We are all bound by our decisions, and the consequences of said decisions. Those of us that are vindictive, such as me, are bound by the need to destroy others for the sake of revenge. Revenge is a primal and timeless instinct in humans, as is the need to soothe hunger or the sexual desire.
Daniel Grayson's smile made me sick.
The bared teeth he presented as he stood at the altar were enough to make me vomit in my chair, all over my lovely blue dress. Now, this was not because I was marrying him. No, it seemed that the minute I ended our engagement after supposedly finishing my revenge plans, Daniel turned to his hired help and proposed to her.
Or his parents forced him into marriage.
Either way, I knew I shouldn't care, because Daniel had been helping his parents hide their skeletons. He changed from the innocent give-a-shit party-loving boy I could easily use to destroy his father, into his father. It made me change my thoughts of him from I can't help loving him despite being the spawn of my enemy to I should hate him, but can't stop caring for him.
Yet, I knew Ashley was satisfying his (new) needs far better than I ever could have. If I hadn't found the evidence of my father's innocence so early and we did go through with our wedding I would've opted for a low key, more private wedding that would garner about the attention levels of Avril and Derick. If I could even be considered a celebrity, not that I liked to think of myself as one, I would be one of the private ones. You can't really afford to draw attention to yourself when you're destroying an empire. Beside the point, I don't like huge events, which this wedding was.
I was anticipating Ashley coming down the aisle, with her father in arm (oh, I was also forced to meet her family and pretend how happy I was for her and Daniel despite the recent breakup), both with even more sickening smiles. Why hadn't I brought my gun?
If I had brought it, I thought, I might have sooner used it to smash their teeth out than shoot them. Gleaming white fangs all perfected and without a New Yorker-style coffee stain in sight, which made me jealous. Those feelings were foolish, since I do have teeth exactly like theirs. I shouldn't care about appearance, especially since I was prepared to throw the upper-class life away once I crippled the Graysons and The Initiative.
Looking at Nolan beside me, I clenched my fist. He'd cut his hair shorter, which I thought had made him look less like himself. He claimed to be growing up, though in my mind he would always be the same, teenager-like tech geek I had known for years. He now had a new beau; a young girl from Pakistan named Padma Thakkar, who sat to his other side. She was a sweet girl, yes, but I made Nolan promise not to object if I kept her under watch. I didn't need another Tyler situation.
Daniel had Ashley. Jack believed he had Amanda. Nolan had Padma. I had no one.
The one man I thought I could possibly turn to was a boy from my past in foster care. He had a similar upbringing as me, his parents having been arrested after it was discovered they had ties to the Latin American drug trade. I had sometimes thought of contacting my old friend, whose name was Ethan Barrish, but knew doing so might mean risking my plans in the future.
Now was one of those rare times where I would allow my cold heart to warm if just a little and let it sigh sadly because I had no one who truly cared for me. Regardless of whether or not my mother was involved in the conspiracy to frame her husband and my father, did she still think of her daughter, who she abandoned when she was eight? The one thing I could think of saying to her once I found her was "Pancreatic cancer my ass." I let out a small laugh.
All the people around me were mere pawns; I had no real friends. I only pretended to like the Graysons, and to love Daniel and take pleasure in his sex. Truthfully, sex between us left me having nightmares in which he was Conrad violating me when I was nine.
"You couldn't just frame him… you had to do this too!" I had subconsciously said in my sleep, while crying.
"Shut up you fucking whore!" he screamed.
He pounded my most private spots, and when he came, his already scorching thrusts began to incinerate my walls with his hot seed. Even when he finished and left, I still laid on the bed, unmoving, my legs still open. Still crying. A little girl everyone stopped fighting for, as Nolan told me Jack had said.
At least Daniel wore a condom, because I made him.
The nightmares were easier but still humiliating when Daniel wasn't in bed with me on those bad nights. When he was and he shook me awake, I made up some bullshit about Frank pushing him off Lydia's balcony or Tyler shooting him. The nightmares were humiliating because I told myself that I should not be afraid of the Graysons. I should be courageous in secretly destroying their lives and the lives of their peers and colleagues, before revealing to the world that they were not innocent at all.
"Ems," I snapped out of my trance when Nolan hissed my name.
"You've barely moved since the ceremony started! You missed the deal sealer…"
Still looking straight forward, I began to stand up. "I can't do this anymore…"
The gunshot that followed immediately sat me down.
I checked myself over in the small window of time I had before everyone realized what just happened. I remembered that I didn't have my gun, so it couldn't have been me. The shooter stepped into view, and I immediately took notice of her long, wavy black hair and elegant couture dress…
The audience began to run just as I realized who the shooter was.
If she heard me scream out her name, she didn't act on it. She immediately moved to her ex-husband.
"Hello, Conrad." she said with a sinister smile. I kept my eyes fixed on the pair as her next shot ripped through his chest.
I turned to Nolan, who was standing his ground as Padma tried to drag him off.
"Get out of here!" I told him.
"No, I am not leaving you behind." He grabbed my arm and stopped resisting Padma. I bit his flesh and heard him scream.
"I'll be fine, Nolan. I can handle her."
He gave me one last pleading look before he and his girlfriend ran off.
Just as I turned around, I saw Victoria slowly approaching me, gun raised.
"You-You're…" I stammered.
"Amanda Clarke." She said, in exactly the same fashion as she did in the nightmare I had long ago.
"You foolish girl, you really didn't think I wouldn't figure it out sooner or later?" her gun was now pointed in the middle of my chest. "Your parents were mere insects in my web, food for my searing hunger."
That did it.
I slapped the gun out of her hands, buying me enough time to elbow her in the face.
"Wouldn't want blood on your perfectly made up face now, would we?" I asked.
She lunged at me, pinning me to the sand. She pulled out a knife and tried to stab me with it. My hands instantly went up to her wrists, and I broke them. As she screamed in pain, I landed two punches to her stomach, and then a headbutt.
When she recovered, she tried to grab my shoulders, but I kneed her in the crotch hard, taking silent pleasure in her yelp, and landed another punch to her face. By now she had several bruises beside her left eye, and her nose was bleeding.
I kicked her in the stomach again, knocking her back, and then stepped on her. I wished in that second I had my heels with me so I could crack her ribs.
Instead, I slipped my jade necklace off quickly and wound it around her neck.
"Where's the evidence?!" I demanded.
"I'm not telling you jack shit!" she hissed.
"Get the fuck away from her!"
Daniel came after me. "Let her go!" I dealt an uppercut punch to him, taking one of Victoria's shoes and using it to knock him out. Once he was down, I resumed choking Victoria.
"Where is the evidence, you little fame whore?!" I demanded. "You stole my family from me…"
"Believe what you must, Amanda, but you won't save your father's legac-agh!"
I tightened my choke hold on her. "Where. Is. It?!"
"Why don't you ask that wo-"
That was the last thing she said before blood exploded from her face and splattered onto my dress. Following the direction of the shot slowly, I saw a light brown-haired woman. She was…
I stood up and walked over to her.