I, stupidly, forgot all about Luke while I was trying to take care of Logan. Well, at least I know who it is that he’s after. Me.
“What–what are you doing?” I ask, knowing good and well what he’s doing. I feel for the knife I have in my back pocket as I speak.
“I’m sorry, Julia. I have to do this. Please don’t make it harder than it has to be.”
I get a grip on the knife handle. “Don’t make what harder than it has to be?”
He steps closer, within striking distance of my knife. I tighten up, preparing myself to do what I have to do to get out of here.
“I had to get you alone. Someone needs something from you, and I need something from that person, so you have to understand–” I swing at him with the knife, hoping to just cut him so he’ll back off, but he moves faster than I expected and grabs my arm before I can touch him. He pulls the knife out of my hand.
“I’m not going to hurt you. I meant what I said: please don’t make it harder than it has to be.” His voice is much sharper than before.
Who is it that wants something from me? It’s not like I have anything valuable. What do they want? More importantly, who is it? Do I know them? None of those have any answers that I can give, and with my heart pounding in my chest it’s hard to focus on them anyway.
My hands are trembling, and I feel absolutely terrified, but some part of me also feels angry. Why is Luke doing this? What is wrong with him? What is it that he needs so badly that he would attack Logan, his own girlfriend, to get to me. Something about it pisses me off in the midst of my fear. I just . . I actually started to like him, and then he betrays the both of us like this.
“What the hell are you talking about? What do you ‘have’ to do? Give me a straight answer,” I spit, fueled by my anger. Even with me being terrified for my life, I still somehow manage to get that out. And immediately regret it afterward.
His grip on my wrist tightens and starts to hurt, whether he realizes it or not.
“You’ll be grateful when this is all over,” he says viciously. “I’ve had to work for what I’m getting and you’re just getting it given to you, you little bitch.”
From what he said before to what he’s saying now, his entire persona has changed. It’s like I flipped a switch, and now he wants to kill me. I’ve been terrified quite a few times in my life: the car wreck, that moment a month ago when that man tried to pull me out of my wheelchair, and some other random moments in my life, but I’ve never felt scared of someone like this–and definitely not someone I knew. And–god–Logan. He hit her hard enough to knock her out. Something’s wrong; this isn’t Luke. I don’t know what has happened to him, but this isn’t how he behaves.
What does he even want from me? And why is he so angry, and, apparently, jealous? It doesn't make sense.
His hand keeps getting tighter and tighter until I have to let out a gasp from the pain. “Luke–Luke my wrist. My wrist–you’re gonna break it. Luke.” My voice gets higher and higher as I go along, ending in a tight squeak as I say his name.
He looks at me, and I regret saying it. I should’ve just let him break my wrist. But, once again, it’s like a switch has flipped. He quickly lets go, looking guilty.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t try anything else.”
He takes his cell phone out of his pocket, dialing something into it. What’s wrong with him? I think. He puts the phone up to his ear and turns around, facing away from me to talk on it.
If I’m going to get out of this situation, now is the time for me to do it, while he’s distracted. Should I even try? I mean, what if he catches me and tries to do something? I consider not doing anything, afraid that he’s going to hurt either Logan or myself, but decided against it. I need to get us out of here before the other person shows up, and I’m willing to take a chance to do it. I have to risk it, because if I don’t, then who will?
I look at Logan and assess my options. Running away isn’t an option, because for one: I’m in a wheelchair and he would catch me. Two: I can’t leave Logan behind. If I have to fight with him or anything, I’m not going to win against him. I’m strong, but not as strong as he is. So . . . My eyes fall on the gun across the clearing, still laying on the ground. That’s it. If I can get to it, I can get out of here.
I glance at Luke, who has pulled the phone away from face. I hear him curse, redialing a number, and I slowly start turning my wheelchair to the gun. Leaves crunch underneath the wheels and I cringe, but Luke stays facing the opposite direction. When he starts talking, it freaks me out a bit, but I realize that he’s talking to the phone, not me.
“Where are you? I have her alone now, out in the woods like you said.” He stops talking and I figure he must be listening to the other person.
Please don’t turn around, please don’t turn around.
I continue to keep an eye on him while slowly creeping forward with shaking arms, and I make it about halfway there when he does turn around, stopping mid sentence.
“She’s–” His eyes fall on me trying to sneak away, and he stops talking, dropping the phone. My heart stops and I push myself as fast as I can to get to the gun before he does.
I get within a foot of it, hearing Luke directly behind me. I quickly reach for it, hoping that he’s farther behind than he sounds. He’s not.
I reach the gun, feeling it in my hands, and then I’m tackled to the ground. My wheelchair tips over beside me. I manage to keep the gun in my hands, but Luke has a grip on it, too, and I’m struggling to get it away from him. With my numb legs, I can’t sit up quite as tall as he can, so he seems like a giant shadowing over me.
Not a single rational thought goes through my head. All I know is that I have to get this gun; it feels like my life depends on it. The gun swings up and down as each of us tries to get it from the other, and I can feel that he’s going to get it if I don’t do something.
Suddenly, a shadow comes over us both and a fist flies across Luke’s face. He’s sent sprawling to the ground and the gun is ripped from his hands and into mine. The person who punched him dives on top of him, now punching him repeatedly in the face. Elijah.
I would’ve thought that Luke was stronger than him, but I guess when you’re angry enough, it doesn’t really matter. And Elijah is definitely angry.
I hold the gun in my hand, facing them, but when Luke goes limp I realize that he’s passed out. I set the gun down on the ground beside me, unloaded. Turning to my wheelchair, I push it onto its wheels, then move the footrests out of the way. Pushing myself up and twisting myself into the seat is just as hard as the first time. Plus, I have to grab my legs and adjust them properly with my hands when I’m done, getting them back on the footrests. I feel out of breath when I'm done, though that may have more to do with what happened than the physical exertion. After I'm adjusted, I pluck the gun off the ground and set it in my lap.
Luke’s face is bloody, beaten into a pulp so badly I can barely recognize him. I’ve never seen Elijah like this. I’m usually the angry one in our relationship. In fact, I rarely ever see him angry at all, but even when he was, he never resorted to violence to settle it. He’s quite literally the nicest person I know, so the fact that he’s angry enough to do something like this is saying something. It’s almost frightening. Almost.
“Elijah,” I say, gently touching his shoulder. “Elijah, stop.”
He freezes when I touch his shoulder, then he sits on the ground next to Luke, unmoving. He just stares at him, completely silent with an unreadable expression on his face. I see his chest heaving and a thin sheet of sweat across his forehead, like he ran here.
“It’s okay, Elijah.”
He stares for a moment more, then pushes himself to his feet and kisses my forehead, both sets of our eyes closed. I allow myself to take in a moment of relief and relax, now that everyone’s safe, for the most part. I can breath again.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to–” He sighs, then starts again. “Are you okay? I got to the cabin and when I saw that he wasn’t there, and with what Sarah said, I just . . . I ran as fast as I could.”
“I’m fine,” I say. “He–he knocked Logan out and was talking to someone on the phone. Whoever was on the other line was the person that’s after me. I don’t get it though. What does anyone want from me?”
“Did he do that?” Elijah points to my wrist–the one Luke grabbed. It’s bright red and looks like it’ll probably bruise later, but that’s the least of my worries.
“Yeah, but it’s okay. He’s down now. And it doesn’t even hurt.” It does hurt a little, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. It’ll be fine either way; it’s not like he broke a bone or something. I move my other hand on top to cover it up.
“I think something is wrong with him,” I say. “He kept . . changing, like he was struggling with something. I don’t know, he just didn’t seem like himself.”
“That’s weird,” Elijah agrees.
“Anyway. Thank you for coming back. Have the police shown up yet?” I ask.
“They were pulling in just as I started to come back. I’m sure they’re taking care of Diana. Sarah will probably lead them here any second.”
I find some comfort in that thought, but then I realize I still have the gun on me. I don’t want anything to do with it, and I don’t even know if it’s ours, or if Logan got it somewhere else. I don’t want to be caught with it. Besides that, I wouldn’t want it back if we did get to keep it when this is all over with. After tonight, I don’t want anything around that Logan could use to hurt herself. It’s clear now what she brought it for in the first place.
“I need to get rid of this gun,” I say.
Elijah furrows his brows, squinting at me. “Why? Just keep it. I’m sure the police will want to see it.”
“Exactly. I don’t know where the gun came from. I don’t want it around us or associated with us. Hold on. I’m just gonna bury it in some dirt or something.”
I roll forward a couple feet before he grabs the chair to stop me. “Here. Give it to me, I’ll do it.”
I hand the gun to him, watching him as he walks across the short clearing, disappearing into the brush.
Now that everything is being taken care of, I can go back to Logan. I wheel over to where she lays on the ground, still in the place Luke left her. I spot some blood in her hair, most likely from where she was hit. She’s breathing steadily, and keeps twitching like she’s either sleeping or about to wake up soon. Hopefully the latter. My fingers reach down and brush the hair out of her face when Elijah pops back up beside me, his hands empty.
“Did you get rid of it?”
He nods. “I hid it under a tree root with some leaves covered over it.”
“Thank you,” I say. I’m about to ask him if he can check Logan’s head to see if there’s any swelling or anything, when I see him looking down at his right fist. It’s bloody.
I grab his wrist to get a good look at it. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Juliana,” he says, taking his arm back. He’s probably annoyed by my over-protectiveness but I don’t really care. “Just beat them up a little. Is Logan all right?”
“I think so,” I say. “Do you think you can check her head though? Luke hit her in the head with that rock.”
He bends down, feeling around on her head carefully. “Nothing. Some dried blood, but I can’t find where it came from. And there’s not any bumps like it’s swelling or anything.”
“Good. Thank you.”
Elijah didn’t see what I saw earlier, doesn’t know that Logan is a werewolf, so he probably assumes she’s just lucky. I wonder if it’s because she’s healing. From what I read, that could be one of her abilities.
Elijah’s pushing himself to his feet when we hear rustling coming from the trees, in the direction of the cabin. Then there’s some footsteps, and bright lights come shining in the clearing. Sarah, like she said she would, guided the police here. They see us and storm over, several checking out the clearing with their black guns and blinding flashlights to make sure there’s no one else here.
Relief floods over me, and I feel that it’s finally over. We’re safe. I look at Elijah, smiling. I'm about to say something to him, when I notice something in the trees behind him. I swear, I swear that I see a glimpse of bright, glowing red eyes looking right at us, but then it turns away and disappears before I can point it out to anyone else.