Chapter 26 - Part II

“Well it was either your shares or…”I brace myself to continue “….or your life.”

“Your father was not able to arrange the sum they demanded, Avery.” I say finally, not being able to look at her, as her jaw drops and her face looses all of its color.


“He had to take half the amount as collateral from Knight Enterprises in good faith since your father and my father go way back. And pulled other strings and somehow managed to convince The Fawkes that he’ll settle the rest of the amount in installments.The mob wasn’t happy about it of course but I was able to exert some influence for them to stay the fuck back for the time being”

“M-my dad took money from you?” She asks; heart broken.

If she sounded hurt before, now she sounds just downright heartbroken.

She breaks her gaze away from me, as if somehow embarrassed. She tries to steady her breath and bites down on her lower lip in an attempt to stay at bay, but a lone tear still escapes and slides down her beautiful smooth skin.

She finally look at me and whispers a faint “I am so sorry” that was barely audible as another tear follows that one.

I immediately cup her face in my hands, wiping away the tears from her beautiful beautiful face.

“Absolutely the fuck not. I will not have you apologize for something that is in no way your fault okay?” I say kissing her forehead.

“Hey, hey look at me.”

“Avery, look at me.”

She gets up hurriedly as if trying to get away. I grab her hand before she can go any further and yank her towards me; a bit too hard I suppose as she lands straight on top of me; her hair falling on her face.

I encircle my other arm around her waist to keep her in place in case she gets the fucking idea to try and get away from me. Like I could ever fucking let that happen. I lift my hand and tuck the locks of hair behind her ear. My breath hitches as I look at her face. So perfect. So fucking beautiful. I do the mistake of looking at her perfect lips. She starts biting on her lower lip again. I realize she does it unconsciously, out of nervousness. I take my thumb and rub it over her lip freeing it from her boring into them.Her chest heaves up and down and I know she’s nervous.

Lord knows I am too.

She’s unlike any girl I’ve ever known or spent time with. She’s the best of them, of all of us. And it pains me to know that someone who wouldn’t dare hurt a fly, who I know would always do things by the book and with compassion, empathy and sheer wit is the exact person who’s family left her to fend for herself.

She takes a deep breath and rests her forehead against mine.

“Hayden, I am scared” she finally says, her voice barely above a whisper.

A wave of anger surges within me as it takes everything I have to not go ballistic and march over to Olivia and throw her shit right back at her. Instead, my grip on her waist just tightens.

“All those fuckers will be dead long before they can even think of hurting you.”

She smiles and adjusts herself so she’s now sitting next to me. Her head leaning against my shoulder and my arms still wound around her waist. Fuck it. I am not letting go.

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