This evening I was going to remember for a long, long time. That's for sure. And one of the things I'd never forget was the look that Dylan gave me when he figured out it was me who shot Jerry. I couldn't say what he thought at that moment. If he was angry or maybe felt sorry for me. However, the only need I had back then was to run away from these dark eyes.
I considered turning away to Vince and hiding my head in his chest as it was the kind of comfort I needed. Unfortunately, I didn't dare to allow myself to do something like that. I wouldn't stand it if he rejected me. Even if, deep inside, I didn't think he'd do that. I just didn't want to risk. I couldn't take much more that day.
Vincent stood behind me and he had to give a silent order because (much to my dismay) the man who disarmed the blond took away the gun that he was threatening him with. The elegant one smiled slightly but he didn't look like he was going to attack us, how I imagined. He just neatened his cuffs, combed the rest of the hair he had on his head with his fingers and grandly headed towards the corridor.
I was waiting for some signal to leave too but my oldest brother didn't even move. He still held his hand on my shoulder and seemed to wait for something. Another guy pulled my bodyguard aside and started to revive him. Then, there was more space in the central part of the room so Dylan came fastly to Jerry. The wound on his leg looked much worse now because it kept bleeding and now it seemed to be more serious than it actually was.
"He's alive," Dylan whispered, breathing out the air he was holding in his lungs for a long time now. He was squatting next to Jerry and putting his two fingers on the boy's neck. Then he started to examine his hands, torso... and I understood what it was about.
They came in here right on time to see the unconscious Jerry and me, holding a gun. It had to look pretty bad. They thought I killed him. God, no. I didn't. I had to tell them...
"I didn't k-kill him," I stuttered, looking with widened eyes at Dylan who was making sure that the wound on Jerry's leg was his only one. Then, I turned away and raised my head to gaze at Vince. He was watching his brother too, deadpanned but when he noticed me looking at him, he eye-contacted me.
He didn't answer though and I felt shivers.
"He's fine, the thing on his leg is just a bleeding graze," Dylan summed up, closely checking out my creation on Jerry's body. However, he kept his distance not to dirt himself with the blood.
"I-I didn't want to shoot at him, I swear... He tried to hurt me, I was defending myself... but nothing happened to him... It was just that man, he... he hit him and that's why Jerry lost his consciousness. It's not my f... I'm sorry..." I explained chaotically. I felt that another of my hysteric attacks was coming. I could barely breathe already.
I noticed Dylan and Vince exchanged their looks.
Were they angry with me? I had no idea. I didn't know anything now because I was panicking too much to be able to read their reactions properly.
Dylan slowly stood up and I felt Vince's hand turning me around to face him. My eyes were glued to his neatly polished shoes to which a few of my tears just dropped. I didn't dare to look up.
They will hate me. I shot a man. And they told me that I wasn't allowed to touch a gun.
I don't know why these kinds of thoughts came across my mind back then. I just proved myself how still unsure I was of their feelings towards me.
And Vince just hugged me. One of his arms wrapped my back and the other hand pulled my head to his chest. His action highly surprised me but I accepted it with immediate gratitude because I just cried one more time and lost control over my body. I was now like a doll that would fall to the floor if he stopped holding me.
He placed a gentle kiss on the top of my head. Just how Will used to do. But Vince never shared his feeling with me, not like that, so I double appreciated his gesture. He wouldn't behave this way if he was angry, right?
I wanted to stay in his arms forever but, as it was with every emotional moment I ever had with Vince, he quite quickly broke it.
"Are you hurt?" He asked me quietly, gently pulling me away from him. I felt his scrutinizing gaze on me.
I shook my head.
He put his hand back on my shoulder and I accepted the fact that I had to rely on my own strength again. Dylan was still standing over Jerry but there was another man who showed up and now kneeled in front of him, trying to help him.
Dylan glanced at us and moved toward the corridor and Vince pushed me lightly to go after him. I thought I'd calm down a bit as soon as I leave this guest bedroom but the corridor in Audrey's house was full of people. I didn't have enough time to figure out what was exactly happening there but most of those men had to be my brothers' companions because Dylan was freely digging his way through them. I kept staring at his wide back and just with the corner of my eye, I saw a man threatening to the other one with a gun. There was also someone lying on the floor... And someone standing over them... And we came into the kitchen.
I have never seen so much violence in my entire life.
The kitchen in Audrey's house was remembered by me as a cheerful place where I had plenty of chitter-chatters with my friends. It was here where we were preparing snacks for the New Year's Eve, giggling endlessly. I never expected that one day I'd sit at that white, round table accompanied by two of my brothers and the man that tried to kidnap me.
There were a few men standing around. They looked like other bodyguards. They weren't sitting. Apparently it wasn't their privilege. I envied them.
"It'd be more comfortable to sit in the living room but there are already two, unconscious little girls on the couch," Vince said in indifferent voice but also looked meaningfully at the blond who, uninterested, only shrugged in response.
"That's what I heard."
"Engaging teenagers in your private business is pretty low. I've expected better from you," Vince pointed out, leaning back in his chair. Oh, so he had to know him. He was the one who was sitting the closest to the blond and he was entirely focused on him. However, he made an impression of having a casual chat. I was sitting next to him, all stiffened up and then there was Dylan who was totally laid back, holding his arm on the back of my chair but I noticed that his leg was twitching.
The blond shrugged again.
"This kid, Jerry, came to me himself and promised me to get Hailie Monet for me. I didn't care how he was going to do that."
Vince raised his eyebrows.
"You want me to believe that you didn't ask?"
"He simply told me that your sisters are friends and he had a plan. That was enough for me."
"A fucking amazing plan he had, didn't he?" Dylan spat.
"The plan wasn't bad, it's just its realization that failed. This whole Jerry isn't exactly a criminal mastermind, unfortunately."
"What's the plan?" Vince asked, frowning.
The blond raised his eyes and sighed.
"Who knows? He probably added some sleeping pills to the champagne he shared with those children. Little Hailie apparently didn't drink it. And this idiot didn't even notice."
For the whole time, I was looking at my lap, playing with my hands. I didn't feel the part of this discussion. But now, when this guy told my brothers about the champagne, I felt pride. Of myself that I indeed didn't touch it. I knew that my brothers would also appreciate my decision.
"How did Jerry contact you?"
"The kid is weird. He hangs around suspicious places. He heard something here and there. He found out that the Monets got into my black books. He offered his help. That's it."
I was so curious about what my brothers did so the blond guy was now so angry with them but, of course, I kept quiet.
Vince obviously knew what it was about because he just squinted his eyes even more.
"Charles, with all the respect to our families' history, you just tried to... kidnap my minor sister. And it's out of such a dumb reason. How could I just let it slide?" His voice was calm and cold.
The blond, who's name was Charles, pursed his lips and raised one of his brows.
"And how can I let slide what happened to my daughter?" He asked with a shadow of anger.
Dylan spat again, right above my ear.
"Your daughter is an adult woman who made her own decisions while my sister is still a child," Vince pointed out.
"Child or not, she's the part of your family. Therefore, she'll pay for some of your mistakes. And you knew that very well when you agreed to have legal custody of her."
"So you also knew very well what would happen to someone who tried to hurt her."
The blond was opening his mouth to continue this bright conversation when someone broke in. A person that just came into the kitchen.
"What is she doing here?" Will asked in a raised voice. He was standing at the entrance, wearing his dark coat. He had to just arrive here. He was looking at me and my brothers. At his sight, I budged because I felt like getting up and throwing myself into his arms. However, I didn't dare to move.
"Waiting for us to finish talking with Charles," Vince answered him, glancing at him.
"The hell, Vince, she has to be taken home!" Will growled.
My oldest brother just waved his hand carelessly.
"Then take her."
When he was behaving this way, I always felt sad. How was it possible that he could be so good to me and then, after a few minutes, so untouched?
"Come here, Hailie," Will turned to me, taking a few steps towards me.
He didn't have to repeat himself. Dylan took away his hand from the back of my chair and thanks to that I could stand up and head to my brother on wobbly legs. As soon as I felt his one arm wrapping around my body, my heart got lighter.
With the corner of my eye, I noticed that the blond is watching me with a little smirk.
"Where are your stuff?" Will asked me. Now, when I was next to him, he was speaking much gentler.
Before I answered him, the man who was trying to help Jerry to wake up came to the kitchen with Jerry himself. Audrey's brother was almost shoved into the room. He fell against cupboards and barely managed not to fell down. He was limping, his jeans' leg was still pulled up, his leg was bleeding a bit and his face was pale and frightened. I had to admit he looked quite pitiful.
Everyone got silent and we all stared at him. Jerry, as soon as he noticed he was the main attraction here, he looked around with a foolish expression.
Somehow, I felt relief when I saw him conscious again. I didn't kill him in case someone still doubted it.
I noticed how Jerry quickly turned his eyes away from Will. A few hours ago, he promised him that he'd take good care of me and the girls. Well, he didn't keep his word.
He paler even more at the sight of Vince and Dylan, especially when the second one of them suddenly got up and headed towards him. Before anyone could blink, Dylan lifted his fist and hit Jerry straight at his face. And then one more time. And again.
I turned my head away. No one rushed to help Jerry. I was angry at him too and I quietly thought that maybe he deserves to be punched but... but maybe that's enough? I felt such discomfort when my brothers were fighting...
Jerry could only groan and one time he actually tried to give a punch back but he did it too ineptly to threaten Dylan with that. Most of the time he just tried to cover himself.
I heard a crack and looked back at Jerry's face. His nose was now broken and it was bleeding. There was also a bruise slowly appearing under his eye. His lip was cut and swollen. He looked awful. And no one was stopping Dylan. Even me. Although the disgust I felt towards the violence, I couldn't get rid of a quiet voice in my head whispering that Jerry was just getting what he deserved. He deserved to be beaten.
"Stop!" Someone called out and I froze at the familiar voice. Someone did care about him.
I moved my eyes to Audrey standing in the doorframe between the kitchen and the living room. Truly horrified, she was watching the scene in front of us.
"Audrey..." I sighed but my voice was too quiet for anyone to hear. Poor girl, she looked terrible. With messy hair, pale and with dark circles under her eyes. At some point, she took a few steps towards Dylan and Jerry but some guy followed her and caught her arm. She tried to break free but she couldn't. The man was too strong.
"Leave him alone!" She screamed, boring into Dylan, who hit again and Jerry (again) protested with a moan.
No one paid attention to her. Vince didn't even look at her. The blond was smirking.
I just understood that someone was hurting her brother in front of her. It couldn't be nice to watch. I pulled myself together, desperate to help her. It was my Audrey.
"Dylan," I started and took a step towards him but Will stopped me. I expected it so I didn't even try to pull away. I just cleared my throat and tried to speak louder, "Dylan, stop, please."
He heard me for sure but he didn't really want to listen. I gazed at Vince, knowing that his one word would be enough to stop him. But he didn't look back at me. He just blankly kept watching Jerry, who was laying on the floor and begging for mercy.
There was the third option left for me. I turned away, looking up and doing puppy eyes to convince Will to take my side. He wasn't that indifferent. Not to my asks at least. He fixed his eyes at me immediately. Oh, how beautiful they were! All my brothers had pretty eyes but those of Will were additionally embellished with good. That is when they were looking at me.
"Will, please, it's Audrey's brother..." I mumbled.
Will read my miserable message hidden behind these simple words. He understood me better than anyone. He nodded slowly and moved his eyes at Jerry.
"Dylan, that's enough," He said in a voice full of authority which he rarely used. However, he had to use it now so his younger brother would take him seriously.
Dylan reluctantly stopped but his left hand was still gripped on Jerry's T-shirt. Jerry barely had contact with the world. Did they revive him only to beat him back to the state of unconsciousness? Dylan looked at Vince looking for approval to keep going with this act of aggression. I also bored into Vince to force him with the power of my mind to make the right decision.
Vince slightly shook his head and Dylan, with a sigh, let Jerry go. Then he came to the sink and rinsed his hands that were dirtied with his victim's blood. Just when he moved from Jerry, Audrey ran to her brother and kneeled next to him. The man who was holding her apparently decided that it's no longer necessary.
Audrey was crying. She didn't know what to do. She was struggling. She wanted to help Jerry, to make his suffering go away but she couldn't. For sure, not with so many people under her roof who were in her eyes still a threat to him.
"Get out, all of you!" She yelled at some moment, looking up and around with pure hatred.
No one moved and Dylan took back his seat.
"That's my house, get ou, get out!" She shouted again.
I wanted them to leave too. It wasn't right to have talks in this place. They can go to that cabin in the woods or wherever else. This here was Audrey's house. I felt so sorry for her. I wanted to help her. Someone had to take care of Jerry's wounds and we had to do some cleaning. Tomorrow her parents will be back and in at least two rooms now there were pools of blood.
I moved towards her slowly and when I found out that Will wasn't stopping me anymore, I got to her immediately. I squatted next to her and wrapped my arm around her shoulders. I thought she'd need some comfort.
"Don't touch me!" She hissed, pushing me away much more aggressively than I'd ever expected. I lost my balance and hit the floor with my butt, looking at her with shock.
"Audrey..." I whispered and my voice broke.
"Take your brothers and get the fuck out!"
I gulped, not believing in what I just heard. So much hostility I just saw in her eyes, I have never seen even in Jerry when I met him the first time. It hurt. Was it my Audrey?
My lips started to tremble. I wanted to cry. With the corner of my eye, I noticed another person, hugged to the wall and shyly watching us. It was Mona who looked serious and sad. I don't know what she was thinking. We exchanged a look but it was nothing more like a confirmation of the hopelessness of the situation we were in.
After a moment I did the only thing I could actually do to help Audrey right now. I pushed myself off the floor and stood up slowly to come back to Will. I tightened my fingers on his coat to make sure I have his whole attention and looked up, at his face.
"Please, let's go. Let's leave them alone, please."
Will didn't let me down. He nodded and quickly stroke my hair. Then he looked at our brothers. They had to have an agreement because Will told me to get my belongings what I did, passing Mona and shooting her another gloomy gaze. She didn't comment it, just shared it with me. When I came back to the kitchen, I noticed Vince whispering something to the blond who was listening to him focused, nodding and, in the end, he smirked at him ironically.
Why were they just talking like that? Why the blond was so carefree? Why didn't they beat him just like they did it to Jerry? Why, why, why?
I left Audrey's house with Will who promised me that the others weren't going to stay there much longer as well. When we passed the corridor, I glued my eyes to my shoes. I didn't want to watch more violence. It was still crowded.
Will insisted on helping me to get to his car. He pointed out that my leg still wasn't healed and I almost laughed bitterly at his face. So many things happened and he was still talking about my leg.
I didn't even know what to think about. About Audrey hating me? About someone just trying to kidnap me? About the fact that my friend's brother just tried to hurt me? About my own brother beating him mercilessly?
Will apparently noticed my inner fight because he put his hand on my tight, taking his eyes away from the road for a moment.
"Tomorrow in the morning we'll visit Tony," He said.
Of course, a lot of bad things happened. A lot of things which I still had to think through and try to ask and make an opinion about. But at this moment Will did his best to make me feel better.
I smiled sadly at the sound of the only positive information that I've heard today.