That Freelance Kid

Chapter 8

The first thing Apollo noticed that the lights dim, pink, and irritating.

Apollo averted his eyes from anything he saw, however that wasn't always the easiest. The waitresses, also scantily clad, would sometimes call out to him, encouraging him to "enjoy the show." He never glanced at the women against the poles, but just catching a look at one of those waitresses was already more that he could bear.

He felt like he would never find Klavier in the pink, stuffy club. He turned around to leave, but his escape was cut short as he bumped into a tall woman blocking his path.

"You look a little lost, big boy. You never been to a strip club before?" The woman teased. She was an older woman, but her body certainly hadn't betrayed her age, so much as the maturity in her voice.

"Uh, no, I'm just..." Apollo paused. "I'm looking for someone."

"Oh, so you're looking for a specific girl, is that it? What's her name? I can see if she comes on soon."

"No, no, no. It's not a girl. I'm looking for a man." The woman raised an eyebrow. "I mean, not like that, uh..." Apollo nervously rubbed the bracelet on his wrist. "I guess he's a customer..."

"Well, hun, why don't you give me his name? Maybe I'll recognize the name."

"His name is Klavier Gavin."

The woman hesitated, pursing her lips. She looked at him for a little while, then flicked some of her light brown hair away from her eyes.

"He doesn't want to be bothered." Her voice suddenly became pure ice, a stark contrast to the inviting tone from before.

"Please, I just need to see him for a minute-"

"He's already with someone."

The image of that pink-haired girl flickered in his mind.

"Just for a second. I won't take long at al-"

"I said that he doesn't want to be bothered! Now either pull up a seat and enjoy the girls, or I'll get the bouncer to kick you outta here. Mr. Gavin doesn't need any type of reporters looking into his business."

Apollo's eyes widened. "Reporter? No, I'm not a reporter."

She arched an eyebrow. "Oh? Then what's the relationship between you and Mr. Gavin?"

"We're...acquaintances." Apollo again rubbed nervously at his wrist. "We're both friends of the same guy. You see, our friend got into an, uh, accident, and I wanted to tell Klavier about it."

"What's this friend's name?"

"His name is Nick. Really, miss, it's important. He's not in great shape right now, and I think Klavier has the right to know about the situation."

She coolly stared down at his face, as if whether the answer to whether he was lying or not would suddenly appear on his forehead.

"Follow me." She barked, the iciness in her voice refusing to melt.

Apollo trailed behind her as she took him farther into the back, away from the stage.

When they nearly reached the back, she stopped at a table booth shrouded in even dimmer lighting. Sitting at the table was none other than Klavier Gavin, with three other guests.

Klavier had been talking to a very stocky man with purple hair when they arrived. The man's suit was pink, and a jewel glittered on ever finger. Sitting next to the purple-haired man was the sleepy girl Apollo had saw outside. And next to Klavier was, unsurprisingly, the pink-haired woman, fixed on his arm.

Klavier looked at Apollo, irritation plain on his face. "Starr," he began, looking at Apollo's escort, "who is this?"

"Says he's an acquaintance of yours. He wants to talk about a friend of yours named Nick."

Klavier looked from her to Apollo, and decided to settle a glare on the latter. "Nick?"

Starr's glare, in combination with Klavier's, started to make Apollo increasingly nervous. He licked his lips, trying to think of a fast response. He noticed the purple-haired man was glaring at him now, as well. And his was the hardest of them all.

"You know, Nick. The one that owns that private agency. An 'anything agency'?"

Suddenly realization dawned on Klavier's face, and his expression softened. "Ah, that Nick, ja? Has he gotten himself into some trouble?"

"Um...I think we should talk about it...in private." Apollo said slowly, trying his hardest not to look in the direction of the bejeweled man sitting next to him.

"Well, you heard him Cammy." Starr said, looking at the sleepy girl. "Private. That means you better get back to work."

Cammy yawned, then rubbed her eyes. She scooted her way out of the booth, but she took her time about it. She gave a last wink at Klavier before she scurried away. Apollo noticed he paid her no mind.

"I'm sorry, Mr. White," Klavier apologized to the man next to him, "it it seems are meeting will have to be cute a bit short. But your information has been very useful to me. Danke."

"Oh, it was my pleasure, I assure you. Why, helping people is but a part of my wonderfeorus job, wouldn't you agree?" Mr. White smiled. "I'm sure you've bought this session's payment."

"Ja, ja, of course." Klavier responded, reaching into his pocket. He grabbed his wallet, and then pulled out one thousand dollars, all in one hundred dollar bills. Apollo couldn't help the widening of his eyes. Luckily, they appeared not to be focusing on him for the moment.

Mr. White plucked the money from the rock star's hand. "Ah, most kind of you, my splendicious friend. You're not like most of my customers, always late on their payment. Well, I suppose it just means less trouble for you!" Mr. White laughed while rising from his seat, and Klavier gave a nervous smiled in return. Mr. White stretched, then looked at the pink haired woman. "Come on, April. You are well aware we have other matters to attend to." He finished scooting out of the booth. He didn't even look Apollo's way, yet somehow he felt like he was assessing him.

"Aw, is it time to go already?" April whined, staring longingly at Klavier. "I didn't even get to spend that much time with Klavy..." She said, rubbing a hand over Klavier's chest. He looked at April, no emotion on his face at all. Then he smiled thinly, and removed her hand gently. "Do not worry Fraulein, I'm sure will see each other again soon."

April giggled, winked at Klavier, then scooted out of the booth. "Remember, that's a promise, baby." She said.

"Call me about our next meeting, Mr. Gavin, so I won't run out of appointment times. I'm sure you're already aware that I'm a very busy man. And with that, Mr. Gavin, I bid you adieu." Mr. White turned around, heading towards the exit, with April trailing right behind him.

Apollo waited until he saw Mr. White exit the building before scooting into the booth. He sat across from Klavier, watching him. Klavier's hands were folded together, and he was staring at them blankly. He seemed to have forgotten Apollo entirely.

"Mr. Gavin?" Apollo started carefully. "I wanted to talk to you about Mr. Wright."

"Hm?" Klavier said, looking up. "Oh, ja. Herr White...ah, I mean, Wright. Is he okay? He's not in any trouble, right?" He asked distantly

"He's fine. It's just that, he wanted me to ask you for a favor."

Klavier didn't respond, but instead was looking at a half-empty glass of whatever he had been drinking before Apollo arrived. Apollo waited, but became more worried when he didn't get a response from the rock star.

"Mr. Gavin? Are you all right?" Apollo asked.

Klavier blinked a few times, then looked over at Apollo. "I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said just now, Herr...?"

"Justice. Apollo Justice."

"I'm sorry, Herr Justice. I'm fine. Now, what was it you had said?"

"I was just saying that Mr. Wright needed a favor from you."

"What kind of favor?"

"He needs some information."

"Information? What kind of information could Herr Wright want from me?"

Apollo hesitated, not really wanting to go on. He already had a feeling this wasn't going to go as smoothly as Mr. Wright thought it would.

"He, um...he needs some info on you and Ema. He wants to know what happened between you two..." Apollo trailed off.

At first, he thought Klavier hadn't heard him, or at least didn't care. But then he narrowed his eyes at Apollo, and leaned forward.

"That is none of your business." He whispered menacingly.

"Please, Mr. Gavin. I-"

"You are just another verdammt reporter, aren't you? I told you people, you are not getting anything from me! Nothing!" Klavier hissed. Anger burned beneath his eyes, and Apollo scooted away.

"No, I swear, Mr. Gavin!" Apollo exclaimed. "This isn't going to be in the newspaper, or any magazine, or anything! This really is just for Mr. Wright!"

Klavier drummed his fingers on the table, and looked at Apollo fiercely. "I don't believe you." He said simply.

"Look, maybe we should talk about this somewhere else? Like, somewhere private?"

"Here's a better idea. How about you leave, before I call a bouncer to kick you out?

Apollo actually considered walking away, and leaving this whole thing behind him. He'd never wanted to get roped into this risky business anyway, so what was he still lingering for? The man had just given him an exit to this whole fiasco, and here he was, still trying to hang onto something that had nothing to do with anyway.

"I'm just as nosy as Mr. Wright, aren't I...? That's why I'm still sitting here." Then, very quickly, a thought flickered into Apollo's mind, and he caught it before it passed.

"I have proof! I'll show you that I'm not a reporter!"

Klavier arched an eyebrow. "What are you talking about, Herr Justice?"

"I'll be right back, Mr. Gavin." Apollo said hurriedly, sliding out of the booth. Klavier didn't reply, but merely watched him head toward the exit.

Once Apollo was outside, he realized how hot he had been while inside the building. He stood for a minute, letting the cool air dry away his nervous sweat. Once he was done resting, he jogged over to his car.

"I hope I left it in here." He muttered as he opened the driver's side door. And he saw, on the passenger seat, the crumpled up card Mr. Wright had given him a few days ago. He smoothed out the card, and looked at it proudly. Even though it was still wrinkled, the words were clearly legible.

Apollo re-locked his car and headed back inside.

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