“No, Marty! Stop . . . please stop Marty . . .” I pleaded, tears streaming uncontrollably down my face. He was going to kill Vincent, the man who loved me, the man that I loved.
Marty ignored me, continuing to hit Vincent. Vincent had his broken hands up, trying to defend his face. He seemed so helpless in that position that it sent another knife of sorrow into me.
“Stop Marty! Please stop!” I sobbed.
Marty looked up at me, chest heaving, fists covered in Vincent’s blood. “Stop? Stop?! It’s too late to stop Kristen. You made me do this! This is your fault! Look at what you’ve done!”
This was my fault. My fault. None of this would have happened if Vincent had never met me. I felt sorrow so intense I wanted to vomit. It was because of me that this monster was hurting Vincent. Killing him.
Marty finally got up from Vincent and walked over to the kitchen counter.
I crawled towards Vincent, the room blurry in my vision. When I got to him, I sat down and cradled his head in my lap. He was still breathing. His breath was heavy and ragged but he was still alive.
“Kristen . . .” Vincent groaned.
“It’s okay Vincent. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I love you Vincent. I love you so much.” I chanted, rocking back and forth. Wet droplets fell from my eyes and splashed onto Vincent, leaving streaks in the dried blood caking his face.
When I looked up again, Marty had found the gun. He had it pointed at us.
We were going to die here tonight.
“You brought this on yourself Kristen . . . you didn’t even give me a chance . . .”
Vincent was drifting in and out of consciousness. He stirred, pushing himself up until he was sitting upright, putting his body between me and the gun. Even in this state, with his eyes swollen shut, his hands battered and his face bleeding from cuts and swollen from fractures, he wanted to protect me. Vincent wanted to protect me with his last breath even after I had brought this monster into his life.
“I’m sorry Vincent, I’m sorry about the baby, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you early. I’m sorry for Marty. I’m sorry for everything.”
I wrapped my arms around Vincent, crying onto the back of his shoulder.
“No, Kristen.” Vincent coughed. His voice was low and raspy, barely audible. His eyes were half-lidded. His lips were trembling. He was using every ounce of strength left to talk to me.
I leaned my ear to his mouth to hear the faint words riding his shallow breaths. “No. Don’t say that Kristen . . . Don’t ever apologize to me for those things . . . You didn’t do anything wrong . . . I love you Kristen . . . Let’s keep the baby . . . I’ve always wanted a child . . . We’ll raise the child together . . . I love you . . . I want to start a family with you.”
My heart was shattering. Vincent was confessing to me that he wanted a family together, moments before we were going to die.
He continued, “I’m the one that should be sorry . . . I promised I’d protect you . . . but I failed . . . I’m sorry Kristen . . . Forgive me . . . I . . . ” He was losing consciousness again.
Marty stared at us, his eerie blue eyes filled with anger.
I blinked back my tears and took a deep breath.
I’ll always love you.
The apartment door exploded. A mist of splinters shot through the air, covering my living room.
“POLICE! DROP THE GUN MOTHERFUCKER!”
I blinked and half a dozen officers were fanned out on my right kneeling behind the kitchen wall and the couch, their guns drawn and aimed at Marty.
Before I could feel any relief, I saw the look in Marty’s eyes. They were wide and panicked like the eyes of a cornered animal and he still had the gun pointed at us. He hadn’t made any motion to surrender.
The cops were shifting around. They were getting antsy. Marty looked back and forth between us and the cops as if he was deciding what to do. I could see the desperation growing in those blue irises.
No. No. We were so close! This wasn’t right. Marty was going to shoot Vincent anyway. We were so close. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. We were so close to being safe, to being happy.
“DROP IT ASSHOLE! THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING!”
Marty didn’t care about getting shot himself. He was going to empty the clip into Vincent and at this distance, he wouldn’t miss. I could see the events playing in his mind: he would shoot Vincent then me while the cops shot him down.
I had to try; I had to try one last time to get through to Marty.
I wiped the wetness from my eyes and looked into Marty’s face. “No Marty, please . . . Marty you need help . . . Vincent and I . . . we love each other. You and I had something, but that was long ago. You need to get help Marty. Don’t take Vincent away from me. Don’t take my life away from me. If you ever loved me, if what you said was true about still caring about me, do the right thing. Please Marty, think about what you’re doing. You’re going to ruin all of our lives.”
His brows narrowed. A strange expression crossed his face. Maybe it was a rare moment of lucidity for him or maybe I just imagined it, but it seemed like he suddenly realized what he had become. For a split second, I thought I saw a glimpse of the Marty that I knew years ago. Blue eyes, brown hair, boyish smile.
His arm wavered, then went limp. The gun clattered on the floor.
And then it was over.
When the ambulances arrived, Vincent had regained a bit of his strength. He insisted on riding to the hospital up front in the same ambulance as me, even though he was in a much worse state than me. The paramedics argued with him for a while, before letting him have his way. They must’ve figured that this way they would at least get him to the hospital, even if he refused to get there on a stretcher.
I lay in the stretcher as the paramedics fussed over him, wrapping up his hands and flushing his eyes with water.
“Kristen, I meant everything I said before. I love you. If you want to have the baby, I’ll be right there with you. It’s up to you Kristen, but I love you. I’ll be here for you, no matter what you decide.”
“Is that what you want Vincent?”
He nodded. His eyes were glistening, I’m not sure if it was from the water the paramedics were rinsing his eyes with or from tears.
“When we were back there and Marty told you about the baby, for a moment, I thought you didn’t want the baby,” I said.
“I’ve wanted a child for a while now, Kristen. When you told me, I was so happy. . . but I thought I was about to lose it all. I love you Kristen. If you’re ready, I want to start a family with you. Do you want that?”