Chapter 11: Envy and Greed Started it...
Envy and greed started it…
Dick needed to know if Bruce had regained his memories. So, he questioned, “Bruce, did you remember?”
“Yes, I remember everything,” Bruce answered as he opened his eyes to look at Dick.
Dick felt the tension in his body fade and grinned. “That’s a relief. Although, I liked the man I met yesterday too. Could you perhaps find a way to combine the two? At least at home?”
Bruce gave Dick a smile as he rolled onto his back. He pulled Dick down onto the bed on top of him and hugged him tightly. Then, Bruce murmured, “I think that could be arranged.”
Dick hummed, breathing deeply of the expensive soap and cologne that Bruce favored. “What about Andrea?”
“I like her, and I want her to stick around,” Bruce murmured almost in Dick’s ear. “Do you like her? I want you to like her too.”
“I do,” Dick agreed. “I think she’s so much better than any of the other women you’ve brought around. All they cared about was you and your money, never me. I think that Andrea could actually care about me too.”
“I agree,” Bruce murmured.
Andrea took a deep breath, causing both males to look her way. Stretching, she yawned and mumbled, “Bruce?”
“Are you feeling better this morning? Is the headache gone?” Andrea asked as her eyes fluttered open, and she turned her head to look at him. Her eyes caught sight of Dick laying on top of Bruce then and she exclaimed, “Oh! Richard, I wasn’t expecting you.”
Dick laughed and teased, “Well, I wasn’t expecting to find Bruce here when I went looking for him this morning either, but here he is. Now, what is this about a headache?”
“My memories came back last night, painfully,” Bruce admitted. “For a moment I felt like I was dying, and I knew it wasn’t normal, so I came here.”
“And what exactly was Andrea supposed to do about it? Is she a doctor?” Dick asked.
“No, but she helped all the same. So, it’s all good,” Bruce informed him. “Don’t you have school this morning?”
Dick sighed and dropped his head onto Bruce’s chest, closing his eyes. In a whisper, he asked, “Can’t I just stay here snuggled up with the two of you today? I missed you when you were missing.”
Bruce smiled as he ran his fingers through the youth’s hair. Since he’d turned fifteen, Dick rarely showed his soft side. He no longer wanted to crawl into Bruce’s bed and let Bruce read to him or tell him about his day. Bruce was finding he really missed those times of bonding. He sighed regretfully and replied, “I’m sorry, Dick, but no. Andrea and I both have work and you have school. I tell you what though, I’ll make sure I come home early, and we’ll do something fun.”
Dick raised his head, narrowing his eyes as he asked, “Fun? Do you even know what that is anymore, ol’ man?”
Bruce laughed and tugged at Dick’s hair. “No, but I’m sure you’ll help me figure it out as long as we don’t…”
Dick slumped back down again and huffed as he muttered, “As long as we don’t get a call. Sometimes I really hate having two lives.”
Bruce gave the youth another squeeze, saying, “You know what? Me too, but it is the life we made for ourselves and now we have to live it.”
“Yeah,” Dick agreed. He awkwardly got up and headed for the door, saying, “Alfred has breakfast ready. If you hurry, you might have time to eat it before time to leave.” He started out the door but paused and turned back to look at Bruce. “I know I don’t say this a lot, but when you disappeared it scared me, Bruce. So, I want you to know that I love you.”
Bruce felt his heart contract with his love for the youth. He knew he didn’t tell Dick often enough that he loved him either. Maybe that was something that should change too because the boy had become his world. So, he said, “Love you too, kid.”
Dick gave him one more grin. Then he left the room, closing the door gently behind him.
“He really is a sweet boy,” Andrea said.
Bruce turned his head to look at her as he said, “He is. His parents raised him well and Alfred keeps both Dick and me balanced.”
Andrea leaned up on her forearm and ran her fingers through Bruce’s hair as she softly hummed. “Did you get your answers with your cryptic questions to Richard?”
“I did. He is definitely Robin,” Bruce answered.
“Do you remember what happened to you?” Andrea softly asked.
“Do you feel like talking about it?” Andrea inquired.
Bruce took a deep breath and began, “I had been to a party, there is always a party going on and everyone wants Bruce Wayne there. Anyway, Dick had made plans with one of his few friends he hangs out with, so I went alone. I became bored early on, so I left, but I was feeling strange, almost lethargic. When I got to my car, I realized something was suspiciously wrong because my hands had begun to shake, and my vision was blurry. I decided it was best if I didn’t drive, so I had turned around to go back to the party. I knew better than to stand outside alone where anyone could see me.”
“But you’re Batman. You are more than capable of defending yourself,” Andrea said with a confused look.
“Yes, Batman can defend himself,” Bruce agreed. “Bruce Wayne, however, is nothing but a rich playboy who couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag.”
“Oh! So, you have to pretend to be…?”
“Nothing but a self-absorbed rich boy. Andrea, nobody can put two and two together and get Batman,” Bruce said, and Andrea nodded. “So, when I heard footsteps, I ignored them, that was a mistake. They hit me from behind and because I was already feeling strange and weak, I couldn’t seem to get my feet under me.
“I remember hearing laughter and them saying how stupid the rich ones were. I also remember thinking that I wasn’t going to be the only rich guy attacked that night. It turns out I was right because I did my research about that night. There were three more rich men and two women at the party who were attacked, all their valuables stolen. The difference was, they were all attacked at the party, in the bathrooms.
“While I was down though, they kicked me a few times in the ribs. When I tried to get up, one of them kicked my wrist, that’s how it was hurt. When I went down, I hit my head, which knocked me out.”
“And when you came too?”
“I was in the alley, then you came,” Bruce finished. He gave her a chaste kiss on the lips before thinking how bad his morning breath probably was and began to get up. He didn’t want to talk about it anymore anyway. “We should get some breakfast, maybe it will help us get through our workday.”
“Yeah, we should do that,” Andrea agreed.
Bruce walked back to his room to get his day started.
It had been six weeks since Andrea found Bruce in the alleyway. Six weeks of getting to know the billionaire and getting to know the man who wore a mask, Batman.
It had mostly been a crazy busy six weeks because after being AWOL for a few days, Bruce had a pile of work to make up for on the business front. It also seemed as if all the villains in Gotham thought Batman needed a welcome back party after being gone.
Even with all that though, Andrea and Bruce somehow made time for just them. Well, them and Richard because he was important to Bruce which made him important to Andrea too.
Since Bruce was so well known, it was hard to get away from the paparazzi, so they tended to do things that didn’t put them in the spotlight. They had picnics in the garden behind the house and took moonlight rides on his motorcycle to unpopulated places where they could star gaze.
Her parents were still on her about coming home. Since finding out she was seeing someone though, they had begun making noises about coming for a visit. She wasn’t sure what they wanted exactly. Did they want to meet the man she would tell them very little about or was it was just another ploy on their part to force her into coming home? Another reason she was uneasy about them coming to visit was that she had practically moved in with Bruce, something else they didn’t know about.
Her plan had been to go back to her apartment when Bruce’s memory returned. Instead, he’d asked her to stay and because she was falling in love with him, she hadn’t been able to say no. So, for now, her apartment was standing empty, a six-month lease paid on it until she knew what was going to happen with her and Bruce.
“So, how are things with you and Mister Hunk-a-licious?”
Andrea pulled herself from her thoughts at the sound of Jeanette’s voice and turned from where she’d been staring mindlessly out the window.
Jeannette stood behind the chairs in Andrea’s side of the office with a brow raised. “Well?”
“They’re going really well,” Andrea said. “He’s taking me out to a fund-raiser tonight. It will be our first date out in the public eye.”
“Ooh! That sounds fun,” Jeannette said. “I still can’t believe my friend turned the head of Bruce Wayne, who is every woman’s wet dream.”
Andrea laughed and agreed, “Me either. He did tell me that most of the women he’s been seen with have been platonic relationships only.”
“Well, it’s good to know he hasn’t slept with all of them, right?”
“Right,” Andrea agreed.
Jeannette said as she tapped her chin. “Now if I could just capture Batman, we’d both have our dream men.”
Andrea had to work hard to keep a straight face since she knew Bruce and Batman were one and the same. So, she just, in a noncommittal way, said, “Mm-hm…”
“I should get going. Brad’s taking me out to that new movie tonight and I need to doll myself up,” Jeannette said as she ran her fingers through her hair. “I can’t wait on Batman forever since I’m not getting any younger, but should he show up tonight, I’ll drop Brad like a hot potato.”
Andrea snickered and said, “Good luck, Jeanette.”
Jeannette giggled and left.