The bonfire lit up the dark beach. I stood watching everyone drink, dance, and laugh. Woods had left to deal with an issue with the staff. He was looking for someone to take over his old job but he hadn’t found anyone yet. Right now he was doing everything himself and I could see he was growing weary.
I glanced over at the group of Woods’s friends and I knew I was welcome. Bethy was laughing loudly and I was pretty sure she was drunk. But I needed time to think. I wasn’t in the mood to pretend like my heart wasn’t heavy. Woods had been on the phone with Angelina today when I’d walked into his office. They’d been talking about his mom and it had been friendly. She was taking a lot off him and I wanted to like her. To be thankful to her. I just couldn’t.
Turning, I walked up to the parking lot. No one was up there partying and I could wait for Woods to get back. I needed to get in a better mood before he came back. The fact that I was a hindrance to him weighed heavily on me. It was getting worse every day.
If I could just get better . . . If I could just stop having bad dreams . . . If I could forget my past and move forward . . . If the fear that I might go crazy wasn’t haunting me every day . . . then I might be able to help him. I might be a support for him.
“Della.” Angelina’s voice surprised me. I turned to see her standing behind the building where the restrooms were located. The small amount of light the moon was supplying shone down on her.
“Yes,” I replied, not sure if I should be worried about being alone with her or if I was just being silly.
“Where’s Woods?” she asked.
“He had an issue with some of the staff. He’s dealing with it.”
Angelina looked disgusted. “He has so much on his shoulders and you make it so much worse. So helpless and fucked up. How long do you think he’ll want you? What happens when that crazy in your genes takes over? He won’t be able to keep you then. You’ll be locked up. And I know he doesn’t want kids with you. He would be worried about them being crazy, too. That would kill him.”
Hearing my own fears spill from her cruel lips took my breath away. She was right. Everything she said was right. Woods and I pretended like the future was possible. But it wasn’t. I would never be his future. I wasn’t getting better.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I want you to leave him alone. He deserves so much more,” she spat.
He did. I agreed. “But that won’t be you. You’re not better,” I replied, shooting an angry glare her way. Even if she couldn’t see me in the darkness, I hoped she could feel my hatred for her.
She walked over toward me and I fought the urge to back away from her. I wasn’t scared of her. I could hold my own.
“You’re a crazy bitch. You know nothing. He loved it when I sucked his dick. He’d scream my name and hold my head as if I had the key to heaven in my mouth. He loved it.”
“Stop it!” I screamed. I didn’t want to think about Woods and Angelina together. It made me ill.
“He once said my thighs were magical. He loved being between them.”
“Shut up!” I said, backing away.
A pleased smirk touched her evil lips. “I can still make him hard. All I have to do is rub my hand over his crotch and talk dirty and he’s hard as a rock.”
I turned and started walking away before I threw up. My head jerked back and I cried out in pain as Angelina pulled my hair in her fisted hand. “You’re not going anywhere, you crazy bitch.” She growled and pulled me by my hair while I stumbled back into the darkness behind the building. Away from the parking lot where someone might see us.
“I swallowed his come. Do you do that for him? Do you go to his office just to suck his dick and make him cry out in pleasure? Does he tell you how amazing your mouth is? Hmm?”
Tears burned my eyes. The pain in my head was nothing compared to the pain from her words. I didn’t want to think of Woods with her. It hurt too much.
She slung me down onto the grass and I glanced up to see a wild look in her eyes that scared me. What was wrong with her? Why were we back there in the dark? I scrambled to get up and she kicked me in the ribs, then pushed me back down on the ground. “He stays with you. Why? Why does he stay with you? I do everything for him! Everything! I am what he needs. I was raised to be his wife. I fit into his world. I can be his helpmate but he wants you! Why?!” she screamed, and reached for my hair again, only this time she pulled out a handful.
“If you’re dead, then you won’t be in my way. I can make it better for him. I can ease his pain. He’ll be over you and fucking me against his desk again. Not you! Me!” She reached for my arm and then threw me on my back. I felt her pulling my hair again. I was going to black out. The darkness was going to take me and I would be lost in myself. She’d kill me then. If I didn’t stay focused I wouldn’t be able to fight her.
“I can strangle you. No one will ever know,” she snarled. “You took him from me. You made him cheat on me. You’re the reason he broke off our engagement. He was going to marry me. You made him leave me. Now I’m going to fix that.”
I knew crazy. I had seen it all my life. And right now I was positive she wasn’t kidding. This was no idle threat. Something had snapped in her head and she was going to kill me. I had to do something. With my side throbbing, I wasn’t sure I could fight back. I would beg, then catch her off guard and knee her in the ribs.
“No, please. Just talk to Woods. I didn’t do anything. I swear. Don’t, oh God.”
“I’m done talking to Woods. You took what was mine. He chose you. Fine. He can have your skanky, crazy ass. But first you’re gonna fucking pay for taking what was mine.” She slapped me across my face so hard everything went blurry. “Hurts, don’t it, bitch? You’re a psycho. Why Woods thinks you can make him happy, I don’t know. He’ll learn. He will fucking learn not to screw with me!” she roared, then kicked my sore ribs again, taking my breath away. I had to fight back. If she kept this up I wasn’t going to be able to fight back.
I started to move when she grabbed my hair again and jerked me up, only to slap me again. I couldn’t keep from crying out in pain. I needed to focus on saving myself but the pain was overpowering me. My vision was blurring and I used all my willpower to push it away. I had to keep it from taking me away.
“Let her go.” Blaire’s voice came through the darkness like an avenging angel and I cried in relief. Then I turned to see her standing there with a gun pointed at Angelina. Holy shit. She has a gun.
“What the fuck?” Angelina said. Her hold on my hair only tightened. I should have done something to fight back now but I was more scared of the gun in Blaire’s hands than of Angelina at the moment. Did she know how to use that thing?
“Let go of her hair and step away from her,” Blaire said with command. I was impressed and terrified.
Angelina laughed. That was it. The girl was insane. She had a gun pointed at her and she was laughing. I was scared to breathe. “That’s not even real. I’m not an idiot. Go mind your own fucking business and stop playing Charlie’s Angels,” Angelina said.
Blaire’s gun made a sound that I knew meant she was ready to fire. I had heard that click on television before. “Listen, bitch. If I wanted to I could pierce both your ears from here and not mess your fucking hair up. Go ahead, test me.” The look in Blaire’s eyes might have been meant to warn Angelina but I could detect the truth in her words. I believed her and the relief washed over me. She could actually use that thing.
Angelina let go of me and I quickly moved away from her while I had a chance. I believed Blaire could use that gun but I didn’t want to be anywhere near her target.
“Do you have any idea who I am? I could end you. Your ass is going to sit in jail for a very long time for this,” Angelina said, but the fear in her voice wasn’t lost on me, and I doubted Blaire missed it, too.
“We’re in the dark and there are three of us. You don’t have a scratch on you. Della’s bleeding and bruised and it’s our word against yours. I don’t care who you are. This doesn’t look good for you.”
Angelina moved back as if she could run from a bullet. “My daddy will hear about this. He’ll believe me,” she said with a shaky voice.
“Good. My husband will hear about it, too, and he’ll sure as hell believe me,” Blaire replied.
Angelina laughed. “My daddy can buy this town. You have fucked with the wrong woman.”
“Really? Bring it on, ’cause right now you’re looking at a woman with a loaded gun who can hit a moving target. So please. Bring. It. On,” Blaire replied like a complete badass. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be tough.
I pulled my legs up and wrapped my arms around my knees and prayed this would end without her having to use that gun.
“Who are you?” Angelina asked. I hadn’t realized that Angelina didn’t know who Rush Finlay’s wife was. He was a celebrity because of his father. I thought the whole world knew who Blaire was.
“Blaire Finlay,” she replied.
“Shit. Rush Finlay married a hick with a gun. I find this hard to believe,” Angelina said in her snide, uppity tone. She really did think she was above everyone else.
“I’d believe her. She’s holding the fucking gun.” Rush’s voice came from behind Blaire. I let out the breath I was holding. Thank God he’s here.
“Are you kidding me? This town is insane. All of you,” Angelina said, on the verge of a scream.
“You were the one beating up an innocent woman over a man in the dark,” Blaire replied. “You’re the one who looks insane here.”
“Fine. I’m over this. I’m done,” Angelina yelled, and walked over to the parking lot. I sat in shock as Blaire lowered the gun and put the safety back on before handing it to Rush. She then ran over to me. I just sat there and stared up at her. She’d just pulled a gun on another woman for me. I couldn’t wrap my head around everything that had happened. I felt the darkness around my eyes start to close in on me. I had to fight off the panic attack I knew was close.
“Did you really just pull a gun on her?” I asked, trying to focus on the here and now.
“She was putting a beating on you,” Blaire said simply.
“Ohmigod. She’s crazy. I swear, I was beginning to think she was going to beat me until I was unconscious. I kept thinking I was going to zone out and then she’d really hurt me.” I looked up at her. “Thank you.” Those two words weren’t enough but it was all I could say right now. I was about to lose myself. The darkness was coming.
Blaire held out her hand. “Can you stand up? Or do you want to sit here while I call Woods?” I needed to stand up. I had to fight this. I slipped my hand into hers.
“I want to stand. I need to stand up,” I told her. I didn’t want to tell her I was about to black out. It was a weakness that I was ashamed of. Having her see me like that would be humiliating. Rush would know Woods was in love with a crazy woman. I couldn’t do that to him.
Blaire pulled me up, then asked, “You got a phone?”
I couldn’t talk. I needed to stay focused. I handed it to her. She was calling Woods. I knew that. I wanted her to call him. If he held me I could fight this. Blaire handed me the phone. I would have to talk to him.
“Baby?” His voice came over the line and my fear eased off.
“Hey,” I replied.
“You okay?” he asked. I could tell he was walking. Hopefully he was headed back this way.
“Actually, no, not really. I had an incident with Angelina,” I explained.
“Did she say something to upset you? Is she still there? Put the bitch on the phone.” I heard his truck crank up. He was already heading back.
“No . . . no . . . she’s gone. Uh, Blaire showed up and . . . uh, scared her off,” I tried to explain, though I wasn’t sure how to.
“Scared her off? What the hell did she do to you? Are you alone?” The panic in his voice was nothing compared to what he was going to feel when he found out what really happened.
“Blaire is still here and so is her husband,” I reassured him.
“Rush is there? Good. Stay with them. Where are you?”
“Behind the parking attendant building.”
“I’m almost there. I love you, stay with me. Don’t black out. I’m coming.”
“Okay. I love you, too,” I replied. He knew I was close to getting lost in the monsters in my mind.
I hung up and looked over at Blaire. “He’s on his way.”
“Good. We’ll wait with you,” she replied, then opened her purse and pulled out a wet wipe. “You want to clean the blood off your lip before he gets here and goes after Angelina?” she asked, holding it out to me.
I hadn’t realized I was bleeding. I took it from her. “Thanks.”
The sound of Woods’s truck broke through the silence and I wanted to weep in relief. He was here. His door swung open and he jumped down and came running over to me. I felt like sagging in relief. He was here and I was okay.
“Dammit!” he roared, furious, as he took in my face. He pulled me into his arms and held me tightly. His breathing was fast and hard. He was upset. “God, baby, I am so sorry. She’s gonna pay for this,” he said as his hands starting roaming my body to make sure I was okay. I wasn’t okay. But I would be.
“It’s fine. I think Blaire scared her,” I assured him.
“What did Blaire do?” he asked.
“She pointed a gun at her and threatened to pierce her ears,” I explained.
Woods cocked an eyebrow. “So, Alabama pulled her gun out again? Thanks, Blaire,” he said before kissing my head. “I love you. I’m here and you’re going to be okay. Stay with me. I got you,” he whispered in my ear. He knew I didn’t want them to know how close I was to getting lost in my head.
“I’m glad I found them. You need to do something about that woman; she’s a crazy bitch,” Blaire said, then turned to walk back to Rush.
“Thank you,” I called out after her. She’d literally saved my life.
“You’re welcome,” she replied with a sweet smile. She didn’t look like someone who had just pointed a gun and threatened to pierce someone’s ears with it. I now knew that under that beautiful, innocent-looking exterior, Blaire Finlay was a tough badass. I wanted to be her one day.