Part 1936 – Expecting The Worst

Carthage smirked as he walked away.

He’ll come back to me. I know he will.

After all, where else is he going to run to?


LM watched him walk away.

I could run after him.

I could tell him I’m sorry. I could…

I could.

LM shook his head. “I can’t. Now that I know I can’t trust him, I can’t go back to him.” He looked at the closed door. “If I go in there, he’ll beat me up. I know he will.”

Any kindness he may have felt for me is destroyed.

LM tilted his head and blinked quickly. “But can it be repaired?”

I don’t know if it can.

But maybe.

Maybe I can try to fix it.


Jeff trembled as the adrenaline rush died down and all of the What If’s took over.

Darius laid his hand on his friend’s back. “It’s okay. She’s safe.”

“So many things could have happened. So many things could have gone wrong.”

“But it didn’t. She’s safe. You’re safe. It’s okay. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.”

Jeff obeyed.

My heart is beating.

My chest is rising.

My chest is falling.

Air enters my body.

Air leaves my body.

My heart is beating.

My heart rate is calming down.

My chest is rising.

My chest is falling.

My breathing is calming down.

I am calming down.

Jeff opened his eyes.

“Better?” Darius asked.



Someone knocked on the door.

“I’ll get it.” Arabella walked over to the door and opened it.

LM stood on the other side, looking like a dog who’s expecting to be kicked. “May I come in?”

Arabella looked back at Jeff. “Do you want him to come in?”


LM drew his shoulders forward.

“But I will go out to him.”


LM shrank back as Jeff stepped out into the hall.

“You worthless freak! People pay me good money to see the Fey Freak transform into whoever they wish.” He grabbed a chunk of LM’s hair and jerked his head back. “Next time you will do whatever they say.”

“LM. What do you want?”


Spiked gloves.

LM dropped the plastic grocery bag and shrank further away from him.

He’s going to hit me. I know it. He’s going to hit me. I deserve it. He’s going to hit me.

LM crumpled into a grovel. “I know it doesn’t make a difference, but I’m sorry. I have no excuses, no easy way out. I can’t defend myself, because I knew better. All I can say is I trusted him and he betrayed my trust. Just as I betrayed yours.” He scrunched his eyes shut. “So, go ahead. Hit me. Kick me. Beat me up. It’s the only thing I deserve.”

Jeff didn’t move. He didn’t speak.

He didn’t speak. For once, he was too angry for words. So, he didn’t say a word. 

LM trembled.

He punched LM in silence. Over and over. Hard, fast, and silent.

There’s nothing more I can say.

“You knew that there was a stake in that bag.”

It was the worst beating he’d ever received. He would never be able to forget it.

“He could have killed me. He could have killed my daughter. He could have staked Raven. Do you understand that?”

“Yes. I. I told him to buy the stakes for his own protection. Just in case, Raven tried to attack him.”

Jeff lapsed back into silence.

LM cringed.

I wish he’d just get it over with.

“Look. If you’re going to beat me up, just do it. Quit dragging out the inevitable. Just get it done and over with.”

“You think that’s what I’m going to do?”

“Why wouldn’t you? I betrayed you. I betrayed your daughter, your friend. I deserve it.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Then, go ahead. I’m ready.”

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