“Put your weapon down, Mr. Knox,” a voice intones behind me. When I turn I see Antonio has a gun pointed directly at me. I slowly lower my weapon and put my hands up.
“There’s no need to shoot me. I just want her back.”
He laughs. He actually fucking laughs. His face morphs into a grin when he speaks.
“She is no longer your concern, Mr. Knox, so you’d better get the fuck out of here before I shoot you. My men have your men surrounded. One signal from me and they are all dead with a bullet to their brains.” My face must blanch at his words because he smiles.
“Jared!” Erica yells, and starts to bang through the window. I now see her wide, terrified eyes.
“Leave, Jared! Just go!” Her voice is laced with panic.
“You heard her, Mr. Knox. She wants you to leave.” He smirks and my face is now red with rage.
“You are not staying with him.” I look at her through the window and her expression turns sad then cold.
“Hey, kiddo, do you want to stay with me?” he asks her while keeping the gun pointed at me. I turn my head towards her and that’s when I notice her face change.
“Yes, I…I want to stay with my dad,” she stutters, and I know she’s doing this to keep me alive. He’s holding her against her will, and that doesn’t sit well with me. I have a death wish apparently.
“I know what you’re doing, babe, but you don’t need to. I got this, just trust me.” She shakes her head ‘no’.
“I’m upset because I just found out he’s my biological father. It’s a shock, that’s all. I want to stay with him.” She looks desperate to get me to leave, but I’m not going anywhere.
“Get him out of here!” Antonio orders, and two beastly men make their way towards me.
I put my fists up, ready to strike.
I throw the first punch, but the second man gets me right as I strike. Erica is screaming for them to stop as one man grabs my hands and pulls me back. He holds me in place as the other man punches me over and over again.
Erica’s screams are ripping my heart out.
Finally Antonio orders them to stop. I’m bleeding from my face, but I don’t give up as I struggle in the man’s hold.
Erica’s screams stop, but I can hear her whimpered cries.
“Now, for some strange reason my daughter is quite taken with you. So I’m going to give you a pass. This is a one-time pass,do you hear me?” He brings his face to mine as his men hold me back.
I stop struggling.
“I will never stop fighting for her,” I spit, and he doesn’t hold back as his anger rears its ugly head. He punches me over and over again, first the stomach, then face, then the stomach again. He shakes his hand and gives me an evil smirk.
Erica is screaming again, and I’m so weak that there’s no way I can get to her now.
“Please stop it!” she wails. Then Antonio rears his fist back one more time, knocking me out cold. My last thought is that I may never see her again.
He falls to the ground; he’s unconscious and I’m hysterical. I’m screaming so loud that my voice is now hoarse.
“He’s alive, so stop your crying,” Antonio says, but how in the hell am I supposed to trust him on that?
“How do I know that?” I query.
“Bring her to me,” he tells his men.
Minutes later they are escorting me outside, where Jared’s body lies on the ground.
I run over to him and drop to my knees. My sobs increase as I cradle his injured face up and place him on my lap. I can see he’s still breathing as I cry on his face. I kiss every broken inch of him. He’s still out cold.