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Novkey > Library > Crime > Number One Fan

Number One Fan

CHAPTER 2

Author: issabacsa Total hits: 5080 User hits: 24 Date: 05-15-2014

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  INSIDE THE LADIES’ ROOM, Nitz and I stood in front of the mirror. It resembled that of a five-star hotel. Accent lights shone on marble tiles. An overhead air freshener sprayed every fifteen minutes. Liquid soaps, lotion, hand sanitizer lined the sink. A roll of paper towel stood beside an automatic hand dryer. Cubicles of lavatory matched that of a deluxe suite.

  “It’s okay with me if Management wanted to change our newscast format,” said Nitz while putting powder on her face. “What I don’t like is they have to pirate someone like David Lim whose talent fee is so high than any of the veteran news anchors here in Royale. Do you know that his talent fee is almost as high as Alma Perez-Roxas?”

  “We cannot do anything about it, Nitz,” I said as I combed my hair. “People from Metro are now the gods. Alma is semi-retired now as our chief correspondent. She's enjoying her married bliss with the company President. David Lim is the closest thing that could fill her popularity status.”

  “They could have chosen other news anchors that we have,” Nitz said. “These guys from Metro changed everything here!”

  “Nitz, the key word there is popularity,” I reasoned out. “You and Management kept on rallying that popularity translates to high ratings. On top of that, the changes in technology they’re bringing in are so overwhelming. It's awesome.”

  “Yeah, right,” said Nitz getting a lipstick from her backpack. “But that’s beside the point. I do not know how they knew about your past relationship with David. They are now making you THE LOVE TEAM of the evening newscast because both of you looked good together on camera. Whoever suggested newscast to be like showbiz should be shot at.”

  “And don’t you worry about David,” I replied, ignoring Nitz’s comment. “He’s frank, well tactless sometimes, but he’s good and kind. For me, it’s okay if he acts around here like a superstar because he is.”

  “You’d better be careful, Regine,” advised Nitz while putting on her lipstick. “Maybe they will just use you. I don’t trust David Lim after hurting your feelings before.”

  “I’m not seeing a cause for concern, Nitz. We have known David since college.”

  I put my comb back in my bag and took my cologne. I thought of the earlier events --- the phone call, David’s stares and smiles, the time we put the phone down at the same time.

  Were they connected?

  “Why are you so quiet? Is there something wrong?” Nitz asked.

  Her question brought me back to my senses.

  “None, I just received a prank call earlier,” I said as I sprayed cologne on my body.

  “Oh, don’t get affected by it,” she said and waved her hand to dispel the thought. “I used to get prank calls before. They were just that: mere prank. How about those flowers, from who were those?”

  “That’s what I was wondering, Nitz,” I said, thinking of what I could and could not divulge to her. “Attached to it was a card signed by someone named Number One Fan. Then this prank call came.”

  “What did the prank caller say?” she asked.

  “He asked if I received the flowers and read the attached card,” I answered. “He had this terrifying laugh. There was something scary about him. Then he asked me to make him famous, make him Number One. I found it weird.”

  “Hmm, sounds weird alright,” she said.

  “Yes, and so was David’s behavior,” I added.

  “What do you mean?”

  “I do not know if it was just coincidence or what,” I said as I was about to tell her my suspicion. “As I was talking to the prank caller earlier, I saw him talking on the phone, too. When I put down the phone, he also put down the phone. Was that a coincidence? Or was that something else?”

  “See what I mean?” she said. “Having David Lim here in Channel 3 all the way from Channel 7 was something else.”

  “Now, Nitz, you’re paranoia is becoming infectious,” I said.

  “Call me paranoid. Or maybe it’s just the weird side of me,” she said. “Oh well, just don’t think about it. Do not mind me. Maybe that was just a prank call and it has nothing to do with David. Okay, my friend?”

  Nitz gave me a kiss on the cheek before leaving. “Give my regards to Alex, will you?”

  “Sure,” I said as I kissed her cheek. “Take care. Tell Patrick to drink moderately. His boss was promoted to Senior Inspector this afternoon and they might be celebrating.”

  Nitz smiled back at me as she opened the door.

  “That’s where I am going,” she said and left.

  

  

  “GOOD EVENING, MA'AM,” the roaming security guard greeted me as I went out of the lobby.

  Security Guard Arnel Castro stood five feet and eight inches. He had a smiling face that complemented his clean-cut hair, white uniform, and his two-way radio.

  I nodded and smiled at him as I went straight out of the automatic sliding door.

  The lobby displayed a revitalized Royale Metro Broadcasting Network. The gold-plated 10-foot logo had a golden crown above the letter R and a large M-shaped red dragon on it. A Filipiniana-themed mural painting done by a National Artist surrounded the logo. The marble floor matched the furniture pieces made of narra.

  I looked around checking if Alex had arrived or might be waiting outside the lobby for me. Yet, I did not see a sign of him. I thought I had better ask the guard something I remembered.

  “Castro,” I called.

  “Yes, ma’am,” he replied.

  “Do you have a record where those flowers awhile ago came from?” I asked.

  “Let me check, ma’am,” he said.

  He went to the receptionist’s area where the receptionist on duty could hardly breathe from endless calls. He just took the visitors’ logbook and after a few moments, he showed me a logbook entry.

  “Here it is,” he said. “The delivery boy from Flower King arrived at 6:05 p.m.”

  “Thank you for that information,” I said as I went back outside the lobby.

  

  

  AT A DISTANCE, Number One Fan sat inside the car as he observed Regine Sta. Maria standing outside the lobby. He parked just outside the compound of Royale Metro Broadcasting Network. The car belonged to one of his victims. He smiled at the thought of it. His plans began to work well since he acquired the car from Catherine Lim-Go a few days ago.

  “What do you want from me?” asked the rich woman over the phone.

  “Half a million pesos,” he replied, “plus one of your cars.”

  “Is this blackmail?” she asked.

  Number One Fan laughed.

  “I’ll give you two choices, Caths,” he said. “One, give me five hundred thousand pesos plus one of your cars. Or two, I will give a copy of our sex video to your husband.”

  The woman on the other line was silent for a moment. Then she blurted out.

  “You are an ungrateful brute!” she shouted over the phone. “Is this the price of letting you live with us and treating you like a true brother?”

  That memory made him smile while watching Regine from that vantage point. So far, he liked the gradual progress of his plans.

  After a few minutes, he guessed that it was time to go. He went out of the car and walked towards the compound to observe Regine more closely. In his haste, he did not notice and bumped into someone.

  “Oops, I’m sorry,” he said to an old man.

  

  

  THE COLD WIND OF FEBRUARY NIGHT BLEW and provided a welcoming chill under a clear, starry sky. But when I noticed a haggard-looking man standing outside the perimeter fence, the chill had changed.

  He wore a denim jacket over a white t-shirt and a worn-out denim pants. The man looked fifty to fifty five years old if I considered his physique. Something scary about the way he stared at me. Yet, I felt something familiar with him that brought goose bumps on my skin.

  Who is he?

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  
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