Felicity grabbed the little box and managed to get it under her shirt before the camera turned around. She made her way to the bathroom and started the shower. Felicity stood in the corner behind the toilet and opened the box. All of the secret messages were still there untouched. A new one awaited with the others.
There is no time like the present. I am sorry that it has taken this long to get the courage. There will be a water delivery. That is the moment for us.
Felicity folded the paper neatly and put it back in the little trap box. She twisted the pieces to lock the box. Felicity undressed and got in the shower. She wondered when Dawn had entered. It had been several weeks still without a word from her. Felicity avoided the mirror as she toweled her hair dry. The sight of the scars made her impulsive and irrational towards her actions against Gavin. Her fingers moved along the imperfect skin as she applied lotion and she tried to ignore the rage that simmered in her chest. Felicity applied the cream around her ankles where the shackles had rubbed for weeks until they had removed a few days prior. She bit her lip to keep the emotion from being released as it began to boil within again.
Felicity had finished the chores and had settled in the study. There was a knock at the door. She looked at the clock. Gavin was almost home from work. She could not open the door even if she wanted to. Then she heard voices as the door opened.
“I am sorry that I am running late. I forgot that about the water delivery. The coolers are almost empty,” Gavin’s voice carried through the house.
Felicity’s ears perked up. She didn’t recognize the other voice but she knew that it was the water delivery. Felicity closed the book and rushed from the room to the dining room where one of the coolers was. She skidded around the corner and run into Gavin. His face was stormy when he looked at her. Felicity tried to look pass Gavin to the dining room that was only steps up the hallway.
“Sorry sir. I was just going to check the door and let them know to wait for you,” Felicity dropped her eyes.
“No need. I got it. It is just the water delivery.”
“Oh I should help him so he isn’t burdened,” Felicity moved to go around him.
“No,” Gavin grabbed her by the throat and pressed against the closest wall with narrowed eyes.
Felicity took a moment to let the fear wash over her as her instincts kicked in. She jammed the heel of her hand into his wrist and brought her elbow across his chin. Gavin let go and stumbled back. Felicity rushed by him to make it into the dining room with the delivery guy. Gavin turned and grabbed her by the ponytail before she could round the corner. Felicity wrenched his arm forward using both hands, smashed him in the face with her right hand and swept his leg to get him to let her go. Gavin released her as he went to catch himself. Gavin regained his balance and grabbed at Felicity again.
Felicity swung at Gavin and caught his jaw. Felicity knew she was not at her best form since Gavin had starved her for two days before he had given her broth late the previous night. Felicity knew that she didn’t have the strength but she had the desire to be free. Her fight had been renewed in her from the letter that Dawn had left. Felicity automatically fell into her stance. Gavin blocked her jab but had not expected the upper cut. Gavin swung a hard left that knocked her off balance. Felicity caught herself and moved forward with a double jab and a cross. Gavin’s eyes went wide.
Gavin had remembered the classes that Felicity had taken as he had to put forth effort to defend himself. He had assumed that when he broke her that she would forget who she used to be. Gavin stepped back in measured movements. Felicity’s stance held her power hand as her right so Gavin switched his stance and forced her to circle the opposite way to gain ground. He had not expected her to switch stances and advance on him just as fast and strong from the left dominant position. He blocked the jabs and rotated back so the upper cut displaced a fraction of its power. Gavin realized if he tried to stand with her it was going to be more work. He lashed out with a wild arched over hand to get Felicity to fall back and he snapped a kick at her to get her off balance.
Felicity wobbled and Gavin lunged at her. She moved with the motion and slid across the floor. Her back hit the edge of the china cabinet as Gavin struggled to get her to her back. Felicity pulled her knee to her chest and pushed out but Gavin was stronger and swift with his movements. With her fists balled tight she continued to move in his grip to cause him to expel his energy. Gavin got the upper hand and she was moved to her back as she grew tired. Felicity took the moment to catch her breath and tried to focus around the pain and blurred vision. Felicity let Gavin position himself over her legs as she guarded her face and neck. She placed her left foot on the outside of his leg, surrendered her neck to be able to grab his wrist with one hand from the outside and one from the inside, then she arched her hip as she pulled him down. Felicity rolled over top of him and punched him in the groin. When he moved forward to protect his groin she turned and ran.
Felicity smacked into a body she had not expected. It was the delivery man. He nodded at her and stepped out of her way. Felicity breathed a sigh of relief as she went for the kitchen door. Gavin had closed it and she realized she needed his hand print to get out. She made a frustrated noise about to move to another room when she heard movement from the front of the house. She turned to go to the front when Gavin and the delivery tumbled into the room and knocked her back. Felicity watched as the man punched Gavin as she got to her feet. She heard Gavin break free of the delivery man after a moment of struggle. Felicity did not look back as she moved into the dining room as quick as she could manage without slipping.
“Felicity,” Dawn had just entered from the front door.
“He’s right behind me,” Felicity threw herself into Dawn’s arms.
Gavin rushed into the room and the delivery man caught him by the shirt and pulled him back. Gavin fell back to the floor and immediately was back on his feet and advanced on the man.
“Marcus Gavin is quick,” Dawn called as she pulled Felicity away.
Marcus ducked the right hook that Gavin drove at him. Gavin swung close again with his left. Marcus grabbed his arm, twisted it back and flung him into the wall. Gavin pushed off the wall and his back hand fist caught Marcus in the jaw.
Felicity realized that there was the one exit from the house in the room and Marcus had just thrown Gavin in front of it. She pulled Dawn as she moved the other way to the hall that would lead around.
Gavin pushed Marcus back away from him and he stumbled back into Dawn. Dawn tried to let go of Felicity before she fell but it happened too fast. Felicity stumbled from the momentum and pull of Dawn. Felicity caught herself. She turned back to Dawn. Marcus clambered back to his feet but with the moments of freedom Gavin had moved further in the room and grabbed at Felicity.
Gavin grabbed her arm. Felicity placed her other hand over hers and twisted at the hip away from him and pulled out of his grasp. Marcus grabbed Gavin as Felicity moved to Dawn. Marcus boxed Gavin’s ears and followed with a right cross. Gavin shook his head and spat at Marcus.
“Dawn,” Gavin breathed out harshly, “all these years. I never thought it would be you.”
Gavin went to tackle Marcus. Marcus leaned forward, forced Gavin forward and slipped arm around Gavin’s head and yanked him into his body. Marcus brought his knee up into Gavin several times as hard as he could. Marcus wrenched Gavin’s body as much as he could as he tried to tighten his hold around Gavin’s neck. Marcus heard the click before he felt the sting of the blade cut across his thigh. Marcus let Gavin go and kicked him back as hard as he could. Gavin was quick on his feet and had the knife almost to Marcus’ throat. Marcus rotated out, grabbed his hand that held the knife, switched his grip with his other hand and went to Gavin’s throat with a quick chopping action. Marcus flicked Gavin’s wrist with a twist and he dropped the knife.
Felicity grabbed Dawn off the floor and pulled her out of the room. She glanced back relieved that Marcus was not just a strong guy Dawn had found. Once the knife hit the floor Felicity was confident enough to guide Dawn out of the house. She led them to the door.
“Dawn where is your car?”
“A block over. I didn’t want Gavin to see it when he came home,” Dawn held on to Felicity as they headed for the door.
Felicity froze when she heard a scream from Marcus. She looked back. She could not see them from the living room but she knew Marcus was in trouble. Felicity groaned and pushed Dawn to the front of the house.
“Felicity no. I brought him here to rescue you. Marcus knows the risk,” Dawn pulled her.
“If he kills Marcus then what is stopping him from coming after me?”
“The one way ticket to Argentina that is waiting for us in my car. Come on we must go,” Dawn pleaded.
“I want to but I cannot consciously leave a man to die. Not on my behalf when I have already killed one person here. Go get help call the cops whatever.”
Felicity shoved Dawn to the door and turned back to the kitchen and dining room area. The beatings crossed her mind, the starvation, the unwanted sexual advances, her broken spirit, her obedience after time, Jane’s dead eyes, her marked skin and her lost past drove her forward. Her fear tangled into her courage but she swallowed it down.
Marcus was on his back and Gavin struggled to get the knife closer to his throat. Felicity grabbed a chair from the table and raced to Marcus’ aid. She brought the chair down hard across Gavin’s back. Gavin dropped the knife and fell forward with a grunt. Felicity dropped the remains of the chair. Marcus shoved him off and immediately was on his feet. Marcus grabbed Gavin by the hair and slammed his face into the floor a few times before he yanked him up and locked his arms behind his back. Gavin tried to struggle but Marcus had the advantage. Marcus kneed Gavin in the back of the leg to keep him on his knees.
Dawn sprinted around the corner as she flipped her phone shut.
“The authorities are on the way,” Dawn replied as she eyed the scene.
“Felicity you have to finish this,” Marcus told her.
“I-I can’t,” Felicity’s voice trembled.
“Felicity,” Dawn picked up the knife from where it had fallen and handed it to Felicity, “you have to do it.”
“No,” Felicity tried to push the knife back at Dawn.
Dawn curled Felicity’s fingers around the hilt and made Felicity hold it.
“Felicity do it! If you do not do it then it will haunt you forever,” Dawn ordered.
Felicity looked at Gavin as he struggled to get free of Marcus’ strong arms that held him. Her eyes flickered to the knife in her hand. It was the knife that had taken Jane’s life. It was the knife that had scarred her left shoulder. It was the knife that had been Gavin’s security blanket. Felicity looked down at her battered and bruised arms and cracked knuckles. The knife lay in her palm with her fingers curled around it where Dawn had placed it. Felicity flipped the knife in her hand to a usable grip with the blade along her wrist and hilt firm under her fingers. She moved to Gavin. She locked her eyes to his. Felicity saw the action before he moved. She turned but it was too late. Gavin knocked Marcus back and he advanced on Felicity. Gavin tackled her around the waist. Felicity’s face smacked into the floor as she fell. She scrambled to turn over and not give him her back. Felicity swiped the knife at him and the blade caught his cheek. Gavin out maneuvered her and pinned her to the floor. Felicity tried to free her arm. When she realized she would not get another chance at him she dropped the knife and flicked it across the floor away from him.
“This is much better,” Gavin snarled down at her as the blood began to trickle down his cheek.
“Dammit Gavin let her go,” Dawn yelled as she pulled out the drawers on the island in the middle of the kitchen until she found the right one.
“Or what?” Gavin laughed.
Marcus was back on his feet and moved to them. Gavin punched Felicity then slammed her head against the tile. She let out a groan as Marcus pulled Gavin off of her.
“Gavin I didn’t want to do this,” Dawn lifted a small hand gun that she had hidden and aimed it at Gavin.
“Dawn,” Gavin’s face filled with surprise, “I am speechless.”
“Years,” Dawn shook her head as she moved to get a better position, “years I helped in your perverse game of finding a perfect mate. You went too far. You should have let her go.”
“Which one?” Gavin smirked.
“I did everything you told me to so that I could protect her. I lied for you, I hid bodies, I poisoned women for you and all I asked was for you to stay away from my niece once you let her go. She never spoke about her time here to anyone but me,” Dawn’s eyes filled with tears.
“Poor little Jane should not have double crossed me. She was going to help that one over there escape,” Gavin jerked his head to a barely conscious Felicity.
“It was not her,” Dawn gave him a watery smile.
“What?” Gavin’s eyes snapped to her.
“I spent the first year planning with Felicity. I would write the plan on the cardboard tampon applicators or insert then into the boxes with other feminine care products,” Dawn made her way closer to Felicity as Marcus pulled Gavin back.
“You. . .you what?” Gavin’s face lit up with rage.
“I knew that you would break her and that she would never go if I did not help. Then you moved her here and it was almost impossible with all the cameras. I had given up on our plans. Then you killed Jane. You wrote your end when you killed her Gavin. I cannot help in your games any more. Gavin’s love story has to come to an end. Now you should go lock yourself in the cage downstairs so that I do not have to use this gun,” Dawn nudged Felicity with her foot.
“Not likely,” Gavin stepped back into Marcus and brought his heel of his boot down hard on his instep.
Marcus tried to grip Gavin tighter but with another stomp he automatically released him. Gavin lunged into Dawn. Dawn yelped as she was knocked back and Gavin grabbed the gun. Dawn closed her eyes and resigned herself to death. The shots rang out and she jumped but felt no pain. Dawn opened her eyes and saw Marcus on the floor as the blood oozed from the three chest wounds. Her eyes flew to Gavin as he walked back over to her. She crawled backward and she hit the cabinets.
“I don’t think so,” Felicity said through clinched teeth.
Dawn’s eyes went to the woman. She had been so worried about her life that she had not realized that Felicity had gotten back up. Dawn saw her sway a little but her confidence steeled her gaze as she held the knife to his throat. Gavin froze.
“You cannot do it,” Gavin chuckled, “if you could then you would have done it the first time you had the chance.”
Felicity blinked heavily as her vision swam. She gritted her teeth to keep the bile at bay as she pressed the knife closer and she felt the stickiness of his blood on her fingers as he gasped. Her arms seemed too heavy and her arm slipped a little and he took the opportunity. The sirens were closer and Felicity knew she just needed to hold off a little bit longer. Her body was loose as he shoved his elbow into her gut. Felicity was unfocused for a moment then she lifted her head and saw him as he turned with the gun in hand. Felicity flipped the knife in her hand and before he could raise the gun and aim at her she moved into him and jammed the blade into his bicep. Gavin howled in pain and dropped the gun. Felicity drew back and plunged the knife into his side.
Gavin gritted his teeth as the pain washed over him repeatedly. Gavin swung at her with his good arm and knocked her back. He held his arms against his body and looked around for something to tie off the wounds. Felicity had stumbled back then she took a dive for the gun. Gavin moved at the same time. They almost collided as they both got a grip on the gun. Gavin had his injured arm stretched out with the gun in his grip. He used his other hand to strike at Felicity.
Felicity grunted as she tried to take the gun from Gavin. They scuffled on the floor as they fought to gain possession of the gun. Gavin’s blood made it more of a struggle as the floor had become slippery and tacky. Felicity blocked as many of his hits as she could.
Dawn was not sure what to do. She did not want to give Gavin the upper hand but she was worried about an injury to herself. Dawn watched as they struggled for the gun. Felicity had managed to get on top but was too weak to hold the position. Gavin was able to maneuver her off and the tussle continued. Dawn jumped as the gun went off. She heard the front door shatter as the police announced themselves. Dawn barely heard them over her screams.
The repeated beep of the monitor grew louder, the wheeze and hiss of the ventilator droned on, and the stale medical disinfectant overwhelmed the sense of smell.
“Felicity,” a familiar voice weakly called.
Felicity tried to move but the weight of the pain was too much to push through. She groaned and wiggled her nose to make the hoses more comfortable on her face. She swallowed and felt the tube in her throat. Felicity fell back into unconsciousness.
When Felicity woke again she felt a little stronger. She swallowed and the tube was gone. She counted the tubes on her face and the ones that ran up her arms and to her unhappy surprise the catheter. Felicity made a face of discomfort. She swallowed again and worked to open her eyes. Everything was blurred. She blinked a few times and heard movement to her right. She tried to turn but realized that there was a device that held her head in place. She waited for them to come in her vision. Felicity gasped.
“Mom,” Felicity croaked out.
“Yes baby it’s mommy,” her mom grabbed her hand and squeezed it, “so long. Then you came back to us.”
“Flower,” her dad moved up behind her mom.
Felicity smiled up at her parents. She had made it out. Felicity closed her eyes and relaxed knowing that she was free. The tiredness overcame her again. She tried to open her eyes again and could not. She exhaled and smiled again.
The beeping grew rapid then was one long sound. A few moments followed and the hiss stopped. The room grew still. Felicity heard her parents’ voice softly. Freedom.
Dawn grabbed her bags from the grocery cart and loaded them into the car. Dawn had gotten the keys from the police once they had released the house. Gavin had never changed his will and everything of his belonged to her. The thoughts of what to do with all weighed heavily on her as she competed her errands. Dawn ducked into her car as someone grabbed her arm. Dawn jerked back with her can of pepper spray posed to spray but hesitated when she recognized the face.
“Dawn,” Will said softly.
“Oh you scared me,” Dawn stepped back out of the car.
“Sorry. I know after everything you’ve been through I shouldn’t have snuck up on you,” Will took her hand into his, “I got a call this morning from the hospital.”
“What is it?” Dawn’s eyes began to water before Will even opened his mouth.
“Felicity didn’t make it.”
“Of course. Of course,” Dawn squeezed her eyes shut, “she got him but he still got her in the end.”
“I am so sorry. I know you two were close. I wish I had known. I could’ve helped. I could’ve done something,” Will wrapped his arms around Dawn.
“No one could have done anything,” Dawn shook in his arms.
Dawn remained in his arms as the grief rattled her. Failure and regret settled deeply in her chest and she would never forgive herself. Her lack of actions had cost her family and a friend. It was not the ending to the story she had hoped for.