Claudette & Valo

Chapter One

Claudette made sure she had her notebooks of drawings, everything she had seen and everything they had made her see. They had used her astral projection to gain secrets, military and personal. She couldn’t take it anymore, she didn’t want to hurt people. She had managed to steal the codes to the security doors. They had thought her unable to push past the electromagnetic barrier they had erected around her room. Her door was always unlocked, allowing her access to the rest of the compound. The only thing stopping her had been the security doors. She stepped out of her room, keeping her head down as she hurried down the hall to the first door. She ounched in the code and walked through, breathing deeply to keep herself from panicking. She made it to the second door, her heart thundering in her chest as she punched in that code. There was one more door, one last exit and then freedom. The alarms in the building went off and she ran to the last door. Her hands were shaking, but she managed to get the final code in. She pushed through the door, hearing footsteps behind her.

The door closed behind her and she sprinted away, holding tightly to her notebook. The building was on lock down, but she had made it out in time. They wouldn’t be able to follow her until the mandatory lock down time was over. Dr. Ortega stared angrily at the security monitors as he called his boss Colonel Harker. “What do you mean the projector has escaped?” Harker asked, his voice an angry yell.

“I mean she walked right out of here like it was nothing.”

“Fool, idiotic fool. She knows to much. How incompetent are you.”

“We thought we had this place locked down tight.”

“She is no idiot, she has had this gift since the day she was born of course she can make it past your stupid barriers. Moron, I am sending my retrieval expert. Expect him within half an hour. His name is Valo, do as he asks.”

It didn’t matter to Claudette they couldn’t chase her for awhile. She ran quickly away. She had to get as much ground between herself, her father and her other users. She didn’t really have anywhere to go since she didn’t know of any family. If she did have relatives her dad had never wanted her introduced. He never acted like a father, not for a second of her life. She had stopped caring long ago. Now all she wanted was to run far away. Claudette would rather live on the street than be used one more day.

She ran until she was too tired to force herself into another mile. Claudette collapsed underneath a tree, trying to catch her breath. Now that she was resting it sank in she actually escaped. She couldn’t believe she actually managed it. It was overwhelming along with exciting. She hoped that maybe if she found a town she could find some work or maybe she could just lose herself deep in the woods where they couldn’t find her. She could live off berries and drink from streams.

Valo stepped out of his car and crossed over to the compound where a couple of armed guards were standing. He pulled out his identification and showed it to them. One of them punched in the door code and pulled it open for him. He stood there, waiting patiently for the doctor. The man came running down the hall, apologizing for making him wait. “I am Dr. Ortega, please come with me.” Valo followed him silently, his eyes scanning every inch of the building. It was well made and should have been able to hold the prisoner who had escaped. They walked upstairs to the surveillance room where he was offered a seat.

“No thank you.” He said politely and Dr. Ortega swallowed nervously and sat down. He rewound the tapes and paused it.

“This woman is who I need you to retrieve. She is very important.”

“She doesn’t look dangerous or like any prisoner I have ever seen.”

“She is a risk to national security, she knows the things. She is also an astral projector. Her name is Claudette.”

“So she is an experiment.” He shrugged. “If she is a danger then consider her apprehended.” Ortega left out the fact that Claudette was his daughter.

“I was told your service comes at a high price.” He picked up an envelope and handed it to Valo who opened it and looked through it. “Half now and half when you bring her back. Do not think of double crossing me.” Valo smirked, a gun seemingly appearing out of nowhere.

“Never threaten me doctor, it’s bad for business.” He slipped the gun back under his jacket and smiled politely. He took one more look at Claudette, believing is would be a very exciting hunt.

As Valo left he wondered why a sweet looking girl would be working for the government. Of course plenty of women did but she just seemed out of place. She had looked afraid on those tapes, not like some criminal out to cause havoc or someone ready to spill secrets to an enemy. She looked like someone just wanting to get away from all this. It didn’t much matter to him in the end. It wasn’t his business to get personal, it was only to retrieve then receive his payment. He could see Claudettes boot prints and he just followed them calmly. He didn’t believe there was much of a reason to run just yet.

She would take breaks when he would need very few. He knew in the end he would catch his mark like always. When Claudette felt rested enough she began again. This time walking so not to catch attention to herself. The loudness of running would surely attract attention and she could make better choices about which way she was going if she was walking and could process. She was still debating how to live her new life. In a city they may find her and force her back. Her father would use the fact that he was her father and pretend to be grieving for somthing other than the loss of money.

She started crying and wiped angrily at her face. It wasn’t fair being born to a father who didn’t love her. She wished she could have known her mother and often wondered if she would have been sweet and loving. Her father hardly ever talked about her mother. She decided to make her way to the closest city to maybe get a ride to somewhere else. She thought maybe if she went far enough away they would leave her alone. It wasn’t her fault she knew what she knew. They made her go, they put her into drug induced comas and made her only chance of freedom her astral projection. Claudette came to a stream and stopped to take a sip of the cool water. She had to find a road to walk along. She would make sure to stay off the actual road though, just in case.

She walked until her legs ached and still didn’t stop. She was really afraid that if she stopped for longer than a second that she would be captured. When she finally made it to a road she breathed a sigh of relief. Headlights bloomed in the distance and she debated whether or not she should step out and ask for help. She wanted to stay out of sight, but she hated being alone. She stepped out of the trees and waved her arm, her heart hammering fearfully when the car rolled to a stop. It was an elderly couple.

“What are you doing out here all alone young lady?” The old man asked.

“I ran away from someone bad and got lost. May I have a ride?”

“Yes, of course. Please get it.” She smiled and crawled into the back seat. She looked out at the woods, thinking For a moment she saw someone.

Valo huffed when he saw the car pull away. Now he had to go back to the compound, get his car, and follow her into town. He had hoped she would not make such good time, but he had underestimated her. She very obviously did not want to be at the compound. He turned back around, jogging back instead of walking. She wouldn’t get further than where she was heading tonight so he didn’t have to worry about losing her.

The elderly woman asked “Do you have family we can take you too?” Claudette shook her head and the woman frowned then continued “We have plenty of space in our home. Our children haven’t lived with us for a long time. Come stay with us and when you’re ready you can tell us what’s happened to you. You look so frightened.”

“Thank you so much” Claudette said not being able to help the tears that followed. Lorraine wanted to say somthing more but she didn’t know what to say. She glanced at her husband who was obviously having the same problem. When they got home Claudette nervously stepped out. She had been half afraid of them working for her father and were only tricking her into thinking she was being helped. They went in adn Claudette braced for being pounced on but nothing happened. Lorraine went to get Claudette a drink and Kirkland spoke “do you want a shower? You got yourself quite dirty trekking through those woods. My grandaughter keeps clothes here and you look to be the same size.” Claudette felt like bolting, not wanting to stay in one place but a shower did sound nice. She felt filthy from the woods. Lorraine came back in “yes, drink somthing, take a shower and then we’ll have somthing to eat”

Claudette almost said no but ended up nodding. Kirkland grabbed the clothes for Claudette then handed them to her. She checked the size making Kirkland ask “will they fit?”

“Yeah, I wear a bit bigger than this but it wont be a huge difference. Thank you for helping me but I wont be able to tell you what happened. I hope that’s ok” Lorraine put a hand on Claudettes shoulder “we don’t have to know ok? Just go hop in that shower and I’ll make you somthing to eat. You should maybe finish off that glass first so you don’t dehydrate. I’m not sure when you last drank somthing” Claudette gave the best smile she could “It hasn’t been that long but I will” Claudette downed the drink then went into their bathroom. Lorraine hugged her husband, feeling so sad for the girl in their home.

Claudette rushed through the shower. She was still battling bolting or staying. Her acheing body was winning the war but her mind was still in overdrive. When she got out she quickly dried then puled on the clothes they offered her. When she walked into the living room Kirkland said “I’m Kirkland and my wife is Lorraine. Can we know your name?”

“Claudette”

“That’s a very beautiful name.” Lorraine said and Claudette smiled. “I hope a sandwich is okay until breakfast.”

“That will be fine ma’am thank you.”

“I put it on the kitchen table with some milk.”

She nodded and went into the kitchen, taking a seat at the table and eyeing the food suspiciously. She had been drugged this way before. She took a deep breath and picked it up, taking a big bite. She chewed quickly and swallowed then waited. When nothing happened she picked up the milk and took a drink. She was relieved there were no drugs in either and she allowed herself to relax a little. She finished her food and milk then took her dishes to the sink and rinsed them.

“Thank you.” She said as she passed through the living room and headed to the room they had given her.

Valo pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and got out. He made sure his jacket was zipped before going in and getting a room. He didn’t even smile at the receptionist, but immediately headed back out. He pulled out his phone and called his coworker Delilah. She was a computer whiz. “To what do I owe the honor?” She asked when she answered.

“No time for small talk, I need you to tell me how many Toyota Highlanders there are near my location then text me the addresses of the owners.”

“yes sir, call me when you’re done with this job. You never call me any more” Valo heard Delilah tapping at her keys and then  silence. He knew she was waiting on results from her computer so waited patiently. Valo understood she couldn’t make things pop up any faster on the computer than he could. There were five in his area and she gave him the address for each one. “thanks” was all he said before hanging up the phone. He hadn’t even given Delilah a moment to respond. This case was bothering Valo. The way she looked leaving, how much she had to have pushed herself to get as far away as she did. These were the actions of someone scared, not bad. It wasn’t his place to question his jobs but this one was bothering him. It was frustrating since a case had never bothered him before.

Most the time Valo didn’t even care why a criminal was being apprehended. He just got his things and went up to the room to hunt tomorrow. With how far that girl traveled when he was sure she wasn’t used to it, he knew she would have to sleep tonight. Valo went in the room then set his alarm for six am. She was desperate enough to get moving early and he had five houses to check. Valo fell asleep quickly, picturing the forlorn face of his target.

Claudette was floating above herself. She looked so peaceful in her sleep, almost like an angel. She drifted up, moving through the ceiling and outside into the night. It was always so beautiful when she was in this form. It was as if every detail stood out to her eyes. She moved away from the house, moving slowly over the city. She wished she could take the time to admire the details of the buildings and people she passed, but she had to know if she had been followed. She knew in her heart that someone had been in the woods behind her. She completely opened herself to the world around her, hearing every sound and feeling the different energies.

A wave of predatory energy washed over her. It reminded her of the jungle cats she had seen in her trips. The energy of a hunter and it was very out of psynch with the rest of the city. She followed that line of energy, allowed it to pull her in. She found herself at a hotel, passing through the roof and into a bedroom. The man was sound asleep, his face a mask of seriousness. He was extremely handsome, his long hair a shade of purple. It almost looked natural. She moved closer so her face was a couple of inches from his and studied his features. She had to remember everything about him. He gasped and his eyes snapped open, staring right at her in confusion.

“What the..” Valo blinked and she vanished. He shook his head and looked around. He was alone and the room was dead quiet. He laid back down, taking a deep breath and allowing himself to drift back off. Claudette couldn’t believe he had seen her. No one could see her like this, it was impossible. She pulled away from him, allowing herself to be jerked back to her body.

Claudette didn’t wake again until four am the next morning. It was early but she had no interest in sleeping. Her hunter was in the same town as her and she didn’t still want to be around when he came. She would walk herself out of the city and maybe hitchhike to another town. Claudette put her shoes on then tried to silently move out of her room. She began to walk silently around the house to leave a nice thank you note to these kind elderly people. There wasn’t any way she could just leave without a proper thank you. She was still looking when Lorraine came out of her room “you ok honey?”

“Oh yes mam, I woke and I can’t sleep” Lorraine gave a sympathetic smile “lets have some coco and I’ll go ahead and fix breakfast. You have shoes on so you were trying to leave. Let me feed you before you go. I’d rather you let us help you but we wont trap you here. Just know you are always welcome back for anything once you step out our door”

“Thank you” Claudette said then followed Lorraine into the kitchen. Lorraine made the coco before starting on the eggs and bacon. Claudette drank nervously, her heart pounding as she thought of Valo. He could be on his way any moment to obtain her and force her back. As she started on her eggs she decided to ask him to have enough mercy to kill her. Living like that was worse than death so if she couldn’t escape she would rather just be dead.

Valo drove to the second address on his list, slowing down for a moment then speeding back up when he saw the vehicle in the driveway was the wrong color. He looked at the third address and punched it into his GPS. He had to find Claudette, more now than before. After seeing her in his room watching him, her eyes curious and frightened, he had questions. If she proved to be a danger, a real danger then he would take her in, but if she was innocent and that scientist had sent him after her for some suck reason then there would be hell to pay. He didn’t like being deceived.

Claudette sketched a portrait of her hunter. Even though she wanted to make his expression sinister, she had not failed to notice how soft his eyes were or how peaceful his face had been. There had not been a hint of malice or evil intent, just a calm collectedness. “That’s a very nice picture. May I ask who it is?” Kirkland asked.

“I don’t really know, I don’t actually know him.” She answered.

“He looks serious, almost like a military man.”

“Maybe he was.” She finished his hair then closed her sketch book. “I want to thank the both of you for helping me. It was very kind of you.”

“We were just doing what’s right.” Lorraine said with a warm smile. There was a knock on the front door and Kirkland said he would get it. The old man that opened the door seemed surprised to see him. Valo arched a quizzical eyebrow and the man cleared his throat.

“May I help you?”

“I’m looking for a young woman with reddish brown hair, little shorter than average, named Claudette. Have you seen her?”

“No, I haven’t, but if you give me a number I’ll call you if I do.”

“That won’t be necessary sir. Thank you for your time.” Valo walked a little ways down the street and climbed behind the wheel of his car. She was in there hiding. He could tell by the old man’s body language.

Kirkland went back into the kitchen nervously “a man was looking for you sweetheart” Claudettes heart was pounding. She had heard that handsome man she saw last night speaking in the living room to Kirkland. “wat do you think I should do?”

“I think he’s gone”

“Did you see him leave?”

“He walked down the street, maybe he’s going door to door”

“Maybe”

“You should stay here for awhile longer Claudette. We need to make sure he’s gone. Perhaps we should call the police” Lorraine suggested. “No, no police please. They’ll take me back to my dad. Please”

“It was your father who was hurting you?” Kirkland asked in an agitated tone. “sort of, please. I’ll be locked up again if we call the cops. I knwo that might not make sense to you two but its the truth”

Chapter Two

“we believe you honey. We wont call.” Lorraine assured Claudettes. It did nothing to slow the beat of her heart. Valo was close and possibly still near by. He could come crashing in at any moment and force her back. Lorraine rubbed Claudettes back “calm down sweetheart. We wont let anyone hurt you. I wish you weren’t trying to leave here atall. If anybody breaks into our home for you theyll be breaking the law and we’ll have them arrested.  Claudette hugged her “thank you, I’m just not sure. It’s hard to think”

“I’m sure it is” Valo waited patiently behind the wheel of his car. If she left that house he would see it, capture her and have her explain why she was being held hostage in that place. If she was innocent and being abused he would let her know he was on her side and have her watch as he made them all pay for whatever they had done to her.

“I  think I should leave. It would be safer that way. He might come back.” Claudette said softly as tears slid down her cheeks.

“We can protect you sweetie.” Kirkland replied.

“You don’t understand what kind of people are after me. My father will do anything to get me back. He might even have someone kill you and Lorraine. I would hate myself if anything happened to you because of me.” She wiped at her face and stood, grabbing her sketchbook and pencil.

“What if that man tries to hurt you?” Lorraine asked.

“I can take care of myself and I won’t take any unecessary risks. I promise.”

They both sighed, but understood her choice. “Lorraine pack some clothes and food into my duffel bag for her.”

“We can’t just let her leave unprotected.”

“I’m not, just pack her a bag.” Lorraine nodded and headed into the kitchen, grabbing cans of food, a can opener, and silverware. She then headed upstairs and threw them in a duffel bag before grabbing some clothes and putting them in the bag. Kirkland went up to his bedroom closet and pulled down a metal case. He grabbed his revolver out of it along with the box of bullets and headed back down to Claudette. “Do you know how to use a gun?”

“Yes, I’ve watched many people use all kinds of guns.”

“Watching and using are two different things. Come here.” He showed her how to hold it and made sure to put emphasis on the fact that it was loaded and there was no safety. Lorraine came down with the bag and Kirkland put the gun and bullets inside. “Don’t be afraid to kill if you have to.”

“Yes sir, thank you both so much. I will never forget you.” She hugged them both then slipped the duffel bag over her head so the strap ran across her chest and hurried out the front door.

Valo started the car when he saw Claudette step out of the elderly man’s house. He followed her at a distance, not wanting to alert her to his presence. She moved as quickly as she could, holding tightly to her sketchbook as if it was the only thing that mattered. He didn’t know what he was going to say to her when he finally cornered her. He had never talked to a mark before or listened to their pleas. Claudette was the opposite of all the criminals he had dragged back to prison. She was incredibly beautiful and obviously very caring since she had left the safety of a strangers house. She probably thought he was a violent man and would kill her protectors, but he knew that violence could only get you so far and he never used it against the elderly, children, and only used it against women if they tried to kill him first.
Claudette eventually noticed she was being followed and grew tense. She gripped her sketch book tightly in her hands as she contemplated how she could evade this man. He was in a car so she coudln’t really outrun him. If she went in a store he could just wait for her to come out. This was a busy town so there wasn’t much of anywhere she could run that a car coudln’t just follow her. She felt this may be the end. Claudette didn’t really have it in her to shoot anyone though she was grateful for the gun. She had been caught and her life was about to fall into misery once again.

She walked until she came to a park. There was a nature trail that wound around it which gave her plenty of wooded places that she could confront the hunter. She walked up the trail, her heart thundering loudly in her chest. She was terrified of what he might do. Valo pulled into the parking lot and stepped out of his car as she disappeared into a group of trees. He hurried after her, not wanting to lose her. He rounded a corner and came to a stop when he saw her pointing a gun at him. Her hands were shaking and she looked terrified.

“St…stay there, leave me alone.” She said, her voice cracking.

He put his hands up and took a step closer. “Hey, calm down okay. Do you even know how to use that thing?”

“Stop and go away. I don’t want to go back, you’ll have to kill me first.”

“Just calm down Claudette, just take a deep breath and calm down.” He moved closer and her finger tightened on the trigger. The bullet went wide and hit a tree behind him. He rushed her, grabbing her wrists and jerking the gun out of her hands.

“Let me go, please let me go.” She started crying and then just dropped to her knees in defeat. “Kill me, I can’t go back to him, I can’t. He doesn’t love me, he never has.”

“What are you talking about?”

“My father, the mad scientist, the man who haunts my dreams and forces me to use my gift. I can’t go back to him so just put a bullet in my brain and end my torment. He hired you right? You’re one of his hunters.”

Valo felt anger move through him at the fact that he had been paid to retrieve a woman so miserable that she would rather die than be taken. He pulled her to her feet and let her wrists go. “My name is Valo and you will be coming with me, to my hotel, not to the compound.”

“What? Why?”

“Because I was lied to and I do not take kindly to being lied to by anyone. So you’ll be staying with me until I can figure this out. I need to do some research into Dr. Ortega’s past it seems.”

Claudette wiped her face “you’re serious?”

“I’m very serious, please get in my car. I am not a bad man, I capture them but I am not one. You are very obviously just a victim and I wont let them have you back. I can’t believe I was sent on somthing like this. It angers and disgusts me.” Claudette got the urge to hug her handsome saviour but refrained. It was easy to hug the kind elderly couple but a handsome man was a different story. They walked back to his car where he opened the passenger side for her “thank you” she said as he shut the door. He got in his side “you’re welcome.”

“I’m sorry for trying to shoot you. I just can’t go back. I don’t want to be in another medicly induced coma, I dont want to see the things I’ve been forced to see” Valo gripped the steerling wheel tightly, his hands turning white at the words induced coma. He really wanted to know about these bastards that had sent him after such a sweet girl. “do not be sorry. I understand you were scared. I’d be too”

“I don’t think that’s true, you don’t seem like the type to get scared.”

“I’ve been scared plenty in my life, it’s not a feeling I’m fond of, but it has happened.”

She giggled without meaning to, the sound making his heart stutter. “I was so afraid you wouldn’t listen to me.”

“Me not listen to a beautiful woman, I don’t think so.” A blush heated her face and she looked down at her sketch book. She didn’t know what to say back. She had not spent very much time with men other than the ones she saw when she astral projected, but none of them could see her. Valo was the first who had been able to see her in her astral form and the first to call her beautiful. She stayed quiet for the rest of the drive and didn’t say anything when he got out of his car and grabbed her duffel bag then went around to her side and opened the passenger door.

“Thank you again.”

“You’re very welcome. If you like you can watch TV and relax while I call my uh friend Delilah. I want to do some research on your father and the compound. I need to know about his past.”

“I wish I could help, but he never told me anything.”

“It’s okay, you just relax and if the receptionist or anyone else asks, you’re my girlfriend.”

“Okay, I understand.”

Valo walked Claudette inside, the receptionist smiled at them without saying a word as they passed. He guided her to his room then turned the tv on before handing her the remote. “Do whatever you want in here. I’m just going to step out to make my call. I’ll be right back. If you want to watch something you have to pay for watch it. It’ll get billed to my room and I’ll take care of the fee.”

“alright” He gave her a smile, hoping it brought Claudette any comfort. Valo walked back to his car and sat down. He didn’t know if they were having him watched and he certainly didn’t want anyone eaves dropping on his phone call. Delilah answered quickly as always. “Yes Valo?”

“Turns out I was lied to. The girl i was after was a victim. I want to hurry and end this nightmare for her so I don’t want to sit here and talk about it. You know you can trust my word she’s the victim and they are the criminals”

“Of course, what do you need from me”

“Everything you can on the people that hired me. Especially on Claudettes father Dr Ortega”

“Her father was involved?”

“Yeah, pretty damn sick. They let anybody have kids. This is really pissing me off. She is such a nice girl. She actually asked me to kill her rather than return her to them. Can you imagine the life she must have been living there for her to rather die than go back?”

“I’ll get right to it and call you back when I’m done researching.”

“Thanks”

“Bye”

“Bye” Valo said before hanging up. He knew it may take awhlie for a return call so he collected himself before going back to his room. “done already?” Claudette asked. Valo almost smiled again. Somthing about her voice made him warm and forced his facial muscles to move. “She needs to research. She’ll be calling me back soon”

“Is she a good friend?”

He couldn’t tell her he and Delilah had history. It wasn’t like they had dated and he had ended the relationship the minute she started wanting more. “Yeah, kind of. She’s trustworthy.”

“That’s good. Would you like to watch this movie with me?”

“Sure.” She patted the bed next to her and he kicked off his shoes before sitting cross legged beside her. She had chosen In Bruges which he had watched a couple of times. He smiled at how entranced she was by the movie, her eyes getting wide during the gun fights and her sweet laugh filling the room when something funny happened. His phone rang and he got up, giving her a smile before heading into the bathroom. “What do you got?” He asked when he answered.

“Dr. Vincent Ortega worked as a scientist for the military testing for and trying to induce psychic ability. He and his wife Matilda developed a drug that could wake up the part of the brain needed for psychic ability. When the drug disappeared he was fired. I’m guessing he gave this drug to his wife resulting in their daughter being born an astral projector. The only thing I could dig up of their daughter was a birth certificate so I’m guessing the good doctor kept her hidden.” Delilah answered. “Matilda died during child birth and Dr. Ortega opened the compound.”

“He’s been putting her into medically induced comas to get his secrets. That must be how he funds is so called research.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose and sighed. “I have to find a way to shut this asshole down.”

“The boss isn’t going to like this Valo.”

“He knows my policy, no innocents.”

“Do you need anything else?”

“Not right now, thank you.” He hung up and went back into the bedroom where Claudette was working on a drawing. She was so distracted she didn’t see him coming and he got a good look of the picture she was drawing. It was him, smiling and looking completely at ease. “That’s very detailed.” She jumped, gasped and shut her sketchbook. “Come on let me see.” She blushed and shook her head. He smiled and sat down next to her, tipping her head up by her chin. “Please, let me see.”

“Tell me how you saw me first. I came here and you saw me, no one ever sees me.”

“Heck I don’t know, it just happened and I only saw you for a brief second.”

“Maybe you’re special too.” She handed him the sketchbook and he gave her a warm smile.

Valo opened it up to see the amazing drawing Claudette had made “you’re so good at this.”

“I love drawing when I’m doing it to have fun. I had to draw you after I saw you last night. I expected my hunter to look mean but you didn’t atall”

“It’s just my job to capture criminals. I thought I was after another aweful person who needed to be put away. Some things didn’t sit right with me though which is why i took the time to talk to you before”

“I’m just glad I don’t have to go back”

“As long as I’m alive you’ll never go back there. Not one person is going to touch a hair on your head that wants to hurt you or use you” Claudette smiled “I hope I can pay you back someday for caring about me. I’m sure this is a lot of trouble for you”

“for you, it’s no trouble” Valo really meant it. He wasn’t sure why but he did know he wasn’t willing to let anyone hurt Claudette. He adored that laugh, her smile and honestly everything else about her. She was far too special to be at the mercy of such selfish jerks. He didn’t let any innocents suffer but her life meant a lot to him and he would protect her. He thumbed through a few of her other pages in the sketch book.. It looked as if she had lessons but knew she couldn’t have. This was  a natural talent and an absolutely amazing one.

“My father took some of my drawings, the important ones. He made me draw up the layout of buildings, where safes were so he could have some of his people steal things. He made sure I gave him the faces of certain people. He would make me do it for hours until I was so exhausted I could barely get up.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I had the oppurtunity to see many amazing things. I learned about so much. I got to see people in love, happy families, beauty. I went to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, I have so many drawings of places I want to physically go to and be able to touch.”

“You will, I’ll take you myself.” She smiled brightly.

“Really? You don’t have to do that for me.” He tucked her hair behind her ear.

“Yes I do, I’m going to make sure you see everything.” She jumped into his arms, her arms going around his neck. He held her close, enjoying her smell and warmth against him.

“I’m going to repay you Valo whether you like it or not. Anything you want.”

He pulled back to look at her and she looked up at him with so much trust that it humbled him. He stroked his knuckles over her cheek. “You should never offer anything, even to someone who saves your life. They could very easily take advantage of you in your innocene.”

“I trust you not to hurt me. You’re a good man, I can tell.” Her stomach growled and she blushed.

“Why didn’t you say you were hungry? I’ll order us some pizza.”

“I’ve never had pizza.”

“Well then lets change that shall we.”

Valo took out the phone and ordered a small pepperoni and a small cheese pizza. He wanted to start her off simple since she had never had one before. He also ordered a two liter of pepsi and mt dew incase she had never had soda either.When he hung up Valo asked “have you had soda?”

“No, just water. My dad kept me on a very strict diet so i could live as long as possible. He wanted to use me untilhe coudln’t any longer. If it’s not healthy, I probably haven’t had it.” Valo frowned “You’ll probably get sick of me saying but I am so sorry. It really hurts to hear how you were treated. I can’t see how anybody could be cruel to such a sweet woman.”

“I was just a means to make money to them, I’ve never been anything more. I don’t think they even see me as a human.”

“Well i see you and i see you for the amazing, beautiful woman you are. I’m going to treat you to everything you’ve missed out on” Claudette gave a huge smile “I’m really glad it was you my father sent after me”

“Me too” Valo said in a softer voice. The pizza came along with their soda. Valo paid then they grabbed the two plastic cups on the desk of the hotel room. Valo poured Claudette a Pepsi. “if you don’t like it you don’t have to drink it. we can try Mt Dew next” She took her cup and took a small sip. “Oh my god, thats delicious!” Valo smiled and poured himself some Mt dew. “glad you like it”

They watched TV as they ate lunch, him smiling at how excited she really was about new food. He wondered what kind of crappy diet they had her on. When they were finished he crushed the boxes and put them in the garbage. “What else am I allowed to eat?” She asked.

“There is no allowed. You can have whatever you want.”

“Anything?” He nodded. She smiled and gave him another hug. He could get used to having her around. “Can I stay with you fo awhile? I don’t have anyone else and you make me feel safe.” She said softly.

“Yes, of course.” She kissed his cheek, giving him goosebumps.

“Thank you so much.” She pulled back and looked into his eyes. He resisted the urge to kiss her. He didn’t even know how she felt about him, especially since they had just met. He needed to give her time to understand what it meant to truly love someone. He swallowed at his thoughts. The idea of loving her excited him and scared him.

Chapter Three

“I need to go and scope out your father’s compound, get the layout of the place. I want you to stay here and don’t let anyone in but me.”

“I can astral project for you.”

“No, I refuse to use you the way your father did. I’m an expert at this sort of thing so just relax and maybe get some real sleep.”

“Okay if you’re sure.”

“I am, just stay safe.” He got up and grabbed his shoulder holster, slipping into it then pulling his jacket on. “The door will lock when I leave, I have the card so the only way anyone can get in here is if they take the key from me or you open the door. If someone breaks in lock yourself in the bathroom with that gun and wait for me.”

“I’ll just project myself to you since you can see me then you’ll know.”

“alright” Valo hugged Claudette tightly “no matter who anybody says they are. Just please don’t let them in.”

“I wont, I know better. it was hard to trust that sweet old couple because I know my father so well. You don’t need to worry so much. I don’t want to cause you stress” He smiled and spoke honestly “I can’t help but worry about you Claudette” He let go then walked out. He checked to make sure the room was locked tight before heading down to his car. Claudette poured herself another drink then watched a little more television. She was worried abou him going back without her. She didn’t know what her father might pull if he realized Valo was now her protector rather than her hunter.

She tried to push it out of her head. When her cup was empty she decided to try for a nap. She hadn’t slept soundly atall last night and she had no idea what the next hours might bring. They could be too busy running to sleep tonight and she didn’t want to weigh Valo down with her exhaustion. Claudette checked the door then enveloped herself with the covers.

Valo drove in silence back to where Claudette had first lost him, telling himself over and over again that he had to stay calm. Claudette’s freedom was at stake and maybe even her life. He pulled off the road and down into the ditch, parking and getting out. He headed into the woods, moving quickly and quietly. By the time he made it to the compound it was well past noon. Ortega had doubled up on security since his departure and the guards patrolled the perimeter of the building. He waited for the first two guards to move out of sight before darting across to a window. He followed the guards, staying close to the wall until he came to a basement door.

He tugged on it, finding it locked with nothing but a padlock. For a genius Claudette’s father was an idiot as far as security went. He thought his compound was airtight, but the one place he had not checked was where they took supplies. He took his swiss army knife out of his pocket and unscrewed one of the handles. He pulled the door open and slipped inside. The way the guards had walked past the door let him know they didn’t care about it and probably wouldn’t notice he had taken the handle off. He couldn’t head into the hallway because of the cameras but he could take the ventilation shafts. They would give him enough of a view to get the general layout of the building.

He took off his jacket and pulled his hair up in a topknot before using his swiss army knife to unscrew the vent. He pulled himself in and moved silently through the shaft. He looked through each opening, memorizing the halls and where each door was. He could hear talking and followed the voices. The closer he got the more he realized it was the good doctor and he was angry. He looked down through a vent and listened to the conversation.

“What do you mean he refuses to hunt her anymore?” Ortega asked loudly. “That’s ridiculous damn it.” He paced back and forth. “Then I will get someone more competent, tell your hunter I want my money back.” He slammed the phone down then pressed a button on a intercom. “Thomas, Reyes find the girl and bring her back. I don’t care what it takes.” Valo’s heart gave a lurch and he pushed his way as fast as he could back through the ventilation shaft. He dropped out of the entrance and grabbed his jacket. He was halfway through pulling it on when a flashlight turned on and he found himself staring down the barrel of an M16.

“Looks like you saved us the trouble of finding you. You’ve gone back on your word and we don’t have our property. You promised her returned but here you are sneaking around vents.” Valo felt more rage than he had ever experienced hearing this man call Claudette property. He gritted his teeth as a dog might bare his fangs to an aggressor. His mind went into overdrive with what to do, he didn’t have time for this, he needed to get to Claudette. The guard just wore a smug smile that Valo woudl make a deal with the devil just to punch off. Claudette tossed and turned in her sleep. She woke, feeling like somthing was wrong.

Claudette looked around the room to see Valo was still gone. She worried her father was on to them and now Valo was the victim of whatever punishment. Her heart hurt thinking about him in pain. It only hurt worse that it would be her fault. If he woudl have handed her over he wouldn’t be in danger. Claudette tried to take calming breaths, she didn’t know for a fact he was in trouble but her gut was hard to ignore. She grabbed her gun then went into the bathroom so she could lock the door and project herself to him to see if he was in trouble.

Valo sat tied to a chair, his nose bleeding after being punched in the face. He glared at Dr. Ortega, this vile creature who used his own daughter as a guinea pig. “We know you paid for a hotel room.” Ortega said as he paced back and forth. “Is she hiding there?” He just stared silently, unwilling to give Claudette away. “She knows to much Valo, she’s dangerous.”

“The only person who is in danger is you doctor. You are an evil man who uses his daughter like she’s some kind of tool. I love her to much to let you have her.” He said angrily.

Ortega backhanded him. “I have sent people for her and once we have her back we are going to kill you and make sure she can never leave again.”

Claudette’s heart stuttered at Valo’s profession of love. He loved her and was taking a beating for her. She wished she could help him and hated that she couldn’t touch anything in her astral form. She allowed herself to be pulled back, her body jerking as she re-entered herself. She sat up with a gasp and started crying. She got to her feet, deciding to try and avoid the men coming for her. She tucked the gun in the waist of her jeans and pulled her shirt over it. She heard a knock at the bedroom door and froze. There was another knock and then the sound of the door knob jiggling. They were already there and would be coming in any moment. She stepped out of the bathroom and opened one of the bedroom windows then knocked the screen out. She stuck her head out, seeing there was a ledge large enough for her to walk along. She was terrified, but knew she had no choice.

Valo watched  as Dr. Ortega left the room, making sure he was really gone before reaching into his jacket sleeve and pulling out a knife. He cut the ropes loose and rubbed his wrists before wiping his face and moving to the door. He had to get his gun and get out of the compound. Dr. Ortega could wait, Claudette needed him now.

Claudette stepped out slowly. She had only just scooted away from the windows view when she heard them begin to attempt breaking down the door. She kept moving slowly, knowing if she rushed she may fall. There was another window that she could bang on in hopes someone was staying in that room. She just had to get over there. She would just run right through. Claudette didn’t want to involve anybody she didn’t have to so there would be no attempts to hide in their room if they gave her entrance through the window. That was, if she could get in the window before the goons noticed her walking on the ledge. Not all of her fathers men were smart enough to put two and two together. They might not realize the window ever had a screen and that she could be scooting along out here. They may just think she wasn’t in her room atall which was the situation Claudette was praying for.

To her dismay a head stuck out of the window when she was finally close enough to bang on her neighbors. Now she couldn’t do it. Her hunters might go over there and hurt whatever innocent people relaxed inside. Her father was smart enough to send the men of high intelligence he had at his disposal. Reyes was a mean bastard too. He looked at her with malice when their eyes met. “Claudette, you get over here right now you annoying girl. We need you and you need to stop throwing this tantrum and do your work!”

“I’m not going back! I’ll never go back!”

“Oh you wont? I’m supposed to obtain you by any means necessary. People could get hurt Claudette. Do you want the nice people of this hotel to die because you wouldn’t come along like a good little girl? You come right this second or I’ll ask again after I’ve killed five people. Your life or five other Claudette? This is a limited time offer” Claudettes heart sank but she knew what she had to do. Valo was already a punching bag because of her, she couldn’t let innocent people take bullets for her too. Reyes was just cruel enough to pull a stunt like that. She was sure enough he would do it that she didn’t test him. “I’m coming”

“Hurry” He said with a triumphant smile.

Valo made it back to his car as fast as possible and climbed behind the wheel, peeling out as he pulled onto the road. He broke every traffic law there was getting back to the hotel. He didn’t know what the two men would do to Claudette since they had her alone. Her father didn’t seem to care if she was harmed as long as she was returned. He was relieved when he was passed by no cops. He screeched to a halt in the hotel parking lot and opened his glove compartment. He grabbed the gun he had there. It was full of tranquilizer rounds. He used them when he was asked to bring a prisoner back unharmed. He didn’t have his actual gun and he preferred not to kill someone in front of Claudette unless he had to. He stepped out of his car and headed inside.

“Call the police.” He said to the receptionist. “There are two men upstairs about to assault my girlfriend.” He got in the elevator and pushed the button to his floor.

Claudette was pulled back in by Reyes and thrown on the floor. “You should have known better than to run away.” He said angrily. He pulled her to her feet by her hair and pushed her into the wall so she bounced off and onto the floor.

“Just kill me because I won’t go back.”

“You will you little bitch, unconscious or willingly.”

“No, I refuse.” He kicked her in her stomach, knocking the air out of her lungs.

“Reyes, come on, the doctor will be pissed if you beat her to much.” Thomas said.

“He’ll probably thank me for putting her in line. If I beat her hard enough then maybe she won’t run again.” He pulled her up again and she drove the ball of her hand into his nose with as much force as she could muster. He let her go and grabbed his face, his nose gushing blood. She pulled the revolver and pointed it at them.

“Now leave me alone. I don’t want to kill you, but I will and if I can’t kill you then I’ll kill myself so just back the fuck off.” She screamed, her hands shaking.

Thomas became tense. He knew Ortega would not be happy if she didn’t come back alive. He didn’t think she was bluffing either with how she lived. It was barely living so death wouldn’t be much different. Just as they heard someone else come in they felt a sharp pain in their necks. The two men hit the floor and Claudette saw Valo coming towards her. She could have cried with relief but knew this wasn’t the time. Valo pulled Claudette into a quick hug “are you okay?”

“Yeah, he didn’t hurt me that much. What’re we going to do now?”

“we need to take care of your bastard father or they’ll just keep coming for you. I wont have you living your life running. I’m going to make sure you’re happy and finally able to live no matter what it takes or means doing. They know this room so it isn’t safe for you to be here. Come to my car with me. The police are on their way to collect these two.” Valo grabbed Claudettes hand and they rushed to his car. “what’re you going to do?” Claudette asked. “I’m not sure but I’ll figure it out” Claudette just looked ahead, thinking of Valos words. Him saying I love her and him promising her a happy life. She’d wait to mention she heard when this mess was over.

Valo took them to a hotel on the other side of town. He had Claudette wait in the car while he paid then came back out and carried their bags into the room. “They only had a single bed available, but I can sleep on the floor so no worries.” He shut and locked the door then drew the curtains. “Anything we need I’ll go out and get.”

“Thank you for coming for me.”

“I could do nothing else.” Her lip trembled and he pulled her into his arms. “Hey now, tell me what’s wrong.”

“I was going to kill myself if I had to. I just really didn’t want to go back.” She clung to him and cried into his chest. “I’m sorry I even thought about it.”

“Hush now, I’m not mad at you or blaming you. I understand. They kept you locked up with no physical contact other than the tests they administered, your father never showed you affection, you lost your mother, you were isolated. I understand.” He ran his hand up and down her back, doing his best to soothe her. He couldn’t say he knew how she felt because he didn’t. He had had wonderful parents and plenty of friends. He wanted her to have those things. “I made a promise remember and I’m going to keep it. You will never have to go back to that place, ever.”

“You have been so kind and patient. I just wish there was something I could do for you.”

“Just stay with me, that’s all I want.”

“I’ll stay with you forever, besides you have so much to teach me.”

He kissed the top of her head and squeezed her a little tighter. Even if she never wanted him the way he wanted her or loved him the way he had started to love her, just having her by his side was enough. He pulled back and wiped the tears off of her face. “We need to shower. Why don’t you go first and then I’ll go.”

“Nonsense, you’re the one with blood on you so you go first and I’ll wait. I promise to yell if I need you.”

“I don’t like leaving you alone.” He rubbed his neck. “Why don’t you sit in the bathroom and talk to me while I shower. Then when it’s your turn I can sit on the bed and wait for you.”

“Okay, I can do that.”

He started into the bathroom and she followed. He stopped her and she looked up at him with those big innocent eyes and he just about melted. He cleared his throat. “Wait for me to get in first and then you come in. That way you won’t get a show.”

“A show?”

“See me naked.”

“Oh, okay.”

When Valo was in the shower with the curtain drawn he called “you can come in now Claudette” She walked in then set the toilets lid down to sit on it. Valo got his water ready, getting slightly burned since he was adjusting it in the shower. He knew he should have gotten it ready first but he didn’t want her on the other side of the door longer than she needed to be. He was paranoid about more goons coming in and grabbing her. He couldn’t see her still but her voice would let him know she was still safe and in the room. “please talk” Valo asked as he began scrubbing his body with the bar of soap. “sorry, I’m not used to people wanting to just talk to me. Um.. tonight, I wouldn’t mind it if you shared the bed with me. You’ve been through a lot and don’t need to be sleeping on the floor. I trust you not to hurt me. Out of anyone, I know I can trust you”

“are you sure?” Valo asked trying not to sound as hopeful as he was. “I’m sure, please share the bed. I’ll feel bad with you on the floor”

“I will but you can kick me out at any time if I make you uncomfortable somehow. I’m sure you’ve never shared a bed with anyone before”

“No, I think it will be nice. What color is your hair really?” Valo smiled and began rinsing. “want to guess?”

“Ummm, it honestly looks like your hair is naturally purple and I’m pretty sure only blonde hair dyes that well unless you went to a really high end place.”

“dirty blonde”

“why do you dye it?”

“I feel my hair looks better purple”

“I’m sure you look handsome either way” Valo wore a happy grin as he shampood then rinsed. “I’m done now Claudette. Will you go back out and grab clothes out of my suitcase?”

“sure” Claudette left and came back with sleepwear. “I’m setting them on the toilet”

“Thank you”

“No problem” Claudette walked back out of the bathroom. Valo dried and dressed quickly then walked out. Claudette preemptively grabbed her pajamas so she walked right in and set them down on the toilet when Valo came out. She stripped then made the water a little hotter before stepping in. She liked it as warm as she couldstand to help ease her muscles. Claudette felt nervous in the same hotel room with Valo while she was naked. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust him, the idea just made her nervous.

She cleaned quickly and rinsed, glad to be clean. She switched off the water and dried then pulled her clothes on. She stepped out, blushing when she saw Valo already in bed, his back against the headboard as he watched TV. His eyes jumped to her when the door opened and she looked away. She heard him chuckle and became nervous. “Come here.” He said and patted the bed. She crossed the room slowly, looking at her feet the whole way. He grabbed her worst when she was close enough and pulled her down, moving so he was on his hands and knees above her. “Now I can see your beautiful face.”

“Sorry, I’m still not used to the attention.” She replied, her voice shaking.

“I plan on being very attentive, I might not even let you out of my sight.”

“But then you’ll never get any work done.” He shrugged then smiled and kissed her nose. He moved so he was laying next to her.

“May I hold you? I want to keep you as close as I can.”

“I’ve never been held before.”

“I promise you’ll like it.”

“Okay.” He pulled her closer and she turned so her back was to him. He fit perfectly against her and she felt incredibly safe wrapped in his arms. She relaxed against him and gave a soft sigh. “I think I love this more than pizza.” She teased and he laughed.

“Well that’s good. I plan on giving you many amazing experiences.” He whispered in her ear, giving her goosebumps. “There is so much I want to show you.”

“I look forward to it.” He kissed her shoulder, making her heart thud harder. She really loved when he did that. It was almost like he didn’t realize he was doing it and he was so tender it made her feel truly loved. “What are we going to do about my father and the compound?”

“I’m going to drag him out of there and have him put somewhere where he can never get to you again. I’ll blow up the compound and all the research data he has compiled. I’ll make sure you are free.”

“thank you, especially for sparing his life. He deserves to be put away but I couldn’t wish death on my father. He may not love me but I love him because he’s my dad. My mom loved him too, she had to so I also love him because she did. I like to think of my mom as a wonderful person. I hope she was. I often fantasized about what my life would be like if my mother hadn’t died giving birth to me.” Valo held Claudette a little tighter. “I’m sure she was amazing” They laid in silence as they tried to fall asleep. For Claudette it was easy. In his arms was the most relaxed she ever felt. When Valo knew she was out he placed another kiss on her cheek then wispered “I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe. I’m so glad you know that. Thank you for allowing me up here and to hold you. I’ll hold you every night you let me”

Valo fell asleep quickly after those words but lightly. He wanted to be up and ready instantly if anybody broke in. Valo was thankful when morning came with no incidents. He gently woke Claudette. She rubbed her eyes in the most aorable way he had ever seen. “lets get ready and end this so I can start making you happy” Claudette smiled as she pulled out of his arms to sit up “you’ve already started that” Valo smiled “This morning you change first” Without protest Claudette went to her bag and grabbed somthing to wear.

After they were both ready Valo asked “There’s a burger king across the way. We’ll go through the drive through then go back to your father”

“Ok” They walked quickly to Valos car then went across the street to order breakfast. They ate as Valo drove. He couldn’t just sit at the place and eat with her when he didn’t know how many men Ortega had at his disposal. They drove to where Valo first saw Claudette again then parked. Valo was tense with worry over Claudette but he knew by his side she was safer than at the hotel alone.

“I want you to stick to me like glue unless I say otherwise okay. If we get seperated run like hell or shoot to kill. These men may want to hurt you just like the two in the hotel.”

“I understand.” She replied softly.

He grabbed her chin and turned her face toward him. “No unecessary risks. I can’t lose you.”

“Okay.”

They got out and Valo took her hand, pulling her as quickly as he could through the woods. When they finally came to the edge of the woods surrounding the cement compound Valo pulled her to a stop. “You should stay here.”

“But what if you need me?”

“I promised, remember.”

“It’s okay, you can break it this one time. I can handle going back in.”

He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “I won’t be able to hold your hand so remember, like glue.” She nodded and he pulled his dart gun out. He would use his real gun if needed. He shot the first two guards in the chest, stepping over them to the front door. “Watch my back. Your father put up a patrol.” He took out his knife and pryed the key box open. He cut a wire, getting a small spark. He pushed the door open and gestured for her to help him pull the unconcious guards inside.

Claudette helped then they they shut the door so the patrols wouldn’t see if they came by. It would be suspicious the men weren’t there but it would be less suspicious if they were gone rather than passed out. Valo began looking in rooms for explosives first, knowing a place like this was bound to have some. Most of the compund was empty in search for Claudette but they were still careful. Valo didn’t want to use any more darts than he had to incase he missed a shot trying to shoot Ortega. He never missed but like to be prepared for him missing. Valo knew the day he wasn’t careful with his ammo would be the day he ran out when it was needed.

It would have been less risky for Valo just to guard Claudette while she astro projected to find the explosives and tell him how many men were around but he wouldn’t ask. He made her promises, one he was already breaking. A second would be out of the questions. When they walked into the eigth room there was a man inside. Before he could yell Valo shot him. The guard fell to the floor and they looked around, soon realizing why this room was guarded. They now knew where the explosives were so Valo could take down the building.

“Lets find your father and get rid of this place.” He packed some C4 into a duffel bag and slung it over his shoulder. “He’s probably locked himself in the security room.”

They moved down the hall, Valo staring down the sights of his gun and Claudette watching their backs. She was nervous being back in this building that always smelled of antiseptic. The only brightness in this place had been her drawings. They made it to the security room with no more interference. “Stay back.” He ordered and she moved so she was to the side of the door. “Dr. Ortega, open the door or I will be forced to kick it open.” There was no response from the other side so Valo kicked it once then a second time and the door flew open. He jumped back as Ortega opened fire. “Drop your weapon or I will use excessive force.”

“I’m going to kill both of you. How could you betray me Claudette?”

“You betrayed me first dad, you used me and experimented on me like I was a rat and I still love you. I would rather die than be back in this place.”

He let a couple more rounds fly. “You are just like your mother, always thinking you’re right, always telling me what I’m doing wrong. She raged at me when she found out that I had drugged her. The drugs weren’t dangerous to you, but she couldn’t see the bigger picture. Money, power, a better life.” He shot two more times. “We could have had everything.”

“You kept me in a lab shaped box all my life, no love, no warmth, no nothing. If it had not been for my sketchbook and the idea that my mother was an amazing and beutiful woman then I would have killed myself.”

“So you hear that Ortega, you are nothing but an abusive coward.” Ortega fired again and Valo popped up and shot him with the tranquilizer. His eyes widened in shock and he hit the floor. Valo made sure he was completely out. “Stay here while I rig this place. I’ll help you get him and the guards out before I blow the place. Lock the door, there are still guards outside and I’m sure they have noticed their comrades are missing.”

“Okay, I’ll stay. Just wait a second though.” She leaned in and kissed him then pulled back with a blush. “Just be careful Valo, I…I need you.”

“I will I promise.”

He left and she closed and locked the door then went and sat down on the floor next to her father. She felt like crying. She dug in his pockets and pulled out his wallet, flipping it open. She nearly cried when she saw the photo of her mother in there. She took it out and slipped it in her pocket. She wanted at least one memory of her mother before her father was taken away.

Valo rigged everything as fast as possible then ran back to Claudette. Her kiss still tingling on his lips. He hoped it meant she loved him too. They grabbed her father and began to drag him they took him out then the two guards Valo first shot. After that they ran for the guard in the explosives room to drag him out. When they came out this time angry guards were waiting with pointed guns. Valo pushed Claudette behind him. “Just let us go and we’ll let you two go alright?” Valo offered knowing Claudette could draw them later for the police. “eh, I was growing tired of this gig anyway, what about you Morgan?’ The guard to their left said. Morgan chuckled “go bitch, theres things worth more of our time than dealing with a man who cant even control his offspring.”

The two men began to run, Valo shooting them to knock them out the second their backs were turned. Valo then grabbed Oretega again. They got far away then Valo set the place to explode. The heat and loud bursting sound filled the air around them as they ran with Oretga.” Claudette was breathing heavily when they got back to the car “sorry Claudette” she grabbed his hand “lets just take my father in and tell the police everything.” Valo nodded then drove. They pulled into the police station then told their story to the chief. They waited wondering if he woudl believe them. Thankfully after checking Oretgas records they believed their story and took the man off their hands. They also assured them that deputies would go right away to collect the guards.

When they could leave they went back to their hotel. As Claudette shut the door behind them she spoke “I want to admit somthing to you. It involves the kiss I gave you” Valo turned with a small, hopeful smile on his face “yeah?”

“I astral projected to you when I was alone in the room. I heard you say you loved me” Valo blushed as she continued “I kissed you because I love you too. I would like to be your real girlfriend instead of your pretend one” Valo hugged Claudette then kissed her as she kissed him before. “I would like that too.” They began to embrace again. Claudette sotly crying with all the overwhelming feelings rushing through her. She was free, knew her mother didn’t want her growing up the way she did and finally had someone to love her. A handsome, sweet man that she knew she could always count on. Claudette couldn’t wait to learn more about the world with him and truly start living her life.

~ The End ~

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