Chapter 46: Respect
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Secession Studios- Veil of Shadows)
“The next time, the next time I catch you doing this again, you’re gonna be in a world of hurt Red,”
“I’m not a child, you can’t-”
“First, I’ll take away your privileges.”
“I didn’t need them anyway-”
“Then, I’ll take away your Bike.”
“I’ll get this guy, to lock you up for a week.”
“You can’t do that!”
“Three weeks, I heard? I ought to lock you up some more.”
“Fine, I get it!” Throwing my hands up, I chewed the bottom of my lip and mumbled incoherent words beneath my breath.
Marlen, my former Sponsor is looking at me from his height, a satisfied look on his elderly face.
Thomas is standing in the far corner by the wall, hands crossed as he nods approvingly, for once, both of them coming to an agreement with one another.
“Weren’t you suppose to be in jail right now?” I retorted, uncaring that it was extremely rude for me to do so.
“You can thank that bastard over there,” He gestured over to the heir of Graymoore who flips him off in response, letting me know that he wouldn’t have gotten Marlen out, if it didn’t benefit finding me.
“I can put you back as fast as I got you out,”
“You’re all talk.”
“Try me, you geezer-”
“Knock, knock.” The motel door opens, revealing Mason in casual attire and easy slacks. He takes a moment to scan the room, gaze sheepish before finally landing on me.
“Had enough of them yet?”
“You have no idea,” I rolled my eyes, ignoring the disapproving looks from the other two.
“Male testosterone is so fumy here, I’m almost choking.”
I’ve been locked up in this motel room for days under orders by the heir of Graymoore himself.
He’s been keeping a close eye on me throughout it, never leaving the room, nor allowing me to close the bathroom door when I shower.
When I question his overbearing attitude, I discovered it is because he’s afraid I may have hid a bunch of drugs somewhere he doesn’t know.
I told him I absolutely no idea Jonas drugged me, hell, I didn’t even know I was drugged until someone told me.
Begrudgingly Thomas believed my honesty not before spending well over half a day in the corner, fantasizing about the different ways he could torture Jonas once he found him.
He’s enraged that I was drugged, especially after knowing that Jonas didn’t so much as care what it would’ve done to my body if he overdid it.
Heart attack, overdose, mental breakdown , the list goes on.
When Thomas found me, I was already on the verge of one of those things.
He knew he had to act fast.
Because, Hyoscine was still in the early stages of development, the drug has been proven to make people openly susceptible to suggestions by complete strangers.
Robs you off your free will until you’re nothing but a puppet.
Take a person’s level of emotions and magnify it to a thousand, you have a victim that’s going to be aggressive and paranoid.
Of course, Jonas’s control over me hadn’t been 100% either, the drug is much more complicated then that.
I suspect there were moments when Jonas noticed the drug wasn’t working as it should be, as he would always distract me whenever I started feeling... unsure.
Glimpses of my otherwise foggy memories reminds me of how he’d offered me a drink and I would willingly ingest it, not thinking much of it.
A shiver, wracked my body, goosebumps erupting across my skin.
It wasn’t mind control but it sure as hell felt like it.
“Well, you won’t have to wait long,”
Mason closed the door behind him and placed the bag of snacks he’s been carrying on the table near the TV.
“Jackson says the town’s calm down a bit, so we’ll be leaving soon.”
“The others?” Thomas interjected, staring at Mason expectantly.
He shook his light brown hair, shooing flecks of snow from his nape. “The Vinyls are leaving this evening, Matthew and Zanthus tomorrow morning.”
“We’re splitting up?” I gaze at the heir of BourneFell questioningly, now confused. “Why?”
Wouldn’t it be easier if we all left together?
“With the chaos that’s happened, there’s eyes everywhere.” Marlen was the one that answered my question.
He digs through the bag of snacks carelessly before choosing a packet of crackers.
“If we split, we got a chance to throw the trail off, make it difficult for them bastards to find us.”
It wasn’t a bad plan and while I understood the significance of it, I cannot stop the suspicion growing in my chest at his attitude.
It just seemed... odd.
Marlen was one of the few strangers I’ve grown to care, but years of fighting by myself in my own corner has made me suspicious of everyone around me.
Because of this, he’s always worn his intentions on his features, so I’m able to see right through him.
This was one of those times that he didn’t.
“Is this your plan, Marlen?” My voice is curious, innocent enough that no one questions it.
“Got a problem with that, Red?”
My former Sponsor raises his head as he bit into the cracker, crumbs falling to the floor, eyes narrowed.
“The boys will head out together, we wait a day, then leave.”
“I’m not going anywhere without Ginger, she stays with me.” The warning in Thomas’s tone is not to be messed with.
He’s been quiet thus far only cutting in when he feels the need too.
Marlen didn’t like that.
In fact, he looks infuriated. “She ain’t goin anywhere near you, King, we leave after you two.”
“I’m not asking.” The heir of Graymoore growls.
“Neither am I,”
“Vanessa can go with me-” Mason quickly raised his hands when Thomas glares at him.
“What? Its safer this way Thomas, you’ll bring about the wrong crowd.”
“Aren’t you next in line for BourneFell? What do you have that I don’t?” He demanded, his protectiveness nearly over bearing.
“If one person snaps a picture of you and her, you’re done, your father will know.”
Thomas furrows his brows, the blue in his eyes turning a shade darker.
His fists clenched as he stow them behind his back, a gesture meant to be discreet only noticeable if someone paid attention.
“Mason’s right,” I commented softly, hoping Thomas would understand this was for our own benefit.
“I’ll go with him.”
I didn’t know what type of relationship he shared with his Dad, but it was one I knew I had to be wary off.
We didn’t need another problem to be added in our list of issues.
Thomas runs a hand across his sandy strands and shook his head, frustrated. “I want you with me,” He says honestly.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to stay with him either, but we had to think smart about this.
So instead, I smiled encouragingly at him. “It’ll only be for a few hours,”
Thomas hesitates, not pleased with the inevitable outcome which is proven on how it shows in his face.
He had no qualms hiding the fact that he hated this plan, yet instead of arguing with Mason as I thought he would do, he nods quietly, no more words left to say.
“Okay.” Mason tilt his head apologetically at Thomas who shuts his eyes, head leaning back against the wall.
He suddenly looks very tired.
It concerned me because I knew we would see each other once we reached New York anyway, so why was he worried?
“Vanessa and I will leave two days from now-”
“Red, stays with me.” Marlen cuts in, startling all three of us. “You two can do whatever you want, but she’s leaving this place when I do-”
“I trust Mason more then you, old man.” Thomas switches his anger at Marlen, his dislike clear. “Ginger’s going with him.”
“Well I ain’t leavin’ without Red!” He declares, voice raising into an echo.
It came out of no where.
Marlen had always been the picture of patience and tolerance, he’s never let anything get to him.
The only time I saw him lose control was when King announced himself in the Ring.
But nothing about this spoke of anger.
His intentions remained unclear.
I still couldn’t see it
He’s kept it hidden.
“If we leave, will you take Vanessa back to New York?” The implication from Mason is what draws the conversation to a screeching halt.
He’s staring at my former Sponsor intently, now suspicious, for good reason. “...Or are you taking her, somewhere else?”
“I’m not losing another person I give a damn about to you, so fix it before I take her some where none of you can reach her!”
Somewhere none of them can find me.
When Marlen doesn’t give away anything and his silence only grows, I physically feel the aura in the room change.
From uneasiness to menacing, to confusion to fault.
Why did he want to take me away?
What was his plan?
“Did you think I’d have left with you?” I raise an eyebrow, feeling a mix of disbelief as the other men behind me begin to shift in their positions, well aware something could implode.
Was Marlen crazy?
Aitenev was still out there, we still needed to get things done.
“Marlen, you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming-”
“Staying with them is only going to get you hurt.” He grated out, rubbing two hands down his graying hair.
“Damn it, Red, you’re already hurt, I don’t want you losing yourself no more-”
“That’s not your choice to make.” I stop him. “You can’t take me away, that’s not right, where did you planned on hiding me if you did?”
“You owe me, Red.”
“I don’t owe shit-”
“You owe plenty!” His tone changed, turning abrupt and cold, his eyes, blazing now.
“Have you not realize what you’ve done yet? Going rouge, destroying groups? Have a bit of respect!”
I stare at him, bewildered.
I could take criticizing, I could take scoldings, I could take anything but this? This was none of that.
He’s blaming me for losing it.
He’s blaming me for not being able to control it.
This was accusation and fault, something I didn’t like coming from anyone, especially if they didn’t know, shit.
I can admit my wrongdoings and feel ashamed for what I’ve done.
But I won’t take this... not from him.
I don’t realize I’m clenching the duvet so tight until I feel the bruises on my knuckles start to hurt again.
“Respect...?” The word sounded lethal, like a bead of poison slipping down someone’s throat.
My eyes burned, stinging from a different type of fury.
“I found out Travis got Malorie pregnant, my mother sex trafficked people, Ethan died, all in a matter of a few days.”
The memory of that specific pain still echoed in my distant mind. It won’t go away, it’ll always be there.
A constant, dull, throbbing, stab.
“So I’m sorry... for going a bit... insane.”
Travis’s burnt body. Veronica’s gouged eye. Daniel’s ripped out heart.
When I’ve release the duvet, it is to raise my head to look straight at Marlen, allowing him to see the storm that grows in my expression.
“Can you blame me?” The tension in the air crackled and popped.
“You’d rather we let you continue?” He scoffs flippantly, not at all taking me seriously. “-kill whoever gets in your way, that not sicken you, Red?”
“If it didn’t?” My lips curved into a dangerous smile. “You afraid, Marlen?”
This time he is the one that pauses, dark eyes flurrying with an echo of who he once was.
A former King of the Underground.
He wasn’t one anymore.
“You afraid of me?”
“Back down, Red.” He steps forward, halting at the foot of my bed. “I’m not your enemy.”
“Then why the fuck are you acting like one?” I raised an eyebrow at him, pissed. “You’ve got balls trying to come here, thinking I’d say yes-”
“You’re my fighter.”
"Bullshit, you lost me after you called the cops on Downtown!”
Air hisses through his clenched teeth, he’s on the verge of bursting at the seams, impatient by my come backs and questions.
“Damn you, Red,"
“You’re a coward.” I snarl.
“I ain’t runnin’, I’m still here.”
“You’re a coward! You want to run because you’re a goddamn coward!”
The force of my shout stuns my former sponsor who steps back but is too late to hide the emotion in his gaze from me.
And I see it.
Clear as day.
Because that’s what this was.
For wanting to save me, for wanting to lock me away, for wanting to cage me down.
Because despite everything, I reminded him of his daughter.
Any other day I would’ve shrugged it off, ignored it, repeat what I’ve told others a dozen times before.
But today, I have no patience for it.
And so when I speak, my anger is a mix of distrust and fury. “I don’t like what you’re doing, Marlen.”
“I don’t like what you’re doing either,” He retorted.
There it was again, that look in his eyes.
That, fucking, look.
Vanessa Vail is her own person, she makes her own decisions, she commits mistakes like any other human being and I will not take anymore bullshit from anybody else reminding me differently.
“Keep looking at me like that and I’ll break your jaw.”
The hiss is out before I could stop it, my body pushing off the bed, determined to chew Marlen out.
“Look at what you’ve done Red, haven’t you lost enough control?” He lunges forward but is quickly blocked.
Thomas is there, shoving him back, acting as a barrier between the bed and floor and a fully raging Sponsor.
“Vanessa, let it go.” Mason has strode over to my side, his hand on my forearm. “You need to take it easy, its too soon to move.”
I think he hoped to calm me down, it didn’t work.
“You don’t know shit about my control, you don’t know what the fuck I felt!”
“I saw the boy’s body, you done burnt it to damn ash! You forgot what you did to Jackson? I got the bullet shell to prove it.”
“Fuck you, I’m not your goddamn daughter-”
“No, she’s dead!”
The anger in my chest turned tight, then shriveled into a ball.
I blink slowly and stopped struggling against Mason.
I thought she had just left, that she was alive somewhere, maybe out of the country.
But the pain glittering in those dark eyes as he pants hard, wiping his mouth with the back of his palm, tells me differently.
“You’re going to be next if you let these boys back in your life-”
Thomas’s command is what breaks the tension, distracting the room from how tight the air has coiled between us.
He’s placed himself at the center of the room, figure tall and imposing, back straight and solid.
He doesn’t move when the seconds pass.
He simply stares at Marlen, seething, his silence scarier then words.
“Got somethin’ to say King?” My former sponsor demanded, practically taunting. “Go on then, spit it out!”
Thomas takes one step, invading Marlen’s space, forcing the male to back up as he towers over him.
“You’re not taking her anywhere,” His tone rang with slick wrath. “I’ll break your fucking legs if you do.”
Not even a pin drop could be heard in the resounding notes of his threat.
He means it and if needs be, will act upon it.
Marlen chuckles as he stares down to his hands. “You think I don’t know...?”
There’s something different about his next words.
Its mixed with madness.
“You picked her cause she looked like Arosè.” He tilts his head, smiling. “When you look at her, did you imagine my dead daughter’s face-”
Thomas throws a punch, sending the older male down with a lurch.
“Your daughter was a psychopath!" He lashes out, positively fuming. “All she fucking cared about was herself!”
“Thomas, don’t!” Mason shouts with vehemence.
How can he stop this?
Emotions are dangerous.
They control a person and by the time you’ve realized what you’ve done it’s too late.
That, is the one and only thing, the others would never be able to understand about me.
The only one that did was Thomas.
Because he’s went through the same thing I did.
“This is getting out of hand!”
“I don’t blame her,” Thomas continues, rage filling every inch of his features.
“With a father like you, she’s bound to be broken-”
Marlen moved quickly.
He stands, fist raised, then lands a blow on Thomas’s abdomen, knocking Mason aside as both of them fell on top of each other.
A ferocious sound left the heir of Graymoore.
It’s a mix between a snarl and a growl. “Cheap shot, bastard.”
Both now injured, they gaze at each other from their corners as I looked on, dazed.
“She’s dead because of you.” Marlen, touches the cut on the corner of his lip, panting heavily, chest heaving. “How’d it feel, King? Did it feel good? Did you feel good taking her away from me?”
“She was going to kill us,” Mason vocalized, frustrated at the other two who wanted nothing more but to tear into each other.
“It didn’t matter who you were either, she was going to kill you too or have you forgotten?”
Marlen didn’t say anything, just wiped the blood away with the back of his hand.
“Doesn’t matter?” Thomas laughs and it’s so vicious that I’ve flinched, unsure if the crawling in my skin is because of his malice or that I’m just drawn to it.
“Same old Marlen, always sweeping everything under the rug. You think you can hide away your guilt? The guilt that you’ve used your daughter for revenge? Rose went mad because of you.”
“Watch your tone, boy.”
“Am I wrong?”
I’ve retreated to my own bubble, eyes drifting to my lap.
The answer was staring at me right in the face.
All acronyms, all the same, all one girl.