Pulse (Collide, #2)(5)

Still gripping her hair, Dillon pulled her up and hauled her body against his chest. Daring to meet his eyes, Emily swallowed down fear coating her throat as Dillon pegged her with a look telling her this torture wasn’t over. With a rush of anger and adrenaline slicking through her nerves, she clawed at his face, digging her thumb nails into his eyes. Tiny slivers of blood streaked across Dillon’s lids as a howl of pain scraped from deep within his throat.

Somewhere above the twisted havoc raking hard in her mind, Emily registered the sound of the front door swinging open, followed by Lisa’s screams. In a flurry of commotion, Michael rushed up behind Dillon, grabbing him under the arms. Michael’s movements were frantic as he pulled Dillon from Emily. Both men stumbled, their limbs flailing in every direction. Michael landed on his back on the floor. Dillon fell on top of him. The loud thud echoed through the room. Michael tossed Dillon away, rolled to the side, and sprang to his feet.

With Lisa’s arm curled tight around her shoulders, Emily shook uncontrollably, crying as she watched Dillon stagger up from the ground.

Michael lunged, swung his fist, and caught Dillon against his mouth. The blow split his lip. “I should’ve done this to you last night, *!” Michael spewed.

As Dillon righted himself, he stumbled forward, clenching Michael’s collar. Before he could do anything, Michael’s fist landed in a continuous assault against Dillon’s face, knocking him clear to the floor.

A clatter of voices, including Olivia’s, rang in Emily’s ears as nausea churned in her stomach. She stood frozen, her cries dying in her mouth, as she watched her apartment fill with concerned neighbors and, within a few minutes, a couple of New York City police officers. After a quick explanation from Michael, one of the cops dragged Dillon to his feet and cuffed his hands behind his back.

“You’re a f*cking whore!” Dillon wheezed, spitting a mouthful of blood in Emily’s direction. “Nothing but a f*cking whore! I hope he f*cks you and leaves you like all the rest, you cunt!”

Dillon’s poisonous words pressed into Emily’s head in a violent explosion. She felt as if she were a tiny particle of dust moving in slow motion in the middle of a roaring tornado. Though insanity whirled around her in a room filled with people, she didn’t see anything… but Gavin’s face. Though one of the cops threatened to make Dillon’s overnight stay a memorable one, she couldn’t hear anything… but the thrumming of her broken heart. The only thing she could comprehend was the numbness flooding her veins.

She freed herself from her sister’s hold and made her way toward Dillon, where he stood with a cocky smirk toying at his bloodied lip. Staring into the wicked soul of the man she’d loved for so long, the man she’d given all of herself to, and without a tear in her eye, she smacked him across the face. Unable to stop the pent up anguish from the months of hell she’d allowed him to put her through, pain erupted in her hands, down to their fragile bones, as she continued to beat her fists against his face and chest.

“You did this to me!” she screamed, struggling against one of the officers. The officer pulled Emily back as she glared at Dillon. “I loved you, and you became everything you said you never would! And you want to know something, Dillon?” she asked, her breathing a ragged mess. With the smirk falling from his face, Dillon peered over his shoulder as an officer escorted him out of the apartment. “If Gavin does leave me and never talks to me again, I deserve every second of misery I’ll be in without him.”

After Olivia knocked him in the head, Emily watched Dillon walk out of her life as quickly as he’d walked into it. She wrapped her arms around her stomach, thoughts of Gavin splintering through her heart as she fell to her knees. With her last bit of strength, Emily backed herself against the coffee table, dropped her face into her hands, and began to violently cry. Lisa sat beside her, pulled her into her lap, and cradled her head against her shoulder. As Lisa rocked her back and forth, Emily realized she’d saved herself from becoming another statistic.

Another silent voice.

Surprised she’d let it get so far, visions of her mother accepting the same brutal treatment from not only her father but countless other men flashed through her memory. The haunting images chilled Emily’s bones.

“Shh, Emily,” Lisa whispered, holding her tighter. “It’s over now.”

Olivia knelt beside them, her voice soft. “Are you okay?” She handed Emily an ice pack and opened a first aid kit. Taking out a bandage, Olivia tore it open and placed her hand under Emily’s chin. After securing a piece of gauze with medical tape over the fresh wound above Emily’s brow, Olivia frowned.

Eyes watery, Emily nodded. “Yeah, I’m all right.”

The remaining officer walked over to Emily, his overly round physique making his uniform look ill-fitted. “Miss, I’m gonna need a statement from you. Paramedics should be here soon. They’ll take you to the hospital if you think you need to be seen.”

“No.” Emily brought the icepack up to her swollen cheekbone. She flinched as it made contact with her skin. “I don’t want to go to the hospital.”

“That’s fine,” the officer replied, looking at a clipboard. “You can refuse treatment when they get here, but they still need to show up because it was a domestic violence call.”

Michael sat on the ottoman, his expression piqued in question. “Emily, I think you should go get checked out.”

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