(Yes. This is insanely short. And there was a long time in between chapters yes. I have been really pulled between what to do with these characters and this storyline, so this is sincerely the best I could do for this story.)
Ariel was tied down to the bed, with what looked like a gag made of bandannas in her mouth to muffle her screams. Her clothes were mostly still on, but the front of her shirt had been ripped all the way open, baring most of her bra and cleavage to the sight of anyone in the room. As Otis and JB took their first five steps into the room, a guy they didn’t recognize came walking from the bathroom. Not even thinking about what he was doing, knowing shooting him would have been easier, Otis swung the barrel of his 12 gauge into the guys face. Otis remembered one of the few lessons he had learned growing up. Beatings equaled less jail time than killing a man, killing someone was bad all around. But he would beat the fuck out of him.
Pulling his boot knife, he tossed it to JB. “Get them ropes and things cut, get her to the truck and cover her. I’ll be there soon.”
As JB cut the ropes and helped Ariel up, she looked at Otis. Looking back at her, he knew this was bad, and she was going to be scarred. This was insane. Why was he even here? Why had he got involved with this woman? Mentally shaking those thoughts from his head, Otis briefly smiled at her. Trying to sound as gentle as possible, he spoke to her.
“JB’s gonna get you in the truck, I got a hoodie you can cover up with and a blanket.” Looking JB in the eyes, he let every bit of seriousness he could muster enter his voice.
“Keep her safe JB. I mean it.”
JB nodded and began taking Ariel down the long hallway he had just walked up with her, watching the doorways and dark halls. Ariel tried to keep her view on Otis as long as possible, eventually losing sight. JB got her all the way to the truck, and opened the door. Reaching in the tool box in the bed, he got the blanket and Otis’ hoodie and she slowly put it on, her muscles locked up from the strain of being tied up. Pulling the blanket tight around herself, she started crying as JB stood by the open driver door. As if the sky was agreeing with her, the skies gradually opened and a drizzle begin to fall on the Earth, like the sky was crying to.
Picking up the ropes that were left mostly intact, Otis grabbed the unconscious man and drug him over to the bed post, and then tied him to it with a rope around his neck. Picking his gun up, he started walking into the door the guy had come from. As he walked into the room, the lights went out. He knew he was still standing by the door, he tried to block it, but felt something crack him in the head hard. He started falling, and his vision was blurry. He dropped his shotgun, and heard it skitter on the floor as someone grabbed it and picked it. Shaking his head, he tried to stand, he wasn’t going to die on his knees.
“Danny, fuck that! Let’s go!” Otis heard them run out of the hall into the bedroom, and heard them breaking the bed post, probably with the gun stock. He heard them pull the other guy up and start running. He struggled to his feet. JB and Ariel were outside, he had to save them, but he couldn’t walk Otis bounced off the walls, scrabbling with his hands to hold himself up as he stumbled down the hallway and finally made it to the front door.
“FUCKING GET THEM HE’S ONLY ONE GUY!”
“C’mon Danny lets go, he’s got a goddamn gun!”
The scene Otis surveyed was like from a hellish nightmare. The light drizzle had turned into a downpour and the visibility was near zero. The flashes of lightning were what really helped provide sight to everything, and words and Danny’s yelling at his friends was lost in the rumbles of thunder. JB fearlessly stood by the door of the truck, gun steady and leveled at Danny’s head. Otis watched as the three men climbed in the van and tore off down the road as if hell followed on their heels. Lightning struck, and the bright flash was a spike of pain through Otis’s head. Without a sound, his eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed onto the ground.
Hours later, Otis woke up to find himself on his couch, under a couple blankets. Looking around, he spotted JB sitting in the arm chair. He had moved it to the door, and had the shotgun which he must have recovered from the room and the handgun laying in his lap. Rising onto his elbows, Otis looked around for Ariel. Not seeing her, he tried to swing his legs to the floor and stand, when a bout of wooziness made him fall to one knee. JB’s eyes snapped open, and he jumped up to Otis.
“Whoa easy there big guy. Your noggin got knocked a bit, and if you pass out again, I’m not carrying you again.” Setting him down, JB walked to the kitchen and made a glass of water. Handing it to Otis, he sat back in the chair. Waiting til he was finished, JB spoke again. “Ariel’s in your room. She wanted to see you as soon as you woke up.”
Looking at his friend, Otis already felt less dizzy. Rising, he began walking in that direction. Over his shoulder, he told JB, “We’re going to have to answer for today and make someone answer for today.”
JB shook his head. Otis was already thinking of revenge. Fuck. JB leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. Fuck it, he was getting sleep first.
Stepping up to the door, he gently knocked. Hearing a soft sound from behind the door, Otis slowly opened it. Ariel was curled up in the corner of his bed leaned into the wall, still wearing his hoodie. Looking up at him, Otis could see the mascara tracks where she had been crying. Kneeling by the bedside, Otis sat there with his head bowed for a moment. Thinking of what to say to be helpful, words failed him. He knew nothing to say to her that could take away what had possibly happened to her, the extent of which he didn’t even know. Looking up, he spoke.
“I’m sorry Ariel. If I hadn’t done what I done to Danny, you would have never got hurt. They’ll pay for doing this to you.”
Ariel looked at Otis, and he almost flinched from the pain and the anger in her eyes. What really surprised him though, was what she said. “So then I can watch you get hurt for me right? Or do something that’s wrong in my name? You can’t do something like that. I won’t forgive Danny. Ever. But getting back at him, I have to do. I can’t let you do it for me.”
Otis nodded. She was strong. He liked that. She looked very soft, very spoiled. But she was showing him a strength he was surprised she had. Most people would be broken after this. She wanted to take it into her own hands and deal with it. Standing, he walked into his bathroom and wet a washrag in the sink. Walking back to Ariel and sitting on the corner of the bed, he offered it to her. She took it from him, the brush of her fingers making them both feel a spark of electricity. She took the rag and gently wiped her face, sniffling as she did. “Thank you.” She said.
“Is there any way I could use your phone? I need to call my Dad.”
Otis nodded and got his handset off the charger and handed it to Ariel. Dialing her fathers cell, she waited for three rings before he answered.
“Hello? How can I help you?”
Ariel sniffled again, and said in a heartbroken voice. “Daddy? I need you.”
Cole felt his heart stop at his daughters voice. She was hurt, he just knew it. Asking where she was, he wrote the address down on a piece of paper. “I’ll be right there baby.”
Cole grabbed his car keys and headed out his office, ignoring the calls of his secretary. Before Cole had met Ariel’s mother, he was a River District roughneck, busting his ass all day working his hands to the bone. His father-in-law had gave him a position in an office, to help support his daughter. Cole had adopted a lot of the ways of the upper class of society in his town, but his old self was going to come out on whoever had hurt his baby girl.