Catches and Causes
The alarm clock, man’s stupidest invention, every time Dante heard it his stomach clenched and his ears burned. He couldn’t turn it off fast enough which of course meant he completely missed the clock and managed to smack his iPod off the bedside table, take two sent his phone floor-wards and take three the alarm clock but it was still buzzing.
He groaned as he crawled from under the warm duvet and started searching the floor with bleary eyes, scrambling to stop the alarm clock before his ears shrivelled into his head. Seven thirty five which meant he had to get ready for school, which he considered man’s second stupidest invention. With the knowledge that he needed to get a move on, he grabbed his iPod from the floor, whacking his head as he did so, and plugged it into the speaker system letting the music kick start his morning routine.
As Dante stumbled into the bathroom he forced his eyes to focus on his own reflection. People had often described him as cute, which never failed to annoy him but with the floppy brown hair and innocent blue eyes he could hardly blame them. The only thing working against the cuteness was his pallor. His skin refused to tan and instead just burned before returning to its normal sickly state.
He allowed his eyes to sweep over the rest of his body. It was lean and muscular making him look like any other sixth form student obsessed with the gym, it was only the scars that marred his pale skin. There were eight in all; two bullet wounds, three stab wounds and a bite wound, along with one burn that wrapped around his calf and one long trail of white down his left side from road rash.
After finishing his usual morning shower, he went back into his room to find his phone vying for attention over the music; his ringtone for the office informed him that his morning wasn’t getting any better. He muted the sound system and answered the call, with the express intention of pissing the caller off.
“Hello banana factory, you send them we bend them, how may I direct your call?”
“Very funny Dante” the caller didn’t sound all that amused “We have a job for you, think you can be here in an hour?”
“Gee I don’t know Horace. You see there’s this magical place that people go to get smart and learn to read and stuff. I know that that whole thing is just a bit above you but I'm sure you’re good at other stuff. Anyway I'm supposed to go there so I don’t have to be your bitch for a lifetime; so I'm going to have to decline” Dante replied as he searched through his wardrobe.
“Look, you smart mouthed little shit, this customer can make us more than that shitty little flat of yours is worth. He has requested you specifically and I'm not about to disappoint him! So get your ass over here or I will turn you over, you got that?” Horace sounded like he was about to pop an aneurism. The thought gave Dante a slight feeling of glee but he knew he had to obey.
“Fine, I’ll be there in an hour. Although why he would want a seventeen year old boy rather than someone older makes me worry Horace, you sure you’re not changing professions?”
Dante put the phone down as Horace screamed a stream of curses. He grinned to himself, unmuted the stereo and began his prep for work. Horace would find him an excuse for missing school; all he had to do was get ready. He grabbed his clothes from the wardrobe and began to dress. It was a simple ensemble; plain black, soft combat trousers and T-shirt with a matching blazer for the smarter clients. Once he was dressed Dante reached into the back of the wardrobe and pulled out a black duffel bag which he swung over his shoulder. He decided to skip breakfast and grabbed his phone, iPod, keys and helmet before leaving his apartment.
He made his way downstairs and out the door, and there sat on the curb was his pride and joy: his motorcycle. He’d seen it and fallen in love instantly; it had cost him the better half of his savings but he didn’t care. He swung his leg over and kicked it into life, basking in the luxurious growl it emitted. He jammed his helmet on, nudged the kickstand up and revved the engine, garnering looks of disapproval from mothers while their children shouted with delight; it brought a smile to his face as he set off.
The route to the office was as jammed as ever but Dante weaved in and out of the traffic expertly until he pulled up outside a modern looking advertising agency. As usual the office was full of young attractive people all of whom looked like they could have stepped out of one of the glossy magazines that sat on the table in the waiting area. Dante walked in smiling flirtatiously at the receptionist who just rolled her eyes at him. He’d forgotten her name a couple of months ago and she had never forgiven him. He sat in the waiting area until he would be told he could go in and see Horace. As if on cue his boss walked into the room and collided with one of the new interns causing him to drop everything he was carrying. Dante and everyone else in the room winced and prepared their ears for the coming onslaught of screaming from a reddened Horace.
Horace’s body had long ago given up on height so it worked on taking up as much room as possible, leaving all his features looking squashed; even his mop of greying hair seemed too small for his head. His skin was slightly reddened, making him look like a short, angry tomato.
The poor intern was desperately trying to pick up all that he had dropped while fighting back tears. Horace didn’t stop shouting until the young man had gotten to his feet at which point he deliberately smacked the pile of papers from the boy’s hand, screamed for Dante to get into his office and stormed back out.
Dante paused on his way in to help the young man pick up his papers; he gave him an encouraging smile before heading after Horace down the hall to his office. He walked in and surveyed the scene before him; Horace was in his usual chair behind his desk sucking in his stomach to fit. Sat opposite Horace was the client who looked suitably terrified.
“Well Horace it seems you’ve caused another intern to cry. Bravo!” Dante commented, throwing himself into his usual chair and putting his feet up on the desk just to be impudent. The client was looking at him as if he’d walked in wearing a live animal as a hat, but he was used to that by now. The man was in his late twenties early thirty’s dirty blonde hair, grey eyes and a business suit that said he had never done this before. The morning wasn’t getting any better.
“Dante, I would like you to meet our client, Zander Casey” Horace said calmly. Dante bit back a snigger at the man’s pathetic alias and nodded, glaring at “Zanders” outstretched hand until he pulled it back looking sheepish.
“Well, um, I'm not actually, um, the client. I'm, I’m just here to represent my, um, boss” he stammered pathetically. Dante felt a small amount of sympathy for the man; not much, but enough.
“Well regardless, this is Dante the man your boss requested. Just inform him of the task you require him for and he will complete it to your satisfaction” Horace said as he swatted Dante’s feet from off the desk, giving him a warning glare as he did so. Dante stuck his tongue out childishly then turned to look at Zander who currently looked like a British gentlemen at an S&M club. It was cute in a bunny in the headlights kind of way.
“Yes, well, you see my boss wants you to, um, take care of someone for him. You see, the thing is that… well, they’ve made numerous threats against him and it would be, um, easier if they, uh, were to disappear, if you see what I mean” Zander stammered eventually. It took all of Dante’s self-control not to laugh; instead he just nodded trapping his bottom lip between his teeth. When it became apparent Zander wasn’t going to continue Dante was forced to speak.
“Well, Mr Casey, I need to know who this person is. I can hardly guess can I?” he prompted. Zander looked startled then nodded quickly.
“Ah, right, yes, my boss wants me to take you to him and he will give you the details then”
“Right…” Dante said slowly, giving Horace a meaningful glance “If he wanted to see me personally, why didn’t he come himself?” he asked calmly, watching Horace reach under the desk from the corner of his eyes. Dante repositioned himself in his chair, ready to reach into his bag at a moment’s notice.
“Right, well, he couldn’t be pulled away from work today and he doesn’t really want me knowing the details. I, uh, I hope it won’t be too much trouble” Zander had an adorable air of innocence about him and the stab of sympathy from earlier came back. Dante relaxed and watched Horace do the same.
“No, it’s no trouble. Let’s get going then” Dante said grabbing his bag as he stood. He waited patiently as Zander tripped over his own chair legs while he tried to stand. Before they walked out Dante gave Horace another meaningful look. This was not going to be any normal contract. They both knew it.
When they got outside Dante eyed the silver BMW that Zander was standing next to with distaste and looked longingly towards his bike; however Zander had already opened the passenger side door. With a sigh and a heft of his bag he climbed in, stowing the bag at his feet. He watched with amusement as Zander dropped the keys twice before managing to get them in the ignition and get them on their way. They drove in silence for a while, with Zander trying desperately to keep one eye on Dante and the other on the road at the same time.
“I don’t bite you know” he said eventually, having just reached to scratch his nose and nearly causing Zander to run them into the wrong side of the road.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that, well, I've just never done this sort of thing before” Zander mumbled.
“Trust me, it shows. Relax though, I'm hardly going to kill the driver” Zander laughed nervously but seemed to calm down slightly. It wasn’t a long drive and soon enough they were pulling up to a sleek modern office block with the sign proudly proclaiming Lawson Law Firm; Dante bit back another snigger and climbed out of the car, grabbing his bag as he did.
“If you would, uh, care to follow me Mr… umm” Zander stammered, beckoning him to towards the revolving door
“It’s just Dante, Mr Casey” Dante replied sharply. There was no way he was letting any client know his surname. What the hell kind of a name was Finnistrad anyway?
“Right, uh, Dante; if you would follow me please” Zander lead the way through an impressive looking foyer towards a set of elevators at the back. As soon as Dante stepped inside Zander looked like he regretted his choice; thankfully there was no pathetic elevator music as they ascended to the top floor. Zander lead the way through a maze of corridors that Dante was careful to memorize, before arriving at a set of double doors. Zander strolled directly into an office of metal and glass with an impressive view across the city; though it was not nearly as impressive as the man sat behind the desk.
He couldn’t be a day over twenty two. His dark hair had the same floppy quality as Dante’s but his made him look sexy rather than adorable; the dark chocolate of his eyes was striking and all of his features complemented one another. All that beauty combined with the handmade suit gave him an air of power and wealth Dante knew he could never match.
The gorgeous man looked up as they entered and smiled warmly just adding to his splendour “Arthur, I trust you didn’t have any trouble?” he asked in a warm rich voice, Dante turned on his companion with an evil grin and watched the poor man wither before his eyes
“Arthur? That’s just adorable, please tell me its short for Arthurious or something” he joked the poor man went red and mumbled something about having work to do before slinking off and shutting the doors behind him.
“Please, sit down” Chocolate eyes said gesturing to one of the chairs opposite him Dante sat watching the magnificent man before him, all power and confidence with a gorgeous sparkle in his eyes, Dante knew he wouldn’t be able to behave himself.
“So you’re the mystery client, do I get a name?” Dante asked dropping his bag beside him keeping the strap hooked over his knee
“Callister Lawson, and you are Dante..?”
“It’s just Dante” he replied quickly pleased Callister hadn’t offered a handshake
“Just Dante, alright then to put it bluntly I need you to take care of someone for me”
“I got that far on my own, just give me the details and I’ll have it done” Dante watched Callister stand and go to a cabinet on the far wall thinking to himself about how strange the entire situation was. A plain manila file landed in front of him as Callister went back to his seat and watched Dante as he opened it.
Inside was a picture of a pretty girl with long mousey hair and warm grey eyes a beautiful smile lighting up her face, pushing the photo too one side he was greeted with a sheet of paper informing him that her name was Vanessa Sasquire, she was twenty four and worked in the business side of retail, everything from her address to her national insurance number was included as well as a medical report stating that she had a weak heart, Dante ignored Callisters stares and took a moment to commit everything to memory before looking up.
“Anything else I need to know?” he asked closing the file and pushing it back to Callister
“Make sure she doesn’t suffer, no innocent deaths and try to make it look accidental I need this done quickly, tonight preferably” Dante sighed theatrically and slumped back into the chair
“For future reference Mr Lawson these things generally take time, I can make it painless that’s not a problem but I usually need more time, her medical history works in our favour this time but I need more notice in future” The office setting was effecting him, he never spoke to clients so nicely, he usually made a point of being a pain.
“I'm sorry Dante but I only became aware of the situation today, in future I’ll try and foresee unforeseeable circumstances” Callister replied with heavy sarcasm, Dante ignored it and stood up grabbing his bag
“I’ll have it done tonight, if that’s all Mr Lawson, I’ll be on my way” Dante relaxed knowing he would probably never see the beautiful imposing man again and could escape the strangeness of the entire situation by the end of the day.
“Come back here once she’s dead please, I may have more work for you” Callisters voice caught him halfway across the room and Dante’s stomach clenched involuntarily keeping his back to him Dante replied cautiously
“Then speak to Horace he can arrange it for me, if you forward him the details you won’t even have to see me personally”
“Even so, please come back once you’re done” his tone left little room for argument so Dante didn’t bother, he left the office and made his way outside walking to the nearest bus stop, contemplating the best way to end Vanessa Sasquires life.