There was no denying his shock. At the sound of my voice, he snapped his gaze up to meet mine, gifting Isy a chance to back away.
“Jessica Turner. What the fuck are you doing here?” He laughed, facing me completely.
“I’m here to take Isy. She no longer feels safe with you,” I replied, providing the facts.
Surely he knows this.
“That won’t be necessary,” he stated, approaching his trembling fiancée with those kind eyes I knew to be fake. “Tell her, Isabelle.”
“Look, I’m not playing games here, Alister,” I interrupted. “I know you’re conspiring with Malcolm, I know you abuse your fiancée and I know you’re Delilah’s brother.”
Raging, blue eyes stared back at me, cutting deep with their intensity. He looked at me with such distaste, such anger. Perhaps even hate?
“Do you know what your boyfriend is?” he asked, gaining on me like some predator approaching its pray.
I stood my ground.
“No, why don’t you tell me?” I encouraged, not necessarily wanting to provoke the beast.
After all, I knew he had a tendency to get violent.
“He’s a murderer.”
He stopped in the middle of his hallway, assessing my reaction to his accusation. He no doubt thought his bold statement would see me begging for an elaboration but, sadly for him, that was not the case.
“That’s not true, Alister and deep down, you know it,” I responded, keeping my tone levelled. “What happened to your sister was-”
“What happened to her was his fault!” he yelled, scaring the shit out of me with his level of authority. “And then he had the audacity to name a fucking hotel after her!”
His voice bounced off the surrounding walls, intensifying its volume. In my peripheral vision, I noticed Isy’s shaking her head, warning me against my next move.
“It’s over, Alister. You’ve lost.”
“Like hell I have. That bastard should be rotting in a prison cell after what he did to Delilah. If the police refuse to do anything, I’ll take matters into my own hands.”
“And what gives you the right to do that, Alister? What gives you the right to interfere with these people’s lives and take their child away from them? Leila is innocent in all this.”
“Delilah was innocent too and look what happened to her,” he jibed, not seeing things the level-headed way.
It was like talking to a brick wall.
“I’m sorry you lost her, I really am. But we’re going now.”
“No, you’re not,” he informed, stepping closer to me.
“Alister.” Begged Isy, fearful of what he’d do next.
I attempted to remain brave when in reality, all I wanted to do was cower away from his menacing frame. Each broad shoulder stretched his suit to its maximum capacity, resembling that of a man ready to explore. He was slowly losing his shit and I needed to get us both out of here. FAST!
“Don’t worry, darling. Jessica likes getting hit, don’t you?”
I shook my head out of instinct, willing my beating heart to calm down. The way it hammered in my chest had me concerned. This wasn’t normal. Either I was experiencing extreme anxiety or I was going into cardiac arrest.
“You’re an insult to the BDSM scene if that’s what you really think,” I heard myself saying, wondering what on earth prompted me to say such a thing.
I was relieved when he responded with a laugh, though struggled to see what was so funny. Nothing about this situation was amusing.
“You think you have everything sussed, don’t you?”
Another menacing laugh.
“You really don’t know anything,” he added, catching my gaze and holding it hostage. “You and I aren’t so different, you know?”
“We’re nothing alike, Alister,” I informed, keeping my cool for the sake of both mine and Isy’s well-being.
I attempted to move passed him, but failed in my efforts.
“She was only eighteen years old,” stated Alister.
I could sense Isy’s confusion but didn’t have the time, nor the energy to explain right now.
“Spencer didn’t do anything wrong,” I soothed. “Delilah was in love with him and he didn’t return those feelings. You can’t force love, Alister. You just can’t.”
He shook his head, unsatisfied with my explanation.
“She ended her life because of him.”
“Exactly, Alister. She ended it. Maybe her decision to do so was inspired by Spencer’s rejection but he wasn’t to know that. What was he supposed to do? Tell her he loved her even though he didn’t?”
“He should never have touched her in the first place! She wasn’t herself. She was grieving after Mum and Dad and seeking something from that place. Love? Sex? Who knows? This never should have happened to her. Not my Delilah.”
“I know. It shouldn’t have happened and I’m sorry,” I replied, deciding to go at things from a different angle. “I want to help you, Alister. I think you’ve lost yourself along the way. This.” I pointed to Isy. “This isn’t you. What you’re doing to this family isn’t right and you know that. Let me help you.”
“I don’t want help, Jessica. I want revenge.”
“Even though what you’re doing is destroying some innocent girls’ life? And Isy! What has she ever done to deserve this? You put her in hospital today and went to work like it meant nothing to you.”
“Do you even care for her?” I added, losing what little sympathy I had left for him.
“Of course I do!” he bellowed, enraged by my insinuation.
Then fucking act like it, you twat!
“I don’t think you do, Alister!” I pushed back, shouting just as loud now. “I think you had a real shot at happiness but you ruined that the second you raised your hand to her. Both your parents died and your sister took her own life. That’s tragic and my heart goes out to you but that doesn’t justify your behaviour. You’re a bad person. And bad people get what’s coming to them.”
“She is right,” imputed Isy, finally speaking up. “I am no longer your punching bag, Alister. I am leaving,”
Pride washed over me in an instant. Isy’s need to defend herself was a huge turning point. When I first approached Karen about this situation, she’d said a person had to want out of a relationship in order to escape. This was Isy finally saying she’d had enough. She was done with Alister. Washing her hands with him even.
“We’re leaving now,” I continued, feeling the urge to get out of here.
Although damaged, Alister was still a violent man and capable of goodness knows what.
“Isabelle, please. Don’t do this!” he pleaded, trying a new tactic. “I love you, darling.”
“It is too late,” she insisted, pushing past him to retrieve her suitcase.
I followed her towards the door and ignored Alister’s persistence. He ran ahead of us, doing his utmost best to convince her into staying.
Tears welled in her eyes and I could feel the pain radiating from her body.
“Too much has happened,” she informed, taking to the stairs, seeing as he was blocking the entrance to the elevator.
“No, don’t say that!” he yelled, handling his hurt by channelling it into rage. “This is all your fault!” he accused, throwing daggers my way.
I shook my head and proceeded down the flight of stairs, hearing him behind me.
“There you go again, Alister. Blaming everyone but yourself,” I replied, keeping my gaze firmly fixed on the exit ahead.
I just needed to get us both out of here.
“Isabelle, can’t you see they’re manipulating you?” he asked in what I assumed was a last minute attempt to persuade her.
Still, we both continued and made it out of the door shortly after. By now, the sky was quickly fading to black, succumbing to nightfall. It was relatively warm for an evening in April, though chills travelled the length of my spine as harsh fingers grasped my upper arm.
“Do not walk away from me!” sneered Alister, squeezing hard.
Pain shot through my arm, causing me to cry out. Isy whipped her head around and in a moment of desperation, threw herself at him.
“Do not touch her!” she pleaded, tears now freefalling.
“I won’t if you come back upstairs,” he reasoned, emotionally blackmailing the poor woman.
“Isy, get in the car,” I advised, yanking on my arm but to no avail. “I will handle this,” I ensured, watching her hesitantly backing away.
I waited until she was seated in the passenger side before I continued.
“Your biggest mistake was fucking with a man I love. Spencer is twice the person you’ll ever be,” I spat, needing this to be said. “And a damn good father to Leila.”
Alister’s expression went from cold to chilling, causing me to back track a little. His hand went limp on my arm, though only for him to raise it mid-air in an attempt to unleash a blow to my face. Shock gripped at my throat but before he could make impact, I took two steps back, not seeing the oncoming vehicle to my left. Headlights blinded me in my efforts, swerving on its approach, though in the end it was fruitless. The screeching of tires hit me before anything else, stabbing my ears with the sheer brutality in which it came. One minute I was facing danger and the next I was mid-flight, floating like a weightless cloud. From somewhere, I heard Isy’s ear-piecing screams and then…nothing. I must’ve landed but I felt nothing. Heard nothing. I was surrounded by darkness and as my subconsciousness drifted, one thought and one thought only plagued my mind.
I awoke to the sights of florescent lights and panicked paramedics, all of which were seemingly speaking in their own language. The odd word came hurdling through the haze in my head, allowing me insight on the situation. “Hit by a car” and “Possible internal bleeding” had me fighting for breath. Was I going to die? Shit! I couldn’t let that happen. Not when I was-
“Jessica! Baby, please! Let me see her! She’s my girlfriend.”
The sound of Spencer’s frantic voice brought peace to my inner turmoil, though his expression when finally coming into view did very little to relax me. Distraught. It was the only emotion passing through his gaze as he attempted to locate me.
His face lit up at the slightest whisper of my voice.
“Yes, baby. I’m here. I’m right here,” he ensured, sounding desperate. “Don’t you go anywhere. Don’t you dare leave, me Jessica!”
“I know,” he soothed, brushing long stands of hair out of my face.
The paramedics continued pushing me down what felt like a never ending corridor, all awhile Spencer tailed them.
“No,” I rasped, annoyed my message wasn’t getting across. “Not baby. Our baby,” I managed, pushing his hand further down to rest on my stomach. “I’m-I’m” I began feeling lightheaded. “I’m pregnant.”
“Sir, we need you to step aside now,” said one of the paramedics, gently easing Spencer to one side.
His resilience was the last thing I remembered before drifting off, alongside his pleas for me to fight.