Lorelei hates this bit. The silent, waiting in the dim bit. She gets it, really, waiting for an answer from someone your extorting isn’t meant to be very action-packed, but she hates it all the same. It’s her least favorite part about kidnappings.
She doesn’t mind the waiting, though the metal cuffs chaff her wrists, she doesn’t even mind the threatening stares nor the glint of hidden weapons, she experiences those things on an almost daily basis. No, what she hates most about this boring bit, is the silence.
Lorelei’s never liked the silence. Cruel things live in the silence. The waiting quiet where you stand very still and hold your breath, hoping that whatever caused the silence doesn’t find you. She doesn’t trust silence. A thing she was supposed to leave behind when she found her real family.
Lorelei sighs, a near-silent sound, as she slumps in her chair. She wants her family. The one she chose that made so much noise and carried with them that soft sent of fresh blood and the threat of violence with every step. Her family is not kind, not to anyone outside their circle anyway, but that isn’t really Lorelei’s problem. At least, it wasn’t a problem she looked at too closely at when she was younger. She’d been told to expect fights, expect to see gore and blood, though her adoptive Father and brother’s tried to keep her from seeing too much. Lorelei expected many nasty things when she joined them, but this? This hadn’t been something she expected. This boring waiting bit between the initial grabbing and the climax of violence sure to come.
Kidnappings for money or power, as well as threats to her life made to slow or stop her family, she had been told to expect. Not that it bothered her too much. It spoke of the power her family held, of the terror they invoked. Lorelei can admit when she was informed, she expected to be used to send a message or serve as some horrifying example to the denizens of the dark world her family thrived in.
Not that pain scared her, pain was a long standing friend with Lorelei. At least, it had been with her birth family. Strangely enough, it was only surrounded by blood-soaked murderer’s that Lorelei’s well-being suddenly became important.
Wasn’t it funny? That men who made their living off of violence and horror, would be gentler to her than the people who gave birth to her. That the men littered with scars who woke from frequent nightmares screaming and angry, who cut and beat and shot people who stood against them, turned soft at her approach. This little nothing girl from nowhere important.
They didn’t tell Lorelei to shut up when she asked a question. Didn’t litter her pale skin with injuries she had to lie about and cover up. Didn’t make her have to steal for her next real meal because she wasn’t worth good food. They didn’t ask her to sit still and quiet in a dark corner, alone with nothing but the burn of bruises and cuts and her own thoughts. They didn’t pretend they cared, didn’t make her feel like a burden. That she was unworthy of even a speck of affection.
Her new family made her warm, filling meals. They didn’t scream at her, or lay hands on her she did not want. They wrapped her wounds with careful hands and sat with her as she cried. They didn’t tell her she was stupid for wanting company, wanting reassurance after a night-terror.
Her new Father read with her, taught her control and helped her work through her emotions, taught her how to keep a clear head. A tall clever man with predatory eyes who instilled the importance of loyalty, of affection without strings attached. A man who was the first to say the words “I love you” and mean them.
Her eldest brother, Kayden, a skinny man with so many scars, not all of them from fights, taught her to how to defend herself. How to dance, how to tell a terrible joke well, and how to stand tall in the face of adversity. To never give up, never give in to the fear.
The second eldest, Dustin, taught her how to throw knifes. How to sing like a bird, and how to run, even when you couldn’t see the ground. He held her after most of her nightmares, his favorite navy coat a comforting weight across her shoulders. A privilege only two of their number had ever achieved.
And last was Harry. Tall, large, strong, dependable Harry. A man who spoke little, but held a very loud presence. A man who was a surprisingly good cook, who took pleasure in making sure everyone of them was well fed. A man who liked to sit her up on his shoulders and gave really good hugs.
So yes, while Lorelei hated this bit of her life, this bit of silence that her family promised she would never have to live with around them, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not that she was scared she wasn’t going to make it out alive. In fact; Lorelei moved to sit up, her pulse thrumming with excitement as the Leader of this weeks kidnapping answered his phone. The silence was almost over.
“Hey there guys and gals! Sorry to keep you waiting, especially our Little Lie!” Kayden’s voice echoed in the silence. Disturbingly cheerful over the tiny cell’s speaker. The man in charge opened his mouth, but Kayden cut him off. “I’m on speaker, yes?” Kayden asked.
“You are.” The Leader answered, and Lorelei took a moment to ponder what would be left of the grim man by the end of the night.
“Great.” Kayden sang. “Hey, Little Lie? Eye’s closed.” And then the line went dead.
An explosion rang out, shaking the building and cutting off the surveillance camera’s. And as the blood drained from his face, Lorelei smiled, and did as she was told. Before anyone could utter a word, the first gunshot rang out. Heavy thumps filled the air as the men cried out in panic and scrambled for hiding places, out of sight of the single small window they hadn’t thought to cover.
Not that it mattered when the door burst open with a room-shaking bang. More gunshots, more screams, and familiar twisted laughter filled the air. Lorelei did not open her eyes, did not flinch, nothing would touch her. Her family was here, and if the worst monsters on the street wouldn’t hurt her, these idiot lowlifes wouldn’t even get close.
Honestly, she didn’t know what these men had expected. Taking one of Noir’s people, especially one of his inner circle, and expecting the man to just comply? When someone threatened him and his people? Lorelei mentally shook her head and tutted, you’d think everyone would have learned by now.
Silence reigned once again. Cool gloved hands curled around Lorelei’s shoulders as another set of hands tugged against her cuffs.
“Can I open my eyes yet?” Lorelei asked, leaning her head back against the warm body behind her.
“Not yet, Lore.” Dustin hummed beneath her. “Someone, went a little overboard.” Dustin hissed, finally unlatching the cuffs and tugging her forward. Kayden grumbled, one slender hand still pressed against Lorelei’s shoulder.
“It’s not that bad.” Kayden whined. “She’s seen worse.” Still, Lorelei didn’t open her eyes. The no-seeing-anything-too-gory rule was often bent by Kayden. Lorelei didn’t want anymore trouble for her Father too deal with. Even if it was kinda funny when Kayden tried to defend himself with his definition of too-gory. “Besides, they deserved it for making it take all day to find ’em.”
Dustin hummed, saying nothing, though Lorelei would bet money he’d just rolled his eyes. A tap against her elbow was the only warning Lorelei received before she was hefted into Dustin’s arms. Lorelei smiled, wrapping her arms around Dustin’s broad shoulders and cuddling into her elder brother’s neck. Dustin huffed, and though Lorelei couldn’t see, she knew he was smiling too.
The trek out of the, somehow still intact, building Lorelei had been held in took less than a few minutes. Soon cool air washed over Lorelei, and she opened her eyes, staring out into the dark. Dustin rolled his eyes but said nothing about the fact that she hadn’t waited for him to tell her she could open her eyes. A few feet away sat a large black car, sleek, with tinted windows.
Dustin continued to hold Lorelei against his chest as the trio marched towards the vehicle. The door swung open and Dustin finally let Lorelei down. A black-gloved hand stretched out of the dark vehicle, which Lorelei took without hesitation, pulling herself inside. She was quickly followed by Dustin, Kayden sliding into the front to join a grinning Harry. With a gesture from the dark form of her Father, the five of them rolled out into the night.
“Sorry it took so long, little Siren.” Her Father hummed, slender fingers brushing through her hair as Lorelei pressed against his side, breathing in the scent of that clung to his heavy coat. “No injuries? Problems? Do you need anything?” The man questioned softly, reaching out to cradle one of her hands.
Lorelei thought, she thought about the bruise she could feel blooming against her upper arm, the rubbed skin of her wrists. She though about the silence she’d had to endure, longer than usual, though nothing had been trigged from it. Lorelei thought about what she wanted. What she could have of she only asked for it.
Then she turned her attention to the loud, crazy music Kayden had put on, the grumbling complaints made by Dustin. She listened to the deep baritone of Harry’s humming, and the calm heartbeat of her Father’s heart, barely heard above the noise.
“Nothing that won’t heal on it’s own.” She answered, snuggling deeper into her Father’s side, while reaching for Dustin’s hand. The calloused appendage was heavy and warm in her own small hand. “I have everything I need.” She grins, squeezing her captured hands. For a moment she wishes she had more, to hold the rest of her family. The car is warm, tinged with copper and the heavy lavender-scented spray Dustin applied almost every week in the hopes that the car would smell less like a morgue.
“It’s loud, here.” Lorelei whispers. And though the volume of the car doesn’t change or skip a beat, she knows she is heard. She is safe. She is home, and no one was taking that away from her.