“My impulsiveness?” I repeated my voice like acid. Honestly I hadn’t known I could sound like that. I turned around in the seat and glowered at him, my heart racing in my chest and my body shaking slightly.
He sat there without moving a muscle as he responded evenly, “Yes. You suddenly left Titan this morning because you say Alik killed your friends. So, you take off running and end up caught between my group and yours fighting. You tried to fight me on impulse when we thought you were simply a civilian trying to get away from the fighting.
“In addition to that, you yelled at Jace even though he had a gun to your head. And you thought about leaping out of this car while it was in motion, and now you want to leap out again just so you can get away from us. But you haven’t thought anything through. Your impulsiveness is going to get you killed.”
“You’re an ass.”
“I get that a lot.”
As I stared at him, his words started to sink in, and more importantly what he’d said about the two gangs fighting. Hadn’t he said ‘his’ group? Did that… did that mean he was the leader of some gang? My heart skipped a beat as my eyes grew wide. Tristan arched an eyebrow at me. It must have dawned on him too because he smiled almost immediately after giving me that curious look.
“Shall I re-introduce myself?” he said, tilting his head off to the side. He kind of had a sexy look like that. I was pretty sure he was doing that on purpose. Teasing me again… what the hell? God he pisses me off… When I didn’t answer, he seemed to take that as an invitation and shifted his body across the seat. For some idiotic reason, I forgot the door was unlocked behind me. I pressed my back against the door as I watched him warily.
Reaching out as he got unbearably close to me, he took my chin between his fingers and tilted my head up, “I’m Tristan Ukomota, I’m the head of Fukkatsu.”
“F-Fukkatsu…?” my voice cracked unwillingly.
“Means ‘revival’, my father was Japanese,” he replied with a smile.
I let out a breath as I took this in. So he was born into this whole gang crap. Tristan released my face gently as the pair that had left the car got back in. As the doors slammed shut, Zak put it in gear and started down the alleyway toward the main road ahead of us. I think at one point I finally remembered how to breathe as I settled against the seat, finally tearing my gaze away from Tristan who had turned to address his two underlings.
Glancing over my shoulder, I eyed the three cracks against the rear window. The gun shots hadn’t gone through which meant the glass was probably reinforced, bullet proof. Definitely high grade stuff, especially during that time. I hardly listened to Tristan as he asked Zak if they’d lost Alik. The answer must have been favorable because Tristan leaned back against the seat and eyed me as I sat there staring at the floor.
I flinched as I felt his hand on my face again, turning my head. Since when did he get so close?! I almost freaked out on him, but reigned in my urge to slap his hand away and punch him in the face. I supposed he was right, I was pretty damned impulsive. His eyes narrowed a bit as he eyed my face. What the hell was he looking at… Oh. I forgot I had been pistol whipped by my ex, and had my ear drum busted. Well, maybe not fully busted because hearing was all right in that ear, it was just a little dull.
“How did this happen?”
“W-when I fell,” I answered. They already didn’t trust me, not that I really wanted them to, but telling them I was Alik’s boyfriend was probably a really bad idea.
“And your ear?”
“Happened when Alik shot my friends,” I glowered at the floor. At least that wasn’t really a lie. It wasn’t the whole truth, but still.
“He shot at you?”
I nodded in response. Tristan held my head there for a while longer, examining the wounds and then finally let go. I glanced up at him as he pulled back and took his place on the other end of the seat again. Looking to the two guys in the front, it seemed that Jace was pissed off about my being there as he wouldn’t even turn around and acknowledge me anymore. Zak glanced up in the rearview mirror every now and then and this time when I met his gaze, he offered a smile at me.
At least someone is nice around here… At least I hope so. I reached out and grasped the handle as the car turned to the left and barreled down the street at a rather fast speed. Looking out the window, I noted that the city streets were beginning to open up just a bit. I wasn’t sure, but I thought we were on the edge of town, just starting to get out of downtown. Still, I was so freaking lost. The hummer had done a thousand different turns that my internal directional compass was completely screwed up. Okay, so maybe I never really had a great instinct for direction, but still. I was utterly lost, that was the point.
“Kilia will look at it when we get there.”
“Who?” I asked, only mildly curious.
“She’s our doctor. She’s very good. We’re limited on supplies though, so I don’t know what all she’ll be able to do for you.”
“It’s fine,” I mumbled, glowering at the floor of the hummer. Tristan fell silent, he didn’t say anything else to me for the rest of the car ride out of downtown. It was about twenty minutes later that the hummer pulled up in front of this giant house. I don’t think I’d ever seen such a huge place before. It was a mansion. Gigantic. My body had shivers all over as I took in the huge place. We even had to pass through a set of wrought iron gates before we could get to the house.
The gates had a pair of dragons curling through the black iron. As the gates slid opened for us, the hummer rolled through the gravel as it approached the huge round about circle where a large fountain of another Japanese styled dragon was spitting water straight up into the air. The fountain looked like it was made of marble. I stared at it in awe, my jaw probably hit my knees. Next to me, Tristan chuckled at my expression, which I quickly reigned in and glared at him over my shoulder.
As the vehicle came to a stop, I pushed open the door, eager to be out of the small space with the trigger happy Jace and the teasing leader of the gang. Perhaps I had been a bit too eager though. With the door opened, I made to jump out as it was a pretty tall vehicle. However, when my feet hit the ground, blinding agony shot up my entire left side. I couldn’t even make a sound as I simply crumpled to the gravel, moaning in pain.
“Idiot,” Jace’s voice was near me. Had he run over? Odd, I was pretty sure he wanted to put a bullet through my skull not too long ago.
“Zak, get Kilia,” Tristan’s voice barked the order. It wasn’t harsh or mean or anything like that. It was just that commanding tone that demanded respect and for the orders to be followed without question.
Hands pulled me over onto my back, scrapping my wounds through the gravel, to which I did give a shout of pain. I groaned, biting my tongue to keep from sounding like an utter wimp. This was freaking pathetic of me. I couldn’t believe a couple of scratches put me down on the ground like this. Peeling open my eyes, I was met by Tristan’s large frame looming over me. Putting his arm under my shoulders and the other under my knees, he easily lifted me up.
It was the first time I’d ever been carried in such a way, “Sucks…”
“This sucks,” I managed to say louder, “Can’t believe I have to be carried like this, and by you of all people…”
Tristan grinned at me as he headed toward the house swiftly, “Is it so bad to be carried by me?”
“Yes,” I hissed.
“I’m sorry, bear with me a little longer than. You can’t walk anyway.”
“Yes I can.”
He glanced down at me as we passed through the double doors of the mansion. It was cool inside and from what I could see it was very expensive looking. The ceiling has this crazy mahogany wood done up in squares of embossed carvings. There was gentle music coming from somewhere in the huge house and as I turned my head in his arms I spotted several statues lining the walls, a couple of glass cases on cherry wood tables and a giant marble staircase directly in front of us. On either side of the staircase were hallways that led deeper into the house.
“You have deep lacerations, some of which probably have metal stuck inside and a gunshot wound to your hip. The only reason you got as far as you did before we found you was due to your adrenaline rush. Now, unless you’d like to try to army crawl through my home… I’ll be carrying you.”
He carried me down the hall on the left side of the giant staircase. Behind him the double doors of the house closed and Jace was following us immediately. Fancy looking lights lined the hallway we went down. There was a lot of Japanese art work along the walls, as well as furniture. One thing that I noticed as a theme were the statues of dragons. Must be a hobby… or maybe he just likes them…
At the end of the hall was a single door which Jace brushed past us to open up. Once we were inside, I was met by bright yellow lights over head and the smell of medicines. I made me grimace. It felt like we had just walked into a hospital or something. Curtains sectioned off portions of the giant room, a single desk with a computer was situated near the doorway, next to that were cabinets full of all kinds of medicines, bandages, and various tools. There was a weigh station, a blood pressure unit, and a couple of other items that I didn’t know what purpose they served. Hell, there even looked like there was an operating table in the far corner.
“Set him there,” a female voice chimed and soft heels clicked across the linoleum.
Tristan did as he was told and I found that odd right off the bat. He was the one who did all of the ordering around, why would he follow someone else’s order? The woman’s voice was definitely commanding and for Tristan to heed so quickly… I sighed a bit. Whatever… Not my place to ask questions or even wonder why.
The bed was soft underneath me and I immediately felt bad as I was sure the white sheets were going to be stained with blood soon. The woman who had spoken came up next to me. Her long black hair was swept back in a ponytail, long bangs curved off to the left side of her face. Her almond shaped eyes were really pretty to look at too. Pulling up a stool, she seated herself next to me and started feeling my pulse and other various things.
“What are his injuries?”
All business hu? I thought with a sour look, “I’m right here…”
“Cuts and a gunshot wound,” Tristan answered, ignoring me.
“How’d he get the cuts?” she asked as she poked me gently to get me to roll over to my good side so she could lift up my bloodied shirt. With a roll of my eyes I did as I was asked. Her fingers were surprisingly gentle as the back of my shirt was lifted to see the deep cuts there from the grenade.
“Some asshole threw a grenade at me,” I answered for her this time, cutting Tristan off before he could speak. I had the sudden urge to stick my tongue out at him.
The woman gave a soft laugh then continued being business-like, “Take the shirt off,” she ordered me suddenly.
I froze for a moment. Say what? Right there? With Tristan still in the room? Hell no. I rolled over to my back again and glared at her, “He leaves first,” I said pointing an accusing finger at him.
She lifted an eyebrow at me, “Just take the damn shirt off, boy,” she repeated, her voice clipped now and harsher than before.
My face burned as I stared at her. Tristan laughed softly and I turned a cold glare at him, “Shut up!” I hissed and grabbed the edges of my shirt and peeled it up over my head and threw it at him. Of course, the harsh movement made me wince in pain and I fell back against the bed with a slight whimper.
“Better?” Tristan asked me.
“Fuck you,” I shot back and looked away.
“Jesus. You picked up a feisty one this time, Tristan,” the woman said with a shake of her head as she prodded me again and I promptly rolled over. She helped me, her gentle hands pulling my body to be comfortable on the small bed.
Tristan stood there holding my shirt with an amused look on his face, “He’s mostly bark no bite, Kilia.”
“You’re an ass. I’ll show you a ‘bite’ if you keep going!”
“Oh really now? I can guarantee here in a minute you’re going be everything but that,” Kilia retorted with a bit of a scoffing laugh to her tone.
“Kilia, do you have anything to help with the pain?”
“For now all I can give him is vicodin, but you know we don’t have any sedatives.”
Tristan moved from where he’d been standing and I was curious as to why he’d even asked. It was just cuts, why would they want to knock me out? I took a sharp gasp though as I remembered what he’d said. There’s metal in my back... Shit… That means this is seriously going to hurt! As Tristan came to sit next to my head, he must have seen the horrified look on my face because his fingers cupped my chin and lifted my head to look at him.
He offered a smile, “Give me your hand.”
I narrowed my eyes, “Why?”
He didn’t ask again and instead took my hand anyway, “Hold tightly to me, and bite on this,” he held up my shirt to my mouth. It was wrapped up tightly in a wrung.
I hesitated for a moment, which I regretted afterwards. Kilia had moved and was leaning over the bed. I could feel one of her legs pressing down on the back of my knees, keeping me down on the bed. My heart lurched suddenly as the situation began to sink in. Cold steel met my skin and then sunk deep into the tissue of the laceration across my back.
I let out an awful scream, my hand gripping Tristan’s tightly as my other hand shot forward and latched onto his arm that held the shirt up at my mouth. I writhed, trying to get away from her as I screamed. Something pulled from my back and I gave a pain filled gasp before another scream tore from my throat.
“S-stop!” my voice was strangled.
“I know, I know,” Kilia’s voice was soothing now as she responded to my cries. Even though she said she ‘knew’, she didn’t move and kept going.
Tears flooded my eyes, spilling down my face as I arched my back and tried to get away from her. Tristan shifted, he pulled his hand from mine and held my face up. The shirt found its way into my mouth and I automatically ground my teeth into the fuzzy fabric. My screaming was muffled, but it didn’t stop. Tristan moved again and held me up against his lap. His hand took mine, while the other one ran through my hair just like he’d done in the car before.
I don’t know how long she worked at pulling out the little pieces of metal from my back and leg. About halfway through the entire ordeal, my mind had started going fuzzy and the room was beginning to dim in my eyes. My breathing was strained and loud in my ears. The screams had died down to partial moans and gasps. Everything felt as if it was going numb and before I realized it, I had faded out into darkness.