Wow...Check it out! I'm still writing after all! I can't tell you all how sorry I am that it took me a month and a half to get this chapter written! All I can say is that I got busy with school and other commitments. But I'm on spring break right now, so I thought I better get this written and posted.
Disclaimer: Do I look like Scott Fellows to you? Trust me, I'm not him, and therefore, I do not own Big Time Rush.
btrfan94: Awww, thank you! Logan and Camille are so cute together, so I had to put them together in this story. I'm so glad you enjoyed that particular scene! =D And thank you for reviewing! :)
lalaland: Well, it's your opinion. But let me know what you think of this chapter :) And thank you for reviewing!
misslittlemaslow: Thank you so much! Jo and Kendall are awesome together, so I had to make sure that was one of the pairings in this story. What did you have in mind for the story? :) Nope, I haven't said what DLS stands for yet, but that should be revealed before long ;) Thank you again, and thank you for reviewing! =D
And a humongous THANK YOU to everyone who has reviewed, alerted, or favorited this story! You guys are so incredible, and I really hope you guys are still around to read this after the month and a half hiatus!
Enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 14 - The Assistant's Benefits
May 5th, 11:30 AM
The truth was finally out about Griffin. And Logan and I had helped to set it free. I should have felt good, fantastic, like Wonder Woman. Instead, my stomach was churning with a mixture of sympathy and pain for Stephanie...and with fear. Griffin was not going to be happy.
I looked over at Kendall. "I have to go talk to Logan," I told him. "I have a bad feeling about all of this..."
He nodded, pushing back the covers of the bed, and tossed me my clothes. "I'll come with you. Something tells me Griffin isn't going to be too happy about this."
I bit my lip anxiously. "Why is it that right now I'm more scared of Griffin than I am of The Replacement? The Replacement is this - this - this invisible force that wants to kill us. But Griffin...I mean, we know him. We know what he's capable of. By rights, I shouldn't be so scared about outing him. I should be more worried about The Replacement. But I'm not."
Kendall finished dressing. "Griffin has mental issues."
"The Replacement probably does too."
"Touche. But Griffin...I don't know...but he's dangerous. That much I do know. He's dangerous. And we need to be scared of him, because then we'll be able to approach this situation with caution. We'll be smart about it."
"I - I guess so."
"Finish getting dressed so that we can go talk to Logan. And we should find the others, just to make sure."
"Just to make sure?"
I nodded again. "Okay. Text the others to let them know? We can all meet up in Logan's and - shit."
He looked at me questioningly.
"It's Logan's and Griffin's room. But I don't know if we can move Logan. I mean, he has a concussion."
"I don't think we have much of a choice..." Kendall said, sounding unsure.
I pulled my shirt on and buttoned my jeans. "It doesn't matter. Let's go."
We rushed out of the room, to Logan's and Griffin's room. Camille was sitting on the edge of Logan's bed, and they were talking quietly. They looked up when we busted into the room.
I looked at Logan. "I don't think Griffin's going to be very happy with us."
"We didn't send out the fucking announcement! The Replacement did!"
"Yeah, but we were telling people about what Griffin has done, apparently." I paused. "Who figured out for sure that Griffin raped Stephanie?"
"We did," Camille answered, pointing between her and Logan. "There's a bottle of rohypnol in his medicine cabinet."
My eyes widened. "Ohhhh..."
"Yeah. Apparently he had the prescription back when Stephanie was still at the Palmwoods."
"Anyway, Logan," Kendall broke in, "can you walk? We need to move you somewhere else. Just...just in case..."
"You think Griffin might go after us? Isn't that what The Replacement is for?"
"You never know...What if Griffin is The Replacement?"
"Then why the fuck would he out himself?" Logan demanded. "That's not something The Replacement would do - unless it was to throw us off..."
"The Replacement is Griffin?" Camille frowned. "I - I don't know...That just doesn't...That kind of seems impossible..."
I nodded in agreement. "We've gotten group texts from The Replacement when Griffin was right there with us, and didn't even have his phone out. And wasn't he there when we found Captain Montgomery?"
"So? He could have killed him earlier in the day," Kendall pointed out.
"Just...the idea of Griffin being The Replacement...It's kind of bizarre. I mean, I don't think it occurred to any of us that someone in our group could be...could be..."
"Well, if it's going to be anyone in our group, it'll be Griffin," Logan said grimly.
"True," I admitted.
"But we have no proof," Camille reminded is. "We just have our opinions and theories. And I still don't think it's Griffin. It just doesn't seem like something he would do."
"It's true," I put in. "If he wanted to get rid of us, he would just hire a professional hit man or something to kill us. He wouldn't go to all this trouble to torment us. One and done. That's how he would do it."
Logan snorted. "That's how he always does it."
"I'm just saying. But Cami's right. We don't have any proof."
"So...what? We search his side of the room? His medicine cabinet?" I asked.
"I guess..." Logan thought for a second. "Can someone bring me his luggage? I want to see if he has anything hidden in there."
"Okay." Kendall carried over the designer luggage, gasping under the weight. "What the hell does he have in here? A couple of skyscrapers?"
"Maybe he has a miniature version of LA in there," Camille suggested with a grin.
"I wouldn't put it past him."
"Did you text the others?" I asked Kendall.
"I'm about to do that."
I nodded, and Kendall pulled out his phone.
Logan began unzipping and unbuckling suitcases and duffel bags. "Ladies and gentlemen, the king of over packing," he grunted as he undid the fifth bag. "How the hell did he manage to get everything into his car?"
"He has a huge trunk," I told him.
"I could say something about his trunk, but you would probably slap me."
"I think the concussion messed with your mind," I informed him. "You definitely weren't this crude a couple of days ago."
"Awww, I think it's hot," Camille cooed.
"Gross," I said as I began to open up dresser drawers. "Wow, ironic - there's a bible in this one."
"Yeah, but it's hidden away. That could be symbolic," Kendall suggested.
"Let's not even begin to go into symbolism," I told him. "It'd just give us both headaches."
"Fine with me," he replied as he opened up the drawer to Griffin's nightstand. "Anyway, it's probably not even his. I don't think he believes in organized religion. Maybe it's the ship's."
"That's just as ironic."
He thought about that for a second. "You've got a point."
"Gee, thanks. It happens on the occasion."
Kendall grinned at me, just as Logan let out a grunt. We both turned to look at him.
"This suitcase is locked."
"Locked?" Kendall, Camille, and I all chorused together.
"Can you just pick the lock?" I asked him. "I'm sure either Katie or Carlos has a lock picking set with them. Hell, we could probably borrow a set from The Replacement at this point. He'd love to egg us on."
"Uhhh...and if The Replacement is Griffin?"
"Then we tell him we're delirious."
"Oh, that's quick thinking," Kendall said with an eye roll.
"Can I smack you?"
"I knew you liked it rough."
Camille turned to Logan. "Am I the only one who's suddenly feeling slightly nauseous?"
"Nope. Is my face turning green? It's green, isn't it?"
"Real mature," I told them.
"You're the one who started it," Logan replied. "Anyway, this damn lock is electronic."
"Meaning we'd need Griffin's password to get in. And..." he examined the lock a little more closely. "Unless I'm very mistaken, this blinking red light signifies an alarm."
"He's got an electronic, password protected lock, and an alarm, on his suitcase? Is he carrying nuclear weapons in there or something?" Camille cried.
Logan narrowed his eyes at the lock. "I don't know, but I'm going to find out."
"So...so...Stephanie was raped by Griffin?" my mom was stumbling out, still staring in horror at her phone.
James had a slightly blank look on his face, but when he turned to look at me, I could see that his eyes had turned hard. He was pissed.
"I - I guess she was..." I felt bile rise up in my throat. Stephanie King...raped by Arthur Griffin? Oh my God...This was something like out of a horror movie. We had known Stephanie had been raped...but to find out for a fact that it was Griffin...that was something totally different.
Before, it had felt like something you might see in a TV show that you watching every few weeks. But now...it was reality. It was real. This had really happened to Stephanie, and it had been done by Griffin. What kind of person could do that to someone else? What kind of sicko would do that to a 16 year old girl? I couldn't even describe what Griffin was - there weren't any words that were strong enough.
"That son of a bitch," James mumbled from beside me. "That fucking son of a fucking bitch!"
"I know," I said, my voice shaking. "I know."
My phone went off again, just as James's phone beeped, and my mom's lit up. We all looked at each other warily, and then opened the new text.
We all breathed a sigh of relief. It was from Kendall. The message, however, wasn't as lighthearted as what I had hoped: Get to Logan and Griffin's room ASAP. We think Griffin might be The Replacement! We're searching his room...HELP!
We all looked at each other, and took off up the stairs, to the designated room.
James knocked on the door.
"Who is it?" Jo called.
"Me, Katie, and Jenn," he answered.
"Come on in."
He opened the door and we piled in.
"Close and lock the door behind you," Jo hissed at us.
James did so, and we all turned to face the others.
Logan was sitting upright in bed, surrounded by about twenty pieces of designer luggage.
"Going someplace?" I asked him.
"Yeah, off this ship."
"Cool. Can you take us with you?"
"I plan to...
"And the luggage is going to help us? Are we going to use it as life rafts or something?"
"That's plan B."
"Awesome. What's plan A?"
"Plan A is we get this damn suitcase open, we find out whether or not Griffin is hiding nuclear weapons in it, maybe it proves that he's The Replacement, and we somehow or other use that information to save our asses."
"Okay, then. Operation use nuclear weapon to prove that Griffin is The Replacement. Makes sense."
Logan heaved out a huffy breath. "We're not using the nuclear weapon to prove that Griffin is The Replacement!"
"Then what're we using the nuclear weapon for?"
"We're not using the nuclear weapon for anything!"
"Then why're we trying to get the suitcase open?"
"We don't even know if there's actually a nuclear weapon in there!"
"Then why're we trying to - "
"To see what's in there. It's sealed with an electronic lock, we need a password, and - oh yeah! There's an alarm on it."
"There's an alarm on the suitcase?"
"We need to get it open!"
"Oh, shut up."
"We need to figure out how to open this," Kendall interrupted Logan and me.
There was a knock on the door. "It's me and Stephanie!" Carlos yelled through the door.
Kendall opened the door and ushered them in. Both looked tired, with pale faces. Their eyes were red and puffy, and I could see tear streaks on Stephanie's cheeks. I guess they got the news about Griffin.
Camille got off of the bed and went over to Stephanie, wrapping her arms around her. Stephanie began sobbing, tears streaming down her face. Jo joined them, and I walked over to them too, joining the group hug.
"It's like a nightmare," I heard Carlos said tiredly. "I - I never really thought it was you," he added to Logan. "I mean, I thought it was, but I didn't...I'm sorry, I know that doesn't make any sense."
"It doesn't, but I kind of know what you mean," Logan said with a soft laugh.
"I'm sorry," Carlos added.
"It's okay. I can understand why you would think that."
"I still feel horrible."
"Well, you shouldn't. It's been cleared up."
"Has anyone seen Griffin?" I asked, pulling away from the other girls.
The others shook their heads, just as there was yet another knock on the door.
"Who is it?" Kendall roared, obviously thinking what the rest of us were thinking - that it was Griffin. He grabbed a lamp - which was plugged in by the way, so unless Griffin licked his finger and touched the light bulb, it would really suck as a weapon - and held it up like it was mini spear.
"Gustavo and Kelly!"
We all scooted away from the door as Kendall wrenched the door open. "Get in here," he hissed, and Gustavo and Kelly slipped in. Kendall locked the door back up. "There's one person left. Have you two seen Griffin?" he asked the newcomers.
"This morning, but he ran out when the text from The Replacement came through. We haven't seen him since."
"Do you guys know any of Griffin's passwords?" Logan asked Gustavo and Kelly from where he was sitting cross-legged on his bed.
"His birthday? The number of his billions of dollars? I don't know..." Gustavo said. "Why?"
"One of Griffin's suitcases is locked and password protected, with an alarm attached to it."
"Yeah. I don't suppose he just has a couple of cases of Yo-Blow in there..."
"Unless it's Yo-Blow-Up, I seriously doubt it," I commented.
"Try his birthday," Kelly suggested. "It's October 8th, 1950."
Logan tried several variations of those numbers, before shaking his head. "Nothing."
"Damn," Kelly muttered. "Ummm..."
"There has to be a number that means a lot to him," Logan grumbled.
"Or a name," James spoke up. "The name of someone important to him. It could be the letter's number. His wife? His daughter?"
Logan began typing those numbers into the tiny keypad on the lock. A moment later, he shook his head again. "Nada."
"Does he have any pets?" I asked.
"Griffin? Pets? Are you kidding me? The guy has no compassion whatsoever for humans, much less for animals," James snorted.
"Okay...so pets are out of the question...And we tried Griffin's favorite people's names...Maybe his company? Griffin Enterprises?"
Logan tried variations of that name too.
"Do you guys really think Griffin's The Replacement?" I asked.
"We don't know...But it's a definite possibility," Kendall said to me.
"I mean, just because he has a suitcase that's locked doesn't really mean much," I pointed out.
"No, and it probably isn't him," Logan agreed. "But he's dangerous. And if he has a password protected suitcase with an alarm on it, then we need to find out what's inside, because there could be something potentially dangerous in there."
"Yes. Potentially dangerous."
"Maybe we should go find Griffin...see if we can get some information out of him," Kendall suggested, looking a little scared at the idea.
"What kind of information?" Carlos asked.
"His password, for instance."
"Cool. Who's going to do it?" I asked.
"I'll do it," James volunteered.
"What? No!" I cried. "You can't! He could kill you!"
"I'll go with him," Carlos told me, looking a little confused by my outburst.
"No!" Stephanie cried. "Carlos, he's so dangerous!"
"We'll be fine," Carlos assured her, and James nodded.
I shook my head furiously, feeling my throat clench. "No! James! Please don't..." I blinked back terrified tears. "Don't leave me..."
"I'm missing something here, aren't I?" Kendall spoke up. "I'm missing something really big here..."
None of us answered him.
I grabbed James's hand, keeping him from leaving. "Please don't go...I have a really bad feeling about this..." And I did too. My stomach was twisting and turning painfully, tears were beginning to stream down my face, and my breath was coming out in short gasps. I was more terrified than I had ever been in my life.
James pulled me to him, wrapping his arms tightly around me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Carlos doing the same thing with Stephanie.
"Don't go," I begged, my body beginning to shake with sobs. I buried my face in his chest. "Please don't go...I love you...Please don't go..."
"I love you too," he murmured. "I'll be back, I promise."
"James - "
He propped his fingers under my chin, lifting my face up. He kissed me gently, before pulling back. "Griffin won't do anything to us. I work for him. I'm his money-machine. He won't hurt me."
"But - "
"He won't," James said firmly. He gently pulled away from me, and Carlos did the same thing with Stephanie.
Both boys headed for the door, leaving us girls hiccuping and sobbing behind.
I felt beyond helpless as I watched James and Carlos go through the door. Stephanie stumbled over to me and wrapped her arm around me.
There was absolute silence as the door closed behind James and Carlos.
After several seconds, Kendall broke the silence. "I just have one question. What the fuck just happened?"
I turned to Kendall, wiping at my eyes. "Well, big brother, it's a long story..."
My heart was breaking as I walked down the hall with Carlos. Neither of us said anything. I had never seen either Katie, or Stephanie, so scared. Katie wasn't the type of girl who would cling to someone and beg them to stay. It wasn't her style. I have a really bad feeling about this...That's what she had said to me. And Katie's instincts were 99.99999% accurate.
My mind suddenly flashed to her potential pregnancy. I felt as if my stomach had just been stuffed with ice. What if she was pregnant, and something happened to me, and I never found out that she was pregnant? That I never got to see my kid...our kid...
"You scared?" Carlos asked me.
"Griffin won't hurt us...right?"
"He raped Stephanie..."
"But - but - maybe he's changed..."
"I doubt it."
Carlos nodded. "So...you and Katie, huh?"
"I don't - I don't know what to say - I mean, she's like my little sister...but congratulations, I guess?"
I smiled weakly. "Thanks."
"Are you two happy? I mean, you know, as happy as you can be in this situation?"
My smile widened. "Yeah. Yeah, we are. I'm in love with her...and she loves me. And she might be pregnant."
Carlos's jaw dropped. "You're kidding me! You two didn't plan that, did you?"
"No...but we forgot to use birth control..."
Carlos's eyes widened. "That's - that's not good..."
"And in this situation - I'm sorry, I'm not trying to preach - "
"No, I know. You're right."
"But she only might be?"
"Yeah, well, I mean, no birth control...I guess it just depends..."
Carlos paused. We had reached the lobby by now. As he glanced around, as if looking for a sign of Griffin, he asked me, "Do you want her to be pregnant?"
I froze. I hadn't really considered it. "Is it - is it bad if I say yes?"
"I think it'd be worse if you said no," Carlos said with a laugh. "So, if she's pregnant, you'll keep the baby?"
"As long as she wants to keep it."
"And if she isn't pregnant?"
"Then she isn't pregnant."
"I'll be thrilled if she's pregnant, but if she isn't, then I'll be okay with that too, because at least, if the baby ever decides they want to know how they were conceived - although, really, who does? - then we won't have to tell them that they were conceived on a ship that we were being held hostage on."
Carlos chuckled. "There probably isn't much danger of that conversation ever cropping up. But at least you'll never have to worry about that."
I looked at Carlos. "They're scared for us. Katie and Stephanie, I mean. They're scared that something's going to go wrong."
"What's gone right?" he grumbled.
"The girls are just really scared..."
"It's probably just because of the news about Griffin."
"Carlos, you can't honestly tell me that you don't think he's dangerous. I mean, he raped your girlfriend! Who knows what else he's capable of?"
"I know," he said quietly. "But we have to try to get the password out of him."
"Where is he anyway?" Carlos demanded, looking around fiercely.
"Where Logan was knocked out...Oh yeah, you weren't with us. Come on." I led him to the door. I opened it and flicked on the light, and held the door open with the hostess's guest book, just like I had done when Katie and I had come down here. We carefully made our way down the steps, into the first space, and then into the speakeasy.
I was right: Griffin was there. He was kneeling on the floor, stuffing dark-colored bottles of alcohol into crates. That was a new one. Since when was importing eighty year old alcohol illegal?
Griffin looked up at the sound of our footsteps. He didn't stop what he was doing. Instead, he just pulled a gun out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket. Carlos and I both froze. Shit.
"Are you The Replacement?" I asked Griffin.
He laughed coldly. "No."
"But you're working for him?"
"Very nice, James."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "We all know you raped Stephanie...But...I mean...how? Why?"
"The Replacement cut me a deal that he didn't think he'd be able to cut with the rest of you. He told me if I helped him smuggle certain items out of the country, and was willing to give up your lives, he would spare mine."
"Oh, sweet. So you get to be a murderer, but you get to live to tell about it."
Griffin shrugged. "Sorry, James, Carlos, but I value my life above all of yours put together."
"What about your wife? What about Mercedes?" Carlos demanded. "How will you be able to face them again, knowing that you sold out the people who used to work for you?"
Griffin shrugged again. "I'm not planning on going home. I don't plan on ever seeing my wife or daughter again."
"That's cold," I told him, and my mind flashed back to the idea that I might have a daughter in nine months...But at this point, I was only 5% positive I would be alive for that.
"You do what you need to do. It doesn't have to be nice and fair."
"I think you're missing a vital part of your body - your heart," Carlos said furiously. "How can you just abandon Annabelle and Mercedes like that? They both love you!"
Griffin shook his head. "I don't really care. I'm leaving them, and I'll have the freedom I want."
I began backing towards the door. Yeah, we weren't going to be getting any passwords out of him anytime soon, and it wasn't really worth trying.
Griffin looked up at me. "What're you doing?"
Carlos began backing up to. "Going to go get lunch. We're both starving. Right, James?"
"Yep! That's right!"
"Stay there!" Griffin got to his feet, aiming his gun at us.
"We'd rather not..." I told him, eyeing the gun.
"This gun's loaded!"
"Yeah...do you know how to use it?"
Griffin released the safety on it.
Carlos and I immediately turned and dashed out of there. A bullet hit the wall next to me. Another one missed Carlos by about a centimeter.
My ex-boss was trying to kill us.
Katie and Stephanie had calmed down a little bit, long enough for Katie to explain to Kendall what was going on between her and James. Kendall was not happy, to say the least, but Katie had convinced him to stay calm so that we could figure out how to get into Griffin's suitcase.
We were still going over password suggestions when Katie got a text. She opened it up and her face went pale. "It's from James: 'DO NOT LET GRIFFIN IN NO MATTER WHAT! We're on our way'."
"Does that mean that Griffin is The Replacement?" I asked out loud.
"I don't know," Katie said, "but it sounds like he really is dangerous."
"At least they're okay," Stephanie put in. "I mean, at the moment..."
We all nodded in agreement.
A few moments later, there was loud pounding on the door, and James and Carlos were shouting. Kendall opened the door and they fell in.
"Barricade the door!" James yelled. "He's got a fucking gun! He was shooting at us!"
At once, we all went to work, pushing furniture up against the door, hopefully effectively blockading Griffin from getting inside.
"That's the best we can probably do," Kendall said, not sounding very happy. "But I don't think he'll be able to get in."
"That's a start, at least," Jo agreed.
"Is he The Replacement?" Logan asked James and Carlos.
"No," Carlos breathed out, "but he's working with The Replacement. He cut a deal with him. Something about smuggling items out of the country and killing us."
"Oh, wonderful..." Jenn breathed out.
"That's not going to help us get off the ship alive," Katie put in.
"I know..." James walked over to Katie and hugged her tightly. He rested his hand on her stomach, and she smiled at him a little questioningly. Actually, we were all looking at him a little questioningly...
He just smiled back at her and kissed her.
In the meantime, Carlos was holding Stephanie tightly and murmuring to her. She smiled and kissed him quickly.
James suddenly looked up. "Try 5-2-12."
"Why?" Logan asked, brow furrowed.
"I can't believe it didn't even occur to me...That's the date the band broke up! It wasn't reported for two weeks...but that was the date we all left the band. And Griffin was behind it."
Logan began punching the numbers into the keypad. A moment later, the lock came off, and he opened the suitcase.
His face went pale. He lifted out a timer, like the kind you might see on TV shows...A bomb timer.
We all stared at each other in horror. There was a bomb on this ship, and if the numbers on the timer were correct, we had even less time than what we had thought. We had exactly 36 hours.
Well, time's ticking away...I was originally planning something a little different for this chapter, but I really like how this chapter turned out :)
So...let me know what you guys think of the chapter! Did you see the whole mess with Griffin coming? How about the bomb? So, click on the very lonely review button and let me know if you liked it or not :) Oh, and I also just got a twitter - I haven't even tweeted yet - but my twitter is ScienceFantasy1 (really original, I know). I'm planning on using it strictly for fanfiction, so that you guys can keep up with my stories and what's going on with them.