Chapter 13: Checkmate

Scott's heart was in his throat. "Just take it easy, Craig," he soothed. "You don't want to hurt Songbird."

"Her name is Catherine, not Songbird," Craig replied through clenched teeth. "Quit calling her that stupid name!"

"Okay," Scott agreed. "You're right. Catherine it is. Just let her go, Craig."

"She's coming with me, Hall. She's gonna be my girlfriend, not yours. All you do is paw at her like an animal anyway."

"Craig, why are you doing this?" I asked.

"I love you, Catherine, that's why."

"Craig, our relationship is over. You hurt me. You beat me up."

"No, I didn't mean hurt you; I was drunk. I love you."

I took a deep breath. "Craig, you put me in the hospital."

"I know. I'm sorry. It won't happen again, I promise."

"No, Craig. I don't want to go with you." I was terrified at the thought of what he would do to me if we were alone.

The guys came around the corner and stopped behind Scott. "Holy shit," said Sean. Kevin swore under his breath.

"Get back!" Craig shouted and pulled me tighter.

"Craig, please. You're hurting me."

Scott put his hands up and backed the guys up a step. "It's okay. No one's gonna hurt you. Just don't hurt her."

"I'm not gonna hurt her," Craig screamed. "Quit telling me what to do, Hall. You're the one that hurts her."

"Craig, he doesn't hurt me," I argued gently.

"Oh yes he does, baby," he murmured to me. "I know he was so rough with you today in that empty locker room that you lost an earring. I found it."

"You found my earring? Craig, both of my earrings are in. Look."

Craig moved enough to check my ears. Both earrings were dangling from the lobes. "I thought it was yours," he mumbled.

"It's all right, Craig. Just loosen up on me, I can't breathe. You're holding me too tight."

Paul and Shawn were whispering behind Kevin and Scott. They tapped Sean on the shoulder, whispered in his ear and silently edged out of sight back around the corner.

Sean moved between Kevin and Scott. "The guys are gonna come in the door behind him. We need to keep him distracted so he doesn't hear the door."

"Not a problem," Kevin replied. "So what is it exactly you want, Craig?"

"I just want to take Catherine home. We'll be happy there."

Scott's worry was beginning to make him angry. "She doesn't want to go with you, man," Scott retorted.

"Shut up, Hall! I don't want to hear your mouth!" Craig screamed and tightened his hold on me.

"Craig please, you're hurting me."

"I'm sorry, honey," he whispered back to me and kissed me and then licked me on the cheek.

I pulled away from him. "Craig, don't."

"What's wrong, Catherine? My kiss isn't good enough for you anymore?"

"I.I didn't say that," I stuttered. I felt the knife push against my throat.

"You don't love me anymore, do you? Do you?!" He shook me hard and then replaced the knife to my throat. "Answer me!"

"Honey, don't antagonize him." Scott started.

"Shut up, Hall! You talk to her one more time and I'll cut her throat," he whispered menacingly.

"All right, all right. Don't do anything," Scott soothed and took a step back.

"Now my pretty, answer me. Do you love me?"

I suddenly remembered the tool belt I had on. I carefully slid my hand into one of the pockets and pulled out my needle-nose pliers. Kevin's eyebrow shot up and he nudged Scott when he saw what I was doing. I took a deep breath and looked them in the eye. I leaned back on Craig. "Oh yes, I still love you. Now honey please, don't hold me so tight. You're making it very hard to breathe," I purred. Craig relaxed a little and loosened his grip. It was just enough so I could move my arm freely. "Craig dear."

"Yes, my love?" he answered.

I gripped the pliers as tight as I could. "I.really.really," I cooed to him, "hate you!" I brought my arm up and jammed the pliers into his thigh as hard as I could.

Craig cried out in agony when the pliers entered his leg. I pulled away from him and felt the knife bite into my back. Paul and Shawn had come in the door at the same time I buried the pliers in his leg. Kevin, Paul, Shawn and Sean had jumped on Craig, taking him to the cement. They were now taking turns beating him senseless. I collapsed into Scott's arms.

"Oh God, baby, you're bleeding!" Scott put his hand over the cut in my shirt, trying to stop the blood. It quickly seeped between his fingers.

"It's okay, it's just a scratch."

"It's more than a scratch." He sat me on the floor and stripped off his shirt, pressing into the wound.

"Ouch!" I hissed. "Okay, maybe it is a little deeper."

"Don't you dare leave me here alone," Scott demanded.

"I'm not going anywhere. Don't worry." I leaned into his shoulder and shut my eyes. "It really hurts, Scott."

"I know," he said, stroking my hair. "Just squeeze my hand."

Security had pulled the guys off Craig and restrained him on the floor, giving him first aid. Vince had to help back the guys off, being the only one who could get through to them and reminding them I needed taking care of.

The paramedics arrived and started to work on me. They cut my shirt off, revealing an ugly slash across my shoulder blade to the center of my back. They put a pressure bandage over it to stop the bleeding. "She's gonna need a lot stitches. We need to take her to the hospital."

"Let's go then," Scott said picking me up and heading for the ambulance.

"Sir, we need to put her on the gurney."

"She's not gonna let go of me and I'm sure as hell not letting go of her. Let's just go," Scott stated.

"We'll be right behind you," Kevin yelled.

As the ambulance doors shut, I could still hear Craig screaming, "Catherine, I love you!"

****

"Scott, put me down. I can walk. I just have stitches," I argued.

"The doctor said you were to rest. So, I'm making sure you're resting. And stop arguing with me, it's not gonna work," he said, walking out on the deck and sitting down in a chair with me on his lap.

I smiled and kissed him. "I love you, Hall."

"I love you too, Songbird. Did I tell you how proud I am of you?"

"Proud of me?"

"Yeah. You were calm and you were brave enough to stab that nut in the leg."

"I just wanted to get to you." I laid my head on his shoulder and snuggled into his neck.

Scott stroked and kissed my hair as we sat in silence, watching the sun set into the ocean. Scott cleared his throat. "Honey, I want to ask you something."

I sat up on his lap. "Okay, ask away."

"Wait, this isn't right." He stood up and sat me back in the chair. He got down on one knee on front of me and took my hand. "Catherine Alexandria Anderson, will you marry me?"

Tears filled my eyes. "Oh yes! Yes, I will marry you!" Tears ran down my cheeks as he slid an emerald engagement ring on my finger. "Oh Scott, it's beautiful. I love you so much!" I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him as hard as I could.

"I love you too, baby," Scott whispered as his lips touched mine. He smiled, "Survey says."

"One more for the good guys," I finished.

THE END

Epilogue: Beginnings

"May I present for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Scott Hall," the preacher announced as we turned to face all of our friends. We walked down the aisle to the back of the church. When we reached the vestibule, Scott pulled me to the side and kissed me deeply.

When we parted, Scott said, "Now, take off your ring. I had something engraved in it."

My jaw dropped. "I had something engraved on yours too. Okay, we look at the same time."

We pulled our rings off and looked inside the bands. Our eyes met and we started to laugh. We had both secretly engraved the same word on each other's rings. They both read: Entwined.

***Well gang, that's it for my little story. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for all the great reviews and support! Um, I don't have any ideas right now for a new story but maybe one will come to me. So, thanks again and take care!

KliqGirl***