Special Edition #1
Be advised that this chapter is unrelated to the story currently and is simply a special edition for maybe, a book in the future.
Guess if you can.
My alarm blared, if possible, louder then all the mornings I’ve ever woken up too.
Son of a-
Right on cue, Jax started barking.
"No." I threw my pillow at him but he dodged it. A couple seconds later, I felt him jump on the bed and gnaw at my fingers.
"Jax, I swear to god-"
Turning on my front, I shoved him off and reached for the alarm before throwing it against the wall.
There was a slight thud and a dull squeak before the alarm dies out.
I grin in victory.
The thing beeped once, then released a high pitch shrill, loud enough to wake the dead.
Jax had his tongue lolling out as if to say; "Hah, jokes on you."
Alright, fuck it.
Throwing the covers off, of me, I stomped towards the alarm clock and pluck out the batteries before throwing it onto the waste basket.
I’m going to kill Elios the next time he gives me an alarm clock for my birthday.
“Fuck,” Groaning out loud, I rubbed my eyes lids and peered at the light peeping through my black out curtains.
The dog was still staring at me, even going as far as to make himself comfortable on my bed.
"Yeah, don't look so smug." I snap at him.
It takes a second to gather my thoughts as the pieces float above me in vague patterns.
I cracked my neck and stifled a wince.
Already, the beginning of a headache was knocking me senseless.
Jax pulled my shirt so the material draped across my lap.
"Where do you want me to go?" I ask him, frowning at how he continuously sniffed at my fingers.
Was I missing something here?
"I told you what I would do, didn't I?"
"Do you believe me now?"
A flash of red hair hinders my vision momentarily and I paused, startled.
Standing up, I hoisted my jeans off the floor and put them on before making my way into the bathroom.
I brushed my teeth, washed my face and tried to fix my hair but decided to leave it for today given I had no time for this.
I just witnessed my girlfriend attempt to kill someone.
If that wasn’t reason enough, I don’t know what else is.
“Damn it,” Wrestling for my damn belt I tied it around and nearly tripped on my sneakers on the way out.
Keys, where are my keys?
Fuck, only she could make me panic like this.
Vanessa and her ways of throwing me completely off.
If Mason hadn’t noticed those girls running out the back door, I never would’ve guessed what was happening in there.
Kicking the door down to the basement was the best plan I ever had.
To my fucking surprise, I find Vanessa standing over Travis, knife in hand, a murderous glaze in her eyes.
The image alone is enough to give me nightmares.
That was one part of her I hadn’t expected to see tonight.
Or ever again for that matter.
It’s like whoever walked in that building never came out again.
Whatever the cause, I was going to get to the bottom of this.
If the prick doorman didn’t threaten to call the police I would’ve ignored what he said.
Obediently, he followed my call and was right on my heels.
Taking a fresh T-shirt from one of my drawers, I picked up my keys and headed for the door but was stopped when my phone rang.
The pitch was noisy and much to sensitive for someone who just woke up in the morning.
Jesus Christ, was everything annoying me today?
I stared at the name that flashed on the screen before muffling an annoyed growl.
“What do you want?”
“Do you know what time it is?” Mason snorts at the other end of the line.
What is with this asshole, he sounds chipper then an early bird. “Time to hang up?”
“No, you have to get to the Office, now.”
Like hell. “Yeah, I’m gonna pass on that.”
“Our fathers are having a meeting. It's code black.”
I fell silent, hearing his words echo loud in my sleep deprived brain. “You’re joking.”
“Would I be joking about anything like this?” He hissed, dead serious. “It sounds bad.”
“Bad enough that they both have to be in the same room?” I ran my hand through my hair and released an impatient sigh.
“Pretty much,” He sighs and I can tell he’s stressed.
I haven’t see my father in weeks and this is what he does?
Hold an abrupt meeting without warning whatsoever?
After that bomb shell he dropped on me?
Thanks Dad, for throwing a wrench in my plans.
“Fine, I’ll be there.” Unbuckling my jeans, I let them fall as I strode in the walk-in closet.
Meeting my girl would have to wait. If there’s one thing I know, don’t disrupt Dad’s already short temper.
I hated going to these things.
But if he is having a meeting with Richard Fell then it must be important.
Whatever the hell that means.
Gently running my hands through the pressed suits at the very back of my closet I frown at the colors before viewing myself in the mirror.
“Mason, what color is you’re suit?”
“Navy blue, why?”
“Great, I guess grandma’s funeral tux it is.”
He releases an exasperated scoff and I hung up, throwing the device onto the nearby couch.
I choose a black suit and paired it with silver cuffs before slipping it on.
Once I’ve buttoned the front lapel, I reach for my black sneakers that could be mistaken as Office shoes.
What Dad doesn’t know won’t kill him.
Opening a set of drawers to my far right, I chose a Rolex and strapped it on before walking towards the mirror.
I looked presentable enough.
Or as Dad would say; “Following protocol.”
The glint in my eyes reminds me how much I hate wearing suits.
There’s not much flexibility in this thing. You can barely move without feeling as though the layers are weighing you down.
Ginger didn't seem to mind.
As I recalled, she was eating me up with her eyes.
The thought is pleasing.
Taking my phone, I shut the lights before walking out of my closet.
"Jax, come on."
What a great start to a bad day.
“Stop glaring at me.”
David doesn’t let up.
He’s giving me his signature, I-am-so-disappointed-in-you-look through the rear view mirror.
“I slept in a little late, forgive me if I didn’t expect to be called in on my Off day,” I emphasized, hoping he’s stop with the glaring and more with the explaining.
He finally relaxes his face and refocuses back on the road, features narrowed into a frown.
I rolled my eyes before taking out my phone and texting a familiar name.
She could try to ignore me but that’s highly unlikely. I always get what I want and what I want is answers.
If you get this, just know I’m delayed by two hours from seeing you. It doesn’t mean you can escape because I will find you.
There, I hope she gets the message.
In front of me, Jax releases a bark.
I raised an eyebrow.
"I get it, you want to see her too."
“Hey, no phones, remember?” David interrupts, reminding me of the damn rules all over again.
No phones in the meeting room.
I switched off the power and slip it back in my pocket before kicking my leg out in front of me.
God, this was shaping up to be one of those days.
I had better things to do.
Like ask Vanessa what the hell happened last night and maybe kiss her until I can’t breathe.
Fuck, the idea makes my mind spin.
Clearing my throat, I forced the image of her lips at the back of my mind. “David, why is Dad back so soon?”
He frowns through the mirror but doesn’t say anything.
“What the hell is eating at you?” I demanded, not liking how cold he’s being.
David takes a deep breath and shuts his eyes before reopening them. “I’m worried.”
This is a first.
He usually keeps his worries to himself.
However I’ve seen him do less then that around Vanessa.
Somehow she managed to worm her way into his heart.
Just like she did yours.
I waved the voice away and pinched the bridge of my nose, needing to focus.
Meeting first, then Vanessa.
Can’t afford any distractions when Dad is around.
“You’ve met Veronica before right?” David suddenly asks, his tone giving nothing away.
Veronica? Vanessa’s Mom?
I frowned. “Yeah, but it was brief. I accidentally bumped into her.”
Right when I walked out the hospital bathroom.
She was so shocked that even I couldn’t exactly lie who I was.
“I went over to Vanessa’s house last night to send a few papers in. She told me that Vanessa wanted some changes so I thought nothing of it and did as she told.”
Where was he going with this?
“This morning when I woke up, I realized most of Vanessa’s funding had been put in a new account. Of course it’s nothing surprising but it’s not under her name, it’s under Veronica’s.”
“But Veronica is Ginger’s living parent. It would make sense to put it under her Mom.”
“I guess?” He doesn’t look sure.
The old man is frazzled, even a bit concern.
He didn’t sound like that over the phone call last night.
“They must have discussed it earlier on, you know Vanessa’s particular about her money, she won’t do anything without thinking about it first.”
That girl would literally breathe fire in anyone’s direction if someone so much as touch what’s hers.
David nods, finally at ease.
By the time the car rolls up onto Graymoore’s building, I realized I’m 10 minutes late.
Oh fucking hell.
Climbing out the SUV, Jax bounded smoothly behind me as David follows, not before giving the keys to the valet person in charge.
We march into the building I’ve memorized by heart and head for the main elevator.
“Good morning, Mr Moore.” The receptionist greets me, flashing her pearly whites.
I ignore her and before I could make it into the elevator, I spot a familiar light brown hair.
He turns around, surprised, before quickly recovering and meeting us halfway.
What the hell was he doing over at Graymoore side?
“Where’s the meeting being held?” I demanded, watching him suspiciously.
“Here,” He breathes, slightly out of breath. "Oh, hey Jax."
“Here?” I raised an eyebrow, confused, despite irritated that he would greet my dog. “We normally have meetings in the middle landing.”
“Yeah but it’s just Dad and I. No business partners.”
What the hell?
Why would Harrison Moore and Richard Fell be involved in any meeting whatsoever, that didn’t include the expansion of their empire?
“It’s personal,” David answers the question both Mason and I are thinking.
“Do you know what it is?” Mason gestures, offended by being kept in the dark.
I noticed eye bags under his eyes and scowled, knowing he barely got enough sleep last night because he was thinking about a certain someone.
Back off Fell, she’s not yours.
It didn’t matter if he was shaken by her personality change. If he couldn’t stomach it then why the hell was he pining after her?
David shakes his head. “It’s not my place to tell-”
The glass doors behind us open subtly, a draft of cold wind billowing out throughout the lobby.
Everyone who is everyone turn to attention at Harrison Moore and Richard Fell walking up, side by side, expressions blank.
Late as ever.
Of course if I was late he’d have my ass.
Falling into line, I kept my stance neutral and spot Mason doing the same thing.
When they finally reach us, David nods his head in greeting at both of them.
“Mr Fell, Mr Moore.”
Richard responds kindly to David, the edges of his lips turning up. “Bit of a rough start to the day huh?”
“Yes Sir, indeed.” They share knowing glances.
Both Mason and I glowered.
We didn’t like being kept in the dark.
“Are those sneakers?”
I snap my head at attention to the sharp voice on my right.
Dad glares holes at me, bright blue eyes filled in disgust.
I grit my teeth and hid my clenched fists behind my back.
I don’t see him for several weeks and this is what I get?
He should be lucky I’m still tolerating him after what he did.
“Cut the poor boy some slack,” Richard snaps at my Dad, his tone agitated. “We called them here on their Off days.”
Mason side-way glances at me and shrugs in question.
Yeah, yeah, his Dad has always been the nicer of the two.
Dad glowers silently before snapping his jaw close. “Let’s go, I don’t have time to waste and the dog stays here.”
He by passes us for the elevator and we collectively followed, unable to disobey.
"Stay Jax," I instruct him as he dutifully sits, long tail thumping.
It isn’t long until we find ourselves high up in the building and sitting in a conference room meant to hold at least 20 people.
Both Mason and his father sat opposite us at the very front of the room, while Dad and I mirrored them.
Close but not close.
It had always been like this.
David walks up to the front and places a briefcase down onto the table.
“Mr Moore, Mr Fell,” David begins, keeping his tone clipped. “I believed I’ve informed you of everything earlier this morning-”
“Cut the pretenses,” My father barks, a fury I’ve come to be familiar with, fills his eyes. “How long has it been?”
“Almost 8 months, Sir,” David response, shooting me a look that meant; don’t get involved.
The scar beneath my ear burned at the thought but I quickly flicked it so it won’t bother me anymore.
“Then why are we pulling the plug now?”
“Watch you’re mouth.” Richard spits from across the table, his anger matching my father’s.
There’s a stern silence that reverted throughout the conference room in which Mason and I noticed immediately.
What the hell was up with these two?
They’re unusually strung up today.
Normally they’d stayed... civil.
Mason whispered something to his father that immediately made the older nod in apology towards his son.
“My apologies, Mr Moore, Mr Fell,” David begins, inhaling sharply.
“We’ve been paying transactions every month but I’m afraid it’s him that isn’t strong enough to hold on.”
“I see...” Richard rest his chin on his thumb and cast his eyes down in thought. “So it isn’t long I suppose?”
David holds his gaze for several long moments before he nods slowly. “My apologies Mr Fell.”
I feel something hard kick me under the table and glared at Mason who mouths a couple words;
“What’s wrong with them?”
Did he think I know?
“Then it’s settled.” Richard straightens himself and makes direct eye contact with my father who is groveling all on his own.
“We should visit him... How long has it been, Harrison?”
“7 years.” Dad responds, without missing a beat. “7 years and counting...”
What was he talking about?
Why isn’t anyone explaining anything?
“I’m sorry, am I the only one missing something here?” Mason speaks out, having had enough of these two going back and forth.
He’s not wrong.
“If the two of you want to continue talking be my guess,” I added sarcastically as Dad sends me a death glare to which I promptly ignore.
Don’t throw you’re anger at me.
“I don’t see how this has anything to do with Mason and I.”
Richard shakes his head in resignation before pulling his sleeves up his arms. “David, please leave the room, I’m afraid we have to discuss something personal.”
“Yes Sir,” David collects his briefcase and heads for the door but just before he closes it, I hear the faint ringing of his phone.
I smiled in sarcasm.
What was that about no phones?
Now alone, I stared at the people around the room, surprise to find Mason’s father and mine, now silent.
Silent could mean two things.
Bad or very bad.
“Harrison, I know you don’t like this as much as I do.” Richard begins, keeping his tone even. “We’ve dragged this on for too long.”
“I wished it died a long time ago.” He responds not as kind.
“What died?” Mason asks, running his hand through his hair as he faces his father.
“Honestly, this is chalking up to be a waste of time, I have better things to do.”
“So do I.”
Fell, better not be thinking what I think he is.
But the look in his eyes confirms it as much.
He wants to see Vanessa.
“We should have told you guys sooner.” Richard mutters under his breath, looking absolutely lost.
“Told us what?” I ask, barely managing to tear myself away from wanting to break Mason’s skull open.
She is mine.
He’s sending me an equally distributed glare that meant he won’t back down.
Not if it came to her.
“Look, this doesn’t matter, I’ll book the plane,” Richard stands up and buttons the top piece of his blazer before facing Harrison Moore who is unnaturally quiet.
When has Harrison Moore ever been quiet?
“We can leave by noon-”
“He made both our lives miserable, Rich,” Dad announces, his voice strangely hushed.
A cold silence swept over the room, making Mason and I break eye contact to view my father who remains blank.
I’ve never seen him like this.
“Can you really say that?” Richard tilts his head, voice soft and fore bonding. “If he dies, we’ll regret it. You’ll, regret it, Harry.”
Mason and I gape at each other.
They are using nicknames on each other.
They, who for as long as I can remember, never, ever got along together.
My father sighs and shakes his head before resting his elbows against the table. “I don’t know. I don’t know if I can see him.”
“You’re going to have too.” Richard’s tone is turning muffled.
I see a similar reaction mirrored him by my own father.
He was always so cold, never letting anyone know what he truly felt.
For years I was always taking the brunt of his anger.
But despite all that, he was still my father, what else could I do but ask what’s wrong?
“Dad,” I announce, catching his attention so he would break out of this stubborn bubble.
As through entranced, he actually listened, whipping his head to face me, expression guarded, blue eyes, red.
I hid my surprise. “What’s going on?”
We stay like this, gazes locked.
He opens his mouth, ready to say something but is abruptly cut off when the conference door slams open.
David’s appears by the doorway, one hand holding his phone as a fearful expression overtook his senses.
“David?” I’m too concern that I forget to use his last name in front of the others.
“We need to go.” His tone is directed at both Mason and I.
Every molecule in my body stood up in command, no longer subdued over the fact that my father is in the same room as I am.
I stand up, the chair knocking back as Mason quickly follows, the both of us alarmed by David’s terror.
“What’s wrong?” He demanded.
David shakes his head, face ashen white. “Mazereen Apartments.”
My heart is beating too fast.
My fingers can’t stop drumming against the side of my thigh.
Keep calm. Keep calm.
You don’t know the full story.
As soon as David parked the car, I’m already flying into the building, Mason and him hot on my heels.
I barely even remembered what I was told on the way out of the meeting room.
Bits and pieces are coming together.
“Veronica’s in the hospital.”
“She’s gone. They can’t find her.”
“Why are you talking about?”
“Thomas... there’s blood everywhere.”
The elevators finally open to her floor and Jax runs first, aware that something is amidst.
I march over to where her apartment is only to find the door wide open.
I’m brought to a halt.
Destruction littered every corner and surface of the once familiar place.
Glass and furniture, almost everything had been thrown around.
The place was unrecognizable.
There's blood splatter on the floors and a big pool on the middle of the landing where the chandelier is.
“Jesus...” I run two hands through my hair, unable to believe what I’m seeing.
Mason is frozen beside me and his fear is mirrored in my eyes.
What the fuck happened here?
"My god," David has one hand over the doorway and I watch as he turns to the side, barely given a chance to catch his breath before he gagged.
"Thomas." Elios's voice breaks me out of my trance to see the group already in the apartment.
“Elios,” My shoes crunch on glass and I cringed, doing my best to ignore how most of the framed pictures had been destroyed.
"What the fuck is going on?"
“We don’t know-” Elios shakes his head and raises his hands. “The apartment was like this when we got here, Hailey was so hysterical, we didn't know how bad it was until..."
He looks over to the pool of blood on the floor and swallows hard. “There was a knife sticking out of Veronica's eye.”
“I’m sorry, what?” Mason asks, blinking rapidly.
“A knife, Mase.” Victor tells him, flinching at the word. “There was a knife sticking out of her eye. Hailey went with her in the ambulance, we all thought she was dead...”
Son of a bitch.
That doesn’t mean anything to me right now.
Where was Vanessa?
“Ginger,” I demanded, keeping the panic out of my tone as I wrecked my brain for any possible explanation as to what could have happened.
“Has anyone seen her?”
“We can’t find her.” Matthew’s tone takes a dipping turn. He’s as scared as the rest of them.
Can’t find her?
My heart sinks into my stomach and cold swirling numbing pain began to clutch at my chest.
I spot Jax sniffing aggressively throughout the place, he's whining and scratching and without a doubt, his concern makes mine double tenfold.
“Why do you mean you can’t find her?” Mason snaps, his tone agitated. “She can’t have disappeared.”
“We’ve looked everywhere,” Jared answers, his tone sharp. “There’s no sign of her.”
Don't give up yet, there must be a way. “Did anyone try tracking her cell?”
“I've been working on it for half an hour now.” Zanthus speaks out as he lifts his laptop up from his lap.
I hadn't noticed he was there having been too preoccupied with my thoughts.
"Anything?" The hope in my voice is distinguishable.
He shakes his head. “There's no signal. It's like... she's underwater."
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Did Aitenev got to her?
How could I not realized this sooner?
I never should’ve left her by herself.
"Did Hailey saw anything when she came by? Did she say anything?" Mason is losing his head.
I can tell with how his fingers shake.
The memory of what went down last night is enough for me to understand why he felt this way.
"She only knows as much as we do." Evan defended, crossing his arms over his chest.
I spot Elios and Matthew kicking things around in hopes of finding clues.
"Then she's lying," Mason's increasingly loud voice is what makes me snap to the now.
"I don't think Vanessa's best friend would lie." Evan hisses through gritted teeth. "Not after she sobbed her heart out at the mere mention of Vanessa's name."
"Then why don't you tell me where she went!?"
“Why do you want us to do?!” Evan bellows, breaking every square inch of his once cool mask.
“None of us know what’s happening Mason, there’s blood everywhere and we don’t know if it’s hers!”
I watch the younger twin in stern silence before shutting my eyes and pinching the bridge of my nose.
You don't know the full story.
My posture straightens and my fingers still.
It only takes a split moment for me to allow the other side of me to come out into the light.
“David,” Turning around, I search for him but he’s not looking at me.
He’s looking at the apartment, fear evident.
It looks like he’s seen a ghost.
“David.” I snarled, capturing his attention at once.
He snaps his gaze over towards me, features blank. “We need to analyzed the apartment, get all the blood tested. If some of it belongs to Vanessa...”
He doesn’t finish.
He doesn’t have too.
“Jared, Victor, we're going to the hospital.” I commanded, bridging the role between leader and heir.
Now was not the time to panic.
Judging by the state of the apartment it's only been 12 hours at the most.
She couldn't have gotten far.
"Zanthus, check CCTV footage's around the block, get Evan to help you. The rest of you, snap out of it. If she's missing, we’re going to find her.”
"What if we can't?" Matthew whispers, quietly.
Who the fuck does he think I was?
Clenching my fists, I spun around to view their solemn gazes, driven purely by the need to take command.
"Do you really think that?"
The edge in my voice spoke legions.
One by one, like the sands of time, the change in the air happens subtly and quickly.
Expressions thinned out, masks unraveled themselves, flattening into the familiar coldness I know so well.
An expression that conveyed;
Time to hunt.
"What do we do?" Elios speaks, his tone unusually sharp.
"We're going to find her," I clarified, voice loud and clear so they know, without a doubt, this is nothing, but the truth.
"Even if we have to burn New York City to the ground."