Foto bij Chapter thirty-four

It wasn’t cold out and I cranked the windows of my old car down before heading to the highway that would lead to the club. It was noon now, so there wouldn’t be too many people in the club. I hoped Dave was there, if he wasn’t it would mean I had to go on another wild goose chase around town. I wasn’t looking forward to that, I had high hopes he was in the club though. The Dance was still the exact same as the last time I visited. Big, looming and quite possibly very dangerous. Secretly I hoped the happy-go-lucky bartender was still around. I parked my car near the entrance and made my way into the building.

Ah the fresh smell of clubs. Nothing beats that. Hah, hilarious. It was gross. The lights were on again and I could spot nobody behind the bar. I decided I should just go upstairs. I knew where to go anyway. I trudged up the stairs and entered the VIP room. Empty. Shit. What to do now. I wandered about the room and looked in all the nooks and crannies. Not that I wouldn’t notice Dave right away, but I wanted to be sure and the room was badly lit. I sighed. Now I had to go on a wild goose chase anyway. I backed up from the window I had been standing in front of only to bump into something solid behind me.

‘Owww.’

Strong arms grabbed my waist to steady me and I was met with the grinning face of Dave. Just the bastard I was looking for. I stepped back and shoved his hands of me. Only now I realized I was in a very precarious situation with Dave blocking the exit.

‘Ah dear Julie. Come to visit your brother’s business partner? How sweet of you. Really, heartfelt. What can I do for you, doll?’

He stepped forward again and curled his finger around one of my blonde locks. I sighed, I hated people doing that, especially if it were people I disliked. I definitely disliked Dave. I had to be strong though, remain unfazed and not let him win. Now was not the time to get scared or chicken out, I wanted answers. For Liam.

‘Well, yes Dave. I was looking for you. But I doubt the conversation will be pleasant for you.’

‘Oh pray tell, dearest. After all you’re my favorite of the Bellamy family. Such a dear family you two have. Only each other. You two must be so, so close. Well not anymore, with Liam being comatose and all.’

I huffed, Dave really was a first class bastard and I wanted nothing more than to see him go down. Hard. I had to be patient though. This was Liam’s territory and I shouldn’t ruin all that he had worked so hard for. Even if his partner was a dick. I decided to straight out ask Dave what I wanted to know.

‘Were you involved in the hit and run on my brother, Dave? I know you have ties with the Mafia, seems like the style of you and your little pals. The scurrying away and not owning up to what you do. So please, don’t deny and tell me.’

‘You’re in dangerous territory, you know what Julie? You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. It might just end very, very badly for you.’

I crossed my arms and watched Dave’s face. He still had the remnants of a grin on his face, but I could see the anger building up in his eyes. Shit. This wasn’t going to be pleasant.

‘You know Liam will want answers, he’s not stupid. He’ll find out. I just want to know who I have to blame for all this, and right now I’m blaming you. So start talking. Fast.’

‘My my, you’re fierce for such a small thing. Who would’ve thought. The Bellamy family has some fire yet. It doesn’t show in your darling brother. He’s always so, mild. I have nothing to tell though, doll.’

‘Oh yeah? Listen to me you bastard. I know you have something to do with all this and I’m not leaving until I have my answer.’

‘Oh so you’re staying then. Want a drink? This is going to take a while. I want one.’

He finally left my personal space and moved to a small liquor cabinet. Whiskey. I watched as he poured two glasses. It was the expensive kind. The kind that made me feel buzzy within seconds. This wasn’t good.

‘I thought the Mafia was all about taking the name for ‘accidents’, as you call them.’

‘It depends if it’s necessary. Right now I’d much rather see you squirm than admit to anything right now.’

‘What? No, I’m here for answers. I demand answers.’

‘You’re not really in a place to demand anything, doll. So tell me more about you. How did such a shy bookworm get mixed in all of this. In a club. Must be an interesting story indeed.’

‘I don’t owe you any kind of story about me. You do, however. So, tell me why did you want to get rid of Liam. To have the Dance and all its profits to yourself? Was he annoying you? Outsmarting you even? You couldn’t handle that, could you? You were the one investing in the first place, yet here you are, your partner taking all the fame just because he knows how business like this works.’

I knew I was threading on thin ice. I may or may not have hit a sensitive spot, but I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself for being able to play detective Julie. He hadn’t scared me away and I was still standing as firm as ever. I wasn’t going to be played around with anymore.

‘Careful, doll. You’re threading on thin ice here. You know I won’t tell you anything. You’re smart enough to figure out what’s what. I do hope, however, that you are smart enough to know messing with me leads to very, very sad surprises. You had best leave, princess. Before I lose my nerve with you.’

I swallowed, I could sense he was serious about it, and for a moment I pondered on the possibility of leaving. I decided against it, I needed to be strong. I needed another approach. I needed to find out more, but how? I supposed I could just ask him why.

‘Why did you do it, Dave? I’m sure Liam didn’t do something to personally upset you. He isn’t like that.’

‘Tell me, doll. How do you know what he’s like? From what I gather you two aren’t exactly the best of friends. If anything, I know him better than you. He told me a little bit about you, you know. How you dropped him, like he was nothing. I was there for him. Where were you? I never saw you once, in all these years. So tell me, how do you know him better than me?’

Damn. He was right. I had dropped Liam. I hadn’t been there for him these past few years. I knew next to nothing about his daily life, his friends, his business. Yet here I was pretending to know it all. I couldn’t let Dave know that though. He didn’t know the first thing about us, and if he did well then I would prove him wrong.

‘What’s between Liam and me, stays between him and me. Don’t pretend to know anything. Why did you want him away? Did he get too powerful? Didn’t you like sharing the throne with someone so much younger?’

I was taunting, and it was dangerous. I couldn’t help but get aggravated by this man though. He was a bully, that much was obvious. And I was pretty sure he was involved in Liam’s accident. I was pissed, beyond pissed. And sometime soon Dave would have to face his mistakes.

‘It surprises me that you came here alone. I mean, awfully vulnerable all alone. Especially someone like you. Someone so fragile. I could just, snap you, if I wanted to.’

‘That’s beside the point, Dave. You’re not answering my questions.’

‘Oh sweetheart, I don’t have to answer your questions. Now be a good girl and scurry along, will you?’

‘No, I…’

‘Don’t make me drag you out of my club.’

‘Your club? Oh please, we all know that it’s Liam’s club. He’s the successful one, not you.’

‘You don’t know how to stop, do you? Perhaps I should put you in your place.’

‘My place? Let’s think about your place for a moment. Outside. Like the scum you are.’

Shit, that went too far. Way too far, Julie. You stupid mule, what happened to not letting your anger get the better of you? Let that just fly out of the window and upset the one guy that can truly harm you? Fantastic, just fabulous. Congratulations Julie, you just earned yourself a Darwin award.

‘What did you say?’

‘I… Eh.’

I watched as Dave closed in on me again. I took a step back, only to feel my back collide with the wall. Shit! I could do nothing but watch as Dave invaded my personal bubble. He reeked of alcohol and cigarettes, my eyes started to water. I was in so much trouble. I squeezed my eyes shut as Dave leaned in. His lips grazing my ear as he spoke.

‘You went too far, doll. Way too far. I won’t hesitate to burn all that you care for to the ground. Your measly brother, your friends and even your lovely apartment. I’ll destroy it all, just you wait.’

‘You wouldn’t dare.’

I spoke with newfound confidence. Confidence I didn’t even know I had until now. It was new, and so utterly frightening. But I couldn’t show weakness anymore. I shouldn’t. He couldn’t just threaten me. Well, he could and he just did. But that didn’t mean I’d let him get away with it.

‘You need Liam to keep things running here. You’re not nearly good enough to manage everything on your own. Liam would do well in firing you. And for what it’s worth, I meant what I said, you bastard.’

I felt the sting before I realized what had happened. He hit me! I gasped and my hand flew up to caress my sore cheek. That asshole. Tears formed in my eyes and I had to bite on my lip to keep them from flowing. My cheek burned, and I felt ashamed. The slap had made my confidence waver and Dave towered over me, while I cowered. I had been so, so stupid.

‘You slut, I will destroy everything you love. Just watch me. Never speak that way to me again, or you will pay for it. Now leave.’

I figured I should leave if I wanted to stay alive so I rushed out of the room and down the stairs. I didn’t stop until I was safely tucked inside my car again. Then the tears came, hot burning tears that made my bruised cheek sting even more. I had been beyond stupid, I had gone here without protection and practically demanded information from a Mafia member. It was as if I had a death wish without even knowing I had one. I sighed. This had gone so wrong. I wiped at my cheeks and took a deep breath. What now? Instantly my phone started buzzing and without hesitating I took the call.

‘Julie.’

‘Julie, o my god you won’t believe it. Liam woke up. He’s back, Julie! I’m sitting next to him right now.’

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