Love Meets You part 2

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24.

* Mason *

Blood coated his knuckles.

His strength began waning, but nothing would stop him from killing Bentley. Kidnap Clover? Hurt Pearl? No, he didn’t get to live. He wished his cell phone wasn’t on the kitchen counter — if it still was — after the pair of psychos invaded his property.

He hadn’t even been aware of Reese attacking Clover until Bentley fought his way to throw the girl off her. His thankfulness lasted for a measly second before he pounced on him again with pent up hatred. They were roughly the same size, and he knew how to take a hit, fueling his blood-thirst.

After a while, he saw Clover disengage from Reese, hollering for her to run before darting his gaze around for something to end the bullshit once and for all. They could go round after round with fists, but he had to make sure she escaped. Pearl sat tied up in a corner, sobbing. He dismissed her as safe for now, focusing on his goal.

“Clover needs me!” Bentley shouted as Mason continued seeking a weapon.

He located a bloody-looking steak knife laying on top of the sheets. Clover’s blood? He became even more enraged as he lunged for the blade. Bentley met him halfway with a weak punch to his gut. He rolled into the hit, falling atop the mattress, reaching for the knife as Bentley struck him in the spine.

“You don’t deserve her,” Bentley growled, grasping his hair in one hand, the other on his left shoulder to spin him around.

Mason lashed out on the turn, nailing his unprotected torso. When the knife stuck, he leaned into it, making them both pile onto the floor. Bentley let out a low grunt when Mason dug the steel in deep before limping sideways, his body beyond spent.

Mason! Mason!” Pearl bawled his name like a prayer, “Help me! Help me!

He staggered backward, his open wounds throbbing. Bentley groaned, trying to regain his footing. Mason spotted a blur of red before realizing Clover reentered the room. She launched herself on Bentley, dropping them both with a thud.

He snatched her arm, hauling her into his arms before Bentley could lay another filthy finger on his girl. Clutching her to his heaving chest, he grimly eyed the man writhing in anguish at their feet.

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” he turned her so she stood behind his back.

“You got him,” her voice came out laced with anxiety.

Not yet. Not until the bastard was dead. “Find my phone. Go! Call the police and press #3 on my emergency contacts.”

Once she hurried away, he freed Pearl after finding another discarded knife. Where the hell did they all come from? She raced out the door without a word. Bentley stayed down, clinging to the handle protruding in his stomach.

Mason licked his lips, kneeling in front of his enemy, “I would ask why you tried to ruin my life, but I get it. You’re crazy as fuck.”

He chuckled shakily, “No more than you are, Mason. You know I’m right, you don’t deserve Clover. I should have just taken her before you realized how adaptable she is. We tended to break our toys, didn’t we?”

“You think she’d honestly love you?” His grip on the knife tightened, “She makes fun of women who bend like sheep for the slaughter. You mean less than nothing to her.”

“Clover told you, didn’t she?”

“Yeah, she did. Everything. I’ve embraced her newfound darkness. She’s perfect.”

“You were always better at waiting,” he spat, “Clover will figure it out, eventually. Abby knew what she was doing when she implicated me instead of you. She’s smart. Someday she’ll see through your manipulation, as she figured out mine.”

He smirked, “Probably, but by then we’ll marry. And as you pointed out, who gave a single shit about that slut? Oh, nice touch changing her name. Jade? How derivative!”

“She was my chance at redemption. I never lied to her,” his blue eyes flashed with something other than pain. Concern for Clover? “She won’t forgive you this time. You’ve abused her trust too many times.”

He clenched his teeth, “I’m going to kill you now, Ben. One more thing… She’ll be pregnant soon. You lose.”

Mason felt relief confessing how he planned to keep Clover from leaving. He’d steal, lie, and even murder a motherfucker if it meant she stayed by his side. When Bentley set his sights on her, it made him realize there had been nothing important in his life. He spent years building up walls around people, needing someone to balance his rebel tendencies. Bentley’s interest in a woman he sometimes actively avoided at work because his feelings ran stronger than his judgment, had been the catalyst necessary to claim his feisty red-headed secretary.

Bentley’s right boot kicked off the floor, landing a blow to the top of his head. Mason stumbled, stunned for a few seconds before realizing he was trying to wrangle the knife from his hand. He fought for it, rolling the man under him, using his weight to maneuver the large blade down on his neck.

That’s all he had to do. Just jam that fucking point through the bastard’s throat.

FUCK YOU, BENTLEY!”

Mason heard Clover’s scream first, reflexively blocking her view to ensure she wouldn’t get hurt. She looked like a vengeful siren with her scarlet hair a wild halo surrounding her bloody face, standing over them with the armchair they had strapped him in posed over her head. He leaned backward, still grappling with the weapon as she bashed Bentley’s skull. The wood was heavy, impressed by her strength when she clobbered him with it. Twice. Bentley cursed weakly, crimson pooling fast from his wounds as he worked to avoid the blade and chair.

With their combined efforts, and with a knife already embedded in his gut, Bentley couldn’t really defend himself. He kicked at their legs, throwing up his arms protectively. With a frustrated shout, Clover abandoned the chair when it refused to break, letting him take over.

DO IT!”

Slash!

He stabbed Bentley in the jugular, jerking his arm down only once.

Arterial spray splattered his bare chest as he watched Bentley place both palms over the gash he sliced across his throat. His stomach roiled, but he forced himself to watch his former friend die while blindly crawling away from the horrific scene.

Clover wrapped her hands around his shoulders, yanking him upward while Bentley failed to stanch the flow of his lifeblood, his watery sapphire orbs fixated on her. Clover’s sobs sounded a mixture of astonished and horrified. She held onto him as they stood vigil over their nemesis death.

It took less than a minute for Bentley Jarvis to bleed out on the carpet.

“It’s okay,” he swallowed hard, tearing his eyes from the lifeless body to comfort Clover.

“N-no, it’s not,” she shook, most likely in shock.

Mason swept her off her feet, rushing through the cabin until reaching the front lawn. He saw Pearl huddled by his jeep, crying into her knees. He anxiously peered into the darkness for Reese, hoping she hadn’t run. More justice needed doling out before the sun rose.

“Hey,” he sat on the stoop, gently turning Clover’s chin until their eyes met, “Where’s Reese, baby? Shh, you have to keep quiet until we find her.”

“T-the wildflowers,” she whimpered, “S-she was unconscious.”

He propped his distraught girlfriend under the front-facing window, telling her to stay put before jogging around the perimeter to locate Reese. Relieved to see her passed out on the grass, he scooped her over his shoulder and trotted back to the women. He ignored Pearl’s questions, laying Reese down beside her before dashing inside for his keys and phone. Of course, he didn’t turn up either. He frantically tore apart the kitchen and his discarded clothes from earlier in the day.

Bentley must have tossed them. Why hadn’t he drove one of his push ignition cars? Oh right, they were in the mountains and didn’t want to scratch his expensive ride. It seemed so stupid now, and he bit the inside of his cheek, contemplating his next move.

“Clover?” he panted, adrenaline and anxiety fueling his movements as he stepped up to her, “Anything?”

Her glassy jade eyes stared at the dried blood coating his torso, “Nothing.”

He cursed, running his fingers through his hair. How the hell was he supposed to get help in the middle of nowhere with no phone or vehicle? He frowned at Reese, realizing he’d have to restrain her before she came too. Hopefully, she would know where their stuff was.

“We need to tie her up,” she echoed his thoughts, her tone cold.

He nodded, “I’ll… grab something. Stay here with them, yeah?”

He left without waiting for an answer, returning to the master bedroom. The stench of iron hung thick in the air. Gritting his teeth, he picked through the bag Bentley brought. Inside were several lengths of rope along with sexual devices. Needles? Seemed he planned on drugging and raping Clover, the sick fuck.

A dead fuck.

He resisted the temptation to spit on Bentley’s corpse, hurrying outside instead. Clover and Pearl silently watched him secure Reese’s hands. What now?

“Did you check his pockets?” Clover shivered, although the warm breeze made his soiled skin itch.

He cleared his throat, “No.”

“Well, go do it!” Pearl snapped.

He clenched his jaw, “I wouldn’t give orders if I were you.”

She gave him a dark look, “Are you serious?”

“Shut up!” Clover sprang to her feet like she was seconds from attacking her, “Do you have any idea what just happened?”

He stepped between the women, “Take a breath. Let’s sit down for a minute.”

She scowled at his wife, “No, I’m going to search the cabin.”

Mason followed her, not knowing what else to do until Reese woke. He would hike to the closest neighbor in the morning if it came down to it.

As they tore the place apart, he tried to push thoughts of how easily he snuffed out someone’s life to the back of his mind. He didn’t regret what he’d done, only that Clover witnessed the brutal ordeal. His regrets kept piling up, afraid he had pressed his luck too far and Ben’s last words would forever haunt him. What if she never forgave him for lying?

“Mason!” Pearl screeched from the front yard, “She’s awake.”

“Thank fuck,” he growled, getting up from where he tipped the sofa in the living room looking for his belongings.

Reese sat on the packed earth of the driveway crying, rolling in the dirt when they moved outside. With a deep sigh, Clover plopped once more on the porch. He squeezed her shoulder as he passed, relieved she didn’t shy away from his touch.

“Shut the fuck up!” he knelt in front of the girl, clutching her neck until her eyes bulged in their sockets.

“What did you do? What did you do to Sir?” she bawled.

“I killed him,” he answered her flatly, “You might be next if you don’t tell me where my keys and phone are, right fucking now!”

“Hmm… I can’t remember. Maybe the beach? I hit my head pretty hard.” she cackled like a crazy person — which she was.

Mason noticed Reese sported a black eye and a broken nose. His fiery vixen beat the hell out of her. He glanced at Cover, clocking her injuries. He grabbed the ropes around Reese’s wrist then dragged her across the rocky ground, heading towards the water.

“W-what are doing?” she screamed.

Behind him, Clover huffed, following them with heavy steps. He was through letting these loony fucks come after him and his woman. He could turn her in, or he could throw her in the lake, preferring the latter.

“Well,” he drawled, trailing her petite body roughly over the trail, “You hid my shit, so I figure you can fetch them.”

“Not without me,” Clover rasped, grabbing the rope to help drag the bitch.

A smirk formed on his face when she joined in, causing as much hurt as possible while towing the yowling idiot down to Lake Sunshine. His nefarious intentions were obvious. She was beautiful, the cutthroat gleam in her jade orbs igniting his thirst for retribution.

They both knew the little psychos time had run out.

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