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Love lies and other disa.., p.2
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       Love, Lies and Other Disasters, p.2

           InkSpell Publishing
 
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  “Doctor says he’s bad for my state of mind,” Celina said, throwing another glance at Abe. Sam roared with laughter.

  “Always made me smile. You’re good for my state of mind.” He smiled, his brown eyes twinkling down at her. “So, I hear you’ve been on lock down.”

  She darted a glance under Sam’s huge arms. How fast could she dart to the door before the two gigantic men descended down on her?

  Someone cleared their throat and she swung her head back and saw Abe shake his head.

  “Yes. A lock down. How have you been?” she said through gritted teeth.

  “Good.” Sam moved toward the only chair in the room next to the bed, pulling her with him and lowered himself into the chair. It creaked loudly as his full weight finally settled. She sat opposite him on the bed, tucking her legs underneath her. “It’s been a while. Five years, no?”

  She nodded. She could feel Abe’s eyes on her, urging her to look at him. She focused her attention on Sam, Abe’s childhood and best friend. She’d known him the same amount of time she’d known Abe.

  From the corner of her eye, she saw Abe stroll out of the room. Once the door closed, she breathed out.

  “That bad?” Sam asked, his eye brows raised over soft chocolate brown eyes.

  She nodded. “I’m not sure what to think. What does Abe want?”

  He raked a hand through his hair and exhaled “You. He wants you back, Peanut.”

  “But why? He left me, Sam. He didn’t even attempt to contact me. Even after I sent the divorce papers, he never contacted me.”

  Sam shifted in the chair, and leaned forward. The creaks in the room heightened and she darted a look at the seats’ wooden legs, holding her breath.

  “It’s up to Abe to tell you his reasons. If you haven’t noticed, he’s one complicated person to get to know.”

  “Oh yes I noticed. I noticed that seven years ago.”

  He took her hands in his and enveloped them. “Talk to him. Really talk to him.”

  She narrowed her eyes. “Did he ask you to talk to me?”

  Sam’s eyes widened in mock hurt. “How dare you say that, Peanut. You’ve hurt my feelings.” He shook his head as a smile spread across his face. “Abe told me you were here. He told me what he’d done, which was insane by the way. But I’ve never expected different from him. And I wanted to see you, as simple as that.”

  She smiled, leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for coming to see me.” She scooted back on the bed. “So, you know where he’d been when he left town?”

  He glanced at her, as if weighing if he should really tell her or not. Finally, he exhaled. “Yes. He requested an external hunt.”

  “Why would he do that?”

  He shook his head in disbelief. “What have you two been talking about the last four days?”

  “Nothing much.” She lowered her eyes, heat rising to her face. “Other than him feeling the need to feed me, and either glare or stare at me, nothing.”

  Sam chuckled and her head shot up. “Have you tried listening to what he has to say?”

  She hadn’t. She’d been so hurt, and had been more focused on looking for a way out of the house.

  “You should try it. I’m not saying this because he’s my best friend. No. I’m saying this because I saw how he handled himself those years after he left.”

  Her heart picked up a beat. Was there still hope? Had he suffered as she had? “What do you mean?”

  “Just saying he went through a very rough patch after he left you. Yes. Given he was an idiot to leave. But…”

  The door suddenly flung inward, and Abe stalked in, headed for the wall across from her, and leaned on it. His eyes flew to Sam, and then slid over to Celina, then back at Sam.

  Celina studied Abe. What was it about him that made her stomach fill with butterflies? “Are you staying the night, Sam?”

  “No, he’s not.” Abe replied, peeling himself from the wall. Sam threw him an amused glance, then back to Celina.

  “Words from the beast itself. Can’t stay. Another time maybe?” He stood and straightened pulling her off the bed. “I have to get home to my beloved.” His eyes softened as he said those words, and her heart squeezed. If only, someone would go all gooey when they referred to her as their ‘beloved’.

  He walked toward the bedroom door and paused. “It was good to see you, Peanut. Hope to see you again soon.” He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet, hugging her.

  “It was good to see you too. And give your beloved my regards.” She said with sincerity as Sam left the room.

  As Abe walked past her on his way out, he lifted a hand and gently brushed her cheek. Momentarily, she closed her eyes and savoured the feel. And just as soon, his fingers left her face. The door slipped shut behind him. She exhaled, backtracked her steps toward the bed, and slumped on it.

  ***

  Once Sam left, Abe stood in the living room for a long time.

  He’d explained the first time why he’d left her. But it wasn’t the entire truth. If she knew the truth, he sensed it would destroy whatever amount of trust was left in her.

  How could he tell her that, his was a marriage of convenience? Sort of, anyway. He’d needed a good job. And he’d gotten it.

  Only thing was, he’d gotten an extra package in the deal: Protect the boss’s daughter, woo her and marry her. And he’d done the wooing to perfection. Two years later he was married to the most beautiful, stubborn, determined woman he’d ever met. Then he fell in love with her, hard, which wasn’t good for him at that time. Not at the peak of his career. Torn between his blossoming love and fully bloomed career, he’d left with an idiotic excuse that he couldn’t stay tied to her. He glanced at the mahogany table where the divorce papers were safely hidden.

  He dug a hand in his hair and tugged. During those years he’d realized the more he stayed away from Celina, the worse his heart bled for her.

  He was roused out of his thoughts as soft footsteps padded on the wooded floor. He stilled where he stood, and made no attempt to turn around. The shuffling feet stopped.

  “Want to run away from me, darling?” he said without turning around. He’d left the door open for a purpose. And she’d taken the bait. He didn’t want to keep her locked in the room any more than inside the house.

  Abe heard her clear her throat, as if nervous. Celina wasn’t the kind who was stricken by nervousness. After a while, he gave her a sidelong glance, taking in her tiny bare feet, her tight pair of jeans hugging her hips, in ways he remembered his hands hugging. Not wanting to look any further up, he swallowed. He turned his attention back to the unlit fireplace he’d been standing next to for the last half hour, and waited.

  “No. I don’t want to run.”, came a soft answer from behind him. He swung around and faced her, bracing a hand on the wall. “Why did you leave, Abe? I’m here, willing to listen.”

  He breathed out, realising how desperately he’d wanted to hear those words. He dropped his hand from the wall and took a few steps toward her. She took a step back, eyes wide. Was she afraid of him?

  No, it wasn’t fear, more that she was avoiding being too close to him. He fought a smile. There was still time before they parted ways, even though his fingers seemed to acknowledge the fact that his touch affected her just the same.

  “Come sit with me.” He beckoned to her.

  Slowly, she lowered herself on the sofa and scooted away from him, keeping a distance as far as her petite body would allow.

  Once she settled down, he sat opposite her. Without wasting time, she started shooting questions at him. He’d have preferred some time to just look at her but she had other ideas.

  “Talk, Abe.”

  He leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. “First, I’m really, really sorry that I left you like I did, Celina.”

  She blinked at him, probably not expecting an apology. She took a deep breath and seemed to recover. “I want to know why.


  Her eyes darkened as she continued to stare at him. He heard the underlying hurt laced in her words. His insides twisted.

  “There’s no other way I can explain it. I was an idiot. I regret the pain I caused you.”

  He thought about her father, and shook his head. He didn’t want to make things worse. That would be a bad move, selfish even. She’d feel betrayed by her parents. So, he kept that truth to himself.

  “All I’m asking is…please give me another chance. I won’t give up, and I’m willing to try. We have ten days before your leave is over. Can’t we try?

  “I needed this time away, Abe. And what about Beth?”

  He rubbed a hand on his neck and readied himself. “Er...she knows. She was part of the plan.”

  Celina shot up. “She what?” She narrowed her eyes. “You mean to tell me Beth knows about this? You two planned this?

  Her breathing was becoming rapid now, and Abe worried she’d hyperventilate. He moved closer, nodding.

  She took a step back, whirled and dashed to the door. Before he could reach her, she turned the handle and darted outside into the summer night. Abe cursed under his breath as he sprinted to catch up with her. He snaked a hand around her waist and pulled her to him. She shrieked.

  A couple of people poked their heads out of their windows. Not knowing what to do, he swooped down and claimed her lips with his to silence her. She squirmed and struggled. He caught her arms easily within his.

  Without breaking a step, he scooped her into his arms, ignored the hands pummelling his shoulders and strode briskly inside the house, and kicked the door shut. He dropped her on the sofa without breaking the kiss. Her struggles ceased, and he felt her hands slide up and rest on his shoulder. This was the missing puzzle piece in his life. Holding her this way felt as if everything was perfect.

  Breaking the kiss to come up for air, he leaned back and stared down at her, and smiled. She blinked up at him. Suddenly she pushed away from him and with one swift motion stood up, locking her eyes with his. Whatever little emotion had been in their kiss, had faded. She shook her head, stalked toward the bedroom, and slipped in. The door clicked shut.

  ***

  It had been days since Celina discovered her best friend, Beth, was an accomplice to her kidnapping. After her attempt of escaping from him, she’d realized how impossible it’d be to even try again. He was still faster than her, stronger than her, and never seemed to sleep at night. Four nights ago, unable to sleep, she’d tiptoed out of the room and into the living room. Abe had been up sitting on the couch, reading one of those huge horror novels he loved so much. She pretended she was looking for a midnight snack, and had retraced her steps back to the room.

  Abe hadn’t attempted to kiss her again. And he kept his hands to himself most of the time. Every day, he made every attempt to make it as romantic as possible: candles on the table, fresh roses or tulips, even when they were having pizza for dinner.

  He seemed more attentive to her. At first, it was a one-sided conversation with him doing all the talking. Stories about hunts he’d done the last five years. Some were hilarious, and some were downright scary and dangerous. Finally, she found herself responding with a chuckle and sometimes a laugh. The coming days, it had gotten better, and his mood seemed to brighten.

  He worked hard to gain her trust back. Well, he’d have to work harder. She still had a few days before her holiday was over and done with. Better make the most of it. She smiled and focused her mind back on the TV. She couldn’t remember what the movie was all about. Her mind had drifted to Abe at the beginning of the movie.

  ***

  The phone rang, startling Abe out of his thoughts. His thoughts about Celina, and how well things seemed to be moving. At least he hoped they were moving in the right direction. He knew it would take time. He’d hurt her bad and felt angry at himself for what he’d done. He snatched the mobile from the table, glanced at the screen, and groaned. What would they want from him now? He pressed the answer button. He listened to the instructions, his thoughts turning darker, the more the automated message babbled in his ear.

  Finally, he pressed the ‘end’ button and fisted it in his hands. He closed his eyes, debating if he should ignore those set of instructions, which usually would’ve been welcome, but not today. Not when he was trying to make amends.

  He had no choice. Instructions were instructions.

  He pressed speed dial on the mobile and waited. The call was picked on the third ring.

  “Sam, can you spare a few days?”

  “Sure. What do you need?” Sam breathed out on the phone as if he had been in the middle of an exhausting exercise. Abe knew not to ask. Sam and his wife, Mirri, were the most active people Abe had encountered. Not to mention the most adventurous. His memories of catching them countless times, in the most inappropriate places making out, were proof enough.

  “Watch over Celina for a day or two. Got assigned to a case.”

  “You mean there’s no one else to work on the assignment? You’re on leave, man. You need to seduce your woman until she succumbs to your brooding charm.”

  Abe raked a hand in his hair and scowled. “You don’t need to tell me,” he said frustrated, and grew more irritated as Sam chuckled on the other end of the line. “Apparently they need someone with my expertise. A group of prisoners broke out of a hold up in Warsaw.”

  Abe heard Sam blow out a breath.

  “Talk about excellent timing,” Sam murmured. “Alright. Give me twenty minutes.”

  ***

  Abe knocked on Celina’s door. After a few seconds, he turned the door handle and entered. Celina lay on her stomach, her eyes glued on the television screen.

  “Hey, darling.”

  She swung her head towards him, and scrambled to sit up. He tried ignoring that part of him that had been urging him to kiss her since his last kiss. He cleared his throat.

  “I’m leaving for a day or two… an assignment. Apparently your father needs my help.”

  For just a second, her expression altered. She frowned, and then smoothed it so fast; he’d have missed it if he wasn’t looking for some sort of reaction from her. Was that disappointment? He bit back a smile.

  “Sam will be staying with you while I’m gone.”

  “My holiday is almost up. Might as well go home.” She said.

  Abe shook his head. “I’ll be back tomorrow. Stay another day, darling. Stay another day with me.”

  She glanced away from him, seeming to contemplate. The doorbell rang. He didn’t move. Moments later, she turned and looked at him, and nodded. He exhaled as relief rushed through his body.

  He took a step forward, dropped to his knees in front of her, and grasped her hand in his. “Thank you.” He lifted it to his lips and brushed a kiss on her palm. She drew in a deep breath. He could feel the erratic beat of the pulse beneath his thumb on her wrist. He gazed at her lips, and quickly flicked back to her eyes. He caught her staring at his mouth as well.

  The doorbell rang a second time.

  He leaned forward, his own heart pounding in his chest and brushed his lips against hers.

  The bell rang again, the third time.

  He rolled his eyes and sighed. He traced his lips along her jaw, and finally placed a kiss on her forehead. Her eyes were trained on him, and she raised her free hand. She cupped his face, and rubbed a thumb across his lips. She seemed as if she wanted to say something.

  Say it, darling, he urged her silently.

  She shook her head and breathed out. “See you tomorrow then.”

  He rose to his feet, and with one last look, walked out of the door.

  Sam stood on the door, grinning back at him. “How did the farewell go? Hope it was worth me standing here more than five minutes, waiting.”

  “None of your business.” Abe grabbed his rucksack and swung it over his shoulder.

  Sam howled a laugh, and slapped him on the back. “It’ll be good to see you two togethe
r again.”

  “We’ll see,” was all Abe murmured as he stepped out of the door. He wanted to hurry and come back to his Celina. He smiled as the parting scene of a few minutes ago flashed in his mind.

  She had really touched him. It was the first time she’d touched him since he brought her here.

  ****

  “Have you heard anything from the firm, Sam?” Celina asked, gnawing on the nail on her thumb. It had been two days and no word had come through about Abe’s whereabouts.

  Sam shook his head. “He said he’d call. He is Abe after all. Not many people can slip past him. And not so many can take him down. The man is a descendant of a panther for all I know.” He chuckled at his own joke.

  Celina grumbled, and continued chewing on the nail. She knew how dangerous the hunting missions were. What if a bunch of prisoners got him and his group and overpowered them? There had been such cases in the past.

  “I’ll make a call to the office and check.” Sam said cutting through her thoughts. He pulled his mobile from his pocket.

  She glanced up at him, and nodded thankfully. She’d thought about making the call herself, but how would she explain herself?

  Hey Dad, I’m just calling to ask about Abe’s mission. You see, he kidnapped me, locked me up in his flat and now I think my feelings for him have revived? That would really go well with her over-protective father.

  She listened as Sam spoke low in the mobile. His usual cheerful expression seemed to darken the more he listened. She wiped her hands on her jeans. The more she watched Sam’s face, the more the room seemed to shrink.

  Finally, he pressed the end button, and took a deep breath.

  “What? What did they say, Sam?” She heard the trembling of her own voice.

  Sam shifted his body, turned around and took both her hands in his, his troubled brown eyes locked on hers. “Abe… Abe’s group hunted the escapees to a run-down warehouse. Unfortunately, the total number of the prisoners reported was wrong. There were twenty-four. And Abe’s group…were only ten hunters.” He paused and dropped his eyes to their joined hands. She felt his hands shaking and she gripped them tightly in hers.

  Celina felt nausea rise from within her. The air around her thickened and she struggled for breath. She waited. Finally, he looked at her, tears rimming the edges of his eyes.

  “Six hunters were found dead. The bodies have yet to be identified. Abe as well as other hunters have been reported missing.”

 
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