Too Tasty

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Just Shoot Me Already

The two goons ran towards me and I panicked, silently begging the stranger to help me. I ditched my belongings towards the side of his driveway, prepared to fight the goons if push came to shove.

His buff body was evidence towards the assertion that he probably worked out often; his tight purple v neck shirt emphasized his pecs and defined body. The most striking facial features on him were his silver grey eyes that reminded me of a moon. His black hair contrasted with his silver eyes and made him look like he was a predator of the night...almost like a werewolf.

The man ushered the little girl behind him and watched as the goons stalked towards me. They acted harmlessly but I knew better.

They were here to kidnap me and take me to my father. I’d rather plan and execute my own death than being forced to see that vile man again.

I was forced to watch as he strangled my mother to death with his bare hands. If I had moved to stop him, he would’ve killed one of my sisters. I loved my mom but I had to let her go in order to save my siblings.

“Come on Kari baby. We’re here to take you home. Surely you’ve missed your Daddy and best friends,” said the goons, smiling nonchalantly.

“Just shoot me already. Know that I’d rather die than go back to him. Do it, just spare the family behind me and consider our score even. I was wrong to get them involved. Leave my siblings out of this shit,” I responded as I clasped my shaky hand behind my back. The wind howled and my body shook slightly from the chill mixed with the fear that I felt.

At least Seth wouldn’t be the one who kills me. He won’t get the satisfaction of doing so.

Seth encouraged my father to cheat on my mother and then manipulated him into believing that my mother was the problem in his life. I knew because I overheard their conversation one night. When I pointed it out to my mother, she refused to leave my father because she said that it was her duty to serve him and to protect us. Some protecting she got to do; she’s dead.

Not to mention that Seth and his “friends” were more like goons than anything. Just because you smoke pot and wear a leather jacket doesn’t mean you’re a cool, bad boy.

Seth’s friends followed his malicious tendencies but the real question was whether they’d spare me or shoot us all.

I scoped out the neighborhood but there wasn’t anyone else in sight. Just the occasional cars passing by the stranger’s home.

“Kari baby, what are you talking about? Sweetie, your family misses you. Even your sisters will receive a visit soon,” said the goon with less facial hair. He looked like a more civilized man than the other goon. But don’t let that fool you. Waves of malice wafted off of him.

I stayed silent as I thought about what he said.

I knew better than to fall for his words. I’m a ghost of the weak person I used to be. I can defend myself and I won’t succumb fear. Even if I was terrified of having a one on one conversation with my father.

I heard footsteps from behind me and I tensed. Would this man be the person who hands me over to these goons or will he support me?

“Kari isn't interested. She’s right where she wants to be,” replied a husky voice and I knew the stranger would help me out right then.

His arm snaked around my waist and he planted an air kiss on my forehead. I respected the fact that he didn't try to cop a feel of my ass or even kiss me for real.

I was so close to his chest that I could hear his heartbeat. It was as if he had tucked me right next to him, smothering me in a warm hug.

It was so intimate.

And foreign to me.

“You should think twice Karina. You’re making a huge mistake,” said the other goon with a scowl.

“Maybe, but this is home for me now. Please leave me alone. If you don’t threaten my family, then I’ll leave you alone too. But if you do, you won’t like what happens next,” I said with conviction, relishing the heat from the man's arm that transferred to my waist. His presence gave me the strength to be courageous and speak my mind.

I trembled but held onto the man’s waist with a death grip.

I must be strong for my sisters.

They need me and I won’t abandon them.

Control your fear and stay calm. That has been my mantra for years and it has never once failed me.

The goon stalked towards me and ripped me away from the stranger. Instead of struggling, I sagged slightly and clocked him straight in the jaw. My eyes welled up as the pain in my wrist and knuckles intensified.

I got into a basic fighter’s stance and ushered the other goon to come at me. The stranger lined up next to me as if he would defend me too. I had forgotten all about the little girl but I suppose she had been smart enough to run inside.

“Until next time, Kari babe,” they said in unison as they walked down the driveway, far from me.

I shuddered and cringed as I thought about that day coming.

Sometimes asking for help is a strength, not a sign of weakness.

My knuckles hurt so much. The skin around them had ripped and started to bleed.

Ouch. This burns like a motherfucking bitch.

“Thank you for defending me. And I’m sorry that I put you in danger. I was out of good options,” I said. I felt bad for involving the man but what else could I have done?

They would’ve dragged me to Holton, my father the murder.

The man didn’t respond but he stared at me intently.

“Who were they?” he asked quietly as his eyes locked on my blood dripping on his sidewalk. I held my hand away from my clothes because the dress that Tyler had taught me was pretty and reminded me of him.

“Some really horrible people that are trying to hurt my siblings. Is there any way I can make a phone call? I don’t have any service,” I asked, crossing my fingers in hopes that he would say yeah.

He nodded and pulled out his phone. I wasn't sure who to call but then I saw the new numbers that I had saved to my phone before I left the diner today. Courtesy of Knox of course. I glanced at Knox’s contact from my phone as I typed in his number onto the man’s phone.

Before hitting the call button, I asked the man, “What’s your name and why did you help me?”

“I’m Lincoln Walker. I’d want somebody to do the same for my niece,” he said, putting his sunglasses in his jean pocket.

I smiled in gratitude and hit call. I anxiously tapped my foot and waited for a response.

Knox: Hello?

Me: Knox it’s me, Karina.

Knox: Whose phone is this? What’s wrong Karina? Shouldn’t you be at home?

Me: It’s Lincoln’s phone actually. I’m standing in his driveway talking to you because I had no service. I need a favor, Knox.

Knox: What is it?

Me: I need a ride to Connecticut. My sisters are in danger.

Knox: I’m in Washington DC right now. There’s no way I’m going to get to you in time.

Me: Shit! Don’t worry about it. I can take an Uber.

Knox: I can meet you in Connecticut in a couple of hours if I leave soon. Send me an address and I’ll be there. Don’t do anything stupid, Karina.

Me: Okay, I will text you the address. And no promises. I’ll see you soon.

Lincoln patiently stood next to me as he waited for me to finish talking.

I sighed and looked at the ground after hanging up.

An Uber would cost me a fortune and any other transport would take too long. I need to get to my sisters before Seth and his goons do.

Even though I was the middle child, I always felt responsible for protecting my sisters Teela and Maven.

Maven may be the oldest but she took on the responsibility of caring for our younger sister Teela. She worked to support Teela and herself no matter how tired she was. Together, Maven and I generated the household income even though we lived in two different states.

I can’t back down now. Not when my family needs me.

I handed the phone back to Lincoln and thanked him as I began to walk away to grab my belongings. At least I have my chocolate fudge muffins.

“Wait, I can drive you to Connecticut if you want,” he offered.

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