The Road Between

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Chapter 6: Whiplash

Liam's POV

After her anxiety attack Aviana seemed almost too tired to fight us. Making me feel somehow even more protective over her.

I knew I had been a jerk when I first came in but I felt so helpless and I couldn't let that show.

Reluctantly Aviana allowed Jay to look at her back, which was healing nicely. I stayed watching every move he made, feeling the need to be ready to jump in if he hurt her, which was ridiculous Jay wouldn't hurt a fly.

When James showed up with the food and water, I had asked him to bring, Avi watched his every move cautiously.

He slid the plate and glass onto the small table by the door, he gave her a small smile then slipped out.

I realized by her expression she must remember him from Dans and she sees him as a threat. I made a mental note not to have him watching her until she is more comfortable around him.

This however limited my options to Natalie, Scarlet, and myself. I sighed Ash was creepy to people who didn't know him, with the silent stoic way that he watches just absorbing everything instead of responding to anything. Ian was a major flirt and would scare the crap out of her, as he had at the docks, unintentionally. Lastly Adam was worried with their last encounter he might scare her. Though maybe he was just worried he would get hit again.

I smirked eying her again, only to find her watching me. I wondered what she saw when she looked at me.

Was I some big fear inspiring kingpin? I surprised myself by being disappointed that that was probably exactly what she thought.

"Whose clothes are these?" She asked quietly, still not meeting my eyes for more than a fraction of a second at a time.

"Yours," I said. "I had my sister buy you some clothes so I could have mine back." I added trying to sound annoyed.

I didn't want her to think I cared. I didn't want to care.

"I'm sorry." She flinched and I felt like I had been stabbed in the gut.

She was bracing again as if expecting to be punished for being in clothes we put her in while she was unconscious.

"It's not a problem, yours were ruined. They love shopping anyway." I said shrugging, "You know it's a girl thing."

"Sure." Aviana blushed looking down at her hands.

Her expression made me wonder when the last time she had been shopping was, which was stupid it's not like Dan was the type of dad to take her out.

"How old are you?" I asked absently.

"Twenty-four, why?" I was somewhat surprised, her small stature had made me think she was much younger.

Then I wondered why she had stuck around after turning eighteen. However one more look at her condition reminded me that no matter what age you are, chains can still hold you.

With the amount of fight this woman had already shown I was sure that it took no less than iron bars to keep her trapped.

"Here, eat." I said trying to sound passive but she was just too thin.

Jay finally finished and she allowed the big black hoodie, that actually was mine, to fall over her back covering the bandages. Jay then gestured to her left hand not wanting to interrupt our conversation. She nodded holding it out to him.

"No thank you." She shook her head hesitantly as she stared at the plate in my hands biting her lip.

She flinched, a look of pain flashing across her face and she looked back towards Jay.

"Sorry dear, this is still pretty tender huh." Jay frowned sadly.

"I'm fine." She responded, straightening her shoulders again.

"It's not like it's drugged." I smirked, bringing her attention back to the food. "I wouldn't need to."

Jay turned to glare daggers at me but I kept my eyes on her.

I watched as her defensive walls shot up in response and chastised myself and my stupidity. I knew how stubborn she was, but I had to win the battle.

"I'm not hungry." She snapped.

I was close enough to see the fear hidden deep in her bright green eyes.

She was afraid of me. I didn't know why that realization hurt so much. She was supposed to fear me.

"Fine, starve. See if I care." I sighed frustrated and knowing that part of the reason I was frustrated was that I did care. More than I should.

I turned to walk out of the room, Jay followed at my heels.

"Why do you do that Liam?" Jay got in front of me at the door of my office blocking my way.

"Do what?" I sighed running my hand through my hair. I loved my uncle, but the last thing I needed right now was a parental lecture.

"Act all hot and cold with her. Push her away." He said crossing his arms. "You are kind one second then act like you don't care the next. Hell, you're giving me whiplash."

"I don't care." I grumbled staring past him wishing I was anywhere else. I couldn't seem to meet his eyes.

"Don't you lie to me Liam Drake Bly. I raised you and I know you better than you think." Jay responded sternly.

"Listen she's stubborn, irritating, strong, interesting..." I trailed off not allowing myself to say beautiful. I crossed my arms defensive. "Aside from that I don't have any clue what you are referring to. If you'll excuse me I have work to do." I snapped still not meeting his gaze as I walked around him into my office.

He sighed, stepping to the side before heading back to Avi's room.

Of course I knew exactly what he was talking about. Over the last few days of watching her as much as I could, I could feel the want and need to protect her had been growing stronger and becoming harder to bury.

However I knew that caring for her would not only show weakness on my part but also put a target on her back for every enemy I had.

I didn't even know this woman.

Aside from being stubborn, brave, and guarded I knew nothing about her. She had been hurt more than anyone ever should be.

She was beautiful though, and I wanted to get to know her. If I couldn't get her to start eating though, I may not get that chance.

I yelled slamming my palms down on the desk and stood there head hanging just trying to focus on breathing.

"How do I get you to trust me enough to eat Avi, I will not let you starve yourself." I sighed falling back into my chair.
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