Natasha couldn’t sleep again that night after the shocking findings of her fishing expedition. After lying in bed staring at the ceiling for a few hours, she decided to start on the cupcake order for the bakery. The dough proved to be a sufficient distraction from her thoughts. Enough to get her through the remaining hours before daybreak.
Lily got up early for her long drive to the Capital. She hurriedly got ready and swiped a few cupcakes from Natasha’s load before saying a quick goodbye to her daughter. In her haste to leave she hardly noticed Natasha’s apprehensive attitude towards her and Natasha was thankful for that. At least it meant she wouldn’t have to voice out her thoughts like she had done before. Goodness knows that didn’t end well.
She didn’t believe her mother could have killed Henry but she was certain of one thing. Lily was hiding something big. It was the only explanation for why she had cleared her call log just when Natasha had asked about the phone call she had overheard.
Resolving to put the matter out of her head until her headache subsided, Natasha freshened up and packed the cupcakes into her car.
“There’s my girl!” a short, dark haired boy exclaimed when Natasha entered the bakery. He vaulted over the counter and plucked the box of cupcakes out of her hands, flashing her a huge smile.
“Hie Benny,” Natasha smiled back. “I hope I’m not too late.”
“Not at all sweetheart! I was just setting up the goods of the day.” He set the box down and nodded at the empty display cases.
“Great! I’ll help,” Natasha offered heading to the sink.
“No, no. You know I don’t want you wearing those pretty hands out,” Benny protested.
“It’s cupcakes not bricks. My hands will be okay.” Natasha rolled her eyes and strolled over to the box after washing her hands.
“Good morning Natasha,” a cheery voice called through the open door set behind the counter.
“Hie Mrs Marks!” Natasha called back smiling at the woman emerging from the back room wiping her hands on the white apron she wore.
“Is he giving you trouble?” she narrowed her eyes at her son who gave her a wolfish grin in return.
“No more than usual,” Natasha replied.
“I was telling her to let me do all the heavy lifting while she motivates me with her pretty face and she’s being stubborn as usual,” Benny piped up.
“Natasha stubborn? Naah. I’m sure she’d just rather not have a weirdo eye-balling her,” Mrs Marks said non-chalantly as she tucked a stray strand of brown hair back into her hair net.
“Ma!” Benny yelled while Natasha giggled.
Natasha helped Benny stack up the cupcakes while he told her about his plans for the rest of the summer holiday. Mrs Marks chipped in occasionally and handed them sugary treats while they worked. Natasha was quite sad to leave when they were done. It had been nice to have mindless conversation and not think about murders and jails.
“If you would like the cheque for the cupcakes today I can write it up for you dear,” Mrs Marks said when Natasha said goodbye.
“That’s okay Mrs Marks. I’ll just get it at the end of the week as usual.” Natasha said. Mrs Marks nodded and waved goodbye as Benny walked Natasha to the door.
“Bye Benny,” Natasha said when he held the door open for her.
“What? No goodbye kiss?” Benny pouted.
“Maybe when you gain a couple more years and inches,” Natasha said looking pointedly down at him. Her heels gave her a bit of an advantage over Benny who was already a little shorter than her.
“Sixteen is plenty sugar,” Benny winked flexing his muscles.
“Not when the object of your affection is twenty-two, sugar,” Natasha taunted him as she walked out of the shop.
“Age is just a number. I’m gonna marry you someday, just you wait!” Benny called after her. Natasha smiled at him then turned and made her way into a shop across the street to re-stock her baking supplies.
She made her way to her car carrying several paper bags and almost dropped them all when she saw Max leaning against the hood, arms crossed and with an angry expression on his face. Natasha had half a mind to turn away from him, leave her car behind and walk all the way home but she dismissed the cowardly thought and reassured herself that nothing would go wrong.
“When I saw your car parked here I thought I was seeing things,” Max said looking her up and down as she got closer to where he was standing.
“Hello Max,” Natasha said as calmly as she could, opening the passenger door and throwing her purchases onto the seat. She went round the front of the car so she could get to the driver’s side but Max grabbed her hand as she walked past him and stopped her before she could reach her target.
“Let go of me Max,” Natasha hissed. Her voice shook a little and fear gripped her tight, tying her stomach up in knots.
“How the hell did you get out of jail? You are supposed to rot in there for what you did,” Max demanded tugging her away from her car.
“What are you talking about?” Natasha gasped squirming as she tried to pull her hand free from his strong grip.
“It wasn’t enough to threaten me, so you had to kill my dad. You deserve to rot in jail!” Max snarled letting go of her hands and gripping her throat instead.
“Max, please,” Natasha pleaded, wide eyed with fear. Max ignored her plea and pressed his fingers deeper, choking her. AS she stood there futilely trying to pry his hands off her neck, she regretted parking so far away from the shops. No one could see her or hear her strangled gasps as she fought against Max’s strong grip. No one could help her. Her struggles weakened as she slowly lost consciousness.
“Let go of the girl and put your hands behind your head,” said a male voice which Natasha knew she recognized but couldn’t quite place as her mind was getting woozy with every passing moment. An angel? A savior come to rescue her?
She felt herself slowly falling into a dark oblivion still praying that the angel would save her from the endless pit.
I finally decided on a schedule. I’ll update twice a week on Tuesday and Friday evenings.
I’m curious, do you think Natasha really killed Henry? Or Lily? Or neither haha.