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The subway ride was crowded, but Ravenshire didn’t care. The meeting had been better than great. He had made his presentation, faced down the experts, and made his case to the second largest Import/Export Clearing House in New York. A multi-billion dollar business and they were going to focus their executive compensation packages through him. The fees alone would catapult him into the millionaires club … eventually. Ravenshire couldn’t help smiling to himself. He’d met someone great, gotten out of the club before something bad had happened … his sources were obscure as to what exactly the badness was, and he had a brand new deal in the bag.

Ravenshire looked up the car, taking in all the different people he was sharing his ride with. He was laying off some of the expenses to make sure he didn’t tap himself out of funds this weekend. The subway was a minor sacrifice. Daniel’s eyes wandered back down the car until they came to rest on the woman directly across from him. It was her.

Happiness had blinded him to her approach, not that he could have done much in these confined circumstances.

“Tell me you aren’t seeing this … this child,” she spat at him.

“Not at this moment,” he almost lied. Okay, he totally lied. He had made plans to see her just this morning, made reservations, and damn near danced a jig when she said she could come this weekend. Ravenshire comforted himself with the fact that the Truth was not always the best policy. The way Dark Spiral’s eyes weld up, she hadn’t pierced his deception, and thus, he got to live.

She leaned forward and took his hand in hers, squeezing it.

“I knew that,” the crazed terat told him. She wrinkled her nose as she said it, trying to look cute … as if she hadn’t put him in the hospital. “She’s nothing to you. She’s a waif of a girl, not a true woman, certainly not the one for you.”

The implication was that she was the one for him, but Daniel was sure that correcting her, on a moving subway car, full of people, wasn’t the place … not if he wanted to live.

“Dark, you haven’t even met her. She’s not …”

“Oh, I plan on meeting her, my Raven. Just to straighten her out on some things,” she interrupted with a hint of menace. “You probably didn’t notice, but she was hanging all over you (As if … like hell I didn’t notice how right she felt by my side), and slutty young things like her need to be put in her place.”

“I can tell her if you li …”

“No!” she said sternly. “You don’t need to waste your time with her anymore. We will talk with her, one enlightened member of the One Race to another, less enlightened member. She will understand.” (Fat chance that, but I sure as hell don’t want either one of you killed … especially Lina.)

“Not this time Dark,” Ravenshire said, becoming stern and commanding. He squeezed her hand and caressed it with his thumb. “I’ve gotten you into this situation and I can’t leave you to take care of this mess for me. I …” she tried to interrupt, but he ssshhhed her. “I will see her … ummm … this weekend and set the matter straight. It’s the only right thing for me to do.”

Dark Spiral was caught. She liked it when Daniel, no – Ravenshire took charge. Her life made sense when he took charge and things always worked our right. She still had to save him from his baseline infatuations and she wanted to tear this bitch’s heart out, but she wanted to believe him too. After all, since he loved her, it was only right that he want to protect her … and he didn’t want to spend time with this snow-white tart … no, he didn’t … so she chose to believe.

“Okay,” Dark Spiral said coyly. “I’ll trust you with this. She’s probably delusional anyway. Let her down easily.”

The subway was coming down the next stop and she stood up, still holding his hand.

“How do I get in touch with you,” Ravenshire asked innocently?

“Don’t worry, I’ll find you,” she replied. Leaving the car, she gave him a sensual, sincere look over her shoulder.

When the subway started off again, Daniel put his head in his hands. What was he going to do now?

There were two plain clothed cops waiting for him when Ravenshire walked into his apartment building. The female officer came up to him and flashed him her badge.

“Detective Benson,” she said, identifying herself. “This is Detective Stabler. We are with Special Victims.”

Special Victims Unit … the sex police here in New York. Ravenshire sighed and his shoulder’s slumped ever so slightly. This day was becoming a real train wreck.

“We would like to talk to you about Lina Doritha. You were seen with on the 28th and 29th of last month. The circumstances are of concern.”

‘Concern as in third degree rape,’ Daniel thought. “Care to come up to my apartment? I would be more than happy to answer your questions.” (I would so like for you to go away, but what can I do.)

“That would be fine,” said Detective Stabler.

Together they got onto the elevator and went up. He could see Det. Benson eyeing him, trying to get a handle on what kind of person he was … trying to figure out if he was a pedophile. Stabler studious ignored Ravenshire. The elevator door opened, they got out and walked to his apartment. While Benson stuck close to him and Ravenshire made them some coffee, Stabler checked out the lay of the apartment.

Calling out from the kitchen,

“The first door is the bedroom. That’s were she slept. The doors at the end of the hallway are the guest bedroom, were I slept, and the bathroom was we both took showers … but not at the same time.”

“Got something,” Stabler called from the back of the apartment. Benson gave him the eye.

“It’s her clothes. I had them cleaned. She came to town with no change of clothes. As you most likely already know, I took her cloth shopping Saturday.”

The coffee was percolating, so he went to his jacket, pulled out his wallet and handed the cloth receipts over to Benson.

“You don’t find it strange that you were buying a fifteen year-old girl underwear,” she said after giving the receipts a studious eye.

“As opposed to wearing my underwear? No. I found it odd that a fifteen year old was wandering the city alone was a bit strange and I didn’t feel like leaving her on the street.”

The coffee was done. He poured himself a cup, but Benson and Stabler declined. Cup in hand, Ravenshire walked out into the den and sat right down in the spot were he had oral sex with Lina.

“The question is Did I have intercourse with Lina? and the answer is No.”

It was not a lie, technically. While he had broken the law and was looking at a Grade III felony, he hadn’t had intercourse with her.

Benson and Stabler were caught in a difficult situation. There was no complaint lodged against Ravenshire. He had co-operated and thought they had found some incriminating evidence, there wasn’t enough to charge him. Alone, the girl’s clothes weren’t enough. There was an excuse for them being there. There was no sign of a sexual assault and maybe, just maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he was totally unique uptown yuppie with a heart of gold. Maybe...

“Thank you for your time,” Det. Benson told him.

“We’ll be in touch,” Det. Stabler added. “Don’t go anywhere.”

‘Like I’m going to tell you I’m moving to Connecticut as soon as possible,’ Ravenshire thought back to them.

“I’ll make sure you can find me,” he managed to say instead and they were gone.

“He’s guilty.” Stabler said, waiting for the door to open.

“Yeah, but proving it won’t be easy,” said Benson, not convinced.

“He did something with that girl. I know it.”

“Elliot, it gets even better. Lina Doritha turns sixteen this Saturday.”

“… and that makes her legal in Jersey and Connecticut,” he said, completing her sentence.

The elevator came and took them on to the next case and left Ravenshire momentarily alone with his life.

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