This Isn't You, Baby(69)

By: K Webster


A sudden chiming alerts us to the fact they’re calling through. We sit up and as soon as I hit the button, three familiar faces grin back at me. Oscar is broodier than usual on the left. Vee sits in the middle. And Ren sits on the right with a slight uneasiness marring his features and his arm casually slung around Vee. I shoot Duvan a quick questioning look, and he shrugs it off.

“Hey, guys!” I greet with a smile.

Vee leans forward and touches the screen. “God, I miss you. When are you moving back?” Her pouting is cute. I miss that girl so much.

“Soon,” I lie. In fact, I’m trying to convince Duvan to purchase the rental we’re staying in. It may only have one bedroom, but surely we could make it work. Babies don’t need their own rooms, do they?

“Have you seen or heard from our brother?” Duvan asks, straight to the point.

Oscar groans and pinches the bridge of his nose. He’s clearly stressed having to pick up Duvan’s slack. “Some of the guys say he headed east. Probably just rumors but stay safe anyway, man.”

Duvan gives me a peck on my cheek and whispers to me. “Nobody will hurt you ever again, mi amor.”

I believe him.

His words wash over me like the rain we’ve had all day today.

Cool and refreshing. Cleansing.

Vee starts babbling about her new apartment. I don’t miss the haunted look in Ren’s eyes. Oscar looks so tense he may snap. I’ve never seen my easygoing friend seem so frustrated.

“Anyway,” Vee chirps. “Tell us the big news. What’s going on?”

Duvan kisses my cheek before splaying his hand on my stomach. “We’re having a baby.”

Vee screams so loud I start laughing until tears are running down my cheeks. There’s all kinds of commotion happening on the computer screen and with the storm crackling outside, but all I’m focused on is the way Duvan murmurs dirty stuff into my ear.

“Bye,” I yell at the screen and swat at it.

Vee’s still screeching, but the tone has changed. In fact, they’re all yelling at us. As if we did something wrong. Duvan’s hand slips up to caress my cheek. Time slows for a long moment.

His black eyes, shimmering with purple staring deeply into mine.

A perfect man for me who gave me a perfect gift.

Chaos from my friends that doesn’t feel right.

Something is wrong.

And then I see him.

The evil glint in his eyes telling me all I need to know.

My mouth pops open to scream—a scream that matches that of my friends—and Duvan silences it with his kiss.

And then it’s over.

So quick, I can’t believe it’s happened.

Hot liquid gushes down around me, and Duvan lets out a gurgle. His confused stare meeting mine as he clutches at his neck.

Blood.

So much blood.

Oh, God.

This can’t be happening.

Wake up, Brie!

This is a nightmare.

No! No! No!

“I’m s-so s-s-sorry,” Duvan stammers out, the crimson flood around his fingers becoming uncontrollable. “I-I l-love you, t-tigress.”

Tears are streaming down my cheeks and I’m trying to help him hold his neck together.

And it’s too much.

Oh my God, it’s too much.

Blooming and blooming around our fingers like the most hideous scarlet flowers to ever grow. The most hated flowers in the universe.

“No!” I choke out. “No!”

His eyes dull and he blinks slowly. He collapses on me and his breathing slows. I can’t move my dying heavy husband. He’s too big!

A sob wracks through me so hard I think I’ll throw up. My fingers grip at Duvan’s hair as I try to get him to look at me.

“P-Please, don’t you dare die,” I sob. Nothing else around me matters but him. Not his killer. Not my friends.

Just me and my love.

“I love you, Duvan.”

His breath comes out in a ragged rush before he murmurs a final word. “Tigress.”

Beat.

Beat.

Beat.

The sound of my own heart is thundering in my head, but no other sound comes through. My body grows cold. Shivers begin to ripple through me. A blankness settles over my mind.

Beat.

Beat.

Beat.

Nothing makes sense. I’m scrambling far, far away from reality inside my head. I want as far from the truth as I can get. I want to crawl into the black hole of despair in my brain only to never escape.

Beat.

“Gabriella.”

Heath’s cold voice drags me from my safe haven into my hell. My senses assault me all at once. A brutal beat down of my psyche. The people on the computer are still screaming. The man on my chest is dead. And the monster standing behind the couch is soulless.

Eyes that once looked upon me as if I were a treat his mommy wouldn’t let him have now glare at me like he wants to tear through my flesh with his teeth and then suck on the bones after. The giant knife he used to slit the throat of my husband drips with blood. A knife similar to the one that fatally cut through my mother’s neck too.