Truly Mine Prologue
**Disclaimer: unedited & subject to change before publication**
“Are you almost ready?” My roommate, Liam stands in the doorway of my bedroom chugging a beer. We’re both dressed in suits ready to go to the wedding reception our friend Hunter invited us to. His brother Hayden is finally getting married to his high school sweetheart Savannah and that’s something to celebrate. Plus, free booze.
I straighten my tie then glance at Liam. “Yeah, gimme two minutes,” I say.
He nods and walks off finishing his beer. I hear the glass clank into the recycling in the kitchen. I sit on the bed and slide on my dress shoes before running my fingers through my short hair. I scrub my hand over my face as I yawn, needing to wake up, though I’m exhausted from a long ass week. Between working for my dad in the District Attorney’s office and training in the testing lab, I have minimal free time, but it will be well worth it when I’m officially a forensic investigator in the fall. The position has basically been promised to me and I’m so damn thrilled that all the years of school and hard work is going to pay off. Investigating crime scenes isn’t an easy job, but knowing that I’ll be able to help give closure to those who lost loved ones is well worth it. Closure can mean everything.
After tucking my wallet into my back pocket, I meet Liam in the living room. He stands from the couch and follows behind me, locking up the apartment. We don’t waste any time and drive across town to a large venue where the reception is held. It’s early evening and the party’s supposed to last all night. Though I’d rather be in my bed, I’ve been looking forward to hanging out with my friends and celebrating all week. Between Hunter getting engaged to Lennon and her sister’s busy work schedules, it’s been too damn long since we’ve gotten together.
“Excited to see Sophie?” Liam teases, and I glare at him. Sophie is Lennon’s older sister. He knows I hate when he gives me shit about her, but loves getting under my skin.
“She still dating that fuckwad?” I ask since they’re always texting each other. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were secretly dating, but I know he really has a thing for Maddie, Sophie and Lennon’s youngest sister, though he’d never admit it. Most days, he acts as if she doesn’t exist, which drives her insane.
“Yeah. Apparently. We haven’t really talked much lately,” he says, shrugging. “Probably because of Weston. Douchebag,” he mutters.
“And you’re surprised, why? I wouldn’t want my girlfriend talking to you either.” I taunt him with a smirk as I park.
“Just because I’m better looking than you,” he fires back, and I flip him off.
We get out of the truck and walk toward the entrance where the music’s already blaring. As soon as we walk in, I see Hunter across the room smiling. Almost instantly, Liam gets pulled away by a tall blonde and leads her to the bar. The dude is a chick magnet.
Shaking my head, I head over to where everyone is sitting and smile when I meet up with Hunter and Lennon who’s holding Alison, their six-month old baby. Maddie forces a grin but I can tell she’s annoyed, probably because she’s spotted Liam at the bar flirting with Blondie. I hold back a chuckle, knowing it’s all stemmed from jealousy, and settle for a smirk, which causes her to groan. Subtle is one thing she’s not. She’s made it known she likes Liam and he continues to ignore it.
Deciding I need a drink, I grab a beer from the bar then look around, and notice Sophie isn’t here. “So where’s the other third musketeer?” I ask the girls.
Lennon glances down at her phone and shrugs, her smile slightly faltering. It’s not lost on me that she’s supposed to be here right now. Her phone dings moments later and she announces they’re finally here and going to wait in the hallway for her. Lennon hands Alison over to Maddie then Hunter follows her out of the room. Sipping my beer, I narrow in on Maddie, knowing I’ll get the truth from her.
“What’s up with Sophie?” I’m being direct, but I noticed the way Lennon tensed when I asked where she was. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that these Corrigan sisters are bad liars.
“Not sure, honestly. She’s been weird lately. Well…since she moved in with Weston a few months ago, actually.” Maddie puts her attention back on the baby, and I can tell she wants to change the subject. They’re all being weird about this, which gives me a bad feeling.
I grind my teeth, holding back what I really want to say about Weston, not wanting to act jealous. All I’ve ever wanted is for Sophie to be happy, to be in a relationship she deserves. Something I can’t give her regardless of our past. When we met, I was still too damaged and needed more time to heal. Sophie’s a forever girl, and I was a one-night kinda guy. Now she’s taken, and I miss her being around.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Sophie and she’s avoided me like the plague since getting with that prick six months ago. She seems to only do whatever he wants or at least that’s what I’ve assumed. By how her sisters are acting, it’s pretty much confirmed. Before I can ask any more questions, Liam walks over and joins me, the blonde long gone, which makes Maddie more than happy. Though Liam tries to act like a hard ass most of the time, I notice how his face softens when he sees Maddie holding Allie.
A moment later, my eyes land on Weston as he forcefully drags Sophie into the room. My nostrils flare watching the scene unfold in front of me. The way he jerks her around, infuriates the fuck out of me.
Hunter and Lennon walk back to our table as I keep my eyes on Weston and watch him take Sophie to the bar. The greedy asshole orders two drinks for himself as Sophie shakes her head she doesn’t want anything. That alone is strange because we’ve gone out with the girls dozens of times and she always has a couple. Sophie turns toward us and makes eye contact with me, and I can see straight through her facade. I notice her eye is swollen and she’s tried to cover it with makeup. My jaw ticks at the thought of him hitting her. Hunter glances at me and I stiffen, causing Liam to zero in on Sophie and Weston who are having a not-so-quiet argument. Her voice is hushed while his is loud, and I can tell she’s embarrassed he’s causing a scene. She lowers her head and it’s obvious she’s trying to avoid attention.
Eventually Sophie comes over to our table, leaving her dickhead boyfriend at the bar. As soon as she’s away from him, Lennon takes the opportunity to capture Sophie and takes Allie and Maddie with her to the ladies’ bathroom, knowing damn well Weston would be ballsy as fuck to follow her there.
“Lennon’s going to get her to open up, don’t worry,” Hunter tells me, but I barely hear him. I’m microfocused on Weston, who’s snarling at me before he chugs a beer. He may not be saying a damn word, but his body language is screaming to test him, and I want to get in his face the way he got in Sophie’s.
Liam crosses his arms over his chest and warns me. “Don’t, Mason. Not the time or place.”
“Did you see Sophie’s face?” I ask, looking between the two of him. “He fucking hit her.”
Hunter frowns with a short nod.
“I’ve heard of way too many domestic cases and can see it all over her. The way he jerked her toward the bar and how she cowered around him makes it more than obvious to me.” Manipulation and controlling leads to abuse or even worse. Something isn’t right. She’s hiding something.” My chest rises and falls, and I try to calm my anger.
Her boyfriend orders another beer then walks over to us. “What are you looking at you pussy ass bitch?” His voice is wrapped in arrogance.
My brows shoot up. The fucking audacity. He’s goddamn lucky we’re in a public place right now.
Liam steps in the way, hovering over Weston like a statue, putting space between us. Considering he’s built like The Hulk and was a bouncer through college, he’s the last person anyone wants to fight.
The music in the room seems to fade away and all I can hear is my heart pumping blood through my body. Hunter tries to calm the situation, but it’s already been escalated. The last thing I want to do is ruin Hayden and Savannah’s reception. He’s intoxicated and insane.
Weston lets out a maniacal laugh and raises his voice, causing attention from some of the guests. “Where’s my whore at? I’m ready to get the fuck out of this lame party.”
Hunter stiffens, knowing shit just escalated. When Weston looks at me again, I see just how dangerous he is because he looks like he has no soul. Sophie avoiding everyone and not acting like herself makes so much sense. She’s afraid of him, of what he’ll do, and the bruises on her face and swollen eye are proof of that. My nostrils flare, and I clench my teeth, the anger fueling my adrenaline on wanting to kick this motherfucker’s ass.
“Did you hit her?” I flat out ask. I’m not gonna play games with him.
“What the fuck is it to you?” He steps around Liam and gives me an evil grin. “And I’ll do it again if she gets in my way.” He closes the gap between us and pushes me, causing me to slightly stumble back before he walks out of the room, laughing. I shouldn’t, but I allow my emotions to take control and stalk after him. Hunter and Liam follow me to the hallway.
“Hey,” I shout from behind Weston as he exits the doors leading outside. “Don’t you ever lay another fucking hand on her,” I warn him.
“Or what?” He spins around and faces the three of us. “What are you assholes really gonna do about it? You should really mind your own damn business or else…” Weston sizes me up and straightens his shoulders as if he’s ready for a brawl. Unfortunately for him, I’ve been fighting for years, and box several times a week with my trainer. I may be slender, but my hands are weapons.
“I’m not gonna fight you, dumbass. But this is your warning, you touch her again and you’ll be dealing with me.”
“With all of us,” Liam adds, stepping to my side.
Weston scoffs, rolling his eyes as if our threats mean nothing to him. He moves closer and he reeks of alcohol. “Keep it up and she’ll be dead before you even have the chance to save her,” he says with zero emotion in his voice. His words immediately cause me to see red, and I lose all control of my actions as my anger guides me forward, closing the space between us, daring him to throw the first punch.
Weston narrows his eyes then raises his arms. He swings at me, missing, and when I lift my hands, I connect with his jaw with an ear-piercing snap. It should’ve knocked him out flat on his ass, but somehow he only stumbles back. When he regains his footing, it’s as if he snaps, like a crazed psychopath. His pupils are full of rage and it’s as if he transformed from human to monster in seconds. I throw another punch, my fist smashing into his nose and Weston curls down and covers his face. As soon as I do, Hunter and Liam rush forward to pull me away, but my adrenaline is too high, and I don’t budge. When I think the asshole is done, and we step back to walk away, Weston fidgets and reaches behind his back.
“Hey!” He shouts, grabbing our attention and that’s when I realize a glock is being pointed straight at me.
“Now what, pussy boy. Looks like you brought your fists to a fuckin’ gun fight.” Blood drips down from his nose and lips that are split open and swollen, and his eye is nearly sealed shut. I slowly hold up my hands, hoping he’s not actually crazy enough to shoot me, but knowing he just might be. You don’t pull a gun on someone unless you plan to use it, and I’m not stupid enough to call his bluff.
That insane laughter returns, piercing through me. I glance over and see Hunter and Liam standing behind me, both with their arms up too and realize the situation I got them into.
I think about Sophie’s beautiful face and how amazing and sweet she is, and how long she’s been with this terror of a man. I wonder how many nights she’s gone to bed scared of him or even worse, scared for her life. Just the thought of him hurting her has me seething all over again. She’s the reason why I confronted him in the first place, because she deserves better than this piece of shit.
“Not so brave now are ya?” He steadies his hand, continuing to aim at me. I look down the barrel, hoping these aren’t my last moments alive. I go into fight or flight mode, my mind quickly spinning.
“Just put the gun down, Weston,” Hunter says calmly. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Weston yells. “If any of you say another goddamn word…”
My blood pumps faster when he narrows his eyes at me. I’ve seen enough shit while training to know what happens next. In my mind, I can imagine it all so vividly, the evidence they’ll collect from my splattered brains, and the pictures they’ll take when they find me on the concrete. Everything seems to happen in slow motion, and I know whatever I do next, it has to be calculated with no sudden movements.
The gun clicks as he chambers a round and the sound echoes in my ear.
This isn’t the way I want to die.
This can’t be the way my life ends. The way all of our lives ends. Fear, guilt, shock—my emotions hit me in full force as I think about the Corrigan sisters and how this will destroy them.
Fuck. I should’ve just let him walk away and let Lennon handle Sophie since they left the room anyway.
In my peripheral vision, I see Liam slightly move behind me and Weston quickly points the gun at him. He aims right above Liam’s head and fires off a warning round. The sound of the traveling bullet loud and echoes off the surrounding buildings.
“I’ll fuckin’ kill you all if you try anything,” he spits. “All three of you.”
“Weston, we can all walk away from this,” Liam says slowly. “Don’t do anything you’ll regret.” I can hear the fear in Liam’s voice though he’s steady and trying to handle the situation. I want to turn around and tell them both how sorry I am, but I don’t want to add anymore fuel to the fire.
“Now. What was that you were saying earlier?” Weston glares at me. “I’m gonna be dealing with you if I lay my hands on Sophie again? You don’t scare me, but by the look on your face, I scare the fuck out of you.”
“You’ve proven your point,” Hunter says. “Let’s just all walk away.”
“Not fuckin’ happening,” Weston hisses.
I don’t want to ruin Hayden and Savannah’s reception, but it might be inevitable. Weston won’t be happy until someone here is hurt.
“You’re gonna listen to me,” he grits. Weston continues running his mouth, feeding from the control and attention almost as if he’s performing for an audience. If only he was a paid actor with a fake gun sent here to play a sick prank, but he’s not. Instead he’s a maniac with the need to feel power; that much is obvious. Weston continues to wave the steel around, talking shit, calling me every name under the sun. A car pulls into the parking lot, which causes him to lose focus. Thankfully it gives me enough time to make a move. Within seconds, I’m charging him with all the strength I have, just like I used to do during my college football days.
We fall to the ground, and I struggle to get the gun from his tight grasp. He keeps the barrel pointed at me, which causes me to concentrate harder. Losing could mean death and that’s not an option. I hear Hunter on the phone, begging for the cops to come as soon as possible. Liam shouts at Weston to stop and I feel like I’m living my worst nightmare. His strength doesn’t seem to be weakening as our hands grip the gun and we both fight for it.
Moments later, police sirens scream out in the distance, but there’s no end to this game. There will be no winner.
We continue to wrestle for the gun.
I need to get it out of his hands before someone gets hurt. Somehow I manage to twist the gun around so it faces him, but he’s relentless.
Then it happens too fast.
I hear the shot.
I feel warmth.
I see blood.
But it’s not mine.
Hunter and Liam pull me from the ground. I’ve never seen them so shook up in my life. Adrenaline pumps through me, but my mind and body can’t seem to handle the rush or the shock as I shake them off me.
“I’m fine. I’m fine,” I reassure them then the three of us glance down at Weston.
Oh my God.
“Fuck!” Liam yells out, running his fingers through his hair and paces. A few people from the hall walk toward us, horror written on their faces. Hunter begins to panic as half a dozen squad cars pull into the parking lot.
“Calm down,” I tell everyone, knowing shit’s about to get hectic as fuck. The cops are going to take statements from all the witnesses and to analyze the crime scene. The people who surround us look at me like I’m a monster, like I’m a murderer. With blood on my hands and clothes, I’m more than guilty.
It was self-defense. I can claim it all day. I have witnesses. But it doesn’t mean a man didn’t die because of me, regardless of the fucking circumstances or not.
Several officers rush over with their guns drawn, shouting at us not to move. We all lift our hands in the air, surrendering until they can see we’re not a threat. They see Weston on the ground, the gun next to me, and how I’m covered in his blood. The team of cops keep their guns pointed as one officer runs toward me, ordering for me to get on my knees and put my hands behind my back.
I do as I’m told and then he forcefully cuffs my wrists.
As the officer helps me stand, I look at Hunter and Liam who look distraught and scared as hell.
“Wanna tell me what happened here?” the officer asks.
I ignore him, knowing my rights. I’m not saying a damn thing without counsel even if this was self-defense. I know how fucked up the justice system can be, and I’m not about to incriminate myself.
“Call Serena!” I tell Liam. “Tell her to come to the station, but not to tell my father.”
He immediately nods, knowing exactly why I’d trust her. Before I can say anything else to them, the officer pulls me away to the side.
So many thoughts run through my head. Anger mixes with regret, but I try to remember why I confronted him in the first place. I did it for Sophie, for her safety, and I’d do it again.
I look over and see officers putting up yellow caution tape around the crime scene. Seconds later, I catch sight of Lennon, Sophie, and Maddie talking to Hunter and Liam who are about to get hounded for statements. The girls look all confused and shocked and I wish I could hear what the cops were saying to them. Sophie’s hysterical, and I’m sure they told about Weston. I turn my head, not able to watch her cry for that piece of shit who threatened to kill her. I have no doubt it would’ve lead to that.
Right now, I want to be invisible. The world around me begins to fade, and I try to tune out the screams and cries of the guests as the word of what happened spreads. I’m forcefully shoved into the back of the squad car. Realization of what took place begins to set in as an officer jumps into the front seat and drives us away.
I killed Sophie’s boyfriend.
I fucked up, and I’m going to pay for it.