Niklas and Dorian run toward the door, intent on rushing to Izabel’s aid.
“Stop!” I order them, keeping my eyes on the screen.
“Victor, she might kill her,” Dorian says.
“How the fuck did she get the cuffs off her hands?!” Niklas shouts.
Woodard stands off to my left, watching the violent scene unfold on the screen, one arm crossed over his rounded stomach, the other hand dancing on his lips nervously.
“You can’t leave her in there,” Dorian adds with determination.
Izabel and Nora take turns serving blows. Nora is on top of Izabel, raining her fists down on her head, and while it is rather difficult for me to watch, I know I must let it run its course.
I turn to Niklas and Dorian.
“Izabel can handle herself,” I say.
“I’m not so sure,” Niklas says, clearly concerned for Izabel. “It took three of us to get a hold on her in the auditorium.”
I look right at my brother.
“She’ll be fine.”
Both of them hesitate before giving in and they walk back over to stand in front of the screens.
“I hope you’re right, brother.” Niklas crosses his arms.
Keeping my eyes trained on the fight, all I can think is that…I hope I’m right too.
The metal chair I had been sitting in is turned over onto its side. I reach out for it blindly with my right hand, struggling to get any part of it into my fingers, and when I finally do, I don’t know how but I have enough strength with one hand to raise it high enough off the floor and bash her in the side of the head with it.
Nora falls over sideways and off my waist, covering her head with her hands that somehow are no longer bound by cuffs.
Not wasting even a second, I scramble to my knees and grab the folded chair again with both hands this time and send it crashing down on top of her head again.
Nora manages to roll out of the way just before the chair comes down a third time. It clanks loudly against the floor as I drop it and get to my feet to go after her. She tries to push herself into a stand, but the cuffs and chain binding her at the ankles are still in place, making it difficult for her to move anywhere higher than the floor.
I’m on top of her in a flash, the same way she was on top of me moments ago, with my knees straddling her on both sides.
Grabbing both sides of her head, a bang sounds when I bash the back of her skull against the floor. Once. Twice.
“Ahhhnnn! Bitch!” she screams out, her hands gripping my biceps, digging her fingernails into my flesh and breaking the skin. Her body shifts underneath my weight as she tries to bring her legs up from behind to lock them around me like she did in the auditorium, but she can’t get her legs spread far enough because of the chain between her ankles.
I jump off of her, biting harshly on my bottom lip out of rage, my eyes swirling with heat and anger as I lean over her on the floor and grab a fistful of blonde hair, my fingers pressing against the back of her scalp, and I drag her body across the tile floor on her back. Both of her black heels come off, left in a trail behind her.
Before I get her all the way back around to her side of the table, I lose my footing and come crashing down when she grabs my ankle with both hands and pulls back with all of her strength. Blood springs up in my mouth when my face makes contact with the floor.
Suddenly I can’t breathe. My eyes roll into the back of my head as she tightens the chain between her ankles about my throat, her legs scissored tightly as she lays across the floor, her body held up on her forearms, all of her power shifted to her feet, locking me in place. My fingers come up quickly as I try desperately to wedge them behind the chains. I feel my whole head becoming hot, bloating stiffly on my neck and turning beet red and purple.
She tightens her ankles even more, rendering me immobile; the smell of her tight leather pants heavy in my nostrils. I want to give up, I feel like it’s all I can do. My body begins to betray me as my limbs begin to soften. I gasp for air that just won’t come and tears of exhaustion fill the corners of my eyes.
“Out of your league,” I hear Nora’s voice say amid the vociferous pumping of blood in my head.
Something inside of me snaps, and my eyes spring open wildly in my face. I scream out something I can’t even decipher and finally get my fingers between the chain and my throat. I pull it away with everything in me, spurred on by rage and vengeance and the will to live, until I overpower her and set my neck free, slamming her legs down against the floor.
She starts to crawl away on her hands and knees in the direction of my overturned chair.
I leap to my feet, pulling Pearl from my boot before I’m fully upright, and I’m standing over her with the blade against her throat and the back of her hair in my fist, pulling her neck back as far as it’ll go without snapping.
“I’ll cut off more than your finger, bitch!”
She freezes. Her hips and pelvis and legs are pressed against the floor, the whites of her eyes visible to me as I stand over her from behind.
“Where is Dina?!” I yank on her scalp, pulling her neck back even farther; if she even flinches the wrong way the blade will break the skin and she knows it. “Fuck these games of yours! Tell me where you took her!”
“Come closer and I’ll tell you,” she says with difficulty, her voice strained.
Without even thinking about it I do, but I keep the blade against her throat as I sit down on her back.
“Try anything and I’ll kill you,” I growl, my lips next to her ear.
She doesn’t try to fight back, but I’m not feeling defeat from her. It’s something else. That confidence about her that I’ve grown to despise. Even though I’m the one sitting on top of her, the one with the knife pressed to her throat, I can’t help feel like she’s still the one in control.
“Where is she?” I whisper harshly against the side of her face.
“Nine years as a sex slave in a Mexican compound,” she whispers back. “Something tells me they didn’t care much for condoms. Did they, Sarai?”
My entire body, every bone, every muscle, solidifies in an instant.
“If you want Dina Gregory to live,” she says, still in a whisper too low for the audio to pick up, “then you and I need to have a talk about the specifics of the relationship you had with Javier Ruiz.”
It feels like an eternity that I sit on top of her, straddling her back, lost in some kind of stunned submission. I can’t find words. Or my heartbeat. And my mind is running away from me.