Posts tagged “Danger

Chasing Truth: Chapter 40

Posted on 10/04/2020

Get-Out Guide: Walk through a garden at night and see local artists

The moon illuminated the quiet path Mari and Reese strolled along. Friends talked them into watching the outdoor movie starting soon. Granted, it didn’t take much convincing. Reese was always invited to something as the islanders extended their friendship. Mari never let him turn down an offer.

“You know, I’m not sure Sakina is going to let you go when it’s time. You might be more popular than me now.”

“That’s impossible.”

“I wasn’t the one who got invited tonight.”

He muttered something under his breath she knew he didn’t mean. It made her giggle. She couldn’t say what she expected when she learned he was staying with her. She enjoyed his company. He often made her laugh. The way he fit in with her friends made it even easier to have him around.

She was distracted from her thoughts when she saw the woman standing at a cart a few feet ahead. Her giggle morphed into a broad grin.

“Oh! Felicia is still open!”

Reese rolled his eyes. “Let me guess. You need one to watch the movie.”

“Well, duh. Hurry, go grab us slushies before she starts closing down.”

“C’mon.”

“You go ahead, I’ll be right here.” She stopped at the edge of a storefront. “I want to keep an eye out for the others.”

He hesitated. “Stay where I can see you.”

With thumbs up, she repeated, “Right here.”

He jogged to the stand.

“Cherry and grape mixed!” she called after him.

He shook his head, but he lifted a hand in acknowledgment.  Laughing to herself, she stepped back toward the side of the building and craned her neck in search of her friends. They would give her a hard time if they showed up late with slushies, but it would be worth it.

Her heart shot into her throat when an arm snagged around her waist as a hand covered her mouth. Someone dragged her back behind the cover of the building. She dug her fingernails into his wrist, clawing at the skin. He kept dragging her backward. She bit the hand at her mouth and violently jerked to break free. Her chest grew tight when his arm still didn’t loosen. She tried to drop her weight in a desperate attempt to slow him down.

Someone darted to her side, but she couldn’t get past the fear flooding her to make them out. She kept trying to rip free from the man’s grasp. He grunted. Suddenly she was thrust forward. She collided with someone before she lost her footing and sank to her knees. Quick footsteps thundered behind her. Scrambling unsteadily to her feet, she tried to run. The edge of the building was in sight when someone grabbed hold of her arm. She swung around, leading with her fist. It was caught in a firm grip.

“Mari. Mari! It’s Reese. I’ve got you. He’s gone.”

It took a moment for his voice to penetrate.  She collapsed into his arms, gasping for breath. Tremors racked her body. Reese’s hands stroked over her arms in brisk motion.

“I’m fine. I’m fine.”

She repeated the words to make them true while she fought for calm she didn’t feel. She was with Reese. Nothing happened to her. She was fine.

“Look at me.” The command in his tone couldn’t be ignored even in her panicked state. She pulled back just enough to lock onto his warm brown eyes. “I have you. He’s gone. You’re safe.”

“I’m safe. You have me.”

“That’s right. Just breathe.”

She nodded like a bobble head. Reese’s steady focus calmed her and gradually her breathing evened out.

“Good girl.”

She buried her face in his chest. His arms closed around her. Warmth enveloped her, bringing with it the feeling of safety. She was safe. He wouldn’t let anything happen to her. He just proved it.

“Mari? Reese? Is everything alright?” Felicia called.

“She’s good,” Reese called over his shoulder. He didn’t move from behind the shelter of the building. “It was just a robbery attempt,” he told Mari quietly.

She swallowed hard and nodded her understanding. They both knew it was more than that. He didn’t fight her when she pulled free to rub her hands over her face. He stayed close to her side as they walked back in sight.

“She’s okay,” Reese assured Felicia who was jogging toward them. “It looks like someone tried to rob her.”

Felicia sucked her teeth in annoyance. “That happens around here sometimes, during tourist season especially. Are you okay, Mari?”

Mari cleared her throat. “I’m fine. It shook me a bit. I know better. I should have been paying attention, but I was thinking about that slushy.”

“The one Reese dropped when he shot over here. Goodness, I’ve never seen anyone move so fast.” Felicia smiled up at Reese. “Thank you for taking care of our girl. Let me get you both slushies.”

She bustled back to her cart before Reese could say a word.

“Mari? What’s going on?” Leilani called as she and the others approached them from farther up the street.

“Someone tried to rob her,” Reese answered for her.

“I wasn’t paying attention. Reese scared him off. I’m fine.”

“What?” Leilani asked.

“Just now?” Julia added.

“Where did he go?” Keon demanded already angling away from them.

“Who was he? What did he look like?”

“It was probably that guy Leo said was hanging around his shop.”

“I didn’t get a good look.”

“Or that one near Laney’s!”

“Guys-” Mari tried to interject.

“Which way did he go?”

“Somebody call Garrett!”

Mari groaned at mention of the island’s sheriff. “Guys! Guys! Hey!” she yelled over them. “I’m fine. The only real problem was Reese dropping my slushy, but Felicia’s bringing me another one. So, again, I’m fine. And I was looking forward to seeing this movie. So, if everybody could just move along, that would be great.”

She beamed at Felicia and held out her hands eagerly when she approached with the drinks. “You’re a queen. Thank you.”

Julia rolled her eyes, but in spite of her concern for Mari, Leilani couldn’t muffle her giggle.

“See,” Mari said after a long sip. “Perfectly fine. Now let’s calm down and go enjoy the movie.”

Mari started walking. Slowly the group began moving down the sidewalk with her. Reese relaxed in step beside her. She let the conversation and Reese’s nearness blunt the edge of fear she could still taste. She was safe now and they had a movie to watch. She would deal with the rest later.

<< Chapter 39 Chapter 41 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 17

Posted on 10/10/2014

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Mari reeled in shock, lowering her gun. She recalled him asking about her searching for her dad. She could only imagine he checked her electronics in search of any contact she might have with her father despite her reassurances she didn’t know the man. Blake Mason. She shook her head. It didn’t make sense. He didn’t know her father.

“Even if I believed you, and I don’t by the way, there’s one big problem. I don’t talk to my father. I don’t exist to him and he doesn’t exist to me so why would you think hanging around me would get you any closer to him? You want to try being honest now? I know it’s something of a struggle for you, but maybe you could try it for once.”

He glared, but she merely stared expectantly at him.

“What? Did you think I was just going to smile at you and assure you I didn’t hold it against you?”

He shook his head, but chose not to address what she said. “I’m here because even though he’s kept his distance, word is he keeps an eye on his princess.”

Mari shoved her hand through her hair and barked a harsh laugh. “This is ridiculous. I don’t know where you got your ‘word’ from, but they were obviously wrong and you really need to get better sources. Does it look like anybody has their eye on me?”

“Gage Mason.”

She dropped into the chair beside her with no grace. “What?” she whispered.

“I hung around long enough and Blake’s brother comes sniffing around. Yeah, you’ve got eyes on you, sweetheart.”

She couldn’t believe this. She called Gage her uncle but never imagined that was true biologically. Did Raoul know? Something in her chest clenched at the thought. Could he know who her father was? Who Gage was? She pushed back those thoughts, unable to face them then.

“What…what do you want with Blake Mason?”

“There’s some speculation Mason is into some pretty dirty stuff. I’m clearing up the speculation one way or the other.”

She frowned and pushed back out of her chair to pace. First she learned who her father was and now he was involved in some bad stuff? Yeah, she believed him. It was probably stupid on her part. No, it was definitely stupid on her part. It did explain what he wanted from her. Tyler was full of surprises. It was something she enjoyed about him, but none of the surprises recently inspired warm or fuzzy feelings. In fact, dread settled in her stomach.

“Dirty stuff like what?” she asked as she faced him again.

“Trafficking.”

“Drugs?”

“Among other things.”

Her jaw dropped in horror and she whispered, “People?”

He didn’t say anything as he watched her.

“Who do you work for?”

“Not at liberty to discuss that. Not even for you, sweetheart.”

“Don’t call me that.”

His eyes narrowed and he rose from the bed. She immediately took a step back. His frown deepened.

“I’m still the same man, Mari. Still Tyler. Still crazy about you.”

“No, you pretended to be somebody you knew I would let in. That’s not you. I have no idea who you are. Is Tyler even your real name?”

He crowded closer and she took another involuntary step back, her back hitting the wall. He eased the gun from her hand and tucked it in the back of his jeans before he rested his palms flat against the wall on either side of her head.

“Back off.” She meant to bite off the words but they came out breathless and nowhere near as firm as she wanted.

“You still want me.”

“I’m sure that will go away once my head stops spinning. You lied to me.”

He leaned in until their mouths almost touched. “I need Blake Mason, but what’s between us is between us. That’s real. This is real.”

Before she could counter he closed that last inch and kissed her. His hand closed around her neck and tilted her head for a better angle. The moments he kissed her felt like the real Tyler Ross. Whoever that was.

Finally she found it in her to tear her mouth from his. She hated that she was breathing hard and that she stupidly wanted more.

“I need time. Space. Both away from you.”

“I can’t give you that. When he shows up, I need to be in place.”

If he shows up.”

“He will. Trust me, Mari.”

“You’ve already proven I can’t do that.”

He dragged a hand down over his face. “I can give you a day or two, but then we’ve gotta talk. You need to know how to play this.”

“I haven’t agreed to play anything.”

He shook his head. “I’m not gonna argue with you right now. Take the time and sort it out. We’ll talk.”

She glared at him, inhaling sharply when he leaned in.

“I’m giving you time. Don’t think that means we’re done. We’re not.”

“You don’t make that decision,” she whispered.

“I will.”

Abruptly he pulled away from her and opened the door. “Lock up behind me. I don’t have to tell you to keep this to yourself.”

“Goodbye Tyler,” she said, her voice finding some firmness now that he wasn’t in her space.

They stared at each other in silence before his lips quirked up in a weak smile.
“Talk to you soon.”

And then he was gone; leaving her to deal with the bombshell he dropped.

 

<< Chapter 16 || Chapter 18 >> 

  

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