ENDS

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11- Closest

Third person p.o.v.

Hunter had microwaved some Spanish rice left in the pot and he'd carried a glass of water along with him as he proceeded up the stairs to iris's room.

He stood at her door and took a deep breath to calm himself down. After speaking with his Dad, he didn't expect to feel so guilty, he'd expected to feel less responsible but it turned the other way around.

Now he'd have to face the new music playing in his head. The one of pure guilt.

He knocked thrice on the door and waited for a response, which came not long after as a muffled 'yes?'.

Slowly balancing the tray and it's contents on one hand and using the other to open the door, he stepped in only to find Iris faced down on a pillow. And alone.

At first he was scared shitless that something had happened to her, but after watching closely, he noticed her almost rapid torso movements and heard almost silent noises.

She was crying.

And that got him frozen to the door.

He didn't know what to do. He's been trying with every damned nerve cell in him not to cry since morning, but now seeing Iris all helpless is making that effort seem useless.

He wanted to go wipe her tears and promise her that everything was going to be fine, but he couldn't. He's been taught not to make promises be couldn't keep.

Years ago, all he wanted to do was see those tears running down her face. Years ago that was his only source of happiness.

Now, all he wants is to make sure those tears never grace her innocent face again.

His dad was right, Iris had seen a side to life that most people would have never survived. But she went through it, just because of him.

At this point, he began wondering if he'd ever forgive himself. Right now he was afraid of approaching her. He was scared that she'd tell him to get out and it'll dawn on him how much she hated him.

How much he'd been a stupid to think that just a 'sorry' would cover old scars.

After at least, five deep breaths, he braced himself for the worst and called out to her.

"Iris?"

Almost instantly, she froze. Like that hadn't been the voice she was expecting.

Funny thing is, she'd never expect him though.

Slowly, she rose from her pillow and wiped her tear stained face.

Even if she tried to hide it, her eyes were swollen red. That was enough to betray her efforts.

Iris sat up straight to give attention to the man before her who was asking for it.

And to be honest, she didn't want to.

" What exactly do you want?" She tried to make her voice sound neutral to his presence, but her anger took the best of her.

Why she was angry? Well, you could guess. But she's kinda used to Hunter's stupidity.

Yuppp.. you heard right. Stupidity.

" You haven't had anything to eat since we got here, I guessed you'd be hungry" he said as he lifted the tray in his hands for emphasis. It was then that she even noticed it.

Surprisingly, she thought the action was sweet. Then again, there was this little thought that sprang up in her mind that he may not have been the one to suggest it.

" Did it occur to you that I may not be hungry?" She pushed on stylishly, cause one thing she knew for sure was that if the plan was beginning to look stupid, Hunter would most likely confess whose idea it was.

" It did. Then again it also occurred to me that humans need food to survive" he answered as he placed the tray of food by her side, directly on the bed and he took two steps back.

Iris could feel her stomach rumble but she wasn't going to eat something given to her by Hunter. He's gotten too much acceptance from her.

Plus, her stomach was really tight due to what was going on so she had no appetite.

Iris's p.o.v.

" Thank you for the gesture but it's not necessary" I say as I stand to my feet and began making way for the bathroom.

" If it's because I brought the food over here, then assume it's from my Mom cause she's the one who suggested it"

I knew it.

His statement did nothing less than irritate me, he's obviously not even concerned if I'm alive right now or not.

" Thanks for the info, now get out" I spat

His face morphed into confusion for a while before he speaks up again.

" I would have done that also, but I guessed that you might not want to see me"

" Aww, since when did you become so caring? Cody bit you tonight?"

To say he looked shocked was an understatement. He looked terrified and I was genuinely happy with his reaction.

" Iris why are you acting so bitter? Louisa is my child too and I'm-" he started but I needed to cut him short.

" Yeah.. the kid you couldn't care less about"

" For heaven's sake, I did what I did for a reason! I always do what I do for a reason" he groaned.

" Oh really? And what reason could that be?" Crossing my arms and taking a seat back on the bed.

" Iris, Louisa has been living under my roof for practically three months. I had no idea that she was my daughter even when everyone else did"

" Where are you heading with this?"

" The moment I realize she's mine, the next day she goes missing"

" Uhun"

" Everyone in the house practically heard us argue the day I found out. Not only that but every threat letter was delivered directly to my doorstep and except if Soldo has employed Ninjas on my behalf, it could only mean one thing"

" Which is?" Why can't I grasp the concept of this?

" Iris you're smarter than this, put two and two together. It simply means that someone under this roof is working for Soldo"

What?

" How can?.. I mean, who would?.. like, it's not possible!" It couldn't be, his analysis is hundred percent wrong.

" Think about it. The bomb in the house, the letters, Soldo knowing everything going on between us and now Louisa. He's that evil to use someone directly under our noses so we won't suspect a thing" Hunter runs his hand through his hair and let's out a shallow breath.

But I was still in shock. Who would be the spy? It just doesn't seem right.

" I can't think of anyone" I admit with a little weight on my heart.

I can't believe one of them would do this to me.

" Neither can I, but the truth is the more I show care about Louisa, the more they can use her as a leverage. And Soldo wouldn't have a problem sending us the fingers of a five year old child"

" He wouldn't dare!" My voice came out choked from the information.

" Now you see the reason I can't act concerned? Till we know who, I can't show how much Louisa gets to me. Hopefully if he sees that she's got no effect on me he'd return her safe"

I nodded, not like he asked me a question. But cause I finally understood and I couldn't stop myself from crying once again.

I leaned into my hands and the sobs began to shamelessly escape my lips. I don't know what to do.

I can't even do anything. My baby is in the midst of lions.

A hand took hold of mine and retracted them from my face. Suddenly I was looking into Hunter's blue eyes.

The exact blue eyes Louisa inherited.

He was crouched before me so we could be on the same level as he held my hands.

His eyes were glassy like he was holding back his own tears but they were also trying to console me.

" I know my words are meaningless and stupid right now but Iris I'm so sorry for everything I'm putting you through"

I wanted to say it's okay but my voice and words betrayed me. Instead the tears came rolling on.

Hunter leaned in and placed a soft lingering kiss on my forehead before pulling me into a hug.

No matter how angry I was at him, I actually need this.

Because to face the reality, he's the closest I've got to Louisa right now.

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