Til Death Do Us Part
“Alright, you can stop hugging me now.” Drew pushes me off and I tug back at his sweater. His grey, fisherman sweater had several wet spots now. I use the back of my hand to clear my face up. “Jeez, I’m over here dying and you somehow upstage me. What the heck just happened?”
I clear my throat and avert my gaze. What had happened was that I rushed into Drew’s arms and sobbed for the past couple of minutes. His dark, swept back hair tickled my neck and that made me sob even harder. His stupid hair I always tell him to cut. His stupid, handsome face with his grey eyes that can’t stop scrutinizing me right now. He was real. I raise my hand up one more time to poke him but he catches my wrist.
“No more poking. What is with you?” He says as if this moment weren’t a miracle. Right, maybe not a miracle. Kami looms over my thoughts. I can’t do anything to save him. I hiccup and place my other hand over his. He jerks back and lets go. “Did you fall in love with me overnight or something? Larrise. You’re scaring me.”
“I’m sorry.” I didn’t want to scare him. Ugh, I’ve made the situation awkward. I hope I didn’t mess up with the timeline with my outburst. My pocket begins to vibrate and I take out my phone.
For a split second I think of chucking my phone but I didn’t want to appear any crazier to Drew. I scoot a foot away. “Phone call, hold on.”
“Wow, you really went all out. Do you want to know what he’s thinking right now? Oh, and I wouldn’t recommend answering with your thoughts right now. You’d look even crazier if you don’t say anything.”
I stifle a grunt. “Yes, I know that already. Are you still working? Don’t you need to clock in or something soon? Leave me alone.”
“Weren’t you the one asking questions?” Kami replies.
“Larrise, who is that?” Drew interrupts and raises a concerned eyebrow. I wave aside his concern and cup the microphone.
“Am I?” I whisper. “You know, messing with the timeline?” I couldn’t imagine my outburst butterfly effecting a mass destruction of the planet but anything can happen. Kami laughs and static pierces my ear.
“No. It would take a lot from you to do anything that tremendous. You’re fine. I do recommend, however, calming down. Drew is more than disturbed right now. Also, as a reminder, don’t try to save him. Save yourself.”
Kami hangs up before I can say anything else. The sun had completely submerged and Drew was a ghost beneath the white steetlight lamp. I clutch my phone and try to perk my cheeks up.
“She’s okay. I’m sorry for freaking you out. Aunt Lucy was in critical condition. Uncle got me mad about something and I was just a mess. She’s okay now, though.” I lie through my teeth. If Drew senses anything is off, he doesn’t show it. He shoulders slump and he puts an arm around me.
“I’m so sorry, Larrise. I know you’re close with her. What was wrong?” He asks and I’m at a loss for words. What’s something that scares most people?
“It was a severe seizure.” I mumble and inch closer to him. His pocket crumples and I feel his body stiffen. Normal Larrise would investigate. New Larrise ignores it and rests. Save yourself, Larrise. But, where do I even start?
A week. A week before Drew dies. Another before I do. I settle into my couch and flip through the channels. It’s annoying to say it, but I’m procrastinating even at the threat of my life. Drew is at Sweet Sugar for his morning shift, and I have taken the leisurely road of waking up at mid-afternoon. After last night’s debacle, Drew tucked me into bed and I chewed on five melatonin gummies. It was a necessary break from the sleepless nights I’ve had.
Kami hasn’t been in contact and I didn’t mind a single bit. “Ahem, if you’re listening, I mean that in a good way.” I wait a couple of seconds and sigh.
I don’t think I could get used to the survellience. What if I had a dirty thought? Oh no. Don’t think about them right now. Oh, no. I shake my head hard and raise the volume.
“Hydrangeas. Delicate flower, poisonous to many.” Sherry, host of Bumbling Bounty is on screen, showing off her trademark…smile. Many might wonder how she hasn’t been cancelled but she has many male fans. She was controversial yet they still clung onto her. I roll my eyes and reach for the remote. “What if I told you that you could be dying right now?”
“I’d tell you, you’re right.” I scoff.
“Pete Earls, gardener by day, murderer by night. His trademark weapon? Hydrangeas. What can be consumed without lethal risk at small amounts had become the product of Pete Earls’ daily experimentation. His psychopathic mind took three lives before police tracked him down. The deduction took great skill as one rookie officer connected each scene of the crime with one single flower in a vase. Coincidence? He thought not.”
My mind whirls and I shut the TV off. I rest my cool hand on my forehead and take slow breaths. The murderer is out there. Planning, waiting, and-and-
I jump up. Sunshine bursts through the living room and I stomp to the windows. I draw the curtains. They could be watching. What if it’s no use? I stand in place. They got in here somehow. I don’t want to turn around. This same space they had to cross to get to Drew’s room. What if they were already in here? When we were both gone and installed cameras? I tap my finger against my thigh.
“Kami, if you’re there, respond.” I hope they’re here. I’d rather be annoyed than alone. “Please.” I whimper.
But there is no response. Typical. Help never when you need it. I shake my head and open the curtains back up, revealing the parking lot and garden. Better to leave it like this, as if I don’t know. I have the upper hand this way.
A flash of light flusters me and I notice an unfamiliar car. I squint and nobody is in the front seats. Except, except the back seat. A black pant leg is peeking through. My heart stills and chills bite the back of my neck.
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