Authors: DJ Stone,B.E. Raj
DJ Stone & B.E. Raj
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locals, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
An Original work of DJ Stone & B.E. Raj.
Take It, Book 2
Copyright 2014 by DJ Stone & B.E. Raj
Books by these authors:
Take It Series
Book 3 – Available January 2015
“Where the fuck did you go?” I ask aloud, knowing there is no one here to answer my question. I’ve banged on Jenny’s apartment door for twenty minutes, and there’s no sign of her here either. Is she so distraught about losing her shitty job that she went off and killed herself or something? No, she wouldn’t do that. Even entertaining that idea is too much for me right now. Thinking of her hurt or dead is enough to push my exhausted and overwhelmed brain over the edge, so I push the thought aside.
I hadn’t wanted to leave her standing alone in my living room while I took a phone call. I knew she was upset, but I didn’t have a choice. I had to lie to her; I had no choice. That’s what I keep telling myself.
That wasn’t a call I could let go to voicemail. I’d been waiting for weeks for news, and it could have changed everything. Unfortunately it didn’t. It was another disappointment, but by the time I got back in the room, ready to spill my guts to Jenny about everything, she was gone. Her phone’s been off and there’s no answer here at her apartment. Her car’s not in her parking spot. She’s just vanished. Standing in the living room of my cottage one minute, gone the next.
None of it was supposed to go down like this. The last four firms I worked with were easy to persuade. They each had their own motivation for letting a shitty drug pass their tests. But nothing with BioSim or Jenny has been simple. I never intended to sleep with her. I didn’t want to get her fired, and I certainly didn’t want to fall in love with her. It was supposed to be different than this.
Likely it won’t matter for long though. One of two things will happen. The Ultimate Glucose Solution will get FDA approval, and I’ll have accomplished the most important thing in my life. Then the men funding this scheme will see me as a liability and likely kill me. Or, the flaws in the drug will get discovered, publicized, and I’ll be sold out as the scapegoat. Once I’ve served that purpose, they’ll likely kill me. One way or another, my life is on the line for the next few weeks. That should scare the shit out of me, but I couldn’t care less. There are only two people on this planet I care about, and Jenny is one of them.
I bang on the door again and get even more frustrated. Something doesn’t make sense. Why would she take off and then disappear? Has someone gotten to her? Has she discovered all the lies? Did she know I wasn’t in Hawaii? Did she know where I was instead? I need to find her. I want to explain. If I’m going to die anyway, if my life is over, I want her to know the truth first. If she knows why I’m doing all this she’ll understand. Anyone in my situation would do the same thing, wouldn’t they? The deeper I fall into this mess, the more I wonder if that’s true. It has never been about the money for me. It isn’t about the success or the fame that comes with it. The reason I threw my life away, made a deal with the devil, was always for a greater purpose.
As I bang one last time on Jenny’s door my phone starts to ring. It is the new representative from BioSim who took over Jenny’s role. He’s been hounding me all day, and while I don’t want to give up my search for Jenny, if I don’t show a sign of life here this new guy will smell a rat. I only need a little bit longer to make all of this work. I managed to slow Jenny down for nearly a month. I doubt I can do the same for this new guy. But at this point every minute counts.
I abandon my useless knocking and jog back to my car. The only option I have is to act as though nothing has happened. I need to walk into BioSim, look surprised that they fired Jenny, and make a new plan for how to buy more time. I won’t give up looking for Jenny, but maybe the best thing for her is to distance herself from me. Just one more thing I love that I’m on the verge of losing. I should be used to it by now.
Sinking into the driver seat, I see the sleeve of Jenny’s cashmere pale pink sweater peeking over the side of the passenger seat. She must have left it behind the last time we were together.
“Fuck Jenny, where are you?” I pull the sweater out and, like a high school girl with a crush, I hold it up to my nose and smell her sweet scent. Why now, why this late in life, why in this fucked up of a time, do I have to meet the person who makes me feel like this? It doesn’t make any sense. I’ve never met a woman capable of eliciting the things Jenny does from me. Intellectually she’s challenging. She’s not boring or trite. When I’m with her I feel I can conquer the world, even though I’m barely hanging on.
Clutching the soft sweater in my hands, I think of the last time I kissed her. The last time I fucked her until she screamed my name. It’s not supposed to be that good without some downside: either she has some kind of emotional problem, or she’s a gold digger. There were a few that were as dumb as rocks. But there has never been any who, when I’m done fucking, I can’t wait to talk to, to stay with.
That damn day up on the lighthouse—that moment where she met my stare and we rode out the best fucking of my life—I knew I loved her. And just like that I knew it couldn’t have come at a worse time. How could I have gone most of my life without knowing a woman like Jenny, and then meet her when everything was so fucked up?
That’s the fate of a fallen man—a damned man.
A hissing sound wakes me. Any conscious thought is knocked out of me along with the wind in my lungs. Followed almost immediately by overwhelming pain.
I can't see much in the dark interior of my wrecked car, but I think it might be bad. I might actually be really injured. Lying on my shoulders, I’m glued to the car's roof with some sticky fluid and gravity. My legs rise up out of my twisted torso as if seeking escape. One is scraped and bent at the knee, my strappy heel missing. The other is stuck in the hissing wreckage. When I try to pull it down, curl it inward toward my core in a fetal position, it refuses to budge.
My skirt has fallen toward my waist so, instinctively, I try to pull it down to cover myself. It makes no sense; there is no point in being proper in a situation like this. Instantly, my right hand burns with agonizing fire.
My head's starting to pound, much of the pain radiating out of my slashed cheek. I raise my finger to touch it and then pause, not wanting to know how bad it is, afraid I’ll feel my cheek bone. Panic is starting to set in. My very core is quivering with horror. Did I hit another car? Did I just kill someone? My fear is trumped as I tug my left leg again, and it doesn’t budge. What if I never get out of this car? What if I
What's that smell?
The second my car slid to a stop I could smell all sorts of things, but with bigger concerns, I'd mostly ignored them: the smell of hot metal and oil, the coppery stink of my own blood, the earthy scent of rotting earth from the disturbed ground my car tore open. But this is smell is different. A familiar smell but stronger than I’ve ever experienced.
I don’t know much about cars but I know gas is never a good thing if it’s spilling out everywhere.
I've seen enough movies to know what happens next and burning to death in my car isn’t the way I want to go. Using my good hand, I furiously struggle to free my trapped leg. I yelp in pain but force myself to ignore it. As the hot tears start rolling across my cut cheek, I hear someone outside and begin screaming, knowing this might be my only hope of survival.
Like an oasis suddenly appearing in the desert, a man’s face appears in my broken window. "Don't worry, Miss, we'll get you out of there in a jiffy. I'm just going to go back to my truck and get some tools. My buddy will stay here with you until I come back. Hang in there. You'll be fine." While his words are comforting they aren’t enough to make me forget about the nauseating smell of gasoline that’s overtaking all my senses.
"What about the gasoline? There's a fire," I shout, barely recognizing my own shrill and terrified voice. I strain to listen and, I swear I can hear a fire crackling.
"Are you okay in there, Miss? I know you're scared and in pain—it’ll be okay. Brad will be back in a few minutes with the tools we need to get you outta here safely," a new voice explains, and it has very little effect on my panic.
The blond-haired man sticks his head inside my car window and is close enough for me to reach out and touch. His sweet eyes make me think about an angel. The angel of death?
"Look, Miss, can you tell me your name?" he asks, reaching his hand in the car and touching my shoulder gently.
"What?" I ask, feeling my fear turn into anger at this waste of precious time. Why does he care what my name is?
Get me the hell out of here!
"You're probably going into shock. The injuries I see don't look too bad except for your hand, but there might be others I can't see. I just want to keep you talking.”
"Jenny Collins,” I whimper and then regain my control. “Look, can you get me out of here fast? I smell gasoline. I want to get out now." I fight against the metal keeping me trapped. I must look like a caged and injured animal, fighting for its life.
"Not to worry, Jenny. Brad will be back in a second or two with the first aid kit and the tools we need to get you out of there in time."
"What about the gas? I-Is there a fire? It seems a lot brighter out there than before."
"Yeah, you ruptured a gas tank. Fire's burning pretty good, but the pumper will make short work of that when it gets here. Don't worry it’s not too close to your car."
"Don't worry? Don’t you know what gas and fire do? Get me out of here now,” I beg, locking eyes with him and desperately trying to will him to pull me out.
"Look, Miss Collins, try to remain calm. We will get you free. Just try to keep cool, okay? I'm a fireman. I’m visiting my sister; it’s her place you slammed into. Oh, crap," he finished, suddenly reaching inside and probing upward, obviously trying to free my leg.
"What's happening?" I ask, realizing he's hardly listening to me as he tries to free my trapped leg. "Did I hurt anyone? I don't even know your name," I stammer, trying to ignore the sudden increase in agonizing pain centered on my ankle.
Right where he's pulling.
"No. Nobody’s dead or seriously injured. Hopefully, not even you. I’ve got to get you out of here. Damned stubborn piece of metal is wedged right over your ankle. We’re out of time."
"Oh God, I’m going to die. Don’t die here with me.” I pull on his arm as hard as I can and try to get him to leave. “Just tell me your name and go. I want to know your name, but I don’t want you to die because of me."
"Pierce. Pierce Flynn, and yes, the fire is worse. Taking a path I hadn't counted on. You tore up the ground coming down and the gas from the tank is taking the easiest path, running right down toward your car. Damned flames are starting to follow the gas."
"Then just go," I demand, still trying to pry his hands off my leg. “Get away from the car. You probably have a great life, a wife and kids or something. Don’t stay here and blow up with me.”
"I’m not going to leave you, but I am going to yank your leg really hard, and it might do more harm than good."
"I can’t think of any more harm than dying here; just do it. If it doesn’t work, then go.”
Pierce is looking up the ravine as though he expects his friend Brad to be streaming down with the cavalry by now. Then I see him glancing up and off to the side, his good-looking face suddenly taking on a worried look.
"Okay this is going to hurt, but Brad is taking too long to get back. I'm going to do my best to free you now. I really hate doing this, but I think we're out of options."
As I watch, Pierce wriggles deeper into my wrecked car, trying to get a better grip on my leg and the fragment of torn metal holding me riveted in the wreck. As he moves closer, I can feel the weight of his hard body pressing briefly against mine, smell the clean scent of his cologne before he moves toward my ankle. If this is the last thing I experience in my life, before I explode in a ball of fire, I want to take it all in.
I close my eyes in anticipation of the sharp pain I know will come and suddenly see something with crystal clarity. This man is risking his life to save me. I don’t even know how to process this gift right now. Though the pain is blinding, my adrenaline is pumping fiercely.
"There—you're free. Come on,” he insists, backing out of the car and trying to pull me along with him. When I’m finally free, the pain kicks in full force, and I can’t believe I’m still conscious. I look up the hill past my car and try to process what I’m seeing.
"What the hell?"
"You hit my sister's boat,” Pierce explains. “It was parked in her driveway, ready to go fishing tomorrow. You hit the stern and tore the motor right off. That's what you see burning over there—ruptured the full gas tank. Look, we really need to get away from your car. I'll carry you."
I look up and see Pierce's partner working his way down the ravine trailed by five other burly men in full firemen's gear. Foolishly, I try to stand, intent on seeming less injured than I am. My ankle has other plans. The pain is so excruciating I wonder if I'll ever walk again. White-hot pain slashes through my leg and I begin to collapse. My world goes dark as I crumple into Pierce’s waiting arms.
A fog blurs my thoughts, yet some random things penetrate the thickening haze. Amidst all the chaos of trying to attend to me and the fire, I hear a fireman ream Pierce out for his actions. First, for not waiting a few minutes longer and letting them—the local fire crew—handle things. And second, for not only causing me further injury, but doing so without any equipment. “A simple pair of gloves wouldn’t have taken long to put on. As a big city professional, you should've known that at least," I hear the man in charge scold.
Pierce reacts coolly. If I could muster the will, I’d cut in and defend him. There isn’t time. In my eyes, he's a hero. It was only after Brad left that Pierce realized so much gasoline was leaking out toward my car, and any small electrical spark might cause an explosion. I'm too overtaken by pain, shock, and sheer exhaustion to come to his defense.
At this point a gentle blanket of semi-consciousness mercifully spreads across me. I can’t come to his rescue the way he’s come to mine and the guilt of that is heavy but not strong enough to change anything.
I vaguely realize I’m being loaded into the ambulance, Pierce still holding my one uninjured hand. By then a small cluster of nosy neighbors has gathered to gawk at the accident. Part of me, the part that Harrison has destroyed, wishes I’d blown up in that car. Then I wouldn’t have to face the reality of what my life is about to become. But my heart still beats, even if it’s broken.