The Fox (Riders of War - book one)

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Chapter Twelve

Bella

I slowly wake up the next morning and relish in the warmth and comfort coming from Bennett. I roll over and see him still asleep. I take this opportunity to really look at him.

He has a scar under his right eye. It must be an old scar because it has faded a lot. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed it before.

My eyes travel down his face, over his hickey covered neck and to his chest. I look over all his tattoos. My favourite has to be the bear on his left shoulder. I trace over some of his tattoos with my fingers.

I had always wanted a tattoo but I don’t think I could get one. I don’t do well with pain.

I check the time and see it’s almost 11am. I slowly slide out of bed and make my way down stairs. When I get to the bar it is an absolute mess. A bomb would have done less damage.

There is a door near the bar the leads to the kitchen. I put in a pot of coffee and start to clean as I wait. I have to step over sleeping body’s to collect all the glasses. I see one guy sleeping on the floor with half a bread stick in his mouth.

“You look like a little fox running around down here.”

Alex shuffles his way into the room. I smile at him and take the half eaten bread stick out of the sleeping guys mouth.

“I thought everyone would still be asleep.” Alex picks up a few left over glasses and sits them on the bar.

“Everyone is, I usually come down here after party to clean up.”

“Well are you a good egg,” I say moving toward the kitchen.

“A what?” Alex follows me into the kitchen laughing.

“It’s something my mother use to say.” I pour us each a cup of coffee as he pulls out a loaf of bread.

“I’m sorry.” He looks at me with sympathy and pity on his face.

“For what?” Alex pulls out more breakfast food and spreads it out on the counter.

“You said ‘use to’ I just assumed she died.” I shook my head and cracked eggs into a bowl to make scrabbled eggs.

“No she is very much alive. I just haven’t seen her in a long time.”

I miss my family a lot. When I first moved out I would go home during the holidays and I would constantly be talking to my mom. But as time went on I saw them less and less. I only go home for Christmas now. My mom always made a big deal out of Christmas. Even though me and my brother have both grown up we still have a big family Christmas.

Alex and I talk as we make breakfast. We have decide to make a big breakfast with toast, eggs, bacon, hash browns. By the time we finish cooking people have already started to drag themselves down the stairs.

I notice a few girls from last night slip out the door and a few satisfied looking men wonder down not long after.

Bennett stomps into the room looking defeated. He sits down at one of the tables to the side and rests his head in his arms. He hadn’t seen me yet. So I make up a plate and a coffee for him.

“Did you have a rough night or something?” I wink at Bennett but he still has a deep frown.

“I thought you left.” He sat back in his chair and stared intensely at me. My stomach drops, of course he doesn’t want me here. He got what he wanted from me now I have to go.

“You’re right I should... I should go.” I got up from the chair and try to leave. Bennett reaches out and grabs my arm pulling me back down.

“No I’m glad you’re still here,” he says smiling at me. He digs into his breakfast. I scan the room to see everybody eating, from here I can tell that all the food is gone.

“You’re not eating?” Bennett sets his knife and fork down in the plate. He set his mouth in a hard line and his nose twitches. I’m starting to think this man really cares about me.

“I ate while I was cooking.”

After breakfast Bennett reluctantly took me home, after he offered a encore of last night. I change my clothes and head out to visit Emily. I stop at a florist on the way to the hospital.

“Knock knock.” I open Emily’s door holding the flowers behind my back.

“Bella what are you doing here?” She sits up on the bed. She is surprised to see me here again.

“I have a present for you,” I reveal the bouquet of multi coloured roses. “Tada.”

“Oh my god they are gorgeous.” She takes them from my hands and breathes in the scent. “What are these for?”

“I remember you said how boring the hospital is so thought I should get you something to brighten the place up.” She looks like she is about to cry. I try to lighten the mood. “Besides I checked and they wouldn’t let me bring in a disco ball.”

She lets out a loud stomach laugh and puts the flowers in the empty vase next to the bed.

“Who did that?” I see the smile come back to her face once more.

“The florist down the street, apparently if you cut the stem and soak them in dye the colour soaks up to the pedals.”

“Not that,” I look over at her confused. She reaches forward and pulls on my scarf. “That.”

“What?” I remember all the hickeys Bennett left on my neck. My face goes red, I pull my feet up onto the chair hugging my knees and hiding my face behind my hair. “On no that’s nothing.”

“Bitch that scarf isn’t fooling anyone.” She is in fits of laughter, clapping her hands.

“You had sex!”

I am mortified. I cringe so hard my body shakes. I can’t believe I am sitting here with a girl I didn’t know a week ago, talking about my sex life.

“You have got to tell me what happened,” her smile only grew the more embarrassed I got. My eyes widen at what she said. This girl want me to tell her all the details.

“Emily!”

“Not the sex part just the stuff leading up to it.” She shakes her head. She pauses for a moment and nods her head to the side. “And maybe a little of the sex stuff.”

“Emily!”

“Was it good?” My face heats up even more. The blush from my cheeks over my entire face.

“I can’t believe you.” I bury my face into my knees that are still pulled up to my chest.

“Oh was it bad?” The concerned thick in her voice.

I lifted my head to rest my chin on my knees. The corners of my mouth turn up, I couldn’t hold back a smile. I shook my head no. It was the best sex I’ve ever had.

“Oh you dirty girl!”

I gasp at what Emily just said. She reminds me a bit of Amelia at the moment. We are both end up in fits of laughter. Emily is clutching her sides and wincing in between bouts of laughter.

We eventually calm down. A few giggles slip out as we take deep breaths.

“This is nice, I haven’t laughed like that in a long time.” We both have blissful grins plastered in our faces.

“It is,” Emily closes her eyes for a moment. “Who is this guy anyway?”

“He’s just a guy,” I shrug my shoulders and hope Emily moved on to a different topic.

“Well obviously,” she says rolling her eyes at me. “But like what’s his name? Where’s he from? Does he have a brother I could date?”

“His names Bennett, he’s from here... I think.” Guilt and sadness make their way into my heart as I realise how little I actually know about him. I turned back towards Emily and try to play it off with a coy smile. “I really don’t know that much about him.”

“What does he do for a living?” I tap my fingers on the arms of the chair and bounce my leg up and down. I really didn’t think I’d have to explain this to someone.

“He’s...” This is a lot harder to explain.

“Oh come on, who am I going to tell?” She gestures to the room around her. I suppose she’s right.

“He is a member of the Riders of War” I slowly lift my head to face her. Her eyes are all but popping out of her head. She opens and closes her mouth trying to think of something to say.

“Well I wasn’t expecting that,” she finally said laughing nervously.

“You’re not scared of me now are you?” The leg bouncing continues and I bite my nails waiting for her answer.

“No, I’m a little more intimidated but not scared.”

“I’m sorry but visiting hours are over,” A nurse pops her head in through the door. I collect my things and stand up. I take Emily‘s hand in mine before I leave.

“I have to work tomorrow but I will come back when I can.” Emily was quickly becoming a great friend, she may even be my best friend.

“I know you will.”

Back at home I notice Bennetts bike parked out the front again. When I pull up I see him sitting on the steps the the front of my townhouse.

“Bennett, what are you doing here?” I get out of the car and walk up to him. As soon as he hears me speak he launches himself off the stairs.

“There’s been another body found. I had to make sure you were okay.” He wraps his arms around me holding me close. I can hear his heartbeat fast on his chest, his breath a little shaky.

“Oh Bennett.” I brush the hair out of his eyes. “Come on let’s go inside.”

We sit in silence for a while. Bennett scratches at his beard. The sound is driving me nuts.

“So I’m guessing these bodies are the reason you were so worried about me the other night.” Things are starting to make sense. Like why Bennett broke the door down when I wasn’t home.

“Among other things,” he turns to face me and I raise an eyebrow at him sceptically. He moved his whole body so we sat face-to-face. He rubs his lips together and let out a deep sigh.

“None of the Riders think these are animal attacks.”

The colour drains from my face. Chills run down my spine and my stomach churns. The thought of people dying was enough to make most people never leave the house again. The thought of a murder here in the city would send everyone into complete hysteria.

I felt my stomach churn again and I knew what was coming. I shot off the couch and ran to the bathroom. I fall to my knees in front of the toilet and emptied my stomach.

Bennett came up behind me, gathers my hair up in his hand and rubs my back. I throw up until there was nothing left. Bennett grabs the mouthwash off the sink and hands it to me. I wash my mouth out then sit back against the wall taking a few deep breaths.

“What’s going in inside that pretty little head of yours?” Bennett moved closer to me on the floor and put his arm over my shoulders.

“Emily.”

Of course. All the pieces are falling together. Emily had deep scratches, most like from an animal. The police are calling these animal attacks. My heart is about to beat out of my chest and goosebumps spread across my arms.

If they are connected what was happening to Emily before I found her?

“What about her?” I sit forward and Bennett begins to rub my back again.

“She said that there were animals there but he was a monster.”

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