“Okay… I don’t know how I feel about that.”
“I think he was doing it so he had peace of mind. When I met your dad and he talked about what happened to you, I could see how guilty he feels. He feels responsible for what happened to you, but he also feels guilty for your mother’s death.”
“He told you that?” I look at him, wide-eyed.
“He didn’t have to. That’s why I think it would be good if you talked to him.”
“Can I send a letter or something first? I don’t know if I’m ready to talk to him on the phone yet.”
“You can do it however you need to,” he says, kissing my forehead before pulling me into his chest. I’m not sure I’m ready to face my past, but I know that, as long as I have this man with me, I will be okay. I also know that, deep down, he is right; I need to face my past so I can move on to a future with Nico.
I look out the window of the nursery and rub my hands over my face. For the first time since I started doing what I do, I feel out of control. I got in early from a job today and went to meet Sophie for lunch. When I got out of my car to head into the building, I noticed a paper under her wiper blade. At first, I didn’t think much about it. I wasn’t even going to look at it until something in my gut told me to turn around and grab it. As soon as I opened the letter, my stomach dropped.
After you have his baby, you’re mine. I haven’t forgotten about you.
The words were typed out on simple white copy paper. They were enough to send me into a rage and bring me to my knees all at once. I have no idea who had attacked her. I don’t know how safe she is working at the school anymore. She already had to have someone stay with her when I was out of town for work. She hates feeling like she needs to be on guard. I have no idea what to do. I don’t want her any more stressed out than she already is. Dealing with the situation with her dad already has her up late at night worrying. I don’t want that for her, and I don’t want that for my child. The fact she is now showing in her pregnancy is starting to freak me out. Not the showing part, but the part where she is very obviously carrying my child, there is someone after her, and they have been around her to know that she is pregnant.
“What are you doing in here?”
I turn to look at her as she enters the room we chose for the nursery. She’s so f**king beautiful that I have to ask myself, Why me? How did I get so lucky? Today, she has on a high-waisted skirt that ends right under her tits, and the fit of the skirt shows off her very rounded stomach and ends right above her knees. At only three and a half months, you would think she is farther along than she is with how large she is already. We still don’t know what we’re having. People have already been making bets, so we’ve decided to keep it a surprise for D-day, as Asher always calls delivery day.
“Baby, you know you’re not supposed to be wearing those shoes.” I shake my head as I watch her heels move across the carpet.
“These are not even that high,” she defends, doing a one-leg lift to show off one of the shoes. They are tall. They bring her forehead up to my mouth. When she’s barefooted, it reaches my chest. These are all lace with a long, wide heel. “Besides, I think this is the last day of heels for me until the baby gets here anyways.” She pouts then places one hand on my chest, lifting her foot behind her to slip off her shoe before doing the same with the other, causing her to shrink in height.
“What’s wrong?” I rub her belly, loving the look of pregnancy on her. The first day I came in and saw her naked with the small bump that had formed overnight, I freaked, realizing that it’s real. She really has my baby inside her.
“My feet are swelling today.” She wraps her arms around my waist before laying her head on my chest.
“No more heels. They’re not safe.” This isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation. Talking to Sophie is like talking to a wall—I tell her one thing and she agrees then does whatever the hell she wants.
“I’ve been wearing heels forever. I’m probably safer in heels than sneakers.” She laughs, hugging me.
I hold her a little tighter, putting my lips to the top of her head. Our problems are a lot bigger than her wearing heels though. I hate not knowing who I’m after. With my job, there is always a suspect. I always know exactly who I’m looking for and what they are capable of. This situation is out of my hands, and that scares the shit out of me.
“We gotta talk, Sophie.”
“You’re using my name, so that tells me it’s something I won’t want to talk about.” She sighs.
“Sorry, baby, but we gotta.” I lead her out of the nursery and into the kitchen, where I carefully put her up on the counter. “You hungry?”
“No, and you’re the one who wanted to talk, so why are you avoiding it now?” She watches me as I go to the freezer, pulling out a pizza before turning on the oven.
“I found a note on your car today when I came to meet you for lunch.” I go about taking the pizza out of the box before putting it on a pan.
“What kind of note?”
“Fuck.” I run my hand over my head. “I don’t want to tell you about this. If there was a way to keep this from you while keeping you safe, I would.”
“You’re scaring me,” she states, looking at my fist clenching and unclenching at my side.
“I don’t want you to be scared. That’s the last thing I want, but I would rather you be afraid and cautious than you not know what’s going on, not pay attention to your surroundings, and then have something happen to you because you didn’t know you were in danger.”
“Tell me,” she prompts.
I walk back to her, fitting myself between her legs. I pull the copied note out of my back pocket to show her. I handed the original off to Kenton to take to Leo. I also checked with the school to see if they had any cameras on the premises, but they didn’t have any. I still have no leads. The note has no prints besides mine from grabbing it from the windshield. I watch as Sophie reads the words and her face goes pale, and I see the worry etched in her eyes when they meet mine again.
“Who’s doing this?” she asks, one hand covering her stomach, the other covering her mouth as tears begin to fill her eyes.
“I don’t know. I’ve asked myself that same question a million times and keep coming up with nothing.”