Warped Revelations by Nikita Parmenter
“How could he know that, though?” Rage points out.
“Maybe it’s just a coincidence?” Jensen suggests, his tone unsure.
“Are we really going to take anything as a coincidence at the moment?” I ask them, with a raised eyebrow, so much has happened that it seems highly unlikely that anything is a coincidence anymore.
“I remember it now,” Trick mutters, “Your mom always used to call you Butterfly; she hardly ever used your real name. We decided it didn’t suit you; you were fierce, so we thought Dragonfly suited you better because it had a dragon in it. From then on, it stuck, and that’s what we called you.”
“Shit, I’d completely forgotten about that,” Cash says, running a large palm over his beard.
“She had cancer.” I point out, unnecessarily, they all know what was wrong with her. “She died; we all went to her funeral. This is a fucking cruel thing to do, to make out like this note is from her when it so obviously can’t be.” I seethe, getting angry now the shock has worn off.
“The question is, how did they know that she called you that?” Atlas growls. “Fuck, has anyone heard from Peter?”
“No, I lost track of him in the chaos,” I answer Atlas before continuing. “That’s the thing, no one could know.” I frown. “Something else to add to the ever-growing list of shit we don’t fucking know.”
“We’ll figure it out, Puddin’.” Rage reassures me.
“I just, I don’t think I can deal with this right now.”
“That’s okay; we don’t need to. Just let us know when you’re ready, and we’ll start looking into it.” Trick replies.
I nod my thanks, grateful to have them all. I can’t wrap my brain around it; I still really miss my mom even though I’m starting to forget things, like how she smelled and what it felt like when she hugged me. She was the only light in our dark household. For someone to be deliberately trying to convince me that she’s still alive is just fucking low. It goes to show the reach that Phoenix has, though. They’ve somehow managed to dig up a nickname that my dead mother used to call me ten years ago.
“I’ll ring Peter,” Atty says, pulling out his phone and dialling, automatically putting it on speaker because we’re all nosey fuckers, and he knows we’ll just ask a million questions otherwise.
“Hey, thank fuck, I was just about to call you.” Peter answers after the first ring.
“You alright, man?” Jensen asks.
“Yeah, I got separated from you all when some fucknut bumped into us. Then I saw you leave, but I needed to find my dad and make sure he was okay.”
“He good?” Rafe asks, sounding concerned, his arms wrapped around me.
“Yeah, well, he’s really shaken thanks to all of the Phoenix tapestries that are now decorating the cafeteria. They did it fucking well; it was completely disorientating!”
“Are you sure you still want to be involved?” Trick asks, seriously.
“They somehow know that we’re getting close to finding things out that they don’t want us to know,” Atty adds. “That’s clear from the show they put on today.”
“Oh yeah, I am definitely still in. We need to get Ever on a horse A.S.A.P so that we can go and check out the equine teacher.” He suggests.
“That’s a really good point. Depending on how her ribs are doing tomorrow, she could go then, and Rage could give her a lesson. You said it would take a week to get sorted?” Cash asks, eyeing me sternly like he knows that my rib is giving me trouble right now.
“Yeah, they’ll need to get you horses. Everyone brings their own; it’s a requirement to take the course. They will have a couple that you can ride tomorrow, though.”
“Seriously?” I ask; the kids here are from all over the country. That’s potentially a really long way that they’re sending them.
“I can get mine brought from home, and I’ve got a perfect one for Ever too.” Rage interrupts. “What?” He asks when he catches me staring at him.
“You’re just full of surprises.” I grin.
“You have no idea.” He winks at me, and my blood heats.
Damn it; he totally won that round.
“Is that going to cause a problem with your mom?” Trick asks seriously.
“No, she never goes to the stables; she’s not interested in them at all and never has been. She tried to take them away from me when I was really little; it’s the last memory I have of my dad. He put his foot down, all I remember is yelling, and after that she never spoke about the horses again.”
“That’s good. Hopefully, it means that when you want to take your mom out of your life like we talked about, your dad is going to stand behind you. Especially when he learns how she treated you.” Riot replies.
“It would stand to reason that she treated him like absolute shit too.” Cash adds carefully.
Rage nods thoughtfully; he had thought that his dad didn’t give a shit; after all, he hasn’t seen him in years. Now, it might just be that his mom was as cruel to his dad as she is to him.
“There’s something else I need to tell you guys,” Peter says from the other end of the phone. “When we were coming out of the cafeteria, Lucy and her husband were behind us. I heard her say, they’re back; she sounded really panicked. She knows something.”
“That would make sense; from what she said, she knew Amelia and was probably friends with her, and Amelia had a strong link with Phoenix,” I say.
“We need to see if she will talk to us about Amelia,” Luc suggests.
“I’d leave it for a few days and wait for the shock to wear off. She sounded terrified.” Peter tells us. “Sorry, guys, I need to go.”
“Okay, man, don’t forget that you’re coming over tomorrow so that we can fill you in on the security threat that Ever faces. We won’t be able to come to the ball unless the security is good enough.” Atlas warns him.
“Sounds good; we’ll make it safe enough. See you tomorrow.”
We all fall silent after he’s gone; there’s quite a lot of information that we’ve been given over the last few hours. Everything is getting quite complicated, trying to juggle the stuff going on with Liam, taking apart his business, the fuckers who tried to run me over, which may or may not have been Phoenix, Amelia and why two people now think I look like her, the equine teacher and what his role in everything is, and the letter.
“Come on, you need to get some rest,” Cash says, raising his eyebrow at me and daring me to argue.
“I know for a fact that you got knocked in the chaos at the cafeteria, and I know that it most likely jostled your rib.” He replies.
“Fine, but I’m only resting because I want to go riding with Rage tomorrow.” I huff, moving onto the couch while the guy’s smirk at me.
“We’ll get an early start tomorrow morning. Do you know how to take care of a horse, or did you just go on lessons?” Rage asks.
“I learned how to take care of them too. But like I said, it’s been a really long time, so I’m rusty.”
“That’s okay; we can go over the basics tomorrow before we ride. It’s important that you know how to care for the horses.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” I reply.
“I’m going to see if I can get through some more of those blueprints, we’ve only got ten or so left, so I should be able to do something. Peter’s already messaged saying that we can finish them off tomorrow, so hopefully, we’ll be able to see the full picture and find a connection between them all.” Cash says, getting up off the couch and moving to the kitchen table, which has become a sort of base of operations for us.
“Guys!” I say excitedly, suddenly sitting up and dislodging Jensen from my lap; considering it’s Jensen, he doesn’t just move a bit and sit up as well, oh no, his arms start to flail, and he ends up on the floor, his face in the carpet.
“Ow.” He groans.
I stare at him for a second, “How do you manage to do that? Seriously your clumsy just completely takes over.”
“I know.” He groans, and I can’t help but grin. “Don’t laugh at me.” He tries to say seriously as he gets up and settles himself back down, his head on my lap.
“I’m sorry.” I grin, bending down and kissing his forehead, causing my ribs to twinge but only slightly.
“What were you so excited about?” Riot asks.
“Before Jensen’s clumsy took over, you yelled, guys.” Atty chuckles, eyebrow raised.
“Oh, shit yeah!” I exclaim.
Jensen tries to sit up quickly and, in doing so, manages to twist his legs somehow, so he once again ends up sprawled on the floor.
“What the hell, man?” Cash asks, laughter in his voice.
“I thought she was going to sit up and throw me off again suddenly, so I tried to sit up so I wouldn’t land on the floor again.” He explains. “I’m just going to stay down here now.” He says with finality, stretching out and crossing his ankles, putting his arms behind his head, and looking up at me.
“I think that might be the safest option.” I chuckle.
He sticks his tongue out at me in retribution, making my grin widen.
“Anyway, aren’t we allowed to call the parents now?” I grin.
Smiles cross everyone’s faces.
“How the fuck could I forget that?” Rafe grins.
“A lot has happened over the last couple of hours.” Atty points out, stepping over Jensen’s prone form, and settles on the couch next to me.
He swings his arm around my shoulder, and I place my head on his chest, snuggling down.
“I’m going to go and call my mom,” Rafe says, walking out of the room, his phone already in his hand.
“I better call mine in here. She’s going to want to check in on everyone, and I feel like I need the backup.” Trick grins, wearily.
“Why don’t we do a group call with mine?” Cash suggests. “They might be together anyway.”
“Good call,” Trick says.
They use Trick’s phone; Cash comes to sit on the other side of me as Trick sits in front of me on the floor.
“Trick!” Jenny cries immediately. “Kat, get your ass in here our babies are calling!”
“Babies, mom, really?”
“I have not seen or heard from you in over a month. You are my babies. Get over it!” She exclaims.
“Cash, mio bellisimo bambino, mi sei mancato, stai bene? Stai manngiando? Hai fatto amicizia? Stai studiando bene?” Kat says in Italian, barely taking any breath between what I’m assuming are questions.
“Mamma respire! Si, sto bene e Rafe sta cucinando, quindi sto mangiando bene. Abbiamo un nuovo amico chiamato Rage, lo amerai e I miei studi stanno andando bene. Anche tu mi sei mancato.” Cash replies, speaking almost as quickly as his mother, in order to answer all of her questions before she can answer more.
“Good, now where’s my Ever?” Kat asks.
“Hi, guys. I miss you.” I say, emotion trying to claw up my throat.
“We miss you too!” Jenny says, her eyes becoming watery. “You’re in the safest place for now, though. We heard about what happened to Rylie, how they got to her.” Jenny says, her eyes flashing with anger.
“We have taken her and her dad under our wing,” Kat starts. “Family dinners and check-ins.”
“Thank you, guys, so much. I know they’ll appreciate that.”
“The men are all getting on well together, so it's no hardship,” Jenny replies.
“Show me Rage?” Kat asks, grinning, changing the subject, and Jenny looks at her in question. “They made a new friend!”
Rage’s eyes are wide and, if I’m not mistaken, slightly worried. Cash chuckles and spins the camera so that they can see Rage.
“Hi, Rage.” They say together.
“Hello, Ma’am er Ma’am’s.” He replies, nervously and I press my lips together to hide my smile.
“None of that now. If you’re friends with our boys, I’m assuming you’ve been accepted into the family?” Jenny asks.
“Yep!” Jensen calls out, still on the floor.
“In that case, welcome to the family Rage. I’m Kat, and this is Jenny.”
“Erm, thank you?” He replies, sounding unsure.
“Hey, guys, I think I can get you on the Tv so you can see everyone’s at the same time.” Cash says, “One second.”
Cash fiddles with some buttons, and they suddenly both appear on the screen.
“Ah, that’s so much better. I can see you all now.” Kat grins. “Atlas?”
“Hi, Kat,” Atlas replies, shifting nervously.
“I am so glad you’re okay; we were so worried about you,” Jenny replies.
“What an interesting coincidence that you’ve ended up at the same school as each other.” Kat grins, a twinkle in her eye.
“Do we get to talk to the kids?” I hear Rob say in the background.
“Fine, but you’ll have to squeeze in; I’m not missing any chance to see them!” Kat replies.
We watch in amusement as Rich lifts Kat out of her chair and settles her on his lap while Marc moves behind them both and puts his face next to Kat’s. Her eyes shine with happiness, and I guess that answers the question about how they’re getting on as a throuple.
“Hey, Dad,” Jensen says happily, waving from the floor.
“Clumsiness?” Rich asks.
“Yep, decided it was safer down here.”
“Good call, son.” He chuckles.
Rob pulls Jenny onto his lap, and they all look over us as if checking we’re alright.
“Atlas, it’s good to see you.” Rich smiles. “Are you all okay?”
“We’re okay.” Trick answers him.
“Are you safe, though?” Rob answers.
“As safe as we can be at the moment.”
“I guess that’s the most we can hope for right now,” Marc mutters.
“How’s the school?” Jenny asks, changing the subject.
“It’s great, very exclusive.” Riot replies.
Rafe comes back into the room and sits down next to Riot, their relationship is quite chilled. They hold hands as often as they each hold mine, and they’re quick to show each other affection. It’s just a lot more subtle than it is between them and me. It’s clearly working for them, though, because they’re still going strong.
The parents keep chatting for a while, and it’s great to hear from them all and what they’ve been up to. It makes me miss them even more. None of them have had any issues, although Kat and Jenny are apparently getting bored enough with the constant security now that they’ve started to wind the security detail up. Rob said they’ve had to apologise for their antics several times now with beers, which is just hilarious.
Eventually, the conversation comes to an end.
“Do you know when you’ll be able to give us a call again?” Marc asks.
“I have no idea, sorry. We’re just going on what the detective is telling us that we can do.” Cash replies.
“Before you go, did you hear from my,” Luc pauses and swallows thickly. “From Elena?”
“Yes, we did,” Kat growls. “I cannot believe your parents, disgusting people. We haven’t spoken to them since. We’re trying to work out with that detective of yours if it would be safe to go and see them. I want cuddles with your beautiful nieces.”
“Has she told you any more about what happened, was she put into care?”
“She hasn’t said much, wanting to tell you first, I think. But she didn’t go into care; she said some family members took her in.”
“What family? It’s just us, we have no aunts, uncles, or grandparents.” Luc asks, sounding confused.
“I’m not sure, Darling, that’s something you’re going to have to ask her. She definitely said she was sent to stay with family.” Jenny chimes in.
“Okay, I’m hoping that it's going to be safe enough to see her soon,” Luc replies, running a hand through his long hair and looking confused.
“It’ll all work out.” Kat tries to reassure him.
“Something else you should know, Luc, before we found out about all of this and stopped seeing your dad, his behaviour was really erratic. He kept muttering about a deal that would make him millions. When I asked about it, he said not to worry about it. Something seems fishy.” Marc warns.
“Got it,” Luc says, his expression darkening.
His fathers clearly got himself into some dodgy shit, if he wasn’t already always in it.
After that, we all say goodbye and hang up.
“You, okay?” I ask Luc.
“Not really; I want to know what happened with my sister. I still can’t believe that she’s my sister, not my aunt. It feels weird to say, but at the same time, it fits better, if that makes sense? Like aunt never quite sat right with me.”
“Yeah, that makes perfect sense,” I reply.
“Do you want us to do anything about your dad?” Atlas asks, sitting forward in his chair.
“Not yet. I want him to fully bury himself before we expose him.”
“Sounds good. It might be a good idea to see exactly who he’s got this deal with, so we’re prepared when the time comes to take him down.” Jensen adds in.
“Alright, add it to the to-do list,” Luc smirks.
“That damn list is getting pretty long, and we keep just adding more shit to it.” I chuckle.
“I think the blueprints and finding the link should be our top priority for now. Now that Phoenix is aware of us, it’s just going to get more dangerous. We need to end this quickly.” Atty says.
“I want to go and see the guards on the gates still. I want to find out which ones were working the night of your hit and run and see if they’ve got any information that can help us.” Rage suggests.
“I know that it's fairly clear that Phoenix is behind it, but I don’t want to take any chances that we’re missing an enemy.” Trick replies.
“That’s what I was thinking, plus any information is better than nothing at this point.” Rage replies.