So sacrifice yourself
And let me have what's left
I know that I can find
The fire in your eyes
I'm going all the way
Get away please
You take the breath right out of me
And left a hole where my heart should be
You gotta fight just to make it through
'Cause I will be the death of you
I Will Not Bow
Updated 12/9/12 with beta-d chapter. Mostly just wording changed, but you can still read it if you want!
Chapter Six: Visitations and Quarrels
Joe Reisert's heart stopped when he saw the two men in dark suits standing in his doorway. He knew it could only be one thing. And if he didn't see her with them now then she must be-
"Mr. Reisert, I'm Special Agent Samuel Blye," the one on the right said, interrupting Joe's thoughts. He flipped a badge toward Joe. "And this is Special Agent Alex Deeks. We're with the FBI. Secretary Keefe would like to speak with you. If you don't mind we need to sweep the house. Are you the only one here?"
Joe stared at them for a moment, confused. "No. My son is here. He's upstairs."
"Your son? Which one?"
"Which one? Why does that even matter?"
"Just answer the question Mr. Reisert," Agent Deeks replied.
Deeks waved his hand at Blye, telling him to clear the upstairs. "And your wife?"
"Ex-wife," Joe corrected quickly. "She'll be flying in in a couple days. What's this about exactly?"
Deeks turned his attention fully on Joe. "Secretary Keefe would like to speak to you about your daughter's disappearance. Before we can allow him in the house we have to make sure it's secure."
"Dad? What's going on? Stop pushing me. I'm walking."
Joe looked up at the staircase. Daniel was walking down, looking over his shoulder at the agent behind him, a scowl on his face.
"Just come down here, Daniel. They're here about Lisa."
Daniel looked down at him. He nodded and with one last glare at Deeks, continued down the stairs.
Once they were both seated on the couch, Blye left and returned minutes later. Keefe entered behind him, glancing around the house. Deeks pulled a chair in front of the couch and stood behind it. Keefe sat, unbuttoning his suit jacket.
"Mr. Reisert. I want to say that I am so sorry about the unfortunate events with Lisa. She's a wonderful woman and we're doing everything in our power to find out what happened to her. You're sure she didn't say anything to you?"
Joe shook his head. "No. The last time I spoke to her she was telling me she could come home. I didn't speak to her after that. It was only three days. I didn't figure I'd need to speak to her until I picked her up."
Daniel placed a comforting hand on his father's knee. "It's not your fault."
Joe squeezed his hand. "I know."
"And you?" Keefe turned his attention to Daniel. "Did you speak to her before she disappeared?"
"I haven't spoken to her in years. Not since . . . since before the flight. I saw her at our grandmother's funeral. We were supposed to visit for Thanksgiving the next year but then she went-" he paused. "Got sick. We all thought it would be better if the vacation was canceled. Lisa wasn't in any shape to take visitors anyway."
"So no one spoke to her?"
"No one that we're aware of. I believe her mother wrote to her but I don't know anything else," Joe shook his head again. "I'm sorry, Mr. Keefe. I don't know what else we can tell you."
Keefe sighed, running his fingers through his hair. "We just want to help you find her. After everything she did . . . she saved the life of me and my family, Mr. Reisert. I want to do everything that I possibly can."
Joe nodded. "And we appreciate it. I wish we could tell you something more, I do, but we just don't know anything else."
Keefe stood, smoothing his suit and tie. He handed Joe a card. "Of course. If you need anything, or think of anything else, this is my personal line. Please let me know if you hear anything."
Joe and Daniel stood, each taking his turn to shake Keefe's hand. "We will. Thank you again. We appreciate everything you're doing."
"We should go, sir," Deeks interrupted. "We have the conference in an hour."
Keefe turned his head slightly toward him. "Of course," he turned back to the Reiserts, a small smile on his lips. "It was very nice to meet you, Mr. Reisert; I hope to see you soon."
Blye moved ahead of them, making his way through the house. He opened the door and stood guard, his eyes scanning the road. The black Audi's engine turned over as the driver started the car in anticipation of Keefe's exit. Not soon after, Keefe made his way out of the house, Deeks following close behind.
Keefe waited until they were past the stop sign at the end of the street before he spoke. "What do we have so far from the disappearance?"
"Not much," Blye responded. "A couple fingerprints in the room but they won't help us."
"And why not?"
Deeks was the one that answered. "Unless it was a two hundred pound man that goes by the name of Marco Batoli, they're useless."
Keefe's eyebrows furrowed. "Why wouldn't he be our guy?"
"Because Marco Batoli died ten years ago. Looks like they were wearing someone else's prints."
"Which means he's good."
"How do we know it's a man?"
"Because the roommate-"
"- did see something before she passed out. The police aren't taking it very seriously, but they got a sketch."
Blye handed a piece of paper to Keefe. Keefe stared down at the sketch. His eyes widened as realization struck. An explosion echoed in his memory. His fingers tightened around the page, crumpling the edge.
"Why aren't they taking it seriously?" he uttered.
Deeks flipped open another folder, keeping one eye on his silently panicking boss. "The roommate's been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and has been in and out of several hospitals in the last couple years."
"Then how could she have even-"
"It was all over the news, sir."
"The police aren't really following this lead," Blye said. "Should we question her?"
Keefe turned away, resting his arm against the window and staring out at the scenery passing by. He still clutched the sketch in his right hand. "Do it. See what she knows."
One week. Seven days. One hundred and sixty eight hours. Ten thousand and eighty minutes. That's how long she had been there. That's how long she had been lying on this bed staring up at the little plastic stars that adorned the ceiling. There were twenty-eight stars above the bed; one away from the others, near the unused ceiling fan.
She was sprawled out across the bed, one leg dangling over the edge of the bed and both arms splayed out at her sides. She had the one window open slightly, the chill from outside mixing with the heat from the vent. She was bored. Jackson hadn't said one word to her since their first night there and Arthur only came around to bring her food or see if she wanted to help with something outside.
Lisa always refused. She didn't want his help. She didn't want anything to do with any of this. She just wanted to go home.
Lisa jumped as the door was thrown open but immediately stilled as Jackson stood in the door way. She didn't look at him; didn't even acknowledge him.
Lisa rolled over, turning her back on him and tucking her knees against her chest. She heard his sigh from across the room.
"Just get dressed and meet me in the barn."
Lisa rolled over as the door shut and tossed her pillow. It fell woefully short, landing in a depressing slump. She blew a puff of air out, her hair flying away from her eyes. She wasn't going to do what he said. She would stay in this room until he dragged her out.
Lisa flopped back on the bed, once again staring up at the ceiling. Her foot tapped against the air. What did he want from her? Why did he tell her to go to the barn? Why was she concerning herself with this?
With a groan, Lisa rolled over and pushed herself off the bed. She grabbed a sweater from the closet, yanked on some shoes and pulled open the door. Lisa stuck her head out and looked both ways before she left, waiting for Jackson to jump out at her from some dark corner. The cold bit at her as she stepped outside. She listened to the wind as it rustled the leaves around her and pushed the grass against her feet.
Lisa pulled a strand of hair from her cheek and hesitated as she neared the barn. What was she getting herself into?
Lisa stepped into the building and immediately found herself on the ground. A hand grabbed her wrist and yanked. She stumbled to her knees and then fell forward as a foot slammed into her back. Her breath whooshed out of her as her chest hit the dirt. Footsteps came closer to her as she struggled to push herself to her knees. Black slacks appeared in her line of sight as the person knelt down next to her.
"You need to be more aware of your surroundings, Leese. I could have killed you and you'd never have even seen me."
"That hurt!" she seethed, dust puffing from her words.
Jackson shrugged. "That was the point."
Lisa pushed herself to her hands and knees, her nails digging into the dirt. "Is this why you brought me out here? To tell me that I suck at noticing my surroundings?"
Jackson gave a half hearted nod. "Partly, yes. I'm offering you the chance to learn from your mistakes-"
Lisa's head shot up. "My mistakes?"
"-learn how to protect yourself-"
"I know how to protect myself."
"-and teach you how to survive against anyone who-"
"I don't need your h-"
Lisa was flipped onto her back and Jackson had his hand pressed to her mouth before she finished her sentence.
"Stop interrupting me," he hissed. "I don't need your input. You're strong, Leese, feisty, but you're not good enough to even take me down."
Lisa glared up at him, breathing hard through her nose.
"Yes, I know you beat me last time. But your dad was there to help you, remember? You don't have that luxury here."
Lisa flailed against him, kicking up against his back and trying to hit something with her fists. Jackson leaned in closer, putting them nose to nose.
"You need my help whether you think you do or not. I told you I don't want to hurt you but you're making it really hard for me not to. You've got weaknesses, Leese. You need to work past them. These emotions of yours are not helping you; they're clouding your judgment." He leaned back, straightened and pulled his hand from her mouth. "Now if you would calm down we can get started."
"Why the hell would I accept your help?"
"I've said this before. I'm the only one that can. Who are you going to turn to? There's no one here besides me that you know. Dear old dad is states away and honestly wouldn't have the skill to train you."
"And you do?"
Jackson stood up and tucked his hands in his pockets. "Yeah, I do."
"You're so full of yourself." Lisa pushed herself up. "Well I don't want your help, Jack. All I want is to go home. You have no right to keep me here."
"Fine. You want to go home?" Jackson snapped. He lifted his arm, sweeping it toward the barn doors. "There's the door. It's a long walk, Leese, but you're welcome to it. I won't stop you. Arthur won't stop you. Enjoy the rest of your life, though I can't guarantee how long it'll be."
Lisa's eyes narrowed. "Is that a threat?"
Jackson shook his head. "No. A warning."
Lisa drew back, unsure how to take his words. She straightened after a moment. "You don't frighten me-"
Jackson gave a bark of laughter. "I beg to differ."
"-so you can take your warning and-"
Jackson swung. With a yelp, Lisa ducked. His feet shifted on the dirt floor as he swung again, striking low. Lisa threw herself backwards. Her butt hit the dirt floor as he kicked out his foot, missing her by mere inches. He swiveled as he kicked out again. She managed to block this one, his shin hitting her forearm.
His hand wrapped around her ankle and yanked her forward. She slid against the ground, staring up at him. Jackson stepped over her, both his feet planted on either side of her hips. Jackson grabbed her wrist and pulled up, straightening her back. It wasn't lost on her that she was staring straight at his groin. The thought also wasn't lost on her that she could simply perform a head butt and he'd go down.
But for some reason she knew he'd expect that and deflect it. How did she know he didn't have a metal plate there just for that purpose?
Jackson's free hand trailed from her forehead to her chin, tilting her face up to look at him. "You're good at defense, Leese, your weakness is offense. I've already said it before, and I really don't feel like discussing it again, but I'm not here to hurt you."
"I don't believe you."
Jackson crouched down, bringing them to eye level. "Then I guess we're at a stalemate."
Lisa smiled sweetly in response. Seconds later the peak of her forehead slammed into his. She launched herself to her feet, pushing the dazed Jackson out of her way. Lisa bolted from the barn, aiming for the relative safety of her room.
The door slamming reverberated through the house. A thin form ran past the door to the room he was occupying followed by footsteps pounding up the staircase. Arthur sighed. It looked like things weren't going to be as simple as he thought. He had hoped that they would have been able to work around their differences.
But in hindsight he should have known it would have taken them longer than a week to get used to each other.
Arthur set the book back on the table and stood up. He walked slowly to the phone and picked it up. He waited as it rang and a voice answered. "Hey, it's Arthur." Arthur turned to look out the window, staring at the barn and the small form he could just barely see on the ground. "There's someone here you need to see."
Jackson pushed himself up to his elbows. As much as he prided himself on being able to read people she had surprised him again. He should have expected her to attack. How many times had she lulled him into a false sense of security?
Too many times for his ego to admit.
He fell back again to look at the barn ceiling, the cold from the ground seeping into his clothes. Jackson had no idea what the fuck he was doing. He should just keep her locked in the house as far away from him as possible. His life, even as screwed up as it already was, would be a whole hell of a lot more peaceful.
But his father had been right. Right now she'd only be a hindrance. And he was doing this for her own good. Lisa needed to get stronger; she needed to be able to protect herself. If she were ever able to actually get away from him she'd be dead within a day. He hadn't lied to her when he told her she could leave. He wouldn't stop her. He'd done what he did for his own reasons. But in typical Leese fashion he knew she wouldn't believe him.
If he'd known she was going to be this much trouble he wouldn't have taken her. He snorted. That was a lie. He knew no matter what he would have taken her. He couldn't have left her to that.
Jackson wiped his eyes. This whole thing was making him tired. He hadn't slept a full night in over a month; paranoia edged its way through his mind in his sleep. And that wasn't like him. He didn't worry about stuff like this. His life was set. He could handle any problem and tackle any hurdle. Nothing could get to him.
"I see things went well."
"Did you talk to her or just rush into it?"
"I showed her what she needed to see."
Arthur was silent. He looked down at Jackson as he lay on the ground, one hand still over his eyes. He looked as if the world was weighing him down. "I remember you looking like that when you were a boy," he finally stated.
Jackson's hand dropped away and his eyes flicked up.
"When you first came here you looked as if the world was on your shoulders. You would lie on your bed for days at a time staring at the ceiling or sleeping. I tried to talk to you and you gave me nothing but the silent treatment. It took me weeks to get through to you. But I understood. I had to go slow; I had to give you time and when you were ready to talk to me I knew you would.
"I knew you would need someone after a while and I knew you would open up to me. After a trauma like that you would need someone to stand by you. I swore to myself then that I would always be there if you needed me," he stopped and rubbed his chin. "I'm here for you now like I was then. And I'm here to give you advice just like I used to be."
Jackson sat up, brushing the dirt from his hair. "What are you trying to say?"
"I'm saying give her time. She'll come around. She'll realize that what you're trying to do is help her. Just don't do anything rash. I know how you can be when you get angry." He stepped up to Jackson's side, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Now do your old man a favor and chop some fire wood for me. They say it's going to be a cold one tonight. Winter should finally be kicking back in."
Soft thuds echoed through the fields. Lisa stirred. She had fallen into a fitful sleep with dreams of madmen. She swung her legs over the edge and padded to the window. Jackson stood by an old tree stump, an axe in hand. Lisa watched, mesmerized, as he swung the axe back and pulled it up, slamming the head into the wood, splitting it in two.
Even from this distance she could see the muscles in his back and arms as they coiled and recoiled with each swing. Every chunk of wood fell to the side after each slice. Despite the cool air, Jackson had taken the button down shirt off. He stopped for a moment and let the axe hang down by his side with the head resting on the ground. He reached around and wiped the sweat from the back of his neck.
Lisa's eyes were drawn to the scars on his back. They trailed across the plane of his back, from the curve of his shoulders to caress the vertebrae of his spine. The dark lines were scattered over his skin from his lower back to the base of his neck. They were healed enough that Lisa could tell they weren't new but she still couldn't tell exactly how old they were.
As if sensing that she was watching, Jackson swiveled on his feet, his gaze shooting up to her window. Lisa jerked and shifted to the side of the window, trying to hide behind the curtain. His expression softened inexplicably as he stared at the window. He scowled after a moment as if a dark cloud rolled through his thoughts.
He turned back around, righted a piece of wood on the stump and swung with what looked like all his might. The wood splintered into more pieces than Lisa was sure it was supposed to.
Lisa tilted her head to the side slightly. She couldn't help but admire the strength in every strike. The axe was pulled back and rotated forward with a smooth arc. It was impressive. Something she'd always seen but never been able to do on the trips her family had taken to local farms when she was a child. The force it took to split the wood with one strike had always amazed her.
Lisa drew up straight and scowled at her thoughts. There was nothing admirable about this man. He'd done nothing but ruin her life since she met him. There was no redeeming quality about this man. Granted his father seemed to be a decent human being. It was a shame that the son turned out to be an ass.
Lisa watched as Jackson straightened and turned to the right like he had heard something, the axe hanging loosely by his side. Lisa leaned into the window to look in that direction but saw nothing. She looked back at Jackson. He hadn't moved, his eyes narrowed as he stared into the distance.
She saw the movement at the same time he did. Lisa fought back the urge to bang on the window, to warn him that something was coming. If he was as good as he said he was then he could take care of himself.
And he surprised her. The axe slipped from his grip and fell to the ground. Jackson turned slightly, bending his knees as if preparing for a hit. Seconds later a small form barreled into him.
Lisa didn't even wait to see if he was okay. Despite her better judgment she bolted from her room and down the stairs.
"You're sure, Miss Samuels?" Blye asked as he held the picture out again. "This is the man you saw?"
Haley squinted at the photo and nodded. "Yeah. He was acting as a new nurse. Gave us our meds that night."
"Okay. Thank you for all of your help. We'll be in touch if we need anything else."
Blye lifted his phone to his ear as he walked out, exchanging glances with his partner.
"Yes, sir. She verified it." He paused. "It's Rippner"
AN: Taa daa! It's up! Yay! I hope that all of you guys like it. It's taken me a while, and a little diversion into starting to write a sequel to Be Mine, but I finished it! Now off to start chapter 17 of Always!
MsRainbowbrite12: Thank you! I didn't want to have the same old 'kidnapping' plot so I did alter it a little. I hope you enjoyed this chapter as well!
Inday: I did! Great catch! I loved that movie the first time I saw it. And I was writing Arthur during it. I figured it would be fitting. I'm glad that you enjoy Arthur. I wanted him to be the calm presence around them to maybe help them see some reason. He knows it's going to be like watching out for land mines. One misstep could put them both over the edge.
I wanted this story to take on something different for his family. Jackson does have some dark things in his past (which you'll find out in later chapters) so his family life wasn't all copacetic. And Arthur takes a lot of that on himself. He feels, at times, that he failed his son so he's trying to make up for it.
JKat: Thank you! I don't have any plans to stop writing this one. In fact, I've actually started making notes on how it ends. So now I've got to finish it.
Kungpow333: Thank you very much! I'm glad that you're enjoying it!
Amelia: I'm glad that you're enjoying it! It makes me so happy when people like what I write. Arthur's last name was actually taken from Cillian Murphy's character in Perrier's Bounty. I watched the movie when I was writing him so I figured it was fitting.
Jessica: I'm glad that you like it! I try to hold suspense as long as I can. Sometimes I feel like I don't quite pull it off, but I guess I do! I hope you like the new chapter!