Vicious love barrington.., p.9

Vicious Love (Barrington Heights #1), page 9

 

Vicious Love (Barrington Heights #1)
 


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  “You’re not high, are you? Or is it because I’m talking to you?” She gave me a smile that matched my own. Damn, she’s good.

  “Excuse me, Heather, but it’s harder to talk to you in person.”

  Her brow wrinkled in confusion. “And why’s that?” she asked.

  I leaned in close enough that my face was brushing the side of hers and put my lips right next to her ear. Once I had her leaning against me, I whispered, “Because it’s hard to talk when someone takes your breath away,” and began to walk away as she recovered from my pure awesomeness.

  chapter 14

  jennet

  Albert Einstein had said, “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” I had never paid much attention to that quote, always throwing it off as just another use of words. But now, I seemed to deeply hope that Einstein was correct, because I seemed to be pulled to Christopher everywhere I turned as if there were a gravitational force responsible.

  When he touched my hand, my heart fluttered and I couldn’t breathe. When his eyes locked with mine, time stopped. And when he spoke, all other sounds ceased. It took everything I had to push myself away from him. I literally mean everything. Because of him, I was now on my way home, suffering from a migraine.

  “Fucking gravity,” I whispered to myself, trying not to hurt myself further.

  The drive home was excruciating, but I finally made it home and collapsed in bed. I woke up six hours later to Barry coming home. He looked miserable, but I couldn’t help with anything due to my current condition. He just flopped down next to me and fell asleep beside me. As he slept, I examined my future husband. His dirty-blond hair all matted and mangled on his head was normal, even when working. Barry didn’t really care about his appearance. He was too laid back for that. His chest steadily rose and fell with his breathing, and I put my hand to his beating heart, soothing my own pain and gently nudging myself closer to his body. Finally, as my arm wrapped around him, I was able to sleep again.

  When I awoke, Barry wasn’t in bed, but it must’ve been nearly three in the morning. My migraine had stopped for a bit, and I crept downstairs, wondering if he’d moved to the guestroom down there, but he wasn’t there either. I went to the garage to see if his car was parked, but upon opening the door, I received my answer. His BMW wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

  “What the hell could he be doing at three a.m.?” I asked myself, going over all the different possibilities. Some were tremendously frightening. “Maybe he has another woman,” I wondered, and my heart broke. I cried on the couch for what seemed like hours until the garage door opened and walked in Barry. He stopped for a second, trying to comprehend what was in front of him and recover from being surprised.

  “Honey, what are you doing?” he asked, but he didn’t sound like Barry. This man sounded colder and less caring.

  “Where were you, and who is she?” I screamed, almost falling off the couch.

  “Keep your voice down,” he demanded.

  This couldn’t be Barry, because Barry would never raise his voice and didn’t demand things from me. He asked of me, not demanded.

  “Who is she?” I whimpered, pulling my knees to my chin.

  “Who’s who?” he asked, looking puzzled and turning back into regular Barry.

  “The woman you were with.” My entire body was shaking and my breathing was quick and harsh. My lungs seemed to have collapsed, and every breath I took sent pain shooting through my body, centralizing in my ribs. I could feel my migraine coming back.

  “You mean Samantha?”

  “Samantha?” I asked.

  “Yes, Samantha,” he answered.

  “I…” Samantha was his sixty-some-year-old boss who also happened to be his mother. Barry had been at work. I felt so stupid. “But why were you at work at three a.m.?” I asked as I wiped a tear from my face with the back of my hand. My knees weren’t down yet though. I still felt defensive.

  “We had a work emergency with a client, which is why I also came home exhausted. I had to go back into work at midnight for a while in order to settle everything, but I came home first for a nap.” Barry took my hand and smiled at me with pure innocence in his heart. “I would never cheat on you.”

  I hugged him then whispered, “Thank you.” I kissed him then went back upstairs. I’d already missed a full day of work because of a migraine, and I had to get some sleep so I didn’t miss tomorrow, too. My head was spinning from what had just happened, but something didn’t seem right. I thought Samantha was in New York this week. Barry wouldn’t lie to me, though, so Samantha was probably home.

  On my way upstairs, Barry handed me a glass of water, saying that it would help my nerves. Then I crawled into bed, rested my head on a pillow, and pulled the comforter over my body. I sank down into the memory foam and shut my eyes.

  Although my eyes were shut, I couldn’t fall asleep. Something was wrong with Barry, and I could have sworn that Samantha was in New York this week. Samantha and I had just talked yesterday about it, which meant that one of those two were lying to me. My thoughts faded away, however, as I felt an overwhelming feeling of relaxation wash over me. It hit me hard and I was paralyzed; I couldn’t move.

  Soon, my eyes were creeping shut, and I tried to fight it the best I could, but everything I tried was suppressed by this mysterious sense of calm. I couldn’t resist anymore, and I drifted into a deep sleep. Before I fell asleep, though, I could hear someone talking on the phone outside the door. It was faint, but I swear I heard Barry saying, “She’s down. What do you need me to do next?” Couldn’t be though. I must’ve been hallucinating.

  A bright light brought me to my senses as my eyes began to open. Barry wasn’t beside me. He must’ve gone back to work, which prompted me to check the time. The alarm clock showed that it was only eight, which meant that I had almost two hours to get to work. I slumped up, leaning against the headboard, and looked around the room. I was in my bed, in my room, in my house, but something wasn’t right. It all felt strange. I was too groggy.

  Finally, after what seemed like hours, I managed to get out of bed. My legs were stiff and my head was spinning again, just like last night. This time, however, I didn’t have a migraine. The feelings I had were so odd. My home felt unnatural. I inspected everything again and continued to feel as if something were wrong. Something was missing. I shrugged it off as just being a weird morning and went to take a shower.

  Water poured down from all angles, and my body eagerly responded to the comfort and familiarity. I shampooed my hair, rubbing my hands through the long strands and soothing my discomfort. I took the body wash and slathered it all over my body, gently messaging my legs until the stiffness was all gone. Warmth returned to my body, and my nerves began to settle. Nothing felt as good as the water did now. It slowed the world down, made it simple, and moved everything that was haunting my mind elsewhere. Perhaps that was naïve of me, pushing my worries away. Waiting to handle them at some other point, delaying the destruction of everything. But it all felt worth it in this moment, as if nothing else mattered to me but just breathing and feeling the water bounce against my skin. It was surreal.

  Unfortunately, like everything else that’s good, it ended. I reluctantly stepped out of the shower and toweled off. Whilst walking out of the bathroom with my hair in a towel wrap, I felt the sense that something was missing or wrong come back to me. Once again, I looked around the room, trying to pin it on something out of place. It seemed like everything was where it should be until my eyes hovered over a painting Barry loved—Thee Irregularity by some unknown artist.

  It was slightly crooked, hanging to the right a couple of degrees off from normal. Amazed that I’d even noticed it, I walked over to fix it. My hands were on the sides of the painting, and I was about to push it to the left, but I stopped. On the far left side, I could see the corner of some metallic object. I lifted up the painting and revealed a safe in the wall. It had a combination lock on it.

 
What is this doing here?” I asked myself.

  Mary wasn’t coming in today. It was her child’s birthday today. I had given her a check to give to him from our family. I thought he was turning twenty. I looked at the clock, and it read 8:27. I still had quite some time before I had to leave for work, so I set to figuring out how to open the safe. Barry was an intelligent man, so this wasn’t going to be easy. I typed in his birthday on the keypad, but it didn’t work. I typed in mine—nothing. That hurt for some reason—maybe because he hadn’t told me about the safe. Finally, I typed in the access code to the garage on the keypad and it clicked open.

  The safe door creaked open and I gasped. Inside, there were three stacks of hundred-dollar bills, a black book, a computer, and a gun. “Barry owns a gun?” I asked myself, fully knowing that he hadn’t told me anything about the safe, the money, the book, the laptop, or the gun.

  I took out the money and counted it. There was a hundred grand in cash in the safe. Next, I pulled out the laptop and flipped it open. There was a lock on it, but the garage door combination didn’t work for this lock screen, so I put it back. Finally, I removed the black book and opened it. A key fell out of it, and I picked it up. Immediately, I recalled Barry telling me about the locked room in the basement where he held his files. He’d told me that he had to keep it locked for legal reasons, but now, I seriously doubted that.

  I flipped through the pages of the book and read several accounts, all of them million-dollar transactions and deals. A couple of pages in, there was a list of names I didn’t recognize: Timothy Johnson, Drake Adriano, Boone Adriano, George Lorenzo, and then a name I did recognize—Christopher Wells. My heart stopped. Why was Christopher’s name in a black book in a safe next to a gun my fiancé owned? After looking at the key in my hand, I rushed downstairs.

  I stopped at the door, which I hoped the key was supposed to go in. I was in my basement, all the way in the far back corner. My hands were shaking as I slid the key into the lock, praying both that the door would and wouldn’t open, and turned the key to the left. Click. It was open.

  I pushed the door open to a pitch-black room. My hand traced the wall next to the door, searching for a light switch. When I found it, I flipped the lights on. The room was full of files, nothing else. I breathed a sigh of relief, switched off the light, and closed the door. Then I locked it and headed back upstairs.

  The safe was still open, and I put everything back and closed it. I put the painting back the way it was. Once that was finished, I glanced at the clock, which now read 9:05. I decided that I couldn’t handle staying here any longer, so I got dressed and headed out for work.

  Driving normally cleared my mind, but today, it didn’t have that effect on me. My mind was still stuck on why Barry had Christopher’s name in a black book that was locked in a safe. Was Christopher a client? Christopher was eighteen, and his family was rather wealthy. Maybe Chris had filed for a patent and that’s why his name was in the book. Still though… Why wouldn’t it have been in all the other pages with account information? Why was it on a page that had a list of names on it? Everything made sense, yet it didn’t at the same time.

  There’s something eerie about this town, I thought to myself. Everyone has a secret. Never before had I felt so safe yet so endangered in all my life. There was nothing to compare this situation to, nothing for me to make an educated guess from, but plenty of evidence available to make assumptions.

  I knew only a few things. First, Barry had hid a safe full of money and information from me. Second, in that safe, Barry had a black book full of different accounts and money transactions. Third, the black book also contained a list of names, and one of the names on that list was Christopher Wells. Fourth, I loved Barry. Fifth, I was incredibly attracted to Christopher. And, finally, sixth, I didn’t really know who either one of them were.

  Before, I’d thought that I knew Barry, but I now realized that I, in fact, did not. Barry had told me that he was a patent lawyer, but now that I thought of it, I’d never heard him talk about a single patent. He had never brought work home with him, but he had an entire locked room full of files. My mind rushed through countless scenarios of different possibilities of why he had a room full of files and a hidden safe that he had never told me about. I came up with only one solution—I must figure out what was in Barry’s files. That was the only way to know for sure what was going on. I also needed to figure out who Christopher was.

  Barrington Heights had an air of mystery to it, and I should have been afraid. I wasn’t afraid though. Instead, I was excited. Here I believed that I was engaged to a boring man who had nothing special about him except for my love, but every now and then, that wavered. Now, Barry had mystery to him, and it excited me.

  Then there was the problem with Christopher. A young man who had even more mystery, money, and looks than Barry made me shiver. That and the fact that Christopher dominated everyone around him without ever puffing his feathers, or ‘measuring dick sizes’ with anyone. Everyone gave him respect, and he took it as if it belonged to him.

  Today is Tuesday, I thought to myself. I’m meeting with Christopher after school. This small reminder gave me an urge of hope that I could unravel the mystery around Chris. To gaze into the very depths of him and discover the source of his intrigue. The thought of learning more about him made my body quiver, which, in turn, made me think about what would happen if it were just Chris and me. Only us together, even for a moment. I didn’t know if I could say no to him, nor did I believe that I would want to. I would let him take advantage of me and have me. I would regret it, but it would feel right.

  I arrived at the school on time and walked through the doors without a problem, unlike my first day. As I was walking to my class, something odd happened. I wasn’t sure if it happened though, which was the problem. I believed that, as I was walking in, I saw Barry out of the corner of my eye, talking to Mrs. Nugent outside of her office door.

  “Impossible,” I told myself while turning back to see if it were true. But when I peered through the glass window, I saw neither Barry nor Mrs. Nugent. “Of course he’s not here,” I reconfirmed. “Barry is at work, in his patent office.” My words didn’t ease my thoughts though. I knew I’d seen him, and I knew that I’d seen him speaking with Mrs. Nugent. I wanted to go into her office and demand an answer or investigate but I didn’t. I kept walking. I didn’t even look back.

  Once I was at my class, the bell rang and students began to file in. I didn’t know if I would be an effective teacher today. My mind was wandering. As I lectured, however, the students seemed to listen. That gave me the boost of confidence needed to fake my way through the day—or at least until I see Chris. I’d get my answers then.

  chapter 15

  chris

  School, like always, was a drag. I’m not referring to boredom, but rather anxiety. I might have seen Devin and Audrey, but I couldn’t talk at all today. I was tongue-tied, completely disabled. Numbness swept across my body, and I might have had a fever. What was forcing me into this state of madness? Jennet Beaumont.

  Class was over, school was over, and I should have been ecstatic to see Jennet. I’d been anxious about it all week. But now, as I stared into my phone, I only felt fear. Fear was not something I experienced often, and the feeling was alien to me, but I was acquainted with it nonetheless. For it was fear that would protect Audrey and Devin. It was a necessity. However, fear would not protect me. Neither would courage. What I needed was intervention. To push the enemy back and regain my control over the situation. And according to the text I’d just received from Tim, my intelligence guy, the enemy was linked to Jennet. Whoever had called me apparently had some relationship to Jennet.

  Legs—my legs—strode across the ground without feeling. Was I shaking? I didn’t believe so. “Breathe,” I told myself. Nothing would stop me from regaining control. Nothing would stop me from protecting my friends. Soon, though, I realized that it wasn’t fear that was making me like this. Ra
ther, it was Jennet. I had an utter lack of intel while going into a situation that required it.

  “Shit,” I breathed.

  There she was, standing in the doorway, looking out. Sunlight struck her red hair and create a ruby effect. She easily, without even trying, took my breath away once again. Jennet didn’t even see me. I needed a plan, and I needed one now.

  “Miss Beaumont!” Shit. You don’t have a plan yet, Chris. “I’m over here.”

  She turned towards me and time slowed to a crawl. Jennet’s hair waved through the air and swooshed across the sky as yellow jazz played in the background. Her eyes caught a rogue ray of light and radiated an emerald sparkle that combined with her ruby hair. It was a light show, and I was the only one who could see it. Who could feel the waves of warmth sweep through the vast emptiness between us and envelop it, creating life in darkness. A performance was in front of me, as Don Quixote rang in my ears. “Dulcinea,” he whispered to me through the void.

  Everything clashed and clamored within me, a race of emotions and thought throughout my body, each chasing the other, rushing towards an inevitable disaster—a calamity. Yet it all pushed me forward. Distance evaporated with reality as time resumed to its normal pace, and there we were with inches between us. Or perhaps feet? Maybe a mile. It wasn’t close enough.

  “Good afternoon, Christopher.” Nothing. Her face showed nothing towards me. Panic crept up my spine, immobilizing me. “Come in and we’ll discuss the different aspects of economics that we will be going over this year. More in depth, of course, than in class.” Finally it was there. When she said, “than in class,” her eyes flickered. Jennet’s eyes flickered up and down my body as if analyzing what I had to offer. Trying to compare me to something else, maybe something she’d imagined. The simple thought of her thinking about me eliminated all panic within myself, and soon, I found my confidence returning.

 
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