Chapter 17

Several months pass and I feel like I’ve not made any more progress with Gabe. The bedroom door stays unlocked now, but I’m too afraid to try the computer. He checks it every day when he gets home from work. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up with this rouse. I hate Gabe with everything in me but, I know I have to keep playing the good hostage. I feel like my only chance is to get him to take us outside.

01-02-17_10-55-12 AM

If I get him to take Grant and I out, then maybe we can sneak off and escape. I don’t know where I’d go but anywhere has to be better than this. Grant’s birthday is just around the corner, maybe once he’s bigger I can make excuses to be taken outside. It’s hard to believe that Grant will soon be a toddler and not a baby anymore, I guess they grow up too fast now. It will be easier once he learns to walk, that way we can make our escape.

01-02-17_10-58-15 AM
I start talking to Gabe about planning a small party, of sorts, for Grant. While eating breakfast, I run down all the items needed to make a special birthday cake. Gabe seems annoyed by my requests but, he seems to be willing to pick some things up for me.

01-02-17_11-12-59 AM

“So, don’t forget I’ll need fresh eggs, milk, flour, and vanilla flavoring for the cake tonight. Oh, and also frosting, it won’t be a birthday cake without the frosting and it would be so special to have balloons. I’d love to be able to get Grant a present but I understand if it’s too much. There’s so much that he will need once he ages up. I’ll need some more books so I can begin teaching him. We’ll need a potty chair and some toys to keep him occupied. He can sleep on the cot, I can sleep on the couch or in your room, but he will need clothes.”, I stop and stare at Gabe as a strange look crosses his face.

01-02-17_11-11-07 AM

“I guess I never thought about how much a kid costs.”, he says looking around the small apartment. Almost afraid to bring the subject up, I slowly say,.” What about the money from Gil’s estate. I know he didn’t have much but with the sale of the house and his savings there has to be some left. I should have heard something about that, maybe we could use that for Grant.”. “There’s no money. Gil squandered it all, he never had any savings. That was all a lie.”, he says viciously standing up from the table.

01-02-17_11-12-06 AM

“I’m going to work. I’ll try to pick those things up for you but I can’t guarantee everything”, he says slamming the door on his way out. I just don’t understand the things that Gabe just said.

01-02-17_11-18-44 AM

I know Gil had money in savings, not a lot but enough to live comfortably. I know he’d want his son to have that money, I don’t understand what Gabe is up too. Why would he go through all this trouble to break me and Gil up, enough to drive Gil to his death? It doesn’t add up. I watch some television and busy myself with Grant and cleaning the house, almost unable to contain my excitement for Grant’s birthday tonight. I snuggle him and spend a little more time holding him, knowing that in just a few short hours he will no longer be a little baby.

01-02-17_11-22-42 AM
Standing in the kitchen, I have the oven preheating and dinner ready for our party. I just need Gabe to get home with the ingredients for the cake. I made simple mac and cheese for dinner, knowing that even picky toddlers usually love that. I check the clock again and start to worry. Gabe is never late and even allowing extra time for the supplies, he should have been here by now.

01-02-17_11-24-39 AM

We’re running out of time, Grant will age up in an hour. Unless, Gabe gets home now, it won’t be enough time for the cake to bake, cool and get frosted. Grant won’t have a birthday cake. I nervously pace the kitchen floor, listening for the jingle of keys in the hallway.

01-02-17_11-26-05 AM

It’s almost time, I walk into the bedroom, my heart feeling sad that there’s no cake to celebrate, but I peer into the crib waiting for the magical time. At the stroke of 7, Grant leaps from the crib and there stands the spitting image of Gil.

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He smiles and reaches his pudgy little arms up for me to pick him up.

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01-14-17_4-24-39 PM

 

I give him a long hug and lead him into the kitchen where his mac and cheese waits for him on the table. “I’m sorry, the cake is late. Gabe hasn’t gotten home from work yet. He must be delayed. I’ll make it as soon as he gets here.”, I apologize. Grant just smiles at me and looks at his plate before hesitantly reaching out for a bite of food.

01-14-17_4-26-17 PM

I smile, wondering how much he understands at this age and can’t keep myself from glancing at the door. What has happened to Gabe?

 

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Chapter 16

Its not been easy and its been a slow process but I think Gabe is beginning to think I’ve softened up for him. I think to myself this fine morning, that when I get out of here I may take up acting because I am that good.  I knew if I made it too easy on Gabe that he would never believe me and he would suspect my plan. So, its been a couple of months now and things are looking up. The doors are still locked but Gabe has started to relax with me and doesn’t seem suspicious at all.  I started out slow, trying to make small talk while eating dinner.

01-01-17_10-46-54 PM

The first time, he was a little startled but I just said that I was lonely with no one to talk to all day except Grant. He seemed to buy that excuse.  So, small talk moved on to more interesting conversations and even some joking around.

01-01-17_10-50-56 PM

One evening when Gabe was watching TV, instead of hiding out in my room, I joined him on the couch and watched a stupid movie with him. Nighttime is the worst, he still expects me to sleep with him most nights. As soon as he falls asleep though, I tiptoe back to my room with the baby.  Which leads me to now and my good mood.  We had a good evening last night, we enjoyed a nice meal, watched some television and as usual he lead me to his bedroom.

01-01-17_10-48-35 PM

But this night, I forced myself to stay in his bed all night. This doesn’t sound like a great move, except for the fact that he quietly got ready for work and left me sleeping in his bedroom.   No slamming dishes or yelling at me to wake up, I’m alone in his room.

01-01-17_11-14-27 PM

The door is wide open and he’s already left for work. I’m almost afraid to move, thinking he might be trying to trick me but I slowly get up and look around. Everything seems to be in order, but just to make sure this is not a trick, I avoid the computer and the balcony even though they are both calling my name. I walk into the living room, expecting Gabe to jump out of the corner, but no one is here.

01-01-17_11-31-38 PM

I hear Grant calling for his breakfast so I rush into my room and pick the baby up to nurse him. My heart is telling me to run back to the balcony and try to flag someone down but my head tells me to play this cool. It could be a set up. I finish with the baby and busy myself with my chores, until I’m sure Gabe isn’t standing on the other side of the door waiting to pounce.  I cautiously enter his bedroom, the balcony door is locked. I quickly set my sights on the computer and amazingly it is already on and no password is needed. I start to pull up my email account but quickly stop myself.

01-01-17_11-42-32 PM

This has to be a test. His computer is always turned off or locked when I come into the bedroom. He’s testing me, I know it. As much as I want to reach out to someone, I stand up from the computer and walk out of the room closing the door on my way out. I have to make him believe that he can trust me. I have to play this smart. I’ll play the good little hostage and I will win this game. I keep myself busy all afternoon, dreading the moment Gabe gets home. I clean the whole apartment and make it shine, even the old appliances look good when I finish.

01-01-17_11-44-31 PM

I begin dinner and feed the baby, patiently waiting until he gets home.
I have dinner on the able when I hear the key jingle at the door. I stand as he enters the apartment, looking around suspiciously. I walk over and hug him which takes him aback,

01-02-17_10-34-20 AM

“Thank you for letting me sleep in this morning. I’m sorry you missed your breakfast though. I fixed your favorite dinner to make up for it.”, I say sweetly. He looks shocked and quickly enters his room. I can hear him on the computer, checking for keystrokes I’m sure. He must have installed a program to see if I got on the computer.

01-01-17_11-30-05 PM

Smiling, I say, ” Once I woke up, I straightened the room for you and came out. I know you don’t like me to be in there, but I do appreciate you letting me sleep. Your bed is much more comfortable than mine.”. He seems convinced that I didn’t bother the computer and he walks out smiling. He enjoys his dinner and talks about his day at work, silently I’m chalking this down as a win.

01-02-17_10-35-19 AM

 

Chapter 15

I wake up feeling sore and ashamed, I’m not sure what time it is but, I don’t worry about looking at the clock, it’s still dark outside. I slip out of the bed and slink out of the room.

12-20-16_7-48-51 PM

Gabe is sleeping soundly in his bed and I want nothing more than to get away from him.

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Not even thinking about my chance to slip out on the balcony, I tiptoe to my room and curl up on my cot, trying to keep the silent tears from sliding down my face. Eventually, I give up and cry myself to sleep, hoping that tomorrow will be better.

It’s not.  I overslept. I jerk awake as I hear Gabe slamming dishes around in the kitchen.

12-20-16_7-52-07 PM

I quickly found my robe and slip it on. “I’m so sorry Gabe. Let me get your breakfast ready.”, I exclaim as I start scrambling the eggs.

12-20-16_8-12-53 PM

The remains of last nights dinner still sitting in the counter reminds me of what happened the previous night and I cringe. Gabe gives me a mean look as he sits down at the kitchen table. As fast as I can, I’m preparing his breakfast and clearing the dirty dishes. “I must have really worn you out last night, it’s not like you to make me wait for my breakfast.”, he says with a smug grin.

12-20-16_8-34-41 PM

I do my best to ignore his remarks, I know he’s only trying to humiliate me as much as he can. Thankfully, eggs cook quickly so I place the plate in front of him and try to give him a pleasant smile. I hear Grant start to fuss so I rush into my bedroom to feed him, realizing his breakfast is also late. This one I don’t mind to feed though, I think to myself with a smile as I begin to nurse him. His fussing immediately stops and I gaze at his small head. Looking at this baby fills me with such joy, but soon I get an uneasy feeling. I turn slightly toward the door and notice Gabe watching me with a sick grin on his face. Trying to cover myself as best I can, I turn away.

12-20-16_8-27-01 PM

Continue reading

Chapter 14

Gabe keeps us locked in the apartment. I’ve not been out since the day he brought us here several weeks ago, I’m starting to lose track of the time.  I know I need to figure out a way to get out, but each day as Gabe leaves, he locks the door securely behind him.  I’ve tried everything I can think of to pry the lock open, but it still won’t budge. I’ve tried calling out to people who may be on the same floor but, it seems like we are the only ones on this floor.  I know he has a computer in his room and there is a balcony right outside his bedroom but he keeps me locked out of that room too.

12-06-16_12-17-58 PM

During the first few days, the windows were not locked but he came home early one day as I was leaning out trying to get someone’s attention. Needless to say, he bought locks for the windows and punished me.  A few slaps to my face and no food for 3 days really makes you try not to get punished again.

12-06-16_12-44-43 PM

Life isn’t all bad though, I have Grant to keep me occupied.  Even in this dreadful atmosphere, he is thriving. He smiles and laughs. He’s starting to recognize my face when I pick him up.

12-06-16_12-35-57 PM

I’ve cleaned the small apartment and it no longer looks disgusting.  It’s clean but everything just looks so run down.

12-06-16_11-49-13 AM

12-06-16_12-02-47 PM

There’s no way to do anything about the rickety appliances and the pipes running from the ceiling. I’ve tried my best to keep the mice and roaches to a minimum, they were taking the place over the first few days. The cheap appliances are constantly breaking, but the good news is that I’m getting better at repairing them.

12-06-16_12-04-00 PM

Gabe, so far, has given me my space but I’m running out of time though, the doctor told Gabe that I needed to recover for the next 3-4 weeks after my surgery. Tomorrow makes 3 weeks, I’m pretty sure. Gabe keeps hinting and teasing me about the move into his room. I’m not sure how I will be able to handle that, I can barely stand to look at him, but I know I’ll be punished if I resist.
The next day Grant is extra fussy. It’s like even he is dreading for Gabe to come home. I’m rushing around trying to make sure everything is spotless and dinner is ready before he gets here soon. I rush to Grant to nurse him once more before Gabe gets here hoping that will calm him down and get him to sleep. I hear Gabe’s key jingle as he unlocks the door and I feel the large knot in my stomach get even larger. “Hey honey, I’m home.”, Gabe says with an annoying laugh. I quickly put the baby down even though he isn’t quite finished, he’s sleepy enough though so he quickly falls asleep.

12-09-16_10-24-58 PM

I leave the room, closing the door behind me. Gabe stands in the entry way still holding the door open, I causally try to look past him into the hall, but see no one there. He frowns and quickly closes the door, turning back around, as I notice a small bouquet of flowers in his hands.  He thrust them toward me, “For our special night.”, he says. With dread filling my soul, I do my best to look pleased. I know better than to refuse them. I take the flowers and try to locate a glass to put them in as I turn away from him. “Thank you.”, I say quietly as I stuff them in the container and place them on the counter.

12-06-16_1-17-23 PM

“Dinner is ready, let me get you a plate.”, I say quickly trying to make myself busy when he comes up behind me and removes the plate from my hands. “Dinner can wait, but I don’t think I can.”, he  takes my hand and leads me toward his bedroom quickly unlocking the door.

12-06-16_1-19-40 PM

Chapter 13

I wake up feeling numb. The realization of what has transpired over the past 48 hours weighing heavily on my chest. It seems like an effort to even breath but, I pull myself out of bed and pick up the small, squirming baby bundled in the blanket. Seeing this little bundle makes the darkness a little lighter and I struggle to keep my emotions in check. I believe the baby belongs to Gil.

12-04-16_4-02-14 PM

I don’t care what Gabe says, this little baby will carry on Gil’s spirit and legacy. I nurse Grant and place him back in the bassinet as Gabe comes bursting through the door, startling the baby. “You’re not even dressed yet, get your clothes on, its time to go. They are kicking us out today.” I knew today that I would be discharged, but I had no idea what would happen after that. Facing Gil’s house alone, without him will be torture but, I have no other choice. Gabe offers to drive me home and since I really have no other alternatives, I accept his offer.

12-06-16_10-28-13 AM
We make the ride in silence, the only sound is the baby in the back seat gurgling happily, until I notice that Gabe missed the turn to my house. “Gabe, you missed the turn. We should have turned back there at the light.”, I say uneasily. He glances at me out of the side of his eye but keeps driving further in silence. A terrible feeling settles over me as I argue with him to turn the car around. Finally, he breaks his silence as he calmly tells me “The house has been put up for auction along with all of its contents. The bank is taking the house due to some debt that Gil had accumulated. Don’t worry though, I’m taking you back to my place. You and Grant can stay with me.”. “What?! No! Take me home right now!”, I demand. We argue for the next hour as he continues to drive, I cry and plead with him to take us back. “No! Your life is with me now. You and Grant belong to me. Just settle back, were almost home.” I continue to sob, but the toll of having major surgery and the loss of Gil has taken the fight out of me.

12-06-16_10-15-54 AM
The lights from the city streets wake me up. I’m not sure how long we’ve been driving but I know we are a long way from Willow Creek. Gabe pulls the baby from the back seat and grabs the one bag I have left from my old life. He apparently went back to Gils to gather up some of my old clothes. He leads me into a run down looking apartment, a chill runs down my spine as I see the dirty dishes piled on the counter.

12-06-16_11-01-06 AM

Memories of my old life come flooding back, when I was barely about to scrape together food to stay alive. How can I raise my son here, I think to myself as tears run down my face. Gabe looks annoyed, “It’s not so bad. Once you’ve cleaned up a bit, this place could be nice. Look at that view.”, he says as he walks to the window. He places the baby in the next room, the only furniture in the room is an old cot.

12-06-16_11-02-15 AM

“You can stay in here until you’ve recovered from your surgery, but soon you will share my room.”, he says with a grin. I shudder to think how my life has went so wrong, but then I see Grant and smile. I pick him up as Gabe leaves the room, “Grant, I will find us a way out of here. You’re father may be gone but I can take care of you. I’ll find a way, somehow.”

12-06-16_11-17-42 AM

Chapter 12

I’m out of breath and starting to have mild stomach pains as I walk closer to the house. I see Gabe is already there and he and Gil are arguing in the front yard. Gil’s face is blood-red and contorted in anger as Gabe flings some papers at him.

12-04-16_10-00-10 AM

I raise my hand to yell for Gil, but I see in his face that he believes everything Gabe has told him. I hold my stomach and take off running as fast as I can to try to explain, when I see Gil bend over to pick up the photos from the ground.

12-04-16_10-07-48 AM

I’m close enough to see the pain in his face as he grabs his chest and collapses as I finally make my way to him. I drop to the ground cradling his head but he is unconscious. I scream for someone to call an ambulance as their arguing had started to draw a large crowd. I see Gabe take off through the crowd running away.

12-04-16_10-09-12 AM

12-04-16_10-12-50 AM

Neighbors have gathered around to try to help, thankfully the ambulance gets there very quickly. They load Gil up and take him away. One of our neighbors offers to drive me to the hospital, so we follow close behind.
As we are walking into the hospital, I feel the abdominal pains increase and realize that I’m in labor. I try to push away the pain, I have to be there for Gil but the hospital attendant realizes what’s going on and quickly whisks me away to the labor and delivery floor.

12-04-16_2-53-12 PM

With all the chaos I didn’t realize that I was in active labor and with all the stress the doctor recommends a c-section. My blood pressure is extremely high and they are concerned about the baby. I sign all the necessary papers quickly and I’m rushed to surgery.

12-04-16_2-56-20 PM

12-04-16_2-59-27 PM
Several hours later, I’m moved to the recovery room and told that the baby is fine but he needs to be monitored for the next couple hours. The delivery was very stressful to the baby. I keep asking about Gil, but no one seems to know anything and I’m to weak to try to leave the bed. I end up falling asleep and the nurses let me rest. I don’t wake up until the next morning.

12-04-16_3-17-42 PM
When I wake up, it takes me couple moments to remember everything that happened yesterday, so I’m a little confused when  I see Gabe standing next to a bassinet holding my son.

12-04-16_3-22-09 PM

I start to protest and call for the nurse but his next words stop me cold.”Gil is dead.”, he says with no emotion in his voice. My head starts to swim and tears well up in my eyes, “No!”, I scream. I climb out of the bed slowly, my body sore from the surgery. ”

12-04-16_3-25-22 PM

“I’m sorry. I really never meant for this to happen. I’ll take care of you and little Grant now. He is my son, Cat, you can tell by looking at him. He looks just like me, plus the nurse came by while you were asleep and I filled out the information for the birth certificate. My name is on there as the father, you can’t keep him from me, ever.”, he says coldly.

12-04-16_3-24-39 PM

I don’t even want to hear anymore. I fall back on the bed crying and pleading that this must be a nightmare. The nurse comes in and gives me a shot in the IV and I hear Gabe tell her as I start falling back to sleep “We just received some bad news about my father and we were all so really close. He lived with us, he was elderly. She’s not taking it very well. The only thing holding me together is my beautiful son”, he says sweetly. The nurse gives him a sad smile buying his whole performance.

12-04-16_3-44-42 PM

I can feel the medicine blissfully taking me away to a place where nothing matters and I sleep.

Chapter 11

I walked slowly into the bathroom, closing the door silently, realizing that a moment of weakness has probably ruined the wonderful life that I’d been given here in Willow Creek.  I pull the letter from the envelope and take a deep breath before reading it.

12-03-16_10-33-59 PM

My dearest Cat,

I didn’t want it to come to this, well actually I knew it would all along but somewhere down the line I’ve fallen in love with you and thought that I could forget my plan and we could just be together.  I don’t understand why you won’t accept my love and forget my father. You’ve left me no alternative but to use these pictures to get what I want. When I first came to Willow Creek, I had all  intentions of blackmailing you to get to my father’s money. I didn’t expect to fall for you the way I did.  I didn’t realize that until it was too late and now you are claiming that my child belongs to him. If you would only say that you will run away with me, all this can be forgotten.  You can divorce my father and as the sole heir of his estate we can live happily ever after once he passes. If you choose to ignore me or turn away from me, then I’ll be forced to send him the pictures and your relationship will be destroyed anyway.  Please meet with me at Magnolia Park on Friday at dusk and we can discuss our arrangement.

Love, Gabe

I cram the letter back in the envelope, angry with myself for getting caught up with Gabe. His rambling words tell that he is unstable. Still I’m torn between what I should do, I tiptoe into the bedroom and hide the envelope in the bottom of my drawer.

12-04-16_12-59-42 AM

I have 3 days to figure out how I’m going to respond.  I could never be with Gabe now, not with him threatening me and Gil this way.  Even though before this letter came, I was torn. My love for Gil and the memories of that one evening with Gabe were tearing me up inside.  Gil has been so wonderful, he has provided for me and taken care of me since our arrangement began, never once pressuring me to do or feel anything until I was ready.

12-04-16_9-03-45 AM

But, the overwhelming feelings I had with Gabe were hard to describe. It was something I’ve never felt before. Lust is what people would call it, but it felt like more than that.  Now, I realize that it can never be and was never anything more than a huge mistake.  How could I let myself be tricked that way?  I think the only thing I can do is talk to Gil and confess everything.  I don’t want to lose him, but I can’t let his son ruin my life.

12-04-16_10-24-45 AM

Rising from the bed, I think to myself that maybe I can talk to Gabe first and convince him to drop this whole thing.  He can have the money, I’m not interested in that at all.  I just don’t want Gil to suffer from my mistake. It’s my only chance to save my relationship with Gil, I’ll convince Gabe that I’ll give him any money that I get when Gil dies. Hopefully, that will be a long time from now.

The next couple of days pass excruciatingly slow. Gil suspects something is wrong as he is constantly keeping watch over me. I’ve tried to not let this affect me, but honestly how can I be expected to go on like nothing is wrong when my whole life could be crashing down around me in a few days. I’ve been unable to eat anything since receiving that letter 2 days ago, I have had such a sick feeling in my stomach, there is no way I can think about eating.

12-04-16_9-08-50 AM

I know I need to for the baby’s sake, but the thought of food just makes me sick. Even when Gil fixes my favorite dinner, I can only pick at it. I can see the concern in his eyes and it makes me feel even worse. I push my plate away, thanking Gill for the food but convince him that I’m just tired and need some rest.

The third day dawns sunny and bright, the uneasiness I’ve felt has turned itself into full-blown panic. I keep myself busy all day cleaning and making sure everything is ready in the baby’s room.  As the sun begins to set, I leave Gill a short note about running some errands and leave the house quietly. I race to the park where I’m supposedto meet Gabe. I see him sitting alone away from everyone else.

12-04-16_9-42-02 AM

He pats the bench as I approach, “Cat, you look tired babe. Not getting enough sleep?”, he asks. I shake my head not believing how rude he is and wonder why I didn’t see this in the first place, “Of course not, I’ve been sick since I received that letter. How can you do this to your father?”. He only laughs at me and says, “I think you’re the one who has hurt my father. You were so naïve and easy to fool. Have you decided to change your mind and run away with me?” He asks vehemently.

12-04-16_9-44-44 AM

I shake my head again, ” I love Gil. I can’t do that to him, but I’ll give you whatever you want. If it’s the money, then you can have it all, just leave us alone. Please!”, I plead with Gabe. An evil sneer crosses his face, “I thought you’d say something like that. But how can I trust you, you can’t even stay faithful to one man. No, you must divorce my father and leave town.”, he insists. I can see the anger and hatred in his face and I start to become scared. I stand up to leave knowing that I have to confess to Gil. I’m afraid Gabe will do something crazy and try to harm Gil, but he grabs my arm before I can get away from him.

12-04-16_9-54-39 AM

He laughs as he says, “You were all too easy to fool. I’m showing my father the pictures and you’ll have no choice but to come with me. There’s no way he will love you after he knows what you’ve done. Of course, he’ll never know that I slipped a drug in your drink to make you lose all inhibition. That can’t be traced now. He’ll hate you for betraying him, if it doesn’t kill him, well then he might just have an unfortunate accident. I will have that money.”, he says as he takes off running in the direction of our house.

12-04-16_9-57-20 AM

I’ll never be able to catch up to him, the baby slows me down. My belly is too big and I’m too weak to run, so I walk as quickly as I can to try to make it home before Gabe gets there.