I could only stare at the ceiling for so long. Not a single second of sleep brushed past my heavy eyes. The early morning sunrise glistened across the ceiling causing small flashes of sparkles that melted in with the white paint. Her warmth enveloped my body. Her soft snores made the tiniest of smiles cross my lips knowing she was comfortable laying on my chest. My arm draped around her shoulder holding her tightly against me, never wanting to let go. One of her hands lay under her cheek, while the other rested gently against my chest. I had never been more in love with her than I was right now.
My arm shifted from her shoulders shifted so I could run my fingers through her messy hair that covered half of her face. I had no idea how it had gotten there. She had been sleeping like a rock all night, without much surprise considering the night she went through with the highs and lows of her emotions. I brushed a few strands of hair that dangled down to her nose back to join the rest. My eyes couldn’t focus on anything besides her face. She was an angel really. Sent from heaven to drag me out of the hell that had been my life. Only one thought crossed my mind- this. This is what I want to wake up to every morning. Messy hair, her little snores, her body curled up against mine, even the little bit of drool I had caught coming from her mouth at one point. All of it. I wanted this every damn morning. If only I could actually manage to get some sleep myself.
Everything from the night before still raced through my mind causing my heart to race, even though her presents attempted to slow it. His face flashed across my mind, Dominic’s, Franco’s, Daniel’s. We were so close to finally ending everything. But nothing in our damn life was never that simple. And now all I could see was red thinking about how one moment, one tiny fucking moment, almost took away another part of my life. My brother and eventually threatening to take her from me too.
I needed this to be done. I needed to get her as far away from here and this mess as possible. I need to finish what was started long before I even knew it began.
Soon a deep exhale left her mouth and with it her warmth on my chest left as she rolled to her other side and moved so her back pressed against the side of my body. I propped myself up on my elbow gazing down at her peaceful face. Strands of hair fell back over her cheek. Out of instinct my hand shifted, pushing her hair away opening her face back up. I didn’t want to leave her, leave this spot. Her body fit perfectly next to mine nuzzled up with every curve my body held. But as much as I wanted to stay in this very spot, nothing was going to get accomplished by laying in bed all day. I knew that no sleep would come for me anyway, especially when I knew what this house held just two floors down.
I brushed her forehead with the back of my hand brushing a few lone strands from her face once more. My hand cradled the back of her head as my lips touched her temple kissing her sweet, dreaming face once more. My lips didn’t want to leave this spot they found pressed against her skin. And I hated knowing she was going to wake up without me by her side again. I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it, and I didn’t blame her.
I tilted my face down just slightly positioning my lips to her ear as I whispered, “I love you Addi Elizabeth” before letting my hand stroke the back of her head one last time. She didn’t move and I took my chance while I could to cautiously get out of bed. If I wanted more mornings like this, I needed to take action now, despite the lack of sleep.
“Ughhhhh” My body groaned. The sun started to shine right in my eyes forcing another groan from my throat as my arms came up to my eyes to block the light. I felt hungover. Not physically-not that I would know what that felt like. But emotionally, mentally drained. My body ached. My eyes felt swollen from lack of sleep and the rollercoaster of emotions I had to endure over the last forty-eight hours. I wanted to stay in bed all day and not bother with the world just to have one day to recover.
My arms began to stretch out above my head as a yawn escaped my lips. My eyes were glued shut with the sand of last nights sleep. I reached out for him but there was a lack of warmth on his side of the bed. My hands reached up towards my eyes rubbing away the exhaustion. My eyelids began to flutter open attempting to open but the world surrounding me was still blurry. Eventually everything cleared.
I pushed my body backwards forcing my back to rest against the backboard of the bed. My eyes fell to his side of the bed. I wasn’t even surprised anymore at this point. We had only shared a bed three times and on only one occasion did I actually wake up next to him the next morning. I had a feeling that this was going to be an ongoing habit. Except this time, he didn’t need to tell me where he was going to be. I already knew.
My body shifted, forcing my achy joints to sit on the edge of the bed. There was no longer any time to rest. We were in full out war. You know what they say. You can sleep when you’re dead.
I slid forward on the bed, lightly pressing the tips of my toes to the floor before my feet lightly padded completely on the plush carpet. I walked briskly to the closet grabbing a pair of dark washed skinny jeans, a loose fitting white camisole and a white blazer jacket. I slipped on a pair of brown booties before treading to the bathroom to whip my hair in a messy bun and brush my teeth.
There was no time for breakfast. There was no time for any of life’s small moments anymore. There was only time for the war that had started long before I even knew I was in the middle of it. There was only time for unanswered questions.
I looked at my reflection in the mirror. My eyes casted upon my face, the new found hard, emotionless, confident woman that now stood in front of me. There was no longer any time to be afraid. There was only time to grow up and do what it would take to protect this new life I had come to love.
I knew where I was going to find Adrian. And my feet knew exactly where to take me. The sound of my heels hitting the hardwood floor of the living room echoed through the house. It was too quiet. Everyone must have still been sleeping from last nights endeavours.
The kitchen had been cleaned, making it seem like Alex’s life was never in my hands just hours prior. Adam had taken him up to his room and Dr Clarks has come in periodically to check in on him. Before I had turned in for the night all I was told was that Alex was still unconscious but he was stable. His body needed to rest before he would wake up. He had lost a lot of his blood volume and it would take awhile for his body to recover from that.
As my mind wandered, my feet took me to the one door I had been avoiding since Adrian took me away from the room it held behind its frames. It was cracked open. I could hear Adrian’s voice from the steps below and the sound of skin hitting against skin. The light in the stairwell peaked through the slit of the door making it look like fire burning brightly against the darkness of Adrian’s office. All that room brought was hell.
I could feel my blood pressure rise, my heart rate quicken as my hand reached for the side of the door, pushing it open until it hit the wall behind it leaving nothing but an open stairway with an open door at the bottom showing the broken concrete that lay underneath.
My eyes closed as I steadied my breath. Breath Addi. Breath. What had happened to me in this room could never be erased. But the man that did those things to me was currently restrained in that very room, waiting for the revenge I had yet to serve onto him. And that was the only thing I needed to remind myself of before I repressed every other emotion that coursed through my veins.
My footsteps were light bringing the creeks of the wooden stairs down to a bare minimum. Until my feet hit the hard concrete. There he was. Tied to a chair, sitting below the very spot on the ceiling he chained me to. How fitting.
The room was still damp and dark much like I remembered it. Flashbacks kept pounding at the back of my mind attempting to force themselves into my subconscious. The only thing that kept them subdue was how much different the room looked when it was actually lit up and when I wasn’t in a panic crazed state. Blood splattered through the cracks of the concrete floor in little drops surrounding his feet. Old blood dried on the floor only a few feet where he sat causing a pang of pain to engulf my body in a shiver.
Cuts were spread on his arms and legs. His eyes were black and bruised. Blood poured from his mouth. A few teeth lay on the floor next to the chair’s leg.
Adrian’s body was bent over Franco’s, his fist drawn back aimed towards his face. My body leaned against the back wall of the room, my arms crossed over my chest. If I wanted to be apart of this life, this was something I needed to witness. As much as I loved the caring, patient, romantic side of Adrian, there was this side that I needed to love just the same. It was like he had split personalities.
Before Adrian’s fist could meet with Franco’s face once more Franco bend his head down spitting blood from his mouth to the floor before letting out a sinister laugh.
“So you do still have her.” His eye contact sent icy shivers down my spine forcing my blood pressure to spike momentarily. But I stood my ground letting his words pass through me like he had no effect on me anymore.
Adrian traced Franco’s demonic stare back towards me before standing up straight, his fist by his side. His teeth snarled towards me. I knew what was coming.
“Addi, get. Out.” His voice was flat yet stern. His eyes burned a hole through me that on any other day would have terrified me. But I was done being the scared little girl I used to be, even of him. Especially by him.
“I told you he’s mine.” The words were said casually. I bent my knee up resting the soul of my boot on the darkened concrete wall. My arms still folded over my chest. I wasn’t going anywhere. And the quicker he came to that conclusion, the better.
“Ha! I’m yours. Oh please sweetheart. You think you fucking scare me? If anything being in this room with me should frighten you. Had any flashbacks yet love?” His voice was condescending. His eyebrow raised as his mouth shifted into a smirk. He was trying to get under my skin. Nice try asshole.
“Addi. I will not tell you again. Get. The fuck. Out.”
“Yeah no, not going to happen.” At my defianse his body shifted from his stance to stand in front of me. His hands were bloodied and bruised but grabbed my shoulders with ease. His face softened if only slightly. His voice became hushed.
“Please, Bella. I’m asking you to leave. I can’t have you down here. It’s not safe.”
“Adrian he’s tied to a damn chair. I think I’ll be fine. Unless you have a better reason than that”
There was a moment of silence between us. His eyes staring down at me pleading me to leave. But I wouldn’t budge. If he had another reason he was holding it in.
The shared moment between us came to a screeching halt when his wretched voice spoke up causing Adrian’s soft eyes to turn dark all over again.
“God not only is Dominic going to fucking flip out when he finds out you do still have her, but wait til he finds out he was right about you being in love with her. Screw selling her off, he’ll fucking kill her just to piss you off.”
I shifted my weight around Adrian’s brute shoulders to stare back at Franco.
“News flash asshole. Dominic’s dead.”
“Ha, is that what he told you.” his eyes focused to Adrian’s back.
My body shifted back into my upright posture. Adrian’s hands that had moments ago held onto my shoulders now fell back towards to wall holding himself up while the other one hand pinched the bridge of his nose. His head fell forward almost as if he was ashamed.
“Fucking figures that was his story to you.” I pushed Adrian aside and walked towards Franco positioning myself a few feet from him. My arms still crossed over my chest. My hip popped out.
“Mind elaborating Franco?” I was starting to see why Adrian didn’t want me down here. And I was slowly becoming enraged.
“Addi…” Adrian’s voice came from behind me, pleading me not to venture down this hole.
“NO Adrian” I kept my back to him but lifted my hand in the air to signal him to stop talking. “No more lies. No more hiding the truth from me. No more keeping me out of this.” Nothing more escaped his lips. “Now, care to tell me the truth Franco?”
“Pretty boy over here has been lying to you the whole damn time. Dominic’s alive.”