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Blake Kolchak

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a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Dignitas

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So begins...

Blake Kolchak's Story

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Crisp autumn air seems to carry pleasant odors more readily than that of any other season. Spring and summer are too humid for the air to carry much of anything, save for water, and the winter air bites one's nose too hard.

It is for this reason that Blake Kolchak was standing in front of a bakery, absorbing the delightful scents of apple, pumpkin, cooking dough, and caramelized sugar, when a confection of another sort sped by. Concerned, he followed the woman in white for the hundred or so additional feet she ran, then looked at her quizzically when she stopped and began laughing.

"A-Are you quite all right, Miss?" He extended a hand automatically, leaving it up to her whether she wished to shake it in greeting or use it to help herself to a standing position.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Despite the fact that she was doubled over, laughing her ass off, as soon as she heard the voice of the gentleman checking on her, her eyes squeezed shut in a wince. Crap. She'd drawn attention to herself.

That thought right there brought on a new wave of laughter. Of course she'd drawn attention to herself! She had been sprinting down Main Street in a wedding dress and now she was practically braying like a donkey. Taking a deep breath, she tried to control the laughter before straightening to look at the man who had addressed her. An occasional giggle burbled up her throat until her eyes met his. She studied him for a handful of long silent seconds, the corners of her lips twisting as she suppressed some errant giggles. As her eyes moved down to his extended hand, her left hand curled into a fist and slid around behind her back much as a child would when attempting to hide something an adult would take away. She eyed his hand distrustfully for a few moments, wondering what he meant for her to do with it before it dawned on her.

Reaching once more into the cleavage emphasized by the tight bodice of the wedding dress, she pulled forth the battered pack of cigarettes and placed it in his hand, topping it with the lighter and grinning. If he wanted a cigarette, she'd be more than willing to share.

"I couldn't be better!" she exclaimed, her left hand still behind her back. She took a quick drag of her cigarette that had mostly been forgotten in her laughter before dropping it to the ground. Lifting her skirts almost daintily, she poked the toe of a black Chuck out to grind the butt into the sidewalk. "This is the best day!"

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Blake looked down at the cigarette, then back to the woman, then cracked a bemused grin. "Let's get you off the street, you mad thing." Looking around for a suitable establishment, he spotted a small café, La Petite Théière, and guided her inside where they were both hit with pleasant warmth and the odors of tea and baking croissant.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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The diamond flashed brilliantly in the sun as she gathered her skirts, transforming herself once more into a big white puffball of tulle and satin. She allowed herself to be led away from the street warily. Ordinarily, she would definitely not have entered the cafe with the stranger, however, at a quick glance up the street, she could have sworn she'd seen a familiar figure a few blocks away but moving toward them with some speed. Yes. It was definitely best to get out of sight. Inside was a good thing. Away from windows. Upon entry to the cafe, she took a deep appreciative breath through her nose, dropping the countless layers of fabric once more and making her way toward a table at the very back of the cafe, as far from the windows as possible.

Turning to look at her companion, suddenly serious, her brows furrowed. "I'm not mad," she insisted. "Do you really think I'm mad?" She seemed to be genuinely concerned by this. Glancing down at herself, she patted down some particularly puffy tulle before running a hand over her hair, smoothing it back. He'd caught her laughing. On the street. In a wedding dress. Of course he thought she was crazy. "I'm not mad," she said once more, lifting her eyes to his. Once more, she sniffed the air. Turning her head suddenly, she grinned. "This place... This smells heavenly!"

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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"Well, you're running down a busy street, full tilt, in a wedding dress, laughing maniacally, and when I offer you what is clearly a hand of greeting and assistance, you put a cigarette in my palm and yell, 'this is the best day,' so yes, I'm convinced you might be a bit tweaked. If you'll have a seat with me, I'll get us some tea and a plate of whatever baked goods you'd like... in exchange for some explanation and some assurances that you are, indeed, all right."

He pulled out a chair for her at one of the tables, then sat in the one opposite it, catching the attention of a waitress.

The young girl came over and Blake found himself amused by the dissonance of a girl with piercings in her lip and brow and tattoos running down both arms forced to wear a uniform consisting of a polo shirt and slacks. "Hi," she said cheerfully enough. "I'm Jean. What'll you have?"

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Taking a seat in the chair that had been pulled out for her turned out to be a bit more difficult than anticipated. The hoop skirts beneath the multiple layers of frill lifted as she sat, holding the skirts in front of her face. She shifted, attempting to hold the hoop down, but any time she moved her hand, the hoop sprang back up. She couldn't help it. Once more, she released a volley of laughs before standing and turning her back on the stranger, intent on sliding the hoop skirt off. She leaned over, fishing her hands beneath the skirts, seeking the waist of the hoopskirt before remembering that it was tied, the laces tucked up underneath the skintight bodice. She would not be able to remove the hoop skirt until she removed the whole dress. With a frustrated groan, she plopped back into the chair, pressing the hoop down with an exasperated eye roll. "Well, that wasn't good planning, was it?" she asked, not expecting an answer. After all, he wouldn't have any idea what she was talking about.

As the waitress came to their table, she lifted her eyes and spoke to her as she looked toward the window, watching the activity on the street. "Oh, um..." she started, her brows knitting together. "I don't like chamomile. It tastes fuzzy." Turning her eyes to her companion, she realized that she hadn't made the case for not being insane any better. "I mean... Surprise me with the tea. Anything but chamomile. And I appreciate your offer for baked goods, but I'm not hungry."

The immediate growl muffled by the tight satin bodice of the wedding dress betrayed her.

"Okay, I am hungry. I didn't get a chance to eat before getting dressed. But there's barely enough room for me in this thing. I don't know that I can fit food in there too." She sniffed the air once more, prompting her stomach to rumble again. "Alright, alright, a croissant?"

Her hands twisted together in her lap as she studied her companion with great, probably unsettling, interest.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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This time, Blake joined her, letting out a deep guffaw before turning to the waitress. "A pot of Earl Grey and a plate of croissant, please, Miss."

Jean looked between them and gave them a warm smile. "Is that just for you, or is that for your wife as well?" His eyes widened comically, then settled back to normal. "That should suffice for both myself and Mrs. Kolchak, thank you, Jean." The girl scurried off to fill their order. Blake stood and removed his peacoat and scarf before resuming his seat.

"Now... Honey Bunny. How about the aforesaid explanation and assurance of all-right-ness?"

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Wife? What? She looked up at the waitress, clearly puzzled. And then his words. Mrs. Kolchak?

And then it dawned on her. The dress. The damned dress. Lifting her hand to her face to smother her embarrassment at her lapse caused the hoop in her skirt to rise again and once more, she dissolved into giggles. Struck with an idea, she shifted her chair, scooting closer to the table, pressing the hoop down. The tip of her tongue poked through the corner of her lips as she moved with complete concentration. Positioning herself, she straightened and slowly lifted her hand. The hoop rose, but it was stopped by the edge of the table rather than springing into her face.

Looking up at her companion once more, she forced a straight face. "I assure you that I am alright..." she paused, glancing toward the waitress before glancing back to her companion with a puzzled grin and continuing. "...Darling." Her lips twisted as she fought to contain another laugh.

Her expression changed suddenly as her eyes lifted to the window. Her head ducked slightly and she seemed to fold in on herself, attempting to shrink. She followed the progression of someone as they walked past the cafe, holding her breath the entire time. After a few moments, she released her breath, physically relaxing her body and turning her attention back to her companion. "Mrs Kolchak," she said quietly, turning the words over in her mouth as if trying them on before grinning at him suddenly. "It was a beautiful wedding. You should have been there."

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Oh! Right! Under his coat, Blake was wearing a collared white dress shirt, black suspenders, and a black tie.

"I wish I could have been there. Maybe then I'd know why you ran off or why you're hiding from whomever just walked past... Sugarplum."
The tea arrived first, sitting on a paper doily on which Jean had written the word congratulations flanked by little hearts and smiley faces. Jean also put a small plastic hourglass on the table so they'd know when to take the leaves out of the pot, and left them both with what she thought was a knowing wink. Blake watched the little timer spend its sand, tapping the tips of his fingers on the table.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Resting her hands on the table, she fidgeted with the large diamond ring, staring down at the doily. She twisted the ring around and around her finger as her eyes traced the little hearts and the word of congratulations. So, she'd been caught ducking. She'd have to be more careful.

Lifting her eyes to him, she held eye contact for a very long moment, her face perfectly stoic and void of any and all emotion. It was obvious that she was thinking, probably about what to say.

Slowly, her right hand moved forward across the table, before coming to a rest atop his and she leaned in slightly. "Even if you had been there..." she hesitated just a moment. "...Dear Heart... you wouldn't have understood why I ran off." Her eyes flicked over to the window again. "Or why I'm hiding." She maneuvered her fingers to intertwine with his, her thumb moving almost tenderly over the length of his index finger. "Even if you had been there, you wouldn't have the answers."

She straightened herself, eyeing him appreciatively. "My dear Mr Kolchak, I have neglected to tell you how absolutely dashing you look today, on this most fabulous of days."

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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His heart skipped a beat as she caressed his hand with her own. Somehow, he'd lost control of the interaction. Suddenly flustered, Blake straightened his back and let out a shuddering breath that he sincerely hoped she hadn't noticed while simultaneously doubting that she could have failed to do so.

"I, uh... Why thank you, Sweetheart." Part of him, unaccountably, wanted to believe their little fiction, even if only for half a moment. Blake allowed himself to get lost in her gaze. "Will you fill me in on the details, Mrs. Kolchak, or shall I be left wondering why such a ravishing young woman is on the lamb in so conspicuous an arrangement? Not that... knowing is so very important... as long as you are safe." His hand squeezed hers gently.

He could actually hear his pulse in his ears. Was this woman's madness catching?!

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Whatever she had been expecting, she hadn't quite expected the small things that a less observant person would have missed. The straightening of the back, the shuddering breath. She very nearly pulled her hand away, certain that she'd made him uncomfortable. He was disgusted by her touch. And why shouldn't he be?

But then... the way his eyes held hers... The way his hand felt in her own, squeezing against hers gently, warm and...

Clearing her throat, she tore her eyes from his gaze, glancing toward the window again. Taking a deep breath to center herself once more, she worried her bottom lip between her teeth for a few seconds. "Are any of us ever truly safe?" she asked, returning her eyes to his. "My love," she smiled, however despite the smile, her eyes remained untouched and slightly sad. "Why bother with details?" She looked around the empty cafe. "I missed... no, we missed our wedding dance. Will you dance with me here, Mr. Kolchak? Dance with me and not ask any more questions that I can't answer without putting you at risk?"

She moved to stand from the chair, releasing his hand long enough to smooth out the bunches of tulle from the ridiculously poofy skirt.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Blake Kolchak, in his mid-twenties, was not a naive man when it came to broken hearts, and had learned long ago to guard his own closely. Why, then, was this strange woman able to bypass his reason and make him feel like he was back in Ms. Porter's Homeroom, passing love notes to Tiffany Hickerson? Why was his logic unable to stop his heart from skipping another beat when she called him her love? "I will, Mrs. Kolchak."

He came to his feet, cupping her right hand in his left and putting his left palm against the middle of her back. He locked his gaze on hers. "And what manner of dance does my love desire? I am at her command." As he stepped in closer, the flush on his countenance became evident.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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She couldn't be sure exactly why she was keeping up this farce. She definitely didn't know why they were both participating. Funny how such a situation had started in an attempt to prove that she wasn't insane. Now, as she stood before him, her hand in his, his other hand against the middle of her back, firm and confident, she wondered if she wasn't insane after all. Lifting her hand to his shoulder, she stood still for a moment. She'd never intended any of this to get this far. What was she doing?

Suddenly aware of the lack of music, she very nearly broke contact, calling an end to the whole thing. It was, after all, completely nonsensical. More nonsensical than running around town in a wedding dress laughing her head off, right?

But then he stepped in closer, his cheeks reddening. She bit her lip once more before stepping closer to him as well - as close as a couple who had known each other long enough to decide to marry. As close as a couple on their wedding day. What manner of dance did she desire? Looking up, she whispered: "A first dance."

What was she doing? This hadn't been part of the plan at all. This could ruin everything! Yet, for some reason, even that knowledge didn't cause her to pull away. Instead, she leaned her face forward, her cheek brushing against his, her lips against his ear. "My name is Violet."

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Violet heard him sigh when their cheeks brushed, then gasp when her lips touched his ear. This close, she could feel his thundering pulse.

There was a roughness to his voice that hadn't been there before when he whispered, "Blake." Unwilling to break whatever mad spell they were under by attempting anything more advanced, he began swaying back and forth in place, not actually lifting his feet, dancing to some unheard music.
He pressed his cheek against hers and closed his eyes, memorizing her scent and the way she felt in his arms. He had a day or two of stubble, but it wasn't as coarse as might be expected.

He nuzzled her cheek with his own, abandoning reason entirely to the moment.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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As he moved, so did she. Effortlessly. Comfortably. It was as if there were only two people in the world. Violet and Blake. Their cheeks pressed together, their bodies closer than those of two stranger ought to be. Even the stubble was pleasant. All thoughts seemed to cease for a handful of beautiful long minutes. It was just them. This moment. This feeling of...of what? Her hand slipped from his shoulder, shifting to his waist in a movement that denoted far more familiarity than there was between them. Her fingers twitched occasionally against his hip, a tic of which she didn't seem to be aware.

It lasted less than five minutes. Without warning, Violet's eyes snapped open and she pulled away, suddenly overly attentive to the puffiness of her skirt. Hands smoothed down the fabric as she looked around herself, her cheeks burning red. Without an explanation, she moved to sit down, and the hoop in her skirt rose into her face once more. Pressing it down, she held it, looking around the cafe... looking anywhere but at him.

"Do you believe me that I'm not mad?" she asked quietly. Surely, he'd felt something between them too... It couldn't be just her, could it? For some reason, this seemed to matter to her.

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Blake was every bit as transported, swaying and dancing, holding her. He groaned when she separated herself, watching her sit, then approached, listening intently to her words and considering them for a few silent seconds before replying.

"No, Violet. I think we're both mad." Scooping her into his arms, he pressed his mouth firmly against Violet's and let out a quiet moan. Somewhere in the back of his mind, his sanity was telling him not to scare her off. It was muted into insignificance by the delight that was his bride. Blake's palm was cool on the back of her neck, his other arm supporting her in a firm embrace, dipping her and arching her back like in some old silent film.

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What was this? This wasn't supposed to happen. None of this. She was to run from the wedding, locate a certain store, do some business and then ditch the dress. That was what was supposed to have happened. That... not this...

But as his lips met hers, all thoughts of what was supposed to have happened skittered from her brain. She felt her world tip, tilt and topple... and, at the moment with his arms pulling her into his body as he dipped her low, his lips against hers with a confidence and possessiveness she hadn't felt in a long time, she was strangely okay with that. A soft sound escaped into his mouth, her left hand moving, seeming to be looking for something onto which she could hold. The kiss left her lightheaded and giddy. But once he released her, she stared at him. Her tongue darted to her lips, tasting him. This wasn't supposed to happen. None of this was supposed to happen.

She was flushed. Not just in her face, but down through her chest, her skin bright against the white satin wedding dress. She was torn. None of this was supposed to happen... but it had happened, and could she just walk away? Could she turn her back and walk out the door like it hadn't happened? It is what she should do... she knew that. Especially considering she knew that his back pockets were empty. No wallet. No phone. Empty. This is knowledge she shouldn't have. The fact that she did know this meant that he wasn't safe.

She moved slowly, deliberately positioning herself. "We are both mad," she agreed, nodding, her eyes straying to his lips... those lips! "As hatters." She grinned and gestured to the table. "We even have our own tea party." Carefully, she positioned her foot right at one of the legs of the table, and as she gestured to the teapot, her foot jerked. The table jerked with a loud rattle, the teapot tipping to pour out across the doily, across the table, onto the floor. Some had landed on the white fabric of her dress, staining it, but she didn't seem to mind. Instead, she used the 'accident' as the distraction she needed, and she slipped away, through the door, sprinting once more down Main Street.

She'd gotten away from him. She'd spared him. As she turned into an alley and pounded down the filthy cobblestones, she both cheered and lamented that fact. It had been nice. She'd felt... something. It was nice and she wanted more of it... but he couldn't be around her. It wasn't good. It definitely wasn't good.

She didn't stop until she was completely out of the area. She slowed down when she got to her neighborhood, but it wasn't until she got to her apartment building that she stopped, leaning over, her right hand over her stomach and her left hand moving over her face and through her hair.

Wait a second.

The ring! It was missing!

She stared at her hand, barely able to breathe. Fourteen carats. Gone.

"No... no no no!"

While Violet had absolutely no idea where the ring could have possibly gone, Blake would be able to tell as soon as he sat down. There, in his back pocket, was the ring.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Blake looked down at the ruined tea, then up at the fleeing Violet, blinking. “I shouldn’t be surprised,” he thought morosely, as the tiny stab of heartbreak dug its way into a familiar corner of his chest.

“Was it worth it, Blake?” He spoke to himself, his words catching in his throat. Was he crying? Blake checked and discovered that he hadn’t actually let any tears fall. Thankful for that small kindness, he turned to Jean and gave her a sizable tip to compensate for the mess. “It’s just this game my wife an I play. She takes it too far sometimes.” Jean nodded, still stunned by Violets display. Grabbing one of the croissant and his jacket, Blake walked toward the door. He paused, turned back, and picked up the tea-stained doily. He felt the knife twist, but tucked the frilly paper memento into his coat anyway.
“Violet.”

He strode swiftly toward his car, wanting nothing more than to get home and lock himself in.

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Most women don’t have to attempt to take a wedding dress off by themselves. Even dressing in one requires a few helping hands. Removing one… well, typically there is a groom to help with that, and most newlyweds laugh about the struggle of removing that blasted article of clothing.

Violet didn’t have another person. Once safe in the confines of her small apartment, she spent far longer than she wanted to admit trying to loosen the corset ties behind herself. Briefly, she considered asking her neighbor for help, but decided against it. He was creepy and he would definitely take it as an invitation. The last thing Violet wanted right now was a man to touch her.

Well… not just any man.

Forcing the thoughts from her head, Violet finally gave up and freed herself with a pair of ultra sharp kitchen shears. It took about twenty minutes, and when she was done, she stood staring down at the ruined mass of tulle and satin in her underwear, shears in hand. “Typical, Vi,” she muttered. “Always have to ruin something beautiful, doncha?” Her mind flickered back to the man and the café… Blake. What the hell had that been?

(Beautiful)

After changing into a pair of dark brown leggings and a brown long-sleeved shirt, Violet threw on a pair of light brown riding boots and a matching thin leather jacket. She had to get back out there to find that ring. She had to. A few hours had passed. It could have fallen off anywhere. Anyone could have picked it up. She remembered having it at the café… But she hadn’t seen it since. She’d backtrack her way to the café. She was sure to find it. Hopefully. She had to find it. Otherwise, everything that she’d done… everything… was completely pointless. And how was she going to pay for some of it? She had to find that ring!

And so it was that hours later, Violet slowly retraced her steps, a flash light illuminating even the smallest crack as she walked, sweeping in front of her like a blind man’s cane. She hadn’t seen a thing on her way back. Perhaps she’d dropped it at the café?

Entering the café, she met the eyes of the familiar waitress. “Excuse me… Jean, right? I… I’m sorry about earlier. It’s… I can’t quite explain…” She twisted her fingers nervously, contrite. “I can compensate you for the mess…” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a few crumpled bills, straightening and counting them as she talked. “I don’t suppose you found a ring? I… I lost my wedding ring. I haven’t seen it since…” She trailed off, holding out a few bills to the waitress, looking at her pleadingly. “If I left it here… It just… it means so much to me.”

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“Oh, hi! It’s OK. Your husband explained everything and gave me a nice tip.” Jean smirked at Violet. “That must be some game you two play if it got you that riled up. You looked like you were about to melt when he kissed you. Makes me think I might like to get married someday. Lucky. Let me check behind the counter for your ring.”

Across town, in a humble one bedroom apartment, Blake dressed down for the evening. Tossing his trousers on the ground, he failed to notice the diamond ring that rolled out and away. “Chin up, old man. She was clearly barmy. What are you so upset about? You think she would’ve run off with you? Did she seem the type for 2.5 kids and a picket fence? She was trouble.” He yanked his tie free and tossed it aside. “Then why can’t I stop thinking about her?!” Blake unbuttoned his shirt, flinging it angrily to the floor, right on top of the ring he hadn’t noticed.

Jean frowned, looking up from the small area next to the register where the staff kept lost items. “It’s not here.” She brightened suddenly. “Maybe your husband found it!”

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At the waitress' comment regarding marriage, Violet very nearly spoke up telling her that marriage was not always good, but she kept her mouth shut. After all, the girl had just mentioned how great marriage must be based off of how she looked when he kissed her...

As she searched for the ring, Violet found herself reaching out to grip the back of a chair, attempting to steady her balance as her mind replayed the kiss. Her left hand smoothed over her stomach, her brows furrowing at her puzzlement of the butterflies spawned within at the memory.

When Jean returned empty handed, Violet's heart sank. She'd lost it. She'd lost the 14 karat diamond ring that she had spent months planning to obtain. Everything that she had been planning was suddenly... slipping away. The creditors from whom she had borrowed in order to prepare for the heist would be coming for their share. What would she tell them? That she didn't have it? The theft would not be kept quiet. It would be broadcast in the news. She had to fence it before word got out about it... But she couldn't fence it if she didn't have it. Her creditors wouldn't take "I don't have the money" as a legitimate excuse. And they wouldn't be forgiving.

Swallowing nervously, Violet nodded at Jean. "Thank you for looking," she muttered, frowing. "Yes, maybe my husband..."

And then it struck her... As he'd kissed her, she'd explored his pockets. That was how she knew they were empty. She didn't remember doing so, but perhaps.... perhaps... She brightened slightly, thanking the waitress one more time before turning to the exit. Before pushing her way out into the night, she glanced back at the table the two had occupied earlier that day. For the briefest moment, she saw the ghosts of memory, acting out what had already happened. She saw his face, his eyes, felt his hand in her own, the stubble on his cheek...

No. The ring. It was the ring that was important.

Mr. Kolchak. Blake. Blake Kolchak... Shoving her hands in her pockets, she left the cafe, hurrying to the end of the block on which was located a phone booth. Entering the booth, she dug out her flashlight and quickly scanned through the directory dangling pathetically from the payphone. Kolchak. Kolchak. She scanned the page on which the name should be listed five times, but he was not there.

Letting out a groan of frustration, she leaned against the glass, slapping it with an open palm. Now what?

Google!

Pulling out her phone, she entered his name. Surely something would come up...

A LinkedIn profile. A solicitation to locate him if she paid $9.95 per month. A movie "Kolchak, the Night Stalker"... A Facebook profile, but the picture was definitely not the Blake Kolchak she had met this evening. A mugshot... also not him. A picture of his face beside an advertisement for a private investigator... She stared at the picture far longer than she should have, her eyes lingering on his lips, on the sculpted cheek.

She didn't want to hire someone to look for him. She couldn't afford it. There was no guarantee that he had the ring... and even if he did, what kind of investigator would happily work for money she didn't have? There was only one thing to do.

Biting her lip nervously, praying to a god she wasn't sure she believed in, Violet began typing out a web address.

Craigslist. Missed Connections.

Everyone looked at these, right?

Without giving herself time to second guess herself, Violet began typing.

Croissants. Tea.
My husband and me.
I'm sorry.
May I have another chance?
Vi


She stared down at the message, still leaning against the glass in the phone booth. It had to work... right? It was desperate... but, it was all she had right now. She had to get that ring.

And... more than a small part of her really wanted to see him again, even if it was a terrible idea.

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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Sitting in a full lotus, back straight, Blake tried his damnedest to concentrate on his breathing, but every time he cleared his mind, there was Violet’s face. He gave up, standing and adjusting his stripey pajamas before bending to pick up his clothing and toss it in the laundry bin. He lifted his shirt and noticed a glint from the floor beneath it.

“What the devil?” Bending to pick it up, and noticing what it was, he was struck by a pang of loss. Loss of what? He didn’t know her. Ah, yes. Loss of possibility. At the end of the day, we often regret the things we didn’t do far more than those we did. It was another story that could have been his life, and now he’d never find out what might have been. Gods above, he was a grown man fawning like a wistful schoolboy.

Anger. Anger was often useful for burying sadness, and right now Blake decided he was angry. She’d knocked over the meal he’d bought them and ran out the door. What did he owe her? Nothing. Maybe he’d pawn it. He considered, letting his anger grow larger and push away the dull ache in his chest. No, he wouldn’t pawn it. That was cheap and materialistic. Blake was a man of emotion and symbolism. He picked up the ring, walked out onto the balcony of his flat and drew back his hand to throw the ring as far as he could.

That was when his anger failed him completely, draining away as he remembered the ring on her finger, her hand in his. Blake turned away from the edge and slumped against the railing, letting out a choked sob. He grasped the ring, his only piece of her, and shoved it into his pocket.

How difficult could it be to find her? If she’d given him the correct name, how many Violets could there be in the city? If only he had a photo or a surname he could have run either through a series of databases to which his private investigation license gave him access. It was time for a desperation move. He grabbed his suit jacket off the back of the dining room chair, dug out the tea-stained doily, and put it in his scanner, flicking the switch. He’d post the photo on Craigslist under lost connections. Perhaps she’d see it there if she- “What?!”

He read the post again.

“Croissants.
Tea.
My husband and me.
I'm sorry.
May I have another chance?
Vi”

He replied using his personal email.

“From: BKolchak@WingMail.Ter
Subject: Yes.”
Then he attached the scan.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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She had been walking home, her shoulders slumped. Her flashlight played along the ground as she walked slowly along, the soles of her riding boots muffled by the cold concrete. Traffic passed, but she paid no mind. She simply scanned the sidewalk for the missing ring. It was late. People had rushed past her on their way home, sometimes a pair together.

She was focused. She had to find that ring. Turning down the alley that she had turned down earlier in the day, she didn't even notice the teen until he stood directly in her path.

"Where y' goin', Sweet'art? Ain't no one e'r tell ya not t' walk down dark alleys at night?"

Unimpressed, Violet lifted her eyes to him. "Shove off, kid."

She made a move to pass him when he grabbed her tight around the elbow. "Can't pass through w'out payin' th' toll..." He leered at her, his face inches from her own as he pulled her body closer.

Pushing out against him, Violet snarled. "I said, shove off!" Two things happened so quickly, the kid had no time to prepare. For one, Violet's hands slipped inside his jacket in the blink of an eye. Well trained fingers located a switch blade and a wallet before she violently pushed him away. He tripped over his own feet, sprawling to the ground as she stood over him, his own knife being used as a threat against him. She opened the wallet and scanned it with the flashlight. "Ben Simons, hm? Getty Lane? I bet your mother would be so proud to hear what you're doing tonight." She tucked the switchblade into the pocket of her own jacket, rifled through the wallet for cash and clucked as she counted it. "Fourteen dollars? No wonder you're trying to mug people in alleys, Ben." Tossing the wallet down at him, she shoved the cash in her pocket. "Go home." And as he scrambled out of the alley, she continued on her search.

That was when her phone dinged. Immediately she stopped, in the middle of the dark alley that ran perpendicular to Main Street, and pulled out her phone. An email. Her heart stopped when she saw the email address. BKolchak.

Yes.

She opened the file, and immediately her hand rose to her face, her fingers covering her lips in disbelief. The doily. She read the single word over and over, certain that she'd read it incorrectly the first few times. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. It never changed.

With shaking fingers, she tapped out a message in return, also from her personal email address.

"From: IAmNotACat@FastMail.ca
Subject: Yes

Where? When?
-Vi"

She sent the message, standing in the dark staring down at the screen, waiting for a response. "Please be soon," she muttered under her breath. "Please. Please be soon."

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Character Portrait: Blake Kolchak Character Portrait: S. "Violet" Fontaine
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"From: IAmNotACat@FastMail.ca
Subject: Yes
Where? When?
-Vi"

Really? Just like that?! Blake caught himself grinning stupidly. He had to be smarter about this. He had control of the situation. Control made it harder to be hurt. In every relationship, there was the chaser and the chased, he reminded himself, whether it was a business relationship or a romantic relationship. He wanted to be the chased. The chaser never leaves the chased standing, brokenhearted, in a puddle of tea.

Argh! He hated to be so cynical; it wasn’t his style, normally, but he couldn’t let this cherished possibility slip through his fingers for mere unwillingness to play the game correctly. “I think I love her, or that it would be very easy for me to love her. I’ll play the game until we’re just a bit more involved, then let things progress naturally.”

He replied to the email with the subject line, “Two days from now. Same time. You’re getting the tab this time.”