She wanted to be with him at the moment, and yet she didn’t want that. She would seem desperate and weak if she ventured into his arms instead of strong and upset, which she was supposed to be.
Ava had tussled on the bed, over and over since she and Anna retired to bed, thinking of being with Beck just like those nights when Anna was missing. Then she thought of his soothing voice whenever he comforted her. She needed to hear that voice; she needed that assurance that by the following day she and her siblings would go back to their normal lives.
She got up, feeling that it was better she was yearning for him and not mad at him. After all, he had a good reason to have lied.
As she got to the door of his room, she felt a hand cover her nose and mouth while a sharp blade was placed at her neck. Before she could muffle or tug at the hand on her face, a man whispered, “Make a noise and you’re gone,” in her ears. Then, she felt something hard hit her head before she could understand what was going on anymore.
Chilled water did Ava feel as she came out of unconsciousness. She panted heavily as she shivered from the cold that flowed from her head to her thighs. When she raised her hands to remove her wet hair from her face she felt something tight around them. She struggled to get herself free only to realize later that her hands were tied to the handle of where she sat.
She bowed her head, allowing the water drip from her hair down to her thighs. Once she was sure water wouldn’t enter her eyes, she opened them just for her sight to be blocked by the wet hair.
Right then, she heard, “Oh!” followed by claps. “The damsel is awake.” Because of how high-pitched the voice was, she decided it was a woman speaking.
Someone shifted her hair back and raised her head by her chin. Ava’s eyes met a pair of blue ones dancing from left to right as they examined her face.
“I really wonder what he sees in you,” the woman before her said. “You aren’t that beautiful.” She stood and turned her body towards her back though her gaze was still on Ava. “Is she, Quinton?”
“No, Annika,” she heard a butch voice answer. “You’re the most beautiful creature there is.”
She giggled. “Did you hear that? I’m the most beautiful creature there is.”
Ava stared at the woman, confused. Who was this woman and what did she want? Why was she tied up instead of being in bed with either her sister or the man she realized she had great feelings for?
“You seem so lost,” the brunette said, “like a stray puppy.”
“What’s this about?” Ava asked with her eyes furrowed.
“This . . .” she said, a smirk playing on her light pink lips. She bent over, one hand on a knee while the other was beneath Ava’s chin, her thumb stroking her bottom lip. “This is getting rid of obstacles in the way getting my Beck back.”
“Your Beck you say?” Ava said.
“Yes, my Beck.” She smiled as she stood upright before turning away from her. She walked towards the man on the other side of the . . . Ava glanced around where she was. It looked like a high school basketball court. It looked really old and dark, its source of light coming from the moon through the windows and some lit candles.
“I don’t understand,” Ava said. “He never told me had a woman in his life.”
“Oh, surely he must have,” she said, turning towards Ava. “I’m the beloved wife he’s decided he no longer loves.”
Her cerulean eyes went wide. “Annika?”
“But no matter, because that’s what he thinks. He only sees you and believes he’s in love with you. Once you’re gone, he’ll realize that I’m the only woman meant for him.”
Ava eyed Annika warily from head to toe as Annika giggled and turned towards the man—Quinton she had called him earlier. When she turned back to face Ava, there was a knife in her hand and a smirk on her face. She bit her lip and giggled as she advanced towards Ava.
Ava shook in her seat in fear while struggling to get out of the ropes.
“I—I . . . I’ve done nothing wrong to you.”
“Oh, but you have. You stole my man. I thought that sending you to the hospital in that accident or hurting you in your abdomen will send you a message. Apparently, they didn’t.” She looked at the knife, eyeing every single inch of it. “I guess this is the only way.” She looked at Ava, smirking. “Oh, don’t worry. I wouldn’t take long. I just need to take your blood as you are in pain. Besides, if Beck saw your damaged body, he wouldn’t see you as beautiful anymore. And with your body merged with mine, all he’ll ever see is you.”
She tutted. “I highly doubt that.”
“He knows you so he’d know.”
“We’ll see about that.”
She raised the knife to Ava’s cheek and just then a door busted open. Annika jumped at the sound of the door, making the knife slice Ava’s jaw a little.
“Annika, don’t.” That was the baritone voice of the very person Ava had desired earlier that evening to listen to.
“Beck,” Annika said. She stood, facing him as he walked closer to her. He stretched one hand towards her as he marched slowly. “You’re not supposed to be here now.”
“I’m here now so don’t do it.”
“So you’ll take me?”
“No, I can’t,” he said much to Ava’s pleasure. For a moment there, she thought he would as he had hesitated. “But this isn’t right.”
She quickly made her way to behind Ava. Then, Ava felt her hair being pulled back, causing her to retreat her head and hiss.
“Don’t tell me what’s right and what isn’t!” Annika yelled, her voice menacing.
Ava felt the edge of the blade at her neck. Just a little closer and one swipe and she would be gone. She shut her eyes, hoping, wishing, and praying that Beck wouldn’t upset Annika. There was going to be a tragic story about Ava if that happened.
“Just come here.”
Her grip on Ava loosened. “Why should I?”
“I want to feel you, Annika.”
His words left Ava astonished, causing her to look at him. Wasn’t it moments ago he said he couldn’t have her?
Annika’s grip was completely loose now. “I thought you said you couldn’t have me?”
“I just realized I was wrong.”
“You did in less than a minute?”
“Don’t they say it’s better late than never?” He looked at Ava. “She doesn’t have to carry the cross of my mistakes.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Don’t you want me anymore?”
“I do but something’s not right. You just said you can’t have me, and then when I threatened to take her life you change your mind.” She paused a little. “What game are you playing at?”
Just then, a gun appeared at the back of Beck’s head. The person holding the gun was in the dark so Ava couldn’t tell who it was until she heard him say, “Drop the knife and I’ll drop the gun.”
Staring closer at the silhouette, she was certain it was Bruce. She got into panic mode though in her usual way: quietly. She grabbed the handle of the chair her hands were tied to, wondering how the next few moments will unfold. It was at that point Annika pressed the blade closer to her neck.
“Bruce, you’re not supposed to be here,” Ava choked.
“Ava, now is not the time to be a big sis.” Then to Annika he said, “I said drop the knife!”
“And what makes you think I will?”
He shrugged. “Perhaps to prevent losing your Beck forever you will.”
“And you’d lose your sister.”
He cocked the gun. “I won’t repeat myself. Drop the knife or he dies.”
“Drop the gun or she dies.”
Right now, Ava felt a sting at the point where the middle of the blade was at her neck. It was likely that it had begun to cut her and she was already bleeding.
Ava swallowed saliva, shaking in fear of what was going to happen next. If Annika was really responsible for the accident and hurting her after while in the hospital, then she was sure a gun to Beck’s head wouldn’t prevent her from ending the threat to her relationship with Beck though she might consider it.
While Beck and Bruce stared in Ava’s direction—everyone silently waiting for the next move—someone yelled and before Ava knew it both men, and whoever had pushed Bruce from behind, were on the floor.
Annika’s cackle was one that gave Ava so much relief as she had left her hair and removed the blade from her neck. She approached the men from behind through Ava’s left.
“It’s really nice,” Annika said, “to have someone who’s madly in love with you.”
Quinton got up and kicked the gun away from Beck and Bruce. Both men got up too as Quinton made his way to Annika. She stood a little close to them while Quinton stood beside her, prostrating.
She tapped his head and looked down at him like one would to a dog. Ava was sure that if she saw Annika’s face, Annika would be smiling satisfyingly. Annika raised her head, facing it in Beck’s direction as Bruce came towards Ava.
“I mean:” Annika continued, “he’s so in love that he preserved my body when I died. It’s just really sad that you’re not in his position, Beck.”
As Bruce asked Ava if she was fine and loosed the ropes around her wrist, both Annika and Beck stared at each other, their eyes never leaving the other’s gaze. Ava fixed her gaze on Beck, noticing how his chest rose up and down as he stared at Annika. Then his eyes met hers and the look changed. It as if he was silently telling her something but she couldn’t understand what.
Then, he faced Annika and charged at her.
Bruce helped her up from the seat. She moved towards Beck and Annika but was pulled back by Bruce.
“Ava, we have to go,” he said.
She ignored his words by trying to get to them as they struggled, Quinton pulling Beck away from Annika. Quinton eventually was successful as he pushed Beck onto the floor. His mistake was that he had pushed him onto the knife that once was at Ava’s neck.
Beck got off the knife, groaning and holding his side. He picked it up slowly and turned towards Annika and Quinton. Quinton was tending to her as she was still on the floor. He pushed Quinton off her and stayed there, his left arm moving towards Annika.
Ava stood still now, wondering what had just happened. Then his arm moved away, letting her see the blood-stained knife. He moved his arm forward, assuring her that he jammed the knife into her again. He repeated it several times before he stopped and fell to the floor.
Ava removed Bruce’s arms around her and raced towards him. She removed his arm from his side, seeing his shirt stained.
“No!” she heard Quinton scream in her ear.
She squirmed before glancing his way. He knelt over Annika who had blood spilled around her. He sat on the floor and placed her head onto his thighs.
“I’m sorry, Ava,” Beck said, groaning.
Ava glanced at him. She took his face in her hands. “Why did you do that?”
“I had to. . . . I . . . I had to.”
“I’ll still have you, Beck,” Ava heard Annika whisper, her voice breaking.
She glanced at her.