Jet is a delinquent from a wealthy Manhattan family. His favorite teacher at his exclusive school dies and is replaced by a mysterious German man. He tries to find out more about Heinrich while gri...
[Seven Years Later]
Jet blew a whistle and waved a red faced, ten-year-old off the indoor basketball court. The kid looked up at Jet with a pout and hostility when he got to the bleachers Jet was draped over. Jet set aside the massive paperwork for a government grant and shook his head. He was trying his best to keep from snickering at the child.
“Jimmy, what did I tell you about annoying the older kids? They’ll start tossing you in the hoops and then I’ll be the one that has to pick you out. Why not play with the kids your age? They’re over there painting.”
“They’re all girls! I don’t want to play with girls!”
“I know. It sucks right now.”
“How long do I gotta stay here? I hate it.”
“I know, kiddo, but right now I can’t let you go outside. On the good side, I’m trying to find you a foster home so you have a place to run around. Just give me another week and hopefully we’ll get a space for you.”
The child looked as though he were moments away from tears. “Aw, Jimmy, it’ll be okay. Remember me telling you the story about Ann Frank?”
“She was in hiding too and she was so brave. All during the days she and her family would have to be so quiet and just lay still in an attic. Even at night they couldn’t make any noise. You see, you’re in hiding too. Right now we can’t make any noise.”
“Cuz of my dad?”
Jet gave Jimmy a worried frown. “Afraid so, kiddo. He has a lot of problems right now and needs to stop drinking before you can go back.”
“I don’t want to go back to my dad.” Jimmy started to tremble. Jet made room for the child to sit next to him. “Tell me more about that big war you always read about.”
“I’d love too, but I got to get some of this paperwork done so I can get money to run this place.”
“Why is this place called ‘Cathy’s House’ anyway?”
“Because it’s named after my favorite teacher I had in high school.”
“I think I’m offended by that remark.” Jet recognized the German language instantly. He jumped up and saw Albert Heinrich wearing a trench coat and blue tinted glasses. He was too stunned to do anything.
“What the....” Jet mumbled in disbelief.
A surge of joy welled up inside of Jet as he ran over to Albert. They quickly embrace and Jet grabbed the front of Albert’s shirt while the German man gave him a smug smirk.
“You’re here! I can’t believe it. I haven’t heard from you in months. I was about to hop a plane to Barcelona to make sure you were fine.”
“Jet? Who’s he?” Jimmy asked after jogging up to them. Jet laughed and patted Jimmy’s head.
“This is a very close friend of mine named Albert Heinrich. Albert, this is Jimmy. He’s been stuck here for a while. Hiding out. Kind of like a secret agent. Right, kiddo?”
“Yeah!” Jimmy chirped.
“Listen, Jimmy, why don’t you go get a soda while I talk to Mr. Heinrich?”
“Okay.” Jet smirked at Jimmy’s disgruntlement. He handed the child a dollar and gently pushed him towards the drink machines on the other side of the gym.
“Quite impressive. This is a very nice facility. I can see you’ve been working very hard.”
“Yeah, well, money doesn’t grow on trees. Or so I found out the hard way.”
Albert grabbed the laminate security pass around Jet’s neck and shook his head. “Jet Stoller. I see you’ve kept it.”
“Well... I didn’t have much choice,” Jet worked up his best sarcastic tone for the lie and grabbed it away. He'd sooner die than admit he now kept the name for a connection between them.
Albert laughed and shook his head. “It’s just your letters. Your descriptions were so vivid I could picture myself here.” There was a long awkward pause where Jet couldn’t think of anything to say. All he could do was enjoy the sight of Albert after seven years. Finally, Albert’s tension laden question, “How have you been?”
“Really great. We’ve done some good in the Bronx. As a matter of fact, you’ll get a laugh to know I just bought my mother’s old domestic violence shelter and did some needed repairs to the building. Those women aren’t living with a roof about to cave in on them any more.”
“Really? It seems like you have found a money tree.”
“Just a lot of hobnobbing a Senator and two Wall Street executives. But you didn’t really come to ask about all of that, did you?”
“Not really. I want to know about you.”
“Let’s go up to the roof. It’s about dusk” Jet said, putting on his orange glasses. He lead Albert towards a set of stairs. They climbed upwards until they came to a thick metal door that Jet unlocked. They climbed out into the chilly April air and walked over to the ledge that overlooked a small, parking lot.
“So... does this mean you’ve given up on Issimo?”
“I caught up with him last December. He’s no longer able to harm anyone.”
“I thought you would have written me about something that large.”
“After I killed him in Barcelona I flew to Berlin. I stayed there for a few months and then I made a trip to Auschwitz. I came to some closure and am settled over the past. That’s why I didn’t write you.”
Jet glanced at the open collar at Albert’s neck. There was no longer a gold chain around it. “You’re free?”
Albert removed his left glove and held out his indigo colored hand. There was no more plain, gold band around the ring finger. “I will always have a place in my heart where my wife dwells, but I can move on and see a future ahead of me now. I buried the wedding bands in her favorite park in Berlin. That’s her grave, not my mind anymore.”
Jet was silent. He lit a cigarette and leaned forward, his elbows on the ledge above the lot that was bathed in long shadows. Albert followed suit.
“You’ve changed since I knew you. You seem more at peace, too,” Albert observed.
“There is a part of me that isn’t settled. Overall, I have a lot of things that keep me busy.”
“It’s been a long time and I didn’t know how you would react towards me.”
“The Count told me a long time ago why you left me. You couldn’t stand another person you cared for dying so you left. That’s why I decided to write you when you started sending me letters five years ago. You’ve suffered enough and I missed you. I’m still angry that you didn’t tell me Scar almost kidnapped me. You should have trusted me a little more than that.”
“I did make a mistake. I wished I would have told you so you could have kept alert. I worried about you every day for years. I’m still glad I didn’t take you with me.”
“What!” Jet’s temper flared up, he glared at Albert’s gentle smile.
“You had became too much of a distraction for me. I couldn’t have resolved any of my past issues with you around. I know that if we would have continued our relationship at the time, it would have crumbled into petty arguments and then hatred. Now we have a fair chance.”
Jet was quiet for a moment while his mind tried to put together the implication. “So... are you trying to ask me if we can start over again?”
“I know you’ve changed some by the letters I’ve received. I can also tell your feelings for me have changed from a youthful craving into something much deeper. So have my feelings. I haven’t stopped thinking about you and wanting.”
Jet nodded and said, “The nice thing about vampires are that time can stand still for us. It makes it easier to pick up where we left off.”
“I’m glad to hear that because I have your belated graduation gift right here. I figured, since you earned a Masters degree, you deserve this.” Albert reached in his coat and removed two plane tickets to Rome, Italy. Jet looked at them and saw their flight would leave in two week and they would be staying a month.
“I haven’t been in a long time. I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you’ll go with me and show me around.”
“Don’t doubt it.”
“Also, this will be more than a pleasure trip. One of the things I’ve learned is that you can pursue your revenge and chop the head off the dragon. Only... a new one will appear. Another vampire named Tammara has taken Issimo’s place. Count Saint-Germain believes we'll work well together in rooting her out.”
“I see why he asked me to start preparing to leave Cathy’s House in my assistant's charge. Well, I’m ready for it.”
“I know. Well... then. Let me take you out for a bite and then we can go back to the Needle and get to know one another again.”
“Hey now! I remember you chewing me out for the same tasteless comment.”
Albert ground out his cigarette and smiled. “I’ve changed some too.”
Jet smiled back and threw his arms around Albert’s neck. “All for the better, I see.”