Fiance by Friday(113)

By: Catherine Bybee


Chuck’s eyes landed on the weapon Gwen had brought into the basement and he huffed out a laugh. His displaced humor was a testament to his mental state. Chuck’s gun hung to his side.

“You always were the smart one. Should have had Mickey take you out first.” Then, with no preamble and no warning, Major Chuck Blayney lifted the barrel of his weapon to his own head and squeezed the trigger.





Chapter Thirty-Five



Gwen felt the major’s intent as he lifted the weapon and she closed her eyes. Her scream echoed along with the blast from the gun. Her entire body shook as the room grew silent.

Neil’s arms gathered around her. She stumbled into him, buried her face in his shoulder.

“It’s over,” he cooed in her ear. “I’ve got you.”

Her knees went out from under her. Neil lifted and cradled her into his arms. He kept her as stable as a mother with a child, even with her hands handcuffed behind her back. She squeezed her eyes shut, refusing to open them until Neil had taken her up the stairs and set her gently down on a sofa.

He started to move away and she huddled closer. “Don’t go. Don’t go.”

“I won’t,” he whispered. “I’m right here.”

She blinked her eyes open. “Is he?”

“Yes.”

Her stomach rolled.

Neil reached around the sofa and pulled a blanket over her shoulders. His eyes met hers with such concern she wanted to weep. “He started acting strange after you left. Then Ruth went to Florida and he got worse. I tried to leave.” She shook, unable to control her body.

Neil rubbed his hands along her arms. “I didn’t know. I thought you’d be safe.”

Gwen attempted a smile. “I know. It’s not your fault.”

“He could have killed you.”

She tried to move her hands to comfort him, remembered the cuffs. “Can you get these off?”

He nodded, and looked behind her back. “You’re bleeding,” he said.

“Just a scrape. I’ll live.”

His fingers tugged at the cuffs and then he patted his pockets. “Do you know where he put the key?”

She shook her head.

Neil moved in front of her and laid a hand to her cheek. “The MPs will have a key. I need to call this in.”

When he did, the house would be swarming with military personnel. Her brother. “Make the call.”

He stood to walk away.

“Neil,” she said, stopping him. “Thank you for coming back to me.”

He reached down to her again, and brought his soft lips to her dry ones. He wiped a tear she didn’t realize fell from her cheek and picked up the house phone.

In less than two minutes, the house was filled with military police. Someone unlocked her hands, which she was sure would never feel normal again, and offered her a glass of water. The liquid trickled like fire down her throat.

A female sergeant sat at her side as Gwen answered questions. The MPs kept Neil away, probably asking him the same thing and making sure their stories didn’t vary. All the while Gwen kept saying to herself that it was over. All of it was over and they were both alive and whole.

A uniformed soldier approached her. “Miss Harrison?”

“It’s Mrs. MacBain,” she corrected the man.

“Seems your brother is outside and raising all kinds of hell. We have more questions and can’t release you yet. He wants to see you for a few minutes.”

“Of course.”

Someone helped her to her feet. When she made it to the door, she shook off the set of hands helping her. “I’ll be fine. He won’t leave if he thinks I’m hurt.”

Blake stood beside a military jeep, a cell phone in his hand and a guard by his other. He noticed her and pushed around the guard.

“I’m OK.”

He squeezed the air from her lungs. “You scared me to death, Gwendolyn.”

“I was scared to death.”

Blake pulled away and peered in the dark at her face. Good thing the light was bad. She knew how bad she felt and could only imagine how she looked. “Is Neil in there?”

“Yes. Talking with the authorities.”

Blake shook his head. “He should have kept you safe.”

“He did. I’m alive.”

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