Chapter 25: Hunting
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Song; (Zack Hemsy- Silver Crimson Black [Instrumental])
Without a word, I swore to end Mason’s life.
Literally, without a word.
"I thought you said you were at the Office," I hissed at Mason unwilling to look at the other male who is burning holes onto the side of my head.
"I didn't say that," He defends.
“Well then, you better start running, Fell.” I warned, feeling my fists clench up.
He shoots me a condescending expression which indicated; “You should be more worried about yourself.”
Which was true, considering I had a very temperamental guy in front of me just waiting for a response.
What the hell was I supposed to say?
“Cute place,” Thomas hums, glancing around in a careless manner. “If you’re looking for someone they’re not here.”
“Then they must have left clues.” Turning on my heel, I marched into what I hope was the bedroom and was relieved when it was.
Anything, to get away from those two.
All in all the apartment was only a two bedroom place, if Travis left anything behind it wouldn’t be too hard to catch.
Getting to my knees, I bent down and squinted for anything that may have fallen underneath the bed.
Nothing but cobwebs and dust.
Unsatisfied, I walked around the bedroom and open drawer after drawer, my frustration increasing when nothing came out of that.
I am aware of both males leaning against the door, watching me carefully.
Mason looked like he wanted to stop me.
Thomas looked like he wanted to kill me.
Either way, nothing they’d do would affect whatever I’m doing.
Not when I’m this close.
“You done yet?” Thomas spits sarcastically.
“Nope,” The bedroom was empty so I headed to the second bedroom, not caring that I bumped into Mason’s shoulder.
Again, that proved fruitless.
There was nothing that indicated he may have slept here or lived here for that matter.
It was like nothing had been touched.
Dammit, I hope Vi has something if I ask later.
“There’s nothing here we checked.” Mason sighed after endless minutes of watching me toss and throw anything I could find.
“How long have you been here? Both of you?” I kept my tone clipped, unwilling to stare at either of them.
“Long enough to know what you’ve been up too.” Thomas vaguely says.
“Which is what?” The drawer I held slammed closed. “Should have called ahead. Would’ve spared me the trouble of climbing the fire escape.”
The heir of Graymoore remained unflinching, his gaze never once wavered from how dark they are. “Going hunting without my knowledge Ginger? That’s a bold move.”
“I don’t recall you ever having a say in what I do with my free time. What’s changed now?”
“What’s change,” He swallows hard, the vein at the side of his neck pulsing. “Is that you’re being too damn reckless for you’re own good.”
“Hypocrite.” Walking towards the kitchen, I threw open drawers only finding kitchen utensils. “You disappeared for almost two months without telling us where you went, now you’re telling me I’m the one being reckless.”
“It is reckless Vanessa,” Mason sighs walking forward so he could lean against the kitchen counter.
“This isn’t reckless.” I snapped, finally halting in my attempts of finding out where that damn bastard went. “Reckless, is going into this, without a plan. Reckless, is dropping off the radar without telling you where I went, as I recall, I did neither of those.”
“Sounds like reckless to me.” Thomas scoffs, his dark eyes narrowing. “Whatever plan you have cooked up in that little brain of yours, forget it. You're not doing this alone."
"How do you know what I'm doing?" I raised an innocent eyebrow. "I might have just wanted to switch lives for a minute. Be a criminal for a change?"
"Nice try," He snorts. "But I've known you long enough to call bullshit."
Nodding slowly, I reach for the fridge and opened it. "Yeah... then no, I'm not telling you shit."
"I swear to god-" He made a move to lunge for me, frustration peeked.
Mason is the one who scrambles to get in between us.
"We're here." He states, halting Thomas as he blinks unresponsively. "That's all that matters."
"I'm not in danger you know," Rolling my eyes, I closed the fridge and crossed my arms over my chest. "Maybe if you stop seeing me like glass and start seeing me as someone who can take care of themselves..."
The sentence hung in the air, making both boys furrow brows in obvious thoughts.
It was true.
One of the main reasons why I didn't want to involve them was because of how they'd react.
The thing I'm doing now needs to be done in the background so no one would suspect anything.
Bringing two, well known, billion dollar heirs in my little revenge plan would be the worst idea ever.
Besides I've already told Mason too much.
It's a miracle that he was oblivious to my claims. If it was Thomas this would be a different story.
"I'm getting ahead of myself." Thomas sighs to himself as he pinches the bridge of his nose. "Put me out of my misery, tell me what you're doing here."
"I'm trying to find someone," I answer honestly. "You wouldn't have come here if you didn't know that."
"That's it?" He raises a disbelieving brow. "Nothing more to add? No sudden surprises later?"
Momentarily breaking eye contact from Thomas to glance at Mason, I'm relieved the heir of BourneFell doesn't catch the truth beneath my exterior.
"That's it." I lied.
Just like that, the heavy atmosphere lifted ever so slightly.
"Now that we've established, stable terms..." Rolling my shoulders, I flicked a piece of dust from my sweater. "How did you find out what I was doing?"
"You’re Mom," Mason explained, trailing off hesitantly. “Asked if you were going to stay over for dinner at my house which confused me because you’ve never been there.”
“Shit.” Cursing, I rubbed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Does she know anything about this?”
“No.” He solemnly shakes his head. “I covered for you. By then, I was already suspicious about what you were trying to do and one thing led to another...”
So it was all because my Mom got worried.
"That still doesn't explain how you knew where to look."
"Marlen," Thomas speaks out, voice louder then intended. "Once Mason called me, I knew where to go then."
Are you kidding me?
"It took me a week to get some alone time with Marlen, you're telling me you managed to meet him in under four hours?"
"Two, actually." Mason piped unhelpfully.
"Oh this day just gets better and better." I muttered, running a hand through my hair. "Bet the old man's laughing now."
They may have met Marlen but they didn't know what I planned to do with Travis.
Which means he didn't tell them...
He probably hoped they'd caught me in the act.
Too bad they didn't suspected anything.
"Enough with this," Thomas sighs, exasperated as though he’s had enough. “You want to find this guy? We’ll help you find this guy.”
“What’s the catch?” I arched an eyebrow, not willing to snatch up the bait so easily.
Since when did he agree with my decisions?
Again, Thomas stares at me in that usual why-is-she-so-stupid expression. “The catch is, next time you decide to go incognito, don’t keep the boys in the dark, much less me.”
"Yeah, that's not going to work out you see... I have privacy issues-"
He inhales sharply before crossing the distance between us so he towered over me. Instinctively, my back hit the fridge and my fingers wrapped around the cold metal.
A blast of warm air hit me right in the face followed by the smell of mint.
I felt the weight of his power mull over and shrunk, unaware that I’ve done it.
“Don’t disappear, not if you’re doing something like this.” Thomas blue green eyes blazed with profound emotions. “I need, to know, do you understand?”
A hot ball of liquid ran down my throat, squeezing my insides along the way.
What was... what was that?
However I didn’t get the chance to react before he retreated away from me, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose.
I watch him carefully as his shoulders tensed and his temple throbbed.
He was upset.
Very, very upset.
It's like a yawning void had opened up inside him with no means of stopping.
“Don’t.” He says stiffly, one hand out.
Thomas had maneuvered himself so his hands rest on either side of the counter.
I could only see his back but knew very well he was trembling.
“Mason, go to the other room. Bring her with you.”
“Vanessa, come on,” Mason walks over and grabs my hand before lightly tugging me out the kitchen. “Let’s just give him some space.”
Biting my lip, I allowed Mason to drag me back to the bedroom, all the while keeping silent.
Why did he react that way?
I've never seen him like this before.
“Sit down,” He instructs and I obediently did as I told, fingers on my lap.
“I could’ve done this on my own.” I murmured, dejected.
Mason nods in understanding. “You could have. But you’re forgetting that you’re one of us now. Whatever you do reflects back.”
His words affected me tremendously.
For years I’ve been on my own, not bothering to rely on people but myself.
I guess it was a habit I’d have to break.
“Will he be alright?” Timidly, I peeked up at the heir of BourneFell, genuinely worried.
“He will,” He sighs, closing his eyes. “You really had him go out of his mind when he found out what you were trying to do.”
“Yeah, I admit it was my fault. That doesn’t mean he had to go all Hulk at me. I’m not made of glass.”
“Vanessa... it’s not more about what you’re trying to do... it’s about how you did it.”
“How... what do you mean?”
After a solid minute, Mason gets up from his position and sat next to me so our knees touched. “You doing this... hiding, lying, it makes him vulnerable.”
“He doesn’t know what might happen if he’s not there. The last time...”
Mason cuts himself off, his eyes shutting down.
If it wasn’t for the silence that transpired after that I would’ve never guessed the reason behind it.
Rose was killed.
The boys never told me why she was killed.
They only told me how she died.
Thomas and Mason may go on to believe that all I knew about her was that she left but I knew differently now thanks to the others.
Was that what they meant when they said they killed her?
Was it an accident?
If so, how did she get involved?
“Urgh, this is driving me crazy.” I sighed, laying down. “It's like every time I have it all figured out, another thing comes up.”
“Do we stress you out?” Mason chuckles flopping beside me. “Wouldn't be the first time someone's said it.”
Hesitantly, I raise my head, making our eyes lock. “Did you believe me?"
He frowns, startled by my change in subject.
Fisting my hands against the sheets, I sat back up and swallowed. "Did you believe me when I said I was going to kill Travis?"
Another silence passes.
He reaches forward and strokes the edge of my cheek, green blue eyes incredibly tender. “I think you had a lot on you're mind. You didn't mean it."
Instead of feeling relief, I felt... confound.
Leaning away from his grip, I felt my red hair hang over my chin, cascading across my eyes.
“How do you know I didn't meant it?"
He scoots closer and fingers the strands away. "You're not bad, Vanessa. I know you're not."
Then you're a fool.
The door to the bedroom swings open, revealing an expressionless Thomas Moore whose gaze is locked on how close we sat.
He raises a daring brow. “Ginger if you’re cheating on me, tell me now.”
Rolling my eyes, I stood up and pushed the darkness at the back of my head. “I’m not that type of girl.”
For a second, that blank expression melted away to reveal a hint of fear before it quickly disappeared.
Mason says I make him vulnerable.
I shouldn’t have lied.
After everything he’s gone through...
There was no reason for me to add that.
He clears his throat before glancing away to focus on a spot on the wall.
“I’m sorry.” I tell him, earnestly meaning it. “It was stupid coming here without telling you. I won’t do it again.”
“I said move.” He by passes me and crouches low to view a crack in the wall, dark eyes scanning it rather diligently.
“What is it?”
Thomas slips his hand out of his pockets and traced the crack in front of him, pushing and prodding along the way.
He spread his hands along the wall in a square pattern before finding an edge beneath the floor.
There was a click.
All three of us exchanged glances before he pulls the fake wall up, revealing masses of items.
“Holy shit,” My gaze finds the stacks of cash just beyond the shelves followed by numerous documents all stacked.
Mason glides forward and peers into the fake wall, the gears in his brain turning. “Cash? Documents?”
“Firearms.” Thomas adds, pointing at how unevenly the weapons were stacked.
Pistol, magnum, curved tip daggers...
A particular C-shape dagger catches my attention.
It was a beautiful piece by all means but the handle had an odd emblem design.
Swirls and four tips jousting out.
Taking my scarf off my neck, I carefully plucked the dagger off the shelf and peered at it closely.
“See something you like?” Thomas says, his tone curious.
I shrug but pocketed the dagger, making sure the scarf was wrapped around it. “We’ll see.”
When Mason is about to touch one of the guns on the shelves I quickly grabbed his hand, stopping him at once.
“Don’t touch it, not unless you have a cloth or something. It might be connected to a crime.”
He nods and I let go as my mind worked double time over the items I’m seeing.
Travis couldn’t have afford this amount of items.
As far as I know he was laid off from his job for a few months.
Where would he get all this money?
Several stacks of hundred dollar bills were left untouched and if he was hiding, he would’ve brought it all with him.
But he didn’t.
None of it made sense.
“At first I thought Karen may have approached him, but looking at this now, I see that’s not the case.” I said out loud, making sure they heard it.
“You think it was all planned?” Mason hinted, clearly wanting more information.
“Well, he turned tail and ran when I found out he was abusing Hailey. Didn’t see him for a few years. Then we moved here and found out he was working under Graymoore.” At that, I gestured to Thomas who nods in response, telling me he remembers.
“Somehow... his obsession with Hailey came back, hell he broke into my home because she wouldn’t let him get back together with her.”
Mason’s usually calm face turns darker and darker the more I told the story. “Did you manage to find him?”
“No. But he got fired from his job pretty soon after that. Hailey was promoted to take his place.”
The heir of BourneFell froze mid way and side way glances at Thomas. “Did you have something to do with that?”
Thomas doesn’t answer.
They shared knowing looks.
He fired Travis?
Mason finally breaks eye contact. “How does this connect to Karen?”
“She invited me to her party because I wanted to know more about Rose. It was a set up. She wanted to draw me away so Travis could enter the Apartment.”
“Jesus Christ,” Thomas mutters as he runs his hands down his sandy blond hair.
The next time he speaks, it sounds as though he finally figured it out.
“This is is revenge from a bastard that got laid off his job.”
“So when he approached Karen, she accepted it because she wanted to make Vanessa pay.” Mason continues, his mouth open in awe.
“Whatever the case, if that’s true...” I trailed off uncertainly as Thomas locked gazes with mine. “Travis must have found out getting fired wasn’t a coincidence. He connected the dots to you... and then...”
The reality of what I’m about to say made everyone in the room pause.
So Travis found out he got fired because of Thomas.
He also found out, Thomas didn’t do it for himself.
He did it for me.
Travis would never have been able to fight back against Graymoore’s heir, but he could get revenge on me.
It made sense.
I was nothing but a speck of dust compared to the title Thomas held in the waking world.
After all, what’s the harm in trying to tear me down?
I made him run for his life a few years back when I still lived in NorthVille.
I did everything possible to make sure he was miserable.
He was kicked out of Jonas's gang because of me.
Now that I’m in New York did he think he could fight back this time?
After all the bad things he’s done... the fact that he continued to do so, even after leaving... made my blood boil.
More reason to end it with him.
“So what then?” Mason scratches the back of his neck, looking more stressed. “He joined forces with Karen hoping it’d hurt you, but that still doesn’t explain what all this-”
He gestures to the fake wall. “-means.”
Thomas who has been eerily quiet let out a soft exhale and rubs his chin. “He couldn’t do anything to me because of who I am... but he also couldn’t do anything to you,”
When I realized he’s looking at me, I turn my position so he knows I’m listening. “What do you mean?”
If he couldn’t do anything in the first place then how did he?
“You’re title.” His explanation spoke legions. “He couldn’t touch you yet because of you’re underground title. He had to make sure he had all escape routes covered.”
“Because I would’ve hunted him down and he wouldn’t have had any way to escape that.” It was my turn to be shocked. “So he got smart. Did everything possible to ensure I would have never been able to touch him. That’s why it’s been so difficult finding the bastard in the first place.”
He joined the Underground.
He joined it to avoid me.
“This place is a safe house.” My surprise is registered among the two males. “It’s a safe house not just for him but for anyone else that works under his employer.”
The apartment was much too clean for anyone calling the place home for a few days.
It was an active safe house which meant it would need to be cleaned constantly.
That’s why we couldn’t find anything.
“It checks out,” Squatting so I had a better view over the mountain load of cash, I circled my pinky over it. “If not all the cash would be gone.”
“You’re right.” Thomas squats down beside me, his hands resting on either side of his knees. “We’re not dealing with a low headed prick, he’s involved with someone.”
For a second, I contemplate telling them but the moment passes as soon as it comes.
I'm too pissed to care.
The fact that he joined a group slowed me down, but he can’t hide forever.
Sooner or later they always mess up.
They always think the worst is over.
“He thinks he can just jump ship after leaving a sinking one?” I scoffed, my gaze blazing. “He’s got another thing coming.”
My nails scrapped the inside of my palms as my fists closed in on each other.
I felt the pensive anger rolled up in full force.
Just because he has someone to back him up didn’t mean I was any less ignorant to what I wanted to achieve.
The bastard could run but I will, find him.
“Not someone, Thomas.“ Mason picks up a small black card at the very back of the wall from above us. “Something.”
The glistening card catches the light making me stand up to take a better look.
“You think that’s an exhibition?” I commented, confused.
Mason shakes his head, indicating he is unsure as well.
“Only one way to find out,” Thomas hoisted himself from the floor and slips his hands into his black cotton duster coat.
The heir of BourneFell gives Thomas a sharp look. “Do you want me to call the others?”
Time seemed to slow as I felt the energy around us change.
It became heavier and much more allusive.
Much more unnatural.
“No,” Thomas breathes, unusually calm. “I think, this is something... we’d want to do by ourselves.”
She’d want to do by ourselves.
The sentence was directed for me but I didn’t hear it.
One way or another, I’m getting closer to finding this asshole.
And I’m going to make him wish he was never born.
Mason twirls the card around his fingers before slipping it in his pocket. "Well what are we waiting for?"
The heir of Graymoore steps forward, his hot breath staining the back of my neck.
“You want to go hunting Ginger?”
I glance at him, my expressionless reaction not hindering Thomas from the smirk he has.
The smirk that says all that needs to be said.
My own lips betray me. “Let’s go hunting.”