Love Is Strange (I Know. #2)

By: Whitney Bianca

Chapter One





I stand with my hands gripping the cold metal railing. My fingers are frozen and painfully numb, but I can't move. I can't do anything but stare out at the churning black water beyond. The violent sea stretches in front of me, dotted with sharp white shards of ice. I can't tear my eyes away from it. As I stare into the dark abyss, a thought comes to me out of nowhere. A silent command in a voice that sounds like his.

I could jump in.

I could climb over the railing and let myself go. I could let the water swallow me whole. I could let my heavy wool coat drag me down. I could finally say a permanent goodbye to the shit-storm that has consumed my life.

I could.

He would hate that, I'm sure.

Would he?

I lift my foot, hooking the heel of my boot on the bottom rung of the railing. The wind kicks up around me, whipping my long hair around my face. Far away, I can see a shadowy fishing boat, inching its way across the horizon. I watch it for what seems like hours, but must only be minutes, but I only think of him. For the past three years, I've been waiting for him to come back to me. If he was standing here, right now, I would strangle him with my bare hands for making me crazy like this. Then I would smack his face and kiss his lips and pull his hair and wrap my arms around him and squeeze hard.

A scream echoes across the hard, icy darkness. It takes me a second to realize that my mouth is open and my throat feels as if it's been ripped open. I'm alone at the end of the world. No one else can hear my screams. All of the pain of the last seven years is bubbling up and there's nothing I can do about it. So I scream.

Elliot Pritchard, my worst enemy, the only man I've ever hated, is dead. Drowned off the coast of Alaska, they tell me, a few miles from where I now stand. My ordeal is officially over, they say. He'll never threaten you again, they say. And yet, here I am, freezing my ass off hundreds of miles from home, still looking for him. I don't know if I'll ever stop looking for him. The sad, sick truth is that Elliot is inside of me, always. He surrounds me. His voice is in my ear. His hand is on my throat. His cock is perpetually hard for me and I want it so bad it hurts. I ache for him.

I know I should let him go. Spit on his grave and turn my back forever. I should, but I can't.

I can't.

I hate him for leaving me. I hate him for everything he's done to me. I hate him so much that I couldn't untangle myself from the truly maddening reality of hating him if I tried.

But it's not just hate that has me trapped.

Where Elliot is concerned, it's never been that simple.





*****





I was stupid, I know.

I hadn't let my guard down, but I had stopped looking over my shoulder constantly. A week passed and then a month. I thought the heat had died down. The world kept turning. I went to work and came home. I called my mother like a good daughter and promised a trip home to Texas as soon as I could get away. There were no more heart-stopping knocks on the door and my muscles stopped locking every time I saw a police car or heard a siren. Life went on, but I wouldn't say it was normal.

It was too good to be normal.

The day that everything began to crumble started like the others had before it. I woke up as the sun rose. I dressed quickly, carelessly, and then hopped in my BMW and headed to work. I ate my morning bagel and drank my morning coffee – black. No milk, no sugar. I laughed with my co-workers Alisha and Carmen as I ate my salad for lunch. I smiled and waved goodbye as everybody filed out of the office on that Thursday evening, heading home to their families or to the nearest happy hour.

I stayed behind as I did almost every night, piled high with work from the bitch who'd held my job previously. The partners had fired her and promoted me a few weeks before. The timing was unfortunate, but I didn't turn down the offer. The pay raise was significant and even though I was just a cog in the office machine and barely thought about my job beyond the building, it felt good to be promoted. The meaningless pat on the head felt important, like everything was finally going right. Suddenly, I was doing a million times better than just a few short years before. I had almost forgotten about how shitty things had been.

Almost.

There's an undeniable freedom in forgetfulness and denial, I'd say.

On that ordinary Thursday, I was in my little cube near the front of the dark building. The computer reflected a blue light on the acoustic-tiled ceiling, and my desk light pooled yellow around my feet. My mind was elsewhere as I typed up a storm, the clacking of the keyboard the only sound in my ears, other than the low hum of the central air. I swept my bothersome hair off of my neck and crossed my legs, my ass aching from sitting for so long. I glanced at my watch, biting my lip as a I realized it was after 8:00.

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