Muse Week - 20 Years.
"Sometimes there is honor in revenge."
"You were warned, Arabella."
Those words had chilled her. She had uttered them enough times in her lifetime to know exactly what they meant. They weren't good. Before she even heard the next words a chill had flooded through her and it had nothing to do with the cool autumn weather in New York.
"You were warned repeatedly and yet... you chose to ignore it. What did you think we were going to do?"
The chill turned to ice and settled in her stomach. Strange gasping whimpers filled the air and it took her a few seconds to realize the sounds were coming from her. Her hands were clamped around the steering wheel, her knuckles turning white with the strength of her grip. A shudder wracked her frame, the wheel shaking in her hands with it, causing the car to swerve. She jerked the wheel to quickly to correct herself, swerving again. A second later angry honking and a flurry of curses filled the air. Any other time she would be apologetic. But right now she didn't care. She couldn't.
"It should make you feel good that we knew we wouldn't be able to get to you. Much like your father came across, you appear indestructible. But, everyone has a weak spot. And do you know what yours is Arabella?"
She knew. She knew exactly what her weak spot was. Her parents had warned her that when it came to their lives, letting people in was dangerous. But she had never been the type of girl to close herself off. Nor had she been one to let anyone into her life. She was careful. There was only a handful of people in her life that she genuinely cared about and would do anything for. And the thought of them being in any kind of danger because of her was enough to make her sick. But she knew without a doubt that's exactly what was wrong. It was just a matter of who. And how bad things were.
"Would a more appropriate question be do you know who is your weak spot?"
There was a long beat of silence with only the brunettes panicked breathing to fill the air. And then a scream so loud and so filled with pain that it was enough to make her blood curdle. It died off, punctuated by whimpers. Her breathing picked up, tears pricking her eyes. And when the next words came over the line she felt like she died inside. "Person?" She heard nothing else that came from the monsters mouth that was trying to destroy her life like it was just another day at the office. Just the pleading coming from her best friend. The girl she called her person. Lauren was closer to her than any other person in her life. She was her best friend, her person, her confident and other half. There was nothing she wouldn't do for that girl. She had spoken to her only an hour ago, promising she would bring the snacks when they settled in for their horror movie binge.
The crying and pleading kept up, leaving Arabella a shaking, terrified mess by the time she pulled to a screeching stop in front of her best friend's place in Queens. She barely got the car stopped before she was out and flying up the walkway, nearly tripping over her own two feet as she ripped the front door open and stumbled inside. The smell smacked her in the face the moment she was inside. Overwhelming and unmistakably blood. And lots of it. The scream bubbled up in her chest and burst out, sounding like an animal caught in a trap the second she stepped into the living room. It was everywhere. Splashed over every available surface. And in the middle of it all, covered in blood and barely recognizable was her Person. "Lauren." Arabella was on her knees before she made a conscious effort to move, the blood soaking into the knees of her skinny jeans and turning them dark.
She knew. Before she even touched her. Before she even got down on her knees. The one person she loved and trusted more than anything was gone. She scooped the lifeless body into her arms, her face pressed into the blood matted dark hair as she rocked back and forth. Tears dripped onto the blood streaked skin, leaving little tracks in it. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so, so, sorry. This is all my fault. Oh God this is my fault." She knew letting people in was a risk. She knew that with the life that she lives that she and anyone else she let in ran the risk of being hurt. She thought she could handle it. But she couldn't. The ground beneath her feet was breaking apart and crumbling beneath her and she felt things wouldn't be the same. She eased back enough to look into the face of her friend and brushed a shaking hand through the dark hair. "I'll make this right, Person. I'll make this right I swear…."
Twenty Years Later.
A lot can change in twenty years. People grow up. Build a life. Sometimes they get married. Have kids. There were times when Arabella wanted all of those things. She wanted a love like her parents had. A love that consumed her. She wanted to build a family with that person and grow old. But things change. The girl she used to be was unrecognizable now. Physically not much had changed. There were strands of grey in her hair and wrinkles where there didn't used to be. Physically that was it. If you wanted to see what had changed about her you had to look deeper. She didn't smile as much anymore. She didn't trust or love. She didn't let anyone in to her life. She no longer wanted to be married or have a family. All she wanted, all she thought about was revenge. The moment that her best friend had been taken from her, her entire life had shifted and changed.
The life she had started to build for herself in New York had startled to crumble. Her total and obsessive need for revenge had taken over everything until everyone had left her to her cause. She passed up on dates. On her job, both at the burlesque club and with the cartel. Everything paled in comparison. She had never had such single minded focus when it came to anything except when she was going after the people that had murdered her parents. If it hadn't have been Lauren, she would have given her life to achieve that goal. The pretty brunette had been her voice of reason, pulling her back when she was in danger of falling over the edge. Even now, at 43 years old, twenty year later, she could still hear her friends voice in her head, telling her to be careful when things started to go too far. But she couldn't turn back now. It was too late for that.
Her life was draining away from her, like grains of sand falling through an hourglass. She always knew she would end up here. You couldn't dedicate all of your time. All of your energy. All of your life to one single thing and not expect it take you right along with it. But Arabella wouldn't change it. As she knelt on the floor with her best friends dead body in her arms she had promised her she would make this right. If Lauren was still alive, she was sure she would be screaming at her right now, telling her how stupid it was to give up her life. But as the blood drained out of her, trickling over the cracks in the sidewalk, she knew without a doubt in her mind she wouldn't have changed it. At all. She coughed, blood bubbling up on her lips which she wiped away with a grimace. Her only solace right now was she had taken the person responsible for murdering her best friend with her. Their broken and mangled body lay only a few feet away, the face unrecognizable beneath all of the blood. She coughed again, her eyes closing this time as she felt the darkness creep closer. It was only a matter of time now.