I swung the door open with such force I thought it was going to break from its hinges. The house was eerily quiet. The wind could be heard rattling against the glass panes of each window. The outside world matched how I felt internally tonight. Rage. Darkness. Vile.
On the way to the house from the loft a storm began to roll in. Black clouds taking over the beautifully painted sky causing the world to go dark. The wind had picked up pushing the car around on the pavement almost forcing Joe to lose control of the wheel. Rain began to fall in colossal drops smacking onto the windshield overpowering the wipers. Joe’s knuckles had begun to turn white as his fist clenched onto the steering wheel, either pissed off at what I had just done to him or because he too realized that this storm was not going to spare a single soul tonight. He only breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled into the driveway.
I hadn’t even let the car come to a complete stop as I unbuckled the seatbelt and pushed my way through the door not even bothering to close it after I exited. The car was only parked a few feet away from the front door of the house but the harder I ran the longer the path became forcing the front door just out of my reach, much like in a movie. After what seemed like a lifetime but was really only seconds, I finally reached the door slamming the key code into the lock hearing the beeps follow each imprint. As soon as the handled buzzed to signify that it was unlocked I forced my way through the door.
Nothing. There was nothing. The only sound I could hear was the drops thrashing themselves on the window panes. No voices. No laughter. My stomach sank down again.
“Adrian? Alex? Adam?.... Amelia?” My voice sheepishly called out. I knew there was not going to be a response but part of me still had a little hope.
I just stood in the doorway, soaking wet from head to toe from the malevolent storm I had just run through. Little drips flowed out of the ends of my hair dropping onto the hardwood floor under my feet. No, no, no. Something isn’t right. Where the hell are they? They should have been back by now.
Caught in my panic I hadn’t even heard the sound of the creaking floors coming down the stairs. She looked just as much of a mess as I did. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun, loose strands falling out all over the place. Little black slippers covered her feet as they hastened their way towards me. She crossed her dark grey cardigan over her chest sticking her hands under the opposite arm looking at me inquisitively clearly confused at my presents in front of her.
“Addi? What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at the loft.”
“Where are they Amelia?” She just stared at me. Right through me actually. Clearly she had been worrying herself. She knew I was going to ask about them. She knew me all too well.
“They haven’t come home yet, why?” She had a slight tinge of concern to her voice too but she tried to remain calm. Even the slight pitch change in her voice was enough to confirm my suspicions. Honestly, it wasn’t what she had said or how she said it that clued me into how worried she was. It was her eyes. Her eyebrows furrowed only slightly causing little wrinkles to bunch up just above them. Her lips were firm, taunt, showing little emotion to them. But her eyes, damn it. Her gaze dropped to the floor, not willing to make eye contact with me. Bags hung underneath her long lashes causing the skin to sage and turn a purplish red. She had been crying, or she hadn’t gotten any sleep the last few days. My guess was on a combination of both.
For a girl that was always so full of life, so vibrant, so beautiful, she looked in despair, disheveled. Every inch of her screamed it.
“Wh-what? How do you know that?” The despair in her eyes turned in an instant. Confusion seized her face. I didn’t know how to explain it to her because logically there was no way that I would know that there was something wrong. But there was. Every inch of me felt it.
“I don’t- Damn it. I can’t explain it Amelia. But something is wrong. Just- fuck- just trust me okay?” I began to pace back and forth from the kitchen to the front door wearing a line into the floor of my path. My breathes quickened, borderline hyperventilating. I needed to see him. He needed to be here in front of me. Amelia just looked at me like I was some rabid animal losing my mind. Maybe I was?
“Okay… Ads… lets just sit down.” She tried speaking to me calmly reaching her hands for my back to guide me to the couch. I pushed her hand away forcing a scowl to come across my face.
“Don’t touch me...I can’t sit down Amelia. Every nerve of me is on fire right now. My stomach is in god damn knots. I feel like I’m going to puke. Something is wrong, I know it.” My fingers reached for my mouth placing one of my nails between my teeth and I began to tear away at it. An unfortunate bad habit I had acquired over my life time whenever I was stressed.
“Addi, they are fi-” She couldn’t even get the rest of the words out as we heard car doors slamming shut followed by a few sets of heavy, fleeting steps.
Seconds passed again that felt more like a lifetime. Amelia and I just stood there dumbfounded blankly staring at the door waiting to see who was going to pass through. She began to forcing her swallows in anticipation of what was on the other side of the door. Part of her trusted me, trusted my gut instinct, even when I didn’t completely trust myself. My heart rate started to pick up. I could feel the fluttering against my sternum pounding away. I was terrified. Terrified of what was going to come through that door. It was going to be one of few options. Either they were all going to be okay and everything went as planned. Or one of them was hurt or worse-dead. There was no in between. It made every nerve in my body fire in overdrive causing the feeling of pins and needles in every extremity. Tears already began to beckon at my eyelids from what I knew was going to be the inevitable conclusion.
The door slammed open once more, but this time not by my hand but by his, Adrian. He was drenched, water trickling off every surface of him. His eyes were dark, black almost. He didn’t look like himself. His face was hardened in a scowl, his teeth clenched snarling back at anyone in is his way. His fist were at his side, his nails digging holes into his palms. My breath finally released. I knew he was livid and anyone in their right mind would feel compelled to run as far away from him as they possible could. But me? I could finally breathe knowing he was safe, even if he wasn’t safe from himself yet.
Adam followed behind him, something slumped over his shoulder. No, not something, someone-Alex. Blood covered Adam’s white shirt from his shoulder to his belt line and it started from one spot that my eyes connected to immediately. Alex. Adam’s face was pale knowing he was holding his wounded brother over his shoulder, knowing he may not make it through. They may have been tough guys, but when it came to their own-they were not void of emotions.
I looked over to Amelia. Her facial expression changed before my eyes. Seconds prior to Adam walking through the door with Alex her face was riddled with anxiety. She looked like she was going to puke at any minute waiting in anticipation to see if all three of her big brothers were unharmed. The minute Adam stepped through the threshold of the house she went into a short phase of shock back to worried and finally making it to the last phase of her emotions-anger. It was the only emotion that the Delucas exhibited in a common manner as the rest of their siblings. Her nose flared, her jaw clenched shut. Forehead wrinkled. Brows furrowed. Pupils dilated to pure demon like form. She looked like she wanted blood and a lot of it.
‘What the fuck happened?” The only words she uttered before she was out of my sight.
Everything seemed to go a little hazy around me after that. Not in the same way as it does when you feel lightheaded right before you faint. No, more like when you are so focused on something you space out the rest of the world. I didn’t feel in control of my own body. The only thing it would focus on was Alex. My brother.
“Shit.” the only word that my brain could process and was all I could manage to say out loud.
Adrian’s scowl turned to me, his eyes piercing a lethal dose of anger through my body like I had done something wrong. Which, in a way, I did. I left the loft afterall.
On any other given day the look he was giving me would have made me shrink in my spot, made me feel weak, pathetic and submissive. But his disappointment in my actions was the last thing on my mind. He could scold me later for all I cared.
My mind completely blanked out only for a second like my mind was resetting itself as I watched the eruption of movement happen around me. Everything seemed to go slow-motion. Amelia sprang into action without a second thought as she began to clear off the table. Adrian’s voice had become muffled in my ears as my sensory system became overloaded. But I could see his lips moving. He wasn’t staring at me though. Barking orders to Amelia and Adam perhaps?
In my daze the voice I heard in my dream started to play on repeat all over again, knocking me back into my senses.
Save him Addi. They need you. He needs you. He’s going to need you. Save THEM.
I shook my head side to side forcing the slow-mo to speed back into reality. The nurse in me emerged even after many months away from the job. I quickly sprinted into the kitchen grabbing whatever linen I could find along with a scissors, tape, alcohol-lot’s and lot’s of alcohol. Voiced roared in the background as the three conscious siblings began to argue about who knows what, taking away precious life sustaining time.
As I walked back to the dining room, the large rectangular table had now been cleaned off, shattered glassware, flowers, vases, magazines, weapons-really whatever was on the table prior, now lying on the floor. Adam still held Alex over his shoulder. Amelia was screaming at Adrian. Adrian was screaming at both of them. No one could hear a damn thing each other was saying. So I finally stepped in.
“FUCK. We don’t have time for this bullshit. Just get him on the fucking table.” my voice boomed over the rest of them making them instantly shut their mouths and turn their heads to stare at the once muted girl.
Adam began laying Alex down gently onto the table with Adrian’s help cradling his neck with his hands as to not drop his head on the table giving him a head bleed. Cause that’s just what he needed.
I had no idea what I was going to be working with. I had no idea what happened. All I could see was blood. Everywhere. There wasn’t a place left on Alex’s body that wasn’t stained, or smeared with blood. Blood tickled out of his mouth as little coughs escaped his lips. His head rolled from side to side as he clutched his abdomen writhing in pain. I darted around the table cradling a pile of supplies in my arms. I was staring death in the face as I became face to face with the mess that was about to unfold at my hands.
I did it without even thinking. Everyone faded around me once more. It was only Alex and I. My brother. My family. I had to shut off any feelings that surfaced. Sobbing wasn’t going to get my anywhere. It wasn’t going to save his life.
I took the scissors ripping away at his shirt. It stuck to him like a second skin adhering from the blood. Bruises riddled his rib cage on both sides. He was still breathing, it was even, no tracheal deviation- good, that’s good Addi. But from his abdomen gushed a pool of blood from one tiny hole- a bullet hole.
“Towel, give me a damn towel.” I raised my voice again letting the rest know there was no more room for fucking around. I motioned with my hands signifying I needed the damn towel, now. I had to put pressure on the wound or he was going to keep bleeding out and by the looks of it, he really didn’t have much blood left in him to spare.
“Someone better be fucking calling Dr. Clarks because unless your hiding meds and an intubation kit here we’re going to be shit out of luck.” I wasn’t even looking at anyone, just down at Alex. I had already climbed onto the table to put my full body weight of pressure on to the wound. The blood pooled around my hands from the wound covering my skin up to my wrist. Groans escaped Alex’s mouth the harder I pushed down. I know buddy, this is going to hurt like a bitch. I’m so sorry.
“He’s minutes away. I called him on the way here.” I was too focused on Alex I didn’t know who responded to my statement but I assumed it was Adrian.
“Okay” It was all I could say. Internally I was screaming. I was panicking. This is my family. The person I consider my brother is hanging on to life by the tiniest fraying threat. A pool of blood poured from his abdomen onto the table coating my knees. Blood encircled around my hands turning the white towel crimson red. Breath Addi, just breath. You can do this. It’s going to be fine. But my mind wandered in the following seconds. It channeled any worry, any grief into rage. I had seen this side of me before, only a few times. Tonight with Joe was one of them. But not like this. My whole body turned to flames. My eyes turned demonic. My teeth clenched so tightly together my jaw began to ache. I tried retaining my composer but in one instant I lost it.
I looked up to find his face, to find Adrian’s face. I wanted blood. And not the blood that currently covered my blood. I was sick of every good thing being taken from me. I didn’t deserve a life full of misery and grief. Alex didn’t deserve to be knocking on death’s door. But here we were. I couldn’t help the words that came out of my mouth. I was done letting people fuck with my life, our life. I didn’t care if Adrian didn’t want me involved. It was too damn late. I was part of this damn family whether he liked it or not and I was going to protect it at all cost.
I looked into his eyes, letting him take a second to linger on my face forcing the point across of how unbelievably livid I was. “Who. the fuck. Did this?” I took small pauses between words forcing my annunciation.
His face softened if only for a second as he processed every emotion that flowed freely from my body. “Addi….” His face pleaded me to not push it, to not ask again. I could give a shit less what he wanted.
“Adrian. WHO THE FUCK DID THIS?” There were no pauses this time. My voiced raised letting him know I wasn’t in the mood to play games. I was covered in Alex’s blood up to my elbows attempting to save his life, the least I deserved was to know the damn truth.
But his soft demeanor and pleading eyes vanished before anyone else could catch on to that side of him. His face turned hostile once more at the answer to the question.
“Franco.” That was all he needed to say. There was nothing left to say. Not only did this man betray me, hurt me, violate me. Now he turned on his own blood. His own fucking nephew. My blood boiled with rage. Sure I would have been outraged if it was anyone else. But Franco? Fuck. I was a new level of livid. Satan himself would be scared.
“Where the fuck is he? He better be fucking dead in a dumpster somewhere for this.”
“Addi…” Adam stepped in cutting Adrian off.
“No. I am literally trying to save your brother’s life. If I want my fucking questions answered your going to fucking answer them. Understand?” There was a pause as the two men just blankly stared back at me.
“He’s gone. He got away.” Adrian crossed his arms over his chest, hanging his head low. He knew this wasn’t the answer I wanted; better yet, needed.
“Excuse me?” I snarled back at him. What the hell did he just say? Got away? “HOW THE FUCK DID YOU LET HIM GET AWAY? No, you know what. I don’t fucking care.” What I said next surprised me. I knew I was headed somewhere dark but this? I felt possessed, evil, demonic. I took an oath to do no harm. But saying this felt so damn right. “Adrian, look at me.” He did as he was told picking his head up from his sulking position. “GO. NOW. Fucking find the bastard.”
“But Alex…I can’t....”he stuttered not wanting to leave his brother in critical condition behind.
“I think I’ve got his. I need Amelia and Dr Clarks. You and Adam are just in the fucking way. Go make yourself useful. Go find him and fix your damn fuck up before it’s too late.”
Adrian nodded his head towards me. He didn’t need to say he loved me. He didn’t need to say that I was right. He didn’t need to say that he trusted me. Everything he needed to say he did in his body language. His eyes glowed softly towards me if only for a moment. A small, saddened smile curled the corners of his lips. And the fact that he was leaving let me know that he trusted me wholeheartedly with his brother’s life.
They had just begun to walk out of the dining room their backs facing us when the little angry demon perched on my shoulders remembered to say one last thing.
“Adrian….” He turned back to face towards me. “Keep the damn bastard alive. He’s mine….”
A/N: I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you for all the love and for reading along. I’ve gotten so many reads. I never anticipated so many of you loving this books!
A little secret - this is my first book!!
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