"Get ready my precious, we have to be at the beach to meet Gabby soon" I shout to Ella while packing our towels and sunscreen in the bag.
The foodstuffs have already been packed in the cooler by the door. Now, we just need to leave.
The doorbell rings and as I draw nearer this cold sensation overwhelms me. I look through the peep hole and see Gabby. What is she doing here, we were meant to meet at the beach house? I question myself. When I open the door and Gabby turns around, my heart sinks to my feet. What the fuck.
"Claire" is all I seem to be able to mutter. My feet are firmly planted to one spot. I can't seem to move a single muscle.
Gabrielle is now clutching to my legs.
"Daddy daddy, is this my mommy?" She mutters in a voice mixed with fear and excitement. As soon as Claire bends down to talk to Gabrielle, I pick her up and nestle her tightly to my chest.
"Hello Chase, are you not going to invite me in?" she says sweetly which immediately makes my hair rise. The look in Claire's eyes are venomous. I stumble back slightly and Claire, then pushes her way inside, shutting the door behind her.
"After five years, you show up now, what do you want Claire?" I ask seething, while trying to keep my calm for my daughters sake.
"So hostile Chase, really. Looks like I caught you at a bad time. Going somewhere?" She says laughing smugly.
"Yes actually, we were just on our way to the beach" I respond hoping to cut this visit short.
"Nope, not happening darling, you're staying right here, and out of Gabriella's clutches"
I freeze. How the hell?
"Oh Chase, don't look so surprised I know all about Gabby.
Things went south from there rather quickly. I have no idea how long Claire was busy throwing tantrums and pulling at her hair. Gabrielle was getting more scared and was clutching at me harder and crying uncontrollably.
The next thing I know my doorbell rings once again. Claire moves to open the door. And yet again I turn pale and I am rendered immobile.
Gabby is standing at the door, she looks surprised, coming face to face with Claire. Her eyes find me and Gabrielle as she looks us over. All I see is sympathy in her eyes.
Claire grabs Gabby by her hair and pulls her inside the house, throwing her on the floor, then shuts the door behind her. I want to move closer to be with Gabby, but she raises her hand stopping me.
"My my Chase, who do we have hear?" she taunts standing over Gabby. Spittle flying in her face. I have never in my life felt so helpless as I do in this very moment.
I move closer to Claire, still holding onto Gabrielle for dear life.
"Please Claire, she has nothing to do with this, let her go?" I plead.
"Oh Chase, don't be so naive, she has everything to do with this. She has since day one." She spits back at me. I look at Claire in total bewilderment. What the hell is she talking about, since day one?
"In all fairness Claire, they have nothing to do with this, let them go. It's me you want?" Gabby says, that has my mouth hanging open. What the hell is going on? I am seriously confused. I think to myself.
"What the hell are you talking about, Gabby, do you guys know each other?" I ask looking at Gabby really confused by this turn of events.
"Not in the way you think babe"
"Will you please shut up" Claire shouts at Gabby and myself. We both look at her in silence and surprise. She is pacing and pulling at her hair, as if she is very frustrated. This situation needs to be diffused.
I silently and inconspicuously take my cell out my pocket and dial the police's number which is saved due to the break in. I don't need to speak they will hear everything. My phone is resting between my body and that of my baby girl. Luckily Ella has calmed down drastically and is still clutching to me, but her crying has stopped.
"You have stolen everything from me, you are living my life, with what was supposed to be my family." Claire says looking at me full of anger. As if any of this is actually my fault.
"Even though I stole your boyfriend, he always spoke of you, compared me to you. He never once looked at me the way he looks at you. I have never been good enough. I have lost everything to you" Claire says with tears in her eyes.
"Claire, I am so sorry, for what you went through, but that had nothing to do with me, I heard the truth today for the first time, myself. I have no idea how our family ever could've allowed that to happen. I am truly sorry my cousin." Tears now running gently down my cheeks. I look over at Chase who's jaw is hanging open.
"Don't call me that?"
I get up slowly off the floor, looking at Claire in her eyes. I take a deep breath then exhale slowly.
Before I even have a chance to explain this situation the front door is pushed down and we are surrounded by police officers with guns drawn and shouting. Chase is still clutching to Gabrielle who has now started crying again. Claire is handcuffed and carted away. And the first and only thought that crosses my mind is Gabrielle. I run and envelope Chase and Gabrielle in my arms.
"I am so sorry" is all I can say repeatedly.
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