Bulletproof Kisses

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More To The Man

Samuel shook his knee and nibbled a fingernail in anticipation as he eagerly awaited for the person on the other end to pick up his call. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he narrowly stared ahead, his brows fiercely narrowed beneath cold blue eyes.

“Damn!” He hissed, throwing the phone over the dashboard and slamming his hands against the wheel.

Marianne slightly flinched. “Still no luck?” She questioned lazily.

Sam gritted his teeth. “She’s not picking up her fûcking phone!” He exclaimed, referring to the person he had hoped would give him information about Leon and Maria.

Marianne shook her head and watched as Sam’s eyes began to blankly search the area.

“Why are you so fixated on finding Maria anyway?” She questioned, turning in her seat to carefully scrutinize him.

The muscles worked up in Samuel’s jaw. “She cheated on me. No one cheats me and gets away with it,” he said deadly slow.

“But you cheated too,” Marianne pointed out.

Sam cast her a look that was so deadly, Marianne swallowed.

“She said she loved me but at the same time she was spreading her legs for another man,” he calmly said, saying the words with such force that one would think it pained him. “No one does that to me!” He growled.

Marianne jumped. “Hey hey, calm down buster.”

“Don’t. Tell me what to do,” he hissed. “She turned me into the man I thought died years ago. And she will pay for doing it.”

Marianne was frightened as well as she was confused. “What man– who the fûck died?”

Sam ran a hand across his face. “I thought that side of me was gone when I met her…” He swiped a hand across his mouth. “She forced me to become that person again. Damn!” He slammed his hand angrily against the staring wheel, while he slowly turned to Marianne.

“Your sister will pay for betraying me. She will pay and the price will be blood.”

His eyes did not betray his words, they had the same conviction each syllable possessed.

Marianne watched the fire that raged in the eyes, the raw need for revenge and the desire to satiate a need to fulfill the action of the words his mouth had spoken. She contemplated on her option to side with this man, but then begrudgingly, she was reminded of her own goal. To see her sister fall to her knees, because in her eyes, Maria had been everyone’s favorite, being the girl who got all the attention and love, while she….She had only been the misfortune arrived from twin birth. She was always the odd one out, the mistake, the one no one loved, but she planned on changing things and the first step would be:

Ruining her sister, Maria Chandler.

Samuel expelled a deep breath and with a curse, he started the car. “I guess we’ll just have to go to the hotel to find out ourselves,” he spoke before swerving the car from around it’s curb and in the direction of the hotel.

Leon paced the room, patting his phone against his chin as he took time, glancing at Maria, who had fallen asleep on the sofa. He had a talk with his P.I minutes earlier who had told him he would would email the information he had requested about Samuel Carter, few minutes after the call. Leon suddenly glanced at his watch, realizing he had been waiting for about twenty minutes.

He sighed in eager anticipation, finding it hard to just wait, when he was this anxious. He wanted to know the grounds in which he stood with Samuel – his background, how far he could possibly go in pursuing his fixation, or rather, obsession with Maria. He didn’t want any harm to come to her– he realized she had suffered too much throughout her life, threading on lines of deception that she was oblivious of. He felt guilty for leaving her all those years ago– for hurting her, and despite what he had thought of her– thought she did…he was willing to leave that behind him and move on with Maria, hopefully at his side.

Leon gingerly moved towards her sleeping form, harnessed in the softness of the cushions. He sighed as he took a seat beside her, watching how soft her features had become with sleep; there was no longer any tension, or fear/ fright in her eyes which was now closed. A wisp of her light hair fell to her face, gently caressing the smoothness of her cheeks. Leon couldn’t resist but trail his fingers along the warmness of her cheek, taking that lock of hair and putting it back in place, while his hand lingered along her skin. She was so beautiful and peaceful as she slept, free on the burdens of the world, her mind and body, seemingly rested. And that was what he wanted to see– her carefree and happy like she once was six years ago when she was more youthful and ready to take on the challenges of the world.

She stirred, Leon held his breath, not wanting to be the person to wake her. Releasing a lengthy breath, she huddled closer to him, wanting to feel his presence, even though she was in deep sleep. Slowly, Leon reached for a blanket he had placed at the end of the sofa, and spread it over her, before lightly placing a kiss on the cheek he had earlier caressed.

As soon as he stood to check his computer, he received a message from his P.I, saying he should. Leon unhesitatingly dashed for his laptop, seating himself on the single seated sofa that was opposite Maria.

He opened the mail to the contents he received from his PI, immediately beginning to read. As he read with deep scrutiny and unwavering attention, his brown eyes widened with disbelief. It seemed there was more to Samuel Carter that he let on.

“Damn!” Leon hissed upon reading something that blew things out of the water.

“What is it?” a sleepy voice queried.

Leon looked over the laptop to find Maria easing up from the sofa, with questions in her droopy eyes.

He swallowed, not wanting to leave her oblivious to his PI’s findings on her ex- fiance. He knew it would leave her hurt, but thought she deserved to know.

He raked a hand through his hair. “I er– I asked my private investigator to get me information on Sam,” he admitted with firm softness.

He watched as her shoulders stiffened and her neck corded. “Wh– Is that it?” She asked as her gaze dropped to the laptop.

Leon nodded. Maria stood and walked towards him, hugging her shoulders as if it were cold. She took a seat on the arm of the sofa, her eyes fixated on the screen.

Clearing his throat, Leon spoke. “He ah…” How could be begin to tell her the man she thought she loved was a criminal.

“Samuel has a history of domestic violence, which resulted in him nearly beating his ex girlfriend to death. She suffered from internal bleeding, having to undergo immediate surgery; the charges were somehow dropped because Samuel has a way of weaving his way out of things…” He trailed off, looking up at Maria who had gone pale. She was just blindly staring on the screen of the laptop, her mind distant.

“Continue,” she prodded shakily.

“His last girlfriend – before you– she had thought his behavior strange; he was always so carefree and had goals that were farfetched, always lying and showing signs of violence at the time. She went to a psychiatrist to ask about his behavioral pattern, she tried to leave after finding out, but that was when Samuel almost killed her.” He completed before looking up at Maria, who swallowed.

“What did she find?” she asked, staring at the laptop but found that her eyes couldn’t focus. She was too befuddled.

“Samuel’s behavior ticked all the boxes of a psychopath,” he provided softly.

Maria gasped. “A psychopath…No,” she breathed. “He has never displayed such behavior towards me, apart from this…” She gestured towards her face, motioning to the few faint small bruises.

Leon sighed softly. “Maria he cheated, and he lied which is clearly a s–”

“Didn’t we do that,” she put in a bit sharply.

“I never once hit you,” he fired back, holding her gaze. “Are you trying to defend him?”

She scoffed, rising from the sofa. “I’m not, but I’m just trying to make sense out of all this. I would have known a psychopath if I was living with one for such a long time,” she exclaimed a bit shakily, raking her hands through her hair in utter frustration.

Leon stood, moving towards her. “Maria, I’m sorry,” he expelled softly.

Her lips trembled, she looked away to distract from the tears that welled in her eyes. “I am to blame,” she finally said after a moment.

Leon’s brows knitted. “Wh– Maria, this man was like this long before you met him and it probably could have gotten worst if you’d stayed with him for longer.”

“What if he was trying to change when he was with me,” Maria supplied disjointedly.

“He cannot change who he is Maria, he cannot love– he might have been able to convince himself for a short while but when that balance of power shifts dramatically, they tend to hurt– he did that to you. He thought you held all the control when you were with me, he wanted all the control…”

“Stop!” She cried, falling to the sofa and raking her hand across her face.

Leon gave her a moment, understanding why this must’ve been too much for her. In the space of days her life had literally overturned.

“I’m sorry,” he moved towards her and sat, placing his hand on her knee. “I want to keep you safe and I don’t think this is the place where I can do so…” He trailed off, trying to properly formulate what he wanted to say. “Come to California with me,” he said, holding his breath.

Maria scoffed. “My life is here, you know that.”

“It doesn’t have to be forever. Just until things blows over,” he quickly added.

He wasn’t running away from a man he thought dangerous, he just wanted to protect her from a man he knew was.

Maria heaved a lengthy sigh, massaging her temples where she felt an impendent headache.

She was about to reply when she heard a soft knock at the door. They both glanced at each other with curiosity.

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