Mei smiled back at little Tod as he buckled up in her backseat then drove away from the school â€śHow was your day?â€ť
â€śGreat! Is mommy home yet?â€ť
â€śJust two more nightsâ€ť He just continued to smile as he began to look out the window so she put in one of his CDâ€™s and put her attention back on the road. Mei was his live in nanny, had been since he was four and it was the best job she had ever taken. Tod was the sweetest boy anybody could ask for and his mother paid her far more than any other live in nannies she knew, especially when she took business trips. She had grown so fond of Tod over the past five years sheâ€™d probably even watch him for free at this point. She loved him like he was her own. The nice room, comfortable life and amazing income were just perks now.
Elowen was more like her friend than employer as well. She was a wonderful, warm woman and while she worked a lot she was an amazing mother. She had never seen Elowen miss a single school event and when Todd was sick, if he wanted his mother she stayed home. Anytime Tod needed her she was there and Mei had never met such a driven working mother that was so good at balancing things like that or to put in better words, so good at telling her job to fuck off when her child needed or wanted her.
As Mei pulled into the driveway Tod gasped “Mommyâ€™s home! Her car wasnâ€™t there so she shut off the car and turned â€śIâ€™m sorry baby she isnâ€™t.â€ť
â€śBut theres someone in the house and only we live thereâ€ť
â€śwhat makes you say thatâ€ť He looked back at the house â€śOhâ€¦I thought I saw her peeking out the windowâ€ť her heart started thudding â€śTod, are you sure you saw someoneâ€ť
â€śYeahâ€¦I meanâ€¦I really think so Ms Meiâ€ť She had been running errands all day and while they lived in a nice neighborhood it didnâ€™t make it impossible for someone to have broken into their home. He was only nine, maybe he had been seeing things but it wasnâ€™t worth the risk to her â€śOkay buddy, lets go to Mr Birchâ€™s homeâ€ť
â€śYou think somethings wrong?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know but lets be safe okayâ€ť Birch was one of Elowens close friends, someone Mei knew wouldnâ€™t mind if she came unannounced with Tod. She wanted to call Elowen through the car but Tod would be able to hear and she didnâ€™t want to upset him. There might not even be a problem and her own fear might work him up for no reason. Once there she sighed when his car wasnâ€™t in the drive way. She parked, calling Elowen who answered quickly â€śHey Mei, i canâ€™t really talk, I had to step out of a meetingâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m so sorry to bother you Elowen, I really am. I just had to check if you came home early and were trying to surprise Todâ€ť
â€śNo, why would you think thatâ€ť she sounded concerned â€śWhen I was pulling in he thought he saw somebody in the window. Iâ€™m not trying to be over dramatic, Iâ€™m really not but he seems so sure so I drove to Birchâ€™s house instead of taking him inâ€ť
â€śwhat did Birch say?â€ť
â€śHe isnâ€™t homeâ€ť
â€śwell stop apologizing to me, Iâ€™d rather you be safe than sorry when youâ€™re alone there with my son. Iâ€™ll tell everyone I need to go back to my room for now and Iâ€™ll call Birch, Iâ€™ll make it a conference callâ€ť The line was muted a few moments before Elowen was back and calling Birch who soon answered â€śHey, Iâ€™m surprised to be hearing from you. I thought you were still gone. Are you home already?â€ť
â€śyou arenâ€™t the first person to ask me that. Elowen is on the phone with us, sheâ€™s at your place.â€ť Mei explained again and he said â€śIâ€™m almost home, just wait for me alright. Iâ€™ll take care of this Elowen, donâ€™t worryâ€ť
â€śThank you Birch, thank you so much. Sometimes I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™d do without you and Mei.â€ť
â€śwell hopefully nothing is wrong, Bane is still inside isnâ€™t he? Iâ€™m sure he would have taken care of an intruder huh Todâ€ť
â€śyeahâ€ť Tod said cheerfully. Elowen felt better hearing her son in good spirits and she especially felt better that Birch was helping Mei with the situation.
They sat in the driveway until Birch and he made sure they were okay before letting them into his home. â€śIâ€™m going to go check Elowenâ€™s place.â€ť He said.
â€śJust be careful, if someoneâ€™s in there, Elowen wouldnâ€™t want you getting hurt.â€ť Mei replied.
â€śDonâ€™t worry, just lock the door and make yourself at home, Iâ€™ll be back before you know it.â€ť
â€śCan Bane come over?â€ť Tod asked.
â€śOf course, heâ€™s always welcome.â€ť
Birch left them there and climbed back into his car, calling Elowen as he pulled away. â€śAre they alright?â€ť She asked when she answered.
â€śPerfectly fine, Iâ€™m heading over to your place to check it out and get Bane.â€ť
â€śMaybe you should call the police?â€ť
â€śI will if thereâ€™s anyone there, I promise. I have my gun in the car, so donâ€™t worry.â€ť
â€śStill, stay safe and call me after.â€ť
They got off the phone, Elowen a bundle of nerves Birch readying himself to check her home. Tod was young with an active imagination so this may be nothing at all but he wanted to go in there ready for anything. He was glad Mei had come over instead of trying to go in there herself just in case. Birch decided not to pull into the driveway. He parked in front of the neighbors house, slid his gun into his jeans and approached Elownes home. He could already hear their dog Bane going nuts which could mean there was somebody there or it could be the animals frustration that he had seen Mei come home and leave.
Either way Birch went to the front door and opened it with the spare key he had. Whenever Elowen took her son on vacation somewhere he would always be the one to come feed their dog since Mei went everywhere they went. He had expected the dog but Bane still startled Birch a little when he near instantly jumped up on him â€śhey, calm down buddyâ€ť Birch whispered as he began to pet him â€śis there anybody else in there?â€ť Bane ran in and Birch followed.
Once inside everything looked alright, he walked all through the home, checking every closet and under the beds. Nothing seemed amiss until he realized Bane had stayed in Meis room the entire time â€śis there something Iâ€™m missing?â€ť he asked the dog who continued to sit. Birch stood there a few moments before asking â€śare we in here for a reason buddy?â€ť Bane moved around a little bit before sitting back down in the same spot he had been in when Birch entered. Birch decided maybe the window. He checked it, finding it unlocked.
He knew it was possible someone had tried it and found it open. Nothing seemed missing but as frequent as he came over he didnâ€™t live here so he could be missing something. In any case the house seemed safe for now. He locked the window, checked everywhere one more time then grabbed Banes leash before going back to his car with him. He started it up then called Elowen to update her.
â€śYou didnâ€™t find anyone?â€ť
â€śJust an unlocked window. Iâ€™m going to have Mei and Tod stay a couple of nights just to make sure, but I didnâ€™t see anything out of place, I mean as far as I know. Iâ€™ll be sure to go back and check again when theyâ€™re ready to go home.â€ť
â€śThank you so much Birch.â€ť
â€śYou know itâ€™s not a problem, just focus on work and Iâ€™ll hold down the fort.â€ť
She gave a little laugh and it had him smiling. â€śIâ€™ll call them a little later then, youâ€™re the best Birch.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re pretty amazing yourself, talk to you later.â€ť
Elowen smiled down at her phone a few moments before returning to the meeting that had apparently ended. She couldnâ€™t tell how her boss felt but he seemed to have gotten used to the fact that if her son needed her she was going to answer the phone or go to him and if he didnâ€™t like it sheâ€™d find another job. It wasnâ€™t likely heâ€™d fire her since sheâ€™d risen so far up in the company and always worked hard but she still knew one day it might bite her in the butt. Sheâ€™d figure it out if that ever happened though.
Tod ran to his dog when Birch returned home. â€śis everything okay at the house?â€ť Mei asked. â€śYour window was unlocked but I couldnâ€™t find anybody inside. If youâ€™d like to be sure you two are safe youâ€™re welcome to stay here with me. I already told Elowen Iâ€™d off so you donâ€™t need to check with herâ€ť
â€śI suppose for at least tonight. Hopefully Tod was simply seeing thingsâ€ť
â€śyeahâ€ť Birch walked over to the boy and his dog â€śdo you have home work?â€ť
â€śwhy donâ€™t you do it quick then maybe you and I can play some video gamesâ€ť
â€śsure!â€ť Birch looked over at Mei â€śIf youâ€™d like Mei I can handle Tod the rest of the day. You can go out and have some fun. I saw some of your friends on Facebook had wanted you to go out with them but you had to remind them Elowen isnâ€™t homeâ€ť
â€śare you sure?â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t have any plansâ€ť
â€śOkay, thank you, if you decide you need me to take over though just call me. Iâ€™ll come back as quickly as I can. I will also stop back at the house to pick up things for tonight and in the morningâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure it will be fine. You already checked the houseâ€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know, Iâ€™d hate for you to go back alone so soon and something happen.â€ť
â€śwell, I guess we can sort it out when Iâ€™m on the way backâ€ť
â€śalright, have funâ€ť Mei sent a text to Elowen. She knew it was most likely okay but she still wanted to be sure Elowen wouldnâ€™t mind her taking an unscheduled afternoon off.
She got a text back immediately so messaged her friends before going and getting ready. She gave Tod a hug goodnight and thanked Birch again before heading out. â€śWant pizza tonight, Tod?â€ť Birch asked.
â€śYeah, can we have pineapples on half?â€ť
â€śOf course.â€ť Birch went ahead and ordered, getting bread sticks and cinnamon twists as well. He hung up when he had everything he wanted then locked his front door and went to quickly change out of his work clothes. Tod was still working on his homework when he came back, Bane curled up next to his chair barely glancing his way. â€śDo you need any help or anything?â€ť
â€śMaybe a little. I donâ€™t understand this math problem.â€ť
Birch pulled up a chair and began helping Tod. He took the time to make sure Tod knew what to do instead of just helping him quickly so they could play something. They finished his homework just before the pizza arrived which surprised Birch since normally it took much longer. He guessed it must be a slow evening for them. He paid the delivery man and brought the pizza to the table. He received a hug from Tod â€śIâ€™m so happy Iâ€™m hanging out with you tonight. Mei would of made something healthy againâ€ť Birch chuckled â€śMei and your mother just want to make sure youâ€™re healthy. I can spoil you because I know they take such good care of you at homeâ€ť
â€śYeahâ€¦is my mom coming back soon?â€ť
â€śHopefuly it wont be too much longerâ€ť Tod smiled â€śyou miss her a lot too huhâ€ť Birch fought down a blush â€śyeah, well, sheâ€™s my friendâ€ť Tods smile grew a little which could either be because he was now grabbing a slice of pizza or the nine year old realized the feelings he had for his mother. He wasnâ€™t sure it was appropriate to talk about with her son so he didnâ€™t try to. Hopefully it was that Tod realized and would approve if anything did finally happen between them. Birch was a straightforward guy but he still didnâ€™t know what happened with Tods father and worried she might be too wounded from her past to have any desire to be with anybody again.
As far as he knew she never dated and she was far too warm, along with beautiful for nobody to of asked. Elowen just worked, spent time with her son and the few friends she had. She never so much as mentioned a guy being attractive and given the fact nobody spoke of Tods father made him even more concerned with what may lay in her past. Weather he died or was an abusive prick or his worst fear had raped her and made her swear off dating the last thing he wanted was to let her know how much he wanted to be more in her life than a friend and have her push him away because she couldnâ€™t handle a romantic partner in her life. Sometimes he wanted to ask Mei. If anybody else knew she would but still, would Elowen get upset about him prying?
They got her settled in so late that evening he didnâ€™t ask when she returned to his house but when the next night came, his last chance to ask her without Elowen being around he took it as soon as Tod was sleeping â€śMei, care to have some wine with me and talk?â€ť
â€śsounds serious, sureâ€ť They went into his kitchen where he grabbed them each a glass then began looking through his wine â€śMy curiosity is peaked, whats up?â€ť she asked as he looked. He sighed, looking over at her â€śI justâ€¦I wanted to ask if you knew anything about Tods fatherâ€ť he couldnâ€™t tell if she was shocked, horrified or a mixture of both â€śwhy would you ask about that?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry, I shouldnâ€™t have askedâ€ť
â€śwhy are you asking? Someone was in Elowens home werenâ€™t they?â€ť
â€śNo there wasnâ€™t, what would that have to do with Tods father?â€ť
â€śBirch Iâ€™ve always liked you but you have to be straight with me. Why are you asking?â€ť
â€śbecause I want to be with her, thats all. I just felt I should know first if shes been through anything traumatic I mean his father has never been mentioned one time and she doesnâ€™t date, she doesnâ€™t even mention being attracted to anyone. I Iâ€™m sorry for askingâ€ť Mei sighed â€śjesus you scared me Birch.â€ť
â€śseriously, what is the deal with his father?â€ť
â€śThe deal is heâ€™s a monster, a literal monster and I never want to hear you ask about him ever again understand? Donâ€™t you dare hurt her or Tod that way. Elowen has already moved twice to keep him away from her son.â€ť Mei shook her head, lifting her hands a moment in an obvious storm of emotions â€śI canâ€™t have you asking Elowen about this so lets get on your computer. I need to show you somethingâ€ť He took her to his computer and he waited as she typed something into the search bar. What came up took him back and he asked what even he knew was a stupid question â€śwhat does this news article have to do with Tods fatherâ€ť
â€śheâ€™s the one who was doing this. Heâ€™d kill people by slowly removing their organs or simply just playing around inside them, doing everything he could to also keep them alive as long as possibleâ€ť Birch read the article then said in horror â€śbut this says he was never caughtâ€¦howâ€ť
â€śTods father is a literal monster. Elowen didnâ€™t know until she became pregnant. He finally told her, showed her what he was and she accepted that until one day she founds him hunched over a dead body, innards in hand. He confessed everything to her, begged her to stay and run off to a different world with him where they could start over but being Elowen she couldnâ€™t just act like he wasnâ€™t a murderer, even if he was claiming he would stop for her. She figures if he could have stopped for her and their son he would have before she caught himâ€ť
â€śHe didnâ€™t take that wellâ€ť
â€śHe tried to kill her Birch. She moved, changed hers and Tods names and when he found her she did it all over again. I promise you after that scare at the house if you bring up Tods father she will be gone and we will never see her againâ€¦I mean she might take me. I know all this because once we got close she told me and asked that if he ever did kill her that I do everything I can not to let him get his hands on Tod and corrupt or hurt himâ€ť
â€śHow can she even stand to be friends with meâ€¦Iâ€™m not humanâ€ť
â€śshe didnâ€™t suddenly become a racist Birch, sheâ€™s changed her name twice and she cant be completely honest about her past. Damn it Birch sheâ€™ll kill me for saying this but she loves you too. Sheâ€™s not an idiot, neither are Tod and I but she wont be with you if she cant be honest with you and the more people that know the more likely she is to be found by him again. Her mistake the first time she changed her name was getting romantically involved and telling the truth about herself. You and Elowen just cant be and you canâ€™t bring this upâ€ť
â€śBut Iâ€™ll protect herâ€ť
â€śYou canâ€™t promise that Birch. Sheâ€™s fine being single, especially because that comes at no risk of having to uproot Tod now that hes old enough to realize he has to leave his entire life behind.â€ť
â€śI can promise it, Mei, because I mean it. Iâ€™m not letting him have either of them and Iâ€™m not letting her just disappear.â€ť He sighed. â€śSheâ€™s become so important to me, itâ€™s likeâ€¦itâ€™s like finding a part of yourself you never knew you were missing.â€ť
â€śYou all know what I can do, but he doesnâ€™t. If he steps into this house, he wonâ€™t be leaving. Iâ€™ll discuss everything with Elowen once I know she and Tod are safe. Doesnâ€™t she know what it would have felt like waking up one day to find her gone? I wonâ€™t let some creature ruin their lives again.â€ť
Mei swallowed. â€śWhat are you going to do?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m a monster too, Mei, just a different kind. Iâ€™ll lure him out if I have too or hound him to the ends of the earth because if I donâ€™t then he wonâ€™t stop, heâ€™ll just keep chasing them until he has them cornered. Heâ€™s a predator and a killer and he wonâ€™t stop.â€ť He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. â€śEven if she hates me, I canâ€™t let her fight alone. I just canâ€™t.â€ť
Meis phone going off startled her. She grabbed it â€śitâ€™s Elowenâ€¦wellâ€¦I guess now I should say Nadjaâ€ť
â€śNadjaâ€ť Birch repeated. Mei nodded, a few tears streaming down her cheek â€śIâ€™m so scared sheâ€™s going to hate meâ€¦sheâ€™s like a sister to me but I do want her safeâ€¦I donâ€™t want her to have to be afraid anymoreâ€ť
â€śItâ€™s all going to be okay, Iâ€™ll make sure of it. What is she sayingâ€ť Mei wiped her face and checked her messages â€śsheâ€™s just reminding me to pick her up at 10am tomorrowâ€ť
â€śwe will all goâ€ť
â€śsheâ€™s going to know somethings up right when we get herâ€ť
â€śI know and thats why I want to come tooâ€¦Nadja thoughâ€¦that sounds Danish right?â€ť mei nodded again â€śyeah, her dad was from the Netherlandsâ€ť
â€śthey died in a car accident when she was a teenager. She doesnâ€™t really have any family since her parents werenâ€™t close to anybody they were related to. One of her friends parents allowed her to come live with them so she didnâ€™t have to go to foster care or anything.â€ť
â€śI see, so her parents did dieâ€ť
â€śshâ€™s lied to you as little as possible you know. Most everything you know about her is trueâ€ť
â€śI believe thatâ€¦whatâ€™s Tods name?â€ť
â€śwell his birth name is Cailean but even if she does get to a safe point in her life I think sheâ€™ll leave it as Tod. Itâ€™s the name he knowsâ€ť
â€śCailean and Nadjaâ€ť Mei shifted uncomfortably â€śIâ€™m going to go to bed okayâ€ť she stood and Birch said â€śHeyâ€¦even if sheâ€™s mad at firstâ€¦when I get rid of her ex I know sheâ€™ll forgive youâ€ť
â€śI hope youâ€™re rightâ€ť
When Elowen landed the next day she was elated to be home, especially knowing both Birch and Tod would be coming to the airport. She was practicly glowing with happiness until she saw Meis face â€śwhats wrong?â€ť
â€śI know that face Meiâ€ť Tod hugged his mother, taking her attention â€śMommyâ€ť
â€śHey hadnsome, I missed you so muchâ€ť
â€śI missed you too.â€ť
â€śdid you have fun with Birch and Meiâ€ť
â€śYeah!â€ť he said excitedly. â€śgoodâ€ť she stood up straight and looked over at Birch â€śYouâ€™ll have to let me thank you in some wayâ€ť she hugged him and he gently held her until she pulled away â€śLets goâ€ť Once in the car Elowen asked â€śDo you need some time off after that break in scare Mei? I understand if you do. You look so tenseâ€ť
â€śwellâ€¦we kind of need to talkâ€¦Birch and I figured we could take Tod out to buy a new toy set then weâ€™d go home and talk while he plays in his roomâ€ť
â€śyay!â€ť Tod exclaimed gleefully.
â€śBirch, is everything alright?â€ť Elowen asked as they browsed toys.
â€śI just want to wait until weâ€™re back.â€ť
She could see the determination on his face, could tell he was thinking hard about something. She was afraid of what that meant. Had she done something wrong? Had Mei? Surely it couldnâ€™t be Tod. She shook her head. He would have come out with it right away if that were the case, and Birch had never lost his temper with any of them. He was so patient and kind. She was surprised when he reached over and took her hand and gave her a small smile.
â€śDonâ€™t worry, itâ€™s just important and not something I want to discuss in public.â€ť
It felt so good to hold his hand it almost hurt. Once they were finally home with the toy open and her son shut in his room the three adults sat on her couch. Mei was sitting beside Elowen while Birch took up a seat across from her. â€śIâ€™m sorry about the tension youâ€™ve felt about this talk. Your life has apparently had enough tension in it. Please, just listen to me before you react okay?â€ť
â€śOkayâ€¦â€ť she looked at Mei again and in her heart she knew Birch knew. Hers sunk as she listened â€śI know that your ex is a murderer and that you caught him and hes one of those if I cant have you nobody will types but you donâ€™t have to be afraid anymore Nadja, you or Cailean. Iâ€™m not human either and I can protect you. I promise I can. I refuse to lose you and Tod. Iâ€™m happy to keep calling you guys whatever names you prefer but I love you and Mei says you love me tooâ€¦I get why you havenâ€™t gone out with me and I get why youâ€™ve kept stuff to yourself. I know youâ€™re really only thinking of Tod but please donâ€™t run, allow me to love and protect youâ€ť
He could tell she was processing â€śMeiâ€¦whyâ€ť Elowen finally said â€śhe started asking about Tods dad and I panickedâ€ť It about broke him when she started to softly cry â€śwe could all die. I ever make the smallest blip on the radar as myself and he finds me.â€ť
â€śI know Iâ€¦Iâ€™m sorryâ€ť
â€śIt;s okay, I donâ€™t hate you I promiseâ€ť now Mei was bawling so Elowen hugged her a few moments before wiping her face again. She looked Birch in the eyes, seeing that same determination â€śyou really want to get involved in this Birch? You should think about if weâ€™re really worth itâ€ť
â€śI dont have to think about it. I knew the second she told me I wanted to protect you guys. I love both of you and Mei has become a good friend too. I canâ€™t even picture my life without youâ€ť
â€śI just donâ€™t want anyone to get hurt. I just want him to leave me and Tod alone.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s okay, Elowen.â€ť He moved to sit next to her and wrapped his arms around her. â€śIâ€™m not letting him touch any of you. He can try, but heâ€™ll have to come through me.â€ť
â€śI love you, I really do so much.â€ť
â€śI love you too, so donâ€™t run away, itâ€™d kill me.â€ť
â€śThat means Iâ€™ll have to explain to Tod.â€ť
He shook his head. â€śYou donâ€™t have to worry about that right now. You can explain everything to him when heâ€™s a little older, I know heâ€™ll understand.â€ť He kissed her forehead. â€śYouâ€™re a wonderful mother, Elowen, you know that right?â€ť She nodded and he leaned back and wiped the tears from her cheeks. â€śEverythingâ€™s going to be alright.â€ť
â€śI really like this name by the way, Elowen. Iâ€™d just like you to keep calling us Elowen and Tod, even after Tod knowsâ€ť
â€śalright, is it okay if we draw him out on purpose? Iâ€™d rather just knock him out nowâ€ť
â€ślets wait, I promised Tod Iâ€™d let him go to summer camp. Iâ€™d rather him be nowhere near me when my ex finds me. Iâ€™ll pay in cash so he wont have any leads as to where Tod is. He of course also doesnâ€™t know his current nameâ€ť
â€śalright, Iâ€™ll take two months of bliss before I have to deal with himâ€ť
â€śand youâ€™re sure there was nobody here?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure, just a kids imagination. He always wants you home so badâ€ť
â€śI know, I hate I ever have to go but I make such good money I hate to quit.â€ť
â€śWell, if you ever feel like staying home, you two can always move in with me.â€ť She opened her mouth and he shook his head. â€śYou donâ€™t have to worry about answering now. I just want you to know you have the freedom to move in whenever you want, if you ever want to. Mei too, I have plenty of room.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re too kind, Birch.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s easy when itâ€™s you.â€ť
Even though she knew Birch wasnâ€™t far, Elowen still spent two months looking over her shoulder. She knew what her ex was capable of and she didnâ€™t want him surprising them. The only thing that kept her from going into a full panic and running was the fact she had Birch, Tod, and Mei with her. Tod was oblivious to the fact his biological father could be around and she appreciated Birch and Mei keeping it that way. She wanted him to be able to grow up happy, without having to move all the time. She knew it was unfair. Summer Camp seemed to come up far too quickly and she couldnâ€™t help but reiterate to Tod that he should never go off alone and that if anyone approached him he didnâ€™t know, he should run and get help.
â€śI promise mom, Iâ€™ll be so good. Thank you for letting me go this yearâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry if Iâ€™m over protective at timesâ€ť Tod hugged her â€śyouâ€™re a good mom. I know you just love meâ€ť She watched him join the group of kids heâ€™d be there with. Birch stood beside her, waiting patiently for Elowen to be ready to walk away. â€śHeâ€™s going to have so much fun Elowenâ€ť
â€śI know, this will just be the longest weâ€™ve ever been apart and Iâ€™m nervous aboutâ€¦you know.â€ť Once she couldnâ€™t see Tod any longer she finally made herself walk away, knowing the counselors here were more than capable. When they got on the road Elowen said â€śI cant believe you even did this drive with meâ€ť
â€śIt was funâ€ť her heart trembled â€śyou knowâ€¦if we make it through my exâ€¦I think Iâ€™ll be ready to talk to Tod about us living with youâ€ť
â€śYeah, youâ€™ve been so greatâ€¦please donâ€™t let yourself get killedâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™ve never seen me in action. Iâ€™ll be fine, Iâ€™m not even worried Elowen. Weâ€™ll be great, especially if Mei got everything set up that I asked her to while we were driving Tod hereâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll text her and see how everything is goingâ€ť It took about twenty minuets for her to text them back â€śNo problems here. Just drive safe you two. Iâ€™m done and out with some friendsâ€ť
Elowen was nervous as they headed back to her house. Birch had explained the best place to lure him out was somewhere that smelled mostly of her. It would mask his scent and allow him to ambush her ex. â€śRemember the plan?â€ť He asked as he took her hand.
â€śYeah, just go out and sit in the backyard and try not to panic.â€ť
â€śYou can do it, baby, I know you can. I wonâ€™t let him touch you, I just need him out in the open.â€ť
â€śI know, I love you.â€ť
â€śI love you too.â€ť
She had to do this, especially for Tod. He was so young and he deserved a stable childhood. â€śWhere will you be again?â€ť She asked when they finally pulled into her driveway.
â€śIn the tree. Iâ€™m going to walk a block down and come in the back way.â€ť
â€śOkay.â€ť He leaned over and pressed a kiss to her lips. It helped her calm down and gave her the strength to let him leave her.
Elowen walked toward her home, trying not to shake as she entered. If he wasnâ€™t already there he would be soon. With the help of Meis friends multiple posts had been made about her and last time he had swooped in scarily fast. Elowen made a quick cup of coffee using her keurig, poured just a splash of creamer in it then went outside as though she just wanted to relax on her porch and enjoy the weather outside. â€śBirch wont let him hurt you. Itâ€™s going to be okayâ€ť she told herself, now looking at her phone. Her min wasnâ€™t really registering anything on it but she wanted to look busy.
Birch had gone through so much trouble getting her home ready for this set up. She didnâ€™t want her ex to get wise to the fact she was waiting and make Birch take bigger risks later. Elowen could still see that body, those eyes, all that blood. She was getting sick to her stomach so tried to actually look at her Facebook. She knocked over her coffee she was so startled when she heard his heavy breathing. She looked up, a scream caught in her throat she was so terrified.
Her ex was about to say something when what she guessed was Birch.ran long claws quickly across his throat, causing blood to gush. He was giant now, standing at least ten foot tall and his body, what on earth was he? His head resembled some sort of bird, maybe a rooster. As Birch wrapped his long tail around him and slammed him into the yard she could see wins and jesus how long was that tail. Her thoughts were all over the place. She was shocked when he ex was still able to shift, not quite gone yet.
Birch hissed as he attacked, claws slicing into the infuriated monster. The creature tried many times to get past him, wanting Elowen more than he wanted to save himself. He could hear Elowenâ€™s racing heart and knew this must be terrifying for her. The monsterâ€™s nails cut him and he drove forward, snapping his teeth down on its throat. The monster thrashed in his grasp, scraping at him with his claws as he tried to free himself. He squeezed harder, feeling the crunch of bone and cartilage as he crushed the monsterâ€™s throat and broke his neck. He didnâ€™t let go until his body went limp, then he let it drop to the ground.
He shifted back and turned to Elowen just as she slammed into him, her arms wrapping tightly around him. She started crying and he held her tightly, doing his best to comfort her. â€śItâ€™s okay now, baby, everythingâ€™s okay.â€ť
Elowen looked past him at her ex. His body had shifted back and it was hard to believe it was really him. For a moment, she could almost see who he had been before everything and she briefly wondered what could have made him into a monster. â€śIs he really dead?â€ť She asked. â€śIs it really over?â€ť
â€śYes, youâ€™re safe now, you and Tod and Mei.â€ť
She started crying again and he understood. He had just killed somebody in front of her and not just anybody. Somebody she had once loved, someone she shared a child with before she found out he had been the one killing people where they lived. Even though he had intended to kill her too, the shock of his death and the fact he was dead at all had to be hard. â€ślet me get you inside.â€ť He picked her up and took her to the sofa since it was nearest. â€ślet me handle calling the police. Want me to turn the tv on?â€™â€ť
â€śNo, they will come right away and Iâ€™ll have to talk to them too. I want to make sure they know everything so you dont end up in jailâ€ť
â€śI have his claw marks on me and with dna they will tie him to the murders. Heâ€™s also on your property when you havenâ€™t been together for some time. The police will believe us honeyâ€ť he hated how stressed she now looked but he was right, calling the police is what they should do. Everything only took a few days to sort out before they were completely off the hook with the police. Elowen couldnâ€™t believe she could actually have a normal life now and an amazingly happy one at that. Birch was such a good man and had more than proven his devotion to her and Tod. She knew she was lucky in so many ways. Lucky to have survived her ex and lucky to find such a brave, amazing man to share the rest of her life with.
~ The End