~Chapter 26: Manhattan
Lukas was driving us on the freeway in his black Porsche 918 Spyder. I have hardly ever seen Lukas drive but I liked seeing him dominate the wheel.
Me and him were on our way to see his aunt Kathryn. She was the one keeping Brian's death hidden. I didn't know how but I'm trusting her only because Lukas trusted her.
Not that we were alone in the car, I wanted to talk to him about
"What are you going to do about her brother? Did you get another message?"
I sighed. "What did he say?" I asked.
"Basically the same thing in different ways. Peyton, how many times do I have to tell you that nothing's going to happen to me?"
"Its crazy shit in this world, Lukas. And Joshua sounds like a psychopath. 'Oh if I go to prison, I go to prison'. He sounds just as un-fucking-stable as his goddamn sister."
"I'm not worried. If I'm not worried, you shouldn't be
"I just don't want these threats. We're dealing with enough already. I'm so stressed over this and I just want to be done with it."
Lukas nods. "I know. It's because of me and I'm sorry."
"It's not you that I'm stressed about, it's everyone else that want to hurt you or me. That's stressing. We've been through enough." I run my fingers through my messy auburn hair.
Soon, we arrived to a big, two story brick house with a round
driveway leading to the steps to the front door.
Lukas parked in front of the house and looked to me. "She's going to love you."
"I'm not worried."
He smiled. "Good." He opened the door and closed it.
He came around and opened my door for me.
"Such a gentlemen."
He smirks. "Yeah, when I want to be."
I grabbed his hand and pulled him up the stairs with me and knocked on the door.
As we waited, I looked to Lukas. "She knows about
He nods. "She knows everything. She's the only one who does. Kathryn is my second mother. You and her are probably the only ones who knows the most about me."
The door opens and a beautiful woman smiles at us. She has
shoulder length honey blonde hair and dark gray eyes. She's
taller and thicker than I am, but she had a very trust worthy
look in her eyes. She looks to Lukas first. Wordlessly she goes
up and get on her tippy toes to hug him.
I watch the relieved and warm look on his face as he hugs her.
She pulled back and looked to me. "You're Peyton."
I nod my head. "You're Lukas's mom."
She smiles. "I guess you can say that. Pleasure to meet you. Well, we should probably all go in and talk." She says.
She turns around and goes back into the house.
Me and Lukas follows her and Lukas closes the door.
Kathryn leads me and Lukas to what looks like the dining room.
There's a long, wooden table with a bouquet of white lilies in the middle of the table in a vase.
Three chairs sat on the left and right of the table and a chair sat at both ends. Above the table was a candle chandelier.
Me and Lukas sat by one another on the left while Kathryn sat at
She hesitated before she spoke. Her gray eyes were all business. "When Lukas told me what he did," Her eyes went to mine. "So many things were going through my mind."
Lukas held his hand on the table, not looking at either of us, but looking down at his hands. His lips were in a hard line and his eyes were blank.
I looked back to Kathryn.
"Lukas is my nephew. I love him. I raised him basically my whole life. Peyton, when you found out I was covering for him, did it make you feel awkward?"
I nod my head. "A little. Lukas wanted me to leave all my trust
to you and I wasn't sure if I could do that."
She takes a deep breath. "I can understand that. I can. What I am doing is illegal and I can go to prison for covering up a crime like this. Covering up any crime but murder is a very serious extent."
She took a phone from her pocket and sat it on the table.
Lukas took it and slid it over to him.
I glanced at the phone and looked back to her.
"Brian Stevenson. 43. Born on June 4, 1971. Spouse: Natalie Moyer Stevenson. Eleven years in prison before he broke out."
My brows furrowed. "Wait. He broke out?"
She nods. "And they were on the search for him, still are. They're not even aware the man is dead yet."
"They think he just fled the state?"
"They're assuming. I had some help in making sure that's all they could assume."
"He knew police were looking for him and he just walked into the
restaurant like everything was fucking normal."
"His intent was you, Peyton. He was going to get to see you again, he didn't care if the police found him or not, he just wanted to see you again." Kathryn said.
"So my mother, does she have a clue or…?"
"I had his keys taken, and his car is now gone, so she may also assume he just fled the state."
"The body?" I asked.
"Deep down in Lake Michigan."
Kathryn did all this, for Lukas. Just so Lukas wouldn't get caught. She'd sacrifice her freedom. She really was like his mother.
"So, can anything happen that may become suspicious and have
people think otherwise?"
"Not at the moment. We'll see with time. And even then, I'm going to find a way around it. I know what he did, what he went to prison for. Lukas told me what he did to you for two years. How grotesque that man was. If you asked me, he deserved it. Sorry if I sound like a sick fuck, but that's how I feel."
"So we're clear for now?" Lukas asked.
Kathryn quirked a smile. "Yes we are."
"If anything happens and they find out, I'm taking the fall." He says.
She scoffed. "Oh, Lukas, please." She waves him off and sits back
in her chair. "Like I'd really let that happen."
He sighs and looks to me. "Do you feel a little better now?"
I nod. I have to admit, Kathryn telling me what she had to do had a slight weight lifted from my shoulders.
"Thank you, Kathryn. I don't know how anything I can say or do
will repay you for what you did for me…for Lukas."
She smiles warmly. "Just keep the smile on his face, you keep putting on, and I'll be happy enough. He's changed since he's met you. Hell, he changed drastically. Just look at what he did."
I looked down at my jeans. "I didn't know how I felt about what he did for me. I was upset he put himself in danger for me but at the same time, I was thankful I had someone who'd only want to protect me."
Kathryn looks to Lukas and then back to me. "I know. Lukas is the type to just want to protect the people he loves. And I can tell he loves you. All those other girls were…."
"Mistakes." He answered.
Kathryn nods her head. "Mistakes and obsessed sluts with big tits. That's what they were. But they were just getting you prepared for the real thing." Kathryn looks to me and stands up. "Are you hungry?" She asked.
"Starved." I answered.
"Come with me and I'll make us something. Lukas, can you go out and get me some wine, Grant never got me any like I asked."
Lukas stood up and rolled his eyes. "Why does everyone make me go
out and get wine?"
Kathryn gave him a look. "Go and get it, please?"
He surrenders. "Fine," he looks to me. "You want something from the store, love?"
"No, I'm good."
He kisses my lips, and then my jaw before he leaves me alone with Kathryn.
I watch him walk out and close the door.
There he goes. My lover. My protector. My boyfriend. My Master of Sex.
I look back to Kathryn who gestures me to follow her into the
kitchen lit up by the sun.
"What are you in the mood for?" She asks.
"Steak and fries."
She smiles. "Good idea."
"Want some help?"
"No, you don't have to. Sit. Let's talk."
I sat down in a seat at the table and watched her as she worked around the kitchen.
"I really don't know how to thank you for this. It means a
Kathryn pauses for a second and turn to me, looking hesitant. "You want to know why I felt okay with what happened with Brian?"
I shook my head.
"It's because I went through something similar to what you did and I was older than you. I was sixteen, and I'd give anything to have that happened to the man that did that to me. Brian probably would have killed you, and Lukas saved your life."
"I know he did. Fuck, I know he did." My hands covered my face. "I feel like I owe him so much yet I don't know what to give him." I took my hands down and slammed them on the table. "I gave him all of me. And because of everything I been through, that's been pretty fucking hard. He can't give me all of him, and that kills me."
"What do you want to know?" She asked as she got out the steaks
and opened the pack.
"A hint…a twinge…the tiniest fucking clue to what happened to him in Manhattan."
Kathryn stopped and looked at me. "He told you about Manhattan?"
"He only told me that something bad happened to him there."
Kathryn took a deep breath.
"He told me you know."
"I do." She continues getting the steaks prepared and I stare at her.
"Lukas told my therapist that he'd tell me what happened but I have a feeling he'll just stall. I'm begging you to tell me."
Kathryn shook her head. "He'd kill me."
"You covered his ass. He owes you."
She curls her lips as she grabs the butter and places some in the pan as she turns the fire on.
Once it melts, she dips a steak in and then grabs another pan.
She says nothing to me as she pours grease in it and turns the fire on. Finally, she turns to me. "I'll tell you this, only because he loves you and I'm sure he wants you to know. All I'll tell you is that it's not what's in Manhattan, it's who."
I narrow my eyes. It's a person, and he said his family had
something to do with it.
"Who's in Manhattan?"
She sighed. "Peyton,"
"Please. Just tell me."
She looked to the floor. "I can't. This is something he didn't want me to disclose."
"Disclose my ass. I need to know this, and no doubt he's going to take forever to tell me."
"He's wasn't lying. You're a persuadable little thing. But I
still can't tell you."
I sigh and sit back into my seat. She wasn't going to tell, and I was going to have to wait.
By the time Lukas came back, the steak and fries were done.
I was distracted throughout the entire time. It's who is in Manhattan. Whoever is in Manhattan had hurt him.
Someone hurting Lukas, angered me as much as it angers him that someone hurt me. I barely touched my food. Sure I was hungry, but this subject was piercing through me.
When Lukas and Kathryn was done eating, Lukas toured me around the house. It was beautiful. It seemed to be a house for a family yet Lukas never told me she had any kids. All I know is that her husband is a lawyer and his name is Grant.
As we came back to the hallway, I noticed a table full of picture
frames. Some of Kathryn. Some of two men I didn't know and one of
Kathryn and another man kissing. That must be Grant. What really
caught my attention was the picture of the toddler with bright
green eyes and pink cheeks. I smile and look to Lukas.
He seemed focused on something else.
"Who are these two men?" I asked.
Lukas took a deep breath and swallowed hard.
What was wrong?
"This," he pointed to one of the men with dark brown hair and a
beard. "This is my dad."
They looked nothing alike. He must have looked exactly like his mother.
"What about him?" I asked pointing to one with an odd smile and
dark gray eyes.
Lukas's fists balled.
"That's….he's my uncle," He looked to me, a pained look on his
face. "That's Manhattan, Peyton."
My brows furrowed. "Your uncle…"
I felt this heavy wave of misery in my heart. It ached for Lukas's pain. My hand went to my chest as I leaned against the table to steady myself.
Lukas placed his hands on the edge of the table and leaned
against it, dropping his head down.
I looked to him. "What did he do to you?" I asked.
Lukas sighed. "I don't want to talk about it here. If I'm going
to tell you everything, I want it to be just us."
I nod. "I understand." He looks to me and grabs my hand to lead me back downstairs.
Kathryn was waiting for us when we got back to the first floor.
She looked to Lukas and frowned.
"We're going to be leaving, Kathryn."
She nods. "I see. But promise you'll come back soon."
He sends her a smile that I can see through.
She opens the door and we all exchange hugs before Lukas and I
get on the road.
We get into the car but we don't talk, and I didn't want to. I think I had a feel of what he was about to tell me and if it was what I think it was, this was definitely going to hurt. I could already feel nausea from the subject.
I expected us to go to his place but instead, he brought us to my
We got out of the car and into the door.
Justin didn't seem to be here. And I was glad, if he was here, whether he was in another room or not, Lukas might not have said anything.
I slipped my shoes off, keeping my eyes on him, then grabbed his
hand and led him to my bedroom with me.
We walked in and I shut the door before getting on the bed.
I sat against the headboard and Lukas sat on the foot of the bed.
He was tense. I could see it in his muscles.
"When I was born, my dad didn't want me. He told my mother to
either abort me, or give me away, she didn't listen and he beat
the shit out of her, every single day."
He scooted back onto the bed a little and pulled his shoes off. They dropped to the floor and he continued without looking at me.
"When I was four, she got in a car accident on her way home from work and she died. This was difficult for me because my mother cared about me and my father didn't. When she died, it killed him. He loved her, she was the one bringing food home and she was the one who took care of me. Now that she was gone, there wouldn't be anymore money, and there was no one to take care of me."
"Why wouldn't he take care of you?"
"He disliked me. I don't know why. But he couldn't get a job. And any little money he did get, he didn't spend it on food or clothes for me, he spent it on alcohol. I went hungry for a good part of my childhood and we were homeless. The worst things got, the worst things got for me physically. When he was frustrated about something, I was the target whenever he needed something to hit."
"Lukas, god." My head dropped into my hands.
"Peyton, do not pity me."
I took my hands from my face and leaned my head back against my
Lukas sighed. "My uncle, Adam came along, realizing how bad we were in shape. So he took us in.
Things started to get better. I was eating better. Adam taught me baseball at age six and we were just becoming the best of friends. I saw him as my dad instead of my actual dad. But then, things started to happen."
I looked to him and grabbed his shirt from behind.
He laid his head into my lap, staring up at the ceiling while I drove my fingers through his hair soothingly.
Lukas closed his eyes. "He started to touch me."
I closed my eyes. Fuck. I don't think I can handle hearing this. I was hoping for this story this whole time and now that he's actually telling me, it was too much to hear someone touching Lukas in that way, or touching him period.
"Peyton, I can't….I can't talk to you about this. I can't get into detail like you can. I want to but-"
He opened his eyes to look at me.
"You don't have to. Just give me a brief summary and be done with
it. You don't have to push every detail." A tear fell down my
cheek as I continued to play with his hair.
He nodded his head and grabbed my hand to put over his chest. He held his hand on top of mine. "I was no more than seven, or eight when he...he r-"
"Fuck. Fuck." I took my hand away from his chest and covered my face as I broke into sobs.
It was exactly as I had thought. What I didn't want it to be, was what it was and that just broke me.
I felt Lukas sit up and pull me into his lap to straddle
"Look at me." He said.
I shook my head and leaned my head against his shoulder, sniffling.
"Peyton, please, look at me."
I pulled back and took my hands down to look into his eyes. He wasn't crying, but he looked like he was in pain. "Don't do that. It was a very long time ago."
"You're not over it, though. You have bad dreams about it and
He grabs my face with his hands. "You what?"
"I want to kill him."
He nods. "I know you do but you can't. And you won't."
"Your dad didn't know?" I asked.
"He was always drowned in alcohol, plus he was never around the house to notice my change in behavior."
"Just like me." I whispered.
Lukas grabbed a handful of my hair and leaned over to kiss my
tears away. "Baby, I know this hurts you. It hurts me knowing it
hurts you. But that was my past and when you're with me, all I
think about is the future. You are my fucking future,
"You're mine." My voice broke.
"Stop crying for me." His thumb wiped my tears away. "Stop." He
"How did you cope with everything…afterwards?"
He took his hand down and looked into my eyes. "I didn't have a therapist. I couldn't afford one at the time and I didn't want to talk about what happened. So in school, middle school, I was a loner, kept to myself until I decided to see if something would stop me from thinking about it, make me feel in control again. I fucked a girl in the school and when I did, it filled that hole in my chest that was just gaping."
"So you started having a bunch of sex with a bunch of
"It was the only thing that helped."
"You don't need that anymore?"
"I told you, Peyton, all I need is you and the pain is gone. You're filling the hole in my heart now. Don't you understand that?"
I'm starting to.
I nod my head and wipe the tears from my eyes that had yet to
"We're going to fucking Manhattan."
"No we're not."
"Yes the fuck we are. I am going to beat his ass until he becomes a bloody fucking pulp."
"No you're not."
I glare at him. "Yes. I. Am.
"Peyton, you cannot go all murderous. We can't do that."
"Why not?" You committed a murder because you love me, why can't I do it?"
"Because your safety and freedom means too much to me. I don't want you anywhere near Adam and vice versa."
"If I get hurt, does it look like I give a fuck?"
"I give a fuck, doesn't that say enough?"
I sighed and toyed with my necklace.
"I'm happy with you, I don't want to open old wounds, Peyton. If we live in the past, we will never move forward. So we cannot let the past break us."
"Adam is not important, me and you are. Just us."
"So fucked up." I whispered.
He nods. "I know."
I wanted to hurt Adam. I wanted him dead. But I knew that already we were in a mess we could never get out of, and adding Adam will just bring us in deeper. He deserved it as much as Brian did. Maybe more.
This was different. Adam was a family member that Lukas had
trusted, and became close with, and imagine his confusion with
what was happening to him. Our pasts are similar, they almost
rhyme. Is that why we were addicted to one another? Was it the
fact that we meant for each other? We endured all that pain and
experienced so much shit, so we could give ourselves to one
another when we found each other.
Now I felt more in his heart. I felt more like we were one now.
Now we could move on.