My eyes drifted from Clari to Dean as they continued their stare off. Rooted between the pair of them I knew if one lunged, and I was looking towards Clari, I’d be caught in the crossfire. However, my mind kept reeling around her words and what they could mean.
Tracked them. Tracked the email. Location. My sons!
The thoughts rattled in my brain, shooting emotions through my body to pummel my heart. My fingers tingled and my eyes burned.
She tracked it.
She cracked it.
Without realising it, my fingers latched onto her arm and my nails attempted to rip into her skin from my grip. My breath struggled from my chest as that weird grumbling sound echoed around the room and Richard stepped in to press his arm across his son’s chest.
“Calm down and let her speak.”
“Like fuck I’m telling you anything!” Clari exploded and I sighed heavily. The vibrations within my head descended to my stomach and I felt it flip uneasily.
“You will do whatever I say,” Dean barked back.
My question was quiet. The tingling in my fingers convulsed into tremors and I lifted one to press into Clari’s cheek. Her attempt slipped from Dean to me, her eyes shimmering to reflect my face. Her voice died down as my nails on her arm dug further into her skin. My bandaged palm ached from the move. My vision blurred.
“Clari, tell me where.”
“Alyssa,” She whispered, her voice caught as she grasped my hand in her own and tugged me towards her. “Tell me what’s happening? We don’t have to stay. I can find them. L-let’s go.”
We faced each other and her hands pressed onto my shoulders. She was pleading, her eyes watering like my own. I hurt looking at her like this. She was always more powerful and strong willed than me. But in that moment, she looked terrified and I saw my fear reflecting in her eyes.
“Tell me where my sons are, please.”
Dean was silent behind me, but I knew the moment her eyes flickered over my shoulder that he’d stepped closer. I didn’t need to feel the heat radiating from him against my back or even turn around to now his eyes would not be normal.
“Speak,” he commanded.
Clari gritted her teeth, her jaw tense before she bit back, “Only when I know what is happening here.”
“You have no say. You will tell me where my sons are. Now.”
“Like you even cared! You never cared!”
“Clari,” I urged, cupping her cheeks with both hands now, so her eyes flickered back to me. “It’s not safe to know but please, please tell us.”
He expression fell, lips twisting in hurt as her shoulders dropped. “You don’t trust me to tell me?”
“No,” Dean spat unnecessarily behind me.
I rolled my eyes, leaning forward so I could push him away with my foot. When he was further away from us, I held her face in both my eyes forcing her to look into my eyes. “I trust you with my sons life but this is bigger than us. I can’t tell you the full story.”
She nodded slowly, slumping forward to hug me. “Ok, on the condition that when this is over, and I hug my nephews again we leave.”
Before Dean could argue with her, she took my hand and tugged me from the room. Her lips twisted upwards into a small smile as I followed and from the silent crowd we left behind I sighed with relief.
Clearly, no one had seen the wink.
We ended up back outside, trailed closely by a seething Dean. Clari released my hand to slip into her car and yank out sheets of paper and her laptop. She handed me the papers, copies of all the emails that I’d shared with the other ‘Dean’. As I scanned them, Dean leaned closer and peered over my shoulder.
“We already have all that,” he scoffed. “It was all on her laptop.”
“Uh-huh,” Clari replied, not lifting her head from her laptop as she rapidly tapped something with one hand. “It was hard to crack, took a lot of software and separate codes and few failed attempts. But I was able to break through and narrow down the IP address to a location. It’s not exact and when I googled it, it came up as a baron place...kinda like this had.”
She lifted her head then as Lyon joined us and took the laptop from her. She glowered at him but bit her tongue at my warning look. His dark eyes scanned over the screen, brows furrowing as he scrolled down.
“How did you break it?”
“You couldn’t?” She retorted with a snort.
“Where is it?” Dean pressed, taking the papers as he approached Lyon.
Nathan wandered from the forest, shirtless and wiping his forehead with said shirt. I frowned at him as Clari muttered a quiet ‘the fuck’ and glanced about. While others milled about moving to and from the house, her eyes fixated on those that drifted into forest. Nathan peered over and paused, his eyes swivelling from us to where Clari focused and he released a shrill whistle.
Suddenly those heading to the forest twisted and walked away. I rolled my eyes, not suspicious at all.
My mind drifted back to Jared’s analogy and his way of revealing them to me. What no one knew or would probably care about was that where I didn’t get sucked into the Twilight phase of life, Clari had. And if anyone could catch on to what truly went on here, it would be her.
Never mind, that I would give her a nudge.
I’m not suffering in this world alone.
“Come inside,” Lyon muttered as he stepped away, still bent over the laptop and walked back towards the house. Dean accompanied him and watched the other man tap at the screen.
“Fucking bossy much,” Clari hissed, folding her arms under her chest.
I nodded but silently stepped after the men. My body buzzed and my fingers tingled with an excitement that flooded my system. She’d done it! Lips twitching to suppress the growing anticipation that I may see my sons soon, I wasn’t prepared for my vision to fail me again.
The world spun as my footing vanished and I slammed to the ground. Clari screamed out but no gravel or rocks bit into my skin. Instead, the surface below me was smooth and the voices ringing in my ears weren’t as high pitched.
“I w-want M-mom-mommy!”
Their voices slithered into my ears and blinded my eyes, they stole my sight and instead of seeing the forest before me I now saw them both curled up together on cold floor. Clothes ripped and skin bruised, their eyes were red, and hands trembled as they clutched each other. Damon coughed, the sound wet and heavy as he twisted from his brother to hack up something thick on the floor.
“S’ok,” he mumbled to Ryan who sobbed and clutched onto him. However, Ryans sob twisted into a wail as Damon slumped against him before crashed face first onto the tiles.
“Lyssa! Wake up!”
Clari shook me, her hands ripped my shoulders back and forth and I pushed her away. Gagging and shaking my head I frowned when Dean appeared instead of her and yanked me to my feet. His eyes were shadowed as he scanned me before glancing behind him to where his mother stood watching. Her eyes were solemn, and her hands clasped together around her husband’s arm as she frowned.
“I’m fine,” I murmured, stepping away to take Clari’s hand. “I just haven’t slept or eaten properly.”
The lie slid from my lips easily, despite my trembling fingers that clutched her arm. Though it wasn’t much of a lie, I couldn’t recall last I ate properly and slept fully. And I didn’t think I’d be able to do either until I had my sons. They were awake, that much I figured was true but when my eyes fixated on Dean’s mother, her words echoed in my mind and I wondered were those flashes more than my imagination and if so, what did it really mean for my sons and I?
How much time had I left to save them?