I jump and spin towards the familiar voice.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
My eyes widen when I see the blood staining the knife in his hands, and when I move my eyes back to his, I notice that they’re wild.
Oh. My. God. This isn’t happening. I quickly look around and search for the guys. The blood on his knife could only mean one thing, and my stomach drops when I realize what that is.
“Where are my friends?” I question. Keep him talking . . . I think that’s what Dad said to do in a situation like this. Keep him talking until you can figure out a way to get help.
“Your friends,” he says as if the words taste bad against his lips. “Those men that you’ve been whoring yourself to aren’t going to be a problem. The big one and your brother left a second ago, and I took care of that other motherfucker just like I took care of Don and Clint.”
“Don and Clint? Clint the cameraman? What are you talking about, Mark?”
“I saw the way they looked at you. Always looking at you. And you let them. You shouldn’t have done that, Danielle.” He laughs, the sound making my skin crawl. “You shouldn’t encourage that they had a chance with you. YOU are mine and I’m tired of watching you act like a slut when you know, YOU KNOW, what we have.”
I gape at him, dumbfounded. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mark.” A sense of dread starts to take hold of my body, and I try to think of a way out of this mess.
Until he speaks again and I’m shocked to my core.
“I saw the way that you would look at me. I know you felt it. All of our dates we would have. When you would tell me what you loved about me as a boyfriend. I remember it all, Danielle. But you’ve been a naughty girl. It’s time to take care of all of these . . . complications.” He waves the knife around until the tip is pointing down. At my swollen belly.
“No,” I gasp and clutch my stomach. “No!” My scream goes unnoticed by him as he takes a step forward. “Mark, those weren’t dates. We had lunch—with about five other people—in the breakroom at Sway’s. That was it. You were asking my advice for the girl you were dating. Mark, we aren’t anything.” My attempt at reasoning with him only angers him further.
“No!” he bellows, repeatedly jabbing the knife in my direction. “We’re EVERYTHING!” his voice takes on a manic level of insanity, and he starts to advance on me.
“Please . . . I’m begging you. Don’t hurt my baby. I’ll do whatever you want, but please!”
“That,” he says harshly. “That is an abomination and it must be removed from you. I won’t stand for it.”
I grip my stomach tighter and sob. The tears mix with the snot as they roll down my face. The hope I was holding on to that I would be able to talk him off the ledge starts to dwindle. I look around again, praying that I’ll find something that will give me the answer on how to escape this impending doom.
This is it. I’m going to die right here where my future started. Right where it started, we’re going to die, and I know there is no way Cohen will survive this kind of loss. That knowledge and my love for him are the only hope I have left. I spot the lamp just an inch away from my fist right when Mark makes his move and lunges forward. Given the fact that my belly has gotten huge in the last seven weeks since Cohen returned home, my movements are slower than normal, and right when I feel his knife pierce my left side, I heave the lamp with everything I have and clip him right on his temple.
Mark goes down hard, dazed but not out, so I bring my arm back—weakly now that my side is killing me—and swing at him again. His lifts and his knife digs into the top of my hip. Desperate to do what I can to protect my stomach, I twist and fight with everything I have in me. If this is the last moment I have on this Earth, I’m not going to be taken out easily.
“Stop fucking moving so I can get that thing out of you!” he bellows, and it isn’t lost on me just how far gone he is on the sanity scale.
“You won’t get my baby, you sick fuck!” I scream, and with a renewed strength, I start to kick my legs between driving the heavy lamp down onto his face. “You can’t have my baby,” I sob, my body growing weaker. “Never!” I scream out and never stop, my throat burning with the raw sounds coming out.
I feel it before my mind registers that there is nothing else I can do, and as my body is pulled down with nothing left to give, I use the last bit of my strength to twist so that, when I fall, my baby is protected.