The bar was packed and Lucy was feeling exhausted. She bent over to grab the cocktail shaker and out fell a note, which was written on the back of a customer’s receipt. She picked it up as another bartender bumped into her. The note was from Omisha…”Tell me you give up darling, and that I can finally have your heart, or someone you love loses theirs.” She swallowed hard and called Luke, feeling nauseous.
“Babe, what do I do?” She asked Luke.
“Come home, have a glass of wine, and take a deep breath. Your heart is mine…no one else’s,” Luke told her.
“What if Omisha goes after you?” She questioned. Lucy leaned up against a cement wall; a fellow bartender stepped outside for a cigarette break. He smiled at Lucy and she acknowledged him briefly.
“I dare Omisha to try and hurt me to get to you. He, she, it will be in for one hell of a fight. I’m not going anywhere,” he reassured his love.
She nodded and told him how much she loved him, before hanging up. She hurried home, and as she was stepping out of her car she felt eyes hawking her. Heavy footsteps echoed beyond the garage; she backed up against the vehicle. The inanimate object became her friend in that moment. Luke opened the front door and asked her what she was doing; she gazed passed the driveway, saying nothing. Her heart was racing and she couldn’t catch her breath. Luke walked over to her with concerned eyes and escorted her inside. She sat at the dining room table with her man and bit into a piece of homemade pizza. He smiled and reached for her hand. The candlelight made her skin glow, and the touch from her warm body made him feel at home.
“I love you beautiful girl. Omisha will never come between us,” Luke said with a sexy smile.
“You’re my heart, but I need you to promise me something,” Lucy responded.
“What is it?” He asked.
“If Omisha threatens you directly I need you to leave me and don’t look back.”
“Baby…I’m never leaving you,” he reacted.
“Luke, I love you. I want to have babies with you and get married, but Omisha isn’t going away. All I care about is that you’re safe and leaving me may be the only choice you have. The police department is useless and we know what this monster is capable of. I have the scars on my body to prove it, and Liam is still dead and gone. Kenny’s life was turned upside down, too. Omisha will stop at nothing to have me,” she explained with broken eyes.
“I am never going anywhere and we will stop Omisha, whether it takes a week or a year. I will keep you safe and that is a promise I can live by. Omisha isn’t the only one who will stop at nothing to have you…,” Luke began before standing up and approaching Lucy. She looked up at him with pretty eyes and he smiled. He got down on one knee and placed her delicate hand in his. She gasped and began to cry. A beautiful ring emerged from his pocket, as he continued with his speech.
“Lucy, I knew from the second I met you that you’re the woman for me. You’re beautiful, strong, and fiercely independent. I’m a better man for holding you at night, making you homemade pizza, and for being your boyfriend. The rest of the world doesn’t matter when I’m with you, and when you were kidnapped, I couldn’t sleep or move. Everything stopped without you here. I love being your boyfriend, but I want more. Will you do me the honor of marrying me and being my wife?” The look in his eyes was honest and she was on the brink of gushing. She had envisioned perfect moments like that one, over and over again, but after Omisha took ahold of her life, perfect moments vanished. Luke managed to revive the thought of having a real, normal life and she loved him for that.
“I want nothing more than to be your wife. The answer is yes, I’ll marry you,” she spoke sweetly as a tear ran down her face. He placed the large, pink diamond on her ring finger and kissed her lips. She couldn’t let go of him, but for a split second she saw Liam. She smiled, although tears felt more appropriate, and kissed her fiancé once more.
The honeymoon phase began early for Luke and Lucy. They couldn’t keep their hands off of each other, and anywhere they went Luke was slipping his hand up her dress. She was all smiles while they planned their wedding, which would be intimate and soon. Lucy didn’t want to wait, for life is far too unpredictable. Serena was the maid of honor and two of Lucy’s close, female friends from dance were her bridesmaids. It was going to be an evening to remember, and no one could put on a show like Lucy. She was all about the gown, flowers, and string lights.
She sat at the bridal shop with Serena and her mother, covered in tulle and glitz. She tried on dress after dress before she slipped into “the one”…the dress she had always pictured herself wearing on her wedding day. It was a bohemian style, mermaid gown, with a jeweled and beaded bodice. It was goddess-like, and Lucy looked like an enchanting dream. The moment of immense happiness was cut short though, by a text from Kenny. It read, “Help me”. Lucy took off the dress and handed the sales associate her credit card, while she stood there in nothing but her lace underwear. She told her mother and Serena that a friend of hers from the bar had been in an accident. The dress was found and waiting for her special day to arrive, but Kenny needed her now and that was the only thought in her mind. She rushed to him, speeding down back roads and running red lights.
When she arrived at Kenny’s his house was dark. She let herself in and called for him, but there was no reply. As she fumbled for a light switch she heard movement coming from the bedroom. She shone her flashlight in the direction of the room; her eyes widened as she noticed a trail of blood on the floor. The living room was a mess and there was shattered glass everywhere. A moan of pain drifted through the home; Lucy entered the bedroom, armed with nothing but her strength, and found Kenny propped up against the wall, sitting in a pile of his own blood. He had been stabbed multiple times and he was fading quickly. She fell to his side, trying to comfort him. She called 911 and held his face in her warm hand. She felt lightheaded and the world around her became an intense blur.
“I’m so sorry Kenny. This is all my fault,” Lucy screamed as she looked down at her ring.
“Don’t leave me,” Kenny managed to say.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she replied.
The paramedics and police flooded into the home and Lucy, covered in Kenny’s blood was lifted up off of the floor by a worried detective. He handed her over to a friendly face. Detective Jones stood there, looking horrified. He hugged the young woman and told her he hadn’t given up on her, or the Omisha case. He was searching every day for answers, but Omisha was clever and evil. He had never known such a careful opponent. There was never an ounce of evidence left behind that would lead Jones to arresting someone, under true suspicion…nothing ever linked to Omisha, just the stalker’s dark mind. They never discovered whose heart Omisha had left in Lucy’s bathtub, for instance. Where does one get a human heart on demand?
Lucy sat in the hospital room next to Kenny, staring at her gorgeous ring. Kenny opened his eyes and looked over at the girl sitting there, wearing a baby blue maxi dress and a bomber jacket. She was too deep in thought to notice that her friend had awoken from his literal nightmare.
“Nice rock,” Kenny said as Lucy looked up from her ring.
“Oh thank god…you’re alive,” she said, jumping to his side.
“When you told me you had gotten engaged I honestly didn’t believe you,” he admitted.
“I know. It’s pretty crazy. Can you picture me married?” She questioned.
“Yes, I can. I see you married, having a baby, and teaching your kid how to dance. There’s going to be a lot of heartbroken men though, realizing Lucy is finally taken,” he laughed. Laughter was painful, as was breathing. Omisha was like a cat with a mouse. Death is too simple, but torture is fun and continuous. The stab wounds weren’t fatal, just deep enough to land him in the hospital and forever scarred.
“Well, I’m sure those men will get over it,” she smirked.
“I don’t know. I never could,” he replied. She smiled at him and placed her hand on his face. She kissed his cheek and told him to rest. She’d be back in the morning with magazines and breakfast. He winked at her as she left.
The wedding day had arrived and Lucy’s stomach was filled with butterflies. She and Luke were almost ready to head to the venue. She gazed at herself in the mirror and grinned, feeling changed. There was a knock at the door; Lucy rushed downstairs and found Detective Jones standing on the porch. She sighed, but welcomed him in.
“I want to keep you safe, especially today. I will be there with you today and so will my best guys. They’ll blend in, I promise. Will Kenny also be there?” Jones asked.
“Yes, of course. He’s doing much better,” Lucy spoke as Luke sat down next to her.
“My baby deserves a perfect wedding, Detective. Please, do whatever it takes to protect her and the day she’s always dreamt of,” Luke chimed in. She kissed him, feeling loved.
“I will,” Jones responded.
Guests were seated under an illuminated canopy, and a band was positioned beneath a beautiful, weeping willow tree. The band’s country melodies set the tone for the pretty, outdoor affair. The reception area was set up inside a separate, airy tent, alongside a romantic lake. The bar glowed electric blue, as the talented bartender mixed colorful drinks. The signature drink for the evening was “The Lucy”, of course. The venue was a wooded courtyard featuring a lake, and although there was a catering hall, Lucy wanted the wedding and reception to be outdoors. The aisle was lined with sunflowers and string lights hung above; a sunflower entwined arbor awaited Lucy at the end of the aisle, and framed photographs of the happy couple were propped up on easels throughout the tents. It was perfect.
Lucy stood by the window which overlooked the lake, wearing her impeccable gown. The makeup and hair artist touched up her dark, gold smokey eyes, and her mauve colored lipstick. Her voluminous curls fell behind her shoulders, and her skin glowed with a shimmery quality. A breeze blew in through the window and brushed her face, leaving goose bumps on her skin. There was a steady knock at the door…it was Kenny. Lucy smiled as he entered the room and the rest of her wedding party exited, giving her privacy. Kenny looked the bride up and down, admiring every detail. She was a dream. He loved her in jeans and a t-shirt, but there was something magical about seeing her in a wedding gown. Their youth flashed before him, as they both realized everything was about to change.
“I wanted to see you before you walk down the aisle,” Kenny began.
Lucy stared at him softly with bright eyes. “Do you remember what you said to me the night we went for a midnight bike ride, and we wound up swimming in the lake behind my house?” Kenny asked.
“I was a little drunk that night, but I do remember sitting on the dock at the lake, talking for hours. There were so many fireflies that night,” Lucy said as she sat carefully on an ottoman.
“You told me, ‘These are the beautiful moments that become part of our story.’ ”
“Oh, I do remember that. Those were the nights,” Lucy remarked with a grin.
“Well, today, my darling is a beautiful moment that will become part of your story,” Kenny exclaimed.
Lucy smiled at her old friend and handed him a shot of bourbon. They took a shot together and laughed for a little while longer, and then it was time to go. Her wedding party was lined up and ready to begin, which meant the audience was anxiously awaiting the bride. Luke stood proudly beneath the sunflowers, waiting for his love to make her debut. Serena made her way down the aisle with her bouquet of sunflowers, thistle, and blue morning glory. She and the bridesmaids wore champagne colored dresses, that were floor-length and bohemian to enhance the theme. Lucy’s brother was escorting his little sister down the aisle and “giving her away”, which she knew meant a lot to him. When it came time for her to walk, the guests stood with beaming smiles, as the band played “Cowboy Take Me Away”.
The bride was radiating beauty and positive vibes as she made her way towards her handsome future. Her arm was linked to her brother’s, and she could feel him tense up the closer they became to Luke. She was no longer a little girl. As Lucy stepped up onto the petal covered platform, she looked up at the magical, sunflower decorated arbor and smiled. She looked over at Luke, who was the happiest man on earth in that moment, and winked at him beneath golden makeup. He touched her hand and whispered “I love you” as the ceremony continued. Detective Jones lurked beyond the weeping willow tree, remaining as discreet as possible. His men were dressed as servers, ready to mingle with the unaware guests and pass out appetizers.
“Lucy, you’re more than just my lover…you’re my best friend. I have never been more sure of anything in my life and I will never leave your side. Consider me your shadow, but even in the dark I won’t leave you. Thank you for being honest, loyal, and a constant adventure. Thank you for being mine and for making me the luckiest man in the world. Your determination and ferocity inspires me every day and I wish you could see what I see when I look into your eyes. Your smile lights up the room, your laugh heals those who are in pain, and your mind confuses the hell out of me. I vow to always be there for you, no matter what struggles we are facing, and to never stop looking at you the way I did when I first met you. I love you,” Luke exhaled with courageous eyes. Lucy wiped a tear from her soft face as she prepared for her words.
“Baby, you’re my sanity, my support system, my partner in crime, and my heart. I look at you and I see my future. I wake up next to you every morning and I don’t even know how it’s possible, but I love you more with each passing day. I would do anything for you and to protect us. You’re my first thought when I wake up in the morning and my final thought as I lay my head down at night. There’s something so beautiful in the way you love and care for me, and I wish I could explain in words the way you make my heart feel, but it’s a feeling that cannot be put into words. I love you more than anything Luke, and I vow to only love you more as time goes on. I also wanted to tell you something special, and on this incredibly special day, I thought there is no better moment…” Lucy paused just to look into Luke’s eyes. He had a bright smile on his face, but was obviously confused.
“Luke, the butterflies that have flooded my stomach ever since the first time I kissed you have turned into two, tiny feet. You’re going to be a daddy and I’m so excited to start a family with you,” Lucy finished. Luke kissed her passionately and the guests cheered loudly, as though they had caught a homerun baseball at a winning game. Luke was so happy his eyes were watering; the priest had to regain control over the enthusiastic crowd.
“Lucy, do you take Luke as your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?” The priest asked with a sweet tone.
“I do,” Lucy acknowledged as Luke placed a wedding band on her finger.
“Luke, do you take Lucy as your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?” The priest questioned.
“I do,” Luke said with a smile. Lucy slipped a wedding band onto his finger and they took each other’s hands.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. Luke, you may kiss your beautiful bride.”
Luke pulled his love in for a kiss and touched her belly. The guests were ushered into the reception tent by Lucy’s mother, and the lake spontaneously lit up with lanterns and tea lights to welcome the guests. The bar was flooded with thirsty friends and family, and the servers passed around gorgeous hors d’oeuvres. The event was a vision, as was the bride. She and Luke stood behind a veiled entryway to the tent, awaiting their grand entrance. She kissed her husband once more, before greeting their guests and he embraced her with a warm hug. Detective Jones whispered into his headset and Luke looked at him, nervously. While the happy couple took the dance floor for their first dance, Detective Jones was dealing with Omisha.
A letter had been found on the gift table, which immediately pointed to Omisha. The handwriting was a positive match. The letter read:
“Dear beautiful bride,
I hope you had a magical wedding and that the day was filled with love, excitement, and surprises. I’m so happy that I was able to be there with you today to celebrate your marriage and to see you walk down the aisle. You looked good enough to eat…
There’s a gift for you on the table. Enjoy!
Detective Jones searched through every gift, but found nothing. He was infuriated. He told his men to keep a close eye on all of the guests, because Omisha was a party crasher. Luke appeared next to Detective Jones. He looked worried and a little angry.
“What’s wrong?” Luke asked.
“Omisha is here with us today, and I found this letter on the gift table,” Detective Jones replied, handing Luke the letter.
“We know everyone whose here today, though,” Luke pointed out.
“I know. Sometimes, your enemies are much closer to you than strangers.”
As Detective Jones was placing the gifts back onto the table he discovered something. The table cloth slipped off revealing the gift left by Omisha. The gift was in fact on the table all along; the gift was the actual table cloth. On the underneath of the table cloth were messages, photos, and depictions. The high quality photos were of Lucy, with a timeline drawn out in what appeared to be blood. The depictions were of Lucy giving birth, Luke being brutally murdered, and the baby and her being taken by Omisha in the middle of the night. Some of the photos of Lucy were recent and were blended in with the animated drawings, which were so lifelike it was startling. Omisha must’ve found the pregnancy test Lucy took and decided to incorporate the baby into the awful, personalized wedding gift. Luke felt sick to his stomach and rage roared through him, like a wildfire.
It was a nightmare showing Lucy the letter and the table cloth, but Luke knew all of the guests had to be questioned. It was a scary end to a beautiful day. Nothing came of the investigation that night, but Detective Jones kept the table cloth and the letter, and ran background checks on every guest who attended their wedding, pairing that information with the interview he had conducted with each one of them. It killed Lucy to think someone she knew and loved wanted to cause her so much pain, but she also knew that life is a game and not all players are fair.
Luke made love to Lucy that night for hours, trying to distract her from new fears. A white, flowing negligee hung from her body. Her bust was exposed and her curls were wild. He held her down and kissed her body, leaving her feeling weak, in the best possible way. She moaned intensely while he pleasured her, but during their night of ecstasy a hooded figure crept through their home. The figure entered into the room Lucy was turning into a nursery and drew a smiley face on the wall, in blood. The smiley face clung to the wall as a disturbing reminder that happiness can be taken away.