A Pawn for Malice(4)

By: Cynthia Roberts

“Yer secret is safe with me.” He replied, as he turned and walked away.

Jessica watched his departure, until he was gone from sight. She was taken by surprise and squealed with fright as a vice-like grip encircled her upper arm and spun her about forcibly, making her fall hard against her father in-law’s chest.

His pearly whites gleaned, as he glared down at her.

“Wasn’t that a touching scene?” He snarled, squeezing even harder and making her winch. “Now get your ass in the car!” He barked, shoving her in the direction of the black parked stretch limo awaiting to leave.

She stumbled and tried desperately to catch her balance, but failed miserably. She landed hard onto her right knee, skinning it and the palms of her hands against a headstone embedded in the grass.

Hal’s six-foot frame towered above her.

“That’s where I like to see you … on your knees!” He sneered.

Jessica lowered her head and tried to control the rage surging beneath the surface. Slowly, she breathed in long, cleansing breaths to calm the quivering in her stomach. He was a man no one denied, as she gazed up at his hulking physique.

But, she would outsmart him, and that she did, as she flipped about, pulled off her veil and threw it to the ground, and growled. “You disgusting pig. Takes a real man to beat up on a woman a quarter of his size.”

She hated the smug look planted on his face and how he stood there all arrogant with his arms crossed at his chest.

“You goading me, little lady?”

Jessica’s reaction was immediate, as she drew both of her knees to her chest and kicked out forcibly, hitting him square in the shins.

“Yep!” She replied matter-of-factly and laughed aloud as he tumbled backwards.

Jessica bolted to her feet, chuckling delightedly, as she watched him land with a splat into a mud puddle.

“Your days of telling me what to do are over, old man,” she yelled.

“Hal!” Lorraine screamed, darting from the limousine. “Oh, my God! Jessica, what’s wrong with you?”

Lorraine bent down and tried unsuccessfully to aid lifting him, grasping him under his arms.

“It’s … okay … dear,” she grunted, as she tugged upward. “Jessica didn’t mean it. She’s just upset that’s all.”

Lorraine’s frustration was evident, as she began to slip and slide in the mix of mud and wet leaves. Her tone became aggravated. “Help a little, dear! I can’t … lift you … by myself,” she moaned, as she struggled to maintain her balance.

Hal’s roar echoed through the cemetery, as he pushed her away with one backward swoop of his right arm.

Lorraine whirled out of control and squeaked in shocked horror, as she too landed onto her derriere into another shallow puddle. Globs of wet mud hung from her perfectly coiffed up-do and muddied her Christian Dior ensemble.

“Back off, you stupid bitch!” Hal barked. “If I want your goddamn help, I’ll ask for it!”

Lorraine’s hand flew to her mouth and she gasped loudly, mud smearing across her cheek and the bridge of her nose. The chauffeur stood beside the stretch limousine frozen in his own shocked horror. He knew better than to intercede and offer his assistance. It took a few moments for her to rise with all the grace and dignity she could muster, and retreat to the car without speaking a word.

Jessica took a few safe steps backwards and watched as Hal rolled to his side.

“I gotta give it to you … you’ve got balls,” he chuckled as he rose on one knee. “Men die for less.”

Jessica tried not to show the fear that began to rumble deep in her belly. Yes, she was gutsy, but she knew danger … what it looked like, smelled like, and felt like.

“Another threat?” She retorted. “You may own this frigging town, but you no longer have a claim on me. When I leave here, I will no longer carry the Wilton name. That dies too, just like your son … the son you killed rearing him in your “ALMIGHTY” image.”

Hal stepped forward, his face burning red from the fury she invoked.

She took a stance and stared him down.

Hal did not move. His chest heaved from the anger raging inside of him. He shifted his weight and rose to his full height, as he wiped his palms caked with thick, wet, mud upon his navy, Armani, pin-striped suit. He took a pure silk handkerchief from his breast pocket and slowly wiped the tiny splatters of mud from his face.

“We’ll meet again?” He snarled through clenched teeth. “And when you least expect it,” he continued, tossing his soiled linen to the ground and rubbed his hands together. “No one walks away from Hal Wilton unless I deem it so.”