Sirens filled the air around the once famous café as people began to peek trying to learn what was happening. The toothless woman, an employee of the café, was being wheeled into an ambulance with tubes and bandages in her to stop the massive bleeding. As she was wheeled away, Christopher talked with the cops of what he knew, while Avalon was being held by James, who tried to comfort her shaking form.
Christopher left the cops after giving his testimony, and approached Avalon and James.
“The police are going to locate the woman, but considering that she is no longer a blonde, it will be difficult,” stated Christopher. Christopher held his hand to Avalon saying, “We should get home, OK.” Avalon nodded and reached for Christopher’s hand, but James snatched her hand and hugged her close as he glared at Christopher.
“Avalon is not going anywhere with you if that woman is still on the loose. I’ve seen your apartment, and I can tell you that it is not safe.”
Christopher frowned and asked, “So what do you suggest?”
James smirked and stated, “I think she will be safer at my place. I have state of the art security, so that crazy woman won’t think of getting close.”
Christopher smiled and stated, “That sounds like a wonderful idea, but if that’s the case, then I am going too.” James was ready to refuse, but Avalon managed to squeeze from his hold and run to Christopher. She hugged Christopher around his waist and looked at James with puppy like eyes. James could tell that Avalon wanted to stay close to Christopher, so James lowered his head in defeat and stated, “Christopher can come.” Avalon smiled snuggling her cheek into Christopher’s chest. Christopher turned red in the cheeks patting Avalon’s head.
Because of the ordeal, James, Christopher, and Avalon headed toward James’s car that waited in the parking lot. James offered Avalon the front seat, but Avalon instead crawled to the back seat holding her stuffed animals in her lap. She then gestured for Christopher to sit next to her. Christopher glanced at James and saw the look in James’s face that seemed to say, “Sit next to her and you die.” Christopher glanced back at Avalon and stated, “I’ll sit up front.” Avalon nodded with a crestfallen look.
Christopher sat in the front seat and James sat in the driver’s seat. James started the car and then drove down the busy road. As he drove, he would steal glances at Avalon, who was pretending that the panda and cat were talking to each other, even though no words were being spoken. Christopher noticed this with a frown.
“Please keep your eye on the road,” stated Christopher. James glared in reply gripping the wheel tightly.
The silence in the car was deafening, but it was broken instantly when Christopher asked, “Has something like this happened before?” James shook his head saying, “Nothing like this ever happened.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course, I’m sure. I think I would remember a yanked tooth in a piece of cake being served to me,” stated James, short on patience. Christopher muttered an apology, but flinched when James asked, “Why were you in the café?”
“I was hungry,” stated Christopher and added, “I did get off work early today.”
“Are you working tomorrow?” asked James, but Christopher could tell that was a slight hopefulness in James’s words. Christopher crossed his arms.
“No, I have no work tomorrow and starting today, I am unemployed,” stated Christopher. James burst out laughing making Christopher show a look of annoyance.
“I quit and don’t worry; I can still pay you for the repair on the computer,” stated Christopher and then glanced a suspicious gaze at James saying, “Now that I think about it, why were you walking around with Avalon when you were supposed to be in my apartment repairing my computer?” James remained silent as if he didn’t hear Christopher’s question. The silence alone was enough of an answer for Christopher that he was deceived on the time it took to repair the computer. Christopher wanted to strangle James, but considering that James was driving, Christopher kept himself under control.
They soon reached a large two story house. It had walls of white and brown pillars giving it an elegant look. It was enough to make people passing by to cry in envy. James drove pass the black gate after typing in a code for the gate and then drove down the driveway toward the mansion.
As James drove, Christopher could see Avalon staring at the house in awe. Christopher found himself smiling at Avalon’s excited gaze.
James slid the car to a stop in front of the mansion and then stepped out quickly. He opened the back door as Christopher stepped out, and smiled toward Avalon saying, “We’re here princess.” Avalon stepped out hugging the stuffed animals to her chest and the notebook gripped in her right hand. She stared at the mansion with excited eyes making James chuckle in amusement, but his chuckle fell silent when Avalon ran to Christopher and urged him to get closer to the mansion.
Christopher nodded and then smirked at James in triumph making James shake in anger.
James opened the door of the mansion revealing the interior which had furniture of high class and art of famous painters of the century. Avalon ran around excitedly and seemed to grow even more excited at the sight of a cat statue near the staircase.
Christopher and James both chuckled at the sight, but then began to glare at each other. It seemed like they were born rivals.
James cleared his throat turning away from Christopher and approached Avalon asking, “Since we didn’t have a chance to have lunch, how about I cook you something?” Avalon nodded with a bright smile. James turned to Christopher and stated, “I’m heading to the kitchen, so I’ll allow you to watch over Avalon.” With that James walked off. Christopher groaned as he glared in the direction James went.
I don’t need your permission, bastard.
Christopher went to Avalon with a smile and asked, “Do you want to explore?” Avalon nodded with a smile.
They headed up the stairs of the mansion side by side. As they walked on the second floor, Christopher glanced at Avalon and asked, “So did you find out anything?” Avalon nodded with seriousness in her face. She handed the stuffed animals to Christopher first and then began to write quickly in her notebook.
“James mentioned that he has felt someone watching him recently, so the stalking must just be starting.”
Christopher frowned gripping the stuffed animals.
“That’s troubling. Envy stalks the victim for a long time before killing them, so considering that the stalking just started there won’t be any clear trails.”
“Then what about the attacked café employee and the tooth in the cake served to James and my table?”
“That’s also troubling. Envy wouldn’t be that obvious, so we might be dealing with another culprit or worse, Envy changed her method.”
“I hope that’s not the case.”
“We’ll just have to see and continue on the trail.”
Avalon nodded taking the stuffed animals from Christopher’s grasp.
Christopher nodded and then looked at his watch: 4:00 P. M.
“Mr. Connor said he was making food for us, but I guess this meal will be counted as dinner instead.”
Avalon nodded with her stomach giving out a slight growl as did Christopher’s. The day was so busy that the thought of food was forgotten until that moment. In order to forget their hunger they continued to explore the mansion.
Meanwhile, James was in the kitchen making stir fry beef with broccoli, but as he seasoned the beef his thoughts wandered to thoughts of Christopher and Avalon together. He gripped the pepper in his hand with his form slightly shaking. He had never felt such a stinging and disgusting feeling and he knew it was because of his envy toward Christopher, who was obviously more liked by Avalon. He just hoped it wasn’t love. Love, such a strange word entered his mind when thinking of the teenager. He did like her and found her more charming than other women he ever met, but he thought it was just a liking to someone new. He never thought it could be love.
Just those thoughts alone made James pause in his actions and smile. He was no fool and he knew that the first time he met her in the restaurant the day before, his annoyance at her stares was really the start of a first love. He was undoubtedly in love with Avalon.
James’s smile faded when remembering that Avalon preferred Christopher. He instantly felt the sting of envy once again as he stirred the beef and broccoli together in the wok over the heated stove. He wanted Avalon to notice him and he wanted Christopher out of the picture.
Christopher and Avalon had finally reached a room that had a crystal chandelier dangling from the ceiling with a grand white piano sitting in the corner of the room. Christopher chuckled wondering why James had a dance room in his house when he was a computer genius. Avalon, on the other hand, was quite intrigued at the white grand piano and began to approach it.
When Avalon reached the piano, she placed the stuffed animals next to her on the piano seat and opened the cover of the piano revealing the piano keys that looked freshly polished.
“Do you know how to play?” asked Christopher. Avalon nodded with a smile. Avalon pressed one of the piano keys letting out a high pitched note followed by a low note. Lifting both her hands she began to play Chopin – Waltz Op. 70, No. 3 in D-flat. The piece was a classic and considering that Avalon was from Machina Hospital, it made Christopher wonder where she learned to play such a beautiful piece.
Christopher didn’t know why, but as Avalon played he felt a familiar air from her. Christopher shook the thought away and then asked in a silent tone, “Have you played long?” Avalon stopped playing and shook her head. She opened her notebook and wrote new words onto a blank page.
“I was taught a long time ago by a wonderful teacher, but he is gone now. I haven’t played until today.”
“Then you are very gifted. Your teacher must be very proud.”
Avalon smiled warmly at those words. Something seemed to dawn on Avalon and then faced Christopher. She wrote quickly in her notebook.
“I just remembered. That woman who served the cheesecake, wasn’t a woman.”
“That WOMAN is actually a MAN.”
Christopher’s eyes grew wide after reading Avalon’s words. Without delay he pulled out his cellphone and called the police to report what Avalon had revealed to him. As Christopher reported, Avalon had a serious look on her face staring at the word “man” in her notebook. One thought repeated in her mind: Is Envy really a woman?