The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.

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38. Alec Traven

The intruder had made it through the window without knocking anything over, which meant that he had done this before. Once he was fully inside, he stood up. The light from the candles shown across his face, but not enough for any of us to see him.

But we knew who he was.

Maddox saw him, too, and when he turned back to look at us, his eyes were wide. He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off.

“I see they’re still alive,” Alec said angrily.

He moved closer and I could see something on his face now. It was a long scar, jagged, and it ran from the bottom of his ear to the middle of his chin.

So many people were riddled with scars.

“Asshole,” I hissed.

“What was that, bitch?” Traven snarled. “I really wish you would learn some fucking manners, Lena.” He stepped around Maddox, knelt down in front of me, and gripped my hair, twisting.

I whimpered, but didn’t cry out. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. Instead I gritted my teeth and dug my nails into my palm.

“Stop it!” Clay shouted.

Alex’s eyes flickered. “Clayton Davenport,” he mused. “I haven’t seen you in years. How is your father?”

Clay was furious. There were two times I had seen him like this, and neither were pretty, nor did they end well. He was shaking, his eyes narrowed. He wanted to hit Alec, I knew, and he should have.

“Fuck you,” he snapped.

Alec laughed hollowly and reached his free hand out and backhanded Clay across the face. “Don’t disrespect me, little shit.”

“Let her go,” Cari said. “She didn’t do anything to you!”

Alec released me and looked at Cari. “You’ve got one hell of a backbone. Let’s see how tough you are when you’re faced with loss.”

Before we knew what was happening, Alec pulled out a gun and fired one round into my chest. I fell back, my body slammed into the floor, and pain like I never felt came over me. I wanted to scream, but I was gasping too much for air.

Around me, voices drifted in and out. It was like static in my head, fuzzy and with the volume being messed with. Someone grabbed my hand. Another person touched my face, but their hands were slippery with something.

God, it hurt so much that I just wanted it to be over. I was tired. I wanted to go to sleep. Maybe if I slept, I would wake up and it would be over. It would all be a dream, every part of this night.

So I closed my eyes.

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