They say that just before you die, your life flashes right before your eyes.
I had never given that much thought, figuring I was many, many, many years away from every finding out if that was true. Funny how life can prove you wrong so easily.
Cowering in the corner of bathroom, praying to every God known to mankind that my inevitable death would come swiftly, I did see flashes of my life. Things that had made me happy, things I regretted I had never said or done, things that I had always taken for granted. It was sad that now was the moment I would have this epiphany when death was currently pushing through my bathroom door.
My vision was blurred from tears, and every cell in my body was shaking with fear.
This was it.
Death was walking through the door, and he wasn’t what I envisioned.
Under normal circumstance, I would have said my assailant was attractive. Short blond hair, muscular arms and torso, and the All-American-Boy features that drove some women crazy: blue eyes, dimples, straight white teeth. His nose was perfectly chiseled and his tan was impeccable. He wore jeans and a white shirt. Not something you would expect from a guy hell bent on shooting someone.
And how did I know he had dimples? The same way I knew his teeth were white and straight.
Because the bastard was smiling.
In my final moments of life I learned something new: Death apparently smiled right before putting a bullet between your eyes.
I shook my head, begging for him to please stop but the words were caught in my throat and all I could do was whimper as I kept pressing myself into the shelf behind me. I hoped that a miracle would occur and that I would magically fall through the wall, but that didn’t happen.
Deathly Blond now stood directly in front of me, a smug satisfied smile on his face that made him appear bone chillingly scary. He raised his gun towards me and I closed my eyes, watching the reel that was my life flash before my eyes.
I waited to hear the bang, feel the burn of the bullet and then nothingness.
Instead what I heard was a crash and a grunt.
I opened my eyes quickly, trying to figure out what divine intervention had occurred that saved my life.
Deathly Blond was fighting off someone else dressed in black. I say someone else because my mysterious savior was a whirlwind of arms and legs kicking and punching in such a fast combination it was impossible to gauge what exactly was going on or who they even were. My savior had effectively trapped Deathly Blond in the shower. And based on the grunts and the sounds of flesh hitting flesh, Deathly Blond wasn’t faring well in this fight.
I didn’t take time to try to figure out what the hell was happening. Common sense had me out the door in less seconds then it took to blink.
I raced out of the door like the hounds of hell were once again on my heels (and I have to say, I was getting really tired of these damn dogs chasing me), ran through my bedroom, through the living room and out my front door which was standing wide open.
Gripping the banister with both hands in order to avoid cracking my skull open again, I sprinted down the stairs as fast my legs would carry me.
I had made it to the second floor landing when I literally ran into Paul. It hadn’t been until that moment that I had even realized I had made a mad dash out my apartment sans shirt, and now Paul was getting an unobstructed view of the bouncing girls barely contained in my black v-cut bra. Oh well. Now was the not the time or the place to worry about being Paul’s wet dream in the shower later. Pushing past him as he stood paralyzed in the hallway with his mouth gaping open, I continued running.
I was practically out of breath by time I hit the foyer, and had made it two steps to the front door when I was suddenly grabbed from behind.
Instinct took over in that second and I fought back with every ounce of strength I had left. I screamed, kicked, clawed and did my damnedest to contort my leg enough to give the jerk a well-deserved kick to the nuts.
“Calm down Princess,” said a deep voice in my ear. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
And just like that, I went limp.
Every ounce of adrenaline I had was zapped from my body and I melted to the floor in a sobbing, hysterical heap, grateful that divine intervention had once again delivered Kade to me when I needed him most.
Kneeling beside me, he gently grabbed my chin and lifted my face toward his.
Ignoring his previous night warning, I threw myself at him and clung to him as though my life depended on it. I thought Deathly Blond had found me again, and I fell to pieces, grateful that Kade had been the first to find me instead.
I cried and sobbed into this shirt, not daring to let go.
“Police,” I begged between sobs. “Please. Call the police. Some tried to shoot me.”
As if I weighed nothing at all, he gently lifted me off the floor and carried me into his apartment.
Sitting with me on the couch, he held me while I continued to cry, rubbing his hands up and down my back in a soothing gesture.
After a few minutes, my hysterics started to pass and I practically fell asleep. My body was crashing from the lack of adrenaline.
Once I was calm and Kade seemed fairly certain I wasn’t going to fall apart again, he stood up suddenly and disappeared into what I assumed was his bedroom off to the right. He returned seconds later, a fleece blanket in hand.
He kneeled in front of me and wrapped it around me as my teeth chattered.
“Th…than…thank you,” I said between chattering teeth.
He squeezed my hand before standing and heading over to the kitchen off to the left.
His apartment layout was nothing like mine and not nearly as open so I couldn’t make out what he was doing.
As I waited for him to return, I looked around the room. The walls were painted a dark tan and the space was sparsely furnished with two brown overstuffed leather couches, a large matching square ottoman that seconded as a coffee table, and a dark cherry entertainment center that housed a Blu-ray player, a stereo, some other electronics I didn’t recognize and a very large flat screen TV that hung above it.
There were no pictures hung on the walls or sitting around the room on any surface from where I was sitting. It seemed strange, but then again, Kade didn’t exactly seem like the type of person to put a personal touch on anything. Though surprisingly the combination of wall coloring and furniture gave the space a warm homely feeling, which also seemed out of place for Kade based on what little I knew of him.
Despite the fact that I had just come closer to death then I ever cared to admit, I couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of his place looked like.
Kade returned seconds later and held out a can of Coke. In his other hand he held a highball glass with an amber liquid two fingers deep.
“You don’t have Diet Coke by any chance, do you?” I asked, staring at the offending can.
He gave me a look that clearly said “You’re kidding, right?”
“It’s just that there is so much sugar and so many calories in a regular Coke. I prefer Diet.”
He shook his head and tried to suppress a grin.
“Sugar is exactly what you need right now,” he said, sitting down beside me. “It will help your body deal with the shock.”
I think I had heard that before, so I didn’t argue any further and took the can, taking a small sip.
Typically I don’t drink anything regular, but at this moment, that Coke was like the nectar of the God’s and I drank half of it before I even realized it.
Kade sat beside me with a smirk on his face, and then offered me the other drink.
“What’s that?” I asked, setting down the half empty can.
“Bourbon,” he said simply.
I shook my head. “I don’t drink hard liquor.”
He said nothing, but kept his hand outstretched with the glass.
I bit my lip and took it slowly.
The idea of a drink, any alcoholic drink, had a lot of appeal right now. I was almost killed in my own home after all and though I had finally stopped shaking, I knew I was still on brink of hysteria.
“What the hell,” I said, and slammed it back.
I immediately started coughing and sputtering, which I’m sure is an attractive look on a woman. My throat burned as the harsh liquid made its way slowly down my throat and into my empty stomach, which instantly starting churning at the harsh contents.
“Thanks,” I wheezed, picking up the can of coke and chasing the bourbon down with the remaining half.
He smiled, but remained silent beside me.
Kade always appeared to have this sense of calm surrounding him. I envied that. My life was spinning out of control and he sat there as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Lucky bastard.
As usual for me in most situations, realization started to dawn on me pretty late in the game.
I was sitting in his apartment, half naked, hysterical and blubbering that someone had tried to kill me and Kade never batted an eye. Not once. Call me crazy, but I’m certain most normal people would find the entire situation upsetting, but Kade was taking it with ease.
My brain, still sluggish from the sudden loss of adrenaline, decided to jump start at that moment.
Looking Kade over carefully, I realized what it was that had been bothering me since seeing him. Something had been pestering me in the back of my head, but I had bigger problems to be concerned with so I had pushed away whatever it was.
I looked at him, really looked at him, and realized for the first time he was soaking wet.
“Oh my God, it was you,” I said, jumping up suddenly. “You were in my shower!”
I started pacing around the room, trying to understand what the hell had happened.
Deathly Blond had shot up my door, and then tried to shoot off my head. My savior, who appeared be Kade again, came crashing through the door, getting the drop on my would-be-murderer. They had fought, Deathly Blond not so well. After that…well, that was the question. What the hell happened?
“I need a phone. I need to the call police before he finds me,” I said, whirling around.
Kade stood in front of me, grabbing both of my shoulders in an attempt to get my attention.
“Relax Princess,” he said. “He won’t be coming after you again.”
I felt the sudden tension ease from my shoulders at his words. Deathly Blond wasn’t coming after me again. I was safe. For now.
Realization once again took her sweet time and dawned on me rather late in the conversation.
I stared at him before asking. “What do you mean he won’t be coming after me again? He could be searching each apartment as we speak! What if he finds me here?!”
The tension was back and I felt my body stiffen at every small sound.
“Addison, look at me,” Kade said, still gripping my shoulders.
I looked up at him and saw the look of sheer panic on my face clearly reflected in the dark irises of his eyes.
“He won’t be coming after you again,” he said calmly.
“But what if he does? What if he doesn’t stop hunting me until he kills me? What if…” I replied hysterically.
Kade stroked the side of my face.
“He won’t be coming after you again because he can’t.”
I stared at him for a moment.
“I don’t understand,” I replied.
He took a deep breath before answering.
“He can’t come after you again Princess. He’s dead.”