To those of you who patiently wait, thank you. And I apologize for the wait.
Jenna spent the next few months in hiding with the boys as they planned with Smecker and the three cops who'd been put on the case under him. All of them kept her well out of the loop, but she made sure they were well fed and well stocked. She grew to trust their father as she did them, though she was still a bit apprehensive around him. He taught her how to clean and properly load a gun, made sure she knew how to aim it properly.
But the hand to hand combat, he wanted to be sure she knew, didn't go very well. She danced away from him. Literally danced. Twirls and dodges and fancy footwork. She refused to go towards him, to hit him, though he had trouble getting his hands on her, even in the small confines of the room. But when he did, he picked her up and slammed her to the bed. Conner watched with apprehension, though his father just held her there. Waiting for her to unflinch, to figure out how to get out of it. "They won't hesitate, Jenna. They'll not wait for you to come to youer senses. Get hold of youerself and figure it out. Fight through the panic." His voice was soft, commanding. But not cutting through her panic.
He brought out a knife and Murphy held Conner back. As soon as she felt the blade brush against her cheek, a foot popped out, kicking him in the chest. He went down with a rush of air expelled from his lungs, falling into the dresser. She rolled over on the bed, heels over her head, and stood up, bouncing a bit as he looked up at her, hand to his chest. The fear in her eyes told him nothing else would get through to her. He threw the knife at her and she dodged it, diving for the other bed. Her reflexes were sharp, but the panic would be her doom. She landed solidly, but he swept her feet out from underneath her. She landed in Conner and Murphy's arms.
But he was still coming for her. She panicked, fighting against their hold. They had to drop her when she kicked Murphy in the head. She was finished. There was no way she'd be able to fight someone. Defend herself, maybe, enough for someone to get to her, but she would likely not be able to last very long if left to her own. Mr. MacManus backed off, letting the boys tend to her as he pulled his knife out of the wall.
However, her acting skills were phenomenal. They'd had to be, he supposed. And her eye was as keen as anything. He watched his boys as they comforted her. Murphy reassuring her he was fine as Conner just held her close. His eyes clouded with worry.
The protectiveness she incited within his son was cause for concern. But only for a moment as he watched it turn to determination. A determination that said he was not going to leave her side. One that said he'd protect her at all costs. One that meant she was definitely not going to join them when they raided the courthouse. Not that they wanted her there anyways. No, that would be no place for a woman.
~~~~Day of the Trial
Jenna waited on the bed, staring at the closed curtains. She strained her ears for car engines, car doors, murmurs, but so far, everything was silent. For the first time in about six months, she was alone. Completely alone. They had gone to the courthouse to enact their revenge on Yakevetta. His hearing was today. She had been made to stay behind. They would come back for her. Conner had left her a gun.
For six months, they'd been in the crowded motel rooms. They'd lived and planned and plotted together. Now, in the silence... She was alone. She didn't like it anymore. Being alone. The silence was deafening. The air was cold. She felt empty. So empty and numb without them.
A car door slammed. Two. Three. She stood, heart beating in her chest as footsteps thudded in the direction of her door. However, a shot rang out, making her jump, and a hole replaced the lock in the door. She jumped, gun up, safety off. She shot as they kicked the door open, slamming a slug in the chest of one of the men. She nearly broke her nose at the kick, unprepared for the power. She screamed as they charged her. She ran for the bathroom, but a hand at her hair dragged her back.
"No! NO! Let go! Let go of me!" She cried, kicking and screaming. She flailed, kicking containers of old take out over. She kicked the lamp, the TV, she thrashed in his hold, but he held firm. The other grabbed her feet, taking her out of the room. They threw her in the car, leaving their comrade. "NO!" She tried to get out. The door opened, but she was dragged back in and a gun slammed against her head.
A bucket of water was thrown over her, cold water. She gasped awake, jerking, high alert. Only to find the man she never wanted to see again looking down on her.
"Michael." She gasped.
"Oh, sleeping beauty has finally awoken?" He asked. "Well, so nice of you to join us." He leaned down to her face, gripping it tightly as he forced a kiss to her lips. He pulled away, slapping her face in the process. "I missed you. I did." He assured. "Missed seeing the bruises. Missed those eyes of yours, staring up at me, pleadingly. Missed the sight of your blood running. I have been patient, Jenna." He didn't like to be patient.
He grabbed her hair, making her look up at him. She spit in his face.
He wiped it off and slapped her again. "You BETRAYED me!" He shouted, kicking her in the chest. Her chair fell back, making her hit her head so hard that she saw stars. Just bright bursts of light flooding her vision like fireworks. "I should kill you, but... What fun would that be? How would that make you learn your lesson? Hm?"
He brought her back, setting her right, "No, I've got something in mind for you, especially now that I see you've gotten a bit of that fire back. Those boys have been good, haven't they?" He smiled coldly. "Tell me, were you fucking them both or just the one? I'd really like to know... So I can cut their hands off and peel their eyelids away so they can watch what I do to my things." His hands roamed over her hair, her shoulders, her jaw.
"They will kill you." She assured. "They'll come here and they will kill you." Please. Please keep them away. God, please, keep them away!
"Oh, I'd like to see them try." He laughed. "They're so incredibly predictable. So easy to track. Ametuers."
He was behind her now, hands on her shoulders. He squeezed firmly, making her tense and squirm. "What'll you do?" She finally asked. Keep him talking. He likes to talk. She thought to herself. Her head had taken enough abuse. She was surprised her brain wasn't leaking out of her ears yet.
"Oh, you'll like this. I promise." He was out of her eye line. And the tone of voice made her tense.
She was seized, her arms were untied and she was thrown forward in a two man hold. She struggled, but they were so strong. She was tied to a hook and left to swing, her toes barely touching the ground. Fear ate at her as needles of apprehension stung her skin.
She heard something fall, like rope. And then a crack through the air and a sting in her back that left her swinging. Crying out, screaming. Another crack. Another. She screamed at the torturous feel, it felt like her back was exploding. She couldn't escape it. From her shoulders to her waist. She screamed until she tasted blood. She screamed until her voice failed. She screamed and screamed and screamed.
He didn't stop until the flesh of her back was good and tender. And then the carving started. "I want you to remember this moment." He whispered in her ear. Blood dripped to the floor. "This will be the last time you get to see me leave you conscious."
He was halfway up the stairs when the door burst open. He quickly ran back down, drawing a gun as he pulled up behind her. She couldn't breathe from the pain and the sight before her. She couldn't stand on her own, so her raw, bleeding, mutilated back was pressed against him. "You let her go!" A familiar voice ordered.
"I'll kill her right here. I swear! Back off! Back off!" He shouted in her ear.
Her dazed eyes finally focused enough to find Smecker pointing a gun at her, his Boston police back up right behind him: Greenly and Dolly... And the one who's name she could never pronounce. "You won't win here. there's no way you get out of this. You're either dead or in cuffs. Which is it gonna be?"
"Well, I guess I've no use for her after all." He cocked the gun and pressed it to her temple.
She cried out, her voice raw and broken so badly it was more a raspy squeak. "If you kill her, you're dead."
She did something no one was expecting. "Get... the fuck... off me!" She squeaked, rearing her head back sharply. A shot ran out as he stumbled away. He went to come back at her, blood blossoming from his shoulder, and she used the last of her strength to kick him in the chest, just like she'd done to Mr. Macmanus. It gave them a cleaner shot as she swung. By God's grace, the bullets missed her. Greenly caught her.
Holding her weight, he whispered, "I gottcha. I gotcha."
"Get her in the car. We don't have time for an ambulance." Smecker ordered.
"Con..." She breathed, reaching a hand out to thin air.
Smecker grabbed it. "They're safe. They're just fine. We'll take you to them, Honey. Don't worry." He soothed.
She was so cold, she didn't seem to notice anyone. Not the coat wrapped at her shoulders nor the fact that he was holding her hand. Her eyes rolled up.
"She's going into shock. Go!" Greenly re-situated, cradling her to his chest. They got her into the van, working on her, trying to keep her comfortable and stable.