Isaac comes to find me the next evening while I'm chilling in my room.
"I'm going to speak to Adrianna." He says, leaning against the open doorway. "Come with me."
"Why?" It's not that I don't want to help. I simply don't know why he might need my help.
Isaac wanders over to the bed and sits down beside me. "I need you to stop me doing something I'll regret." His voice is low.
"Whatever Adrianna asks of me. I would do almost anything to protect my sister." Looking in his eyes, I see the truth in his words. I expect it to scare me, but it doesn't. Instead, it makes me want to love him more.
"Come on, then."
We grab shoes and coats before leaving the house. Isaac ushers me into his car. He seems to know exactly where Adrianna will be.
We stop outside a solitary cottage. Unlike the cottage that was supposed to be mine, this one is rundown. The roof's thatching is crooked. No flowers grow in the garden. The building itself seems to be blackening to a shadow of its former self.
Without a word, Isaac escorts me around the cottage to a side door. The door has a keypad, and Isaac types in a pin code. It silently swings open to reveal a metallic staircase leading underground.
"What is all this?" I ask suspiciously.
"I'll explain everything later."
Isaac attempts to walk through the door. I block his path.
"Tell me what I'm getting myself into." I demand. "I didn't sign up for more secrets when I agreed to join you."
Isaac sighs. "I told you the bullies asked me to join them, didn't I?" I nod. "I was more involved than you think. This was their hideout. I might not have been one of them, but I still hung out with them here sometimes." Shame graces his face.
"You mean you were friends with them?" I'm kind of disgusted, but mostly shocked.
"For a time, yes. Do you still want to come in with me?" Isaac sounds like it wouldn't surprise him if I replied 'no'.
"Yes." I don't hesitate. "Don't think you can scare me away so easily after being there for me these past few months."
I move aside and he leads the way into Adrianna's hidden hideout.
The hideout itself is a combination between a futuristic office and a gothic lair. Sleek black and silver furniture litters the large room. An impressive display of computer monitors shows various images, including Isaac's car parked outside the cottage. Electronic lanterns cast an orange glow over the dark space.
Adrianna slouches on a black beanbag, tapping away on her phone. "I'm glad you made it." She says, not bothering to look up at us.
"What's the deal?" Isaac asks.
Adrianna sighs, sets down her phone, and turns to face us. "All work and no play. Sure I can't tempt you?" She runs a hand from her neck down her body, clothed in skimpy latex. I can't imagine her walking out in the cold wearing such little fabric.
"Don't even try it." Isaac cautions, wrapping an arm around my waist.
"You used to be so much more fun." She pouts, standing up to be on a more equal level with us. "I bet she's never moaned for you as much as I have."
The words cut me like a knife in the heart. Maybe there are things I've neglected to tell Isaac. But this revelation makes me re-evaluate him completely. How well do I really know him?
The arm around my waist tightens, pulling me in closer to him. It such a simple gesture, but it means so much to me. No matter what happened in Isaac's past, I trust him in the present.
"I have never moaned for him because our relationship is based on so much more than physical touch." I retort, returning Isaac's gesture by wrapping an arm around his own waist.
"How sweet. Urgh. You're making me want to puke." Adrianna says. "Alright, look, here's the deal. I was making some easy cash with illegal goods and you'd never believe what happened, Isaac. Your sister came to me, wanting in on it."
"Quit wasting my time." Isaac interrupts, clearly annoyed. "Kelly is no criminal."
"People you know very well can still surprise you." Adrianna's words resonate with me more than I'd like to admit. "Anyway, long story short she's been kidnapped by my biggest competition. Help me take them out, and you'll be reunited with your sister."
Isaac just stands there, staring at her.
Then he charges. One moment his hand is on my hip, the next, it's gripping Adrianna's throat. He pins her against a nearby wall with his other hand. I've never seen him so wild, so feral, before.
"How dare you manipulate her like that." Isaac growls.
"She made her own choices." Adrianna chokes out. Her vocal cords are strained, but I don't think Isaac's pressing hard enough to do any serious damage.
"She's only a child."
"She's still a person. With freedom and desires." Adrianna counters.
"I could kill you; you know." Isaac roars. "I could kill you for this."
"Isaac." I call his name warily. I definitely do not want to witness another murder.
Isaac pauses as he seems to remember All Hallows night. After a few long moments, he releases his grip on Adrianna. She wheezes, drawing air back into her lungs. Before I can even anticipate it, Isaac slaps her face. Hard. Her head swings sideways and she clutches her cheek. Isaac steps back, glaring and clenching his fists.
"I'm not someone you want to attack." Adrianna hisses, baring her fangs.
"Careful with those teeth. You drink anyone's blood and you go to jail." Isaac cautions.
"As if that would stop me. Those stupid laws only exist to stop unseelies figuring out that magic is real. They just don't want everyone walking around with bite marks. There's a reason drinking blood from the veins is still legal with a person's consent."
"Then I guess it's a shame no one here consents." I say sarcastically.
"Did I ask your opinion?" She snarls at me. "Who are you, anyway?" The thought of how she might react to the truth makes me want to laugh.
"Hi. I'm Ally. Nice to meet you." I give her a sickly sweet smile.
Adrianna rolls her eyes.
"Back to my sister," Isaac begins, grinding out the words. "How soon can we go after her?"
"I'm glad you're on board." Adrianna grins wickedly. "Are you up for it now?"
Me and Isaac share a glance, silently asking each other the same question: Are we ready for whatever danger we're about to get ourselves into?
"Yes." Isaac answers. "I just need to let my parents know to expect us back late."
"You drive and I'll give you directions." Adrianna instructs as Isaac begins typing on his phone.
"You'd better not be sending us on a wild goose chase." I warn.
"I might not care about Kelly, but I do care about my business. Yes, I'm using you. But I know Isaac will dish out consequences if I lie to him about his sister." I swallow as she mentions 'consequences'. She spots my reaction. "You've never seen his dark side before, have you?" She croons, even though her voice is softer than it's been all evening.
"I know he's fought you before."
She snorts. "His moral compass is a lot more unstable than you think."
"That's enough." Isaac snaps, putting his phone away.
"Aww, you're still too much of a coward to achieve your full potential." She taunts.
"If I was a coward, I wouldn't have stepped foot in this place." He argues.
"Let's just agree to set our differences aside and get going." I say, turning back towards the stairs. Surprisingly, Isaac and Adrianna follow me in silence all the way to the car.