*A/N: This book is a sequel to Crimson Angel in case you ended up seeing this one first.
To those who have been following along waiting for this, welcome back, friends :)*
“AJ?” Kurt asks, snapping me out of my temporary lapse into insanity. I compose myself long enough to reply, “I’ll be in my room.” I swiftly exit the kitchen and make my way up the stairs to the sounds of my brothers following after me.
“AJ, wait, we need to talk about this,” Hendrix says. I turn around and say, “I just need a minute, okay?”
“Okay, come get us when you’re ready to sort through this.”
I nod and then immediately lean back against the door when I close it behind me. I take a few deep breaths in an attempt to centre myself. This is probably the first time I’ve felt overwhelmed about everything going on.
Okay. One thing at a time.
Having Pete around sucks, but there’s just over a month left until my birthday and then I can challenge him and get him out of our lives permanently. I feel a little bad that I’ll have to make my mother a widow a second time...wait; no I don’t. She’s way better off without him.
And the cops won’t find any evidence on me, regardless of how hard they look because I haven’t actually done anything. Well, not to Reed anyway. And I suppose if the angry one doesn’t plant some.
The tail might cause problems Saturday, but there’s got to be some kind of solution. I just can’t currently think of one. But it’s okay. It’ll be fine. I pace my room for a bit and then begin obsessively going over the plan for Saturday. I go over mine and Walker’s equations a countless amount of times even though I know they’re correct.
I don’t even notice how late it’s getting when I hear I knock on my door. When it opens, I’m shocked to see Dax step through.
“Dax?! How did you get in here? Pete, he’s-”
“I know, princess, calm down. Your brothers called me. They snuck me in here.”
I blink for a second as I process this. I didn’t even know they had Dax’s number.
He walks over and wraps me in a hug. “They told me what was going on. Let me help you. Let me take care of you.”
I let myself melt into his chest as I wrap my arms around his waist. The nervous energy in my body immediately cools down several notches as he strokes my hair. “Talk to me,” he says gently. I’m shocked he’s not freaking out more. I pull back slightly to look at him. “Why are you so calm? How much did they tell you?”
“Everything. But they told me I wasn’t allowed to come unless I was calm. They threatened my life if I stressed you out more,” he says with a small chuckle.
I let out a small laugh at that. “Of course they did.”
He leads me over to the bed and sits down, pulling me onto his lap straddling his legs.
“I don’t like you staying here with him in the house,” he says, and I can tell he’s trying his best to stay calm, which I appreciate.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll keep my door locked and if that doesn’t work-” I pause and open my nightstand and pull out the gun. “This will.”
He raises an eyebrow and says, “That does make me feel a little better, but I still don’t like it.”
“It’s only for a couple months. I’m more worried about Saturday. What we’re trying to pull off is already risky, but if I’m being tailed by cops?”
“We’ll figure something out. You could always just sneak out.”
“That’s so risky though. If I get caught or if they realize I’m gone, it could fuck the whole thing up,” I say running my hands through my hair.
“So we lure them away then.”
He frowns and says, “I don’t know. Something big and on the other side of the city I suppose."
Suddenly, an idea pops into my head. “Or we could use decoys. Have the cops follow around who they think are Natalie and I.”
“How would that work?” he asks with a frown.
“Nat and I meet the decoys somewhere, swap clothes and give them our keys.”
“I definitely don’t know anybody who looks enough like you to pull that off,” he says skeptically.
“They don’t have to. With the helmet on, you can’t see our faces. All we need is a blonde and a brunette who can ride a motorcycle.” I wince as I say the next part. “I know a blonde.”
“Based on your face, I’m going to take a wild guess that it’s dollar store barbie,” he says.
I nod. “She learned after I got mine to try and impress my brothers. They definitely won’t be particularly happy about this.”
“I know a brunette. But you’re not gonna like this one either.”
“Brittany?” I ask to which he nods in confirmation. I’m not a big fan of this hinging on them, but I’m not sure we have a choice at this point. I groan and swipe my hands down my face before letting them rest on his chest. His face softens as he reaches a hand up to tuck my hair behind my ear. I don’t try to fight the urge to lean down and kiss him. When I tilt my hips into him, he pulls back and says, “You’re going to have to stop doing that. I only have so much self-control.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“It is right now. You look exhausted. Did Ryder let you sleep at all last night?”
“A little. But I wanted it. It’s not all his fault,” I tell him with a wink.
“Still. Tonight, I just want to be here with you; to hold you.”
I pout at him and say, “Sleep is overrated.”
“It’s not though. You’re human, and that’s okay. You don’t take care of yourself as much as you should; or even as much as you take care of other people so I’m going to do it for you.”
A sudden wave of intense emotion floods through me and I can’t seem to form words so I just lean down and cuddle into his chest. One of his hands strokes my back and the other brushes gently through my hair and exhaustion hits me like a ton of bricks. I attempt to make myself tell him he was right about me needing rest, but the only thing I manage to say before the blackness of sleep pulls me under is, “Mine.”
I wake up to the sound of Dax’s alarm clock and snuggle further into his chest, which is quite the feat considering I’m half lying on him. He shuts the alarm off and whispers, “Shh, go back to sleep beautiful.”
The memories of yesterday all come flooding back and I cling on to him even tighter.
“I don’t want you to leave,” I tell him quietly and he sighs before replying, “And I don’t want to leave. If I had any other choice, I wouldn’t.”
“I know,” I reply and then force myself to loosen my hold on him so he can get out of bed.
“Are you okay?” He asks.
“Of course I am,” I tell him, attempting to fake the confidence I’m certainly not feeling at this particular moment.
“AJ,” he warns gently. “You don’t have to be. Nobody is going to blame you or think any less of you for not being okay sometimes.”
“I know that. Don’t worry, I’m really okay. I definitely needed the rest though. Thank you for being here.”
“You should thank your brothers.”
“I will. Maybe that will butter them up for when I have to tell them we’re going to ask Monique for help this weekend.”
He chuckles softly and says, “Maybe. Anyway, I should get going. I’ll see you soon princess.” He kisses me gently on the forehead. “Don’t forget to keep your door locked and that gun loaded,” he tells me just as he quietly slides the window open.
“Always,” I reply and then he nods before sneaking out into the night that will very shortly lighten into dawn.