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Disclaimer: This is the 2nd part to Blurred Lines. So if you haven’t already read the 1st part, you will definitely need to read it to understand what’s happening or else you might be thoroughly confused. The link to the first part is: https://www..com/s/blurred-lines-5
Many thanks to my editor Lucifer013 for all her wonderful editing. And to fermpera for her many suggestions, translations and for just putting up with me. As always, thanks for reading & feel free to drop me a comment or send me some feedback! I love hearing from you all.
The masked gunman aimed the gun at Sophie’s face and I opened my mouth to scream ‘no’ but no sound came out. There was a quick pop that sounded a lot like a firecracker. Followed by Vanessa’s bloodcurdling scream, as she attempted to break free of my arms, to get to her baby whose young lifeless body now lied on the ground. The bullet hole in her forehead would forever be burned into my memory and her gorgeous, bright green eyes which were once so full of life and excitement were now glazed over. The gunman then turned his attention to us and again pointed the gun. My first instinct was to push Vanessa out of harm’s way but he was too quick and squeezed off another shot before I could step in front of her. And she too, instantly collapsed like a rag doll in my arms.
I fell to my knees holding her, while frantically trying to find her bullet wound to stop her from bleeding out. Her blood, however, continued to flow freely and stain my hands and clothing. “God no, please no,” I pleaded. My tears fell and I didn’t even bother to wipe them away. “Keep your eyes open,” I begged and cradled her against my chest even though the life began to slowly drain from her eyes. “Vanessa stay with me please, I never meant for any of this to happen. Please, please forgive me. Don’t go.”
“I’ll never forgive you,” she gasped coughing up her own blood.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I repeated over and over again as her breathing began to slow down. Unable to do anything except simply hold her, I watched in horror as she took her final breath.
I choked back a grief-stricken sob, before slowly rising to my feet to face the shooter, who stood there silently observing the carnage. Without saying a word, he finally aimed his gun at me and squeezed the trigger. Mortally wounded, I fell to my knees clutching my fatal bullet wound as memories of the last month and a half played over in my mind. I had never wanted it to end like this. It was never supposed to end like this. Defenseless, I could only watch as the gunman once again pointed the gun directly at my face. But instead of putting me out of my misery, he pulled his mask off revealing his hidden identity.
How was that even possible? I sucked in a deep breath as my own reflection came into view. I was the gunman. I was the one who had just murdered Vanessa and her young daughter in cold blood. It was me. Their blood was on my hands.
“Natalie! Wake up!”
The continuous ringing of my doorbell snapped me out of my nightmare and I sat straight up in bed, breathing heavily and bathed in my own sweat. I glanced over at the alarm clock on my nightstand which read 8:05. At least I’d finally been able to sleep completely through the night. That was something I guess.
Another knock. “Natalie! Baby it’s me, open up.” Fuck. It was C.C. This was so not what I needed this early in the morning.
“Just give me a sec,” I called out, stumbling out of bed and into the living room to unlock my front door for her. She handed me one of two Starbucks coffee cups that she was carrying, and a brown paper bag before stopping to give me a quick kiss, “Good morning beautiful. I thought you might like some breakfast.”
“Good morning to you too. What brings your sexy ass by this early in the morning?”
She strolled inside, “I wanted to apologize for passing out on you last night, I guess I had way too much to drink.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I remarked before taking a long sip of my coffee. “It happens to the best of us.”
She shrugged, “I know but that wasn’t how I had hoped our evening would end. I had a really nice time with you yesterday, I’m just sorry that I ruined our night by getting wasted.”
“You didn’t ruin my night,” I replied honestly. “Besides, I was exhausted anyways. I came straight home and fell asleep watching tv.”
“That sounds boring as hell.”
I hid my smile before answering, “There were a view highlights.”
“If you’re still interested, I’d love to finish what we started last night,” she insisted.
“That’s completely unnecessary. You don’t have to go through all that trouble.”
She took the opportunity to fondle my breast through my wife beater, “I was thinking that I could cook dinner for you tonight, we could eat on the patio by the pool. I promise I won’t drink any alcohol.”
“That sounds extremely tempting, but I already told my neighbor that I’d volunteer with her at her church. They’re holding a food drive,” I replied. After güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri all the lying and deceiving I’d done recently, maybe going to church tonight with Mrs. Rodriquez wasn’t such a bad idea. .
“Can she get someone else to help her?” C.C. questioned and once again pressed her body against mine. “Come back over tonight and let me show you everything that I planned on showing you last night. I’ll make it so worth your while.”
A few hours later while out on a much needed run, Mason called again. “For the record, I really don’t appreciate you hanging up on me last night,” he stated once I picked up.
“Well good morning to you too,” I replied sarcastically. “I tried explaining to you that I couldn’t talk but you wouldn’t shut up so I had no choice but to hang up on you.”
He made a disapproving sound through the phone, “Of course ya did. You had more important things to attend to, right? Such as sleeping with a married woman.”
“And how would you know?” I asked. “I’ve met plenty of other women since I’ve been here.”
“Because I can hear it in ya voice whenever ya call to talk about this guy’s wife. So don’t even try to lie to me, I’ve been exactly where you are.”
“Well if you called to give me a moral lecture about sleeping with Vanessa, you’re wasting your time,” I replied bitterly not wanting to think about the night before. “Whatever we have, more like had, imploded right after I got off the phone with you.”
“It’s probably for the best,” he responded. “And I didn’t just call to bust ya balls, I found out a few more things about Cecilia’s father that might be of interest to you.”
I took a seat at an empty bench, “Sounds serious. What did you find out?”
Mason explained, “Cecilia’s father didn’t start up his company all on his own. He and a college buddy of his, Jeffrey Stark started the company way back in the early 90’s. At first business was doing really well and they were makin’ millions but then a couple of years ago, things went south.”
I frowned, “What do you mean things went south?”
“Some other software company wanted to buy the company from them, even offered them double what it was worth but Campos refused to sell. He said he’d die before he allowed anyone else to run his company that he’d built from the ground up,” he explained.
“What about Stark? How did he feel about it?”
“He was all but ready to sign on the dotted line for that much money, he’d even made a deal to sell them his half of the business. However, a few days before he was set to sign the contracts, his housekeeper found him dead.”
“Somehow I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Did you find out what the cause of death was?”
“Coroner ruled it a suicide,” Mason responded. “He OD’ed on prescription sleeping pills. There was also a suicide note reportedly found beside his body.”
I shook my head in denial. “You seriously expect me to believe that Stark was suicidal, days before he was supposed to sign the deal of his life? That doesn’t make any sense, why would he be suicidal?”
“His family argued the same thing,” he paused on the other end of the line. “And according to this article that I just found online, they even requested that a second autopsy be performed but that coroner also ruled it as a suicide.”
“So what happened to his half of the company?” I asked.
“His widow ended up letting Victor buy her late husband’s shares. She figured it’s what her husband would’ve wanted.”
“So Jeffrey Stark ends up six feet under while Victor Campos got to keep the company all to himself? Please tell me that you find this just as suspicious as I do.”
“Of course, but I’m telling ya this so that you know what kind of people ya dealin’ with. Cecilia’s father more than likely murdered his own business partner because he double crossed him. And he fuckin’ got away with it. What the hell makes you think they won’t kill you and do the same to you if they find out what you’re doin’ behind their backs?”
I sighed deeply, this day just kept getting better and better. “They don’t suspect anything. I’m making sure that I’m covering my tracks every step of the way,” I argued back.
“Ya still forgetting that Cecilia is somehow connected to the Ferelli’s,” he contested. “They’re not the kind of people that you fuck with and live to tell about it.”
My assurance to him fell on deaf ears. “I know you’re worried about me but I’ll be fine, I can handle this by myself.”
“These people are dangerous, ya can’t underestimate them.”
“And you can’t underestimate me. I can handle this,” I maintained.
My best friend sighed, “Alright, fine then. If you insist on gettin’ yaself killed, I won’t let you do it alone.”
“What? You can’t just come here!” I exclaimed loud enough for a few people who were walking by to stop and stare at me. I smiled apologetically at them and lowered my voice so that only he could hear me, “Do not come here.”
His voice sounded determined as he answered. “I can and güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri I will. I have to take care of a few things first but I can be there by later this evenin’.”
I shook my head. “As much as I appreciate that, you have a very pregnant and very hormonal wife at home that needs you. You can’t just leave her to come watch out for me.”
“Tori would understand. Hell she’d probably try to pack a bag and come with me. You know she considers you family.”
I laughed knowing good and well he was telling the truth. “I have to do this on my own. I can’t let you put yourself at risk too, you have a wife and unborn child to think about.”
“I just have a really bad feeling about this,” he insisted. “I really wish you’d reconsider and let me come there to help you.”
“Well that’s not going to happen, besides I already told C.C. that I’d have dinner with her again tonight. Hopefully I can get my hands on her phone and see if there’s anything on it that can help us. I just need time, Mason.”
“If you insist,” he replied grudgingly. “But before I let ya go, you should know that ya mom called me late last night. She said she texted you a couple of days ago but got worried when she didn’t hear back from you. I told her that ya were good, just busy workin’.”
“Did she sound okay? The last time I talked to her, she mentioned that she had an appointment this week to see her oncologist. Please don’t tell me her cancer came back.”
“Whoa, she didn’t mention anything about cancer or her doctor’s appointment. She just said that she was on her way to work and needed to know that her baby girl was doin’ okay.”
I smiled, “Do me a favor and call her back as soon as you get off the phone with me. Let her know that I’m fine and will call as soon as I can. I don’t want her to worry about me.”
“I have a better idea,” he suggested. “I’ll go by her apartment tonight when I get off and see if she’ll join Tori and I for dinner.”
“Thanks Maze, I really appreciate it. Sorry again for just hanging up on you.”
“Just make sure you watch ya ass from here on out. I’ll be in touch,” he promised before disconnecting the call.
I sat on the bench a while longer and thought about what Mason had told me. No way had Victor’s business partner committed suicide, it just wasn’t possible. Someone had to have killed him and then made it look like a suicide. Victor didn’t strike me as a cold-blooded killer though, but then again, neither C.C. nor Jay struck me as the type to deal drugs. I needed to find out more but how?
An idea instantly came to me and I quickly Googled the name that could help me. Once I found it, I quickly hit the send button and waited for the other line to pick up. “Hello, thank you for calling Vienna Software,” the receptionist answered. “How may I direct your phone call?”
If I wanted to find out anything directly, I would need to go to the man himself. “Hello, could you please connect me to Jason Westbrook’s office?”
My head was down reading a tech magazine in the lobby when Vanessa’s husband finally appeared. He walked over and apologized, “Sorry to keep you waiting, my meeting ran way over.”
I returned my magazine to the magazine rack and stood up. “Oh it’s fine, thanks for making time to see me.”
“It’s no problem, we can talk in my office.” He guided me into the elevator and hit the button for the third floor. “So what can I help you with?”
“You’ve known C.C. for a while right? We’re having dinner together tonight and I was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to handle her,” I explained. “We’re still getting to know one another and she’s kind of a hard person to read at times.”
Jay chuckled softly and nodded. “I know on the surface she seems like a very vain and selfish woman but she’s very genuine. She’s just been hurt a lot.”
“How long have you known her exactly?” I asked.
“We met several years ago though a mutual friend. I had just gotten laid off at my construction job when a friend introduced me to her. She liked my background and convinced her father to hire me right away.”
“The company was going through some major changes back then, right?” I asked as we stepped off the elevator onto the third floor. “I read an article online a few days ago that mentioned something about Victor’s late business partner committing suicide. Is that true?”
He nodded sadly, “Yeah it happened a few weeks after I got hired but it was totally unexpected from what I’ve heard.” He stopped by his secretary’s office for his mail before leading me to his plush, cozy office. He unlocked the door by swiping his keycard and motioned to a chair in front of his desk, “Please have a seat.”
“Do you know if Victor and his business partner were very close?”
He nodded again as he took his seat. “They grew up in the same neighborhood. Vic was hit pretty hard when he died.”
“You and him seem like you’re pretty close,” I observed.
“My dad split when I was eleven. And when I met güvenilir bahis şirketleri Victor, he taught me what it meant to be a real husband and a father. He’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to an actual dad. I trust him with my life, he’s done a lot for me and my family.”
“I can totally relate to that. My dad and I don’t really have a relationship either. But that’s another story for another day.”
He picked up a framed picture of his kids and admired it, “When Vanessa first told me she was pregnant, I made myself a promise that I would always be the kind of father that they could be proud of. They mean the world to me. Everything I do, I do it for them.”
The intercom buzzed and Jay’s secretary’s voice interrupted us. “Mr. Westbrook, your wife is here to see you.”
I stood up quickly and nearly tripped over my own feet in the process. “I should get going, I don’t wanna hold you up any more than I have already.”
“Don’t worry about it, hang around. I’m sure Vanessa would love to see you.”
That I seriously doubted.
There was a quick rap at the door, and the woman who’d been occupying my mind ever since we’d first crossed paths suddenly appeared in the doorway. The blood nearly drained from her beautiful face as soon as she saw me, and her eyes briefly and suspiciously darted between her husband and I. “Natalie, what are you doing here?” she asked recovering quickly.
“I was in the area running a few errands and thought I’d stop in and check out your husband’s office.”
Her husband stood up and leaned against his desk and exposed me for the liar that I truly was. “Natalie has a hot date with C.C. tonight so she came by to ask me a few questions about how to romance her.”
“I just figured that Jay would be the best one to ask since they work together and know each other so well,” I attempted to explain.
His wife nodded slowly. “I hope you two have a nice time together,” she replied but her body language revealed otherwise. She turned towards Jay, “You ready to leave, babe?”
He nodded and turned to me, “Care to join us?”
Vanessa interjected, “But I only made a reservation for two.”
I added quickly, “And I should really get back to finishing up my errands.”
“I’m sure the restaurant can add another chair to the table, just let me give Janet these files and we can all head out.” He walked past Vanessa and gave her a kiss on his way out. “Be right back, ladies.”
She waited until Jay was completely out of earshot before blowing up on me. “What the hell are you doing here?” she demanded angrily. “I told you to stay the hell away from us.”
“No,” I corrected in a soft voice. “You told me to stay away from you. I can’t help it if your husband enjoys my company.”
“Why did you come here?” she demanded, hands on her hips. “What kind of twisted game are you playing at? People like you always have some sort of angle.”
“People like me?” I asked with a deep sigh. “As hard as this is for you to believe, me being here doesn’t have anything to do with you or with what happened between us last night.”
Her eyes blazed angrily and her nostrils flared. “How could I forget? You already had me so now you’re back to C.C. I thought you said there was nothing between you and her? Or was that another one of your lies?” she spat out angrily.
“What I do or choose not to do with C.C. shouldn’t even concern you,” I countered back. “You said you never wanted to see me again.”
She looked away. “And I don’t. I wasn’t planning on seeing you today or anytime soon.”
“Look, I-” I took a step towards her and she backed up. “I’m sorry you feel that way,” I told her in a quiet voice with my hands raised. “What we shared last night was amazing and I could never regret it. I’ve been with other women before but last night with you was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”
Her voice was soft but firm, “It was incredible but it was also a mistake that can’t ever be repeated. I think it’s for the best if we don’t see other for a while.”
“You’re probably right,” I admitted and turned to leave until she reached out to touch my arm.
“Please don’t tell him what happened between us,” she requested quietly. “He would be completely devastated if he found out.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You came over and we talked. Nothing else happened.”
She released my arm and gave me a tiny smile, “Thank you.”
I forced my own smile in return, “No problem. And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry if I said anything last night that hurt your feelings.”
“You don’t have to apologize. It was in the heat of the moment.”
“Apologize for what?” Jay asked rejoining us.
“I just now remembered that I have a shitload of laundry that needs my attention,” I explained. “So I won’t be able to join you all for lunch. Maybe next time?”
“Sure thing,” he answered and reached for his wife’s hand. “Ready to get out of here?”
She nodded and turned to look at me, “It was good seeing you. Take care.”
“Same here. You two enjoy your lunch,” I replied and watched the husband and wife duo walk away, hand in hand. It was an unbelievably awful feeling to watch her leave with him. I wanted to scream and demand that he get away from her. I wanted to throw her over my shoulder and run out of the building with her.
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