“Your not planning to like…pitch yourself off the roller coaster or anything, are you?
Nanami spared enough time from her own misery to give ran a quizzical look. “Excuse me?”
“You’re moody about something. We’re not going to have to put you on Prozac again, right? Or worse, into those anger management classes.”
“I don’t wanna talk about this! Particularly with someone far to busy masturbating with his own wit.”
“What did your therapist say about hurting with your words.”
Her eyes narrowed and chilled into amethyst December. She knew he was trying to make her laugh. He was failing miserably. “Ran, if you want to keep your job, and possibly your body in this car, you will stop speaking.”
He was saved from the hazard of a response by the sudden vibrations of the car phone, trilling in a low baritone against its base. The caller ID screen flashed blankly, a nameless field highlighted. Ran’s frown was instantaneous and when Nanami made no move to answer the ringing phone, he did.
In her distracted attention she heard Ran choke on his own breathing and turned around to regard him with barely disguised exasperation.
“What’s wrong? Who is it?”
He covered the phone with his hand and leaned in. “A woman. She says she’s Lapis.”
“Lapis?” The name was dimly familiar. The name of a melody without the melody itself.
“You know. That’s the code name of the person who got rid of Kai.”
“Kai?” Dimly Nanami recalled the lecherous director she’d refused to work with. He’d had a reputation of forcing actresses to hold on to their parts by decorating his bed. “Why would an assassin be calling me? It’s a prank.” Ran shrugged in slow disbelief and her temper rose a notch. “Give me the phone!”
She snatched if from his fingers and pressed the receiver to her cheek. “Who is this? This is a private number!”
“How surprising. It was considerably easy to reach you.” The voice that sang into her ear was decidedly female; low and husky with a soft amusement lacing the words. Nanami was familiar with and understood that devil-may-care tone.
“You’re called Lapis, aren’t you?” From the corner of her eye she saw Ran pale. Was he afraid? Idiot. Her next words were more for him than the female on the other end of the line. “I’ve heard of you. But don’t think I can be cowed by a reputation.”
“Glad to hear it.”
“What do you want with me?”
“I heard you were having a problem with Anthy Himemiya.”
At those words Nanami felt her world go still. Oh wait…that was the limo. The entrance to Mayhem flashed it’s neon colors against the black laquor of the car. The phone was cordless and so she pushed the door open and slipped out.
“Nanami! You’ll lose service if you move more than twenty feet away from the car.”
She glanced back at her lawyer and then simply closed the door on him, turning her attention back to the conversation at hand, wandering little more then three feet from the glaring headlights of the limo.
“Oh? And where did you hear that?”
“A little birdy told me.”
She tried to feign disinterest. “Apparently your turkey lied. I really don’t have the slightest interest in Anthy Himemiya.”
“Oh? Silly me. I thought it might be a family thing. Since your brother so does.”
Her pulse skipped. “I beg your pardon?”
“Didn’t you know? Why else do you think he’d frequent such a place?”
“What would you know!” She screamed and heads turned in her direction.
“Well. Never mind.”
Nanami’s fingers tightened around the phone. Was she lying? But it didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. It couldn’t be true! Miki…Touga…that girl. There was nothing interesting about that girl. Nothing! The sound of a masculine groan of pain and an angry remark from the woman who called herself Lapis drew her from her revive and into suspicion.
“What was that?”
“Boys. They’re so grabby.”
“I don’t have time for your little games!” She relished the anger that replaced indecision. “Do you have any idea who I am?”
“Every. In fact I thought I’d drop by and get to know you. Personally. How’s this Saturday, for you?”
Nanami felt her blood chill. If this woman was Lapis, then she was an assassin. I’ll drop by… But there was no way she could just waltz through the entire hotel unnoticed and into her rooms. She wouldn’t even be able to make it to the top floor.
“I don’t accept visitations.”
“It’s date then.”
The blonde goddess shrugged carelessly, sure of invulnerability now. “You’re welcome to try. But I have guards placed all around my residence. And I really can’t be held responsible to what a group of men do to a foolishly overconfident woman.”
She’d had enough. Twenty feet. The call dropped away, and the phone became dead in her fingers. She tossed it in a trash bin to her right hard enough to dispel some of the trash that sat on the top, sending paper cups to roll across the concrete and faux grass of the landscape. She forced herself to dispel her problems with the phone. She wouldn’t think about it. About anything that was troubling her. She stepped into the line that wound from the base of the giant rotating wheel, forcing her mind to fix on the kaleidoscope colors of the ride and nothing more.