Rubies with Fire
Ruby stared outside the window as the car sped through the streets of London, it had started to rain casting a dreariness about the place. She was used to it, used to the weather and the people and the way of life here, what she wasn't used to, was everything that happened from the point of her abduction, missing for three months and then seeing his face. His face, she couldn't erase the image of his face from her memory. He sat next to her, his concentration on the road ahead. He had finally accepted her proposal, he was going to do the job. At the moment, she could only trust him. She didn't know him, but she knew enough about him to know he was one of the good guys. When she went looking for him, she tracked down the officer who had taken down his statement, Tom. He had been reluctant to give out his information, as a good friend would but she had persevered and finally he gave her the address of his family's. And when she had turned up, she really felt like she had interrupted what looked like a quality get together. She couldn't resist smiling at his parents who were a homely couple, proud of their home, their children and grand children. She had taken a particular shining to Millie, his niece who was inquisitive as well as curious, big brown eyes and beautiful thick hair.
The car came to a stand still outside an apartment block. He got out swiftly and was around the passenger door in seconds, opening the door and helping her out. She could feel his hands around her waist guiding her swiftly to the pavement. He locked the doors and swept her slowly towards the front door and into the lift for the top floor. Ruby peered out the lift, which extended out from the building, she could see the skyline and everything from here to Scotland, even though the view was something she could truly learn to appreciate in time, she had to stand back away from the glass.
"Don't like heights?" he was perceptive, she gave him that.
She shook her head, "No, not really. When I was a little girl, I went on a Ferris Wheel, when I got to the top, the boat I was in came off it's hinges... I was holding on for dear life... it was possibly the most scariest thing for a little girl. I got rescued after a few hours and my dad sued the company and they never worked again, so ever since... being high up, scares the crap out of me."
"Hopefully your luck will change," he said, as the lift doors open and he strode down the hall. He unlocked the first door on the right and it opened up to an open plan floor, "I won't be long, make yourself at home," and he disappeared.
Ruby walked towards the wall stacked with books, ranging from crime theories, philosophers, true crime and travel books. There were so many books, he could definitely open up a specialist library. She walked towards a recliner and sat down, his scent invading her senses, she had to admit, he did smell good. So good, she could almost eat him. She pressed the lever on the side of the recliner and her feet rose up, she would just wait for him here, he said he wouldn't be long.
Javier shoved a bunch of his clothes into a duffle bag and headed back into the living room, only to find Ruby asleep on his recliner, his much loved recliner. God, she was beautiful even when she was asleep, he thought. He didn't have the heart to wake her, he was pretty sure that she hadn't had a proper good night sleep in a while. He dropped his duffel bag on the floor beside him and grabbed a blanket from the couch and dropped it over her, she stirred but she didn't wake up. For however long she slept, they would be here a while, but that was okay with him, he would get on the case. He grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and sat at his desk, put on his laptop and tapped into the database. He would follow up leads, speak to Tom, even get Kat to help him out, she owed him, after having put him through that ridiculous blind date. He tapped at the keys, building up as much information as possible as well as securing as many leads. He heard Ruby stir and he glanced at her, her face was contorted as if she was in pain but it was visible, she was still asleep.
Ruby walked down the hall and into the kitchen and paused, she felt as if someone was watching her. Don't be silly Ruby, it's obvious some of the guests have spilled into the kitchen and are helping themselves to the canapes and the nibbles on offer, it was another one of daddy's social events- to generate interest in his new software, she was used to this but that didn't mean she enjoyed occasions like this either. She opened the fridge to take out a bottle of water and retreat quietly back to her room, when she felt a jab to the side of her leg, followed by piercing sharp pain. She dropped the bottle of water and watched it roll from the kitchen counter top and onto the floor, her vision became blurry and she grabbed hold of the counter top for support, her grip somewhat slacking, she turned around to see a man grab hold of her shoulders. She was surprised that he was wearing a suit like the other diners, his hair was ruffled as if he had gone past a wind turbine. In one hand, he had a needle and in the other a hand full of her hair, he yanked it back and she felt the jab backwards, she wanted to scream but his hand had made it's way to her mouth. She could no longer feel the sensation of her feet, as they fell out from under her and he held her, she was trying to fight back, trying to claw her way out but it was useless, it was as if her hands had turned to rubber. He dragged her out of the kitchen and out of the back door and down the gravel, the stones pelting in their wake. She was in pain, she could see the night sky and the flickering stars like distant diamonds, she felt even more disorientated then before. She was calling out for help, or so she thought, but could any one hear her. Her eyelids were becoming heavy, heavy like lead weights, she wanted to sleep, sleep... sleep...
The sound of whimpering broke Javier from his laptop to glance over at Ruby, she was whimpering in her sleep. He got up and as he made his way to her, he heard the words help register on her lips. She woke up suddenly, her eyes wide with terror as if she had been hypnotised and indeed brought back to the living, she glanced at him, not quite seeing him.
"Ruby," Javier said, his hand kneading her shoulder, "What did you see?"
"My abduction... his hair... he was... wearing a suit... so he must have been at the party... his hair was messy..." Ruby stammered.
"What colour was his hair?" Javier asked.
"Brown, I think... definitely not black... I'm sure... he used something on me that made me go faint... and my body go rubbery," Ruby said touching her thigh, "He was at my father's party... he was a guest..."
"Can you remember anything else at all?" Javier looked at her, she was vulnerable but she was strong. He could see her racking her brains out.
"I can't remember anything... but he was definitely at my father's party... oh god, what if he works for my father..." panicked, she tried to get up.
"Hey hey, calm down Ruby... if he does work for your father it's imperative that your father not know... if, whoever it is knows we're on to them... then, he could bail... let me do what you hired me to do... and I promise you, I'll take care of it," Javier said calmly, trying to reassure her.
"But what about my father... isn't he in trouble...?" Ruby said, her face ashen.
"I had gotten the impression you and your father didn't get along..." Javier began.
"Since my mother past away, he threw himself into his work... he sent me on trips away, without him, throwing money at me would somehow make up for the lack of a parent but it didn't... we've never seen eye to eye and well... despite all that, I don't want him hurt... and the bastard who did this to me, I want him to perish for what he did..." Ruby's anger hitting the surface.
Javier grimaced, the blood rushing south... get your head out of the gutter you neanderthal, she needs your help he thought, but he couldn't help but feel turned on by how cute she looked when she was angry, "Come on sweetheart, we better get moving... I want to start on this investigation, as quickly as possible."
The next day, Ruby got up slowly from bed, put on her silk robe and walked down the hall to the kitchen to find Javier talking to a man in black, there were several men working about the house as well, installing devices and censors. The sun had risen in the sky and she could smell the aroma of a fresh brew of coffee, she shyly walked in, even though this was her house, she felt like a stranger in it. The men standing by the counter, made her feel small. They were big in built and showed authority and it was clear to see, they were in deep discussion. The guy standing beside Javier noticed her first, his eyes locked on hers, his eyes penetrative, he looked as if he were angry but more concentrated on the job. His features miraculously dissolved into friendliness and he drew out his hand,
"Miss Lee Carlton, it's nice to finally meet you," the gentleman said.
She shook his hand, "And you're in my house, why?"
Javier intervened, "Ruby, this is my partner Alistair Ryker, he will be solely employed by myself to help me investigate your circumstances, I can assure you everything will be kept confidential. I've managed to speak to your father's security officers and have obtained a copy of the guest list, the night you went missing, there are over three hundred names, it'll take a few days to see who and what but that'll be done by Alistair. In the mean time, I'm going to have your house security system redone, so it's as tight as a lead safe and after that, we're going down to see a friend."
"A friend?" Ruby asked puzzled.
"Yeah, he'll be able to run some tests on you... to indicate what drugs are still in your system," Javier said.
"But they did that all in the hospital," Ruby replied.
"I don't trust hospitals, for all we know they could be botched by whoever wants evidence covered... we'll run our own separate tests and see where we can go from there, get some breakfast... we'll be out as soon as these people are done."
Ruby didn't reply, she smiled briefly, grabbed a muffin and a cup of coffee and headed back to her bedroom. She closed the door behind her and sat on the bed, this was what her life was going to be like from now on was it? She would be living in fear, expecting the unexpected, this wasn't the way she wanted to live, nor how she was going to conduct herself. Javier had told her last night, that he would be a permanent fixture in her life right now, she would have to work around his schedule. She was impressed that he was getting on with the investigation but she was getting annoyed that he thought, he could tell her how to run her life. She had taken care of herself a long time ago and she was never dependent on anyone but her. She sipped her coffee and took a bite out of her muffin, she needed to put the weight back on. She looked down the hall to her studio and exhaled, she had so much work to do, maybe the best thing to do was admit defeat and pull out of the show? If she worked around the clock, she could possibly achieve it but could she afford to go down hill again. She was a workaholic like her father, they both just dived into work, the only thing she seemed to have inherited from him. She had inherited all her other qualities from her mother. Her mother's creativity, her sense of style, her compassion. She missed her everyday, there were days when she longed for her, days of comfort that only a parent could give. There was no use in looking back, it only brought pained memories. She put her now empty cup of coffee to the side and headed for the shower.
She chose to wear a dress in pastel colours, if they were going to prod her with needles today, she might as well look the part. She blow dried her hair and applied some make up, she had been feeling well and truly crap the last couple of days but she had made up her mind in the shower to try and be herself, before all this happened, if that was through clothes and make up. When she was ready, she took her cup and walked back into the kitchen to find Javier speaking warp speed Italian into his phone, she managed to catch the last phrases he was saying but she told herself to ignore it, his business wasn't hers. They weren't a couple, but did she want them to be? She was attracted to him, there was something about him that touched something inside her, this was in contrast to him only a few minutes earlier really annoying her with his demands, his instructions but she had hired him, so maybe she was overreacting. Her emotions where everywhere. He hung up and smiled looking towards her, she had expected him to compliment her on how she looked but instead he responded with a blunt, "Ready to go?"
"Yeah, that's what I'm here for," she responded sarcastically.
Javier stood up from the kitchen table and masked his reaction to her reply, why was she being flippant all of a sudden he asked himself. He wanted to get the prodding procedure with Kelly over and done with. They made their way out and towards the car. He was a professional and when he was on a mission, he wanted to give it a hundred and one percent, he wasn't about to get involved with his subject and what a beauty she was, when she walked into the kitchen all dressed to go to the lab, the mere sight of her knocked the breathe out of him, he ached to be inside her, to taste her... stop Javier, you're on dangerous ground. If only his body knew that. If only he could make his mind understand.
When they arrived at the lab, they were greeted by Kelly, his sister's old class mate from high school and fortunately enough a scientist turned doctor. She run her own private firm and was only too happy to help in another investigation. Javier wasn't surprised to see Kelly dressed in her usual, white lab coat and black skirt and definitely fit the profile for lab technician, if it weren't for the tattoos that adorned her arms- she would be a walking talking contradiction. Today, her black ebony hair was tied up in a loose pony tail and she was wearing her black Buddy Holly specs. She showed them in and told Javier to take a seat, whilst she would take care of Ruby.
Ruby looked around the extensive lab, she couldn't make out any of the equipment used... except for perhaps a microscope and a Bunsen burner.
"They must call you Ruby because your hair is so red, right?" Kelly smiled putting on some gloves.
"Yeah, you could say that," Ruby smiled back, "Have you always been a doctor?"
"I graduated a scientist when I was nineteen, well before any of my peers... worked for a bit in a lab but then I was itching to do something else, so I thought, hey I could be a doctor, stuck with it for a few more years and certified both and medicine is always evolving and science too, so I get to learn more things... what do you do?" Kelly asked, placing Ruby onto the consultation bed.
"I make jewellery... although there hasn't been much making of it lately," Ruby said, looking at the ceiling.
"Tell me about your jewellery," Kelly asked taking a sample of her blood out, without Ruby even realising.
"It's high end, usually one piece takes one month to build but as I've lost out three months of being away... then I've lost three pieces, I've only two months to come up with five pieces before Fashion Week and I'm absolutely bricking it," Ruby said and without thinking she asked the most impossible question, "How well do you know Javier?"
"Know him, like intimately?" Kelly said seriously and then watched the expression on Ruby's face, laughed, "Then I don't know him at all. I don't even plan on going there to be honest."
"How come?" Ruby asked, because she couldn't help herself.
"How come? Because he's the brother of one of my closest mates and to even go down that path would be suicide, but as a person, I know him pretty darn well, well enough to know you can trust him with your life and that he's really a lovely guy, unattainable perhaps,"
"Unattainable?" Ruby asked curiously.
"Me and my big mouth, just ignore that last bit..." Kelly said sheepishly and changing the subject bluntly, "Have you got any other pangs?"
"Pangs? Like pain?" Ruby thought, "Yeah, I can't seem to sleep without having nightmares and, actually my memory has been somewhat hazy... I want to get to the bottom of who has done this to me..."
"The only advice I can give you is to not force it, you force it, it'll stay buried and keep getting buried... if you learn to relax, stay calm, you'll realise the information will come... either that or hypnosis," Kelly said, "If you lie down, I'll need to check you over, make sure everything is in working order."
A few hours later, both Javier and Ruby arrived back at her house. He'd accompanied her to the supermarket, where she could stock up on some food and he'd brought the shopping in from the car boot. He watched as she carefully placed things around the kitchen, admiring the curve of her bottom, she'd been quiet in the car, as if she was mulling things over, he was curious to know what she had been thinking. He'd asked once but was met with silence. He closed the door behind him and offered to help her but she still didn't say anything. Had Kelly said something to her? Ruby walked straight into him, as if she hadn't seen him standing there, she looked up and he looked down at her. Her face was a creamy parlor, her eyes full of steely determination, he wiped a strand of her hair from her face and without thinking touched her lips with his. Her lips were soft, like rose petals and she opened her mouth ever so slightly to allow him access. She tasted like honey and smelt even sweeter, this was torture of a different kind and he wanted more... she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him in and he wasn't about to pull away...