Chapter Fifteen - Abby
“Home sweet home.” Cory said, shoving open the heavy metal door at the top of the stairs we had just hiked up. Four floors had left me short of breath, panting to gain it back. It was dark inside, the only light coming from the circular window at the front of the large room. I heard some movement as I entered and soon, lights began to flicker on.
It was a one room loft with very little inside of it. There was a bed in each corner of the front part of the room and a sectioned off portion where I assumed the bathroom was. Cory walked over to a smaller dining room table and turned on the laptop that was on top of it. There was a suitcase with men’s clothes near one bed, the name Henry printed on the top of it. Cory caught my glance at it, his expression turning soft for a moment.
“I’ll take care of it.” I said, walking towards it. Gently, I folded all the clothes and zipped the bag up. I tucked it under the bed, out of view from him. Turning back to him, I saw he was bent over the laptop. As I walked over, he typed a few things into the keyboard. A map appeared of Sea Harbor on the internet browser.
“Does your father own any property here in town?” He asked, glancing over his shoulder at me. I nodded.
“He owns those warehouses we were just at and a larger piece of property that he grew up on. It’s a rather large house that my grandparents built from the ground up. I found it right after I came to Sea Harbor. It’s off of McKennon Road.” I replied. He typed in the street name and an aerial view of the dirt road loaded on the screen. I recognized the home, a white Victorian style mansion with a red roof and a massive amount of land around it.
“Jesus. Nothing can ever be simple with that man. There’s isn’t any trees or coverage around it. They’d see us coming in a heartbeat.” Standing up, he walked passed me and over to the small dresser next to what I assumed was his bed. He shed his leather jacket and his t-shirt, a blush filling my cheeks as I diverted my glance towards the ground. “Once we get you better trained, you’ll be able to make a fog to cover us. We get in there under that cover, take out the targets and snag the device. Then both of us can go back to living normal lives.” I let out a snort as I glanced back at him. He had tugged on a black t-shirt, much cleaner than the used to be white one he tossed on his bed.
“I’ve never had a normal life so I’m not sure that one will happen.”
“Did he let you go to public school at all?” Cory asked. I shook my head, leaning against a support beam behind me.
“I was tutored by a number of teachers he hired. He thought I would meet someone who would turn me against his empire in school. The thought of him not having a successor was something he was just not having.”
“That must have been so lonely.” He said, sitting on the bed. He pulled his boots off and slid his feet into a pair of old sneakers. I shrugged.
“I didn’t know the difference. For a while, I thought that all kids were like me until my mother convinced him to take a vacation one summer. I met other kids and realized that they weren’t being trained like I was. After that, I always wished I had a different life.”
“Shit. I thought I had it rough in the foster system.” Pushing off the bed, he stood up and walked towards the door. “I’m going to run and get some grub. Feel free to take a shower and relax. I’m not sure what clothes Alexz had here but they are in the top drawer of my dresser. You should be able to wear her clothes. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He slid the door shut behind him as he left.
Walking over, I pulled open the top dresser drawer. Inside was some woman’s t-shirts and a few pairs of jeans. There was also a folded piece of red fabric. Pulling it out, I saw it was a cocktail dress made out of silk. It felt nice on my skin and flowed as I held it up. Cory had said something about Alexz being able to attend any type of party and gather information. A pang of jealous hit me as I thought of this woman I never will meet. I folded up the dress and shoved it back in the right side of the drawer, grabbing a light grey shirt and a pair of jeans. I walked over to the sectioned off part of the loft and found a claw foot bathtub with a shower ring rigged above it. There was a toilet and a small sink next to it. I pulled the curtain shut around the make-shift bathroom and turned the warm water on. It sputtered for a second before gushing out of the shower head. Shedding my filthy clothes from the scene at the warehouse, I climbed into the tub and stood under the water.
Why was I jealous of Alexz? She was a woman I have never met and sadly would never be able to. She did seem to have a more exciting life than me, a spy attending fancy parties and going undercover for missions. That was nothing I would be interested in. After being on the run for so long, I was jealous of people who were able to be their actual selves. Pretending to be someone you’re not isn’t the most fulfilling task to do around the clock. Like I had mentioned to Cory, I had always dreamt of having a normal childhood with a normal father. One who was a bank manager or even a mechanic. Something that wouldn’t hurt other people and put me as next of kin for a drug dealer. You can’t choose your family though and I had tried my damnedest to not love my father but I did. He was my father and the only family I had left after my mother passed. Even if it wasn’t the most positive relationship, I always tried to make the most of it until I couldn’t handle it any more. I was tired of being lonely and knowing what kind of life he wanted for me.
Closing my eyes to wash my hair, a vision of Cory’s bare chest came to mind. I shook my head, trying to get the image out. Besides Lucas, Cory was the first man I had ever been this close to. Even though he tried, I always kept my distance from Lucas and kept firm rules for our relationship. I refused to let him touch me until after our wedding because I knew the wedding wasn’t going to happen. The way he looked at me always reminded me of a hungry animal with a piece of meat. It made my skin crawl to think about. I knew what he wished he could do to me but he knew my father would have him killed in a heartbeat. Cory on the other hand, was different than Lucas. Though he could be an ass when the occasion called for it, he was generally more understanding than Lucas. He listened to me when I talked and seemed to genuinely care about what I was saying. I didn’t feel like I needed to be on edge around Cory. Something about him made me feel safe for the first time in my entire life.
A pink glow made me open my eyes. Looking down, I saw the crystal was pulsating with a pink light in the space between my breasts. After a moment, I realized it was following the beat of my heart rate which had quickened with the thought of Cory. Reaching up, I gripped it in my hand. What did this mean? Why did he make me feel this way? I wasn’t even sure what this feeling was. A burst of panic filled my chest as my mind flashed to an image of Cory leaning in to kiss me. I quickly let go of the crystal and the vision disappeared. Slamming the water off, I scurried out of the shower and hurriedly dressed in the clean clothes.
Moving the curtain aside, I set my dirty clothes on his brother’s bed and finger combed my red locks out. I tried my best to think of anything besides Cory and the sight I had seen but it was useless. He swam in my head as I buried my face into my hands. How could it be that I feel this way for a man I’ve only known for a couple days? The way he looked at me made me feel like my legs had turned to jelly and that I couldn’t breathe. Is this what having feelings for someone felt like? I’ve never met another person that made me feel this way and it scared me in a way I couldn’t describe.