It wasn't long before Lily and Rock were wandering the meandering halls once again. This time they needed no assistance from the guards at control central. Rock had slipped around the night previous, after dinner, and staying one step ahead of the security force was just a mild diversion for him. He was speaking to Lily about going to rescue K. It was not the uppermost thought in her mind at this time. It was what she wanted to do more than anything else,but not at this moment! She felt impulsive, and she knew she needed more time to formulate a plan, but Rock was giving her no rest, continually talking about how they would get there, what they would do. She could hardly listen. The whole situation was a pressure point for her, and he manipulated it with the skill of a Chinese acupuncturist. He held a total advantage at this point, an unfair one. He knew Lily was a creature of the heart, when all was said and done. He was aware that he was pulling her strings now, as she had been his moments before. He paid her back full measure for his suffering. She was reluctant at best. She felt as though he were pushing something on her that she didn't want. She wasn't sure what. Just that she wasn't ready for this, whatever this was. She looked around to see if this was a dream, or real. He was still there. Offering his help and protection. Had she been thinking more lucidly, she might have been more perceptive about his motives. Maybe not. She had no time to think or dwell on the idea that it almost seemed as though he had been leading her on an exercise since the reunion. An exercise in trust. She felt as though she had more than passed. Passed right on into insanity! She felt almost that she had let a serpent invade her garden, and now it was in sad repair. But at the same time, she had trusted him with her life, and he had not failed her. It was an intoxicating mix. She had allowed him into her inner sanctum, and now her world was topsy turvey. No one to blame but herself. Lily sighed deeply as she thought of the events that had lead her here. What was she doing? Why was she blindly following Rock? Where was he taking her, anyway? She plodded along behind him until her nostrils were tickled with the odors of leather, rubber, oil, ...machinery. A slight whiff of gasoline crossed her olfactory system and she knew they were approaching a garage. As sure as she thought that, they passed through a drape of slashed rubber and plastic into a a large concrete floored garage. The combined odor of Armor all and brake fluid assaulted her senses at once, taking her back in her mind. Taking her back to a time when she was small, at her father's knee. She remembered the smell of his bike, his jacket, his hamburgers on the plate clenched in her small hand. A rough, navy blue sweatshirt rubbing her fresh, plump cheek as she received a hug for the burgers. A memory of her mother pushing her behind her and telling her to go to her room, now... and her reluctance as their voices escalated. She would lie awake in the semi gloom and hear them yell at each other, a meaty smack interrupting the yelling. Silence following, then her father mumbling low, and through his teeth as he corrected his young wife...the soft whimper of her Mother. It all took a toll on her. Angry at her Father for being unable to control his base instincts, angry at her Mother for allowing it to continue, day after day, year after year. She really tried to tell herself that they did the best they could with what they had, but at the root of it all, Lily hated. Hated with all of her being. Angry, with a hard feeling steeling her veins into chrome. She took a deep, stabilizing breath. Rock had been verbalizing his plans to her all along, but she was unable to hear him. This garage held nothing but motorcycles, of all varieties, and ages. An old Indian, restored to it's glory, caught her eye first. A 1968 Pan Head Harley Davidson with an ice blue gas tank twinkled under the multiple lights. A glimmer from an 87 Ninja caught her eye next, a very fast little bike. She slid her gaze over it's aerodynamic body, imagining herself horizontal upon it, skimming over the road. There were so many bikes, so many beauties.... A Harley Tour Glide with a rose paint job caught her attention. It was a medium shade of rose all over, but the extended tank was painted with vines and leaves until they wrapped around the gas intake with a pink rose, dewy, and seemingly trembly. It was a beauty. She could almost imagine the roar it would make, awoken. She could hear the pinging it would make as it cooled off after a long ride. The same pings would be felt in her legs as they recovered from the ride. It made her mouth water, her thighs tremble as surely as they would after riding this succubus. Lily had always felt that Harley's must be charmed, or cursed. They seemed to enslave the owners, making them weak to the demands of the bike. They called for chrome, they called for increased power, double wide seats and sissy bars. They begged for jewelry. Perhaps that was why so many of their riders were tattooed, multiply pierced, draped in fringed leather and faded bandannas. More jewelry for the bike. The Bike. It imbibed the owner with power, but like most demonic items, extracted a price. Sometimes the price was blood, or your soul. It seemed was the case with her father. He died as he lived, with his bike. Lily was told the details of the accident, but she had her own version of what went down. The deal he had made with devil was called due, and the road opened before him one day with the ramp to hell, and he rode into it with the insolence of one of his ilk. Paying his debt with his life. The state troopers said it was rain combined with oil, but Lily knew better. The charred remains identified by his dental records only confirmed who Lucifer's catch was that day. Why else would he perish in flames that way? It only made sense to her. It gave her an odd sense of peace to think he was being boiled or jabbed with pitchforks. It gave rise to the sickness in her that made her able to do things like steal, and kill. She scared herself when she enjoyed these thoughts. Evil. Well, her mind said, ...the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! Shut up! She viciously thought to herself. Unable to reconcile these emotions in herself, she turned on Rock.

"Why did you bring me here? Of all places? What were you thinking? " Her voice rose to a shrieking crescendo, taking Rock completely off guard. What in the hell was wrong with this picture? He thought she would be thrilled and charmed by the display of powerful machines, and would be ready to ride in a moment. He was woefully wrong. He really had no idea about her history, or her feelings about motorcycles. It was really misplaced feelings. Projection of her angst about her father onto inanimate objects. Motorcycles represented loss to Lily. The loss of her young family life, the loss of her father emotionally, and finally, corporeally. She dropped her head into her hands and really let go sobbing hysterically. Rock looked around and saw a few mechanics wiping their hands on rags and trying to see if the lady needed assistance. He tried to give them a hi-sign to say it was alright, but, one of them was already on the intercom. Rock sighed as he heard the muffled noise of many feet on the carpeted corridor. In a moment, four well armored and armed men were there. Lily raised her watery gaze, and tried to take a breath to tell them it was okay, but she could only point at Rock and make gasping sounds. Unable to understand, the men grabbed Rock, who made no attempt to resist. She shook her head and waved her hands to negate their actions. She finally found enough breath to tell them it was alright. He hadn't hurt her, it was just her. They released him without apology. Lily was their priority, by order of Hayu. They all knew what she meant to him, and while their relationship was obscure, they knew she was important. After much assurance from Lily, they retreated. She regained control of herself. She felt very tired. Emotionally and physically. Rock was most solicitous as he squired her back to her room. Lily looked at him, sadness etched into her features.

"I'll see you later?" She asked softly. He smiled a little, and clicked his heels and bowed deeply before her.

"As my lady wishes..." He looked her in the eyes and she could feel his love for her as if it were displayed on a billboard. She smiled through her tears at him. Her lips began to tremble and her eyes began filling,

"I love you, you know."

"I know." Lily turned and entered her room, looking back she found he was gone already. Quick and quiet, she thought. She went to lie on the big bed and fell quickly into a dreamless sleep.


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