Travis could see a blush creep across Cole’s not so pale skin. It just dawned on Cole that he is sitting in his underwear with a maybe/maybe not gay guy. Travis did not mean for it to sound so provocative. Cole’s reaction was just too much to just keep things straight. Travis was always one to keep people off balance and guess. It was how he was trained. Not raised. He never thought of those people as his parents. Travis had an air about him that people could never quit place. Everyone had good things to say about him. Everyone wanted to do things for him. Life of the party. Then he was contracted and it become all work no play. Travis became a very dull boy. He did some things. He could not remember everything. Except Gen-a-Tec had a part in it. Cole cleared his throat. The throw pillow he’d been resting his elbow on casually made its way onto his lap. He seemed to relaxed now that he wasn’t so exposed. Only in what he was about to say.
"I don’t think any of what I tell you would be the truth. See, I woke up and heard them saying my life was a lie. My entire life. It did not make sense when Jane came to me and told me things. But believed her. I believed. Then Dan Stevens told me. No. Not true. I am not Her. Not me.” Cole eyes went wild and his face was animated as he re-told bits and piece of what brought him to, what we called, The Facility.
“It’s OK Cole.” Travis placed a hand on Cole’s wrist. For a second. Travis could sense Cole might leap off the couch at any moment. “We all have reasons we were there. Now. If we get our act together we can find the people responsible and fight back.” Travis had the same fire burning in his eyes that reflected in Cole’s. He knew when spotted Cole there was something about him he liked. The man had a presence you did not mess with. So when Travis sent that note. He had no clue what to expect. He wanted to gauge Cole’s reaction. Cole came back with the perfect reply. From there they had nothing but sheer faith in each other to get them out.
Travis got up knowing Cole would probably never leave the couch with him sitting there. With his back turned, Travis grinned. He needed something to lighten his heart. Cole was perfect.
Sleeping without a guard posted outside lifted such a weight. Although a new one tried to settle on Travis Imply’s heart. He had severely injured that man. Who knows the damage he had caused. His strength was disguised in a body made to look weak. Or at the very least less intimidating. The other guard would not know why he opened the door and let the two men escape. He would not be able to explain why he let loose two unstable patients from the mental institute they had called home. Travis finally found sleep and there weren’t any nightmares waiting for him. Only a restful night’s sleep.
The next morning Travis found Cole asleep on the couch. He was curled on his side and had a throw pulled over him.
Cole groaned but did not wake up.
“Wake up dude.”
Travis lightly punched Cole’s upper arm. Cole’s eyes snapped open and he turned to locate the culprit. He rolled his eyes and fell back into his pillow once he saw it was just Travis.
Travis tossed Cole’s shirt and pants to him and headed for the kitchen.
As Travis started the coffee and toast he heard cloth rustling. Moments later Cole appeared. Sleep ruffled hair and pillow creases on his face.
“Imma get cleaned up a bit.”
Travis nodded. A few minutes later Cole can back to the kitchen. He grabbed and cup or coffee, no toast.
“Nah. Not yet.”
They cooled their coffee and sipped thoughtfully. Quietly. Travis could only stand so much quiet.
“Cole I like you but I don’t like like you ok? I am not going to suddenly jump you or something. You were the only person out of all those drones who looked at me and saw me. You didn’t have a vacant stare and scared aura.”
“There is a difference between attraction and appeal. For me it is nice to know, without words, we were able to form a plan and get out of there. Do you know how rare that is? Can you see how blown away I am by you.”
Travis could see the blush returning.
“I mean as a friend. I never had a friend before. Your about the coolest guy I know. So don’t freak out OK?”
Travis struggled with his next words.
He wanted to curse but dirty words weren’t his bag.
“I am an Illusionist Cole.”
Cole questioned , Travis smiled.
“No. Not like Copper-, do you really not know about Gen-a-TEC? What was your job with them? Your title?”
“Wait tell what you mean.”
Goodness. Their conversations could run circles around each other all day. They had both finished their coffee.
“I will fix us something to go. We need to move. I will explain on the way.”
As they walked, Travis talked.
“An Illusionist was a group of people with special talents. I had specific mental and psychological manipulative abilities that interested Gen-a-Tec. If I cannot use vocal hypnosis there are other means. I can always get a person to do what I want.”
Travis grabbed Cole’s armed and halted their walking.
“I don’t know how I can get you to trust me. I have done…things. But I am telling you this so you know me. Who I am. Maybe that can be enough.”
Travis let go of Cole’s arm and they continued walking. “If someone would not bend by VH I would suggest other ideas. Flirting with an obviously heterosexual male is a kicker. Anything to throw the person off balance and complete my job. I would read the information given and dig deep into fears or passions. I could force someone to do things they would regret. I would see it in their eyes. Terror. So afraid and confused as to why their minds could not control their bodies. While they were later so consumed with humiliation I would get what I needed and leave. Or eliminate the threat. Sometimes I was instructed to video tape my encounters. I was cold-blooded. Heartless. Include a rare talent such as mine. I was unstoppable. So I went off the grid. Did my own jobs. Made myself a pretty bundle and covered my steps. Or so I thought. They set a trap. Another like me but stronger was able to mentally hold me until they arrived. They sedated with a drug that causes the electrical activity in my brain to misfire. Then they took me in for what they called rehabilitation. I can’t remember what they did.”
Travis felt anger wash through him.
“But waking up in that room. That place. I knew I had to get out and find them. I have been building my talent. I am ready for them.”
Travis and Cole had walked to a bus station and were headed to the bank of lockers inside. Inside the locker was a bag. Inside the bag was money and a set of keys.
“You be my partner in crime and trust me you got my friendship for life. Whatever we find out about your deal we can follow-up on too. They are gonna come for us Cole. But I am ready for them this time.”
Travis grabbed the bag and opened the side pocket. Palming the keys he then went to the ticket counter. As he approached he had already locked eyes with a pretty Spanish lady and asked,
“Did someone return a set of keys? I can’t find mine.”
Travis knew for Cole the world was like a carnival ride. Tilted and slow all at once.
“Check your purse. Maybe they are in there.”
The Spanish woman did as asked and then came back to the counter.
“Oh that’s it! Thank you! I bet we have the same car. What is yours?”
“Toyota.” She replied in a dream-like voice. Travis slipped the keys he had been holding in his hands into her hands.
“Oh no then. You have a Mercedes. Parked at the Burmont Plaza. It is license plate ZLR 4239. Lovely car isn’t it?”
“Lovely car.” She agreed.
“Thanks.” Travis’ voice resumed it’s normal pitch and they were off. Travis knew Cole probably felt as if he’d witnessed a real life magic act.