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Chapter 4

“O-okay.” I forced the word out, my body shaking so badly it came out as a stuttered whisper. His face was pressed so close to mine I could feel the moisture on my face, his breath causing my stomach to roll.

The man gripped my forearm so hard I was scared he would break it as he dragged me towards the door. His other hand kept the knife close to my throat, far enough away that he wouldn’t accidentally slit it but close enough I knew it was still a threat. The sun light blinded me as we walked out of the back of the building into the parking lot.

He dragged me around the building, through the wrap around parking lot and towards the front. Panic raced through me, threatening to burst out and demish me into a blubbering puddle of terror.

As we got closer to the front of the building I remembered the windows. The huge windows covering the entire front of the building, giving everyone inside a full view of the parking lot. I prayed Gabe was looking outside as I pushed the panic back down and thought of a way to catch someone, anyone’s eye.

As if God himself had heard my plea, the man lowered his knife to my side, still a threat but no longer visible to anyone inside the building. I could survive a knife to the side… probably… but there was no way I could survive it to the throat. It was better than nothing I guess.

I stumbled along waiting for the perfect moment.

The man walked us past the building, continuing beside the rows of parked cars and I realized I wasn’t going to get my perfect chance. Of course he wasn’t going to take us by the windows. I mean, I knew he wouldn’t get too close but I was hoping for a little bit closer than we were.

Now or never.

Gabe, please notice me.

And then I tripped myself and fell. I felt the pavement crash into my body and then the blood soak me before the pain registered. I screamed out and clutched my side, the sticky blood coating my hand instantly.

“You bitch! Cant even fucking walk!” The man screeched.

He backhanded me and drug me to my feet, not caring that his knife had sliced me from my hip to my ribs on the way down. No surprise. At the very least, if no one had heard me and saw him dragging me away, there would still be a blood trail now. Maybe it will help them find me.

Or find your body, you idiot. What kind of plan was that? Oh yeah, just get yourself killed.

He continued to drag me along by my arm while I tried to put pressure on my side. It was much deeper than I had expected, that much I could tell. I was already becoming lightheaded and woozy.

“Hurry up!” The man tugged on my arm, hard, causing another yelp.

Just as I noticed the black van idling ahead, I heard the crunch of gravel behind me and then my captor was on the ground.

I spun around in time to see Gabe dropping.. a stick? Something like it? And then pouncing on the man. He slammed his fist into the mans face, once twice, three times, his large muscled arms flexing with each movement beneath his tattoos.

“Gabe?” I semi- whispered.

He stopped and looked at me. I swayed on my feet and reached out for him just as my legs gave out. He caught me before I hit the ground again and lifted me into his arms.

“Amy? Stay with me.”

“You came.” I smiled at him sleepily.

“Of course I came. I will always come.” He placed a kiss on my hair and then I was out.

I woke to incessant beeping. My eyes adjusted to the light at the same time the pain registered. I felt instantly nauseated, ready to throw up from the pain.

“Amy? Can you hear me? How are you feeling?”

I looked over and met chocolate brown eyes, the kind that instantly devour you.

“Pain.” I gasped.

“I’ll get a nurse.” And then the eyes were gone.

“We have her on morphine for the pain. Its really just a waiting game, Agent. I’m sorry. We will keep watching for infections and any other complications but we have done everything we can so far.” Someone said near me.

“I need to get her to a safe house immediately.”

“I understand. We haven’t put her name in our systems yet, we wont until you are both gone. We are being as vigilant as we can. That’s the best I can offe-“

“Gabe?” I rasped.

“Amy?” Something touched my hand and my hair. I tore my eyes open, squinting at the brightness.

My eyes found Gabe sitting at my side, his face a mask of worry, his brown eyes dark with barely veiled pain.

“What happened?”

“Amy, my name is Dr. Samuels. Do you remember anything?”

I took in the older man standing behind Gabe, his greying hair frayed, dark circles surrounding his eyes. “Stinky, something was stinky. Oh God, that man! He tried to take me. Oh my God!”

The monitor beeped rapidly, announcing my panic to the room. Gabe continued stroking my hair and assured me I was safe now. His soft voice soothed me, bringing me back to the present.

“You have a large cut on your abdomen Amy, can you tell me how you got that?” The doctor asked me as sweetly as he could. I imagined him using the same voice with children, comforting them after whatever had brought them to the hospital in the first place.

“I went to the police station to give my statement. A man, he said he was a cop, came to get me for more questions. He led me to a door in the back and tried to take me to a van, a black van waiting. I pretended to fall, to buy time so Gabe could find me and his knife cut me.”

“Okay, thank you Amy. I’d like to keep you for observation just in case you develop an infection but I understand that isn’t an option for you. I’ll give Agent Moretti all the signs he needs to watch for and some antibiotics so you have them if needed. You’ll need to take it easy though Amy. No ripping your stitches at all. No raising your arm above your head, no lifting anything heavy, you need to keep it dry for the next twenty four hours minimum, preferably forty eight. After that no baths, you absolutely can not soak it. Come back in 14 days to have them removed.”

I nodded in understanding. After he had collected his clip board and left the room I looked at Gabe. “Now what do we do?”

“We are going on the defensive for right now. Don’t worry, I’m going to keep you safe Amy, I promise.”

Once I was loaded into Gabe’s car and we were back on the road, he put a finger to his lips and had his Bluetooth call a Joan.

“Gabe, hi.” A woman’s voice echoed through the speakers.

“I need your help.”

“What can I do?” She asked.

“Meet me at my place in two hours?” Gabe asked the woman.

“See you there.” The line went dead.

I stared at Gabe, waiting for him to explain who that was or what his plan was. When he didn’t speak or offer any information I asked.

“My cousin. She may be able to fill in some blanks for us while I wait for a more solid plan from my boss.” He said, the frustration clear in his tone.

I didn’t say anything just stared out the window at the passing businesses and houses, the busy streets bustling with afternoon traffic. How had I gotten so lucky? This man, this stranger, had been plopped into my life when I needed someone the most. He has gone out of his way to help me repeatedly, a woman he doesn’t know at all. I have never had anyone to rely on in my life. No one other than Rose.


“GABE! That man said if I didn’t go with him he would hurt Rose.”

“Well that man is in police custody so he wont be hurting her but you should call her and tell her it may be best if she take a holiday for a bit.” Gabe handed me a phone out of his pocket, I recognized it as a burner similar to the one I had used to call Rose earlier.

I quickly dialed her number and waited for her to answer, drumming my fingers nervously on my pant legs.

“Hello?” Roses voice washed through the speaker and relief flooded me.

“Rose, thank God. You need to get out of town for a bit, please. It’s not safe.”

“Amy? Why? What happened? I’m not going anywhere without you.”

“Please, Rose. Just take a vacation with Austen. Somewhere far away from here. Go to Mexico for a beach trip or something. I’m safe I promise.”

“What happened, Amy? I thought you were coming here.”

“I was. It’s a long story, I will explain later. Promise me you will head out of town. Now. Pack some bags and go.”

“Okay, okay. You promise you’re okay? You sound funny.” Her concern was obvious even through the phone.

“I promise. I’m still with Gabe, he has been keeping me safe. Just please get out of town. Tonight, now if possible. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay. Love you.”

“Love you too.” I replied before hanging up. Sighing I handed the phone back to Gabe and resumed staring out the window.

How had my life turned into this? And for what? Because I was dealt a shitty father? How was that just? And how could these men think they had the right to revoke my freedom? Nothing made sense anymore. The only stability in my life now is Gabe, and even him I really don’t know. I’ve only known him for twenty four hours, really. I chuckled to myself, this man has protected me more in twenty four hours than my father had in my entire life. If my mom were here she would hate what my dad had become. She would hate everything he had done and everything he had allowed to happen to me. And this? This is unimaginable. She would be so disgusted. Anyone would be I guess.

“Stop fretting.” Gabe’s voice cut through my thoughts.

“Fretting? Are you eighty?” I giggled.

“Maybe I am.” He gave me a sly smile that stopped my heart. God this man is attractive.

We rode the rest of the way in silence. Gabe helped me into the house and tried to talk me into taking a nap which I refused, not wanting to miss the conversation with his cousin. After I was settled on the couch with pillows, a blanket, water and snacks provided by Gabe he headed to his office to do who knows what. I tried my hardest to figure out the tv remote but failed miserably. The large remote with a million buttons and a touch screen was no where near what I was used to, I may as well have been looking at alien technology. Unsure on if I should bother Gabe or not, I wiggled around a bit in an attempt to get comfortable and stared up at the ceiling.

What am I going to do once Gabe cant help me anymore? I think I’ve more than proven I can’t protect myself from these men, maybe I could go into hiding? Take the advice we gave Rose and head somewhere far far away. I have a little savings, not much but enough to buy a plane ticket and a few weeks in a cheap hotel. I could get a job wherever I end up. Maybe eventually they would forget about me and I could finish school. I’d have to stay away from Rose so I don’t put her in more danger but after a few months maybe I’d be a thing of the past.

The thoughts continued as I closed my eyes and let the exhaustion take me over, drifting further and further into the comfort of the couch until I was finally asleep.

You’re a useless bitch! If it wasn’t for you they would still be here! It should be you! You should be buried in the ground!

Daddy I’m sorry! I’m sorry! It isn’t my fault!

YES IT IS! They would still be here! My family wouldn’t be gone!

Glass shattered above my head as the whiskey bottle slammed against the wall. I wish it was you! You should be dead! Not my Fay! You!

I sobbed, huddled on the floor as he chucked everything within arms reach at me, a lamp, a book, a plate. I’m sorry! I cried.

He stumbled over to me and yanked me up by my arm. You have no one left, bitch. Do you hear me? Because of you they are gone and now you will spend the rest of your life alone. I cried out he threw me against the wall, collapsing back into the ground. He started kicking me, my ribs, my legs, my face. Anywhere he could land a blow in his drunken stupor.

Stop! OW! Stop daddy please! It hurts! I screamed and cried but he just kept going, my nine year old body too weak to do anything else. I continued screaming until the darkness started to ascend, promising to end my pain if only for a little while.

I heard the screaming from down the hall and instantly jumped to my feet, rushing out of my office and to Amy.

“Stop daddy please! It hurts!” She cried out, sobbing as she thrashed around on the couch.

She’s going to rip her stitches, I realized. I shook her shoulders gently and called out to her, trying to wake her. She continued to cry and whimper, her arms and legs still moving wildly. I laid my body over hers, trying to prevent her from injuring herself and praying I didn’t scare her more.

“Amy, its okay. You’re safe. He’s not here. You’re safe.” I continued soothing her, unsure if she could hear me or not. She whimpered again and then moaned, a moan filled with so much pain and sorrow it ripped me in two. “Shhh. You’re safe. I’m here. You’re safe. No one is going to hurt you again, Amy. Youre here with me. Its just a dream.”

Her eyes shot open and she looked around, terror plain on her face, and then she burst into tears.

I continued soothing her and stroked her hair, reminding her she is safe. At some point we shifted so that Amy was laying half on me, half beside me, her face buried in my shoulder. Eventually her tears slowed, until the only sound was the heavy breathing of slumber. I kissed the top of her head and rested mine, the fury in me building as I thought of what kind of life she must have lived so far. To have nightmares as severe as hers seem to be, she must have been hurt deeply multiple times. Due to my job the horrors of the world are not stranger to me but to think she has gone through anything I’ve seen in my line of work has my blood boiling. Does she ever get a good nights sleep? One where she is not reminded of those horrors? The protective streak in me has been on high alert since the moment I heard her phone call, wanting to take her away and shield her from anything that could harm her.

My guilt ate me, reminding me I should have protected her better. Should have watched her closer. I let my guard down because we were in a police station and assumed she would be safe. I never expected them to attack there, which is why it was the perfect plan. I should have seen it coming. Because of my miscalculation she was hurt and in pain. She could have died, again. I will never forget the sight of her reaching for me, blood pouring from her side down her body, her skin a gastly pale. The fear that encased me when an officer came out looking for her because she hadn't been in the room where she was left was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I have never been so afraid for someone, ever. I had tried to ignore the pull I felt towards her until then, think of her as just another victim, but knowing how close I was to losing her put it into clear view, announcing itself to every inch of my brain what my body had already known.

From the moment I knew who my family was and the danger that brought to my life, I have sworn off feelings for anyone. I couldn’t risk putting anyone else in harms way. Somehow this woman has torn down those walls and slid right in, making me want to forget everything I’ve taught myself and run head first into these feelings I have for her. They’re not just sexual, though they certainly are those too and have been from the moment I set eyes on her, but the more time I spend with her, the more I’ve found myself genuinely caring about her, her wellbeing, her comfort and her opinions. And for my life, my scenario, that could be very very dangerous for the both of us.

Especially considering its my father trying to kill her.

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