Chapter 55: Chaos
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Evolving Sound- Dark Tide) & (The Seige- Take it) & (Jaxson Gamble- Lets go) & (Jessica Mauboy- Kick up your heels)
Under the cover of night fall.
Under the dimly lit lamp posts.
Under the shadows of buildings.
Sirens pierce the air, growing farther with each step, each inhale, each move we make.
I don’t think we stop.
Not until the Manhattan Bridge is in view.
Even then, our legs only carry us further down the river, as though fear itself has trampled all sense of logic.
We only knew one thing.
Zanthus is the one that stops first. He practically slams himself against the brick wall, skidding hotly on his feet, desperately catching his breath.
I follow suit, forcing my legs to halt, shutting down my limbs entirely and ignoring the urge inside me that wants nothing more but to do otherwise.
My hands are on my knees, my body shaking with exertion, I look up and see Mason move from the corner of my eye, slumping on the ground, sitting against the pavement.
We’re silent from here on out.
Nobody says anything.
I think that if we did, we’d be uncovering something terrible.
Covering my mouth with my hand, I stand up and look around the area, attempting to calm the nerve endings of my brain.
“M-Marlen.” I still can’t talk properly.
I think the heat and the shock has gotten to me.
“Did we leave him behind?”
“Omega’s with him. We split up when we hit Avenue, remember?” Zanthus is using the brick wall for support, keeping his back against it as though he would fall if he let go.
“No...” Shaking my head, I reach for my mask and slip it off. “I wasn’t paying attention.”
The fresh air is a blessing on my warm skin, it distracts me from what happened earlier.
Something is building in the air.
It feels like doubt, anger, confusion.
It feels like fear.
“I can’t describe it...” Zanthus stares down at his gloved palms, suspended with disbelief. “One minute I’m in the apartment and another, there was fire everywhere.”
He takes off his mask, chuckling silently before running a hand down his dark hair, flattening the strands.
“The worse part was, I wasn’t sure if the two of you were still in the building.”
The male’s usually bright aura, smothered in darkness.
Clearing my throat, I brace my cheeks with my hands and rub my temple. “We... we have to regroup with Marlen.”
It isn’t the time to dwell, we have to think, plan and formulate a new foundation. “I don’t know if Omega is working against us-”
“Omega’s clean,” Zanthus drops the mask on the ground beside him, seemingly uncaring. “He was with me, when it happened-”
“What did happened?” Mason cuts in, vehemently.
“You were suppose to keep an eye on Charlie, that’s why I had you watch him.”
“I can’t be in two places at once.” Zanthus hisses in outrage, as they glare at each other.
There’s an unbelievable amount of hate building in the atmosphere.
But I know the hate stems from something else.
“You wanted me to get the civilians out or did you wanted me to watch him, which is it, Mase?”
“You had one job.” The heir of BourneFell steps closer, pissed beyond comprehension. “We could’ve died back there, Zanthus. All because you didn’t do what you’re supposed to!”
“Pull the fire alarm, get the civilians out, that’s what you said!” Zanthus shoves Mason back with astounding force, going physical. “Its your fault for not realizing he was a mole. Wasn’t that your job?”
Mason pushes him back, slamming the other male into the brick wall.
They’re shouting now, throwing caution to the wind.
All that mattered was hurting one another.
I slump on the pavement, covering my head with my arms.
Everything is reeling, I need a chance to breathe, I can’t, breathe.
“We know everything about you! We know who you are, we know your names!”
Our safety is compromised.
Everything we were so careful about, everything we tried so hard to protect.
All for nothing.
“Mason Fell! Zanthus Bridgeson, Matthew Nelle, Victor Brown, Jared Velmos, the Vinyls, but most importantly-”
“They know who we are.” My voice cuts through their argument, stopping them in their tracks immediately.
“What?” Zanthus untangles himself from Mason’s grip and steps in front of me, his shoes kicking up a pebble. “What are you saying?”
I look up at him and weakly smile. “They know who we are, they know our names.”
“You mean our Ring names-”
“Mason Fell, Zanthus Bridgeson, Vanessa Vail...” I list our full names, laughing silently because this is so messed up. “They know everyone.”
I should think of something.
I should do, something.
But I’m so frozen with uncertainty that I can’t do, anything.
“How?” Mason is trying to get my attention. I don’t have the heart to look at him in the eye.
“That’s the question isn’t it?” Standing up, I dust off my clothing and fingered at the soot lingering around my attire. The scent of smoke is still prominent and in the distance, the building burns and burns, lighting the skies in flames.
I realize that we could have died tonight.
And that scares me.
I’m always so confident, I plan, I think, I do things slowly, safely, every move is calculated, every move is observed.
So where did I go wrong here?
My mind is spiraling into madness.
There’s so many people who rely on me.
Its not just myself anymore, I’ve failed them.
“Vanessa-” Mason places a hand on my shoulder and I know its so I can focus on the now. “Talk.”
I try, really hard, because the others still need my instructions, they still need my orders.
I’m still the leader of the group, I’m still the one to call the shots.
The burden is heavy for the first time since I’ve stepped forward.
The images of what transpired moments ago, fresh in my mentality; Man-bun killing himself and Marlen as he shot Blondie.
Two useless deaths.
But that was the least of our problems.
“They know who we are,” I repeated, wiping away all the doubts I felt so my expression remains a blank canvas.
I had to be strong.
Even though I felt anything, but, strong.
“The blueprints didn’t make sense either, the map Matthew gave you was all wrong.”
“So you’re saying the Landlord who sold the building to me was working for Aitenev?” The heir of BourneFell furrowed his brows in confusion.
He wants an explanation, he wants reason but I’m as lost as he is. I don’t know what’s happening or how they knew who we are.
So I try to smooth things over for his sake and mine, despite the bubbling in my stomach making me feel sick.
Everything, spells, chaos.
“Did the men tell you anything? Give hints that could help us?” Mason demanded with impatience, startling me speechless.
It was so unlike him, so unlike his usual attitude.
Mason Fell, the calm level headed man, the one who stops fights instead of getting involved, is starting to panic.
I see it in his eyes, that apprehension, that anxiety.
It tears my gut in two. “I-I don’t know...”
“So they just magically knew our names? That’s it?”
I shake my head, trying to get a word in. “No, giving you the fake blueprints meant they knew you’d buy the building-”
“That’s what I’m trying to think about, Mase!” The frustration is swirling, the confusion is molting, the anger and rage is bottling into one place.
I can’t think.
I can’t function.
All I know is that they know our names, right down to the dot, right down to the detail, right down to everything.
“Do we have a mole in the group?” Zanthus’s words are hushed behind us.
I look at him, silenced by his observation.
To even think of such a thing has my heart beating uncontrollably.
Did someone betray us?
Images of my men’s faces flash across my vision.
The people who stayed by my side all these months... traitors? I don’t believe it.
“No.” I stated, pinching the bridge of my nose, firmly cutting his concerns off. “No one in the group is a traitor. We just messed up somewhere along the line. We’ll be careful next time. ”
“Next time?” Mason huffs sarcastically, frustratingly rubbing at his hair, tousling the strands further. “Maybe we’ll all be dead by then.”
I ignore his words and approach Zanthus, reaching out for the wound on his face.
The blood has longed dried but the cut is still nasty.
“Here,” Gripping the edge of my shirt, I tore a piece of it and bundled the cloth before pressing delicately at his cheek.
“Charlie got me good,” He nods gratefully, taking the cloth from my fingers so he could wipe the blood. It brightens his complexion immediately.
“If Omega wasn’t there I would’ve still been out.” Zanthus shivers and blearily rubs his palms together. “Death by getting knocked on my ass, that’s not how I imagined I’d go.”
“You’re not dying anytime soon, not if I can help it.” I scold him, eyeing the wound on his skin with growing dislike.
No one touches my men.
When I get my hands on Charlie, I’ll make sure he suffers.
I’ll make sure it hurts.
“We should get you cleaned up but we need to leave Manhattan.”
“It’s alright, its just a small cut, I can handle it.” He tries to soothe me but I ignore it, bending down to pick up his fallen mask as a way to keep myself busy.
What if Zanthus was still trapped in the burning building?
Would he even still be alive right now?
“Vanessa.” He reaches for my wrist, stopping my hand mid air, forcing me to look at his dark eyes as they swirl with determination. “I’m okay.”
Its a stark difference compare to the man who joked about Hailey and I being a couple when we were in the Apartment.
To be honest, I’d be more worried if he wasn’t affected at all because tonight had shaken our foundations.
Its caught us off guard.
We were fools to not expect the brutality.
“None of this is your fault. If you blame yourself then we’ll blame ourselves too, that’s the deal remember?”
He’s noticed I’ve begun to go down that route again, the path of self blame. Its isn’t the first time and I doubt it be the last.
Sharing the blame with the others was hard especially when I feel responsible. However my men have taken to threatening me so I’d stop.
Both a blessing and a curse.
I’m too tired to argue.
“Come on,” Holding my breath, I handed his mask over and sigh. “We should get going.”
I hadn’t acknowledge his words but he knows I’ve understood them.
So he nods, satisfied and begins to walk ahead, our parked vehicles only a couple meters away. “I need a long night of hot sex,”
He stretches his arms, yawning. “Hope Kale’s okay with being the bottom this time, cause-”
“Did you tell Jonas about us?”
I feel it.
His gaze, his penetrative stare, his shadow looming behind me having not moved an inch.
I turn, slowly, only allowing the side of my face, afraid that if I gave him my full view I’d be blasted with an expression I’d surely hate.
“What... did you say?”
“Back in NorthVille, did you tell him anything about us?” He steps forward, close, too close, invading my personal space.
Any other day, I would have felt ease, comfort even, but this is different.
I don’t feel the warmth, I don’t feel the familiarity.
The Mason that stands before me is a stranger.
“Did you give him our names? Did you tell him anything?”
I’m so disgusted, so baffled, but I swallow my pride and try to lessen the hurt beginning to spread across my chest.
“What are you implying?” Matching his posture, I look at him in the eye and hid my fists behind my back.
I’m clenching them so hard, my nails dig through skin.
“You know what I mean.” He lowers his voice, an octave deeper then usual.
“No... I do not.” A prickling sensation skates up my shoulders.
The heir of BourneFell is indirectly throwing a challenge at me.
A challenge against the Queen.
“Vanessa, I need to know-”
“Mason...” I shake my head at him, struggling to keep my cool. “Please don’t make this any worse then it already is.”
He furrows his brows and clench his fists, a move that indicates he will be stubborn.
I should ease him of his worries but there’s a tiny voice speaking inside me that wants to hear what he says, that wants to see if he’ll push things further.
Does he trust me... or was he simply hiding the fact that he didn’t?
Whatever the answer, at the back of my mind, I’m reminding myself that Mason didn’t know what he was talking about, he was just scared, people do stupid things when they’re scared.
“If you gave Jonas any information about us,” He takes a deep breath. “Then you need to say something, because we’d have shot ourselves in the foot by following you.”
He’s... accusing me.
“Did you betray us, Vanessa?”
I don’t know what else to say. I’m too shocked. Its hard to find the words, but I do, eventually.
“I didn’t... sell you out.” We’re only inches apart, yet my anger is felt from all sides.
“Can you prove it?” He’s pressing the wrong buttons, he’s poking a sleeping giant. I can’t control it anymore. “Can you prove that you didn’t?”
I see red.
How dare he.
I shove a hand at his shoulder, doing it with such force that he stumbles, caught off guard by my assertiveness.
“While I was lost...” Fury radiates off every inch of my being. “While I was mourning Ethan’s death, you think I had the time, to sell you out?”
When he doesn’t say anything to defend himself, I lose all sense of control and promptly lose it.
How dare he!
“I never wanted any of you to come after me, I wanted you to leave me alone, so why the fuck would I tell Jonas who you are?!”
“Maybe you forgot.” He spat, intentionally provoking a storm. “He drugged you didn’t he? Maybe you don’t remember telling him-”
“I’m not listening to this bullshit, Zanthus, come.” Twisting on my heel, I march away, determined to leave all this before something regrettable happens and we’d never be able to fix it.
“Vanessa, they know our goddamn names!” The heir of BourneFell bellows, practically echoing down the empty street. “Do you even know what that means?!”
I know exactly what it means.
Aitenev can use them anytime.
One rumor, one post in the media, one expose’.
Everything about them will come crumbling down and I am worried, I am concerned, I’m thinking of a way to fix this, but I’m so hurt by Mason’s accusation that I don’t stop walking.
It just doesn’t make sense.
If Aitenev knew us, why didn’t they come after us? Why didn’t they hunt us down? The very ones who are dismantling their web?
What’s stopping them?
“They killed everyone who oppose them, Vanessa!” Mason is still shouting. He’s mad, enraged, agitated, he wants me to stop and realize we’re fucked.
Does he think I don’t know that?
“We kill people too, there’s no difference!” I snap back, struggling to put the pieces together in my scrambled brain despite feeling overwhelmed.
My bike is within reach, I want to get on and ride off, away from all this mess.
But Mason is quickly matching pace with mine, I hear his footsteps, loud and thudding as he gets closer.
“Well they weren’t scared of you, that’s the difference, they were scared of something else!”
He snatches my wrist and I rip myself away, taking two steps back immediately as the idea of being too close to him nauseates me.
I can’t give him any answers when I don’t know it. “Mason-”
“We’ve been going at this so confidently,” He mutters out loud, green blue eyes swirling with distrust.
Distrust in me.
“But the truth is we don’t know who the hell we’re dealing with, this has gone beyond our control.”
I can still fix this.
It doesn’t matter if they knew our names, we can still do this.
I try to find my voice and curse myself for sounding weak when I do. “We know its Aitenev, we know they’ve got connections, we’ve prepared for this Mase-”
“No, we weren’t prepared for this!” He growls, cutting me off. “This is something else Ness, and you know it. They know who we are, but they didn’t expose us, why?”
“Fuck, I don’t know! I don’t know alright? I fucked up! I fucked, up!" Its too much, its too heavy.
The uncertainty, the unknown, the deaths of those men, Charlie betraying us, the fear of not being in control of the situation as I originally thought.
Then there was Marlen.
The way he froze when Blondie said his name.
The way he shot the man coldly, after.
What did it mean? What did all this mean?
There’s something staring at me in the face and I should configure it but its too suffocating to handle.
For a second, I feel like I may collapse.
The moment passes but I’m forced to bend down, covering my face with my hands, letting out an incoherent moan, one that speaks of anguish and despair.
“What do you want me to say Mase? What do you want me to do?!”
Everything had always gone our way.
Everything had always been easy.
But not now.
It’s my worse nightmare coming true.
“Mason,” Zanthus strides in between us, blocking my view, subtly facing his friend with a dangerous expression. “I’m warning you man,”
“You look like you want to punch me.” The heir of BourneFell smiles sarcastically.
“I don’t want to hurt you.” He states, a silent vow meant to deliver. “But nobody touches her, not even you.”
The mental image of Marvin’s mutilated body springs in mind.
Mason doesn’t go any further.
I’m grateful he doesn’t.
Zanthus takes the opportunity to touch my shoulder, pulling me into his chest where he strokes my hair. “Its okay. Just breathe, Vanessa, breathe.”
In. Out. Exhale. Inhale.
I never thought I be using what my therapist taught me.
She says its okay to let my guard down but how can I afford to do that? I need to be strong for them. If I can’t, then they won’t have anyone else, they’ll be lost, like all those months ago.
The pocket of Zanthus’s jacket vibrated by my cheek, startling me into pulling away.
His phone is ringing.
Zanthus frowns in exhaustion and sighs before quickly answering it.
“Hello? Yeah, we’re okay.” From the rapid speaking on the other end, I know it’s Evan.
Nobody talks as fast as he does.
I fold my arms across my chest and face the other direction, opting to squeeze my eyes shut before opening them to the reality of this terrible world.
If I had a choice, I’d never open them at all.
I’m so tired and frustrated, words cannot comprehend anything.
My attention is gained when Mason shuffles himself forward.
He locks eyes with me.
I shake my head, pinning him down with a look that chills him.
I don’t want you any closer.
“What are you talking about?” Zanthus exclaims, throwing his hand out in fury.
News of the building catching on fire must already be in the media, the others would have realized something went wrong, that’s why they called, but what was this?
Why did Zanthus look like someone shot him?
His fists clench over the phone, teeth gritted. “Video...? There’s a video?”
I’m next to him by the time he switches the phone to speaker, opening his gallery all at once, revealing a CCTV footage Evan sent.
He clicks on it, the image coming to life.
Its a side angle of the building, you can see the roof from where it’s positioned.
You can also see the figures on it.
I recognize the scene because I was the one on the floor, with Blondie pointing the gun at me.
Before the shot goes off, Marlen appears in view, pushing him away where they struggle for the weapon.
The sound of the fire crackling is too loud for anything to be heard properly, but the next few moments unravels like clockwork.
I’m pushing against Marlen, trying hard to reach for Blondie after he’d said our names, my Sponsor is forcing me to run when he freezes mid point.
Then I’m being shoved out of frame, leaving Marlen and Blondie by themselves.
There’s this weird muttering in the video before he shoots the guy, shoving him off the edge.
It cuts from there.
But the consequence has already been done.
We’re on tape.
Even though its hazy and you can’t make out anyone’s faces or what we were talking about, you can still see the outline of what’s happened.
“The video’s been circulating,” Evan grimly says, his voice coming through the phone. “What do you want us to do, Vanessa?”
I almost wanted to say nothing.
I almost wanted to back away and drop everything.
Until I remembered dropping it would mean leaving the group in shambles, something I promise I would never do after what he did.
“We... need to get back to New York.” I clear my throat and concentrate hard, bridging the role of balance.
No one important is on that tape so this isn’t hard to handle, we just had to do it quickly and efficiently.
“Evan, inform the others of what’s happening and pull out any bets we have from the Ring, we’re going to disappear.”
“Okay,” He hangs up, allowing Zanthus to switch off his phone and refocus on me.
“What should I do?”
“Get on your laptop, wipe out any evidence over the last few hours, leave no traces, Vi.”
“Understood.” He speed walks ahead of us, opening the car door to Mason’s vehicle.
I then turn to the heir of BourneFell, firm with my next orders. “Mason, I need you to be with him, I have a feeling he’s going against Charlie.”
He raises a hand, perhaps to hold me, perhaps to apologize. “Vanessa-”
I step back, shaking my head, turning on my side and picking up the helmet from my bike. “Its not the time Mase.”
My grip on my helmet tightened.
Hurt is still coursing in my veins.
I raise myself and kick start the bike. The engine roars so loud, I feel the proverbial wind.
“I didn’t take all your yelling for nothing,” Putting the helmet on, I got on my Ducati and flip the kick stand. “Just get Zanthus back to New York.”
“I-” He cuts himself off and hangs his head, defeated. “I’ll take him back.”
“Thank you,” Revving the engine, I scoot the bike backwards on the road, feeling the machinery whir with grace.
“Where will you go?” He asks me as he opens the car door and rest his forearm on the frame.
Zanthus is sitting at the back, furiously fiddling away with his laptop in complete concentration, ignorant to what’s happening around us.
Its a good thing.
He didn’t have to see the disappointment on my face.
“Did you betray us, Vanessa?”
Mason was just scared.
But it hurt.
It had hurt deeply.
Although he’s been with me, supported me, did everything by my side... I realize I will never be able to let my guard down with him.
Because he’s not that type of man.
I think I may cry.
“Get Zanthus home, Mason.” I shake off the thoughts and harden my heart. “Just wait for my instructions.”
He doesn’t stop me as I sped away.
I know someone that would, have.
I’m clenching my fists so tight.
I’m gritting my teeth too hard.
I need a fucking release.
Striding right through the front door, the bouncers let me pass, recognizing my face even as I say nothing.
There’s a line all the way down the street.
Yet, Skuro is still so damn crowded.
There’s people everywhere.
It irritates me.
I push my way through the tight space.
Bodies move on the dance floor, basing music is being played so very loudly, the lights are a mass of reds and blacks.
It only fuels my drive.
I’ve discarded my mask by my Ducati earlier.
I’m in my Ring gear yet I don’t bother changing.
Its insignificant to me.
Why should I care about that, when I’m too caught up in my own mess?
I can’t think for left and right, I can’t see for left and right.
I reach for a bottle of half empty vodka from a table, snatching it away and move silently through raise hands and dancing limbs.
Tipping my head back, I swallow the liquid dry, hissing at the bitter taste, the kick that shoots straight down my spine, interlocking my tense muscles.
Its a good thing.
I don’t give a fuck.
Slamming the bottle down on the bar, I startle Benji who is entertaining a group of girls.
He glances at me in surprise, his eyebrows shooting up.
Without saying a thing, I know he sees the dark look in my eyes, the rage in my features, the absolute wrath, I feel inside me.
He threads lightly. “Rough night?”
I finished the vodka, drinking everything, right down to the single drop.
“Get a new bottle for table 24,” Sliding the now empty glass towards him, I shake my head and plop my ass on the stool. “I stole it from them.”
“Alright boss.” He takes a bottle from below the table and hands it to the waitress.
I don’t realize I’m gripping the edge of the bar so tightly until Benji points it out.
“Want another drink?”
“No.” Releasing my fingers, I feel my nails grate and laid them at my sides. Every single nerve in my body is buzzing to the point where I can barely focus.
I’m going to lose it.
I want to lose it.
I want to descend to chaos.
Benji hands me a napkin.
I take it and wipe my cheeks, the napkin coming away with black soot.
He waits for my next move, not leaving my side until I tell him what to do, to fix this, fix me.
“Where is Maya?” My voice is husky, dry and foreign.
It doesn’t sound like me.
“Hosting,” He gestures towards the high tables where it is packed to the brim with people.
Some wear suits, some wear flashy clothing while some dress in casuals.
A mix of every genre.
Just a few meters off, the stage is filled with dancers that leave for the next set, the crowd waiting for them below, cheering and hollering with drinks raised.
Benji shakes his head. “I told you there was a party tonight, right?”
“The one that wanted to book out the whole club?”
“That’s the one.” He chuckles. “Told them we didn’t do specials. They agreed to have the bachelor party here anyway, that’s why its so damn crowded.”
“Hmm.” Small talk should distract me, work, should distract me but I’m disinterested and it isn’t, helping.
I’m so caught up in the tangles of frustration, in the proverbial choke hold of Aitenev that it hurts to even move, it hurts to even think, it hurts to even lead, I want to explode.
Then, I pause... and I know what to do.
I know what I need.
“Get Maya to meet me backstage,” Sliding off the stool, I throw the napkin on the bar and brush past people that block my way towards the staff entrance.
Benji doesn’t ask me where I’m going, he knows.
My surroundings go by in a blur that the winding corridors and the red curtains are barely registering in my brain.
The only reason I’m torn out of my trance is because I bumped into a fellow dancer.
She shoots me a glare.
I don’t react, my attention focused on the huge curtain blocking the outside crowd from seeing us backstage just a couple meters away.
Dancers are waiting by the steps, all dressed up in pretty glitter and high heels, beautiful dresses and flashy skirts.
They’re conversing with one another, exchanging words of encouragement and small talks.
Most, don’t pay attention when I weave along, a small quantity do a double take, recognizing me as the one that oversees the club.
Maya is waiting for me on the other side of the curtains, clip board in hand, she’s panting, having run all the way here, her neon pink streak hair in disarray.
“What is it boss?”
“I’m dancing.” I bluntly tell her, facing the curtains with a blank expression. “Tell the next dancers to come after me.”
Maya’s wide eyes, widened even further. “Y-You’re dancing? Right now?”
“Did I stutter?” My glare must have been too harsh.
She flinches, ducking her head at once, a silent way of apologizing.
I should be the one apologizing but I hardly care.
Dancing was something I did whenever the Club was empty and the crowds hadn’t filled in yet.
I’ve treated it as healing for my soul, using my experience as a former skater to my advantage. It was the perfect outlet.
Something I truly needed, to get through the past few months.
I wasn’t a professional, I sure as hell wasn’t good either. I just knew all the right buttons to press.
When I danced, I didn’t have to worry about anything, I didn’t have to look over my shoulder, I didn’t have to pretend to be strong.
It was also something private to me.
Which is why telling Maya I wanted to dance in front of a crowd, consequences be damned, confuses her.
She holds my gaze for longer then necessary, searching adamantly, then nods. “I’ll get the DJ to play your set.”
“Thank you.” I only manage those two words.
“There’s no time to switch things so you’ll be dancing for the bachelor party outside.” Maya pauses momentarily and writes something in her clipboard. “Wait for the signal, boss.”
She bows and leaves the area, heels clicking on the floor.
I hear her shout something to another staff member as she turns the corner, probably to pass on new instructions.
It amuses me.
She’s loyal to the very end, just like Benji.
They were one of the few in the club that knew certain things happen behind the scenes, it wasn’t unusual for them to handle awry situations.
Then again, who’s to blame for that, but me?
Sighing, I grip the curtains in front of me and lean forward so my forehead is pressed on the velvet.
“We know everything about you! We know who you are, we know your names!”
He’s still screaming in my hazy mind.
His threat is still so clear.
“I’ll fucking kill you!”
Why did Marlen stop me? I should have choked him, I should have killed him, I should have ended him right there and then.
But would that stop this feeling from appearing?
Would it help at all?
“Mason Fell! Zanthus Bridgeson, Matthew Nelle, Victor Brown, Jared Velmos, the Vinyls, but most importantly-”
They know my men’s names.
They know who we are.
“This is between you and me, you leave them the fuck alone!”
After what happened tonight, I know they are.
All there’s left to figure out... is who will attack first.
“Better keep them close, or you’ll lose them Venetia.”
My eyes shot open.
I take one step, then another, right through the curtains, right through the velvet blocking my way, right through the spotlights until I’m exposed, up and personal, under everybody’s curious gaze.
“Ladies and gentleman, we have a special edition tonight!” Maya’s voice rings loud and clear through the speakers. “Give a big round of applause!”
The music releases a low pitch buzz.
The DJ turns it up.
“No one pulls up like we do, no one does us like we do... always go hard with this crew.”
The crowd cheers. The lights changes. The ground trembles.
My boots make light noise on the wooden stage.
There’s a single chair on center.
I don’t see anything else after that.
I’m so consumed with it, I’m so pulled in, I’m so lost that I don’t even hear when the music begins to pick up speed, it just does.
“Welcome to the show, let’s make moves-”
The bass echoes on the floor.
The beat is rhythmic, fast, paced, electric.
I put a leg on the chair, sliding so I’m seated and my back is to the audience.
“Nothing’s gonna stop us, it’s about to get rough, turn the whole room up, it’s never enough.”
Slowly, I lower myself, reaching my arms out under me, laying out my shoulders, letting my jacket fall.
Its clinging to me so I shuffle it off, throwing the clothing to the side, exposing the buckles, exposing the insides of my shirt, my jeans, my heavy boots.
Raising a finger, I drag it down my chest, in between my bra, down to my waist and finally to the apex of my thighs before heaving up.
“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! LET’S GO!”
The crowd is cheering, I bleakly see random faces seated on the chairs but at the back of my mind, the failure of tonight is pillaging my soul, threatening to drag me under.
Zanthus’s injury, the building burning down, Mason’s accusation.
Fuck, I can’t think of anything else.
On my knees now, I lower my rear to the floor, bouncing up and down, running my fingers through my hair, tousling the short red strands.
I’m becoming wicked.
I’m altering myself into something else.
Its bad, its so bad.
I’m starting to lose myself.
I’m starting to lose my bearings.
But I can’t stop.
Because it feels good.
“Running through the door, don’t wait long, don’t blink twice.
Going, we’re going, we’re gone!”
I’m moving so fast against the floor, I’m bending down, lowering my abdomen, lifting my legs, spreading my thighs, tipping my hair back.
But I don’t mind it.
I don’t mind this.
So as long as this bad fucking feeling goes away, I don’t mind it at all.
In fact, I relish in it, recognizing that deep dark malicious part of me that craves the attention, the leery looks from others as they watch me expose myself.
Who cares if they think I was just a random dancer?
Who cares if they think I was just some random chick they’ll fuck later?
Objectify me, judge me, sexualize me, I don’t care.
Just. Make. This. Bad. Fucking. Feeling. Go. Away.
I bite down on my necklace when I jump up, legs spread, hands on my knees.
I casually bring the chain upwards, making eye contact with several people in the crowd, men, who are unable to hide their lust and women who smirks at me.
All types of eyes.
Licking my lips, I unsheathe my teeth and let the necklace fall, slowly tracing the outside of my shoulders with delicate hands.
My fingers create swirl patterns, my body gains momentum.
I’m out of breath yet I feel exhilarated.
“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! LET’S GO!”
The lights are buzzing, blaring, shooting lasers and colors in all different directions.
Everyone in Skuro is jumping up and down, raving, yelling, hollering, enjoying themselves without a damn in the world.
Oh, to be on top of everyone else.
Isn’t that the life?
The song branches into a more up slow beat tone, a cue Maya must have put when she notices I’m slowing down.
Other dancers are taking the stage.
They’re doing their set, allowing me to disappear should I choose too.
I should go backstage, I should get back to the others, god knows they were waiting for me.
After all... I was still the leader.
What a joke.
I’ve always worked better alone, I’ve always done things by myself without anybody telling me what to do but I can’t even do that now.
Its a joke because my frustration is still there, my stress hadn’t gone away, despite doing what I needed.
Wiping my sweaty neck, I bent down to pick up my jacket from the floor and throw it over my shoulder.
I’m about to leave when I stop myself.
An image is appearing at the back of my head, one that confuses me.
That... can’t be right.
Turning back to the crowd, I scan it with furrowed brows, delving into the crowd, towards the cluster of men directly in the center.
I hadn’t imagine it.
All different shades.
The crowd is huge.
People are looking at me.
I’m at a sizable distance, yet I still see him.
Its hard to miss if that particular person is the only one seated in the sea of waving limbs and the only one staring at you with something other than lust;
Do I my eyes deceive me? Perhaps I was still in the burning building, slowly suffocating to death, perhaps the smoke had frazzled my brain, that could be it.
Yet, when I blink, he’s still there.
I’m not dreaming.
The heir of Graymoore is in my Club.
“Hah...” A breathless huff escapes my lips, the ground sways, my throat, clogs.
With his sandy blond hair, broad shoulders, a glare that can kill, a mouth that can bite, I undoubtedly realize I’m fucked.
I’m so fucked.
This is real.
And I can’t... help it.
I laugh so hard that I need to support myself with my hands on my knees, wheezing for air.
The music is too loud, its drumming in my ears, its blocking all sense of taste and feeling but when have I ever needed all those senses?
All I needed was sight.
Out of all the days, out of all the nights, out of all the months.
He chose today.
Oh, I’ve over done it now, I’ve gone way past my limit, I’ve finally cross that line, that line of insanity.
I don’t know what possessed me.
Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the sheer I-don’t-give-a-fuck-anymore, but I find myself walking forward to the crowd, stepping down the stairwell, ignoring the dancers as they weave between me.
They can’t stop me.
No one can.
They’ll find themselves dead, if they tried.
Tables and chairs are sprawled all over, bodies of people pressing against one another as I submerge myself in the crowd.
The Skuro emblem is shinning above us, a daunting logo that reflects off skin, whether milky or tan or dark.
I don’t stop walking. I don’t run away.
My stride is comfortable, easy and lax.
I’m heading for the center of the crowd, where guys are wearing suits with pretty girls on their arms and drunken slurs coming from their mouths.
He’s the only one untouched, he’s the only one unaffected, he’s the only one sober.
There’s no girl on his arm, there’s no drink in his hand.
He’s not doing anything but staring at me.
I stare right back.
I don’t stop walking until I’m directly in front of him and even when I am, I don’t do anything further then that.
What can, I do?
A proverbial wall is erected between us.
Fragile, so fragile, so delicate.
I suppose the time away has matured him, just as it had matured all of us.
His hair is longer, his jaw is sharper, his frame is oozing with power. Everything about him still looks the same, the only difference is the aura he now held.
Its daunting, even more then before.
From that delicious body, to that popped button on his collar, to his rolled up sleeves, to that coat that hangs behind his chair.
I look through every exposed skin and every new wrinkle on his dapper suit, well aware of the trail of fire in my wake.
I leave absolutely nothing untouched.
It feels like hours when really it’s only been seconds. Alcohol and adrenaline can do that to a person.
Especially when you’re with the right.... one...
Lifting a boot, I slam down on the tiny space between his spread legs, inches from his crotch.
“Fuck!” He flinches at my brutal pass, spell broken, hands gripping the sides of the chair and blue green eyes wide with astonishment.
Deep and grating.
Its only a whisper of what that mouth can do. I would know.
I lean, forward, slowly, resting my elbow on my bent knee, allowing myself closer, my chin on my finger, my gaze blazing.
Its been too long.
Yet I still remember how it felt when I run my fingers through his skin, when I rake my nails on his back, when I take him hard, inside me.
I realize I am not the only one affected.
He’s breathing heavily, staring at me with those oceanic eyes amassed with longing, need and the urge to yield so as long as he can hold me.
I draw my hand to his skin, feeling that sharp jawline, that newfound stubble, that clinking chain around his throat, hidden beneath the suit.
So familiar... yet so... foreign.
Perversely, I push his head back and dig my nails into his throat, applying pressure, deftly raising myself so I loom over him.
“Don’t worry.” My words are venomous and snarl-like. “I won’t leave marks.”
Why should I leave marks on him?
He’s going to be a married man.
I let go of him, pushing his head back so hard that it snaps against the chair and leaves him wincing.
I’m seconds from strangling this man, this man who left, for months, who gave the reigns and disappeared.
Now he’s back, in front of me and I can reach out to touch him, make sure he’s real, but the anger flooding in my system spoke of deadly intent.
“Welcome home, Thomas.” The threat in my tone is sharper than a knife. ”You’ve kept me waiting."
I'm gearing up for college in a few weeks time and will be quite busy from then. I'm planning on finishing this book before I go, so hold onto your seat because its about to go
I can't help it, sorry, anyway, thank you for being super patient with me and appreciating my stories and giving it all the love.
You guys are the best, I hoped these five chapters tide you over for a while, I've got plans ;)