Cowboy Boots and Combat Boots

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Chapter Twenty Two

I stare at the clock next to my bed. It’s after three in the morning and I haven’t closed my eyes once. My beautiful strong goddess sleeps peacefully in my arms and I can hardly contain my emotions anymore. They’ve been a hurricane of sorrow and anguish and pure unadulterated anger and hatred swirling all together for hours ever since she told me what happened to her. I let go of her and roll over onto my back.

The movement doesn’t stir her so I pull my other arm slowly from under her. I manage to get up from the bed to the door and I slip out quietly. I walk downstairs quietly so as not to wake anyone. The surrounding darkness finally leaves me free to let the hot tears that have been trapped in my eyes all night. My anger is rolling just underneath my skin. I walk into the kitchen and nearly attack the figure sitting at the counter as an intruder until I recognize him.

Damien is sitting there diving into a bucket of ice cream. He looks at me and his face falls.

“She told you.” He says and I watch his own eyes moisten. I wipe my face clean with my hand before I ball my hands into fists at my side. My fist punches through the nearest cabinet before I even realized I was standing next to it. Damien just looks at me with complete understanding. Then he holds out a spoon for me. I pull out the chair next to him and stab the spoon into the ice cream and we eat in silence for a few moments.

“Do you know their names?” I ask icily looking at him. He opens his mouth to speak but I hold my hand up. “No. Don’t tell me, because I know I’ll track them down and kill them.” I warn in a dark menacingly tone. He smiles a dark smile at me.

“Two of them are already dead.” He says coldly showing no emotion. I look at him in confusion. He shrugs. “They never made it out of college. They overdosed.” He informs me taking another spoonful of ice cream. “Did she tell you I found her?” He asks choking on the words. I nod. He looks away as he tries to blink back tears.

“Before that day I was pre-med. I wanted to be a doctor until that moment I walked into that lab. I’ll never forget that scene as long as I live.” He says sadly and I take another spoonful of ice cream as he talks. “Every time I close my eyes near her I see her like that. Then I open them and she’s fine and smiling at me. Recently that stopped happening. Her happiness has been all I could see lately. Then today when I saw your hickey I panicked and I saw her like that again. I saw her hurt.” He confesses.

“I would sooner die than hurt her Damien.” I declare in all seriousness. He smiles a quick smile at me.

“I know that. I was just worried she felt more for you than you did for her. There are more than physical ways to hurt someone. I’m not worried now, I can see it in your eyes whenever you look at her. You love her. When I realized that I calmed down a little.” He explains. That is why I’ve been getting such a weird vibe from him today.

“I wish I could calm down right now.” I seethe still letting the anger roll off me.

“I was telling you my story.” He suddenly continues with a wry smile. “After meeting Lexi I changed to pre law she was run out of school but I wasn’t. I made their lives hell for the rest of their college lives. The statute of limitations is up on most of what I’m about to tell you.” He says before looking at me warily.

“The pure grade heroin that two of the boys overdosed on was supplied by me. I knew they had a weakness for it. I was an elite as well you see. The same parties the same access to the right people.” He tells me and his voice is dark and menacing. “After I graduated I went to law school and got my degree. Lexi had run off to Nashville with that other moron by then. After I got my degree I began a very particular task.” He informs me with a wicked smile.

“You can’t tell Lexi about this either. She’s done so well moving on with her life. I had a little difficulty letting go of it all. The surviving scum went on to their brilliant careers alongside their fathers in their fortune five hundred companies. They seemed content that the strange plague of incidents from college were over.” His lips curl up darkly.

“Two of the three remaining fell into financial ruin and have been slapped by law suit after law suit and the SCC is investigating all their transactions that they mysteriously can’t explain.” He smiles. “I expect a couple of speedy trials if they don’t take the coward’s way out first.” I watch Damien with a new respect right now. He couldn’t go after these guys in college so he’s ruined their lives the way they ruined hers. He takes another mouthful of ice cream.

He looks sideways at me and I smile a half smile at him. “And the last?” I prompt. He breaks out in a full wicked grin.

“I saved him for last.” He spits and I know he means the one who was supposed to be her boyfriend at the time. “He’s currently serving a twenty five year prison sentence for possessing child pornography. His computer was seized on an anonymous tip off and he went down hard despite his protests of having no idea how it got there.” He laughs at the memory and I smile wickedly.

“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t get him out of that. Now I have it on good authority he’s very popular in prison. His good looks are quite the favorite at shower time.” His dark chuckles are contagious and I start chuckling as well.

“You’re right. Lexi can never know about any of this.” I tell him certainly and he nods.

“She belongs in the light, you and I have seen the darkness and we both know the only thing to fight it with is more darkness.” He explains and I rest my hand on his shoulder.

“Thank you for being there for her, even more then she’ll be able to know.” I tell him gratefully. He nods then smiles a wicked smile at me.

“I can take you to meet him if you like?” He raises an eyebrow at me. I look at him confused. “After everyone shunned him, he called me. His old friend from college who he knew became a lawyer. He’s been asking me to file his appeal for the past three years. Strangely I haven’t been able to find any new evidence to support an appeal.” He laughs wickedly and I laugh as well. “Yeah whenever I’m having a particularly down day I call to check in on him and it always perks me right up.” He say with a light hearted smile playing on his lips.

“It can be my Christmas present to you, we’ll take a trip upstate to visit him.” He says with a smile and I agree. I would love nothing more than to see the pain on the face of the creature who hurt Lexi so brutally. We continue eating ice cream for a while before Rowan busts us looking for Damien.

“Is there something going on here I should know about?” Rowan asks suspiciously trying to sound annoyed but too tired to be. I laugh a little at him.

“I was just trying to stop him from eating all the ice cream.” I tell him with a smile. “I better get back upstairs.” I say leaving them to it.

“Have you slept yet?” Rowan asks stopping me at the doorway. I shake my head.

“Not yet but I think I’ll be able to now.” I say shooting Damien a grateful look. I get back into the room and the darkness is strange on my tired eyes. I slide back into the bed carefully and I feel her move back against me as I pull the blanket back up.

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