Illusion of Love
Ch 1 – Transition
Liliana, all full of shock and resentment, stormed out of Johnny's apartment while he kept begging her to come back. She had caught him in bed with the “plastic b**ch, and he had given her the lamest excuse possible. "We were just playing doctor," he said, with a shaky laugh. Liliana began to walk the crowded streets of Paris, and that was when she found Criss, who, at the time, was a homeless mime.
Johnny stayed in the apartment, and couldn’t get what had just happened out his mind. He felt awkward with this new situation. The woman that he loved with all his heart and soul was gone, maybe forever, but at the same time, the “plastic b**ch,” as Liliana called her, was able to give him momentary pleasure and satisfaction, and although what he felt for her was not real love, she was like a mannequin, and she did what he wanted, which was very convenient for him. But what Johnny didn't know was that
Liliana had found a new character in this series of unfortunate events. She had found someone who had captivated her vision, not only with his tricks of magic, full of charm and illusion, and not to mention his penetrating eyes and his peculiar sense of humor.
His identity was an enigma to her, so she decided to get a Little closer and become part of his audience for just one moment. He was no common mime; he went beyond. He was unique. Mimes pretend to use a wide variety of invisible objects, and one of them was a chain that went from his eyes directly into Liliana’s heart. When the show was over, Liliana decided to get even closer to deposit a few coins in his cup, but when she bent down to do so, he grabbed her chin gently, and raised her head until their eyes met. Both stayed frozen as if time had stopped going by. They looked at each other, without being able to say one word, and at the same time they felt a warm sensation travel through their bodies.
It was a feeling that Liliana had not experienced in a long time, not since Johnny’s attitude towards her had changed.
Then he asked, “What is your name?'' which left her even more impressed, because it was the first time she Heard someone speak English in France. At last she felt like she had found someone with whom she had something in common; a new friend, even though she felt is was just a normal friendship, but the beginning of something bigger.
There was something in his eyes; something indescribable.
Then she snapped out of her dream and said, “My name is Liliana.”
He said, “Hey, you speak English too…! Oh sorry, I'm Criss, Criss Angel Sarantakos. Nice to meet you.”
Liliana said, "Same here"
Criss: so did you like the show??
Liliana: yes, yes! it was very impressive...too bad that the folks around here don’t seem to appreciate it too much.
Criss: yeah, you're right, it’s tough out here.
Liliana: then, may I ask why are you here, then?
Criss: well, i wanted to travel around the world, and become famous in many places....but I guess I’m gonna be known more as a homeless mime by the mean-eyed folks that live here...but at least you liked it. that’s all I need.*Liliana looks down and blushes**Criss after a short pause* would you like to have a cup of coffee??
Liliana: Eh,I don’t know, I think I should be going now [doesn’t really have anything to do but she just can’t get Johnny out of her mind]*Liliana tries to leave fast, but Criss grabs her by the arm[gently]. She stops and looks at him*
Criss: please, please! it won’t take much of your time, I promise, it’s just that...I haven’t been able to have a real conversation with anybody in a long time, and you're the first person I feel I can talk to.
Liliana: * feels compromised, and at the same time somewhat flattered*...Ok then, I’ll go with you.
Criss: *In an excited voice* really?! *feels embarrassed after having busted with joy in a childish [but cute] way* Oh I'm sorry, I think I got carried away.
They walked in, and looked for a table. Despite of Criss's long brake from women since he's staying in France (due to the language barrier ) Criss still remembered his manners and how to be a gentleman. He pulled the chair so she Liliana could sit down, and they waited for the waiter.
When he came, Criss was about to freeze out of fear again because he still had problems communicating in French, and just as he was about to make a fool out of himself, Liliana surprised him by saying, "Apportez-nous un couple de cappuccinos, s’il vous plait."
The waiter understood with no problem and said, "Est-ce tout?" Liliana replied, "Oui," and the waiter left.
Criss was in shock, and also embarrassed that she was smarter than him, despite the fact that he had been in Paris longer than she had. Criss snapped out of his shock and said, "Wow, you're really good at French, aren't you?"
And she said, "Hehe, well, not too brag about it, but I don't only speak French, I also speak Italian, Russian, German, and Spanish, being my first language."
Criss stared at her in amazement. He couldn't believe he was the one who carried the name of "Angel," and yet he had just met a real angel, in the street of Paris. Such perfection, such beauty, such intelligence; it was marvelous. But all that intimidated him at the same time. He felt that he wasn't at her level, and started to feel uneasy.
Criss's expression changed entirely. Liliana asked, "Is there something wrong?" and he said, "Ehhh, I'm sorry, but there's something I gotta do. See ya later." and left the cafe in a rush.
Liliana just stared at the door for a moment, still wondering what had happened. But there was thing she was sure of: They would meet again.
CH 2 - Despise
Liliana took a look at her watch.I t was late for her too. She really didn't have any business to attend to, but she had to find another place to live. She knew she couldn't go back to Johnny's place. Except to pick her things up and leave right away, again.
When she returned to the apartment, there was no one there.
She began to take a look around, probably just trying to see if there was anything different from the time she had left until now.
There was quite a mess, but that was the usual wherever Johnny went. If it wasn't for her, he would probably prefer to sleep in a dumpster.
Then she focused on the motive of her visit. She began to look for the suitcase.
It was at the top of the closet.
It was too high for her, so she had to stand on her toes. She could barely reach the suitcase, and started pulling it as hard as she could.
When she was almost done taking it out of the closet, she pulled hard one last time, and in doing that, she discovered something not very pleasant.
The suitcase dragged with it a ton of pictures that got scattered all around her.
she didn't pay attention to it at first, since she was in a hurry, but she saw that there was someone in the picture that she hadn't seen before. It was a woman. Had blondish hair, was really skinny, pale like a ghost, and had a funny smile.
She shuffled through the pictures one by one. It was like a dagger at the heart. Johnny, the love of her life, being with another woman. The tears began to come out her eyes. They fell from her cheeks and onto the photos. One by one, the pictures began to drench in Liliana's sorrow. But then, Liliana heard a noise. It was the door. Someone was in the room! And she didn't get the feeling it was the landlord. She ran into the closet and stayed quiet. She tried to look through a little gap, and there she saw something worse than a picture.
It was Johnny, laughing and joking around. But make no mistake; he wasn't drunk and talking to himself. No. He had that plastic b**ch in his arms. He threw her on the bed, and began to make out; all in front of Liliana's watery eyes.
Liliana tried to look away, but she couldn't. The man she thought was a dream, had become a nightmare for her, and worst of all, it was a nightmare Liliana didn't want to wake up from. The pain was to overwhelming for her, and yet, she preferred to look and suffer. Then, a rush of adrenaline ran through her system. Jealousy began to take over her good common sense. She stormed out of the closet, grabbed a flower vase that was on a small table next to the bed, and hit Johnny on the head with it. The woman began to scream out of terror. Johnny wasn't moving, and her hands were stained in blood.
Liliana stared at the scene in confusion. She still hadn't grasped the seriousness of the situation. The screams of the plastic girl woke her up. Liliana turned around and left in a hurry. She run and run, with no direction.
Ch 3 - Reliance
Liliana had found shelter among some trees in a public park of Paris. She was sitting there, alone in the cold. She wanted to cry, but she couldn't. She didn't know why. It probably was because she had experiences too many shocking events in only one day.
All she could do was think about what she had done. She hadn't just killed anyone. She had killed Johnny Depp, a movie star! It was a fact that the news were going to be all over it. It would be a classic crime: a crime of passion.
Then, when Liliana had drowned in her own thoughts, and just when she had lost all hope, she heard a voice. It was a juggler playing some fun tricks on the street. A small crowd had surrounded him and seemed to be very entertained by him. It could only be one person: Criss. She got up and ran towards the crowd. She tried to look over people's heads, but she coudn't get a good look. She began to push people aside and said, " Excuse me, excuse me."
And when she had finally reached the center of the crowd, her soul became as solid as rock. It was just a street clown. Nothing but another homeless person, trying to make ends meet.
But this gave her an idea. She realized she wasn't far from the street where she had found Criss. She thought, "I'll go look for him there, he might be able to tell me where I can spend the night for today!"
She began to run again. This time she had a smile on her face. She wasn't exactly happy, but she was trying not to lose hope. He was her only chance. He was also, just like he said, her only friend in the big and crowded streets of Paris.
The image of the Eiffel Tower from the ground made Liliana feel like she was just a little ant. But she kept running and running. She had nothing to lose now. She had no husband, no place to live, no belongings, nothing, nothing but herself, and the hope of finding this Criss character.
While on her way to the street where she had met Criss, she couldn't stop thinking of what she was going to tell Criss when she saw him. The problem with that was that she began to hold onto that hope too tightly, and almost completely took for granted that he would be there. She was trying to stay in one piece. She couldn't lose her mind now, she had to be focused.
She ran for a little bit more, until she found the street. There were a lot of people walking by. She was afraid she wouldn't find him in such a big crowd. She began to feel desperate, so she began to shout his name, "Criss Criss Where are you CRISS"
But there was no response, nothing but the sound of people walking back and forth, the noise of the car engines, the laughs and chit chat coming from a nearby bar, but none of those sounds sounded like Criss.
She began to walk back and forth desperately over the same piece of sidewalk, trying to make sure he really wasn't there. Then she stumbled upon a man with a bad attitude that told her, "Hé! Regardez où vous allez!"
The man pushed her into the middle of the street and Liliana tripped, thus falling on the ground.
She was just about to get up when she heard the horn of a car coming really close. She saw the front lights of the car as if they were the lights that lead to Heaven. And just when she thought that that was her end, a couple of arms embraced her with such fury and took her out of the road. The driver just screamed, "Hé! Ce que l'enfer est votre problème!"
*Liliana stayed frozen for a moment still trying to swallow what had just happened. Her senses had sh*t down for a few seconds. Then she came back to her own self and realized that those arms were still holding her. She turned around and looked up, in amazement.
It was Criss!
She didn't know what to do. She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. He looked right into her eyes and said, "Hey, I told you the people here weren't very nice. You better watch out from now on, cuz next time there might not be a bum that will take you out of the road jaja"
Liliana slowly smiled and tears began to come out her tired-looking eyes. She launched into his arms and gave him a big hug. Then she started crying so hard that Criss told her, "Hey, it's ok now, if you keep crying like that you're gonna dehydrated" Liliana kept crying, and then he said, "c'mon lets go get something to drink." Liliana stopped sobbing for a second and said, "I'm starving."
Criss giggled. Liliana was catching on to his sense of humor. That was a good sign, he thought. He said, "now that you mention it, I'm hungry too, let's go get something to eat then, and this time I'LL ORDER ok HaHa," Liliana said, ''haha ok" and they left. The eyes of the city were witnessing the birth of something that goes beyond any scientific explanation, beyond time and space. Something that only a few in this world are ever able to experience. It was the birth of love, true love.
Ch 4 - Bonding
Liliana and Criss walked out of the restaurant of an expression of satisfaction on their faces.
They were talking and laughing. They certainly look like the happiest couple ever.
Criss then said, "Would you like to take a walk on the park?" Liliana replied in a sarcastic voice, "are you sure you don't have anything to do right now?" Criss looked down and said, "Oh, about that. I'm sorry I left like that at the cafe this evening. It's just that"
Liliana interrupted him, "It's just what? You didn't like it that a girl knows how to do something you don't?" Criss felt ashamed and said, "Well, that's one way you can put it, but I don't want you to think I underestimate women, ok?" Liliana looked at him with confidence and with a mischievous smile she said, "I know, you don't have to apologize, I was just kidding."
And they kept on walking through the lonely park. The trees were their witnesses, the Moon: their protector and the wind was in charge of spreading their pollen of love all around Paris.
Then they sat on a bench for a moment. All of a sudden Liliana's expression changed. She became serious and looked down at the floor. Criss was still talking and joking around, until he turned to look at her, and noticed that she wasn't ok. "What's wrong?," he asked. "Oh, don't worry, it's nothing," she said. "No, it's not ok. If it makes you look this sad then it's got to be important. Please, tell me," he said.
"Well," she said, "I just realized rights now that, it's getting darker and I don't have a place to spend the night in."
Criss didn't know what to say. The thought of his own reality came flying at full speed to his mind. He didn't have a home either. He was used to sleeping on park benches and covering himself with old and dirty newspapers. How was he supposed to help her this time?
Criss knew that it would be too embarrassing to tell her the truth, so instead he came up with a good idea.
"Well, there's a place where I stay every night, if you want, I can take you there." Liliana looked at him with her watery eyes and with a cracked voice she said, "Really? Are you sure it's ok?" Criss replied with a fake confidence, "Yeah, sure! Let's go, you must be freezing out here."
Criss knew an old woman who owned a big old manor where she usually received all kinds of guests, especially tourists. She would charge them very little for spending the night over there, so she always had quite a bunch who wanted to stay there. Criss barely had enough money to provide food for himself and he preferred to rather save whatever money was left and make the sacrifice of sleeping in the street rather than spending it all on a soft bed with warm sheets. But he didn't want her to know he was a low-life. Well she already knew, but he didn't want her to know he was such a low-life.
Liliana and Criss arrived at the manor. Criss knocked on the door gently. But there was no response. He knocked again, but still, no one answered the door, until he became frustrated and began to slam the door and yelled, "Open the door you!-" And just as Criss was about to slam his fist on the door again, the door suddenly opened and an old lady came out screaming, "Ce que l'enfer est tout ce bruit?! Êtes-vous fou?!"1 Criss and Liliana stared amazedly at the old woman, and there was a sudden pause. Then the woman looked at Criss and with a look of disappointment on her face said, "Criss, what are you doing here?" Criss answered, "I need you to do a favor for me, please. See, this is my friend, Liliana. She doesn't have a place where to spend the night and I was wondering if…" The woman's expression turned even more hostile. "Ne même pas y penser!" the old woman screamed. "No, no! It's not what you're thinking! We'll pay you! Umm, nous vous remboursons.!"2 Liliana made a quick turn and looked at him and furrowed her brows while she thought, "Wow, this guy does speak some French after all!" When the old lady heard the words "payer" and "argent,"3 her expression and attitude made a 180 degree turn. She immediately said, "S'il vous plaît, entrez en jeu,"4 as she opened the door widely for the two of them and raised her hand to show them the way in.
Once inside, Criss took care of arranging everything with the landlady, while Liliana stayed aside for a moment. Criss and the old woman were talking in a very low voice and Liliana seemed to notice that. When Criss came back to Liliana, she asked him, "Is everything alright?" and he replied, "Yeah, sure," with a suspicious tone, but she was exhausted from the tedious day she had had and didn't want to argue. They went upstairs until they found their room.
When they finally found it, they opened the door, and to Liliana's surprise, there was only one small bed. She didn't really know what to say at that moment, but before a word could come out of her mouth, Criss said, "Well, I hope you have a good night, I'll be leaving now." Liliana turned around quickly and said, "What? You're leaving? Where?" He stuttered, "Umm, well, you see, I got a different room, you know…" One could see in Liliana's face that there was nothing she couldn't see. "You're lying, huh? C'mon, just tell me. You're lying." Criss felt cornered at this point and had no choice but to tell the truth. "Ok, fine. So I didn't get a room. What's the problem with that?" "So then where are you going to sleep in?" asked Liliana in confusion. "Nowhere," he replied, "I got nowhere to go. I'll just find myself a good spot down close by down the street." Liliana sighed and said to him, "Why do you like to complicate things even more? You can stay on that couch over there," and she pointed to a small and dirty couch. It was yellow and covered in small red spots. It had some holes on it, but other than that, it could make for a good bed. "Eh, I don't think so," Said Criss. "But why not? Don't tell me the sidewalk's hard and wet floor is more comfortable than this couch. C'mon just lay on it. Besides, you were the one who paid for this, so it wouldn't be fair that you didn't take advantage of it, don't you think?" Criss was amazed at her power of persuasion, and also a bit ashamed of himself for being such a push-over. "Well, if you put it that way…,"he said in a tone of defeat, and proceeded to accommodate himself on the couch, which by the way, felt like a needle bed due to all the springs that were sticking out of it. Liliana took off her coat and hit the bed. She was exhausted. Criss looked at her from the couch. She was looking the other way. After a moment, she said, "What are you looking at?" Criss said in an innocent voice, "What do you mean?" She replied, "I know when someone is looking at me. I can feel it." She turned around and said, do you wanna share half of the bed?" Criss closed his eyes as if he wanted to fall asleep and get away from the world and said, "Nah, the couch is fine. Don't worry." She sat up on the bed and as she patted the bed with the palm of her hand, she said, "Aww come on. You know you're not comfortable on that couch. Come on, I'll look one way and you'll look the other one. Deal?"Criss didn't know if he should, but that offer sure was tempting. He got up the bed and as if he was being forced to do it, he said, "Ok, fine. You win." Liliana giggled and said, "Like always."
They finally turned off the lights. Each one of them curled on their edge of the bed. Liliana fell asleep like a rock as soon as the lights were off, but Criss just couldn't close his eyes. They were wide open, like the eyes of a cat in the middle of the dark when it's struck by a ray of light. He couldn't stop thinking about all the things that had happened in just one day, and furthermore, he couldn't stop wondering about what would happen next. Then Liliana, in her sleep, turned around towards Criss and put her arm around him. Criss was in shock! He didn't move at all, He stayed like that all night without being able to stick his eye-lashes to his eyes.
Ch 5 - Uncertainty
The sunlight began to pour through the window onto Criss' face. He growled and slowly began to wake up. He sat up on the bed and looked around. Liliana was nowhere to be found. He got a strange feeling in the gut. He didn't know if it was amazement or worry or fear. A million things began to rush through his mind. "Could she have just left me like that? Or, maybe her boyfriend found her here and took her back with him? No, it can't be, I would have heard something."
Criss proceeded to get up from the bed. Just as he walks towards the door, the knob turns, stopping him in his tracks. The door opened. It was Liliana, carrying a couple of paper bags, and they seemed to be filled with goodies.
Criss didn't say a word and just stared at her and the bags she was carrying. She said, "Oh, you're up, I brought a few things to make some breakfast.
Criss still had that feeling of confusion that he had when she had barely come into the room, and stuttered, "Oh, umm, yeah, that's great, that's pretty cool." He paused for a moment. "Umm, at what time did you leave?" Liliana began to put the groceries on the table, and said, "What shall I make for breakfast? Should I make some scrambled eggs, or maybe just a couple of sandwiches?" Criss said, "You haven't answered my question yet? And besides, where did you get the money to buy all this stuff?" Liliana smiled at him, and said, "Oh, don't worry about it." Criss got a little upset and said, "What do you mean 'don't worry about it? First you just leave without telling me, and now you're being all mysterious all of a sudden? What's going on?!" Liliana's smile vanished from her face. She looked down and said, "I had some business to take care of." Criss became even more mad, and yelled, "Ok! Now I see how it really is! I can see that I'm not needed here, so I guess I'll just leave you alone." Criss's rampage suddenly stopped, as he noticed that Liliana was smiling at him again, this time, with a funny look on her face. Criss said in a loud voice, "What's so funny?!" Liliana's expression didn't change. Then she said, "Aww, you were worried about me, weren't you?," and winked at him. Criss's face blushed until it turned as red as a tomato, and he stuttered, "Wha-what?! What are you talking about?" It was obvious that he was lying through his teeth. Liliana, a very clever woman, never missed anything, and completely knew what was going on. "You don't have to deny it. I actually appreciate your concern," Liliana said, in a sweet voice. Criss calmed down, and looked at her in surprise for a moment. Then he grinned and said, "Umm, so…what's for breakfast?" Liliana giggled. "What? What are you laughing about this time?" Criss asked. "You're so random and funny too! I like that," Liliana replied in a flattery voice. Then she said, "Ok, then, so what do you want me to make for breakfast?" Criss said, "I don't know, make whatever you like." Liliana finally decided to make egg sandwiches. While they were eating, Liliana suddenly said, "I went back to my ex's apartment." Criss was about to give a bite to his sandwich but suddenly stopped out of shock, and looked at her. Then, Liliana added some more, "I went to get some money and a couple of changes. The clothes are in those bags over there." Criss took a sip of his coffee and said, "But you should have told me." "I'm sorry," said Liliana. "Was there anyone home when you got there?" asked Criss. "No, no one was there," she responded.
Ch 6 - Curiosity
"Au revoir, Madame! Merci pour tout!," Liliana exclaimed at the old lady, as both her and Criss departed from the building. The old lady stood in the doorway and cheerfully waved at Liliana. Then Criss turned around and looked at the old woman, who made a mean face to him and said, "You better behave, ok kid!" Criss just sighed, turned around, and kept on walking without giving her any response whatsoever. They walked for a little while, without saying one word. Then Liliana stopped, and said to Criss, "Well, aren't you supposed to go to work or something?" Criss replied, "Well, now that you mention it, yeah I have to go to work." Then Criss froze as he noticed how Liliana was staring at him. She said, "Aren't you tired of your job? I mean, it's not even a real job. I know you had a dream of becoming famous in this country, but sometimes we have to be realistic. Maybe you should go back to the U.S." Criss looked down at the ground out of shame, but he wasn't ashamed of his job as a mime, there was something else in his mind; something that Liliana hadn't been able to notice this time.
He looked down, and put on a serious face. The tone of his voice became serious as well. "That is not my real job," he said. Liliana said, "What do you mean? I saw you do those tricks on the street yesterday. "That is just a facade," said Criss. "Then, the whole mime thing is just a hobby?" asked in ignorance."No," said Criss, "I told you, it's a facade." "But a facade for what?!," Liliana asked in a desperate attempt for trying to figure out this mess. "It's a facade for my real job," Criss finally admitted. Liliana was surprised. She didn't expect any surprises from a guy like Criss, who seemed to be an honest and timid person. Still, she hadn't found out the whole truth. "Do you really want to know what my real job is?," Criss asked in a deep and creepy voice. "Liliana began to have some goose bumps, but still she said in a shaky voice, "Well, yeah."
"Are you sure you wanna know? Remember, there will be no turning back once you learn the truth," he said, still talking in that scary voice. Liliana began to feel worried. But her curiosity was bigger than her fear, and she couldn't just say, "Oh, forget it," oh no, she had to know the truth. "I'm positive. Just tell me, it can't be that bad, is it?," liliana finally said. "Well then," he said in an authoritative way, "come with me; I'll show you."
Criss began to walk and Liliana just followed. He wasn't talking, and had a serious look on his face, similar to that of a sphinx. Liliana then asked in a low voice, "Umm, Criss, where are you taking me?" "You'll see. Just keep walking," he answered, without even turning his head to look at her.
Then he asked, "Liliana, what's your favorite holiday?" Liliana was thrown off balance. "What did that have to do with anything?," she thought. Then she said, "Umm, I don't know, I've never really thought about it. Why do you ask?" "You'll see, just wait a little bit more; we're almost there. Oh, and by the way, mine is Halloween," he said, as he turned around gave a freaky smile to Liliana.
Once again, Liliana felt worried, but this time even worse. Her heart began to beat faster and faster. She didn't know if she should keep following him or just sneak away while he wasn't looking.
Then she asked him, "Oh really? And why is it your favorite one?" He put on that freaky smile of his again and said, "Because you get to wear costumes" He noticed her preoccupation, and said, "It's ok, soon you'll understand.
Ch 7 – Concealing
Criss and Liliana arrived at a storage in a lonely part of town. Criss opened the lock on the door and took the chain out. Then he opened the big blue doors, and said, "Well, come on in." Liliana was just standing there, and didn't move. "Oh c'mon, what are you afraid of?" he asked sarcastically. "Well, I got my reasons to doubt you, you know. You've been acting very strange the whole morning, it's like you're a different person from the man I met yesterday," she said.
Criss looked down and swallowed. Then he looked at her and said, "I'm sorry, it's just that…you're the first one to know my secret." Liliana began to feel that the Criss that she had met at first was coming back, but there was still something wrong.
Criss then tried to reach to her with his right hand. She looked at his hand for a moment with a sense of suspicion. Finally she gave in, and held his hand, and they both went inside the dark and damp storage.
They walked for a little while, and then stopped. Criss whispered, "Stay here. I'll be right back. Don't move from here, ok?" and he left quickly. Liliana began to get the chills all through her body, as she looked around her in the middle of the darkness. Then the lights turned on, one by one. Criss came back running and said, "Ok, let's go." "Go where?," she said. Criss held her hand, smiled at her, and said, "Follow me." They walked some more into the huge storage. There was a great amount of garbage scattered all around. Suddenly, Criss said, "Stop." Liliana waited for him to unlock a metal blue door. They entered the room. It was a locker room. Everything seemed to be normal, until Criss went and opened one of the lockers and took a big black bag out of it.
It was a plastic bag with a hanger coming out of it. Obviously, it was some kind of outfit. Criss showed it to Liliana and said, "Look," as he took the clothes out of the bag. The outfit seemed to be some kind of uniform. It was royal blue, and it included some kind of hat. Criss put the outfit which was still hanging from the hanger onto his chest and said, "What do you think? Does it look good on me?" Liliana was extremely confused at this point. She had no words to describe what was going on. Then she said, "Well, I don't know. Are you planning to put it on? Is that the uniform for your real job?"
"More or less," he said. "Well then, is it?" Liliana asked. "Soon, my dear, you will find the answer to all your questions, but in the meantime…" he said as he went to get another outfit from another closet, "put on this outfit. It should look great on you." He gave the bag to Liliana, and she barely held it with her fingers. She didn't understand what she was getting herself into. Now she regretted not having run away while she still had the chance.
But that was then, and this was now, and she had no choice but to go along. Criss left Liliana in the locker room so she could change her clothes in privacy, while he changed his outside the room. When Liliana took the clothes out of the bag, she told herself, "No way, no way!" Criss finished putting the uniform on, and as he pulled up his zipper, Liliana opened the door.
Criss looked at her, and said, "Wow, looking good."Liliana looked mad. She said in a loud voice, "There better be a good reason for making me wear these clothes!" Criss said calmly, "There is." She shouted, "Well, I demand to know right now!"
Her outfit consisted of a long black dress with small diamonds embedded on the lower part of the dress and a black hat with some black feathers on top as well. It wasn't exactly embarrassing, but it was just too elegant for her taste. She thought, "How come I'm wearing a very expensive dress while he's wearing that ugly uniform?" The answer was closer than she thought.
Criss and Liliana walked out of the storage. Criss locked the gate behind him and said, "Liliana, head to the nearest bank. You know where the JP Morgan Chase Bank is, right?" Liliana said, "Yeah, but…" Criss interrupted her, "OK, go there immediately; I'll meet you there soon." "But where are you going? What are you gonna do?" she asked in a frightened tone. "Don't worry; just wait for me there, ok? He said. The tone of his voice reflected the urge he had to leave right away.
Criss left in the opposite direction and turned around a wall. Liliana, looked at him as he ran away, trying to decide if she should do what he has said or not. And, just like the last couple of times, she ended up following his directions.
She hurried to the bank. People looked at her and mumbled with one another. They probably were asking themselves who was that rich woman and where she was going. When she finally arrived to the bank, she walked in, and found a chair where to sit. Suddenly, she heard a phone ringing. The sound was nearby, and no one seemed to pick up any phone. She knew it wasn't her, since she had left her cell phone at Johnny's apartment.
The ringing kept going. She thought, "Well, there can't be any pockets on this dress now, can it?" and as she searched with her hand around the dress she fell a small part that was different from the other material from which the dress was made from. She examined it, and realized it was a very small zipper. She opened it and inspected inside that pocket. To her surprise, there was a small cell phone inside. She quickly took it out and answered it. "Hello?" she said. "Stand in line," a mysterious voice said. "Who is this? Is it you Criss?" she asked loudly, since she could barely hear due to all the people that were talking and passing by around her. "Lower you voice," He said, "and don't say my name out loud. Now please do as I say and stand in line, I'm almost there."
"But--," she said, but the call was dropped. She tried to redial but the number turned out to be private. She had no choice. She had come this far, and had finally understood what Criss had said earlier about not being able to turn back. She rose from the chair and walked towards one of the lines. There she waited for about five minutes, constantly checking her watch.
Then, she turned around to look at the door to see if he was coming. She didn't see him.
Outside the bank, a van had parked almost in front of the entrance. A man in a uniform came out of it, and walked into the bank, looking down and holding a packet of papers which seemed to be bank receipts with his left hand, and a big black sack hanging from his right one.
He walked through the front door. Liliana felt a cold wind blowing from behind as the main door opened.
Ch 8 – Regeneration
Liliana was about to turn around to see who had come into the bank, but her movement was stopped by a man’s voice that came from behind saying calmly but firmly, “Don’t move.” “Is it you, Criss?” she thought. The man put a small piece of paper in her hand, and then left, passing right by her right side. Judging by the suit he was wearing, it seemed to be Criss. She stood there, frozen, until he disappeared into the crowd. She took a look at the paper. It said, “If I were you, I would walk towards the main door.”
Liliana said to herself, "This is my chance!" She had no idea what Criss was up to, but it seemed that now that he had given her "permission" to get close to the door she would be able to escape. She rushed to the door, and just as she was about to get there, a man in a black suit and barely putting a mask on broke in pointing a gun at everyone. Liliana froze. The man took advantage of this and took her hostage. He used her as a shield from the security guards. The guards just pointed their guns at him without shooting, fearing that they would hurt Liliana.
Then, a really loud noise was heard from inside the bank. It sounded like an explosion. The criminal let go of Liliana and told her to run towards the counters where the employees were, pointing the gun at her to make sure she ran as fast as she could. Liliana turn his back on him and began to run as fast as she could. Then, she heard a huge "Boom!" and she fell to the floor. She was partially unconscious. All she could hear were the screams from the people running around her. Her eyes would open and close over and over again. Every time she opened them, the vision of people lying on the floor struck her eyes. Until he felt someone grab her from behind and say, "It's ok, just hang in there." That was the last thing she remembered.
"Ahh!," she screamed, as her whole body jumped on the van's co-pilot seat.
She looked out the window and saw the buildings pass her by really fast, which made her head spin. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying not to faint again, and then she looked to her right. Her eyes open as wide as they could. It was Criss! He was the one driving the van!
Her hands began to shake, and in a desperate voice she said, "What’s going on!? What did you do?!" "Don't worry," he said, as he smiled at her. He seemed to be very calm. "Where are we going," she asked, still with a little weakness in her voice. "It's ok, just rest for now," he said, without taking his eyes off the road.
"But I don't wanna rest! I want to know what's going on!" she demanded. Criss's smiled disappeared, and now an expression of impatience had covered his face. He sighed and said in an angry voice, "Ok, you really wanna know?! Fine! I'll tell you!" "Don't you raise your voice on me, you bastard!," Liliana complained.
Criss calmed down, took a deep breath, and finally said, "What do you remember from the bank?" Liliana's face was clueless at first. She turned her head the other way to think for a moment. Then the memories came rushing back to her mind like bullets into her head.Liliana remembered when the man in the black outfit grabbed her and put the gun to her head. She could feel the cold metal against her skin, and the man's hand holding her arm behind her back really tight.
Then the man suddenly had a change of heart. He let go of Liliana and told her to run away as fast as she could. He fell on his knees and put his hands behind his head without even being told to do so, as a sign that he had given up. Liliana kept running until she heard the explosion and that was about everything she could remember.
Liliana turned her head toward Criss and told him what little she had remembered. Criss kept driving, as if he hadn't heard anything.
Liliana tried to calm down, and asked Criss, "Criss" but she was abruptly interrupted by him, "I robbed that bank, alright! Is that what you wanted to hear?" Liliana was in shock. Not only was she barely realizing that Criss was actually a bank robber, but now she would probably be incriminated as well for having "escaped" with Criss in the van, even though it was him who put her there.
Liliana was pissed off. She began to breathe really fast. She was trying to control herself, but her patience had reached its limit, until she finally exploded on Criss. "What the hell were you thinking? Why did you lie to me! What the hell do I have to do with this! Tell me! Tell me!" she screamed at him directly into his ear.
He began to feel uncomfortable, but still, he didn't say anything, and just kept on driving. Liliana felt frustrated and started screaming again, "Stop the van! Stop it right now!" and she grabbed the wheel which made Criss lose control of the van.
The van was zigzagging along the roadway. Criss stepped on the brakes and stopped the van before they had completely gone out of the road.
Criss and Liliana were both shocked. Liliana's eyes and mouth were wide open. Criss was breathing fast and his heart was about to jump out of his chest.
Liliana was speechless. Criss gulped, and as he was panting, he said, "The money is not for me, ok! Well, not all of it!" Liliana's eyes were full of despise. "Yeah, right," she said, and tried to open the door of the van. Criss grabbed her arm and said, "No, please! Don't leave! Let me explain everything!"
Liliana looked into his eyes. Those weren't the eyes of a criminal, or the eyes of someone who wanted to hurt people. But he had admitted it was true, and there was no way he could retract.
But the way he was looking at her touched her heart and she let go of the door handle. He let go of her arm and looked down at his lap. Liliana just stared at him for a moment, until he said, "It all started when I was younger, I was about 12 years-old when it happened. My little brother, Jonathan and I always played together, but one day he got sick and had to stay in bed all the time. I had always liked magic, and I always practiced so I could perform for him, I thought that would cheer him up and help him get better."
After hearing this story, Liliana wasn't mad at Criss anymore. She said, "Criss, that's really sad. May I ask what was wrong with him?" A tear sneaked out of one if his eyes, as he was trying to pull himself together. He said, "The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. They kept giving him antibiotics, until one day, I came back from school, and I wanted to show him a new trick
I'd learned. But when I opened the door, I saw my parents crying. I rushed to Jonathan's room, and as I was about to open the door, the doctor came out of his room, and told me, 'It's ok. Go play somewhere. Maybe you want to show me one of your tricks later?'" Criss's eyes became full with tears and he started screaming, "No! No! Let me see him! Let me see him!" Criss began to cry uncontrollably and he rested his head against the doctor's lap. The doctor put his arms around Criss and tried to console him.
Liliana put her hand on his shoulder and said, "That's terrible." Criss kept sobbing. "Liliana didn't know how to say what she had in her head without sounding like she was indifferent to his horrible story, but she just had to ask him. She then said to him, "Criss, I know that was horrible, but I still don't understand how that has to do with what just happened." "Wait," he interrupted, "there's more."
He continued with his story. "I grew up with that memory stuck in my mind. I felt like I have failed to protect my little brother. I felt so useless. I changed. I was never the same Criss I used to be before."
Liliana said, "But you couldn't have done anything. Stop blaming yourself for that!" Criss said, "I know, and that's what pissed me off. I couldn't help my little brother who was in pain."
Criss then added, "At first, I felt like giving up my dream of becoming a professional illusionist. I thought I wouldn't be able to bare the memory of my brother's face as he watched me perform from his bed, trying to smile at me. I thought my dream was hopeless, and that it wouldn't do any good to anyone. I thought about it day and night. At times, I felt like I was betraying myself too for not becoming what I wanted to be. So, in the middle of that battle of thoughts, at the age of eighteen, I took whatever money I had saved and came to France, looking for a change. I looked for a way to follow my dream here, but the doors kept closing on me. Until one day I was walking by the street with no direction, thinking about a million things, when I found myself a hospital for little children. I walked in. One of the nuns stopped me, and asked if I had come to visit one of the children. I said, ‘No.’ The nun asked me why I was there. I told her the same story I’m telling you right now, and she told me about the children that they treated. Some had cancer, and others had leukemia. There were others with physical disabilities. In other words, each child was a different story. That's when I realized what my goal in life was. I wanted to help those children in pain. I wanted to live the life that my brother couldn't live. And so I found a plan to achieve that by using my abilities as an illusionist."
"What do you mean? I wouldn’t call robbing a bank a magic show." said Liliana sarcastically. "It is," he responded, "the way in which I steal the money is an illusion itself." Liliana seemed confused again. Criss continued, "Do you have any idea of how this all was carried out?"
Liliana took a moment to think about it, but couldn't find a logical explanation for it. There were only these loose pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in her brain that she just couldn't put together.
On top of that, she had fainted due to the explosion, to which she didn't have an explanation either. Criss interrupted her thinking, and said, "Lemme tell you how it happened."
When Criss and Liliana split up back at the storage, Criss had gone to get the van. His uniform was supposed to be that of a truck driver, simply delivering money to bank. When Criss got to the bank, he was carrying a packet of papers on one hand, a big black bag on the other one. Both items served special purposes.
The papers functioned as a "sandwich disguise," as Criss liked to call it, in which the papers were the "bread" and the middle part was a hidden gun.
The bag had two purposes. The first one was to deceive the employees at the bank by making them think that he had money in there to deliver, but in reality he had a pack of explosives to detonate the big safe. Then, after exploding them, he would use them same bag to carry the money out of the bank.
"But, if you were wearing the blue uniform, who was the other man" asked Liliana. Criss gave her an evil smile and giggled. "What? What did I say?" asked Liliana. "Do you really think this was all random? Did you think this was all done just in the spur of the moment? No my dear. This had been meticulously planned from weeks ago, and you just happened to get a role in this act.”
The other man was in fact, the real truck driver. Criss had kidnapped him days before the crime and had threatened him with killing him and his family if he didn't cooperate. Criss made him believe that he had men in every corner watching his every move, so the man always followed his instructions. Criss made him get the keys to open the doors that lead to the safe room. Of course, the safe couldn't be opened with just a simple key, but Criss already had the solution for that: explosives. The last order that the man received from Criss was to act as the real thief in the most obvious way to turn the attention towards him. That way, no one would get in Criss's way to go get the money. The man received orders directly from Criss through a small microphone hidden under his clothes. But that wasn't the only thing that Criss had hidden there, he had also covered the man in bombs, so if he tried to disobey him, that would be the last thing he did. What the man didn't know was that no matter what he did, his dead was already part of the plan. By making his explode, Criss would be able to escape from the bank through the smoke, and the only witness that knew his whole plan would be gone from this world. Liliana had only helped Criss gain more time by involuntarily acting as a hostage. But when the man exploded, Criss didn't have any plans of leaving her there. She was not only a witness too, but he had a special connection with her.
Liliana was shaking from the horrible words that were coming out of Criss's mouth. "But why did you have to kill all those innocent people?! Why?!" Criss put his hand on Liliana's mouth to shut her up. Liliana's fear froze her to her bones. "Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to get what we want!" he yelled. Liliana pushed his hand away and shouted, "You're sick! I'm leaving!" but Criss grabbed her again. This time, Liliana didn't give in that easily like last time. She began to kick and move her arms around. Criss finally pulled her towards him and kissed her on the lips. Liliana tried to push him away, but slowly she began to give in again, until she just let herself get carried away by his enchanting lips.
She loved him and at the same time she hated him. When he finally let go of her, she rested her head against his chest and began to cry. Criss said, "That hospital I was telling you about, it was about to get shut down, because the nuns didn't have enough funds to keep treating the children. I knew I had to do something about. I couldn't just let all those kids die like my brother did. This money is not for me. It's not so I can buy a nice car o a big house, no. This money is to help the hospital. Can't you see it? In this world nothing is balanced. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. All I'm doing is trying to give a little balance to the situation here." Liliana raised her head to look at him, and said, "Criss…" she paused, as she didn't know what to say. Criss replied, "It's OK. I can't blame you for judging me like that. I just wanted to explain my reasons to you. It was never my intention to get you in trouble. I even made you wear that dress with the hat so people wouldn't recognize you. And that's why I took you out of the bank while you were unconscious. But none of that matters now, because all I am is a bank robber, and I should have told you from the beginning, but I didn't, and it's my fault. It's ok if you hate me. You can go now. That was all I wanted to say." Criss turned around and looked out the window so Liliana wouldn't notice that his eyes were getting watery. Liliana looked down for a moment, thinking of something to say, but her mind was a mess. She impulsively turned to the door and put her hand on the handle. And just as she was about to open the door, she turned around and put her arm on his shoulder. Criss let out a "Huh?" out of surprise.
Criss turned and look at her. She smiled tenderly at him, and said, "I understand you. And I forgive you."
Ch 9 - Balance
Criss kept driving, while Liliana took a short nap. Then Liliana began to slowly open her eyes. “Good morning sunshine! Or should I say, ‘Good night?’” he said with a mocking tone. Liliana rubbed her eyes and then said, “I’m hungry.” Criss said, “Oh really? Well, it’s OK; I had to buy gas anyway.” Criss drove some more until they reached a gas station. Luckily, there was a small restaurant next to it. “You can go ahead. Order something while I put gas in the van,” he said. Criss gave her some money and she walked towards the restaurant. Criss then put the hose in the car’s nozzle as he reflected on all the things both Liliana had he had gone through today. But his thoughts came to a violent halt as he heard a gunshot. He immediately turned around. The noise had doubtlessly come from inside the restaurant. He ran as fast as he could and entered the place. Liliana was standing there, facing the counter. Everyone had their eyes on her. Criss ran to her, and asked, “What happened, I thought I heard a –,” He couldn’t finished his sentence after what he had seen. Liliana was pointing a gun at the cashier. Criss put his hand over Liliana’s right arm, and calmly he said, “OK, calm down, Liliana. Now, put the gun down, please.” Liliana’s arms were as stiff as metal bars.
The sound of dragging chairs made Criss turn around. A couple of men had gotten up from their tables, and were now walking towards Criss and Liliana. One of them was holding a knife while the other one had grabbed a chair and was carrying it over his head. An “Oh-oh” escaped Criss’s mouth. He put his own hands around Liliana’s, which were still holding the gun as tight as if they were glued to the gun, and made her point at the man with the chair. He gave pushed her index finger, therefore pulling the trigger. People screamed, and the chair blew into many pieces falling on the man’s head. Liliana got scared, and her body let go of some of its stiffness. Criss grabbed her hand and took off running with her, saying, “C’mon, let’s go!” as they escaped out of the restaurant.
Criss got on the van and turned it on, while Liliana only opened the door but froze as she saw the men coming towards them. This time there were more than just a couple. Criss yelled, “C’mon, get in!” but she wouldn’t. Then she pointed the gun at the men, and Criss screamed, “What are you doing! Let’s get out of here!” Liliana’s hands were shaking. The men were getting closer and closer, until she suddenly pointed to the ground, where all the oil from the hose had splattered. She shot. The collision between the bullet and the floor ignited the oil. The flames began to travel along the gas and towards the gas station pump. Criss shouted, “Hurry up and get in the car! This place it’s gonna explode!” Liliana snapped out of it and jumped into the car. Criss stepped on the accelerator at full speed. The wheels screeched as they tried to escape.
The men stopped right next to the gas pump, and stood there, watching as the van got lost in the distance. Then one of them sniffed something and said, “Hey guys, you smell something?” One of the men replied, “yeah, you're right, it's like something's burning.” The men all turned to their rights, and so how the flames were beginning to consumer the gas pump. The men screamed their lungs out, and then there was a deafening sound, which made Liliana curl in her seat and cover her ears. They kept driving for a while at a high speed, and when they thought things couldn’t get any worse, they heard a police car siren from behind.
Criss checked the mirror, and saw the cop car signaling him to to stop. Criss exclaimed, “!+%%!” and pulled over on the side of the road. The police car stopped behind them, and the officer got off his car and walked towards Criss’s window. Liliana whispered, “What are you doing? Let’s get away!” Criss shushed her and said, “What! Are you crazy? We would get caught more easily that way. We gotta pretend like nothing’s wrong!” Criss suddenly stopped talking to Liliana and looked out the window, where the police officer was standing. The cop said, "is everything alright?”Criss said nervously, “Oui, oui!”4 Liliana leaned over so she could see the cop more clearly. She smiled at him very innocently and said, “Eveything is ok, don't worry!”5 The cop bent down to get a closer look at Liliana, and said, “Hey, you look familiar! Arent you that girl that came out on T.V who had an arrest warrant for attempted murder?”
Liliana’s pupils dilated. The officer stepped away from the van and said, “I'm going to have to ask both of you to come out of the car”. Criss immediately obeyed and proceded to step out of the van. He was about to open the door when he was surprised to see Liliana’s hand holding the gun right in front of his face. The officer hadn’t seen the gun yet, but had noticed that Criss was taking too long to come out of the van. He came closer again and bent down. When he saw Liliana pointing the gun at him his eyes opened widely and immediately tried to get his gun out. But before he could do so, Liliana pulled the trigger, leaving the cop lying on the floor. Criss yelled, “What the **!* are you doing!?” Liliana said, “Well, we were gonna get caught; I just had to do something about it.” Criss looked at her, surprised, and said, “Yeah, but,-,” Liliana interrupted him by saying, “You wanna help those kids, right?” Criss nodded affirmatively.
“Well then,” Liliana said, “get us out of here.” Criss closed the door, turned the van back on, and began to drive. They remained quiet for about five minutes, until something suddenly struck Criss. “Wait, what ever happened at that restaurant? I sent you to order something and a couple of minutes after I hear a gunshot. And when did you even took my gun from me?!” he exclaimed in an upset voice. Liliana look somewhat ashamed. Then she began to talk. “Well you see…”
Liliana had walked into the restaurant. Everything seemed normal. There were only people eating, and the waiters walking by, typical of any restaurant, until she got to the counter to make her order. She turned to look at the T.V. that was there. It was set on the news. The host was talking about a huge crime in Paris. Liliana began to fear that they could be referring to the robbery of the bank. But to her surprise, it was something different, but equally bad.
The French news reporter began to say,
“We’re here at this apartment building, where it is presumed that the famous movie star, Johnny Depp has been found unconscious. Apparently, he was hit on the back on the head with a flower vase. The police hasn't been able to find where the anonymous tip came from. We've been reported that Johnny Depp was taken to a hospital. The doctors said fell in a comma and remains in a critical state at the moment. The police suspect this to be a crime of passion, based on some photographs that were found inside the apartment. Rumors tell of the actor having a relationship with two women at the same time, thus causing one of them to take revenge on him. We'll try to find more information as this case develops. Here are a couple of photographs of the women. She has a slender body, blond hair. The other woman has a small complexion, black long hair down to her shoulders, and light skin. If you have seen any of these two women, please contact your local police station.
When the news reporter finished talking, Liliana noticed that everyone was looking at her. She realized that she was in big trouble. The manager kept looking back and forth at Liliana’s face and then to the T.V. screen where they were still showing the photograph. Liliana held still, waiting to see what happened. The manager slowly walked toward the telephone, and then…
“You shot the damn telephone?! You’re insane!” shouted Criss. “Well, what did you want me to do? He was gonna call the cops on us; is that what you wanted?” Liliana asked ironically. Criss replied, “No, they were going to call the police on you, not me. I’m not the one who almost killed a man with a flower vase.” Liliana stunned. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She said, “Well, I’m not the one who blew up and entire bank and killed dozens of people.” Criss’s expression became somber. He didn’t talk back and remained silent for a moment. Then he said, “I have a cause, you know.” Liliana responded, “Yes, I know. But my case was an accident. I didn’t mean for that !@%+*#@ to end up at the hospital.” Both of them seemed to calm down.
Then Criss said, “So, I take it that he’s your so –called ex-boyfriend?” Liliana nodded and said, “Aha.” Criss paused, and then he said, “So… why did you try to kill him?” Liliana went off on Criss. “I told you, I didn’t want to kill him! Get it?!” Criss, holding his laughter deep inside, said, “Alright, alright, I get it. I was just joking. Besides, now we have another thing in common: we’re both running from the police.” Liliana whined, “But I don’t wanna be running away for the rest of my life!” Criss looked at her and smiled, but didn’t say anything. “What? What’s so funny about that?!” Liliana uttered. Criss mockingly said, “You already in this mess before you even knew it, and there’s not way out of it, honey.”
Liliana crossed her arms and looked irritated. Then Criss asked, “So, why did you guys break up then?” Liliana looked out the window and muttered, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Criss responded, “Oh, c’mon! I told you my sad story, now’s your turn.” Liliana took a deep breath, and said, “Alright then, if you insist. Johnny-.” “Johnny Depp, right?” he interrupted. “Yes,” she stated, annoyed, “he was my boyfriend, and-.” Criss interrupted her again, “Who would have thought it, an alleged bank robber and a super star’s ex-girlfriend in the same car. The world sure is small.” Liliana lost her temper and said, “Is everything a $!$++!+ joke to you?” Criss kept smiling mockingly and said, “You know, now that you’re a fugitive as well, the last thing you should do is lose your cool, you know. You gotta keep a cold mind, and most of all, you should make good use of your sense of humor, because if you keep up with that anger you’re bound to make a mistake that could get us both in jail.” Liliana hated to admit it, but he was damn right.
She decided to veer the conversation, “Where are we going anyway?” Criss seemed happy to hear that question. “This time we’re going to my place.” He said confidently. “Oh, so you do have a place after all,” said Liliana in a burlesque tone. Criss nodded. “And may I ask where is it?” she said. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s not too far from where we are now, and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it,” he said very pleased. “Oh, really?” she asked doubtfully. “Oh, yeah,” he replied, as he looked right into the darkness of the road ahead.
CH. 10- Confrontation
The night arrived and a light rain began to fall, which lowered Criss’s visibility of the road. Once again, their short fuses became a problem.
“So,” Liliana said, to break the ice after a long period of silence and boredom, "I assume that you've been doing this for a long time."
Criss turned and asked, "Do what?"
"Well, you know, rob banks and stuff."
"Why you ask?"
"Well, that didn't seem to be your first time doing that. You seemed very professional about it."
"That's why you don't hear about me on the news; they don't even know it's me, unlike you who leaves all the evidence there for the cops to see!"
"What are you talking about?!" Liliana replied in disagreement.
"Well, you send a guy to the hospital, and you leave pictures and belongings there. Now they got your face all over the news. And then, you take out a gun in a restaurant full of people, as if you were admitting that you were the one from on T.V. That was totally careless and unnecessary. Then you kill that cop, and with my gun! Now they're going to have a bullet to examine which can lead them too other clues."
"Well it's not like I haven't learned anything. I set the gas station on fire precisely so there wouldn't be any traces or witnesses."
Criss scolded her, “But you can't be sure of that! How do you know that some of the people survived the explosion, and that they're now getting closer on us? I make sure that no one gets even a small glance at my face."
"Well, that's also why I shot that cop; I was trying to get rid of a witness-"
She was stopped by Criss who started yelling, "Are you trying to add more years to our sentence? Why do you want to pile our record with even more unnecessary crimes? This is not a game, you know. This is serious, and you should be thankful that I managed to get you safely out of your own mess."
Liliana remained quiet and just looked out the window. Criss kept driving with a mad look on his face, until he was able to cool down, and said, "OK, you know what? I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you. It's just that this is a serious situation and-" this time Liliana interrupted him.
Criss didn't know what to say. He looked at her with eyes of shame, while she kept staring out the window. It was going to be a long night.
The rain got heavier, and there seemed to be no end for the long and dark road that lied ahead.
Liliana asked, "How much longer?"
"We should be arriving there soon," he answered.
"You said the same thing hours ago, and you're still driving."
They kept driving some more until Criss began to slow down. He made a right turn and entered another small and desolated road. Until they arrived to what seemed from the outside to be a big old house. It wasn't exactly a mansion, but the building was of huge proportions. Criss parked the van in front of the front gate of the house.
"Wait here," he told Liliana.
"He went out in the rain, and rang the bell.
A voice answered from the speaker and said, "Who is it?"
"It's Criss," he replied.
Then a buzzing sound was heard and the gate was open. He signaled Liliana to come out of the car. They entered through the gate. The front yard was gigantic. There was a huge fountain in the center with sculptures of angels. There were some swings too. Liliana couldn't explore further with her eyes because of the rain. They finally got to the door. Criss knocked and the door. They waited for a few seconds until the door opened, and a nun greeted them.
"Please, come in before you catch a cold."
The nun led them to a small living room, where she offered them a cup of coffee.
"If it's not too much of a problem," Liliana said.
"Oh, no, it's not a problem at all. I'll be back in a moment," the nun gladly said.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, Liliana asked Criss, "Hey, where are we?"
"Isn't it obvious?" he said.
"Is this the hospital that you told me about?"
The nun came back with a huge smile on her face, and holding a tray with the coffee and some sugar.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, here's your-"
The nun's hands started shaking, as she stared into the hallway that was behind the couch where Criss was sitting on. The nun dropped the tray, and the cups broke, splattering coffee all over the floor. Criss got up quickly and turned around.
Liliana did the same. A woman with blond hair and a slender body stood there in the hallway, holding a rifle. Without taking his eyes off the woman, Criss ordered the nun to run away. The nun left quickly.
Then the woman said, "So, it seems that you got yourself a new man."
Liliana was frozen, while Criss couldn't understand what was going on.
Then he asked Liliana, "Do you know this woman?" But Liliana couldn't talk. Then the woman said, "C'mon Liliana, why don't you tell your little boyfriend here what you did. Tell him how you took my man away from me!"
A thunderstorm had started outside.
Criss said, "Liliana, who is this woman? What is she doing here?"
"It seems that she's too shocked to talk," the woman said. "I'll tell you who I am. I am Johnny Depp's fiancée, and this +@@@# sent the love of my life into a world of pain, from which I don't know if he'll be coming back!"
Criss was calm, too calm. He's confidence struck the woman as he said, “So, you must be the one that gave the anonymous tip to the police, am I right?"
"Wow, you really are smart, my dear, " she said sarcastically.
"Well, then, what do you want from us?!" he shouted.
"I want the money the money you stole from that bank."
Criss acted surprised.
"That's right, I know everything about it. I know you're the one who stole that money and killed all those people."
"Then why don't you turn me in? Wouldn't that be much easier?"
"Oh no," she said, "that would kill all the fun! Besides, I don't want just the money."
"Then? What do you want?" he exclaimed.
The woman pointed her rifle at Liliana.
"I want her life as well!"
And just as she was about to pull from the trigger, a shot hit the ceiling above her, letting small rocks and dust to fall on her. Criss and Liliana turned to their rights. The kind nun that they had met before was now holding a shotgun in her hands and had an expression of anger on her face. Her hands were not shaking at all. The woman ran away and Criss followed her. When he had come out of the front gate, a shot almost hit him, but he was able to dodge it. The woman was already on her motorcycle, holding the black bag with the money. He exclaimed, "!@%#!" as she got away, laughing at him.
Liliana came out after that, looking for Criss.
"Criss, what happened!? Are you OK?"
"Yes I'm fine."
"She took the money! Criss, I'm so-"
"It's OK, don't worry about it."
"I said, it's OK, really. Look, I'll show you"
Criss took Liliana to the back of the van and opened the doors. He said, "You see that?"
Liliana said ironically, "Yes, I can see that the money is not there!"
Criss got inside the van, and pushed a couple of boxes among the mess he had in there. He began to search for something.
"What are you looking for?"
"Wait…I almost…got it" he said, as he struggled to find what he was looking for, until he finally seemed to pull something out of there. Liliana was amazed. It was the black bag!
"But,-but how?!" she stuttered.
Criss winked at her and said, "The bag was here all the time."
"But then, what did she take with her?"
"A black bag," he said.
"Yes, I know that! But, what's inside?"
Criss just smiled.
The woman was riding her bike as fast as she could, fearing that Criss and Liliana would follow her. When she realized that she was safe, she stopped abruptly in the middle of the lonely road, and took a peek inside the bag, as to congratulate herself for her great deed. Her nerves got tense, and her liver was about to explode. She threw the bag on the floor with all her strength. Blank pieces of paper wrapped in rubber bands came out flying out of the bag.
She was furious.
A mysterious man wearing a hat and a large grey coat appeared from the darkness.
"It looks like our friend, Criss, was smarter than we thought. He really has lived up to his reputation."
The woman just heard him. She was still mad.
"Well, no need to worry;" he said confidently, "We'll play a little more with him. And then we'll see who's smarter"
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