According to the original author, Sylvia Day on the day that Eva went to Gideon’s office after she saw Corinne outside the Crossfire building, her lipstick smudged and then finding Gideon freshly showered, the couch out of place, the cushion on the floor and the red mark on Gideon’s shirt it was in fact Nathan who came to see him. I was curious about how that conversation between Nathan and Gideon went considering that Gideon killed him in book two. This is how I think it went down.
“What the fuck?” he muttered under his breath, incredulous while his heart kicked to a running thump. His piercing blue eyes staring daggers at the speaker on his desk, his full mouth twisting in disgust as the disembodied words of his secretary rattled around in his brain.
“Sir, there’s a Nathan Barker here to see you, he doesn’t have an appointment but he claims that Miss Tramell sent him.” Scott, as always, was professionalism personified and blissfully unaware of the bolt of shock his message just brought his powerful boss.
Gideon’s hackles rose, his senses on full alert as he caught the hint of suspicion in Scott’s voice. It’s the mark that distinguished Scott from his rivals for this prestigious position, the ability to see and read people accurately – intuitively he knew that this low life was not welcome.
An acidy concoction of bile and hatred so hot it sizzled boiled up in his throat. That bastard fucker dared to speak his angel’s name? What the fuck did he want? Already his muscles tensed and flexed in cruel anticipation of curling his fingers around Nathan’s neck and watching with deep satisfaction as he squeezed every last ounce of his undeserved life out of him.
He’d enjoy no, revel in seeing the last flicker of life being snuffed out like a surplus candle, fade from his worthless eyes, eyes that saw his angel and wanted her then hurt her in a way that he found so revolting that it consumed him, drilled him with searing pain every moment he allowed himself to think about it.
When Eva first told him it wasn’t a surprise, he recognised her tortured soul because he owned one himself but she would never know the will it took not to leave her there to go find her demon, slaying him with the same aggressive brutality he’d used to force her. In that moment of her deepest confession her pain had become his, he became nothing if not obsessed, desperate to be the one who rid her of the tormenting ghost haunting her dreams.
As it was he dumped an irrational amount of recourses into finding this asshole and making plans, plans he would never divulge but that he knew would gift her with the overdue peace she was aching for.
Now the mother-fucker was here, demanding an audience with him because the world claimed everything he did was theirs, his every move plastered across blogs and newspapers and gossip rags. Her carefully constructed anonymity shattered like fragile hand-blown glass, the sound echoing in his guilty ears because she chose to give herself to him.
There was very little that riled his irony control, his hard body imitating the concrete core – his mind and heart merciless and schooled into cold impassiveness by his own personal hell. He was Gideon Cross, master of most things and he fully intended to become master of this walking piece-of-shit as well, squashing him into nonexistence.
Gideon could already smell the blackmail hanging in the air, a repugnant stench that came along with this ass wipe of a man and he fully intended to play along, if only to see what token this fucker chose to keep of his angel. No insignificant feat considering that he’d already broken out in a light sweat of eager anticipation to wreak a revenge so bleak it scared even him. He could taste the tang of adrenaline while his considerable control got to work, clawing every measure of itself back, winding it into a tightly coiled snake, ready to strike but for now, restrained.
He stood, steady and strong – fortified with the knowledge that he’d use the intel he gathered today to rid them both of this hateful nightmare. He had too, for them to survive as a couple it was as necessary as breathing. He jabbed the button on the speaker with a rigid finger, “show him in.” The steely note ringing clear in his tightly reined baritone.
Nathan ambled into his office without a shred of remorse, his hands jammed casually into his slacks and his shifty eyes taking in the sheer, quiet luxury that only billions could buy. Gideon could see that he was slightly nervous; his filthy tongue darting over his wet lips and the thought of that mouth on his Eva very nearly pushed him to abandon his plan to hear Nathan out and throttle him instead.
He looked just like the pictures in the file Gideon had compiled on him; sandy hair that’s a tad too long, beady eyes that he was tempted to stab a blunt pencil into and the overall look of a spoilt brat who never knew a moment of discipline or decency.
“What do you want?” Gideon didn’t have the capacity for small talk, he wanted this scum out of his office sooner rather than later, he won’t be accountable for what he did to the sick bastard if he stayed even a fraction longer than the brittle hold Gideon had on his temper.
Nathan raised a quizzical eyebrow, “ooh that saucy minx, she told you about me. I’m flattered.” It took everything Gideon had plus some extra reserves he didn’t know he possessed not to rise to the bait. Instead, he balled his fists at his sides, digging his nails into the pads of his hands and bit down, his jaw clenching relentlessly as he struggled to contain himself.
Nathan shrugged his insolence and dragged a hand from his pocket, producing a USB flash drive. He tossed it to Gideon, a little off the mark in the corrupted hope that he would miss and have to fumble to pick it up. Gideon knew this game, the power struggle to be the alpha male and he was damned if he would let Nathan gain even an inch. He caught it mid-air with a swift and graceful hand before a blast of realisation hit him even though he hadn’t yet seen the contents.
“Seems I’m in a bit of a tight spot financially so a couple of mill should do it.” He clicked his tongue and jerked his hand, made into the shape of a gun at Gideon, “Thanks buddy.”
Gideon breathed through another rush of adrenaline at his overly familiar tone, the arrogance of his assumption. From the outside he seemed cool and collected; only the ice in his eyes betraying his rage but his insides was telling a different story. He held in-check a surging mass of urgent need; need to beat this fucker to an unrecognisable pulp. With a monumental effort he steered his focus back to what he wanted to achieve noting that his barrier of control was deteriorating rapidly.
“Or what?” His head snapped to one side as his mouth turned into an uncompromising line, the narrow slits of his eyes calculating and unnervingly observant.
Nathan shrugged again but he didn’t have the balls to look Gideon in the eye.
Fucking dog, pervert chicken shit! Not so brave now are you? Much easier when you’re facing a helpless little girl – Gideon thought in abject disgust, the vile boil of acid hitting the back of his throat again.
Nathan picked at an imaginary piece of lint on his stained trousers, “the press or the internet, I haven’t quite decided.” From his mumbled words Gideon knew that Nathan was sensing the hostility in the room that was crackling like static but too self-absorbed to realise the depth of it, seriously underestimating the vast reserves of his love for Eva.
Even though Gideon knew what was coming it still took a hold of his heart and squeezed. Did this fucker not know who he was dealing with? If he thought for one second that Gideon would let anyone, but especially this limp dick, publish or release obscene footage of Eva he was definitely barking mad. He’d personally rip the head off any person stupid enough to try and stuff it down the bloody hole of his neck with a happy glint in his eye.
He restrained the venomous words choking him and strode to his desk. He forced himself to plug the offensive thing into his laptop and scrolled through the images. His stomach roiled and clenched, he was not a squeamish man but then again, he’d never been confronted with something so sick and perverted. The thing that would stay with him long after the conclusion of this miserable meeting would be Nathan’s face – the pleasure he took from the abhorrent act he was captured in.
The room was closing in on him, these days he only ever experienced panic like this when he dreamed of the things that had twisted his soul. Gideon hated looking at the pictures; even more so because he knew what it would do to Eva. His hands were clamping around the edge of his desk with the violence of his restraint as he was bent over his laptop, the knuckles devoid of the blood supply that usually fed them.
Gideon heard a distant ringing, at first faintly but swiftly it became a piercing shriek in his ears like the twang of a napped cable and he recognised it as the sound of the end. The end of his control where this repugnant monster was concerned. He fought to contain it, he knew he had to if he was to salvage the situation but the fiend of blinding hatred and disgust that overcame him was too powerful to oppose.
With an almost supernatural speed Gideon unleashed the hell of his fury, making it around his desk and up to Nathan with a surreal fluidity that belied the laws of nature. A fist so tight it shook connected with Nathan’s jaw, the utter surprise in his eyes deeply satisfying but not nearly enough.
In an arced bow he flew backwards slamming bodily into the sectional couch resting against the wall, a rain of scattering cushions following his dull thud forward. Limply Nathan tried to push himself up, blood dripping from his mouth and nose. A fearless, vengeful hand fisted in the collar of Nathan’s shirt and with the strength of ten men Gideon hauled him onto his back as if he weighed nothing more than a few pounds.
The terror in Nathan’s wide eyes stirred Gideon almost as much as Eva did and instinctively he knew he was in trouble. If he couldn’t find it in himself to reign in his madness he had no doubt that he would kill Nathan right here in his office. His unyielding desire to spend the rest of his days pleasing his angel – a wish he never knew he had – would go up in smoke. No amount of money could buy him out of this overt and cold blooded murder, no matter how passionate the crime.
The two opposing demons of love and hate were writhing inside him with their struggle for control, his body, in this moment, a mere vessel for their drives. Staring into the godless pits of Nathan’s eyes he waited for a beat to give the purer spirit a chance of victory before he added his conscious will to the fray.
His love for Eva along with the force of his inclination was the only thing that saved Nathan then. The bastard would never fully comprehend just how close he came to dying. Gideon shoved his fisted hands against Nathan’s chest and let go of the collar he had bunched in anger.
As quickly as it started, it ended. Gideon stood and with the grace of a dancer he pivoted away, leaving Nathan to struggle up by himself, his breathing laboured through his broken nose. He would not show Nathan the ragged breaths he needed to take to find his centre again and he feared that if he saw the face of Eva’s oppressor so soon after losing control that it would easily happen again.
Gideon forced his calm and turned, despising having to deal with Nathan again but comprehending the value of communication enough to know that he needed to see how he reacted in everything. He was hoping that the fear he saw in the dirt bag’s eyes a heartbeat ago would be enough to compel him to leave for good. He doubted it but he hoped.
“Get the fuck out of my office. If I ever see you again I will kill you. If you contact Eva or anyone related to Eva in any way I will kill you. Do you understand?” the words in his mouth tasted of the rancour he felt for Nathan as he spat them out like poison, the blue of his eyes were almost completely eclipsed with the black holes of his pupils, his tense muscles were trembling with the repeated hits of adrenaline still surging from his brutality.
Just as Gideon had suspected a defiance sparked in the other man’s eye, instantly he understood that he was going to have to come up with another solution, something more permanent. He wasn’t sure what it would be, he prayed that he wouldn’t need to finish what he started minutes before but he had no doubt that he wouldn’t hesitate to carry out his threat if he was pushed into a hard, dark corner.
“I understand.” Nathan’s words contradicted his body language as he wiped his bloodied face with the back of his sleeve. He tried to hide it and being the coward that he was, he was too afraid of the powerhouse in front of him to admit it but the anger of being denied his payload was already eating at him. He still saw Eva as a girl he could push around and manipulate; he wasn’t ready to accept defeat. All too soon he would forget the jolting intensity of Gideon Cross and push harder at the walls Stanton and Cross were putting in his way. He would be back – with a vengeance.
As Nathan left Gideon stared a hole in his back, wondering if negotiating with this vile being was worth his time or whether he should rather have ended him. Alone in his office he sat back in his chair, his fingertips forming a steeple in front of his face. He couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that this was not the last he would see of Nathan Barker. He needed to double up on Eva’s security until he could decide what to do; he could only concentrate on making plans if he knew that she was safe.
His gaze caught sight of the blood on his cuff and he sucked in a sharp breath. He felt dirty, disgusted that he wore something that belonged to the son-of-a-bitch. He cut his eyes to the clock and realised that Eva would be back from lunch shorty, if she came up and saw him there would be questions and he would rather die a thousand deaths before he told her who and what he saw today.
Forgetting about the cushions on the floor and the couch that was jarred out of place by the force of the fight he slipped into his private bathroom for a quick shower and a fresh shirt.
Gideon takes Eva away for the weekend and they spend it in blissful peace and quiet, both their mobile phones out of reach. According to Sylvia, Gideon is still very worried about Nathan hanging around in the background. When they come back from their weekend on Sunday night Gideon is the first to find frantic messages relaying Cary’s attack on the Friday night. In that moment Gideon realised that Eva will never be safe from Nathan. He knows that it was Nathan who attacked Cary and he starts to make plans of his own…
Gideon strode purposefully away from Eva where she stood in front of Cary’s hospital room and took the call he had been waiting for. He had his suspicions but before he made the final leap he had to know for sure. He did not look back for he knew that she would see his wrath if the news was as he expected and if she saw she would ask. Ask questions he knew he couldn’t answer without endangering her more than she already was.
“What do you have for me?” he barked into the phone, his burning need for confirmation circumventing all social niceties.
“The footage proves that it was Mr Barker sir.”
In spite of expecting those very words it still hit him with an unexpectedly blunt force. Fucking fucker! Good-for-nothing son-of-a-mother-fucking-bitch! If Gideon wasn’t in public right now he would’ve smashed his angry fist through a wall but instead a frustrated, grating sound escaped him, the severe grind of his teeth audible over the line, his most trusted IT guy wincing quietly. He wondered what had crawled up his boss’ ass to make him this mad.
“All the evidence of the footage removed and the logs updated accordingly?” he was using every measure of his fraying control to remain civil, the remnants of his rage making the desire to lash out almost unbearable.
“It has sir. The footage we will provide the police will show an angle that just misses the attack.”
For a brief instant Gideon registered respect for the computer geek, he remained cool under the harsh interrogation of his boss, a boss he knew seldom allowed himself to show anger the way he did today.
“Very good.” Gideon severed the call as he slid into the backseat of the Bentley. Angus knew better than to engage him when his mood was as foul as this and today seemed worse than most.
He had two calls to make, calls he dreaded as much as he dreaded the panic of his night terrors but before then he had to check his plans. Mentally he went through them, closing his eyes to visualise every step. His razor sharp mind quickly configuring alternatives and possible consequences. He weighed the possibilities, the statistical probabilities of the outcomes and came upon the same sequence of events that he had come upon the last four times he did this.
In spite of the stifling hatred he felt for Nathan he didn’t make his decision lightly, the consequences were too severe. There was of course the possibility of jail time which he’d do with a smile if he knew she felt safe but the thought of being without her was not something he could manage, he was sure that he would simply die, wither to nothing without her.
At once his focus sharpened to the diamond hard clarity he’d come to rely on, his mind temporarily freed of its lust for the creep’s blood. His course of action was clear, his biggest hurdle, ironically, was the person he was doing this for. As hard as it was going to be, Eva was going to have to take a back seat for now, the success of his plan depended on it.
Seeing him you’d never guess the force behind the façade he was about to present – to Nathan, to Eva and to the world. It would be the greatest act of his life, a carefully planned and staged show worthy of the industry’s highest accolade. He had to believe that Eva would be there after the final curtain. If she even felt a quarter for him of what he did for her, the next few months would be unbearable, might actually break her but for this reward he was willing to risk it, he’d spend the rest of his life nursing her back to him when all this was done.
With the security screen between himself and Angus securely raised Gideon’s privacy was guaranteed. He made the first call from a pre-paid mobile phone that he’d purchased for this very purpose. The dip-shit answered after three rings, “Barker. Cross here. You’ve made your point.”
He knew full well that Nathan had beat Cary up as a warning, the asshole was still under the illusion that he was the one calling the shots in this abominable negotiation and, for now, that’s exactly what Gideon wanted him to think. Arrogant fuck!
Over the phone where he knew that Gideon’s hands couldn’t reach through to strangle him it was easier for Nathan to be cocky and he chuckled at his opponent’s acquiescence. “You know the terms.”
Gideon could hear the victory smile through the bastard’s smug words but he refused to be riled, it was vital that Nathan thought that he had won. “Where are you staying?” his voice robotic as he relied solely on years of social convention to express himself.
Even though he was fully prepared to move Nathan he couldn’t help but feel his idea was fated when Nathan mentioned the name of one of his hotels. Pure coincidence but still, he was pleased that his enemy had played straight into his skilled hands. Nowhere did he wield more sway that here in Manhattan, here he could manage every conceivable variable with the detailed precision that made him the astounding success he was today.
“How many copies do you have?” Gideon’s monotone continued, at least now that he knew the outcome it was marginally easier to deal with the scumbag.
“Apart from the one you kept there is one more, safe with me until I get the cash.” After the viciousness of Gideon’s attack he had an inkling of what it would mean to double cross this man so he told the truth, a novelty for him, but all he wanted was the money. He didn’t really give a shit about anything else.
“I’ll be in touch. It will take me four days to get that kind of money in cash without raising any red flags. Do not draw attention to yourself.” The sudden change in Gideon’s tone made Nathan flinch, reminding him of the virulent anger he saw in Gideon’s face when he attacked him. He resented the implied threat but he wasn’t about to jeopardise the deal; he would heed the demand just this once and he was happy to wait. A few days made no difference to him especially if he could spend it in the lap of luxury now that he had finally hit pay dirt. “I’ll see you on Thursday.”
Gideon broke the connection but he didn’t miss the thrill in Nathan’s ferret voice. Just as he had expected, the greedy, limp fucker was already spending the money. He sat back in his seat and carefully wiped down the phone before chucking it out of the Bentley’s window and under the wheels of the rushing NY streets.
His plan was fast-tracked and rock solid, Nathan was playing along beautifully. Corinne was the next step, not that she’d know – he wasn’t about to have loose ends flapping around, flailing uncontrolled and dangerous, putting him and indirectly Eva at risk. He would call her from work, the records of their conversations just another piece in the puzzle of his master plan.
When Angus drew up to the Crossfire building Gideon felt like his moment had well and truly come. He stepped out of the Bentley and onto the stage of the play that he’d set in motion. The players and the pawns would be watching his every move over the next few months. With his inscrutable mask firmly in place he strode ahead embracing the start. The price was high but he felt, well worth the risk.
Behind his desk he dialled her number from memory, he knew that he’d have to explain in part, he owed her that much but he didn’t trust anybody enough to divulge the full details.
Her breathy voice trilled in his ear, for the first time jarring because it did not belong to Eva. Again he relied on his immeasurable control and automatic charm to get her on board, “Corinne, I have a favour to ask.”
“Oh Gideon, you know that I’ll do anything for you.” Her playful lilt didn’t fool him for a second, he knew that she wanted him and he was counting on just that to get what he needed from her but he didn’t want to give her false hope.
He chuckled, ignoring the subtle come-on he heard in her flirtatious words. “Eva and I, we’re going through some things and we’ve decided to take some time apart. You know what it’s like with my social schedule. I can’t be seen without a date. Once the bachelor vultures get the scent of a free agent they’ll come circling. Right now I’ve got too much on my plate to deal with a bunch of gold digging socialites whose only interest in me are my pockets. I was hoping that you’d do me the honour, just until Eva and I sort out our shit.”
It amused him that she agreed without missing a beat, no doubt she thought that if Eva was out of the picture she at least stood a chance even if she had to bide her time playing “girlfriend” for a while.
After the call he had Scott email her a schedule of social engagements ensuring that the Thursday night Kingsman Vodka publicity mixer was among them. He was going to have to spend every waking moment with her if he was going to convince the press that Eva was something of the past.
He wished, more than anything that he could share the nature of his scheme with Eva but her genuine reaction was another crucial part of his strategy. All he could do was pray that he’d be strong enough to resist the hurt he knew he’d see in her gorgeous wolf eyes. Her crater deep trust issues, he already suspected, was going to be the bane of his life over the course of this plot.
In between ruling his empire he went over his plan verifying and confirming, there was no need to leave anything within his jurisdiction to chance, he had the luxury to plan every vengeful detail.
The security system in the hotel that Nathan was staying in was being upgraded so there would be no telling video surveillance, he’d have a water tight alibi in Corinne, the few moments he’d be away from her side would be easily explained in the light of the fire that would break out and the chaos that would ensue.
He was the owner of the property after all; it was his responsibility to ensure that protocol was followed and everyone seen safely out. It would be normal, expected even that he and Corinne would be separated during this time, him attending to the emergency while she waited in safety.
The fire took a bit of planning and research, he didn’t care about the damage to the building but he would not allow anyone to be hurt by it. The ground floor kitchen seemed his best option. His employees would see him come and go during the course of the fiasco, it would be impossible to pinpoint his whereabouts at any one point in time. The thirty minute window of opportunity he could create for himself with the fire as distraction was tight.
Gideon allowed himself to imagine the moment that he would take Nathan’s life, what it would be like to look into the vacant eyes of his lifeless body. If he was honest it was the only part of his careful plan he was unhappy about. He’d have to take care of Nathan very quickly, quietly and surely if his alibi was going to hold but what he really wanted to do, even though he could barely admit it to himself, was to take his time, make him suffer the way he made her suffer, the way Gideon himself was made to suffer.
By the time Thursday rolled around his worst suspicions had been confirmed where Eva was concerned. She was spitting mad and utterly broken, wearing her pain so plainly it scraped at his every nerve, threatening to shatter his resolve. He tried to tell her to trust him but he painted the picture of his perceived betrayal so vividly that he couldn’t blame her for not believing; in fact he banked on it. She would make his lie plausible and Nathan would relax thinking that Gideon had dumped her. It killed him.
He got ready for the Kingsman mixer taking great care to go through all the normal motions such an event required. Everything was in place; he was the catalyst that would set the ball rolling. During the first half of the evening he excused himself to greet his head chef in the kitchen. Behind a stainless steel panel that hid a power board he bunched a flammable piece of fabric into a ball and stuffed it surreptitiously between the warm plugs. Plugs he knew would grow hot enough as the night wore on to ignite the fibres, incinerating it in the process and leaving no evidence of his intervention.
Once the fire alarms were triggered he ensured his guests and especially Corinne was out of harm’s way before he made an effort to speak to the FDNY at the service entrance behind the hotel. From there he made his way to Nathan’s hotel, his tuxedo jacket replaced with a hoody, the cold comfort of the steel blade flat against his back. During his brisk walk he kept his head down, studiously holding on to anonymity his disguise afforded him.
When Gideon reached his destination it surprised him that the sharp hit of adrenaline did not make him edgy or nervous, instead he found that it soothed him. The thought of what he was about to do almost cleansing. He did not report to the reception desk but moved swiftly from the lobby to the bank of elevators, pushing the button as though he did not have a care in the world.
A rapid knock brought the ass wipe to his door, answering it wearing a sneer that made Gideon’s next move ridiculously easy. With a steady, sure hand he plunged the blade horizontally between Nathan’s ribs. The forty five degree angle and the brute force of Gideon’s strength ensured that the blade sliced through his undeserved heart.
Gideon watched as Nathan’s expression turned from derision to shock as he held the knife in position with a white-knuckled fist. He was pleased that in the last moments of Nathan’s worthless life he knew who killed him and why. It was too late for Nathan to respond in any way, the spark of life flickering briefly before it snuffed out completely.
Left in his sockets were odd glassy orbs that looked almost synthetic, the torrent of life blood spilling the last of its force as if it knew that it was never precious. When Gideon pulled the knife out of Nathan’s still warm flesh, he wiped it clean against Nathan’s shirt sleeve then wrapped it in a plastic bag. Secured behind his back once more he left behind the slumped body of a devil.
Backtracking to the Kingsman mixer the repetitive mantra on Gideon’s lips was for Eva to trust him.
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