The Publicist's Plight (Book I in The Harrison Inc. Series)

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Chapter 26

Now please be advised, dear reader, that I am not an advocate for fighting.

There have been countless times where I have walked away from an altercation peaceably. The reasoning for that, is not only because I don’t like fighting. But because I can’t fight to save my life.

Wind-milling? That’s as close to a fight as I’ll go.

Still, it’s obvious Sebastian is a clear supporter of throwing punches, because he’s letting Skinner have it. Bad. Skinner can’t even get up and defend himself at first, Sebastian is punching so hard. But eventually Skinner shoves Sebastian off and proceeds to climb on top of him and ring his hands around his neck, Skinner’s blood dripping onto Sebastian’s shirt.

And that’s when I start to panic.

“Oh, God, oh, God he’s choking him!” I yell. “What do I do? What do I do!?”

“Don’t do anythin’!” Cindy yells, but I can’t help but carry on the urge to want to help. But what can I do?

Actually, what can a beer bottle do?

Skinner leans down and whispers something into Sebastian’s ear, and when he does, I grab the nearest beer bottle from one of the tables and smash it right onto Skinner’s head. The bottle breaks into a million pieces of glass, falling onto the ground just like the man I hit. Skinner grips his bleeding neck and wails in pain underneath a table. His crew hears his screams and rushes over from their own fight with the other men, and Sebastian scrambles up onto his feet right before they arrive.

“Fucker!” Sebastian spits while kicking Skinner on his side several times. There’s a raw, red anger I’ve never seen before set in his eyes as he continuously jams his foot into Skinner’s ribs. Sweat drips off of his face with every kick, ever jab he delivers to the biker President. And deep into his rage, he doesn’t realize the biker approaching him from behind, the only biker not intercepted by the rest of the men in the bar.

“Sebastian! B-behind you!” I yell nervously, but Sebastian doesn’t listen to me; his fury serves as his hearing, and the only thing he decides to hear is Skinner’s grunts of pain.

The biker pulls out a pocket knife and clicks it open. It’s longer, sharper and deadlier than the one sitting in my purse. He aims it high, ready to stab it into Sebastian’s bruised neck. There’s a sharp pain in my chest, and the room suddenly turns cold. This isn’t happening.

But it is, and my instincts kick in like I’ve turned into an entirely different person.

“AAAAAAAAH!” I holler like a war cry, sprinting as fast as I can and jumping on top of the tall, muscular biker’s back.

“Ah! What the hell!” he shouts as my legs wrap around his torso and my arms around his neck. Sebastian stops kicking an almost immobile Skinner and turns to the sound besides him. He spots the knife, and his eyes grow wide at the realization of what would have been the outcome, if I hadn’t jumped in.

The biker spins around in circles over and over again around the bar with my hand over his eyes and my arm around his neck. He’s like a blind giant, swinging his knife into the air at anything he can’t see. His body knocks chairs and drinks over, and even a table over in the process.

At this point, I have no idea what I’m doing. Am I supposed to stay on this guy forever? There’s no possible way I can take him on my own, and it’s only a matter of time before he finally sticks the knife into my side. What then?

“Damn you, you son of a bitch!” one man cries, and with one swift movement, he kicks the tall biker hard in the balls. He screams in agonizing pain and falls over on the ground, taking me with him. I stand up as quickly as I can and finally take a good look at the mess around us. Bikers and townsmen are punching, kicking, and throwing each other across the bar. A biker tosses a man onto a pool table, but a cowboy grabs a cue stick and slams it into his back, making him topple over in paralyzing pain.

“I’ve been waitin’ to beat this bastard’s ass since 1997!” the same man who kicked tall-biker-guy in the balls yells before landing a hard punch into his face.

Ada, Cindy, Leah and the rest of the girls are screaming and running for cover, along with a few other men who don’t want to be part of the brawl. Amidst the drinks flying in the air, windows breaking, tables falling over and fast-paced blues music to carry it along, I am in complete shock. The scene is something purely out of a movie, and even though I’m in the crossfire, I can’t help but stand in wonder at the non-ending mess of fists and shouts filling the hot, moth-infested air.

It’s obvious everyone has a pent-up anger towards these bikers. And I don’t blame them.

Sebastian has begun wrestling with a biker half his size, with the help of two other men holding the small motorcyclist down. On Sebastian’s eyebrow is a small mark of blood; the biker must have punched him good before Sebastian was able to pin him down.

Ada and Cindy gesture for me to come over to them for safety, and I take the opportunity in my hands as I have a clearing. But a warm, clammy, sticky hand grabs my shoulder tightly and yanks my back into his chest.


“Like I told Pretty Boy over yonder when I was chokin’ his ass,” he rasps painfully into my ear. “Once I’ve…got him nice and bloody, Ima have my boys…take you out back with me so I can do you in real good for…disrespectin’ me. And Ima make him watch.”

The only people who see my distress are Ada and Cindy, and they are frozen like ice statues. Skinner’s laugh sends chills up my spine. Chills I can’t escape. The music, shouting and fighting are much too loud for anyone to hear my voice—screams so loud they scratch my throat.

“Get off me, you stupid bicyclist!” I grunt as he drags me towards the back door, but against his weight and strength, my struggle is useless

Until a force knocks him off of me.

“Get off of her, you bastard!” Leah yells as she straddles him onto the ground. Ada, Cindy and three other girls who have a look of hatred specifically reserved for Skinner approach him with a loud wail and let him have it. He tries to pry Leah off of him, but Ada and Cindy hold him down at the arms, and the rest of the girl’s punch, slap and scratch Skinner with unrelenting force.

This can’t get any crazier.

“HE’S GOT A GUUUUN!!” Someone yells.

I stand corrected.

Still trying to catch my breath and my heart rate from Skinner’s threat, I rush to the door with an unescapable fear pounding at my ears when the four words are announced in the air. Four words no one wants to hear during a bar fight. Everyone is now running in different directions, but no one knows who has the gun.

“Time to go, TIME TO GO!” I yell desperately at Sebastian, but before he can even stand up, a loud, deafening BANG sounds off at the ceiling, and everyone is screaming louder than they were for the past ten minutes.

The bartender is holding the biggest shot gun I’ve ever seen in my life. There is smoke misting out from the gun due to his latest shot at the ceiling, and smoke flaring atop from where the bullet hit.

Wordlessly but angrily, he reloads, pumps the slide backwards and forwards, and shoots another bullet into the ceiling.

“I’m not cut out for this shit!” I cry into the floor, too scared to even run. Besides a few others taking cover, people are now sprinting out of the bar, including the bikers. Two bikers rush over to a beat-up Skinner and carry his limp body to the door.

Sebastian grabs my hand and pulls me up, “Now it’s time to go!” he yells.

And then we’re off, running outside into the street along with the thirty other people running in different directions through the town. BANG. Another shot fired, and now all of the bikers are pouring out and running the other direction to their bikes. Skinner is now in the hands of two bikers as they now carry his body to his bike.

“He can’t ride!” one of them screams.

“Put him and his bike in the truck with Diablo!” the other one yells in response.

“Y’all better get the fuck away from my bar!” The bartender shouts as he comes out of the bar with his shotgun in hand. The bikers scramble to get atop their bikes, and after a few minutes of difficulty, the bikers finally roar to life on top of their motorcycles and speed off through the town, a truck with Skinner inside following them. Sebastian pulls me into an alley, and we wait until the motorcycles can no longer be heard.

After ten minutes, the street is now quiet, rid of bikers, drunks, and women with minimal clothing. Sebastian and I then power-walk in silence until we see a well-lit diner. Sebastian gives me a guilty look, knowing he should have listened to me in the first place.

We sit outside on a bench and finally catch our breath. I can feel Skinner’s blood on my blouse, and although it blends in with the red of my top, the sticky, heavy feeling makes me cringe.

For a minute, we only pant and breathe in the warm, humid air. And then Sebastian starts chuckling. Followed by myself laughing, too.

“Holy shit,” he laughs.

“I-I can’t believe you kicked Skinner like that!”

“Me? You jumped on top of that guy like a crazy woman!”

I shake my head as he continues to laugh. I open my mouth to say something, but my eyes avert down to dark red liquid, painted on top of Sebastian’s hand. It takes me a moment to realize that it is indeed his blood, on top of a deep cut across his left hand.

“Your hand, Sebastian,” I say softly.

He looks as if he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but then notices the wound on his hand and the blood dripping down onto the cement.

“Oh wow. I didn’t even realize…shit, this actually hurts,” he laughs spiritlessly, discomfort on his face.

“Hold on,” I tell him. I get up from my bench with my purse and climb the steps to the diner. Inside, the heat still lingers, swept around by the slow moving ceiling fans. Country music blares through the radio, along with the static of an old television on the wall. I walk past the small amount of people eating, and realize upon looking at the clock on the wall that it’s almost midnight. I blink my shock away.

“Can I help you, doll?” An older waitress asks behind a counter. Her eyes travel down my dirty, bloody and unpresentable body and her mood shifts to concern.

“Hi,” I smile. “Um…you wouldn’t happen to have a first aid kit, would you? And a cup of water?”

“This is probably going to hurt.”

I tip the cup of cold water over Sebastian’s hand and rinse the blood away from his skin. It travels down onto the ground in a puddle of pink, and he hisses until all the water is gone.


“It’s fine,” he says.

When his hand is clean, I take a pair of tweezers from the first aid kit and carefully pick out the small pieces of glass left in his cut. There aren’t many, but I double check to make sure that every single shard is taken out.

“Wow, you really know what you’re doing, huh?”

I give him a playful side eye as I clean around his cut with a sanitizer wipe, “Why? Did you doubt my doctor skills?”

“I was certain you had learned all your doctor skills in pre-school during free time.”

He laughs at my glare.

“Ha-ha, very funny. Actually, I watch a lot of YouTube, for your information.”

After putting ointment directly on his cut, I grab a gauze and wrap the wound tightly enough. It’s quiet, minus the sounds of bugs and birds in the night.

“Leslie,” he says as I’m putting pressure over the gauze.


“Thank you.”

“Oh, for this? I don’t think it’s that hard to tend to a cut—”

“No, no, no. For what you did at the bar? With Skinner and with that other biker who tried to stab me?”

I look at his eyes, and see there is no playfulness in them. Just sincerity.

I shrug and smile kindly, “Oh, that was…that was nothing. I was just in the moment, I suppose.”

“In the moment?” He scoots closer to me so our bodies are now touching side-by-side. “Leslie…you do realize you saved my life, right?”

“Um…yeah, I guess.”

“You’re so modest,” he chuckles, and for some reason the gentleness of it gives me goosebumps. “Either way, thank you.”

“Well, you’re welcome. And that whole thing with Skinner…thanks for defending me like that. As you might have known, I’m not much of a fighter.”

“Are you a wind-miller?”

I gasp, “How did you know?!”

Sebastian laughs again, “I don’t know. Just a wild guess,” he sighs. “I’d rather be a wind-miller than a fighter, to be honest.”

He holds up his right hand, bruised purple and blue at the knuckles from the punches he delivered earlier.

“It pays to be a fighter sometimes. But also it pays to be a loving, too,” I point out.

“I’m not a loving person. I’m a pleasuring person,” Sebastian titters a bit. “I don’t have the ability to love anyone—I just know how to make them feel good for a while.”

His words make sense, more than I thought they would. I stare down at his hand sitting on top of mine as he stares at the empty street with an empty gaze.

“Is that blood yours or Skinners?” he asks me, changing the subject.

I look at the blood on my shoulder, “Skinner’s.”

“From when he grabbed you?”

I notice Sebastian’s features turn colder, like he’s remembering something.

“Yeah. You saw that?”

“I did,” he removes his eyes from mine out of guilt. “I should have—”

“Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. But you didn’t. And there’s no use dwelling on it. I’m here, and I’m not hurt,” I lightly trace the cut on his eyebrow, then look down at the blue and violet remnants of Skinner around his neck. “But you are. Pretty badly.”

“I’ve gone through worse,” he dismisses the obvious. “It’s not that bad.”

Again, my tongue moves faster than my judgment.

“You know what your problem is?” I say.


“You like to pretend like nothing is as bad as it is with you. Smoke some crack? I’m not that high. Brothers attacking me? That’s just how they are. Tabloids laughing at me? They have a reason. Almost choked and stabbed to death with cuts on my hand and face? It’s not that bad.”

He smiles halfheartedly, shaking his head, “No one cares anyway. Why should I, you know?”

“…because I do,” I reply shyly. “I care. Which is why I bandaged you up. Which is why I cracked a bottle on Skinner’s head and tackled the Green fucking Giant for you. Which is why I even came into the forest in the first place. If I didn’t care, yes, we’d probably be home by now, but what…what would have changed…you know?”

And for the first time since I’ve known Sebastian, I see the imaginary wall he built around himself sort of deteriorate. He stares at me youthfully, like he’s asking if I’m serious with his eyes. And I shrug, telling him that I am with a smile.

Then, both of us look down at his gauze, realizing that we’ve been holding hands for a good five minutes. Somehow, my fingers found a way to slip through his, gripping against his hand absentmindedly. We let go and laugh the awkwardness away in different directions.

I pull out more sanitizing wipes and gauze and remove the bandage from around my foot. The cut area is an entirely different shade than the rest of the skin on my foot. I nod, impressed.

“Your bandaging skills have proved to be quite exceptional,” I tell Sebastian in a deep voice that almost makes me sound like Yoda.

“Thank you. And please, don’t ever do that voice again,” Sebastian snickers.
“You sound like Yoda”

I cackle with laughter, louder and more embarrassingly than I had intended, “I knew I sounded like Yoda.”

A bell rings behind us. We turn around to a waitress, the same one who supplied me with the first aid kit and the water leaning against the door.

“Y’all ’right out there, sweetie?”

I nod and stand, limping from the absence of a shoe, “Yes, thank you. I’m actually done with the kit.”

I leave out the gauze and sanitizing wipes for my foot and close the box. When I hand her the box and the cup, she raises an eyebrow.

“Can I ask what happened with y’all?”

I open my mouth to explain the events that occurred at the bar, but right when I do, a car horn substitutes my voice.

A black SUV covered in mud pulls up in front of the diner. The passenger side door opens, and Sarah jumps out of the car and almost shakes the sense out of Sebastian.

Pinche Pendejo!” she exclaims. “What did you do!?”

“Sarah, I’m fine!” Sebastian laughs, Sarah inspecting the validity of his statement by touching his neck and face. “I swear!”


Sarah looks up and sees me waving at her. She runs up to me, and at first I think she’s going to push me onto the ground by the look on her face, but instead she gives me a tight, constricting hug that compresses my lungs.

“Shit, I never thought I’d be happier to see you guys.”


She lets go, “Sorry. C’mon. We have a long drive ahead. Enough time for you to tell me every single detail of what the hell happened to you two.”

I nod. Thanking the waitress for the first-aid kit, I follow Sarah down the steps, take the bandage supplies, shoe and my purse off the bench, and climb into the car after Sebastian. I take off my shoe and sigh at the cold air of the AC throughout the car.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Sebastian asks.

Lucas turns around, and I cover my mouth in shock. His face is covered in mud, along with his clothes, and there are scratches on his cheek.

“Why don’t you ask Sarah, who abandoned me!” he yells.

Sarah shuts the door, and all the lights in the car dim off. Now, all we see is two silhouettes screaming at each other.

“Me!?” she frowns at Sebastian. “Lucas wanted to be “Lukey the Raccoon Hunter” and got his ass kicked by the damn thing!”

“First of all, that Australian accent is unnecessary. And second, that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t such a wuss and didn’t lock yourself in the car when it screeched at me!”

“What was I supposed to do, let you both in? And besides, you ran on top of the windshield screaming and sat on top of the car, anyway.”

“Yes…before you DROVE OFF WITH ME ON TOP!”

As Sarah and Lucas argue, Sebastian gives me an annoyed look at their bickering, and the fact that they successfully managed to look past the state Sebastian and I are in.

Which is a good thing, I guess. Gives me time to sleep.

The drive back is mostly quiet. Besides the fact that Sarah and Lucas are currently not on the best of terms, most of the ride was spent sleeping or staring out of the window. The portion of the drive I wasn’t sleep, I thought of the “homecoming” we would receive by everyone. What do we say? How do we explain the bruises, cuts and blood on Sebastian’s shirt? Overall, how do we even explain everything in a way that would make sense?

I look down at the new bandage on my foot. The cut doesn’t hurt, but I’m sure it’s going to be blown out of proportion, especially by Sebastian’s brothers, who seem to pin and blame everything on him. I devise a way to properly go over the events of now yesterday in a way that will take most of the blame off of Sebastian, given none of this is actually his fault, when you really think about it.

When we make it to the manor, the sun is barely rising. Shades of lilac and pink canvas the sky, along with the tip of the sun’s glow across the bare, green land.

The house sits in front of us in the driveway. When the engine is cut off, all four of us sit in the car in silence.

“You know, Sebastian,” Sarah says. “You’re going to have to explain how you got all of those.”

He touches his neck, “Yeah, I know.”

None of us move. We watch as lights start to flicker on, and shadows move around inside the mansion.

“Do you guys wanna go in now?” I propose.

We look at each other, and come to the conclusion that we all look like hell. Complete and utter hell. But we don’t come to a conclusion that involves making a move.

“Let’s just go,” Sebastian says. “It won’t be that bad.”

Sebastian’s optimism is new, but encouraging. However, this optimism is soon wavered when the front door opens.


“—fuck,” Sebastian finishes for Sarah.

As we sit motionless in the car, my heart beat quickens when the silhouette of a man turns into the clear and visible figure of a tired and business suited Garrett walking towards us, staring furiously at Sebastian through the windshield.


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