Warning: This chapter contains profanity and vanilla game (unmodded) violence.
Julie, like the great friend she was, was ecstatic when I told her.
She was completely invested in the baby, and never mentioned Ren, for which I was grateful given how much she disapproved of our relationship.
Hers and Ian’s enthusiasm about my pregnancy was what gave me the courage to break the good news to Ren. I was sure he’d be just as pleased and excited as they were – didn’t all men dream of becoming fathers someday? – but at the same time there was a tiny voice in the back of my mind that doubted whether he would really take it as well as I hoped.
As fate would have it, two weeks later he called to invite me to a costume party he was holding at his house for Spooky Day. I was sure that this would be the perfect opportunity tell him the news.
I was so excited at the prospect that I completely forgot to wear a costume, but Ren didn’t seem to care. The moment I walked through the door I was in his arms and his lips were on mine, erasing any doubts I might have had about his reaction to my pregnancy. I knew that Ren loved me – there was no way he would leave me over something like this.
Once the party was in full swing, I found the opportunity to approach Ren and strike up a conversation.
“Hey Ren, baby? There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
Ren quickly excused himself from Kimberly Riches – a hugely successful actress I recognised from posters around Bridgeport – and turned his attention to me. “What’s up, babe?” he asked casually.
I was too excited to do anything other than tell him straight out. “I’m pregnant!” I gasped, beaming. I had no doubt he would be just as overjoyed once he had got over the initial shock of the fact. Shock? Was that what I was seeing in his face? He looked more… angry than anything else. Not just angry, but furious. But that didn’t make sense… why would he be furious?
“What the FUCK, Nicole?!” I jumped at his sudden outburst and took an instinctive step backwards. Several celebrities in the room turned to stare at us. “That’s not FUCKING FUNNY! This had better be a joke!”
“Ren, I…” I was at a loss for words. Where had the gorgeous, romantic man I had loved gone? “It’s not a joke…” I managed to whisper.
“SHIT, Nicole!” If it were possible, he looked even more furious now than he had before. “Why the fuck did you have to go and get pregnant! You’re getting fat already, and you look like SHIT. If you think I’m going to stick around and deal with a fucking pregnant bitch you’re seriously fucking mistaken. I’m not falling for this, you can’t expect me to deal with your shit. We’re DONE.”
“Ren, please…” I gasped. I couldn’t speak… I felt like my heart was breaking, all I could do was stare at him in disbelief as my eyes filled with tears. This had to be a joke, or a dream. It couldn’t possibly be real.
“No, Nicole. We’re through. I’m not sticking around to deal with this shit. I never want to see you again, now get out. GET OUT!”
I was totally speechless, but it was clear that Ren would only get worse as long as I stayed. Through the tears that were now spilling from my eyes, I could make out the expression of pure hatred, fury and disgust on his face.
Without another word, I turned and ran. I tried to hold myself together as I sprinted down the street, to keep the tears from falling, at the same time as I struggled to stop his voice echoing inside my head.
“If you think I’m going to stick around and deal with a fucking pregnant bitch you’re seriously fucking mistaken.”
How could I have been so wrong about someone? What had I done?
I paid no attention to where my feet were taking me as I wandered the streets of Bridgeport, too wrapped up in my own heartbreak to notice anything else. I was only mildly surprised when I eventually found myself standing outside Julie’s apartment. Simply by habit, I rang the callbox and she answered immediately.
“Hello? Who is it?”
“Julie? It’s Nicole-”
“I’ll be right there,” she interrupted me. I guess my voice must have given something away.
A moment later I heard the elevator doors open as Julie stepped out, saw me, and pulled me into a hug. She didn’t say a word as I sobbed into her shoulder, just held me and made soft shushing noises. I was glad, I didn’t think I was ready to talk.
“Let’s go upstairs, okay?” she said gently. I managed to nod my agreement, and she walked me to the elevator with one arm around my shoulders.
Once we were safely closeted in her apartment, away from prying public eyes, I managed to gasp out the whole story between sobs. Ian was there too, and I could see the sympathy in his eyes as he listened to my words and watched Julie trying to comfort me.
I didn’t say anything as I listened to Nicole’s story, but I could feel anger growing inside me at every word she spoke. How dared he treat her like this? She deserved better. She deserved someone who would take care of her and love her for who she was. Julie and I had known from the beginning what Ren was like, and I knew Julie had tried to discourage Nic from going out with him several times, but she wouldn’t listen. It didn’t matter, though. This was entirely his fault, not hers.
Nicole and I locked eyes as she stepped away from Julie, and it broke my heart to see the pain in hers. She moved towards me and I held out my arms, knowing she still needed to be held and comforted.
My heart started to beat faster at how close we were as I held her, but I ignored it. I was here for her as a friend, nothing more. I had to remind myself that her heart still belonged to someone else, no matter how badly he had treated her.
She broke out into fresh sobs against my chest, and it killed me that I couldn’t do anything more than hold her until they subsided. When they eventually did, and I got a glimpse of her face for the first time, I felt something snap inside me. I had to do something.
I gently pushed Nicole away and turned to Julie.
“I have to go out, Jules. Look after her for me.”
Julie nodded, and I could tell she understood. I couldn’t afford to look at Nicole if I wanted to stay calm, so without another word I left the apartment and was soon in a cab on the way to the other side of the harbour, where all the high-profile celebrities lived. Including him.
There was a callbox by the front gate, but I didn’t bother with that. I was too consumed with adrenaline to spare a second thought for the idea of getting caught. Instead, I walked straight around to the back of the house, where there was an unlocked sliding glass door that led directly into his living room. This guy clearly didn’t care too much about security.
I searched nearly the whole house before I found him in an upstairs bathroom, checking himself out in the mirror. I hated him the moment I saw him; something I had a good chance to do since he was too absorbed in himself to notice me for several seconds. When he did, he jumped backwards about a foot in the air and hit his head on the wall behind him. I smirked.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” he yelled. “Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?!”
“It doesn’t matter who I am,” I growled. “I’m here to make you pay for what you did to Nicole.”
“How is that any of your business? That bitch got what she deserved,” he sneered. It took all my willpower to stop myself from punching him on the spot. I still had more to say.
“No, she didn’t,” I spat. “She didn’t deserve any of that. No one deserves to be with a piece of shit like you.”
“What the fuck, man? You can’t talk to me like that! Do you even know who I am? Nicole was lucky I paid any attention to her.”
Hearing her name on his lips like that made my blood boil. “She’s lucky to be rid of you,” I retorted. “I don’t care who you are, or how much money you’ve got. You hurt her, and that’s enough. I’m going to make you regret the day you ever set eyes on her.”
I was momentarily shocked when he began to laugh, but my shock dissolved into fury the moment he started speaking.
“What? Don’t tell me you’re in love with that bi-” I didn’t let him finish his sentence before punching him as hard as I could in his smug face.
“Why you…” he snarled, and then leapt at me.
I was expecting a fight, and had come prepared for one. He was stronger than me, I could tell, but I didn’t care. The adrenaline and fury coursing through my body made sure that every punch hit its mark with a satisfying crunch, until he was lying on the floor, hands covering his face as blood dripped out between his fingers.
I could have gone further, but this was satisfying enough. I knew the asshole wouldn’t press charges – that would amount to a public admission that he had thrown out his pregnant girlfriend and some nobody had beaten him up for it. From what I had heard of Ren Master, his ego wouldn’t be able to handle that.
Without looking back, I turned and left the room.