ass pattern on it. She pulled the straps out and placed them over her ears then turned to look at herself in the mirror on the outside of the closet.
â€śItâ€™s something I donâ€™t need anymore,â€ť Franz replied evenly, â€śkeep it if you like it.â€ť
She slipped the mask down to her chin to speak clearly, â€śIt looks cool, thanks!â€ť
He shrugged and picked up a box, nodding toward one at his feet as one she could carry.
â€śOof, more books?â€ť she asked lifting it up, and it was heavier than it had appeared. He made a half-smile, but didnâ€™t verbally confirm it.
â€śSoâ€¦â€ť She said, looking down at her feet to make sure she didnâ€™t miss any of the stairs as they descended to the first floor, â€śWhy are you leaving?â€ť
Franz slowed his pace, seeming to think of how to word his response. The dude was so guarded, but heâ€™d always been like that from what Illyana could remember. Quiet and unnoticeable, that was, until he went and bashed Nickâ€™s head into a wall when they were nine years old. She avoided him pretty much after that but it wasnâ€™t hard to avoid someone who also wanted to be avoided.
â€śIâ€™m moving back home to take care of my mother. Sheâ€™s sick,â€ť he said by the time they were at the bottom of the staircase. She certainly didnâ€™t expect that in her probable reasons for his departure. She felt bad though, that his loved one was ill and the burden fell on him.
â€śWhy? Itâ€™s not your problem.â€ť
She stopped walking and twisted her mouth up in annoyance before blurting, â€śIt just sucks! Canâ€™t I sympathize with how much it sucks?â€ť
Franz raised a brow and thought about it before nodding. Then he asked, â€śCan we stop off at a pawn shop afterward?â€ť
She did a double take, â€śWhy? What are you pawning?â€ť
â€śMy bass. I donâ€™t play it anymoreâ€”might as well see if someone else wants to and get some money for it.â€ť
Illyana would never be able to part from her instrument, even if she was desperate for money.
Illyana set down the box she was carrying, as an idea struck her, â€śWait, I have something I can pawn as well.â€ś She ran to her room, deposited her new mask on the top of her night stand, and pulled open a drawer below it to retrieve the item in question.
"My jerk of an ex gave this to me. I think I could maybe get something out of it. What do you think?â€ť Illyana fastened a necklace around her neck and picked up the box again as she emerged from her room. Franz had seen that piece of jewelry somewhere before, yet couldnâ€™t remember when.
â€śDoesnâ€™t hurt to try but Iâ€™ve seen a replica of that necklace. Things always lose value if they arenâ€™t unique.â€ť
â€śReally? Weird. He said it was an heirloom that belonged to his grandmother,â€ť Illyana frowned but then it crashed into melancholy, â€śThough it was probably a lie. He never asked for it back and youâ€™d think itâ€™d be important if it was an heirloom. Maybe I wonâ€™t get much after all.â€ť
Franz stopped abruptly, her words pricking a sense of dĂ©ja vu in him and he realized why. He took a better look at the jewelry around her neck and blinked a few times before asking, â€śWhat was your exâ€™s name again?â€ť
Sheâ€™d probably said his name at least ten times to Franz in her periodic rants she was allowed to throw at him but to be fair, it probably wasnâ€™t all that interesting for him to take note of specifics, especially if she spoke so fast that her angry words slurred together and often transitioned into Espanianâ€“the language originating and prevalently spoken in the regions south of Kashmire.
â€śAdam Hamilton,â€ť she said as she set down her box in order to take the necklace off, now less sure she would get anything for itâ€”she stuffed it in her back pocket and resumed carrying his box of books but not without another grunt of effort because of the weight of it.
Heâ€™d been so preoccupied with his mother and the bakery that he missed connecting the facts: Illyanaâ€™s ex-boyfriend, the one that had cheated on her, was the one and the same man that was now Faunaâ€™s boy toy. It was his sisterâ€™s choice to be with an asshole, and it was par for the course but Franz didnâ€™t believe she was the type to continue to date someone if she knew they already had a girlfriend at the time.
â€śWhatâ€™s wrong?â€ť Illyana slowed her pace because Franz had stopped walking entirely. He didnâ€™t usually lie, he didnâ€™t see a point in itâ€”but logically, Illyana had always been very emotional and angry when talking about Adam and if he told Illyana that his own sister was most likely the girl Adam had cheated on Illyana with, he could assume from previous experiences that Illyana would become angry again and possibly revoke her favor to move his boxesâ€”which he needed right now.
â€śNothing,â€ť he said, feeling tired after coming to the conclusion and a bit bad for lying to keep Illyana in a good mood so that she would cooperate.
Illyana gave him a questionable look. She didnâ€™t know him very well, so took him at his word.
She heard her name said purposefully, pointedly, and turned to see who had spoken it. Her cheeks suddenly felt warm and trepidation crept up her legs, rooting her in place. Her eyes widened in shock; sheâ€™d been dreading this moment, wondering if it would ever happen. Just her rotten luck that it did.
Franz could see she was in distress, and it was quite a drastic reaction from someone just saying her name. In this case, the someone looked to be a manâ€”not old, not even his middle years yetâ€“but a number of years older than them at least, and he wore a tailored suit and jacket.
Words didnâ€™t find their way to her as she stared back at Tony, the man from the casino, who stood assuredly in front of his expensive sports car. He didnâ€™t look as angry as she thought he would considering what had gone down the last time they saw each other. His lip had healed though, so the damage she had dealt was minimal.
â€śExcuse me, but who are you?â€ť Franz cut through the silence.
â€śIâ€™m Tony. Iâ€™m a business risk assessor,â€ť he replied and Illyana dropped the heavy box in a quick movement, her frown plunging into a glower and her hands thrown in the air with frustration.
The movement caught both menâ€™s attention and Illyana pointed at Tony with a growing rage, â€śYou are not a business risk assessor! You are some sleazy casino manager who canâ€™t keep his hands to himself!â€ť
Tony looked a bit taken aback and then let out an abrupt, amused, laugh and took a step forward. Franz set down his box, ready to fight if need be but Illyana was the one who put up her fists, â€śCome any closer and Iâ€™ll punch your lights out again.â€ť
He did stop advancing. Her threat had merit.
â€śYou really donâ€™t know who I am, do you?â€ť
â€śDoes it matter?â€ť she growled.
â€śOur families go way back,â€ť he said and cautiously handed her a business card from the pocket of his jacket. His statement startled her and she swiped the card out of his hand after a moment of considerationâ€“to see that his business title really was what he claimed it to be. What he had said made her wonder if their meeting at the casino was happenstance, for what were the chances of her running into someone who knew her family? Well what family that she had left in any caseâ€¦
She re-read the name on the card and didnâ€™t recognize it one bit. Her facial expression told as much.
â€śSurely your mother must have told youâ€¦â€ť
â€śTold me what?â€ť she snapped and then clamped down on her burning curiosity, reminded of his unsavoriness, before he could answerâ€“â€śLook guy, all I know is that you are bad news, I donâ€™t like you, and donâ€™t trust you as far as I could throw you. Just leave me alone.â€ť
Tony looked over her and then nodded. â€śIf you wish it, I will. Itâ€™s just a shame you donâ€™t want an opportunity to take back what was yours, you have the same fire in your heart as he did.â€ť
That burning curiosity only grew into a wildfire with the simple pronoun. He turned away from them, honoring her request with a nod of farewell. It tore at her so badly. A part of her was thankful he was leaving but the more risky, rash, and short-sighted portion of her mind all but made her blurt in question, â€śas who!?â€ť
Tony stopped and glanced over his shoulder, flashing that same handsome, yet infuriating grin that lead her to believe that he knew much more than she did, â€śYour father, of course.â€ť
Franz was the only voice of reason that prevented Illyana from running after Tony to demand more of an explanation. Franz reminded her that she had agreed to help him and she wasnâ€™t the kind of person to flake out on a friend. Not like Leona at least, and she had to stop and muse, because she didnâ€™t know she considered Franz a friend until just now. But she supposed that is what he was to some degreeâ€¦for knowing hardly anything about him.
Tony drove away without so much as look back at them but he did keep that smile, as if he knew she would seek him out for answers soon.
Franz loaded his boxes into the back of her Jeep as Illyana leaned against the driver-side door, wondering about Tony and his words. She didnâ€™t know how long she had been standing there, but what seemed a lifetime later she felt the body of her vehicle lurch as Franz fell against the Jeep next to her.
â€śSoâ€¦â€ť He said, seeming to struggle with a thought before finishing with, â€śWhatâ€™s the deal with your father?â€ť
Illyana blinked a few times, seeming to come out of a daze, from trying to reach into the absolute depths of her memory for anything about the man but came up empty, â€śHe died when I was a baby, but it feels like a part of me has always been missing. I never knew him.â€ť
Franz nodded and it occurred to Illyana that Franz just might feel the same way. She knew what they said about him, about his motherâ€”but never had given it much thought. She turned her head and asked, â€śYou know how it feels, donâ€™t you?â€ť
Franz put his hands into his pockets, his shoulders slumped slightly, and nodded.
Illyana knew her fatherâ€™s name, how he died, but other than that, all she had were the memories of others in her family to piece together what type of man he was. From what she knew, it was very little. He was tall, strong, loved them fiercely and put a lot of effort into making sure the family was provided for, but her mother couldnâ€™t seem to talk about him without getting emotional. So Illyana had learned to stop asking.
â€śIâ€™m sorry,â€ť she said and noticed Franz frown slightly, again, at the fact she was apologizing for something out of her control. He didnâ€™t say anything but only nodded in agreement, because he knew why she was apologizing and it did suck.
She flipped the business card over and over in her hand, going from the stark black to the stark white; the logo of a business, to the letters spelling out a nameâ€”Antony Biacottiâ€”who was man that for some reason unknown to her, had a vested interest in her and her family. That ominous shiver she had felt the last time she had seen him in Pandora felt more than warranted now.
And now we have a turning point! Hopefully this man's full name sounds familiar to you readers as he has been mentioned before in passing. It probably didn't help the story wasn't updated for four months but maybe this is a good excuse to go find this clue in a re-read! I plan for the next chapter to be up Sept 2nd.
@lordtyger8 - thank you again, so much, for reading! I'm happy you like the story and hope you continue to read!
@nayahn1 - There's so many character's I guess everyone has to have a least favorite of the POV ones. Leona will have to navigate her new career and the bullies that come along with it - will she succeed?
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