Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
It had been nearly a week since Willow Carter became Willow Mercer and little did she know that being Willow Mercer was rather exhausting. Paws and Protect had hosted in the process of hosting its annual spring adoption event called Spring Buds. It was a weeklong event therefore it required a mountain of planning for it to be successful. Events like this were important because so many dogs would be able to find new homes. So Willow worked her ass off to get the word out about the event and she hoped her hard work paid off. She had even convinced a few local news stations to cover the event or at least, mention it in their segments.
The preparation for the special occasion took her mind off of a lot of things like her sister’s fastly approaching wedding, her mother continual bitching about the wedding, and the fact that she hadn’t told anyone. Aside from that, Simon was still missing, but the police were officially classifying it as a foul-play homicide with Cara’s possessive abusive ex-boyfriend as a prime suspect. By coincidence, he was missing too.
Willow often thought about Simon. His disappearance worried her, but sometimes, she had this guilty moments where she remembered the role he played in that sick bachelor party game. It sobered her up about the kind of person he truly was, but she didn’t want anything bad to happen to him.
Sometimes, she had this feeling that she didn’t want to see his face. She pretended that if he were to waltz back into the office, she would ignore his bullshit excuse as to why he allowed his friends to pull her into their twisted little game. Sometimes, she pretended that she didn’t need him to give her a toothy smile as if it would make everything better again—as if, any feeling she had for him before would resurface.
Plus, she was a married woman now.
But sometimes, she caught herself thinking about him in spare moments. Good memories of him twirled around in her mind. This led to her worrying then her sobering up again. It was a nasty cycle she couldn’t quite break yet.
It was the weekend now and she decided to go do some shopping to clear her mind. She bought some new flattering clothes and even prep-talked herself into buying some lingerie to wear for Sebastian. She had never wore lingerie for him before, but she figured it would hurt to try it. If he didn’t like it, he could just rip it off of her.
Their living situation was odd though as they had spent the last few days bouncing back and forth between her home and his, but she knew that they would officially have to decide on a place. Tonight, he was supposed to spend the weekend at her house and she was very excited.
She had retrieved all of the shopping bags from her SUV and put them into the house before she went back outside to check her mailbox. Willow opened the mailbox’s door and leaned down to peer inside of the small dark space. As expected, there was a small pile of mail waiting for her. She reached inside and recovered the stack.
Once the mail was in her possession, she peeked inside of the mailbox for any stray pieces of mail. At the very back of the mailbox was a small thin present covered with green glittery wrapping present. She lifted a delicate eyebrow as she rescued the gift from the depths of the mailbox. She examined it the afternoon night.
It was beautifully wrapped in a pink satin ribbon. There was also a white gift tag on it. She cocked her head to the side as she read the elegantly written cursive on the tag:
With this truth, may your marriage be prosperous. – J.
“That’s sweet,” she said to herself as she closed the mailbox door.
She walked back into the house and closed the door behind her. Tossing her bills and the present into the mail basket on the foyer table by her front door, she went into the kitchen to start dinner for Sebastian’s arrival. While the side dishes were simmering on the stove and the main course was cooking in the oven, she grabbed her shopping bags and hauled them into her bedroom to put away her new clothes.
Afterwards, she took a short hot shower before she dried herself off and applied some lavender lotion onto her plump flesh. She piled her hair into a sloppy bun onto her head and secured it with a black rubberband. She slipped into a black lace and sheer babydoll with lace panels and a matching G-string. She concealed the outfit with a house robe and went back to the kitchen to check on the food.
In the meanwhile, she prepared the kitchen table with the proper place settings. When she was finished, she left the kitchen and went into the foyer where her mail basket waited for her. She plucked the present from the basket and undid the soft pink bow. She carefully unwrapped the glittery paper, which revealed an untitled DVD in a clear CD case.
Confusion washed over her as she held the DVD in her hands. Willow walked into the living room and went to the DVD player and placed the DVD inside of it. She laid the CD case on top of the player and strolled over to the couch, climbing onto it. She turned on the small flat screen television with her remote.
The DVD’s menu only possessed one function: play.
She pressed the play button and laid the remote beside her, leaning back onto the couch with her legs curled at her side as the movie began to play. A recorded date and a time appeared in the corner. Someone recording the video was walking through a woodsy area in the late night. The cameraperson’s heavy breathing could be heard. The cameraperson kept walking until in-between the trees, the scenery of a lit pathway appeared closer and closer. Then a distant yelp suddenly filled the air, making her nearly jump out of her skin.
Willow tilted her head to the side as she realized the scenery. It was the Woodsberg Park. The camera zoomed in on a hoodied figure dragging a baseball bat on the sidewalk. A man was lying on the sidewalk ground had rolled over onto his back. The man on the ground looked so familiar.
The camera zoomed in closely while the cameraperson moved in closer, but stayed hidden within the trees. She caught a better glimpse of the fallen man’s face. Willow squinted her eyes before her jaw dropped. “Simon?”
The hoodied figure lifted the baseball bat and struck down onto the helpless man’s face. Willow widened her eyes in utter shock, her hand clasping onto her mouth as she realized what she was watching.
Screams from her television filled her living room then everything went dead silent. The hoodied attacker gave one final blow before he drew back the baseball bat. He stood over his lifeless victim, looking down at the body of a once-living man. The camera zoomed in a little further, but Willow quickly grabbed the remote control and stopped the DVD. The screen returned to the DVD’s intro screen.
She stared at her television in complete horror before she closed her eyes, a sob tumbling from her lips.
Why would someone send her this as a wedding gift?
Her thoughts drifted back to the handwritten note:
With this truth, may your marriage be prosperous. – J.
What truth? What did that mean?
Her panicking mind was in a muddle as she tried to connect the dots. Then a realization hit her in the chest like a ton of bricks and made her gasp. “Wait,” she told herself as she grabbed for her remote control and pressed play but paused the screen immediately. She watched at a frozen frame of the hoodied figure standing over Simon’s dead body.
“No,” she whispered, shaking her head in disbelief. “No, no, no.”
She pressed her thumb against the power button of the remote control, which turned off the television screen. A nauseous feeling clawed at her stomach and crawled her throat. She rushed out of the living room and raced to the master bathroom, emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet.
Willow gripped the toilet bowl for dear life as her head hung over the toilet bowl, her body quivering violently in shock. She gripped the edge of the sink to help her stand up and stood in front of the sink. She busied herself with the task of brushing her teeth and gurgling with mouthwash to rid herself of the horrible aftertaste.
When she was finished, she stumbled out of the master bathroom and into her bedroom. Her eyes glued to the sight of her cordless phone on its charging dock. She picked it up with a shaky hand and dialed the first two numbers of 911, but couldn’t bear to press the third digit.
What was she going to say? Hello, I think my newlywed husband murdered my coworker in cold-blood with a baseball bat because of a stupid bachelor party game.
She placed the phone back onto its charging dock and went to Sebastian’s side of the bed, feeling underneath the mattress for a small revolver gun. A four days ago, he told her he would put it there for her to protect herself for just-in-case purposes. She never in a million years would she have thought that she might have to use it against him.
It felt heavy and cold in her hands. Holding it felt unnatural to her. She carefully slipped it into her house robe pocket and slowly walked out of the bedroom, heading into the kitchen. The oven began to beep that the steak was finished. She grabbed oven mitts and pulled the scorching hot pan from the oven, the aroma of the seasoned meat fluttering through the air.
It was then the front door opened and closed, the sound of heavy footsteps echoed in her ears and her heart quickened in fear. She placed the pan onto the counter and plucked off her oven mitts, tossing them aside quickly.
“I’m home,” Sebastian said. She swirled around on her bare heels and stared at her husband who stood in the doorway. His bushy eyebrows rose upward before a pleased grin slid across his lips.
Willow cleared her throat and said as calmly as she could, “I made dinner.”
He sauntered over to her. “I can see that,” he said as he sauntered towards her, caging her against the counter, “and dessert too as it seems.”
Willow’s brows scrunched in confusion, but she glanced down and realized that her house robe’s belt had come undone. Her wedding present to her husband was unwrapped and in full view. He tugged his bottom lip into his mouth and made a suckling sound of hungry admiration. She went to tie her robe shut, but he carefully grabbed ahold of her hand.
“Leave it open. I want to see something I can look forward to,” he grinned before he dipped his head down to kiss her lips.
Uncomfortable, she quickly broke the kiss by jerking her head to the side. She pressed a hand against his chest. “Dessert is for after dinner,” she said as convincingly as she could with a weak smile.
His green eyes scanned over her face. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she lied, clearing her throat. “I just worked really hard on this dinner and I want us to actually enjoy it like a husband and wife should. Now go sit down at the table and I’ll fix you a plate.”
He obliged, but not before shooting her a look of concern as he sat down at the kitchen table. Willow bit down hard onto her bottom lip as she fixed her husband’s plate. When she was finished with the task, she walked over to the table and placed it front of him. Just as she was about to walk away, he grabbed a hold of her hand to keep her beside him. He leaned forward and buried his nose into her plush belly hidden the thin lace and sheer babydoll, inhaling deep.
She knew he liked the lavender-scented lotion she had put on. The appreciative groan that rumbled deep in his throat and the way his green eyes gazed at her with a possessive promise told her so. She closed her eyes and tried to fight how he was making her feel, but it was difficult. He affected her so much and made her weak-kneed by the simplest of actions.
When his hands began to caress her outer thighs, she felt one of his hands accidentally knock against the inside of her robe, which concealed her gun. They both heard the clink of the gun colliding against the back of his exploring hand. His eyes flickered away from her face and glanced to the pocket where the gun was hiding.
Did he know?
“I need to go fix my plate,” she blurted out the excuse and hurried away from him. Once her plate was prepared, she sat down at the kitchen table and began to eat. Sebastian stared at her intently from across the table.
Willow roughly sawed into her steak with a fork and a knife. “You know when my sister and I were kids, my parents made us do sports. Farrah did volleyball and I did golf. Did you do any sports when you were growing up like—say—baseball?”
He cocked his head to the side for a moment before he answered, “In middle school, I was a band geek and when I became a junior in highschool, the football coach convinced me into doing football,” he said. “Baseball isn’t my thing.”
A silence fell upon them as they ate their dinner. She reached into her pocket and situated her hand correctly on the gun. “Last Saturday you said something really,” she paused, attempting to find an appropriate word, “interesting.”
“And what would that be?”
“You said that you loved me so much that you’d kill for me,” Willow reminded him, gripping the gun tightly. “You were speaking figuratively, right? I mean you wouldn’t kill an innocent person for me.”
Though he didn’t answer her question with words, his eyes revealed all as the unspoken truth shined in those green depths. Her face cracked and she let out a quivering breath. She used her spare hand to clasp her hand over her mouth.
He placed his eating utensils down carefully. “Is that why you have that revolver I gave you in your pocket? To protect yourself against me?”
Sebastian began to raise from his spot, but she stood up quickly and yanked the gun from her pocket, aiming at him. “You did it, didn’t you,” she asked in a shaky voice, though her hand that held the gun was much shakier.
“Did what,” Sebastian questioned in his calmest voice possible. He was used to guns being aimed at him, but he never expected Willow to be behind one of them.
“You killed him. Simon.” There was no questioning tone in her voice, just raw emotion. The statement was definite as if she was absolutely positive—as if she had been there when he had cracked her little friend’s head open on the sidewalk and was just connecting the dots.
“What would lead you to that assumption?”
“Maybe the video of you bashing his head in with a fucking baseball bat that someone had sent to me as a wedding gift, Sebastian,” Willow snapped, jabbing the aimed gun at him. “Why?”
Sebastian closed his eyes. This was the part where he should have felt shame or disgust with himself, but he held no remorse. “It’s not breaking news that I’m a monster.”
“Don’t give me that bullshit, Sebastian,” she retaliated. “Tell me the truth now. Don’t you think I deserve that much? I mean I just watched a video of an innocent man’s head bashed in by my husband.”
“Where’s the video?”
Willow shook her head frantically. “You don’t get a right to ask me questions.”
“You want to know the truth, Willow Angelique Mercer? Your little friend, Simon, was a pathetic egoistical asshole who deserved to die. Good people have died for less. The end to his pathetic life was justified. Yes, I cracked open his skull with a baseball bat because he was going to let his friends use you for their own amusement. I killed him because he hurt you and I don’t regret it.”
Every word of his confession stabbed deep inside of her. She let out a small sob. “What gives you the right to play God?”
“I could never play God. He’s too merciful.”
Willow squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head slowly, tears streaming down her beautiful face as she tried to digest the truth. “Now that I know the truth, you’re going to kill me too now? Are you going to kill me like him and make me just disappear, hm? Are you going to do God knows what with my body and drive my car a few towns over and wrap it around a tree before you burn it to a crisp? Are you going to leave my family to wonder if they’ll ever see me again?”
“You’re the one with the gun, Willow,” he said as he lifted his empty hands up to show he was no threat. “You get to pull the trigger. That’s why you’re standing there, right? To kill me?”
Sebastian rose from his seat. She shook her head, narrowing her teary eyes in warning. “Get away from me, Sebastian. Get the fuck away from me or I’ll fucking shoot you,” she growled through clenched teeth.
She stumbled backwards in fear. The gun was still aimed at him as he moved towards her. He kept walking until the gun pressed into his chest. “Put me out of my misery, Willow. Why the hell would I even want to keep living if my wife will never look at me the same again?”
“Sebastian,” she gasped in shock.
“You wanted to get inside of my head. You’re in it. I can’t close my eyes without seeing you behind them. I feel empty when you’re not around me. I feel more like an animal when you aren’t there to tame me. I don’t deserve anything you give me. I don’t deserve you as my wife. I don’t deserve your love, but I fucking want it, Willow. I don’t want anyone else to have it. Just me and only me.”
He knew who sent the video. This had Juliette written all over it. Knowing his employer, she probably expected Willow to run to the police to expose the identity of Simon’s killer. This would force the organization to override policy and put a target on Willow’s back, effectively silencing her for compromising Sebastian’s ability to be a nameless faceless contract killer.
He wanted to thank the heavens that Willow confronted him and not the police.
“I’m a horrible person,” she whispered through her tears.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because even after everything you’ve done, I still love you,” she said, anger and disgust building up in her voice. “I’m horrible.”
Relief overwhelmed him at her words, but his moment was cut short as a bitter sharp slap snapped his head to the side. He could taste a tint of copper in his mouth as he had nipped the inside of his cheek.
“I hate you, Sebastian,” she said. “I hate you so fucking much.”
She pushed him roughly in the chest, which caused him to stumble backwards slightly. She moved past him and briskly exited the kitchen, fleeing him. However, he was too persistent to let her get away from him that easily.
He followed at her heels into her master bedroom. He grabbed her by the arm, forcing her to turn and face him.
“You want to hurt me?”
It wasn’t a question. It was a challenge.
“Hurt me, Willow. Punish me then,” he growled, encouraging her. She yanked her arm out of his grasp and gave him another hard push.
“You’re a sick fuck,” she hissed.
He countered huskily, “I’m your sick fuck.”
She used the gun to gesture towards the bed. “Get on the bed. Now.”
He did as he was told and she climbed on top of him immediately, putting the gun against his forehead. His chest moved up and down rapidly while he moved his hands to grab her shapely hips.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” she ordered, pressing the gun hard against his skull. If she wanted to in that moment, she could end his life with a single pull of the trigger. Willow then realized that she would be no different than him. She was a monster too to think of such a thing—to think of ending someone’s life…his life. The man who she loved more than life itself.
His eyes burned a hole through her, but she didn’t budge in her demand so he obeyed. “I want the truth, Sebastian. Not the crumbles you’ve given me to pacify me. I want all of the truth from the beginning. I want to know about your wife and daughter. I want to know about your father. I want to know about this J person that sent me that present. I want to know everything.”
His green eyes flickered upward to the gun that was pressed against his forehead. “Are you going to kill me if I don’t?”
“No.” She shook her head as she stared down at him like a goddess would a mortal unfit for her presence. “I’ll annul this marriage and walk away for good, Sebastian. I know that the thought of that could kill you.”
My goal had been to orginially write a chapter focusing on Willow and Sebastian's wedding, but my muse took me in a different direction. I decided to leave their wedding to your imagination as to how it would have played out. :) Previously in the orginial story, Willow and Sebastian weren't married and after she discovered what Sebastian had done, she went to his home with a gun aimed at his head while he slept. I think them being newly married and experiencing this situation sends a harder punch to the gut for Willow.
I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter.
Now I am off to writing my response to the Lemonade challenge. The story will be called Love Monsters and it is about a powerful Arabic man and his turbulent marriage to his black American wife. I apologize for not doing that sooner. Ta-ta! Have a wonderful weekend.