Chapter 34

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"Did you miss me?"

Terror ignited rapidly through every segment of my veins, coursing through my body and sending my heart into a dangerous overdrive. Suddenly, my lips were dry and my mouth was parched of any saliva; the fear stealing every bit of it away as I attempted to speak.

My thoughts were jumbled as I tried to form some recognition of sensible words. My attention was ripped right down the middle between the man that held my body stiff against his own and the man I loved, bleeding and unconscious up on the stage.

"What are you... how-"

"How did I get out?" Zach's vile voice cut me off.

"A buddy of mine bailed me out today after some convincing. The police tried to call you but lucky for me, I knew you were in this shit show play of yours and you wouldn't be able to get to your phone. Good thing too because,"

My attention zeroed in on my ear as Zach's lips appeared right next to it, his once soothing lips grazing softly across my ear lobe as he spoke. "I really wanted to surprise you, Lee."

"My buddy wasn't hard to convince either," he continued. "I told him it was all a misunderstanding. Told him that you were drunk that night and didn't know what you were talking about. Told him you were in danger and another man was out to get you," he whispered in a sickly seductive tone, sending armies of goose bumps invading across my skin.

"Lucky for you, that danger's already been taken care of." Zach's voice oozed with pride as he spoke of Kaleb. My heart ached and cried out to him to wake up.

"How about we get him up, yeah? Three's a real party anyways."

With that, Zach wrapped his hand around my upper arm and yanked me forcefully as he walked down the theater isle, tugging me along as I tried to keep up my footing with his fast pace and long strides.

As we closed in towards the stage, my eyes lingered and took in with great difficulty Kaleb's battered body. His head was drooped low and cocked to the side, letting me easily see the trail of blood that continued to drip from the wound on his head where his thick hair was matted and coated with his own blood. His arms were strapped behind him in what looked like a painful manner; his entire, massive body was completely and utterly limp.

Lifeless.

Tears burned through my stare that was trained so fixedly on Kaleb. My chest constricted and my heart wept painfully, the image of what Zach had done to Kaleb because of me was beyond overwhelming.

"Stay," Zach ordered, pushing me back towards Dave's director table that sat just feet back from the stage.

I watched helplessly as Zach walked up on stage and towards Kaleb, fishing a water bottle out of his back pocket.

My eyes were wide and pinned on Kaleb as Zach unscrewed his bottle of water and dumped all of its contents onto Kaleb's unsuspecting head.

Kaleb woke with a sudden and violent jerk.

The tears in my eyes pooled over the second Kaleb came to life, his disorientated eyes flickering around the room rapidly, trying to come back into focus.

Then his stare found mine.

A thousand various emotions pummeled through Kaleb's gaze as we found each other. Drops of water began to drip and speckle across Kaleb's handsome face as he slowly shook his head, disbelief and rage welling behind his bright gaze.

"No...no," Kaleb whispered out, trying to convince himself of another reality other than our own.

"Welcome back! Hope you had a nice snooze," Zach bellowed out, alerting Kaleb to his already assumed presence.

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