I stare blankly at the woman in front of me.  My mind feels numb even though a million questions are trying to surface.  I have no control over any part of my body.  I simply stand there, frozen out of shock and of fear.  With the air inside of me hanging heavily and with no ability to move, I find myself unable to speak.  My lungs grow tired and heavy but I remain conscious.  When I finally am able to utter a few words all I can ask is "Why?"

She cackles and the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.  "Do you really need to know?"

I just stare back at her.  Terrified that if I say or do anything I will put Cara in even more danger.  

"Fine then."  She says, picking up on the fact I'm not planning on replying. "Now I don't have much time here so I'm going to make this quick.  It's because of you Sam.  You remember how we were best friends all the way from elementary school through high school?  Well I wanted to be more than friends.  And at first I think you did too.  But then you met her and everything changed."  She spat.  "I wanted to be with you Sam and she ruined all of the plans."
A sudden idea pops into my head.  I need to delay her.  Waste time so a nurse or someone will come into the room.  

"So how does James fit in?"  I ask, gaining a little confidence in my speech.

"I finally got so low Sam that I convinced myself to take action.  I hated her!  I still hate her!  Remember the day in the bakery?  I had talked to James.  I wanted him to do the dirty work but he was too weak."  She sounded disgusted.  "He was blinded by love for her.  I managed to ignore his insolence at the time and I took matters into my own hands.  Killing would be too much risk.  It would draw in more attention.  But a kidnapping would be just what we needed.  So when your dear Grace went to go apologize to James, I stood in the road, forced her to swerve her car last second and when she was knocked unconscious, I took her from the vehicle."

I stand in my place, disgusted by her story.  "I took her to James to get rid of her.  He agreed to keep her quiet because that was the only way I would let her live, or so I told him.  He wanted to keep her safe.  So noble, isn't it?"

I look over at James who sits in the corner.  His eyes downward.  Defeated.  

I'm caught off guard when he speaks.  "Sam, I never wanted to hurt her.  I never wanted her to end up like this.  I was afraid.  I loved her.  But I was also confused.  I made bad decisions that I thought would lead me down the right path.  I was wrong."

"Yes, you were."  Bianca says icily.  She looks back towards me and grins.  "And now Sam, your time is up.  Good job trying to stall by the way."

"What are you going to do?"
"Lucky for you, I don't intend on killing anyone.  No.  I just want to make sure that you have the same pain I had to go through.  Losing someone you love."

It takes me a second to realize what she means.  She begins walking towards Cara but I move fast and shove her out of the way.  "You're not taking her!"  I growl.  

Bianca catches me off guard by hitting my chest and I'm knocked backwards.  "Yes."  She hisses.  "I am."

I grab her ankle and pull her to the ground so she can't reach Cara before I get up.  "No.  You're not."

She screams and I notice the gun she had is on the ground across the room.  I rush to go get it.  She uses her foot and kicks it across the room just as I am about to grab it.  I dive for where it's been kicked but Bianca's knee goes into my stomach and I'm knocked to the ground. 

"You're not taking away anything more from me!"  She shrieks.  She grabs the gun and grasps it between her fingers.  "Do not make me use this Sam!"  She keeps it aimed at my chest but I'm surprised to see tears streaming down her face from her eyes, now fueling hatred with their fire.

"You won't shoot."  A voice to my right says simply.  James.  I had forgotten about him amidst everything.  He holds a second gun in his hand.  "Drop your weapon!"  He shouts.  "Drop it!"

Bianca lets her gun fall to the ground and we're all silent.  Only Cara, woken up from all of the commotion is making a sound.

"You are not going to hurt anyone else."  I never noticed how much pain is written on his face.  "You've caused too much hurt Bianca.  And I won't let you do any more."

"Oh really?"  She muses.  "You're going to stop me?  Ha!  Don't make me laugh!  You won't shoot!  You're too weak!"  She walks over to me where I'm guarding Cara.  "But I'm not weak James."

"How do you know I won't shoot?"

She ignores him.  Her hand strokes my cheek.  I'm too stunned to say anything. She sighs.  

"I've always wondered what this would be like.  Having you all to myself."  She leans in to kiss me.  I catch my breath.  Frozen.  Wanting to move but being unable.

She kicks me to the ground before her lips make contact.

"Never let your guard down Sam."  She says simply.  She takes Cara in her arms and James shoots.  He misses and hits the wall.

Bianca laughs.  "You're not going to shoot the baby are you James?"  She asks innocently.  

"That was a warning shot.  You take one more step and I will shoot."

"Is that so?  No, I don't think so."  She runs out of the door but James doesn't shoot.

"No!"  I shout and scramble to get up.  The pain slows me down but I can't let Cara get away.  I've already lost too much.  "Why didn't you shoot?!"

James doesn't answer.  Instead he pushes me to the ground.  "Just stay here."

"What?  No!  She has my daughter!"  

"No.  She doesn't.  Just stop."

"What do you mean she doesn't?  I just saw her run away!"

"The police are on their way, should be here.  I would say just about now she's meeting them."


"I'm not as weak as she thinks."  He laughs.  "But you.  Beat up by a woman."

I glare at him but he runs out of the room in trail of Bianca.  

I sit down, feeling restless but not wanting to move.  I won't be content until Cara is back in my arms.

James returns to the room with a police officer who is holding my daughter.  I want to sleep but I stay awake and explain the events of the past few years.

When I finish, he returns Cara to me and allows us both some rest.

The next morning Cara and I are still in the hospital.  Bianca packed quite the punch when she hit me and left me with a few broken ribs.  According to the nurse, James will still possibly face a prison sentence for being an accomplice of the kidnapping.  One of the few pieces of good news however, is that Bianca is almost guaranteed life in prison with all of the evidence we have to convict her.  No jury in their right mind would let her go.  Despite everything, I feel almost sorry for her.  She just needed someone to love her.  Unfortunately that was something I couldn't give her.  

The doctor said there was hope for Grace so we agreed to keep her on life support.  It made me relieved there was still a chance for a happy ending.

After a long while in the hospital, I was finally released and able to return home.  This time with my daughter.  Her head rests on my head and I carry her into her nursery.  Her head lays gently in the crib and she breathes contentedly.  I smile and kiss her on the forehead.  "Goodnight baby girl."

I leave the room, shutting off the light and closing the door behind me.  Our new life had started.  But I would never forget the old one.
Hope you all enjoyed!  I originally did have an epilogue planned but I changed the ending of this chapter and ended up liking this one the best.  :)  If enough people want an epilogue then I might release it.  Thanks for being an amazing audience!