Friday, March 16, 2012
Chapter 26: Them again
Chapter 26: Them again (Wattpad)
Sky handed me a backpack. Though the only things I put in it are my books, two or three set of clothes – the others are with him – a jar of Monopoly cookies and the snow globe. The beetle necklace I got from the Marquette hung on my neck and I tried to ignore Sky’s lingering stare as I put it on. The colour silver rather complemented the lavender of the dress.
In no time, we’re all packed and ready, including Dash. I stashed his dog food inside my bag and sat down on the couch as Sky disassembled the device on the door. He kept cursing impatiently and jumping like he’s getting electrocuted. Which he probably is. While he’s in front of me suffering, I got out my jar of Monopoly cookies – really, that’s rubbing on me quite a bit – and ate leisurely, Dash at my feet. As I ate my third cookie, I can’t help but say to him, “Dou you want me to tally how many more jumps you’d make?”
“Shush, Ryne. I’m doing it right. How the devil Xavia did this – ”
“Well, can’t you call her?”
He shook his head no. “Her line’s being monitored. She’ll call me when he has a new phone.”
Even Xavia’s being watched? I felt guilty for some reason. This situation is hopeless. “So at the meantime, you have to figure that out by yourself?”
He was working on it as he responded, “I’m almost there. I just have to – ” The device beeped three times and Sky pried it away from the wall. “See?”
“Yeah, I do.”
He smiled and said, “I’ll just fix this mess, and we’ll be away god speed.”
So here we are, three minutes later making our way through the halls of the hotel. Sky insisted on bringing my backpack though, so I held on to Dash, not feeling entirely useless. When we entered the vast lobby with its beautiful fountain and gorgeous design, I felt tense and most of all exposed. I became wary and held Sky’s upper arm, stopping him. This damned feeling was what started it all – that Monday morning where Sky turned out of the blue. He turned to me.
I switched my gaze from face to face all of them unfamiliar. “I just feel… unsafe. Exposed. It’s nothing.” But my grip tightened. Something’s going to happen, damn it. I hate this feeling. Sky looked at me; eyebrows raised and face overflowing with concern. My hand that was holding Dash’s leash was sweating and cold. “Ryne, it’s going to be fine. Let’s go to the front desk and get out of here as soon as possible.”
As Ryne held on to him, he remembered a certain conversation that stuck with him for more than an hour. He shook his head as he seemed to go back in time himself.
“What’s she like?” Sky asked, facing the person who especially chose him to this assignment. The person chuckled mirthfully. “Oh, she’s very much like me. And her intuition – never ever ignore it. She may not look like much, but I tell you, La Brea, there is more to her than meets the eye. If she says something is wrong, something is fucking wrong.” The man looked Sky in the eye.
“Now don’t you go falling in love with her – I’ll have your head the instant you do.”
He came back to the present, walking briskly to the receptionist’s desk. He stole a glance at Ryne, praying that just this one time that the former Mafia leader’s words about her intuition won’t become a reality.
As we walked and stopped in front of the receptionist, I had no idea that it would be the last time we saw her alive. She finished with one customer and turned to us, looking tired. Nevertheless, she out on a smile. “Mr. and Ms. La Brea, are you checking out?”
I just turned around, knowing Sky will handle the situation. “Yes, we are, where do I sign?” their voices faded into the background as a tall man with a leather jacket walked behind us. He was wearing sunglasses and the lenses prevented me from looking directly into his eyes as he glanced at my direction. My face must’ve turned pale with fear but he looked away. That just intensified my feeling a few more degrees higher. I distinctly heard the receptionist say,
“Mr. La Brea? Excuse me sir, can you hear me?”
I turned to him. He was facing somewhere else – at someone else. A woman. A woman with a leather jacket. She faced Sky then, even though they’re three yards apart. Her grey eyes seemed to be smiling as she put her hand inside her pocket.
Sky grabbed my arm then wheeled around. “Sir? Excuse me, are you all right?”
Leather. Everywhere. Scattered around, blending in with the unsuspecting civilians.
“Get the fuck down, Ryne, before – ”
It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to catch my breath. One second I was staring in to Sky’s darkened, green eyes and the next, pain shot through my shoulder and I fell on the tiled floor, bumping my head so hard. Everything was total disarray. Everything. People were running and screaming and some were stepping on me. Dash was barking so loud and I vaguely heard Sky yelling, “Go boy! Run!” I can’t hear anything properly, it’s like the people were on a malfunctioning microphone and my vision was blurring. I felt something drip from my shoulder to the ground.
Blood, I’m sure.
I felt someone carry me and try to get up. Another gunshot. I heard the terrified shriek of the receptionist and I knew she was dead.
The person carrying me was moving. Where to I had no idea but I heard his voice, anxious and forceful, as he put me to a sitting position.
“Ryne. It’s just your shoulder, okay? Stay with me.” I felt his warm hand caress my cheek. He withdrew it suddenly and I heard gunshots fired from his gun fired several times. He reloaded. “Ryne? Stay awake, please. Please.” I felt a hand on my cheek again. “Fuck it, Ryne. Open your eyes and look at me.”
Someone was shooting at our direction and I heard Sky retaliate. Aside from the blood dripping from my shoulder, I felt the same sensation on my forehead as well. Blood dripped from my head to my cheek, and I heard Sky’s intake of breath. I can’t focus at all. The pain was unbearable and the gunshots heard my eardrums and I suddenly collapsed, falling on my side.
In the instant he saw Ryne’s unfocused gaze turn blank, he caught her immediately before she fell on the floor and laid her down gently. Fuck. Being unconscious while having a head injury – not good. He killed the men already, but the lone woman. Damn her to pieces. Sky poked his head out of his cover of the front desk and fired a shot. He missed.
He needed to wake Ryne up. Now. But the fucking grey-eyed woman was playing a good game. He straightened Ryne and leaned her back to the desk. Both her shoulders and forehead were oozing blood. Calm. Keep calm. He cupped his hand to her face and shook her gently. “Ryne. Wake up, goddamn it.” her head just lolled on her shoulders. No effect.
He fired another shot at the woman and this time, hit her on the leg. Thank God. Then he came back to Ryne, putting his gun down for the time being so he could use both of his hands. He put an arm around her back and pulled her towards him and the other hand held her face. Their foreheads were almost touching when he said, “Wake. Up. Open you fucking eyes, Ryne.” He shook her rather violently, and he saw her eyelids flicker behind her glasses.
“Look at me. Ryne, look at me. Stay awake. Don’t you fucking dare close her eyes again. Just stay awake okay?” he looked at her chocolate brown eyes, and felt her shallow breaths mingle with his. He put her head to his shoulder and returned and retrieved his gun.
Only it wasn’t there.
His arms came around Ryne instantly, turning his head around for the damned woman. A familiar voice echoed through the rubble,
“She left. With her tail between her legs like the coward she is.”
She stepped in view, gun in hand and the two backpacks with the other. :Get her out of here. I’m sure more of them would come; I’ll cover for you.” She gave him the bags and tossed him a gun. Sky quickly got everything sorted and carried Ryne, careful not to touch her injured shoulder. He didn’t pause to thank Xavia; Act now, talk later. He ran out of the doors and found her dog, which was at the side of the Ferrari. Dash barked in recognition as he saw Sky, then followed him to another vehicle – a Mercedes Guardian. He had everything in – the dog and backpacks at the back and Ryne at the front seat, barely conscious. He started the engine, wanting nothing more than to get away from this place as fast as possible.