The room was uncharacteristically bright and the sun was beaming through the small window above his bed. It was fiercely quiet and the fire was nearly out but despite that fact it was abnormally warm in the room. Willie slowly opened his swollen eyes and lay perfectly still afraid to move for fear of enraging the torn ribbons of flesh that covered his back. He stared at the glowing embers in the fireplace and wondered what time it was, clearly it was morning and he hoped that Abigail would respect his request and stay away.
His arms were aching and cautiously he tried to move them from above his head down to his sides. Pain rang through his back, he could feel his own heartbeat in each of the wounds and he felt like he was on fire. He tried to shift into any position that might give him an ounce of relief but he found none. He groaned in pain as he shifted his legs to one side and closed his eyes trying to fall asleep again.
The alarm rang and she was still staring at the ceiling. She ran through a long checklist of things she had to do today, none of which included heading to the old house. She promised to stay away today and she would stand by her word, even though her worry for Willie was overwhelming.
She was getting dressed when there was a knock on the door and her stomach dropped fearing that it might be Nick. She held her breadth as she looked out the peep hole; a huge sigh of relief escaped her when she found Alex standing there. She forgot he was coming to take her for coffee.
Alex stood in the doorway and when she opened the door he started to ramble.
"Abbs… please.. don't be mad. I'm sorry I let him in..." Alex looked around the apartment finally taking in the room. "…WHOA! Holy Shit! Look at all these flowers! Oh Abbs…God I just felt bad for the guy, but I didn't realize he was an ass hole. I'm sorry I really am. Do ya want your key back?"
Abigail reached around him and hugged him.
"I can't stay mad at you. Just please don't let anyone in again okay? I left him ya know? And he can be really intense…and I don't love him. Shit…I really don't even like him."
Alex looked around the apartment. "He sure did waste a shit ton of money of flowers though."
Abigail grunted and then finished getting ready. They headed over to the coffee shop which was a short walk from her apartment, but as they walked she searched the streets in the remote chance that she might see Willie. She remembered him saying he needed to go out this morning.
The air was freezing and when the diner door opened a puff of hot air that smelled of fresh baked bread and bacon hit them. They tucked into a corner booth and she made sure to sit where she could see out the window.
"So…what are you going to do?" Alex asked stirring his coffee.
"I don't know…I think I'll meet him for dinner and just end this once and for all. I guess I owe him that much."
"What happened with him? I thought you guys were good?" Alex was genuinely curious. He had only met him a few times but the they seemed happy together when he saw them.
"I don't know. I never really loved him I guess. I know that now. He was convenient and everyone thought he was great, but he never really knew me. I want to be with someone who wants to know my flaws and loves me in spite of them. He never allowed flaws…it was exhausting pretending to be perfect." She sat quiet for a minute sipping her coffee.
"He was different somehow though when I saw him here. He almost seemed violent and he has never pushed me or touched me that way. I know he was drinking but there was a minute where I was sure he was going to hit me. He frightened me...that's why I don't really want to do dinner."
"I'm sorry Abbs. I wished it would have worked out for you. But if you ever need someone to pummel him I'm your man." They both grinned and toasted their coffees to the thought of it.
"So where is he takin' ya?"
"Ugh… The Maple Leaf"
Alex rolled his eyes at her... "Hate that place. Just be careful with him. Drive yourself so you can leave whenever you want. "
She stared out the window thinking about going to dinner with him; maybe she would just cancel…or not show up at all.
Willie began to wake again and his sense of time was nonexistent. He knew two things, he was in a hellish amount of pain and he was dreadfully cold; the fire in his room was completely out. He slowly attempted to stand up and peeled the sheet from his back. He walked to the mirror hanging over his dresser to assess the damage that IT had done. It was difficult to get a full view, twisting in the mirror was painful, but what he could see made him sick. He was badly bruised and there were welts that crossed his back. There were also several lashes that cut deeper into his skin and were bleeding. He had no idea what It used to deliver the punishment, but it definitely did its job.
Willie headed downstairs and he was extremely thirsty and couldn't bear to sit in his room for the entire day. He managed to get himself down the stairs but as he looked around he quickly realized there was no comfortable place to sit. He decided to grab the pot and fill it with water. He grabbed a mug and several tea packets and reluctantly headed back to his room, at least he had a comfortable chair and bed in there.
It took a great deal of effort for Willie to build a fire in the fireplace next to his bed, but once it was lit the warmth seemed to make him a little more comfortable. He placed the pot over the flames and gingerly wrapped a blanket around his body and sat in the chair waiting for the water to heat up.
It was difficult for him to have a single thought that wasn't interrupted by flashes of the night. He looked down at his wrists and the red circles marked where the cuffs clamped down on him. They were almost perfect circles, like someone drew them on.
He grabbed the mug, scooped a cup of water out and dropped the tea bag in. It actually smelled good to him and he was surprised; most smells he found unpleasant.
He started to warm up, the hot liquid warming his insides as he drank it. Once finished he placed the pot of water on the hearth and climbed back into bed. The pain continued to spread through his back, but he felt warm for the first time. He lay down on his stomach once again and managed to fall back asleep.
Abigail stared into her closet. The restaurant was a higher class place and her usual jeans and sweater wouldn't do. She pulled out several dresses trying to find one that was understated and plain and finally settled on the blue dress that was completely boring and she even felt that it looked a bit unflattering on her. She was doing her best to look as underwhelming and commonplace as possible.
The drive to the restaurant was beautiful, a long private driveway led through the woods and opened up on a large log cabin like structure that sat on the shoreline of a private lake. Flood lights shined on the stained glass windows and delicate maple leaves were carved into the wooden beams that made up the entryway of the restaurant. Even she admitted it was a beautiful place, but the atmosphere was pretentious and made her uncomfortable.
She saw him immediately when she walked through the doors, handsome as ever. He was sitting at a corner table right next to the window that had a beautiful view of the sunset. She walked over and he stood up and immediately pulled her into a much unwanted embrace.
Politely she pulled back and sat down at the table and an uneasy silence filled the space between them.
"Nick…you deserved more than a note." She spoke first. "I didn't want to face you, I was wrong. I should have told you in person. I regret the note."
"It broke my heart Abby. I was devastated."
"I'm so sorry…but it doesn't change the way I feel. I'm not in love with you Nick, you deserve someone who loves you."
Nick raised his eyes to meet hers, they were cold and fierce. "I waited for you to come back. I found out from your uncle where you were. You belong to me Abby. I won't let you go."
The waiter came and she was thankful for the interruption. They both ordered a drink.
"I don't belong to anyone. We aren't meant to be together. You need to move on Nick and so do I."
"Move on so you can be with that prick from the bar?"
"NO! no…" She was shaking her head and again started to worry about Willie.
"I won't let him have you."
"Dinner was a bad idea." She mumbled. "I'm going to go." She reached into her purse and pulled out money and laid it down on the table. "Here…I'm sorry but I shouldn't have come here." She didn't want to sit through an entire dinner like this. She said all she cared to say and it was clearly going nowhere.
Nick opened his wallet and pulled out money as well. He stood up from the table and helped her get her coat on. "Your right Abigail, dinner was a terrible idea. I'll walk you out." He pulled on his jacket and then reached down and pulled out a large box that she hadn't noticed before and tucked it under one arm.
He held her arm with his free one as they walked out of the restaurant. She couldn't get into her car fast enough. She hoped that this was the end of it, but wondered what was in the box.
As they walked out he gripped her arm tighter.
"Nick...please your hurting me"
He gripped even tighter and walked her over to the side of her car. He dropped the box to the ground and reached into his pocket and grabbed something out and pressed it hard over her mouth and nose. The smell was cloyingly sweet and she almost instantly felt dizzy and her hands and feet went numb. She fought against him but couldn't break his grip, and slowly she slipped into darkness.
Night closed in and Willie was lying in his bed dozing in and out when he caught a shadow in the corner of the room.
"Willie…are you awake?" Barnabas' tone was civil, almost human towards him.
"Y-yes" Willie answered and started to push himself to sit up.
"Stay. Lie back down."
Willie followed Its instructions and lay back down on the bed. It pulled down the blankets and looked at Willie's back and then left the room. Barnabas returned with a bowl of water, Willie wasn't sure what it was really, but it had an odd smell to it, and Barnabas again began to clean the wounds on his back.
Willie couldn't stand being touched by It and he was terribly confused at the care in which the Vampire was taking with him, with the very wounds that It inflicted upon him.
Barnabas pulled out a large white pad and placed it over his back, taping it down against his skin. "Leave this there tomorrow. You need to keep the wounds covered. You may sit up."
Willie pushed himself up, the pain still fresh, and grabbed a t-shirt that was hanging over the bed post and pulled it on.
"Can you make it down stairs?"
"Y-Yes." Willie stood up trying to hide the pain that radiated through his back and followed It out of his room and down the stairs to the great room.
"If you are well enough tomorrow I need you to deliver this to Ms. Chilton." It handed Willie a large envelope. "She requires these for the restoration work."
"O-ok. Fine." Willie didn't argue. He would do as he was told. Barnabas had made his point and it was true, knowing those were up there in the attic definitely gave him new incentive to just do as he was told.
"Go back to bed Willie. I know you are in a terrible amount of pain. Just remember it next time you decide to disobey me." Barnabas turned and stared out the front window.
Willie returned back to his room and set the envelope down on his dresser. He put more wood in the fireplace and climbed back into bed. He lay there quietly, the silence of the house swallowing him. He could almost hear his heartbeat and as each beat came it created a pulse of pain. He tried to find something pleasant to think about but nothing came. Eventually he drifted back to sleep.
Abigail awoke, her head pounding and she felt nauseated. Her vision was blurry but she could make out that she was in her room, lying on her bed. She tried to move but she couldn't pull her arms from behind her back and her feet could not be separated.
She began to panic and tried to pull herself from the bed.
"Calm down baby…relax. I have ya, I'm right here…" Nick lay beside her in bed, his arm wrapped around her tightly. She tried to speak but nothing came out. Her hands and feet were bound and her mouth was taped shut. She started to whimper and tears began pool in her eyes as she struggled to get away.
"Abby! Please ! Lay still." He stroked her hair and with his arm drew her closer to him. "I don't want to hurt you Abby, so don't make me. We are getting married today, you need your rest." The sun was just starting to peek into the windows of her apartment and her thoughts were spinning out of control. She could feel her heart start racing as he held her tight; she couldn't move. She laid there sobbing in terror and sickened by his touch.
Nick looked at his watch and it was almost eight. "Obviously you are not going to go back to bed." He spoke to her quietly and then stood up from the bed. She stared at him as he walked around to her side of the bed. He reached down and scooped her up and brought her into the living room, placing her on the chair in the corner of the room.
"Breakfast?" He asked her as he went into the kitchen. He began to cook as she watched him in disbelief. She looked around the room and then noticed her wedding dress hanging on the back of the closet and she instantly knew what was in the box.
Nick finished breakfast and in the most normal way cleaned up the kitchen and put everything away. Abigail continued to sit on the chair, struggling to get loose.
Both Nick and Abigail jumped as a soft, unexpected knock came from the door.
She stared at the door, Alex…oh no…oh please…
A second knock came… this one louder and Nick walked to the door and looked through the peep hole. He turned and looked at Abby and flashed a devilish grin.
Morning came and Willie awoke early. He was still in terrible pain and the stiffness was worse. He had a job to do however and he began to get himself together as if it were any other morning.
He pulled his jacket on and made sure all the doors were locked including the door to the basement. He headed to his truck and made his way to her house, stopping only to grab a couple of coffees. It seemed to be their ritual.
Willie walked up to her door and knocked but no one came to answer. Willie knocked a second time and heard her coming to the door. When the door opened a man reached out and grabbed Willie by the coat, pulled him through the door and slammed him against the wall, the coffees dropping to the ground and spilling into the carpet.
Willie's back erupted in pain as the wounds ripped open. He looked around the room and then his eyes met hers and his heart stopped. She was huddled on the chair in the corner of the room, her hands bound behind her and her feet bound together, tape silenced her mouth. She stared at him and tried to yell.
"Jesus Abby!" Willie turned to go to her then felt something hard and cold against the base of his head.
"Drop to your knees ya little shit." Willie stood frozen looking at her with confusion in his eyes. "Get on your knees or I'll blow your fucking head off!"
Willie reluctantly dropped to his knees, never breaking his stare from hers and she started to cry.
"Isn't this just perfect…just the three of us on our wedding night. Do you know who I am? Huh?" Nick poked the gun harder into the back of Willie's head. "ANSWER ME!"
"N-n-no..no…I-I don't …" Willie answered.
"I'm the one she was supposed to marry today but instead she left me for you. FOR YOU! What a joke. Look at ya!"
Left you for me? What the hell is he talking about? Willie broke his stare with her and glanced around the room. A wedding dress was hanging on the closet door and flowers filled the room. Shit…SHIT! Awe..Abby… He looked back at her.
"Are you okay?" His eyes were searing with concern as Abigail shook her head yes but she continued to cry. She was utterly petrified for him.
"What's your name huh? Ya know what… I don't give a shit what your name is. Put your hands behind your back. Do it! NOW!" Abigail watched in horror and Willie did as he was told. He put his hands behind his back and again the wounds screamed at him causing him to wince in horrible pain. Abigail noticed the pain in his face. It reminded her of the expression he had that first day she saw him through the window. She knew he was hurt and her stomach felt sick. Willie's words rang in her head…He's gonna kill me. The thought that Barnabas may have hurt him crossed her mind, but only for a second, as she watched Nick tie Willie's hands.
"You can watch us get married. Seems appropriate don't you think?" Nick was ranting at him as he bound Willies hands behind his back. "I saw ya at the bar with her, she's mine you understand? MINE!"
"You don't want to do this…you…you don't know what you're doing…" Willie was pleading with him. It was almost ten in the morning and Willie knew if he was still alive by night fall Barnabas would come looking for him. Barnabas was cruel, a monster, and very protective of his possessions, Willie being one of them. Willie knew that this was sealing the mans fate. He was as good as dead. The monster would come for the man whether he lived or not.
"Shut up! You know… I wondered why she left just a note." The piece of the puzzle confirmed for Willie exactly who this man was. "I wondered what the real reason was… and it turns out it's you. YOU!" Nick bound his feet and silenced Willie with the tape as well. He then grabbed Willie by the arms and dragged him across the floor so Willie's back was against the couch. The pain in Willie's back pushing him close to nausea.
"You're so pathetic. How could you leave me for this?" Nick was walking towards Abby, waving the gun in Willie's direction.
"Look at him! He looks like he's gonna cry! You don't even like blondes? I should just kill ya right now." Nick lunged towards Willie pulling the gun up and aiming it at Willie's forehead. Abigail let out muffled screams and tears rolled uncontrollably down her face.
Willie's pale blue eyes grew wide and he was shaking his head as Nick pressed the gun hard into his forehead. Willie let out a muffled sob and squeezed his eyes shut bracing himself. No…oh God no NO!