That Freelance Kid

Chapter 10

One more drink turned into two, then three, then four more. Before Apollo knew it, Klavier had become completely intoxicated, and completely unable of driving.

"I tell you, Herr Justice, I am... just fine!" The rock star slurred, digging in his pocket for his keys.

"Mr. Gavin, there is no way I am letting you drive."

"What? Why not?" Klavier said in a near-whine as he searched more fervently for his keys.

Apollo sighed. When he agreed to assist Mr. Wright in helping the Gavins, he never thought it would lead to this. "Being a chauffeur wasn't part of the deal...I think." Apollo murmured, grabbing his own keys from his pocket. Apollo slid out the booth, then reached over to grab Klavier's busily searching hand.

"Come on, I'll take you home." Apollo said, helping Klavier out of the booth.

"Herr Justice, why is the floor spinning? It wasn't," Klavier hiccuped, "it wasn't doing that earlier."

Apollo slung one of Klavier's arm over his shoulder. "Yeah, well, it'll stop once we get outside."

Apollo practically dragged the rock star outside, with the latter mumbling nonsensically all the way. He had tuned him out, but was still becoming increasinly irritated with Klavier's drunken droning. Almost as if half-carrying a drunken man around wasn't enough, Apollo noted that the cold air had turned misty with drizzle. He looked up to see dark rain clouds forming in the night sky, promising to bring heavier rain.

"That's just perfect," Apollo muttered as he helped Klavier into the car.

Apollo entered his car, glancing at the source of his irritation before starting the engine. That's when he realized he had no idea had to get to Klavier's house.

"Ah, Mr. Gavin, could you...?" He trailed off as soon as he heard sounds of snoring coming from the right.

Apollo turned towards Klavier, and his suspicions were confirmed. He had fallen asleep- well, more like passed out, really, and Apollo had no idea what to do with him. He didn't think it'd be a good idea to take Klavier back to his place, but he couldn't just abandon him in the parking lot, either.

Apollo drove out of the red light district, wondering where he could take the drunken rock star. He noticed his hands had tightened on the steering wheel, and loosened his grip. He was getting deeper and deeper into the Gavins business, and now he couldn't see a way out of it. What exactly was Klavier doing that was so secret that he couldn't even tell his wife? It all sounded like bad business to Apollo, but what could he do? Mr. Wright had told him this whole thing would help him somehow, but Apollo seriously begin to doubt the credibility of that claim.

Apollo roused himself from his musings long enough to notice a motel off to his left. He pulled up into the parking lot, and roughly shook Klavier's shoulder, trying to see if he really was passed out to the point of immobility, or just enjoying a nice snooze at Apollo's expense.

Klavier opened his eyes slowly, and gave Apollo a sidelong glance.

"Mmm...Herr Justice?" Klavier asked slowly, working the words out carefully around his drunken tongue. "Where are we?"

"Somewhere you're staying for the night." Apollo said before he got out the car. He walked around to the passenger's side to help Klavier on his feet. "Come on," he said, slinging Klavier's arm around his shoulder.

Apollo managed to get Klavier inside the motel, and sat him down on a chair in the reception area. He looked around, but saw no receptionist, so he went up to the reception desk and rang the bell. When the receptionist still didn't come, he decided he would try something else. He looked at the name of the receptionist on the plaque placed on the desk, and called out.

"Miss Nichols! Miss Nichols, are you here?"

There was a quick shuffling of feet, then a young, rather plain looking girl with glasses ran out of a door to the left. "I'm so sorry, I didn't even hear you ring." She said, sounding flustered.

"That's all right. I just-" The girl cut him off with a gasp.

"Is that Klavier Gavin?" She asked, pointing at the man in purple nearly slumped over in a chair.

Apollo glanced quickly over at Klavier, then back at Miss Nichols. "Yes, but-"

"Is he okay? What happened. Why is he here? Shouldn't he-?"

"Miss Nichols," Apollo cut in exasperatedly. "He's had a long night. And so have I." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, then thumbed through money inside. "I can give you fifty dollars if you keep this a secret from anyone, even your friends. Please?"

Miss Nichols regarded the wallet in his hands for a while, before she shook her head. "It's okay, you don't have to bribe me. I won't tell anybody, either. Your secret is safe with me." She headed over to the desk and opened up a small check-in book. "How long is he staying for?"

"Just for tonight."

"Are you paying, or is he?"

"...I guess I am."

Miss Nichols gave him the price for an overnight stay, and Apollo raised an eyebrow. The price seemed a little to expensive just for one night, but he said nothing. Maybe she did intend to gain some extra cash for keeping that secret.

Once he had the room number and key, Apollo once again had to help Klavier walk. The man mumbled protests about how he was fine, now; but when Apollo let him try to walk his own, he could hardly keep up in a straight line.

Thankfully, they managed to get to the room without Klavier falling on his face. Apollo unlocked the door and turned on the light. He grimaced once he got a good look around. It was grimy, and looked like it hadn't been aired out in a while, and that stain on the wall made him slightly suspicious. He moved over to the bed, and Klavier practically fell on it, a moan escaping him as he hit the mattress. Apollo headed into the bathroom warily, and wet a cloth with cold water. This should sober him up a bit...then I can get home..." He hoped. He squeezed out the towel and headed into the main room, and saw that Klavier had moved a hand to cover his eyes.

"Is the light bothering you?" Apollo asked. He got no answer, so he tried again. "I could just turn on the bed-stand light. They're usually sort of dimmer than the overhead ones."

When Klavier still didn't give an answer, he edged closer over to him. "I bought you a cold towel, if you need it."

"I am a bad husband, Herr Justice." Apollo blinked, surprised. He waited to see if the rock star would elaborate, but he said nothing.

"Mr. Gavin, you're not-"

"Nein, Herr Justice, I am. You don't don't know what I did to her..."

"Mr. Gavin..." Apollo started, but Klavier stopped him before he could finish.

"I don't want to hear any 'that's not true', or 'you're being to hard on yourself'. You don't know. I...almost..." He took a deep, shuddering breath. "I threw a vase Herr Justice, in anger. And she was terrified. Her face was so pale, and her eyes so full of fear. Fear of me. What kind of man does that to the person he loves?"

Klavier sat up as he removed his hands from his eyes. Puffy red eyes and glistening cheeks confirmed Apollo's suspicions that he had been crying.

"Mr. Gavin, I still don't think that makes you bad husband."

There was a long silence between the two. Klavier sat with his hands in his lap, his head down to stare at them. Apollo merely looked around the room, seemingly interested in the sparse amount of furniture.

"I threw a vase..." Klavier said slowly. "It didn't hit her, could have. I could have...have hit Ema." He ran a hand through his hair, then looked at Apollo. His eyes looked moist, as if fresh tears were ready to spring from them again.

Apollo didn't know what to say. He really wasn't good with these kind of situations; not that he often encountered them.

"I really don't know what to say," Apollo admitted honestly. "Or if I have any right to really say anything. But Mr. Gavin...I really don't believe your a bad husband. I know you love your wife very much, and that you would do anything to protect her and keep her out of harm's way." Apollo paused. "I mean, sure you've made a mistake-well, a few mistakes,- but love isn't perfect. You're not a bad husband, just one that's a little rough around the edges. There's no way on this earth you would've hurt Ema, so you have to stop telling yourself that. "

Klavier stared at him. "How can you assume all this about somebody you've only known for a few hours?"

"I've been known to be very...intuitive." Out of habit, Apollo began to rub the thick, gold bracelet he had around his wrist. When he realized what he was doing, he stopped and shrugged. "I guess I'm just very good at reading people. I can read you very well, Mr. Gavin. You're head over heels for you wife, and I believe that you two can get past this."

Unexpectedly, Klavier began to laugh. "You are a very interesting man, Herr Justice." He inhaled deeply, calming himself down. "Thank you." He said softly. Apollo nodded, fidgeting nervously at his bracelet again.

Klavier sighed, then lay back down on his back. "Also, thanks for paying for the room. I really appreciate that." Apollo nodded again. For a moment, he wondered if Klavier would remember any of this in the morning.

"Well, I guess I should get going." Apollo announced as he rose from the bed and headed to the door. Just as his hand touched the doorknob, Klavier spoke up.

"Hey, Herr Justice. You remember, right? This is just between you, me and Herr Wright, ja? You will not say anything to Ema?"

"Yeah, of course. When the time comes for you to tell her, you can explain everything to her. It's not really my place to say anything, anyway. "

Klavier smiled; the first real smile he'd had since having the fight with Ema. "Thank you."

"Sleep tight, Mr. Gavin." Apollo said as he opened the door. If Klavier replied, he didn't hear it. He'd already stepped outside into the now pouring rain.

When Apollo got to his car, he didn't start it right away. He wanted to think. Think about all this, that is. Once again, he found himself wondering why he had gotten himself into such a personal situation. Klavier was right, after all. They had only known each other for a few hours, and Apollo hadn't even met Ema yet! This was none of his business, but here he was, sticking his nose into it. And why? For a lying, sketchy, ex-attorney that he couldn't even trust? That he also really didn't know? He felt like a puppet, be being pulled by invisible strings against his will. Yet cheering Gavin up somewhat seemed to make up for all that incessant tugging.

He shook his head, futilely trying to clear it, and started the car. The engine revved to life, and he drove out of the parking lot onto the slippery streets. During the entire ride to his apartment, he couldn't stop thinking about the little card crumpled into his pocket. The official business card of the Wright Anything Agency. He sighed, and tried not to think about his impending visit he would have to give to Mr. Wright.

"Well, at least tomorrow should be interesting." He muttered, and prayed that the rain would at least let up by then.

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