Author's Note: This epic is written for the OC Challenge on Chit Chat on Author's Corner. Check it out! All reviews and messages are appreciated! Hang on to your hats, friends. You're in for a bumpy, whacky ride!
The Second Time Around
Looking around at the devastation surrounding her, Elizabeth Hudson swallowed hard as she clutched her phone in one hand while her eyes darted around her apartment. Just keep it together, Lizbet. Just wait for Livy and keep it together.
Not many things were capable of shaking the firm foundation she'd built for herself in the last five years. She'd worked hard to get where she was…to achieve success on her own merits. She'd shed blood, sweat and tears to build this life for herself. And in a few violent moments, that was over. The walls she'd constructed so carefully had begun to crumble around her.
Blowing wisps of her gleaming copper hair back from her eyes, she concentrated on making a mental list of what was completely destroyed. Her television. Her computer….her couch was completely trashed. Most of what she could see so far was completely beyond salvage, much to her chagrin. Obviously whoever had targeted her was intent on imparting a single terrifying message.
Next time, it wouldn't just be her belongings damaged beyond repair.
Her breath came in harsh rasps as she tried to convince herself to move…to check out the rest of her home. But, for some reason, her feet seemed anchored to the floor, weighted down with her own fears.
"Elizabeth!" she heard her longtime friend, Olivia yelling as her footsteps pounded down the hallway toward her door. "Lizbet!"
"I'm here," Elizabeth called back, her normally calm voice now shaking. "I'm in here, Livy!"
"Oh my God," Olivia Pope gasped, as she reached the threshold to her friend's apartment, her widened eyes taking in the destruction in one sweeping glance. Her ebony skin gleamed with sweat as she carefully sidestepped broken glass and made her way to her friend's side. "Are you okay? Are you hurt?" she asked urgently, grasping Lizbet's pale arms and turning the younger woman toward her as she scanned her body for unseen injuries.
"I wasn't here, Livy," Lizbet whispered. "I was at the book signing you scheduled for me, remember?"
Catching her breath, Olivia Pope blinked. That's right. Elizabeth had been engaged for a signing at Barnes and Noble this afternoon promoting her newest release, "Savage Thunder". "Thank God!" she muttered, hugging her friend. Glancing behind her, she knocked some of the couch's foam off the armchair and urged the other woman to sit down. "Have you called the police yet, Lizbet?" she asked calmly, her mind already spinning.
Shaking her head, Elizabeth whispered, "No. Just you. I only called you. I didn't want to give this guy publicity by calling it in without talking to you first. I thought he'd get bored, Livy," Lizbet said, her voice cracking under the strain. "I thought it was just some juvenile idiot playing a joke."
Gripping her friend's hands as she knelt in front of her, Liv shook her head. "Elizabeth, you have a stalker. One that is clearly spiraling out of control," she said with a look around the room.
"I'm an author, Liv….not some actress that's in the public eye. I write romance novels, for Christ sake!"
"It doesn't matter, Lizbet. For whatever reason, a psychopath has targeted you. He's invaded your home, destroyed your possessions, and now," Olivia said, with a slow look at the mirror above the fireplace, "he's made a direct threat of personal harm. You're in danger."
Following Liv's gaze to the cracked mirror, the message was clear and ominous. "Until we meet again," she whispered, shivering as she tightened her hands around Olivia's.
"Listen to me…this has gone way beyond anonymous floral arrangements and creepy hang up calls. This guy has escalated into physical violence. You are now officially in danger. This is a crisis, Liz. Let me do my job and manage it before someone gets hurt," she said, squeezing the younger woman's fingers as she met her eyes. "You know who we need to call," she said softly.
"You don't mean….," Elizabeth gasped, jerking her hands from Livy's grip. "No! Absolutely not. We'll call the police. I'll get a restraining order. I'll…"
"First of all, I think the FBI will have the capabilities of DC's finest beaten hands down. Second, it's impossible to get a restraining order against someone for which you do not know the identity. And third, if there's one thing we can depend on, it's that if we call him, he'll show up."
"Oh, he'll show up, all right," Elizabeth returned, stiffening at the mere thought of what Livy proposed. "He'll show up and take over my life, Olivia! You know he will. I worked for five years to get over him. I've finally moved on with my life! In the time it took me, he's already been remarried and divorced for a third time! No!"
Nose curling at the mentioned of that ill fated third marriage, Olivia shook his head. "He realized he made a mistake the second he put the ring on that golddigger's finger, Lizbet. He told me so. It was a rebound reaction, sweetie."
"It hurt!" Elizabeth yelled, her words bouncing off of the walls in the small room. "How can you even suggest him after the way he left me? You were there, Livy. You saw what it did to me," she said with a voice that shook.
"He didn't fare any better, Elizabeth," Olivia reminded the other woman gently. "We both know that you've never stopped loving him. Maybe it's time to see if there's anything still there worth trying to save," she suggested.
"You've lost your mind," Elizabeth replied succinctly. "How such an incredibly smart woman can say something so positively…"
"Truthful?" Olivia challenged with a crooked smile, her eyes daring the younger woman to argue. "He still cares about you, Lizbet. He pumps me for information about you every single time he sees me. That doesn't exactly sound like he's over you, either."
"He's an infinitely nosy son of a goat," Elizabeth retorted. Seeing Livy's lips twitch, she wrinkled her nose. "Look, I liked his mother too much to refer to her as a bitch," she said defensively. "Sue me."
"Yeah, you are completely over him," Olivia scoffed. "Let's just go to my place. I'll get in touch with him and set up a meeting on neutral ground. We'll get his advice and make our decisions from there. Unless you'd rather stay here. Alone. With a whack job on your tail?" she asked sarcastically.
"Why are we friends again?" Elizabeth muttered.
"Haven't you heard? I slay dragons," Olivia smiled, holding out her hand to the other woman.
Wrinkling her nose as she let her friend lead her out of the room, Elizabeth whispered, "Yeah? How 'bout ex-husbands? What would you charge for something like that?"