I tossed and turned, but it was impossible to find the right position. A lingering haze of sleep sat somewhere at the back of my mind, but it’s too far away to reach, floating in the river of my anxious thoughts. Only when I finally managed to fall asleep, Lexi’s shaky voice woke me up in the middle of the night; though I can’t say I was actually sleeping through this tense period. Thinking about Leonardo, Avery, and someone named Yellow Eye. Not having any answers for days, finally, we got one.
Avery is alive.
I don’t think I can fall asleep, not after the news. Thinking about the next step, planning it all over and over again in my head; at this point, I know our only task is to get Avery out of there alive. I won’t repeat the past mistakes. I won’t lose anyone else.
Still somewhere deep inside me, I can’t stop blaming myself for the past mistakes. Especially that I left Brent behind, and for a year I thought he was dead. If I hadn’t left him there, alone with Pereira... Everything would still be the same. I was selfish, that’s why we are where we are now. I am short tempered and did some wrong in my life but I can see myself as a bad man. I was just washed with bad experience and born more short-tempered than most.
But it’s the pride. Pride that stops me from getting things back to how they were. And I begin to feel that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t do anything right. My strength seem to disappear. My every move doesn’t feel adequate to the demands. The raw feeling in my chest is something to be ashamed of. I need to change something.
And that means the blood has to be spilled.
I watched Beverly, sleeping so calmly, sometimes she snuggles deeper into the silken duvet. Her golden hair spread out around her head like a halo, making her look more like an angel than a human. She’s my angel, my light, my love. I chuckle when I realize that the devil could fall in love with someone so pure and good. But she makes me a better person, a better version of my own self.
God, how much I love this woman. How much I love her silky skin, her perfect blue eyes, deep like the ocean. Only now I realize I have been in love with her since the day I saw her, and yet I still get the same feeling I got when she first told me she loves me back.
Her lips against mine gives me such a rush that nearly makes me fall over. Each day with her is another day I fall more for her smile, her laugh, her personality and everything else about her.
She’s my number one, my priority, and I’ll do everything to keep her safe and happy.
Even if I’ll have to sacrifice my life for her.
But as soon as her glimmering eyes opened early in the morning; about 7 A.M., we both made a decision. We had a conversation about her dreams, and there’s only one person that deserves to know what Beverly was seeing for a year.
I knocked on Brent’s door, and with seconds he opened it; I know him long enough, he’s definitely a morning person. He wears his shorts and a t-shirt, and the sweat covering his skin and soaked into his clothes means he was working out. Like he does every morning.
“Morning. We need to talk.”
Brent steps aside, letting us enter the room. The room is light blue with beautiful murals on the wall, just like ours and probably any other room in the hotel; but the it’s so neat that even I start to feel dirty. That’s the thing about Brent, he’s a pedant, and can’t stand anything that’s dirty or not right.
Funny, considering that blood doesn’t bother him at all.
And of course, everywhere he goes, he always carries a framed picture of Avery; a picture he took when they were together. This is probably the only thing he has to remind him of their relationship; though no matter how many years have passed, he still feels the same about her.
“So... What’s going on?”
Beverly takes a seat on a little leather couch; there’s no smile on her face, only nervousness in her eyes; maybe she’s afraid that Brent won’t believe her, or that he might get mad. I stop by the window and glance at the beautiful morning outside; a perfect weather for today’s plan.
“Avery is alive.”
Brent’s body froze, though deep inside he was hoping, maybe he knew that she is very much alive. But the words, said out loud was something he needed all those years, for his hope to become real, for a chance that finally, he’ll get her back.
“What? Have you seen her? Is she okay?”
“Lexi saw her. But I guess you should ask Beverly.”
His eyes slowly leave mine and lock on Beverly, who seems to feel very uncomfortable being in here, when she knows she’ll have to talk about her dreams. Somehow, she feels ashamed about it. That she’s different, that something isn’t right with her. But if she knew Avery... she knew that there was always something different about her.
“What is he talking about?”
“She is alive, but I knew that for a long time now.”
“What? How come?”
I watch them, not saying a word, not interrupting. This is Beverly’s choice, to tell it to him; and she’ll tell as much as she wants, the way she wants him to find out. After all, we’re talking about his true love; and I couldn’t be as gentle as Beverly telling him these kind of news.
“Brent, I had dreams about Avery. From time to time, I saw her in my dreams, but-”
“What the fuck?”
Brent’s wide open eyes reflected everything and saw nothing, he had s reason to get mad, but even he knew he shouldn’t. Behind his eyes there is something more intense than normal thought and his clenched jaw isn’t a good sign.
“Relax, Brent. Listen to Beverly.”
It started a year ago, Brent. And trust me, I didn’t knew who she was, not until I had a dream a few nights ago, when we came to Jacksonville.
“For the first time, I could talk to her. And I immediately knew it was her, after you told us she’s actually clairvoyant...”
“Are you sure it was her?”
Despite the fact he’s offended that we haven’t told him before; the seeds of hope warm his huge body and no matter how large and terrifying the darkness is, it endured like a small pebble to last infinitely and yet it grows and grows; and I know the only reason he gets up in the morning is hope, hope to see Avery. And now it became more real than it was ever before.
“Yes. I know it was her.”
“But... I don’t get it. Do you know her?”
“So why do you see her? Why I can’t see her?”
I watch both of them; Beverly, afraid to say something wrong, something that can hurt Brent even more. And Brent, having a fight between hope and disappointment inside his head, not sure how to feel about these news. A woman he loved for all those years is appearing in a girl’s, that never even met her, dreams.
“Brent, I’m sorry. But I have no idea.”
“Don’t worry. You will ask her yourself when we’ll get her back.”
Brent sighs before slowly walking to me, like he was not sure if he should do it; just because all this time there was tension between us. We’re not the same Brent and Kai anymore, and there’s no need to hide it. But I get him, I understand him so much that I can’t keep being angry with him. I couldn’t understand it if I hadn’t found my true love myself; and now I know I could do anything to be with her forever.
“You know I can’t live with false hope, not again.”
“Brent, she is alive.”
“But you never cared about her enough to help me find her.”
“I fucking care about you, Brent.”
His eyes examine mine; like he was looking for something that tells I’m lying, something that prevents him from believing in me. Because all that he thought is that I will never forgive him.
“Does that mean... you forgive me?”
“Of course I forgive you, dumbass. But just so you know, if you’ll ever leave me alone again I’ll fucking end you myself.”
“Oh God, Kai!”
A smile; a genuine, happy smile appears on his face and in that moment his arms squeezed me tight and I srart to breathe more slowly, my body melting into my best friend’s; whom I missed more than I though, my every muscle lost its tension in that short moment. And it felt like life, real life.
“I promise I won’t leave you. Ever again.”
“And I promise we will get Avery back.”
Brent pulls back with the same serious face expression he always wears, and just a warm Beverly’s face makes me feel that all of our problems are going to disappear; that we will win, like we always do. I feel capable of anything, just because I have her by my side.
“But what are we going to do now?”
“Well, first of all, we need to get some answers. And I know exactly how to do it.
“Remember everything I told you. If you’ll screw up, we might not get another chance.”
I whisper, sitting with Aaron by my side in the middle of Riverside park. The day is too beautiful for what’s about to happen; but it has to be done, the sooner the better, so we could save Avery and find out who the Phoenix and Yellow Eye is.
Every one of us has a earphone, connected to each other so we could keep talking and warn each other in case something goes wrong. But to be honest; I don’t think something might go wrong.
“Don’t be afraid. You can do this.”
“I’m not fucking afraid. I hate that I have to be the one doing this, tho.”
I glance at Lexi, standing by the tree, watching the surroundings; hoping that this will end soon. Her arms crossed by her chest, she’s taping her foot; I know it’s hard for her to do it after everything she had been through, but this is the only way.
“Do you remember both plan A and B, Lexi?”
“Yes. And plan C, where I will cut his throat if he starts acting like a piece of shit.”
We were watching the place in the middle of the woods, where Leonardo and Avery are hiding; and that moron leaves the place every day, to take care of Yellow Eye’s business.
Mostly, he comes to the city only for an hour or even less, but it’s enough time to do what we need to. And this day will end differently for him.
Everyone took their places, hiding, feeling a little nervous; like they always do before the action starts. Especially Beverly, but as much as she wants him dead, I know she will be able to get herself together.
“Target on the south. Kai, I’m going.”
“Do the best you can, Lexi. Everyone, be prepared.”
She walks down to Leonardo, who came just in time he had to; he always leaves the car by the park, taking a walk to that old warehouse where we saw him the other day. We don’t wait any other moment, walking straight to the building he is supposed to reach.
Before we leave the park, I take the last glance at Leonardo, all suited up, neat; but my eyes catch Aaron’s clenched fists and angry eyes.
“Don’t worry, she’ll come back soon.”
“Lexi. She can take care of herself.”
“I know, but why are you telling me this?”
“Oh come on, that jealousy is all over your face.”
Aaron swallows as his cheeks paint in a soft pink and I immediately realize that maybe I was a little too straightforward.
“You realize she can her you through the earphone?”
“Yeah, she’s not the only one.” I hear Kevin giggling.
My eyes widen at Aaron, who probably wants to kill me at the moment; but I couldn’t help myself when my laughter exploded. Not a chuckle, or a smirk, but blissful, whole-hearted laughter. Aaron rolls his eyes, but surprisingly, the corners of his lips arch up and he lets out a genuine laughter. Two assassins, doing a kidnap mission, laughing like two idiots; weak at the knees, struggling for breath.
I hear everyone giggling through the earphone; and the beauty of this moment fills up my chest with warmth. Despite the situation we’re in... it’s still possible to feel happy.
“Get your shit together, you assholes.”
We finally reached the building, on which’s roof is Brooklyn and Brent, with their guns ready if someone will try to protect Leonardo. Beverly and Kevin are hiding behind the building, waiting for my sign to come out and block the way out, while Lexi is following Leonardo from behind.
“He’s almost there. Be ready.”
The only person that could follow him was Lexi; she’s the best at those things, besides, Leonardo has no idea she works with us. We hid behind one of the dumpsters, watching the street, waiting for his disgusting face to come into the view.
“I’m so fucking excited.”
And with my last word, his tall frame appears in the way. His face expression is serious, head raised up and confident, not turning around, heading straight to the steel door of the building. Carrying a little suitcase, probably with money. I watch Lexi, appearing behind him and with a maneuvering move she throws a chain weapon at him; it flies so directly at him, spinning around his neck and pushing him on the ground, all choking and coughing.
As my moment comes I step into the light; my steps are big, aggressive, leading me straight to him. Because I’ve waited for this for so long.
Beverly and Kevin blocks the way behind him as Lexi grabs him by his arms, getting him on his knees as his eyes meet mine and fear flashes through him; his skin turns pale as his breath gets heavy with my every step closer to him.
I finally reach him, and a smile appears on my face. Within seconds, my humanity leaves me and desire for blood gets stronger. There’s zero compassion left in me, zero warning, zero second chances, absolutely no feelings. Not when I spin the syringe with juice of Belladonna, a liquid that causes paralysis that Aaron gave to me; and slowly, the needle sinks into the skin of his chest as his breath completely stops.
I let out a laughter; a cruel, cold cackle that froze him in his spot and drained all hope, strength, replacing them with a feeling of despair, hopelessness and most of all, fear, which is all visible in his eyes. And at that moment, it gives me so much pleasure. Because I’m too impatient to see him bleeding.