Empty Bargains [Jason McCann]

"I have nothing else to offer you," Markus barked through gritted teeth, his fists clenched hard at his sides. Jason shook his head, chuckling. "I only want one thing, and it's in this room," he sneered. My brother took a step closer to me, trying to push me toward the door. Jason's eyes flashed over and caught mine, a glint in his eye while a shiver went down my spine. "What do you want?" Markus asked, impatient. Jason's head nodded in my direction. I froze and the room fell deafeningly silent. "I want her."


18. ~10.16~

I got excited and decided to upload another chapter.  I haven't had a chance to look over it yet, but I'll be editing it tomorrow.  Hope you enjoy Xx

Warning: There is a lot of explicit language in this chapter.  Reader discretion is advised.


    I woke up slowly, hair disheveled and comforter wrapped around my middle impossibly tight.  Jason was beside me, still completely asleep.  His arm was behind my head, keeping me within his reach even while sleeping.  I noticed my palm flush against his bare chest and blushed fiercely, thinking about what had happened the night before — what had happened the several nights before.


    I’d been right about how Jason would make me feel if we went further.  I felt unstoppable, like I’d been walking on water; flying, even.  The effects had lasted even two weeks after that first night, and didn’t seem like they had any plans of stopping.  Jason was incredible.


    I knew I should get up and have a shower, and definitely change the sheets on the bed, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave Jason’s presence.  I’d been insanely happy lately, and I knew he was the reason why.  Sure, it’d been out of my bitterness that I’d finally opened myself up, but I was glad I had.


    Jason stirred and I looked up at him, admiring his features.  He seemed younger, happier when he was asleep, like a teenager who’d just gotten his license.  It was odd to think that he was twenty, my brother’s age.  It made me feel a hell of a lot younger, seeing as I only turn seventeen a month from then.


    I let out a long breath at the realization.  A month and a half ago, my birthday felt like forever away.  Now it seemed impossibly close, the days here blurring together.  Would I still be here in a month?  I didn’t know, and I didn’t know if I even wanted to think about it.


    Jason moved again, and I knew he was waking up.  Smiling, I leaned up and kissed his mouth, waiting as he came around.  I figured he was fully awake when his hand reached up to fist the shirt I was wearing, one of his.  Laughing, I kissed him for a second longer before pulling back.


    “Good morning to you too,” he mumbled, his voice raspy from sleep.


    “It’s probably about one,” I corrected.  “We tend to sleep in a lot.”


    “With good reason,” he replied, pulling me down to kiss him again.  I felt his fingers slip under the hem of his shirt, brushing against my sides.


    “Don’t you think it’s time we actually left your room?” I asked, my words muffled by the pressure of his lips.


    He swept me under his body, his legs straddling my hips.  Jason’s hands pressed into the pillow on either side of my head as I gasped lightly, surprised by his movement.


    “Not at all,” he nearly growled, biting down on my lip.


    I smiled and managed to pull back.  “I have to shower.  I don’t smell good.”


    He dropped his head to my shoulder, mouth kissing patterns along the clothed area and making their way to my neck.  “You smell like me.”


    I wrinkled my nose playfully, but my stomach fluttered at his tone.  “Exactly.”


    Jason squeezed my side before rolling off of me and onto the mattress beside my form.  “Fine,” he said.


    I grinned and patted his stomach before padding into the bathroom.  Turning the water on as hot as I could stand, I breathed in the steam and sighed deeply.  Every day I spent in Jason’s house, I became more comfortable with the idea.  Ever since I could remember, my brother had been telling me about all the bad things Jason supposedly did, but since I’d been here his statements had proved nothing but false.  Jason did nothing worse than what he had to.  Did I trust Jason yet, though?  Not completely.


    I’d only really known Jason for a month and a half, which put things into perspective when thinking about all that’d happened in that amount of time.  It didn’t make sense, but I felt like I’d known Jason for years at this point.  


    I washed my hair and body, then dried off before putting on a pair of dark gray sweatpants and a baby blue t-shirt.  Lately, I’d just gone for lazy days around Jason’s.  I wasn’t going anywhere, so I saw no point in trying to keep up my look every day.  The guys all knew what I looked like when I dressed up, so I didn’t feel overly bad when they saw me looking like I’d just gotten mauled by a cat.


    Jason had a habit of disappearing when I was in the shower, and I wasn’t surprised to find his bedroom empty when I reappeared.  I threw my wet hair into a bun and walked downstairs, finding him in the kitchen talking to Xander and Blondie.  While I walked to the fridge I listened to their conversation, interested in any news from the outside world.


    “Stanley showed up dead last night,” Xander grumbled, talking a drink from a mug filled with coffee.  I could smell the rest of the pot on the counter opposite me, and moved to pour myself some.


    “Cole says Riley did too,” Blondie added.  “I guess they got in with the wrong people this time around.”


    “Or they just overdosed on whatever shit their injecting now,” Jason snorted.


    “That reminds me,” Xander spoke up between sips.  “Tim is still in the ICU.  Whatever he took, it messed him up bad.  They don’t know if he’s coming back or not.”


    The statement triggered a memory.  Emmett had gone to the hospital — the ER, I hoped — after I’d agreed to come with Jason that first night.  I’d asked Leo to give me an update on him, but so far Leo hadn’t followed through.  I was curious, worried for a boy I’d spent a lot of time with.  He was like a brother to me, and I care if he was okay.


    After taking another drink from the mug in my hand, I pushed off from the counter and headed for the stairs.  I figured since he wasn’t in the kitchen, Leo would be in his room.  Sure enough, when I tapped on his bedroom door, he gave a shout to come in.


    “Hey,” I said, tapping my fingers against my cup.


    He gave me a fleeting glance before burying his nose back into his laptop.  “Hi.”


    I took another few steps into his room and sat on a chair in the corner, crossing my legs and facing him.  After waiting a few seconds for him to finish whatever he was doing, I cleared my throat and set my mug on a table beside me.


    “Did you ever figure out how Emmett was?” I asked hopefully.  I noticed his frame tense a little, and my stomach began to churn.  Did he have bad news?  No matter if he’d messaged me or not, I wanted to know if my boys were okay.


    “I don’t know where he is,” Leo replied.  His response sounded calculated.


     I bit the inside of my cheek.  “Are you sure?  You haven’t even heard anything from people beside my place?”


    He looked up from his screen, meeting my gaze completely.  “I’m sure.  I haven’t heard anything.  If I had, I would’ve told you first thing.”


    I let out a long breath.  I believed Leo — he had no reason to lie to me.  The fact that Emmett was gone again didn’t even surprise me.


    “Sounds just like him,” I laughed lightly.  “Even with a bullet wound in his leg, he doesn’t like being held down.”


    “I never knew him,” Leo said shortly, then looked back at his screen dismissively.


    My forehead pulled together and I grabbed my mug again.  Leo had been like this lately; disconnected and irritable.  I didn’t know why, and it was beginning to annoy me.  Out of everyone in this house, I’d definitely been the nicest to him, and he chose to take whatever emotions he had out on me?  It was hardly fair.


    “Are you okay?” I asked him before I could stop myself.


    He nodded.  “Yeah.”


    I watched him carefully, but he avoided my eyes.  “You’re sure you–“


    “I’m fine, Phoebe,” he cut me off.


    I blinked, then stood.  If he wasn’t going to give me a straight answer, I wasn’t going to sit there and be shaken off.  I closed the door behind me and made my way back downstairs, throwing myself into a bean bag.


    Jason came around the corner and smiled at me, which I returned after sipping from my cup.  He walked up and tapped my foot with his, then kicked it playfully.  I nudged his foot back with a small laugh.


    “You look upset,” he said.


    His words confused me.  Normally I did a good job of hiding my emotions.  Only people that’d been around me longer than Jason had could pick up what I was feeling.  Either I was getting a little soft — which wasn’t likely — or he’d been watching me close enough to learn a few things about me.


    “I’m alright,” I told him, smiling brighter.


    He collapsed onto the bean bag beside me, moving to kiss just under my jaw.  I curled my leg around his and nestled into the crook of his shoulder, welcoming the extra warm body.


    “You’re lying,” he said against my skin.  “Was it something I said?”


    I sucked in a breath as he bit a soft spot in my neck, scrunching up my shoulder and shying away from him.  He chuckled deeply and wrapped an arm around my middle.


    “You didn’t do anything,” I said truthfully.  “I promise.”


    “Then I hope I won’t add to your pile by saying I have to leave in a little bit,” he told me.


    I leaned back to look at him.  “Leave?”


    “Just for a couple hours.  Afraid you’ll miss me?”  He winked, causing my smile to reappear.


    “As long as you’re not gone overnight,” I said, throwing him a smirk.


    “Trust me,” Jason laughed.  “I definitely wouldn’t miss a night with you.”



••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••    ••



    I was staring at the ceiling in Jason’s room, relaxing on the bed when I heard the first wave of raised voices.  I recognized them to be Grant’s and Carter’s right away, from the last argument they’d had almost three weeks ago.  They hadn’t had a conversation since, at least not that I knew of.  I’d been curious to know how Grant was making all of his money, apparently enough to lend Carter thirty grand for a new car.  I also had yet to figure out of Carter had actually gotten the money from him; there hadn’t been an uproar from Jason, so I assumed they’d worked something out.


    I sat up as I heard a thump from the level below me, and stood when another shout rang out.  My feet moved me faster than I could say no, and soon I was listening at the top of the stairs.  I didn’t want to try walking down, in fear that they’d hear me — though I probably shouldn’t have been worried.  Carter’s voice almost shook the house.


    “Where is she, Conn?” he asked forcefully, though his tone suggested he already knew where whoever the girl was, was.


    “She’s not here, obviously,” Grant shot.  “If you were planning on looking it the basement, or something.”


    Could they have been talking about Carter’s girl?


    “I know she’s not here,” Carter scoffed.  “But you probably sent her on down the line, just like you do with every other girl.”


    “I don’t send them on against their will,” Grant bit at him.  “I ask, and they agree.”


    “Like hell they do!  You probably trick them into it, feed them bullshit about being set for life!”


    “Get off my case, Carter!  I wouldn’t be complaining about jack squat right now, since I’m the one who paid for your new car.”


    “You did send her on, didn’t you,” Carter hissed.


    “So what if I did?” Grant shouted back.  I didn’t know what ‘sending her on’ meant, but by the way Carter was acting, it couldn’t have been good.  “She said yes, and I didn’t let her stick around to change her mind.”


    “You son of a bitch!” Carter yelled, and a heard a glass smash.  “What if that girl had a life outside the few hours you saw her?  Not every girl that you sleep with is a homeless wreck!”


    “That’s good to know,” he snorted.


    “How can you take this so lightly?  You’re ruining lives, Grant, all for the sake of extra cash.  I bet you’re not even paying Jason back for that five-hundred grand you owe him either!”


    My jaw went slack.  Is that why Grant was in this house?  Because he owes Jason money?  Five-hundred-thousand dollars was a hell of a lot to pay back.


    “I can’t just pay him full-out!” Grant shouted, his tone becoming defensive.  “The last time I tried to do that, he found out what I had going.  Not only did he not take the money, but he made me swear to cut the business.”


    “Is that what it is to you?” Carter challenged, ice in his voice.  “Business?”


    “I have girls begging to be a part of it!” Grant almost laughed.  “I can’t say no when they’d just go to someone else anyway.  At least my end doesn’t treat them like worthless toys.”


    “That is complete and utter bullshit!  You’re selling them around, probably not even giving them a cut of what you make.  What do you do what they want out, Conn?  Tell them yes?”  A bitter laugh came from Carter’s throat.  “Like hell, you would.”


    My forehead pulled together.  Selling them around?  Was Grant selling girls into a sex trade?  I shuddered at the idea, horrified by what that would mean for the girls.  My fists clenched as I thought about the ‘business’, or whatever Grant had called it.  That was slavery, not a job.


    “They get food and shelter; the things they’d been asking me for when they came to me.  Besides, I don’t even see them past a week after they sign on.  After they’re done with me, they’re not my problem.”


    “Do you honestly think that’s a way for a girl to live?” Carter spat.  “Why would anyone ask for that?”


    “Plenty of reasons!  Daddy issues, Mommy issues, boyfriend troubles, money issues; Tally certainly had no problem on her way through–“


    “What the hell did you just say?” Carter interrupted, the most threat in his voice I’d heard so far.  His tone sent a chill up my spine.


    Grant cursed loudly, and the sound of glass breaking sounded through the house again.


    “Answer me, dammit!”


    “She went through before I could stop her,” Grant replied.  He sounded almost ashamed, yet still held his self-justifying tone.  “She’d come through with someone else, and when she ended up in front of me I tried to talk her out of it.  Have you noticed she hasn’t been in touch with you for a week?  That’s about when she refused to come out.”


    “You fucking bastard!”


    I could barely blink before I heard the sound of a fist connecting with flesh.  Even from where I sat stunned on the stairs, I could hear the crush of a breaking nose.  There was another crash and a door banged open downstairs.  I stood abruptly as Leo shot out of his room behind me, and before he could stop me I darted down the stairs.  Blondie was ahead of me, lunging between the two boys to try to break up their fight.  They were backed up against the table, Carter’s fists bloodied with what was gushing from Grant’s lip and nose.


    Leo shoved past me to help Blondie, and Xander came barreling up from the lower level.  Leo supported Grant’s sagging form a good ten feet away from Carter, who had to be restrained by both Xander and Blondie.  I stood back, stunned by the argument the two had just had, and what Grant had really been doing.  He deserved what Carter had just done to him, and probably more.  How dare he sell girls into a sex trade?


    “You’re dead!” Carter bellowed.  “You hear me, Conn?  Dead!”


    The garage door banged open downstairs.  We must not have heard the large door open over Carter’s shouts.  Soon Jason came running up, a wildly angry expression on his features.


    “What the hell is going on here?” he questioned, shooting a glare between Grant and Carter.


    Carter spat at Grant.  “That fucker is at it again!  He never dropped that lowlife business he had!  And now he’s sold Tally into it!  He sent her on as a fucking prostitute, and now she’s not coming back!”


    The weight of what that meant for him must have fallen on his shoulders, because after he said it Xander and Blondie were trying to hold him up, not back.  My eyes flashed to Jason, who had turned red in the face from anger.  His fists were shaking at his sides, and I was surprised Grant hadn’t dropped dead from the cold stare Jason was holding on him.


    “Get out,” he hissed.  The words sent a shudder through me.  “Get out before I let him kill you, and don’t come back.”


    “I fuckib lib here!” Grant blubbered around his swollen lip.


    “Not anymore,” Jason growled.  “You lied to me, and I’d leave before I set Carter on you, if I were you.”


    “You’re letting him go?” Carter shouted.  “That scum needs to die!”


    “Go,” Jason commanded.  “Leo, let him go.  He can stand on his own.  Don’t bother grabbing your things,Conn — including your car.”


    Leo’s support left Grant and he stumbled slightly, dizzy from Carter’s blows.  “I’b got nobere to go,” he said, leaning against the corner.  Blood now trailed down his neck and was smeared across his face.  He was a complete mess.


    “You should’ve thought of that before you decided to cross me.  Now get the fuck out of my house.”


    “But I–“


    “You have twenty seconds.”


    Grant screamed in frustration and hobbled through the kitchen, stumbling down the first step before catching himself on the railing.  He made his way down, and was out the door with a final, deafening thud.


    Ten seconds passed in utter silence before Carter completely collapsed, falling into a mess of sobs and rubbing his face with bloodied knuckles.

Reactions???????  Another chapter probably won't be posted until Saturday at least.  I'll have extra time this week with Thanksgiving break.  Thank you all for reading.Xx

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