A/N: Sorry for vanishing for the last few days, guys. It’s been crazy in RL and this chapter was hard to write. But now I hope that I’ve got things a little under control. So here’s a new chapter for you.
WARNING!: This chapter contains descriptions of physical abuse. So approach with caution!
Sitting in Anthony’s car, I feel restless in the enclosed space. While he drives, I focus on trying to keep my breathing under control. It doesn’t work. So I start humming a tune from one of mom’s night time shows to keep my mind occupied.
Tony clears his throat before asking, “Everything alright, Ms. Bella?”
I nod. “Just drive.”
“Umm … we are at the intersection. I need you to tell me which way to go.”
“Oh!” I blush. “Sorry. I’m just nervous, I guess. Take left here please.”
He’s quiet for a moment before asking, “May I ask where we’re going? Why are you so anxious?”
I wonder for a second on whether to tell him and spook him already or to hold off till we’re there. I decide to be truthful to him at last. “We’re going to meet a man named Royce King.”
His brows knit together in confusion. “Is he a celebrity? I’ve never heard of him.”
“No, he’s a talent agent,” I answer and then add, “And he double times as a pimp for Jacob Black.”
His eyes widen. “Is he the one who forced Rosalie Hale to …” he scowls, not finishing his thought.
I nod. “That’s the one.”
He looks forward and tightens his hold on the steering wheel. “Alright. Let’s go then.”
Both our confidences fall short as we approach King’s home. We’re almost ten feet away from the driveway when our eyes catch hint of black-clothed men … dozens of them, standing guard outside the house.
“Oh shit!” I swear. “Who are they?”
“Well, I don’t think they’re here to welcome us,” Tony replies. “Ms. Bella?”
“There’s still time. I can turn the car around and we can go back.”
“Is there an option B?” I ask.
“We can drive through the area, pretend that we’re just people passing by?” His answer comes out sounding more like a question.
I look ahead at the men staring at our car and take a deep breath. “Let’s drive through.”
Tony barely manages to move the car an inch when I grab his hand. “Stop! We can’t go without the interview. We need it.”
He stops the car, and immediately my fear gets the best of me. “You know what, Tony? Maybe we can get an appointment and come back later.”
He starts to move the car when I stop him again, holding a hand up this time. “No! We can’t flee. We’re legitimate journalists. We should be doing our jobs.”
“So, shall we go?” he asks quizzically.
I nod and then shake my head. “Maybe after those men are gone.”
Just as he starts moving the car again, a white Ferrari comes barrelling at us, squeaking its tires to come to a stop right in front of us and effectively blocking out way. A car door opens and out comes the guy from the night I was almost kidnapped. He comes forward, his eyes zeroing on me, a sneer playing on his lips.
He comes to open my car door and bows. “If it isn’t the great journalist, Isabella Barone.” His eyes fall on Tony and narrow for a moment before he grins. “No hurt feelings over that night, huh, big guy?”
I swear that for an instance it looks like Tony might actually punch the guy in face but then he looks away and steps out of the car to come and stand beside me.
“I’m guessing you’re here to meet Mr. King?” the asshole from the other night asks.
“What are you doing here?” I can’t help but ask.
He laughs. “Ah! Always the journalist. Well, Mr. King happens to be a dear friend of our boss. So Boss sent us to offer Mr. King some company.”
I almost ask who his boss is, but decide to keep my questions for King instead.
The asshole and two of his wingmen escorts us inside the house and into a messy living room. There, standing before a case filled with trophies and such, is a man. He looks to be about forty and has jet black hair. Royce King faces away from us with a beautiful blonde woman standing next to him, her eyes downcast.
“Mr. King, hello!” the asshole greets him.
Royce turns around and smiles through his thin mustache. “James! My dear friend, it’s always good to see you. How’s Aro doing? Did he send you to see if his men are taking good care of me?”
“Yes, Sir,” James answers.
“Well tell him thanks,” Royce says. “Not a single reporter has bothered me so far …” That’s the moment his eyes find us. Narrowing his eyes at us, he asks harshly, “Who are they?”
James steps to the side and holds a hand out to point to me. “This is Isabella Barone, Mr. King.” When Royce King doesn’t show any signs of recognition, he adds, “The reporter who wrote that piece about Rosalie Hale and Mr. Black. We’re pretty sure she also knows where Rosalie is hiding.”
Royce’s blue eyes get a glint of interest then. “Does she now?” he asks, a slow smile spreading on his lips. He takes a few steps toward me, his eyes scanning me from head to toe. “I must admit I’m disappointed,” he says at last. “I expected it to be a man who had the balls to point a finger at Jake Black. It’s a shame you’re a girl.”
I raise an eyebrow in a silent challenge and decide to test the waters. Standing my ground, I hold a hand out for him to shake. “Hello, Mr. King. I’m Isabella Barone from Inside Out News. I was hoping to ask you a few questions …”
Instead of shaking my hand he walks forward, invading my personal space. “No phone call or email or an appointment and you just decided to come by and chat? That’s not very professional of you, Ms. Barone.”
I feel my cheeks heat up in embarrassment and something very much like anger. “I’m sorry, but I thought that if I called, you wouldn’t take my calls.”
His lips curls in a mocking smile. “You think?” he asks me, his eyes peering into my face. “Well, I guess you’re not totally useless.” He lifts a hand and grabs my chin in a rough grip, making me feel like gagging. “You’ve got the looks, Isabella. Want me to scout you? I can take you to places you’ve never been to.”
Not on your life, you pervert! I want to scream, but instead take a deep breath and move my head to free myself of him. “That’s very kind of you, but I’m really happy with my career at the moment.” I take a few steps back from him and try to keep my calm as I start asking the questions. “Mr. King, do you know someone by the name of Rosalie Hale? She claims she was a part of your entertainment company.”
He looks up at someone behind me-possibly James and grins. “This girl is looking prettier by the minute, man,” he says in a lecherous voice.
I almost crumble at the filth in his voice, but I feel a hand on the small of my back, silently reminding me that I’m not alone. Tony!
Emboldened by his presence, I ask King again, “Do you know that Ms. hale has lodged a formal complaint against you? It includes bribery, prostitution and physical abuse. I would like to hear your side of the story.”
Royce’s face hardens at my words. “You know, Isabella, you might be pretty, but the things coming out of your mouth are not the least bit appealing. You shouldn’t waste your time on this “story”. No news media will publish it.”
“That’s not true,” I protest. “Our Inside Out News …”
“Inside Out, huh?” he asks, interrupting me. “Shall I sue that tabloid of yours for defamation? I bet your bosses will be on their knees, begging to blow me then.”
“Rosalie Hale,” he says loudly. “Where is that whore?”
The degrading term makes my ears burn and I speak through clenched teeth. “Your language is becoming increasingly uncivil, Mr. King.”
He doesn’t seem to register my words. Instead, he keeps talking almost as if he’s talking to himself. “So the bitch thinks I abused her, huh?” Without waiting for a response, he whirls around and walks up to the awaiting blonde woman. He looks at her and then slaps her hard.
“No!” I cry out as the woman screams in pain.
Royce doesn’t stop there though. No, he strikes her again and again until she’s lying at his feet, bent over in pain. He lands a kick on her and looks at me with a gleeful expression on his face. “Is this the physical abuse you talked about, Isabella?”
“Please stop!” I beg of him. Suddenly, I’m pulled back and then Tony is there, holding me in his arms and pushing my head to his chest to hide the horrific scene from my line of sight. “Ms. Bella, please let’s go,” he urges me.
I feel tears stream down my face, but I cannot look away from the scene unfolding before me. Tony hugs me tight and whispers in my ear. “Ms. Bella, please, we should go. Please.”
Royce King hears him and shouts, “Don’t you dare leave, you little bitch! I’ve still got things to say to you and that slut you’re hiding.” He grabs a handful of the woman’s hair and hauls her up before throwing her on the floor again. “Look at this bitch. Bitches like this come to me, begging me to make them stars. So I do them a favor and help them be famous.”
He lifts his foot to kick the woman again and she cries out in fear. The sight makes me feel nauseous and I feel like I can’t get enough air in my lungs. I close my eyes and push my face to Tony’s chest, wishing for this to go away.
Holding Bella to my chest, I wish like hell that I could simply take her away from this hellhole. I realized that I’d need help to get away from here. So raising my hand where Esme had insisted on placing a microphone on my wristwatch, I whisper, “We need help. Now.”
“You got it, Kid,” I hear her voice in my ear through the headphone disguised as a hearing aid. We don’t have to wait long before James gets a call on his phone.
“What the fuck are you saying?” he barks into the phone. “How can my new car be haunted? Who the fuck is driving it?” His words make me realize that Esme must have hacked into the GPS system of his car and taken control of it. Good one, Es. I mentally high five her as I watch James take all his men and rush out of the house.
From behind us, the woman cries out again as Royce King continues to beat her. I feel Bella’s knees buckle at the sound and I keep my arms around her as we both fall down to the ground. I have to get her out of here.
I feel a hand grab my shoulder and pull me away from Bella. Royce King shoves me away from her as he kneels before her, a malicious glint of insanity in his eyes. “You’re a reporter, aren’t you?” he asks thoughtfully. “You bitches write what you see and experience first hand. So shall I give you a demo of physical abuse so you can write about it?” He laughs as she closes her eyes, tears trickling out of them.
Hatred and white hot anger at his very existence burns through me and I look around to find a way to get him away from her. I find a golf club laying close by on an indoor golf set. I slinker toward it, unnoticed by the asshole towering over Bella and pick it up. I stand up, take aim and swing the club. The satisfying sound of the club finding its mark on his shoulder followed by his howl of pain sends a rush of relief through me.
Throwing the club away, I rush to Bella and pull her to her feet and away from Royce King. “Bella,” I call her name. She lets out a loud sob and hugs me tight. “Shh,” I say to her. “Come with me. I’ll get you out of here.”
Holding her in my arms, I walk out of the house, leaving Royce King hunched over in pain.
A/N: So … thoughts?
Share them with me and leave a review.
Thanks for reading.
Image Source: Tumblr