I’m not gonna die!
I’m not gonna die!
I’m not gonna die.
That’s what I’m chanting internally as I fall to my possible death, but on the outside, I’m a fucking mess.
I cry out as the wind pounds against my body. We’re positioned with our hands at our sides and feet together. This allows us to fall more quickly and I’m this close to wetting myself because of the speed we’re at.
“I’m going to die!”
My words are inaudible against the harsh wind rushing past my ears. My stomach coils in fear as we continue to free fall, the air putting up resistance. My eyes are clamped shut as I scream. Dylan grabs my arms outstretching them and he widens my legs, my body positioned like a starfish. We start to fall more slowly than before but it’s still quite fast.
The wind is brutal and the sun beats against my irritated skin, which has possibly turned a harsh red colour. My insides are twisted into a knot and not even the feel of Dylan’s body behind me makes me relax.
I really hate this!
I hear mumbling near my ear but the words are drowned by the wind. I know it’s Dylan trying to soothe me but the erratic beating of my heart and the feeling of my body continuing to fall instils my fear of pummelling to my death.
Oh my god, I’m not going to see my family again!
My baby won’t meet her daddy and Dylan won’t know about her!
Those thoughts float around in my head and my body trembles as my head starts to pulse. I clamp my eyes more tightly as a tear slips from it and the wind carries it away within a nanosecond.
I’m so scared...
I feel an arm wrap around my torso, caressing my stomach and my breathing starts to relax. This is his way of telling me to trust that he’ll get us down safely. Fighting against the wind, I bring my left hand to clutch his right hand that lays in my stomach.
I trust you. My gesture says and he squeezes my hand before removing it from my body as we return to the starfish position.
We continue to fall for a few more seconds and I scream, my heart flying to my throat as we’re suddenly pulled back. My eyes snap open on their own accord and my breath halts in my throat as I see my feet dangling above green blobs a few metres away that I’m assuming are trees.
The wind’s speed relaxes by a fucking lot and I look above me to see an open parachute. On it is Jeff’s Copters along with some numbers but I don’t dwell on it. I instead look back at the man behind me.
He’s the embodiment of calm. He manoeuvres the parachute steadily using the links and strings that connect to the large canopy. He looks down at me with a smile and I return it shakily, my hands latching on to his biceps. Dylan chuckles at my actions as he pulls on the right link and we go in said direction.
We fall steadily for a few minutes until the trees get closer, probably 50 metres away. My eyes take a few seconds to admire the beauty of the island of Bellator taking in the greenness of the trees, the white sandy beaches and the clear, blue Caribbean Sea surrounding the island.
“Does anything look familiar to you?” Dylan asks from behind me breaking me from my moment of admiration. “Any landmarks that can lead us to the compound?”
I look around trying to find anything remotely familiar. The sun beats down on us and I find myself sweating profoundly even with the wind around us. I swipe away a layer of sweat continuing my search and my heart beats frantically as I spot it.
“Those rocks,” I say pointing to my left at a rock face that’s shaped almost like the pride rock in Lion King. “Me and Georgie used to hang out there. It’s about two hours away from the compound.”
I look back to see Dylan nod and soon he pulls on the left link and we’re making our way to the rock face. There’s a small clearing around the rocks so I’m not worried about trees obstructing the canopy upon landing.
Thankfully, we make it to the area before we lose too much altitude. Dylan then safely guides us to the ground and my knees ache a bit as we land. I crouch as instructed by Dylan and we’re thrown forward, my face eating dirt, literally.
Dylan lies over me, the canopy falling over us and I send a prayer to the Lord, thanking him for the safe landing. I push myself upward as Dylan’s weight is slightly lifted off me, removing my face from the saturated soil.
Dylan uses his left arm to prevent his body from crushing me and with the right he aims to get the canopy off our bodies. When he finally succeeds, he counts to three and we get onto our feet.
I swipe my hand over my mouth as I taste the soil on my tongue before scrunching up my face.
“It tastes disgusting now but I remember days you’d eat it for fun Ana,” Dylan teases from behind me as he messes around with the straps.
“I did no such thing,” I shoot back as he frees my harness from his before turning to glare at his amused face.
“You did too,” he grins pulling his straps before stepping from his harness.
I mess around with mine and soon I’m able to step out as well. I drop it to the ground, folding my arms as I glare at Dylan.
“I did not,” I deny.
“Sure you didn’t,” he chuckles at me, stretching his arms and I roll my eyes in an attempt not to ogle the muscles that peak from his shirt.
I turn to the left looking at the Pride rock as Georgie and I had named the cluster of rocks. I remember days we’d re-enact the battle of pride rock alternating between being Scar and Simba. The boys were always busy so I had found a friend in our housekeeper’s daughter. We hung out a lot and I got her hooked on Lion King. Thus, Georgie and I at ages 8 and 10 were Simba’s biggest fan and we adored the love between Nala and Simba and often wished we could have a love that that.
Yeah, when I say I’m a Lion King fan, I wasn’t kidding. I had Lion King bedsheets, pyjamas, plates, cups, toys... you named it I had it. My father was a bit worried when his daughter preferred to obsess over lions rather than princesses or even princes. Eventually, he got over it when I brought my first boyfriend home and then he prayed for me to go back to my previous obsession.
I grunt as my side pulses in pain, breaking me from my thoughts and I lift my top. Raising it so it lies below my breasts, I take out the gun, groaning as I spot a bruise where it had been tucked.
“Shit...” I mutter as I then pull off my top attempting to remove the bulletproof vest next.
I jump a little surprised as I feel rough fingers brush my side and I look up at Dylan who stares at my bruise with furrowed brows. He pays no mind to my semi-nakedness as he helps the vest off me and I sigh as the constricting thing is off.
“It doesn’t look that bad,” he states as he observes my side, gently brushing his hand over the bruise and I hiss.
He looks up at me apologetically. “How bad does it hurt?”
“It’s not bad... Just stings,” I explain looking at how close his hands are to my breasts yet he’s more concerned than wanting. However, I shamelessly find myself more than wanting as I glance at his flexing biceps. “Um– I’m okay. I can walk back to the compound without aggravating it too much. There we’ll ice it.”
He nods looking up at me with those beautiful eyes, he then raises his hand towards my face and my eyes close anticipating his touch. Maybe he’s not as unaffected as I thought?
“Here,” he says and I open my eyes only to notice he holds my shirt in his hand. “We need to get there soon... There’s no telling what’s out in this rainforest.”
“Okay,” I reply a bit disappointed but I understand he’s right... After all, the sooner we’re there, the sooner he’ll meet our daughter.
We’re coming Ki-Ki... Mommy and Daddy are coming.
Minutes later, I have my top on, treading through the forest as I lead us towards the compound. The trail is old but I remember a few landmarks that haven’t changed over the years.
I climb over a fallen tree, the moss covering the trunk feeling slimy on my hand. I wipe my forehead with the back of my hand as sweat trails down my forehead and I take a deep breath, the wet, woodsy smell invading my nostrils. We continue on our path, Dylan behind me carrying my gun and vest, since I don’t need either at the moment.
The forest is beautiful with towering deciduous trees like mango trees, some being Stringy, Julie, Common and East Indian. I’m not sure if those are the correct names but that’s what the locals call them.
Next to those are apple trees, banana trees, breadfruit and even a few bamboo plants here and there. The place is bountiful, home to many beautiful creatures and plants.
“Watch our step!” I hear before a thick arm is wrapped around my waist pulling me back against a firm chest.
I’ve been so busy watching the exotic birds fly above us that I almost stepped on a coiled brown snake. Dylan slowly steps back with me as the snake raises its head.
I’m not too knowledgeable about which snakes are poisonous so I fear all. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Dylan manoeuvres us around the now awake and attentive snake and soon we’re out of its sight. He doesn’t release me until we’re required to climb over a boulder blocking the path. It’s new as the path had never had any obstacles.
Crouching, Dylan interlocks his fingers and I don’t hesitate as I allow him to boost me up. He smiles, happy that I didn’t freak out about it.
“Not afraid anymore, are we?” he asks amused and I roll my eyes as I find myself on the top of the impressive boulder.
The boulder reaches his shoulders so Dylan has no problem using his impressive upper body strength to climb over the mossy obstacle.
“No, I’m not,” I reply as he lands on his feet beside me. “After all, I do trust you.”
I say this looping my arms around his neck and Dylan smiles, his beautiful eyes holding me captive, as they always have. I tip on toes, wanting to plant my lips on his and he leans down to meet me.
A shiver runs down my spine as his lips touch mine and I find myself pulling him closer. Gripping his arms and putting more force into this explosive kiss as my body cries out for him. My insides flutter and I forget about the dangers around us, only wanting his hands and body on me.
Dylan pulls back abruptly as I hands reach for his pants and I groan with a pout as he clasps my hands in his.
“As much as I’d love to pleasure you, baby girl. This isn’t the right place nor time...” he muses and my pout deepens.
He chuckles seeing this before pecking my lips. “You’re adorable, little fox. Now let’s get going, we need to reach the compound soon... If your mood’s any indicator I say your Aunt flow will be with us soon...”
... My period?
“What?” I ask shocked at how he came to that conclusion.
“You’ve always been extra wanton before your period, Ana... Plus if my memory serves me right you’ve always had your period in the last days of each month... and your cycle has always been regular so...”
I hated to admit it but he was on point. Even after giving birth, my cycle hadn’t shifted that much, it’s regular and occurs in the last days of each month sometimes spilling over to the first days of the other.
“Given it has been years but I’m just going off what I’ve observed...” he continues to say and I notice that he had managed to rest his hands on my waist during his explanation, caressing it with his thumbs. “Plus they’re other signs...”
His hand moves up my side to cup my breast and my breath halts. “You’re breasts have swollen....”
His other hand gently caresses my face. My eyes close as his caress leaves a path of goosebumps in their wake, igniting the fire in me.
“Also...” he whispers close to my ear. My lips part, as his fingers burn against my heavy breasts. “... You’ve also got a pimple the size of Texas on your forehead...”
That breaks me out of my trance and I stomp his foot hard, happy when he groans in pain. Serves him right for leading me on like that!
I pull out of his arms, walking away from him and I hear him laughing behind me. Careful not to let him see, I touch my forehead checking for a pimple. When I feel it I groan... Ugh... Acne has always been an indicator of my upcoming shark week, which is strange because I don’t struggle with it outside of when it’s near that time.
Damn... He’s right... Dylan has successfully guessed and observed something even Roberto – the man I was going to marry – hadn’t even in the years we’d been together. Now, it’s getting clearer each day that Roberto was just not interested in me outside of fucking me....
How couldn’t I see it?
“Hey come baby girl... No frowning here...” Dylan says wrapping his arms around me from behind.
He thinks I’m upset about his joke... Given I am but...
“It’s nothing to get upset about. I’m just teasing, neonata....” he continues kissing my neck, causing my pulse to throb. “You still look beautiful with that volcano pimple...”
I elbow him in the stomach and he grunts in pain but doesn’t release me. He kisses my cheek chuckling and I calm down, smiling at the childish teasing he’d just done.
He may act like a macho Mafia Capo and he might be a lethal killer but he’s still that boy I’d fallen in love with all those years ago. No matter how he denies it...
... and he’s the man I’m falling for now all over again.
“Shall we continue?” he asks, noticing I’ve calmed down and I nod grabbing his hand, happily leading the way.
We talk animatedly as we trek through the beautiful forest, listening to the birds and ensuring we don’t irritate any animals into attacking us.
“We’ll be there in a few minutes,” I inform him sometime later as the sun rises directly overhead, indicating its midday.
Dylan was leaning against a tree behind me catching his breath. The heat has been taking a toll on our bodies. We had forgotten to take bottles of water and this path doesn’t pass any rivers.
Looking through a gap in the canopy and above the emergent trees, I see the sun rays shine down and feel the heat that accompanies it. The forest air gets more humid and I grow as I start to sweat some more... The Caribbean heat is something we’re not used to and it causes me to feel a little dizzy, faintish...
Shit... This can’t get any worse... We need to get to–
“Fuck!” I hear from behind me before a thud and I whip around, startled when I see Dylan on the forest floor.
“Dylan!” I cry out, running to his side. “W–What wrong?”
“I c–can’t move... S–Shirt... B–Bite...” he stutters as his body shakes and I freak out as I notice something crawl away from his body into the nearest tree.
Six tapered legs hold up its black body, it has a big, round ass and on said ass is a red hourglass... A Black Widow Spider. It’s the most poisonous spider here... Its bite can kill–
“No! No!” I cry as I search beneath his shirt searching for that monster’s bite... please let it be something else...
I gasp as I spot the swollen, irritated flesh between his shoulder blades. It was a bright red colour and I hold back a sob as he starts to shake, his body breaking out in spasms.
“Go–Get h–help...” he stutters out and my heart hammers in my chest as he loses consciousness.
Those beautiful eyes I love closing to the world. No!
“No, Dylan... Baby, you need to wake up,” I cry hysterically unprepared for this. “You need to meet Diana... She’s so excited to see you... She’s your daughter, our daughter... Please open your eyes!”
He doesn’t respond and soon his shaking gets worse... I need to get him to the compound! He can’t die on me!
“You’re not dying on us!” I cry out.
How can it be this man survives years of ruthless training and being shot at, but a spider is going to take him from me?! I won’t allow it.
Hurriedly, I grab him under the arms and manoeuvre myself so I’m able to hoist his huge, heavy body over my smaller one. I’m not leaving him here!
Moving one foot after the other, I carry him forward, half of his body on me while his legs pull along the ground behind of me. I breathe heavily as I tread down the narrow and if my memory serves me right, clear path.
My legs and back hurt as I manage his weight on top of me but I don’t stop, not even when I fall onto my knees minutes later. I push myself up, ensuring he doesn’t fall off my back, even as he shakes and I walk through the forest. The animals watching intruders walk through their home...
My knees are wobbly as I finally approach the familiar iron gates and I whisper a prayer as I lay Dylan down on the dirt road, almost falling over in the process.
The back gates!
I hurry to the gate, pressing at the keypad hidden in the stonewall. The gates screech as they open and it’s so loud that I have no doubt the entire compound heard. I notice the security camera zone in on me and I smile wearily, knowing they’ve spotted us.
I rush over to Dylan, touching his pale, sweaty face, tears and sweat running down my face.
“They’ll be here soon...” I say caressing his cheek, resting my forehead against his. “You’ll be okay, baby...”
“Indiana!” I hear my mother’s voice cry hysterically as they run towards the back gates, towards me.
She engulfs me in a hug crying as kneels beside in front of me and I cry too mumbling that we need to help him, to save him.
She pulls back and glances over at the convulsing Dylan with wide eyes.
“Help him please...” I cry and I notice my father has made his way towards us.
“What happened?!” my mother ask, her face paling.
“A Black Widow bit him... Please help him, Daddy!” I beg tears streaming down my face as I gaze at my Dad as he kneels beside Dylan. “P–Please...”
My father wastes no time hoisting Dylan against his body with the aid of one of the groundsmen who appeared a few minutes after he had.
I follow behind them sobs leaving my throat as they quickly carry him into the house. Mother yells for Regina and moments later, our housekeeper appears with frightened eyes. Mother hurriedly explains the situation and Regina wastes no time entering the room they’ve carried Dylan in, searching the bathroom for the first aid kit.
The next moments are a blur to me; they tend to him while I lie on the floor crying as my mother holds onto me, soothing me. I notice a doctor moving into the room and the door closing but I’m unable to move as my body had lost its strength and my heart and head pulses.
My mother tells me it’s going to be okay but I can’t stop crying. My tears have started to dry up, increasing my headache but I can’t stop.
He has to be okay... He’s going to meet his daughter... He’s going to be angry with me, he’s going to cuss me, punish me... not die!
My chest starts to hurt and I’m gasping for air. I pant and cry as the pressure on my chest increases and my mother quickly bends my legs opening them and places my head between them... My breathing relaxes moments later but I still cry unable to stop.
“Mommy!” a voice calls and the haze in front my eyes disappear and I zone in on the beautiful blue-green eyes of my daughter... just like his.
“My baby!” I cry pulling her closer, wrapping her in my arms.
Her head is tucked under my chin as I cry and pant. I hug her close and she hugs me back asking what wrong and why I’m crying.
“Where’s my daddy?” she asks and the pain in my chest intensifies.
“He’s going to be okay...” I murmur to her, trying to soothe her as my mother had tried with me.
“Is he hurt?” she asks clutching to me and I nod, as fresh tears stream down my face.
“He’ll be okay...” I murmur to her, rocking us back and forth.
He’s not going to die...
He’s not going to die...
He’s not going to die!
That’s what I’m chanting internally as my once soaring heart starts to fall, crash landing, but on the outside, I’m a fucking mess.