She walked up to me with her little stubby legs, the biggest grin on her face, laughing as she attempted not to stumble onto her butt. Her small hands reached out for me, just feet away waiting to be picked up. I knelt down balancing on my toes waving her towards me until her arms became in reach to my body. She had just learned to walk and every step she took made my heart melt with pride.
“Come here sweet girl, come to Momma.” As she collapsed herself into my arms making a thud forcing me to fall back onto the ground of the bedroom and giving me her sweet little giggle that would put a smile on just about anyone’s face. Her head nuzzled up into my shoulder as her little hands wrapped the best they could around my neck. “You are just getting so big piccola. What am I going to do with you?” I tilted my head down to meet her crystal blue eyes cooing at her as she babbled away, pulling at my hair. I had no idea who she inherited those gigantic blue eyes from since her father and I had deep brown eyes. But they were gorgeous. She was going to catch the attention of every guy the older she got. It made me nervous.
Her babbles continued as she bounced around in my lap while we sat on the floor. Her dark brown hair curled at the end, much like mine, wisping over her face. I tried to push it out of the way to clear her face, but everytime I did she would turn her head giving me the stink eye. This little girl, dear lord, she had my looks but her father’s stubborn personality. I would hope that she would be a little more even tempered the older she became, not that she wasn’t well mannered already for her age. Eventually her stink face turned once again into a big cheesy grin showing me the few teeth that she had grown in.
Even on my darkest days, the days that I still struggled with my past, with looking at my scars, this little girl was all the motivation I needed to push through, to better myself for her. He was always so good to me too, he loved me unconditionally, making me feel empowered everytime I had a melt down reminding me of how far I had come. He gave me the greatest gift any woman could ask for. He gave me a family. He made me this little girl’s momma. He gave me so much love. I had everything I needed and more.
I brushed another piece of hair from her face, thinking I should tie her hair up to keep it from blinding her eyes but she quickly grabbed my hand pushing it away. Well then… little brat. “You are your father’s child, you know that?” I looked down at her again my eyesight drifting past my nose to focus on her. “Speaking of which, should we go find Daddy? Let’s go show him how good at walking you got today sweet thing.” As if she understood me she climbed down from my lab and began stumbling to the open doorway. I lingered a bit to get up feeling a bit exhausted from being this girls mom. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it. But the closer she got to the terrible twos, the more exhausting it all became. Soon she became just out of my line of sight around the doorway. I could still hear her sweet giggles.
I stood up pushing my hand onto my knee to balance myself giving a small grunt like getting up at the mere age of 28 was hard to do. As I stood there my smile quickly faded as the faint giggles in the hallway abruptly stopped. “Baby? Baby come to momma.” There was no response. My breath hitched as I thought of the worst possible thing that could happen to her. My feet took off instinctually to the door, taking off like a mother lioness ready to protect her cub from any danger. I grabbed onto the door frame swinging myself into the hallway and stopped dead in my tracts. She was okay, but was directly in front of a face I never thought I would see again.
“Baby, come here. That’s not daddy” she babbled back towards me her eyes wide at the strange man standing in front of her. My heart sank into my stomach making bile hit the roof of my mouth. I wanted this man no where near my daughter, no where near me or my family. I quickly picked her up cradling her in my arms pressing her tiny body against mine in hopes to shield her from whatever was about to go down “Daniel... -what- how the hell did you find me?”
“Now, is that anyway to talk to me love? Are you ready to behave?”
“What are you talking about?” I was genuinely confused. What did he mean was I ready to behave? I hadn’t seen him in years. As quickly as he stood in front of my eyes, he vanished, flickering away like a hallucination.
What the hell? Was I going crazy?
My body breathed a sigh of relief holding my squirming daughter against me realizing the sight of him was all in my imagination or where ever the image of him had come from.
“Come on baby, let’s go find daddy. Mommy needs to see him too.” I needed to feel his embrace. I needed the feeling of his safety wrapped around us. His gentle words to remind me that I was his and his alone and that he would do anything to protect us. But just as I started to step forward a heard an all too familiar voice again.
“Not so fast love.” As I turned my head to the side in attempts to see his face my shoulders were tugged backwards causing me to scream. My vision went black and the continuous gut-wrenching feeling of falling caused my body to flail. It stopped as abruptly as it started making me feel like I had hit the cold hard concrete that made my skin shiver against it. I could feel everything. The dampness in the air, the frigid chill against my skin. But my eyesight hadn’t changed. I was still left in the dark feeling like I had gone blind. I could feel my eyelids opening and closing but nothing came into view. Nothing, besides that damn line of light seeping out from under the door.
Wait… I’ve been here before.
Then, in one sudden moment the door burst open causing light to flood into the room over the broken concrete floor. The figure stood in the doorway, standing erect. His broad shoulders squaring up with the doorway pulling his chest back in attempts to make him taller than he actually was; something someone over confident in himself would do. His steps were hard to the ground as he neared my sunken figure. I crawled backwards as far as I could until I hit the cinder block wall behind me. The cot still standing in the corner almost mocking me of my past tortures.
No, no, no. I can’t be back here. But only one other thought crossed my mind. Minutes ago she was in my arms, now she was nowhere to be found. “Where is she? Where the hell is my daughter?” The darkened figure didn’t respond, not even a breath could be heard escaping his mouth. A dim light flickered on overhead, finally illuminating his face. But something wasn’t right.
It was him, no-wait. I had to blink, shaking my head to try to clear what seemed like double vision. What the hell did I just see. My eyes flashed open to see his face again. Like some horror movie his face was actually two, flipping back and forth like a broken hologram between the two men that had ruined my life years ago. Franco and Daniel.
“ADRIAN, PLEASE…. HELP ME.” All I had left to do was scream. Scream for him to save me once more like he did so long ago. I had run out of room to back away from him, or them? I had no escape. My hands that now propped my body up felt the dried blood I had left on the floor the last time I was in this room. My bare skin showed evidence of years of abuse, torture and neglect. Each individual rib stuck out from lack of nutrition. My body laced with blood and lacerations I don’t remember getting. My heart raced faster as my mouth opened once more to scream for Adrian.
“He’s not coming you know. It’s just you and me now. He’s dead.” He squatted down next to me, balancing on the balls of his feet. His hand outreached for my face brushing the back of his hand ever so slightly against my skin. My face turned as far away as it could. I didn’t want to feel his touch. His face still fluctuated between Daniel’s and Franco’s. I was in some kind of fucked up world. “Let’s get one thing straight you will shut your damn mouth before I fucking shut it for you.”
Out of nowhere I remembered my courage. Remembered every feeling, every ounce of bravery I acquired after the DeLucas saved me. I remembered what it felt like to be in love, what if felt like to be safe. “Go to hell.” The words quickly left my tongue, making it feel on fire. But as soon as they left, a sharp smack against my cheeks left my head hitting the ground from the pure brute force. I looked back up at the man, my cheek stinging and my lip split, to see his face completely turn into Daniel’s. It was the Daniel I knew, the lethal Daniel. There were no pupils in his eyes, there was no white left on the edges, just pure demonic black. I couldn’t help myself. The strike left my body quaking with anger. Anger at myself for allowing someone to do this to me for so many years. Anger at both these men for what they did to me. My teeth gritted against each other into a snarl. “Go. TO. HELL.” I took small pauses between each word, drilling in my point by clearly annunciating through my teeth.
With strength I didn’t anticipate his hands wrapped around my neck picking me off the ground from my sitting position. My back slid up against the numbingly cold cinder block wall making small cuts into my skin from the sharp edges that stuck out. My line of sight never faltered off of him.
Soon enough his grip began to crush my windpipe making me gasp for breath like a fish attempting to breath on dry land. My arms wrapped around his failing to claw them away. My legs kicked as a last resort out of instinct to try to reach the ground.
“I should have killed you when I had the chance you ungrateful bitch.” I wasn’t sure which of the two men had said that as my sight began to fade into black. Little spots floated around my vision as my eyelids began to get heavy. My body began to go limp.
Until a little voice whispered in my ear. “Addi, this isn’t real. He’s in trouble. Wake up.”
“Addi….this isn’t real...wake yourself up.”
“Addi damn it, he needs you. You need to save him. Wake the fuck up!”
My eyes rapidly flew open as my body sat up with force in bed throwing the covers off of my legs. My body drew a long breath of air in. In between coughs I tried to catch my breath. My hand reached for my neck feeling the sting of my dream on my skin. What the fuck just happened? Everything felt so real. They’re faces, the too familiar memories. And… her. Someone I had never met before. Someone who didn’t even exist but everything I didn’t even know that I wanted. Her little giggle, her pudgy legs, her cute little smile, my looks with his attitude, Adrian’s stubbornness. She was the hope I had from the life of misery that I had lived. She was the hope of a new life with my new family, a new beginning filled with so much love. A life I was always afraid was going to be ripped away from me.
At the thought of her my head turned to the other side of the bed. Just like I thought. My heart sank at the realization that I had fallen asleep in his arms to only wake up to him gone. Gone to deal with a burden he didn’t want me involved with. A threat he wanted to protect me from. I didn’t want this to be our life. But I had hope that when it was all said and done that I would get to wake up to him every morning, bad breath, messy hair and all. And maybe someday even have the little girl in my dreams be the one waking us up.
My body was drenched in sweat. Little beads began to roll down my forehead. The all too loose shirt Adrian had given me before now stuck to my body like a second skin. Shower. I need a damn shower.
I stood up stretching my body, reaching towards the ceiling exposing my midriff. I walked to the hallway continuing into the bedroom I was supposed to sleep in today. Through the window the black of night had started to take over the evening sky. The clouds darkened with every passing minute and the painted colors of pink and purple began to fade. I hadn’t even realized how long I had slept for, but it ended up being the majority of the day. I stripped my shirt off as I walked into the glass shower, kicking my panties off and turning on the hot water. As I waited for the water to warm to a comfortable heat my mind drifted to his touch, his kiss, his fingers in me. My body sent a shiver up my spine making my sex tighten. Without the water even touching my skin my upper thighs felt drenched. How badly I wanted him. How badly I needed him.
I stepped into the water hoping the warm water would feel cooler than my heated skin at the thought of his touch. My fingers ran through my hair, ensuring each individual strand became wet enough to place the shampoo into. The bottle of shampoo found its way to my hand, tipping upside down to drizzle the luxuriously rose scented liquid out into my palm. My hands rubbed together, creating a film of suds before I ran them through my hair once more, lathering the liquid even more. I tilted my head back letting the water cascade over my hair. The room was serene and peaceful with nothing but the noise of the water drops hitting the tiled floor. But a hushed voice rang in my ears.
“He’s in trouble Addi. He needs you. He is going to need you.”
“Save him. Addi, save him. Save them.”
I could feel my blood pressure rise and my pulse quicken. I didn’t know how I knew, but every cell in my body just knew. I felt panicked. As soon as the last essence of bubbles rippled off of my body from my hair, I immediately shut of the water ripping a towel from the rack hanging on the wall nearby. I half-assed dried myself with no time to spare. I rushed to my closet ready to quickly pick something out to wear. Until I opened the door. FUCK. I had forgotten we were in the loft and Adrian forgot to bring extra clothes for me. Oh fuck it. I bolted to where my clothes laid in a heap from earlier in the morning and threw them on like someone’s life depended on it, because honestly it very well may have. I slipped on my shoes last practically tipping over in the process.
My mind lead my feet back to his room. There was one last thing that I needed. I reached into his bedside table drawer and felt for the familiar metallic feeling. I knew he wouldn’t leave me here alone without it. Even if he had security at the door. I slipped the barrel of the gun in the back of my waist line, ensuring the safety was off. Now to dealing with Joe.
I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy feat.
I opened the front door holding my head up high and my shoulders back, trying to seem more superior than I was.
“Joe, I need you to take me back home.”
“No can do ma’am. I have orders”
“First, don’t ever call me ma’am. Second I need to get home. I have a bad feeling about Adrian. Please.”
“I have strict orders from Adrian, Addi. I am not to let you leave the premises.”
“Oh fuck this.” I thought I had said it in my head but it came out of my mouth instead. His face quickly turned from flat to confused raising an eyebrow at my outburst. My hand reached for the surprise I quite literally had in my back pocket. I held it up to his chest. “I won’t ask again Joe. Please.”
“You think I’m afraid of you with a gun Addi? I highly doubt you know how to use it.”
Without taking a second thought I lowered it to the ground taking a shot at his feet making him jump back.That’ll show you asshole. I had no idea what had gotten into me. I could feel myself change. I had no idea what I was capable of. Honestly, if I looked at myself right now through Joe’s eyes I probably looked like some deranged woman with half soaked hair, wrinkled clothes and a look of desperation pouring out of her eyes. I let one of my hands drop to my side, now holding the gun with the other one and began lifting it back up to meet his face; my finger still on the trigger and no longer afraid to shoot to kill. His arms raised up to his shoulder height as he showed me his palms half surrendering.
“Home. NOW.” There was no more asking. There was no damsel in distress that needed saving. There was no nurse left who took the oath to cause no harm. The only thing left was the intense intuition burning a hole in my stomach telling me that something was wrong. I was not about to lose the life I had just started building with Adrian and this family to another man that was set to ruin my life. I was done playing that game.
A/n: tell me what you guys think!! Make sure you like, comment and follow. Thanks everyone for following along so far. More to come later this week.