Unleashed Ch. 12bycassandraharper©
So before I start chapter 12 I just want to let you all know that it was not intentional to only post a one page story. Apparently, six pages in Word is only equivalent to one on Lit. And I will be working on the next chapter of TSTA. To be honest, the only time I get to write is at night and this tory actually creeps me out hence making it difficult for me to sleep at night; so I have been too much of a wimp to look at it. I'll have it started and hopefully submitted by this coming weekend. Anyway, enjoy the story.
"Eithne, wake up." He felt the pressure of soft pecks upon his dormant lips and groaned as his body began to stir.
"Hellion," he croaked then cleared his throat. "Why are you up so early?"
"Early?" Jessica regarded the clock then chuckled, it's noon and I'm heading out the door.
Eithne's eyes snapped open. "Where are you off to, love?" He leaned up on his elbows burying his face in her sweetly fragranced neck.
Jessica smiled and playfully pushed him back on the bed. "Just hunting."
"For who?" He wrapped his arm about her waist and pulled her down beside him. He really wanted to go back to sleep. He had barely closed his eyes before Jessica came to awaken him. Last night had been restless because of his dreams, so many memories that he had suppressed were pushing their way back into his mind.
"For what," Jessica corrected, caressing her hand up and down his bare chest. "You should get back to bed. You didn't sleep well last night. You were all over the place."
She laughed nodding her head. "Even a dead man would have taken notice."
"I'm sorry," he apologized while running his fingers through his hair.
"Eithne..." Jessica looked down at her moving fingers before looking back into his eyes. She didn't want him to feel as if she was trying to intrude upon his personal life, but seeing as how he knew practically everything about her, she wanted to be there for him.
"Has anyone ever tried to hurt you?" Jessica looked into his hazel eyes before nervously looking back down. "Last night you sounded as if you were in pain and no matter how much I tried, I couldn't wake you. I didn't know what to do. If there's something from your past, or even your present, that is hurting you, you can talk to me about it. You're always there when I need you and I want you to understand that it's reciprocated. I want to be there for you too."
"Actually, Jessica..." Eithne felt touched, he wanted to open up to her, but he had spent so many years clamming up that he didn't know how to express himself. He looked into her hopeful eyes which made him more so fearful. What if he told her the truth and she hated him? What if she never forgave him for lying by omission? He couldn't lose her.
"It's nothing, Hellion." He leaned forward to kiss her gently and tenderly caressed her cheek. "It was just some random nightmare."
Jessica smiled in relief, "Okay. Next time, you come and get me and I'll beat the Boogey Man's ass for you."
"Aye aye, sir," he replied kissing her eyebrow. Her sweet smile made his heart ache. He would tell her. "Jessica—"
"Speaking of self-defense," she accidently interrupted while looking at her watch. She was getting pressed for time. "I spoke to Marc and he said that you can start your training today. We had a long talk and we all decided that Grecko should be allowed to participate to a certain extent. She's coming out with us which leaves you boys alone. So," she leaned forward and kissed him quickly. "Be good."
"I have to go or we'll be late. I love you."
Eithne watched her leave somewhat relieved that she had inadvertently denied him the opportunity to confess it all. He stumbled out of bed and prepared himself for the day. His lack of sleep had him somewhat cranky. He made his way to Marc, tapping in the code yet still knocking to let his presence be known.
"Come in, man, what are you being so formal about?"
"I want you to know that I'm not doing shite. Self-defense mi arse," he scoffed sitting down in the living room.
"Grumpy? Wanna take a nap?" Marc mocked in a voice that he would use with Tiamane. He guffawed when Eithne attempted not to glare at him, but failed. "Ok, all jokes aside, what's wrong?"
Marc snorted in disbelief. "What's wrong?" he reiterated.
Eithne sighed, "Has there ever been something that you wanted to tell someone yet you couldn't find the right words or the right timing?"
"No," he replied without hesitation. "If I even think about withholding any type of information from Kallisto, she'll have my balls. And if she ever thought that lying to me would be better for our relationship, I would never hit a woman, but she understands that there has to be absolute honesty between us, especially with her being involved with the mafia."
"Involved?" Eithne asked rhetorically. "She is the mafia."
"Well, you know what I mean, you wiseacre. If you're thinking about telling Jessica the truth, I'll just let you know that she'll be pissed—extremely pissed, but there's nothing that you won't be able to work through if you fight for her. You've already made it this far."
Eithne rubbed his temples vigorously; he felt a migraine coming on. "Hey mate, could I use your phone again?"
"Calling your other woman?" Marc questioned with a mischievous smile as he handed over his cell phone.
"Unless Hellion has a long lost twin, there's no one else."
"Then why the secrecy?" Marc leaned against the wall with his arms crossed accepting Eithne's silent treatment as Eithne dialed the phone. To make sure that Marc couldn't eavesdrop on his conversation, he spoke in Russian. "Cheater."
Although Eithne had yet to call Larry back, he went ahead and asked one of his old team members to send him the files concerning the Colombia case. "Thank you," he said offering Marc back his phone.
"I have something to do," Eithne said instead.
"You know if Jessica comes back and we're not—"
"You don't have to worry about that. I'll be back before you even notice that I'm gone," Eithne told him then left. It wouldn't take him long to do what he needed to get done. By the time he purchased the phone and had Larry on the line, he already had a ball in his gut that was weighing him down. It had been so long since his last mission that he was slightly out of it, feeling doubtful of his own abilities and capabilities, and was starting to second guess himself.
"What did you find out?"
"Well, hello there to you too. How are you doing?" Larry was way too chipper for Eithne's mood.
"Would you quit shitting around and talk?"
He heard chortles then random clicking noises before Larry spoke. "The search was clean."
"I knew it," Eithne replied chastising himself for his diminishing abilities.
"Let me finish," Larry told him. "The search came up clean, extremely clean. Most people would have at least one traffic violation on their record, but this Maria Ventura is absolutely clean—at first glance. According to our records, she was born in Mexico, but raised in the U.S. She attended an all girl's catholic school until university where she successfully graduated from Florida State. But"
"What is it?" Eithne questioned when his friend paused.
"When I tried to verify the information that I found, there was a large blank. No birth certificate is on our official records, it's as if this woman doesn't really exist; the social security number is legit, however. It does belong to a Maria Ventura, except she resided in New Jersey."
"Where is she now?" Eithne asked with the immense doubt and anxiety clearing from the pit of his stomach.
"Maria Isabella Ventura has been deceased for the past twelve years. She has two children who still reside up north. The other Venturas that I have located all checked out, which means that this supposed Maria Ventura could very well be an alias. I spoke to the Lieutenant—"
"You told Parker?! I thought that I made it clear—"
"Hey, what else was I supposed to tell him when he came breathing down my neck and snooping around? You know I can't sit still when he gives me the eyes. He looks like a madman. Sometimes he scares the hell outta me."
Eithne actually laughed. "Alright, what did he say?"
"He wants you to tread lightly. Find out as much as you can, you know the stuff you do best. Kick ass and take names."
"In this case it's take names and kick ass. I had the files from the old Colombia case transferred to me, if I need anything I'll contact you. Don't look me up and don't send for backup unless I have called for it."
"Why?" Larry clicked away again then repeated the question when he thought that Eithne wasn't listening.
"My gut is telling me that there's a connection."
"But we found what we were looking for."
"No, we found what they thought we were looking for," he cryptically replied.
"What are you talking about?"
Eithne heaved a sigh, checking his watch. He needed to get back soon before Jessica made it home. He had spent too much time conversing with Larry. "Some of the evidence just never connected right. But since it's only my job to take names and kick ass, I never questioned our superiors."
"For one, why did Martinez have his tongue cut off? For a murder scene where everyone was suspected of shooting each other, why would the ring leader have had his tongue removed? That was supposed to be a message. It was also suspicious how all the evidence was so neatly laid out. Don't get me started. Look, Larry, I have to go. Was that everything that you needed to tell me?"
"Yeah, Eithne, just find out who has been using Mrs. Ventura's SSN for the past twelve years. Cover your ass and be careful."
"Aw, Larry, is this the way you tell me that you love me?" Eithne teased.
"Get the hell outta here. I just want you to meet my little girl before you up and disappear again," he said on a laugh.
"You don't have to worry about that. I'll be in touch." Eithne discarded the phone and made his way back to the mansion. The dread and anxiety that he once felt was now tossed aside. He was back to being calm and collected. Years of training could never lose against fear. He learned to rid himself of any emotions that could possibly be his kryptonite. A brief hiatus did nothing to defer that training. He was in control and just like all of his other missions, Eithne vowed to be successful, to take care of his loved ones, because he considered his team mates as a part of his family therefore they always looked out for each other; he also vowed to get to the bottom of this mystery and to keep Jessica as far away as he possibly could. He didn't want her to be hurt.
"Marc, I'm back. Let's get this show on the road," he called taking his shirt off.
"Where have you been? Jessica just called and she's supposed to be back in the next ten minutes. Come on, let's go the dojo and pretend as if we were doing something productive," he said already leading the way after grabbing two bottles of water. "Wait, are you going to work out in that?"
Eithne looked down at the white washed jeans he wore and shrugged. "What's wrong with it? I'm supposed to be a newbie to this anyway, right?"
Marc considered his statement then nodded his head in agreement. They made it to the sparring room then took the bottles of water and blotted themselves with it, both unashamed of their devious actions. "I suppose I should be pretending to do something, aye?"
"Yeah, a few pushups would be great," Marc suggested. Eithne dropped down to his hands and knees and got a few pushups in before the girls made their grand entrance.
"Look at you trying to work out your little muscles," Jessica teased. Eithne stopped his pushup and gave her the 'yeah right' look.
"There's nothing little about these guns, Hellion. Or would you like a reminder?"
Jessica was tempted, but she had more pressing matters to which she needed to attend; nonetheless she decided to humor him. She sauntered towards him, her high heeled boots clicking on the wood floor and squat right in front of him with her legs slightly parted, allowing him to catch a glimpse of her panties.
"You're not fooling anyone," she whispered leaning close enough for Eithne to feel her lips wisp over his own. "You and Marc have done diddly-squat since we left. I know what sweat smells like, dear." She quirked an eyebrow at her brother-in-law who was shuffling his feet.
"What? You know he's a stubborn man and I did try," Marc said in his defense.
"I am sort of a sweet talker," Eithne agreed shamelessly.
"What?! Jessie, you know how he can be."
She looked at him and shook her head. "You are such a softy. You promised me that you would be more stern with him."
"Yes, dear, I know, but our son is much too young," Marc replied with his nose in the air.
Jessica laughed, standing to her feet as she went to Marc and poked him in the side. "Softy. Let me guess, you two concocted this whole little ruse to trick me into believing that you two were actually doing something productive."
"No way," Marc refuted.
"Yup," Eithne complied.
"Yes," Marc replied changing his first statement.
"That's preposterous!" Eithne replied in unison.
Jessica shook her head again. "You two are hopeless. Marc, I really need you to help me. I don't want Eithne getting hurt. You know how fragile he can be even with all of that bluster."
Eithne snorted and Marc had to stop his eyes from bulging out of his head. They shared a look and fought to hold in their bouts of laughter.
"The both of you should take me seriously," Jessica protested. "I have things to do. You two can continue on with your scheming ways."
"Where are you off to so quickly? You just got back."
"Sorry Forrester, I can't stay to play." Eithne and Marc followed behind her rapid footsteps.
"What are you up to?"
"I told you earlier that I'm hunting," Jessica reminded him.
Eithne hadn't been the only one to have a successful afternoon. After making calls all morning and attempting to talk with individuals who preferred to remain mute, the girls had a possible breakthrough. Maurice had sent them word that a butcher could possibly have what they were looking for.
She entered the house and changed into something more comfortable before strapping on several weapons. Jessica felt Eithne hovering over her, but she pretended not to notice his presence, knowing that he would complain that she was leaving without him.
"I know that you know that I'm following you like your shadow," he finally told her after she eyed him for the third time out of her periphery.
"You stalking me is not going to change the fact that I'm leaving," Jessica replied putting on her red pumps. She felt like having a shock of color in her all black ensemble.
"Who are you wearing those fuck me pumps for?"
"No one," she told him rolling her eyes. "We're going to a butcher shop for goodness' sake."
"Mmhhmmm." He rubbed his chin before folding his arms across his chest while continuing to watch her every move. "I'm—"
"No, you're not," Jessica said cutting him off before he could finish. "You won't even take your self-defense training seriously yet you insist upon tagging along? I don't think so, Forrester."
"Hellion," Jessica mimicked imitating the warning in his accented voice and all. "Stay home with Marc and actually do what I've asked of you. Don't give him a hard time. I think that he's taking it easy on you because you're kinda, sorta puny. I want you to show Marc who is boss by the time I get back here." She strapped on her leather jacket and turned about to kiss his complaint away before walking out the door with Dasha and Grecko in tow.
"Damn it, woman," he grumbled after her.
Jessica smiled devilishly to herself. She just loved teasing Eithne. Hopefully, he won't contemplate revenge by the time she will have returned. She got into the vehicle with her siblings and they made their way across town to a quaint meat market nestled in an urban neighborhood. The place looked somewhat antique on the outside, chipped paint, slightly stained glass, semi banged up door that you had to tug on with force to enter; however the interior was nicely well kept. If she didn't know any better, Jessica would have thought that it had been recently refurbished.
"This place is a bit too quiet. Keep your eyes open," Dasha whispered her warning as their clicking heels filled the void of silence surrounding them.
Jessica had gotten the same feeling upon entering. She eyed Grecko with concern wondering if she should have insisted upon her sister staying home. But Grecko was already in her element. Her right hand was fiddling with her belt buckle that was actually a detachable blade. She was even toying with some of the spikes, also removable, as she looked at the display case before them. Her injury did nothing to weaken her senses.
Jessica was becoming somewhat impatient when no one appeared after five minutes. The bell over the door had already announced their entrance; nevertheless she slapped her hand down on the one residing on the counter and gave a false smile when someone came from the back.
"Yeah, what can I get for ya?" he asked without even a greeting. His clothing was smeared with blood and his overall appearance was sloppy. His beefy hands pressed against the glass leaving smudge marks on the surface as he leaned forward to look at the three women.
"We didn't come to buy meat," Jessica told him getting straight to the point as he had. "We were sent to talk with your owner."
"About what?" he questioned dropping his hands on his thick haunches.
"A business deal," Dasha replied. This guy had her senses tingling and she didn't want to divulge the true purpose of their visit to him. "We're holding a wedding and the bridal party requested that the meet be halal. If you can supply this demand, I think that your boss will be a happy man; especially when we're offering big money."
"Halal?" he repeated looking up as if he could imagine it in his head. "Yeah, we got that."
Grecko snorted. She could tell that this fat fuck didn't even know what it meant, but as long as there were dollar signs involved, he would say anything they wanted to hear. "So your boss?"
"He's in the back with a client. They're discussing a little business."
"How long will it take?" Jessica asked, her eyes surveying the doorway that he had come from.
"Another twenty minutes. I can always take care of you though," he offered.
The women gave him polite smiles yet shook their heads in the negative. "It's all right, we'll just stick around the neighborhood and come back. We have the time," Dasha told him. He shrugged his saggy shoulders then disappeared before the girls could even exit the shop. They waited until they were outside to have a real conversation.
"That place gives me a horrible feeling."
"You're not the only one. I wouldn't be surprised if they were selling people more than animal meat," Jessica replied as they crossed the street.
"What do you mean?"
"It's a butcher shop, but exactly how much meat is he cutting for his clothing to be drenched in blood?" she pointed out. They went to a sandwich stand and grabbed a bite to eat, waiting for the twenty minutes to pass.
"This is pretty good stuff. What's in here?" Dasha asked one of the vendors. She had ordered the daily mystery special and really liked it. They looked at each other and only smiled.
"It wouldn't be a mystery if we told you, now would it?"
She laughed and nodded in agreement. "Let me guess, secret recipe?"
"This sandwich is delicious. I could eat two," Jessica concurred. They continued to chat with the vendors, asking if they ever considered catering and handing out business cards when someone bumped into her. She dropped her sandwich expecting an apology, but only receiving a sneer instead.