Against them stand Army Lieutenant Blaine Winters, the new Centurion of the N.Y. State National Guard's Enhanced Forces Division (EFD), and FBI Agent Tiffany Trujillo, once the superhero Titania. These two went with a SWAT team to confront the Siberian Tiger and Gun Girl Gracie at a bank heist in Brooklyn, but they got their asses kicked. Tiffany wound up in the hospital, a bunch of SWAT officers died, and Blaine would have died too if not for the prodigious gifts associated with his extraordinary genetic heritage.
Authors Note: If you're new to this story, this chapter is not the place to start. Start with Chapter 1. This bit right here is perhaps the darkest thing I've ever written.
The Return of Dr. Necropolis
Chapter 15: A Pattern of Behavior (Part 1)
Chelsea opened her eyes, unsure of where she was or how she’d gotten there. She thought at first that it was a bedroom. She awoke beneath a blanket, still wearing her clothes—thank God—surrounded by closely set walls and a very low ceiling done up in some kind of lacquered wood paneling. But then she looked down towards her feet, saw a kitchenette that could only be described as tiny, and realized that it must be a studio apartment or something. But if it was a studio, it was an insufferably small one, even by Manhattan’s minimal standards.
With realization came memory. The argument with Cole. The robbery. The older guy who’d saved their lives and then decided to rob the bank himself. The police, the smoke grenades, running away…
“Oh good. You’re awake.”
Chelsea looked up, and there he was. The guy from the bank. Her kidnapper.
He was an older man, in his late forties or maybe his early fifties. He was not tall. Five-eight, maybe five-nine. He was no taller than that, certainly. Muscular, though—an obvious weight-lifter. Not in the doughy way that Cole and his buddies pretended to lift, with their protein shakes and their overlong rest breaks. From the way that this man—Frank—moved, you could tell he was serious. His body was a piece of chiseled oak. She could tell because of what he wore—a tight white t-shirt stretched over gorgeously well-muscled shoulders, old jeans, and a pair of faded-out work boots. There was nothing pretend in any of it. She remembered a bomber jacket, too, but that was gone now. Still, if he’d had hair, he might’ve looked like the Fonz.
He was completely unlike anyone she’d ever met, she realized. Older, sure, and bald. But intense. He had steel blue eyes, and they looked straight through her—into her—in a way that left her feeling naked and exposed. This was not a man that she could lie to. He would not ignore her or leave her suffering from neglect. When he looked at her, he was totally focused.
He saw her. He could see everything.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
She glared at him, realized that she was trembling, and tried to hide it. Then she sat up, began frantically trying to pull herself back together. “Where are we? Why did you kidnap me?”
“Kidnap you? Is that what you think happened?” A slow smile spread across Frank’s face. “You drove the getaway car, Chelsea. Looked to me like you were enjoying yourself.”
“You had a gun to my head!”
“Did I?” Frank asked. “That’s not how I remember it.”
Chelsea glared at him, but he looked right back, eyes hard.
I’ll bet that’s not all that’s hard, a part of her thought. She quickly looked away, felt her face heat up. What the Hell is wrong with me?
Memories flashed. The delight on Frank’s face when he’d realized that her car was parked off a side street some two blocks away. Frank in the backseat, lying on the floorboard, talking softly, helping Chelsea keep calm. Red and blue lights in her rearview; her slow realization that they were really going to get away. The look she imagined on Cole’s face when he found out that the girl he’d just dumped—after more than two years!—had been abducted by a world-class super-criminal. Her own vague flights of fancy during the drive. Could she turn this into a book deal? Finally get that spot on The Amazing Race? Avoid getting raped?
That last seemed unlikely. This was Dr. Necropolis, after all.
The realization started her trembling again.
“What do you want with me?” she asked. As if it wasn’t obvious.
But the question stopped him in his tracks. “I told you. You seemed to be enjoying yourself.”
“Then how’d we get on this boat? Where are we?”
He started down the stairs into the boat’s cabin, getting uncomfortably close. “I told you. I wasn’t trying to hurt you, I just—”
“Don’t come any closer,” Chelsea said quickly. She backed away to the edge of the bed. “Please.”
Frank held up both hands and stopped. He stepped back and sat down on the stairs. “Take it easy. I told you I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Then why did you drug me? How did we even get here?”
“I just gave you a sedative. I couldn’t afford to have you getting second thoughts or trying to call the police once we got near the marina. It wasn’t anything serious, just a little valium that I got out of an ambulance a few days ago. I needed you quite while I figured out which boat to steal.”
Chelsea felt in her pockets, realized that her phone was gone. “What did you do with my phone?”
Frank smiled. “I gave it to a homeless guy along with a twenty from the bank job. He’s gonna ride the six train to Brooklyn and then turn it on and start making calls.”
“The way things went down back there, they’ll have mass confusion for an hour or two at a minimum. Sooner or later, though, they’ll realize where you went. They’ll track your phone to try and find you, and that will lead them to Brooklyn. That outta buy us a day or so before the search gets serious.”
“Are you insane?!” Chelsea cried. “You had no right to—”
Frank laughed. “Will you listen to yourself? I am Doctor-fucking-Necropolis, Chelsea. But you already know that. I broke out of prison less than a week ago, and I promise you, whatever happens next, it’ll be like nothing this city has ever seen. And you’re worried about your phone? Don’t. I’ll buy you a new one if that’s what you want. I’ll buy you whatever you want. That’s the easy part.”
“What are you gonna do with me?”
Frank stood up, again started slowly into the cabin. “Well. That’s up to you.”
“Is it? You could have left me with my car.”
“I could have,” Frank agreed. He sat down at the edge of the bed, gave Chelsea another long look. “But that wasn’t the best neighborhood. Besides, they’d have figured out where I went a lot faster if I’d left you behind.”
Chelsea sat up. I should move, she thought. Get away. Instead, she found herself looking Frank in the eyes. “What happened to my car?”
He had the grace to look embarrassed. “Same thing as your phone. It’s probably in Rockland County by now.”
“Wonderful. So now what?”
“I told you. That’s up to you.”
Chelsea looked at him, let the disbelief show clearly on her face. “Come on, Frank. I remember all those stories from back when I was a kid. There was, like, a scandal every week or something. The orgy with all those club kids and that time they caught the mayor with those strippers out in the Park. And what about that shit you used to sell downtown? The sex drug. You had a rep, man. That’s why all the kids loved you, and all their parents were scared shitless. You’ve got a way with people, Frank. You can make folks do things. That’s why you brought me here, admit it.”
Frank looked at his hands, seemed lost in thought for a moment. Chelsea wondered if she’d read him wrong. But he’d just broken out of prison, and now here they were—alone on some boat in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t exactly subtle. Besides, this was Dr. Necropolis. He’d said so himself.
What am I doing?
“You’re talking about N-Doxy,” he said at last. He wouldn’t look at her. “Were you one of those club kids? Did that stuff mess up your life or something?”
“I was a too young. But I heard the stories.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet you did.”
“Is it like they say?” she heard herself ask.
“I don’t know. What do they say?”
“That it’s like the movies. That it’s like… I don’t know. Like the way love's supposed to feel.”
Frank grunted and shook his head. He looked sad for a moment, but he covered it quickly enough. “No,” he said at last. He pulled an inhaler from his pocket, held it up where Chelsea could see it. “Real love isn’thalf this good.”
“I’ve never been in love,” Chelsea said sadly. “Not really.” I just thought that I was.
She was trembling now for real—though she was more nervous than scared. She thought of Cole, of who he was and who he’d been with. She’d wasted two years of her life with that asshole, and in the end he hadn’t even wanted her. She was just… too much trouble or something.
Frank was trouble, too. She could see it in his face. Despite his sudden reluctance, he would take her—eventually. He was holding back, trying to be good, but what he’d said earlier had been the truth.
He was a bad man.
How would it be, to be taken by a man like that?
“You’d really let me go?” she asked.
“I just needed you for leverage. If I was gonna force you…” he shrugged “… I mean, this stuff also comes in an injectable. I could have just shot you up while you were unconscious.” He looked at her again, ran a finger across her cheek. “Don’t think I wasn’t tempted.”
“So you’re a gentleman now?”
“No. I’m just not that kind of villain.”
She took the inhaler and looked at it.
What kind of book deal would it be without a torrid seduction and a few steamy details? What was she going to do, run back to Cole and beg him to take her back? I got abducted by Dr. Necropolis, and all I got for it was this lousy t-shirt.
Who would read that? Who would even care?
“Am I going to regret this?” she asked.
He smiled. “Probably. How the Hell should I know?”
“God. I must be crazy.” She put the inhaler to her lips, depressed the canister, and drew hard on the spray.
“There’s nothing wrong with curiosity. Or maybe there is, and you’re just talking to the wrong guy about it.” He took the inhaler, put it to his own lips, and took a long puff of his own. “For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing the right thing.”
“That shouldn’t make me feel better.”
“But it does.” He handed her the inhaler again. “One more for good measure.”
They each took another, and then she felt his hands on her face, in her hair, running down her arms. Their lips met, and it was like fire running straight through her body. She felt like she was melting. His need was a tonic. She felt alive and affirmed in a way that she hadn’t in months. In years. He pushed her down, raised her hands above her head, and pinned them there. Kissed her again—hard. She closed her eyes, heard herself moan, felt something on her wrists. She looked up in alarm even as her body bucked up to be beside his. He’d handcuffed one of her wrists, and as she watched, he was running the chain through a railing in the headboard, looping it around, and catching her other wrist. He cuffed this one as well. Just like that, she was helpless. Her body pressed against his, and she shivered, felt herself writhing against him.
“Frank,” she breathed, “I’m… You didn’t have to cuff me.”
He smiled, and it was a wicked thing. “I know I didn’t have to, Chelsea. I wanted to.”
“Oh my God.”
“Oh Chelsea, you have no idea…”
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