Pain. Even at the recesses of her mind she felt it, stabbing and strong. Throbbing. She swallowed, her throat constricting in disuse and stinging with dryness. The urge to cry was overwhelming and her head throbbed with an angry burn. Her eyes were cloudy, the world in black and white as she struggled to gain consciousness. Turning her head slightly, she felt a pain in her scalp where Jackson aggressively pulled. Bolts of adrenaline shot down her neck in memory. Her nightmare wasn't over.
She could hear voices as her eyes flickered open. Dark shapes shifted in a dim lighting. Hr eyes opened fully and focussed on a white ceiling. A light was on her left which created shadows as she followed the voices. She found herself on a yellow bed, the blanket was quite rough to what she was used to, ugly in colour. On her elbows, she continued to try and sit up, adjusting to the throbbing in her temples and wincing. A door to the right let to what she presumed was a bathroom, the voices were loud with an underlying anger, Jackson's was distinct in it's scratchy hiss and she felt panic. Keeping as silent as she could, neck prickling in fear and eyes glued to the door, Lisa stood, her bare feet giving a soft tap against the hard carpet. She closed her eyes in a wince as her head pounded only to open her eyes to the bare torso of an agitated Jackson Rippner.
"You shouldn't have woken so early, Lisa." He said with effort, moving toward her. His tone indicated slight surprise and Lisa feared he would drug her to unconsciousness once more. She stepped backwards in alarm.
"What is going on, Jackson? Where are we?" She asked, her voice small and wispy from disuse.
"I can't deal with you right now." Jackson replied,giving a sharp push that ended up with Lisa half on the bed. Movement from behind him caught her attention as she sat up, he sat on the bed next to her. The man came into view and to her horror, she recognised the man behind him as he emerged from what she presumed to be the bathroom.
"You!" She gasped, his face twisted toward the side slightly and his own eyes recognised her own. Jackson blocked her sight as he shifted next to her and she place her hands on his arm and chest to move him.
"Hello Lisa." The man she knew as Mr Andrews, replied, eyes sparkling with warmth.
"You- Your- Jackson?" She began, turning to Jackson in confusion. She hadn't realised how close they were until that moment, his face aligned with her own, only inches away and she could feel the warmth he radiated as he watched her intensely. He gave a strained grin.
"Lisa, I see you have met another member of the organisation." He stated with obvious glee, his hands coming to rest either side of her, ready to grab at any moment. Realising this, she elbowed him in the neck and pounced off the bed on the other side.
"You work with him?!" She asked in disbelief as Mr Andrews moved toward her, she knew she was trapped but wanted her space.
"Stay back, Please, just, give me some space." She asked with a quiver to her voice, a hand out in front of her. She thought things over, whirling round and round back to when Mr Andrews often stayed at the hotel. Fury replaced her uncertainty.
"Wait-" She began in deep thought.
"I don't have the time or patience for your hysterics, Leese, time for some shut eye, don't you think?" he asked with an evil twist to his mouth as he, too, came closer.
"The file corruptions we had, that happened soon after your stay!" She claimed, jabbing a finger in Mr Andrews direction in accusation, he gave a strangely impressed smile.
"That was you?" She asked in disbelief, remembering the hassle and migraine from that particular working day.
"What can I say, Lisa.. I had a job to do." He shrugged. At that moment, Jackson's body collided into her own, his lithe arms wrapping around her, she kicked out, the blinds to the sliding doors rattling as he pulled her backwards.
"John, get the chloroform" Jackson commanded impatiently, effort in his voice.
"No! I don't want to!" Lisa cried, clawing at him, she threw her head back but he anticipated her move and gripped the hair at the back of her skull.
"No can do, Lisa, I have things to sort out from the mess you have made, so while good ol' John works his Doctor techniques on me, I need you quiet and out of trouble."
She shook her head slightly in disagreement.
"I know you will try your usual antics, Leese. God-damn it! You weren't supposed to happen." He commented darkly. At that moment she felt tears leak from her burning eyes, he was burning hot behind her, his scent, alarmingly comforting was as concentrated as ever. His grip on her waist was sure and unrelenting. His breathing was loud in her ear, the rawness making her shiver, the hand at her hair lessened as John came back into view. He was meticulous, his movements measured, if not cold as he poured the suffocating liquid onto the piece of clothe.
"My Dad?" She asked in a whisper to Jackson but her eyes remained glued to Mr Andrews. She began to panic once more as he approached.
"Jackson?!" She cried in despair. His hand moved to hold her across the forehead as the clothe was placed firmly over her mouth and nose. Muffled cries were swallowed by Mr Andrews hand, the vapours stung her eyes, making her cry all the more. She kicked against the legs of Mr Andrews and she caught him in the knee, his stony façade faltered slightly giving way to warmth once again. She heard him whisper shush's.
Back and forth from the office to the front desk, Lisa was having a busy morning due to a seminar taking place and over a hundred guests, all of which were no nonsense and busy, any fault or hold up was taken particularly bad, their eyes often narrowed, a skill she figured they had learnt in business and a sharp tone replaced the polite or jovial voice. Lisa was no stranger to the 'bi-polar' guest.
"Cynthia and Laura." Lisa called to them both at the front desk.
"Where are Tanya and Patrick Artash's room? I can't find it on the system." Lisa asked, typing away on the computer. Lisa, always a few steps ahead, was already checking 'The Big Fish' in the business seminar's rooms, any nuisance would cost them the seminar in the following year.
"I checked them into the rooms that you said, you know, the folder?" Cynthia replied with her trademark uncertainty.
"I can't seem to find them. Laura?" Lisa asked, directing the same question at the young but severe blonde.
"I handled the Masey's" She responded. Moving back to her assigned computer where more guests approached.
"Alright, I'll just check it in my office, shout if you need anything." Lisa called, moving away from the bustle of the busy morning.
"Lisa!" Mark called, the night shift worker asked, coming to the end of his shift.
"Michelle has called in sick." He continued, obviously apologetic for the bad news. Lisa sighed, shoulders slumping.
"Alright, I'll call around, we gotta get someone in." She responded, closing the door to her office. She took a deep breath and made herself a coffee whilst she rifled through the employee's on the system. No sooner had she sat back at her desk with her mug of steaming coffee, the office phone rang.
"Lisa! They have all come at once, and there is a customer without a reservation, can you get out here?!" Cynthia stumbled over each word, but Lisa had become accustomed to the harmless red- head and her fretting.
"Sure, stay calm, I'll be right out." She smiled and walked out to the front desk. The red-head was not exaggerating, the desk was swarmed with black and white suited people but no one seemed angry.
"Just hold on one moment, Sir, Lisa?" Cynthia called, twisting to catch her attention.
"Hi, how may I help you?" Lisa asked, smile wide and false on her face.
"Lisa, this is Mr Andrews, he wants to book a room for two nights." Cynthia replied with a kind interest. Lisa turned to the guest, he was by no means tall and imposing but he aired obvious superiority and his hazel eyes shone with intelligence. He had a sharp face, deep set eye brows, pointed chin and nose with noticeable cheekbones. He gave a smile which she returned, unguarded.
Lisa woke, exhaustion seeped into her very bones, never in her entire life had she felt so tired, so drained of a life source. For the third time, Lisa opened her eyes to unfamiliar surroundings, someone was close to her, a shifting of another body caught her attention. She was on another bed, light streamed through the curtains. She had never liked the stiffness and rigidity of blinds, curtains, she thought, were much more homely. Glancing down, she saw Mr Andrews touch her elbow, seemingly inspecting the graze there.
"Carpet burn." He stated without looking at her. She ripped her arm away from him, self conscious of her vulnerability, she sat right up and back against the headboard.
"Don't." Lisa warned, holding her elbow away.
"Where is Jackson?" She asked, looking around, the room was a pale green, almost stale looking.
"Do you worry for him or do you miss him?" He asked, amusement in his tone, a smile broke out slowly on his face. Instead of answering, she gazed at him like he was crazy.
"Who are you? I mean, who are you really?" Lisa asked lightly, genuine concern in her voice.
"I'm not in finance, like I said I was, I'm a doctor." He replied, almost warmly.
"At least, I have a few investments here and there but it isn't my job." He added, his stony façade crumbling.
"Where are we?" Lisa asked.
"Do you always ask questions that you aren't really interested in?" He commented, noting her abrupt change in topic after every question.
"She always asks questions that don't get her anywhere." Jackson's voice spoke up from where he appeared out of the bathroom. He was smirking right at her.
"And don't worry, Lisa, I'm just fine, no need to worry." His smirk grew infinitely wider, smugness coated his tone.
"I wasn't worried." She replied, shaking her head, glancing back at Andrews who was staring at her, she moved further away from the man closest to her. Jackson gave a chuckle at her move.
"I see John's charm has worked wonders, usually gets them every time." He moved toward his bag.
'It almost did.' Lisa thought, looking away.