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"Beyoncé.... Beyoncé! Girl, get up! I know you hear me!"

My heavy eyelids flitted slightly, despite being unable to open them completely. The painful, rhythmic beating within my ears then began to soften, and I exhaled softly at the recognizable voice that appeared to be only inches away from me.


My limp body suddenly jolted forward, and I released a sharpening gasp as I felt someone attempting to assist me with sitting up straight. I could feel the overwhelming sense of panic in my chest as my eyes frantically darted around my once empty bedroom; which was now occupied by not only myself, but my neighbors as well— a woman around my age named Michelle, and her boyfriend, Cecil.

"Michelle? How did y'all get into my apartment?" I managed to croak out within one breath, despite my ongoing struggle to breathe properly.

Michelle looked at me sympathetically.

"Your front door was unlocked, Beyoncé. Now usually I don't trespass onto other people's property because whatever they do behind that closed door is not my business, but we heard you screaming while watching 'Think Like I Man' and I thought to myself- something ain't right. So I grabbed Cecil by that drawstring on his sweatshirt and forced him to come over here with me. As protection, of course." Michelle motioned towards Cecil, and I realized that he was awkwardly holding a butcher knife in his hand. He only smiled apologetically in response, and I merely waved my hand to assure him that it was fine. If anything, I appreciated their concern.

"Well, um, thank you." I offered a strained smile to the thoughtful couple before making a weakened attempt to stand on my own two feet. Since my body was still unwillingly trembling with fear, it made my efforts noticeably more difficult than they should've been; and Michelle was quick to assist me with standing the remainder of the way.

Too embarrassed to thank her verbally, I simply curved my lips into what was meant to be a friendly smile— though I was certain it didn't appear that way by the looks of her concerned expression.

"So, what happened?" Michelle asked curiously after she'd returned to her initial spot by Cecil's side. She eyed me with slight suspicion as I stood before them uncomfortably, rubbing my clammy palms against the terse material of my pants.

"I— um, I saw a spider and it startled me." I lied. I ignored the odd look from Michelle before frantically glancing around my feet, silently wondering where the panties had gone. It didn't occur to me that they hadn't been close to my body when Michelle and Cecil had brought me back to consciousness until now.

I really didn't want or need Michelle to notice them before I did, because I didn't have the energy or emotional ability to explain the reasonings behind why they were here or why they'd resulted in my horrified screams.

"Are you sure you're okay, Beyoncé?" Michelle pressed. She appeared to be genuinely concerned at this point, versus a nosy tenant who wanted the tea on their evidently traumatized neighbor. "Do you want us to call someone for you? Because you still look like you're scared as hell of something. I'm not a fan of spiders either, but they've never shaken me up this badly."

Her gaze then softened, and she approached me with slight caution. She tentatively rested her hand on my shoulder and observed me carefully.

"Did it have something to do with that giant bouquet of roses on your coffee table?" Michelle asked softly, though her gaze never faltered as if she were purposely trying to catch my reaction to her harmless inquiry.

I only blinked in response until I fully processed what she'd said.

"Coffee table?" I repeated, almost in a whisper. A frown instantly appeared across my increasingly stressed face as my eyes darted towards my bed, where the bouquet had initially been placed.

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