My stomach churns and for a second I think I might throw up. I swallow hard and shake my head because he’s standing there waiting for an answer while Moose is still going nuts.

“How did you get a job there?” I am careful not to say Devin’s name.

“You think I don’t know everything about you?” He looks at me like I’m a small child and shakes his head. “Silly little girl.” He paces again and I can sense his hostility rising. “It was easy once I overheard that dumb bitch Jenna tell that big guy you were with your grandmother. Then it was a matter of getting as close to you as possible and that part was easy too.” He’s talking now like I’m not in the room, and I just keep praying it’s enough time. “I thought for sure you saw me that day when you were at the office, but you’re so stupid.”

His laugh sends chills all over me and I wrap my arms around myself.

“I’m sorry for what I did to your apartment. I really am, but I did it so you would run into my arms. I wanted you to come to me for safety and I was going to take care of you.” He kneels down in front of me, getting close again. “I love you, Erin, and it was the only way we could be together. But now here we are and I have no other choice. You won’t stop running from me.”

“You don’t have to do this, Peter. You can leave and I won’t tell anyone about this.”

“No. I’ve come too far now and there’s no going back. There’s another way we can be together forever. If we can’t do it in this life, then I’ll have you in the next.”

My heart drops. He’s going to kill us both.

I have to get out of here or die trying. I’m not as strong as him, but if I can surprise him then maybe I have a chance.

He’s so close I do the only thing I can think of and I throw myself into him. It catches him off guard and sends him tumbling backwards with me on top of him. I throw a punch to get off of him as fast as I can, but his hands are quick and he snatches my ankle before I can get away. Adrenaline and fear rush through me as I kick one last time as hard as I can. I make contact with something and hear a crack just as he screams. The grip on my ankle loosens and I use the bathroom door to help me stand up and get out.

A wave of dizziness hits me and I see black spots dance in my eyes. I grip the doorframe hard to keep myself from falling, but the world starts to spin.

“You bitch.” A hand grabs me by the back of the head and I feel a burn at my scalp as he pulls my hair. I scream as loud as I can and he shoves me hard into the doorframe. “You’re going to pay for that.”

I stumble forward and lose my balance but manage to fall on the bed. I roll over and see blood running down his face and his nose looks broken.

“You’ll never get away from me again.” He raises the gun and I close my eyes, thinking about how much I love Devin.

There’s a loud crash and the gun goes off. I scream as I open my eyes and see Devin has Peter pinned to the floor. The gun is lying next to them on the floor and Devin keeps hitting Peter. I jump off the bed and grab the gun because I don’t know what else to do.

“Devin,” I call, but he doesn’t stop. “Devin!” I shout it this time and his fist stops before it makes contact again. “I think he’s out.” There is so much blood everywhere, but I can see the rise and fall of Peter’s chest. “Don’t kill him. It’s not worth it.” He nods before he lands one last hard punch.

He’s breathing hard as he stands up and faces me. I burst into tears and throw myself into his waiting arms.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Devin

“A lot has happened in two weeks,” Erin says as I rub her feet.

“You okay?” She looks up from the stack of papers in her lap and raises an eyebrow. “I know, I’m just checking.”

She sighs and puts the wedding schedule on the coffee table and then moves to my lap. “When are you going to believe that I’m totally fine?”

“When you say I do.” I smile and she shakes her head.

“Less than twenty-four hours to go.”

After the break-in at our old place, I decided it was time to move. I didn’t want memories of what happened in our bedroom to haunt Erin and I don’t know if I could have stomached it either. Our private space was violated and that night we left for good. We decided that our new place would need a few amenities, but at the top of the list was a place for Betty.

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