Chapter 19

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The sky grew darker, my eyes squinting to read the words on the page. If the patio lights weren't so crappy then I'd be able to continue, but they weren't so I closed my book and pushed out of my chair. I stretched my arms and then turned back towards the house, sliding the door open and then closed behind me.

The kitchen felt like I stared directly into sunlight on comparison to outside, making me squint so not to go blind. When my eyes adjusted to the light, I felt more comfortable moving about, heading to the fridge to find something. A crash from the hall sent me into a momentary panic, heart beating erratically in fear. When a series of curses followed I released the breath I'd been holding, just Max being a klutz.

As my heart calmed I moved back towards the fridge, opening it and seeing not a thing that appealed to me. I closed the door and the craving for black tea hit me and I got to work grabbing the kettle and getting the water boiling. Part of me nagged that caffeinated tea at 6 p.m. wasn't wise, but it was pushed aside by the me that would drink as much tea as she wanted, even if she got no sleep.

By the time the water finished boiling I'd already set up a large mug with a bag and sugar, so I just poured it over top. Cleaning up my tiny mess I let it steep, but couldn't keep myself away for too long. I picked up the mug and took a sip, burning my mouth thoroughly.

"Nice move, Sidney. Real nice." Moving quickly to the sink I titled my head so my mouth felt the stream of cold water.

Shutting the water off I wiped stray droplets from my face and sighed. I leaned against the counter, listening to the guys rage with their game's volume up way too loud. They'd been in there for a few hours, just pouring themselves into it. There crazy wasn't any problem to me, I wanted them to do something besides hover over me. Which probably wasn't the best attitude considering someone was still gunning for me, but I just needed some time alone besides my sleep; and that didn't even qualify as alone.

When the mug stopped smoking, I tried my hand at it again, only getting it to my lips before a weird creaking sound stopped me. My gaze ventured to the hallway, expecting to see one of the boys outside of the room. No one was there, which spiked my anxiety a little. This place was old though, and it wasn't the first sign on old bones settling that I'd heard while here. So I shrugged it off after a moment and took a tentative sip of my tea.

My gaze traveled towards the patio, watching as the sun disappeared completely from the sky. Just as I sat the mug down the creak came again, but this time when I looked to the hall a short, broad man stood there. On his lips was a smirk that sent shivers down my spine and froze me in place. He moved towards me and my lips parted, but nothing came out.

He got to the other side of the island and I found my body again, backing up towards the counter and looking around for something. Even though I kept my eyes on him he moved to quick for me, bounding around to island. My mouth opened again, but the scream just wouldn't come out. I ran, trying to get to the other side and down the hallway to where Sam was. Before I could even leave the kitchen I was yanked back, stumbling and trying to keep moving forward. He was strong than me and though and the more I pulled away the tighter his hold became.

My heart was beating so fast and I made one last effort, breaking free of him and falling onto the ground. There was no time to stop moving, so I crawled and tried to get back onto my feet. He grabbed at my leg and I was stuck on the ground, but I kept my limbs moving and then he released me. When I turned he was groaning, hand cupping his crotch. We made eye contact for a moment and I could see the rage in his eyes flare up. I'd been so stupid to waste my time looking at him, because when I finally got to my feet he had a hand over my mouth and dragged me back towards the patio.

This could not be my end. I couldn't go through another death nor could I put anyone else through it all. My eyes found the cup of tea I'd abandoned and I waited until we were near it, grasping it and using all the strength I had to yank free again. The strength has to be a surprise to him, because he nearly released my shirt, so I turned throwing the hot liquid towards him. The tea hit his face and chest, hitting my body as well but I didn't notice any pain.

I ran across the kitchen, but though he was in pain he still charged behind me. Something shifted, I didn't want to run anymore. I dashed to the left, which threw him off and he ran into the side of the island. Looking around frantically, I saw the cast-iron skillet on the stove. My hand reached out for it, buckling under the weight of it. I turned to see him charging again, this time faster and looking far more pissed off. Fear held me in its clutches, but I pushed through. Swinging at him I missed and was on the ground with the skillet inches away. "Shit."

I twisted by body, he was still a bit disoriented from the burning of his eyes and face. He found it in him to pull me back by my shirt, pressing the neck of my shirt against my throat. There was a mild struggle to breathe, but I kept trying to move from his reach. The shirt tightened more, shifting my focus to pulling it away from my throat.

"Sam!" I'd found my voice finally, I couldn't keep this up. "Sam!"

My scream made him tense and loosen the tiniest bit, the slight change in grip gave me room the close the distance between my fingers and the cast iron. Using the last of my energy I twisted my body and swung again, this time hitting him on the side of the head. He fell back a little, and I straddled him, swinging back and down again. The back of the cast iron pounded into his face over and over, I saw blood leak from his nose. Pent up rage sprang forth, and I slammed it into his face as hard as I could. Hands gripped my wrists, stopping me and pulling me away even as I struggled to get free.

"No more, Sid," Max's voice was soft, his hands removing the skillet from mine.

My chest heaved rapidly, and my hands were shaking. A tear dropped down onto them, I realized that my face was wet from crying. I watched as Sam checked to make sure the male was breathing and used something to restrain his hands. He glanced my way for a second, but it was long enough to see the anger in his eyes. My gaze then drifted, to the face of my attacker. There was so much blood, his skin already bruising.

I'd done that. The sight of it all sent me scrambling back into a corner, my arms wrapping around my knees as I held them tight. This had actually happened.

Max squatted in front of me, only staying for a moment before moving to help Sam move the guy. All I could do was stare at that spot, his blood staining the floor. My body shook, more worried about what he had planned than what I'd done. It had been about my safety, I'd be on the floor instead if I hadn't.

Nausea fills me and I slowly slide to the floor, letting my skin press against the cool tile. My nails dig into my palm and everything becomes a haze. Time passes, but I don't know how much. Slowly I just begin to hear voices and the world comes back into view.

"Sidney. Babe, you with me." The voice was soft and as my eyes fully adjusted, it became clear it belonged to Sam.

My eyes blinked a few times, and I took a deep breath. "Hi."

"Hey." A small smile formed on his lips and his shoulders sagged.

My eyes took in the space and I realized I was still on the floor, my head was just in Sam's lap. His fingers ran through my hair, massaging it.

"Thank goodness, you were out longer than last time." The relief was clear in his voice. "You did good."

"She did better than good. Sidney here was a proper badass that skillet is heavy as hell." Max came into view a smile on his face, but his eyes lacking the same spark. Looks like I pulled another into the worry club.

"Got to teach me how you did that, Sid." Hayley comes into view, kneeling beside me and gripping my hand tightly in hers. "Not in these circumstances though. Going to send me into an early grave, kid."   

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