Vanquished (The Encounter #3)(11)

Written By: Pamela Ann

Julien’s long stretch of silence on the other end made me hold my breath for some reason. It should have been my cue to break it, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to do so.

“Isobel, I know this might not be the best time to tell you this, but I just want to say that you did the right thing … for you and for him. I can guarantee you that nothing good would come out of staying with him.”

He and Hugo were always talking in riddles about this forbidden thing they referred to as the “death and danger”; however, neither of them ever divulged what it truly entailed. I had always wondered, but not enough to stop me from following him … until Hugo had completely shut me down.

This conversation with him, though short, left me already exhausted. It reminded me of failed attempts at trying to win the love of my life.

Releasing a melancholic sigh, I closed my eyes and counted to five. “Thank you for the call, Julien. I appreciate the concern and all that you’ve done for me, but I’m afraid I must go. I have school and all that.” In truth, I had no desire to go anywhere except to drown in my bed sheets and cry until I no longer could.

“I understand,” he responded. “I’m still your friend. Don’t hesitate to call me for anything, and I mean anything at all, Isobel.”

Odd how he had emphasized the word anything as if it was a warning and comfort all at the same time.

Shaking my head, I pressed my lips together before nodding. “I will definitely try to remember that. I’ bid you a good day now, Julien. Thank you again for checking on me. Bye for now.” Without waiting for him to respond, I immediately cut the call short.

And just before I was about to slide into bed, my phone beeped with an incoming message from Damen.

What’s going on with your father, Iso? Have you told anyone about what he said? He hasn’t returned, has he? You really should call the police next time he comes. He’s bad news.

Ha. My father. Bad news. Story of my life.

Constantin Callas would do as he pleased. But rest assured, that vile man would not get anything from me anymore. I had done my due, and there was nothing else I could offer him. He would, of course, come back because that was his typical pattern. He was known to threaten to bend me to his will, but that was the past, and I was willing to fight him when the time came.

I did not fear my father. After this heartbreak, I was numb to everything except for that thirsty drive for revenge. My father should know better than to come near me. In my eyes, I was a dead woman walking, waiting to feel her heart beat once more.

Chapter Seven


Five days later…

It was barely a few minutes after I had gotten back from my classes, and I was trying to catch my breath when my flatmate arrived.

“I’m feeling peckish,” Claire announced as she entered the flat, all smiles, heavily wearing the signs pointing to fact that she was mighty smitten with Noah.

Beyond happy that her relationship with Noah was going well, I felt the need to oblige her and not ruin that beautiful, silly grin she had pasted on her gorgeous face.

Glancing her way, I tried to give her a decent smile. “I’m not all that hungry, but I could eat, I guess.”

“Brilliant. I’m glad you’ve come to your senses and realized food isn’t the enemy. Would you mind indulging me? Because I fancy some Indian food.” She pouted at me as she wiggled her arched eyebrows at me, trying to be cute.

If I declined her request, she would most likely name me the imp who stole her fixation for Indian food. Anyhow, it would do me the world to be out and about. It had been almost a month after all, so I might as well try to join the land of the living.

“Indulge away as long as you don’t mind me working on my essay whilst eating,” I retorted, shoving my laptop into my tote before glancing back at her. She seemed busy with her phone. “Will Noah be joining us?”

She beamed with her cheeks heavily tinged with pink. “Wouldn’t that be a tad awkward?”

I rolled my eyes at her. Seriously, she needed to get over it. It didn’t matter to me, so it shouldn’t bother her much, though I appreciated her asking in concern of my feelings.

“Claire, I’m one hundred percent okay with it, so please invite Noah. I think it’s high time we get this over with so you will never again question me.”

Her smile became wider. “Ah … You’re the best! Let me send him a quick text. He’ll most likely meet us there since he’s coming from work.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I agreed.

At the mention of work, I had this weird, sinking feeling at the thought of working again at the hotel. I loved my job—there was no question about that—but everything about it reminded me so much about Hugo. I knew my hiatus from work wasn’t going to last much longer. I really had to learn how to block him from reappearing in my head at the most inconvenient times.

The restaurant was a few blocks away, and it was one Claire and Noah apparently frequented as of late. Claire’s love came to join us five minutes after we sat down. I almost decided to follow through and work through my school work whilst they ate. Had it been Claire alone, it wouldn’t have mattered, but with Noah, I didn’t want to deem seem disrespectful. Finally deciding to stall my essay until I got home, I focused on the couple before me who eyed each other with such adoration that I about gushed for them. It couldn’t be helped. I adored the both of them.