The Second Chapter

So, I use the term 'Chapter' loosely because my book isn't actually divided by chapters it's divided by points of view. Enjoy!



DETER

She had blacked out again but not before she had taken in the full horror of what she saw. It was a far cry from her innocent existence up on her Terrace suite of the Plaza overlooking Central park. She had awoken this morning to the sun streaming in through the two big windows standing nearly floor to ceiling, letting the early morning sun cast shadows on the serene pale green carpet. There was no shadow of the knowledge that now shattered her dreams.

She’d liked to wake late but she must have forgotten to close the curtains last night. Turning her face away from the brightness and hunching up the covers she’d realised she had managed to end up on the other side of the bed again. She had wondered what it would be like to share a bed with somebody. Comforting in many ways she’d imagined, but limiting in others, she wasn’t sure she’d be good at sharing her space.

She had never had to share space with anyone, not even her parents. Deter couldn’t remember her parents. No one talked about them to her and as she had no memories of them, she didn’t feel their loss. If she had known and loved them, of course she’d feel very different. Even so, she felt their absence especially at times like this.

Deters life ran like clockwork and although she went through a phase of rebelling a couple of years ago, she was not only resigned to, but enjoyed being cushioned by the familiarity of her days.

Every weekday was the same. Mr Jameson arrived at 8am and Deter had always made sure she was up and ready before he arrived. When she was younger, Amery used to come and wake her at 7.30, help her wash and dress and pretty much do all the mum things. When she 13 it was decided, probably by Amery, that she could be responsible for waking herself and getting herself up and ready. So by the time Jameson knocked she could open the door for him. Mr Jameson belonged to the hotel, well, he worked there and was the butler assigned to Deter to bring her breakfast. He replaced another man when she was about 7 who she remembered as very pale and a bit wobbly. He wasn’t old, but he moved cautiously as though he was creeping slowly and uncertainly towards his dotage. Mr Jameson was the opposite, robust, tall and purposeful, but although she saw him everyday he remained rigidly professional in how he addressed her. During her rebellious phase she used to try and get him to break character by asking personal questions. The only time he’d reacted was when she’d asked him, in a goading and provoking tone about his family,

‘Is there a Mrs Jameson? Do tell? Is she very sexy?’ she put great emphasis on the ‘sexy’ aiming more to ridicule than compliment, ‘bet she’s a real looker.’

Mr Jameson oblivious to the undertones to her questions looked pleased and nodded,

‘She is a wonderful woman, I’m very lucky to have her in my life.’

‘What about little Jamesons? Bet you have lots of children, are they like me?’

Instantly, and shockingly, she realised by Jameson’s face that something she said had upset him enormously. He was trying not to show it, but the way he looked so broken made her feel deeply ashamed. He hadn’t answered and she hadn’t needed him to. She knew something sad and terrible had happened. She was never disrespectful towards him again.

As she had slowly got out of bed and began what felt like the long walk downstairs to the bathroom she looked at everything as she passed it carefully, unconsciously making photos in her head so that every inch of her childhood home would be recorded. Had she known somehow that this was the day her life would change? The way the walls looked a different colour on the staircase, even though Amery swore it was the trick of the light. The little secret messages from years ago that you could only see if you peeled the stair carpet back from the skirting; ‘I will never wear a dress,’ and ‘pink sucks’ defiant scrawling’s to mark her determination to be a tomboy. She had smiled enjoying the memories and feeling a warm rush of love for Amery, who had been such a wonderful part of her life.

Outside far below, too small for her to see clearly, the city had been picking up its pace. She’d seen traffic start to build up and the sun already heating up the pavement. Across the city was Asher, the boy she had met at the Metropolitan Museum a few weeks ago. Asher had been so friendly, grateful even to meet her as though he was starved of contact with other young people. Maybe, she thought, he was of a similar social standing to her or Amery would never have let them continue chatting. He’d been so kind when some rough people had tried to take her handbag. Both he and the security guards had run after them. She couldn’t wait to see him again.. not that she fancied him, oh no, nothing like that, but he did have lovely eyes. Especially when he’d smiled at her.

After she’d washed and dressed, she flumped down on the small rather formal two-seater sofa. Annoyed that she had woken up so early she decided to while away the time until breakfast by turning on the television and sitting in a sort of mesmerised trance watching children’s cartoons. It wasn’t until she heard a firm knock on the door that she’d realised that half an hour had just slid past, albeit accompanied by unrealistically high-pitched voices and glorious Technicolor. Quickly turning it off, she’d leaped up to let Jameson in. He’d been looking even more resolutely bland and serene this morning, and after laying out her breakfast things he’d stepped back and waited for her to dismiss him. As she’d eaten her 3 minute eggs, she’d kept him standing there, hoping to engage him in conversation. But it was all business as usual,

‘Anything else I can get you Miss D?’

‘No Jameson, thank you, I have everything.’

After Jameson had left, Deter had slowly finished eating and had felt tempted to put the television back on, but had thought better of it, in case Amery arrived early.

Amery always arrived with the tutors for the day, checking the timetable and ensuring any homework was both marked and remarked on. When Deter was little Amery had been very soft and cuddly and as she had grown up Amery’s role had also changed. Now taking on the responsibilities of life coach, headmistress, event planner and bodyguard, Deter missed the night-time kisses, but totally understood and respected her guardians position.


AMERY

Amery had been late that morning as she hurried along the corridor. The Professor from the Establishment was just behind her, she could hear his short legs trying to keep up. The corridor was covered in a luxurious thick pile carpet, which made walking in heels much harder work and even though Deters rooms were just off the elevator, the short walk somehow seemed to be taking ages. In their brief meeting downstairs, she’d found the way the doctor talked about Deter rather rude and she hoped he was going to be a little politer to her in person. He wasn’t Deter’s usual doctor. Professor Joseph came from the top and he had a snide way of smiling at everything Amery said as though he knew better, about everything. It was most irritating! He spoke about Deter as though he knew everything about her, despite not having met her yet.

She had paused at the door, allowing the Professor to catch up, and so she could calm her thoughts. Deter wasn’t expecting a visitor.

‘Come in,’ Deter had called out, after hearing Amery’s knock on the door.

‘Deter, this is Professor Joseph. He’s the head of the practice that’s always looked after your family and now you’re nearly 18 he would like to invite you to his clinic for a full scan and assessment. I know Doctor Phillips always scanned you here, but slightly more rigorous tests are needed for insurance purposes. The policy changes once you become an adult.’

‘Yes, of course,’ Deter knew how body scanning was important. As she was the sole heir of the Edison fortune, she was treated like a precious jewel. Buffed, polished, viewed through special lenses, prodded, poked and measured. It wasn’t a big deal.

‘A few questions, here, now in the comfort of your own home, then later, at approximately 3pm this afternoon, Miss Nix has arranged for you to be escorted to my clinic for full body tests. You will be staying with us a while.’

Deter had shot an intensely worried gaze at Amery, but still she had not responded,

‘Stand for me, look ahead and keep still.’

Amery had sensed that Deter was looking to her for reassurance, as the Professor’s manner had been a little abrupt. Amery hadn’t met her eye, she had wanted Deter to know that she didn’t like him or his plans either, but it was important to be accommodating.

‘Now tell me. Any abscesses, open wounds?’

‘No’

‘Any redness or unusual swelling?’

‘No’

‘Fever or chills?’

‘No, I’m perfectly well.’

‘Blisters, black scabs?’

‘Urgh! No’

‘Good.’ He had smiled, ‘I need some blood if that’s ok. I can make a start on tests straight away when I get back this morning. Do I have your permission.’

Deter had looked at Amery and raised her eyebrows. Amery had nodded. As the doctor had bent to retrieve his equipment from his bag, Amery had finally looked at her and rolled her eyes conspiratorially. Deter had smiled and rolled up her sleeves. As she had held her arm out, the doctor had pushed her sleeves further up her arm, looking satisfied and almost excited that he was about to draw her blood. Amery hadn’t been surprised he was excited, it was the first Immune arm he had seen for a while, she had sighed and looked away. She couldn’t bear seeing the moment the needle pierced the skin. The Professor had seemed to be loving it!



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