Focus (Le Corbeau, #1) ✓

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19. Heartache

Gasping in horror, I covered my naked breast and bolted to the bathroom, grabbing a towel to wrap around my body as I hid behind the door. Amusement gleamed in his laser-like eyes as he grinned broadly. My heart raced frantically when I took in his appearance. He searched my face before they lowered. Straightening his posture, he stepped in my direction, leisurely... menacingly. Since I last spotted him, he’d cut his blondish - ginger hair which accentuated his features. The malicious sheen in his dark irises didn’t go unnoticed. I’d seen what those eyes could do when someone crossed him.

“Get out!” There was no need for pleasantries because Kane McGregor wasn’t welcomed in my house.

He tutted and his lips flattened in disappointment. “That’s no way to treat a guest, don’t you think?”

“You broke into my room. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t call the cops?”

His mischievous manner shifted at the threat. Dark onyx eyes flashed with burning rage as he closed the distance between us. Grabbing the door, he drew it back harshly, allowing a gush of wind to skim my bare skin and in a panic, I clutched onto a towel.

“Or what? What will they do, huh?” He chuckled darkly. “I’ll tell them everything… even our little agreement.” Back to square one. If it were any possible, his grin widened and it was the most frightening thing I ever saw. Even The Cheshire Cat couldn’t compete with him. He tapped my nose with his index finger and I slapped it away, recoiling at the unwanted sensation of disgust.

I inched closer to the threshold of the door. “Why’re you here?”

“You’re in debt, McKenna. You think you can leave without completing your job?”

“What job?”

“Your last job,” Again, he up a finger. “One job, that’s all I need you for and if I feel forgiving, I’ll let you go…maybe,”

“I’ve already agreed. Tony made sure of that,”

“You say that but I’m not stupid. One day, you’re all in and the next, you fuck me over,” Knocking my chin upwards with his fingers, I had no choice but to stare into his dark eyes as they mirrored the depths of hell. “Do I need to get rid of any more obstacles?”

At that, my eyes widened, realisation dawning on me.

It was him.

Mikey.

Mrs Porters... my tightened as I fought off a remark.

“No,” I said with conviction. Satisfied, he pulled away, sauntering to the door. “You’re gonna walk through the front door?”

What would Alexis say seeing a strange man walking through the corridors? He sent a lopsided smile. It seemed off, like a jigsaw out of place from its puzzle.

“Got to get out some way,”

He vanished just as quickly as he appeared.




“Are you sure you’ll be fine tonight?” My ma asked whilst adjusting the bag in her arms. Prepared for her date night with John, she wore a short-sleeved dress that reached past her knees. She looked lovely and excited. I was happy she reconciled with John, despite everything, he made her happy.

“Yeah,” I pointed to the flat screen. “I’ve got the TV and Doritos,”

She glanced up the stairs, mentally noting John’s absence, and walked to me hesitantly. Knitting my brows together, confused, I shifted on the couch, my ears acute to her lowered tone.

“Are you sure you want to leave?” She asked.

“I’m positive,” I caught the sadness swimming in her blue eyes. I squeezed her hand in reassurance. “It’s got nothing to do with you. I’ve only been here for a second and you’ve been fighting with John. I’m no good here,”

“You’ve been gone for so long I… I didn’t know where you were,”

“Just give me two weeks,” I emphasised my words by holding two fingers up. “And you can come to New Orleans. I’m staying at Betty’s place until I find one myself,”

“Two weeks?” she arched a brow. “What are doing in that time frame?”

Breathing a laugh, I nudge her hand. “I’ve been okay for the past few years. There’s nothing to worry about,”

She hesitated, her lips curling with a twist of doubt. “Alright’, if you say so,”

John descended the stairs with a huge grin. His attention to his surrounding was lost when he gazed at Alexis. He kissed her cheek and she blushed as if she was a school girl. Playfully, I rolled my eyes before they landed back on the TV screen.

“Be back by one, kids,” I said, deadpanned.

As they shuffled out the door, I sighed, savouring the sense of solitude as my munching crackled through the stillness. The room was dimly lit but the glare of the flat screen gave me enough light to make my way through the kitchen. Nerves filled my stomach at the thought of the future, what it’d hold and the knowledge of Kane re-entering my life. I really thought everything was behind me. Reality slapped my face so quickly, I was dazed, finding it was difficult to understand the situation. Was coming back a mistake overall? If I hadn’t, Kane wouldn’t know of my whereabouts. The web I missed deceived me; how could I escape?

Suddenly, a loud crash ran through the living room and into the kitchen as fear filled me. Instinctively, I grabbed a knife, listening to the ringing tune in my ears leading me to the source of the noise. It came from outside, thankfully, and I looked through the peephole. Any thoughts of a serial killer vanished when the magnified version of Bruce filled my vision. What’s he doing here?

His eyes were lowered and I was unable to decipher his thoughts. He made it pretty clear he wanted nothing to do with me. It was a classic player move; to break up with a girl, you lay in bed with another. He wanted to be caught in the act, not only to get rid of me but with the intent to hurt me.

Opening the door, I regretted my decision the moment my eyes met his hazy ones. Whisky contaminated his scent and I jerked back, utterly repulsed. Absentmindedly, I moved to the side but he took it as an unspoken invitation to enter. Staggering a couple steps inside, he turned his drunken eyes to me.

“Get out!”

“You’re sleeping around behind my back,” The bitterness leaking from him stunned me to silence.

“What?”

“Don’t deny it, I saw the pictures. I saw you with him!” He scrunched his nose in a frightening sneer. “Kane,”

Shaking my head, I stared at his features in disbelief. He had no right to accuse me of cheating. Not after I saw him with Gladys.

“Bruce, you’re drunk, walk around for a while before you start pointing fingers.”

“I didn’t need to point anything or think you’d stoop so low,” He slurred, not making any sense.

“Says the guy who’s been playing around with two girls, step-sisters if that can’t get through your thick skull,” My skin heated with anger. “You lied to me, you seduced me and you tried to manipulate me into staying!”

He frowned. “What does Gladys have to do with this?” Drunken fool... I walked away but he grabbed my shoulder, forcing me to face him. “Don’t walk away from me. I’ve cut off all contact with Gladys,”

“Why should I believe you?” I asked, my voice raising an octave.

“BECAUSE I FUCKING LOVE YOU!” He roared with wide intoxicated eyes. With his hair unruly and his shirt torn, he looked insane. My heart leapt at the force of that word, the L word. Impossible. “You pulled the trigger, McKenna. You did this to me!”

I stumbled back, shocked as I recalled similar words my father told me. Don’t pull the trigger. Was it all a warning? Why didn’t I see this coming? Was he an...? No, he took alcohol before and managed to control himself. I never took a sip of that poisonous elixir; Yusuf made sure of that. I told Bruce everything yet despite this, he came to my doorstep, drunk, scaring me to near death. With each step I took away from him, he took two more to try and close the distance.

My breathing quickened as adrenaline infiltrated my system and the urge to run kicked in. Spinning on my heels, I made a run for the back door leading to the garden. I didn’t bother wearing shoes and my feet thudded against the hard, dry ground as I ran across the lawn and into the woods.

“MCKENNA!”

Leaves dancing in the air and my quickened breathing blocked his call. Nightfall shadowed over me as I headed towards the cemetery. It’s been there for over one-hundred and fifty years of those who passed in Le Corbeau. Subconsciously, I jogged to his grave, crashing to my knees and read the words ingrained on his tombstone.

Yusuf Said

Dec. 25. 1970 – May. 15. 2010

Unable to contain any more tears, I wept quietly, sinking forward, wishing the ground would open and swallow me to the pits of hell. This is what heartbreak felt like, eternal hell. The urge to throw up fought my body but I managed to control myself. Everything was clear right then – Bruce was the trigger. In many ways than one, he had similarities to Yusuf that I couldn’t deny nor neglect. His uncontrollable anger and violence were aspects of Yusuf I refused to imitate despite my medical condition. Yet, there were aspects of myself I hid away from the publics’ eyes.

I trembled and jumped when a cool hand touched my shoulder. Turning around, I looked at my father who didn’t wear his usual, mocking smirk. The moonlight accentuated his greyish, decaying skin. I’d seen him so many times his appearance didn’t scare me anymore. I pulled his trigger and he ended up dead.

He lowered his body into a crouching position and touched my cheekbone to wipe a stray tear. “I told you not to pull the trigger,”

I closed my eyes, feeling exhaustion consume my body. “If I didn’t, would I see what happened minutes ago?”

An owl ‘hooted’ eerily far in the distance, filling the void between us. “Maybe that was a side I never wanted you to see,”

“Why do you care, all of a sudden? You hate me,”

“It’s how you see me in the afterlife,” He answered softly and I caught his small, sorrowful smile. The afterlife? What did that mean? “I’m sorry for everything, for the pain I caused you and your mother,”

Another tear fell and I snapped. “Sorry isn’t enough. I don’t know how to control myself and I can’t stay here knowing what I lived through,”

“Leave,” He murmured, patting his hand down my blonde hair the way he used to when I was a child. “If that’s what you really want,”

It wasn't what I wanted but what I needed. For seven years my world was quiet, undisrupted by the past threatening to drown me in a pool of depression. Those were long, lonely years when I was with Bruce. My heart yearned for him. I loved him. I considered staying for a split second but that all changed when I saw the monster I unleashed. I was blinded by love and his beauty.

I lost focus.

“McKenna…”

I angled my head in the direction of his voice and stumbled to my feet, noticing my father’s disappearance. Dark circles darkened his irises into dull grey and his sun-kissed skin was deadly pale. He shuffled over to me but I held up my hand.

“Don’t!”

“Baby, I’m sorry,” Bruce ignored my warning, gripping my upper arms desperately and I winced. “Please, don’t leave me,”

“Get off me,” I snarled, shrugging him away. “You’re a liar, you bastard!”

He wrapped his arms around me and I struggled in his hold. He was too strong to fight off so I bit his bicep harshly, causing him to growl in pain and he released me instantly. Holding his bruised arm, he stared at me, completely shocked.

“Go away! I never want to see you ever again!” I screamed and he staggered backwards, allowing the darkness to swallow him. “GO AWAY!”

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