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This is Love, Baby(3)

By:K. Webster

It’s all my fault. In a moment of carelessness, I opened the front door and let that bastard right in. And he killed the love of my life.

I’d finally been able to help War live again.

Only to watch him die.

I’m not sure how long we drive for or how long I remain frozen, War’s blood gushing on replay in my mind. It feels like eternity—a sentence I’m being tortured with. Nobody should have to watch someone they love die before their eyes. It isn’t something I’ll ever be able to erase from my mind.

Madness will kill me in the end.

Another wave of queasiness has me gagging.

Just breathe, Baylee. Calm down.

One, two, three, four.

I slow my breathing and focus on what I can control.

My fingers slide under my T-shirt and I rub my abdomen. I hadn’t confirmed it, but I recently missed my period. Since then, I’ve battled the occasional upset stomach and my breasts are always sore. Deep down, I know I’m carrying War’s baby. I just know it. When Land came over, I was going to ask him to set up an appointment for me with his doctor friend, so I could confirm.

A child with War. It was a blessing. Something created from the purest love. Age is no matter when two hearts connect and become one. It was soon, but it was right. Conceiving his child in love was something natural and beautiful. I’d been eager to confirm and share the news with him.

I know War. He’d have been over the moon with excitement. He would have taken care of me and been a perfect father. I would have married him and everything would have eventually fallen into place.

But now he’s gone.

I cling on to hope, though, that there is a baby growing inside of me. His baby. A baby that looks and acts like him. Something to remember him by.

And with a baby comes great responsibility.

I’m responsible for protecting an innocent being from that monster.

I will do what needs to be done.

Nagging thoughts invade my mind. What if I’m not pregnant? What if it’s all for nothing? What if I make it through to the end—this idealistic baby being the prize—only to find out there is no baby? Then what, Baylee?

Bile creeps up my throat again and I swallow it down, running my fingers over my sore breasts.

I’ll hold on to the hope anyway. War would want me to fight that beast, not roll over and die. He’d want me to smile again.

But I can’t take this!

The exhaustion weakens me, once again, and I’m no longer able to even think anymore. The darkness invades and I let it steal me away—hopefully for forever.

God, I miss War.

“Come on,” Gabe says with a growl when he opens the trunk. “You need a shower before you get in my bed. You smell like shit.”

I squint at the late afternoon sun pouring down on me and sit up. I’m not sure how long I was passed out for—must have been hours. Fighting to keep my eyes open in the bright sunshine, I attempt to take in my surroundings. Trees, trees, and more stupid trees. We’re back at his cabin—no surprise there. He clutches onto my elbow and helps me out of the car. My knees buckle—stiff from being stuffed in a trunk for hours—and he holds me up by my arm.

“I missed you, baby.” His voice is saccharine sweet and it makes me want to claw at the other side of his face. “Did you miss me?”

He must be even crazier than I thought. “No.”

He jerks me around to face him, his strong hands now gripping my shoulders, and shakes me. His fingers dig into my sore muscles and I yelp out in pain. Gone is War’s gentle touch. Gabe’s harshness momentarily stuns me.

“What, did you grow some backbone while you were with that freak? He’s in a body bag now, Baylee. Accept it. You have no one but me. We can either do this the hard way or the easy way. Personally, I sort of get off on your struggles, so you’d only be making me happy. Having a hot blonde tied to your bed is what most men dream of.” He barks out a derisive chuckle.

I glare at him, tears welling in my eyes. Fuck you is on the tip of my tongue, but the words would probably give him a hard-on. And he’d probably hit me again. Instead, I bite my tongue and grit my teeth as a single, hot tear rolls down my cheek and drips from my chin. Gabe is too powerful for me. I would never be able to overtake him, which is exactly why I have to be smart about this. “Can you at least make me some toast while I shower?” My voice is low and scratchy. I guess screaming for hours in a trunk will do that to you. My question is an attempt to drive the conversation elsewhere—into more amicable territory. “I’m not feeling so well after that ride in the trunk. You know how I get motion sickness.” Another tear streams down my face. “Please.”