A/N: Hey guys! Thank you for your reviews, and I'm sorry about the paragraphing in the first chapter. I tried to fix it but FP keeps doing that thing where it bulks my paragraphs into one. It wasn't like that as I was writing it, so if this chapter does the same, I apologize! Check the prologue and let me know if it's all fixed on your end…
Thank you to the reviews I got, and to Daddy's Little Peach for pointing out some flaws in my first chapter. There are most certainly mistakes in this chapter, but at 2 am, as long as its readable I'll just have to come back and revise. Thanks for the helpful criticism and reviews!
The Wild Ones
The Lucky Punch
Five Months Earlier
"Elle, all clear," I heard Marissa whisper.
I gently bit my lip as I made a run for it towards the lobby doors of Seattle's Four Season's hotel. My father had been shaking hands with politicians and so on for the majority of the night, proud as ever to be invited to such trivial gatherings, and had dragged me along for the ride. I needed an escape from this prison. I adored my father, but he had me locked up tighter then Fort Knox – I wanted freedom.
Marissa Newman winked as she grabbed my hand and we both dashed out the doors. No one was there guarding us specifically, but we couldn't take the chance that we'd be noticed. Of course our parent's would come looking and that would lead to a whole mess of trouble we just didn't want to deal with.
We bounded through the doors and ran as fast as our skinny little legs could take us, desperately padding down the damp street as if ravenous wolves were hunting us. If our parents came out at that very second we might as well have been hunted down.
Marissa huffed and puffed as we skidded behind a building. She was hugging her over-sized sparkly clutch purse to her chest as she bent over to catch her breath. Her beautiful blonde hair that was much to long to be natural was damp and starting to frizz – I could imagine I looked no better.
As we started to catch our breaths, we both glanced up to check the state of each other. At that very second we almost fell over laughing at ourselves. Oh dear, if Marissa was laughing that hard at me I could just imagine how awful I must have looked. She unzipped her purse and started to dig through the millions upon millions of useless crap she kept in there before throwing a compact mirror at me.
"Geeze, Elle, we can't go bar hopping looking like homeless people!" she gasped out, cracking up when she saw the horror-struck look on my face. Jesus, this is why I never went jogging.
My dark hair was saturated from the late afternoon Seattle rain. The good hour I had put into straightening the crap out of it was lost as it started to curl at the ends. My makeup was still intact – sort of. I had to give kudos to Marissa for lending me her waterproof mascara and eyeliner; that could have ended badly with me walking away with raccoon eyes. My foundation, however, was starting to fade.
I patted the loose foundation back into place as Marissa went on to fix her own hair. Although under cover, the wind seemed to blow the light drizzle of rain towards us, causing our hair to curl by the second. It must have been a funny sight watching us from a far.
Marissa Newman was the granddaughter of a retired politician and a long time friend of mine. Although we weren't the best of friends, she was the only girl who enjoyed heading to bars instead of nightclubs, who preferred a cheap thrill rather then a new designer handbag, and was the only girl willing to help James Lockhart's only child sneak out to a bar for the first time in her life. My father is a renowned lawyer in New York and his latest case had sent people running for the high hills. My father in other people's eyes was a monster who put innocent people behind bars. If you said you never had that gun in your hand, and there were no fingerprints or evidence to say otherwise, he could still convince a jury you shot that person. He scared me sometimes, but he had been a good father to me. He did the best he could as a single parent.
"Are we all set?" Marissa asked. Her smile was enough to know she was eager to show me around the city she was born and raised in.
I took a deep breath as I stared into the mirror. Blue eyes stared back at me, the reflection of my eyes showing excitement and nervousness all at once. It was to late to turn back, so I nodded in approval, passing the mirror back to my giddy blond friend.
Marissa grabbed my hand again and dragged me down the street. I stumbled as she pulled me and said, "Come on! It should be opening time right about now."
I blinked as we jogged down the main street, trying to keep under shelter to protect our hair and clothes. "What's opening?" I asked. It was about ten o'clock at night; shouldn't most bars be open by now?
Marissa just kept running as we crossed the street, dodging cars and other things as we crossed on a green light. I let out a little gasp of fright, but Marissa just gave the honkers the finger and continued to drag me through the rain.
"It's called the Lucky Punch. It's a really popular bar around here! I heard the cops are there almost every night!" she yelled with a laugh.
I didn't like the sound of this place, but Marissa continued to haul me along the pavement despite my arguments. We were moving so fast I almost lost hold of my handbag and profusely apologized to bystanders I had crashed into. I realized as we got closer to this Lucky Punch bar the crowed of people grew larger and much, much scarier appearance wise.
"Marissa, are you sure about this?" I hesitantly asked as we began to slow down. The blond bombshell simply smiled back at me.
"Don't worry Elle, I've been here once before. The bar owner looks after girls like us!" Her assurance didn't placate me in the least.
Just ahead of us was a long line of people. I followed closely behind Marissa as she bypassed all of them, earning herself and I some nasty stares – mostly from the females lined up. As I glanced at them, I noticed Marissa and I may have been slightly overdressed. These girls were wearing jackets, jeans, and sneakers, while Marissa and I had on high pump heels, little dresses that clung to our body and showed every curve we pretended to have, and short leather jackets.
I couldn't help but overhear a few snide comments as we passed. "Ugh, look at those bitches. They'll do anything just to get in and see Storm."
"Heh, they don't look twenty-one. He'll throw them out on their asses, just watch."
"Fifty bucks say's the little one behind the blond tart runs out crying when the ring opens."
"I'm saving my money for Storm!" The girls all giggled at this.
I didn't know who this 'Storm' character was, but if he did throw us out I could just picture Marissa kicking and screaming whilst trying to stab someone with her Dolce and Gabbana heels. Speaking of which, Marissa seemed to be ignorant to the chatter going on around us, and continued marching towards the entrance. Her dark stare was trained on a big burly fellow standing in front of a large steel door with a glowing red ENTRY sign flickering above it. This lone door in the middle of a red bricked up building seemed out of place and terribly scary – like we were making our way towards a dungeon.
The large man seemed to notice her almost instantly. He stretched his arm out to block our entry and gave Marissa a quick look over. "Sorry Misa, can't let you in this time," he barked. His voice was dry and deep – most probably from screaming at the people lining up to behave.
I often heard Marissa's mother call her Misa, so she must have been on a friendly bases with this man. I gripped at Marissa's black, shiny jacket – matching to the one I was wearing – and whispered, "Marissa… maybe we should go…?"
Marissa didn't answer as she shrugged me off and sauntered up the two steps that separated the man and her. Her lashes seemed to flutter as she parted her lips ever so slightly, getting ready to go in for the kill. I stayed back, clutching my handbag to my chest as I watched the scene play out. Marissa was a seductress and she knew how to play with a man's heart – and by heart, I meant penis.
I chewed my lower lip out of nervousness, watching carefully as Marissa leaned up to whisper something in the mans ear. Whatever she had said to him seemed to work, because he nodded once, grinned and opened the large steel door.
Marissa tilted her head to glance back at me and smiled. She nodded towards the door and I wasted no time in scattering up the steps and grabbing onto her arm. Just as we were about to go in, the big man glad in black grabbed Marissa's other arm and whispered, "We'll meet out the back later, Misa."
I was confused by the way Marissa ripped her arm away from him and dragged me inside. Nothing seemed to ever bother Marissa, especially not the angered crowed outside that called us both horrible names and argued about the unfairness that we could get in just because our skirts were shorter. I kept my mouth shut and followed my friend obediently, despite feeling uneasy about the situation.
As Marissa pulled me into the Lucky Punch my eyes widened. I had been to clubs and bars before, but those were for the rich and wealthy. There would always be a man walking around with glasses of champagne sitting perfectly on a tray for guests. There was never more then three people at the bar ordering a drink – and never more then two drinks. There were always tables filled with candles and flowers. And the dance floor was filled with couples dancing a slow waltz and older men drinking and talking to the side. This bar was so different to what I was used to.
This place was alive with laughter and drunken shouts. The bar serving drinks to my far left was banked up with people, all yelling their orders over the top of each other. The bartender somehow knew what each person wanted and did circus tricks with the bottles as he filled their shot and beer glasses to the brim. There was no dance floor from what I could see, only a large space filled with people chatting with friends and ratty old wooden tables that people were virtually passed out on top of. Further in to this dark and oddly friendly place was – what looked to be – a square stage that was sitting out in the open by itself. It had rubber hands around it, protecting whoever stepped into it, and a stool on either corner.
I had to wonder why a bar would have a boxing ring. It was extremely out of place and no one ventured near it. It seemed strange to me. "Marissa, what's-"
I had been so busy studying my strange surroundings that I didn't even notice Marissa wonder away. Before I could freak out and start searching for her, she was already strutting back over to me with a wide grin on that pretty face of hers. Before I could ask any questions, she pointed to her mouth and said, "Open up wide and lift your tongue."
I looked at her as if she were crazy. "Why?" That one question was all my brain could think to spit out. I was so overwhelmed.
This seemed to annoy her as she grabbed my arm. "Just do it Elle. It'll be fun…" she said this with that same smile she had used back on that guy to get us in here. I lost any resolve I had and gave in.
"Fine…" I muttered as I opened my mouth and lifted my tongue, just as she had instructed. I was staring at the dark ceiling and hadn't the faintest idea what she had slipped under my tongue, but when she had this horrible taste started to fill my mouth. She grabbed hold of my chin before I could spit this terrible thing out and roughly ripped my face up to stare at her.
"Leave it. Just let it dissolve and in a little bit you'll be having the time of your life." Her eyes had darkened and a noticeable layer of sweat had formed across her forehead. The hues of her eyes were bigger and I noticed Marissa was terribly aggressive. I had never seen this side of her before.
All I could do was nod, despite my mind screaming at me to get the hell out of there and call Daddy. Perhaps I should have listened, because the moment Marissa let go of my chin was out of sight, disappearing into the crowed. All I could do was stand there in disbelief, fright and confusion.
My mouth was watering and I found myself running to the bar. I could hear the annoyed rants of people I had shoved passed, but I didn't care, I needed a drink to try and get this awful taste out of my mouth. The moment I reached the front I slammed into the wooden bar table and used it as leverage to stay standing. The barman, who had called for a second person to come and help from the looks of it, noticed me and came over to take my order – or so I thought.
"No cuts in line," he barked.
My nose crinkled in disdain. "I see a crowed, not a line," I snapped back. "I need a drink." My head sunk down and my body felt extremely warm – possibly from the twenty or so people shoving from behind me.
The man seemed to give in as he asked, "Fine. Whatdy' want?"
"Anything!" I all but screamed. Dear God, I needed something that would wash this horrible taste away.
He seemed to get the picture as he moved away for a moment, only to return with a shot glass filled to the very top with clear liquid. I tipped my head back and gulped it down. The strong vodka burned my throat, but that God-awful taste that lingered from whatever Marissa had given me subsided. As soon as I caught my breath – which confused me as to why I was out of breath to begin with – I thanked the barman and paid him. He didn't stay for more then a second, he simply rang up the cost, gave me my change and went on to the next person that either screamed the loudest or was up the front.
I moved along, desperately trying to find the exit. All I managed to find was a long dark corridor that lead to the men's and women's toilets. I stabilized myself by leaning against the dirty gum stained wall and held my thumping head – God, I was so incredibly dizzy.
I couldn't even keep track of time and after a little while, I forgot just why I had come up the corridor. I also didn't understand why this male stranger had bailed me up against the wall. Who was he again? Wait, I could recall him passing by and asking if I was okay. Had we spoken for very long?
He was kissing my neck and telling me everything was okay. His hands were running up my stomach, but I never pushed him away. As my dressed hiked up the feeling only got better as cool air touched my skin. I was so hot I could have jumped into a bath full of ice and I would have been in heaven.
Wait, where was my bag? Did I even bring it tonight? I must have, because I faintly remembered checking my phone earlier. Hang on, had Daddy tried to call me? Ugh! I couldn't remember anything passed five minuets. I suddenly started to laugh, finding that thought incredibly hilarious – why I found memory loss so funny was a mystery, but that's what made it funnier.
"Why are you laughing?" came a deep, gruff voice. The man who had me trapped against the wall looked irritated and I couldn't help but notice a small mole on the side of his face and point at it. That only made me laugh harder.
My head suddenly whipped to the side. My neck cracked, but the slap that this man had given me never even hurt. I was numb, but still shocked when I finally understood what had happened. I slowly turned my head to face him, but because time was coming at me in bits and pieces I hadn't realized what else he was doing until he had my dress hiked up around my waist and was going for my underwear. All my senses that were still in working order screamed at me to do something before it was to late.
"W-wait, stop!" I screamed, prying his hands away from my thighs. I was astounded at how strong I was, because I managed to get his hands away, only for him to growl and slam his pelvis against mine, making me cry out.
He grabbed my wrists and held them above my head with one hand and all I could do was stare in shock. Tears sprang to my eyes, but my voice chose that moment to stop working. I came to the conclusion that if I just closed my eyes, he would stop and just go away.
I never expected my wish to come true.
Before I knew what was happening, he was pulled off of me and thrown to the floor. I didn't care to really assess the situation as I hastily pulled my dress down, desperately trying to keep some of my dignity in tact. The tears came all at once as I stared down at the monster, who was out cold, and then to my savior.
He was considerably shorter compared to the man knocked out cold on the floor. He might have been an inch of so taller then me, but not by much. His hair was dark and wild, pieces of stray hair poking out from everywhere. I couldn't make out his face; all that mattered was that he had saved me from the biggest mistake of my life.
"You okay?" he asked as he turned to look at me. Everything was still fuzzy, but I could tell just by his tone he was nothing like the man who had just about pulled my dress off of me. "Miss?"
I nodded, but the tears that fell without warning told him an entirely different story. I tried to cover them up by turning around and picking my handbag up off of the floor. My hand seemed to touch another and I realized he had already bent down to get my bag for me. I was surprised.
He looked up at me with an irritated expression. "I think you better head home. Where do you live? I'll call you a ride."
I just threw him a blank expression. Where did I live? "New York…"
"New York?" He got up from his kneeling position and sighed, ruffling the bangs of his hair in frustration. "Right, let's try this again. What's the name of the hotel you're staying at?"
Well, this was awkward… "What?" Was all I could say as I hugged my bag to my chest protectively.
His look told me what he was thinking; how much has this girl had to drink? Without realizing it, I answered his unasked question – rather loudly, might I add. "I've had one shot! That's all, I swear!"
His brow quirked up slightly. "What pills have you taken tonight?"
I blinked and held my bag just a little tighter. "N-no! Marissa, she put something in my mouth but-"
I didn't get a chance to finish as he grabbed my arm and forcefully pulled me down the dark hall. "How many?" he snapped.
"A full one?"
I found it hard to keep up with so many questions I didn't have the answer to. "I-I don't know, okay!"
I stumbled as he dragged me along, just as Marissa had only hours before. I didn't know if people thought I was a rag doll, but my father seemed to be the same way. Drag his daughter this way and that just because she can't say no.
"Nice life story," I heard him say just as he kicked a large steel door open.
I blinked. I was baffled as to what he meant before I realized I must have said that out loud in my hazy state. I didn't have time to correct the situation, however, as the man pulled down the two steps outside the bar and passed the security Marissa had seduced earlier. He was about to say something when his eyes bounced towards the man dragging me.
"Ah, Mr. Lawson! Where are you going?" he asked, surprise edging its way into his tone.
The man didn't seem pleased. "Twenty-one or get the fuck out, what part of that don't you understand Jake?" he snapped.
His grip on my wrist tightened when this 'Jake' answered. "W-wait, I thought she was twenty-one. Her and her friend!"
This didn't placate the brooding man. "We could have had one fuck-up of a lawsuit on our hands if I didn't save this chick. Check next time!" He went to leave – with me in tow – but stopped to say something else. "And there's a moron knocked out by the toilets. Go throw him out!"
All Jake could do was nod obediently. That seemed to please this strange man as he dragged me out and passed the people who were lined up. I was embarrassed as people stared, laughed and whispered.
"Knew she'd get thrown out," one girl whispered.
Another joined in. "How embarrassing."
There were hoots and hollers directed at me, but the man never even turned around or acknowledged it. Some people called out to him, but I never caught the name, only the cruel taunts that were made for me.
I should never have left the hotel.
We were a good way from the bar now and I had rip my arm away from him. My feet were blistering and the pain was starting to become noticeable, even in my drugged up state. The man turned around with a sour expression on his face and I could finally see what he looked like. He wasn't handsome like those well kempt boys I met when I went to my fathers work parties. He more then just handsome, he was down pat the sexiest man I had ever seen in my life. His jaw and nose were perfect; while his eyes were the most beautiful blue I had ever seen. The way his hair fell into his eyes only added to what I already saw was perfection. Maybe it when I sobered up he wouldn't seem so good looking, but for now all I could do was relish in what my eyes were seeing.
"Where are we going?" I asked. For all I knew, he was taking me back to some horrible place to do equally horrible things.
His brows furrowed as he answered. "Back to your hotel."
I stumbled as I tried to take off my heels. "I don't remember where that is!" I yelled.
He was about to respond when he noticed me taking my shoes off. All I could do was yelp as he swooped in and picked me up, cradling me against his chest.
Being this close, I could hear the low growl against his chest as he said, "There's glass and all kinds of shit on the ground."
"My feet hurt!" I retaliated and slapped his shoulder. Although his chest was hard, I could have fallen asleep there if he'd let me.
"Ugh… get on…" he muttered, kneeling down and facing away from me as he did so.
I just stood there with my shoes by my side. "Got on where?"
"My back!" he snapped, only tilting his head to give me a nasty stare.
My mouth twisted in apprehension, but I didn't want to walk with blistered feet, so I complied. I jumped onto his back and wrapped my arms around his neck. He pulled me up by my knee's, which made me squeak from the way he roughly pushed me up to get into a more comfortable position, and sighed.
It was silent as he treaded down the street, until he finally asked, "Does anything look familiar?"
I shook my head. "No…"
"How would you know if your face is buried into my neck like that?" he growled. He was a very touchy person from what I could tell.
All I could get out was, "That's because I'm sleepy…" and buried my face back into the crook of his neck. He smelt so good…
I giggled. "That guy went down hard. I can't believe you knocked him out."
He mumbled something, but I couldn't hear. After that he finally said, "I'm a fighter, that's what I do."
I nodded and went back to nuzzling my face into his neck. It was so comfortable that I completely forgot I didn't know this man from a bar of soap and had no idea where he was taking me.
"So, what's your name Miss under-age and drunk?" he suddenly asked.
My eyes snapped open. "I'm not drunk, and I'm eighteen thank you!"
He shook his head. "Still under-age sunshine, and let me correct myself – drunk and high."
I ignored that last comment. "Well, what about you, Mr. Fighter? What's your name?"
He sighed and I could feel his back muscles strain. "Guess I'll find out tomorrow when your sober…" he muttered. "Not that I want to."
I was half asleep against his back as I asked, "Tomorrow?"
The last thing I remember him saying before I fell asleep was, "No choice. Have to take your ass back to mine, unless I want a dead girl on conscience for letting you walk around at three in the morning with no clue on where you're staying."
From way his breathing seemed to sooth me into a deep sleep, I really didn't want tomorrow to come.