Chapter 30 - Rabbit Hole

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(A/N: So I feel like being 10 days early after being 1 year late is the least I can do. I would read the previous three chapters again for context! Welcome back, thanks for sticking by me, and happy reading.)

My breath raced like a sprinter in a marathon, which did nothing to help my growing headache. It felt like hours where I stood paralyzed behind Luke's office door, but surely it could have only been seconds before Mason spoke again.

"Maddie?"

I gulped down a nervous lump in my throat. My head was starting to pound. A low throb in my temples. It felt like a thousand little electric shocks sparking every two seconds. I glanced down the hallway and chewed on my bottom lip. Should I? My eyes darted back to the thick oak door. Oh god, had it grown in size, or had I shrunk? I was starting to feel Alice in Wonderland except I was all on my own. No white rabbit to guide me. Only myself, tumbling down a hole into a deep, dark abyss.

I was trying, I really was, to focus on what I had heard. Someone on the inside. But my mind felt jumbled and I had to order my brain, literally command it, to focus on the fact that my brother was on the other side of the door waiting for me to enter.

"Maddie. Come in, please."

Right. It's now or never.

I hesitantly pressed my hand against the thick oak door, pushing it open. It was so heavy that I felt like it was almost a warning, a warning telling me to run away. That this was my only protection. I almost scoffed at the thought. Wow, I was dramatic when I was tired. This was my brother after all. What could he possibly do to me? It's someone on the inside. No. No. He was just a businessman. Then why on earth did it feel like I was walking to the gallows? Falling down the rabbit hole?

I didn't believe for one moment that my adrenaline could be pumping any faster through my bones but as soon as I saw Luke sitting at his desk and Mason stood behind his shoulder, I was proven very much wrong.

Luke rested his arms casually against the desk and if you looked carefully, which I of course did, I noticed the twinge of amusement play over his features. Did he find this funny? Mason on the other hand, not in the slightest bit amused, had his arms folded over eachother staring right at me. He was scrutinizing me carefully, his eyes pinning me in place with their unwavering focus. In a way that made only he could do. Was he trying to work out how much I heard?

Is it just me, or did my heartbeat just become audible?

I hated myself for the fear that prickled through me at the sight of him. The fear that pulsed in rhythm with the thumping in my head. I didn't want to be scared of him. But what I heard... it frightened me. It made me go numb with doubt. That Mason might have had more involvement or at least more knowledge of Dominic than he let on.

No, no. He was my brother.

I fiddled with the bracelet on my right wrist as I tried to process what I had heard. It's someone on the inside. The inside. What in the world could he possibly mean? Someone on the inside is targeting my sister. Me. Unless he had another sister? No. He meant me. Someone on the inside is targeting me? The inside of his business? But it was Dominic. It was a message from Dominic. Wasn't it? My stomach churned with nausea and my eyes struggled to maintain focus. Did Mason know Dominic? No... no. God no, Maddie. What are you thinking? But what if it wasn't a message from Dominic at all? What if... what if someone Mason knew, someone in Mason's business, knew about Dominic and was using him- no, me- to get to Mason. Yes! No. How would they even know about Dominic? How would they have a photo? How would they know about him?

The pounding in my temples suddenly wrapped around my head, consuming me. A faint ringing in my ears grew incrementally louder. My legs, which although shaky were stable enough for me to stand on, suddenly gave way and I stumbled.

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