The house is cold. Empty, bare of furniture and identifying marks. It lies on the outskirts of Roswell, inside a neighborhood still under construction. None of the houses listed on the market yet. Making it the perfect place to lie low.
She doesn’t know how he did it, nor does she want to, but the power and water all function. The window in her bedroom is barred up, much like in an actual prison.
Liz splashes cold water over her face, closing her eyes and leaning against the cool marble counter.
It was getting too much, being locked away in this place. At Jones’ beck and call, he had her pouring over files and files of Nora’s notes. Trying to prep her the best he could while her lab was under construction.
She can hear the zombie workers pushing heavy equipment around downstairs, drill drivers going off every couple of minutes.
When she opens her eyes it’s to look at her reflection, take stock of everything around her. She was being pulled apart from the inside out. Dark bruises under her eyes, hair frizzy from the gas station shampoo the monster had supplied her with.
Even with access to a shower, attached to her room, she felt dirty. The constant need to scrub her skin arising every time Jones was in her presence. Because she sold her soul to him. Sold out Max. Even if he would have wanted her to prioritize his siblings over him, it still made her feel sick. Her stomach churning at the thought of him.
“You haven’t eaten,” his voice comes sharply from her left.
Liz’s hands squeeze tighter at the counter top, eyes narrowing. “It’s rude to sneak up on a lady,” her voice is strained. Throat scratching, from lack of drinking, like if she forced her body to shut down it was payback. “Especially when she’s in the bathroom.”
“I will keep that in mind,” he responds coolly. “There’s food in the fridge. Eat.” His voice is harsh, like he is scolding her.
She turns to him jaw set, making sure to glare as sharply as she can manage. The last thing she intended to do was obey his commands like a whipped dog.
“I’m good,” she manages even as her limbs feel heavy. It had been forty eight hours since her last meal, if the fries she had at the Wild Pony counted.
His eyes glint darkly, “fine. Then get back to the assignment on hand.”
She fights the urge to roll her eyes as he leaves, it was too familiar a gesture. One she reserved for people she actually liked. Not people who held her prisoner in a house, deputies outside to shove her back in if she tried to escape. Bars over the windows and cameras in her unfinished lab.
After a moment of lingering in the bathroom she follows after him. It was hard to focus with the ruckus the workers were making, but he would probably start following her around if she didn’t get back to work. Like some sort of overly anxious border collie.
Lucky perks his head up from his dog bed as she hits the bottom of the staircase. He was her number one fan, competing for Kyle’s place as the captain of team Liz. Her chest aches at the thought of him, hoping Alex and Michael had found him by now. While she was locked away in this hell.
“Good of you to join us Elizabeth,” Jones drawls. His southern accent only getting thicker as time wore on.
She hates the chill that runs down her spine as Max’s lips wrap around her full name. He had never called her by anything other than Liz, not even pet names.
“What are you doing?” She asks while glaring at him. Jones had spent the better part of the time he was actually in the house scribbling circles and spirals on random sheets of paper.
A sharp grin splits across his face, “reminiscing.”
It’s as vague as he can make it, as if he knows it will rub her the wrong way. Make her hackles rise and her eyes narrow. So she lets it roll over her shoulders, biting at her lip as she slides onto a barstool. The kitchen was where she did all of her work so far, watching as plastic sheets were hung and her lab was constructed in the next room.
“Why are you here?” She raises an eyebrow as she opens a file. Eyes darting over the charts, the numbers still looking like garbled nonsense.
His pencil freezes, “you’re supposed to be answering my inquiries.”
Liz only narrows her eyes at him, going back to the file, a bit about pods catching her eye. It isn’t new information only the stasis and silver being listed. Explaining what their purposes are. But Liz would be damned if she paid attention to the monster seated across from her. If she let him know that every time he left she poured over his scribbles, cross referencing them to Nora’s notes.
She was beginning to believe he was writing in his native tongue, what it was she had no clue. That would come with time. The one thing she begged for more and less of everyday.
“I have no pressing matters to… attend to,” Jones says placing his pencil down.
“No people to torture or kidnap?” She quips.
“Read,” Jones grits out. “You aren’t alive to incessantly talk.”
A fire starts burning in her chest, setting her blood boiling. “I’m not yours to command,” she grits. “I can read at my own pace, genius doesn’t sit and beg on command.”
His lips quirk up at the edges, an amused look on his face. “I know,” he says smugly, “no one in their right mind would compare you… to anything lesser.”
She blinks, staring at him for a long moment. Everything he says is like a riddle, lies hidden in truths. Deep meanings hidden behind vague word choices. Like he is a riddle she hasn’t quite figured out.
Liz grits her teeth together, “when will I get to work in the lab?”
“Tomorrow,” Jones shrugs nonchalantly. “Maybe by then you’ll cave.”
All she gives him is an arched eyebrow, while she flips the page in the file. Hoping Nora’s words will become less hysterical the further she reads.
“Food,” he says coldly. “I can’t have you dying.”
She does eventually eat, only a slice of pizza before bed. Her stomach growling obscenely when Jones had opened the box. His eyes had gleamed delightfully when she caved in, after that she decided to only eat on weird intervals. Since it made him get so on edge. It was the least she could do, force him to work for her efforts.
The lab was beyond amazing, more high tech then what she, Alex, and Kyle had scraped together to rescue Max last time. His connections running deeper than she would have dreamed, or just his mind control powers.
She angrily shoved the Petri dishes away from her, “¡mierda!”
The cells weren’t working with her treatments, she was exhausting all ideas she really had left. Only one day in the lab and she was back on ground zero.
She shakes her head angrily, looking up at the soft purple glow from the pod. It is shoved into a corner of her lab, under her watchful eye. Max floating not far from her.
“Where are you when I need you, huh?” Her voice is soft, “you’ve always showed up to stop me from mad scientisting before? Why stop now?”
“A sign of insanity,” his voice rings through the lab.
Liz nearly jumps, eyes blown wide. For a moment she actually thought Max was talking back to her, before her brain kicked in at least. She turns to glare daggers at Jones.
He is standing inside the plastic curtains, muddy boots on her pristine lab floors. A greasy sack of fast food held in one hand and a shark like grin on his face.
“Out!” She says voice livid. “You’re making a mess of my lab!” Her entire body freezing when her eyes land on the logo on the bag. The blood pumping behind her ears making her eyes feel like they might implode.
“Your lab darlin’?” He smiles smugly.
“You went to the CrashDown?” She can feel the pulling inside of her, everything getting taut before she snaps. “You went near my papi?” Her eyes squeeze shut, trying to block everything out.
“He was very pleased Max was worried about you,” Jones says smoothly. “He knows you get caught up and forget to eat, thought a taste of home might coax you out of it.”
“Out,” she grits pointing at the curtains.
He cocks his head to the side, “and who died and made you queen of anything?”
Her feet carry her up into his space, a gloved finger poking aggressively into his chest. “You,” she growls, “don’t go near my dad. Ever.”
His smile only widens, “you come out of the lab and eat. Then we’ll discuss where I go and who I see. After you make progress.”
“Ahh!” She throws her hands into the air angrily, “¡dios ayúdame!”
Jones chuckles deeply, “not in the presence of sinners.”
“Out,” she says removing her goggles. Which he seems to take as confirmation of her joining him, so he backs out of the lab a dark glimmer in his eyes.
She hangs her lab coat onto the hook, giving the pod a last mournful look before exiting through the plastic curtain. Her gloves snapping as she peels them off, tossing them into the trash bin.
Her captor is standing by the coffee table, all sorts of food laid out on top. It’s pushed nearly into the fireplace, the room mostly full of the lab.
“What did you get?” She asks sharply, even if she was pissed denying food after hitting a science block was beyond her. Especially her fathers food.
“Arturo packed a bit of everything,” Jones shrugs.
Liz nods, reaching up and letting her hair fall loosely down her shoulders. It’s freeing in a way, like she can breathe for the first time in awhile.
A shiver runs down her spine at the look Jones gives her. It’s dark, analytical. Like he is trying to figure her out by letting his eyes flicker up and down her body. It feels like flames are licking up her legs and chest.
“My dad is off limits,” she says sitting down cross legged at the small table. Trying not to glare daggers at him as she unwraps a burger, his jaw clenched tight.
“You don’t tell me what to do,” his voice is distant. “I’m the one calling the shots.”
It’s weird how he says it, almost like he is afraid that he is wrong. His confidence and arrogance relaxing for just a moment. It’s enough to make Liz doubt, doubt what she knew about him. Maybe he was less powerful than he previously let on. Maybe they stood a better chance then she had guessed.
“Your stuff is in your room,” he says before walking away.
“What stuff?” She calls after him. He doesn’t respond just keeps going up the stairs, presumably to where he sleeps. If he does that, she thinks, it wouldn’t shock her to figure out he just meditated on the ceiling.
He had retrieved her clothes, toiletries, and a couple books. Having apparently stayed too long in her fathers presence. It was comforting though, to wake up in her own pajamas.
Comforting enough that she barely noticed where she is. Until she makes it all the way down the stairs, rubbing at her eyes, to see Jones at the oven. The smell of burning churro pancakes assaulting her senses.
His nose is scrunched up as he squints at the notecard in his hands.
“What are you doing?” She manages.
He looks up jaw locking closed, a fire ignited behind his eyes. “This recipe doesn’t make sense,” he shakes the notecard. “The sugar keeps burning.”
She can’t help the bubbly laugh that escapes her, her heart squeezing violently. Stomach churning that this creature evoked it from her.
“You put the sugar on before you cooked them?”