Then You Look At Me

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Run

~Lost and broke, I feel like we can’t get anywhere, enough to feel like leaving. Hopeless but I know that this can’t be everything. We don’t need this heartache. We could break away if you really want to run. Hard to keep the pace when you’re staring at the sun.~ Harrison Storm.

Chapter Theme Song: 'Run' by Harrison Storm.

Warning: Chapter may be disturbing to some readers. Contains: Excessive swearing, violence and crime.

••

Third-person Pov

“Where on earth should we go from here?” Alex asks Alaric. “Do you think Ron Moretto will allow us to easily leave this city? The son of a bitch runs this town.”

Alaric runs a palm over his face. “Good point. We are in the lion’s den right now.”

Instantly, the boys take notice of a group of cops in blue standing at the end of the road. They are stopping cars and seemingly carrying out spot checks.

Alaric tenses up. “Shit. I have a bad feeling about this. We have the guns in the back, we can’t get caught by the fucking cops.”

Max, who is riding his motorbike in front of the van holds his hand up, pointing a finger to his left to signal to them that he is taking an alternate route, opposite to the one they are currently on.

“Follow closely behind him,” Alaric orders Alex, just before his cell starts ringing from his lap. With a tired grunt, he takes it up and presses it to his ear.

“Ian?”

His face screws up as he jams a finger into his left ear. “Speak slower.” Rapid breathing and chattering can be heard on the opposite end as Alaric’s face slowly blanches. “They found out. How the hell—” He puts a hand to his forehead and Ansel glides to the edge of his seat.

“They found out?”

Alaric nods at him before responding to Ian. “Get out of there now, they will kill you. Yeah, I know you got this. Stay safe, little guy.” He hangs up, shaking his head before glancing back at his brothers with an anxious expression.

They know Alaric. He is the type to stay composed even in the worst situation but today he seems unnerved and the brothers can tell.

This whole predicament is sketchy; he was not prepared for this. Yes, he and the boys were planning on raiding Ron’s camp, but this is all too sudden, and now he has to be thinking on his toes for this early quandary.

Rainey feels awful. Not only has she made matters worse, but Ansel won’t even look at her. She has been earnestly trying to catch his eyes to offer even a soundless apology, but he is deliberately looking everywhere else but at her.

••

“Ian! Open this door!” Fred is beating against the old wooden door of the bathroom that the thin boy stands behind, his eyes frantically scanning for an escape route.

Luckily, Ian is a remarkably observant person. After he excused himself to the back door and reported to Alaric that Rainey was with Ron Moretto, he returned inside to find Ron watching him suspiciously. Keeping his head bent, he finds his seat and continues to work.

After Moretto left the camp, Fred got a phone call less than thirty minutes after. Ian watched as the man’s face morphs into all sorts. Fred then looks at him with narrowed eyes and the boy lowers his hazel orbs immediately, an upsurge of premonition washing over him.

He instantly conjures up from his seat and quickly makes his way to the bathroom. He phones Alaric, informing him that they have found out and that they will surely kill him. Ian then assured him that he will find a way to escape and that they should focus on leaving the city. Hence why at this very moment he is pressing his skinny back against the door while the brawny man beats it down.

“I will kick this motherfucking door down! Come out here at once, you fucking snitch! You’re dead!”

Ian spots an old window positioned above the discolored toilet. He drags a chair and snags beneath the round handle of the door, to ensure it remains locked before scurrying over to his escape route. He climbs on top of the toilet and grips the windowsill, grunting softly as he pulls his body through.

Sitting on the window ledge, he looks down at the narrow alley below him. He is a good distance up from the ground which means jumping down could result in him breaking a leg. However, injuring a limb is far more optional than being shot in the head with a rifle, and so when he hears the loud creak of the bathroom door as it plunges open, he blows his cheeks out before quickly releasing his hold. Landing badly on his gaunt legs, he utters a soft profanity through gritted teeth before sprinting through the aisle as swift as lightning.

As he gets around to the front of the Hardware, a series of gunshots chime after him. The boy ducks his head as he keeps his feet moving, a few men chasing behind him as they release ammo rapidly.

“Don’t let the son of a bitch escape!” Fred bellows, quickly reloading his rifle before opening fire repeatedly, his body jerking each time his gun recoils.

As Ian passes by a metal fence, one of the bullets hit the pole and grazes his shoulder. “Ah, shit,” he hisses, pressing his palm to the bleeding area as he continues to run. The men keep chasing behind him, but the boy is much too slippery and swift, and so he soon outruns them until his small body is no longer in view.

••

“Ian. Yeah. Oh, thank God.” Alaric lays his head against the headrest, breathing down into his phone. “Good job, little guy.”

Ian is the cousin of Drake--one of Alaric’s men. They deem it would be wise to use him as the mole since his looks can be greatly deceiving. He’s a tiny boy with an angular figure and he has big hazel eyes that tend to appear innocent. He’s also a good sprinter and can fit into the narrowest of spaces.

“Is he alright?” Arden questions as Alaric gets off the phone, nodding in response.

“Yeah, he’s alright.”

“Thank God.” Aiden sighs.

“You have got be kidding me…” Alex mutters, as the van slows down. Everyone fixes their attention ahead to see a new set of cops, patrolling a few distances down the road.

“The cops are everywhere.” Alaric shakes his head. “They must be working for Ron Moretto. Bunch of kiss-ass bastards.”

“What do we do now?” Arden asks.

Max’s motorbike comes to a halt as he raises his hand again. He does a circular motion with his finger, indicating that he’s turning back. As he makes a U-turn and rides back up, he stops at Alex’s window and he winds it down to hear what he has to say.

“If we go that way, we’re fucked. We need to find another way to leave the city.”

“Without a doubt, the cops are going to be at every possible entrance and exit,” Alaric says. “How the hell do we leave then?”

“I think I know this place where we can hopefully travel by boat to get back to Crossview. I know this man who owns some boats, haven’t heard from him in a while though.”

“We should probably just stay and face Ron Moretto.” Alex hisses, throwing a hand in the air. “All this running feels like bullshit.”

Max shakes his head in disapproval. “That’s suicide. The man has an army of men here, alongside dirty cops; this is his territory. We need to get back to Crossview and round up our men. We aren’t properly prepared for this right now.”

“Where do you suggest we go?” Ansel inputs. “I feel like this whole city will be covered with his corrupted cops.”

Max sighs. “Follow me.” He rides away and Alex adjusts his handbrake before turning the van around and following behind him.

••

“Ry, where’s Rainey? She isn’t here?” Robert squints his eyes at Riley as she sits on the couch, anxiously fiddling with the hem of her denim shorts.

The brothers have instructed her to not spill the fact that Rainey is at Freetown in the presence of Ron Moretto, the reason being that they would hate for Robert to further detest the idea of Rainey staying at Crossview. They had made a promise to her dad that they would always protect her, and this ordeal would surely waver his faith in them.

However, they had ordered Riley that if they did not return in two hours, she had the permission to disclose where they were and what had happened. It has only been an hour since they left and so she is not allowed to say anything though she is close to cracking.

She squirms slightly beneath the expectant eyes of Robert, Austin, and Melissa who are scrutinizing her with interest.

“Where are the boys?” Austin enquires, gazing around the living room before focusing back to her. “They were here this morning and now the house is empty. I've been trying to call them but no response, from any of them. Where are they?”

“They—I have no idea…they didn’t tell me where they were going.”

Robert narrows his eyes at her. “What about Rainey, where is she?”

“She’s at the mall.” Riley sighs.

She hates lying so much but she has no choice right now. The boys had left in an unfamiliar black van, stating that Rainey is in trouble and that she should not tell their parents anything until the allotted time. She is unaware of the full details, but she can tell that dangerous things are about to go down between the boys and Ron Moretto. She just hopes that her dishonesty does not have fatal consequences.

The adults look among themselves and Riley feels as if they are not buying her fables one bit.

“Riley.” Robert exhales tiredly, sitting beside her with a softened gaze. She swallows nervously, her emerald eyes staring back at him. “I know you’re hiding something, sweetheart. It’s okay, you can tell us.”

“Did the boys tell you not to say anything?” Austin checks and Riley shakes her head quickly, her palms mirroring the same action.

“You can talk, sweetie.” Melissa smiles a little.

“No.” Riley shakes her head. “They didn’t tell me to not say anything because there is nothing to say. I am not hiding anything. I don’t know where the boys are and Rainey told me that she was going to the mall, that’s all I know.”

Rob sighs in defeat, rubbing his forehead as he looks up at the boys’ parents. They all have similar faces of distress; they can easily sense Riley’s dishonesty.

••

The van comes to a stop on a dusty mountain-peak area with green lush trees surrounding it. The landscape is isolated and high up, making the sky appear lower than normal. They climb out of the van and Max gets off his motorbike and joins them as Alaric opens the trunk to retrieve their weapons.

“What now?” Arden questions, squinting his eyes from the evening sun as Aiden shoves a pistol into his hands.

“We get ready for war,” he says.

“I’ll call the boat-guy while you guys get the guns ready. If Ron finds us before we get on that sea, then we’ll have to do what we have to do.” With that Max walks off, tapping away on his cell before putting it to his ear.

“I’ll try to get through to Ken and Joe. I don’t know how they’ll get here considering the borders are all covered by cops, but I’ll have to try.” Alaric sighs hopefully as he too plods away from the group.

Rainey can feel the strong aloofness radiating off Ansel as he grabs one of the Glocks from the open trunk. His expression is serious and concentrated as he loads bullets into the gun. There is no way to measure the amount of guilt she is currently experiencing. If something bad happens to anyone today, she will be blaming herself for the rest of her life.

“Do you need help?” She offers quietly. He shakes his head firmly, still refusing to look at her. Alex glances at them with interest as he pushes a clip into the chamber of his gun.

“Are you sure?” She reaches for one of the weapons suggestively. “It would make our job a lot easier if I just—”

“Why do you always have to be so stubborn?” Ansel shoots her stern look, and the brothers pull aghast gazes in their direction.

Rainey feels a stab to her heart as she retreats her hand. “Just trying to help.”

“You don’t need to.” He shakes his head, reaching for another ammo. “I already told you that, but you never listen.”

“You don’t have to be like this, I get it, you know.” She crosses her arms. “I know what I did was unwise and—”

“Unwise?” He scoffs. “Unwise is an understatement. It was foolish and it made you seem naïve and you’re not a naïve person, so I don’t know what the hell went wrong.”

“Ansel.” Aiden rests a hand on his shoulder, patting him lightly. “Chill.”

Rainey’s eyes begin to get wet as she twists her lips. “I am sorry. I didn’t mean for it to be like this.”

“You’re always sacrificing yourself for others. I don’t know why you keep doing things like that.” A line forms between Ansel’s brows as he glares at her with blazing eyes. “You don’t think about how it’ll make the people who genuinely love you feel. Giving up yourself to that drug lord, did you honestly think that that would make me happy? It wouldn’t and it didn’t, so that was a waste of your efforts because it made me anything but! Your choice was impulsively selfish and stupid.”

“Ansel.” Alex urges him to stop and a teardrop leaves Rainey’s eye and falls along her cheek. Her intentions were good. She just wanted to protect him but that only resulted in him being angry with her. She has never seen him like this, and it shatters her heart.

The world can be angry with her, cuss her out as they please. But Ansel? It kills her when he does.

When he sees the tears gathered in her eyes, his gaze softens entirely, and he blows his cheeks out before throwing the gun down and walking away from the scene.

Rainey plops down onto the open space of the trunk and wipes her eyes with her wrist, but it is useless since the tears refuse to stop flowing. Not even her mom’s words of abuse had hurt her this much. There is just something about Ansel being angry with her that makes her feel like the world is closing in on her.

Alex sits next to her, playfully bumping her shoulder as Aiden and Arden crash on the ground in front of her.

“Hey, hey~ stop crying.” Alex bounces her shoulder again and she presses a palm to her face as her shoulders quiver.

“He didn’t mean that.” Aiden cajoles. “Ansel is like that when he’s angry, he says a ton load of shit that he’ll regret later. He loves you.”

“Yeah.” Arden nods sympathetically. “Give him some time, he’ll come around.”

Rainey removes her hand. Her cheeks and eyes are red from crying. “I am sorry. I just wanted to protect you guys. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

“We know, and it’s okay.” Alex smiles while he throws an arm around her. “Ansel is just still in a state of fright. He was scared that he would lose you; he almost died of anxiety on the way here to get you.”

Rainey stares at the dirt road beneath her feet. Ansel’s words are like a broken mixtape, replaying in her mind over and over again. She wants nothing more than to make things right.

Alex sighs, gently pulling her into a comforting side-hug. He pats her arm and her eyes flutter shut at the warm consolation.

“It’s okay, Rain. We don’t hate you; we appreciate you caring about us. Ansel loves you. That’s just how he is when he cares about someone. Don’t cry.”

“Yeah, we hate to see you cry; it doesn’t suit you. You’re a strong, badass chic. I mean, you cracked a girl’s head open, not every girl has that amount of strength.” Arden titters in hopes of lifting her sullen mood. It barely worked, but Rainey manages to give a small smile as she and Alex break apart.

“Thank you, guys.” She wipes the last of her tears. “I appreciate it.”

They smile.

“We are fucked. Max is unable to get through to the boat-guy.” Alaric returns over to the van, his expression one of extreme distress. “I guess it’s just war.”

“Did you get through to Ken?” Aiden worries.

“Yeah. They are going to try to get here by boat. Max also knows a few guys in Freetown; not much. They are on their way to help us right now.”

Arden nods. “Okay.”

“Oh shit!” Max suddenly exclaims, hurrying over to the group apprehensively. “I hear the sound of vehicles. And it’s not the men I called to help because they wouldn’t get here this fast.”

“Shit. It’s Ron Moretto. Where’s Ansel?” Alaric looks around just as Ansel returns to the trunk and grabs one of the Glocks.

“There are vehicles coming up the trail,” he says. “I can hear them.”

Three large vans are coming up the dirt track, a BMW following closely behind them. Ansel grips Rainey’s hand in his and her eyes fall to the action as he pulls her with him to the front of their van. He stoops down with her, a hand on her shoulder while his gun is in the other.

“Do you know how to shoot a gun?” He checks, and she shakes her head.

He half-smiles. “Remind me to teach you later.”

His words bring her hope. They will make it out alive, won’t they?

“Stay behind the van, don’t move okay?” He tells her and she shakes her head frantically, not liking the sound of this. He could die out there, she cannot stay here and not do anything.

“Rainey, please.” He begs her.

She doesn’t want to appear stubborn, so she nods her head, her face melting with dismay.

“I am sorry for yelling at you earlier and for saying all those things,” he says remorsefully. “I promise that I’ll give you a better apology later when this is all over.”

The sorrow in her eyes causes him to release a sigh, and he presses his lips to her head. “We’ll be okay, yeah?”

She nods sadly, closing her eyes. She hopes so.

A gunshot goes off, causing their bodies to jerk in response. Ansel quickly breaks away from her, leaving her now barren and empty as he returns to the trunk of the van.

Crossfire. He has entered a crazy hectic gun battle.

Ansel keeps his head bent as he seeks refuge at the side of the van. He realizes that the Freetown men who Max had called to assist them have finally arrived by a pick-up truck. There are now eleven of them in total, but they are still outnumbered by Ron’s shooters, being that he brought twenty-five men in all.

Dust and gun smoke circulate in the air, and the loud, deafening sound of gunshots shakes the earth as both parties open fire simultaneously. With every few leads released from the heavy weapons, the brothers take cover behind their van and the pick-up truck before raising their guns and firing again.

Ron’s goons possess skillful marksmanship, and their ability to aim accurately is nothing compared to the brothers’ army. Ansel can feel a small tinge of worry settling in as he stoops down at the side of the van, quickly reloading ammo into his Glock. A heavy breathing Alex squats next to him, the dirt gravels crunching beneath his sneakers as he hurriedly injects more leads into his gun.

“This is not looking good, Ansel.” He shakes his head rapidly, his clammy fingers moving swiftly. “They are fucking professionals.”

“Where’s Alaric?” Ansel’s gun is fully reloaded, and he elevates it beside his head as he gets ready to aim again.

“Behind the pick-up truck.”

“Are the twins alright too?”

“Yeah, they’re on the other side. Where’s Rainey?”

“At the front of the van.” Ansel fixes his gun on an unmindful target who is vigorously shooting at a cornered Alaric. He compresses the trigger with utmost focus, clenching his teeth as the bullet hits the man in the stomach. He quickly lowers himself again, using his knuckle to wipe the perspiration from his forehead. “I told her not to move. I can’t have her getting hurt.”

“You were too hard on her earlier, you know that, right?” Alex rises to fire again, and Ansel sighs. He knows his earlier behavior was harsh, but he was just so mad that she would think to give herself up like that. He loves her and he cannot lose her.

Alex bends down again as Ansel nods admittingly. “Yeah, I know.” He swallows the dryness in his throat. “But I can’t believe she was about to sacrifice herself like that.”

“She wanted to protect you. She loves you.” Alex breathes. “Like crazy, Ansel.”

A sound from behind causes both boys to defensively point their guns in the direction. Alaric holds his palms up, his body crouching at ground level as his eyes open wide. “Woah, easy there. It’s just me.”

The boys lower their Glocks as he moves closer to them. “We are outnumbered, and I don’t know where the fuck Ken and Joe are. The best option is to try and escape for now. Max says he and the guys will try to keep them off while we try to escape. Get ready to shoot while running.”

Ansel nods.

Amidst the intense fusillade, Rainey feels her body tremoring with unease. At each gunshot that goes off, her body jolts in response. She shuts her eyes, pressing her face against her knees as she prays that the brothers are all alright.

A sudden shake of her shoulder causes her to jump in fright as she reclines onto her palms in terror. She makes out Ansel’s face amidst the bright glow of sun positioned above his head, and her heart thaws.

“We have to run, and I need you to stay close to me, alright?”

She nods rapidly as he takes her hand in his. He pulls her with him as he keeps firing at Ron’s men. Rainey sees the brothers ahead, leading the way as they open fire as well. There is no sign of injury and she feels a huge wad of relief. Thank God they are all alright.

They sprint through trees as some of Ron’s men chase after them through the forest area. The sound of cracking sticks beneath their feet and disturbed chirping birds fills the anxious void. Ansel is holding her hand so tightly that it is almost painful, but she doesn’t want him to let go. She is scared. Scared that she will lose him. She needs him to stay close to her through this all, that is the only way her heart will feel a little at ease.

Her right ankle decides to twist at relatively bad timing, and she winces, slowing down as Ansel looks back at her with concern. His hair is wet with sweat as he breathes heavily. “What’s wrong, Rain?”

“My ankle...let’s keep moving.” She attempts to move but the pain is evident on her face. He stoops down in front of her, griping her legs and pulling her onto his back. He hoists her up, positioning his palms on her thighs as she wounds her arms around his neck.

It is an inappropriate time for romantic flashbacks, but Rainey cannot resist thinking back to the night of that fashion banquet. Her heel had broken while they were leaving the hotel, resulting in him carrying her on his back to his car. She was resistant then but now she is immensely grateful to be this close to him. She tightens her hold on him as he continues to run.

Alaric points to the left. “Let’s go this way!”

She can feel the rapid thumping of Ansel’s heart, her cheek resting relatively close to his racing temple. He is anxiously discomposed. An emotion she rarely sees on him. She wishes she could tell him that everything will be alright, but she is not sure about that herself.

As they hurry down a narrow track lined with broken sticks and leaves, Alaric who is leading the way stops abruptly, and the rest of them follows suit.

In front of them is a stony cliff with a large body of water beneath. The smell of wet rocks and the sound of water hitting against stone circulates in the air as they stand there hopelessly.

“This is a fucking dead-end!” Arden drags a hand through his damp hair, as the sound of rustling leaves pulls their gazes to the armed men emerging from the bushes.

Ansel sighs. “Shit.” He lets Rainey down from his back and tugs her behind him, his hand gripping hers protectively.

Fred is leading the pack and a few dirty ‘cops’ are with them. The brothers are now vastly outnumbered as the men aim their guns at them. Ron Moretto transpires from the group of men, a smirk on his face as he casually brushes imaginary dust from his dark blue jacket.

“Because of you boys, my favorite tuxedo got dirty. I’m gonna need a new one.” He sighs in mock frustration, and Rainey feels when Ansel’s grip strengthens on her.

“You boys must be immortal or something. Twenty-five men, and not a scratch on any of you.” Ron cackles.

“What on earth do you want from us?” Alaric’s forehead wrinkles. He is beyond fed up. “You already killed our uncles, ruined our family, and now you want to kill us, what the fuck have we ever done to you?”

Ron shrugs. “Honestly, I do not know how to answer that. I just hate you people. Do I have to have a reason for that?”

“You’re just like your psychotic niece. You’re both envious and evil.” Rainey spits. “I suppose it runs in the blood.”

He turns his gaze to her, smiling in amusement. “Rainey Slate. I gave you one clear instruction. ’Stay in the car.′ Now, look where your disobedience landed you.”

“Don’t act like this isn’t all part of your plan; you wanted me to escape!”

He lets out a deep laugh, his chest vibrating as he does. “I’m sorry but enlighten me here. Weren’t you the one who called me, saying you’re offering yourself over on the behalf of your beloved King brothers? I am not the one who sought you out, Rainey Slate. You came here on your own. So, all of this today…” He waves his forefinger around. “Will be your fault.”

“Shut the hell up,” Ansel warns, and Ron raises his palms.

“You’re right, talking does no good. I’ll give you guys a fair fight. Drop your weapons and my men will drop theirs and I’ll give you the chance to battle it out the old-fashioned way. Fighting. If you defeat all these men here, then I shall let you guys walk free. I’ll take my losses.”

“Don’t believe him,” Aiden whispers to Alaric. “You know Ron Moretto doesn’t stick to his words; he likes to fuck around.”

“We don’t have much of a choice, do we?” Alex mutters to them. “There is a cliff behind us and an army of men with guns in front of us.”

Ron scratches his eyelid in feign impatience. “Any fucking day now…”

“Why should we trust you? Let your men drop their weapons first.” Alaric narrows his eyes at him.

The drug lord sighs and nods to his men, and they submissively throw their weapons aside upon order. They fold their fists, raising them forward in a position to fight. The brothers skeptically drop their guns, their eyes steadily watching the men in front of them.

“Stay back, okay?” Ansel whispers to Rain and she obliges, limping a few steps backward from the boys.

The vicious men lunge forward, and the fight begins.

Fist smashing against skin, followed by loud groans and grunts laced with testosterone. Everything is moving too fast for Rainey; her eyes are unable to keep focused as a wave of vertigo sends her head spinning. Anxiety and stress are a bad combination, and her ankle is still throbbing painfully. She grips her head, shutting her eyes for a while before reopening them. She blinks away the sweat and dirt blurring her vision.

The brothers are handling themselves well. The opposing side may be skilled at Marksmanship, but the boys are much better fighters.

Ron is extremely infuriated. The King boys are way too competitive. This is another reason why he detests the ‘King family’ so much; their ability to fight and push through any situation is something he has always coveted. Their perseverance enrages him.

A strong surge of jealousy coils within him. He beckons to one of the tainted cops who are standing by the sidelines, patiently waiting to clean up after Ron’s dirty work. The plan was that after Ron kills Rainey and the boys the cops would pin weapons and drugs on them, falsely reporting to the law that they were just a bunch of teenage kids caught doing drugs and when they were cornered by the police they attempted to attack, thus resulting in them getting gunned down.

Amidst the chaotic fight, the cop makes his way over to Ron. He pulls his shades off, chewing a gum casually as Ron leans over into his ear. “We need to weaken them a bit. Shoot the girl.”

He nods in obedience.

Rainey’s biting her lower lip anxiously, to the point that it starts to bleed. The brothers are currently having the upper hand, but she has this weird ominous feeling in her chest that this won’t end well for them.

The sound of cocking gun causes her to turn her gaze to the man aiming the weapon at her.

She stiffens in her spot, raising her palms cautiously as confusion transforms her face. Glancing at Ron, she sees that he’s wearing a sly smirk, and realization dawns on her. She should have known; Ron Moretto never plays fair. She quickly examines the surrounding. The brothers are all indulged in their heated combat, having no clue that a gun is being pointed at her.

A soft breath escapes her as she pulls her eyes back to the impure civil servant. She takes notice of the man’s attire and the badge of honor pinned to the chest of his uniform.

“You’re a cop…” She carefully limps back, grimacing at the pain in her ankle. “Don’t do this.”

She continues to slowly regress, stopping to look behind her. She is now close to the edge of the cliff.

“Do you have kids?” She tries. “How would they feel to know that you’re doing this?”

Her words are ineffective. The man’s eyes are null--like a soulless creature--having no trace of humanity. Rainey concludes that pleading is useless, no amount of persuasion will be able to move his damnable heart. If he still has one. She watches as his finger motions over the trigger and her breathing accelerates as she clenches her eyes shut.

BOOM!

He pulls the trigger, but instead of being hit with a bullet, Rainey finds herself being pushed to the ground. Falling onto her side, she immediately opens her eyes to find Ansel standing in the position she was once in.

She blinks her eyes in puzzlement, as he stands there unmoving. The brothers have all stopped fighting and are now staring at Ansel with wide gimlet-eyes of disbelief.

From the angle Rainey is at, she is unable to see his face but when she realizes that he’s clutching his chest, her eyes widen in horror.

No...no...

Ansel turns his face to look at her, and his gaze appears dull and almost…lifeless? He stumbles back silently, and Rainey watches in hebetation as his eyes roll to the back of his head before he falls backward and over the cliff.

What just happened?

She stares in space; her body numb and stiff. What the hell just happened?

Ron’s heinous laugh cuts through the thick silence. “So, Jack decided to sacrifice himself for Rose, this is touching. Though not exactly how I pictured it. The girl was to die first but I guess it doesn’t matter since you all are going to die anyway.”

“YOU SHOT MY BROTHER, YOU SON OF A BITCH!!!!” Alex cries out, and Ron’s men use the distraction to tackle the boys to the ground, restraining their hands painfully behind them as they press their hot shoes into the sides of their faces. The brothers’ eyes are all teared open in awe as tears slip from them.

Rainey’s disoriented gaze falls to the spot Ansel was once in, and the spots of blood on the ground kicks her back into reality.

She screams out, tears springing from her eyes as she desperately crawls to the brink of the cliff. She looks down at the body of water below, her eyes watery and wild with disbelief.

“Ansel. N-no…no, no, no, no…”

She motions to push herself over when a rough hand yanks her back by her hair, plunging her body against the ground. Her head hits hard against the solid surface, but she cannot feel a thing as she springs up, frantically crawling on her hands and knees back to the edge.

No. She can’t be without him. She can’t live without him.

“ANSEL!!!! Oh my God, no...no, no, no, no.”

She is burying her hands in her hair, thick teardrops clouding her vision. She bawls at the top of her lungs, wanting to throw herself over when a hand wraps around her stomach, dragging her away from the ridge as her legs scrape against the hard ground. She thrashes wildly, flailing her hands around as she screams.

“LET ME GO!!!! LET GO OF ME!!!! I have to go down there, I have to save him, please. Ansel, I can’t live without him, please….!!!!”

Ron Moretto rubs his forehead in annoyance as Fred roughly clutches the weeping girl with one hand, not caring if he is hurting her. His strong veiny arm presses against her abdomen as she frantically stretches her arms toward the cliff, whimpering and screaming.

“LET ME THE FUCK GO!!!! I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!! I AM GOING TO FUCKING KILL ALL OF YOU…ANSEL…I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT HIM, I’LL DIE WITHOUT HIM, PLEASE!!!!”

She’s shaking her head repeatedly, her face red and wet with tears.

“You don’t understand; I need him. I really need him. Take your hand off me…I need to save him please.” She attempts to peel the man’s hand away, but he only tightens his hold, squeezing the life out of her stomach. “LET ME GO. ANSEL!!!! Please…please let me go. I’ll do whatever you guys want. I’ll do whatever you say, please let me save him…Please!!”

She’s desperately pleading now, begging the merciless man holding her to let her go but his face is as hard as his boss’s.

“Please! I’ll do whatever you say! I’ll do whatever you want! I have to save him…! Please, oh God, Ansel, no. I really can’t live without him, please!!!!”

Ron rolls his eyes skyward. “She’s so fucking annoying. Please, someone shut her up!”

Fred uses his gun to gash her across the face, and her head tilts away, blood oozing from the deep raw opening forming on her cheek.

“Fuck, stop! DON’T TOUCH HER, YOU ASSHOLE!” Alex cries, his voice muffled by the hot ground.

The muscular man ignores him, using the heavy weapon to hit Rainey again, this time in the head. The brothers shut their eyes from the scene, unable to watch as tears bleed from beneath their eyelids. Her eyes become hazy as black spots cloud her vision. Her lips tremble from pain, and she is still mumbling Ansel’s name when Fred flings her limp body against the ground as if she’s nothing but an inanimate object. Blood drains from her head and her body is shaking from extreme stress and ache.

“Thank you, much better.” Ron breathes.

“I am going to kill you….” Alaric swears, his voice breaking as tears leave his eyes. “I am going to fucking kill every last one of you!!!!”

Ron smiles. “Oh really? With your hands tied and your chest against the ground? I’d love to see that.”

He moves over to a weak Rainey, grabbing her arm and pulling her upright. Her head bobbles on her body, blood dripping down her face and clinging to her eyelash. Her eyes whirl around in her head as Ron roughly grips her cheeks in his big hand. His orbs cloud with iniquity as a devilish smirk rises on his face.

“Who’s the pussy now, Rainey Slate?”


~

~With you I see hope, when before I didn’t care. Now I know I need you.~ Harrison Storm.

~

Author’s Note

Well...that’s a cliffhanger. Pun not intended lol. (⌐■_■)

Don’t give up just yet, this isn’t the end, stay tuned for what happens next!

If you like my story even a tiny bit, don’t forget to click that heart at the bottom❤

If you’re on Wattpad, I have placed the theme song for the next upcoming chapter below this chapter, so you can go have a listen there if you’d like!😊

Song: Kris Allen- ‘Out Alive’ It is right at the bottom✌

Love, Tiffanyluvss❤

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