“The old man got to talking. Seemed to know who you were and who she was. Said he was wondering when you’d be coming to get her.”

Fuck. None of this makes any sense.

“Anyway, he showed me her place. Some little studio above a print shop. Place was tiny. Couldn’t imagine the rent being high. Probably how she’d gotten by on just the money she’d taken. Unless she was selling her artwork or something, but I’m guessing not. The place was filled with paintings. Only other things were some clothes, a couple of baby books, and a bed. Even the fridge was pretty bare.”

His words don’t help with any of the confusion, nor supply me with any answers.

“Why do you say I was there?” I find myself asking. It gives me a spark of hope that maybe it won’t be as hard as I think to win my wife back. To piece together what happened all those months ago.

“It was you in all of the paintings. It was like she painted you over and over again.”

I place my hand on the wall to help support myself. She was painting me? Molly hadn’t painted since she’d moved into the condo after we were married. It was something I’d missed.

I remember picking her up to take her out and we’d end up in a make-out session in the car like high school kids. I’d find little smudges of paint in random places on her body. I don’t know why but it turned me on every time I found one. I’d started to look for them.

Then she quit. Said she’d wait until we got the new place and set up a dream studio. That never happened. Shit.

“Clear it out and take it back to New York. I want you to put it in the condo like it’s always been there. Everything. All of it.”

He just studies me for a second.


“She doesn’t remember anything. All she knows is that we made a little trip down here for a few days. She fell and hit her head. Now we’re going home, where she’s fucking been for the last four months.” I yell the last part. It’s like if I say it hard enough, loud enough, it will be true. She never left.

“Of course, sir.”

“Wrap up any loose ends. Do what you have to do. Pay what you have to pay. I don’t care.”

He gives me a tight nod. “It will all be taken care of.”

“Did you see anything about a doctor she might have been seeing?”

Carl reaches into his front suit pocket and pulls out some folded papers. I take them from him and slip them into my back pocket. I’ll have to find a doctor in the city first thing. Have her stuff transferred over. Pull some strings to make it seem like it’s the doctor she’s been seeing the whole time. It’s sneaky and underhanded, but once again I just can’t seem to care. I’d held back too long and that didn’t work. Now I’m just going to take what’s mine.

“Anything else, sir?” he asks.

I don’t need to defend myself, but I still do it. “If your wife tried to leave, what would you do to keep her?”

A half smile hits his mouth like he understands. “It’d be real fucking cute if she thought she could leave.”

“Exactly. I’ll see you back in the city.”

Carl turns and leaves, and I know everything will be handled. The hardest part of all of this is going to be Cindy, but I’ll make her see reason.

I have to make Molly fall back in love with me so that when she finally remembers why she left to begin with, she’ll be in too deep to go. I have to fight back the bit of anger I’m still feeling that she would ever think to leave me.

I make my way back to the room and sit in my chair to watch her. I put my hand back under the blanket and her gown and place it on her stomach, wanting to feel the baby again.

We’d been trying from the beginning to conceive. I’d more than tried. Every time I’d empty myself inside, possessive thoughts filled my mind. Every night I’d crawl into our bed with that looming in my mind. I knew I had her. Well, I thought I did. From the very first moment I’d seen her, my goal had been to make her mine, and I would stop at nothing to make that happen. I was swaying on the edge of the deal with her father and she pushed me right over. Gave me a reason to be around a lot. Work my way as much as I could into her life. And I did.

Marriage didn’t cool that need. A baby would bind us together forever, and I wanted that. She’s this perfect, sweet angel that lights up my life. A life that I hadn’t even realized was dark, and I feared someone would take her from me. Try to lure her away from me.

Did she know when she ran that she was pregnant? Was it part of the reason? Would she have hidden this from me? I discount that thought. No, she was heading back when she’d called Cindy. There would have been no way for me not to have found out when she’d come back.

I also know she wouldn’t do that. Not my Molly. She wanted a family so bad. Hers had been lacking and she desired more, and I’d planned to fulfill that for her. I wanted that, too, once she gave me a taste of what it would be like. I wanted it with her and no one else.

This plan had to work. There would be no other way.

Chapter Eight Molly

Phillip lifts me from the car, easily cradling me into his chest.

“I think I can walk. I was doing it a little at the hospital,” I tease him. He hasn’t been more than a reach away from me since I woke up in the hospital three days ago. Almost like, if he takes his eyes off me, I might up and disappear.

But I can only imagine how scared he must have been thinking he lost me and our little peanut. He said I stepped out of a shop we were checking out on our little getaway and I was almost hit by a truck. A man pushed me out of the way in the nick of time and I’d hit my head pretty hard on the concrete curb.