A Safe Place II (475)

Chris Andaya’s smoldering rage scared Denise Chan, and his capacity for harming other human beings terrified her.  What horrified her most, however, was the idea that she might actually be attracted to him because of this.  She abhorred violence of any kind and had been compelled to leave him the first time because she’d discovered what he did for a living.

But love is stupid.

She’d gone back to him, against her brother’s arguments, because . . .

That because, that’s what had her panic-stricken now.   Why did Andaya have to do one more job for Byung Yu?  Why not just stop?  Disappear.

Denise knew that Chris would have to hurt someone.  She even suspected that he might have killed people for Yu, but who’s going to bring up something like that in conversation.

“Hey, Chris, by the way, do you murder people for Yu?”

No, she’d never imagined that asking him point blank would be a possibility.  But she knew Andaya could kill.  He’d talked about it, about his work when he was in the Army, how sometimes they were ordered to kill people.  How orders were to be obeyed.  He did.

She couldn’t believe it didn’t bother him.  He talked about it as though he couldn’t believe what he’d done.  He talked about it often enough that it seemed like a kind of talk therapy, that if he said it often enough, it would work its want out of his system.

But if it bothered him so much, why keep doing it?  If he did.  But he could.  He could.

Murder aside, still intentionally doing harm to people was repulsive to her.

When she ran out of Café Bon Bon, she knew she did not want to be around Chris.  Sometimes she imagiened that he was literally scaring her to death, that if he kept this up it would in fact kill her.

She ran.  Fast.  By the time Andaya stepped outside, she’d turned the corner and was gone.  Andaya, of course, would chase after her, but she didn’t want him like this.

No more violence anymore.  No more.

Where should she go?  Not home.  He’d go there first, undoubtedly try to convince her that hurting someone would be okay, that it was just this last time.  She shuddered.

Certainly not to her mother’s house.  Andaya would try there second.

Not to her brother.  She could still hear him, hear his arguments like a looped tape-recording.   How disgustedly David disapproved of Andaya, how adamant he was in trying to convince her this mobbed-up enforcer was all the bad news in the history of the world rolled into one day’s paper.

Where could she run?  Where could she hide?  Where could she think, sort this out, once and for all.  She needed to get away from the world.

And then it came to her.

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