Chapter Twenty-Part One ~Travis~

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I hear her screams, and it stops me dead in my tracks. I look over at the car ready to kill, but no Hunters are near her. My heart clenches in my chest as I see her in the back seat, as I feel the agony in her every scream, and I'm gutted. Pain courses through me, knowing I can't do anything to help her...knowing that I'm the cause. What have I done?

"Come on Man," Sanders says, pulling my attention away from her. There's sympathy in his eyes. Holding out his hand he continues, "I'll drive. We'll handle it Brennan. The sooner we get him to L.A.," he says nodding towards the car, "the sooner we can get back to the compound."

I hand him the keys and get into the passenger side of the car, slamming the door shut. Sanders immediately follows. The kid in the back seat wastes no time laying into me. "You did this to her. Those screams were because of you, you fucking asshole!" he yells, slamming his shoulder into the seat behind me, and my body lunges forward.

Part of me wants to reach back and choke the kid out, shut him the hell up, but I don't.

Sanders starts the car and turns to face him. "Kid, it would be in your best interest to pipe the fuck down. Do you understand me?"

"Fuck you," he replies and shoves himself back in the seat.

"Get us out of here," I say to Sanders, my head remaining forward. He peels out onto the main road, and the memories of what just occurred assault me. Everything happened so fucking fast. Seeing her again...seeing her see me...the look of relief I saw on her face. She looked at me like I was her knight in shining armor, like she had been waiting all this time for me to come save her.

And for me, to feel so much unbelievable relief and joy one moment, only to have it followed by such a range of emotions, one after the other...betrayal at seeing her entangled with another man, anger that he was even touching her in that way...in any way, then defeat, followed instantaneously by rage as I heard the other Hunters come in the door.

I never got the chance to tell her all the things I needed to say. I guess she needed to hear the words in order to trust me. She needed me to remind her of who I am...that there had to be another reason why I behaved the way I did and said the things I said, that I would never disrespect her in any way or allow anyone else to unless I had no other fucking choice, and that her greatest good is always the end game for me. Isn't that why I became a Hunter? So I could try to give her the life she deserves?

I think that's what hurts me most. How she so easily doubted me. Even her own Dad saw the bigger picture when he saw me, why couldn't she? I understand that the events played out in a way that would make most people question the other's motives, but Maddie and I aren't most people. At least that's what I always believed to be true, that she knew me better than I knew myself sometimes, yet she actually thought I became a Hunter just so I could find her and turn her over to the government? How could she think I would ever do anything to intentionally hurt her that way?

I don't think I'll ever forget the way she looked at me when she was sitting inside that car. It's as though she didn't know me anymore. Maybe I've been wrong all this time, assuming so much about her feelings towards me. Since the day she left, my sole purpose became about finding her, protecting her, and letting her know through my actions how much she means to me. But maybe it's all too little too late. While holding on to her is what got me through the choice I made to become a Hunter and what that entails, it seems letting go of us, of me, is what's gotten her through life on the run.

Seeing her break free from Sanders so she could run to the kid sitting behind me, was the farthest scenario from my mind when I envisioned what would happen when we finally saw one another again. She ran to him for comfort. She kissed him. She cried to him. And she did it all in front of me.

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