The only sounds that follow are the cracking of his bones.
I can’t stop. I just keep hitting him.
The predator I usually keep for the cage unleashed itself the moment I saw what he was doing to her.
I’ll kill him for this.
The screams only increase, the woman desperately trying to pull me off as I channel every ounce of hate running through me to hit after hit to his face.
My knuckles are broken, I can feel the pain shooting up into my wrist with every punch but I don’t stop. It’s nothing compared to his pain though, he doesn’t even look human anymore, just a soup bowl of blood and cartilage that was once his face.
I feel a pair of weak arms come around my neck and try to rip me back but I’m not done. I won’t be done until he’s dead.
“Please stop! She needs you to get her out of here!”
I freeze, my fist still held high as the blood drips from them into the plush cream carpet next to this fuckers head.
Looking behind me I see she’s still laying at the bottom of the elevator, her body unmoved from the moment it opened. Fuck, she needs me, I’ll get her first then I’ll come back and kill this one.
I nod, the adrenaline rushing through my body making it hard to form words to tell this woman I’m okay. The second she lets go of me I run to Brie.
Her eyes are still open but it’s like there’s nobody there behind them, they’re completely glassy as her breathing grows so shallow I can hardly see her chest rising and falling. He tried to break my queen...
Falling to my knees next to her, tears start to roll down my cheeks. She can’t move, she couldn’t fight. He made her helpless, then... “Brie? Can you hear me?” She doesn’t move, her tears still falling are the only sign she’s even still alive. I gently unwrap the belt from her neck and I watch her take in a breath that resembles more of a whimper. I’m so fucking sorry Brie. I’m so sorry I couldn’t get to you sooner.
The receptionist comes to my side.
“You have to get out of here, now. I need to call the ambulance and you can’t be here when they get here. She’ll have you hung for this.”
“I’m not leaving her. You saw what he was trying to do. Let the fucker bleed out, I don’t give a fuck. Even if he survives, he’s gonna have to go to fucking jail for this.”
She shakes her head, taking hold of the bottom of Brie’s skirt and sliding it down to cover her back up. Up close I can see the true existent of the marks he’s left on her now, he’s branded her body against her will and it’s making me fucking sick.
“You don’t understand who that is.” She states pointing over to the unconscious bag of leaking blood down the hall. “You need to get both of you out of here. I’ll ring the police and say I just found him like that, I’ll cover for you. I saw what he did but there’s no fucking way he’ll go down for it, he’s too powerful. I’ve seen it before, she’ll never press charges. They won’t look for you, he’ll make sure of that, it will only cause more attention to what he was doing to her. You both just need to get out of here, now.”
Who the fuck is this guy? Why is she so afraid of him?
I stand, placing my arm under Bries head and pulling her up into my hold as I cradle her weak body. She can’t bare any of her weight, her whole frame so heavy with dead mass I wouldn’t be able to hold her if it wasn’t for all the weight she’s lost, she’s sickly thin right now. My adrenaline is wavering, earlier I was so hyped up I’m pretty sure I could’ve flipped a car, now I want to crumble just looking at her.
The woman presses the button for the ground floor as Brie’s head flops back and I have to readjust my hold of her. As the doors close I get my final look at the thing that did this to her, still unmoved on the floor.
I’m going to come back for you. The minute you think you’re safe, I will fucking end you for this.
“My boyfriend works security here, I’ll make him delete any footage... Just take care of her...”
I nod. The way this woman is acting, like she fully expected this to happen today. The thought sends a shiver up my spine. What kind of sick monster does that to a woman? No man, no real man, is capable of it.
He clearly has enough money to buy himself a woman for the night... but that’s not what rape is about is it. It’s about power. An evil poor excuse for a human that gets a kick out of watching themselves drain the life from someone’s soul.
I should’ve killed him.
The elevator doors open and I try my best not to make eye contact with anyone as I carry Brie through the foyer, I know people are staring so I try to make it look like she’s just sleeping, cradling her head into my chest and feeling her breath is still ragged against my skin.
Her eyes are finally closed but her breathing is still so quick I know that she’s far from sleeping.
“I’ve got you Brie.”
Getting to the doors I hear someone screaming from the desk, until suddenly it stops berating the staff and moves towards my direction.
“Brianna?” I turn to see a tall sender woman in a cream pant suit rushing towards us, there’s genuine care in her eyes as she looks down at Brie in my arms. “What happened to her? And who the fuck are you?”
I recognise the voice now, I heard it a few times screaming down Brie’s phone.
“Sonya, right? Have you got a car to get us out of here? I’ll explain then.”
My tone is sharp and I don’t miss the looks she gives me that says she doesn’t appreciate being spoken to that way. I’d give a fuck but I seem to have run out of them. I can hear rain despite the clear sky, but soon realise it’s actually blood leaking from my knuckles and dripping onto the marble floor.
Sonya notices, placing her hand inside her bag and readying herself with something before turning to face me.
“Did you fucking hurt her?!”
I shake my head. “No, I hurt the guy that did this to her. Car?”
She nods, dropping whatever it is back into her bag and gesturing for me to follow her. I actually start to jog to keep up with the woman as she races towards a large black town car.
“Peter!” The driver of the car jumps out quickly, grabbing open the door before pausing when he sees Brie in my arms.
He looks over the bruises and scratches that only seem to be becoming more and more prominent as the minutes roll on, the one around her neck now worst of all.
“What the hell happened to her?” He helps me lay Brie down on the back seat, Sonya allowing me to get in with her as she rushes around to the passenger seat.
Sirens start to fill the air.
“I assume they’re coming for you?” Sonya asks as her driver starts to pull away from the hotel. I nod. She instructs him to pick up the pace and he doesn’t hesitate to speed off in the opposite direction of the noise.
Brie’s shaking, she can’t stop. I scoop her head up onto my lap and lay my jacket over her but I don’t even know if she realises I’m here. She’s so fucking terrified. Brie is never scared, I’ve seen her take on guys twice her size without so much as a blink, but this is true terror running through her and I fucking hate it. I try to stroke her hair the way I always did to make her fall asleep, just trying to bring her comfort, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t even know if I should be touching her right now.
For the first time since I saw her in that elevator there is the tiniest bit of movement, her eyes flickering open just slightly before closing again.
“Brie, you’re okay, you’re safe now.”
She doesn’t respond but the shakes that rack her body appear to slow.
Sonya waits until we’re far out of the rich people district before instructing her driver to pull over into a side street. She gives me a glare as she throws off her expensive high heeled shoes before climbing over the centre console and crouching in the foot-well of the backseat beside Brie.
The way she strokes the side of Brie’s face with such affection makes me see the true care I never realised she had for her, you’d never guess she liked her with the way she screams down the phone at her all the time.
Sonya nods. “Yeah, I guessed that from the look idiot. She said you were her tatted up coma boy, although she hasn’t mentioned you lately. I meant, tell me what the fuck happened.”
I take a deep breath before reciting her everything; the voicemail, what I saw in the elevator and what I did to the guy. By the time I was talking about removing the belt from her neck Sonya was in tears, her grip on Brie’s hand so tight I’m becoming afraid she might crush it.
One detail in particular seemed to stand out to her, one that made her whole face drop.
“What did he call himself?” She asked as I watched the rage ripple throughout her body.
“A Vanderbilt, what is that?”
She moves, sliding her body under Bries legs and falling back against the headrest without ever taking her hand out of Brie’s.
“Not a what, a who. Tommy Vanderbilt, it fucking has to be. My god, you would’ve been doing the world a favour if you fucking killed him. I’d heard the rumours but I thought they couldn’t possibly be true. There was talk a few years ago but it all went away so quietly I assumed it must have just been some over-exaggerated gossip. I never thought... Damn it Brie, what have you got yourself caught up in...”
I snap my head to look at her.
“This isn’t her fucking fault, she didn’t ask for this.”
Sonya looks at me horrified.
“Of course she didn’t fucking ask for this! That’s not what I’m saying. She’s just been so off the rails lately, putting herself in dangerous situations, but I never thought something like this could happen or I never would’ve left her there! I thought at worse she’d drink too much and I have to get her home somehow! Fuck... I thought all this would pass for her, I know what it’s like to lose a family member and have it crush you. I thought with time she’d just get better, although I could see there was more too it than she was saying. I think some fucker broke her heart, she tried to hide it but she isn’t as hard to read as she likes to believe.”
Someone fucking did.
“Clarisse won’t let this go, she has too much money and power to let this lay. She’s got the most powerful friends in this country Steven, you both need to be careful.”
Clarisse? Wait, Vanderbilt! Fuck, it’s her fucking son?
“That’s the woman you were doing the engagement party for? Right?” Sonya nods. “Fuck, that’s who Brie thinks cut her breaks.”
Sonya’s jaw falls open. “She does? Why the hell would Clarisse care about Brianna enough to try and kill her? It makes no sense.”
Her driver coughs uncomfortably and I have a feeling he knows something Sonya doesn’t.
“Peter! Out with it!”
He slumps forward and I don’t blame him, even I wouldn’t argue with this woman. I get it now, her a Brie, they must be a force to be reckoned with.
“I didn’t really see anything, I just... The night of the engagement party I realised you’d left a folder on the back seat. I didn’t know if you needed it so I walked around to the staff entrance to get in and I saw Brianna and the man Clarisse was marrying at the centre of the hedges maze. They were just dancing, but it was clearly intimate. I didn’t know who Brianna was back then so I didn’t think much of it other than they looked like a happy couple. After I left the folder inside I came back out and that same man was talking with another. He was telling him how he wanted out of the engagement, that he wanted to marry the girl he was meant to be with not the one he was being forced to. They started talking in Italian when they saw me... but I heard him say Brianna’s name.”
An Italian? The same fucking Italian she went to paradise with?
If that’s who Clarisse is marrying then the woman would definitely have it out for Brie...
My heart falls into my stomach as the most horrific thought I’ve ever had comes into my head... Did she have her son do this to her? I’m gonna be fucking sick... Surely not... I fucking hope not.
Sonya can’t stop shaking her head, her hand stroking Brie’s hair as tears fall down her cheeks. “Oh, you silly girl... You’re not meant for this world Brianna, you’re far to pure... If Clarisse is willing to throw her weight behind this vendetta, there’s no chance she’ll be able to press charges. Clarisse’s son Christopher is married to Emma Thyme, her father owns the force. You’d have to find a detective willing to stand against him, no-one is willing to sacrifice their career like that.”
Actually, I know one who might.
I turn to Sonya. “You know Tara Thompson right? That’s how you met Brie? Can you take us to her house, I think she can help.”
Sonya gives Peter the address and he takes off towards the Manor.
Pulling my phone out of my pocket I call the one person who I know Brie will want to see when she wakes up, the only one who has any chance of getting her through this.
It takes a while but eventually she answers.
“Aleah, I need your help.”