Savage Love, page 32
Placing her hands over his she agreed soothingly, “Sure Patrick, don't be long.”
Dylan lifted Calder's still form from the pale wood floor to an equally colorless sofa. The child's breathing was deep and even. Running his fingers through thick mahogany curls, he felt a lump the size of a golf ball on the right side of the boy's head. Aside from that, outwardly, he appeared unharmed which is more than Dylan could say for the teenager lying dead a few feet away. Sunlight pouring through the windows illuminated a bullet hole in the young man's pale gray shirt, pomegranate-red blood pooling beneath his torso was shockingly garish against the white flooring. Dylan assumed the unfortunate corpse was Liz's former boyfriend and he thanked the good Lord for watching over and protecting his boys. Despite the teen's misdeeds against his family Dylan quickly, but earnestly, offered up an intercession.
Pulling a white cashmere throw from the end of the sofa to cover Calder, Dylan took painstaking efforts to tuck his little boy securely within the fabric's warmth, arranging unruly locks of hair across the boy's pale brow. In a low voice, he addressed the still child, “Constance is waiting. You have to be okay so y'all can have a proper goodbye. She told Chris you proposed. He didn't have a conniption, so I think in a few years you’ll be gettin’ hitched.” After placing a tender kiss on Calder's forehead Dylan picked up the leather shaving case and rose to his feet.
He walked up the staircase, the glass paneling beneath the metal handrail allowing him to see Calder for a few seconds more before he stepped onto the landing, heading in the direction of Justin's bedroom. Pushing open the door that stood ajar, he strode into the dove white room, with its white and pale blue furnishings, to see Liz sitting on the bed while Justin was forced to sit on the white floor beside her, silver duct tape binding his hands and covering his mouth.
One of Liz's hands idly stroked Justin's hair while the other held a gun against the thigh of her white leggings. “Have you done away with that bitch's mouthy brat?”
Dylan wouldn't react to her abuses. Instead, he'd move the scenario along with the full intention of getting his children away from her without their suffering further injury. In a deep, steady voice, he told her, “The plane and limo are ready. But you have to release Justin. Do you want people saying bad things about you?”
“I'm a wonderful person,” she stated angrily, continuing to stroke Justin's hair, plucking out, by the root, each ginger strand she encountered, before pushing him roughly away to stand unsteadily on spiked blue and white heels. She wiped her runny nose on the back of her hand, “Where's my necklace?”
“I have it and I brought something else for you.” Dylan lifted the black case into her line of vision and her expression immediately grew more wanton, a salivating, drug yearning smile distorting her lacquered face. Silently he held out his hand, wanting her to give him the gun but she held tight to the grip, approaching him with sharp-set eyes. When he felt the hard press of the barrel at the center of his chest, he didn't shift his gaze from hers. “Are you ready Liz?”
“Give me my necklace first. I want you to see me wearing it so you'll realize no one else could ever compliment the beauty of those stones. The night I took it off your mother's body, she’d been wearing it with a horrid, pink polyester gown, that unfashionably long blond hair of hers braided up like some old spinster. Earlier that day when I'd insisted she give me the diamonds she'd had your father throw me out. But I went back after I was sure that eerie August was long gone. I used your keys to get in and lace their sweet tea with sleeping pills. Then later, when I was sure they were both unconscious I smothered that cow to death and pried her fingers from my prize. Even in death she tried to keep me from having what was mine.”
Calmly Dylan advised, “Don't speak to me about my parents anymore. Now free Justin so we can get about our business.”
She gave him a heathenish smile, full of perverted self-satisfaction. “I got my necklace, your son and you. I wanted your father too, could feel the immense sexual energy he possessed and I constantly tried to seduce Joseph, long before I killed him and your mother. Your dad had been so wrapped up with his bible thumping, cake-baking wife and that dark mistress of theirs, that he, just like your brothers, never wanted anything to do with me. By taking his life though, I made him mine in a way that he could never belong to either of those harpies he lived with. However, your father, nor your overweening brothers, ever really mattered. You on the other hand are the world to me. Your pharisaic mother, August and I all had that in common.”
White heat was rising inside him and he forced his temperature down, channeling arctic cold to say, “That's done, unbind Justin so he can pack while we make up.”
She glared at Dylan, “That fat whore you've been fucking has corrupted him.” Liz whirled, shaking the gun in Justin's direction, “He came here with a bag full of money and other things, trying to buy me off so I'd agree to stay out of your life and allow that slut to adopt him.” She lowered the gun, walking over to Justin, angrily ripping the tape from his mouth, yelling, “Tell your father what she’s done to you.”
Wincing and rubbing his stinging face with his bound hands Justin gave her the evil eye, demanding murderously, “Don't talk about my mother.”
Dylan gave the boy a look of warning as he slowly walked up behind Liz. “Undo his hands so you and I can go down the hall.”
“Of course we will, but not yet.” She walked away from them, around the bed, hoisting into view a child's denim duffel, banded stacks of hundred-dollar bills spilling from its unzipped opening across the comforter. “Where did this money come from, you little pantywaist?” When Justin didn't answer, she flicked off the gun's safety and aimed its shiny barrel at the center of Dylan's chest. “Goddamn it, answer me,” she shrieked.
Dylan started to answer, “I gave-”
“Don't lie to protect him. I've blinded you for so long that you don't have the ability to see what's right before your eyes. She's sleeping with him, giving him things to buy him and his silence. But she'll never have either of you,” her voice shook with fury.
“Patrick gave me that stuff so you'd go away,” Justin yelled.
She tossed back her head and gave a frigid laugh. “That beast wouldn't give you anything valuable for me because he wants me dead.” Stomping over to Justin, she backhanded him across the face. “Since you seem to have elective amnesia maybe this will help you remember. Leveling the gun at Dylan, she pulled the trigger.
Justin heard the gun's loud blast, the flash from the muzzle appearing super-bright to his fearful eyes. As if in slow motion, he could see the bullet moving through the air in his father's direction and he closed his eyes, willing the shot to go astray.
Dylan watched the projectile speeding toward him and inhaled deeply. With an imperceptible lowering of his lashes, he welcomed the impact, mentally sighing as the searing heat and steel passed through his body, further resolving him to what he had to do. He didn't flinch, stagger or take his eyes from hers. She'd already killed his parents and her boyfriend; he didn't doubt she'd kill them all. “Liz I gave him that stuff years ago. He apparently went in the safe this morning. Why would he have to steal what we have so much of? You were my wife. He's only presenting you with some of the uxorial wealth commonly bestowed upon the Savage women.”
Her look was mercenary. “You're telling me this stuff is mine?”
She waved the gun at him, “So, where is my necklace?”
“In the car.”
“Go get it, unless you've given my diamonds to that roly-poly, redhead, and if you have I'll kill your precious son right now, then I'll shoot you again, leaving you barely alive so I can drag her ugly, big butt, back here and kill her while you watch.”
“Send Justin, the jewelry box is under the passenger seat.” He raised the leather kit back into her field of vision, saying enticingly, “This won't wait.”
She looked from the bag to Justin and back. “He can go
Dylan thought if that was her goal, she'd already succeeded. In a soothing tone he stated, “He's a good kid and he knows I want him to be with his real mother. Undo his hands so he can be on his way and let's go to your bedroom.”
Laying the gun on the bed within her hand's reach, she picked up scissors from the nearby white nightstand, to cut between the circles of silver tape confining Justin's wrists until the strong material gave way and the child yanked the adhering pieces from his reddened skin. Liz raised the gun as he got to his feet and shooing him from the room she menaced, “If I have to go down and get you I'll shoot your father again before I do, then I'll put a bullet in each of your hands to teach you not to cross me.”
Dylan stepped between them still holding the bag containing the heroin for her to see, luring her attention away from his son. “Put on your wedding dress. I remember what I thought that day, that I'd never seen any woman look quite like you.”
He spoke over his shoulder to his son, “Hurry along Justin. Don't keep your mother waiting. We're going down the hall.” He wanted Justin to take Calder and get back home to Carolina. The sound of the child hurrying from the room was Dylan's cue to take Liz's free hand and escort her along the colorless walkway to an equally nondescript bedroom, except for the huge, espresso finish, four-poster bed he’d tied her to in the past, but not this time.
He walked her over to the closet, flung open the doors and stepped inside. His vision sited in on the garment bag he knew contained her scandalous wedding gown. With a vicious tug, he removed the hanger from the overcrowded rod and stepped back into the room, closing the closet doors behind him. Passing her the long, gold sack, he opened the leather kit to hold up a small bag of heroin. “Get dressed while I cook this.”
Her eyes were glued to the powder filled plastic. “We should wait for Justin.”
Dylan knew her words contradicted her true desire revealed by her unconscious scratching at her upper thigh. “You can wait if you want. I'll just get things ready.” He was walking to the bathroom when he heard a knock on the bedroom door and he quickly secreted the heroin back in the leather tote. Turning, he watched Liz approach it with the gun aimed in her unsteady junkie's hand.
She swung the door wide, allowing Justin to walk in holding a flat, black velvet jewelry box. “Open it,” she demanded excitedly.
Justin looked at his father while raising the lid, revealing to Liz and a wide-eyed Dylan a pink diamond necklace of the design she murderously craved. Shoving the imposter items at her he bellowed, “Here, take the only thing you've ever cared for besides his money.”
Liz snatched the necklace, hitting Justin across the face with the gun, smiling at the trickle of blood appearing at the corner of his mouth. “Shut up. Go pack your bags and wait in your room.”
“No. You've gotten all you're going to get,” Justin decried, wishing he'd killed her years ago when he'd passed through her toxic birth canal.
Liz swung the gun back to strike him again but Dylan caught her arm in an iron grip, peeling her resisting fingers from the gun's handle before releasing her. Deftly he removed the clip and cleared the chamber before tossing the items into the corner near the unlit fireplace. “Go pack all your stuff Justin and don't come back in here. I'll let you know when we're ready to leave.”
“We can't live with her again. You're supposed to marry Carolina. Call the police, I'll tell them Liz kidnapped Calder and killed Tyler.”
Liz laughed contemptuously, giving a maleficent grin. “You're an idiot. The minute I'm arrested I'll tell the media all sorts of scandalous details about my life with your father, a part of his world he's always so careful to protect you from.”
Dylan allowed a series of calming musical notes to chase the sound of thunder across his mind before he spoke tranquilly to Justin, “Please go son.”
Liz hated the boy, how Dylan was always babying him. “Justin, I'll tell everyone about you too. How would you like for all your fans to know what happened last week? How many girls will continue to idolize you when they hear the details of what you did with those men? Did you tell your father how you cried for him, prayed for strength and deliverance like he taught you? But nothing worked, did it, you little fairy?”
“Go Justin.” Dylan tried holding his son's attention with his voice, willed him to stop paying attention to her malicious jaw jerking.
Justin shut out his father's words and focused completely on Liz, asking in a voice so old it creaked with centuries of existence, “How do you know about Friday?”
She snickered lewdly. “You're my business. I know every detail of what they did to you and if you don't start quietly cooperating so will the rest of the world. Your father and the entire Savage family will be destroyed by the media. You'll be lucky if the cesspool your daddy's inbred ancestors sprang from will even welcome all of you back.”
Dylan touched Justin's arm, seeking his full attention, “Wait in your room.”
The boy stood staring past his father at Liz, then yelled, “You're a lying tramp.”
Again she laughed. “You're the liar. Are you afraid of he'll learn all about what you did? I arranged the entire scenario, was there, so I can easily give him details. Did you know your father is homophobic? So imagine what he must think each time he sees you, whenever you touch him. He'll never look at you the same way.”
For the second time since arriving at the beach house, Dylan let his true emotions show on his face, allowed his son to see his total devotion. “What Liz is saying isn't true. I will always love you. Now go.”
Liz continued mocking Justin, “He's just saying that so you won't run off crying. Tell him Justin. At what point did you start enjoying what was happening? Did you feel excited with the first or second man? Or was your pleasure only realized with Tyler? I saw longing in your eyes every time you looked at him. But he's dead now because that bitch turned him against me.”
Justin knew all along she was vile and her statements had him wanting to end her life with a single wave of his hand. His tremendous rage loosened the control he normally kept over his many selves, human, fay, wizard, idol and juggernaut, causing his voice to shift to an intensely malefic timbre, “My mother is the only reason you still breathe. Defame her ever again and I'll rip the poison heart from your chest while it still beats. Any platonic feelings you saw me display toward Tyler were because I was deceived into believing he wanted to be my friend. Suggest anything else and I'll make you eat the words until they choke the life from your lie filled mouth.”
Dylan stared at the orange flames and white bolts battling for dominance in his son's eyes. He was firmly closing the door in Justin’s face to stop him from making good his threats when he felt him push against the wood with a strength that rivaled Patrick’s and heard his son say in his normal teen’s voice, “Dad, promise you’ll never abandon me.”
Dylan felt ripping pain in his torso for his child who at that moment was so much like Carolina that he could smell Ireland wafting from his skin. “Son, you know I won't.”
Justin lifted his eyes to his father's and through a dense cloud of uncertainty begged, “Tell me you'll always care for me, no matter what I do or am.”
Dylan reached out a steady hand to smooth red and gold strands of hair from his boy's forehead, then to wipe blood from the corner of his mouth. “I'll treasure you forever. Now please go and wait.” Dylan was pushing the child out of the room when he saw Justin's hand momentarily contact the black leather case. Not wanting his son to ever know what the bag contained, Dylan moved the kit away from him, finished getting him across the threshold then closed and locked the door.
Turning to Liz, Dylan lightly instructed, “Put on your rings, the dress and your necklace of course, then climb up on the bed.” Not waiting for a reply from her he walked into the bathroom tossing the leather case onto the counter. Automatically unzipping the black tote, he removed bags of white powder an
Liz stood in the doorway gazing at him dreamily and called out, “Dylan?”
He looked up into the mirror, above the white basin, in the dove white bathroom, seeing her black shrouded form, stiletto-black hair flowing around her shoulders like so many poisonous mambas waiting to strike. Liz’s sneering lips were painted red, to match the blood-color on her talon-like nails and her almost colorless eyes were trying for an innocence that was comical in light of their history and recent events. He thought she was truly ready for their trip, their mutual journey further into the Hell they'd created years ago. He smiled glacially at her reflection, holding up the readied syringes before turning to follow her into the bedroom.
He watched as she stood next to the bed, inching up the hem of that revolting sheath she'd worn on their wedding day. When her dress rode high around her hips, he placed the flat of his left palm beneath the impostor pink necklace and smiled to himself before pushing her roughly back onto the mattress where she spread her legs wide, wanting him to see her hairless mound with its large red, Opium Poppy tattoo. He pulled off his belt before sitting beside her to tightly loop the thick black leather around her clammy upper thigh, across fresh and fading track marks, until the veins stood up. He didn't bother with swabbing her skin, he simply placed the needle against her vein, waiting.