Chapter 00

 

New York – 2015

[Mission Failure: 75%]

[Admin unable to locate Shaw.]

[Human Interface becoming unstable.]

[Solution: Find Shaw.]

[Samaritan winning. Not preferable. Attempting to contact Last Resort.]

[Message to last known telephone number: S.O.S. Contact 555-6223. Urgent.]

[Unable to deliver the message. Send Human Interface.]

He had sent a letter to her mailbox in New York. It had taken him a long time to track her down as it had been an even longer time since he had seen her or spoken to her. Not that she would care. He had made a promise, and he had told her he was a man of his word. He simply had been distracted over the last decade with things that needed to be dealt with. Now, with the doppelgangers out of the way, New Orleans back in his hands, his parents out of the way and the rest of his family back to squabbling, he finally could join his best-kept secret. Make her the queen she was meant to be.

It had been hard over the years not to paint her beautiful face on his canvasses as she always came to him in his dreams. It had been hard not to lash out, out of frustration for not being with her, but the time had finally come. He had sent her a date, place and time and the wait was excruciating. Instead, he focused on the minor details of his newly bought apartment in the Theatre District of New York. He didn’t want her to travel all the way to New Orleans just yet, and he wanted a change in scenery.

Without his siblings around, he could do whatever he wanted. That feeling excited him; it made his blood course through his veins with anticipation. She and he could go on a rampage and not being scolded at for doing so.

The most important room of the apartment was the bedroom. He had made it just the way he liked; perfect. He hadn’t compelled anyone to do the bedroom, which had been his project when he moved in. The rest of the apartment had been done by the most expensive designers who did their work for free.

The bed was lined with Egyptian cotton, and the sheets were made out of the purest silk. He had placed candles all over the apartment and the bedroom, leaving just enough space to move around. The curtains were drawn, and a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon had been poured in the decanter for enjoyment when she’d arrive. The finger food was exquisite and not too messy; he didn’t want to stain the rug or the sofa as they enjoyed it over their glass of wine while they’d catch up on their lives.

Niklaus could vividly remember their last encounter, a little over seven years ago. Seven years, five months, two weeks, three days, four hours, eleven minutes ago. She had arrived at the hotel he had been staying with her overnight bag wearing nothing but a trenchcoat, and even that had been a little tight on her, allowing her breasts to fall to freedom the moment she put her bag down on the floor. Her mock shock of that happening had been endearing and arousing at the same time. She’d quickly disposed of her coat, and they had skipped the wine and the food soon after that.

He loved to worship her body; she had curves all in the right places, as they say, and she was a thing of beauty. Every part of her toned body would be sucked on, nipped at, licked, kissed, caressed. She allowed him to. She had explained it to him once that she suffered from a personality disorder and that he could make her feel again. His touches and kisses brought her back to the light instead of the darkness that she preferred to surround herself with.

He knew that she had changed careers somewhere in the last few years; he had received a letter a little over a year ago; smelling like gunpowder and there was a slight hint of lilac underneath it. But he could tell that the group of people she now ran with were people she liked, by the way, she described them to him. This was good, at least his love wasn’t alone, something he had feared would happen when he was forced to leave her.

When they met for the first time all those years ago, she smelled like sand and gunpowder, she had just enlisted for the army. Sometimes, he could even detect a hint of the smell of blood and hospital from her life before the army. But whenever her life took a shift, her base smell shifted. The lilac, however, had been a recent addition.

He waited for hours, even sipping the wine that had been meant for the both of them, worried that something might have happened to her. Klaus wasn’t able to get a response from her on the phone and he almost wanted to go out and look for her but decided against it as there was no way of knowing where she was.

When the candles started to dim, there was a polite knock on the door, and he was in a rush to answer it, hoping to see his date standing in front of him, but instead, there was a different woman. Taller. She smelled like her, but she wasn’t her.

“Hello, Niklaus,” she greeted him as she pushed past him to enter the apartment. A cloud of lilac in her wake, barely concealing the smell of gunpowder.

He pushed the door closed and turned to the woman. “Who are you and how do you know my name?” Klaus demanded as he watched the woman reach for the food on the table and made herself quite at home.

“A friend gave me your name. You’re a difficult man to track down. I started for New Orleans at first, but imagine my surprise when my friend told me you recently purchased this apartment.”

“What is it that you want? I swear if you have harmed her…”

The woman’s smile turned into a frown at the mention of having hurt her. “I didn’t. I need your help because I am running out of options.”

“I am not in the habit of repeating myself,” he was just about ready to snap the woman’s neck. Who was she to saunter into his apartment as if she owned it, knew him and demand his help without stating a reason?

She sighed as she sat down on the couch. “My name is Root. Sameen is in trouble, and you’re the one who’s going to help me find her.”

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