Guilty of Innocence

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Chapter 10-Cat and Mouse

“Wake up, Nicky,” Chad called, standing next to the bed, dressed and ready to go as he shook her shoulder. “You wanna come with me, don’t you? Jared’s up and ready. Let’s go!”

She gave a groan from under the covers before he stood tall with a sigh.

“Probably better if you don’t go with me anyway,” he muttered. “You’d only freak out if we ran into him.”

He smirked and leaned toward her to pull the covers back just enough to find her cheek and pressed a kiss to it, lingering a bit before stepping away. He shut the bedroom door quietly and marched toward the elevator, passing Jared and grabbing his skateboard on the way.

“Isn’t Nicky coming?” Jared frowned, hurrying after him as he stepped into the elevator.

“Not this time,” Chad replied as the doors shut and he leaned over to press the button to head to the lobby.

“You know she’s gonna be mad, right?” Jared guessed and Chad only nodded. “Where’re we goin’?”

“Japanese Gardens,” Chad replied. “Hope you got cab fare.”

“Always,” Jared smirked as the elevator stopped and the doors opened to let them step out and into the lobby.

Chad stopped halfway through the lobby and turned on his heel to step back to the clerk, checking his watch for the time.

8:00am

“How can I help you, Mr. Stiles?” the man grinned as Chad approached and leaned on the desk.

“I’d like some breakfast sent up to my room for the young lady there,” Chad replied, reaching into his pocket for his wallet. “Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and a huge glass of milk.”

“Of course, Sir,” the clerk nodded, writing on a pad of paper quickly before looking up at Chad. “Anything else?”

“That’s it,” Chad nodded, pulling out a five dollar bill from his wallet and handing it to him. “Make sure the runner gets that, ok?”

“I will, Sir,” the clerk nodded, taking the bill. “Any message for the young lady?”

Chad thought for a moment before nodding, “Tell her I’ll make it up to her when I get back. She’ll know what I mean.”

The clerk nodded as Chad turned to head to the door where Jared was waiting outside, trying to flag down a cab.

“What took you?” he asked, not looking from the street.

“Couldn’t leave Nicky without breakfast,” Chad shrugged before stepping ahead of Jared and stuck two of hi fingers in his mouth. Spying an approaching cab he whistled loudly before waving it down and it crept to a stop in front of them so they could climb in, telling the driver, “Japanese Gardens, please.”

The cab pulled into the streets of Seattle as Jared pulled his laptop from his messenger bag to set it on his lap to work on it.

“I had the signal pinpointed to a specific spot,” he explained as Chad looked to the screen. “I’m putting it on my phone so we can find it easily.”

“He might not be there, but it’s worth a shot,” Chad thought aloud. “If he is there, let me do the talking, got it?”

“No arguments here,” Jared chuckled, examining his phone.

“Great,” Chad nodded, looking at the overcast sky. “Looks like it’s gonna rain on us.”


Rodeway Inn...

Nicky gasped, sitting straight up when there was a knock on the bedroom door.

“Room service,” someone called, making Nicky frown tiredly and rub her eyes as she slid from the bed to head to the door. She peeked out of the crack and the man smiled as she cautiously stepped out of the room. “Hello, Miss. Mr. Stiles ordered breakfast for you before he left. He said he’ll make it up to you when he returns.”

Nicky nodded in understanding as he presented the tray he’d rolled into the room, telling her what was being served, making her grin.

“Thanks,” she nodded and started back toward the bedroom. “Let me get you a tip.”

“Mr. Stiles took care of that, Miss,” he explained, stopping her as he headed back to the elevator. “Enjoy your breakfast.”

Nicky looked to the food before looking to the alarm clock next to the bed she’d just been in.

8:30am

She hurried to her bag to pull out her cell phone to call Chad as she stepped back to the tray to start at the food, hearing the ringback tone in her ear. The voicemail sounded, making her suck her teeth when she realized he was ignoring her. Popping a sliced strawberry into her mouth as she hung up, she headed toward the room phone to dial the desk.

Front desk,” the clerk greeted on the other end of the line.

“Hi, I’m staying in the penthouse with Mr. Stiles,” she began, playing with the cord as she spoke. “I was wondering if he happened to mention where he was going when he ordered breakfast.”

I’m sorry, Miss, but he didn’t,” the clerk replied.

“Oh,” she muttered then asked, “Did he say when he’d be back?”

No, he didn’t mention that either,” he answered again. “I wish I could be more helpful.”

“Oh, no, it’s alright,” Nicky smiled.

Was there anything else you needed?

“No, thank you. The breakfast is great. Thanks.”

You’re welcome. If there’s anything else I can do, don’t hesitate to call.”

“Thanks.”

Nicky hung up and sighed, looking at her breakfast again and shrugging, “Well, might as well enjoy the free food.”


Japanese Gardens...

Chad looked at his phone, but didn’t answer when Nicky called. He pocketed the phone before turning to Jared who was examining his own phone and his laptop.

“What’s takin’ so long, Jare?” he questioned, leaning on his board as the younger boy waved his phone around, then typed into his laptop as it sat on a bench.

“Signal is…crap,” Jared muttered before looking to his phone and grinning, holding a hand toward Chad. “Got it. Gimme your phone.”

Chad frowned but did as he said and Jared held the phones next to each other for a few seconds before giving Chad’s phone back to him.

“Got the map on my phone, and now it’ll trace the call when he calls so we can find him,” Jared explained, typing at his laptop a bit before closing it and putting it back in his messenger back.

“Damn, Jare,” Chad smirked. “When did you go James Bond on me?”

Jared smirked and was about to respond but Chad’s phone went off before he could and they both looked at it.

“Nicky?” Jared guessed.

Chad only shook his head before swallowing and breathing, “It’s him.”

Jared instantly looked to his phone and nodded the ok to answer, but Chad hesitated before doing so and pressed the phone to his ear.

Well, aren’t you a clever little bastard?” Nemo nearly spat into the phone, not even letting Chad greet him. “I didn’t expect you to find my hiding place so quickly. Your little tech friend is clever.”

“I’m sure he’ll appreciate the compliment,” Chad shot back as Jared waved at him to keep the call going. “I got your note last night, by the way.”

Did you?” Nemo replied, and Chad could hear the smirk in his voice. “I’m glad. I wanted to make sure you knew exactly who’d left that little gift for you in your closet.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m a bit confused about, Nemo,” Chad replied, thoughtfully as Jared started walking down a trail through the garden and he followed. “How did you leave it there when you were here in Seattle?”

I have my ways, Chad,” Nemo replied as Jared quickened his pace and Chad followed. “Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime.”

“Well, why don’t you meet me at your favorite spot?” Chad retorted. “We can have some cherry blossom tea and you can tell me all about what the hell you want and why you decided to pick on me and mine.”

I’m sorry, Chad,” Nemo replied in an eerie tone. “It’s too soon for that. But I promise, we’ll meet face to face soon.”

“How soon?” Chad demanded as Jared stopped at a railing overlooking a pond in the vast gardens and stared ahead.

Patience,” Nemo retorted as Chad stopped next to Jared and stared ahead as well. “You’ll get your chance to kill me soon.”

Chad stared ahead at the platform across from them over the pond. A man with silvery spiked hair stood at the railing, leaning back against it with a cell phone to his ear, wearing a black leather biker’s jacket and black denim pants. Chad smirked as he realized who it was…who it had to be, and waited a moment before finally replying to Nemo’s taunt.

“Why don’t you turn around and have a look at who’s going to kill you?” he taunted back.

The figure straightened, and there was silence on the phone before Chad heard the click of a hang up, watching the figure take the phone from his ear just as he heard it. Chad lowered his own phone, not taking his gaze away from the man on the platform who was now slowly strolling toward a railing closer to the water around him.

“We’ve got him,” Chad smirked watching the man drop his phone into the water.

Chad darted toward the shop that was next to them that led toward the bridge and the platform Nemo was on. Jared ran after him and Chad had to bob and weave around the people in the shop before he ran out onto the bridge, but when he had a clear view of the platform, it was empty.

“How the hell…?” Chad trailed off as Jared caught up to the blonde, but just as the younger boy reached him, Chad shot down the bridge. Jared sighed in exhaustion, rolling his eyes before running after the older boy but they both stopped on the platform, Chad frowning deeply and turning around to glance at every bit of the platform.

“There’s no other way off this thing,” he murmured then looked at Jared with wide, grey eyes. “Where the hell did he go?”

Jared shrugged, shaking his head, but they both shot their gazes up when they heard a faint bump on the roof over the platform. Chad looked ahead just in time to see the man he’s been after jump from the roof, land halfway down the bridge and take off toward the shop they’d come from. Chad darted after him, sending Jared spinning around before he ran after him, the blonde never taking his gaze off his target.

“Looks like we’ve got a ninja on our hands, Jare!” he called, just before he nearly rammed into a tourist in the shop.

The younger boy didn’t respond as he followed the best he could, but Chad was on a one track mind. He kept his eyes on Nemo as he ran down the trail leading who knew where, Chad running as fast as he could. He knew he could catch up with him if he used his board, but the terrain was no good for it so he let it fall on the trail, knowing Jared would pick it up and knowing it was slowing him down. Nemo made a turn onto a dirt path and Chad followed, but when he ran a few steps onto the trail, he stopped dead.

Nemo was gone. There wasn’t a trace of him that Chad could see at all as he breathed heavily from running. A cool, light drizzle suddenly graced his forearms and head, the jacket with his sleeves rolled up protecting the rest of him from the oncoming rain. His eyes kept darting around the trail, trying to find a sign that Nemo had run through, and trying to find a clue as to where he’d gone.

“Chad!” Jared called then stopped behind him, out of breath.

“I…lost him,” Chad panted as Jared doubled over to lean on his knees, panting as well, Chad’s board in one hand. “I had him…and I lost him.”

“At least we’re close,” Jared still breathed heavily, standing and handing over Chad’s skateboard to him. “We got to him. That’s a good thing, right? Proves you’re not as dumb as he thinks.”

“Yeah,” Chad deftly replied, taking his board from the younger boy as he still didn’t look away from the trail.

“We’ll go back to the hotel,” Jared suggested, slapping a hand to Chad’s shoulder. “It’s raining. We can’t do much in the rain and neither can he.”

“Yeah,” Chad nodded, letting Jared pull him down the trail by the arm. “Nicky’s probably worried about us.”

“Us?” Jared chuckled, making the blonde look to him with a frown. “You mean you.”

“No,” Chad objected. “I mean us. You could get hurt to, ya know?”

“I’m the brains, remember?” Jared smirked. “I don’t get hurt. The Muscle gets hurt.”

Chad rolled his eyes as they headed toward the exit to head out into the street to find a cab. He gave a slight frown as the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood at attention. He was sure he was being watched, but as they found a cab, climbed in, and drove off toward their hotel, the feeling died down. He supposed he was just being paranoid.


Meanwhile...

Dark grey eyes watched the boys head toward the exit at a fair distance of several yards above them. He was crouched on the roof of the entrance building to the gardens, somehow unnoticed by security and staff, the drizzle coming down a little harder not bothering him at all, even as wet strands of silver hair began falling into his eyes.

He was cleverer than he’d thought. In the span of a few days the boy had managed to figure out how he was tracking him and started chasing him. The cat had become the mouse for a moment there. Well, now it was time for the cat to reclaim its role. Even looking at the blonde boy as he climbed into a cab and drove away made his blood boil, hearing his voice having a similar effect. What was so special about this brat that made him get everything that should have been His? Why should he have money, and family, and friends while He had nothing?

“I hope you’re ready for what’s coming to you, Chad Stiles,” he ground out as he stood on the roof, his balance perfect. He launched himself up with a roll before landing in front of the building in a crouch, the rain coming down harder and soaking his clothes as he stood again and headed down the street in the rain.

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