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Holden (The Hollow Duet #2)
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There was only one rule in their happily-ever-after.
Warning: This tale of horror contains violence and a monster who does monstrous things. Read at your own risk
This is Part 2 of The Hollow Duet.
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– Now: October 31st
I was a bundle of nerves when I opened the test. I was hopeful when I did what I was supposed to do to use it. I felt an instant of pure elation when I saw the blue ink seep through the window. But then, other emotions, complicated ones…they took over.
As I stood at the bathroom sink, staring at the blue plus symbol on the window of the pregnancy test, my teeth were embedded in my bottom lip. My eyes moved up to my reflection and I had trouble with what I saw on my pale-looking face.
Fear. Remorse. So much remorse. My dark eyes looked haunted. So very haunted.
My eyes moved back to the plus sign.
A baby. Our baby. I wasn’t remorseful about having a baby. Quite the opposite. I was elated at the idea of being a mother, at seeing a little baby – our baby – in the arms of the man I loved. I wanted a baby so badly I could taste motherhood like something sweet on my tongue. But the joy that would come with it? Deep in me, in a place I tried to hide – I felt like I didn’t deserve it.
Holden flushed my birth control pills a month or so ago, and when he put me up against the wall and ravished me, I probably ovulated that day. He ravished me most days, but that day – I felt funny directly afterwards, as if sensing the precise moment the cells split. Strange, right? But, I’m serious.
I know that it usually takes a while for birth control to leave your system, but stranger things have happened to me.
As for the ravishing…
Truth be told, there weren’t all that many days that Holden didn’t show me how he felt about me in a very physical way. He was quite demonstrative: my handsome, gallant, chivalrous husband.
He was a perfect gentleman in most ways, but an absolute rogue in the bedroom. And elsewhere in our home. He’d taken me in every room once we moved in. And the barn. And the garage. Plus: in both my car and his car.
It’d come over him, this hunger for me. He’d get a look in his eyes and my knees would weaken. And then he’d take me. Passionately. Hungrily. He was very, very good at it.
And I had no complaints whatsoever about the fact that his sexual appetite was challenging to keep up with. He was the only one I had ever been with and would ever be with. I would never, ever want another. I didn’t even get gooey at the idea of a movie star hall pass, like my coworker friends joked about in the staff room at work. I had no want, zero cravings for any man but the man I had.
He was tall, dark, handsome, strong, and looked at me like he felt lucky to have me, and like he could never want another, either.
He didn’t know about the birth control pills until he dared to ask me one evening when he caught me smiling at a giggling baby being pushed in a swing at the park as we took a stroll if it upset me that we hadn’t gotten “with child” yet. That was when I explained that I was on The Pill, a pill to prevent pregnancy. He frowned and looked cross with me. It hurt. I’d never seen that expression on his face before.
“Do you not want to bear my children, Isabella?” His expression changed to hurt and that was even worse than him looking cross.
“The pill just lets us decide when we’re ready, Holden.”
“And you’re not ready? Why? Do you not trust me to be the father of your baby? To take care of you both?”
It was an uncomfortable moment for me. We didn’t ask a lot of questions in our marriage. We avoided questions, for the most part, beyond something surface-like. Not asking questions felt safer. We had topics we weren’t allowed to discuss. We didn’t even talk about the fact that we couldn’t discuss certain things. Fewer questions meant less risk, in my opinion.
“Of course, I trust you.”
He steered us back the way we came, to the car, and was quiet on the ride home, as was I.
“Where are these pills?” he asked as we got in our front door. His expression was hard. It made my belly flip-flop and not in a good way, not in the usual way Holden made my belly feel.
I fetched them from the top drawer of the bathroom vanity and as I turned, he was right there, directly behind me, startling me. His expression was hard. His arms were folded across his chest.
I handed the package to him, about to explain how they worked when he threw it into the trash bin, hooked an arm around my waist, and then tore my skirt up at the back as he put me face first against the floral wallpaper.