“Marty!” I cried. “Oh my god!” My eyes widened when I realized he had a gun in his hand.
Vincent raised his hands in the air and began slowly backstepping further into the living room toward the window. “Calm down. Don’t do anything rash.”
“Step away from her now.” Bandages stretched against his grimace. “I’m not going to let you hurt me or Kristen.”
“What are you talking about?” Vincent said, eyes narrowed, his hands still in the air. “You’re the one with the gun.”
Marty hurried over to me. He wrapped his fingers around my wrist and tugged me to him, while keeping the gun trained on Vincent.
“Where are your goons? Are they in the building?”
Vincent paused. He looked at Marty’s hand around me then back at Marty. “They’re right across the hall. You fire that gun, they’ll hear it and come out armed.”
Marty closed the door behind him with his foot. “I know you’re lying—like always—but just in case.” He released my hand, turning the deadbolt and hooking the chain, locking us in with him. He reached into his back pocket and threw a silver chain at Vincent’s feet. “Cuff yourself to the radiator.”
“Marty, put down the gun! This is crazy,” I cried. My pulse was racing against my chest. Blood roared in my ears, drowning out the thoughts screaming in my mind to escape. I wanted to run but had nowhere to go. No, no, no. This couldn’t be happening. I was just supposed to talk to Vincent about my pregnancy.
He turned to me, expression softening. “I’m sorry Kristen, I didn’t want to have to do this. But he gave me no choice. Please don’t be afraid, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to protect you.”
“Protect me?” I blurted in disbelief, my breaths coming fast and shallow.
Marty tightened his grip on the gun aimed at Vincent’s chest then cocked it. The audible click sent a deathly shiver through me. “I’m not going to ask again. Cuff yourself to the radiator, ass**le. Do it.”
Vincent twisted his head, spotting the cast iron array of pipes behind him situated below the window. “Okay. Okay.” He managed to keep his voice even but his movements lacked their usual ease. He slowly bent down keeping both palms open and in front of him. “I’m doing what you asked. Don’t shoot.” He brought one hand down and picked up the handcuffs, keeping his eyes trained on Marty—and more importantly, the gun in his hand.
I stared. Stunned. Terrified. I was too scared to move as I watched the events unfolding before my eyes.
There was a click. Vincent had cuffed one of his hands to the radiator.
“This is crazy!” I cried.
“Please, Kristen,” Marty said calmly. “Give me a chance to explain. I promise we’ll get through this.”
Marty directed me to take a seat on the couch. Tears beginning to blur my vision and my legs unsteady, I nearly stumbled into the coffee table as I silently complied.
“Stay there.” His words were calm but they felt like a threat.
Seated, I watched Vincent carefully as Marty approached him, gun in hand. Vincent remained standing on firm legs. He wasn’t shaking like I was but his dark eyes were wide and focused. A visibly beating vein along his forehead hinted at the adrenaline pumping through his system. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this, I was just supposed to have a conversation with Vincent.
Vincent’s free hand twitched. Marty took a step forward, aiming the weapon at Vincent’s chest. Marty was close enough for Vincent to sock him across the face or reach for the gun in Marty’s outstretched hand. Images of heroic scenarios raced through my mind like scenes from an action movie. My fingers clenched against the cushion of the couch. I was gripped by dread that Vincent would actually try something risky—and fail.
Both men stood facing one another, exchanging fierce stares, neither of them blinking. The moment wouldn’t last forever. Someone was going to make a move.
Vincent’s body tensed. He swallowed hard. His hand curled into a fist by his side. He glanced at me.
No, don’t Vincent! I pleaded with my eyes, unable to find my voice.
Vincent returned his gaze to Marty.
Marty raised the gun and pressed the nozzle into Vincent’s forehead. “Get on your knees.”
“Don’t hurt him! Please!” I pleaded desperately, cupping my hands against my face. I was going to watch Marty shoot Vincent in the head and I was powerless to do anything. My eyes pricked. Tears streamed down my cheeks.
“Please, keep quiet Kristen,” Marty said, his tone barely concealing his anger. He kept his eyes trained on Vincent.
Marty reached behind his back and produced another set of handcuffs. He snapped one end around Vincent’s free hand and the other end around a different pipe on the radiator, ensuring Vincent wouldn’t be able to reach for something to throw or a cell phone to call.
“If you try to get out or if your team comes barging in, I’m going to put a bullet through your head. Understand?”
Vincent eyed him sternly.
Marty grabbed his hair and yanked his head back hard. “I asked you a question, you piece of shit. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Vincent groaned through clenched teeth.
“Good.” Marty jerked Vincent’s head down, making him wince in pain, then released his hair.
Marty returned to the couch, taking a seat beside me. I shifted away, pressing myself against the armrest and curling my legs into my chest.
“Don’t hurt her,” Vincent said, lifting his head back up. “This is between you and me. I’m the one who punched you, not her.”
“Shut the f**k up. Sit still and be quiet. This is all about me and Kristen. There’s no way I’d hurt her. If you want to keep talking, I’m not against hurting you though. God knows you deserve it.”
Marty turned to me. “Kristen, I’m so sorry it’s come to this.” He placed his hand on my shoulder.
The sensation made me hug myself tighter. “Please put the gun down,” I said, tears wetting the denim covering my knees. “You’re scaring me.”
He carefully put the gun down on the coffee table. It was out of his hand but not out of his reach.
“Calm down, babe. Breathe. Tell me you’re okay. Please.”
I tried my best to calm my nerves, taking deep breaths and hugging myself tightly. “What do you want?”
“Kristen, you have to understand. I wouldn’t be doing this if there was any other way.”