Chapter 35: Miss Murder
Putting Fauna down for the night had become a challenge for me. She was pretty quiet for the most part. The challenge itself was my fear of having to take my eyes off of her for more than a few minutes. Just thinking about it often felt like pure torture. I didn’t know if it was the strong attachment that I felt toward her or if it was fear of something happening to her while she slept. I now knew that it wasn’t the crying, the feedings, or the diaper changes that kept you up in the middle of the night, it was watching each and every breath she took that had me so amazed by
the fact that I created something so beautiful and delicate with the man I loved.
Motherhood felt so natural. But sometimes it felt as easy as breathing and sometimes it felt like I was walking on eggshells. Not to mention that I was constantly paranoid. Today it seemed like your baby could die as soon as you took your eyes off of them. It made it even worse seeing so many people do such horrible things to their children. I refused to even cut her little fingernails due to fear of hurting her. I swear if there was ever a time if I saw any blood coming from her, they could go ahead and stick me six feet under.
Now that Danny was working, it was just us late at night. He waited until she was at least two weeks old before finding a job as a correctional officer at Steven's. Too bad he didn't have the job a few months ago when I was always craving McDonald's. All he had to do was walk right across the street when he got off in the mornings. Sometimes, I'd roll over and he'd surprise me with biscuits and gravy after making sure Fauna was changed and fed. It caught me off guard when he decided that that was what he wanted to do. Until a few months ago, he always took me as the type that would end up in a correctional facility and not working as a correctional officer. If it were anybody else, I would have been worried about them being in that environment, but Danny could hold his own and take care of himself. Anyone else in my shoes would have objected to being alone at night, but I took that as the perfect opportunity to have our daughter to myself.
That meant that I would sit up all night staring at her without having him run me out of the nursery and make me get in bed. Sometimes he would do that just to make me succumb to my exhaustion just so he could have her all to himself. It was quite funny at times. We usually spent the majority of the day fighting over her. But I had to admit that she was a Daddy’s girl. No one could stop the never-ending crying episodes but Daddy. No one could bathe her right but her daddy. No one could rock her to sleep just right except for her daddy. I knew that I had become jealous. As soon as he would make it home and shower, he was hogging her. I was one of the lucky ones though. A lot of girls my age would have killed to be in my shoes.
"Lock the house up tight," Mom said for the tenth time in the last five minutes. She was the only one that ever really worried about me being alone at night. She sounded like a broken record."Yes ma'am," I said, rolling my eyes. Fauna was fast asleep and for the first time in a long time, I was preparing to have a few hours to myself before I headed to bed. Danny and I had said our good nights and he also made sure to tell me to check the locks at least a hundred times before laying down. "Call me when Danny makes it home in the morning. I love you," she said finally. "I love you too. I will if I'm awake." I hung up and strolled through the house as a feeling of being watched started to creep up on me.
I headed to the front door, looking out the peep hole as I stood on the tips of my toes. No one was there. I made sure to lock the main lock and the deadbolt. Danny would have a rough time trying to unlock the door in the morning, but I'd just shoot him a text before heading to sleep to call me so I could open it for him. It was a pain in the ass at times, but I'm glad we had it for extra security. I don't even think a SWAT team could have kicked that door down.
We were on the fifth floor of the building, so it would have been next to impossible for someone to try to sneak in through the windows. Still, I walked over to the large windows, peeping through the blinds where there wasn't a car in sight in the parking lot below us. "Calm down, Mama Bear," I said quietly to myself with a chuckle. I made three more rounds in the next thirty minutes, this time I made sure to lay my eyes on each and every nook and cranny, considering any and all possibilities for an intruder to break in. I had finally started to wear myself down when I decided that the place was locked down like Fort Knox and I had an aluminum baseball bat in my hand.
There was obviously nothing to worry about, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why my fight or flight instinct was revved up. I told myself over and over again that we were safe as I dragged myself into the bedroom and tried to curl up under the blankets, fully clothed. That was incredibly unusual for me, but something told me to keep my clothes on just in case I needed to get back up. I made sure that the red light on the baby monitor was on and I could hear a few faint snores from Fauna. I tried to close my eyes and drift away, but my mind was still racing.
I ended up checking the door and windows one more time, finally feeling my eyes grow heavy when I made it to the couch. "Calm the fuck down," I said to myself through gritted teeth. I was getting frustrated and even more exhausted than I was an hour ago and I was hoping that my mind would finally settle down. The only light that filled the room was the from the full moon peaking through the blinds. The atmosphere felt peaceful and I could finally relax. I placed the bat on the floor by the couch and curled up, pulling the maroon throw blanket over my legs. My eyes fluttered as I gazed at the moon and before I knew it, I had fallen asleep.
I didn't know what time it was when I heard a few slow but loud knocks on the front door. It was still dark and the moon was still the only light filling up the room. I figured Danny was able to get off early and that alone excited me enough to cause me to jump up from the couch cheerfully.
The knocks continued. "While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door," I whispered, smiling to myself. I skipped to the door, quickly unlocking the locks. I was excited. I was always told that Danny was only going to be able to leave early in the event of an emergency. There wasn't an emergency, but I was glad that he was home. I would finally be able to feel completely safe.
I opened the door, ready to jump into the arms of my boyfriend. "Surprise, surprise," I said happily.
On the other side of the door stood Dean. He stood there with his back pressed against the wall and his arms folded across his chest. This time, he wasn't covered in sweat and he didn't reek of booze. He actually looked like he was sober for the first time in months. His hair was trimmed up and slicked back. He smelled strongly of a cologne that was burning my nose and his clothes looked fresh off the racks, along with his white shoes that looked fresh out of the box. It almost made me think that he was attempting to be a knock off version of Danny.
"And what a surprise this is," he said smoothly, raising an eyebrow. "What the fuck do you want?" I said sharply, ready to slam the door in his face and call for some reinforcement. "To bring you back to reality," he replied. He took a step toward me, expecting me to let him in, but I didn't budge. There was no way in hell that I was going to let him get that close to me in a confined space with my daughter fast asleep in the next room.
He could tell that I was in defense mode. His eyes wandered over my body, making my stomach turn. "Motherhood has been kind to you," he said calmly. His eyes lingered on my hips and my chest. I wasn't wearing something revealing. I stood there in a plain black pair of yoga pants and a tank top with my hair tied up in a mom bun. The way he looked at me would have made you think that I was standing there in lingerie. I rolled my eyes. "Why are you here?" I was getting more annoyed by the minute."I was hoping that we could talk," he said nervously. I stood there with my arms folded across my chest. "About what? There's nothing that we need to talk about," I scoffed. He rubbed the back of his neck, looking down at me like he was about to burst into tears. "We've got a lot of history," he said with a shrug. "What we had was called domestic violence. Not history," I snapped.
This was always how he got his hooks back in me. He'd show up on my doorstep, cleaned up and sober, and he would dangle all of the few good memories we had in front of me. Before I would even have the chance to think about it all and push him away, we were making up and back to the same bullshit as before. A lot of time had passed and there was no fucking way he was going to make his way back into my life. When you've dealt with drama and bullshit and eventually find something new, you don't want to turn back. Danny was my something new and we were at a point where I couldn't imagine life without him.
"But we loved each other," he said, hanging his head as he stepped closer to me. "We didn't. You know as well as I do that that flame died a long time ago. You don't put your hands on someone that you love," I replied, still standing my ground. "And you don't have abortions when they get you pregnant," he said nonchalantly. "IT WAS A MISCARRIAGE!" I yelled quickly. I could feel the rage burning in my chest. I didn't even care if Fauna woke up. He was running out of time and I was running out of patience. "Keep your voice down!" he hissed. "You hurt me! You knew that I would never hurt you even after all the shit you put me through!" I was letting my anger show and he stood there with a pitiful look on his face that was begging me to feel sorry for him.
I had completely run out of sympathy. "And I have to live with that. You don't think I stay awake at night thinking about all of the mistakes I made? I didn't realize how amazing you were until you were gone," he said, stretching his hand out to try to place it on my hip. Even though I had made up my mind that I was going to tell his stupid ass to kick rocks, I enjoyed his grovelling. I didn't know if his words were sincere. Even in the past, I didn't think that he meant anything he was saying. Listening to him was only going to make me feel better when I told him to fuck off.
"Sydney, you have to believe me when I say that I'm sorry. I love you," he said with his voice cracking. The smirk on my face only tore him apart even more, but I couldn't hold back my laughter. The way I was giggling and cackling would have made you think that I was high. I had laughed until my stomach started hurting as he stood there falling to pieces.
Suddenly, he fell to his knees in front of me. He crawled closer with tears flowing down his face. "You can't do this. You can't be with him when I still love you. I can't live without you," he sobbed. I knew this trick too. Just like a spoiled child that was used to getting their way, he would resort to crying and throwing himself on the floor, throwing a temper tantrum when his talking didn't get him anywhere. In the past, that was usually my breaking point. I would fall to my knees to join him and we would cry in each other's arms. He would have me convinced that we couldn't live without each other and that anything else would be out of the question.
"Dean, I don't love you anymore," I said firmly. He threw his arms around the lower half of my body and buried his face in the lower half of my stomach. I could feel my shirt getting wet from tears and snot. "You have to! I should have been there when you had the miscarriage! I should have never put my hands on you! I can't live without you!" I was beyond annoyed and decided that I had grown tired of the theatrics. He continued to cry and beg me to come back to him. "You can and you will! What we had is over! Beyond over!" I said through gritted teeth as I pulled his arms off of me. The old me would have let this go on for hours just to have something to laugh about later on down the line. Who I was now saw that this was simply just a waste of time and there was no point in entertaining him. The more I fed into it, the worse he was going to act and I didn't have the energy for it.
He curled up in a ball once he had released me. He looked pretty pathetic, but he just laid there. He didn't even try to follow me inside as I stepped back into the apartment and closed the door. "The only girl I ever loved is gone! I've got nothing to live for!" he wailed. I pressed my ear against the door to listen for a few more minutes before I heard him get up and head back down the stairs. I furiously rubbed my temples, feeling a headache creeping up on me. It was definitely time to head to bed. I would need my energy in the morning when Danny finally made it home. I would have to calm him down because he'd try to round up Reggie and Ryan to go looking for him when it wasn't even worth it.
My paranoia finally faded away as I got undressed and climbed into bed. I had to pat myself on the back for how well I handled the situation. That was all I needed to prove to myself that I was stronger and completely brand new. I had let him win in the past with the old Sydney. The woman I was now wasn't going to fall for that kind of bullshit. I was the bigger person and the thought of having that over him was everything I had hoped it would be.