I had to see Doug again. I knew this, and Hal knew this. I had to see him–because we wanted to get Duncan signed over to my care. Doug could have my baby taken away from me because Duncan wasn’t biologically mine, and he could easily make a case about it in courts.
“I don’t want you to go alone,” Hal said the morning I was going to go by.
It had been nine days since he had returned from the hospital. My phone was clogged with messages from him and I swore I had seen him driving by Hal’s house all the time. He had stopped by twice more, but each time Hal had answered the door and threatened to call the police.
“If you go, it will make things worse,” I pointed out, stirring my cereal and feeling sick. I was terrified to go but it needed to be done. The sooner the better. “I’m up to this. I can do this. For Duncan.”
I couldn’t eat anymore so I just got up, dumping my dish in the sink. Hal got up as well and gave me a hug. “Call me the second you need me,” he said, resting his head on my shoulder. “Please be careful. Keep several feet between you and him. And–“
“Hal, I’ll be fine,” I assured him, sliding my hands around so I could hold his hands. “I still fear him but I love Duncan more.” I looked at him and then leaned in, giving him a rather shy kiss on the cheek. “And now I have you. I’ll be fine. Just… if I’m not back in an hour, maybe… you should, you know… come and check. But I’ll be fine!”
I wasn’t a hundred percent sure about that, but confidence was key. I drove Hal’s car to the duplex and I felt a twinge as soon as I saw it. Doug’s car was there. I had kinda hoped he’d be out… but no, he was home. I had to do this.
I parked across the street then went over, knocking on the door. I wanted to turn and run away but I never could. My feet were rooted to the spot and I wanted to throw up, and nearly did when the door opened and I found myself facing…
“Who are you?” I asked, staring at the strange young man. “Never mind. Is Doug here?”
He looked me up and down then turned a bit. “DOUG! Some dweeb’s here to see you!”
I saw Doug emerging from the hallway and he stopped when he saw me. At first annoyance flashed across his face but then he lit up. “Sebastian? Oh my goodness, Sebastian!” He rushed over and before I could stop him, his arms were around me and his lips against mine.
I stumbled back, too stunned to do anything. The other guy must have been stunned too because he shouted, “Doug! What are you doing?!”
Doug pulled away, his arms around me still. “Tony, I think you should go now.”
“Go? I see how it is!” He came over and stuck a finger in my face. “Look here, whoever you are–Doug’s mine so I suggest you get your little man-stealing butt out of here.”
“Oh, shut up Tony,” Doug said. “Seb’s mine.”
“I am not yours!” I finally found my senses and managed to wriggle away from him. I’m not here to leap back into your bed. I’m here to ask you to give up all rights to Duncan.”
“Who’s Duncan, another one of your boy toys?” Tony asked me with a sneer.
“I do not have any boy toys!” I snapped, getting annoyed. “Duncan is my son. His son, but I want him to be completely mine. Okay, Doug? That’s why I’m here. I want Duncan.”
Tony turned towards Doug as well. “You have a son?”
Doug was glaring at me. “Tony. Please go. I will call you later. Sebastian and I need to have a little… talk.”
I felt very, very afraid. I couldn’t be alone with him. “He doesn’t need to go–” I said, but Tony was already giving Doug a kiss goodbye and leaving. I turned towards the door but Doug seized my sleeve. He yanked hard, causing me to fall against him.
“Now, what’s all this about you not being mine?” he hissed out, putting both his arms around me and holding me so tightly that I started having trouble breathing.
“Let… go…” I gasped out, struggling.
His grip tightened. “I love you, Sebastian, and I thought you loved me. You swore you loved me. You lied to me! You know how I feel about being lied to?”
I began struggling more. “Let GO of me, let’s talk about this like–like reasonable adults!”
He threw me against the wall and then he hit me, hard. Oh jeez, why was I so stupid to think that we would just talk? Of course he was going to do this. I was so stupid.
“You love me, Sebastian! Admit it!” he shouted, shaking me rather violently. My head banged against the wall and I yelped in pain. “Just admit you love me, please… I want to hear it just once more.” He stopped shaking me and looked into my eyes. “Just once more. I know you love me. I know you do. We can work out whatever problem…”
“You hit me and shake me then say we can work it out?” I demanded, anger bursting forth. “You know what, Doug? Yeah, I still have feelings for you. But you wanna know something else? I hate having feelings for you and am looking forward to the day they go away!”
“You–you don’t mean that,” Doug whispered, his nails digging into my skin. “You don’t MEAN THAT!” He let go of my arms and stepped back, looking wild-eyed and crazy. “You love me, you love me, you love me…”
“I don’t,” I said though there was a strange feeling deep inside of me. Those disgusting feelings I had for him–I could feel them getting stronger. Why? I hated him. Was it because I was in this house again, looking at him? “I don’t love you! I don’t love you at all! All I want is Duncan!”
“You LOVE me! You love me, Sebastian, you love me!” It was like a chant, almost hypnotizing. I felt very sick and in the back of my mind I wondered if maybe I had made a mistake, a rash mistake, in leaving him. “You love me,” he said as I started panting for air. “Admit it. You know you do.”
“I…” No. Why was I feeling like this? I didn’t love him. I had feelings for him, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want him, I didn’t love him. “What are you doing? I don’t–I don’t love you. I don’t love you!”
Doug stared at me, and as soon as he stopped talking it was like the thread was cut. I felt free. “You…”
“I don’t love you!” I shouted. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I don’t love you. But I love Duncan. I want him. I know you don’t.”
His hand lashed out, smacking my cheek. “How dare you presume my feelings about our children!” His eyes locked onto my stomach. “So what about that one, hmm? Where is that baby? You hiding that one from me, like Duncan?”
I pressed back against the wall, my body trembling as I tried to be brave. “A girl,” I managed to croak out. “My girl. If you have babies here, you can’t go… sleeping around.” He hit me again, but didn’t look as angry as I thought he would.
“You’ve certainly changed, Sebastian dearest. What’s gotten into you? I know you’ve been living with that–that–that thing. Do you love him now? You’ve moved on from me, now you love him? Can you even feel love or is it just… lust?”
I was about to yell back that he was the one who was like that, then realized he just wanted me to get mad. So I sucked in a deep breath and slowly said, “Just sign Duncan over to me, Douglas. That’s all I ask. And Serenity.”
“Seren…?” He hesitated, then laughed. “What a stupid name. Oh Reaper, you’re such a moron. Whatever, have the kids. I don’t care.”
“I need you to relinquish your rights to them and sign Duncan over to me!” I snapped, trying not to let my temper get the better of me. “I know Duncan isn’t mine, biologically, so I need you to… make things official.”
Doug’s eyes narrowed. “Not yours? Says who?”
“I’m not an idiot, whatever you think of me, Doug,” I said, gritting my teeth. “I know perfectly well I should have been there at the hospital for the procedure when you got pregnant. But I love Duncan, and I doubt you’d want to have a kid hanging around you all the time when you’re trying to–” I stopped myself from saying ‘hurt people’. “Trying to have fun.”
“Fun,” he echoed. Then he snorted and shook his head. “You’ve got a lot of nerve. Why should I ‘relinquish’ all my rights with my kids? As you said, Duncan isn’t yours biologically.”
“My name is on his birth certificate,” I said quietly.
“I could take you to court.”
My nostrils flared a bit and I stepped closer to him. “You take me to court and I will tell them how you used to beat me.”
Douglas folded his arms, not looking too impressed. “I never did that. It must have been your imagination.” He began smirking at the angry look on my face. “Really, darling, can you prove any of your accusations?”
I stared at him, feeling like stone. He just kept smirking, waiting for some sort of response. I could tell he expected anger so once again I swallowed my anger back. “Sign Duncan over to me, all right? And Serenity.”
He exploded with anger. “YOU LITTLE BRAT!” He shoved me against the wall, fingers pressing so hard into my shoulders that there were going to be bruises. “YOU ARE AN UNGRATEFUL LITTLE WORTHLESS RAT! Stop looking so placid and stupid, I know you’re angry. Come on, hit me. Hit me!”
I wanted to hit him, and I might have–but why did I want to? I shuddered and clenched my hands into fists, keeping them down though. It was as if he could almost convince me of… But that was just stupid.I’m not thinking properly.
“I want Duncan and Serenity, officially and completely,” I said, and he slapped me again, but stumbled back looking a bit defeated.
“You’re disgusting,” he spat out. “But this isn’t over, it will never be over. Take the brats. I’ll sign them over to you so you can prance around and pretend to be like the average guy. But you’re not a normal guy, Sebastian.” He seized the front of my shirt. “You’re special. And I don’t hate you, I love you. I will always…” He trailed off and blinked rapidly. “Go! Wallow in bed with that… elephant.” He threw me to the side and I nearly smacked into the fridge.
“I’ll have the papers sent to you,” I whispered, taking a few steps towards the door.
Douglas’s eyes glittered as he watched me, almost like a spider watching a fly. “Yes. Send the papers to me. But this isn’t over. Mark my words. This is not over, and when I’m stronger–I’ll be back, and you will be mine. Understand? You’ll be mine!”
I plunged out of the house, feeling relief as the cool breeze hit me. It was like the relief of headache medicine working, or jumping into a cold pool on a hot day, or a warm fire on an icy day. I glanced over my shoulder at the house, almost expecting it to be consumed in darkness and flames.
Hot tears sprang to my eyes as I hurried across the street. My body hurt, my head hurt, my stomach hurt. But I had won. And he was wrong. This. Was. Over.