End Game

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Chapter eight part1

Chapter eight

His lips met mine, pressing roughly against it, his tongue trying to pry my mouth opened, the action made me gasp and I could feel a smirk on his face before he deepened the kiss. He worked meticulously, cupping my cheek and stirring things up inside me. This was my first kiss, I had no one to compared him to. All I felt was a mild twirling feeling in my gut, something was there but not completely. Not how I thought it would feel, those books always described about sparks and an overwhelming amount of butterflies. Wasn’t I supposed to be feeling that?

Someone cleared their throat. But it didn’t come from Elijah, instantly I pulled back breaking the kiss, his eyes flashed hurt before he slowly bit his lip looking downwards.

The only thing right then that I could think about was Isaiah, how I betrayed him and how I hoped that wasn’t him behind me.

Closing my eyes I prepared for the impact, my back still turned away from the individual at the door.

“Am I interrupting something?” His voice. It definitely wasn’t Isaiah or Zee’s. It was deeper than Zee but more relaxed than Isaiah’s. I opened my eyes, glancing up at Elijah, studying his reaction his whole face formed into a look of confusion. That told me it wasn’t someone he knew, that means there was a greater possibly it wasn’t someone I knew either. It wasn’t Isaiah.

Elijah started to try and lift his weight to get off the bed wanting to confront whoever was at the door, but his arms gave out beneath him, groaning his face fuming. He was frustrated that he couldn’t move and do what he normally could do. How long was this going to last, seeing him like this was shocking, I couldn’t bear it.

I stopped him, laying my hand lightly on his trying to reassure him that it was okay. If that person was trying to kill us, he obviously would have done it by now and with Elijah down, it would have been easy.

Standing upwards, I turned only to be meet with a dark haired, tall stature man with even darker hair and his skin resemble that of smooth caramel chocolate glistening in the sun. He wore a clean cut, tailored sapphire blue suit. Effortlessly his hair stood, a piece falling down covering his hooded eyes. It was clear he came from money. I couldn’t help but absorb everything that was currently ahead of me and also wonder what in the hell he was doing here and who he was?

He must have read my expression well because he cocked a single, thick eyebrow, his lips twitched up in a light smile. “Isaiah didn’t tell you about me,” He started advancing closer, but then stopped as I gave him a hard glare. Chuckling in response he continued, “My name is Adrian. Adrian Hunter. I’m the one that lent you this room. The son of the owner of this hotel.”

Isaiah did say something about him, instantly I could feel my cheeks heating up. He aided us and I was looking at him like he was about to murder me. “I’m sorry,” I shook my head, taking his hand that he requested for a handshake. “If you known what we’ve just been through, you’d understand.”

“Ah, yes,” His voice raised an octave higher, “The unfortunate happening at where you resided at,” His brows furrowed with remorse, “I’m so very sorry for all your losses.”

He knew? “You know what happened?”

Nodding, he shrugged, “Isaiah came last night asking for my help and seeing all of you injured and both of you,” He gestured to me and Elijah that was currently staring daggers at him. “Blacked out I knew I had to help. I’ve known Isaiah since we were little and naturally he told me everything. In fact, I’ve known about the Nations for as long as I could remember.” He didn’t even seem a little smug, he was just genuinely telling me what I wanted to know, filling in the gaps so I could at least be at ease. It worked.

Nodding, I didn’t realise how tense I was until now. Relaxing myself shoulders, I took a deep breath. “I believe you. My name is Alexis-”

Chuckling he shook me off, “I already know who you are, and it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Pardon me for barging in unannounced, I did knocked but I guess you we all in - well you know, ” Yeah, I do know what he meant, he didn’t even need to finish. He brushed past me making his way to Elijah, holding out a hand. I could feel myself tensing again, I knew he couldn’t fully protect himself and I felt myself wanting to protect him. “It’s an honour to finally meet you.” Elijah just sat there holding his stare, looking down at his offering hand and back up to Adrian’s face. It was clear that he wasn’t planning to accept his gesture of good will, so he quickly dropped his hand turning back towards me smiling, like what just happened didn’t even leave a footprint in his mind. “Well, I’ll leave you to get settled then, I’ll be down in the lounge if I’m needed.”

No. I didn’t want to be left alone with Elijah, my emotions were so scattered that all I really could think about was Isaiah and how only he mattered, yet I felt that crushing urge not to hurt Elijah anymore than I’ve already done. “Actually, why don’t you stay?”

Raising his eyebrows, he took turns looking between me and then Elijah which I was more than certain didn’t have the most pleasant look on his face right now. But Adrian quickly caught on and nodded. “Sure. I’m not occupied at this moment and it’d be nice to talk to the girl who can actually right the wrongs to this world.”

I hated that he said that, I hated that he put his utmost trust in me and I hated that I was more than likely going to completely disappoint him.

Nevertheless a huge wave of relief rained over me. I didn’t have to handle Elijah right now.

But I couldn’t ignore the pained look that he was suddenly giving me.

***

Since Adrian’s arrival we were deep in conversation, all of us, me Elijah and him sitting on the couch just talking, he carried most of the conversation throughout, it was a struggle getting Elijah to actually move and join us but despite his protests I knew I couldn’t leave him alone. I learned a lot about him in the first couple of hours from when I met him; he was an heir to his father’s hotel empire he was one of those very few families completely untouched by the economic crisis, but he was still so humble that I never would have believed he was that rich, he had to fire some of his employees that threatened to call the police after seeing the state we were all in despite Isaiah apparently auguring against that, he liked jazz and classical, his favourite colour was grey. All the unimportant information and important ones and more, he was a blessing in disguise, this was the perfect time for mindless chatter to ensue me. I have to put my brain and thinking on deep pause and try to forget all this material that was becoming increasing hard to swallow.

Currently, Adrian was ordering food service, going into the corridor for optimal service holding the menu loosely in his hand. I don’t think I could even eat anything if I tried, I’d have to force some food down regardless, I needed as much energy as I could possibly get.

Elijah sat on a the leather chairs facing me, his expression was more so unsure than angry and I could tell he was contemplating why I wanted to cut my time with him so short, his eyes widened as if thinking that he didn’t kiss me with consent but it was quickly diminished like he was assuring himself that he did and knowing he didn’t kiss me without my permission his fall fell back to his previously confused to.

This wasn’t my biggest concern and I found myself looking past him towards the big bay windows outside the landscape was one to truly admire, rising up from my seat I made my way towards the glass, stopping when I could visibly see my reflection; everything like so small and fragile from up here, the people, the animals. Once again all their faces unwillingly merged into one, all scowling, all impoverished, their cheekbones hollow and sunken, their eyes clouded with bags. We were the worst of the worst, the forgotten. It baffled me how the one percent all perched on their ivory towers sneering down on us, even when things were normal, they didn’t care for us. And now things were as far as normal gets they still didn’t care. We were nothing but mere dirt on the bottom of their shoes, irritating and hard to get rid of. They hide behind charity events but never focused on the real problems. I could feel my fists curling up and as much as I wanted to stop the anger pulsating within me I just couldn’t. Suppressing it only seemed to build it up more.

A big metal Ferris wheel caught my eye, the London Eye or what was left of it. Part of the reinforcements hung, swinging on the last thread, threatening to fall and crush all those below, but it didn’t it was just there isolated, other parts of it’s the painting scraped off, parts of metal missing leaving dents and everything looked ragged and unfinished. No one knows exactly knew what happened, but the whole nation woke up and was greeted with that. It was good to know we were still in London.

Strong hands slid round my waist from behind me, pulling me closer before I could react his scent engulfed me. He was back, I guess I was so loud in my thoughts I didn’t hear them come in. “Penny for your thoughts.” He whispered, so close to my ear that I slightly shivered, his lips grazed the skin of my ear. I stilled myself. Focus, Alexis, focus.

Closing my eyes, falling into his embrace, it was as if the whole world momentarily paused, until it was just both of us. “I was just thinking about how much of a mess this world has turned it. How am I supposed to help? What am I meant to do?”

Digging his nose in the crook of my neck he took a sharp breath in. This was all new territory for me, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable. The only thought racing through my head was how I was going to leave him soon enough, how I was going to die. And I just had to keep reminding myself not to get too close, because that would undoubtedly hurt him more than it’d hurt me. “Alexis,” He breathed out, “One step at a time.”

Deciding to gratefully take his advice, I nodded, that sentence alone spoke volumes.

“Just promise me one thing?”

“What?”

“That you don’t do anything life threatening or reckless. That anything, you tell me so we can do it together. Okay?”

I nodded.

“I need to hear you say it.”

“Okay.”

Looking back at my reflection again my eyes made contact with Zee, she stood by the door holding a bag which different smells seemed to be flowing from it, a takeaway, she never ate takeaways, ever. Her expression flashed that of sadness instead of anger which I thought would be a lot more justified.

We stayed at each other for what felt like eternity before she looked away walking towards another room. Breaking Isaiah hold of me I turned, jogging my way up to her blocking her from walking, “Do you need help with that Zee?” Trying to mustering up a smile but unfortunately I could tell it wavered. I didn’t know how to act in this situation, I’ve never had to before. She stared at me waiting from me to elaborate, “With the takeaway?”

“No.” That same blunt, sharp tone she used on me before she used on me again and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. She meandered past me dumping the food at a nearby table, walking back into a room, closing the door shut. All swift, sure movements, everything about how she was acting just wasn’t her.

My eyes found Isaiah’s looking for support, he made his way to the takeaway bag, picking out of Tupperware box full of food, handing it to me he smiled. “I think she needs a friend right now.” The box must have weighed less than two pounds but felt like a ton. I knew what he wanted me to do, go inside and console her and trust me that’s what I wanted to do to. But with the way she acted around me I could tell me presence definitely wasn’t appreciated. “I know it may not seem like it now but trust me she needs you.” I nodded taking the box from him.

Tracing back her steps towards her room, I stopped right at her door, taking I deep breath in, I knocked once then entered. Only knowing that if she knew it was me she probably wouldn’t have let me in.

She sat on the floor at the foot of her bed, her head hanging in between her legs. Her room looked clean, too clean and her bed looked like she hadn’t slept at all. Was she sleeping on the floor?

She didn’t even stir, she hadn’t looked up since I entered she must have probably not heard me enter. “Zee?” I whispered, I didn’t want to startle her. She didn’t respond. Shutting the door quietly behind me, I made my way sitting on the ground opposite her. “Zee?” She looked up, a fresh layer of tears wetting her cheeks.

“He’s gone Alexis. He’s not coming back.” I found myself wrapping my arms around her, she didn’t pull back which was a good sign, instead she relaxed into her, her body shaking lightly. “And Veronica, the way I spoke to her and I didn’t even have a chance to apologise and-” She didn’t finish her sentence breaking into another fit if tears. “I knew it was wrong, completely wrong to fall in love, especially in this lifestyle. I knew it caused complications. But Jordon,” She croaked like his name burned too much to say. “Jordon was everything and more. It just hurts without him here, not waking up next to him.”

Pulling away, I looked into her dark chocolate eyes, ” Zee, is that why you haven’t been sleeping on the bed?”

Her eyes widened slightly, I could tell she was surprised that I even knew, she stifled a bitter laugh and shrugged. “I can’t without him there. It just feels too real you know. Like it confirms that he’s forever gone.”

Nodding, I understood what she meant, even though the only loss I’ve ever experienced was my dad’s and that was painful enough. I don’t want to know how it would feel if it was the one that made you laugh when you were down, the one that was also there, the one that you could picture spending your life with. That’s a pain that I’d never want to experience. Unfortunately Zee was living through that right now and I have no clue what to say.

“I’m sorry Zee. I’m so sorry. It’s all fault. I caused it. They came for me-”

She stopped me. “What do you mean?”

“You don’t know?”

“Know what?”

I hesitated, if she didn’t know did I want her to despise me even more if I told her to reason they probably came after us. I could tell she sensed my dilemma because she wrapped my hand around hers giving it a tight squeeze. Even still she was comforting me when it was supposed to be the other way round. “Zee. Me and Isaiah think, well we think that those people they came for me. That someone found out what I am and what I’m doing to do and they don’t want the world to go back to how it previously was, so they’re trying to end me life. And I guess to them it doesn’t matter who gets in the crossfire and in this case it was Veronica had Jordon. And I can’t express enough how sorry I am, I understand why you hate me-”

“Hate you?” I looked up, she seemed puzzled. Her lips turning down into a frown. “Why would I hate you?”

“Well,” I stopped trying to gauge her expression, trying to see if I was leading myself into a trap I knew I would find s hard time getting out of. But no, this was Zee. Despite what she did I could tell that she cared for the people closest to her, maybe she just couldn’t turn it on and off as easily as those around her. ” You barely looked at me the whole time and you’ve barely uttered a word to me.”

Her head hung low, she nodded like all my accusations were true. “I’m sorry. It’s just,” She took a deep breath that I could tell she was holding for a while, but at least her crying has died down the only visible thing I could see was just the dampness of her face. “The way you handled the situation back there. I gave up, I was so readily willing to let them come and kill me instead of avenging him. The way I acted back there was not how I was trained. Yet you were so sure of yourself and you didn’t give up on me, despite knowing what would happen if you stayed longer and I guess I was angry that it wasn’t me, that despite years of training all of that was thrown out the window because of one person.” Her face steeled, she met my gaze once more.” I never got to show my gratitude. Thank you Alexis. Honestly, thank you-”

What was happening? Did she just turn her emotions off? “Zee, no. Don’t snap out of it now, don’t bury everything. Yes the boys out there might be okay, unfazed by what having and so readily wanting to resume their next mission. But I’m not,” Those images of Jordon shooting me point blank was still etched onto my mind, his dead body would take me days to forget maybe even longer. “And it’s fine if you’re not too. You lost someone special to you and your allowed to grieve. Pain just doesn’t go away, you need to live through it and accept it. Then that’s when it becomes easier, more bearable. But if you ignore it now and try and push it aside it’ll come back ten times harder and it will break you. Learn to accept it Zee. It’s the only way.”

By now, her tears completely stopped but her eyes softened and she nodded. It surprised me how I was so good at that, I guess it was due to the fact that was the same thing my mother told me when my father passed and when she did, it was the first time I stopped crying in two days.

“You’re right, Alexis. You’re right.”

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