Chapter 12: Smooth Criminal

Both Ivan and I walked aimlessly, away from the abnormal facility we had been held in and where Dieter still was locked up at.

The dirt road we follow was leading us nowhere and I could see the effect it had on Ivan. Frustration was obvious on his face.

"Ivan," I whispered as I dragged my feet on the dirt.

He nodded in acknowledgement.

"Do you have any idea where we are?"

He shook his head. "I don't even know where Rhett is,"

I bit my lip. "You must love him dearly." My voice was a soft whisper, barely audible.

But he did hear.

"Of course I do! He's my cousin!" He yelled indignantly.

My eyes shot wide open as I came to a complete halt.

His cousin? What the hell?

He noticed my reaction and turned around to face me. "What? You thought we were together as in lovers? That we were merely running away for fun?"

I frowned. "No, not for fun. Remember I did witness the bullying. But, you always look at him in such a loving way that melts even my cold heart." I admitted. "You act so protective with him as if a single feather were to damage him when we all know he is not that fragile."

He smiled slightly. "You have no idea what we've endured. He might look tough, but that's a shell to shy away everyone else. He tends to break down every now and then,"

I simply nodded, imagining the amounts of emotional pain they've endured.

The way I saw it, all four of us were in one or many way scarred. It was a trauma, heartache, an abuse, or all of the above.

We kept on walking as silence grew between us. The birds chirped as they flew above us. The air was dry and the sun's rays burned lightly my pale skin.

"How did you meet him?" Ivan asked out of the sudden, breaking the silence and my thoughts.

My head snapped to my right, were he had been walking next to me. "Huh?"

He cleared his throat, but elaborated on his question. "I mean, how did you meet Dieter? You two don't seem to run around the same circles, if you know what I mean."

I chuckled lightly. "You wouldn't imagine just how alike we are."

He frowned. "What do you mean? You are not a murderer like he is."

I looked down. I did not like that word.

Murderer.

I continued walking forward, leaving the question hanging in the air.

"Hey," he called out. "Won't you answer?"

I sighed. Might as well, since he'd witnessed partially what had happen.

I spun around to face him. "Yes, I am a murderer. Not currently, more like a retired one, but it's the same."

He gaped at me. His mouth was hanging open in either disgust or simple shock. I spun around once more and began walking again, leaving him behind.

He snapped out of it when I walked feet away from him. He ran to catch up with me and stood firmly in front of me, with a stoic expression, blocking my path.

"Would you care to elaborate on that, please?" He asked through clench teeth.

I ran my hand through my disheveled brown hair, my chin pointing up as proudly as possible.

"What is there to elaborate about?" I asked with a shrug.

He scoffed. "What is there to elaborate about? Are you fucking nuts? I need to know. Both Rhett and I have been dragged into your dirty world, the very least we deserve is to know why and who we are dealing with."

He was yelling now, his usual cool demeanor completely thrown off as he let his emotions take control of him.

I guess losing Rhett really had taken a toll on him, and although he tried to keep his composure, now that he knew where he stood and the dangers he'd expose himself and Rhett, he felt desperate. At least I would if I were him. I knew that feeling better than anything in this world.

I took a deep breath. "Well, if you insist then I'll elaborate."

A deep frown overpowered his boyish expression, his freckles emphasizing his anger.

I clicked my tongue. "Well, apparently Dieter has been on the trail to capture a couple of assassins who turned out to rebel their boss. That is how Dieter met me. He had some coordinates that his target was on the same apartment building I lived back in L.A.

"That actually happened last Friday night. He came into my apartment and took me as a bargain chip. He thought the guys that were following him would actually stop from capturing him if a girl stood in the way. What naivety of him.

"Actually, those people who were after him are the ones that capture us all. As you can see, they are none too gentle. Meaning taking me as a hostage was a futile attempt from his part—one that put me under their radar, threatening my life.

"Of course, he realized that once he'd exposed me and I'd exposed myself as well. When they saw me, someone must've recognized me and thus intensified their search for Dieter and now me as well."

"Wait," Ivan asked with his light brows furrowed deeply, almost knitting together. "You said that once they saw you, they intensified their search? You mean they were or are after you?"

I shrugged. What else could I do? Ask for forgiveness now? That would be pointless now. All I had in mind was rescuing Dieter before that sick bastard poisoned his soul.

I couldn't help but frown at that. Life indeed is a mystery. I mean, things do go around and tend to bite you when less expected.

I sighed, calming myself. I shouldn't take out my bottled anger on this poor boy.

I scoffed mentally to myself.

Boy. He was merely a year younger than me, yet because of our different life paths he seemed younger to my sight.

Ivan cleared his throat, snapping me out of my thoughts.

"So what do you mean?" He asked desperately.

I pouted. "I said I was a murderer. The guys Dieter was after was actually my father and I. He casually found me without even realizing and because he thought he'd endangered my life, he dragged me along to protect me. Of course, I had no idea his boss was actually the guy I'd run away from years ago."

Ivan's frowned only deepened as everything sunk into his head.

He stayed in silence for a couple of seconds, probably analyzing the situation.

"So this is your entire fault," he whispered.

I scowled. "My fault?"

"Yes!" He yelled as his eyes bulged out. "It's your fault they kidnapped Rhett! Your fault I got kidnapped! Your fault that that idiot of Dieter is being held still! You were the downfall! No wonder they say women are men's weakness and ultimate downfall! I can't believe that-"

I punched him on his jaw lightly to shut him the hell up. I had had enough of him blaming me for such stupid things.

His head snapped sideways, to where my head had pushed him towards.

"You stop blaming me for all this, alright?" I commanded, fury burning through my veins as I glared down at him.

He stared me back with a deep frown.

"Dieter warned you. He said not to come with us, or actually not let us tag along with you."

"Yet, you insisted him to allow us to stay with you! When you knew the threats we were up against!"

"I did not know!" I yelled back with exasperation. "You think I would've even stayed if I knew the danger it brought upon me!"

"See!" he yelled back. "You are a selfish woman! Only caring about you again and again!"

"Are you crazy? I had to sacrifice my mental stability just now for Dieter's sake!"

"That is nothing compared to what I just lost! I lost Rhett, for God's sakes!"

I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him threateningly towards me. "Listen to me jerk. Do not compare yourself to me." I hissed. "I have struggled throughout my life in ways that you cannot even fathom. I broke the only promise that held me close to sanity, promising Dieter that I would remain by his side no matter what, yet, I am gone now."

I released his shirt as I took his pale face now. I was scaring him, and that was not worth it. I shouldn't be taking out my built-up anger on him.

I sighed in defeat. "I'm sorry. I know it must hurt to have lost Rhett, but it also hurts me to have lost Dieter."

He sighed, defeated as well. "You must really love Dieter as well."

I frowned at that comment. "I do not. Not in the way you are thinking at least."

Ivan rolled his eyes. "Whatever, let's just get out of here. Let's try to get Dieter out of there."

We took several steps forward, forgetting our arduous dispute behind.

Out of nowhere, the gray van Ivan had driven us on came rushing towards us.

My eyes went wide as I saw it approach us with no signs of stopping.

Besides me, I heard Ivan gasp.

His gasp made me snap out of my shock state, and as I saw the van approaching, I tackled Ivan out of the way. We rolled off into the side of the dirt road as the van stopped just a few feet farther than where we'd been standing.

I gasped for air. That was a close call.

The door of the van creaked as it swung open and someone jumped out of it.

I saw reddish-blond hair that framed a very pale face. His gray eyes were wide with shock and his light eyebrows were raised.

I had never been this glad to see someone again in my life.

"Rhett!" I cried.

Ivan's head immediately snapped upwards as he took Rhett's figure. He pushed me off of him and ran towards him.

They embraced as Ivan slurred words with no sense. He was not crying, but neither was he forming any coherent thoughts.

I smiled and joined them in the hug. I deserve it as well.

We stayed embraced for a while, until Rhett broke it.

"I'm sorry. They captured me and made me tell them where we were staying at." He said sheepishly looking down.

I bit my lip. "Don't worry. Right now what we must worry about is getting Dieter out of there."

Rhett's face went into a display of pure shock and horror. "Is he still captured?"

Both Ivan and I nodded.

Rhett smiled. "Well, I have a plan, if you don't mind me."

I frowned, but listened attentively.

. . .

We scooted down the side of the faculty silently. The only light we had was that of the moonlight now as we tried to go as fast as possible without making any sound.

Rhett was leading while I followed him and Ivan followed closely behind me.

We approached a ventilation window on the cement ground big enough for us to fit. Rhett pulled out what looked like a screwdriver and in swift motions removed all the screws that held it and removed it.

We slipped inside cautiously as to not make any noise. The ventilation ducts were made of foil, so no matter how carefully we crawled through them, they protested against the weight inflicted upon them.

We hurried as Rhett followed the ducts as if he had a map of them.

After almost half an hour, we reached another ventilation window, only this one was connected to the inside of the facility.

Rhett immediately removed the screws once more, took a peek inside and pushed the vent open.

The three of us crawled out of there and took in our surrounding.

"How the hell did you even know how to get in here anyway?" Ivan asked a bit concerned.

Rhett shrugged. "That's how I escaped."

"Oh," Ivan simply replied.

Again, Rhett guided us through the facility. We ran smoothly through hallways and stopped to glance all around us. We inspected our surrounding.

I felt query. I was not carrying a gun to protect me. Here I was, merely relying on my basic hand to hand combat which I had not practiced in years.

We slipped under shadows, behind the walls and in any possible way to not raise suspicion, but now I was leading.

I remembered these hallways as Vladimir led me to where Dieter was being held at.

We approached the door and gently, oh so gently, opened it and peek inside.

Dieter was there, still handcuffed to the wall. He was crouched again, his head resting on his knees as he looked downwards.

I immediately ran up to him without even looking around anymore. I ran straight for him and threw myself on the floor next to him.

He jumped, surprised with the swift movement I made. But when it all sunk in, he glared daggers at me as his brows knitted together.

I, involuntarily, threw my arms around him and hugged him tightly.

"I am so sorry to have said such hurtful words." I whimpered against his shoulder as a traitorous tear made its way down my cheek and into his shoulder.

"I am so, so sorry, but I had to do it. Or else Vladimir would have killed you mercilessly. I just couldn't take that. And I'm sorry I broke my promise, but I am back, to rescue you and returned your treasure sanity. I am sorry," I cried.

By now, I wasn't containing my tears. They ran freely down my cheeks and into his shoulders and chest.

He gently patted my back with the chained hand as the other wrapped me in an attempt to hug me.

Rhett gently pulled me away as he pulled out a key from his pants pocket and released Dieter from the handcuffs.

Dieter immediately stood up and without hesitation he wrapped his strong arms around me as he pulled me closer. I stiffen at his display of emotions but let him be.

Then his lips brushed my cheekbones as I closed my eyes for a second. I couldn't help it. It was done involuntarily from my part. I simply gave into the moment without a second thought as I wrapped my arms behind his neck.

He ended burying his head on the crook of my neck.

We stood there and time seemed to stop for a moment. Nothing else mattered at that moment other than he was free and safe in my arms. I buried my nose on his hair with a sigh.

But he pulled away in a swift motion. I opened my eyes and realized Rhett and Ivan were staring at us. That was why Dieter had pulled away.

I cleared my throat.

"Let take our leave now, shall we?" Dieter whispered.

I looked back at him and simply nodded.

We all walked to the door and braced ourselves for our escape.

As far as I knew, we had no plan to back us up, no weapons to defend ourselves, and absolutely no idea of how to get out of there.

Ready or not, here we go.