That Freelance Kid

Chapter 7

Tuesday night.

That was the night Apollo chose. Mr. Nick- no, Mr. Wright had told him Klavier would be out every night of the week, and Tuesday happened to be the best. Vera had gone to visit her dad, and would be gone for the rest of the night, which was good for him; he didn't want Vera to find out about this. He had even lied about their meeting. He told her some half-hearted fib that the man was interested in being his editor and that he'd think about it. Apollo usually didn't lie to Vera, or keep secrets from her, but in this situation, he really felt as if he had no choice.

He didn't even have to get out of his car to feel out of place. Despite what Mr. Wright had said, he decided to check the area around the " nicer" clubs first. He didn't dare get out of his car to check, though. People were already staring at old, slightly worn car, wondering why such a dingy car would have the nerve to tread on such high-class streets. Apollo ignored the stares, and focused his attention on looking for the German rock-star. He gave about twenty minutes of his time before deciding to ditch the high class area. He ventured to some of the more seedy clubs, only to find no sigh of Mr. Gavin.

"He's really not here..."Apollo thought dejectdly. "Did he go all the way to the red light district or something?" He murmured out loud in exasperation. Even though that was the last area he'd ever want to be in, he decided he might as well give it a look.

The mood in red-light area was certainly different from before. It wasn't so flashy here, and you could tell by the way some people dressed that they offered some...not so legal wares. The buildings too offered services that you won't exactly find in the places of the prim and proper. So many signs offered XXX this, or XXX that, making Apollo regret his decision to drive down here even more. He knew Mr. Wright had told him Klavier was starting to get wrapped up into some shady stuff lately, but he had no clue it'd could have been like this. He drove slowly, for any sign of Klavier. Suddenly his cell phone rang, breaking his concentration. He pulled it out of his pocket, and looked at the screen. It was Vera.

"Hello?" Apollo answered, still scanning the area for Klavier.

"Hi, Apollo. How are you doing?"

"I'm fine. How are you and Drew?"

"I'm doing okay...but it turns out dad has the flu."

Apollo frowned despite knowing she couldn't see it. "That's not good."

"Not at all. I'm going to stay over tonight to make sure he's okay. Plus, I don't feel like going out again anyway..."

Apollo nodded, then realized again that he did something that she couldn't see. "Make sure to make him lots of soup, with an extra tablespoon of love. I hear that's the best way to do it."

Vera giggled over the line. "I'll add another tablespoon with your love in it too."

"I don't think he'd eat it, then..."

"What do you mean? You know daddy loves you!"

"I don't think he loves me that much. You know he can't stand the fact that you even live with me now. If you don't leave by morning, I might never see you again."

" I may not be home till late afternoon tommorow, actually. " She confessed. "Think you can manage by yourself?" Apollo could imagine her smile.

"Yeah, I'll be-there! Apollo yelled suddenly. He almost slammed on the breaks, right in the middle of the street.

There he was, Klavier Gavin, casually walking down the street, bathed in the red lights coming from the buildings. With him was a pink-haired girl who clung to his arm. Apollo began to feel a little anxious. The last thing he wanted was to get caught in the middle of an infedilty scandal.

Vera spoke up again. "Apollo, what happened? Who's where?" Worry coated her voice.

"Nothing, hun, I was just..." his voice trailed off as he focused his sights on following Klavier.

"Apollo?" Came a worried voice from the other line. "Apollo, what's wrong?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing I swear. I was, uhm...looking through an old picture book when you called. Yeah, I couldn't find this red-and-white striped guy, it was really frustrating.

"Well," Vera said after a short pause, "it's just a picture book. Don't stress yourself out over it. And don't stress me out over it either." He could hear some amusement in her voice.

"Im sorry."

"Well, I'm going to go check up on daddy now. I'll talk to you later."

"Tell him I said get well soon."

"Sure thing, Bye."

"Bye." With that, Apollo hung up.

He had finally found a good parking place, but he had already lost track of Klavier. Apollo put his phone back into his pocket and headed out onto the street, hoping he could find him. A part of Apollo wanted to make sure he didn't find Klavier, just so he could go back home and be done with this whole nasty business. But he knew that even if he didn't find him tonight, he'd search again tomorrow.

"Where is he...where'd he go?" Apollo muttered to himself as he looked along the street. So far, he hadn't seen Klavier since that surprising moment in the car. "Don't tell me I lost him already...is he really in that much of a hurry?" Apollo thought wearily. Afer looking for a while, he decided to reast, and leanded against the wall of a red-bricked building. He closed his eyes, giving them a rest from the neon signs battering at his eyes, and ignored the grimy feeling of the wall against his back.

What in the world was he thinking, following Klavier Gavin like some sort of lost fan. This whole situatuon was ridiculous. "And why am I even doing this? For that stupid, lying ex-attorney?" He thought out loud. He wanted to storm right into the "Wright Anything Agency" and give Mr. Wright a piece of his mind.

Apollo was pulled away from his angry thoughts when a woman leaned next to him on the wall. Apollo glanced at her, wondering why she couldn't have picked a spot away from him to lean. She was bit older than him, with light brown hair and a drowsy look about her. She yawned, adjusted her skirt, and took out her cell phone from her purse.

Apollo looked away from her when she started dialing. The more he looked at the sketchy looking crowd and equeally sketchy buildings about hik, the more anxious he felt. He really should go home, even if Gavin was here. "If I stick around to long, I'll probably get mugged...or worse."

"Hello?"

Apollo turned towards the sleepy looking woman, thinking she was addressing him, until he remembered she was on the phone. He turned back quickly, hoping she hadn't noticed the slip up.

"Hey, April. It's Cammy. Are you here yet?"

Apollo noticed she sounded almost as drowsy as she looked.

"Oh, you are? That's cool. Hey, did you bring that Klavier guy with you?"

Apollo tensed.

"You did? That's great! What? I don't care if he's married...That was with you...maybe I'll be able to change his mind. He's what right now? Talking? Oh you mean with him...okay, I'll be right there. See ya." She finished, hanging up the phone. Then she yawned, stretched, and walked inside the very building on whose wall they were leaning on.

Apollo stared after her, almost in disbelief. He shook his head to clear it, then looked up at the sign for the building. An scantily cland neon girl dance around a pole, and next to her were the words "Pink Viper."

"A strip club...? Real classy, Klavier Gavin." Apollo sighed. He knew how terrible he'd feel when he went inside, and he probably wouldn't be able to look at Vera for at least a week without feeling guilty.

"Well," Apollo sighed. "Here goes nothing."

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