I don’t know how much time has passed, but after I while I lose count with how many times Kate has hit me. With each strike of the whip, my screams become more unfamiliar to my ears. I’ve never heard that kind of sound come from my body. If someone were to record it and play it back to me, I wouldn’t know it was me. That’s just how bad it is.
My hands are slightly numb from hanging for this long, but it’s nothing compared to how my back feels. If I’m not bleeding then it would be a surprise. Sweat is running down my face and my whole body is trembling. Before this, I didn’t know what Kate was capable of, but now I know. Now I know she’s capable of being an evil horrible bitch.
My thoughts are interrupted when the crack of the whip hits my ear. Pain shoots through my back and I cry even harder.
“Kate, please...” I mumble
“Please, what?” She says back in a humorous tone.
“Why? Why should I? You deserve every lash. The things I’ve done for you. I made you into the goddess you are now, but clearly, you need to be humbled. You need to appreciate me a little more than you have in the past.”
She starts pacing around me, her heel clicking against the hard floor. When she appears in front of me, I look up into her eyes and they look pleased with her work.
“What do you have to say for yourself, little one?”
“I’m sorry, Kate. I’m so sorry. I know you’ve been nothing but kind to me. You’ve helped me so much and I was too blinded by Ethan to see that.” I choke up a little, hoping to God that she believes what I’m saying. If she doesn’t then this could get a lot worse.
Kate stares at me for a moment and her expression is unreadable. Then she reaches up and gently cups my face.
“I love you, Thea. Everything I did was because I love you.”
“I love you too, Kate. I realize that now. I see the truth.” Through my tears, I force a smile and surprisingly, Kate returns a smile of her own.
“Runaway with me, Thea. I can give you a better life than just some assistant. I can treat you so much better than him.” The desperation in her voice almost scares me more than the whip. Her tone suggests that she will do anything to have me. If I say no, she’ll continue beating me. If I say yes, at least I may get to walk out of her and have a chance to escape.
“Okay.” I whisper and Kate’s face lights up.
“Yes, I can’t see myself being without you knowing how much you love me.”
Leaning in, Kate kiss me softly. My trembling lips manage to kiss her back. When she pulls away, she drops the whip.
“Let’s get you down from here.”
I still myself on my toes and she undoes the rope around my wrists. Just as she lets me lost and I fall, I hear the door swing open.
“Hands up!” I don’t know who it is, but I thank God for them.
On the floor, I’m weak. I can’t move and I feel things going black. Just before I succumb to the darkness, I hear a wanted voice.
“Baby, I got you.”
When I wake up, I hear the soft hum of a tv. Laying on my side, I think I’m at home in bed, but the smell of disinfectant tells me otherwise. I’m in a hospital. Am I okay? I fight to wake up, but my eyelids are so heavy. Groaning, I finally manage to get my opens to open a little. Thankfully, the lights are dim and not blinding. Looking around, I see that I am in indeed in a hospital room. Across the room, mounted on the wall, there’s a tv playing some cheap talk show similar to Jerry Springer.
I look down and see an I.V. running in my arm. I must be dehydrated. When I’m done assessing my surroundings, only one other thought comes to mind. Where is Ethan? I want him here with me.
“Ethan.” I call for him and I don’t get an answer. Maybe he’s in the hall or something. Still groggy, I sit up slowly and a little pain shoots through my back. I hiss softly and continue to sit up. Where the heck are the pain meds? When I’m upright, I turn to my left and surprisingly, I see Ethan in the chair sleeping. His whole face looks exhausted and frustrated. His hair is a mess his tie is hanging loosely around his neck. I don’t want to wake him, but at the same time, I want to talk to him.
Reaching over, I put my hand on his hand, rubbing my thumb over his hand. He stirs a bit so I do it again and this time his eyes open. When he sees me sitting up, he sits up quickly.
“Hi.” Is all I can come up with.
“How are you feeling? Do you need some water? Are you hurting?”
“I feel okay. Yes, I’m a little thirsty and I’m hurting.”
Ethan jumps up and grabs a small cup of water with a straw in it. He comes back over to me and holds the straw to my lips. I suck in the cool water and it’s like rain on the Sahara desert. I drink the whole cup.
“Thank you. How long have I been here?”
Ethan sits back down and runs his fingers through his hair. All day. We got to you around midnight. It’s 3 in the afternoon now.”
“I’ve been out that long?”
A strained look crossed his face as he nods.
“You were in shock from all the whips. They damn near had to pry you from my arms. You’d wake up for a little and then you were out again. I thought you were dying.”
“Am I okay?”
“Yeah, once they got some pain meds and fluids in you, they bandaged some of the whips that were bleeding and you’ve just been sleeping. I haven’t left your side.”
I smile softly.
“I prayed for you to save me. I knew you would though.”
“I was losing my mind the whole time. Horrible things were going through mind then when I saw you on that floor, I wanted to kill her. Thankfully, her blood isn’t on my hands though.”
My eyes widen.
“You mean, she’s...”
Ethan nods and tears come to my eyes. When he sees them, he crawls into the bed and carefully pulls me close.
“It’s okay. It’s not your fault. She didn’t want to put the gun down.”
I sob into his chest, feeling a little guilty, but more relieved. The guilt comes from the fact that this whole ordeal cost two people their lives. Greg didn’t know what he was getting himself into and Kate just needed help, but she was too far gone.
After a few minutes, the tears stop and I just rest against Ethan.
We stay quiet for a long time before the door opens and a doctor comes in with a chart. My chart, I assume.
“Ms. Washington, it’s nice to see you up and doing well. How are you feeling? Any pain?”
“I’m okay. Some pain, but not much.”
“That’s good. We may keep you till tomorrow morning since you’re just waking up. We couldn’t give you any hard pain meds which is why I’m actually glad you’re awake. I’ve been wanting to share some news with you.”
“What kind of news?” I frown a little.
“Well, when you got here, we did a full examination and I’m happy to say that you are pregnant.”
“Yup, you’re about 8 weeks pregnant. Have you been having regular periods?”
“Um...” I start counting back to my last period, but I can’t even remember.
“I’m going to take that as a no.” He chuckles a little.
“I’m pregnant. Like a baby is inside of me?”
“Yes.” He smiles.
“I’m pregnant,” I say it allowed trying to convince myself that I’m actually pregnant. How the hell did this happen?
I look at Ethan and he looks a little nauseous.
“Are you okay?” I ask him and when I look at the doctor, he looks at Ethan.
“I take it that you’re the father?” The doctor asks Ethan and he shakes his head as if clearing the fog from his mind.
“Um, yeah, I am. She’s pregnant. You’re pregnant.” He faces me.
“Yeah.” I smile, softly, placing my hand on my tummy.
“Some women never really experience symptoms other than a missed period which they usually put off as stress from being busy. Some women just don’t even notice.”
“Yeah, I guess I just didn’t realize how long it had been. A lot has been going on.”
The doctor smiles.
“Well, I’ll leave you two to talk. The nurse will be in shortly to check on you.”
“Thank you.” I smile.
When the doctor closes the door, I laugh a little, still in disbelief.
“Wow.” I mumble.
“Wow is right.”
“So how do you feel about it? We didn’t plan this, but we didn’t exactly use protection all the time.” It would hurt a little if he didn’t want this baby.
Ethan looks at me and cups my face. As if reading my mind, he kisses my nose.
“Don’t think for one minute that I’m not happy, Thea. I love you so much and I’ve taken it for granted. I thought I was going to lose you and it hit me just how much I love you. I was waiting for you to wake up to ask you something important.” He reaches into his pocket, pulling out a small box.
My heart jumps and I gasp a little.
He gets off the bed and kneels down on one knee.
“Thea, will you marry me? I can’t go another day without knowing that you’ll be mine forever.”
Tears come to my eyes and I nod.
Ethan takes the ring and slides it on my finger. Leaning forward, he pressed his mouth against my tummy.
“Hello, little baby. It’s me, your daddy.”
I can’t help but smile as I look down at my tummy.
“And your mommy.”