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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Relationship · #1019670
She masked her feelings well, he never knew the truth until it was almost too late.
She decided a pair of tight-fitting, black jeans, topped with a white, angora cardigan, was just enough to accomplish the desired effect. Gretchen had fantasized about this day ever since they were kids. He was the best looking boy in school, popular with the girls, and heavy into sports. When their football team took the state championship, he was awarded the winning football, and named MVP. She had adored him all through school, and he never even bothered to learn her name. Well, she would soon change that.

It took her two years to lose that extra thirty pounds, and she was proud of the way she looked. It was time to introduce herself, she was ready. Her slender, yet enhanced figure was sure to attract his attention.

While still in high school, Gretchen was extremely shy. Although not obese, she was thirty pounds over weight, and he loved to tease her. Chunky-Monkey was the name he called her, and it hurt her deeply. Her appearance had changed since then, and she knew most men would consider her to be...HOT. He would notice her, but would he remember?

Gretchen started out the door, then suddenly stopped.

"Where is it?" she panicked. Gretchen searched frantically through her over-large purse, and breathed a sigh of relief as her hand brushed against its smooth curved edge. "There you are." Now she was prepared to face him. Her grandmother's party mask gave her courage. It was as if all the strength from her ancestors, were concentrated into this tiny, delicate mask. As long as she held it she felt she could accomplish anything. She carried it everywhere.

"Do not ever lose this Gretchen, It will always protect you. Your mother didn't believe, and look what happened to her and your father. Their death was no accident. He got to them, I know he did. It has protected your grandfather and me all these years, but we are old now, so I give it to you. It will bring you comfort when you are alone, and make you strong in time of need. Always keep it near-by, and safe, and it will do the same for you. Just put it on, and it will help you."

That was the day Gretchen decided to lose weight, and go after what she wanted. The power of the mask had already started working. When her grandmother had died two weeks later, Gretchen felt a great loss. Her grandmother had raised her since she was ten years old. Strange things happened back then, and she knew her parents were afraid of something, but they wouldn't tell her what it was. They just always kept her close, and never let her out of their sight.

She found him sitting on a stool at the local diner, eating breakfast. He had gained a few pounds in the last few years, and he now looked more like a man instead of a boy. He was still so very handsome with those deep blue eyes, and he carried himself with the assurance of someone who knew he could get any woman he wanted. His athletic body however, wasn't as firm as she remembered, idleness had made him soft over the last four years.

Gretchen strode into the luncheonette with a bravado she didn't really feel, but she was determined to make this work. Without looking at Derek she walked toward the counter, and took a seat only two stools away. She smiled at the waitress behind the counter, and ordered coffee and toast.

She could feel his eyes on her, and she fought the urge to look at him. It was his turn now, and she waited to see what he would do, she didn't have to wait long. When the waitress brought her order, he made his move.

"You must be new in town, I don't remember ever seeing you in here before. You just passing through?"

She slowly turned toward Derek, and gave him her warmest smile.

As he looked into her sea green eyes, his stomach churned. She looked familiar, but he didn't recognize her. His heart beat faster, and he wiped his sweaty hands on his pants. He decided she would be his next conquest, his for the taking.

"Actually, no, I live here in town." She watched as his expression suddenly change to that of bewilderment.

"That can't be, I know all the beautiful women in this town, and you're definitely not one of them."

"EXCUSE ME! And just what do you mean by that remark?" Her eyes narrowed, and her brow wrinkled as she stared angrily at him.

Derek stammered, "I...I, what I...I meant to say was, I don't remember you ever being so beautiful. No...no that's not what I meant at all. This is coming out all wrong, I...I'm sorry."

"Are you sorry you're a bumbling idiot, or are you sorry you just insulted me, not once, but twice."

"Both I guess. Can't we start over?" Holding out his hand he said, "Hi, I'm Derek, Derek Martin. I manage the local drug store, and you are?"

"Ugly, apparently." She ignored his feeble attempt at an introduction, and decided to let him stew awhile.

"I...I'm very sorry, you are definitely, not ugly. You're not going to let me off the hook, are you?"

"No, no I'm not. Now if you don't mind, I would like to finish my breakfast...alone."

Gretchen turned away from him, and faced the counter. Her heart was beating faster. She knew he would find a way to learn who she was, she would be waiting.

Derek's shoulders drooped as he turned to finish his own breakfast, which was now cold. He would never live this down, rebuffed by a beautiful woman. If the guys found out, he would be the laughing stock of the town. He sat for a long time staring at his coffee, and never even noticed when she got up to leave.

What an idiot I am. How could I have said such stupid things? She's the most beautiful girl I've seen in a long time. What's the matter with me? I'm acting like a lovesick schoolboy.

As Derek turned toward her, he noticed her empty stool. His head jerked in the direction of the door, just as the bell tinkled. He saw her leave, and head west on main. Jumping out of his seat he tried to follow.

"Hold on there Derek sweetie. Didn't you forget something? That'll be three dollars and seventy-five cents."

"What? Oh yeah, sorry Mable."

Reaching into his pocket he took out a five. "Keep the change," he said tossing it on the counter, and then rushed toward the door.

"Damn! Where'd she go?" Upset, with himself, Derek turned north and walked toward the drug store.

After two years of business school, Derek took over the drug store so his parents could do some traveling. He didn't mind taking over the business, it meant that he was the boss, and had a steady income. As the boss, he could take off whenever he wanted. It also didn't hurt his image with the ladies. He made quite a few conquests standing behind that counter. He was the town catch, and he knew it. Derek knew that sooner or later everyone in town would end up shopping in his store. He figured, he would ask Max if he had seen her.

"Max, have there been any new customers in the store recently?"

The pharmacists replied, "Nope, none that I've noticed. Except for Gretchen maybe, she's back from college. Got back about two weeks ago. A real looker she is, all grown up. Prettiest smile I've seen in a long time. She always was a pretty girl. Now that she's lost weight, she's a real princess."

"Does she have blond hair, and green eyes?"

"Yep, she sure does."

"Thanks Max."

He wondered why she didn't mention they were school mates. He knew he acted like a jerk, but why didn't she tell me her name. Then it hit him.

Max said she had lost weight. He tried to picture in his mind Gretchen with a few extra pounds. DAMN! Gretchen Williams. Max was right, she was always pretty, and I treated her like a Bozo. No wonder she got upset. She knew who I was. Hell, everyone knows who I am. I've always liked her, but I had an image to uphold. What would it have looked like, if I didn't date the most popular girls? The guys would have teased me. SHIT! Isn't that what I did to her? No wonder she wouldn't talk to me. I've got to change that. Friday is the Halloween Masquerade Ball. I think I'll ask her to go with me, and if we should go back to my place later, well...what the hell, she just might get lucky and get a taste of what I have to offer.

Gretchen hurried to her car and drove past the high school. As she approached her house she smiled.

Things are going well, by now he should remember who I am, and he's probably wallowing in guilt. Good, maybe that's just what he needs. He needs to remember what he did to me, and how bad he made me feel. All Hallow's Eve is Friday, that's when I'll teach him what happens to bad little boys. Thanks Grandma Fisher, I couldn't do this without your gift. He'll be in hell, and he'll never even realize it.

Wednesday afternoon, Gretchen went to the drug store for some Tylenol. She knew he would be there. As she went to the counter to pay, he stepped behind the register.

"That will be $6.99, Miss Williams."

"I'm surprised you remembered my name, or did you have to ask someone who I was?"

"Should I be honest?"

"Yes, please do."

"I asked Max."

"Good old Max, a very strange man, but he was always nice to me. Unlike some people in this town, with ego's bigger then their brains."


Gretchen handed him a $10.00 bill. As he counted out her change he grabbed her hand.

"By the way, this Friday is the Masquerade Ball, and I was wondering if you would like to go with me? I already have the tickets."

"I don't think so, I already have my ticket, but thanks anyway," she said pulling her hand away quickly.

"Well, Okay. Guess I'll see you there."

"It's a small gymnasium, so I'm sure you will. Good-by Derek."

"See you Friday"

Friday evening, Gretchen put on the final touches to her costume. Her low cut, slinky black dress, with a long slit up the side, clung to every delicious curve on her body. The black, fishnet stockings, and black four inch spiked heels, accentuated the curves in her neatly trimmed legs. She always thought her long legs were her best feature.

Pleased with her reflection, she donned the highly teased black wig, and applied the finishing touches to her make-up. A long black cape lined in red satin, matched her lipstick, completing the ensemble. Inside the cape, was a deep pocket where she put any necessary items she might need, including the mask.

Gretchen walked quickly to the school, anxious to see him again, it was only a few blocks from her house. She was glad she had the cape, the temperature was dropping and it looked like it might rain.

As Elvira (Gretchen), entered the gymnasium, she put on her mask. Derek was standing under one of the upraised basketball hoops, with several of his old cronies from school. They hadn't changed much she thought, as she scanned the room for familiar faces. They still acted like jerks, whistling and carrying on, checking out all the young girls. Derek didn't wear a mask, he wanted to make sure she would notice him, in his football jersey. He wanted to show her he still had what it takes, to attract the girls. When she walked past him, his eyes told her he liked what he saw. His buddies just stood there, and drooled.

"Hey Derek, check her out. Wouldn't you like a piece of that."

Derek tried to ignore them, but when he saw who they were pointing at, he smiled.

"I think Elvira has the hots for you, she keeps looking over here."

"Maybe your right Frank, eat your hearts out boys, I bet I can nail her tonight, step back and watch the Love Master at work."

"Well hellooo beautiful. May I have this dance?"

Grabbing her by the arm, he led her out onto the dance floor. "Let's boogie," he said.

Elvira and Derek danced several times after that. He held her close during the slow dances, and delighted in the view he got, as he stole glances down the front of her dress, where her voluptuous breasts over flowed their boundary. He could tell it was all her, by the way her firm breasts pressed against his chest. His pride swelled in anticipation, as he thought about his next move.

The clock on the wall said it was after midnight. Elvira knew it was time to leave. So far he had acted just like a lecher, trying to grab a feel and making it seem like an accident. She wondered if it was the spiked punch, or did he always act like such a jerk.

What did I ever see in him, she thought. He is so shallow, and thinks only of himself, but he is so cute. If he were just more of a gentleman, I would have let him take me home.{/i}

"It's getting late, I have to go now. I have an early appointment tomorrow."

"Come on now, it's early baby, and the night's still young. We have a lot of catching up to do."

"Sorry, I have to go."

"Wait up, I'll drive you home."

"No need, your buddies are waiting for you."

Gretchen looked toward his friends and waved. She then turned, and strode out through the gymnasium doors, and headed to the nearest classroom to get her cloak. Derek followed close behind.

"What are you, some kind of a tease?" he yelled at her. "You get me all hot and aroused, and now you just leave."

"What are you talking about? We had a nice time dancing, that's all. You're not my date, or my boyfriend. You have no claim on me, you macho piece of shit. Did you make a bet with your buddies, that you can get into my pants tonight. Is that what this is all about?"

"Well, uh...NO," he lied. "What kind of a heel do you think I am?"

"I know all about you, remember? I've heard all the stories. Now, GET LOST!"

Gretchen grabbed her cape and walked out. It had started to rain, and the dampness seeped into her bones, but she didn't care. She was too angry with Derek to notice. Her hatred for him was evident. You could see it in the wrinkled lines of her brow, and her clenched teeth, and flaring nostrils. She was not going to forgive him this time. Never again would she let him get to her, not after this last incident.

Derek followed her home. He drove slowly, and then waited while she unlocked her door. He watched her as she turned on the lights, and walked toward the back of the house.

Angrily Gretchen slammed the door behind her, rattling the pictures on the walls. She removed her cloak, threw it over a chair and reached into the pocket withdrawing her prized possession. "Sorry grandmother, he's not worth it. Why couldn't he have been just little more like grandpa?"

Gretchen walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. She placed the mask on the counter, undressed and stepped into the steaming hot spray, luxuriating in its warmth.

Derek waited about a half-hour to gather up his courage. Her refusal of his advances angered him. He would not let her off that easy. He knew what he wanted, he wanted her. He also wanted her to want him. He had wanted her ever since they were in school, but he would never admit it in front of his friends. He knew he acted like a jerk in school, and like an even bigger jerk at the Masquerade Ball.

Hell, doesn't she realize I really like her? No, I guess not, how could she? I've never told her. I've always felt so awkward around her. I guess that's why I've always teased her. Here I was, the big man on campus. and I would turn to mush at the sight of her. It was the only way I could be with her, talk to her, and not be laughed at by her, or my friends. After all, I had to protect my reputation. The most popular boy in school should only date, the most popular girls. Gretchen was not popular, she was shy and wore glasses, but she was also talented, and smart. She was an A+ student, and considered a nerd by jock standards. I couldn't compete with her brains, so I excelled in sports to impress her. I'm such an idiot, but things are going to change.

Derek knew in his heart that he wanted to be with her, that's probably why he never took any other girl seriously. He was waiting for her to come back, back to him. If only he hadn't acted like a high school jerk, to impress his friends. Derek's shoulders slumped. As he rested his head on the steering wheel, tears filled his eyes, anger filled his soul.

He approached the house with caution, carefully looking in all directions. He didn't want anyone to see him entering her house. A car was parked at the curb a few doors down, but he saw no movement from within. The rain started coming down harder, and he used it as a shield to hide his progress. A brilliant flash of lightning illuminated her door, beckoning him to enter. He stared at the dripping door, and slowly reached for the knob. Rain pelted heavily all around him, but he paid no heed to his discomfort. There was only one thing on his mind, and that was Gretchen. The knob turned easily in his hand, and he slowly entered locking the door behind him.

Silently he walked toward the back of the house. There was a small streak of light emminating out from under the bathroom door. She turned off the shower, he could hear the plastic curtain slide across the rod, as she stepped out to dry herself. He envisioned her loveliness, and ached to hold her, His heart began to race, and his breathing became labored. His manhood throbbed, and he found it difficult to contain himself from touching it.

"Patience," he whispered. "We've waited a long time for this, let's not spoil things now."

Gretchen reached for her terry robe and slipped it on, tying the belt snugly around her waist. She combed her hair and brushed her teeth, then checked if all her make-up was gone. Another flash of lightning, followed by a loud clap of thunder shook her family home. Gretchen stared at herself in the mirror.

Who are you kidding? You know you love him. What are you going to do now? She anguished at the possibility of never being with him.

The lights in the bathroom flickered, and finally went out. Gretchen picked up the mask and slipped it into the pocket of her robe. Lightning illuminated the room again, just as Gretchen opened the door. A scream died in her throat. There in the doorway, silhouetted by the lightning flashes, stood a tall water drenched figure in a black cape and hood. His face indistinguishable in the darkened room. Her heart pounded, and her throat began to tighten. Paralyzed with fright, she just stood there with her jaw hanging open. She could feel the pain in her temple with each throbbing beat, as her blood pulsed through her arteries. A hand, with long wet, white fingers reached out for her. She flinched, and grabbed to close the door, but the hand pushed against it forced her back into the small confined room. Gretchen looked around for something to protect herself with, but it was too dark to see. She remembered there was a can of hair spray on the counter, and she fumbled around for it in the dark. Just as her fingers touched the can, it slipped off the counter and fell into the toilet basin. It's sudden contact with the water caused the liquid to splash over the edge of the basin, wetting the floor. As Gretchen backed away from the intruder, her foot slipped on the water. She fell backward into the tub, tearing down the shower curtain and entangling herself as she fell. The back of Gretchen's head hit the edge of the tub, causing her to lose consciousness.

"Damn it!" he cursed, as he fumbled around in the dark trying to untangle her from the
uncooperative plastic shower curtain.

"I want you awake. I want you to be afraid. I want you to fight back," he screamed at her shaking her violently.

He could hear her moan, as he lifted her out of the tub. Good, she's starting to come to.
An evil sneer creased his lips.

The back of Gretchen's head was pounding, she tried to touch her head, but her hands and arms felt useless. She could feel herself floating, being lifted higher and higher. Her body felt weak and rubbery, as if all her bones and muscles had been removed.

Is this how it felt when your spirit leaves your body, but why was there pain?

She tried to open her eyes, but saw only blackness, she wasn't sure she had even opened them. Her head bobbled from side to side, as if it were on one of those bobbing dogs, whose every movement was controlled by the motion of the vehicle it was in. Gretchen moaned.

What was that sound? It was low and deep, like a distant fog horn muffled by a heavy mist. Am I on a ship at sea, rocking and swaying with the motion of each cresting wave?

Something wet and cold pressed against her skin.

Is the ship sinking? Is the water rising to engulf me? I must wake up and try to save myself, I don't want to drown. HELP! She tried to mouthed the words but her inner sense warned her to be quiet.

Suddenly her feet hit something hard, and it jarred her back into reality. Someone was carrying her through an open doorway. The memories quickly came flooding back. The sharp pain helped to clear her head. Derek the intruder, the Masquerade Ball. Gretchen was now wide awake, and afraid she had to do something to save herself. The house was pitch black, and the storm was still raging outside. Gretchen too had a storm raging within her, and it was a storm she intended to leash against her attacker. Gretchen suddenly went completely limp, and she transferred all her weight to the outside of her attackers arms. She threw him off balance, and she rolled away from him, out of his arms. She fell to the floor landing on her hands and knees. She quickly got up and ran to the front door. She managed to unlock it just before he grabbed her robe from behind.

"Stupid bitch, you can't escape me, neither could your mother."

He spun her around to face him, she kicked and tried to scratch him, but her efforts were thwarted by his wet cape. He thrived on her fear. He grabbed her arms and pulled her back into the parlor. He pinned her arms behind her, and forced her down onto the sofa. He straddled her now exposed naked body, with his. Their combined weight on her arms, made them useless. Her strength was weakening. Most of her robe was tangled underneath her, leaving her nakedness completely exposed to his view.

"Derek, Derek stop this, what do you think you're doing? You'll never get away with this, get off me," she screamed.

Bumps appeared on her skin as his cold wet cape draped across her bare flesh. With both her arms safely pinned behind her, his hands were free to explore to do as he pleased. He slowly caressed each sensuous curve, squeezing and pinching as his hands traveled across each silky mound. He liked to cause pain.

Carefully he pulled a knife from his belt and slowly traced the point between her breasts. Gretchens heart beat faster as several droplets of blood appeared on her chest. As the knife pressed deeper, Gretchen stiffened and ceased to struggle she closed her eyes and waited for the end, hoping it would come swiftly. He continued to carve at her body and Gretchen screamed inwardly as each searing cut sliced through her tender flesh. She refused to move and bit her bottom lip, she could taste its sticky sweetness, she refused to scream, and give him the satisfaction of knowing she was afraid. She could feel the sticky warmth spreading down her sides in stark contrast the cool air as it brushed over her skin. She knew he was taunting her, he wasn't ready to kill her yet. When he realized she wasn't moving and her eyes were closed, he slapped her face.

"Open your eyes bitch, I need to see your fear."

The burning sting of his brutal slap, tossed her head into the back of the sofa cushion.

"OPEN YOUR EYES!" he screamed at her.

Gretchen could feel the mask under her back, it was partially out of the pocket. She could almost touch it. She kept wiggling her finger until the tips touched its smooth surface. She got an idea.

Calmly, she asked, "Why?"

"What do you mean, WHY?" he snarled.

"Why should I do as you ask? What's in it for me? Will you let me live if I comply? I don't think so. I have resigned myself to my fate, so I will keep my eyes shut. This way I won't be afraid. If I don't see the knife, it won't scare me."

His sinister laugh penetrated deep into her soul, and it terrified her, but she refused to show him her fear.

"I will open my eyes on one condition."

"And what's that?"

"You must answer my questions, truthfully."

"This isn't Jeopardy we're playing at, this is life and death."

"I know that, and it's my life that we're playing for. I have a right to know why I must die."

As Gretchen kept his mind occupied she was slowly inching up her legs and bending her knees. She had them slightly turned with the soles of her feet pressed against the back of the couch. Each movement was so subtle she hoped he would be unaware of her plan until it was too late. When the right moment came she planned to push her legs back against the couch and role to her side dislodging him off of her, freeing her hands. She knew the robe had to go but she had to keep in contact with the mask. It was her strength, her power.

"OK, What is your question?"

"Not so fast," she retorted. "I have several questions I want answers to. You said you killed my mother. Did you kill my father too?"

"That's right, I did."

"Why? Why did you kill them? No one ever told me how they died."

"They were getting to close. Your parents were reporters and they were chasing down leads that lead to me. One day I followed your father to a restaurant where he met your mother. When they left the restaurant I followed them home. I tied them up and gagged them. I took them to the basement where I tortured one, then the other, I carved a heart into each of their chests, then I raped your mother while your father watched. I had shown my flashlight into his face and looked deep into his eyes as he watched me slit your mother's throat. Then I slit his throat. I searched the house for his notes and took whatever I found. I almost killed you back then but you and grandma were sleeping. There was no fun in that, besides it was getting light out and I prefer the dark. Fear is enhanced by the darkness. I decided to come back for you but I was picked up for reckless driving the next day. I had traffic warrants out against me and I was imprisoned for eight years. As a prisoner I got a good education. The libraries were filled with very informative books. By the time I got out, you had grown quite a bit and I grew very fond of you. When you left for college, I decided to wait. I had told everyone I had gone away to school. I forged my diploma and pharmacutical lisence and got a job here in town. I waited for your return. There, now does that cover everything?"

"Well, not exactly."

"Look, this is not the way this is supposed to go down. I scare you, I torture you, you die. It's that simple."

The more her attacker talked the more she realized his voice sounded familiar. She kept her eyes closed and tried to focus on the timber of his voice. Who was he?

"OK, OK. I get the picture. You scared me, I'm scared, see I'm shaking. Wait a minute. I think I'm shaking because I'm cold. Could you please get rid of that wet cape? I might die of pneumonia."

"You're pushing me a little too far bitch?"


If he removed his cape he would have to shift his weight off her hips, that's when she would make her move.

"OPEN YOUR FUCKIN' EYES!" he screamed at her shifting his weight and leaning forward with the knife held close to her face.

Gretchen made her move. She pushed back with her feet and heaved her body upward and away from the couch tumbling them both onto the floor. She quickly shed her robe and threw it over her attacker. Between her robe and his cape he had trouble getting his footing.

Gretchen screamed as she crashed into a table. Her shin caught its sharp edge. She grabbed for the table lamp and turned throwing it at her attacker just seconds before he slammed into her chest knocking her to the floor where she hit her head.

As Derek stood with his finger tip on the doorbell, he heard a scream from inside the house. Derek tried the door and found it unlocked.

"GRETCHEN! GRETCHEN! ARE YOU ALL-RIGHT?" There was a loud crash inside as if someone knocked something over. Something was wrong he could feel it.

"GRETCHEN! It's me Derek. Where are you?" He realized he liked her more than he thought. If she was in danger he had to help her.

He heard a sound coming from the back of the house and rushed toward its source. A tall darkly clad figure was scrambling out a bedroom window. Derek grabbed at a fleeting ankle and held it while he yanked down the window. A loud scream echoed in the night as Derek heard the ankle snap.

"You won't get far," Derek yelled as he watched the ankle disappear out the window and down the alley into the darkness.

He ran back to check if Gretchen was still alive, then dialed 911. He covered Gretchen with a blanket and waited.

She was still out cold when the paramedics and police arrived. Derek told the police to look for a man with a broken ankle, so they sent out an APB to all the doctors and hospitals.

As the ambulance took Gretchen away Derek cried.
"I almost lost her to that maniac, why was I such a coward? I shouldn't have waited so long."

Gretchen was still feeling groggy from the sedative. She pushed the buzzer for the nurse and was greeted by a cheerful young candy striper who brought in her meal.

"The nurse will be here in a minute, she's with another patient. In the meantime, I hope you can eat a little something."

Gretchen tried to speak but her head still hurt.

"Here, take a sip of this, it will help revive you and clear your head. That's great, you're doing fine."

Gretchen smiled painfully and tried to sit up.
The girl Haley, all of sixteen, had a warm friendly smile. The young volunteer elevated the head of Gretchen's bed and fluffed her pillows.

"You're boyfriend's been so worried about you, he refused to leave the hospital. He spent all night sitting in that chair. Aren't the flowers beautiful?"

Gretchen looked around the room. There were at least five bouquets of flowers and two bowls of fruit.

"Who?" Gretchen whispered painfully.

"Him." Haley said, pointing at a chair hidden behind two large bouquets on her over-the-bed-table.

Haley moved the flowers to the window sill, exposing a sleeping Derek slumped in a stiff backed chair. A stubble of beard and tosseled dark hair gave him a schoolboy charm.

As Haley left through the door, panic assailed Gretchen. Fear shadowed her face, as painful memories flashed through her mind.

He did this to me. How could they let him stay here? I've got to notify the police. I'll have to do it once he leaves. I can't let him know I'm on to him, or he might try again. Why did he do this to me?

Gretchen jumped as Derek turned to get more comfortable in the chair. As he tried to stretch his butt slipped off the chair and landed on the floor waking him up.

The look on his face caused Gretchen's heart to melt and she couldn't help but laugh at him.

"Hello Sleeping Beauty," Derek said, managing a clown like smile as he walked toward her bed. "How are you feeling?"

"I have an awful headache."

"You fell and hit your head. You have two huge knots at the base of your skull."

Gretchen tried to take a deep breath, but the tape on her chest pulled at her skin. She placed her hand on her chest and a worried look crossed her face.

"It's all right, nothing too permanent. The cuts weren't too deep and the plastic surgeon said the scars will fade in time."

"How long have I been out?"

"Two days."

"There was a guard posted at your door but they pulled him when they caught Max."



"I caught someone trying to climb out your bedroom window. I slammed the window down and broke his ankle. I told the police and they sent out an APB to all hospitals and MD's. Max was arrested in the emergency room this morning. For years he was living under an assumed name. He was a serial killer wanted in seven states. He never left any fingerprints, he always wore white laytex gloves."

"Then how do you know he is the right man?"

"He left his calling card on your chest and the bruise on his ankle matches your window sash. They also found his knife with your blood on it."

"I guess I have you to thank for saving my life
but why were you at my house?"

"I followed you home. I wanted to get even with you for snubbing me. As I sat in my car staring at your house, I realized why I was really there."


"I needed you to forgive me, not only for today but for school too."


"Did anyone ever tell you you ask too many quections?"

"Come to think of it, in a round about way they have."

"So, tell me why?"

"Because...because I...I...LOVE YOU. There I've said it. I always have and I always will. When you were nearly killed I almost died myself."

"All these years I have loved you too and you teased me until I cried. Why did you waste those years and wait untill now?"

"Because I was a 'JOCK ASS', that's why, but not any longer.

6090 words

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