Authors: Kylie Walker
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Copyright © 2014 By: Kylie Walker
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Kylie Walker holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
hloe stood frozen in her spot as she tried to comprehend the words that just came out of Derek’s mouth.
Why couldn’t she just find a guy that she could trust!
“You’re wife!” She yelled as her entire body trembled and she walked closer to him.
She took a deep breath and was almost ready to lung at him but instead stared him down with such haste. “You’re a fucking asshole, just like the rest of the men in my life! Don’t ever contact me again.” She yelled turning around.
“She’s dead!” He whispered.
Chloe didn’t even flinch. Not turning she asked. “What the fuck did you say?”
“She’s dead, alright!” Derek yelled in a harsh tone.
Chloe whipped around facing him, tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Why does she look exactly like me Derek?” Chloe felt like she was in shock. The woman in the picture looked exactly like her, except for the big brown eyes and blonde hair...she looked identical to Kelly Ward! What the hell was going on? Screaming, needing an answer right now she said again, “Derek! Why does she look just like me?”
“I don’t know.” He yelled.
“Are you seriously going to try and tell me that you didn’t see it? You sick bastard! I was just some kind of cheap substitute for your dead wife?”
“No Chloe...please listen to me. That colleague of mine took that picture of you because you looked so much like Sarah. When he showed it to me, I had to see you for myself. I was...flabbergasted. You could have been her twin if you had blonde hair and brown eyes...”
Chloe suddenly grabbed another photo off the dresser...the one of an older couple, “Blonde hair and brown eyes...like her mother. Are these her parents?”
Chloe dragged her hand through her hair. “Oh Jesus, oh God!” She felt like she was going to be sick. The room was spinning and she needed to sit down. Derek came towards her again and tried to help her but she jerked away from him, throwing herself back into the dresser.
“Chloe please calm down. Let me explain...”
“Explain? You can explain this?”
“You weren’t a substitute, it wasn’t like that...”
“Stop it! You’re a liar like every other man I ever met! You used me for some sick, cheap thrill. You wanted to fuck your late wife one more time. You’re sick!” She had tears flowing down her cheeks. She was pissed and she wanted to scratch Derek’s pretty eyes right out of his face...but she wasn’t even sure what she was most upset about right now.
She let her eyes fall back on the photo of Sarah. She had to be related. She had burned all of her old photos of herself when she started her life over, but if she had a picture of Kelly Ward...they would be identical. The people in the other picture had to be her parents...her biological parents.
In a calmer voice she said, “How old was she when she died, Derek?”
Walking over to the bed, he grabbed the photo and placed it back on the dresser, this time not hiding it. “22...She would have turned 25 this coming September.”
Chloe’s eyes were wide as she stared at him. “What?”
“What’s wrong?” Derek asked frowning.
Chloe took a deep breath. “What is her full birth date?”
“September 28, 1980,” he replied. He sounded like a robot, void of all emotion.
Chloe’s legs felt like jello, her mind started to race as she ran a trembling hand through her hair.
No, it couldn’t be. This was not happening!
The room started to spin and she thought she was about to fall when she ran into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her as realization set in.
She was a twin and Derek Stark had been married to her sister and now that sister was dead. Kelly Ward’s entire life had been unnecessary...she’d had parents, and a sister.
Why did they abandon her? Why was she left out in the world to suffer while her sister was kept? She put her back to the door and slid down to the floor. She could feel the panic attack building like a snowball rolling down a mountain. There was nothing she could do to stop it and she didn’t even have the energy to try. Her heart was already pounding against the walls of her chest as if it was trying to escape. Her brain was busy firing off thought after thought, some of them didn’t make sense and the ones that did were all self-depreciative.
She wasn’t good enough to keep. They had thrown her away... Her skin felt like it was on fire and she could feel the sweat beginning to form across her brow as her respirations tried to speed up to match her heartrate. Her chest hurt...it felt like it might explode and her fingers and toes were beginning to tingle because of lack of oxygen. She’d put herself right back in this place. She’d come here willingly and what she had discovered was worse than anything she ever could have imagined. Her stomach could suddenly no longer hold its contents and as she heaved into the toilet she wondered,
what the hell did she get herself into this time?
hloe didn’t know how much time passed while she was in the bathroom. After she threw up, she’d just sat there on the floor, hugging her arms and legs to her chest and rocking back and forth. She was suddenly so cold. Her body was going from one extreme to the other and it was so distracting that she couldn’t keep her mind focused on what was truly happening here.
Derek was sitting in the other room. At least, that’s where she left him. His wife was dead...her sister? She couldn’t wrap her head around that, but yet why did she have this horrible pain in her chest when she had that thought. It felt like grief...but why would she grieve a person she never knew existed? Or maybe, the grief was for her. Maybe the grief was for a whole life unnecessarily wasted.
“Chloe?” Derek was knocking on the door.
The simple sound of it caused her heart to pound along with it. She looked around and her surroundings finally came into focus. She was curled up in a space about a foot wide between the toilet and the port side window. She’d gone from heaving and sweating to freezing and shaking. She didn’t want him to see her like this. She didn’t want anyone to see her like this. Jesse spent years feeding off her fear. It was like foraging on it gave his black soul the sustenance it needed to survive. Since she escaped that hell, she promised herself never again. She wouldn’t allow this man or any other to see her fear.
He knocked again.
“Chloe, I’m getting worried. You’ve been in there for a long time. Can I come in?”
“No! Do not come in!” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She willed herself to stay calm. Fear cannot only be seen by those who want to nourish themselves on it; it can be smelled and felt as well.
“I’m coming out. Just give me another minute.”
“Okay.” He sounded distressed.
Maybe he really was worried about her...or maybe he was playing some sick game with her, the way that Jesse used to like to play games. It amused him to see her like this. Maybe Derek was amused as well. She still didn’t really know this man. A beautiful face and body and a night of unbridled passion does not make a relationship.
He was a stranger and in the worst case scenario, he was a stranger that was somehow connected to the monster that continues to haunt her nightmares...both sleeping and awake.
Chloe pulled herself up off the floor and she had to reach out and take hold of the little medicine cabinet on the wall to steady herself. Once she began to feel like her shaky legs would at least hold her weight and she wasn’t going to collapse, she took the two steps to the sink and grabbed onto the little vanity. She held herself there and looked into the mirror. She didn’t like what she saw there. Her face was swollen and stained from the tears and her blue contacts swam in them, one of them sliding down so far that her brown eye peeked out from underneath.
Taking another cleansing breath, Chloe washed her hands, adjusted the contacts, washed her face and brushed her long brown hair back out of her face with her fingers. Lastly she used the mouthwash on the counter to rinse her mouth and then she drank a long gulp of water. She looked at herself again. The picture still wasn’t pretty, she thought, but it wasn’t pathetic either...and that was what mattered.
She turned and took hold of the door knob. Looking composed at last although everything inside of her was shaking, she went out into the other room where Derek waited.
She opened the door and saw him sitting on the edge of the bed. He was staring at her, but he at least had enough sense to know that he needed to stay where he was and not invade her space.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” she said. She stood where she was, neither of them sure of what to say.
Derek finally broke the silence by saying, “I knew that you looked like her...but I didn’t know...I mean I still don’t know....”
“How is it possible that we look exactly the same and share a birthday?”
“I haven’t wrapped my head around the birthday thing yet. I don’t know. But you don’t look exactly the same. Sarah’s eyes were brown...” He was looking at her eyes.
“Are your eyes brown, Chloe?”
She turned away from him and looked out the window. With her back to him she said, “You just slept with me because I look like your late wife and you don’t even know what color my eyes are.”
“I see the blue, Chloe. I’m just looking for explanations, I guess. I’m really just trying to put this all together in my head. It was strange enough that you looked like her twin...but now I know you were born on the same day too. It just seems like too much to be a coincidence.”
“Or maybe you’re just trying to take the focus off the fact that you went seeking out a woman who looks identical to your supposedly dead wife...”
“She’s not “supposedly” dead. She’s dead. I killed her.”
Chloe felt another wave of nausea rip through her but she quelled it. When she was able to speak she said, “You killed her?”
Derek leaned his head forward and ran his hands roughly through his hair. Chloe looked at his hands and remembered how they had touched her last night. Now they were shaking. It would be almost impossible for her to reconcile that with a man who had killed his wife.
He looked up at her at last and said, “We were in the car, driving home from a fund raiser. My phone slid off the console and onto the floor down by my feet. I should have left it there, but I didn’t.”
His voice sounded like it was choking back sobs and the look on his face was raw anguish and in spite of herself, Chloe felt her heart going out to him. “I bent down to pick it up and a car crossed the center divider at the same time. He hit us head on. Sarah died instantly.”
Chloe started to speak and found that there was a lump in her throat and that strange feeling of grief was still piercing her chest.
She cleared her throat and said, “Why was the other car there?”
Derek’s watery eyes found hers and he said, “The driver was drunk. His blood alcohol was three times the legal limits. He bounced off the dash and walked away without a scratch.”
“It doesn’t sound to me like you killed her.” She didn’t know if she welcomed the relief that washed over her or not. That, coupled with the sympathy she felt for him made it more difficult to stay wary of his intentions.
“If I had been paying attention, maybe I could have swerved out of the way,” he said. He had obviously replayed it over in his head countless of times.
“How long ago did this happen?” she asked.
“Two years. She was twenty-two when she died.”
Two years and he was still grieving. Unless he was an academy award winning actor, the pain that showed in his eyes and across his face was real and still as fresh as ever. Chloe walked towards the window. Derek’s eyes were suddenly back on her. She could see the worried look out of the corner of her eye. He looked like he was afraid that she would take off. She wanted to, but before she did that, she needed some answers.
“I still don’t understand why I look so much like her.”
Derek looked like he wasn’t sure if he should tell her what he was thinking or not. He finally said, “Sarah was born a twin.”