"just a few more minutes..."
i sat on pins and needles in my car as i sped through open roads back to what was my home. i'd been discharged from the hospital only a couple of hours before for only one reason: to get melodie. my heart raced as i made sharper and sharper turns, until i she approached the house; once my fortress of comfort and hope, was now my worst nightmare. i recalled the accumulated memories from this place....love that was never there,the abuse afflicted onto my body and mind, i almost wreched. the worst part was i had to hold up the facade, pretend that absolutley nothing had changed, until melodie was safley out of the house and william was in the custody of the police.
I pulled into the garage and held my breath. i release the air and repeated this a few times, hoping it would calm my frayed nerves. in my mind, i had rehearsed what i would say; a few short words to the man who probably didn't care about where i was or what i did. then i would pack up and leave. the officials helping me would allow me to make a rush trip to new york under police supervision. i had only a few short hours to wait until i could escape this nightmare for good...
I slipped into the house through the back door which led into the kitchen. it was late and almost everyone would be asleep. the police gave william a fake story about my dissapearance, but told me not to be surprised if he asked me where i was to make sure the explanations corrilated with one another. i was ready for just about anything at this point. i started to make my way up the stairs, not wanting to cause the whole house to awaken unnessesarily, when the lights of the stairway came alive, bright like spotlight, causing me to strainmy eyes. i looked up at the top of the stairs to see who the staff member was that was wandering around at this time of the night...
"oh god, danielle-" william, with his usually full and sturdy frame, now frail and matching his age, stood there staring at me with his sunken-in eyes, obviously deprived of any sleep and nutrients he should've been getting. he stumled down the stairs, trying to run to me, and fell into my arms. it was for that split second, i felt the strong love i felt for him so long ago, surface, causeing my eyes to fill with tears in pity for my friend. not myhusband who left me to fend for myself in a new life i never had, but the man who took my hand in a time of darkness and made me feel...whole again. The man who shared my love of history and life and who's perfect date is is good conversation and exquisite wine. Then it hit me - he was never that man. That was just a mask.... just like the one i had to put on now so i could camouflage my emotions. i gave him an equally feeble embrace and watched as he pulled away to look me deep into my eyes.
"i've missed you...so much..." it sounded like someone had been cholking him for hours and had just allowed him to breathe. his voice was weak and soft, but i could watch his chest and see that it was a struggle just to manage the sounds that he could usher from his mouth. i wondered what exactly was wrong with him, but men at his age were usually bound to look like this when they were deprived of sleep and food.... and apparently filled with worry.
"i... i missed you too, billy" i smiled as he led me, to my extreme relief, upstairs and to my bedroom. we sat on the bed together and he took my hands, staring at me in almost childlike disbelief.
"i can't believe you're home. i mean, after the way i treated you, it's no surprise you ran off and got into a crash... oh- when i got the call.... i was in tears. i couldn't believe that i let this go as far as it did....especially with dana. i just wanted her to be you...so bad...the way she smiled at me and laughed at me...i took that away from us. and the whole bruno mars thing...it was nothing, i know it was. i'm just so sorry... i..." i shushed him and pulled him close to me, and, to my extreme disgust, he kissed me slopily on my lips. i closed my eyes and braced myself as i returned the kiss with as much fervor as i could muster, which was quite sufficent with william in the physical state he was in. he began to eagerly grope my body; lifting my shirt and undoing my bra. i shook my head, which earned a confused look from william.
"The doctors want me to take it easy for awhile. just rest... that okay?" he nodded and walked out of my room.
"wil- billy?" i called.he popped his head back into the room.
"how's melodie?" for once when he heard her name, he smiled wide.
"great" he walked back out of the room. when the door closed and i heard his footsteps fade to the stairway, i quickly jumped up from the bed, readjusting my clothes back to the way they were, and quickly began to throw my things into a duffel bag. i reached under the bed where i kept the spare bottles, diapers, and clothes for melodie, should anything inconvinience me so i couldn't get more elsewhere...who knew this would have happened...
william took me to have a candel-lit dinner in the huge dining room. you didn't necessesarily need to go out to eat when your whole house exceeded the standards of a five star hotel. as i walk into the large space, i recall the warm spring evenings i spent alone wandering the house...always ending up back here. the scent of fresh lavander wafted in through the open french doors. i sighed deeply and smiled...only because it was always a habit of mine. inside i was trembling...anything could go wrong...
we talked a bit about random things that were soon to be forgotten; funny movies, weird people you'd meet on the street.playing the part i had wasn't as difficultas i thought it would be. my anger was soothed by a soft violin playing in the background, my angxieties suppressed by good food and wine. it had been awhile since i actually felt this at ease. i had forgotten how easily william made me laugh, how clever and witty he was at times. i looked at him, the life returning to his eyes, his smile warm and pleasant, instead of plastic and almost sarcastic. it felt right that evening, us being together like this. for one moment, with us this happy, i wondered if i could make this work. forgetting couldn't be that hard...but there was bruno, the most amazing man in the world and the only man for me, at home with my beautiful growing boy, both who still loved me and wanted and needed me back at home. i wanted to slap myself for thinking even for an instant that anything good could come from staying here. i had to go.....william was hell waiting to happen...
"well, billy, i'm really tired so..."
"i know, i know, the doctor wants you to get rest... i get it. Just remember to miss me while you're up there." he winked at me and sent me off to bed. i smiled and slowly sauntered up the stairs, with the weight of my duty to my family and my self pressing heavily upon my heart...
5am...5am...5.... :01 am....get out of bed.
i stretched slowly in my bed, clearing my mind of any groggy thoughts. focus was my main goal. this had to happen fast, and it had to happen tonight. i jumped into a pair of worn out sneakers at the foot of my bed and crept to Melodie's nursery.
i looked aroundd at the walls for what i thought would be that last time. it was sad that it was all of my work that would be left behind...the red and black music notes on the white walls...nursery rhymes and songs written in beautiful calligraphy all over the room. no one really approved of my design, but it just felt right. melodie loved it, though. the musical stuffed animals that crowded her shelves alongside huge story books, the small radio that sat in the corner of her room always softly playing mozartor bach,...she loved it all. but i knew she would love her father more thananything in this room she would never remember. i walked slowly up to her crib and reached in to pick her up. she only wiggled a little bit;she never liked sleeping with her hands covered up. to keep her from making much noise, i changed her into a more comfortable outfit. i strapped melodie into her car seat, grabbed a duffel bag, and started to head for the door... i could even hear the under cover police cars pull in front of the house, ready for me, then...
"Danny, where do you think you're going?"
"billy- i...uhhh... melodie needs a-"
"okay, you can cut the 'billy' bull shit! we all know who's who around here!" william bellowed. i stood silently as i watched him walk slowly over to where i stood. chills ran down my spine as he slowly exctended his hand out to touch my cheek. i flinched as he brushed away a stray bit of hair that had fallen from from my messy ponytail and sighed.
"what a shame. my beautiful danielle...turned to deception...tsk tsk tsk." i turned my head away to look at the tiled floorbelow me.
"i don't know what you're-"
"can it, danielle! you know damn well what i'm talking about! you think the hospital didn't call after your crash?! and i thought you to be smarter than that..." my mind was racing; i told them not to tell william about where i was. they must've called before i woke up...
"no danielle, i wasn't there to pick up the phone. but when they called, my dear dana picked up the phone. she looked rather....distraught. i asked her who had called and what was the matter, but she refused to tell me." he said this as though it were an enigma to him as to why she would withold such information from him. then it hit me: i hadn't seen dana since i had arrived. where could she be? was she just not there, or did william have something to do with her absence?
"-anyways, i....persuaded her to tell me and to my surprise you had gotten into quite a perdiacment. oh i was quite mad at you; not only because you desided to go running off at all hours of the night-" with this he quickly wrapped one of his huge hands around my throat, my arms still wrapped around melodie fast asleep in her carrier,and lifted me unexpectedly high into the air. i began to gasp and wheeze for air.
-"you had to make it so that they simply had to find out our little secret." he sqoze my neck even tighter; anger began to boil up inside of me; he reallly thought he owned me, like a slave...like a dog.
"don't you mean your sick secret, you sorry son of a bitch?" i managed to gasp out. he snatched melodie out of my arms and practically threw her to the floor. i whimpered as my baby began to cry loudly, wanting me to hold her....to save her ; william sneered at her misery. he let me drp limply to the floor, watching me caugh and wheeze. i saw almost a gleam of pleasure in his stone cold eyes. i scrambled to my feet to try and comfort melodie, but instead took a blow to stomach from williams foot. i was out of breath all over again. my eyes began to roll in my head; i was starting to lose conciousness.
"oh no deary.im not finished yet. your little cop friends out there are causing quite a rucos." he bent down to grab my chin so that i was looking him in his eyes.
"and you must not look like this for your big debut."
"why, yes; this is one of the greatest hostage situations in history." my eyes grew wide at the word hostage.
"and you, love, are the star of the whole thing..."
i blinked my eyes...hostage? what....what would happen to me if the police intervined too soon...or too late? how would william keep me here? what would it cost to get me out?
"oh dear...this is what makes it so.....unique. you see, i dont want a price- just you." he walked over to a small desk and pulled something out of the drawer. my heart stopped when he walked back over to me....cocking the gun in his hand as he spoke.
"now here is what makes this so great. you never hear your friends outside did you, hm? i called when i suspected them to be on their way and told them that you were already here. a small white lie at the time but... anyway, i told them that you wouldn't leave her with the baby safely until i got what i wanted... yadda yadda yadda..." he rolled his eyes and waved the gun around lazily around in the air as he said this as though he were recalling a boring conversation. i couldn't believe it; this whole time i was in the middle...of something that the police had little control of, if any.
"but i still have my proposition. i have two options for you, dannielle. he pointed the gun up at his chin and gazed into my eyes.
"i have two bullets in here and here's what i can do with them, at your will. i kill you, then myself, but the baby lives." i started to weep uncontrilably; this couldn't be happening to me. i had to much to live for...i had wished to die before, while at the unkown mercy of billy and his drugs, but now, i just needed to survive.
"but, should you foolishly refuse to comply..." he pointed the gun at melodie. "i kill you and the baby. your choice."
"no! please dont do this! i'll do anything!" i pled, quivering on my hands and knees. william came close in my face, his cool breath sending vicious chills down my spine.
"why should i show you any mercy, danny? why?!? you showed me none!"
"since the day we met you knew how i loved you! yet after one night you run off with that peice of shit! You left me heartbroken; then you make it worse by rubbing in my face with him at your side! i died that day! i'm simply returning the favor..."
"william! i was as good as it gets when i was with you! you let me love you and you took it away! you hurt me too, i died too! what more do you want?!?"
"everything. you can walk away, i can't. you can love again, i can't."
"that dumb whore? how else would i've gotten even with you? she was nothing but a pawn... hell, getting her corked up was nothing but a surprise bonus. i could neverlove someone as dumb, ungrateful, and...unworthy as her. but now i know that having someone else is not enough-"
"giving someone pain isn't enough..."
"please..." he held the gun up, aiming for my heart; he knew i would never let my melodie die. i held my breath and said my final good-bye's that no one i loved would hear.
'goodbye. i wish it wasn't like this. i wish my brother were here, but he got me here in the first place, so for him, fuck you and i love you. goodbye. i hope that my glamour bitches back home are having the time of their lives....live them up....for me. goodbye. i hope phil doesn't come to my funeral...he's a softy....i wouldn't want to see hiim blubber and cry over me from where ever i may go. i hope he just sits back and laughs at our greatest moments together...that's why he was put here on this earth. to bring out the best in people...even when they're gone. i hope he knows how beautiful i thought he was; outside with his lovely smile and bright eyes, and inside, with his warm humor and generous and loving heart. keep happy my friend. and bruno...." by the time i got to bruno i was bawling. i couldn't do it i-
i heard a loud noise come from william. but no bullet followed.i stared at him, confused. he collapsed before my feet as dana emerged from behind him, weilding a metal bat.
"danny, run!" there was no need to tell me twice. i got up on my feet, but was quickly pulled down by william, who had dropped the gun in his hand. my eyes darted over to where it was for a split second, under the small table from which it came, and started to wiggle towards it. william quickly let go of me and darted for the weapon, his body sliding across the floor swiftly. dana jumped in beteween him and the gun and picked it up herself.
"danny, i said run!"
"but i can't-"
"take the baby and run gaddamnit!" i snatched melodie up and ran for the front door, watching in horror as she and william wrestled for the gun. there was nothing i felt i could do. my baby and i were still in danger. i took one last lok at my savior before walking out of that house for the last time. the nightmare was over. but before i could get to the nearest police officer, i heard two loud gunshots come from the house. it grew as silent as a graveyard. no one moved, no one spoke. i looked back, but knew that whatever happened, there was nothing i could do. all i could do now, was go home.
the day went by like a blur. after all of this time, in just a bit more than a week, i was free to live life again - with bruno. my heart pounded t the thought of seeing him again. it was a whole year since i'd been away.... my heart ached at the thought of him still being so far away. i was running through so many emotions....i had so much to process. we were married with two children, one which was absolutly his, and we had a whole lifetime to be together...i was so elated. then there was the fact that i had been gone for so long....would he still love me the same way he did before i left? it was all happening so fast...
"here we are ma'am. your home awaits." i was driven home by a kind officer who volunteered to take me home and get my car later. i was in such a state of shock...i was in no condition to drive. it was evident of course by my constant shaking and crying....but...i knew it because i would've driven myself offof a cliff in a way to get hom faster.i slowly stepped out of the car, took melodie, and thanked the man before walking away.
"home sweet home, mellie," i cooed. i walked up to the door and stood in the lobby. it still smelled of coffee and carpet. i could've fainted, i felt so wonderful. i sat down in one of the big easy chairs and dialed a number. it rang only once before somone answered.
"phil!" his voice...hearing it was like a dream. i heard him sigh and i giggled. it was the most wonderful feeling in the world....being free. i told him all about the ordeal at the house and then answered his various questions as far as where i had been, what had happened to me. i had almost completly forgotten that he knew as much as bruno did. when i was finished all i heard was silence on the other end.
"danny...you need to come home."
"i am home! right downstairs! where's bruno?"
"uuhhhh... upstairs..." i hung up and bolted up the stairs. my heart punded so hard i thought it would run off without me. i was trying my hardest not to drop melodie, what with my hyperventilating and shaking. my fingers trembled as i fumbled for the keys. finally, the door opened, and i slowly crept in...
"bruno?" i called. no answer. i walked around and took a moment to take in my home. nothing had changed. even the sound of....michael....snoring alll the way down the hallway. i ran to his room and flung open the door. my baby. his hair was a little shorter, and his lips were slightly parted; he had lost his first two teeth. i walked up to his bed and picked him up and held him. his eyes fluttered open, the same bright green as they've always been, and grew wide as saucers.
"momma?!? momma!" he wrapped his arms and legs around me tight. i held him close sighed. nothing was like having your child with you after so long. we both began to cry almost hystericaly when we heard banging from the other rooms. then i heard lud, heavy footsteps coming from the hallway....
just like that, there he was.
"bruno," he had just gotten a haircut....he was still shaving....he had on a t-shirt and boxers...he was still beautiful, with his eyes, his lips, everything. he was amazing, wonderful...he was...mad as hell.
"what the hell are you doing here?!?" he exclaimed.
"what do you mean? bruno..." i walked up to him and placed my hands on the sides of his face.
"it's me, danielle." tears were already welling up in my eyes....this was too much.
"i don't care...get. the. fuck. outta. my. home." he marched over to where michael stood and snatched him up by the wrist....extremly hard. michael whimpered as he was dragged out of the room. i watched dumbfounded and full of anger. what had happened to bruno, my bruno?
"and stay the hell away from my kid." he said in a low voice that i wasn't at all familiar with. i ran behind him and grabbed his shoulder so that he was forced to face me. i looked deep into his eyes...
"oh no. bruno..."