I nodded and sank into the space beside her. I had the worst pounding headache. The past few weeks had been a fucking mess. I dropped my face into my hands and leaned over, resting my elbows on my knees. Mia placed her hand on my back and began stroking it. “Are you okay?” She asked in a low voice.
“Yeah, I just have a fuckin’ headache.” I replied in a grumpy tone. She stood from the bed. I could hear her searching for something and then heard a door open and close. When she sat back down beside me, she tapped my arm. I looked up. She held out two aspirins and a bottle of water in her hand. Without hesitating, I grabbed the pills, tossed them down my throat, and downed them with water. “Thanks.” I mumbled.
“So what do you want to do today? We can grab a bite to eat and then explore the city? Or grab a bite to eat and have a laid-back day with a movie? Or anything?”
I shoved a hand through my hair in frustration, not with her, just with everything else. I was in a crappy mood, and I knew I shouldn’t take it out on her. “I’d rather stay in. We can do those things tomorrow if you like. I’m not up for exploring. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure.” Even though she’d been playing it cool and not questioning me, something seemed off with her.
“Are you sure you’re okay with that?”
With a slight smile, she twirled her fingers along the back of my neck. “Of course, Marcus, you wanted to get away to clear your mind. I don’t mind staying in. We can order in and rent movies. It’ll be fun.” She nodded, reassuring me that she was okay.
“Thank you.” I leaned in and gave her a quick kiss.
For the next few hours, that was exactly what we did. We lounged around in our pajamas, watched TV, ordered in, and rented a few movies. We were lazy, and it couldn’t have been a better day. My mind didn’t drift back to all the bullshit. I didn’t stop to think about anything that fucking bothered me. I just simply took that day to do nothing but relax with my girl. It was just what I needed. We made long, sweet, gentle love that night, and before we knew it, the late night crept in and we were fast asleep.
My eyes flashed open at the sound of a loud banging noise. I jerked forward in my chair. The area I was in was unrecognizable. It seemed as if I was in a vacant room in an old warehouse. I stood up from the rusted chair and continued to search my surroundings. Where the fuck was I? Slowly I circled around and tried to find an exit.
There was none.
How was that fucking possible?
The tarnished eight-by-ten space only held one chair smack-dab in the middle. Beside the leg of the chair on the ground was a black-metal object. I made my way toward it, and as I got closer, I realized it was a gun. I picked it up and checked to see if it was loaded. It was fully loaded with six bullets. Confused, I spun around when I heard the noise again. Where was it coming from? It sounded like a rattling noise against a metal frame, but it didn’t come from a particular area. It bounced throughout the room.
For the next hour, I searched in every inch of the corners, walls, and ceiling of the room and came up empty.
Just an empty fucking space.
If there was no way out, how the fuck was there a way in? Frustrated, I sank into the chair and began going through my most recent memories. Images of Mia and I making love burst through my head.
Was she safe? Was she taken too? I gripped my hair as anger surged through me.
Lou. He was fucking responsible. He was responsible for everything!
He was the only one that could’ve done it. Why? What does he want?
Why can’t he just leave my fucking life alone!
Then I stared into fucking space as I looked back on the last fifteen years of my life spiraling out of control.
My father’s death.
Lou taking me in as his own son. The trust I had in him.
Michael Sullivan. The documents and the news he had of what Lou did to my father.
The drug exchanges. The murders.
The fucking lies.
Mia. What we shared: the love, the pregnancy, what she found out about her brother, the miscarriage.
FUCK! With the anger burning through me, I shot the gun in the air three times.
Breathing heavily, I continued to blankly stare into nothing.
I wasn’t sure how long I sat there, hours or days, but every minute that ticked by my mind began to play tricks on me.
Who was I?
What had I become?
The more I sat there, answering my own questions, the more I hated myself. I was trying to be a better man, but I couldn’t change who I really was. I couldn’t give more. I wasn’t strong enough. I was breaking down piece by piece.
I had tried to bury my memories six feet under.
But there was nowhere to run.
I was tired.
I was drained emotionally and physically.
I was done.
I didn’t care to beg, to live.
Lifting the gun, I aimed it at my head, and then I pulled the trigger.
I gasped for air as I awoke from the dream. Breathing heavily, I jerked up as my head whipped around. My body was damp with sweat, and my heart thundered against my chest. Dazed, I was able to confirm that I was still in the hotel room. My eyes flicked to my side as I heard Mia mumble in her sleep. Sighing, I leaned against the headboard and grudgingly ran a hand down my face. I glanced at the time. It was almost two in the morning.
I hadn’t had a dream like that in a long time.
I pressed down on my eyelids until my anxiety calmed. After I was settled, I lay back down in bed and pulled Mia into me again. She mumbled as she nestled her head into my chest. As comforting as it was having her beside me, I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I stared at the ceiling for the rest of the morning as I replayed the dream over and over again.
After I spread butter on the toast, I took a crunchy bite. The entire time I kept my focus on Marcus, even as I reached for the cup of coffee. As I took a few sips, I studied him. He seemed distracted all morning as he quietly sipped on his coffee and read the local daily newspaper. The previous day we stayed in at the hotel as he requested, but his mood hadn’t changed. I knew what he was bombarded with was hard to accept, but there was no way I could comfort him without him allowing me in. Since we had left Boston the night before, Theresa had texted me non-stop. I had managed to keep my phone away from him then, but it had been a close call a few times. I had deleted all of her messages before Marcus and I went to bed.