* * *
“You want me to break up with my boyfriend?” I threw the phone at his head, watching in horror as it missed, not even grazing his ear, and the phone bounced off the kitchen window, plopping into the soapy sink.
“Fuck!” I ran to the sink, but John was already there, fishing out the soaked phone. “Did I break it?”
He shook the phone, spraying warm droplets of water onto my skin. “I don’t know.” He flipped the phone open, using his shirt to wipe the buttons. “It wasn’t on but I’m going to give it a chance to dry off before we use it.” He twisted the dial on the oven to 200 degrees. “Hopefully this will do the trick.”
“You’re going to bake it?”
“It’s saved phones more delicate than this one.” He set the phone next to the oven, waiting for it to preheat as he whirled on me. “What the hell were you thinking?”
I swallowed. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“Throw it at me? Or the sink?”
“The sink. My aim sucks.” I forced a smile.
“This isn’t a joke, Mav. I didn’t cook up this scheme to play house with you. I fucked up and I don’t want you to end up dead. Or worse.”
He walked closer, each step increasing my unease until only inches separated us. “If you’re dead, any power they had is lost. If you’re alive, they can make you beg for death.”
My vision swam even as I tried to convince myself this was a joke. “Why did you order me to break up with Danny? What does he have to do with anything?”
“Leverage, Mav. He can be used against you. Once they realized you’ve pulled a disappearing act, they’ll try to find ways to lure you back. If the ties are cut, they probably won’t bother.”
“Probably? You want me to dump him because he might be safe? What about Amanda, is she in danger?”
“The close friend you told me I had to call.”
He cursed, running his hands through his hair. “Married? Single?”
“What diff – ”
“Just answer the damn questions!”
“Divorced, with a two year daughter.” My gut churned at the thought of putting them in danger.
“Hell.” He paced the kitchen. “Does she have family out of state?”
“Her dad lives in California.”
“When you call her, tell her to visit him for an extended trip.”
I placed my hands on my hips. “And how am I supposed to do that without telling her what is going on?”
“If you want her as safe as possible, you’ll think of something.”
The pressure of the situation slammed into me. “And Danny?”
He shrugged. “The worse the breakup, the less likely he’ll be a target.”
“How do I know you aren’t just fucking with me?”
His eyes blazed. “I don’t fuck around, whether it’s with someone’s life or my girlfriend.”
I stumbled backward, the power of his words a physical blow. “Last night was…” A pile of words rested on my tongue but none fit.
“What, Mav? What was it? An aberration? A good-bye fuck? Or are you hoping to pick up where we left off?” He was vicious, ice coating his tone.
The venom was poison, seeping into my soul, severing the tender truce declared mere hours before. “You asshole! Would that be before or after you stood me up on my twenty-first birthday and breezed out of town without a good-bye?” Each word grew louder.
“Best thing I ever did. Do you even give a fuck about this guy? Do you love him?”
Each sentence was a sword, slicing me open. “How I feel about him is none of your damn business!”
“You made it mine when you decided to jump me.”
“I jumped you? You have not stopped trying to get into my pants since you grabbed me in the alleyway!”
“What diseases do I have to worry about from all the other guys you’ve screwed behind this guy’s back?”
Furious I shoved him, instinctively going for his weakest spot: the injured shoulder. “Go to hell!”
The grimace of pain was the only sign I’d hurt him – his body immobile. “I’m already there.”
“I’ll leave you to burn then.” I stormed to the front door, thankful I’d put on my sneakers earlier. Tears slid down my cheeks as I slid the deadbolt open only to have my wrist grabbed, twisting me around. “Let me go!”
He pinned me against the door, his body a wall, his grip firm. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”
I didn’t bother struggling, knowing I would lose unless I caught him off guard. I poured all of my anger into my gaze. “I hate you.”
He flinched, the movement so fast I might have imagined it. “I still can’t let you go. We’ve been through this.”
I released the tears, rivers of them soaking my cheeks. “Why do you hate me so much?”
He grip softened, the free hand wiping the rivulets away. “I don’t hate you, Mav, only some of the choices you’ve made.”
“What did I ever do to you?
“You killed our baby.”
Continued in the Red Writing Hood Prompt this week: “The Appointment“…