Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental. The characters are fictional and of my own creation. The place, time, and incidents are purely fictional. Copyright © March 2004.
This work is rated as adult material because it involves a relationship between consenting adults of the same gender, and because anything can happen in my stories. If you are easily offended please read something else. If any of this is illegal where you live, stop reading. Beyond this you may wish to take the following immediate actions. First, move. Second, if it is your wish, resume reading. Let no one dictate what you may or may not read, except you, the only person who should be in control of your life.
Warning! This section contains violence and extreme language.
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Inevitable Destiny 15
Inevitable Destiny 16 Ė Nightmares
By Ken Rogers
Samantha closed the door, leaning back against it for a moment, closing her eyes.
"Tired, Sammy?" Tanya was curled up on the far end of the couch against the wall, watching her.
"Way, way beyond tired, Tan. I think Iím going to sleep for a month."
Tanya chuckled. "You deserve it. Itís been a bitch of a year."
Samantha kicked off her heels and moved over to the couch, sprawling out on her stomach, her head on Tanyaís lap. Tanya began massaging her neck and she groaned. "Oh, thatís wonderful. You do that so well, Tan."
"Saved it just for you, Sammy."
"Mmm, thanks. You know, itís been a big year for you too. Lot of changes. Sorry about ruining your criminal persona."
"Eh, donít worry about it. I was getting too old for that game anyway. One day Iíd have slipped up and ended up as fish bait in the river."
Samantha shivered. "Then I hope my blowing your cover saved you from that rather gruesome fate."
"Only the fates know, Sammy, and they arenít telling."
"Yeah, I noticed. Oh, this isnít hurting your back is it?"
"Nah." It was only a small lie. "Iím practically good as new."
Samantha turned her head and looked up at her. She grinned and scooted off of her, sitting up. "Youíre such a lousy liar, Tan."
"I am not. I majored in lying. You just have a better lie detector than most." She grinned in return. "Howís yours by the way?"
"Tight," she admitted. "Being on those damned heels all day doesnít help."
"Sounds like you need to get some sleep, Ms. Coulter."
"Yeah. If itís all the same to you, I think Iíll stay here tonight. Early day tomorrow."
"It doesnít have to be, Sammy. Itís Sunday. Ease up a little."
"I need to get those contracts finished up before we go see Ms. Stephanos tomorrow."
Tanya sighed and shook her head. "All right." She stood looking down at the little blonde. "No more work. Go to bed."
Samantha grinned. "Yes doctor, Tan. I promise."
Tanya placed a fist on her hip and gave her a dangerous look, but the seriously exaggerated southern accent made Sam giggle. "Yíall better, er ahíll whup yer butt, young lady."
"Like I have a choice. You have what, four thousand bugs in this place? I canít even pee without making a recording and waking six of your listeners up."
"They better not be sleeping," Tanya growled in mock anger.
"Get some sleep yourself, Tan."
"On my way, shortie. See you at eight."
She waited until she was sure Tanya was beyond the outer door then opened the box on her coffee table and took out a cigarette and lit it before sagging back against the couch, reflecting on some of the changes that had occurred this year. Smoking in the building was still discouraged, but they left her alone. She knew Tanya disapproved so she tried not to smoke in front of her too often. Her hands were shaking when she lit it. She knew she was losing it again, but she hoped she could hold out for a while longer yet. Tears clouded her eyes. She was so alone in this. No one could help her. The problem had grown throughout the year until it was a dark shadow on her soul day and night.
Nights were worst. Nightmares, horrible nightmares often woke her six or eight times a night. Mood swings into terrible depression, nearly impossible for her to hide, plagued her during the day. She seemed to have no control. Everything would be fine one minute and the next she would be struck by a deep soul wrenching fear, a fear she could not put a name to, but so intense she wanted to scream; then came the depressions. It was growing; increasing almost daily and there was nothing she could do.
"She knew she had changed, becoming short tempered, irritable, bitchy. So far everyone put it down to the intensity of the year, the job, the fear of being murdered by someone anxious to collect on the now four hundred thousand bounty on her head. Tanyaís organization was stretched thin trying to protect her and the Stephanos family, not to mention Phyllis.
A sad smile marred her face. They had changed. She hardly spoke to Phyllis anymore, except professionally, because Phyllis could read her better than anyone, except maybe Tanya, and Phyllis could see the destruction coming. She was scared for her and constantly badgering her about it, until there had been a big blowup. She had driven her away and would not let her back in. She couldnít.
She lit another cigarette off the first.
She was glad that Phyllis and Tanya had hit it off and sorry that she was keeping Tanya from Phyllis most of the time. Tanya insisted on staying head of Samanthaís personal protection, even though she had a rapidly expanding business to attend to and a brand new lover that really cared for her and that she really cared for. Samantha loved to see them together. Tanya deserved someone in her life that would treat her right, not just be out to use her, and Phyllis needed someone with a strong but gentle hand. She wished they were on better terms so she could spend more time with them, but she knew she couldnít let that happen. One she could fight, but not two. Two might drive her over the edge.
Things were different between her and Tanya too. The street tough had blossomed and changed dramatically over the year, though the street tough was still under there. Tanya had come into her own; a beautiful, intelligent businesswoman whose business could not keep up with the demand her new popularity had spawned. But things between them had deteriorated for the same reason they had deteriorated between her and Phyllis. Tanya thought of herself as her guardian and she was always after her to take care of herself. It had started with her attack on Tanya in the car, and had gone down hill since then. She missed their earlier closeness, but she could no longer afford it, not if she hoped to keep her sanity. Most of the time she was forced to keep Tanya at the proverbial arms length, keeping a cool, slight formality between them. Letting her heir down like she had for a few moments tonight was a rarity.
The Stephanos were slowly returning to something of a normal life, though they had constant security around them. Luca had still not been found. He always seemed to stay at least one jump ahead of them. The lead that had thought they had earlier in the year on Marcus had gone cold, his whereabouts still unknown. Juliana was now back with her parents and so was Angela, only Juliana now took more care of Angela than the other way around. Angela was healing, but slowly. She worked her healing body daily and would use crutches, or Julianaís stabilizing presence, around the house until she wore herself out. Most of the time, at her doctor's conservative insistence, she was still in a wheelchair, dependent on someone to care for her needs. Juliana had taken over doing that, something their mother was uncomfortable doing, and Angela hated having someone hired do. Surprisingly the regimen of caring for her sister seemed to be helping Juliana. They were healing together, healing each other.
With the teamís effort, and the help of Tanya and her incredible resources, they had pulled the company away from Luca, unscathed. Part of the reason for their success was that Luca had gone to great pains to keep the real business meticulously aboveboard. All of his dealings were done through fronts. When he used the company assets, the company had been unaware of it. Because of that, it had been relatively easy to clean up any little problems, and by the time the law took an interest in Luca and his dealings, the company was squeaky-clean.
Everything was falling into place. The lawsuits they had initiated had precipitated others Ė not just by them Ė already tumbled two congressmen, four councilmen, the deputy mayor, thirty-seven policemen, four deputy sheriffs, ten percent of the staff at the menís prison and nineteen businesses in a growing snowball effect. They had also literally decimated the staff at the womanís prison, so badly that more than half of the inmates were moved to other institutions, and twenty percent of the lesser offenders were either paroled early or placed on house arrest for the remainder of their sentence. Until they could find replacements, most of the staff was made up of female officers from other agencies, including the sheriffís offices and the city police force.
Her thirty-five lawsuits had caused an avalanche, bringing new problems, and lawsuits into the news almost daily. She was famous, a legend in her own time, the woman that had single-handedly brought down more government corruption and organized crime than anyone else in history. She was also a dead woman without her security, a prisoner in an institution of her own creation.
The common people loved her. Politicians extolled her virtues in public and railed against her in private, seeking ways to destroy her. The company had been audited three times in the past year and finally filed charges. All of the partners had received threats against their lives if they didnít cut her loose, something they had seriously considered, except that the work generated for the firm by her actions and reputation was phenomenal.
She had been voted a partner instead of released, but had refused to move to new quarters or take part in most of the perks or requirements of her new position, concentrating on only the items related to the Stephanos case. She was determined to see it through, until the major lawsuits were completed and Luca was far back in the bowels of some maximum-security prison.
So much other work had been generated from the Stephanos case that the firm had reduced their fees to the Stephanos family to little more than token charges, saving the Stephanos business from financial ruin. The business had experienced a nearly crippling drop in business for a few months but had rebounded to the point the business was having a banner year with no end in sight.
None of it mattered to Samantha. What mattered more and more were the nightmares, the gut wrenching fear seemingly without cause or focus.
She stubbed out her third cigarette and climbed to her feet, moving slowly towards her bathroom shedding clothes along the way. She carelessly removed her makeup, then brushed her teeth before stepping into a shower almost hot enough to take skin off. She stood in the full spray letting the water cascade over her head and down her oh so tired body; her face turned up to the soothing spray. She wanted to stay there forever, safe and warm, but within a very short time it started. She could feel it twisting her guts. Tiredly she turned off the water and got out, towel drying her hair and her body, dropping the towels where she stood.
In her bedroom she turned on her little night lights, three little guardian angels to help keep her sane. She couldnít stand the dark. She slipped into a long cotton nightie, pushed the covers back, and climbed into the middle of the bed, curling into a fetal position as she pulled the thick covers over her already too warm but shivering body, snugging them around her neck. Then she waited. Already her night demons were on the move.
* * *
She turned off the water, her stomach in knots, an acrid, bitter taste in her mouth. Juliana opened the door and handed her a towel for her hair and one to dry with. She carefully dried herself, pulling herself slowly to a standing position from her little seat to finish the job.
"Iím dry, Julie."
Juliana opened the door again and stepped in, helping her into a robe then allowing Angela to secure her arm over her shoulder while she got her around the waist.
"Yup. Go for it."
Juliana slowly made her way out of the shower, waiting for Angelaís slow, unsteady steps. Once outside she turned slightly so Angela could put her other hand on her shoulder to balance herself.
"Want your carriage, my lady?"
"Nah. Letís go for a stroll."
"Yup. I need the exercise, donít you?"
"Oh absolutely." Julie backed slowly towards the door, their nightly routine nearly complete. Angela cleaned her face, brushed her teeth, and took care of necessities before being helped into the shower. When she was done, Juliana got her in her wheelchair, or as was happening more often, if she hadnít already overdone, she assisted her in walking to the bed.
"Not much farther."
"Angela stumbled slightly but caught herself, wincing only slightly at the shooting pain up her back."
"Wanna rest a minute?" Juliana asked, noting the momentary tensing of her features.
Juliana immediately stopped, getting a better hold on her in case her legs gave out as sometimes happened.
"Not too bad."
Angela grinned into the startlingly blue eyes so like her own. "You know me too well, Julie."
"Of course. Weíre sisters."
"Yes we are. I think I can go on now."
"Okay, just quit trying to run, huh?" She grinned.
"Sorry, must be my longer legs. Didnít mean to out run you."
They made it to the bed and Julie carefully turned her and eased her onto the bed.
"Good girl. Youíre learning."
"Yeah, but itís so hard," she said, following one of their nightly rituals.
"You want Jammies tonight?" she asked, handing her a deodorant.
"Yeah," she answered as a rippling shiver ran down her back. "I think I'm gonna need them tonight."
Julie held up long, soft cotton, power blue one, knowing Angela shunned the lighter ones anymore, even when it was a little warm like it was tonight. She received a nod and brought it over, holding it so Angela could slip her head and arms through. Angela opened her robe, letting it pool around her and let Julie pull the nightie over her.
"There you go."
Julie leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "Okay. Then I guess Iíll leave you to it." She leaned over and gave her a kiss. "Call me if you need anything."
"Night, my Angel."
"Night, my Jewel."
Julie left the three nightlights on but turned off the other lights, turning at the door. "You sure you can manage?"
"Gotta keep trying. Iíll yell if I get stuck."
"íKay. I love you, Angel."
"I love you, too, Jewel."
Her smile dropped as soon as the door closed. It was getting worse already. Already her heart was beating faster and her skin was crawling, the fear she managed by sheer will to hold off during the day, coming closer. Wearily she slid back onto the bed, the chore a nightmare in itself, a nightmare of pain, frustration, and long pauses. It took her several long minutes to get into the middle of the bed, turned on her side, and reasonably comfortable. She so wanted to withdraw into a ball but her legs still would not cooperate that much. She shivered as she pulled the blankets over her already sweating body, not from cold, but from the dead men walking along her spine. Then she waited for the nightmares to really begin.
* * *
"All right, thanks. Yeah, give me a call if either of them gets too bad. Okay, Ďnite."
Tanya dropped the phone onto the cradle, then lowered her head, a soft moan of pleasure escaping her. "Oh, goddess that feels good."
Phyllis smiled as she continued to massage her neck and shoulders. "Thanks, but Iím really not a goddess."
"You are to me."
A little shiver coursed through her at the love she could hear in Tanyaís voice. Their relationship still surprised her sometimes. It wasnít so long ago she had been scared to death of Tanya. Just the mention of her name was enough to make her nervous, and being in the room with her absolutely terrified her. She marveled that she had been able to get close to her at all, yet somehow, in the year she had known of Tanya, she had evolved through her fear to relative comfort, and then on to the most intimate relationship she had ever had. Somehow she had come to deeply love this person she had initially thought of as a frightening, ruthless killer. The really surprising thing was that Tanya was in fact much more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She had killed people and she did associate with all sorts of dangerous people and organizations as a matter of routine, but it didnít bother Phyllis anymore. Slowly, over the course of a very trying year, a year when unbelievable things had happened to her, including nearly being killed, she had discovered another, very surprising part of Tanya. She had discovered a woman that cared intensely about the poor downtrodden little people and intensely hated anyone that used or took advantage of them. To her, Tanya had evolved from a wanton killer into a near saint, but a saint with some very human tarnish. And under it all she had found an inner child much like herself, insecure, frightened, and alone.
Tanya leaned back, looking up at the beauty standing behind her, caring for her. Phyllis smiled and leaned over, gently kissing her, then pulling back. "They at it again?"
Tanya sighed, her smile turning over. "Yeah. Theyíre driving me crazy."
"UhmÖ canít you lock them in a room together or something?"
"Iíd love to, but Iím not sure of the outcome. Sammy is adamant in her dislike for Angela and Angela is nearly as bad anymore. Iím half afraid they will kill each other."
"Well, if youíre right, theyíre killing each other anyway, baby."
A tingle raced along her skin at the little endearment. Until Phyllis, Tanya would have taken the head off of anyone stupid enough to call her baby. They definitely would have learned the error of their ways and never repeated it. Somehow Phyllis was different and she basked in the little endearments, something she could never remember having applied to her even as a small child. She swiveled her chair around and pulled the redhead onto her lap, Phyllisís legs straddling hers.
"T! I'm gonna squash you," Phyllis squawked.
"Nah, I can't feel a thing," she grinned up at her, then sobered a little. "You really want to chance that with Sammy?"
Phyllis became serious again as well. "I really want my Sammy back. I donít much like the one we have right now, baby." She pulled Tanya forward until her head was resting on her breast, stroking her short hair. "Sheís headed for a serious collapse if this keeps up much longer. You know that as much as I do. Iím scared for her."
Tanya nodded slightly against her soft pillow. "So am I."
"We have to do something for her, even if it costs us her friendship."
Tanya sighed. "I know. Itís just hard. Sammy means as much to me as she does to you, baby, and I hate to hurt her any more than sheís hurting now. What if Iím wrong? What if they really do hate each other?"
"Itís all weíve got. This thing has been going on and on, getting worse and worse, and itís happening to both of them. There has to be some sort of connection. Itís happening too frequently to be a coincidence. Iím sure you know that."
"Yeah." She was silent for a moment. "Okay. Canít do it for a while yet, but weíll do something."
"Maybe something will happen today, baby."
Tanya snorted. "You havenít seen them together lately, Phil. If you had youíd swear they were both made of solid ice. No, I doubt anything good will come of today, but we can always hope."
"Yeah." They were silent for several moments then Phyllis tightened her hold on Tanya before releasing her. "Come to bed woman, before the sun comes up. Iíve got just the thing to help get you through the day today."
"And just what might that be?"
Phyllis kissed the top of her golden head. "Come to bed and Iíll show you." She stood and pulled Tanya up, leading her towards the bedroom.
* * *
The black limousine pulled up in front of Demetri Stephanos office, located in the corner of one of his older, smaller warehouses. It was just after ten on a dreary, cold, rainy Sunday morning, the warehouse silent, the parking lot empty, except for three cars in front of the office, two of them the visible part of the security around Angela.
Angela, though still restricted to her wheelchair by her doctors for most of her activities, had again taken over the front office, allowing her father to return to his first love, the docks and warehouses. She had been pretty much back in full control of the business for three months, leaving only when yet another court appearance was necessary.
Once again she was becoming a workaholic, dedicating most of her waking hours and energies to the business. She had to do something, staying constantly busy, to drive her demons away and for the most part she had succeeded; except at night, a time she had come to dread, to hate.
Samantha watched the building come into view with growing unease. Had there been anyone else she could trust to this meeting she would have sent them in her place because Angela Stephanos made her physically ill. In the past month, she had seen the woman only twice, during court proceedings. At times like that she made sure whoever was co-council for the day, sat between her and Angela, the thought of actually being close enough to touch her just too much for her to handle. Even so, just being in the same room with her was almost physically painful.
The door of the limo opened and Samantha, the lone occupant of the armored vehicle, stepped out and into a circle of guards that quickly escorted her through the misty rain and inside. Funny but she had even gotten used to the realization that her life was only as safe as her security could make it and every second she spent in the open or in a crowd could very well be her last. On the surface the mind numbs to continuously unfulfilled threat, the normal downfall of someone in her position. Deep inside, the constant knowledge that at any second an assassinís bullet could end her life ate away at her sanity. Death patiently waited for her to get careless.
Her guards seemed to melt into the woodwork as Tanya appeared from the bowels of the warehouse, leaving only Tanya and two hulking giants to escort her, Tanya already having seen personally to the building security before Samantha ever arrived. By the time she arrived at the main office they had been briefed by Angelaís security and had checked everything for themselves, including Angela and her wheelchair, with several types of electronic sniffers. Tanya took no chances, even when meeting another person her force was protecting.
Samantha was finally escorted into the room, to see Angela standing at the bookcase just behind the massive desk. When she turned and saw Samantha her face became a frozen mask, hiding all feeling, as Sam was sure hers was.
Using a single cane Angela returned to her chair, near her desk, and as Samantha moved towards the table waiting for them, Angela moved towards the opposite side of the table, her powered chair making a soft electric whine. Neither of them said anything and they took great pains to avoid looking at each other unless absolutely necessary. Even so, the tension in the room had skyrocketed.
Samantha opened the large briefcase one of the guards placed on the chair beside her and took out the heavy stack of papers she'd brought for Angela to sign. While she worked, the room cleared out, even Tanya leaving them alone after placing a picture of water and two full glasses on the table within easy reach of the two women. Samantha sorted the papers neatly before looking up, her stomach in a queasy knot just from being in the room with the woman. Angela stared coldly back at her through ice blue eyes without comment, a pen in her hand.
It was really kind of bizarre that they still had anything to do with each other at all, but Angela still refused to trust anyone else, and Samantha refused to turn her client over to anyone else. The one acceptable exception had been Phyllis, but Phyllis had recently made it plain to both of them, after one of their senseless squabbles, that she was tired of being in the middle, so they were stuck with each other.
Samantha handed over the first item. "Parmaco has submitted a seven million dollar settlement. I think you should take it."
"They can drag this out in litigation for years, which would eat up any settlement youíd get in legal fees. You would end up with nothing."
"Five point six mil to you."
Angela started signing the many marked locations in the forty-page document. Samantha readied the next one, taking a sip of the water Tanya had poured for her.
Except for the brief give and take, as Samantha handed over each of the documents, the only sound heard was the sound of Angelaís pen and Samanthaís counter signatures. Forty-five minutes passed without a break. Nothing was heard in the entire building. It was as if they were completely alone.
Angela handed back another thick document, taking the one Samantha held out to her. She noted absently that Samantha looked a little blurred and she had trouble grasping the document. Just as she finally got her hand on the document, Samantha went limp, her head striking the table with a thud. Finally a sense of alarm began to penetrate her increasingly fuzzy mind but it was far too late. The surface of the table rushed towards her face but she never felt herself hit.
* * *
Luca stood in front of Angela as she started to come around, a cruel grin on his face. She groaned, her head moving slightly, and he slapped her hard enough that her head rocked to the side and back against the pillar she was secured to, slamming hard against it.
Her eyes flew open in shock and he grinned. "About time you woke up, little sis."
Her eyes widened and he laughed. "Surprised to see me, huh? I gotta tell you that much gas cost me a bundle, and we had a hell of a time rigging it with all the security that bitch had around you, but it was all worth it for this moment." He slapped her hard again, splitting her lip. "I was beginning to believe you led a charmed life, but I gotcha this time. Look around."
She continued to stare at him and he swung a fist into her face striking her right cheek. "I said look around, bitch!" he growled in anger. She raised her head, a bruise already beginning on her cheek and after glaring at him for a moment, did as he ordered. There wasnít much to see. It was dark, except for a circle around the light one of them had hung from a metal rod sticking out of the concrete ceiling. At the edge of the light she could see a square concrete pillar surmising it was a mate to the one she was securely taped to. She had seen the tape holding her naked body as her head was hanging and could feel it on her legs and pulling her hands cruelly around the sides of the pillar. She looked back to Luca. Four men stood behind Luca staring at her impassively.
"Youíre under a building, Ang., way under, but you should probably consider it a coffin because youíre gonna die here."
"Thatís what you said the last time."
He struck her other cheek, slamming her back against the pillar, splitting her cheek.
"This time itís happening." He grabbed her by the neck and squeezed, choking her until she turned bright red, before finally relaxing his grip a little. "I though about just slowly squeezing the life out of you, like this, and watching the light go out in your eyes." He slammed a fist into her stomach then into her face again. "Then I though about beating you to death, real slow like." He drove a hard fist into her ribs. "Thought about slowly breaking every bone in your body." He grinned. "I liked that one the best." He struck her another vicious blow to the ribs on the other side then pulled back again. "But then we got lucky and that irritating little blonde showed up and I got her too. So I thought, wait a minute, letís just beat the shit out of you, you know?" He hit her again. "Then lets let you watch us kill the bitch blonde and just leave you to waste away here in this perfect little place to hide bodies. Let you live the blondeís death over and over, sort of like the video tape thing only in real life."
"No," she whispered and he smiled.
"Oh, yes, little, sis, and there she is in all her glory." He stepped aside waving his men away and pointed to her as they stepped out of the way. Samantha was lying on a pile of debris, which included their clothes, about ten feet away. She lay on her right side, her legs drawn up slightly. She was naked, her body bruised and beaten, blood covering her face and showing on several cuts on her chest and stomach.
"You bastard," she screamed and he hit her in the solar plexus driving the breath from her as he laughed.
"You cost me, bitch, and that little blonde and her organization cost me even more. I owe you, and I owe her." He grabbed her by the throat again his voice becoming a low hateful growl. "No one fucks with me and lives to tell about it. No one, not even family." He struck her again as he backed of a little, letting her throat go. "Iíd say you could ask your little brother, butÖ." He sniffed, lifting his head, sniffing again. "Can you smell him, Angela? Heís been here a while. Heís not as ripe as he was, but you can still catch a faint odor. I guess the rats took care of the smell." He laughed at the horror in her eyes. "Thatís right, sis. The little prick fucked up, thought he could run his own drugs while working for me, so I wasted him. You should have seen the little bastard pissing all over himself while I worked him over. Now itís your turn little sister, but first." He pulled out a wicked little automatic, cocking it as he turned towards Samantha. "Say goodbye to little miss crusader."
"No, please donít!"
He aimed the pistol at her, then pulled back turning to Angela, ignoring her plea.
"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I let the guys fuck her while they beat her. Man can she scream."
He turned back suddenly and fired four quick rounds, the explosions deafening in the confined space. He turned back to Angela with a big grin on his face, enjoying the tears rolling down her face and the hatred in her eyes even more. He quietly ejected the partially used clip and replaced it, as he spoke, leaving a round in the chamber.
"I let them fuck you too, sis, but I get to do the beating and now that your little blonde crusader is worm food, thereís nothing stopping me. I do promise not to kill you though. More fun thinking of you down here with your brother and that blonde pile of rat food, Angela. Problem is, those rats, once they get through with the blonde and they smell the blood on you, theyíll be coming for you and the really fun part is, youíll still be alive. Bet you never thought youíd be eaten alive by rats, huh?" He grinned. "Sweet dreams, you bitch." His fist buried itself in her stomach then another struck her jaw.
* * *
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