Shifting uncomfortably, I say, “I’m sorry about that, Monique. Cassie had some problems as I’m sure you’re now aware of.”
“She was a bitch!” Monique hisses, looking angry once again. “Cassie was a horrible person who didn’t deserve you. Why did you stay with her when she treated you that way? I saw her screaming at you, but you never left her. You were a good person and she was evil to you and everyone else.”
I’m flabbergasted by the turn this conversation has taken. Was Monique stalking Cassie and me in college? It damn sure sounds like it. I need to defuse this situation and leave until I can regroup. Where is Aidan? Why would he be a few states away? He mentioned nothing to me about leaving town when we talked earlier. “Things were complicated then, Monique,” I say soothingly.
“I know,” she agrees, “that’s why you were so upset that night. I fixed your drinks strong to help you relax and it worked. You finally realized how much we cared for each other. From the first moment I saw you, I knew I wanted my first time to be with you. And it was everything I’d always dreamed it would be.”
“My God, Monique, what are you saying?” I gasp. A sick feeling hits me and I struggle to control the bile rushing up my throat. Please, no.
She gives me what can only be called a loving look. “We were finally together that night, Luc. I was there when you needed me and I thought I was going to be your girlfriend. Then you left and went back to her. You said it shouldn’t have happened and you apologized. I understood what you needed from me, though. You were too nice to break up with Cassie, so I did it for you.”
“What did you do?” I ask harshly. My hands clench into fists as I wait for her to confirm what I suspect.
Looking almost like a child seeking approval she says, “I called Cassie and told her we’d just had sex and that you wanted to be with me. I said it had been going on for a long time and you didn’t have the heart to tell her.”
Lightheaded, I struggle to my feet. “You fucking insane bitch!” I shout. “She killed my son that night! Do you have any idea what you caused?” I’m barely hanging on to my sanity. I’d love nothing better than to wrap my hands around her neck and end her miserable life.
She actually appears puzzled at the rage in my voice. “But…I didn’t do anything. You slept with me. You wanted me to handle it.”
My head feels as if it will explode. I’m shaking with the force of my anger as I bellow, “I didn’t want you to do anything! I certainly didn’t ask you to call Cassie and tell her whatever the hell you did. She was pregnant and bipolar. You might as well have handed her a loaded gun, you stupid woman.”
I see her temper beginning to ignite within her. Her face pulls into a tight line as she snarls, “You better watch how you speak to me, Lucian. You’ll need me when you’re desperately sad and alone once again.”
“I’ll never be alone. I have a fiancée and even if I didn’t, I’d fucking let my cock rot off before I ever touched you again.”
Her chest is rising and falling frantically as she grapples for control. “You think you’re so much better than me. I don’t know why I ever thought I wanted you because you’re nothing. You just use people to get what you want and then you toss them away without regard for their feelings.”
“You don’t have any feelings,” I snarl. “If you did, you wouldn’t be standing here wanting me to congratulate you for causing your stepsister to implode eight years ago. What did you think? I’d give you some kind of medal for that?” Turning to leave, I toss over my shoulder, “Stay the hell away from me and my family or you’ll be sorry.”
Her laughter chills my blood. I’m almost to the door when she calls out, “No need to hurry home. I’m sure Cassie is keeping Lia well entertained.” I reach for the doorknob with an unsteady hand trying to tell myself that she’s bluffing. I don’t bother questioning her statement because there isn’t time for a cat-and-mouse game. I have my phone in hand dialing Lia as soon as the elevator doors open. A horrible sense of déjà vu fills me when the phone rings again and again before going to voicemail.
“Fuck no. Fuck! No!” I roar as I run toward my vehicle. I toss the phone on the seat after dialing 911 as I race toward our apartment. “Monique’s bluffing, Lia’s okay,” I keep repeating as I weave through the busy streets. I swallow down the bile that rises in my throat, fighting to stay in control. I can’t fucking lose Lia and our baby. My hands are shaking on the wheel so badly that it’s a struggle to stay on the road. I vow as I race across town that my retribution will be swift and final for any who dares to take what is mine. There is nowhere in the world they will be safe from my wrath. Hell will be more merciful than I am.
I told Lucian earlier I wanted pizza tonight so I don’t bother to begin any preparation for dinner. The pictures I ordered for the nursery arrived today so I look through one of the drawers in the kitchen until I find the mini-hammer and some picture hanging hooks to hang them with. I grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator and take my supplies down the hallway toward the baby’s room. I walk straight to the changing table and deposit the pictures there before opening my bottle and taking a sip. It’s then as I look around the room I notice something strange. There are markings all over the mural of the cherry blossom tree. It looks almost like some type of graffiti. I move closer and realize that it’s one word written repeatedly. MINE. My first thought is that Lucian is playing some kind of joke on me. When I use my finger though to rub at the letters, they don’t come off. There is no way he would ruin something we both love so much just to tease me.