Night pressed heavily at the large windows. Rain ticked and splattered in a non-stop assault as the strong wind whipped it against the glass.
An emptiness hollowed out Sabrina's chest. Too much had happened too suddenly and her mind was struggling to deal with it, piece it all together and figure out how it fit. The only good thing in this nightmare that had somehow become her life - was Owen.
As if he had been cued, the door opened and Owen entered. She didn't have to look to know it was him. She'd grown familiar with the sound of his footsteps, his strong stride. And the way her heart just seemed to know when he was near, even when her mind didn't.
He grasp her right hand in both his, his warm, strong fingers closing around it. Her eyes closed briefly as the warmth spread throughout her body, easing her physical and mental anguish. A tear slid down her cheek. His warm lips kissed it away.
"Sabrina." A tightness squeezed his masculine voice, resonating a fear that she felt responsible for. She had suffered more than her share in this night alone, but Owen had suffered as much or more. He was the innocent bystander riddled with the shrapnel of this chaotic battle. A battle between her and her sister that she hadn't even known was raging...until it was too late.
"Sabrina. Baby, it's me."
Sabrina opened her eyes slowly. Her head felt heavy as she turned to him. His handsome face gazed at her, tight with tension and fear. But a deeper emotion overshadowed the worry, enhanced the warmth inside her and chased away the chill of that awful night.
"I love the way it sounds." Sabrina whispered, gazing softly at Owen.
"The way what sounds, baby?" Owen asked thickly, squeezing her hand gently.
Sabrina drew her hand from his and touched his face, tracing her fingertips over his lips. "My name on your lips."
Owens eyes glistened. He smiled. "I love the way it sounds too, baby." He leaned over and kissed her mouth, then took hold of her hand again.
"Did...did you talk to the doctor?" Sabrina whispered.
Owen drew up a chair and sat down. "Yeah. I did."
Sabrina bit her lower lip as fresh tears filled her eyes. "It wasn't yours, Owen. It couldn't have been...not yet."
"I know." Owen pressed his lips to the back of her hand.
Tears slid down Sabrina's cheeks. "I...I feel relieved." She choked out over a sob. "God, Owen, what kind of person does that make me? To feel relieved that I'm not...that I'm not going to have another man's baby? How horrible does a woman have to be to feel relief that she...she lost her child?"
A fit of violent sobs overwhelmed her. Owen left the chair and pulled her into his arms, holding her tight against his warm, strong body.
"Don't do this, Sabrina." He murmured against her hair. "It was God's choice to take the baby. You didn't give it up."
"But how can I feel..." She choked on a sob and buried her face in his throat.
"Answer me something, baby." Owen whispered, holding her securely. "Would you have loved this baby if it had been born?"
Sabrina trembled in his arms. "God, yes."
"Would you have resented it because it wasn't mine? Because it belonged to a man you didn't love?"
Hard sobs shuddered through her. "No. Never."
"Then that's all that matters." He told her softly. "There are a lot of awful, horrible people in this world." He drew back and lifted her chin so he could look in her eyes. "But you, my darling Sabrina, are not one of them." He dipped his head and kissed her lips.
"I love you, Owen Briggs." She trembled against his mouth. "I've always loved you."
"I love you too." Owen kissed her again, more deeply. Sabrina could feel the passion in him flaring even now. She also felt him resist it and pull it back, knowing this was not the time or place.
The door opened suddenly, drawing both their attention. Dr. Kwon stepped in. "The officer's here to speak with you."
Owen nodded. "Can you give us just a minute before you send him in?"
"Of course." Kwon stepped out, closing the door.
Sabrina tensed in Owen's arms. "What officer?"
"It's all right." Owen assured her. "He just wants to ask us about what happened tonight."
"They have to do it right now?" Nausea pinched Sabrina's stomach. The last thing she wanted to do was recount the night's horrifying events.
"Apparently so." Owen looked down at her, his eyes sober, serious. "I need you to do something for me."
"I would do anything for you, Owen."
Owen drew in a deep breath and released it slow. "I need you to tell the cop that you don't know who...attacked you. Tell the cop the man was wearing a mask."
"Okay." Sabrina said slowly, frowning. "But why do I need to lie?"
Owen cleared his throat. "Jackson has been dealt with. He can't be implicated in this. If he is...the cops will start looking for him. And when they can't find any trace of him..."
"They might look to you as a suspect." It wasn't a question. Owen would be their prime suspect when the man who raped his wife suddenly disappeared. She met his eyes. "Then I'll lie."
"Why are we going back to the guy's house?" Sammy was still visibly on edge from their encounter with Jericho, every now and then a shudder running through him as if he were trying to physically shed the unsavory sensations left behind.
Though amused, Tony pitied the younger man. Nothing like a huge beast of man wanting to get his cock in you to undermine a young man's masculinity.
"I made a promise." Tony said.
Sammy glanced at him as they pulled up to the old fence that wrapped the grungy yard. He followed Tony's eyes to the mangy dog laying half out of its dog house. Sammy began to shake his head slowly.
"Oh, no fucking way." He rubbed his hand over his mouth and shot Tony with a hard stare. "Are you fucking kidding me? That thing hates me."
Tony grinned and opened the door. "Guess you'll just have to make friends with him."
Sammy snorted. "This night just keeps getting better and better."
Tony chuckled and stepped out of the car then headed for the lopsided yard gate.
Sammy sat behind the wheel, shaking his head. "The dog." He groaned. "Really?"
When the officer left, a measure of relief spread through Owen. The cop had bought their story that the attacker was a stranger. They would conduct their investigation, but they wouldn't find anything. Jackson hadn't been mentioned. There was no cause for them to consider that Owen's hired hand had been the one who attacked Sabrina.
"You should rest." Owen squeezed Sabrina's hand. She held onto him tightly.
"Stay with me." She whispered.
Owen sat in the chair next to the bed and held her hand in both of his. He kissed her fingers. "I'm not going anywhere, baby."
Sabrina gazed at him. Her eyes were weary and heavy but they refused to close, as if she were afraid he would be gone when she opened them again. The depth of love resonating from her was nearly more than he could take. Even at the beginning of his marriage, Celine had never looked at him this way. He doubted she had ever loved him. And now the mirror image of her face was looking at him with a love that squeezed his chest tight and tore at his heart. He couldn't imagine spending another second of his life without her.
"Marry me." The words shuddered off his lips before he realized they were there, but he had no desire to draw them back.
Tears glistened in Sabrina's eyes. "And Celine?"
Owen shook his head slowly. "I'll divorce her." He kissed Sabrina's hand and squeezed his eyes shut then opened them slowly. "I would've left her that night two years ago...if I'd thought you would leave Charles to be with me."
Sabrina untangled her hands from his and traced her fingertips down his face. "I would've left Charles for you...in a heartbeat."
Owen stood and leaned over her, kissing her lips softly, then more deeply. He drew back a little, his lips still touching hers. "It's our turn now, baby." He murmured. "Our turn to live our lives for us...and no one else."
Sabrina slid her arms around his neck and kissed him warmly. "I will." She whispered thickly, the shimmering tears slipping free. "I will marry you, Owen Briggs...to hell with Charles and Celine."
Owen smiled and slid his arms around her, hugging her tight against his chest. "To hell indeed."
To hell. He suspected Hell was truly their destination...with Jackson along for the ride.