"Rowan? What the fuck did I say?" Derek's voice filled the entire house. "I told you to stay in the fucking car."
Rowan couldn't even call out. She was still shaking from all the events of the night. She couldn't believe she was still alive. She shivered and climbed shakily to her feet. She had been sitting on the bathroom floor for ten minutes now. The bald man had already left. At least she assumed he had. She hadn't been sure on that part.
"Get up," a voice hissed. Rowan gasped as Tommy came into the bathroom. Derek was just down the hall. What the fuck was he doing here? How had he found her? Was everyone out to get her tonight?
"What are you doing here?" she whispered. This hadn't been part of the deal. Or had it been? Her mind was fuzzy. She was still drugged and couldn't even remember most of what had happened in the last fifteen minutes. It had taken her brother longer than she thought to get here.
"Where are you?" Derek called.
Tommy grabbed her, jerking her to toward him. She felt something cold and metal press against her temple and whimpered. He had a gun to her head. She felt tears in her eyes and her legs shook. She could barely stand.
Tommy drug her into the hallway and Rowan came face to face with her brother. Derek saw them and she saw him reach for his gun he always kept against his back. "Don't even think about it," Tommy spat. "You move another centimeter and I'll put a bullet through her brain."
"Rowan, you okay?" Derek asked, the ever caring brother mode kicking in. Rowan nodded and then cried out as Tommy pressed the gun harder into her head. "Leave her alone."
"She knows too much. She has to die." Tommy watched every move Derek made. "Turn around and leave."
"No fucking way. That's my little sister."
"If you stay, you die too."
"Like I get to live if I leave. I saw your face, you motherfucker."
"Derek," Rowan whimpered.
"It's okay, sis. I'll get us out of this," Derek told her.
"I want you to kick me in the knee," Tommy whispered into her hair. Rowan was startled. What the hell was he doing? "Do it!"
Not thinking, Rowan kicked backwards. Tommy cried out and then she was falling forward to the ground. She landed on her hands and knees. Her vision blurred and she heard a gunshot. Someone cried out and then everything went black as the drugs made her pass out.
Rowan woke to beeping noises. She tried to open her eyes, but the lights were too bright and she quickly closed them. She moved her arm and felt something connected to it. Forcing her eyes open, she blinked a couple times and found her brother asleep in a chair next to her bed. Only it wasn't her bed and she wasn't home. She looked around and saw machines hooked up to her and realized she was in a hospital.
"Derek?" she croaked, her mouth feeling dry.
Her brother stirred and his eyes popped open. When he saw her, he climbed to his feet and walked over. "How are you feeling?"
"Someone drugged you. You were right."
"Tommy," she whispered.
"What is it?"
"His name was Tommy."
"The guy in the house?"
"Does he have a last name?"
"If he does I didn't get it."
The hospital door opened and a nurse walked in. "Young man, I told you she needs to rest. Questions can wait until the police get here."
"I'm sorry," Derek muttered, returning to his seat.
The nurse smile and Rowan saw that her name was Millie. "How are you feeling?"
"My mouth and throat are dry and I feel weak and tired."
"That's to be expected. I'm going to take some of your vitals. You just relax."
The nurse left and returned with a machine. She checked Rowan's blood pressure, her oxygen saturation and pulse. Next she listened to her breathing and heart sounds. She made some notes on her papers and then told them she'd return momentarily.
"I think they killed Allen," Rowan muttered.
"I think they murdered my boss. That's why they're after me. I can't remember a whole lot about what happened later on that night, but I remember that scene vividly."
"Can you describe them?"
"These people need to pay."
"I'm not sending you after them. Did you kill Tommy? I heard a gunshot. Oh my god! He didn't shoot you did he? Are you hurt? What happened?" Rowan asked, feeling her pulse increase. She could have gotten him killed.
"I shot at him and think I wounded him. But the bastard got away. I was too worried about you and called the police. You scared the shit out of me. I thought this was a joke. If I had known I would have gotten there faster. I'm sorry I didn't believe you," Derek sighed.
"It's fine. At least you got there when you did," Rowan closed her eyes.
"I'll let you sleep."
Rowan's eyes flew open to see him leaving. "Don't leave me!"
"I'm just going to tell the cop what you've told me. He's right outside. I'll be right back."
"Okay," Rowan replied softly.
She must have fallen asleep because she woke some time later to the nurse bringing her lunch. "It's time we get some food in you. How are you feeling now? Are you in any pain?"
"No, I'm fine," Rowan replied. "I'm starving though."
She chugged the glass of water and then lifted the lid to see what they had to offer. It was a sandwich with ham and cheese. She also had slices of an apple and some chocolate pudding. She took a spoonful of the pudding first and moaned at the taste. The nurse laughed.
"Thank you," Rowan muttered around a mouth full of pudding.
"I'm glad you like it. You push that button or call out if you need me," Millie told her, pointing to the call light.
"I will. Where's my brother?"
"I told him to go get something to eat. I'll send the police officer in here if that makes you feel safer."
Millie left and Rowan felt alone and terrified. What had she done? Had she made a deal with the devil? What was going to happen now? She had to convince her brother, but how?
"How's the food?" Derek's voice startled her and she dropped the remainder of her pudding. She covered her mouth.
"I'm sorry," she mumbled.
"I didn't mean to startle you," Derek coaxed. He cleaned up the pudding mess and took his seat. Rowan relaxed enough to eat the rest of her food.
"What happens now?"
"The police want to talk to you."
"When you're ready. They can do it now if you want. Get the information while it's fresh."
"What's going to happen to me?"
"What do you mean?" Derek asked. "You mean, are you going home?"
"No, you're going to be staying with me."
"What if they find me?"
"Then I'll kill them."
"I'm not going to put you in danger!"
"I can protect myself," Derek growled.
"Put me in protective custody," Rowan retorted.
"No. Are you saying I can't protect you?"
"You didn't even believe me! You took ages to get to me. They could have killed me. Or worse…" Rowan started crying as memories of what had happened and what could have happened assailed her. She pushed her tray away and heard some of it hit the floor. She curled into a ball on her side and pulled the covers up over her face. She heard the door open and close and then felt the bed dip down.
"I'm sorry okay. I thought you were drunk and messing with me. I wasn't fully awake when you called. I had to stop and get gas. I didn't know," Derek explained. "Please forgive me."
"I don't want to put you in danger," Rowan repeated. "They could have killed us both tonight."
"I'm not letting someone take care of you when I'm completely capable of doing it myself."
"You have a job. I'd be staying at your place alone. If they found me, they can find you," Rowan shivered.
"Let me figure something out. You're not going into protective custody."
"Bring the policeman in. I'll talk to him now," Rowan said.
"Are you sure?" her brother asked.
"Yea. I'm ready." Throwing the covers back, Rowan peeked at her brother.
"Wipe those tears off your face. You're tougher than this. Where's the mean sister that always picked on me and hid my stuff?"
"I think it was the other way around, dork," Rowan smiled, knowing her brother was trying to cheer her up. "I forgive you."
Derek's face seemed to lose the tension. "Thank you. That means a lot." He stood up and walked over to the door. "You sure you're ready?"
"Will you stay in here when I tell it?"
"Thank you." Rowan took a deep breath. "Let's get this over with."
"Are you sure you feel up to it?" Derek asked. "I don't want to pressure you."
"I'm not staying here another minute. I'm fine."
"Then let's get you checked out."
Rowan quickly put on her clothes from the night before and wished for a shower. She'd already given the police her statement and they'd agreed to her staying with her brother. He'd probably pulled a few strings, but that's how Derek was.
It took them a while to get checked out, but once they did, Rowan was ready to leave. She wanted to go home and sleep in her own bed and pretend this never happened. But it had happened and she wasn't stupid enough to pretend it hadn't.
"We'll run by your place and pack your stuff. I don't know how long it will take the police to track down these people," Derek told her as they piled into his car. She loved her brother's black Camaro. She'd love to be able to afford one.
"Is it safe?"
"There are policemen there taking pictures of the scene and getting fingerprints and collecting that bastard's blood. We're safe."
"Okay," Rowan replied. She leaned back and enjoyed the ride. Her brother turned on the music, but not even that could make her relax. She was really tense and wondered where her phone was. "Where's my phone?"
"The police have it. I think they're using it as evidence."
"I need it."
"I'll get you a new one," Derek shrugged.
"I want that one!" Rowan panicked.
Derek looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "Why?"
"I met a guy and his number is in there. I don't have it memorized," Rowan lied.
"Well I'm sure they can transfer your numbers."
"I'll ask. But I want my phone back," Rowan pouted.
"I'll see what I can do. It's time you got a new one anyway. That old thing is a pile of junk." Derek wrinkled his nose, reminding her of Amanda.
"Oh my god! Amanda! She can't come back to the house. I need to call her."
"I've already talked to her and Blake. They're safe. They have a lot to think about with the wedding and I didn't want her to worry," Derek told her. "Calm down. I got this."
"Thank you," Rowan sighed, able to breathe a bit easier.
They pulled into her driveway ten minutes later to find it crawling with cops. Rowan winced, wondering if they saw how messy she was. There was also a mess because of Amanda leaving, but also because Rowan wasn't a neat freak.
"Shit! I forget the laundry," she groaned. "Amanda is going to kill me."
"She's already been here to get the rest of her stuff and clean up a bit. She helped the police see what was out of place. Someone trashed your room," Derek warned her. "Just be prepared."
"Are you serious?" Rowan thought back to last night. When had they had time to do that? What were they looking for? It made her shiver to think of them going through her personal stuff.
"You need to tell them if anything is missing," Derek reminded her.
"I will," Rowan told him.
The police ushered Rowan straight to her room. They wanted to know what was missing and if it was important. She quickly went through her stuff, packing a bag as she did. She couldn't find anything missing. It looked like they only did it to make a point or to get the police off their trail. It could have even been to make them think it was a robbery.
"Anything missing?" Derek asked, leaning against the door frame.
"No. I'm almost packed too. Sorry this is taking so long."
"You're fine. Why don't you shower and then we'll leave? I'm sure you feel like one," Derek smiled at her.
"Are you telling me I stink?" she asked, trying to make light of the situation.
"It's a possibility."
"Is that allowed? Won't I get in trouble?"
"Why would you? This is your house," Derek reminded her.
"Go take a shower. If anyone gives you hell, I'll take care of them."
"Thanks big brother," Rowan smiled, trying to show her brother she was okay.
Closing the door of the bathroom made it seem like nothing bad had happened. Nothing had been touched in here. The toilet seat was still up from when she'd thrown up, but that was it. Rowan leaned against the sink and then looked up at herself. She looked pale and tired. She had dark circles under her eyes and looked gaunt. She wrinkled her nose up at her description and peeled the dress off of her. She threw it on the floor, not sure she wanted to save it. She stepped into the shower and turned it on. The cold water was shocking, but felt good. She turned it to really hot and then stood under the water and let it cascade around her.
A knock on the door startled her and she screamed. "I'm sorry to scare you, but we need to hurry." Her brother's voice calmed her.
"Okay. I'll hurry. Be done in five minutes."
Rowan set about making her shower fast. She washed her hair and body and shaved. Everything was done in five minutes. She dried off and left the towel wrapped up on her head. She got dressed in clean comfortable clothes consisting of a tee and sweats. She didn't bother with makeup and quickly brushed through her hair. She left her towel on the toilet after she closed the lid and then gathered up her bathroom stuff. She hauled her bag out into the hall and then into her room to pack with the rest of her belongings.
"Are you ready?"
Rowan jumped. "Damn it Derek! You really have to stop doing that," she snapped.
He smiled. "It's fun."
"Yea well I don't think so," she glared at him. His smile slipped.
"I'm sorry. I'll try not to do it again."
"I'm ready to go."
"I'll take these bags to the car. You follow behind me," Derek told her.
"Yes boss," she rolled her eyes. He grabbed her two bags and started out the door. Rowan stepped into the hallway behind him and then followed him out the front door and to the front lawn. She saw that some of the neighbors were standing around, pointing and talking about her. She kept her head held high, not caring what they thought.
Catching a glimpse of a shadow, she turned to see what it was. Her mouth went dry and she broke out in a sweat. The bald guy was standing in the crowd, watching her. She smiled at her. She saw an officer and knew she had to warn him.
"Officer," Rowan called.
The younger officer turned toward her and walked toward her. Bald guy's eyes narrowed and then he held something up. Rowan's eyes widened as she realized it was a picture of her family. She'd kept it in the living room up on the mantle. She hadn't noticed it was gone.
"I was wondering when I could get my phone back," she said loudly. She glanced at the bald man to see if he heard. "I need my numbers."
"I'll have to ask. Wait here," the man told her. She nodded.
The bald man's lips thinned, but he nodded and disappeared into the crowd. She shivered. Apparently he'd gotten her message. Derek came up, wondering what she was doing.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"I'm asking about my phone."
"I already got it back," Derek told her. "I was going to give it to you in the car."
"Well let's go then," Rowan told him. She followed him to his car. The police had to move people in order for them to back out, but soon they were on their way. Derek handed her her precious phone and she quickly went through the messages after unlocking it. There was only one from Allen's phone and it said, Call me when you're alone. Rowan shivered and knew that she better do it soon.
"There's been a change of plans," Derek told her after some time. Rowan looked out the window, wondering when they were going to arrive. Something was off.
"Where are we? Your house isn't in this direction."
"Like I said 's been a change of plans," Derek repeated.
"What's going on?" Rowan asked, though she thought she knew the answer.
"I'm taking you to my work. I have night shift tonight and I'm not leaving you alone. I let you shower and I'll pick us up something to eat. Then we're heading to my work."
"Why can't we go to your house and drop my stuff off?"
"There's no need."
"And why not?" Rowan asked, getting frustrated.
"You're going to be staying there for a while."
"Come on Rowan. Work with me," Derek snapped. "You're going to be staying at my work."
"Where? Do you guys have dorms?"
"No. I have a shifter that owes me a favor. You're going to be staying with him. He's going to keep you safe from shifters and humans alike."
"So you're telling me that I'm going to live with shifters?" Rowan squeaked.
"As a matter of fact you are."
There you have it! Rowan is going to Lazarus! And what's the deal with the bald guy and her? What happened between the bald guy appearing and Derek showing up? More to come about that later. I can't believe I'm updating two chapters in two days! I guess it's a Thanksgiving present to my readers! I wish you'd give me the honor of reviewing! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Tristan should be in the next chapter! Can't wait to see how they react to each other :)