Stutter(Bleeding Hearts Book 2)(2)

By: A. Zavarelli

I had a theory about Lucifer. About his true intentions. But as I mentioned before, I wasn’t one for waxing philosophical. So instead, I’d like to skip ahead to the most important question. Could the fallen ever really be redeemed?

The last five years had been a series of carefully orchestrated events. Every move, every strategy had been poured over in painstaking detail before it was set into motion.

Pieces on a chess board.

A collision of fate and circumstance. I’d planned for every hitch. Every contingency. Except the one that blindsided me like a vat of acid to the face.

I fell in love with her.

Had it been anyone else spouting such out of character nonsense, you probably wouldn’t have batted an eye. But for a man who already had such obsessive tendencies, it was a recipe for disaster. It was, in fact, the reason why I was sitting in this upscale boutique on a Wednesday afternoon when I should have been working.

The woman across the desk had been sporting fuck-me eyes for the last twenty minutes while I stared off into the empty abyss. She’d informed me that the menagerie of glittering jewels laid out before me were all precious gems. I’d concluded she didn’t know the meaning of the word.

Don’t get me wrong. The jewels were nice. Exquisite even. They reeked of sophistication and money. And therefore, they were completely worthless. Anything this pretentious would smother the very life right out of Brighton’s innocent soul. She wouldn’t wear any of it, and this had been a wasted trip.

How did I ever think this was a good idea? I shook my head in disgust and pushed the velvet display case back to the attendant seated across from me. She wasn’t pleased by this.

“Perhaps if you told me what you were looking for, Mr. Bennett.”

I closed my eyes, and all I could see was Brighton crushed into that pocket of metal. Blood. So much fucking blood. Hollow breaths. Smoke and water. Her tears and my dread, so thick it suffocated me. These images haunted me day and night.

Did I deserve them? You’d probably say yes, and again you’d be right. I knew that now. But did it matter?

Little too fucking late.

I needed a drink. Maybe a priest. Something to numb my blackened soul and vanquish this nightmare.

“What does one get for the woman they almost killed?” I asked.

The attendant’s head rattled with nervous laughter, her eyes darting about. She thought I was joking.

I wasn’t.

“What says, I’m really fucking sorry and I need you to believe me?”

The insufferable giggling persisted, only to be followed up by a fluttering of lashes. She didn’t get it-I was really asking her. Desperation had a strangle hold on me.

She finally got a grip of herself and pointed to the gaudiest ring on the display case. “I like to say bigger is better in this case.”

I frowned at her salacious tone and actually shuddered. For all of my faults, there was one thing that remained steadfast in my intentions. I only wanted one woman, and it wasn’t the one sitting across from me.

“I’ll think it over.”

I pushed back my chair, and the attendant scurried to her feet. “Just let me know if there’s anything special you’d like. I can find it, I’m sure of it.”

“Of course.” I gave her a thin smile. What I needed wasn’t in this store though. Redemption couldn’t be bought here.

I stepped outside and met Ted at the curb. He endeavored idle chit chat while driving me back to work, but I wasn’t in the mood. I hadn’t been in the mood for anything but wallowing in my own self-loathing for the last month.

I dialed Mick, and he answered on the first ring. For the tidy sum I padded his bank account with, I’d expect nothing less.

“Yeah, boss?”

I got straight to the point. “How’s my girl today?”

“All’s quiet on the home front,” he replied. “Don’t think she’s even left the apartment.”

I should’ve been content with that. I wasn’t. Like the greedy fiend I was, I’d grown more demanding of the photos I required to see me through the day. It was the only connection I had to her and yes that’s what’d it come to. I wasn’t proud. I was in love. And love’s a bitch.