another chapter! wow, thank you so much for your support, you guys. you have no idea how happy i am to see that you're enjoying what i'm putting out. your love gives me the motivation to write.
anyway, this is a bit a bit of a shorter chapter, but i like it. i hope you do too. if you can, please leave a favorite, follow, and/or review. feedback would also be lovely, as well as ideas. thanks so much! enjoy!
They'd been sitting in that tiny room for hours, with no food, water, or air conditioning. While earlier they'd been freezing from spending all that time in the water, now they were drenched with sweat. JJ had long since taken off his shirt and let Kiara use it as makeshift bandages.
Now, Kiara was still leaning against her companion, drawing random doodles on his chest. She could tell that JJ was exhausted and hurting, yet he was asking her how she was instead of telling her how she could help him feel better. "Yeah," she replied with a small smile. "Just hot."
"Tell me about it," JJ agreed, chuckling softly, only to hiss at the pain from his ribs being jostled.
"Try not to move, you idiot," Kiara scolded. She was honestly rather surprised that he hadn't made a smartass comment about her being hot.
"Yes, ma'am." He smirked when Kiara slapped him playfully. "I wanna go surfing," he suddenly announced. "John D. and Pope are probably hogging all the waves."
"I know," his companion said. "Those bastards…"
"Don't let them catch you saying that, Kie." JJ's eyes brightened when she laughed, relieved that at least he was still able to lift their spirits a bit, if not get them out of this mess. "They'll realize that we've been gone for too long," he said more seriously. "They'll find us."
"Yeah, I know."
Kiara had no doubt that John B. and Pope were going to find them. She was only worried that by the time they did, it would be too late. Rafe most definitely had the ability to kill them if he wanted, and thanks to his father, nobody would be able to catch him. The idea of JJ constantly getting hurt wasn't very appealing to Kiara either. Seeing him struggle to keep quiet while Rafe was cutting him was one of the most heartbreaking things she had ever seen in her life. The worst part was that he would continue to take all the punishment just for her.
"And I'll be fine," JJ added, almost as if he read her mind. When she looked up at him, he grinned and gave her hand a soft squeeze. "Don't worry about me, okay?"
Before she had a chance to reply, the door to the room opened and Kelce as well as another rich looking kid they didn't know walked inside. Kiara didn't even get a chance to tell JJ to not do anything stupid, because the young man immediately pushed himself up and tried to hit Kelce, only to get shoved right back down and kicked in the stomach.
"JJ!" she cried while the other Kook went for her and started leading her out of the room. She could hear JJ coughing and wheezing while Kelce pushed him forward.
They both flinched as the bright sun hit them, unable to raise their hands to block it. While Kiara was tied to the boat's metal railing, poor JJ was thrown to the ground right in front of Rafe. He immediately curled into himself and closed his eyes, expecting to get hit at any second.
"I hope your room was comfortable," Rafe said as he crouched down beside JJ and pulled him up by his hair.
"Go to Hell, Cameron," the blond growled, glaring at Rafe despite the pain in his scalp. A headache was already starting to set in.
"Come on, Rafe, don't do this!" Kiara tried, trying to get out of her handler's strong grip. She didn't want JJ to get another beating. "Just let us go. We won't tell anyone!"
"See, now I find that a little hard to believe, Kie. You're not going anywhere."
And then Rafe started hitting again, this time putting a lot more strength and fury into his blows. Just like yesterday, Kiara screamed at him to stop, but it was no use. It was almost like Rafe was possessed, determined to make JJ suffer. A disgusting smile pulled at his lips when his "punching bag" cried out.
By the time he was done, JJ was lying on his back, unable to move. He was shaking in pain, the bruises mottling his body already darkening. He could hear his companion yelling and crying, calling his name desperately. He couldn't even bring himself to reply and tell her that he was okay. Everything inside ached, and everything outside was spinning. Briefly, his mind went back to one of the worst fights with his father, where he barely escaped and couldn't move right for a month. The memories made him moan quietly, which only made Rafe start cackling.
"Jesus, Rafe, enough already!" Kiara could see that JJ couldn't take much more of this. As she watched him slowly roll to his side, she cursed silently upon seeing him spit out blood. "This is too much! Just stop!"
"This is payback, Kiara, and I'm nowhere close to being done."
"For what?! What did he do to you?"
"Thanks to him, I got a little visit from Barry - you know, the drug dealer you decided to fucking steal from? And it wasn't pretty. He needs to understand what happens when anyone fucks me over like that."
"I-I was doing you a … favor," JJ said breathlessly.
His comment clearly angered Rafe. The college dropout roared, picked JJ up by the collar and slammed him against the railing opposite Kiara. "I don't need shit from you, Pogue!"
"Duly noted," JJ muttered, an arm snaking around his torso. He decided to focus on his breathing, trying hard to filter out the pain that came with it.
"It was a mistake, Rafe," Kiara said, even though she knew that it wasn't true. Regardless of the consequences, when JJ was dead set on something, he rarely ever regretted it. And in this case, stealing from Barry was definitely a decision JJ didn't regret, especially since it included screwing Rafe over. While it pissed her off, Kiara understood that this was something JJ couldn't change about himself, so all she could do was try to make Rafe believe that it really was an accident. Even though it wasn't at all.
"Yeah, I'm sure it was."
Rafe wasn't buying it. Shit.
Another beating pursued. Unable to help it, Kiara started to struggle again. All she wanted was to run over to JJ and shield him from Rafe's wrath. She couldn't stand to see him slowly get weaker and weaker. She couldn't stand seeing his brand new wounds. Her heart literally hurt watching as he was punched and kicked and shoved. Kiara realized that she would gladly take JJ's place if it meant stopping this torment.
She was so lost in her thoughts about helping JJ, she barely noticed when Rafe stopped again and signaled his buddies to take them back to their "room." They were both forcibly pushed inside, and the minute the door was locked, Kiara scrambled to JJ's side. He was lying on the floor with his eyes closed, trembling ever so slightly. Kiara cursed at the restraints on her wrists, wishing that they weren't there so she had more mobility to take care of his injuries. "Oh, God, JJ," she whispered, tears filling her eyes.
"S-Stop getting so e-emotional, Kie … 'M fine," JJ replied, reaching up to wipe those tears away. He hated seeing her upset. "Just … sore."
"Yeah, I wonder why," Kiara said jokingly, leaning into his touch. "The Hell are you doing, provoking Rafe so damn much?"
"Making s-sure he's angry … at m-me, n-not at you."
Kiara's breath hitched. "Idiot," she said softly. Why was he constantly risking his well being for her? she kept thinking. It was infuriating.
"You l-love me ... and you know it."
Sighing, Kiara nodded. "Yeah, I do."