DC - THE BEGINNING: BATMAN #2
THE PAIN Part 1 - Out of first sight
WAYNE MANOR - 3 YEARS AGO
The day was just beginning and the sun was shining bright when Alfred Pennyworth decided to open up the curtains. He led the light come inside of his master’s bedroom.
“It’s time to wake up, master Bruce.” Alfred said to Bruce Wayne who was still sleeping.
He tied the ropes holding the curtains, picked up the silver he had left on the armchair next to the window and put it next to Bruce’s head, on the nightstand.
Bruce Wayne rolled over and looked at Alfred, barely opening up his eyes. “Good morning to you as well, Alfred. You seem to be in a good mood today, ruining my sleep and all.” Bruce was trying to sound ironic.
“Oh, sorry. Did I actually wake you up? A billionaire like you, running a company, I thought you were already up but I guess I had made a mistake.” Alfred countered Bruce’s irony with his own.
Bruce was starting to get up and now instead of lying in bed, he was just sitting. The bruises over his body could be clearly seen. “That is what Lucius Fox is for. I am the face of the company and he, he is the head of the company.”
Alfred slowly began to walk out of the room “It’s a shame that your nightly activities are coming so much in your way lately. However, I would imagine you do not see the importance of attending board meetings.”
Bruce took a sip of the orange juice that Alfred had just left “Are we having this talk again? We talked about this matter just last night.” He stood up and dropped on the floor and started doing push-ups on one hand.
Alfred was opening up the door, half-way out of the room he continued “No. I will not discuss such matters with you anymore. What I woke you up for was to remind you for your meeting with Ms. Vale.”
“Ms. Vale?” Bruce sounded surprised and quickly rose from the ground. “When did I decide to meet with Vicki Vale?”
“Just a few days ago, Master Bruce. It appears your nightly activities are ruining your memory as well, not just your body.”
Alfred walked out of the room, his voice remained ironic as previously. “We will wait for you downstairs.”
After Alfred walked out of the room Bruce smiled and said to himself “That man, as much as he annoys me sometimes I can’t help myself but love him. Always manages to outsmart me. Hah.”
Alfred served tea to Miss Vale, who was sitting on one of the three chairs in the living room. There was a quiet talk between them, something, most likely she thanked him for the tea for his service. Behind the chair in which she sat there were staircases, two. On one of them Bruce Wayne started coming down. He was wearing gray pin-striped pants with a white polo shirt. To be noticed, that he was entering the room, he greeted them loudly loud ' Good morning, Ms. Vale! It’s nice to see you!”
Vicki Vale stood up from the chair and put her hand up to Bruce Wayne, to greet him. “Bruce Wayne. The famous playboy billionaire, I've heard a lot about you Mr. Wayne! ' By grabbing the hand of Vicky, Bruce lifted it to his lips and kissed her.
Keeping the lips on the surface of the wrist, Bruce looked at Vicki Vale below his eyebrows, pulled out a cunning smile and laughing replied ' I am honored that we can finally meet face to face! '
Vicki Vale looked almost surprised. She could not separate her eyes from the smile of Bruce Wayne. She was like hypnotized. She snapped out of this state and pulled her hand abruptly away from Bruce’s. Her cheeks were blushing, she was embarrassed that she was staring at him for so long. She went back to her seat and sat back in the chair.
„Mr. Wayne, don’t take me for another piece of meat from the female sex which you can then save in your little diary. The way you were looking at me… I understood your intention very well, but I'm not falling into the trap. I'm just here for an interview for the “Gotham Gazette”, nothing more." The reporter's voice became more solid. Saying these words and with that intonation made Bruce Wayne see that she is willing to defend her beliefs.
Bruce Wayne had raised one of his eyebrows for a moment. He looked at Vicki Vale in this way for some time and then laughed. His laughter was loud. The bass of his voice made his laughter resound throughout the entire living room. “You think I flirted with you? Excuse me. It seems I am so used to talking with women on different waves that I treated you as a woman that I would ‘hit on’.” He made a brief pause, lifted his hand and turned back to see Alfred. “Alfred, could you please bring us, me and the lady a warm cup of coffee and a fresh-squeezed juice? Thank you.”He turned again to Vicky, who sat and watched him. “Yes, sorry about that. Please continue with the interview. Ask anything you want.”
The interview began and a bunch of questions were asked to the young rich man. He sat on the couch and was amazed by the cross-examination, which was occurring before his eyes. Questions of any nature were asked to him. The audacity of the young journalist was impressive. Alfred kept pouring again and again tea and water to keep them hydrated.
The interview went on for about an hour when Vicki Vale came to covenant point.
„Well, Mr. Wayne. Sorry, Bruce. There is one question that everyone would like to see the answer to. A question that has surfaced a while ago. How a young, wanted rich man like you spends his nights? Why no young lady can find you anywhere in Gotham. To any event or venue in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is just missing. How come?” Vicki Vale’s face had a cunning smile, one that was just asking for tons of answers, a determined face that only a good journalist has.
Bruce Wayne continued to stare at Vicki Vale and started laughing. The laugh of his continued for a while but when it stopped a deep silence followed. Bruce's face got stern, emotionless, a person would say it was even frightening. Vicki got worried for a bit when Bruce started laughing again "Hahaha, oh my gosh, you think that the 'young billionaire' does something special? How do you think a multi-billion company is run? I may look stupid, people may think I am stupid but I am a man who takes his business seriously. I think this is all you should know, miss Vale." The last sentence ended with a serious note, a threatening one even.
Bruce Wayne stood up from his armchair and said "I think this interviews is over..." turned around and started walking towards the stairs.
Vicki Vale looked startled "I didn't mean to insult you, Bruce. I am sorry for that." She started packing up her stuff in order to leave.
"What I meant to say is that this interview is over but we can continue it on a dinner. Tonight, perhaps?" Bruce turned his head around and started staring at Vicki again.
It was evening now in Gotham CIty and on one of the busiest avenues of the city a taxi halted before one of the tall structures. The road was occupied and leaving the taxi it was Vicki Vale. She paid the cab driver and headed towards the passageway of the building. She was wearing a long, tight red dress with a semi-poncho that was covering her shoulders from the cold. She was strolling into a standout amongst the most expensive restaurants in Gotham City. People have been waiting to get a table there for three months and just the most elitist residents of Gotham could get a table straight away.
Walking into the restaurant she felt kind of intimidated by the people that she still wasn't seeing even. There was a wonderful live orchestra playing classical music and the waiters were dressed in the most exquisite way. She started blushing, for a moment she was thinking about turning away and to go home.
She wasn't moving and was blocking the entrance, but as she was standing there like a pole a voice shouted out her name "Ms. Vale, please, do come in. Your date is wating for you at your table." it was one of the many managers of this place, the one responsible for alocating people.
"He is already here?" Vicki was surprised and all of a sudden her blushed cheeks went away and a smile came on to her face. However she was telling herself to be careful with a guy like that because he changes his women like his bed sheets.
"Yes, he is. He has been here for the past half an hour. He does seem excited to meet you." the manager replied to her with the widest smile, of course, a fake one.
When Bruce Wayne saw Vicki Vale nearing their table he stood up and went next to her chair, waiting for her. "Ms. Vale, I was waiting for you. How are you feeling tonight?" the billionaire's voice sounded cheerful.
The reporter was speechless. She was looking at Gotham's youngest and most beautiful and wanted billionaire who was moving her chair in order for her to sit down. His manners were incredible but it was to be expected by a man who was raised by a British butler of a high caliber.
"Is anything wrong?" Bruce asked her worryingly as he was seating down.
"No, everything is beyond perfect. I just didn't expect this from you Bruce. The table and the place are extraordinary...Thank you very much for this night." Vicki looked like she was about to cry from joy.
"It's the least I could do for a woman like you." Bruce showed with a sign of his hand to the waiter to bring them something. "I was surprised when you declined my offer for Alfred to pick you up. Most women never decline something like that." As Bruce continued talking the waiter was already at their table with a bottle of red wine and two glasses.
"I thought I told you I am not most women. I am not your common girl that you can fool with all of the expensive pleasures you can offer." Vicki was saying that with a smile on her face, joking with Bruce.
Bruce Wayne picked up the glass of wine that was ready for him and brought it up "I am most impressed. Let's drink to that and to what I was looking to tell you - let's not be professional and just be us tonight, Vicki. I would love to get to know you better."
Vicki dropped the menu on the table and she realised her lower lip was hanging down and she quickly picked up her wine glass "Uhhh, yes. I just didn't know you wanted it to be like that. Cheers to that Bruce."
GOTHAM CITY GRAVEYARD - PRESENT DAY
"In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit….” The priest started his speech as all the people attending the funeral were gathered around the grave. Men and women were gathered, shoulder to shoulder, comforting each other as they were shedding tears for their friend that had passed away.
As part of the group attending the funeral Alfred could be seen. He was holding a small bouquet of roses in his hands while looking at the coffin. Even he wasn’t able to hold back his tears at this terrible hard moment.
As the priest was saying his final prayer it came time for him to make a brief pause and continue with something different “Before we lay to rest this innocent soul and we say our final goodbyes, would anyone like to say anything special about the beloved by many Vicki Vale?”
Alfred looked on his side towards the car with which he came. He looked at the shadow sitting in the back of the car. It was Bruce Wayne. Alfred thought he would come to say his final goodbye with the person he loved the most, but he was suffering too much to do so.
The funeral had ended and everyone was going their own way and so was Alfred Pennyworth. He opened the door of his car and entered it.
“You should have at least came to lay the roses on her grave, Bruce. You could have done at least that.” Alfred’s voice was angry, hurt.
“Just drive us home, Alfred. There is work to be done because God help the person who did this to her, but I will find him and he will suffer.” Bruce Wayne replied to Alfred while looking at Vicky’s grave. His voice was almost growling.