01-14-2012, 03:21 PM
After the visit to Father Mike on Saturday, Nancy Rose spelled out the conditions for her daughter's punishment: two months' confinement (of course); pay back the hundred dollars she had stolen from the credenza (done); give her father back the money order with a letter of apology (done); no television, phone, visiting, or computer privileges for the duration (groan, but at least she could use the library computer); do all the chores assigned without complaint (fine, but she wasn't going to do Kyle's chores for him, she had said. Her mother assured her she would not).
"And one more thing," Nancy said. "You are to renounce this Criss Angel person completely. You are to throw away anything even remotely connected to him. If I find anything, even a picture of him, in your room or anywhere else in this house, it will be taken out and burned. Do you understand?"
Alicia was stunned. It was bad enough to have her social life put on hold, but for her to give up her only reason for living was unbearable. She had to take a stand, no matter what the consequences.
"You can't make me give up Criss," she protested. "I love him! He saved my life, remember?"
"If you hadn't run away like you did, he wouldn't have had to save your life," Nancy argued. "He's been a bad influence on you. He's turned you against your family and your faith. Because of him, you went from being a sweet girl to a thief and a runaway, not to mention a liar. This infatuation you have almost cost you your life. Well, I'm going to nip this in the bud before this obsession destroys you."
"But you don't know him!" Alicia cried. "If you got to know him better, you'd like him! If you had heard what he told me in the interrogation room after the detective got through questionong me, you'd find out you and him are on the same page!"
"And what did he tell you?" her mother demanded.
"He said I should conquor my problems instead of running away," Alicia said. "He said that Kyle's been acting out the way he is because he's angry about Dad leaving us. He said I hurt you for running away, and that he loved me like he loves all of his fans. He was there for me, Mother. He listened to me. Not like Dad, who just brushed me off. Or you--you think you understand me, but you don't. It's like we live in two different worlds--yours is all sunshiny perfect, and mine is, well, more grounded in reality. Going to Las Vegas may not have been the smartest move I made, but I'm glad I went--even if it didn't turn out the way I expected. You can torch every single Criss Angel picture in the world, but you can't erase my love for him. You can't change what's in my heart, though you may think you can. You can ground me for life, but it won't change what happened. I love Criss, and there's nothing you can do about it."
She had said all this in a calm, matter-of-fact tone, staring directly into her mother's face. Nancy could only stare back, stunned by this outburst from her thirteen-year-old daughter. She was forced to admit that the damage had been done, and nothing could change the past. But she was determined to change her daughter's future--whether she liked it or not.
"Maybe there's nothing I can do about it," she said, "but there is something you can do about it."
A chill went down Alicia's spine. She did not like the tone of her mother's voice when she said that. She knew it boded ill for her: how, she didn't know.
"I want you to sit down and write this man a letter," Nancy ordered, "and tell him you never want to see him again."
Alicia was aghast. "I can't do that!" she cried.
"You can, and you will," Nancy told her firmly, taking Alicia by the arm and dragging her to the dining room table. "Now, sit over there!"
Alicia sat down, scared stiff. Nancy rummaged through the credenza for a pen, a sheet of paper, and an envelope, then bought the materials to the table and slapped them down. "Now, write down everything I tell you," she ordered.
Alicia reluctantly picked up the pen and held it over the paper. "Dear Mr. Angel," Nancy dictated.
Dear Criss, Alicia wrote.
"I have seen the error of my ways," Nancy continued.
I miss you very much.
"And I never want to see you, nor hear about you, for the rest of my life."
I want to see you again, and be with you for the rest of my life.
"My family and my faith are more important to me than your silly magic tricks."
You are more important to me than life itself.
"I am throwing away all of your pictures and any other reference to you."
I still treasure your pictures and any other reference to you.
"I've grown up now, and I see what a silly child I have been for being obsessed with you."
I've grown up now, but my mother thinks I am a silly child for being obsessed with you.
"You are an evil influence on young people."
You are a positive influence on young people.
"Please do not contact me, or my mother will call the police and have you arrested."
Please contact me as soon as possible.
"Sincerely, Alicia Rose."
With all my love, Alicia Rose.
"Now, you mail that letter to that man right now," Nancy ordered her. "Then go to your room and stay there."
Alicia folded the letter and inserted it into the envelope, then sealed it as securely as she could. She quietly retired to the safety of her bedroom, carrying her suitcase. She smiled to herself. Yes, she would mail that letter (once she found the address to the Luxor Hotel, of course), expressing her true feelings for Criss. She had to see him again, anyway; she was the primary witness to the murder of Tina LaRue, and she had to appear in court, and Criss had to be there, too. No matter what her mother said, Alicia would see Criss Angel again.
School was over for the day, but Alicia remained in the library, serving the first day of her two-week detention for truancy. As well as doing make up work, she was assigned to write a five hundred word essay on "The Sin of Disobedience" by Father Michael. Either that, or she would get kicked out of her Confirmation class, and that would disappoint her mother even more. For once, Alicia had swallowed her pride and accepted her sentence without protest.
Father Mike had been wrong about one thing: she didn't lose the esteem of her peers because of her actions. Indeed, they hardly noticed; the few who were curious about her whereabouts had been satisfied by a simple "I've been out sick.". And I was sick, too, Alicia thought. Sick of this whole boring existance. No mention had been made of the Piccucci Affair whatsoever. Life was the same routine of school, home, school, home, school, home--except it was more of the same, having been grounded for two months by her mother.
The letter had been posted that very morning. Alicia had posted it herself, for fear that her mother would rip it open and see what she had really written. She doubted that Criss would read it any time soon; God only knew how much mail he received on a daily basis at the hotel. Besides, she didn't know his suite number. Still, it would have been sweet if he had.
Alicia sighed and got down to doing her makeup work. She still could not access the Loyal Community website on the school computer, but she was allowed to go to the public library so long as she was home by a certain time--and not one minute later, either. She resigned herself to two weeks of drudgery so that she didn't have to repeat the ninth grade. Still, she gloated over her cleverness about the letter--a small victory, to be sure, but a victory all the same. No matter what anyone said, be it her mother or Father Mike, she would not let them break her.
CLARK COUNTY AUTO AUCTION
ITEMS UP FOR BID:
1938 Rolls Royce
1955 Spyder convertable
1958 Jaguar convertable
1960 Aston Martin
Damn! Criss thought as he read over the list of Mick's collection of classic cars. These things are vintage! A nineteen-thirty-eight Rolls? That's gotta be worth a cool mil in itself, especially if it's in mint condition.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen," the auctioneer said over the loudspeakers. "Welcome to the Clark County Auto Auction. We have six classic automobiles up for bid today. Let's begin with our first item: A restored nineteen-thirty-eight Rolls Royce, four door, V-eight engine, genuine leather seats, and original chrome. Opening bid, one hundred thousand."
Criss decided to sit this one out. He had a Rolls Royce of his own, more up-to-date than the grandfatherly model on the auction floor in front of him. Still, it was pretty impressive looking. He bided his time until the next car would be rolled out on the floor. In the meantime, he checked out his fellow bidders. No sign of Jay Leno--a bit of a surprise, since the famous comedian and late night host was known for his love of classic automobiles. Maybe he had one already, Criss thought.
He scanned the audience seated around himself. The auction house was sparsely attended; more than three quarters of the seats were empty. Maybe the economy had hit the classic car market as hard as everywhere else, he figured.
The gavel came down like a pistol shot. "Sold! For four hundred thousand dollars!" the auctioneer called out.
There was a smattering of applause, then the Rolls was driven off the floor. Criss wondered who bought it; he should have paid more attention to the auction than casing out the competition. He focused on the next item up for bid: a silvery-grey nineteen-fifty-eight Bugatti, straight from Italy. Niiiiiiice! Criss thought.
"We open the bidding at fifty thousand dollars," the auctioneer called out.
"One hundred thousand!" Criss shouted.
"One hundred thousand," the auctioneer repeated. "Do I hear one-seventy-five?"
"One-seventy-five!" came a strangely familiar voice. Criss spun around and saw none other than his friend/rival/fellow car freak The Amazing Jonathan sitting three rows behind him. AJ smiled smugly, almost challengingly, at him. For a moment, Criss was outraged. You son of a (bleep)! What the hell are you doing here?
"One-seventy-five going once," said the auctioneer.
"One-ninety!" Criss shouted.
"One-ninety. Do I hear two hundred?"
"Two hundred!" AJ shouted.
You (bleeper)! "Two fifty!" Criss screamed.
"Two hundred fifty."
Before either Criss or AJ could make another bid, a third voice spoke up. "Three hundred."
Three hundred thousand dollars! AJ was silent. Criss threw caution to the wind and cried out "Three fifty! And that's my final offer!"
"We have three-fifty," the auctioneer announced. "Three fifty going once..."
Come on, you (bleeper), Criss mentally challenged his rival. I dare you to outbid me! I double-dog dare you!
"Four hundred!" came the mysterious third voice.
"Four hundred, going once, going twice...sold! For four hundred thousand dollars!"
Criss sank back, defeated. Well, at least he was willing to beat AJ, anyway. In truth, it had been a draw, with neither side winning. I may have lost the battle, Criss thought, but I can still win the war.
The Bugatti rolled off the floor. "Our next item up for bid is a nineteen-fifty-five Spyder convertable," the auctioneer announced.
The cream-colored sports car entered like a model on the runway. Criss' heart went out for that racy little two-door convertable; he just had to have it, no matter what it cost. Screw you, AJ! This baby is mine! he vowed.
"We open the bidding at fifty-thousand dollars."
"One hundred thousand!" Criss called out.
AJ was not to be outdone. "Two hundred thousand!"
You want a bidding war, AJ? "Two-seventy-five!"
"Three hundred!" AJ countered.
"Four fifty, going once, going twice...sold! For four hundred and fifty thousand dollars."
Yes! Criss pumped air in triumph. Score one for the home team! He looked smugly at AJ behind him, gloating over his victory. AJ glared at his rival, vowing revenge.
The coveted Spyder rolled off the floor to make room for the next car. "Our next item up for bid is a nineteen-fifty-eight Jaguar converatable. We open the bidding at fifty thousand."
AJ fired the opening round. "One hundred thousand."
"One-fifty," Criss called out.
"Two hundred," came the third voice which had outbid them on the Rolls.
"Two-fifty," came another voice from the audience.
"Three hundred," AJ called out.
"Three hundred, going once..."
Criss hesitated. He had already spent four hundred fifty on the Spyder. Should he go for broke and get the Jag?
"Three fif--!" Criss called out.
But he called out too late. The hammer came down. "Sold! For three hundred thousand dollars!"
Criss swore under his breath. Damn! He had waited too long! "Okay, AJ, you won this round," he muttered.
"Our next item up for bid is a nineteen-sixty Aston Martin."
An elegantly sporty vehicle the color of French vanilla ice cream rolled onto the bidding floor. An Aston Martin! Criss thought. That's James Bond's car! I so gotta get this one!
"We open the bidding at fifty thousand dollars."
"Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars," came the voice of the mysterious bidder.
There were gasps of surprise all around. Even Criss was stunned, too stunned to even offer a higher bid. Before he could recover his senses the hammer had come down hard. "Sold! For three hundred and fifty dollars!"
Son of a (bleep)! He would gladly have traded the Spyder for the Aston Martin, but it was too late--it was rolling off the floor, lost to him forever. All that was left was the Benz. In his disconsolate state, Criss let it slip away to his rival, AJ, for just two hundred thousand. It was over. But at least he had the Spyder. There was that.
Criss met AJ at the purchasing office later that afternoon to fill out the title forms for his new aquisition. AJ spotted him immediatly and broke into a smirk hiding behind a big smile. "Hey, Criss, howzitgoin'?"
(Bleep) you, AJ. "Hey, John." Criss replied, aloof.
"Congrats on getting the Spyder," AJ went on. "You know, that was James Dean's car--the one he got killed in?"
"Thanks for the history lesson, AJ." Criss deadpanned.
The forms were handed over by the clerk. Neither man spoke while they filled out the necessary information to claim ownership of their new vehicles, then wrote out the checks to pay for them. Criss had finished filling out his form for the Spyder, arranging for delivery to the Luxor, and handed it to the clerk. AJ was still writing, having purchased two cars. Criss left quickly so he wouldn't be tempted to say something he'd regret later. He trotted down the hallway, eager to get out of the building.
Criss turned around and saw a man in a decent dark suit, dark-haired, about thirtysomething. "Could you tell me where the purchasing office is?" he asked.
Criss pointed the other way. "Down that way."
Criss turned and left. Who was that guy? he wondered. Well, obviously, he was the one who purchased the Aston Martin and the Bugatti, and maybe the Rolls, too, but he still didn't know his name. He had to be rich, of course, but he couldn't recall the face. Ah, screw it! he thought. I'm going home.
On his way home, his anger faded away. I got one of Mick Piccucci's cars, he reflected. I bought the car of a mobster! He also recalled that the sale of the cars would go to Casey Worth and the other heirs as part of the probate deal. Well, Casey's gonna be set for life, he thought, smiling to himself. Thanks to me--and AJ. Oh, and that other guy, whoever he is. I wonder how Casey's doing, anyway? Ah, I'm sure she's okay. At any rate, I'm out four hundred fifty grand, and all because I wanted to put a bug up AJ's ass. God! I can be such an (bleep)hole!