Chapter 11: Haunted
We walked into a massive room made completely out of glass. I froze awestruck as I looked up watching the rain hit the ceiling.
"Wow." Was all I could say as I looked around at the blue and white tiled floor and the large built in hot tub in the center of the room. There were showers on the far side and racks with towels next to us.
"I know right. I insisted on adding it on last year after Marcus died and Liam took over." Scarlet smiled proudly.
"Marcus," I said slowly. "Your father?"
Scarlet scoffed and rolled her beautiful blue eyes. "Sperm donor."
I nodded slowly.
"Now strip." Scarlet said firmly and I noticed her and Natalie were already walking towards the hot tub.
Slowly I slipped off my shorts and t-shirt wrapping my arms around my waist uncomfortably. Wishing more than ever for my sweater.
"Hey Scar do you girls need anything in town?" Liam's voice echoed off the tile floor stopping me in my tracks. I spun around and watched as he walked into the room looking down at his phone.
I glanced around desperate for anything to cover myself but nothing was close enough and I knew any second he would look up and see me practically naked in front of him.
Scarlet, who still stood next to me, suddenly looked extremely apologetic.
Not sorry enough I thought as I tried to swallow the lump in my throat.
"I have a few things to..." Liam glanced up and froze.
He smiled his trademark crooked grin with one eyebrow raised. Allowing his eyes to quickly travel the length of my body before turning to Scarlet.
"I have a few things to pick up and figured I would ask." He finished
"Wine and chocolate, we are having a movie night." Scarlet smiled sweetly, "Thank you Liam."
"Diet Coke for Avi," Natalie said from inside the hot tub. "She doesn't drink."
Liam looked at me quizzically.
"Don't we still have a case?" Scarlet asked looking back at Natalie.
"No, Asher drank most of it." Natalie said, looking away.
"Okay so wine, chocolate, and diet coke." Scarlet said facing forward again.
"You don't drink?" Liam asked, completely ignoring the other girls. The way he watched me it was just us in the room.
"No." I said awkwardly, still trying to cover myself.
"Why?" He asked. The intensity of his gaze never wavered and it sent shivers up my spine.
"Personal preference." I shrugged using my newest go to excuse. I had used it a lot in the past few months.
Liam nodded, still watching me. "I'll be back in an hour."
"Thank you!" Scarlet said happily as Liam turned to walk away.
I quickly grabbed my clothes, throwing them back on so fast my shirt was backwards.
"Wait what are you doing?" Scarlet asked shocked.
"I-I'm sorry this was a bad idea I can't do this today." I responded. My voice shook and I felt a lump rising in my throat. I focussed on turning my shirt around.
"But he's gone, it's just us now." She said in a low comforting voice. She reached out to touch my arm and I shied away. Pain flashed across her face.
"I'm sorry. I will meet you in your room later... I just... I need to go." I rushed out of the room running down the hall and back to my room.
"No no no." I whispered desperately, squeezing my eyes shut. I had to breathe.
I felt like I was losing myself suddenly and I needed to feel grounded.
I walked into the bathroom and jumped into to shower allowing cold water to run over me as I focused on my breathing. I hadn't even removed my clothes, which were suddenly soaked.
I stayed like that for well over an hour before with a sigh I gave up drying myself off and putting on my black hoodie and a pair of blue sweatpants.
I looked in the mirror seeing the faded scar above my left eye and Jacobs face flashed in my mind, angry and sadistic, followed by my father laughing cruelly.
I squeezed my eyes closed knowing there was no stopping it this time, I would just have to ride it out. I started shaking badly and I tried desperately to reclaim my mind.
However Jacobs' malicious sneer kept sending waves of fresh anxiety. The last words he said to me echoed in my head. "Don't get too comfortable, I will get you back. You belong to me!"
"Aviana?" Liam's voice came from the other side of the door. "Are you okay."
I bit my lip willing him to just go away, for once to just not be everywhere. A sob racked my body. I covered my face with my hands turning away from the door as I heard the knob twisting.
"Avi, if you don't respond I'm coming in." He said suddenly seriously.
I couldn't respond though it was all I could do to remain upright as in my mind the memories terrorized me.
I couldn't breath, and I wasn't sure whether I was going to pass out or throw up but I was sure I would do one of them.
"God, Avi I really hope you are decent." Liam muttered and I heard him unlocking the door.
No, I wasn't decent, I wasn't controlled. I was in this moment weaker and more vulnerable than I could ever remember being.
I kept my back to him hoping I would just vanish. I couldn't be that weak. How come I had been able to hold it together in the worst times, but now that I was safe it haunted me and I finally broke.
"Avi, what's going on." Liam sounded concerned as he laid his hand on my arm.
Suddenly I shocked us both turning into him and burying my face in his chest. He froze his hands in the air for a moment. Then slowly but confidently he wrapped his arms around me holding me tightly.
I hadn't realized how cold I had gotten until I felt his warm strong arms pulling me tightly into his broad chest.
Absently it crossed my mind that my hair was still dripping wet and he was going to get wet too. It didn't seem to phase him though.
"Talk to me." He said quietly after a minute.
I could feel his hot breath in my hair. As he laid his lips on the top of my head.
In this moment I realized I no longer feared his muscular build. For some reason I knew he wouldn't use it against me.
At some point I had stopped seeing him as a threat and started seeing him as more of a protector.
What did that matter though. He wasn't the only threat in my book, not by far. In my mind flashed a wicked grin and blue, so much blue.
"He'll never let me go, not for real. He will come for me. He will kill everyone and take me back there." My voice cracked as I allowed myself to breathe in Liam sent, so sharp and spicy but still so comforting somehow.
"No." His voice sounded angry and determined, but I automatically knew he wasn't mad at me. "That's never going to happen. You are safe here. Do you hear me? Safe."
We stood there for a while longer as I caught my breath, focusing on Liam's voice repeating that I was safe and nobody could get to me here. With my arms around his waist and one of his arms on my back while the other stroked my hair.
I had never felt so safe so comforted. I didn't want to move and I squeezed him tighter as he repeatedly assured me that I was in fact safe. That he would never let my father get to me again. I slowly realized that he thought my father was who I was afraid of most. I couldn't correct him though, I was finally calming and it would just threaten to overcome me again.
The seconds turned to minutes and I began to wonder how long we had been here. Finally I took a deep jagged breath and pulled back enough to look up at him. With his head still bent down we were inches apart. I fought the urge to turn away.
Liam placed a soft kiss on my forehead before a pained expression crossed his face and he pulled away stepping back.
"I have work to do. Scarlet was worried about you." He said shortly, refusing to meet my gaze.
His jaw was tensed and he glared at the floor like it had somehow pissed him off. Then suddenly he turned and walked away, leaving me to wonder what the hell had just happened.