Chapter One: We Meet Again
"I may just have to steal you…"
"I haven't been called Jack since I was ten. My last name is Rippner…"
"That's what I told them…before I killed them…"
"Someone do that to you?"
"Is that what it is?"
"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…"
"That it was beyond your control…"
"No…that it would never happen again…"
"You know, I never liked you…"
"I think you're not such an honest person…"
"Right now my job is all about you…"
"I may just have to steal you…"
"We'll talk again…"
Lisa Reisert sat up quickly as she awoke in a cold sweat. It was one of those nights again. Some nights she had a perfectly dreamless sleep while others she had nightmares of that flight two months ago. Well, actually, there were more nights where she had the nightmares than not.
At first they were all she saw when her eyes slid closed, flashes of that eventful night and morning. She would even go so far as to not sleep so that she wouldn't see them, but she would eventually collapse and after a visit to the hospital she stopped that dangerous act.
Over time they had gotten better, they wouldn't play in her head every single time she closed her eyes to sleep or even to blink, but they were still there. When she wasn't dreaming of the nightmares, she was haunted during the day by them. She kept a gun in her nightstand now, just in case for in the future. She would turn around constantly whenever she was in public or even in private, just to make sure that he wasn't lurking in some corner.
Of course he wasn't lurking in some corner. Jackson Rippner was either one of three things: in a heavily guarded hospital, in a heavily guarded prison, or dead from all the wounds he had received thanks to her and her dad.
Lisa figured that she'd be having these nightmares for some time more and would be paranoid for a couple years. That's how she had been after the…event in the parking lot that one day. It was still painful for her to recall that day. It had been even more painful for her to tell…him…about it. She had been a virgin.
But the nightmares and the paranoia had eventually disappeared sometime during the three years it had been. And eventually she would get over these nightmares as well. She was already on her way too, a bit faster than she had been with the previous nightmares. Maybe it was because she hadn't been violated, although sometimes looking back it certainly felt like she had.
Sometimes the nightmares now wouldn't even be the action parts, it would just be talking: him taunting her. Sometimes they would be only action: him slamming her against the bathroom walls, him knocking her unconscious with his head, her stabbing his throat, her shooting him, her desperately trying to get away, him strangling her practically to death, her stabbing him with her heels, and her standing over him as she heard the sirens coming closer. Other times it would be both action and talking, and those were the nightmares that she couldn't stand the most.
Tonight had been a light nightmare, with only talking, but it still made her skin crawl and still made her break out into a sweat when she awoke. It still made her heart thump in her chest wildly; feeling like it would beat right through the skin and onto the floor. It still made her look around her dark room, just waiting for him to pop out with that huge butcher's knife, ready to stab her to death.
But there was no insane assassin waiting in a corner of her room preparing to kill her using an overly sized knife. The large nightlight she had now made her feel a little safer. It let her see what was in her room, so that she wouldn't be panicking over nothing. She wasn't afraid of the dark, but she was still afraid of that charming homicidal maniac with the amazing light blue eyes.
She realized how unlucky she was with men. Maybe it was fate that these things happened to her and would only stop once she realized that she was doomed to remain alone and afraid and paranoid forever. Nothing bad had ever happened to her when caused by a woman, except for a few of the annoying guests that have stayed in her hotel before. And sure, there are those women that make everyone else around them feel bad so that they themselves can feel better. She had been a victim to that, but really, who hadn't? She had never been threatened or cut with a knife, nor had she almost been murdered and forced to help out with a murder of an innocent man and his family by a woman.
Lisa looked at the clock. It was three a.m. exactly. She sighed, realizing that she wouldn't be able to go back to sleep now, so she got up and turned on the lights before taking a shower to rid herself of the sweat caused by her nightmare.
In the shower she just let the warm water drip down her body, erasing all her worries and pains and leaving her mind blank. She loved it in the shower, because it was like it just washed everything away. It washed her past away, who she was away, and most importantly; it washed her memories away. It helped her to not think about…him…and what he had done, or tried to do anyways.
As soon as Lisa stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her, she felt the comfort and relaxation that the warm water had provided her instantly disappear.
Going back to her room, Lisa changed into a clean pair of pajamas and turned the lights on in the hallway, walking toward the living room with her towel still in hand, drying her wet hair.
She sat on the couch and curled up, turning on the TV. She let her wet hair soak the top part of the back of her shirt but didn't really care. It was just water and it would dry up and look like it was never even there.
Lisa blankly flipped through the channels, not really watching but just trying to get her mind off of things. She stopped on the History channel to see what the program was about.
"The public increasingly came to believe in a single serial killer terrorizing the residents of White chapel, nicknamed 'Jack the Ripper' after the signature on a letter received by—,"
Lisa turned the TV to the food channel, where she was sure that nothing would remind her of Jackson.
"Now, a drink that would go lovely with this would be a Sea Breeze. Or, if you're in the mood for something a bit stronger, then a Bay Breeze would work well."
Lisa flipped the channel again.
"And the winner of today's Lottery is Jackson Richards. Tell us Jackson—,"
She flipped again.
"Today the home of the Kents was burnt down to the ground from a stove left on and unattended. The only survivors were young Jackie and Lisa, also known as Leese by their close family and friends. They were left without parents this afternoon and so will be raised by their widowed grandfather."
She flipped it yet again.
"Jackson Rippner, the main man behind the plot to attempt an assassination on Senator Keefe. Luckily, his plans were thwarted by a loyal citizen who worked as a manager at the hotel Keefe was staying at during that time. The manager shall be unnamed for privacy from the publicity, requested by the manager himself or herself. Jackson Rippner was escorted from the hospital he was recovering in—from the wounds caused by the manager in a means of self-defense—earlier today into a highly secured and guarded prison. There he will serve a life sentence for his crimes."
She turned the TV off. She didn't want to hear or see anymore. Every single channel that she had flipped through had either been boring or had reminded her of him, literally. All the names had been close to his, heck, the first channel had even been a documentary about freaking Jack the Ripper! And on the fire one, that nickname, not to mention the names of the children, had reminded her of him. No one had ever called her Leese other than Jackson.
How ironic, really. Fate hated her, it must have. Except for the part where she stopped Jackson and saved the Keefe's, but that could have been just because of her brains and adrenaline rush, rather than fate.
Honestly, Lisa was lucky to be alive right now, and she knew it. She was lucky that she got away safely, her dad still alive and the Keefe family still alive. Everyone was alive and she was glad. After all, the situation could have turned out much differently. Her dad could have gotten shot. The Keefe family could have gotten blown up. She could have gotten butchered. Jackson could have gotten away with a fat wallet, still not caught and punished for his heinous acts. But he was now locked behind bars, and the world—and Lisa—were safe from him at least. For now, for always, at least she hoped so.
Lisa sat on the couch for a minute more, just staring off into space blankly. She then stood up and walked into the kitchen, sitting down on a stool at her island counter. She lied her arms down on the cold marble and rested the right side of her head on the top of them, slouching over.
So many times she had wished that this had never happened, that it hadn't been her that it had happened to. If her grandmother hadn't passed away at that time, then she would never have had to board that flight. She would never have met that charming stranger with the amazing eyes in the line at the airport and down at the Tex Mex. She wouldn't have learned the terrible truth that he was yet another bad man who had come to hurt her. She wouldn't have been threatened, and neither would her father, even though he wasn't aware that his life was in danger. She wouldn't have had to use a gun, to steal a car, to run a man over, resulting in his death.
Cold tears fell down her cheeks. She wished that none of that had happened. But most of all, however, she wished that nothing like that would ever happen again. She didn't know if it would, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to know.
It wasn't fair how that blue-eyed monster still gave her nightmares, still scared her to death even though she was safely locked inside her home and he was securely locked inside a heavily guarded prison. It wasn't fair how her every waking moment, and how her every dream, revolved around him and that flight. It just wasn't fair that he had become a part of her life in these past two months, a part of her life that she would give anything to get rid of. She would have given the world to forget the memories of Jackson. To never have known his face, to never have heard his voice or looked into those cold eyes, and to never have thought anything more of the name Jackson then just as a name.
Now every time she heard the name Jackson, or even something similar to it, she would go on alert. She would look around her, studying her surroundings, just waiting to find him watching her. She knew that if he ever stepped foot out of prison again, the first thing he would do would be to find her. And then he would kill her, maybe after torturing her, it would depend on how merciful he was feeling. The injuries that she had given him during their last encounter held no comfort or confidence for her. She was deadly terrified of that man, and she was sure that he knew it as well. What she had done to him were the bravest things that she had ever done.
She never wanted to be put in that position again.
Lisa looked at the clock on her microwave. Four a.m. How long had she been crying?
Taking her head off of her arms, Lisa wiped her tears away with her fingers and the backs of her hands. She lightly heard the gentle pound of a soft rain outside as it hit her closed windows, behind the black-out curtains. She didn't want anyone to be able to see in and she didn't want to be able to see out. She didn't want to know what was out there, if only to keep her safe for a little while longer than she would be if she knew.
Ignorance is bliss, after all.
Standing up, Lisa touched her hair with her hands, running them through it to feel how wet it was. It had dried up only a little bit. She sighed and pushed the stool to the island in. She wished that this was all a bad dream that she could wake up from, and that all that would linger was the fear of an imaginary man who had done bad things to her only in one single, worthless dream, and that she could easily forget him and move on with her life. Not that her life had actually been going anywhere, anyways.
She pretended not to notice how the other Lux Atlantic employees acted around her, but she couldn't fool herself into thinking that they didn't act differently. They were always so careful and cautious and nice around her, as if they were just waiting for her to break down in sobs and go on and on about all the bad stuff that had happened to her and how life was so unfair. Even Cynthia was handling more than she used to and kept on insisting that Lisa take a break or vacation and that she could handle everything just fine.
Just how weak did everyone think that she was? She had bested a trained assassin with only a few bruises and scratches leftover! How dare they think that she couldn't handle herself! Sure, granted, he was only a manager, like herself, and didn't really get his hands that dirty, and, sure, he had told her that he was a terrible shot, but still! That still counted for something! Yet everyone was acting as if she couldn't take care of herself. It infuriated and annoyed Lisa to no end. She wasn't a child, yet everyone was treating her like one ever since the Red Eye flight. Cynthia would offer to drive her home, to pick her up for work, to take her out for coffee and dinner and movies and shopping trips. What, could she not go anywhere on her own?!
Lisa knew that she should be grateful, but she wasn't, not in the least. No one was actually giving her or offering her what she really needed. She didn't want people always telling her that Jackson was locked up for life and would never step foot outside of a prison or courtroom again, or that even if he did get released that he would never come looking for her. She didn't want to hear that! What she wanted to her, what she needed to hear, was that he was dead! Only then would she finally be at ease! She wanted him good and dead and out of her life! Only then was she sure that the nightmares would stop.
However, the court had ruled that he spend a lifetime in prison for her crimes. She thought that they should have sentenced him to death. That would have been more befitting. After all, he was an assassin. He deserved to be dead. He had most likely caused countless of people to lose their lives before, yet because he was a manager and had never done the dirty work himself, the court couldn't find enough evidence to kill him. That was justice for you, unjust.
Suddenly the phone rang. Lisa froze. The noise had startled her as it pierced through the silence. She relaxed when she realized that it was just the phone and nothing major.
Walking over to the phone, she picked it up and looked at the collar I.D. It was the Lux Atlantic. Why would they be calling her so early in the morning?
"Hello, this is Lisa Reisert," she said as she held it up to her ear. Whoever it was that was calling certainly didn't care about her sleep.
"Lisa, it's Cynthia, I'm so sorry to bother you so early in the morning, but we have a serious problem down here and we need you." Cynthia said on the other end, sounding frantic. What was she doing working the night shift? Cynthia never worked the night shift. She was always either too busy having a night life or sleeping, like normal people did at this time of morning.
"Alright Cynthia, I'll be right over." Lisa reassured her before hanging up and putting the phone back down. She walked into her room and changed into some undergarments, a pair of gray, form-fitting slacks that were boot-cut near the bottom, a pink sweater, and black low-cut boots. Grabbing her keys and wallet off of the nightstand, she went into the bathroom to brush her hair and teeth and put on light make-up and then walked out of her apartment after checking herself in the mirror. She locked her door, leaving all of the lights inside of the apartment on, and walked down to her car. She unlocked that and slid in the driver's seat, putting the key into the ignition. And off she drove to the Lux Atlantic in the dark of early morning.
Lisa got there as quick as she could, which was quicker than usual because there was hardly any traffic on the road, reminding her that she should be in bed like the rest of the sensible world. But no, work always came first, always. No matter whom it was. She bet that work even came first with…him. Of course work always came first with him! In his profession, he undoubtedly ate, slept, and breathed work.
Okay, time to get off of that topic now, Lisa told herself. She wasn't quite sure how the thought process had ended up with Jackson—every thought she ever had nowadays seemed to end up with him—but she needed to put an end to it before it transgressed into anything more.
She strolled into the Lux Atlantic's lobby and immediately spotted Cynthia, worriedly standing in front of the main counter. She looked around and didn't fail to notice the police officers talking amongst themselves, which got Lisa very, very worried.
"Cynthia, what's going on?" Lisa asked warily as she approached the blond.
"Oh, Lisa, thank goodness you're here." Cynthia gushed as she turned to Lisa with a frantic expression. Thank goodness? Well, Cynthia always was a bit off; at least Lisa always thought so.
"What's going on?" Lisa repeated herself as she motioned to all of the policemen about in the lobby.
"There's been a…something happened." Cynthia said worriedly. If she had not taken a pause then the sentence would have made no sense whatsoever. As it was it barely made any sense.
"I can tell," Lisa said, trying to hold onto her patience so as not to get angry at Cynthia when she was so disheveled. "Mind explaining what exactly happened?"
Cynthia looked around and then took a step closer to Lisa and whispered, "Someone's been murdered. I heard the police say that they think that Jackson Rippner might have been involved." Then Cynthia started to break down in tears while Lisa just stared at her with a blank expression, not being able to soak the information in. "Oh, Lisa, it was terrible." Cynthia cried, "I saw the body drenched in its own blood. It was horrifying! I don't know who would do such a terrible thing."
"Cynthia," Lisa said slowly, unsure if she really wanted the answer or not, "who was it that was killed?"
"George Foreman," Cynthia cried, "a wealthy businessman. He was so young too, and unmarried."
Lisa inwardly frowned at Cynthia. She wasn't crying because an innocent person was dead. She was crying because she had seen the body. She was crying because she hadn't been able to get a date with the rich, young, eligible bachelor. She was crying for her own self-pity. And she expected Lisa to comfort her with sympathy and tell her how unfair it was and that there were other rich, young, eligible bachelors out there just waiting in line for someone like Cynthia.
Lisa would not tell her that though.
"Cynthia," Lisa said slowly and calmly with what little patience she had left, it was too early in the morning for this, "why did you call me down here? Why not the owner?"
"Because," Cynthia cried, obviously disappointed that her friend was not helping her, "a policeman wanted to talk to you."
Lisa didn't contain a roll of her eyes. She had had enough with policemen. She had been interrogated for all the information that she knew for three weeks after the Red Eye, not to mention had been placed in therapy. She was beginning to loathe how policemen and shrinks talked to her.
"Alright, thanks," she muttered as she walked away and into the crowd of men in the lobby, hoping that someone would see her and tell her why she was wanted here, and soon, too, so that she wouldn't look like a complete idiot just wandering around.
Lisa spun around to see a man with a long brown trench coat on over a pinstriped suit with a brown hat on his head and black office shoes.
"Yes?" Lisa responded. The man looked like he was in his early thirties. He was good looking, light blond hair and dark brown eyes. He had a clean shave and his hair fell into his face a bit. She was actually a tad bit surprised that Cynthia hadn't been jumping all over him by now. Or maybe she had but he had shot her down.
"I'm Detective Forbes. I asked Cynthia to call you down here." He said. He looked too young to be a detective, but Lisa said nothing about that. She didn't want to insult him for something that he couldn't help.
"Nice to meet you, Detective Forbes. May I ask why I was called down here so early in the morning?" Lisa asked him politely.
"Oh, yes, well, I wanted to question you a bit. I read your background file and I know that you've had quite a bit of interrogating in the past two months done, and I'm sorry that I must interrogate you some more, but it's for good reasons." Detective Forbes explained.
Lisa gave a slight smile. "It's okay," she reassured him.
"It's just that some people get certain information out of a person and other people get different information out of that same person. And some people just lie about the information that they may or may not have received, so I just wanted to find a few things out on my own to know for certain because I have heard some interesting information and some information that is quite hard to believe." Detective Forbes explained some more.
"Detective Forbes, it's okay." Lisa said again in hopes to calm him down. She gave a bigger smile this time. Pleasing people was her business.
"Right," Detective Forbes said with a slight smile of his own, "sorry about that. I haven't really been a detective that long and I guess I still ramble on a bit. Please, follow me to some place less…crowded…so that I may interview you better." Lisa liked that he said interview instead of interrogate. It made her feel not as gloomy and annoyed at the whole situation of being questioned yet again.
Lisa followed Detective Forbes down a hallway and then through a door so that they were in her office. She wasn't surprised that he knew where it was, but it did irk her a bit. The last time that a man had been so familiar with her life it hadn't ended up so well. But she kept on telling herself that this time was different, that this was a man who swore service to the government and its people, and not to merely his wallet and own sense of pleasure in killing people, or arranging for people to be killed, for that matter.
Detective Forbes gestured for Lisa to sit down in her chair behind the desk as he pulled a chair from the side of the room over to in front of Lisa's desk.
"So," Detective Forbes said once they were both seated, "George Foreman. Have you ever met him before?"
Lisa shook her head.
Detective Forbes grunted before saying, "I did, once. He wasn't very pleasant, I can tell you that. He's the kind of man who can make enemies easily. Young, wealthy, brash, cocky, thinks he owns the world and that he's invincible. I'm sure that more than one person wanted him dead. And, as it appears, your hotel seems to be the hotspot for people to get targeted by criminals these days. First people were planning to blow up Charles Keefe, a political figure, and now a wealthy businessman has been shot. I can't imagine how much those two things put together must hurt your hotel's income of customers."
"Detective Forbes, if you're just going to sit there and lecture me on the misfortune that this hotel has been entangled up in, then I see no reason for me to stay here any longer." Lisa said as she began to stand.
"No, no, wait." Detective Forbes said anxiously. "Please, sit down, I meant no disrespect, really."
Lisa slowly sat back down in her chair, eying the detective warily. "Then what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?" She asked him curiously.
"Well, we down at the station think that Jackson Rippner, you know, the man who planned a hit on Charles Keefe, we think that he had something to do with this."
"Detective Forbes, I do not need reminding of who he is. I do not forget people like him easily." Lisa bit out angrily at Detective Forbes. It was like he was talking to her as if she was mentally retarded, or unstable in the least. "And, as I'm sure you've heard, Jackson Rippner is locked behind bars in a well-guarded prison. So, I do not know how he could be involved with this in any way." Lisa spoke as if it was obvious, and she spat out Jackson's name as if it were a curse word. She did not like to say his name, not yet. She still hadn't gotten over things.
Detective Forbes looked to her as if he was cowering in his seat from her words. Did he think that she was scolding him for his incompetence? Who knows, maybe she was.
"Yes, well, um, our resources tell us that Mr. Rippner is very…persuasive, and can easily get things that he wants. And, we think that maybe he wanted Mr. Foreman dead. We think that maybe he bribed one of the guards down at the prison to let him use a phone in order to call the people that he's been in cahoots with and arrange something. He is, after all, very—,"
"Detective Forbes!" Lisa barked at him in anger and annoyance. "I know what Jackson is like and so I do not need you to tell me. I got to know him more than I ever would have hoped for on that flight two months ago. What I do not know is how you could come to me and tell me all these things that I already know! You're a detective, aren't you? Well, snoop around. Check the phone call records down at the prison to see when the last phone calls were made and where they were addressed to. I do not care about such silly little unimportant details such as this."
Detective Forbes was staring at her with wide eyes and his mouth was open a bit, perhaps in shock, or perhaps in fear, who knew?
Lisa then realized that she had jumped to her feet somewhere in her shouting and was breathing heavily. She calmed down a bit and apologized. "I'm sorry about jumping at you, I didn't mean to. It's just that I've been stressed lately and hearing of Jackson brings back bad memories."
Detective Forbes gave a slight, nervous chuckled. "You sound as if you haven't gotten over him yet."
"And you sound as if we were once a couple, which I would rather die than be with him." Lisa said with a slight, forced smile, hoping to make the detective feel a little better. "I've bottled up my emotions for so long that I guess they all just sort of flew out at you, I apologize."
Detective Forbes put some emotion into his laugh and said, "It's alright, Miss Reisert. I'm trained to handle this kind of stuff."
Lisa smiled a little more, although it was still forced. She sure couldn't tell that he had been trained at all, let alone to handle her lashings. He looked at this moment like a lost, scared, beaten little puppy trying to look as if nothing was wrong.
Lisa wouldn't have thought this man pathetic three months ago, but she did now. She thought that he was pathetic and sad. Even though it wasn't very nice of her to think those things, she couldn't help it. But then again, three months ago she wouldn't be in this kind of position. She wouldn't even know who Jackson Rippner was and she wouldn't be yelling a poor detective for very little reason at all. Instead she would have been dealing with him as if he were a customer, trying to please him as much as she could.
Three months ago she wouldn't have described herself as pathetic and sad and lonely and scared. But she did now.
Detective Forbes questioned her for a while, asking the same questions that she'd answered before. She felt bad about yelling at him though, and so answered all of them as well as she could with as much patience as she could.
And after an hour, she was walking out of the hotel and down to her car. It was six a.m. already, and she was going to go home and go back to sleep. Today was her day off after all. She hadn't taken days off three months ago, but now she did. Sometimes she just couldn't stand the customers now, and so needed to take a well deserved break. However, the setback of this was that it gave her more time to cry and think things over and through and pick at every little detail that happened two months ago. But, she figured, it was better than exploding at a customer who didn't deserve it. Well, didn't deserve it that badly.
Detective Forbes walked her to her car and just as she was getting in he asked her out to go get a bite to eat later that day for dinner. Although she felt bad for Detective Forbes and regretted yelling at him, she was not ready yet to go out on a date with a man. She politely told him "another time perhaps" and drove off in her car toward her home as the sun just started to barely peak in the sky.
When she got to her apartment she wasted no time in hurrying to get out of the car, lock it, race toward her front door, unlock it, swish it open, get inside her apartment, and close the door and lock it. She sighed in relief when all that was done. She didn't like going out at dark, even if the sun was beginning to show in the sky. She felt safer in the broad daylight. She was also glad that she kept the lights on in her house.
Lisa ran a hand through her hair and shook it out as she deposited her keys and wallet on the kitchen counter before removing her shoes and going into her room. Lisa took off her sweater and laid it on the back of a chair in her room that sat in front of an empty desk. She had a white tank top on underneath her sweater so she wasn't completely uncovered. Besides, she was warm and she was alone in the house.
Lisa walked over to her phone and answering machine and pressed the 'play' button to see if she had any messages. It read 'no new messages' and she was about to walk back into her room when the phone decided to ring at that very moment.
Lisa picked it up and said, "Hello, this is Lisa Reisert."
"Miss Reisert? I'm Sheriff Marks and I have some bad news."
Lisa stiffened. "Oh, what is it, Sheriff Marks?" She asked cautiously. She hoped with all her soul that it didn't have anything to do with what she thought that it might.
"I'm afraid that Jackson Rippner has escaped from jail."
Lisa gasped and chocked on her air.
"We're doing everything we can to find him. I just thought that you should know. I'm very sorry." The sheriff hung up and Lisa placed the phone back down. She couldn't believe this. No, it wasn't happening. It couldn't.
Lisa tried to calm herself down and took big, deep breaths and closed her eyes for it to help. It was alright, everything was alright. She had a gun in her nightstand drawer, all she had to do was keep it with her at all times and everything would be alright. She was, after all, a better shot than he was. She would be just fine.
Opening her eyes, Lisa turned around.
And she screamed.
A hand shot out and clamped around her mouth.
Staring into her eyes were piercing crystal blue orbs that radiated the coldness of the man that they belonged to.
"Hello, Leese, miss me?"
The next second all she knew was darkness.
Hey. This is my first fanfiction for Red Eye so I hope that you liked the first chapter. I'll get started on the second chapter right away! I loved Red Eye the movie. I even started reading Red Eye fanfiction before I saw the movie. Lol. I absolutely LOVE Lisa/Jackson pairings, so you can count on my story as being one of them! Lol. I really hope that you enjoy my story. I hope the plot isn't over-used. I'll try to throw in some twists and turns and add my own flavor to it if I can.
Please review. XD