Felicio Chapter 14 – Starcross’d

Dock Gate 4 was a formidable building built with white stone that stood starkly amidst the industrial, greasy docks. It had once been a train station, which was later converted into a hotel and now it was one of the hottest nightclubs in town. Set against the backdrop of the channel, where cruise liners swept by, it was like a slice of life from the past, with the promise of the glitz and glamour of a bygone era that attracted people from all over the city. The surroundings only made it easier for the guests to feel as if they were transported into the past, but as soon as they walked through the doors they were thrust back into the modern age as the heavy beat of the music throbbed around them and the air was thick and heavy.

                Lewis strode through the crowd with Stacy following sullenly. He greeted various people as he walked through the undulating mass of a crowd, his trim white suit and confident aura garnering attention while Stacy’s natural beauty meant she had to evade unwanted groping hands. Eventually they worked their way to the other side of the room where Lewis nodded to a bouncer who subsequently let them through the door he was guarding. The atmosphere changed instantly. The walls were thick and only a distant beating could be heard, as if the rest of the club was in a far-off world rather than behind the nearest wall.

                They walked through a long corridor and up some stairs, their footsteps making no sound as their shoes sank into a plush red carpet. The whole place smelled of lavender and they walked up a few more flights of stairs until another door was opened for Lewis. The two of them walked in to a well-lit large room. A chandelier hung from the ceiling illuminating the room, directly underneath were a group of middle-aged men all decked out in sharp suits and an assured air that only comes with the ownership of power and wealth. They greeted Lewis warmly but only threw Stacy lustful glances. Lewis sat down at the table and ran his hands along the velvet cloth as he watched his drink being poured.

“How was the party?” one of the gentlemen asked, his eyes glinting with malice.

“Chaotic,” Lewis replied and the gentlemen laughed heartily.

“Good, good,” another said, stroking his grey whiskers, “I was sceptical at first my boy but you’ve proven yourself to be very reliable.  I foresee a bright future for you.” Lewis inclined his head as an acknowledgment. “Let’s get onto other business, Mr. Conway, how are things in your sector proceeding?”

Mr. Conway peered behind a pair of narrow-rimmed glasses and spoke in a deep gravelly voice which belied his age, as he appeared a lot younger than he was. “Very well,” he said, “I have recently come to acquire some compromising photos of the docking commissioner and a lady we are all familiar with…” all the men sniggered and Stacy looked away in disgust. She brushed locks of golden hair away from her eyes and idly gazed around the room, letting the conversation at the table fade into a muzzled background noise. She wondered why on Earth she was still spending time with Lewis. The first time they had met he seemed charming, but it quickly became apparent that behind the quick smile and smooth words he was involved in some very questionable activities.

                She sighed and lamented her fate. Somehow she always seemed to get involved in unusual situations. Perhaps it was her own fault, she mused, that maybe subconsciously she wanted something exciting to happen in her life. Over the previous few years as she had matured she became frustrated with the direction into which most of the lives around her seemed to be heading. It seemed that once you reached a certain stage in life things began to stagnate, her parents being prime examples, and she didn’t want to suffer a similar fate. She was beginning to embark on a modelling career and was in the process of building up a portfolio. She was recommended to attend a party and that is how she met Lewis. He seemed to slalom effortlessly between groups of people and he was evidently well-connected. She thought he may have been a doorway into a privileged life but she had been mistaken, although given the company he kept she wasn’t sure how easy it would be to extricate herself from his company. To pass the time she took out a small bottle of perfume and sprayed it over her neck. Then, her eyes wandered over to the open window and fixed on the world outside, for she swore she saw a figure moving in the black night. Then she turned her head sharply as Lewis was stood in front of her glowering. He had been calling her and she had ignored him, a sin which could not be forgiven.

 ***

              Felicio sprinted away into the night. He’d never felt such intense jealously before as he had in that moment when he thought the girl writhing in the bed was the one he’d seen earlier in the night. He was dismayed when he heard the words ‘Dock Gate 4’. Never having been there, he was unaware of the charm of the locale but all he knew is that it was near the side of town that was rife with crime. It was close to the city centre, but just far away enough to escape the glare of people’s attention. It was one of the rare legitimate businesses; its purpose was to provide a focal point so that in other shady areas criminal activities could take place. Felicio had spent many nights at the docks, and he’d grown to hate the place as it seemed to be a cesspool for the vilest creatures that human nature could produce.

                The docks were mostly deserted by that time of night, so Felicio kept to the shadows and away from the crowds milling outside Dock Gate 4. He walked around to the back of the building and it was a far cry from the professional front they promoted. Bits of debris and rubbish were scattered all about but it didn’t pose a problem for Felicio who was able to nimbly traverse the jagged obstacles. He tried to find a rear entrance where he could infiltrate the club without causing too much commotion.

                Just as he spied a door he looked up and his attention was caught by an open window. The light was on, and he heard muffled voices but then, more importantly, a familiar scent wafted down on the cool night air. It took him a moment to place it but eventually he remembered, and he instantly scampered up the side of the building, using a drainpipe as leverage and balancing on thin ledges, clinging to gaps between brickwork until he could see into the window, and what he saw filled him with ire. The girl was sat pressed against the sofa, her fingers digging into the upholstery, the fear plain on her face even though Felicio could only see her profile. Before her stood that slimy brute and rage built up in Felicio as he imagined all the unconscionable things running through that beast’s mind. Felicio could see the anger in his eyes and something terrible was going to happen unless the hero acted.

                With unparalleled speed he finished his ascent of the wall and leaped through the window. As his figure swooped through the air Stacy screamed, and the men at the table were taken by surprise. Lewis roared with anger and rained blows upon Felicio but they had no effect. The other men retreated to one side of the room, all their wealth and power couldn’t stop them from feeling threatened by this masked marauder. They watched on as he effortlessly deflected Lewis’ blows, and then rage took hold of him, he punched Lewis’ portly frame, driving him across the room until he unsheathed his claws. Lewis screamed out in pain and the others looked on in horror as Felicio left his mark on Lewis’ face. Blood trickled down his cheek, and drops fell to the floor from Felicio’s claws. He turned around slowly and enjoyed the terror that was on each of the gentlemen’s face, he didn’t know who they were but if they were with Lewis they must have been up to no good. Then he walked towards Stacy and held out his hand. She looked around at the room and realised it was her only escape. She offered him her trembling hand and before she knew it she was swept off her feet and suddenly careening down the side of the building. She held on tightly as Felicio controlled their descent, and she sensed she was safe with him.

                Once his feet were firmly on the floor he let her go, and as he did so her arms lingered around his neck and she was facing him. She was slightly shorter, but as he bowed his head an she tilted hers back their eyes met, although she couldn’t see through the mask. But her body was warm against his and just as it had done so the last time he saw her, the moment stretched out to an eternity. As the moonlight flickered across her delicate features and he gazed into her sparkling blue eyes he realised that it must be what falling in love must feel like. For her part, she wondered how she could be so attracted to someone when she didn’t know anything about them…except that at the very moment she needed to be saved he was there. She began to move into him and brought one hand down from his shoulder and rested it on his chest. His heart was racing, and her face lit up with delight. Her other hand came around and stroked his cheek, but then his fear took hold and the moment was lost. He turned away, afraid that she would try to unmask him and how could Peter ever compete with the daring bravado of Felicio?

                “Who are you, Tiger?” she asked, saying the first type of cat that came to mind. Her words were like thunder in the night sky. The faint beat of the music could still be heard in the distance but for all intents and purposes they were the only two people alive. Still with his back to her he turned his head, revealing only part of his face over his shoulder.

“Felicio,” and with that one word uttered he began to walk off, already cursing himself for feeling paralysed when faced with such beauty. But as his attention was all on himself and his own dismal failings he didn’t realise that Stacy was rushing up behind him. She jumped forward, reached out and pulled the mask off. Felicio stopped in his tracks, scared to turn round but knowing he had to. Stacy held the mask in her hand, it looked so small and lifeless, but she didn’t know what would happen now. It was a rash decision made only on impulse, but she was eager to see what lay behind the mask.

                He took a deep breath and gulped and then turned around slowly, and as he did so realisation dawned on her face. It wasn’t what she had expected. He was just a boy but there was a mature earnestness in his eyes, when she looked into them she was met with genuine affection, and that is what he saw when he looked into hers. He seemed to have a purity about him which was only enhanced by the surroundings. The fragile mess covering the ground cracked under her footsteps as she moved towards him. She took his hand in hers and then they fell completely and utterly into each other. A lifetime of dreaming and hoping had finally become transformed into reality and as their lips touched their souls were set ablaze with the fire of a thousand raging suns. Under the moonlight their unspoken vow was sealed and their hearts were entwined, but it would not be a smooth road for much sorrow lay ahead, and the watching stars shed a silent tear, both for the joy of two hearts meeting and for the pain that would follow.

Chapter 13

 

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