“Of course he is. He’s the descendant of the mafia, sweetie. Guns are his life.”
“Figures.” She dumped the bears on the chair and walked into the kitchen. “I need hot chocolate. You want one?”
“How was Christie?”
“She’s … sad.”
“Still struggling with her dad?”
“Yeah. The kids are calling her names at school, and asking if she really has a daddy.”
“Kids are such bastards.”
“Your language is showing through.”
“I know. I’m just having a really bad couple of days. You know how it is. I seem to be on stress overload.”
“Does this have anything to do with Luiz?” Xander asked.
“Yes. It has everything to do with him. Don’t you see that? We’re stuck here in this little rut, waiting for him to come to us so we can move on with our lives. Now I’m starting to sound like a baby. Tell me I’m not, please, please.” Replaying the kiss with Luiz was going to drive her insane.
“You’ve got a right to be pissy and childish. It doesn’t suit you though.”
She stuck her tongue out, teasing him. “Spoilsport.
Xander laughed, and stood near the window, looking out. “Luiz said he might be able to stop by tonight.”
“Oh.” She glanced over at the clock to see it was a little after eleven. “That’s late.”
The sound of glass breaking had her turning to Xander.
“Xander,” she said. The window had a perfect circle in front of it, and there was blood coming from his arm.
“Get out, go,” he said.
More gunshots were fired, and she screamed, going behind the counter. “Xander, what is going on?”
“You’ve got to go. Get Christie now.”
“What about you?”
“I’m expendable. I’ve got to protect you.” Xander had moved crouching behind her. She watched as he opened a couple of drawers, ones he’d told her to never touch. “Go get Christie. You protect her. This is what I’ve been asked to do.”
She stared at his bleeding arm. This couldn’t be happening again. Her parents, Lora, and now they were being attacked again. He handed her a gun. “Go.”
“Luiz will come.”
“Not in the next couple of seconds. Try and call him, go!”
She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, trying not to scream as gunshots rang all around her. Christie was at the top of the stairs, holding her bunny, and Raine didn’t wait around. Pulling Christie into her arms, she ran to the end of the corridor going toward her room. She could hear the gunshots, the shouting, everything just like she had seven years ago.
“Xander?” Christie said.
“It’s fine, sweetie. He’s going to be fine.”
She closed her door, locked it, pulling a dresser in front, and then moving toward the escape door.
“I need you to be very quiet.”
“We can’t leave him,” Christie said.
She pushed her hair out of her eyes, and knelt down to look at Christie. “This is what he wanted, sweetie.”
“We can’t leave him.”
“We’ve got—” The sound of a door handle rattling filled the air. Pressing a hand to Christie’s mouth, Raine listened.
Whoever they were, they were closing in, and she had lured them upstairs to Christie.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Where is Luiz? Would he be able to get here in time? Crap, don’t think about him. Xander is down there. He needs you, and so does Christie.
“Sweetie, listen to me. I’ve got to go out there, and stop him from getting to you. I want you to get out, and go to Mrs. Ruth’s. You know where it is?” She whispered the words.
“I don’t want to go without you.”
“I know, sweetie. I know, but you’ve got to do this for me. Okay? I love you so much. I’ll be with you soon.” She kissed Christie, held the gun, and left the room, making sure the door was locked.
She could do this. There was no choice. This was the only way to protect her family.
Xander had taught her how to shoot, how to fight, and how to protect herself. All the time she had trained with him, she’d thought about Luiz, and how she’d be able to protect herself and Christie. She really needed to stop thinking about Luiz right now. Thinking about him wasn’t going to help what was happening.
The gun was loaded, and the safety off.
You can do this, Raine.
For yourself, for Christie, and for Lora.
Moving into the main bedroom, she stood away from the door, containing her screams as the door handle was shot off. The door was shoved open. Raising the gun, she fired, and the man fell back. Grabbing the pair of scissors from the dressing table, she launched herself at the man, and started to attack him with the pointy end of the scissors, embedding it into his flesh.
“Die. Die. Die. Die.” She just kept repeating the same word. The moment he was dead, she looked up in time as another guy tackled her to the ground. He landed a blow to his face, and she kneed him between the thighs.
He paused in his attack, giving her enough time to grab the gun. Just before she fired, she let out a little scream as his head exploded.
Turning toward the direction of the bullet, she saw a very bloody looking Luiz. His white shirt was covered in blood. He had a split lip, and even from here, she saw his knuckles were also covered in blood.
“We’ve got to go,” he said.
“Is in my car. I saw her running, and I put her in the backseat. I’d bought her a gift. A DVD player, and I made her watch it.”
Pushing the guy off her, Raine got to her feet, and rushed past Luiz. “Xander!” She shouted her friend’s name in the hope that he would answer.
There was no answer.
Her heart was racing, and she was panicking. She couldn’t lose anyone else. He was her best friend.
Xander wasn’t in the kitchen. There were a couple of bodies, and she found Xander curled up, bleeding, pale, and she knew without a doubt that he was dying.
“Hey, sweet girl,” he said.
She went to her knees, grabbing his hand. “No, no, no, this can’t be happening.” He was the only father figure she had. She trusted him, and he was dying.
No, too many people had died in her life. She couldn’t lose someone else.