Instead, I freeze. And he looks over at me.
“Hey!” he shouts. “That’s him! That’s fucking him! He’s out here.” The guy bangs on the door.
“Shit,” I say, and I run.
But not fast enough. The door slams open and the gang of guys pour out. They shout and chase after me, and I know I’m not getting inside that car before they catch up.
But I try anyway. I slam into the car, grabbing at the handle. I wrench the door open, and for a second, I think I might make it.
Until someone bangs into me from behind, shoving my face against the steel. I grunt as pain flares through my cheek.
“Fucking bitch,” someone yells. I feel a fist slam into my side.
I spin around, arms up, protecting myself from the fists I know are coming. I feel myself get pummeled, but I push back, kicking out. I slam one fist into the nearest face, cracking into it with a satisfying thud.
I learned to fight at a young age. I had to learn, or else my father would just keep hitting me. He’d laugh and tell me to get up, to get back up, and finally one day, I did. I got up and he taught me to hold my fists up, to swing with my hips, to use their momentum against them.
To use their pain against them.
I fight like a cornered tiger. I lash out, punching, kicking, until someone slams me back against the car again. I catch sight of Dean as he takes a pocket knife out, flicking it open.
“What the fuck, man?” Mitch says. The guys part as Dean steps toward me.
“Fucking rich piece of shit,” Dean says, his voice a little nasally.
I grin at him. “What? I couldn’t understand that. You sound like you got a dick in your mouth.”
His eyes flash red. I shouldn’t have said that.
He lashes out at me with the knife. I feel it cut into my arm.
Dean lashes out again. I feel the knife sink into my shoulder. I grunt from the pain as the guys pull Dean away from me.
“You’re going to fucking kill him!”
I dive into my car. I slam the door shut, lock it, start the engine, and speed away.
It happened so fast, probably less than a minute. Pain lances up my arm. One second, I’m fine, and the next, I’m getting cornered in the parking lot.
I pull the knife out as I drive. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s not a long blade, two inches at most, and he didn’t get it in all the way. I press my hand against the wound, cursing the whole time from the pain.
I park in the back and hobble out of my car. I kick open the door and shout into the empty, huge house.
“Fox!” I yell. “Fox, where the fuck are you?”
I stumble into the kitchen. I grab a towel and use it to hold against the wound.
Fox appears a moment later, wearing a pajama top, and sweatpants. He frowns slightly, unsurprised to see me holding a bloody towel in one hand and a bloody knife in the other.
“Yes, Master Case?”
“I got stabbed. Get the med kit.”
He turns and leaves. I curse, gingerly touching the wound.
“Oh, look at you.”
I glance over to see Jessa standing in the kitchen doorway, arms crossed against her chest, her eyes alight with excitement.
“Go away,” I say, too tired to fight her.
“Does it hurt?” she asks, fascination clear in her expression.
“Jessa,” I warn.
She drifts closer. “It looks like it hurts. How deep? Can I see the knife?”
I look at the knife in my hand. I flip it closed and shove it in my pocket. “Go upstairs.”
“Let me see the wound,” she says, hovering over me. Her hands come up and I shrug her off.
“Jessa,” I say sternly. “Fuck off.”
She looks at me, anger flashing. “You’re such a prick, Case.”
Fox comes back a moment later with the medical kit. He takes the towel away and helps me take my shirt off before looking over the wound.
“You’ll need stitches,” he says, opening the case.
“Fine,” I grunt.
“Oh, can I watch?” Jessa is practically writhing with excitement.
She pouts again. “Fine. But you’ll regret it.”
I glare at her, not really taking in the words. “Don’t make me tell you again, Jessamine.”
She glares right back at me, but she leaves the room.
I know I’ll regret that. Some part of me knows it. But as I watch Fox prepare the needle and medical thread, I forget all about Jessamine.
“No Novocain,” he says softly. “This is going to hurt.”
His eyes meet mine. I’ve known Fox my whole life. He’s been working at Hammett’s End for a long, long time. In some ways, it feels like he’s been here forever.
“Do it,” I say, and he does.
I’m sound asleep when my phone starts ringing.