End Game

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Chapter nine

Chapter nine

I nodded.

“Good. Now get up. Slowly.” I obeyed, following his command trying not to startle him or his companion next to him as they’d take that as a sign of attack and I wasn’t ready to have any more deaths on my name.

friends stared at me, each individual studying my face, wanting to know if I knew why these people were.

I knew what would have to them if they grew suspicious. They may be opposed to liking me but I didn’t put it past them to helping someone who needed it. If they even attempted to get help, it’s simple they’d die. “It’s okay. I’m okay. They’re my brothers friend.” They eyed me unsure. It didn’t help like that they were dressed as kidnappers, but I guess that what there were. Then it hit me, they would hesitate to kill me before regardless of any innocents. What’s stopping them now? “He’s weirdly over protective. He gets skittish when I stay out long pass curfew. Trust me.”

“You stay past curfew often, knowing what could happen,” The girl branded as Liana stared at me like I’d grown tentacles. “You’re crazy.”

Yes. They had to believe that, it’s the only way they’d leave me alone. Playing on her current words, I shrugged grinning widely, “I can’t help it. Adrenaline rush.”

All eyes drifted away from me. They’d bought it, thankfully. A huge weight on my shoulders dropped.

His hands wrapped tightly around my wrist and he continued pulling me backwards, away from the booth, away from the girls and closer to the exit.

Ruby soon reappeared, a tray full of Pimms and shots. Her eyes fell to me, still smiling until they wandered to the two men directly behind me, she soon found my face again. “Going so soon?”

No. No. She was getting sceptical. “Yeah, these goons came to pick me up, “I cocked my head towards both if them duly noticing the enraged look they were currently giving me, most likely because of my insult. But that’s the only way she’d buy it, if I was relaxed and didn’t seem pressured. But she was undoubtedly smarter than the rest of her friends. “You see, my brother is a bit of a control freak.”

Her gaze drifted towards them again, it wasn’t working. She didn’t believe me. And they were noticing it to, I could feel him tensed behind me seizing my wrist tighter, in my peripheral vision I swear his partner was reaching closer to the pub door as if he was trying to lock it. ” Just one drink, you can bring them too,” She jutted her head to both of them. She was trying to get me to stay. “There’s enough for everyone.”

Her eyes were searching mine asking if I was okay, questioning if she should get help.

I gave her the most convincing smile I had in me. “No need, I- we really should get going. Thank you for what you did earlier. Enjoy the rest of your night.” Then it hit me, what she said before about ‘her last night on Earth’ it might not be right to assume but that’s s pretty self-explanatory and I would hate myself if I didn’t say something that could make her alter her decision. Anything. “Don’t. Just whatever you’re planning to do after these drink and this night out, don’t. It gets better. It’ll get better. I promise. ” I’ll make it better. There was this burning look in her eyes that she absorbed everything I said but I could tell she was fixed onto her decision, yet she was worried even more for my safety.

No. Nodding she muttered. “Okay. Be safe.” Clearly her throat she resumed speaking louder. No. “I’ll just turn your drink to the bartender, they’d be more drinks then girls.”

They knew what she was playing to do, before she even took a step they both started advancing towards her. I was free of his hold. Without thinking, I took a nearby bar stool forcefully thumping it over the nearest head. They both looked the same, dressed the same. So it was difficult to tell who from who. The momentum of the force stopped him, blood spewing out from the back of his head. He paused, his back turned. Instantly I threw up me arms blocking myself at the same time hardening blow came down on me. It hurt but not as badly as it would have if I was more exposed and open.

Adrenaline soon pumped through my veins and before I could give him the time to give another attack, I rammed into him full force. He lost his balance crumpling to the marble floor. By now the sparse number of people, even the inebriated ones stirred awake and every including Bella’s friends, the bartender ran towards the far end of the bar into the backroom trying to put as much distance from the mayhem.

The other man trapped Ruby in the corner, out of fear she dropped the tray she was holding. Everything smashed onto the floor, a stream of white diverting into different direction and the glass breaking into millions of pieces. He was taking his time, strolling to her like a predator who do to his prey, it was clear he was enjoying it, loving her reaction to him.

No.

If he reached her, he’d kill her.

I tried to take another step, but a hand gripped around my ankle. I looked back right into the eyes of my kidnappers and the level of fury I saw stirring in his black eyes only assured me how much trouble I would be in if he caught up to me. If I could save her, that’s all that really mattered right now.

Pulling my leg back, before he knew what I was planning to do and react to it, I launched a kick right into his nose hearing a very audible crack. He screamed, letting go only to clutch his throbbing, bloody nose.

That very action, only made his partner turned round to know the commotion was. I took my chance. Gripping the nearest glass jug towards me, making eye contact with Ruby she understood my message loud and clear, duck. Hurling the glass, I prayed my aim would be accurate. It was. The glass connected with his face, it soon turned into shards. Some implanted in his eyes, the majority in his face. Red liquid streamed down his face.

“Run!” She took her chance heading to the backdoor her friends were currently ushering her towards. Momentarily she stopped turning back to me I could see she was begging me to come with her. But I couldn’t, they’d followed. They would follow. “Run!” Her eyes widened as she realised what I was doing, still she nodded, reluctantly running to her friends. All of them pulled her in, slamming the door behind her. The loud click of the lock signalled to me that I was alone in this.

Closing my eyes, I tried to hear all the options in my head. I could run out now but I couldn’t risk getting court, I couldn’t go into the backroom. Crap. It was just me and them.

Slowly I turned round, before I could even get my bearing, a hand wrapped around my throat. The burly man in front of me, glass and blood splattered on his face. Gradually he starting tightening it. Tighter and tighter. Helplessly my hand sprung out trying to scratch him or just do anything to stop the crushing feeling in my lungs and throat.

“I’m supposed to bring you in alive but you being dead does the job either way.”

Involuntarily I grabbed onto his hand, trying to reduce and release the pressure.

Black spots. Everything was quickly fading. But I felt everything, I’d rather a gun do this job at least it would be quicker, less pain would be felt. Just knowing this is how you’re going to end up, dead on a bar floor covered in Pimms was harrowing enough.

Yet, I knew this wasn’t how it was going to end, that wasn’t how I was going to end.

With my last remaining strength, I curled my legs up, landing a flying kick. It stumbled him well enough that he let go of my throat, I dropped to the grounding, gasping I was trying to inhale as much oxygen as my body was deprived of.

Of course, my kick would keep him away for a measurable amount of time, he re-stabilised his balance, moving headway towards me again. I flinched back, backing away from him until I made contact with the cold wall behind me.

He take this as a opportunity, his hand raised far above his head, ready to strike me. And with his muscle mass I could tell it was going to hurt, I wouldn’t even be remotely surprised if I blacked out. I braced myself waiting for the impact but it never came.

“Not her. Never her.” Only one person had that voice that quickened my heart rate, that I associated with safety. Isaiah.

I looked up, Isaiah blocked his oncoming strike with one hand, briefly our eyes meet, before he landed one blowing punch and another, till the aggressor collapsed onto the ground, unmoving, clearly unconscious.

Yet he didn’t stopped, he kept going and going, giving an oncoming slaughter of hits. Blood stained his knuckles as they pounded into his face. By this point I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or just blacked out. But it was enough, he was down. Why was he still going?

“Isaiah.” My throat still sore, only let out a croaked. I tried again. “Isaiah.” It was the best but if I could hear it then he could. But he even stir, he was just so focused on unleashing out his rage, like he couldn’t control it. It was terrifying to see.

Gathering up enough energy, I peeled myself off the floor, stumbling my way towards him.

“No, Alexis. Stay back.” I turned to only see Elijah, my eyes drifted down to my other attempted kidnappers body. Well he was definitely dead. The blood pouring from the back of his head just didn’t seem to stop. I looked back up at Elijah, shocked to see him, hours ago he could barely move by himself, still his forehead was coated with sweat and I could tell even standing up was challenging for him. “He’s not safe.” Isaiah, he had to mean him. Right now, if I was anyone else I would agree and stay as far away as I could.

But this was Isaiah. He would never hurt me.

Before I could hear another objection from Elijah. I shifted further towards him.

Reaching out I placed a single hand on his shoulder. “Isaiah.” My voice was still unrecognizable and I could tell I sustained some damage to my vocal cords but it didn’t even matter because he stopped midday from delivering an other punch, fist propelled in the air, once he heard me, his arm started shaking lightly. He could hear me. “Stop.”

“Why should I Alexis?” His voice hoarse filled with hatred.” He put his filthy hands on you. Why should I stop?” He spat.

“Because, he’s dead. Isaiah, he’s not moving.” He was dead, that much I was sure of. “He’s dead.” I reassured him, his arms fell to the ground, getting up from his knees he turned to me.

His eyes. His eyes, the rage didn’t leave them darkening them beyond the point of recognition. “Alexis, do you have a death wish?” With the way he was looking at me, right now his entire presence I was scared. Actual fear pulsed inside me. Slowly I started backing away. He wasn’t going to hurt me was he? “I told you not to leave this hotel, not to go anyway outside our hotel room and gosh it wasn’t even,” He laughed, bitterly. Everything on him; his shoes, his jackets, him was draped in blood. “It wasn’t even twenty four hours and you leave. Do you not understand these people want you dead. Dead, Alexis. Where are we left then, what hope do we have. You’re not just important to me but to the seven billion suffering people out there and what you want to throw our hope away just to be stubborn?”

“No. I-I thought-”

“I don’t want to hear it!” I stopped backing away, this was Isaiah. Isaiah wasn’t going to hurt me. Now the lightning striking down us was more than harsh, I could see every intricate thing about him; his smooth face smeared with blood, his blue eyes hooded with rage, his lips curling into a menacing looking snarl. But he could see me too, his eyes fell to my neck which I now assume would be black and blue. Considerably his face softened, it was almost like he snapped out of his trance. “I’m sorry, it’s just- are you okay? Alexis?”

No. “Yes.” Clearly my voice wasn’t, I could barely hear myself.

“Why do you leave? I thought we were doing this together.” His forehead connected with my bandaged one, it just now that I realised my cap wasn’t on my head. That’s gone for good. “Imagine if I lost you. Alexis I-”

“We need to go.” We both turned to Elijah, he pointed at the far door, shaking. Someone was unlocking it they must have noticed the noise didn’t died, they were getting ready to leave. “Now.” He could barely meet my eyes, his face hardened.

Without a wasted moment, Isaiah took my hand. “Come on.”

As we sneaked back to the hotel, we got in just as they were locking close the front lobby. All that was going through my head was if Ruby would make it to the next day. If she would go through with cutting her life short. I hoped not.

***

“So you thought the best idea to protect us would be to go and get in more trouble?” Zee’s eyebrows scrunched up in disbelief of my stupidity. I confessed why I did what I did and it was clear that everyone thought it was a reckless and dumb idea. “You do understand that we’re here to protect you right.” This wasn’t even a question but a hard statement.

Wincing as she pressed down onto my neck, currently trying to put some ointment on it to reduce the swelling. Like that’d help. Still I felt like his hand were there, squeezing my throat tighter. “I don’t want anyone of you to be risking your life for me. After what happened,” I paused as I felt her stop, taking an audible gasp. “I couldn’t leave with myself, if something happened to you.” My eyes locked with Isaiah as he stood near the far side of the lounge, leaning against the wall still covered in blood. He watched Zee address my wound and his eyes hardened once again like back in the bar, when he couldn’t reign in his anger. “Any of you.” Fixating his eyes back to mine, he sighed.

Speaking was difficult but it was doable, it was just difficult to comprehend me but how all of them sitting at different areas even Adrian was here, how they all tuned in to listen to me I could tell that despite my low sounding voice they can hear me clearly.

“How did they even know where you were?”

I shrugged at her, “I don’t know.”

“That means they were watching you,” She looked back between Elijah and Isaiah. “They must be close. Did you notice anyone else follow you?”

Both of them shook their heads, this gut instinct was telling me that we need to leave regardless.

Turning back, resuming her work back onto my neck. “Nevertheless, we need to leave soon. We can’t risk it.”

Isaiah took a sharp breath in, momentarily burying his face in his dirtied hands. “Where are we going to go? I haven’t got in contact with HQ yet-”

“You can stay in my hotels,” All eyes fell on Adrian, he cleared his throat before continuing. “If you bring me along, I can provide financial aid and I know a lot of connections and lots of people that owe me favours. Where there isn’t my hotel we’ll just have to use one of those favours.”

“No,” Isaiah shook his head, “It’s too dangerous-”

Zee interjected before his decision was finalized. “What do you suggest we do Isaiah? It’s a good plan. We have the money but we could use the help with roofs over our heads. We can’t risk exposing ourselves for too long.”

“And if they start asking questions? Wondering why Adrian’s bringing three bandaged up people, this going to lead to suspicions. And that will lead to police-”

“Isaiah trust me the people I know wouldn’t even care if you came over with your leg blown off. They’re my trusted friends. They won’t snitch.”

I could tell that the decision was done and he just remain silent with a scowl craved onto his face. It made him look so unnatural that it didn’t look like the same Isaiah. I knew he was trying to look out for his friend, protect him from this kind of life. We already lost two of our own, I could just tell that if Adrian too was caught in the crossfire he would personally take his death on his shoulders and he would never forgive himself.

“Okay. Then it’s settled. Adrian you’re leaving with us tomorrow.”

Nodding with glee, I was certain he had no idea what he was getting himself into, I wanted to say something, tell Zee that I agreed with Isaiah that it wasn’t safe but nothing left my parted lips. We did need him, but I hated using people. But it’s for the greater good, right? The quicker I got there the more lives I could - I would save. I found myself sealing my lips shut.

“Alexis, again I’m sorry for barging onto you and Elijah today. I know now’s is not really the time but-”

What was he doing? Why was he even bringing this up now, Isaiah looked at me then at Elijah, with my back facing him I couldn’t see his reaction and I didn’t want to. This morning was a mistake. One big mistake. He lifted himself off the wall looking towards Adrian. “Barged into what?”

He must have been completely oblivious or stupid I was unsure which one. “They were in the middle of a make out session.” There it was. Isaiah froze, completely stunned even Zee halted her movements. Laughing, unaware of the current situation he continued, “Me being the idiot I am walked in on them. I thought myself quite rude for that. Once again, I’m sorry.” One thing’s certain idiot parts right.

No one spoke, nothing was said for draught out minutes that was becoming to feel like decades. “Isaiah.” I started but quickly stopped once he held out a hand. “I’m sorry.” I whispered.

Smiling he shrugged, “Sorry for what. I can’t tell you who to fall in love with or care for. That’s all on you.” He turned it off. I wanted to jump out of the seat and tell him how wrong he was, I didn’t love Elijah. I wasn’t even sure what it felt like but I was certain it wasn’t with him.

Proceeding to walk away, I shot up stopping him in his tracks. “Can we just talk about this? It didn’t mean anything.” I could feel that bitter taste in my mouth as I knew with that statement it hurt more than one person.

He still kept that award winning smile, as he gently cupped my face. At this point I didn’t care if I was getting covered in blood I just had to know he believed me. “Talk about what Alexis? It’s okay, we don’t owe each other anything.”

I could feel my face dropped.

Brushing past me, he disappeared into his room.

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