Dark Impulse Ch. 10byAurora Black©
The San Remo
145 Central Park West
"Grandpa! Grandpa! Open up!"
Raphael's scared voice echoed throughout the hallway as he pounded on Hiroshi Nakimura's apartment door, and he didn't let up until he heard his grandfather unlock it. The door opened to reveal an elderly man, his wise features in shock at the sight before him. His eyes went from the man cradling his unconscious daughter to his small grandson.
"What on earth is going on here?"
"Mom fainted in the park, Grandpa. I asked this man to help bring her here."
Hiroshi glanced at the stranger. "Thank you very much for your help."
The man smiled, perhaps relieved that his good deed was coming to an end so he could return to his workout. "It was nothing, really. I just hope that she'll be okay."
Hiroshi began to reach for his wallet, but the stranger held up a hand to stop him.
"Please, don't bother." He lowered Grace into Hiroshi's waiting arms before taking his leave. She was like a rag doll, utterly limp and unaware of her surroundings.
Rafe watched the exchange. "Do you think she'll wake up, Grandpa?"
The older man was strong for his sixty-four years of age, and he carried his daughter into one of the guest rooms. He laid her on the bed, removing her boots before tucking her in. She slept on. He turned to look at his grandson with surprise.
"Of course she'll wake up, famous artist. Silly boy! Why would you ask such a question? She has to wake up, for your sake."
The young boy bit his lip. "I was really scared earlier. The way she acted in the park, I thought that Mom was going to end up like Grandma."
Hiroshi winced at the pain that Rafe's words caused, the wound still fresh. Only a year had passed since his beloved wife Keiko had died of cancer. Brain cancer, which had been excruciating for his wife to endure and for him and Grace to witness. By the time Keiko had been diagnosed with the disease, it was already too late for treatment. As the months passed, the family had no choice but to watch helplessly as she faded away. At the end, Keiko didn't even know her own name, didn't even recognize her own daughter.
Such a horrible last glimpse for Grace to have of her mother before she died. Damn it, considering all the friction that they'd had over the years, Keiko not knowing her in the end must have cemented such sadness, such bitterness inside her as well as regret. Oh, Grace. I'm sorry that I wasn't as good a father as I should have been, that I didn't defend you enough against your mother's stubborn nature. Keiko, I wish that I could have done something to keep you here with us, so we could have grown old together and watched our beautiful grandchild go on to do great, wonderful things in his life. He's so gifted, my love. And together you and Grace could have resolved your differences. But all that can't happen now, and it's a tragedy beyond words.
He spun around to face the child.
"Rafe, your mother will never end up like Grandma. Do you understand me, son? Your mother is young and strong, and she will always do what's best for you. She understands that she must look after her own health so she can be around for you, okay? You will always be her highest priority, and for that reason she will care for herself."
Rafe nodded, and Hiroshi let out a deep breath as he felt the tension ease from his body. He took one last glance over his shoulder at the bed where Grace slept, and he took the child's hand, leading him out of the room and closing the door behind them.
In the living room, Hiroshi noted the large overnight bag which had both Grace's and Rafe's things inside. He smiled, glad that his daughter came up with the idea of their spending the occasional weekend with him. He'd been so tired of living in an empty apartment, and having company helped him greatly as he still struggled with his grief. Besides, it gave him the opportunity to spend quality time with his grandson.
"Got any drawings for me today, Raffaello Sanzio?"
Rafe blinked. "Who's that?"
Hiroshi sat down in his favorite chair, putting his feet up on the coffee table.
"Raffaello Sanzio was the real name of Raphael, the famous Renaissance artist. He's the guy that you're named after, buddy."
"I thought I was named after the angel."
Hiroshi's eyes widened slightly. "What made you think that?"
Rafe went to the overnight bag as he spoke. "Every once in a while, Mom calls me her angel. I looked up my name on the Internet, and I found out that there's also a very important Archangel called Raphael. The name means "He who heals God."
"My God, you're so young and already you know how to use the Internet! You always surprise me with your smarts, boy! Imagine, at four years old! Christ, I'm 64 and I'm still stumped at times over how to bring up a website!"
Rafe puffed out his chest before speaking defensively, "I'll be five next week."
Hiroshi chuckled warmly, winking at him. "That's a big difference, then."
Raphael walked towards his grandfather, handing him a roll of papers.
"I brought these for you, Grandpa."
Hiroshi was touched. "Thank you, son. I can't wait to see them and put them on my walls. Let's look at them together and you can explain to me what they are, okay?"
Together they unrolled the papers; the first drawing featured a shadowy scene. Hiroshi looked at Rafe for clarification, and the boy's face was drawn.
"This one is from a dream that I've been having for over two weeks now."
He went on to describe the dream, and the nape of Hiroshi's neck tingled.
"Who are these men, and what are they fighting for?"
Rafe swallowed hard. "I can't tell exactly. The first few times that I had the dream, I thought that they were fighting over me and Mom. But now it feels like something else as well, something deeper and darker." He shuddered as he said the words.
Hiroshi leaned forward, his voice insistent. "Who are the two men?"
Rafe's hair swished as he shook his head, his eyes tightly closed.
"I can't see their faces, Grandpa. I only know that one of them is my father."
Hiroshi frowned, feeling uneasy. "And the other man?"
The young child opened his eyes and focused on the older man. The black orbs had a glassy, otherworldly sheen to them, and the sight of them made Hiroshi's stomach clench. Rafe's voice was distant as he spoke, his eyes fixed on nothing.
"The other one is an impostor."
* * *
The Savoy Hotel
David Anami paced around his luxurious suite, consumed by his thoughts.
What the hell got into me last night? I didn't have the right to grab my wife like that. No wonder she hasn't taken any of my calls since then. Christ, I need to get a grip!
He ran his hands through his graying hair, sighing in frustration and self-directed anger. A faint knock at the door interrupted his train of thought, and he welcomed the distraction.
One of the personal aides that had been sent from the AE London branch entered the suite. "Mr. Anami, the ceremony will begin shortly. Would you like to go over your speech before we leave?"
David shook his head. "I am fully prepared, thank you. I will see you in a bit."
The aide bowed and left the room, and David strode over to the telephone. He pushed several buttons and patiently waited for his call to connect.
"This is the Anami residence, how may I help you?"
He cleared his throat. "Miyuki, I need to speak with Mrs. Anami please."
"I'm sorry, sir. Mrs. Anami and your son have gone to Mr. Nakimura's for the weekend. Perhaps you could try ringing them there?"
David thanked her before hanging up and dialing his father-in-law's apartment.
"Hiroshi, it's me. David. I'm calling from London. Is Grace available?"
He heard a sigh on the other end of the line.
"David, I'm afraid that Grace isn't feeling well at the moment. She fainted in Central Park a while ago, and she's been unconscious since then."
David felt his heart stop within his chest, and he took a shuddering breath.
"Oh, my God. Is she going to be okay? Have you sent for a doctor?"
Hiroshi was angered by David's concern, and it was evident in his voice.
"Of course I had a doctor take a look at her! He wondered if she had sustained some type of head injury in order to suddenly collapse like that."
Hiroshi paused meaningfully, allowing his words to take effect. David knew exactly what the older man implied, and he bristled with anger.
"I have never raised my hand to hurt Grace, damn it!"
Hiroshi's hand clenched hard on the receiver, wishing that it was David's throat.
"That's not what I thought last night, when Grace called me in tears. Luckily for you, the doctor didn't find any signs of abuse. The most likely reason for her episode is excessive stress, either work related or domestic. I suspect domestic."
David was silent, and after a long moment Hiroshi sighed again.
"Anyway, Grace isn't fit enough to come to the phone. She'll call you when she regains her strength and is ready to talk." If she's ever ready, you son-of-a-bitch.
David was startled by the deafening click from the other end. Hiroshi had hung up on him. He began to pace around the room again, his mind on his wife. He felt sick with anger and regret over all that he had put Grace through during the past week and especially the night before, and he was overwhelmed with the urge to hop on a plane to return to New York immediately.
But he wouldn't do it; he couldn't. Even if he was able to leave London at that moment, he knew that Grace wouldn't be overjoyed to see him so soon. Or at all. He knew that they both needed time to sort things out, to try and rebuild the feelings of trust and security in their marriage, and he was determined to give her all the time and space that she needed.
David looked over his shoulder at the telephone. And I need time to find a solution to my own problems before I can even think of returning to my normal life, to my family.
He returned to the phone, punching in another multi-digit code.
"Hello, this is the New Orleans Ritz-Carlton. How may I direct your call?"
"Liam Kilpatrick's suite, please."
"One moment, please."
Despite himself, David found himself smiling when he heard the familiar sounds of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" as he waited. He was quietly humming along with "Spring" when Liam came on the line.
"Liam, it's me. Tell me what's going on with this Knight character."
Liam grinned. "Well, I approached him at the bookstore that he owns and we found a quiet place on the street to discuss business. Of course he wanted to know how you knew about him, and I told him that you were friends with Prince James. He insisted on knowing what the case was about before signing on, but as you requested, I gave him only minimal information. He will have to consult with you to learn more of the specifics. I then took my leave, telling him to call me when he'd made a decision."
David coughed, realizing that he hadn't taken a breath the entire time Liam talked.
"Has he come to a decision, then? Will he help me?"
Liam laughed, the warm sound spilling over the phone lines separating them.
"Oh yes, he has. He seemed rather reluctant about taking your case at first, but I guess something I said must have convinced him."
He smiled in self-satisfaction, knowing that his friend and boss couldn't see him.
David smiled himself, reveling in the best news that he'd had all week.
"This is extraordinary! I can't believe that we were able to get him! Thank you, Liam. You've done a wonderful job. When will you be returning to New York?"
"Knight and I will arrive in the city on Sunday afternoon, I estimate. When will you be back from London?"
"Damn, I still have some business to finish over here. Other than today's grand opening of the new Nanotechnology division, I have to look over plans to develop the other bio-medical projects. I won't be home until Wednesday."
Liam checked his schedule. "That's just in time for the masquerade ball. Are you sure that you can't get away sooner? Knight may get antsy, having to wait three days to meet with you about your 'dire emergency.'"
David's voice grew hard, dangerous. "Are you mocking me, Liam?"
Too late, the Irishman realized his error. "No, David. Never. I..."
"Good. I have to leave for the event now. I trust that you will perform your task without problems? If Knight grows too inquisitive about my affairs, you will keep him in line. Am I right?"
Liam rushed to assure him. "Of course, David. All will be well."
David grimaced. "It had better go well. Goodbye, Liam."
He hung up the phone, cutting Liam off. David purposefully strode to a nearby chair, where his suit jacket was draped. He picked it up and slipped it on, pausing in front of the mirror to adjust his tie before leaving the suite.
* * *
After the phone call from London, Raphael and Hiroshi continued to look over the stack of drawings until they reached the last one. It had been drawn just that morning, and it featured what looked to be the beginning of a beautiful sunrise that illuminated the darkness of the field from which it rose. Partially hidden by the sunlight was the shadow of a man.
Hiroshi waved his hand over the picture, indicating the figure. "Who is this?"
Rafe's voice became dreamy, his eyes peaceful.
"He is my savior in the dream. The one who reaches for me after I've fallen."
Hiroshi glanced at the picture again. "You've only captured his arm here."
"I wasn't able to see his face, Grandpa. Only his hand and arm. I wasn't able to make contact, no matter how much I wanted to. The dream always ended when I reached out to him."
A tear fell from Rafe's eye, and the older man held out his arms.
"Come here, my boy."
Rafe went to his grandfather, and Hiroshi hugged him tight, his eyes still on the drawing.
"Don't worry, son. If you want it badly enough, you'll find out what it all means."
Hiroshi heard a soft moan of pain coming from the guest room. Grace was waking up. He stood, bringing Rafe with him.
"You'll find what you need, I'm sure of it. Let's go check on your mother."
They left the room, leaving the drawing on the coffee table. A soft breeze blew in from the open window, gently stirring the paper on which the arm was drawn.
There was a thin, jagged scar on the forearm. Rafe told Hiroshi that it had been created by a knife. It wasn't until much later that Hiroshi wondered how Rafe knew to give such a lifelike detail to a fictional dream figure.
- Add a