Vanquished (The Encounter #3)(2)
Written By: Pamela Ann
The mere mention of my father on Damen’s lips made me tense, just as I felt my skin prickle in slight terror at the knowledge that the monster had finally landed, most likely scouring the streets, looking for me. If he couldn’t hurt Mother, he would surely seek the next one in line—me.
Damen had seen the marks my father had left on me, but they hadn’t encountered each other since Damen had found out a year and a half ago. They had been subtle marks, but Damen was no fool. He easily saw through my defensive lies, and I had been too broken and shattered then to keep on with the fabrication.
Taking a steady breath, I coached myself to calm down and think rationally. London was not the safest place to be, not right now … not when Constantin was hunting for me like a hound. I had to leave right this instant.
“I need your help. I need to get out of the country right now, the first flight out.”
“Of course,” he rapidly replied, eager to help. “Where do you plan on heading? Back home to Athens? He’d most likely find you there.”
I shook my head. “No, definitely not Athens.”
There was only one place I would feel safe. Well, it was a person. And I had better seek him out immediately. If this was between life and death, I would rather seek the comfort of knowing I had fought hard to live the life I believed in … with Hugo.
Making sure I had my passport, money, credit card, and a few toiletries, I didn’t bother packing clothing. I didn’t have time. I needed to dash out of there as soon as possible before it was too late.
“Ready?” Damen asked me with a guarded look.
My heart pounded at the sight of his handsome face, contorted and looking tense, as if he were readying to attack someone. God bless Damen’s heart. He was too good for me.
“Yeah, I am,” I breathed out.
He led us both out of the bedroom then towards the front door, and upon opening it, I felt as if my heart had lurched and lodged in my throat at the deadly sight of my father with his bloodshot eyes, thinly pressed lips, and a sneer that made my skin crawl. In an instant, I was transported back to my old life in Athens, frightened as I waited for his attack. Nevertheless, Damen’s steel grip on the side of my shoulder reassured me this time was different. This time, I had someone to protect me. I was safe. Constantin wasn’t going to hurt me, not when there was an audience. He never preferred it when there were other people around. I supposed he felt powerless when there was someone much stronger than his shrinking frame.
“Going somewhere, Isobel?” he hissed between his teeth, as if he were trying to contain his anger as he focused his eyes on me, ignoring the fact that Damen was right beside me.
While he gazed at me pointedly, I could almost hear him growl.
Strengthening my resolve, I matched his fiery gaze, willing to battle this out with him. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am, so will you please move out of the way? You’re not welcome here, Constantin.”
An eerie gurgle of laughter, as if to mock me, came out of him, his eyes seeming amused yet not. “Watch out, little girl. You can run, but you cannot hide from me. I know you too well. I’ll find you again, and maybe after that, there won’t be a next time.”
Before I or Damen had the chance to fight back his threatening words, he left. The second he was out of sight, my body felt cold and weak. Having Damen close somehow helped me trudge my way towards the pavement where we could hail a cab.
“Isobel, your father … You haven’t told me much, but he wasn’t just threatening to kill you the next time he saw you, was he?” Damen carefully asked.
“My father’s just being overly dramatic.” I tried to reassure him that it was simply because he was inebriated or in need of cash. It was not necessary to drag Damen into my world of complications. He had helped me enough. This was my battle to fight through, not his; therefore, it was best if he was kept in the dark. After all, knowing how he was, he would probably feel protective over me and put himself in harm’s way just to make sure I was fine. Like I had stated before, he was too good for me.
And as for his statement, his hunch most likely wasn’t far off. It seemed as if death was chasing me everywhere I went. There was no escaping it. Wherever my fate rested, I just wanted to make sure I did the best I could.
Damen tried to discuss my father’s visit inside the cab, but I gently attempted to put his questions to rest. He was asking questions I wasn’t ready to answer, let alone reflect on myself. My father was as good as a stranger to me, and if the time came when I had to face him, hopefully I would be better equipped then, physically and mentally.
The ride towards Heathrow was a solemn one. I could hear Damen think as he directed worried gazes at me from time to time, and I knew there were no words to calm his thoughts after what he had witnessed from my father.
I was trying to stay strong and keep my wits about me while also trying not to divulge anything, anything at all that might cause this fa?ade to crumble. I couldn’t risk that. It was better to keep my mouth shut. There were some things in life that were best not shared, most especially things that few people could understand.
Parting with Damen at the airport was bittersweet. It was obvious he wasn’t keen on me going to Monaco, yet he also knew it could probably be the safest place for me to hide. Not only was Hugo powerful, but he had the means to keep me safe from my father, though not the other lurking danger Julien had addressed.
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