Heather walks over to the chest and leans down to open the latch. She pulls out two large daggers. “I know if I ask Rachel to kill you, she will.”
If for a moment I doubted she would take things this far, I know now that the dangers have always been real.
She saunters back to where we’re standing and places one of the daggers into Rachel’s opened hand. Rachel smiles wide, as if she’s been waiting to do this all along.
“Which brings me to you,” she says, thrusting the other dagger against my chest. It lands heavily and almost slips from my fingers.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that your problem is you’re not sure where your loyalties lie.” She retrieves the key from around her neck. “And that’s not good for business.” She takes a few steps back and hangs the key around Rachel’s neck. “Or pleasure.”
Moments later, she’s slithering behind me. The fingers of her good hand swim lightly across my shoulders and neck. Her lips brush against my ear. “I love you, Angie,” she whispers, “but I’m ready to let you go.”
The statement both crushes and relieves me. I almost don’t want it to be true. As much as I hate her for hurting me in so many ways, I still love her too. I’ve experienced more emotional and sexual highs and lows with her in one week than I have in my entire life. And part of me doesn’t want that to end. What is normal supposed to look like after this?
She turns my head and her mouth finds mine. “You get the key from Rachel, and you can walk right out the door,” she says between kisses that are not telling the whole story. “I won’t stop you this time. I promise.”
I can see the rage in Rachel’s eyes as she watches an intimacy between Heather and me that I know she doesn’t have.
“Come with me,” I plead quietly, my mouth more fervent. “It doesn’t have to end like this.” I’m hoping to reach beyond her status quo to that place I know exists but that she’s afraid to tap into.
She stiffens and pulls away from me. She’s made up her mind.
“If you can get the key, you can leave, Angie.” She wraps her good hand around Rachel’s torso. “But if I know Rachel…” She stops to nuzzle Rachel’s head into her neck. “You’re going to have to kill her first.” She gives one of Rachel’s breasts a sardonic squeeze. “Isn’t she, baby?”
“If you’re wondering…” Her gaze locks with mine as she plays with the key on Rachel’s chest. “This key opens the door you need it to open.”
The statement has cryptic overtones. I scramble to decipher what it could possibly mean as she picks up her camera and takes a seat in a director’s chair.
“Whenever you’re ready, ladies.” She snaps a photo. “Do try to be dears,” she adds, “and stay on the stage. We wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone.”
The clicks from her camera reverberate in my ears.
I grip my hands around the dagger.
Heather crosses her legs. The tight skirt she’s wearing pulls on her thighs, and her calves flex, trying to locate a sturdy spot on the footrest for the platform of her heel.
As my toes grip at the leather lining of my wedges, I decide I’ll be better served without them and kick them to the side. I can’t believe she’s making me fight to the death. We could’ve been long gone by now. All she had to do was open that door.
Unless there’s someone else who wants to see more. The red lights of the video cameras blink in my periphery vision.
Heather leans forward, enough that her pillowy blouse exposes the mounds of her breasts secured in that black lace bra.
I should’ve killed her by now. I should’ve pounded a pillow over her sleeping head in the middle of the night, or spiked her drink with too much of something I found in her medicine cabinet, the way she did mine. Or bashed her head in with that bat when I had a chance. Even if I didn’t have the right key, I would have figured out something.
I should have been brave enough. But in the end, my rage gave way to a greater emotion. Love. But also to the self-doubt I’ve been carrying all my life. Self-doubt brought about by years of conditioning. It was easier to go along unnoticed or yell “Bubblegum.” We are all victims of circumstance—until we make a conscious decision not to be. I touch the blade with my fingers to gauge its sharpness.
Copyright 2015 by S.L. Hannah
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