“I wanted to bash his head in,” I tell Daniel as the sound of that fucker racing down the hall to get away dims.
“I know,” Daniel says with his back still to me as he rolls up his sleeves. “That’s why I had to do it.”
The ticking of the clock marches steadily between his last words and his next. “With the war coming, we need all the men we can get.”
When I heard Eli say we were going to a safe house, this wasn’t what I was expecting.
It’s on the far end of the city, away from the hustle and bustle, in a quieter area and close to Main Street with a few shops within walking distance. There are a few quaint houses that line the street, but nearly a quarter mile separates each of them on this street.
This isn’t like the safe house my father has. This house is in plain sight, but it’s built for war if only you look closely enough at the exterior.
The three-story building is made of stone, with a concrete fence around the property, covered in beautiful ivy. The front door is all steel but beautifully etched with what looks like a Celtic pattern. I only got a brief glimpse before I was led here to the second floor, and each floor seems to be self-contained, so multiple families could live here and never even see each other. I’m in absolute awe, although it doesn’t take the pain away in the least.
The kitchen is open to the living room. The center of the room is focused around a stone fireplace with a darkly stained, reclaimed wood mantel. Its ruggedness matches the iron and spicewood chandelier. But it’s at odds with the clean sleekness of the all-white kitchen, just behind us.
We’re stuck here, with a large L-shaped chenille sofa and matching armchairs that hug the fireplace until the guards say otherwise.
“Only a few minutes,” is what Cason said. But more than a few have already passed as we linger in the beautiful gilded cage.
I’m biting my tongue though; I don’t dare say a word to Addison as I pace behind the sofa. Addison’s still pissed, but it seems fake to me. Like she’s just trying to be angry at being locked up here rather than being brokenhearted over what happened.
She’s been staring for the last ten minutes at the clothes she dumped on the sofa, trying not to cry. I can’t stand seeing her on edge like this.
I’m an asshole, but I’ll admit I’m grateful to be distracted by her. If I was alone, I’d be huddled in a ball crying on the floor.
“This is bullshit,” she grits out the words, still staring at the clothes. “This isn’t what I meant when I said I was leaving!” she screams to no one.
“He said it would only be a week or so, right?” I ask her carefully, trying to calm her down just the slightest.
She nods and visibly swallows before rolling her eyes, seemingly remembering that she’s annoyed with being held here rather than given free will to leave.
“For our protection.” Addison picks up a dress and balls it in her hands before throwing it back down on the sofa. Pushing her hair out of her face, she leans her head back and takes a deep breath. She does that a lot, the leaning her head back and deep breaths. I’ve seen her do it a few times when she gets worked up.
“Is that like a meditation practice or something?” I ask her, wanting to change the topic if I can, to something… less devastating. I’m exhausted from crying, but tired of being exhausted from crying. I don’t want to hurt right now; I need a distraction for just a moment. Just a moment to breathe before I face my reality again.
She nods her head, barely moving from the position and takes a moment before telling me, “It’s a yoga thing, really, I don’t know that I can meditate.” She reaches for the duffle bag on the floor and picks up the clothes on the sofa, one piece at a time, to toss them back in. “My mind is always wandering, and I have to get up and do something.”
I nearly smile, happy that she’s talking to me about something else. It was silent in the car ride here and the tension has been suffocating me.
“Yeah, I get that,” I answer her. “I tried meditation a while ago and it was not my cuppa.”
“Cuppa?” she questions with her brow furrowed, and I stifle a small smile at her curious expression.
“Cup of tea.” I shrug and add, “It wasn’t my cup of tea.” Staring at my own duffle bag on the armchair, I add casually, even as I feel the weight of my heart seem to grow and sink into my stomach, “I like tarot cards better.”