“I don’t know anyone here. I’ve always kept to myself,” she sobs, making me feel helpless.
“We’ll figure it out, baby. I just don’t know about you working at the school anymore. I don’t think it’s safe.” I hold her until her tears start to die down.
“I feel like I’m letting whoever’s doing this win by quitting, but I know I can’t work there and feel safe. I hope this ends soon. I don’t want to have the baby and be looking over my shoulder every time I leave the house.”
I wipe her face, kissing each of her eyelids before taking the note from her and putting it back in my pocket. “I hate this for you, but things are going to have to change until I find out who it is.”
“I’ll do whatever you need me to do,” she says, and in those few words, I know how much faith she has in me. Her faith alone makes me want to fight that much harder to end this.
“From now on, when I’m out of town, you’re gonna stay with Mom and Dad, and tomorrow, we’re going to get you a gun and I’m gonna teach you how to shoot.” I put my mouth to her forehead, kissing her before looking into her eyes again.
“Do you really think it’s necessary?”
“Absolutely. I need to know you can take care of yourself. Your self-defense moves aren’t going to be as helpful when you’ve got a belly to contend with.”
“Do you really think I need to stay at your parents’?”
“Yes. The person has proven that he knows where you lived and now where you work. Who knows if he’s figured out that you now live here?”
“I hate this, but okay,” she agrees reluctantly.
I hate that she is being forced to change her life while whoever is doing this is out there living normally and probably getting off on her being afraid. But I’m stuck. I cant risk something happing to her.
I kiss her forehead again then try to make her forget about everything by turning off the oven and carrying her upstairs, where I make love to her until we both fall asleep.
“Aim to kill, baby,” I tell Sophie as I wrap my arms around her and help her line up the shot. “I want you to take a deep breath, and when you let it out, I want you to squeeze the trigger, not pull it.”
“Got it,” she says shakily.
I listen as she takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Her hand steadies, and she lets off three rounds, one after another, all hitting near the center of the target. Her aim is nearly perfect for someone who has never even held a gun until today. I hit the button, bringing the target closer so she can she what she did.
“You’re a natural,” I tell her with pride etching my voice.
“Really?” she asks, setting the gun down before turning to me.
“Really. Look at what you did. All three of your rounds are near the center of the bull’s-eye.”
“This is kinda fun.” She laughs, and suddenly her eyes go wide and she grabs my hand, pulling it to her stomach.
“What?” I ask in a panic, and then I feel the slight movement under my palm. I immediately fall to my knees in front of her, both hands holding her stomach. “Holy shit,” I choke out, looking up into Sophie’s beautiful, glowing face then back down to where my tattooed hands are in stark contrast to her white maternity dress.
“I know,” she whispers, dragging my hands around her stomach so I can feel the baby moving. “The shooting must’ve woken her up.”
I nod then shake my head. I never thought this would be something I would experience. I look up at her again, seeing her beaming down at me. Her hair is braided back away from her makeup-free face, but little pieces have come loose and are flying around her in the wind.
“Can I shoot again?” she asks, making me laugh.
“I was having a moment…and you want to shoot?”
“Well, it was fun.”
I shake my head and kiss her belly once before standing. “All right. This time, I want you to aim at the head.”
“I can do that,” she says with confidence, giving me an instant hard-on.
She refused to get a gun at first…until she saw a white Ruger LCP .380 with pink flowers all over it. I almost refused to let her get it—no gun should have flowers on it—but I figured that, if she was carrying it and it could kill someone if she was in danger, I didn’t care what it looked like.
I press the button on the machine, sending the target back out. I put my arms around her again, this time resting on her belly. With every shot, she makes the baby move inside her, making her laugh and miss the target the first three times. I reload her gun, giving her advice on how to focus before sending a new target out with instructions that I want two in the head and three in the heart. This time, she focuses and hits her target with ease.
“You’re a pro.”
“Really, baby.” I kiss her temple. Knowing that she can shoot has some of my stress easing.
“Maybe when the baby gets here, I can work for you.”
“That’s never gonna happen.” I have a friend who works with his woman, but I can’t imagine having Sophie with me on a job. I wouldn’t be able to focus.
“I could be your backup.”
“Not happening,” I state.
“Aww, come on. You said I was a great shot. I could dress like a ninja. I would be like your secret weapon. People would be like, ‘Oh, we got Nico,’ and then I would show up and take them out,” she says, doing a strange-looking karate chop.
“As entertaining as that would be, it’s still not happening.”
“Fine. I guess I’ll give up my dream.” She sighs, making me laugh.
I take her hand and make our way out to my car. After I get her in the passenger’s seat, I jog around and hop behind the wheel.
“How you feeling?” I drive out of the parking lot before taking her hand in mine and pulling it to my mouth.
“Okay. Just tired.”
“I want you to ask the doctor if he has any suggestions for that.”
“Sleep.” She laughs.
“Very funny, smartass, I’m serious though.”
“I know you are.” I hear the humor in her voice, and it makes me smile.
“It’s the doctor’s job to answer questions,” I remind her.
“Yes, but when you call him at midnight to ask him if it’s normal for me to have heartburn, I think that may be overkill.”
“He told me to call if I had any questions. Besides, you ate a whole container of Tums in one night”—I look over at her—“like they were candy.”