Warning: Contains some adult language.
France was… magnificent.
There was something different in the air, but it was lovely. The people were very different from Americans; I appreciated that, as I too, was very different from the average American.
The first three days of our vacation were perfect. In fact, they were the best three days of my life. There were so many things to do here, outdoors and indoors. There were so many places to visit and explore, and we had gone to a lot of them. All I wanted to do at night was sleep for a long time, but… I’ll just say that I didn’t get much sleep.
Yes, France was wonderful.
But that only lasted three days.
On the fourth day, Sam and I had gone to visit some historic place. It was breathtaking. Everything was made of stone, and it displayed how old it really was. It seemed like an old paradise, a place where I could get lost forever, and never want to come out.
I was wrong. I did get lost, and I wanted to find my way back as soon as possible. The place was packed, and somehow Sam and I were separated.
A beautiful, pale-haired woman, who was probably my age, approached me with a kind smile. “You seem a little lost,” she said. Her voice sounded innocent and girlish. To be honest, it was a bit annoying.
I looked around the place. People were walking by, not paying attention to us. I looked at her. “No, I’m fine. I’m just gonna go that way,” I told her, and pointed to the direction in which most of the people were moving.
“Oh, come on. I know the place really well. I can help you.”
“You don’t sound like you’re around here…”
“No, I’m American,” she laughed. “But I’ve on France for a while…” she did some thing with her eyes, which caused me to stare at them. They were a beautiful yellow, and they matched her vanilla wafer-like skin and light hair color.
“You have… interesting eyes. Actually, they’re beautiful,” I told her, trying to distract her from wanting to guide me, but not lying at all.
“Thank you,” I noticed that she spoke slowly, as if she was thinking everything thoroughly before actually speaking. “I got them from my dad. What do you say about going for a coffee? They are exquisite here in France.”
I shook my head. “No, thanks. I don’t really like coffee.”
“Oh, please. You seem like a great person, and I’d love to have a chat. You’re the only person I’ve been able to talk to in days; I barely speak French,” she was nearly begging now.
I sighed. “Fine, but just for a little while.”
“That’s perfect,” she smiled broadly.
As I secretly suspected, there was something off about this woman. She locked all of the doors in her car when I got in. She grabbed her phone and spoke in a voice that I’d heard before, “It’s done.” She seemed very happy.
I gasped. I remembered where I’d heard that voice. It belonged to the woman who called me the week Jade arrived at my house.
You’re going to regret what you are going to do.
You’re going to regret what you are going to do.
You’re going to regret what you are going to do.
Those words rang in my head, and I stupidly gripped the steering wheel, causing us to nearly crash.
The pale woman gasped. “You bitch, you could have killed me!”
“Who are you?” I shouted at her. She rolled down the windows of her black car, so I had to shout louder. “What do you want from me?!”
“I want you to go back to that idiot that fathered you son! He wants you, and it gets you out of the way!” she shouted back at me.
“Why would you even want me out of you way? I don’t even know you!” I never stopped shouting.
“But I know you, and it’s your fault that I don’t have the life I want!”
“What life are you talking about?!”
“Stop asking so many questions, or I’m going to have to kill you,” she said shakily. She pulled up at a hotel, or what once was a hotel. Someone walked out of it, looking around, and I realized, with a sickening feeling in my stomach, that it was Daniel. What was he even doing in France?!
“Hello, love,” he said to me, caressing my cheek. I pulled away quickly.
“Don’t touch me,” I growled. Yes, I pretty much hated Daniel, but my tone surprised me.
“Ooh, it seems like someone is feisty. I can fix that,” he said with a wink.
I felt repulsed by him and the woman who brought me here.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been kidnapped. I suddenly felt like I could puke at any moment. My face turned some shade of green. Daniel smiled at me. “Frightened, sweetheart? There’s no need to be. Lem, should we get her inside?”
“Of course we should, you moron,” she snapped and got out of the car. I didn’t remember her killing the engine.
I can scream! I thought. How could I have forgotten?
“HELP! Somebody help m–!”
“Do something!” ‘Lem’ yelled. Lem… Lem… That name… Where had I heard it before? Lem… Lem…
Daniel covered my mouth with his hand and I bit it.
I didn’t scream again, though. Instead, I addressed ‘Lem’. “You. How is it possible? You’re supposed to be–“
She cut me off instantly. “Dead?” She flashed a brilliant, sarcastic smile. “It’s a long story.”
“You want my husband,” I realized. “You want him back.”
“No. He’s not your husband! He’s mine!” she growled.
Her voice filled me with terror. Sam never mentioned that she was mentally unstable.
Daniel forced me out of the car, and made me walk toward the abandoned hotel. A rat walked right by me, and I had to put my hands over my mouth, trying not to scream.
“Weren’t you supposed to be yellow?” were the words that escaped my mouth when I entered the nasty hotel.
“It’s a part of the long story. Now, Daniel, go take care of her while I locate Sam. Pass me her phone.”
“It’s at my hotel,” I told her. I wanted to be over with this as soon as possible, and I didn’t want Sam involved with this at all. I knew it was too much to ask for, but I still hoped.
She glared at me. “Give me his number,” she demanded.
“No,” I shook my head.
She walked up to me and slapped me. “I said give me his number!”
“And I said no,” I reply simply, trying to act as if her slap didn’t sting me. I would have slapped her back, but Daniel came and held my hands behind my back. He had a very strong grip.
“Daniel, make her tell you,” she ordered.
I screamed, hit and bit Daniel as he took me away, but nothing I did would change his mind.
~~~~~Anita’s Point of View~~~~~
I grumpily crossed the streets of Sunset Valley. Great day for my car to stop working, huh? As I’d been doing for the past three days, I was going to visit Jade and Ethan to make sure they were doing okay. Only my car wouldn’t even come to life. So now I was stuck walking. The early afternoon sun heated my shoulders, and my shoes were killing me, even though the heels were short. I cursed under my breath. Why did I not take flats to work? I could hide them or something.
I walked quickly, not looking at anyone or anything, just the path I was taking. My usual walk was on a treadmill, not on a street. A woman slammed into me from the side and nearly knocked me down.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she apologized. Her red hair was messy and tangled, her eyes and face were also red. She was crying.
“I-I’m fine,” I stuttered. “Are you alright?” I felt like smacking myself for asking that. Of course she wasn’t alright.
“Uh… no. Not really… Come on, Noel, say hello to this nice lady,” she said to a boy behind her.
I gaped at him. “He looks a lot like my friend,” I told the redhead woman.
“Oh. He doesn’t look like his… father, so he’s not your friend’s son,” she said nervously.
“Oh no, my friend is a girl! Her son does not look like his father either… and he’s about Noel’s age.”
She looked up at me, curious. She wiped away one of the tears that rested on her cheeks. “What is your friend’s name?”
What harm could it cause telling this woman Arden’s name? “Her name,” I said, “is Arden. What’s yours?”
“I’m C-Cassandra. Please, tell Arden that I’m sorry. I’m now paying everything I did,” she told me, and more tears spilled.
“What are you talking about?” I asked her, more confused than ever.
“For accepting Daniel even though he had a relationship with her, and not doing anything about it. I am not lying when I say that my son and I are paying for my own mistakes.”
She raised her shirt’s sleeves, and I understood what she meant. Her arms were covered with old and recent bruises, and there probably were more all over her body. The boy was the same way, but he had less than her.
“You have to leave!” I exclaimed. “You shouldn’t let him treat you and your son this way!”
“I can’t,” she said. She started sobbing and I offered her my shoulder. Yes, we were stranger. Yes, my shoulder was small, and my clothes would get wet, but I didn’t care.
“He spent all of my money. I only have my house, and he has a key because he lives with me.”
After a minute of silence, I speak, “Come on, Cassandra. We will take a cab that will take us to the City Hall. I am not going to leave you alone until you report this to the authorities. By the way, where is he?”
“He’s in France. That’s why we’re allowed to come outside, because he won’t know.”
~~~~~Arden’s Point of View~~~~~
It was late in the afternoon. Nearly nightfall. Daniel said it. I sat in a corner and cried. Daniel did manage to get Sam’s phone number out of me, but only after doing horrible things that I didn’t want to think about. Sam was on his way. He was now going to be in danger. That made me sob harder. I tried to be strong, but my strength seemed to have abandoned me. I wondered and wondered and wondered. If Sam’s first wife cared about him so much, why did she fake her death? Why come back now? Where– I gasped in shock, and for air. Sam… twins… Where were Sam’s twin sons?
The sound of a car approaching reached my ears.
“The bastard has arrived,” Daniel announced.
“D-don’t talk about him like t-that,” I hissed at him.
“Want me to do that again, sweetheart?”
I fell silent. No, I didn’t want him to.
“Arden? Arden, where are you?” I heard my husband’s voice call out.
~~~~~Sam’s Point of View~~~~~
The surroundings of this ‘hotel’ were filthy, some old, extremely rusty cars were parked in a corner, and the smell was unbearable. It seemed to me like this was more like a motel than a hotel.
“Arden!” I yelled again and again. No response.
The front door opened, revealing the image of a woman that, if it wasn’t for her hair or skin, looked just like my dead wife. She rested her figure against the decaying frame. “Hello, lovely,” she purred.
I froze. It was her. Lemon. My Lemon. But she was so different! Not only physically; the innocence and niceness were gone from her eyes, being replaced with some sort of… anger and vengeance.
“How–?” I started to ask her, but I couldn’t form coherent thoughts, let alone questions or sentences.
“It’s a long story,” she smiled.
“I don’t have time, but I think that I, more than anyone, deserve to know what happened. Why did you leave? Where are my sons? Where is Arden?! I need to see her!”
I pushed past her, resuming my yells of “Arden! Arden!”.
I heard some sort of response. It wasn’t my name or “Over here!” It was a muffled sound.
I ran toward the sound, where I found my wife on the floor, and her ex-boyfriend covering her mouth.
“Get the fuck off of her,” I snarled.
“What if I don’t want to?” he snapped.
“You are a coward, Daniel Plum. That’s why you hit and hurt women, isn’t it? So you can feel stronger for a change? It won’t be that way with me. I can defend myself, and my family, very, very well!”
“Fine, bitch,” he said and walked out of the room.
I ran to Arden. “Are you okay? Did he do something?”
Arden just shook her head. “What happened?” I urged.
She shook her head again. “Can you speak?”
She shrugged. What happened?
When I spoke again, it was barely a whisper, “Do you think you could call the police if I gave you my phone?”
It was a while before she moved or did something. Finally, she nodded.
I handed her my phone and looked around the room. “I’m going to distract them, so they won’t interrupt. Call as fast you can, tell them where we are, and most of all, don’t let those two see the phone,” I said, recited the address Lemon had given me, kissed the top of Arden’s head and left the room.
I walked into a verbal fight between Lemon and Daniel. She was scolding him for being so weak and stupid, and he was telling her to do the job herself. Job? What was that job? Making sure Arden suffered?
“If you chimp want her back, you will help!” she yelled.
I let the scene unfold in front of my eyes, remaining half-hidden and in silence. I was grateful for this; it gained some time for Arden.
At last, Lemon turned around, saw me and ran into my arms. “Lovely, how I’ve missed you all these years!”
I pushed her away from me. “Don’t touch me, Lemon.”
She made a sad face. I was pretty sure it was fake. “Why not? I’m your wife.”
“My wife is Arden, not you. Arden. Get it?”
“No,” she said simply, but sharply. “I am not dead, so I am your rightful wife.”
“No, you are not. I have your death certificate, which means that we are not married,” I said slowly. “Get it?”
“It’s fake, so it doesn’t count,” she pressed.
“That only means that you are going to jail, sweetheart,” I said in a low voice. I sounded like an insane man who was about to attack. I hated it, but I needed her to understand. “Why are you even white anyway?”
“Surgeries. After my accident, I had to have a lot of plastic surgeries to ever look decent again.”
“So, our sons did die?”
She sighed. “Yes.” It was the first time since our reunion that I heard some sadness in her voice. “They died, and I nearly did, too, but I managed to survive.”
“Why did you fake you death?” My tone lowered to a whisper.
“I couldn’t stand you seeing me so ugly…”
“Having you, no matter how “ugly” was better than not having you at all!”
That was when the police arrived. The next half hour was full of yells, curse words, and struggles that all came from Lemon and Daniel.
They were arrested and didn’t have the right to be ‘free’ under bail.
It was over… at least until their trial.
~~~~~Arden’s Point of View~~~~~
Yes, it was over. After waiting for a long month, it was official. Lemon and Daniel were going to stay in jail. Lemon for kidnapping, faking her death and creating illegal documents, and Daniel for kidnapping and domestic violence. Daniel could have been guilty of another crime but, of course, I kept my mouth shut. I was going to take this to the grave.
But that changed until I found out.
I had been getting a familiar… sickness lately, so I went to the doctor to get checked up.
I carefully entered our new house in Starlight Shores. It was an antique house, and everything in it was old.
“Sam?” I barely called out.
He was closer to me than I thought he’d be, so he heard me. “Yes, love?”
“I have to tell you something…” I told him, still slowly and in a low voice, feeling sicker and sicker with every second that passed.
Sam seemed to notice. He put his hand around my shoulder. “Is everything okay?”
“I’m… pregnant,” I announced.
“That’s amazing news…” I could tell he was confused. Why was I in such a mood, if I was carrying wonderful news?
“The problem is… that it could be Daniel’s child…”