- Genre: Romance
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: Luna Sads
Warning: The book contains mature content. It may be distressing for some individuals and could trigger emotional or psychological discomfort. Reader discretion is advised.
The cold air of night stroked her exposed arms as she tried to seize her whimpers. The soft fabric of dress she used to adore clung indecently to her skin drenched in sweat as she held onto the little piece of fabric for dear life. Positioning a hand over her mouth, she tried to control her sobs and looked terrifyingly towards the door of her apartment. Another knock startled her as she pushed herself against the space between cabinet and wall.
A few hours ago it was all fine. She had just returned from her job and was about to enter her cosy apartment that she rented a few months ago, only to find it turned upside down. It wouldn't have been that terrifying if there wasn't a dead cat lying on her bed that she used to feed every night. Her thick crimson blood soaked through her white sheets, filled with the pungent smell of a deceased body.
Grace was scared. After a long time. And when she decided to call for security, she find another presence in her apartment but it was too late when she saw the silhouette of a man standing in front of the main door. And when she saw a knife lapped with blood between his fingers, she screamed and ran for her closet where she had now locked herself.
She felt utterly foolish for leaving her bag in the living room. But now the deed was done. There was an unknown man in her apartment, and she was about to die, probably.
She couldn't remember making any enemies ever since she had come to New York. She barely had any friends even. She was a free soul, loving her work and living a simple casual life. Then why was this happening to her?
Her hands trembled and clenched in fists when she heard the sound of glass shattering and her blood ran cold. She waited for a few minutes as she heard grunts and groans of pain inside her bedroom outside the closet. She didn't know if it was her fear or panic but she could hear distinct voices in her bedroom belonging to different men.
She had always been afraid of them. She didn't know if it was because of her terrific past or the fact that it was because of her past that she was in this situation. Joining her hands together, she closed her eyes and prayed for a higher power to save her from whatever was coming her way.
She had just mumbled a few words when she again heard a loud knock on her closet door making her yelp in sudden surprise but this time there followed a voice.
"Hello, is there anyone? This is the police." Grace looked both confused and startled for a second and when the weight of the situation finally sink in, she immediately crawled towards the door and standing on her unstable, trembling legs, she finally opened the door.
The first sight that greeted her was of her neighbour, Lisa Jane, the only woman residing on this floor along with her and two police officers standing beside her. Even though Grace and Lisa lived on the same floor of the same building, they barely communicated, whether the reason was their unmatched busy schedules or lack of interest to know each other but Grace suddenly felt at ease seeing the woman she barely knew. Grace noticed a confused and panicked look on Lisa's face as she looked around the room with anxiousness and terror.
Not thinking about what she was doing, Grace find herself landing in the arms of the woman she hardly knew despite her name. Her tears started flowing on cue as heart-wrenching sobs escaped through her mouth. Lisa, on other hand, not knowing what to do, nervously wrapped her arms around the shorter woman and rubbed her back soothingly.
"Umm... it's alright." Lisa tried to pacify her but she couldn't believe what she witnessed a few moments ago.
Just like any other night, Lisa was again late. It was already past ten when she reached her apartment building. The elevator reached her floor, she walked towards her apartment door when she noticed something strange in the hallway.
Like unusual, the hallway had cigarette buds scattered all over, mostly in front of the door opposite her. Since this building was always clean and well-maintained, it was strange to find such things. She shrugged her shoulders, noting to complain security guard about this and was about to unlock her door when she heard a high-pitched scream from next door.
Her hands stilled and a deep frown marred her forehead. She contemplated if she imagined it but when she again heard the scream, her breath shortened as she stumbled a few steps back and immediately pulled her mobile out with trembling hands.
That was the best decision she had made that day because when the police reached there and opened the door next to hers, Lisa didn't know what to expect but when she witnessed the destroyed living room of her neighbour's apartment and drops of thick blood, she knew it was something lethal.
"Do you know what happened here?" The police officer asked when Grace finally let go of Lisa and handed her a glass of water. Grace shook her head and eagerly gulped down the glass of water as she felt her throat sore. After taking deep breaths, Grace looked unconsciously at the glass in her trembling hands before speaking.
"I-I just reached home, a-and when I open the door, there was an unknown man in my living room."
"Do you know him? Did you see his face?"
Grace shook her head.
"I don't know who he was and no, I didn't see his face. It was dark when I opened the door."
The officer nodded and noted something on his notepad and asked.
"Since you do not have any solid proof on who it was, we cannot just believe your words."
Grace's eyes widened as she looked around fearfully in dreed if that man was still there.
"Y-You didn't catch him?"
Officer shook his head intensifying her fear more.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but by the time we broke your door, the intruder seemed to escape through the window."
Grace gulped hard with uncertainty dancing in her eyes as she tried to find her words.
"W-what if he comes again? Isn't it the duty of the police to protect civilians?"
The officer nodded at her words.
"Of course, it is. That's why I suggest you hire a bodyguard until we catch the intruder."
Bodyguard? Grace hated that word. All her life she had been guarded. When she was with her parents, a guard was assigned to her all the time and when she was taken by him, he became her bodyguard, the man she desperately needed protection from.
Feeling tired and drained, she agreed.
Of course, it wasn't easy for her to spend another night in this said apartment, but she suddenly knew what she was about to do.
"Did you check the CCTVs? Maybe you'll find some information from there?"
"We have the footage. Once we'll check that out, we'll inform you."
Grace looked at Lisa.
"Thanks for helping me. Sorry for troubling you." Her mumbled words were strained yet thankful. Lisa nodded.
The officer said something to another officer and after collecting the blood samples and a few more samples, they left. Now when they both were alone, the uncomfortable aura surrounded them.
Grace had never talked to her nor greeted her. Not that she was disrespectful or rude but their schedules hardly matched. Grace had seen Lisa leaving her apartment very early and coming back late. But Grace had a different schedule. She usually leaves for work more like an hour or later and usually come back at around six to seven. But today, she had extra work, so she decided to overwork since it was Friday.
"If you're not comfortable here, you can sleep with me."
Grace looked perplexed at the woman and nodded her head. No matter how less she knew her, Lisa was her safest option for now.
Grabbing her nightwear from the closet, Grace followed Lisa. When they crossed the living room, Grace hardly looked around. She knew she would regret looking around. The mess her apartment was submerged in was both sore to her eyes and terrorising to her soul.
At this moment, she didn't know what she should think anymore.
Lisa opened her door and motioned for Grace to follow her.
"I don't have an extra bed since I live alone. But we can share since we're both women, right?"
Grace clutched her clothes close to her chest and nodded with hesitation. It was better than sleeping alone in a blood-covered bed anyways.
Lisa looked at Grace for a second and nodded without asserting anything.
"The bathroom is there, you can take a shower and I'll cook something for you. Is it okay?"
Grace wanted to decline. Lisa had already been such a help that she didn't want to bother her more but as she opened her mouth to say something, Lisa had already pulled out groceries from the fridge and was washing them.
Grace stood there and looked at her back. Lisa was surely a stunning woman, with doe eyes and a healthy complexion with rosy cheeks. The tall statue of the woman left Grace feeling insecure about her height. Unlike Grace, Lisa's body was lean but in a good way. Right proportions and beautiful short blonde hair. Lisa was everything Grace was not.
"Are you going to stare at me like this or want me to return the favour?"
Grace's eyes widened when she heard her voice though she wasn't even looking her way. Grace felt her cheeks reddening when she caught Lisa smirking her way and quickly rushed towards the bathroom.
She couldn't believe that she was checking out a woman. Grace controlled her raging heart and reminded herself. She should be grateful to her.
After taking shower, Grace wrapped her wet hair in the towel and was about to leave the bathroom when she caught her reflection in the mirror.
She surprised herself when she couldn't recognise the woman she was looking at. Her hands instinctively trembled as she clutched onto the cabinet. Six months and here she was, living in fear again. Was it so hard for her to even wish for a happy life? Grace felt a sudden bubbling of emotions inside her that she had kept in all her life. Only and only if he had never taken an interest in her, she wouldn't be here. She wouldn't have to commit sins that he forced her into. He made her what she was now and she was afraid that she would never find herself again.
Taking a deep breath, she reminded herself. He would never find her again. She had escaped him for good and he didn't know where she was. At least that's what she tried to feed herself.