That Freelance Kid

Chapter 6

Before Nick could get a word in, Maggey came bustling out of the kitchen, their meals in tow. She came to their table, ready to give the two men their lunch, but hesitated, feeling the tension between the two.

"Everything all right, guys?" She asked cautiously.

Phoenix looked towards her, his features softening instantly. His blue eyes, which had been so steely a moment before, were now warm and friendly. "Everything's fine, Maggey." Nick said, as he flashed her a reassuring smile.

Maggey didn't look very reassured, but she gave a small smile anyway. "Good. I didn't want to escort you two outta here." She said as she finally put their food down on the table.

"No need to worry about that. I'll make sure Justice here won't lose control of himself."

Apollo was ready to interject, until Maggey began to giggle. "You know, it's not Mr. Justice I'm worried about."

"Really?" Nick said absently, already off in his own little world.

Maggey sighed, and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Mr. Justice. He's a bit odd...in his own charming way, I guess." She left the two to their lunch, while hurrying off to help another customer who had just entered.

After Maggey had left, Nick picked up his burger and began to eat. Apollo waited a moment, waiting to see if he would say something about the job. Once Nick had taken a third bite of his burger without saying a word, Apollo realized he didn't plan to talk at all. He sighed, and picked up his own burger.

The meal was eaten in complete silence, neither of the men saying a word. Apollo glanced at Nick at few times, and saw that his eyes still had the distant far away look. Apollo couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking about. He had only met the man today, but he was already certain the he was full of mysteries. For some reason, even though his genre was romance, he almost wanted to write a book about the mystery this one man was emanating. "Well, actually, his personality isn't too bad for a character in a novel. Let's see, a really mysterious guy, maybe with a dark and troubled past, an assassin maybe? Realizes the girl he has to kill is an old lover. They fall back in love, but then, she has a secret of her own, and it's-"

"Justice."

The mention of his name pulled him out of his thoughts, and he noticed that Nick had finished eating. Apollo had actually spaced out so much he had forgotten he had finished as well, save a few fries.

"What is it?" Apollo replied

"You done eating?"

Apollo cleared his throat nervously and nodded.

"All right then, about this job...it's a big one. And I think you'll be able to handle it. But, if you don't want to go through with it, it's time to let me know now."

Apollo was ready to tell him that he never even wanted to meet with him in the first place, but changed his mind. Suddenly, he was very interested in seeing what exactly Nick believed that he could do.

"I'm in." Apollo thought he saw a faint smile on Nick's face, but he couldn't be sure.

"Well, let's start with the background, first of all. A few nights ago, as you may have heard on the news, in the newspaper, gossip magazines, whatever, that a certain celebrity couple are having some trouble right now."

"You mean the Gavins?" Apollo asked.

"Yup. Almost everybody is saying that they're already verging on divorce. Ema's left their house, and hasn't gone back. Klavier is, according to the media, 'an absolute mess.' Every picture they've gotten of him so far is either when he was drunk, with a certain floozy on his arm, and sometimes both. At least once he's walked out of a club with a man, but I personally think it was completely platonic between them. But you know the media hyped it up into something more."

Apollo nodded, showing that he was still following along. "I have a feeling that this job has something to do with Klavier."

"How intuitive." Nick said with a smile. "And that's right; it does has something to do with Klavier. You see, Ema's staying at my place-"

"Wait, what? Why is she staying at your house, of all places? What about that famous prosecuting sister of hers? Why isn't she with her?"

Nick shrugged. "Her sister is a very busy woman. Besides, Ema and I have been friends for a long time. Ema is staying with me, and she told me everything about the fight. Apparently, Ema thinks Klavier is having an affair, which is unsurprising. He denies it, but she claims the way he was acting says otherwise. Oh, and I heard he got a little violent. He didn't hit her, or anything, but he lost control and threw a vase. It really shook her up, and that's why she left."

Apollo pursed his lips, deep in thought. When Apollo didn't respond, Nick continued.

"I've only heard one side of the story, and that's from Ema. And though I believe Ema's telling the truth, I really want to hear Klavier's side of the story."

"Why?"

"Because, it seems like something's...missing from Ema's story. Not that I think she's lying, like I just said, I'm sure she's telling the truth, but that there's another piece of the story I need to hear. And that's where you come in."

"You want me to talk to Klavier, and get his side of the story?"

"Bingo."

"There's just one problem though, Mr. Nick." Apollo sighed. "How am I even supposed to get near Klavier Gavin? I don't exactly have a 'celebrity status' you know."

Nick was quiet for a moment, obviously contemplating. "I don't think you need one. Klavier's been hanging out in alot of clubs. That's what the gossip magazine are saying, anyway. You could probably just walk into a random club and spot him there. No VIP or anything. Plus, he's not hard to miss." Nick paused for a minute, before continuing. "So you could just cruise around a bit, and see if you spot him. He'll most likely be out every night, so you could go check whenever you want." He stopped, waiting for Apollo's input.

"All right, but that still leaves another problem. I can't just go up to him and say: 'Hey, Mr. Gavin, I heard you and your wife are fighting. Can I get your side of the story on that?' What am I supposed to do?"

"Mmm...tell him that you work for a magazine, or a newspaper, or something."

"Are you serious? Mr. Nick, if I tell him that, he'll avoid me like the plague. There has to be something else I can tell him."

"Tell him you work for me, then."

"Huh? How does he know you?"

"I met Klavier when he was younger, and sort of knew his brother." Phoenix explained. "So tell him Ema's not spilling, and I want to know what happened."

Apollo stayed quiet, staring at his cup of soda, and letting let Nick's whole plan sink in for a moment. "Is this really going to work...? Can I actually do this?"

"Mr Nick, I just have one more question. Why me? Why did you pick me to do this?"

Nick's stared intensely at him, and this time Apollo returned it. He needed to know. This man had dragged him into someone else's problems...and he needed to know why. He was just a writer, and a small-time one at that. What could he possibly do to help the Gavins?

"You may not see it now..." Nick started, his gaze never wavering from Apollo's face, "but in the end, this'll benefit both you and the Gavins."

"It seems to me like your just being nosy, and that you're too lazy to go dig up information by yourself."

Nick smiled. "Is that so?"

"You boys done here?"

Both Apollo and Nick turned to see Maggey. When Nick affirmed that they were through, Maggey startled to clear the table. "Oh, by the way, the lunch is on the house.

"Thanks, Maggey. I appreciate it."

"Sure thing. Just promise to bring Trucy along with you next time."

"Will do."

When Maggey had waddled back to the kitchen, Nick stood up from his seat and stretched. "Well, guess this is the end of our meeting."

"Are you sure this is going to work?" Apollo asked, as he stood up himself. "This all seems kind of sketchy. I mean, what if Klavier files a harassment report? I don't want to-" He was cut off suddenly when Nick placed his hands on his shoulders, and bored straight into his eyes.

"Will it help if I tell you I believe in you, Justice?"

Apollo was speechless, but Nick took his silence for a yes.

"Here," He said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a card. "This is where I'm usually at. When you get your info, come see me." He walked past him and headed to the door. "See you later" He called out before heading out the door.

As Nick left, Apollo looked down at the card he had given him a few seconds ago. His eyes widened as he saw the title of the card.

Wright's Anything Agency.

Apollo rushed outside, ready to give 'Mr. Nick' an earful, only to find he had already vanished from the street, and could find no sign of Wright's bright blue beanie across the street either. Apollo tsked in frustration.

"Yeah," Apollo thought bitterly. "I'll be seeing you again real soon, Mr. Forging Attorney. Scam Artist."

Apollo crumpled the card, ready to throw it away...but instead stuffed it into his pocket and headed home.

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