Short Stories. Chapter 16

“You mean Owen has been back in your life for the past week, and you didn’t tell me?”

Terry glared at her friend, then at her fiancé.

“Kyle had no idea, Terry.” She glanced apologetically at him. He only shrugged, as if unfazed by Terry’s anger.

She snorted, while her fiancé sat on Rory’s kitchen table drinking a glass of water. Technically, he was still on duty, ready to roll when the Captain gave the signal. Though he craved something stronger, he knew he needed all of his senses if they wanted to pull off Owen’s crazy plan for bringing down the human trafficking operation.

“Of course he didn’t.”

“You think I’m happy with this? The man left me to tell his bride he wasn’t going to marry her and next thing I know, he was living among a bunch of low lives for some assignment. He was my friend, Terry, and I’m as pissed off as you for the way he handled things.”

Terry’s anger deserted her like air out of a balloon, and she crossed over to Kyle, and wrapped her arms around him.

“I’m sorry. I know he’s your friend.”

“Was.” He muttered.

Terry glanced at her friend, and saw that she too was not ready to forgive Owen. He had broken his friendship with Kyle, but he had shattered Rory’s heart.

“So what happens now?” Terry asked.

“We bring down those jerks, and save women’s lives.”

“And what about Rory?”

Both Terry and Kyle waited for her answer. She lowered her head, wanting to hide the emotion swirling inside her eyes. A reflection of the turmoil inside her chest. That was a good question. What about her? When all of this was over, what was going to happen to her? She had yet to understand Owen’s reasons for leaving. She had yet to take a good look at her own feelings and take a decision. She knew she loved him, she hadn’t stopped loving him. And when they made love, she felt alive again, despite the pain lurking in the horizon. Her heart had always belonged to him, the very same heart that had stopped cold at the sight of Owen all bloodied up, and as he lay on the ground, pretending to be dead, while Rory’s mind spun in circles asking over and over again, what now?

So, rather than complicate her life right now with a decision she was afraid to take, she only replied.

“I put all of this behind me and focus on your wedding.” Rory stood up and went over to the coffee maker to pour herself a cup, still warm from when Terry had made a pot.

“Ror….”

“No, I can’t think about it now. I don’t want to. I………” Her voice wavered, “I don’t want to want him, it hurts.”

Terry went to her friend, and put her arms around her.

“I know, sweetie.”

Rory let a couple of tears fall down her cheeks, before she said.

“But this isn’t about me. It’s about you, and Kyle. You’re getting married tomorrow, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anything or anyone ruin it for you.”

Kyle’s phone rang, and he stepped into her room to take the call. As much as she and Terry knew about what had happened, Rory knew Kyle didn’t want to worry his fiancé. Terry would make an amazing cop wife, but Rpry found it endearing that he wanted to keep her as far away as possible from the crude facts of his job. The dangerous facts.

Owen left you to keep you safe, a lecturing voice said to her heart. Owen had said he had not wanted for the horrible reality of what he had to do, to loom between them. He wanted her away from all of this. Still……

This was different, Rory’s heart countered. Kyle wasn’t going to walk out on her friend because of his job. He trusted Terry could handle most of it. Owen had taken a decision to leave his life, leave her, without any regard for her feelings.

And what about those women who have been sold, and those who might be saved because of his decision? That same somber voice spoke over her rising hurt.

Rory was so busy having her internal argument that the sound the phone made startled her, causing her to jump from her seat. It was then she realized Terry had gone into her room with Kyle, and she could hear the whispered reassurances from the cop, while she could almost see her friend in a tight embrace with her fiancé.

Distracted, she failed to check the read out on her phone, and answered.

“Yes?”

“You conniving, bitch.”

Rory gasped, as Nathan’s voice made her shudder.

“What do you want?”

“You. You think just because Patrick, or whatever his name was, was a cop, you would be safe? He should’ve known I’d come for you even after I killed him. Now, this is what I want you to do……”

“No, you are going to get caught, and you will pay for hurting all those women.”

Rory had no idea where this sudden bravado had come from. Maybe out of some deep rooted loyalty for Owen. For the fact that this man thought he could continue to terrorize her.

“Maybe, but how would you feel if your friend Terry couldn’t get to her wedding tomorrow?”

Rory’s shocked intake of breath had him chuckling.

“Oh yes. I have made my research. Now, either she dies or you do. Who’s it going to be?”

Rory’s hand had begun to shake out of fear but also out of rage. How dare this man threaten her friends? She knew what she had to do, and she gave a quick glance back to her room before saying.

“You leave her out of this. What do you want me to do?”

“That’s better. Walk out to the street, and get inside the black car waiting across the street. Don’t tell anyone or I’ll kill her. You know I can and I will. Hurry up, sugar. Can’t wait.”

The line went dead, and so did this brief sense of knowing things would work out fine. Regardless of what she was about to do, having been around cops all her life had given her some skills. Rory searched around for anything she could leave as a sign, so Kyle would now why she wasn’t waiting for them. Quickly, she searched her living room and remembered the kitchen waste basket and the pieces of fabric with Owen’s blood. She searched inside the bin and left one stained piece on the kitchen table and left quietly.

Like having an out of body experience, her internal turmoil receded with each step she took toward her fate. All the anger, the hurt, it all felt like slipping away from her, leaving her empty inside yet with a clarity she thought she’d never regain, from the moment Owen came back into her life. When she found the car and got inside, someone gagged her and put a black cotton bag over her head. In that moment of darkness, when she knew all would be lost, if Kyle didn’t find the bloodied piece of clothing in time, she realized what she had wanted to avoid, to run away from. She thought of Owen and of how much she loved him. And how much she wished she had told him when she had had the chance.

 

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