Friday, February 10, 2012

Aftermath


Monacco Desert Cottage - Vista Hills

Ep. 27_Sc.
01_01

The garbled ring of the telephone echoed through the water as Isabella held her breath under the dissipating bubbles that floated on top: more reporters calling for more statements.  Didn't’ they understand that there wasn’t anything left to say? She was tired of talking about it to the police, to the press, to Lexie. All she wanted to do was forget but with the visions that had been on a continuous loop in her mind that proved impossible. Whenever she let her thoughts wander all she could see was that big black car coming at her, closer and closer, her heart dropping into her stomach, her feet pinned to the ground, her legs unable to move, and then the suddenness of Blake’s body rushing against hers, dragging her to ground and out of the way just in time.


Ep. 27_Sc.
01_02

The phone started to ring again so she emerged from the water, threw her towel around her and padded across the cold marble to her closet.  “Maybe I can get some peace in here,” she said to herself, as she closed the doors behind her and sat in a heap on the ottoman. She gazed at her reflection in the mirror: not a scratch, not even a bruise. If it hadn’t been all over the news, no one would believe that she had narrowly escaped becoming road kill.  Her pristine exterior didn’t match the disheveled mess of pain and anxiety that made up her current state of mind and it was in stark contrast to the torn and aching hole that was in her heart.  This “accident” was only the tip of the iceberg; a terrifying metaphor for her life.  Maybe it was the jolting warning shot that she needed to realize that it was finally time to finish what she should’ve put an end to long ago.

Ep. 27_Sc.
01_03
Ep. 27_Sc. 01_04

She had stayed too long for reasons both necessary and selfish, the main one being the tall, criminally handsome man that had recaptured her heart, her soul, and apparently her good sense as well. As sick as it was there was a part of her that hoped that the news stories and tabloids splashed with headlines about her brush with death would be enough to coax him out of hiding and send him charging to her door to make sure she was alright, but as the hours dragged by without so much as a text, those hopes had all but dissolved.  And if Reese’s theory was right and it was a planned hit by one of Nico’s enemies, his continued silence only magnified his lack of concern.

Ep. 27_Sc.
01_05

Tired and too overwhelmed to think anymore, Isabella stood up, letting her towel fall to the floor, and grabbed her favorite pair of jeans and a sweater. She threw them on and emerged from the temporary shelter of the closet and out into her bedroom.  It was quiet and dark, the absence of the sun ushering in the cold night air through the terrace doors. She closed them and put a few logs on the fireplace, and as she lit them, her heart began to sink at the sight of the flames. 

Ep. 27_Sc.
01_06
Ep. 27_Sc.
01_07

It hadn’t been so long ago that she had stood in the same position in the same feeble state of mind wondering how she had gotten to this point.  The answer was just as hazy as it had been before, but what was abundantly clear—what tore her heart out to admit—was that Nico wouldn’t be walking back into her life as he had on that night.  He had chosen to walk away instead, and she would have to accept it, even if she had no idea how to start.  She blinked away the watery film of tears in her eyes and began to walk towards her bed, but the sound of a different kind of ring, the doorbell, stopped her in her tracks. The sound of Lexie’s voice, a few moments later, sent her tearing down the stairs.

**********************************

Phoenix Heights - Downtown Las Vistas  

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_01
Ep. 27_Sc.
02_02

The animal rage that had boiled over inside of her a few hours before had finally begin to settle into a slow simmer as Ivy held up close to the rough brick of the building they were gathered behind, barely moving, intent to stay glued there. It would be hard for him to throw her up against a wall she was already leaning on. She kept her hands open, unclenched, and ready to fly up for protection; listening and waiting for Cross to stop talking. 

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_03

She could hear Denny apologizing, trying to explain, all too happy to throw her under the bus and absolve himself of any responsibility. It didn’t matter that he was the one who had turned his back on her and left the keys in the ignition; she was going down for this one all alone. She tried to tune the conversation out and kept her eyes straight ahead, but couldn’t help seeing Cross glare at her out of the corner of her eye.  It was an empty look, one that she couldn’t quite gage.  There was no anger behind it, just two steely grey bullets penetrating through her. She turned away from him as if it would shield her somehow.  There was a long pause after Denny finally finished groveling, and then she heard Cross’ voice; the tone was soft, easy, and to her surprise, controlled. 

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_04

“I want you to dump the car, right now; some place where the cops will find it fast.  Leave the tags on it too,” he said to Denny, who gave him a puzzled look and replied, “I don’t get it. They’ll trace it right back to me, which means they’ll trace it back to you.”  Cross smiled and gave him a playful smack on the cheek. “That’s why you’re going to say it was stolen. Tell them you didn’t know it was gone until an hour ago,” he said. “Kills two birds with one stone; gives me exactly what I want and covers me at the same time.”  Denny opened his mouth to speak again but Cross cut him off.  “Look, I know what I’m doing so just get it done,” he yelled, letting his cool facade slip a little before regaining control.

Still puzzled, Denny shook his head affirmatively and then gave Ivy an apologetic look before walking away to follow the order. She continued to avoid eye contact as he studied her from a few feet away before slowly closing the gap between them.  She pressed herself closer to the wall, scraping her skin against the graveled surface, and clenched her teeth, stiffening her jaw to minimize the blow she knew was coming. 

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_05
Ep. 27_Sc.
02_06

Cross raised his hand to her face, but didn’t hit her.  Instead he brushed her tousled hair from her face and lightly kissed her lips.  “Thank you,” he said with a smile, reveling at her confused expression. She started to speak and let out one of the many questions swimming in her head, but thought better of it. He would find a way to use it against her, he always did.  No matter how calm his demeanor was now, she knew better than to trust it; the less ammunition he had the better. “What, you don’t think I mean that?  I’m serious, what you did today was the best thing anyone could’ve done for me.  I’m kinda pissed I didn’t think of it before, but trying to run over that blonde bitch was a damn good idea.  Now I don’t have to worry about how to get to that son of a bitch, Nico.  As soon as he finds out my name is tied to this, he’ll come to me and I’ll be ready for him.”  He stopped talking and began staring at her again, his fake smile diminishing into a tight frown. “I guess the only question is did you do it to help me or to hurt him?”

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_07

Ivy bit her tongue in an effort to remove the stunned look she had on her face and struggled to come up with a quick response, but it was too late, he was onto her.   Without warning he grabbed her up into a tight embrace that nearly squeezed the wind out of her.  She gasped for air and tried to wiggle free as he lifted her feet off the ground and held her face up to his, taunting her with a sinister smile before slamming her back against the hard brick wall.  A tear fell down her check as the rough rock cut into her shoulder, but Cross didn’t relent. 

Now she could see it, though blurry tears; the psychotic rage that was always behind his eyes, the visceral evil that fueled everything he did. If she were anyone else, he could kill her right here, right now and think nothing of it, but there was only one reason why he wouldn’t, and if it still applied, if his twisted love for her rang true, it would be her only saving grace.  When he finally released his grip, letting her fall to the hard ground below, she realized there was a shred of something left in his heart for her.  If she was going to stay alive she would have to play on it.

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_08
Ep. 27_Sc.
02_09

“I did it for you,” she lied chocking back a sob. “Only for you.”  Her shoulder burned as the cool night air bit into the wound, but she mustered up all the strength she had and lifted her hand up to grab his.  “You have to believe I did this for you.  I love you Cross.”  He studied her skeptically before returning the grasp.  He yanked her up hard, sending a shooting pain through her arm, and as if none of the last few minutes had happened he pulled her into a gentle embrace and stroked her hair, comforting her.  “We’ll see about that baby.  We’ll see.”

Ep. 27_Sc.
02_10

***************************


Ep. 27_Sc.
03_01
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_02

“Isabella should be down shortly. I’m sure she’s already told you this a hundred times by now, but thank you so much!  I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if you hadn’t been there,” Lexie absently shook Blake’s hand and beamed at him like he was some kind of rock star or the President, only letting go when he began to pull it out of her grasp. “There’s no need to thank me, anyone else would’ve done the same.”

They made small talk for a few moments more before he heard the quick footsteps coming down the stairs and stopping short once they reached the bottom.  Isabella paused there before walking further into the room. Her eyes were red, slightly puffy and failed to hide their disappointment that he wasn’t the person she had expected.

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_03
Ep. 27_Sc. 03_04

“Hey,” he said with a tentative smile, wondering if you were supposed to smile at a person who had almost been killed just hours before.  He had done it briefly, when they had both landed on the ground, his body heavy on top of hers, but then thought better of it.  He was happy to be that close to her, of course, but more so, that he had been able to push her out of harm’s way.  He had wondered if the scowl he had received in return was because of that smile, but reasoned that nearly being plowed down by a speeding car had more to do with it.  Either way, smiling at her now felt all too natural but wrong, so he tried his best to keep his expression even.

“I’ll be in my room if you need me,” Lexie said as she left the room.  Isabella nodded and without a word turned away from Blake and walked out onto the patio. He followed, slightly puzzled by her demeanor.  She seemed annoyed now, angry even, which was the polar opposite of the dazed and confused state he had expected to find her in.  He closed the door behind him and rubbed at the goose bumps that the cool desert breeze had raised on his arm.

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_05
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_06

“I’m sorry to show up like this. I was going to get your number from Blair and call you but --”

“I’m fine,” she interrupted.

“I figured you’d say that, so I decided to come and see for myself.  We both know you’re not fine.”

She kept her back to him standing silently behind the wall he could feel her building up around herself. How stubborn could one woman be?  They didn’t know each other well, but after everything that had happened he hadn’t expected her to be this guarded, at least not with him.

“Okay.  I just wanted to make sure you were alright, but now that I know you can handle playing target practice with speeding cars, I won’t worry about it anymore.  I’ll just go.  Sorry to bother you.”  He turned to leave but, when he felt her hand graze his shoulder, he turned back toward her and was surprised to see tears streaming down her face.  Before he could take another step she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into her. 

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_07
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_08
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_09

Blake stood stiff, unsure if he should move, for fear of what she might do next--what he might do next.  The wind had kicked up again, but the breeze did nothing to cool the heat that had been ignited by her touch.  Her warm tears, wetting his shirt, didn’t help either, nor did the heavy heaves and falls of her chest against his.  He lifted his arms around her and began to smooth his fingers up and down her back, being careful not to move them too far south.  The corners of his mouth rose again into a smile, and, similar to the struggle that was going on in the lower region of his body, he fought it back down, anxious to remain in control.

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_10

Her emotional surrender was brief only lasting a few moments before she pulled away from him, wiped the tears from her face and scowled. “Don’t ever do anything that stupid again, especially not for me.”

“What?”

“You could’ve been killed!” she said trying to control her tone.

“So I was supposed to just stand there and let you get killed instead?”

“It wouldn’t have been the end of the world,” she whispered.

“What does that mean?”

“Nothing,” she said with a tired sigh.  “Blake, I’m grateful that you were there to save me, but you would be better off not getting involved in this mess that’s passing for my life, especially now.”

“Oh, so you admit that things are a mess, that you don’t have it all under control?  Finally! Did it really take something like this for you to get the message?”

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_11

Isabella finally gave a smile to match the one Blake refused to hide any longer. She wiped at the residual tears on her face just as he raised his hand to brush the hair away from her eyes.  They stood still, watching each other as their hands touched in midair and just as he was about to say something else, Lexie flew through the patio door; her face riddled with concern.

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_12
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_13
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_14

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said, inadvertently fixating on Isabella’s hand jerking away from Blake’s. “I just got a call from the security company.  Someone or something tripped the alarm at the mansion; on the gate and the front door. I thought it might be the maintenance crew but they aren’t scheduled to be there until next week and I haven’t given them the key yet anyway.  I think there’s been a break in; I’m going to call the police.”

“God! This is all I need right now. Go ahead and make the call. Tell them I’ll meet them there.”  She began to walk back into the house after Lexie when Blake grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

Ep. 27_Sc.
03_15
Ep. 27_Sc.
03_16

“You’re not seriously thinking of going over there by yourself, are you?” he said incredulously.

“Didn’t we just have a conversation about you not getting involved in my life?  The police are on their way; I’ll be fine.”

“There you go with that word again. What is it going to take for you to realize that you’re not superwoman?  I’m not letting you go over there alone and that’s all there is to it. Come on, I’m driving.” 


8 comments:

  1. Oh Isabella, let him go.

    What a powerful piece of writing, so much pain and so much invested in someone who was never the right one. I understand how much she cares, and probably how much Nico cares, but this is not working.

    The scene with Ivy scared me to the point where I had to stop reading it. I've been on the other end of that fist. Poor damned stupid girl.

    I don't know if Blake can make sense of this complicated mess, but there isn't anyone else who can. I've always been in his corner!

    Your shots are incredible. Absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous. The light, the angles, the color. Stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much Beth. I think that Issy has finally seen the writing on the wall where Nico is concerned but it's killing her to admit it. She's finally seeing Blake too, but she doesn't want to. I think she's always seen him in a way and know what that means for her and Nico.

    Ivy is seeing a lot too, more than she deserves to see, but I fear there is no way out of her at this point.

    Thank you SO MUCH for you constant support; it means more than you know :)

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  3. I think I am probably the only person who is still team Nico.

    I know your images are absolutely stunningly beautiful but I am so engrossed in your incredible writing that I wouldn't need those images as wonderful as they are.

    Both Ivy and Issy are experiencing a painful realization and I love how that is contrasted here.

    I sort of hope that it is Nico breaking into the mansion - sort of a redemption for him appearing to not care.

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  4. Gayl is not the only one. I have so much love and faith in Nico that even the sweet gestures and the fact that Blake may be right is being overlooked. I think what she and Nico feel for each other is genuine but his lifestyle and past is in the way.

    I am hoping that something will give before she is pulled into something that will harm her like another attempt on her life. I just want Nico to get it together.

    Issy isn't superman but I want Nico to be!

    Again as Gayl said, I hope it was Nico that triggered the alarm.

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  5. Gayl, thank you so much! That is the best compliment ever. When I wrote this I didn't even think about the contrast between Issy and Ivy's realizations but they are very similar. Luckily Issy has choice about what to do next.

    Is it Nico at the mansion???? We'll soon see. Thank you again.

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  6. Qui! So happy to hear from you. I'll admit that I'm torn between Team Nico and Team Blake. I love them both and I think they are both good for Issy in different ways. But you are right, what she and Nico share is very intense and won't be wiped out easily, if at all.

    I can't say if it is Nico or not, but whoever or whatever tripped the alarm at the mansion is going to be a shocker to say the least. Thank you!!

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  7. Hello Muzegoddess,
    I was a ghost reader because my english is too bad but i now feel too frustated to stay silent...
    Your story is amazing and you write too well !!
    You reach to make us feel all the feelings and all the emotions of your characters.
    I am concerned about the new events that await Issy, I have a bad feeling...

    Nico is absent while Issy has both need him at that moment, he might let Blake take place gradually...

    Your pics are stunning !!

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  8. Wow! Parthenia,thank you very much!!!! I'm so happy that you like the story and have connected with the characters. Nico is taking a chance by leaving by Issy alone and Blake is certainly not complaining, but I doubt we've seen the last of Nico. There is a lot of history with him and Issy.

    Thank you again for reading and commenting; you've really made my day :)

    ReplyDelete