Shade's Fall(2)By: Jamie Begley
After last night, when Lily had coded, there wasn’t anyone who didn’t know that he had reached his limit. He was done waiting. He had sworn that if Lily survived, she would be his. No more waiting, no more fucking around. He planned to get Lily the way he would have taken on one of his missions in the SEALS. It was why, behind closed doors, he was known as the deadliest sniper in the US armed forces with over two-hundred–and-twenty-six confirmed kills. Those were just the ones they knew about, not the privately contracted ones by the government that he’d still carry out when the price or the reason was motivating enough. He had been given the nickname Shade because of his ability to blend into the shadows, hitting his targets with cold-blooded precision that others considered impossible.
Part of what made him so successful in taking out his target was learning everything about them, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Especially their weaknesses.
To gain Lily’s trust, he had to find out her weakness. She and her sister had secrets that they hid from everyone, refusing to talk about Lily’s past. No woman had as many anxieties and fears as Lily without a reason. To reach her, he would have to overcome those fears.
Each time he had tried to find out about the cause of her panic attacks, he had been thwarted. Neither had she confided in Razer or Penni, his sister, who he had managed to bribe into transferring colleges to become Lily’s roommate, and not even the therapist Beth had hired. He had broken into her office several times, searching, but each time he had read her chart, none of the reasons had been addressed. The therapist was trying to build Lily’s trust slowly. Fuck that. She was for shit as a therapist, something else Shade intended to change. The only thing the woman had done was put a rubber band on Lily’s wrist, teaching her to give herself pain as a way to relieve her anxieties. Shade had every intention of teaching Lily the same thing, except in a more enjoyable way.
Shade sat by the bed, watching Lily sleep as the day slipped into night. When the nurses had checked on Lily and tried to get him to leave the room, his cold gaze had intimidated them into silence, sending them scurrying.
When the outside had been completely swallowed by night, Shade got up from the chair, going to the door and closing it after the nurse. Determined to find out Lily’s secrets, he only had one option left. Razer had let it slip that Lily slept with her bathroom door open, depending on a nightlight. Twice since Razer had moved in with Beth, their electricity had gone off because of storms during the middle of the night. Both times, Lily had become hysterical when she had awakened in the dark. Beth had to go in both times to calm Lily down.
Lily was beginning to wake; he had noticed she had begun to move about beneath the covers. He prayed the drugs would keep her disoriented enough that, when he was finished, she wouldn’t remember what he was about to do. Shade’s fingers flipped the light switch, plunging the room into darkness.
Lily slid the tape across the top of the box, sealing it closed. Her eyes went to the clock on the wall across the large expanse of the factory, and she swallowed hard. It was almost lunchtime; a time of day she had begun dreading each morning as soon as the metal door closed behind her. The same door that was opening now with Evie carrying in a lunch tray to the main office.
One of the workers seated nearby jumped up to open the door for Evie. She laughed, saying something before going inside and shutting the door with her foot. The poor man flushed with pleasure at Evie’s words.
Lily slid off her stool, stretching as she tried to ease the muscles that had become stiff. Her hands smoothed down her loose dress, which had ridden up.
She stiffened, turning toward the office door where Shade stood, framed in the doorway. Reluctantly, she made her way to his office. As she drew closer, Evie came out, giving her a friendly smile.
“How’s it going today?” Evie asked.
“Fine,” Lily replied, smiling back.
“Cool. You two enjoy your lunch,” Evie said as she started to walk away.
“Why don’t you stay and have lunch with Shade today? I’m not very hungry,” Lily tried to forestall the woman from leaving.