My name is Lucian Thorne, and this is my last night of freedom. While sitting at the bar of my favorite pub, I wait for my brother Daniel and my two best friends since the sandbox. Scanning the room, I check the entrance, still no sign of them. I’m taking a sip of the beer I’ve been nursing, when my sight land on a beautiful blonde at the end of the bar. She has obviously been staring at me. I smile to myself when she licks her lips before diverting her gaze. If this were any other night, I would give her what she wants. I can still feel her eyes on me, but I don’t make eye contact. There’s no need to encourage her.
“There he is – Mr. Monogamous,” I hear Jake say as the trio enter the pub. I stand to greet them.
“Are you ready to get this party started, bro?” Daniel asks as he waves the bartender over.
“No partying tonight, just a few drinks,” I clarify. I don’t want to be hung-over for my own wedding.
“Yeah, yeah, we know. No bachelor party, no strippers, and no Vegas. We get it and we promise to behave. Right fellas.” Marcus chuckles as he reaches the bar.
“Why don’t we grab a drink, shoot some pool, play some darts and drink some more?” my brother suggests as he orders a round of beers.
“Sounds like a plan,” I say as we wait for our drinks.
Marcus and I are up first at the pool table. The game doesn’t take long since this isn’t an area in which Marcus excels. My best friend is more at home with books and art. He majored in Literature and Art History. He has plans to travel Europe after my wedding, just to write and visit museums. At twenty-one he is a year younger than me. He loss his parents in an automobile accident during our last year of high school. He has been on his own ever since.
Next up to challenge me is my brother Daniel. His skill match mine, since our father taught us both. ‘Daniel’ as he now likes to be called instead of Danny is the oldest of our foursome. He is twenty-five, unlike Marcus he has a need to win at everything. Daniel has passed the New York State bar exam and intends to practice law. He also has hopes for a career in politics.
As the game progresses, I know the exact moment Jake spots the blonde from the bar walking toward us. She’s his type, it surprises me that he hadn’t zeroed in on her sooner.
“Is this a private game or can I play?” The blonde asks, her eyes roam to each man before resting on me.
Jake steps forward, drawing her attention away from me.
“I will play with you, sweetheart,” he says, his salacious grin reflects hers.
“What about you?” She asks directly. Still trying to get my attention.
“What about me?” I say, intentionally misunderstanding her question.
“Would you like to play with me?” Her gaze lingers over my body.
Her meaning is loud and clear. She wants me to fuck her. I assume it’s liquid courage that brings her to a group of four strangers in a bar. I have never found this appealing in a woman. Sure, I’ve had my share of hookups and one-night stands under similar circumstances. But that was before I met Camille.
“He’s taken,” I hear Marcus reply before I can respond. “He’s getting married tomorrow.”
“Congratulations! No bachelor party for you. Not even a little fun, before you say I do.” She winks.
“No, tonight is exactly how I want it,” I say to her.
“Are you sure?” She takes a step toward me and wraps her right hand around my pool stick.
I take a step back, and she releases the pool stick from her grip.
“I’m sure. I don’t cheat.” And she finally gets the message.
A brief look of embarrassment colors her cheeks as she steps away from me. Recovering quickly, she turns to Jake. “Buy me another drink,” She says, walking away.
“Good night, gents,” he said over his shoulder following the blonde to the bar.
“Don’t be late tomorrow!” Daniel shouts.
Turning his attention back to the pool table Daniel takes his next shot.
A few hours later and I’m ready to call it a night. We’re settling our tab when I spot Jake leaving with two blondes.
“She has a friend.” I said to Marcus and Daniel, nodding towards the door.
“A twin,” Daniel corrects. “I saw them together earlier.”
“Lucky bastard,” Marcus adds.
“I promised Camille I would get you home safely. I called Franklin to pick you up. He’s outside waiting to take you back to your place,” Daniel informs me.
“I could have taken a taxi. You didn’t–”.
Daniel interrupts before I can finish.
“On a Friday night, downtown Manhattan. Good luck with that.”
“You make a valid point,” I say as we exit the bar.
The limo is at the curb when we step outside. I say good night to Marcus and Daniel and climb into the back when Franklin opens the door. The drive home is less than thirty minutes. We are entering the parking garage when Franklin bring the limo to a screeching halt. If it wasn’t for the fact that Marcus always insist we buckle our seat belt, I would have hit the floor, instead of just jerking forward. I let down the privacy screen to ask Franklin what’s going on.
“Stay in the car, sir,” Franklin says as he exits. My eyes follow him, still not sure what they are seeing. There’s a woman dressed only in her underwear walking back and forth at the entrance to the garage. Franklin approaches her like she’s a wounded animal.
“Miss, do you need help. Do you live in the building? Can I call someone for you?”
I get out of the car and walk toward Franklin. Now that I’m closer I can see that it’s not a woman at all, but a teenage girl, maybe fourteen or fifteen years old. She also appears to be in shock. She hasn’t acknowledged our presence as she continues to walk back and forth. I remove my T-shirt, offering it to her as I stand in her path. She comes to a stop and looks at me with unseeing eyes.
“I think she may be sleepwalking or in shock,” I say to Franklin without taking my eyes off her.
“Be careful, sir, she may be dangerous in this state,” Franklin warns.
Unable to look away from her beautiful hazel eyes, I begin to speak to her. “I’m going to pull this T-shirt over your head.” No response. “I’m going to pull your arms through now.” Still no response. “Would you like me to call someone for you? Your mother or father?” That got her attention. She blinks and says, “all dead,” before passing out. I catch her before she falls to the ground.
“Put her in the car, Mr. Thorne, we should take her to the hospital,” Franklin says.
Carrying her to the limo, I cradle her in my arms as Franklin drives us to the hospital.
We reach the emergency room in no time. Franklin opens the limo door and I manage to get out while still holding her close. She opens her eyes briefly and stare into mine. Franklin sprints ahead to get help. When I approach, Franklin is explaining to a female doctor how we found the girl and how she then fainted.
“She just opened her eyes again a few moments ago,” I relay to the doctor.
“Has she said anything?” the doctor asked.
“No, not a word.”
A nurse arrives with a gurney.
“Please lay her here.” The doctor instructs. “I need to examine her.”
Reluctantly, I lay her on the gurney. She grabs my hand, holding it tight for a moment before letting it go.
“What’s going to happen to the young lady?” Franklin asks.
“We will examine her to determine if she has any injuries. And when she wakes up we will make a positive identification and contact her next of kin.”
“I will wait here with her until you are able to contact her family,” I hear myself saying.
“You understand that I won’t be able to discuss her treatment with you. But you are welcome to wait if you choose to.”
“Alright then, I’ll see to my patient.”
I nod, and the doctor walks away.
“I took a picture of the girl with my cell. I’m sending it to your phone,” I say to Franklin, pulling out my cell phone from the back pocket of my jeans. “Forward it to building security to see if they can ID her. If she lives in the building, or was a guest, security may have her contact information.”
“Yes, sir, right away. Can I get you anything before I make the call?”
“No, I’m fine,” I say, taking a seat in the waiting area. “Let me know the minute you find anything.”
“Of course, sir.”
Retrieving his cell phone from his breast pocket Franklin walks toward the emergency room door. I can hear him speaking with building security.
It’s now after three in the morning and a little over twelve hours before my wedding. I sit in the waiting room for about twenty-five minutes before I notice that a few nurses have gathered and are whispering and giggling like schoolgirls. Then I realize I’m shirtless, after covering the girl with my T-shirt. This is causing them some amusement.
Women see the face and the body. And they want what they see. It’s been that way since I was fourteen. My first sexual experience was with my sister’s French tutor. She was a twenty-three-year-old grad student working to pay for college. I was always tall for my age, with sports my body had become fit and toned. Even at fourteen my dick was big. I smile, recalling the first time I made her scream my name. Best fucking summer ever.
The nurses’ giggles interrupt my thoughts, ending my trip down memory lane.
I text Franklin: I need a shirt. A few minutes’ pass and Franklin walks in carrying a plastic bag.
“I got this at the gas station on the corner.”
“That was fast,” I say, removing the contents from the bag.
“I was on my way back when I got your text.”
I pull the ‘I love New York’ T-shirt over my head. “I should have known better – I forgot you can almost read my mind.”
“No, sir, just the minds of the ladies.” He tilts his head toward the nurses and I chuckle.
“Any news from security?”
“Not yet.” The ringing of his phone stops him from completing his statement.
I stand quietly, listening to the one-sided conversation. After a couple of minutes Franklin ends the call.
“Have they identified her? Does she live in the building?” I ask, noticing his pale expression. “Franklin, what is it?”
“The young lady does reside in the building. Her mother owns a unit on the tenth floor. She passed away last year. The girl has been living in the apartment with her father. But they both went missing about three weeks ago. A neighbor reported hearing loud noises and the police came out to answer the disturbance call. When they arrived the place was empty, but there were signs of a struggle and what appears to have been a wild party with drugs, alcohol and used condoms all over the place.”
“Who is she and was security able to reach a next of kin?” I ask. I’ve only lived in the building a few weeks and don’t know any of my neighbors. I purchase the apartment for Camille and me to move into after our wedding. With everything going on, I haven’t met anyone accept the doorman and the building manger.
“Her name is Marisa Hunter. She’s fifteen and other than her father there’s no one else. Security also took the liberty of alerting the police to the fact that Miss Hunter is here at the hospital.”
“We need to inform the doctor,” I tell him, heading to the nurses’ station.
“I need to speak to the doctor treating the young lady I brought in a little while ago. I have information regarding her identity,” I say to the nurse, who gawks at me as I speak to her.
“She’s with the patient right now. Can it wait a little longer?”
“I am aware of that, and no, sweetheart, it can’t. Please,” I say, lowering my voice and leaning in closer. It’s really important.”
“Okay, let me see what I can do.” She all but melts. I lick my lower lip and thank her. I turn my attention back to Franklin as she walks away.
“What?” I ask innocently as he shakes his head.
The nurse returns with the doctor and I give her an update on what we’ve discovered about her patient. The doctor thanks Franklin and me before turning to the nurse and instructing her to call Child Services for a social worker. Wishing there was something more I could do, I ask the doctor about the girl.
“I can only say that she appears to have suffered some sort of trauma. Until she wakes up–” The doctor’s sentence is cut short by a loud crash and a piercing scream. Without a word, the doctor and the nurse hurry toward the scream.
Just as I am about to follow them, because I know in my gut that the scream belongs to Marisa, Franklin halts my steps. “The police have arrived.” We turn to face the officer approaching us.
“I’m Officer Dodd. Are you by any chance Thomas Franklin and Lucian Thorne?” he asks, eyeing us both.
“I’m Lucian Thorne and this is Thomas Franklin. How can we help you?”
“I have a few questions about Marisa Hunter, the young lady you brought into the ER. Mr. James Holt, contacted the precinct to advise us that Miss Hunter is here and that you found her wandering in shock before she passed out.”
“That’s right.” I say. “What are your questions?”
“Did she say anything to either of you at any time?”
“No, she never said anything,” Franklin responds.
“What about you, Mr. Thorne? Did she speak to you?”
“When I asked her if I could call her parents for her, she said ‘all dead’ and then she fainted.
“Did you notice anything out of the ordinary?”
I wonder if I should mention that she was undressed, before I covered her with my T-shirt. Deciding it’s in Marisa’s best interest that the police know everything, I provide as much detail as possible.
“She has scrapes on her knees, some bruising on the right side of her face, and her hands and feet are dirty. There is also some chafing around her wrist and ankles. And she was only wearing underwear, before I covered her with my shirt.”
“That’s very detailed, Mr. Thorne.”
I raise my eyebrows at his tone. “I make it my business to notice details, Officer Dodd,” I say matching his tone. “Do you have any other questions or are we done?”
“We’re done for now. I have your contact information if anything comes up.”
Before I can respond the doctor returns.
“Are you here about Marisa Hunter?” she asks, addressing Officer Dodd.
“Yes. May I see her now? I have some questions for her.”
“I gave her a mild sedative to calm her. The social worker is with her now. The nurse will take you to her.”
Officer Dodd thanks the doctor before following the nurse.
“What’s going to happen to her now?” I ask the doctor.
“She will be admitted to the hospital for a few days. She’s dehydrated and may be a danger to herself. After she is discharged, if no family is found to claim her, Child Services will take her. There really isn’t anything else you can do for her. And I can’t divulge any more than I have. So, if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my patients.”
“Are you ready to go, Mr. Thorne?” Franklin asks.
“No, but there’s nothing more I can do.”
We exit the hospital. I climb into the back of the limo, thinking of the day ahead, when I will be surrounded by family and friends celebrating what should be the most joyous day of my life. I can’t stop my thoughts from returning to the frail fifteen-year-old girl with the beautiful hazel eyes. Before raising the privacy screen, I instruct Franklin to send Marisa a dozen yellow roses every day that she is hospitalized.
“Should I say who they are from, sir?”
“From a friend. Also, see that her medical bills are taken care of and arrange for her to stay in a private room.”
“Yes, Mr. Thorne. Anything else, sir?”
“No, thank you, Franklin.” I lay back, close my eyes, and let sleep take me.