I've been asked to give a warning if this goes bad. There *is* a death but I don't think you will have a problem with who it is. The chapter is shorter than normal but it just seemed right to end it where I did.
Also, feel free to check out my new story in the new category of "Non-fetish related". It's called "Stalked".
I got up and reached for a fireplace poker. “That's no match for a gun, Juliana. I would have thought you'd know that.”
“What do you want, Luke?”
“What do you think? Revenge.”
“How did you find me?”
“Pure luck. I knew you lived around here, but didn't know exactly where. I saw you and your boyfriend in a store one day. With it being so dark in there except for the light a flashlight gives, you didn't see me. I stayed very quiet, then followed you at a far enough distance you didn't notice me. Once I found out where you live – nice touch taking the name off the mailbox, I drove by many times looking for you before that day in the store - I hid across the road, watching your comings and goings, looking for a chance to catch you alone. When you left early one morning and didn't return before I fell asleep, I thought maybe you'd decided to go somewhere else. I was in luck, though. You came back.”
“You want revenge for something you deserved? You're insane.”
“I didn't deserve to be tied up and have an enema nozzle up my ass.”
“Really? You did it to me.”
“I didn't abandon you. By the way, how *did* you get out of your room? I had a lock on it from the outside.”
“It was quite easy. The hinges were on the inside. All I had to do was remove them.”
“My hammer. I had my toolbox in the bedroom.” He had a look on his face that said damn, I didn't think of that! “It's too bad you turned out to be such an asshole, Luke. But then again, I wouldn't have met Jude if you hadn't done that to me. And he's way better of a man than you could hope to be.”
He had moved closer to me and reached out and hit me across the side of the head with the gun barrel. I fell to the floor. He bent over me. I heard something that sounded like chains. Next thing, I knew, he had one of my hands cuffed and was reaching for the other. I kicked out with my foot and threw him off his feet. Jude had just left, so he would be gone a while. I could not rely on him coming to my rescue. I had to fight Luke off by myself. I was sure I was in a fight for my life.
I managed to grab one of the pokers. Luke took aim at me from the floor. I brought the poker down without thinking where it was going. As it turned out, it went right through his pants and through his scrotum. He gave out a primal scream and dropped the gun. I kicked it out of his reach and then walked over to it, picking it up and pointing it at him. I looked and the safety was not off.
“You are such a dumbass, Luke. You didn't even take the safety off.”
“You're the bigger dumbass. You believed it was loaded”, he retorted as he pulled the poker out of himself. I gave the gun a quick check and he was right – it wasn't loaded. I should have known. He didn't know a thing about guns. In fact, he hated them.
He got up and came toward me with the poker in his hand. I ran for the bathroom and almost got there. I felt the poker come down on my back. I was far enough ahead of him that it just grazed me, it didn't go through my body. I stumbled and felt an awful pain in my chest. I was gasping for breath. I heard a shot and looked around. Jude was standing in the living room doorway, with my rifle in his hands. Luke had collapsed on the floor. He didn't move.
“Julia, luv! Are you okay?”
“My chest, it hurts!”
“Let me get you on the monitor.” He set the gun down and picked me up.
“Jude, what if he gets up?”
“He won't, luv. Not ever again.”
“You killed him?”
“I think so.”
“Oh my God.”
“I had to, luv. He would have killed you.” He set me down on my hospital bed in the next room and hooked up the leads to the monitor, then turned it on. He watched it for a moment. I didn't like the look on his face.
“What is it, Jude?”
“I'm going to do an EKG.” He went to the far side of the room and brought the machine up to my bed. He switched leads and ran it, then looked at the print out. “I thought you might be having a heart attack, but it doesn't look like it. Just an exacerbation of your arrhythmia. I need you to rest.”
“I'm not going anywhere, Jude. But what about Luke? We need to deal with him.”
“I don't care about him, I'm worried about you.”
“Please go see if he's alive. If he is, he needs medical attention.”
He came back a couple minutes later and went to his drug cabinet. “I'm going to give you some IV medications for your heart, luv.”
“What about Luke?”
“He's dead, Julia.” Jude put a couple bags on the IV pole, then pulled it over to the side of my bed. He swabbed my hand and inserted the needle, getting the vein without any trouble. He pushed the cannula into it and withdrew the needle before taping the tubing to my hand and hooking it up to the bags. He programmed it to deliver the drugs at the rate he wanted, then went back to the cabinet and drew some medication into a couple syringes. “One is for your heart, the other is a sedative, luv. It will help you sleep. That is the best thing for you right now.” He injected both into the IV, then put the cardiac monitor back on. “I'm so glad I've been stocking up on medication and equipment.”
Jude layed down and held me in his arms while we waited for the sedative to take effect.
When I woke up, it was dark out. The dogs were on the bed with me. Both rails were up on the bed, so I couldn't get out. I had to pee real bad and called out to Jude. “Coming, luv!”
“I need to go to the bathroom, Jude.” He put the rail down, unhooked the monitor and pushed the IV pole for me. I was dreading seeing what the living room looked like but you'd have never known anything had happened. It was straightened back up and there was no sign of where Luke had fallen after being shot.
When I was finished in the bathroom, Jude helped me to the kitchen and poured me a cup of decaf coffee after I sat down. “I'll get you some supper, luv. Hang tight a few minutes while I warm it up.”
“Jude, what happened? Why were you back so soon? Where is Luke's body?”
“Whoa, Julia. One question at a time. I will tell you everything after you have your supper. You missed lunch, so you need to eat.”
After I had my dinner – Jude had already had his – we took a coffee back to the makeshift bedroom and he put me back on the monitor. He sat down on the bed and told me everything.
“On my way to town, a car passed me going in the other direction. We haven't seen any other people, so I was surprised it didn't stop. I turned around and tried to catch up to it but it was going so fast. I didn't want to risk crashing, and the fact it was going so fast seemed a bit suspicious to me, so I held back and followed at a distance. It turned into your laneway...”
“OUR laneway”, I corrected him. “This is as much your place as it is mine now, Jude.”
“Okay, our laneway. At first, I thought maybe it was someone you knew from before the virus, but it didn't make sense that someone with altruistic intentions would not stop when they saw me. Then it hit me that it might be Luke, though I didn't know how he'd have found the place.”
“He told me that he saw us in town one day and followed us home. I had mentioned the town's name to him before he turned on me back in Montana. That's why I took mine and Ben's names off the mailbox. I didn't think he'd actually come here, but I didn't want to take any chances.”
Jude continued. “I drove part way up the laneway, then got out and ran on the grass. I didn't want him to hear me. I left the dogs in the truck so they wouldn't bark and give me away. I didn't know what was happening in here and I didn't want them to get injured or worse. When I got to the house, I had to catch my breath, then I opened the door slowly, trying to keep as quiet as I could. I heard you two fighting and grabbed your gun from the porch. I'm so glad you taught me how to shoot. I took the safety off and went to the living room. You two were almost at my feet and I just pointed it at him and shot him. I think I got him in the heart.”
“Where is he? What did you do with him?”
“I buried him in the woods a ways away from here. I'm not going to tell you where as I don't want you looking for the grave or wondering every time you go to town if we're driving by it. It's somewhere where we most likely won't be going near.”
I told him what had happened before he got here. “Jude, you saved my life – again. I don't know how I ever could thank you.” Tears were welling up in my eyes.
“No need to thank me, luv.” He moved closer to me and gave me a big hug. I pulled away and framed his face with my hands, then I kissed him passionately. I had been on the fence about getting involved with him, but at that moment, my decision was made. This man was a keeper. He kissed me back, but after a minute or so, *he* pulled away. “No, Julia, not like this.”
“What do you mean, Jude?”
“I don't want our first time to be frenzied and brought about by a tragic event. Besides, your heart is not stable enough right now for sex.”
I layed back against my mattress. “You're right, Jude. I'm sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry for, luv. If you truly want this, I'm very happy. But let's make sure it's something you really want and not just hormones acting up in a time of stress. I'm going to take the dogs out, then it's bedtime for both of us.”
After the dogs did their thing, Jude gave me my evening meds. “I'm going to leave the IV in for at least another day. I want you to have the extra drugs tomorrow – I still don't like the readings on the monitor, though it's better than it was.”
“Jude, is this permanent?”
“No, luv. I'm pretty sure it's not. It's just from you having such a scare and it's really not that long since you almost died. Let's hope there are no more incidents. But you really need to take it easy and rest for the next few weeks.”
“It's okay, we're pretty much ready for winter. It's just day to day stuff now, like feeding the livestock and milking the cow, bringing wood in etc.”
“I can do those things, so you can stay in here and rest.”
“Staying inside is more stressful on me, Jude. I want to go see our animals.”
“Not for a few days, maybe a week. Then you can visit but no working. Now, do you want me to sleep with you?”
“I would love it, but is it fair to you?”
“You let me decide what's fair to me, luv.” He stripped down to his briefs and under shirt, then got into bed beside me.
“We really should look for a queen size adjustable bed”, I said to him.
“No, Julia. That is off the table. I can't do it alone and you can't help me right now. We will sleep like this or in my bed, but I think you're more comfortable with your head up.” He put his arm around me and spoke softly into my ear. “Good night, luv.”