Authors: Ember Chase
Copyright © 201
4 by Ember Chase
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is part 3 of 3.
You can find the first book, Denial, at the link below.
You can find the
second book, Desire, at the link below
Table of Contents
There is only one reason this ringtone is echoing loudly through my apartment at this time of night. Piper sits up nearly as fast as I do, cringing at the abrasive sound.
“He’s inside. Get down there now,” Oliver says before I can answer.
He doesn’t respond because he’s already hung up. My racing pulse is so loud in my head that I vaguely hear Piper ask what’s going on and myself telling her that Luke is downstairs as I pull on my pants while simultaneously running barefoot and shirtless into the hallway.
By the time I’m at the bottom of the stairs I can hear Maya screaming variations of ‘no’ and ‘stop’. I’m aware that I’m moving as fast as I can, but each step is an eternity and it feels like I’m running through water. Finding the door unlocked when I eventually get there, I quickly realize there’s something behind it and I can’t get inside. Whatever he used is very effective because it’s like kicking a brick wall until Oliver appears at my side and we count to three before forcing it open in a combined effort. Piper stops mid step when she sees him and a small part of my consciousness screams out in horror because the other shoe has finally dropped, but there’s no time to explain anything to her. I fly through the door, nearly tripping over the remnants of the chair Luke must have wedged under the doorknob.
I turn my head toward Maya’s horrible screeching right as Oliver’s phone rings. Apparently oblivious to my presence, Luke has her by the hair, his clenched fist pulled back and ready to strike. I lunge forward but I don’t get there before it connects with her cheekbone and she drops to the floor like ragdoll, naked and helpless. My stomach sinks when I see that the sick asshole’s pants are undone.
What the hell did he do to her? How long has he been here? How the fuck did he even get in? I’m sure we have a plan for this exact scenario but it escapes me.
These questions run through my mind all at once as I crash into him. Taking him by surprise, I get a few decent punches in, but his senses return to him quickly as mine spiral out of control. I barely get him out of the bedroom before he hits me in the sternum, winding me. My hands release their grip on his shirt as I stumble, doing my best to ensure I go down in the doorway so I stay between him and Maya.
I must have done more damage than I thought. When the world stops spinning, I look up to see that Luke’s on the floor too, glaring up at me as he wipes blood from the corner of his mouth. Piper is staring at us in total shock, but she’s behind him and I don’t think he’s seen her yet. What the fuck am I going to do if I have to choose between protecting her or Maya?
Where the hell did Oliver go?
“You are such a pain in the ass,” Luke chuckles, shaking his head.
“Yeah, well, the pain the ass is calling the fucking cops this time,” I inform him.
“Please don’t.” Maya’s voice is so tiny and hoarse. I glance over my shoulder to see her crouched next to the bed with her arms wrapped around her knees. “Don’t call them, just make him go away.
.” Her terrified eyes are begging me to take her seriously.
“But… why?” I can’t remember if Isaac wants me to involve the authorities in this situation, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. But why wouldn’t he? My internal debate is interrupted by the sound of an evil snicker that makes my blood run cold.
“And what are you going to tell the cops, kid? That I hit her? That I held her down and fucked her while she was screaming for me to stop?”
Something like that.
“What, you think you rode in here on a white horse and interrupted an assault? Because all you actually did was misinterpret a consensual game between two kinky lovers.”
“That is not what just happened.”
“Really?” Luke laughs. “Can you prove that? Because I can definitely prove that we’ve been doing that for years. You have no fucking clue what this little slut lets me do to her. Fucking call them. Make her explain why she didn’t want to do it this time so I can show them a tape of her loving every second of the last time my hands were around her throat.”
Maya whimpers behind me. Oh yeah. This is why we can’t call. Aside from flat out murdering her, Luke can do whatever the fuck he wants to do
and no one will ever believe her when she says she didn’t want it. The charges won’t stick. It won’t go to trial. She’ll go through hell for nothing.
Piper’s eyes narrow as Luke gets up. She knows it’s true, she’s said the same thing before. And it makes her very, very angry. Glancing past me to look at her best friend in the world huddled on the floor, she takes a deep breath as her attention turns to Luke.
“You’ll never stop, will you?” she whispers.
“Why should I?” he answers smugly, his mouth twisting into a cruel sneer.
“I was just checking.”
There’s something so unnerving about Piper’s tone that I get goose bumps. Luke takes a step towards her as she takes three back, reaching into my baggy hooded sweatshirt that she must have thrown on when she ran out of my apartment. My heart stops beating when she pulls out my gun. It stops the bastard in his tracks and though he tries to hide it, he just went from arrogant to petrified in the span of a millisecond. Despite desperately trying to figure out a way to stop this, I’m so fucking proud of her. Her stance is perfect, her breathing remarkably even and calm, her hands steady. Mine were shaking so badly the first time I put a gun in someone’s face.
“Seriously?” Luke tries to mock her, but his face is as white as a sheet. He sees exactly what I see in Piper’s eyes. A total fucking disaster about to happen. “What are you going to do with that?”
“Shoot you in the face at point blank range, call my father to make the whole thing disappear, and then go through years of therapy to get over it,” she answers in her trademark deadpan style, flicking the safety off with her thumb. Luke swallows loudly as a bead of sweat trails down his forehead. “I am so fucking tired of following the rules. This is how the world works, I guess I just need to accept it.”
I stand there as speechless as he is. This is definitely not part of any plan. Why didn’t I help Isaac kill him when he asked me to? I’ve been so worried about breaking Piper’s heart this entire time that I didn’t realize I was going to destroy her whole life. I should have seen this coming. Right as I find the right words to implore her to reconsider, Maya appears at my side, wrapped in a blanket.
“Piper?” she says softly, stepping through the doorway into the living room. Instinctively, I walk with her to maintain a barrier between her and the threat. Piper’s eyes don’t leave Luke for an instant and that prick is just waiting for an opportunity to make his move. “Put the gun down. He’s not worth it.”
“You’ll have to come up with a better cliché than that, Maya.”
“He didn’t just do what you think he did.”
“Maybe not tonight,” Piper says shakily. “But I’m sure all those tapes he has with his hands around your throat will help my case if this isn’t easily swept under the rug.”
“Piper, please don’t do this. Just let him leave. We’ll call your father and tell him what’s going on. I don’t care who knows anymore.”
“That is not good enough.”
“This isn’t your decision. I want to deal with it another way. I don’t want to live with blood on my hands or with sending you to prison. I’m not as strong as you are, I won’t get over it.
exhales, her commitment wavering.
“I suggest you take the five second opportunity while she hesitates to get the fuck out of this house,” I tell Luke. “She can’t shoot you in the back because then it won’t look like self-defense,” I add, just in case Piper hasn’t thought of that.
The fucking coward spins around and flees without a word. Not willing to drop her weapon so soon, Piper just stares at the open door for a few seconds, waiting for him to return. The only sound in the room is Maya’s sporadic sniffling until we all hear a loud boom outside. It wasn’t a gunshot. I rush over to the kitchen window to see Luke running full speed down the street and Oliver standing next to a white van with a knife sticking out of a deflating front tire. That can’t be good.
When I turn around, Maya is scampering into her room as Piper locks the front door. Our eyes meet and instead of relief or affection, all I see are a thousand questions that I don’t want to answer. She doesn’t ask me any of them, but I know it’s coming. And I know it’s over. So does she, but right now Piper is still in crisis mode.
Maya is curled up in a little ball on her bed, sobbing hysterically. Piper reaches out cautiously as if she’s approaching a wounded animal. “Maya?”
“Don’t touch me!” she screams right before her uncontrollable crying turns into hyperventilation interrupted with those hacking coughs she’s been telling us aren’t a big deal for weeks.
She clearly can’t get enough air. Isaac kept some Xanax in their medicine cabinet, maybe it’s still here. My phone rings on the way to the bathroom and Oliver explains the creepy torture van that Luke drove here. I tell him to lock it and get back inside before anybody sees him, though it’s extremely unlikely that hasn’t already happened. Sitting the pill a few inches away from Maya’s hand, I try to ignore Piper’s bewildered expression. She heard every word I just said.
“What’s that?” she asks as Maya grabs the pill.
“Isaac’s Xanax,” I reply, watching Maya chew it up just like he does. “It’ll take at least five minutes to kick in. We should just leave her alone to ride it out until then.”
Nodding, Piper follows me out of the bedroom as I flip the lights off and leave the door cracked open. “Where did you get Isaac’s Xanax?”
“There’s been a bottle of it in your medicine cabinet for a while.” I glance up, but I can’t bring myself to look at her face for more than a second.
“Who were you just talking to?” Piper waits a long time for me to answer, but I don’t. “Was it that guy that helped you break down the door? Was he the one who called to tell you that Luke was here?”
Lying will only make it worse. “Yes.”
“What the hell is going on, Jace? How do you know him?”
“Piper…” I trail off, trying to figure out a way to explain.
“I’ve seen that guy at school before. Several times. He was watching me,” she says, her voice wavering. “Why was he watching me and why did he just call you?”
“I’m so fucking sorry.”
“You’re so fucking sorry about what?”
I should just tell her. We can’t keep watching them anymore after this anyway, Luke has to suspect something’s up. What the fuck are we going to do now? “You know that personal security job I’m working when I’m not at the club?”
“Maya’s the job.” Forcing myself to look into her eyes, I watch every shred of love she might have for me disappear.
“What?” she chokes.
“She’s the one I’m supposed to protect, along with you. Luke’s the threat and Isaac… he’s the one that hired me to do it. And the guy that just helped me kick the door in works for me.”
Piper shakes her head and steps back when I foolishly reach out to her. “Don’t put your fucking hands on me.”
“Do you remember the morning after we had sex for the first time? You said that you would think about that moment the next time I made you angry.”
She just stares at me, blinking in disbelief with her hand covering her mouth. “I don’t have time to deal with this right now. I need to take Maya to the hospital. We’ll talk about it later.”
Piper is very quick on her feet, that’s one of the many things I love about her. So of course she acts like she isn’t as furious and devastated as she really is and finds a way to safely remove herself from my presence. Her eyes dart in my direction every few seconds as if she’s waiting for me to stop her. She’s afraid of me. I should have expected that too, but I didn’t.
Maya still won’t let anyone touch her, but she does agree to get in the car. Piper won’t look at me because she’s too busy looking over her shoulder to see who will be following her. She doesn’t answer when I ask if she’s coming back, but she doesn’t have to. She isn’t.
They don’t drive to the hospital. Maya probably refused to go because she knows they’ll call the cops. Oliver calls to inform me that they went to Piper’s mother’s downtown condo which has a shit ton of security and he shouldn’t stick around to see if they leave. We finally lost them. I need to call Isaac even though he’s likely fucking Gloria at this very moment. His night is about to get a lot worse.