Like I’ll just take off with her because we’re best friends and all. The woman is delusional.
Slowly shaking my head, I start toward Drew’s apartment. “I don’t think so.” She steps in front of me, halting my progress, and I glare at her. “Listen, I don’t want any trouble. Just let me get by, okay?”
“No.” Her smile grows. It’s really creeping me out. “Drew can’t save you now. You’re coming with me.” She reaches inside her bag and pulls out a handgun, aiming it right at me.
I blink slowly and throw my hands up in surrender, backing up a step. The woman is crazed. All that talk about your life flashing before your eyes right before you think you’re going to die?
Yeah, that’s happening to me at this very moment. Making me realize I’ve hardly lived my life at all.
No way am I going to let some greedy maniac bitch take it all away from me.
“Don’t make a scene.” The wind blows her hair across her face and she bats it away with her free hand, causing her to wave the gun around. I take another small step back, contemplating trying to run for it, but I have no idea if that gun’s loaded or not. Or if she’s a good shot.
I’d rather not take that chance.
“I’m not making a scene,” I murmur, trying to keep my voice even. Calm. “What do you want from me, Adele?”
She throws back her head and laughs. Everything about her actions is exaggerated. Over the top. “I want everything you have. Well, not necessarily everything. You’re an ugly little slut who deserves nothing, you know that?”
Her words are so full of venom I almost recoil. Instead I stand my ground. “Let me get by. I’ll forget this ever happened if you just let me go.”
“No.” She waves the gun again, pointing it right at me. “You know what I really want? I wish you would just…disappear. That would make my life so much easier. No more worrying about Andrew falling in love with a whore. I could have him all to myself. I deserve him, you know. I created him. I made him the man he is today.”
I don’t argue with her. Have a feeling she wouldn’t listen anyway.
“My husband hates me,” she continues, clearly on a roll. “Did you hear about that? Of course, you did. I try to be honest with him so he understands me better and instead he tells me he never wants to see me again. According to my husband, I destroyed both him and his son. And my daughter.” Tears streak down her cheeks, a little sob escaping her. “Doesn’t he see how much he destroyed me? How they both destroyed me after Vanessa’s death? It’s their fault she’s gone.”
I can almost—not quite, but almost—feel sorry for her. The death of any family member is horrible. The death of a small child must be absolutely devastating.
“Both of the Callahan men hate my guts and I have nothing to live for anymore. Absolutely nothing. It’s all your fault, you know,” Adele says matter-of-factly.
My jaw practically drops to the ground. And I almost felt sorry for her somehow? “How is it my fault?”
“You came into his life and ruined everything. Everything. You made Andrew want to reveal the truth. You made him stay away from me. He was mine, you stupid bitch. All mine until you came along and stole him away from me.”
He was never really hers. But you can’t argue with crazy.
“You destroyed me so now I’m going to destroy you.” That gun is aimed right at me and I hate it. “Let’s take Andrew’s truck. I like the idea of all of this happening in something he owns. This way, he’ll never forget.”
All of this happening—oh God, what is she talking about? “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
She straightens out her arm, that gun coming dangerously close to me. “Go unlock the f**king truck right now.”
I do as she asks, hitting the keyless remote again, the wrong button this time. The one that sets the horn alarm off.
“Stupid bitch,” she mutters just as the door to Drew’s apartment swings open. He’s standing there, clad only in a pair of sweatpants that hang loose on his hips, and I see the greedy, lustful gleam that fills Adele’s gaze when she sees him.
I think I’m going to be sick.
His eyes widen when he sees the gun in Adele’s hand. He looks at me, panic in his eyes, his expression grim. “What the hell is going on?”
“Shut that f**king thing off!” Adele screams and I hit the button, silencing the car.
I turn my gaze on Drew, trying to convey everything I can to him in that one long look.
And then it hits me. I know exactly what I need to say that’ll let him know this is serious. Not that a gun isn’t serious, because holy shit, I hate her shaky grip, the way she waves the gun around. How completely unhinged she is. This bitch is close to losing her shit—and she wants me to take the fall for all her troubles.
“Hey Drew,” I say, raising my voice, tipping my head in Adele’s direction. “Marshmallow.”
I’ll be here for you. Always. – Drew Callahan
I called 911 right before I opened the door. I don’t know what compelled me to peek through the front window but I’m so f**king glad I did. Adele standing there pointing a gun at Fable—hell. I almost bolted outside right then.
But I knew I needed to keep a calm head. Fable’s life is at stake here. I needed to handle this right. So I told the emergency operator there was a crazy woman waving a gun around my parking lot and hung up.
Now the crazy woman is looking straight at me. I recognize that look. For a moment, I feel like I’m fifteen again. Trapped, with nowhere to go. Hating myself for what’s about to happen. Wishing I was strong enough to tell her no. That awful helplessness is winding its way through me, paralyzing me for one long, agonizing moment.
And then my girl says the magic word, the one that automatically springs me into action.
“Adele. Put the gun down.” My voice is firm. I don’t want her to argue with me.
“No.” Her voice is shaky, as is the smile she flashes at me. “She’s ruined my life, Andrew. It’s all her fault.”
“It’s not her fault. It’s mine.” I start down the sidewalk toward where they’re standing. “I’m sorry for what I did to you.”
She frowns. Tears dampen her cheeks, her eyes are filled with so much sadness. This woman is completely broken. Lost.
I can’t work up an ounce of sympathy for her. Everything that’s happened to her, she’s brought on herself.
“You’re not sorry.” Adele shakes her head. “None of you are. You don’t care what happens to me. How I’ve lost everything. Where am I supposed to go now? What am I supposed to do?”
I focus all of my attention on Adele. I’m worried about Fable. I hate that Adele is pointing a gun at her. But I can’t let the fear grip me. I need to save my girl. “A divorce isn’t the end of the world.”
“Yes, it is!” Adele wails, waving the gun around. “I’m ruined. I have nothing. Nothing to live for.”
“Put the gun down,” I say softly. She’s scaring me. I chance a look at Fable and her posture is rigid, her shoulders back. She looks almost defiant.
But I note the fear in her gaze, the way her lips tremble subtly. She’s scared as hell.
So am I.
“I should just shoot her now and put her out of my misery,” Adele mutters.
“No!” I clamp my lips shut, pissed I yelled at her. I just showed my hand and hope like hell it didn’t register with Adele. “You’ll go to jail. Do you want that? To spend the rest of your life in prison?”
Adele shrugs. “It doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing matters anymore.”
“Shoot me, then,” I say, stepping in front of Fable. “If you’re going to do it, shoot me. You can’t blame Fable. She has nothing to do with any of this.”
“She has everything to do with it. She stole you from me, Andrew. You were mine. You belonged to me. And then you left me. You found someone else. You bring her back home and flaunt her all over the place. She’s pretty and young and gets to be with you whenever she wants.” Adele aims the gun right at my chest. “I hate her!”
“You hate me,” I remind her. “I’m the one who rejected you, who pushed you away. It’s my fault.”
Fable presses her fingers against the middle of my back. That one little touch fuels me, makes me stronger. Clears my head and allows me to focus on what I need to do.
Slowly, I reach out toward Adele. “Give me the gun.”
She shakes her head furiously. “No.”
“Give it to me.”
“Fuck you.” She stretches out her arms, both hands gripping the gun tight, her index finger sneaking around the trigger. “Step out of the way, Andrew.”
“No. Give. Me. The. Gun.”
“Oh, God.” Adele’s voice cracks, her arms trembling, the gun wavering. “This isn’t going to work, Andrew. I can’t shoot you. I love you too much.”
That’s what I hoped for, though I hate her choice of words. She doesn’t love me. She has some sort of weird obsession for me. “Then hand the gun over.”
“I can’t. I have to do this.” She drops her arms, the gun hanging from her fingers at her side. “You give me no choice.”
Fable presses closer to me, resting her head against my back. All I can think about is her safety. Forget me, forget Adele, forget everything and everyone else. I need Fable to be okay.
“Give you no choice for what?” I ask Adele.
“To do this. It’s all your fault, Andrew. Never forget that.” Adele places the barrel of the gun in her mouth.
And pulls the trigger.
Drew turns into me, buries his head against my hair as he clutches me so tight, I can’t breathe. Seconds later, the sound of gunshot. It’s so loud my ears are ringing. I can’t hear a thing. All I feel is Drew wrapped tight around me, his chest heaving, his arms shaking as they hold me close.
“Fuck me, she just shot herself,” I think I hear him say and I try to pull away from him.
But he won’t let me go.
People start coming out of their apartments, the sound of gunfire no doubt drawing their attention. The ringing in my ears slowly lessens. I hear gasps, one woman yelling to call the cops.
Still Drew won’t let me go.
“Don’t look,” he whispers close to my ear. “You don’t want to see her. Don’t look, Fable.”
Worry clutches at my chest. Did he witness her do it? I don’t think so. He turned and grabbed me just before the gun went off. But I don’t know. God, I hope he didn’t see.
I don’t think my Drew can take much more tragedy and sorrow. He’s already endured enough.
Someone approaches us. I can hear their footsteps and I glance up, catch sight of a guy who looks around our age. “Are you all right?” he asks.
Drew lifts his head and I glance up at him. I see the anguish, the sorrow etched all over his face. I also see tiny splatters of blood dotting his shoulders. Oh, God. “We’re okay. Did someone call an ambulance?”