-1Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to "Red Eye"
Chapter One: Won't let you bury it
Jackson struggled to breathe as he was rushed to the hospital in the noisy ambulance. The nurse noticed his struggle and abruptly circled an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. He hated this. He was dying and he had no power over it.
Damn her. Jackson thought. Everything went along famously. Lisa had called the hotel, Keefe was to be exterminated. She would go about her life, and perhaps even forgive him and understand his transgressions someday. Everything went according to plan.
There was just one thing he didn't count on.
After the call was made and the plane landed. Lisa confided in him. Why? He didn't know. She spoke of her scar, and how she was attacked. That same scar he had brushed adoringly with his fingertips in the restroom.
"It happened in the parking lot... the scar... two years ago. In the middle of the day... he held a knife to my throat the whole time. Ever since I've been trying to convince myself of one thing over and over…" Lisa delivered her words adamantly.
Jackson sighed. "That it was beyond your control?" He spoke, with a hint of sympathy and sarcasm.
"No... that it would never happen again."
Before her words could resonate thoroughly, she had stabbed him in his throat.
-Something he didn't count on; her fortitude to fight back.
Jackson snapped out of the flashback. He looked around and noticed that the ambulance had stopped. Anger coursed through his veins for his lack of control. All he could do was lay motionless as his fate rest in the hands of people who undoubtedly saw him a villain. What would become of him now? Now that he failed his mission, he was obsolete to the agency. Also, the moment he'd entered the Reisert household, all hope was lost for him to walk away from this ordeal. At least not without a hearing or significant jail time.
But none of that mattered. There was only one concern on his mind.
Why did he empathize with her? She certainly was capable of taking care of herself. She had proven this avidly by numerous violent advances she brought towards him. It certainly wasn't pity. Though there was one logical explanation. Lisa had survived and witnessed a massive conspiracy to kill a prominent public figure. It wouldn't be long before they released a bounty out for her. Lisa would be killed within months. And for some reason, this upset Jackson.
Jackson scowled as he was now being rolled into the ER.
"Doctor, His heart rate's accelerating fast!" He heard a nurse yell urgently. He had now been wheeled into the operating room. But none of this mattered. Jackson's eyelids draped his eyes. He was no longer able to keep them open.
"Lise." He murmured under his stressed breath. She was in danger. Someone would try to kill her. He could feel beads of sweat rolling down his forehead.
He had watched her for eight weeks. She was his. No one else could have the pleasure, the pleasure of killing her. Was that what he really wanted? Nevertheless, no one could take her from him.
His eyebrows strained in an exhausted confusion. Jackson struggled to free himself from the restraints of the hospital bed, but someone was holding him down.
"He's gone into shock." He heard someone say. "He's convulsing."
"No!" Jackson realized he was powerless compared to the nurses and doctors in the room. He felt helpless and defeated. All he could do was lie there, he retreated back into the hospital bed. A cheap pillow was cradled under his head. All he could do was wait, wait until his strength came back. If it came back.
"Pressure is stabilizing. Heartbeat is returning to steady state.
Jackson spoke, voice strained and raspy from the small hole in his
neck, he passed out.
Lisa sat in the cold, metal chair with her fists tightly grasped.
" Miss Reisert?" A detective tried to catch her attention as Lisa jumped, startled from the greeting.
The detective felt embarrassed. "Agent Matt Wilkes, FBI. So sorry Miss, didn't mean to frighten you"
Lisa shook his hand as she regained her composure. "That's fine it's just…" Lisa paused as Jackson's smile swept across her thoughts. " It's just been a very long…."
" I understand. There's no need to explain." The detective assured her as he sat down across the table from and handed her a cheap cup of coffee.
Lisa managed to muster a weak smile as she tried to take a sip. It was terrible. Lisa swallowed the stale drink and sat the cup down.
"Now if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you a few questions." The detective pulled out a pen and a small yellow notepad.
Lisa merely nodded. She was too lost in her thoughts to do anything else.
"Now, this man, Jackson Rippner, he forced you to call your hotel the Lux Atlantic and switch Keefe's room. Is this correct?"
Lisa nodded. "Yeah."
The detective made a quick note.
"And you had no previous relationship with Jackson Rippner?"
Lisa's eyes widened. She had remembered something Jackson had said;
"You know what I think? I think you're not such an honest person. Because I've followed you for eight weeks now and I never once saw you order anything but a fucking seabreeze!"
Lisa suddenly was urgent to talk.
"He told me he had followed me. Eight weeks prior to this whole ordeal." Lisa paused, reflecting on the monotony of the past eight weeks Jackson must of witnessed. For a split second, she felt sympathy for his boredom. She quickly shook her head and dismissed the sympathy with anger.
The detective's eyes lit up. " Did he say why?"
Lisa squinted her eyebrows. She thought that was a rather dumb question.
"Of course." The detective slowly puzzled together the pieces and wrote them down on the little notepad.
Lisa's mind raced. Through the whole ordeal, she felt there was too much left unsaid. Not to the detective though, to Jackson. Something he said possessed her thoughts, probably because of her loneliness?
She remembered him saying "Pretty clear thinking given the circumstances. Wait, let me guess, some stress management courses? They're really paying off. When we get out of this, I may have to steal you."
Lisa could not pull the words "I may have to steal you" out of her mind. What did he mean? Why did he say that? And most importantly, why did this entice her so?
The detective could tell she was exhausted.
"Tell you what…" He said as he stood up and straightened his shirt collar.
Lisa looked up at him, pretending to give full attention.
" Go home, Miss Reisert. Get some good food in your stomach and for God's sake get some rest!" The detective insisted. "We'll be in touch in the next week or so."
Lisa nodded and slowly rose. Her finger's once more clenched to her palm as she walked out of the station where her father awaited her outside.
"Come on sweetheart, it's been a long, long day. You and I can go stay at your uncle's for awhile until they get the house fixed up."
Lisa suddenly sprung out of her silence.
Her dad looked towards her in confusion.
Lisa mustered another weak smile and shook her head.
"I'd really just rather be by myself for a little while. I think I'll just go to my condo."
Her father glared at her in hesitation. "Lisa…"
"I'll be fine dad." She paused and rephrased her words. " I'll be better off with time to myself."
Her father nodded wanting to respect her request. " Alright honey, but call me if you need or want anything!"
Lisa nodded. "I will."
With that, her father waved down a cab for her and she hopped in and ventured home.
When she arrived to her condo, she released a sigh. Here, everything was the same. Nothing was different. Here, she felt familiar.
After entering her apartment, Lisa plummeted onto her bed. The only retreat she could think of was sleep and the detective was right, she was exhausted. Lisa took another huge sigh, not necessarily of relief, but a desperate attempt to force something out of her; a burning sensation in the pit of her stomach. The sensation and craving for further fever. The kind of fever that could only come from a dark and sinister desire for Jackson Rippner.
Lisa shook her head in disapproval. This was the man who hurt her, hurt her father and tried to kill an innocent man. This was the same man who provoked a deep seeded hatred that Lisa had never experienced. What good could come out of seeing him again? Why in this dark abyss of a moment in her life did she seek shelter with him? A man who clearly by now wanted her dead.
Three days passed. Lisa attempted to go about her days normally (save her three weeks paid vacation from work) Lisa was grateful for the time off from work for she knew she needed it, but she resented it. The time off drove her deeper into isolation, and nurtured her strange and alluring thoughts of Jackson. Even though the temptation to see him was enticing, she knew no good could come out of it. No good at all.
Jackson awoke in a sweat. He raised his torso off the bed. He immediately clenched his chest where he had been shot. The pain came quickly and sharply. He had no choice but to lay back down in defeat. His eyes remained open.
"Lise.." He scanned the room as if checking to see if she were there. As if there were any probable reason for her to come.
As he looked towards the door, he noticed a man sitting in the chair next to him. Jackson scowled as he recognized the face.
"You.." Jackson sneered as he turned up his face in disgust.
"Miss me Rippner?" The man laughed as he sipped a drink from a Styrofoam cup.
"What do you want?" Jackson looked the man square in the eye.
"You know why I'm here. They sent me because you failed an assignment. I'm damage control."
Jackson sighed. "So you're here to kill me." Jackson decided.
The man laughed condescendingly. " No."
"Then why are you here?"
The man took another sip of his beverage, after downing it he simplistically said,
Jackson's stomach burned. He couldn't say anything at the time which wouldn't reveal weakness one way or another, he remained silent.
The man stood up. " I'm here to relay a message from the boss. He's giving you a month for damage control. You're charges have been dropped against you in the Keefe case."
Damage control. Jackson knew what that meant. They wanted him to kill Lisa. Then his mind switched tracks.
"They dropped charges?"
The man smiled. "Turns out I can make a pretty convincing FBI officer. The Miami PD handed the entire case to me. You're name has been cleared."
Jackson tilted his head. " And Lisa… and the woman?"
The man smiled. "Pretty little thing. Understand why you couldn't immediately finish the job."
Jackson's eyes burned with fury. He tried to cover this with another question.
"Did the girl press any charges?"
The man pursed his lips. "Nah. She was too exhausted by the whole ordeal. I'm sure she wants to pretend nothing ever happened."
This confused Jackson. Lisa was not one to cower.
Jackson quickly locked eyes with the other man.
"So, that's it then?"
The man stood up and straitened his shirt collar. "That's it. Do the job right, and all this will be over within a month." The man acknowledged Jackson. "Nice scar." The man pointed towards his throat.
Jackson turned his head as the man exited the room. The door slammed shut. Jackson looked out the window with bewilderment. He knew his organization was powerful enough to corrupt the system. That was not the cause of confusion.
Lise didn't press charges. This is what puzzled him. He had to find out why.
Jackson slowly rose, pain stabbed through his chest as he sat up in the bed. Jackson felt his bullet wounds. He looked down.
Amazing! The wounds were sewn up to where there was nothing left but scar tissue.
Jackson looked back over to the door. On the hanger of the door, was a black dress suit. No doubt left for him to wear. Jackson pulled himself sitting fully upright in agony. He yanked the drip of IV and morphine out of his arm as he threw the sheet off of his legs. He half expected himself to fall as he made his way towards the door. He had to use a chair in the room to keep his balance. Finally, he reached the door and pulled on the suit till it fell into his hands. He pushed the chair to the door to prevent anyone from entering. He dragged himself and the suit to the restroom and placed the suit on the sink. Jackson angrily threw off his hospital robe and started the shower.
The hot water was soothing to his injured skin. He felt the steam rejuvenate muscles that had grown weak from the few days in bed. The heat from the shower prompted a memory. He remembered the day he followed Lisa to the gym. Lonely as he was, he followed her inconspicuously into the building and watched her.
She was graceful yet strong as he pushed the heavy weights with her small arms. He smiled adoringly as small beads of perspiration fell from her brow. She was determined.
After the weights Lisa advanced to the treadmill. Jackson watched feverously as she ran in place for twenty minutes. Though he might be noticed, his attention and focus remained only on her. He watched as she ran, as fast as her feet would carry until the timer on the treadmill ran out. Lisa folded her arms on the treadmill's handles and rested her red-beaten face on them.
Jackson smiled. She was tired. It was strange, in every way, but over the course of those past weeks, Lisa had enamored his thoughts. He blamed her for his addiction. In ways, she was a lot like him. This amused Jackson for he knew no one like him. She appreciated her isolation from the rest of the world just as he did. In his eyes, he saw no sense in her associating herself with the rest of the world, for he was with her. He quickly snapped out of the trance when he realized Lisa was walking toward the locker room. Jackson casually followed.
Deep down Jackson knew it was wrong, the whole lot of it. But in a way he felt he deserved it. After all, by following her in the locker room, he was protecting the insurance policy. Right?
Jackson looked around before opening the door to make sure no one was watching and quickly slipped into the women's locker room.
This was wrong. He looked around. He knew only Lisa was there. Who else exercised at 3:00 a.m.?
The locker room was misty from the heat that emitted from Lisa's shower. Jackson closed his eyes. Lisa was humming an old show tune. He knew it well. Jackson sat on the bench outside and a sudden thought hit him.
What would she do if she saw me? Jackson soon swatted the idea away. He realized then he had came too far. If she were to find him in there, it would jeopardize the whole mission. Jackson swiftly turned away and slyly slid his way out the door.
Lisa ceased to hum. She could of swore she heard something. She peered her head out of the side of the shower curtain. The foggy room was empty. Lisa lowered her eyebrows, she was certain she had felt someone was there. She shrugged.
Better not linger in it. That's the kind of thing that drives you crazy.
Jackson finished his shower in the hospital room. He dried his body and hair the best he could with the cheap towel the hospital provided. It took well over half an hour to put his suit on. He knew very well he'd have to regain more strength before he met with Lisa again.
Jackson stood tall, fixing his tie as he looked in the mirror.
"Two weeks Lise, two weeks." he smiled in his triumph, removed the chair he'd used to block the door, and slyly slipped out.