traces of new york

Coldest Winter (Newt x Reader)

Originally posted by your-harry-potter-imagines

For the lovely anon who requested: Newt imagine where Tina is jealous of you (newts long time best friend) and she keeps taking his attention off of you and you feel like he doesn’t want you around anymore and he finds you packing your stuff to leave or something? (He loves you tho)

Words: ~1800

Rating: Confessional, loving fluff that is guaranteed to cure your ailments for the day. <3

Hope you enjoy!

She was jealous.

You knew for a fact Tina Goldstein was resentful of the close relationship you shared with Newt Scamander, whom she had quickly taken a sort of “liking” to since the nearly catastrophic events in New York a few days ago.

The worst part was that you weren’t any better than her. Envy seeped through your skin when she made Newt smile, laugh, or impressed him with her captivating conversation and undeniable charm. You couldn’t completely blame her though, who wouldn’t fall for the loving, timid Hufflepuff?

Tina shamelessly flirted with your magizoologist every chance she got, only provoking the fire of bitterness that charred your insides black, leaving you empty and longing. Years spent traveling together had kindled a friendship between you and Newt that you treasured dearly. Over time, however, your fondness only grew with every freckled smile he threw your way, falling harder and faster than you ever thought possible. Newt’s lingering stares, adorably stuttered compliments and constant eagerness to keep close to you gave you the impression he felt the same.

And now, it seemed your progress over the years had come to a crashing halt in a matter of days.

You observed Tina’s latest attempt at winning Newt’s affections from the corner of your vision as you stared out into the snowy New York streets, absentmindedly tracing random designs on the frosted windowpane in the parlor. You couldn’t stop the barrage of destructive thoughts that scurried to the forefront of your mind: Tina was heart-stoppingly attractive, intelligent, and kept a smile on Newt’s face, just as he deserved.

You felt cold, yet almost desired to be numb for the off-chance it would ease the throbbing ache that settled in your chest when you took note of how content Newt seemed to be in Tina’s company. He chuckled at her story you had stopped listening to, grinning at her in a way that made you consider the possibility he did in fact like her better and wasn’t just being polite as usual…

Their bubbling laughter shattered your concentration, a shiver running down your spine, practically feeling Tina stare daggers into your back as you rubbed your finger raw on the frozen windowpane. “It’s a shame you have to leave so soon…” she trailed off, her exclusive emphasis giving you the urge to shatter the window in fury.

Your heated anger began to subside, however, when you stared out into the white-coated streets, snowflakes leisurely drifting onto dim streetlamps that lined the sidewalks.

You attempted to rid your head of negative thoughts and replace them with fond memories of other cold winter nights you and Newt had spent together, walking through snowy parks, him teaching you to ice skate, or even just cozy evenings inside the suitcase taking care of his wide expanse of creatures.

“Oh, w-well I’m sure Y/n wouldn’t mind if we stayed just a bit longer…um, Y/n?”

The scene outside instantly became much colder in your eyes, harsh and lonely and the coldest winter you’ve experienced, feeling as though the crisp frost from the window soaked into your skin, ice crystallizing your blood and prickling at your bleeding heart.

“I need to go,” you muttered, blinking back tears as you rushed for the guest bedroom.

Newt stood immediately at your hasty exit, ready to pursue until Tina grabbed hold of his forearm, “Newt, she just doesn’t–” Her words fell on deaf ears as Newt watched you slip into the bedroom, flinching as you slammed the door behind you.

The wizard slowly sat on the edge of the sofa grudgingly, gnawing at his lower lip anxiously as he continued to glance behind his shoulder at the bedroom door. He sighed, gaze hardened as he looked to the Goldstein sister with determination. “Tina… we need to talk.”

Everything you had done– devoted yourself to, was for the sake of the magizoologist’s happiness, and if his well-being no longer involved your support, then so be it.

Packing your suitcase became an outlet for the emotional hurricane that tore you apart from the inside out. You violently grabbed your clothes from their hangers, chucking your belongings on the bed unceremoniously and stuffing them forcefully into the case to keep the tears of frustration at bay. All the while, you were cold, the tip of your nose and fingers numbing from your gazing out the window. You ignored the pins and needles in your freezing toes as you shoved another shirt in the case.

You stiffened at the sound of the door squeaking open. “Sorry, Y/n, I was…” the magizoologist trailed off as he came to an abrupt halt upon fully noticing your packing. “W-what are you…doing?” his brow furrowed in nervous confusion.

You paused only for a moment, heart aching and hands shaking as you stared at the last shirt to be packed, crumpled and lonely over the edge of the suitcase.

“Where are you going?” Newt questioned, a new sense of urgency in his tremulous voice as he made his way over to you, his seafoam eyes scanning your blank expression for an answer. He cautiously removed his navy blue coat and gingerly set it on the bed, as if any disturbance would shatter any chance of pulling a response from you. “Y-Y/n?”

“It’s been an honor…” You swallowed thickly, attempting to keep your composure, though your voice continued to waver, “…and a pleasure, thank you for everything.” You forced yourself to look up into the emerald eyes you had come to love once more, only to feel daggers pierce your chest at the thought of leaving them for good. The wizard looked to you with such concern, compassion and care… You didn’t want to leave the man you adored with every bit of your being–

You recognized muffled laughter from the kitchen that reminded you of the scene you witnessed in the parlor, and mentally berated yourself for being so selfish. You wanted the best for Newt, and if he felt his best with Tina, you wouldn’t allow your envy to prevent his happiness.

Newt watched in worry as your sympathetic expression melted into one of pure sorrow, his heart almost breaking at the mere thought of you so upset. “Y/n-?”

“G-goodbye.” You stammered, inhaling sharply and darting around the stunned magizoologist toward the door.

Newt’s jaw hung slightly ajar in shock and panic as you rushed past him. Time felt irrelevant as he watched your retreating form, hurried and stiff, feeling a sense of dread blossom in his chest when he fully processed what you had said.

Taking wide strides, Newt dashed in front of you, flinging his narrow body against the door and gripping the handle for good measure, amber-curls flailing wildly as he frantically shook his head, muttering, “No, no you c-can’t, you can’t–”.

Your breath hitched at the raw fear that laced his wide herbal eyes that locked with yours, surprised at his unexpected fierce determination to keep you from leaving. You fumbled for words, “Newt, I–”

The wizard’s grip on the doorframe tightened, his gaze hardening solemnly. “If y-you leave now…” Newt inhaled deeply, eyes clenching shut as he exclaimed, “I won’t ever love again!”

The intensity that laced his confession left you speechless. It wasn’t so much a threat as it was a statement of fact that seemed to terrify him to the core, his eyes widening in panic and grip on the doorknob so tight his knuckles whitened. “P-please,” he begged, his voice becoming much softer and beseeching, “Don’t leave.”

A yearning to sweep the distraught magizoologist into your arms gnawed away at your soul, a feeling of emptiness apparent as you stared into his vibrant green eyes that were brimming with tears and churning with unspoken hope.

“I won’t,” you blurted quickly, your free hand covering Newt’s on the doorknob reassuringly as you let your suitcase drop to the floor, the floorboards vibrating beneath your feet from the impact. “I won’t…”

For a moment the two of you continued to gaze at one another, the subtle sound of Newt’s heavy breathing barely audible over your anxious heartbeat that thundered in your ears.

It was all Newt could do to keep from collapsing in relief at your words, the panic subsiding as his tense muscles relaxed and whirlwind of fearful thoughts retreated back to darker recesses of his mind. The wizard wasn’t aware of the hot tears that streamed down his freckled cheeks until you tenderly brought your cool hands to his face and gingerly swept them away with the pads of your thumbs. “I’m so sorry, Newt,” you hushed soothingly, feeling your own tears form at realizing your thoughtless mistake, “I won’t ever leave, I promise.”

Newt’s expression relaxed to one of soft joy, raising his warm hands to your wrists to gingerly pull you into his chest and wrap his arms around you in a contented embrace. The natural warmth that he radiated seeped straight into you, thawing your frozen core. He smelled heavily of damp soil and fresh cut wood, the scent you identified as that of home.

“I’m so sorry–”

“Don’t be, love.” Newt hushed, his grip on you tightening protectively.

“No, I am, I was selfish, I was…I was stupidly jealous because, I…I just–” You struggled for words before another thought sent your mind on a new track, “W-wait, what did you mean by never loving again?” you asked hesitantly, hope instantly swelling in your chest as you felt Newt grin against your shoulder.  

He hummed lovingly, the reverberations on your bare shoulder sending goosebumps up your neck. “Y/n, my heart has been in your hands since the beginning.”

You almost could have leaped in joyous surprise, his confession delightfully melting your chilled heart. Your second-thoughts found their way through your throat before you could think over what you were saying, “The way Tina looks at you, t-talks to you, she’s trying to–”

“Though her efforts are quite, um, flattering,” He gave an airy laugh, his thumbs tracing soothing circles along your spine. “I’ve made it clear this evening that my affections are reserved for someone else.”

The stark potency of his words triggered a wave of elation that washed over your entire form, your knees threatening to buckle under you as you hugged the wizard even closer, allowing the flood of euphoric feelings to manifest in a choked sob as you nuzzled into his shoulder.

“Oh dear, that wasn’t meant to make you upset,” Newt cooed, chuckling softly at your passionate response as he fondly planted a kiss just behind your ear.

Despite your emotionally-charged state, you found yourself giggling with a contented smile, “I’ve never been happier, actually.”

The unmistakable sensation of Newt’s contented sigh sent delighted shivers down your spine. “Neither have I…”

You had no idea how long you managed to stand there for the evening, though you both felt you could live in the comfort of one another’s arms for all eternity.

As you walked hand in hand to board the ship to leave New York the next morning, you looked to Newt with the fondest of smiles that he easily reciprocated with a light pink dusting his freckled cheeks.

Your destination may have been back to Britain, but you had truly found home wherever you went with your loving magizoologist.

Hope you enjoyed!

A big thank you to all of those who have liked/reblogged and left such lovely comments, they truly make my day and I cannot express my appreciation enough! <3 It’s a pleasure to write for you all!

Tags: @maybe-maj

two bourbons too many // ~1k of zarry nonsense because I’ve been feeling all kinds of things today

Zayn drums his fingers off the tops of his thighs, legs sprawled out over the worn sofa. The half-empty glass of bourbon resting on his stomach is lukewarm, his hand wrapped loosely around it. He’s more playing with it than drinking it at this point. The bottle lies, discarded, somewhere on the carpeted floor nearby. It’s more than half empty.

On the screen in front of him, the credits start to roll. The text blurs in front of Zayn’s eyes. His head is fuzzy and a little sore; he’s drunk, and he’s hot, and he’s tired. He squints past the text and watches Harry’s smile break out, high definition dimples and all.

Zayn grunts, shifts, and the glass goes tumbling to the floor. Amber liquid splashes over the carpet and Zayn sighs. He scratches at his belly and sits up. The world tilts on its axis and he takes a deep breath. He scrubs his hands over his face. He hadn’t even realised that he’d been crying but his cheeks are damp to the touch and the corner of his mouth is salty where the tears have gathered.

Probably shouldn’t.

Keep reading

ccshuy  asked:

Where can the Rodriguez family (including Mrs. Rodriguez) trace their ancestry to before they arrived in New York, since the Spanish speaking world is pretty big? (or will we find out in the near future?) For that matter, where can the Callahans trace their ancestry? With all of the "find your ancestry" services these days, I was curious.

Well, Dad Rodriguez (Juan C.: I need to find out what the C stands for… ) is a first-generation NYer born of Puerto Rican descent on both sides. I believe there’s also some Spanish (paternal line) and Mexican (maternal line) ancestry based in PR that goes back to the pre-Spanish-American War period, before the US invaded.

Mom Rodriguez is also NY born of a Puerto Rican mother and an Italian father (her maiden name is Bellario). Maternal grandparents are both PR, I think. I seem to remember her paternal grandparents as being Italian and Greek… must check my notes.

At the Callahan end of things: on Harry’s side, the family is of NY Irish descent for a generation, but of native Irish / Northern Irish further back (people in the US tend to use the euphemism “Scots-Irish” for Protestant Northern families). Betty was Midwest-born, if I remember, of families with significant Scots roots, though they’d been US born for at least the last couple of generations. I could also swear there’s some Greek in there too, but again I’d have to check my notes on that as well.

I can see I’m going to have to chart all this out. NOW see what you’ve done. :)

(I also have to say, just as an afterthought, that it sometimes amuses me a bit when reviewers see the first name “Juanita” and automatically assume that she’s as Hispanic as Kit is. All I can do in such situations is praise the reviewer’s commitment to diversity, while wondering just a wee little bit about their ability to read for context. (Because, well, Callahan… isn’t it possible that something else is going on there? Oh well, never mind. At least they’re reading.))

ETA: to @adeterminedloser: Nita is named after a good friend of mine, a nurse I used to work with in NY. “Juanita” was a surprisingly common name for non-Hispanic girls in the 50s.

BTW, I forgot to mention: I’ve relocated the old Errantry Concordance wiki to for the time being, preparatory to starting to relocate all its material into the Wordpress installation at Probably this is going to take most of the summer… (sigh) (collapse)

The Frayed Ends Of Sanity

When SES Cruz walked into the offices of the BAU with two other Agents, the team knew something was wrong. Cruz gathered the team in Prentiss'office, a solemn look on his face.

“These are Agents Davidson and Killane from internal affairs. They’re here to interview you all separately. I need you to be honest with them, and not let your personal relationships cloud you.”

“Mateo,” Jennifer look over at her superior. Only she could get away with using his first name in front of other Agents. “What’s happened?”

“Dr Reid has been absent from work these last five days I understand?” he replied, glancing around the room and taking in the expressions of his team. JJ and Alvez nodded whilst the others began to look even more concerned than they already were.

“His - his mom was sick. She’s been staying with him for the past six months and he needed to take a few days out,” Jennifer’s heart had sank into the pit of her stomach the moment Spencer’s name had been mentioned. She’d spoken to him only four days ago, checking in with him that everything was okay. Since then, she’d not made the time to contact him, something she now felt incredibly guilty about.

“Diana Reid was found dead in Dr Reid’s apartment this morning. The ME will be examining the body shortly and CSI are on scene currently.”

Collectively the teams shoulders all slumped, the men in the team shaking their heads sadly whilst Penelope covered her mouth to stifle a sob. JJ tried to speak but found that she couldn’t, her mind instantly concentrating on one thing, that she needed to see Spencer.

Emily was more composed, having taken in the information that in their sudden sadness, the rest of her team had missed.

“Why are CSI on the scene? Why is it a scene, Cruz? And where is Spencer?”

Agent Davidson stepped forward, speaking for the first time since their arrival.

“This is exactly what we’d like to know Agent Prentiss.”

Over the next few hours as the team were interviewed one by one they learnt that Spencer had been missing for four days. The last contact he’d had was with JJ and when the call had been traced, it had put Spencer just outside of New York City. Since that last call, his phone had been switched off and Spencer had seemingly disappeared off the grid.

Had any of them suspected that anything was wrong with Spencer’s mental state, they’d all been asked.

Did any of them have any concerns about his relationship with his mother?

Did they know why he would be in New York city?

Did they believe that Spencer was capable of murder?

Over the next 48 hours, they were called back one by one for further questioning.

Did they know about Spencer’s trips to Mexico?

Did they know what he had been doing there?

Did they have any idea what the large withdrawals from his bank account that he’d been making over the last two years were for?

Did they believe that Spencer was capable of murder?

When the BAU finally managed to find out some information as to why they were being questioned like this, what they learnt was unbelievable to them.

In Spencer’s apartment CSI had recovered a broken syringe which when tested revealed a mixture of potassium chloride, pentobarbital and pancuronium bromide, the three drugs used in a lethal injection. A chemical spill on the carpet by his bed also revealed this drug mixure. In an unlocked safe in his wardrobe, they found bottles of a currently not FDA approved drug that was being tested in use with dementia and alzheimers patients. A drug that Spencer would not have been able to obtain legally. In his desk drawer, notebooks charting his mother’s progress, or rather lack of since she’d been ingesting this drug.

The ME had found traces of Spencer’s skin underneath Diana’s fingernails. Bruising around her mouth, as well as petechiae on the conjunctiva and the discovery of fibres the matched the material of the pillows on the bed led the ME to rule that death was asphyxiation, bringing the conclusion that she was smothered.

The final nail in the coffin was a discovery on Spencer’s laptop. A video made two years ago in which a seemingly lucid Diana Reid proclaimed that if her condition worsened to the point where she could no longer recognise her son or herself, that she wished to be euthanised. The time stamp on the video show that it had been replayed the date Spencer had called in sick to work.

All of these things had only one logical conclusion: that Spencer had killed his mother.

Diane Nguyen was born in Boston. There she attended Boston University and majored in Literature and Equine Studies. In preparation for this book, Diane spent three years conducting research and interviews to bring to light the saga of Secretariat. Previous works include The Rise and Fall of Strongheart and the New York Times bestseller, Tracing Zippo Pine Bar.  

Diane currently lives in Los Angeles with a dog. 

Reviews below by The New Yorkie Times, USA Toady, and Newsbeak.

[Mark] Teacher’s Pet (Chapter 112)

All Chapters

Warning: Violence. Explicit violence.

A/N: I don’t want you guys to think I’m rushing to the end just to get it over with. It seemed better to me to evoke their situation and what hapenned in between that in flashbacks, rather than make two short chapters with months apart.

A month passes after our dinner, and I keep getting more pregnant. Things got a tiny bit difficult, especially at night. Most of the time I toss and turn for hours, never finding the right position, and then I get hot. Sometimes, pillows help. I sleep with four additional pillows, one between my legs, one under my belly, one tucked under my side, and I hug one. Oh, and belly and back sleeping have become old memories. My blood can’t circulate well when I’m on my back. I get short of breath and dizzy. 

Sex has become…strange. I crave it. More than food sometimes, it’s become a long process of deciding where to put pillows so I’m comfortable.

But Mark as absolutely wonderful with me. He’s kind, caring, gives me massages, belly rubs, talks to the baby whenever he can, carries me so I don’t have to walk. He made it a lot easier than it’s supposed to be. We celebrated his 33th birthday will everyone except Bea and Andy. I gave him a watch- he loves watches, and birthday sex.

A few days later, we fought. I wanted a little bit more freedom, and Mark wasn’t having it. One of my arguments was that Liam hadn’t tried to attack us in two months, and that he was probably not going to. He had multiple opportunities, and nothing had happened. When Mark tried to argue back, peanut gave me its first kick. I gasped and grabbed his hand, letting him feel the fluttering sensations inside me. We forgot about our fight then. We were euphoric. At this very moment of pure bliss and happiness, I jinxed the rest of our lives without realizing it.

The moments after that are a blur in my head.

I feel groggy and heavy. Like I’m waking up from the longest nap every. My body is numb, and everything is spinning.  I notice the smell first. The smell of rusty metal and oldness. Then vague, muffled sounds invade my ears. I stir, lifting my head painfully. My neck hurts.

“Look who’s awake." 

I wince, convincing my eyes open.


I blink, and the blue of the eyes observing me is comparable to the blue of mine. My vision is a blur for a moment, and then they focus and see clearly.

"Hello.” Liam beams at me, and I gasp in horror. He looks terrifying. He’s become skinnier, his cheekbones standing out, his blue eyes too big for his face. He let his hair grow, neglecting it, slicking the greasy mane back. I try to move, and realize my hands are cuffed behind the back of the chair I’m sitting on. My heart starts to race uncontrollably. I glance around nervously. We’re in a dirty dark room with no window. I don’t know where exactly.

Then it all comes back to me. They broke into our apartment, I screamed and woke up here.

“How’s it going there?” He asks, his mouth showing something too sharp to be a smile. I perceive Mark over his shoulder, and my first reflex is to squirm to run into his arms. I’m retrained, and my efforts are vein. Mark has a bruise on his cheekbone. He’s awake and he looks as panicked as me.

“Abby. Are you okay?“ He asks worriedly. "Are you hurt?”

“Hey.” Liam snaps his head at him. That’s when I notice he’s bent, supporting himself on his knees, with a gun on a hand. A visceral fear invades me, making tears well up in my eyes as I realize he has kidnapped us. “I was talking.”

“What do you want?” Mark grins out. Liam straightens up and snaps his fingers. His poise is bloodcurdling. He’s not nervous or agitated; he has a plan and he knows everything will go accordingly. He’s going to kill us.

“Yeah, let’s talk about that.” He prompts, gabbing another wooden chair, the only furniture in this angsty room. He sits down with the chair backwards, crossing his arms on the bac of it, his gun dangling from his long fingers.

“Do you want to talk about that?” He asks me, and his sudden attention to me tightens my throat into a knot of anxiety. I nod quietly, tears streaming down my face. How did I end up here?

“Thany.” He declares, his eyes sliding back and forth between us. “I want my girlfriend back.” He demands. We don’t even know where she went. And it’s precisely because we wanted to avoid this.

“She left you.” Mark reminds him.

“Because of you two.” He snaps, rising from his seat. I plead Mark with my eyes, beg him not to make him angry, but he’s too busy glaring at Liam with all of his hate to look at me. I can’t breathe.

Liam takes slow steps towards Mark.

“Because you raped my wife, you disgusting son of a bitch.” He spits back, giving him a wrathful stare.

“It was ten fucking years ago.” Liam argues, waving his weapon in emphasis. A small whimper escapes me as I try not to sob too loudly, but I am having a panic attack at this moment. I fear for Mark and for my baby. I don’t think either of us is going to make it alive. We don’t know where Thany is, and nothing in his behavior has yet made me think he could let us free.

“She still has nightmares about it sometimes.” Mark grinds out, and Liam steps in front of him, blocking my view?

“Are you sure they’re not wet dreams?” He retorts. Mark bristles, and I hear him toss in his chair, probably trying to jump Liam despite his bounds.

“Mark!” I call, begging him. I pull on my restrains, and the metal of the cuffs bite onto my skin, making me wince. Liam’s fist collides with Mark’s face, and I let out a sob of terror.

“Why did you have to bring it up after ten years?!” He yells, and punches him again.

“This woman made me happy!” He screams, whirling around to face me. I gasp and shrink inside my seat, shaking my head desperately, but he doesn’t loiter very long before turning back to Mark, who’s lips is bleeding abundantly.

“This is all your fault.” He mutters. Mark’s face is twisted in a mix of pain and anger, and he spits blood on the floor. Liam blocks my view again, but Mark’s words are very distinct.

“You better kill me, Liam.” He says, the calm in his voice chilling. “You better kill me because if you don’t, I’ll rip your fucking head off.” He threatens. Liam leans in, supporting himself on his knees again, listening closely.

“I will kill you so fucking slowly you’ll be begging me to end your life. People will be picking up your remains all over the walls.” Mark declares. There is a long pause during which they both stare at each other.

“Along with your wife’s brains?” Liam suggests, his arm pivoting backwards towards me. He pulls the trigger without even looking. The noise is loud and deafening. I scream and squeeze my eyes shut, howling loudly.

“Abby!” Mark yells. The shock gone, I start dry heaving in panic. “Are you okay?”

“Next time I won’t miss her.” Liam assures, letting his arm fall down. When I look up, Mark’s eyes are wide in panic, his chest rising and falling rapidly. Liam straightens and walks over to me. I tense and recoil as he stands behind me.

“Where is she?” He asks, his tone firm.

“We don’t know.” Mark shakes his head.

“Where is she?” He repeats, his hand grabbing a fistful of my hair and pulling my head back.

“Mark!” I call.

“We don’t know! What have you been doing for the past two months? We thought you were tracking all of us.” Mark explains.

“I was watching her.” He mutters. I wince, my neck bending painfully. “I lost her trace in New York. I know you met her, and you gave her money.” He says. He was watching us all the time, but he didn’t do anything. He made us feel same so he could surprise us.

“Where did she go with it?” He asks, raising his voice.

“Liam, don’t-”

“Mark.” I sob.

“Where did she go?!” He yells into my ear. I jump and recoil. He smells of alcohol and filthiness.

“I don’t know.” I whisper. He presses his weapon against my temple.

“Liam!” Mark shouts. I wail, the sudden rush of fear making my bladder give up on me. I squeeze my thighs together and start crying even harder.

“What’s that?” Liam asks, letting my hair go. The hot liquid pools on my chair and trickles down trembling legs.

“Your wife is peeing herself.” Liam snickers, and he may be a crazy psychopath, the shame is I feel is heart-wrenching. I look down at my lap, my maternity pants turning dark around my crotch and sob quietly.

“She peed herself!” He exclaims.

“She’s pregnant, you douchebag!” Mark hisses. Liam grabs my chin, and his touch brings back old reminiscences. It’s enough to make me shudder in disgust. He just has to touch me for me to feel violated again. He pulls my head up to make me look at him, and places the barrel of his weapon under my chin.

“Liam!” Mark screams. I screw my eyes shut and ball my fists, preparing for the blow.

“I should have killed you in that parking lot.” He grinds out to my face.

“Reno!” Mark shouts, distress in his voice. “She’s in Reno, Nevada.”

There is a long pause, during which all I hear is my erratic heartbeat, and Mark’s heavy breathing.

“How do you know?” Liam asks, his gun still under my chin.

“I’ve been tracking her too. I have a folder at home detailing everything.” Mark’s voice is shaking. What?

“Where?” He asks, finally freeing me. I exhale deeply, eventually allowing myself to breathe.

“In my office. Top drawer of my desk. It’s a brown folder.” Mark murmurs. When I look at him, his eyes are filled with tears. Liam strides over to him.

“Thanks.” He says lightly, giving his shoulder a tap before ambling outside the room, locking us behind. Mar just gave her away. He probably condemned her. He did that to protect us, me, peanut and himself. I’m not surprised, because I always knew he wouldn’t hesitate to do the most awful things to protect me, and he’s not ashamed of it. It doesn’t erase the fact that it’s still wrong.

“Fuck.” Mark curses, blinking rapidly. More tears spring to my eyes, and I sob quietly.

“Baby.” Mark calls. “Abby, look at me.” He commands. I pull my eyes up to see his face. He looks sorry.

“I promise I’ll find a way to get us out of here.” He promises. He shouldn’t, because at this point he’s not controlling anything. He’s just going to suffer.

“It’s my fault. I jinxed it.” I mutter.

“No, you didn’t. They were probably on their way when you said that.” He says reassuringly. I shake my head. We’re going to die.

“He’s going to kill us.” I whisper. Honestly, at this point, I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want to tell Mark I will always love him.

I take a quick glance at Mark form the other side of the table. He has his hands joined on his lap, his facial expression unreadable. I know he’s trying not to distract me. He knows I’m so uncomfortable I’d do anything to escape the situation. Dr Davis shows an even more unsettling stoicism.

I lean forward and grab the last card pf the stack. The last question Mark wants me to answer is:

“Are you okay?”

I read it out loud, surprised by the simplicity of the question. Am I okay? Yes, or No? This part is the easiest part; deciding if I’m okay or not. The most difficult part is when the answer is no.

I wouldn’t be here if I was okay. We wouldn’t be here if we were okay. This vague question forces me to dig deep inside my heart, ripping all my wounds open so all my pain can flow out, comforting me in the obvious idea that no, I’m not okay. Tears well up in my eyes, and I don’t try to stop them. They fall down on the small card. My throat is a tight knot of emotions. A strangled sob escapes me.

When I hear Mark shift, I look up to see him standing up.

“Mark.” Davis admonishes, and Mark shoots him a look, but obeys. He sits back in his seat, his fists balled against his thighs. I wipe my tears as the doctor turns to look at me.

“So you’re not okay.” He says, and I nod quietly to corroborate.

“Can you elaborate?” He asks me. I swallow, my throat feeling so tight it hurts.

“I still think about what happened.” I confess, sniffling. “And the consequences it has on our relationship.”

“What consequences?”

“The fact that we can’t sleep in the same bed anymore.” I reply, my voice disappearing in a whisper at the end, failing me under the weight of my emotions.

After the incident with Liam and Olivia, we slept at my parents’ house for, because we both really needed support, but Mark didn’t sleep at night. I had nightmares, and I would wake up crying, and he would comfort me, but he never told me he couldn’t sleep. When he finally did sleep back home, he started having horrible, violent nightmares. They were affecting him so much in his sleep he would actually move and talk. The first and only time it happened with me, I woke up in the morning laying on my side, suffocating. Mark was behind me, his hand around my throat, and he was strangling me, telling me he wasn’t my toy.

I fought him, scratched his arms and kicked my legs until my heel hit his crotch. He let me go and woke up yelling in pain, while I fell out of bed and hit my head against the nightstand. For a short moment, I thought it was him. I thought he had done it on purpose. He was twisting in pain, and I was pressed against the farthest wall, catching my breath and holding my throat. When he opened his eyes and looked at me, his face fell like I had never seen before. He rushed to me and I screamed, yelled not to approach me, and I saw him blanch. He froze and started crying. He had no idea what had happened. He woke up and I was terrified of him.

A few moments later when I explained him what had happened, he said he wouldn’t sleep in our bed anymore. He said he’d go see Davis, and won’t sleep with me until he was fixed. I agreed. It’s been a month. We quickly went past the first fears and doubts. We both agreed that Mark never wanted to hurt me, that it was his problem and that we will try to fix it.

“Does it have a profound impact?” Our shrink enquires. I nod, more tears making my face twist.   “Because it’s not what we want. Yet, we have to. And we’re like that because of two persons.” I feel like they are still trying to punish us, even from hell.

“It’s not even our fault.” I murmur.

About half an hour later, or maybe a day – I don’t know, I don’t have access to my watch-, Abby and I hear the door being unlocked. My heart tightens in apprehension. This is probably the beginning of the end. Either he found that folder, which means he has what he wants and he can kill us, or he didn’t and is going to kill us as well.

I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to see her die with our baby. Even if he killed me a nanosecond after her, it would be the most painful nanosecond. I can see Abby’s face contort with fear, and I want to reassure her, but she’s not oblivious to the situation. I couldn’t make her feel better even if I tried.

“Look what I found in front of your door.” Liam pushes the door open with his feet and enters with the folder in one hand, and a female body over his shoulder. Abby gasps in horror as he kicks the door closed. Liam bends until the woman’s feet touch the floor, and lets her fall down onto her back. The sigh grips my heart and laces it with horror. It’s Beatrice.

“Bea!” Abigail yells, tears streaming down her face as she discovers her best friend. She has a bloody wound on her stomach.

“What did you do to her?!” I utter, mortified.

“She wasn’t…very welcoming.” He says dismissively. In a rush of anger in my blood, I try for the billionth time to free myself from my cuffs, pulling until the meatal cuts my wrists open and I feel blood dripping down my fingers.

“Bea!” Abby cries. “Bea can you hear me?!”

“She’s pregnant, you son of a bitch.” I grind out, my blood boiling. The second I find a way to free myself, I’m going to torture him until he begs me to kill him.

“Thany was pregnant too!” He shouts at me, pulling his gun out of his belt. “And she aborted my child. My child!” He points his gun to his chest.

“Because of the stupid bitch that you are.” He mutters, turning to Abby.

“It’s because you’re a rapist!” I retort, and he shoots me a glare. When I think I used to look up to him. He was one of my few role models.

“Bea.” Abby murmurs, observing her friend with tears in her eyes.

“Shut up.” Liam snaps.

“This,” He prompts, holding the folder in his hand. “Is going to be very useful. Thanks.” He says nonchalantly. I look down at my lap, not proud of putting Thany in danger.

“Now,” He starts, putting the folder down. “My friend wants to talk to you.” He announces. What?

He walks around my chair and grabs the back of it, tilting it backwards. It slides so effortlessly I understand he but wheels under them.

“What? Liam!” I shout. I am not leaving my wife and my child alone!

“Mark!” Abby calls desperately. He drags me out of the room into a dark hallway. I trash and toss in my seat, but he keeps going, and I see dozens of doors pass by. I think we’re in a hospital. He kicks another door open, and I arrive in a bright, but still empty room. He whirls the chair around, and I fall face to face with Olivia. I go speechless, shocked.

“Have fun.” Liam declares before exiting the room. Olivia looks… She looks filthy. Her hair is greasy, she lost tons of weight, her skin has turned gray. She looks years older. She’s… a sad, nasty piece of horror.

“Mark.” She croons. Abigail.

My mind goes white, and my eyes see red. Anger sweeps through me like a heat wave.

“NO!” I shout as she walks to me. No! No! No! SHE WILL NOT HURT ME ANYMORE. Fuming, I grab my left thumb. Helped by my anger rush, a superhuman strength and willpower invades me. I tug on my thumb, quick and hard until it breaks.

“Fuck!” I howl, pain radiating in my wrist, all the way to my shoulder. I’m paralyzed for a moment, unable to move, the pain too strong.

“Shhhhh.” Olivia rushes to me and places her filthy hands on my neck. I jerk my head away and slip my broken hand out of my cuff.

“You filthy whore!” I spit at her face. Using my valid hand, and dragging my chair with me, I get up.

“Mark, what are you-” I cut her off by wrapping my fingers around her throat and slamming her against the nearest door. The modern chair dangles from my wrist, my left hand aching. Her eyes bulge out, and she tries to pull my hand away. I squeeze her throat, with all of my fucking strength, with all of the hate I feel for her and Liam, with all the pain she’s given me. She tries to articulate words, but I can’t hear her.

“I. Am. Not. Your. Toy.” I grind each syllable out, to make her understand this is over. Her eyes roll back. I can see the life escaping her body. I can see the end of the tunnel.

“Do you think we’ll get through this?” Mark reads out loud. It’s the last question I had for him. He keeps his eyes on the small card, running his thumb across the paper.

“I don’t see how we couldn’t.” He declares, looking up at me. I have to admit it’s the first time I see him so optimistic about our couple.

“We love each other and we both know why it’s happening. We know it has nothing to do with us.” He murmurs. My eyes start to sting with fresh tears as he puts the card back on the stack. I would usually be the one who says that kind of thing.

“I feel like what worries you the most is the time it will take.” He says quietly. I sniffle.

“Is he right?” David prompts, scribbling on his notebook. I nod in silence.

“I think the pregnancy, and the fact that you’ve been dealing with things like this for years is making you thin-skinned.” Mark ads. He’s not wrong. I feel like I don’t have the strength to fight for too long. I thought things would be perfect between us and in our heads by the time peanut is there, but now I’m not so sure, and I’m disappointed.

“You don’t think you’ll have the patience for more therapy and anxiety.” He states. Sometimes I forget how well he knows me. How he always does his best to understand me. Even if he had more problems that I did, it was never a one-way relationship.

“But I believe you’ll push through.” He says reassuringly. I have never seen him more solid and strong. Or maybe every time he Liam was around. “You always do.”

Liam examines the folder he found in our home, slowly pacing up and down in front of me and Bea. I don’t know if she’s still breathing. I don’t know if her baby is okay. I don’t know if she’s going to survive. Each passing second makes me think I’m going to lose her. What was she doing at our house? Was she there to make peace with me?

The door swings open, and I hear a loud detonation. I jump and squeeze my eyes shut.

“Argh!” Liam screams, the pain in his voice making me look up. He collapses to the floor, and when I look at the door, and see Mark standing in the doorway, huffing and puffing, a weapon in his hand. The look in his eyes make all the blood drain from my face. Liam moans and winces, reaching for his gun on the floor.

There is another loud sound, and Liam yells again. Mark takes slow and serene steps towards him. There is blood on Liam’s body. I can’t breathe.

Liam looks up at Mark, hiccupping, blood in his mouth. Peanut moves inside me. I feel the baby press against my belly button. I close myself then. I close my eyes and shut everything out, Mark included.

Peanut doesn’t know what is going on. It just woke up from its nap. It must be around eight in the evening. That’s usual when the baby starts to dance, after mommy has eaten and we’re both happy.

“I remember the night you went to that party.” I hear Mark say, but I don’t listen. I think about our baby. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to see this.

“I had proposed a movie night at my place that night. You should have accepted.”

“Mark. Wait.” Liam begs, and I wait. I wait for it to be over. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re not. You’re scared.” Mark corrects. Soon, it will all be over. “Jackson told me what you said after I found out. You said she liked it.”


“You said she begged you to fuck her.”

There is another loud detonation, and a muffled scream. I can smell blood. I’ve seen too much blood today.

Liam utters undistinguishable syllables.

“Excuse me?” Mark asks. I want to ask him to stop. He’s wounded and can’t hurt us anymore. It’s enough, we can leave with Bea, but I’m sure he’s not listening. The look in his eyes… he wants to finish with all of this. He won’t stop until he’s totally free.

“Thany.” Liam murmurs, his voice barely audible. “I… I love…her.”

“You shouldn’t have touched my wife.”

Another gunshot.

“I told you a trillion times, Liam. You do not touch the people I love. This is what happens-” He grinds out. “Hey.” He calls. I don’t know what is happening. “This is what happens, when man like me falls in love.”

I hear one last gunshot, and then silence. There is a long pause. I reuse to open my eyes. I don’t want to see. I want to leave.

There is movement around me, and I hear Mark throw up on the floor.

“Fuck.” He curses, breathless. “Abby.” He calls.”

“I don’t want to see.” I whisper to myself. I don’t know how, but he hears me. I’m spun around, and when I open my eyes, he’s not in front of me. Nor is Liam or Bea. Mark is behind me, undoing my cuffs. I burst into tears.

“Mark?” I call.

“It’s okay. We’re fine.” He murmurs, freeing me. I bring my wrists to my eyes, and they are bruised and sore. I rub my hands together. I’m free. Mark crouches down in front of me, the man I know back into his eyes.

“Is he dead?” I ask quietly. He doesn’t reply. He cups my cheek with one hand, his eyes sad and tormented, traumatized even. His other hand is blue.

“What’s wrong with your hand?” I ask, wiping my nose on the back of my hand.

“I broke my thumb to free myself.” He explains.

“You broke your own hand?” I utter.

“I’ll be fine.”


“We have to get Bea out of here.” He cuts me off. I freeze.

“I don’t want to look.” I whisper. Without a word, he disappears from my field of view and comes back, dragging my best friend by her feet. At this sight, I shoot up on my feet, wobbling slightly but too anxious to mind. I kneel at her side and reach out, but freeze. She’s lost a lot of blood. Mark feels her pulse.

“She’s still breathing. But barely.” He observes. Oh, Bea. I’m so, so sorry.

“Take you cardigan off.” He orders. I obey immediately, taking the cloth off and handing it to him, feeling a little bit chilly in just a T-shirt. He makes a ball with it and presses it against her wound.

“I have Olivia’s phone in my back pocket.” He says, slightly arching and pushing his hip towards me.

“Olivia? Where is she?” I ask, fishing in his pocket and pulling the phone out of it. I catch a glimpse of Liam’s feet. He’s immobile. I shake my head and look at Mark, who’s eyes avoid mine.

“You were with her?”

“Yes. Call 911, Abigail.” He snaps. In front of the urgent situation, I don’t ask any more questions - although I think I know what happened and use the emergency call button to call or help.

It still amazes me how my heart trusted Mark after that. He killed two persons, and didn’t seem to regret at first, but I never considered him as dangerous. He has a harder time dealing with it than I do. He wasn’t himself when he did that. It was his hurt and angry subconscious taking possession of his body. I could tell just by looking in his eyes that he was back after it. He even got sick whenever he thought about it. He’s traumatized by what we’ve been through and what he’s done, but his strength amazes me.

“And it’s okay if you’re scared of the future.” Mark adds quietly as my tears start to pour again.

“I have been the scared one in our relationship for a long time. But I’m not scared anymore.” He assures. “I trust you, and I trust myself.” He murmurs. I suck in a trembling breath, his words sinking deep inside. He trusts us.

“So now we can switch roles. I can be the Abby of our couple.” He proposes. “But I know you. And I know you’re going to fight. I know you always fight for us, even when you don’t want to.” He says confidently, his eyes desperately trying to convince me, make me think I actually can do this.

“That’s just the way you are. And I love you for that.” He says, his words making my heart warm. I feel less weak now.

“Thank you.” I choke out. I needed to hear those words so badly, and I didn’t even know. Mark nods, his eyes encouraging.

“I think Mark is right.” Davis chimes in. I wipe my tears and try to regain some composure.

“You’re more fragile now. But on the other hand, Mark is stronger, and he’s here for you.” He explains.

After a few more minutes of talking, Davis lets us leave and tells us to come back next week. In the small lock between his office and the exit, Mark pulls me in a long embrace. I curl my arms around his middle and he wraps his around my shoulders. My ear is against his chest, and while closing my eyes I ca, hear his steady heartbeat, and let his warmth engulf me. In this very moment, we silently exchange our affirmations.

We can do this.

When I pull away, he tilts my head back and give me one of the most tender and loving kiss he’s ever gave me.

“I love you.” I whisper against his lips. He hums, his lips lingering against mine.“

"I know.” He breathes before kissing my nose. “I love you too.”

I take a deep, cleansing breath, and Mark runs his hands up and down my arms. I bury my face in the crook of his neck and drop a kiss there.

“Can we go see Bea?” I ask, looking up at him. He presses our foreheads together and takes my hands.

“Sure.” He murmurs, bringing them to his mouth and kissing them in turns.

“We’ll stop by my florist.” He declares.

Bea rests quite close to where Henry is, so I come and say hello to him whenever I come to see Bea. Her death was a shock, and the loss a deep wound still open and hurting. My eyes fill themselves with tears when Mark and I stand in front of her grave.

It’s only been a month and a half. It’s still too fresh. The voice of the doctor telling us she hadn’t survived her surgery to remove the bullet from her body is still too loud in my head. I still remember every detail of it. I still feel my heart being ripped apart whenever I think of it. I still remember Andy yelling at us, crying and throwing things at our faces. I remember him grabbing Mark and punching him in the face repeatedly. I remember Mark letting him do, not fighting back. I remember fainting. I remember feeling like my gut was being ripped out of me. I remember throwing up all day until I bled. I remember the pain in every aspect. I feel the pain in every aspect it can have. Until all that clarity becomes a blur in my mind, I won’t be able to move on.

Mark bends and place a bouquet of white petunias next to a fresh bouquet of roses that must come from Andy. 

Andy still hasn’t forgiven us for what happened. And we don’t expect him to. We went to her burial, but him and Bea’s parent had turned their backs to us. It’s our fault if she died.

She came to our apartment to make peace with me, and Liam shot her. She was pregnant and she was in love. She was robbed from her happiness; just like she said I would do.

I think this, losing my best friend, my sister, is what is making me so weak. I am devastated inside. Sometimes I think about her, and I feel dead. I feel empty and useless. I feel like an empty shell of a woman.

I hope she’s in peace. Her and her baby. I hope I will find peace too. But it will be a long journey until I forgive myself.

Mark stands and looks down at me, his eyes teary as well. He wipes the silent tears that have been pouring abundantly with his thumb. I let him do, but don’t try to stop crying, because I can’t.

“Do you think she’ll forgive me one day?” I ask him. He cradles my head against his chest and kisses my hair.

“I’m sure she will.” He says reassuringly. I hope he’s right. But even if he is; it’s going to take time. I have to rebuilt that aspect of my life. I have to find a way to live without her.

I take a deep breath and close my eyes. 

I can do it.

“I’m going back to work.” I declare. Mark pulls away from me, surprised.

I kneel down with a little difficulty, my six-month baby bump pressing against my thigh. I reach out and touch Bea’s picture with my fingertips.

I love you, sis. I will always love and miss you. You may be mad at me, but it’ll never erase the fact that I am happy and proud to love you as much as I do.

You left with a part of my heart. I want you to keep it. No one will ever replace you.



“I will forgive myself.” I declare, my voice shaking with emotion. Hot tears stream down my face, but I try to keep my tone even.

“I am not weak.” I state. 

“No, you’re not.” Mark crouches down next to me, one hand sliding up my back, his fingers curling around my nape. My heart swells painfully.

“We promised each other to be strong women.” I murmur. I can hear her voice. I can hear her giving me nightly affirmations every day during the period I lived with her.

What are you, Abigail?

“I’m-” I trail off, but the words get caught up in my throat. I hiccup. “I am… I-”

“Shhhhh.” Mark soothes, pressing his lips against my temple, his fingers flexing around my nape. I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths.

I can do it.

“I love you.” Mark says into my ear, his voice laced with emotion.

I realize that his love is my biggest strength.

What are you, Abigail?

His love gave me the strength to open up to him despite Liam. His love gave me strength to stop feeling insecure despite Ellie and Cooper. His love made me trust him despite Olivia.

His love is the key. And I have all of it.

I am…

Peanut chooses this moment to kick.

I open my eyes, balling my fist against my thigh.

“I am a warrior.”