6/Your Friends Suck
Denial and fear warred within my thoughts. Never acceptance. That would be crazy. As crazy as a glowing eyed man. Crazy like having nightmares about him for weeks before meeting him. Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.
My trembling arm demanded freedom from his hold. Nash latched on tighter, narrowing his eyes in determination. While my eyes were the window to my soul, his were the portal to an all-consuming hell. He tugged hard and cradled me close to his body. I could smell his musk in the crook of his neck. His body was as firm as it looked back in the cave. Although I was never a blushing idiot, I’m sure my face one hundred percent betrayed my most recent thought. I voluntarily tucked in further to his embrace to hide my mortification. How did I go so quickly from one emotion to another around him. This was too much. It was like he forced these new emotions out of me.
His throaty voice cooed gently in my ear. “I know this is a lot to handle. You are so brave.” Nash smoothed my hair down my neck and shoulders. “Brave girl.” A gradual ease stilled my shaking form the more his touch and words sunk in. I was encouraged and unsettled by the way he could control my anxiety. Nash, the mysterious glowing eyed Jessica whisperer.
Nash cupped my face in his hands and pulled me away until we were nose to nose. “Open your eyes Jessica.” It was as demanding as it was somber. The eyeshine was absent with the close proximity. It was easier to believe that I had imagined it all. Deny, deny, deny. “Thank you.” This change of subject came so left field it took my brain a hot second to realize I hadn’t verbally said ‘you’re welcome’. My lips parted to accept his gratitude when Nash threw another verbal curve ball. “As stupid as it was for you to involve yourself, you saved my life. Now you’re in it until the end with me. This isn’t a game Jessica, it’s life or death. I plan on living.” He gestured to the lights beyond the trees, my gaze followed like the moth to the proverbial flame. “If you involve anyone else, your friends, parents, boyfriends, they will die. I can only protect us with my limited resources. So think carefully on who you will tell because it will be their demise. And remember that I don’t owe them anything.”
I worried my bottom lip between my teeth. My eyes darted from the lights of the college to Nash before settling on the direction we came from. The crumpled form. “The police-”
“Some of the police force has been bribed or threatened to report everything to Seth. If they aren’t in Seth’s pocket, it’s someone else’s. I’m not sure how far his reach stretches, the chief of police, the mayor?”
Frustration laced my fingers through my hair catching in a few snarls. I pulled with a painful tear and shook the loose strands from my fingers. My eyes eagerly avoided his. Undeniably, I trusted what he said was true. It was possibly true, which meant I was in way over my head. I couldn’t keep myself and my mother alive if I didn’t know who, or what, was potentially after us. Nash at least could heal quickly and he swore a life oath. A jerk of my head acknowledged him. I held my hand out and he took it. “So where do we go from here? We’re basically screwed five ways to Sunday if everyone works for Seth.”
Nash’s teasing smile returned with haste, one lone dimple captured my attention and breath. An arrogant arched brow altered his features to a devilish grin. “Not everyone Jessica.”
I’m not proud of where Nash got our new clothes but at his insistence, one stolen car, one broken window in the local thrift shop, and two hours later; we were in what I can only politely describe as the most immodest piece of fabric I had ever seen in my nineteen years. Nash explained that if the guy, not animal like I had hoped, came with friends they would be searching for his accomplice. Someone who would return to their dorm with him, or take their car to the nearest hospital. In short I had to leave everything behind to avoid suspicion. I had to avoid suspicion for as long as possible to give us the head start we needed.
By luck, the only pair of pants in Nash’s size was constricting leather that hugged his narrow hips and muscular thighs. He snapped his thumb and third finger in the air which brought my attention to his smug grin. “My eyes are up here.” I absolutely refused to blush, my face is definitely not red. My mantra was not convincing enough if Nash’s mirth was any indication. Nash dumped the stolen car on the edge of downtown and led me to the college party district. Four city blocks of nightclubs, strip clubs, and gambling; oh and that one hotel that Jimmy something or another was murdered in five years ago. An unremarkable narrow alley between two brick buildings, one covered in moss, the other graffiti, tightened to a one man path. I followed closely behind Nash holding tightly to his filched jacket. The alley opened to a square brick clearing with the only way out in the form of a metal door blocked by a mammoth of a man. Nash approached him with ease, tucking my timid frame under his arm. The bouncer gave us a once over before barking out a one worded command. “Wall.” Nash backed us against the wall and whispered something about checking for weapons before calloused hands began to feel up my dress.
“Hey!” I snapped in response to his initial touch. Mr. bouncer seemed unimpressed with my outcry and manhandled me back to the wall, frisking me in a thorough fashion.
Nash was checked in the same manor with a cocky smirk highlighting his dimple. Nash pushed off the wall and reached for me. “The least you can do is offer me a smoke and a dinner for the lady after that.” Stone face didn’t even crack a grin, whereas mine couldn’t have been brighter. The metal door creaked open and promptly closed after us. The lighting was dimmed so low I could barely make out Nash in front of me. My hands clasped over his and he led me down a winding hallway. Before long I could hear, then feel, the music pulsing through the floor up my legs. A large group of dancers made up the center of the room below the balcony we were on. I leaned over the railing to see a packed bar with some leaning over the counter waving money to get the two barkeeps attention. Booths and tables lined the walls, all filled to capacity. Nash tugged on my arm directing with his eyes the staircase I hadn’t noticed. A couple really into each other blocked the path near the bottom of the stairs. Nash shoved past them, and to my surprise they carried on like nothing happened. The music was consuming my every sense, so much so that I missed what Nash had said the first time.
He pulled me close and nuzzled his mouth to my ear. “My contact is on stage. We need to get his attention.” It was on the tip of my tongue to ask him how when Nash was pulling me into the crowd of dancers. Body odor and booze wafted from the packed crowd. Shoulder to shoulder, jostling and gyrating. Nash and I embraced each other and danced slowly through the crowd. I blindly followed him closer to the stage.
“I’m pretty sure I’m being felt up right now.” I spoke loud enough in his ear to make Nash flinch. His hand snaked down my hips sensually following the curve of my butt to the intruder’s touch. Nash actually bared his teeth to whoever was behind me. The unknown hand was pushed from my backside. A feminine thrill shot up my spine.
Nash seemed unperturbed and leaned close. “Alright, now to get his attention.”I mouthed ‘what’ then widened my eyes in alarm. “Nash!” My hand raised and went in for the killing blow. Smack!