There had never been anyone from my colleagues in the hospital who’d infuriated me as much as Dr. Paul Bennet. I always had an urge to smack that condescending look off his face just as I was feeling now.
Paul still had my hand in a firm grip. I tried to wiggle free. “Let go!”
“What the hell were you doing?” He asked.
I snatched my hand away. “It’s none of your business!”
I noticed that although I’d managed to shrug his hold off me, he was still holding the strip of pills.
Paul gave me a lopsided grin, leaning against the desk right next to the cabinet and trapping me. I had no space to dodge him and leave.
“Of course it’s my business when you’re obviously sniffing around in the wrong place.”
“Give that back to me, Paul.” I said, trying to snatch it from him but he raised it higher, keeping it out of my reach. He was so tall, it was impossible for me even if I jumped.
I imagined Paul to be a bully in high school. He had to be, he had the villainous tendencies to bully people he thought were below him, like he was doing to me.
Casually, he pushed me away and inspected the strips. The grin dissolved into a hard stare. He shook the tablets in my face. “You fucked that criminal?!”
He was literally seething. All the traces of humor had been wiped clean. “Explain Riley!”
“It’s none of your goddamn business who I sleep with.” I snapped.
Paul grasped my shoulder violently. “Do you have absolutely no shame? Sleeping with the enemy. Do you have any idea what Dr. Shaw would do if he found out?”
“Don’t you dare!” I said.
Paul chuckled. “Watch me, Riley. Watch me destroy you in five seconds.”
“Go ahead.” I challenged him. “Tell Aaron about it. And then in turn I will tell them about you.”
He watched me, caution filling his expression. “Tell him what?”
“I’ll tell him what I saw you doing. I’ll expose your secret.”
I had no idea what secrets I was talking about but at that moment, this seemed like a plausible way to get out of this situation.
“You’re bluffing.” He called it.
I continued to stare at him without admitting defeat. “If you want to believe that, it’s fine with me.” I smiled. “You tell Aaron a single word about these pills and I’ll spill the beans about you. Every last detail.”
“Are you even in a position to threaten me?”
I raised my hand towards him. “My pills.”
He scowled, placing the pills on my palm. “You never know, it might be too late and the demon is already growing inside of you.”
“If you were really craving for some cock, you would have asked me. I would have gladly obliged.”
I smiled sweetly. “Dr. Bennet, as much as I appreciate your kind offer, I’m not really into shriveled up cocks. I prefer mine to be...” I exaggerated a length. “This big. And might I add, Jack sure doesn’t disappoint.”
“You can try me.” He suggested, and then smirked. “I can give you a list of names of ladies who will vouch for me and tell you just how amazing I am in bed. Maybe you’ll forget the criminal.”
I rolled my eyes. “No, thanks.”
“Aaron will find out, one way or the other.”
“I’ll handle when he does. It’s my body, and it’s my wish who I want to be with. Aaron or anyone can’t decide that for me.”
“Suit yourself, Riley. When you’re body is cut up lying in a ditch, we’ll talk.” He said turning and walking out of the room.
“I can’t talk if I’m cut up. I’ll be dead, genius!” I called out.
It was overwhelming and annoying how some media persons and reporters always stayed hidden outside my house and tried to have a word with me every chance they got.
“Ms. Fraser, can you tell us a little about what happened when you were kidnapped by Jackson Wolfe?”
Another fought for his spot beside me. “Riley, was it emotional torture staying with him? We will help you get your story to the world.”
“Our channel will pay you ten thousand dollars for an interview.”
I’d learned to ignore everyone and step into the building. When I closed the door behind me and lied down in bed, I felt better. There was no one here to judge me except Ken who was still at the hospital. During the time that I was away, he’d come closer to Cayla, his co-worker. I suspected they were seeing each other, then again Ken could be meeting her as a friend and leading the poor girl on.
He was that thick in the head.
I turned in bed to find a picture of my parents on the nightstand. They were so young, and so much in love. When my brother and I were little, we used to have a peaceful life. My father used to work for a bank and my mother stayed home. Life was good until that one accident that ruined our lives and they’d never managed to catch the driver.
And then Ken and I had been orphaned by one irresponsible driver. They’d closed the case putting all the blame on my father as a reckless driver. It was easier for them to pin the blame on him since he was dead and couldn’t defend himself. Case closed due to no witnesses and evidence.
My attention then diverted to Jack. What happened after yesterday, was he doing alright? Did Dr. Mark Bowen. Why did Jack trust him so much? What if he was a private investigator disguising as a spy?
Wait, was I on Jack’s side now or the police?
I’d been completely sure that Jack was behind the murders before, but after I lived with him and spent so much time with him, it was quite difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that Jack could indeed be the killer.
It could be that Aaron was right and Jack had really killed all those people and was easily manipulating me into trusting him. My entire week with him could all be a lie and something that I’d imagined. Jack could be playing a game. He probably believed I was fool yet trusted me to look out for him. What if he really did butcher all those people?
Would I still love him?
I reached for the side table and opened the last drawer where I’d hidden a piece of torn paper. It was written in Jack’s beautiful handwriting.
With shaky hands I picked up one burner phone. I’d bought it at the convenience store and managed to keep it hidden from my brother. I dialed the number and waited until the phone rang on the other side. I had to make sure he was alright. He’d strictly told me to call him for an emergency, and I wasn’t in an emergency situation but I really needed to know if he was alright. I couldn’t just sit here in my comfort zone knowing I’d deserted him in the wild with injuries.
The phone continued to ring for what felt like an eternity until I realized he wasn’t going to answer or he’d given me a wrong number on purpose. I was just putting the receiver when I heard the click.
And then silence.
I wet my lips nervously. “Jack?”
There was absolutely no sound on the other end. “It’s me Riley.”
For a second I thought I’d dialed the wrong number. “Is this an emergency?” He asked.
“No.” I said.
“Well, then you’ve dialed the wrong number.” There was no mistaking it. That was Jackson’s voice but it sounded so detached, my heart broke.
“I just wanted to make sure you’re alright.”
“I’m well. Don’t worry about me.” He continued in the same monotone. The same voice that used to pass sarcastic comments at me, tease me, and say dirty things in my ear. It took everything inside me not to breakdown. “They are probably monitoring your phone right now. Put it down!”
“Do you think you’re the only one with the brains? News flash, I got a burner phone just so I could call you.”
Again, there was no answer. “You still can’t place a casual call, burner phone or not. It’s not safe.”
“Rest assured, I didn’t tell them about your location. I would not give your location away.”
“It’s you I’m worried about, not me.” He said angrily.
What was all this anger for? I’d just called him to check if he was alright, was that a crime now?
“How are your injuries?” I asked.
“When will I see you again?” I asked, I was sounding like one of those clingy girlfriends.
“So that’s all I was to you? One women out of the many who warmed your bed? Is that it? And now since you got what you wanted, you think I’m being clingy.”
“Riley!” He growled in frustration. “Don’t you fucking try to manipulate me with words! The last thing I need right now is to be manipulated by a woman.”
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Who is what?”
“My replacement!” I yelled irritated.
I could hear him blow out a breath. “Go to bed, Riley. It’s late and you’re talking gibberish.”
“Why are you acting so cold? I told you I would go with you. You just have to ask.”
“I’m asking you to do nothing, Riley. Can you do that for me?”
Tears teetered my vision. “I don’t belong here. Take me with you.”
“The killer is out to get me. A single weakness is all he needs. The last time we were together you saw what happened. You’re not safe with me. I need to sort this out on my own, and I don’t need you to distract me from this. I’m not going to be moved by tears, I won’t give in to any amount of begging or groveling. Do not call me in any minor circumstances, unless you find yourself in dire need of my help which I hope is never. Are we clear?”
I lost it at that time. “I can’t...I can’t do this alone. I’m so lonely. They look at me like I’m some criminal.”
“You have something to give me credit for.”
“I need you, Jack.”
A pause, and then he said. “Goodbye Riley, stay safe.”
The phone clicked. I buried my face in the pillow as sobs erupted from my chest. That was my best first argument with him after a long time.
From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of something outside the window, a sleek black sedan was parked on the opposite side of the road.
I ran out of the apartment in lightning speed without even closing the door behind me. I descended down the stairs but when I reached the landing, I was out of breath. The car zoomed past me.
Was that Jackson?