Written Fireside: On Valentine’s – The End
Welcome to the final chapter of On Valentine’s a Written Fireside story by my lovely fellow Harper Impulse Authors!!!
***Follow the story from the beginning by clicking on Part 1!!!***
Written Fireside: On Valentine’s – The End
For one fraction of one second, everybody froze—Dean in the doorway, Makayla on the floor, Cat and Jed by the couch, Paul kneeling beside Makayla, the gun to her head. It gave Mongo just enough time to act. The dog leapt past the gaping humans and sunk his teeth into Paul’s ass.
Paul screamed, a high, almost feminine squeal, which snapped Cat out of her daze. Anger, pure red rage, flooded her vision. This man had almost destroyed her life, hurt her, isolated her, made her a shadow of herself, and now that she was finally free of him, here he was again, waving a gun around and threatening her friends. It was too much. It was enough. She stomped across the room and kicked the bastard square in the head. Her foot connected with his nose, a loud satisfying crunch. Paul howled and dropped the gun to grab his face, blood gushing out through his fingers.
Cat reared her foot back, ready to kick him again, maybe never stop kicking him, but then Jed was there, in her way, taking the gun from where Paul dropped it. Mongo growled, sinking his teeth deeper into Paul’s flesh. Makayla arms were suddenly around Cat, hugging her tight. Jed handed her the gun and tied Paul’s hands up with an electrical cord he stripped from one of the lamps. Makayla cried against Cat’s shoulder and when Cat shifted her weight, she winced from the pain not only in her arm, but now also in her foot.
“Um,” Dean said, still standing in the doorway, clutching Cat’s bracelet. “Can someone please tell me what’s going on?”
“We need the police,” Jed said. He looked to Dean. “There’s no phone service up here. Is your car close?”
“Yeah,” Dean said. “It’s just down the path.”
“Good,” Jed said, shoving Paul toward the open door. “Let’s go.”
“We all have to go,” Makayla said, wiping away her tears with the back of her hand. “The police will want our statements.”
Cat looked around the cabin, her heart heavy. All she wanted was a little quiet time. Now there was blood on the floor, and she was going to be spending the rest of the night in some country police station, drinking crappy coffee. Yay, Valentine’s Day.
“Here,” she said to Dean. “I’ll trade you.” She gave him the gun in exchange for the bracelet. They all started for the door, but Cat paused on the threshold. “I need to put my shoes back on. I’ll be right there.”
The others started down the path, and Cat turned back into the cabin, Mongo at her side. She picked up her shoes from where Jed had left them after so gently removing them earlier. The night had begun with so much promise.
“Hey,” Jed said from behind her, his voice soft. “You all right?”
She nodded, then sat down on the sofa. “I think I will be.”
He watched her pull on her shoes. “That was a hell of a kick.”
Cat couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks. It felt pretty good.”
Jed laughed. “I bet it did. But then, you were always so gutsy.” He crossed the space between them to hunker by her side. “Do you remember the day the four of us found that ancient tire swing by the lake? The rope was frayed, the rubber peeling and flaking. Everyone was so scared to be the first to try it, to take the chance and use it to jump out over the lake, but you—you just climbed right up there and went for it.”
A ghost of a smile touched her lips. She barely remembered that version of herself. Mongo barked, and she absently patted the dog’s head. “I can’t believe you remember that.”
“I’ll never forget it.” Jed took her hand, lacing his fingers through hers. “I always admired you, Cat.”
Their eyes met, and Cat felt a spark deep in her chest, something wonderful and free—something she had never felt with Paul. Maybe it was finally time for her to reclaim the woman she once was, maybe even put back together the pieces of something she thought she’d lost long ago. The first step on that journey was to see Paul safely in police custody. She rose to her feet. “Let’s get this started.”
Jed smiled, stood up beside her, and offered her his arm. “Let me help you. The path can be rough.”
She hesitated for an instant, wary of his offer. The last thing she needed was another man offering to help her, but really only trying to control her. But she saw nothing of Paul in Jed’s gaze. She was scared, just as scared as she had been that hot summer day at the lake, but she decided to take the chance. She had to, because that was a step on this journey as well—maybe the most important one of all. She wound her uninjured arm through his, resting her hand on his forearm. They walked out of the cabin together and into the night.