It was almost three in the morning when he made it back home. Everything was pretty much the same way he had left it before he received the phone call that forced him to leave at night. The TV was still on. Clothes were scattered on the floor all the way from the living room to the bedroom, and Lesly was still asleep in his bed.
He leaned against the door frame and looked at her affectionately as his mind wandered into how she ended up there. It was a Friday night, so she suggested that they watch a movie together and he agreed. As usual, she prepared a light dinner and then popped some popcorn into the microwave so they could enjoy a light snack as they watched the movie she suggested. He intended to act like a total gentleman for once as he sat next to her on the couch. However, as time went by, it became insanely difficult for him to follow that thought. He had no idea what the movie was about. The sweet scent of her perfume intoxicated him. The way she bit her full lower lip as she remained focused on the plot made him want to kiss her senseless. The sight of her slender legs in that mini skirt made him want to lift her up and have her wrap her legs around him.
He did not want to act on any of those thoughts and take her by surprise. God knows how many times he succumbed to his mad need for her since their first night together. However, the moment she looked at him and asked him if something was wrong, he buried his hand in her locks and claimed her mouth hungrily. She did not protest. Instead, she showed him how starved she also was for his touch and affection. She straddled him, grinded her hips against him, and allowed her tongue to mate with his. Alec remembered how they did not even bother with the movie anymore. They continued to devour each other’s lips for a while before they decided to abandon the movie all together. They undressed each other all the way to the bedroom, leaving articles of clothing on their trail. Then they continued to explore each other’s naked bodies for the hours that followed.
Alec could not take his eyes off of her. The sight of her as she laid asleep in his bed with the thin sheets perfectly molded to her naked form filled him with all sorts of emotions. He could not help but smile when he noticed her pull the sheets over her chest in her sleep as if she were aware of how hungrily he had been staring at her for the last couple of minutes.
Deciding that he was in desperate need for a few hours of rest as well, he finally walked in slowly so as not to wake her up. The last thing he wanted was to alert her to the fact that he had been outside doing something that she should never know about. When he tried to slip out of his clothes so he could get some sleep, he noticed that he brought his gun with him. Thinking that he could attend to it after he had changed, Alec gently placed it on the nightstand. He kept his eyes on Lesly the entire time. She was still sound asleep which was a bit strange considering how much of a light sleeper she was. He must have worn her out after the passionate night they had earlier.
Alec barely managed to slip into a pair of cotton shorts when he heard a groggy voice addressing him.
“Where have you been?”
Her question made him pause. He took a couple of steps towards the bed with a white cotton t-shirt held in his hand and tried to see whether she was indeed awake. When he noticed that her eyes were open, he spoke to her.
“I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”
“No, but I saw you leave, and I’ve been dozing on and off since.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing.” He tried to reassure her as he slipped the cotton shirt over his head before he began working on taking his wristwatch off.
“It’s definitely something.”
“Just your normal family drama. Nothing out of the ordinary,” he said to her as he slipped under the covers next to her and began working on setting his alarm. He hoped she would not notice the gun that he stealthily stashed into the drawer.
Lesly realized that he was tense and began to lightly stroke his arm. “Is it your sister and your dad again?”
“You can say that.”
“Is everyone okay?”
“They’re fine,” Alec said before he laid down and drew her closer to him. He groaned instantly when he felt her naked body pressed against his. It took every ounce of will power to keep his hand buried in her soft locks rather than caressing every inch of her bare skin. They remained like that for a while. She fell asleep before he did. He could tell from her even breathing. A moment later, he felt his lids growing heavy with sleep and would have completely surrendered to deep slumber if it weren’t for the soft sound of the apartment door being shut closed.
Alec’s eyes grew wide in a state of alarm. He thought he imagined the sound, but when he heard a low almost muffled shuffling next, he knew someone was inside the apartment. Lesly must have been woken up by the sound too because he could feel her hand gripping his arm. He looked at her and found an anxious look on her face.
Alec tried to reassure her. He placed a finger on his lips as a silent command that she should not speak. Then he sat straight and grabbed the gun from the nightstand. Lesly realized immediately what he was trying to do. She held his arm and shook her head at him when he looked at her. He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze before he stood up and walked towards the door.
She watched him with eyes full of fear as he stepped outside. The tension in his shoulders was clear to see. However, the moment he took a few steps outside of the bedroom, his shoulders relaxed. He lowered the weapon and placed it on the small table outside of the bedroom. She thought it was nothing, but when she noticed that he was mumbling something, she realized that he was talking to someone. Since he did not seem as tense as before, the person he was talking to must be someone he knew.
Lesly immediately got up and tried to find something to put on. However, there wasn’t anything of hers that she could use because her clothes were scattered in the living room. She could have waited until Alec had come back in to tell her what was happening, but she was still worried. Without thinking, she took the button up shirt he laid on the chair earlier and put it on. When she stepped outside, she was quite surprised by what she saw.
There was a woman she had never seen before standing in front of Alec with a duffle bag next to her feet. She seemed young, too young actually. She was possibly a teenager. Her hair was blond, somewhat short, and pulled in a half up, half down hairdo. Her eyes were brown, but they were not the most distinct thing about her face. The woman had a small nose ring along with so many piercings in her left ear. Her slender form was swallowed by an oversized navy parka and a chunky knit scarf that draped over it. The only thing that was visible of her under those layers were her skinny black pants and lace-up biker boots.
It was obvious from the expression on her face and Alec’s that they were both extremely angry about something. Lesly was about to ask if everything was okay when Alec spoke; his glare was focused on the young woman standing in front of him.
“Lesly, this is Emma, my little sister.”
Emma said nothing. She simply glanced at Lesly with a hint of indifference before she directed her attention back to her brother again. Lesly was about to talk to her, but Alec spoke first.
“I thought we discussed this before.”
“Discussed? Let’s not kid ourselves. You’ve never ‘discussed’ anything with me before. You and dad make decisions and you expect me to follow them.”
“How did you get here?”
“I snuck out,” she shot back sarcastically. “How do you think I got here? I can’t even breathe without dad’s lackeys reporting everything to him.”
“You know why we’re being cautious.”
“I’m perfectly aware of that, thank you very much. Not a day passes by without people reminding me that whatever happened to you could happen to me, too. I can’t take this anymore.”
“Emma!” He warned in a low firm voice. He wanted to keep her from revealing too much, but she was too angry to listen.
“No, you won’t shut me up. You’ll listen to me, damn it. I thought you’d be there for me, but somehow, you’ve changed. You’ve become much worse than dad. I can’t believe how many times you’ve…”
“Emma!” His voice came out loud this time. His glare coupled with the threatening way he said her name, kept the young woman from venting.
Lesly held his arm and tried to keep him from yelling at his younger sister who was close to crying tears of anger now.
“Please calm down.”
Her voice was low, but Alec heard it. He cast a brief glance at her before redirecting his gaze to his sister. The look the young woman was giving him was not lost on him. She knew why he needed to silence her, and he could see her respect for him fading away with every passing second. Emma needed to understand what was happening. However, as much as he wanted to explain, he could not get to the task when Lesly was around. He could allow Emma to spend the night, but it was vital to convince her to keep her mouth shut before she ruined everything.
Alec began rubbing his temples in frustration before he decided to command his sister to leave.
“Take your bag and go into your room. We’ll talk in the morning.”
Emma did not comply right away. She stood in front of him with a challenging look on her face. There was a lot that she wanted to say to him, but then she decided that it was perhaps better to wait until the morning before she poured it all out and gave him a piece of her mind.
Lesly watched the young woman as she carried her duffle bag into her room. Then she directed her attention to Alec who was obviously still annoyed and frustrated by his sister’s behavior. She was about to ask him to follow his own advice, go back to bed, and deal with his sister in the morning, but apparently, he had changed his mind. He started walking towards his sister’s room possibly because he had more to say to her. Lesly stopped him before he went any further.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Lesly,” he warned.
“No, you’re not gonna talk to her when you’re this mad. Go back to sleep now. You can talk to her in the morning when you have calmed down.”
Alec shut his eyes and tried to reason with her. “I am calm.”
“Yeah, I can see that,” she commented sarcastically. “To bed. Now,” she commanded.
He glared at her, but she was not fazed at all.
“Those glares won’t work on me. You should know that by now,” she stated matter-of-factly.
He tried his hardest to hide his frustration, but he was failing miserably. Eventually, he decided to make up an excuse so she would not stand in his way.
“There’s a problem with the portable radiator in her room. It works, but it takes a couple of tries to turn it on. I’ve been meaning to get her a new one, but I didn’t get a chance to. I need to tell her about it.”
It was true. He did not lie to her, but the problem he mentioned was not so bad that it warranted his interference. Lesly saw through him and did not budge.
“I’ll take care of it. You stay here.”
“You don’t think I can handle a radiator?” She interrupted.
“It’s not that…,” Alec objected with a sigh. “Emma can be a bit rude.”
Lesly shrugged. “Typical teenage behavior then. Nothing I haven’t seen or dealt with before.”
“You have no idea how difficult she can be.”
The dark-haired woman looked him up and down. “I have some idea.”
Before he got a chance to object, she grabbed his hand and dragged him with her to her room. Alec was confused.
“What are we doing exactly?”
“I need my robe.”
“And why do I have to come?”
“Because I need to keep an eye on you.” She slipped her arms through her silk robe and tied it around her waist. “There. I’m off now. You stay here.”
“Sure,” he said dismissively.
Lesly left him in her room and walked back towards Emma’s. She knocked gently on the door before she opened it.
“Emma, can I come in?”
She found Emma sitting on her bed. When the young woman heard Lesly come in, she hastily wiped her tears away and pretended that everything was fine. Lesly did not wish to linger in the young woman’s room, so she quickly announced her intention as she took a couple of steps towards the radiator to plug it in.
“Alec said that there’s a problem with the on switch. I told him I’d check on it.”
“I see,” Emma responded in a low voice.
Lesly succeeded after a couple of attempts to get the switch to work. When she was done, she stood up and took one final look at Emma who was struggling to hide how upset she was. In an attempt to make her feel better, Lesly tried to talk to her.
“Don’t worry. Whatever the matter is, he’ll come around. I promise.”
Emma gave her a sharp look that spoke volumes. “You don’t know him.”
“You’re right. I don’t know him as well as you do, but I know that he cares about you a great deal.”
Emma said nothing in response. However, when Lesly attempted to leave the room, she stopped her with a question.
“He called you Lesly.”
“I read about you,” Emma explained. “Actually, your name came a lot in a story I was following on the news. I never thought I’d meet you.”
“Oh? Which story might that be?”
“The one with the corrupt judge…I forgot his name.”
“Stevenson,” Lesly reminded.
“Yes, that’s the one.”
“What made you interested in that story?”
“I run the school newspaper along with other club members. We like to know what’s happening,” Emma answered briefly.
“That explains it.”
“Can I ask you something?” Inquired Emma.
“What is someone like you doing with somebody like my brother?”
Lesly knitted her brows in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“I’m sorry,” Emma rushed to clarify. “I don’t mean to insult you. It’s just…you seem like a good person.”
“And?” Lesly encouraged the hesitant woman to continue.
“My brother isn’t.”
“What makes you say that?”
“You have no idea what he’s like, what he’s capable of. He can be…ruthless. He wasn’t always like that, of course, but something happened that pushed him over the edge.”
Lesly went quite as she thought about what the young woman had just told her. Then she asked Emma a question that she did not anticipate at all.
“Did this change you speak of happen after the assault that almost cost him his life?”
Emma was somewhat shocked. “He told you about it?”
“I figured as much. He doesn’t like to talk about it. I’m surprised he even mentioned it to you.”
“It must have been traumatizing,” Lesly responded sympathetically, “not just for him but for you as well.”
Emma smiled sadly. Her voice was low as she spoke. “I still remember the day they found him. At first we were relieved, but then we discovered how critical his condition was. Everyone thought he wouldn’t make it.”
“How old were you when it happened, Emma?”
“I think I was about…”
Before Emma could finish her answer, a loud knock interrupted her. Both women looked in the direction of the door almost instantly. Alec peered in slowly with an apologetic look on his face. He stared at Emma for a second before he spoke to Lesly.
“Babe, can I have a word with Emma, please?”
Lesly was hesitant to leave him with his younger sister at first, but when she noticed that he was not as angry as before, she decided that it was perhaps better to give him a chance to work things out with Emma. She nodded her head, muttered a goodnight to Emma, and then walked out of the room.
She tried to go back to sleep, but something Emma mentioned stuck with her. Hearing Alec’s sister describe him as ruthless made her think about the time he offered to assist her with finding the young boy. The things he did then to get the culprit to talk were not so extreme that they warranted suspicion. Still, something about him that day was off. It was as if she was in the company of an entirely different person. He did not talk much, but kept his silence the entire time he was working with her. His face did not betray much either, but she could tell that there was seething anger inside threatening to burst any second. That person was not the Alec she knew.
“Get it done.”
The phrase rang in her head once more. What did it mean?
It had been reported to her that Ronald offed himself in his prison cell after being repeatedly harassed and tormented by other inmates. Such occurrences were quite common, especially for those involved in charges similar to Ronald’s. Still, something about his reported death did not seem right. It was as if it was orchestrated, staged, performed. It brought her reminders of the way Victor Lang tackled the parties responsible for the Davis’ scandal that she was involved in years ago. The commonalities between the two cases were too obvious to ignore.
Could it be…