Chapter no 60 – NATALIE

The Coworker

I CAN’T TELL if I’ve gotten through to Dawn. She’s difficult to read. She doesn’t show anger on her face the way Caleb did. She still hates me, but I don’t know what she’ll do next.

Will she still try to kill herself? Did anything I say resonate with her?

She bends down and picks up the cinderblock. I’m not sure why, but there’s nothing good she could be doing with the cinderblock. I step closer, scared she’s going to toss the block into the water, and then it will pull her in. I don’t think I can save her easily if she does that. But I’m ready to jump in if I have to. I’ll try.

But she doesn’t do that. Instead, she heaves the cinderblock into the air, holding it above her head. She lifts her eyes to meet mine, and all of a sudden, I realize what she’s doing.

She’s planning to beat me to death with the cinderblock. Oh God.

It wouldn’t be hard. That thing has got to weigh at least thirty pounds. A few good clocks on the head, and that would be the end of me. She would finally have her revenge.

“Dawn,” I gasp. “What are you doing?”

“What I should have done years ago.” Her voice is flat, her eyes dull. “I’m going to make sure you can never hurt anybody ever again.”

“Dawn, please don’t do this.” I clutch my purse to my chest and stumble backward. “I told you, I’m so sorry for what I did to Amelia. But killing me won’t change anything. It won’t bring her back.”

“And you stole the man I love…”

“Stole him?” I shake my head. “I didn’t steal Caleb!”

“It wasn’t enough that you killed my best friend. You also had to have

him too.”

She has really lost it. I’m not sure I can talk her down anymore. “Dawn, Caleb was the one who asked me out. I thought he was single, for God’s sake!”

“I loved him.” A few flecks of saliva hit me in the face. “He was the last good thing in my life—the only good thing—and you took him from me! And now he likes you better.”

“That’s not true!”

“Yes, he does! Of course he does!”

“He doesn’t! He hates me, just like you do.”

“Liar! He used to hate you. But not anymore. He’s fallen under your spell, like everyone else… Why else would he betray me this way?

Her eyes are wet. It hits me that as angry as she is about Amelia and what I did all those years ago, she’s just as furious that I “stole” Caleb from her. Maybe even more so. I’ll never forget the anguished look on Caleb’s face when he thought Dawn might kill herself. It turns out she feels the same way about him.

Apparently, Caleb is the one. Just not my one.

But she refuses to believe he has no real feelings for me. She’s lost her grip on reality, which was tenuous to begin with. She doesn’t care anymore what’s true. She only cares about getting revenge. Dawn is small and skinny, but her arms aren’t even shaking as she holds up the cinderblock. That thing will do damage no matter where it lands.

I’ve got to do something to stop her.

I fumble around inside my purse. My fingers close around the spray bottle of mace and I yank it out. Dawn’s eyes fill with confusion, and then a second later, I hit the nozzle. The chemical comes spraying out in a thick cloud, and then her eyes are filled with mace (whatever that is).

She screams. She drops the cinderblock onto the ground, thankfully missing all four of our feet. She clutches her eyes and doubles over. “You bitch!” she hollers.

Damn, I got her good. She’s writhing around on her knees, still clutching her face. I hope I didn’t somehow blind her. I don’t need to add that to the list of crimes I have committed against Dawn Schiff.

When she finally stops screaming and looks up at me, her eyes are bloodshot and watery. On the plus side, she doesn’t seem to be blind.

“Fine,” she says. “You win. He’s yours.”

I crouch down beside her on the pier. I’m going to get splinters, but I try not to think about that. “Dawn, I don’t want Caleb. And he doesn’t want me. Trust me on that.”

She buries her face and her palms, just shaking her head.

“He loves you,” I tell her. “You and only you. I was throwing myself at him, and he always kept me at a distance. Now I understand why. And you know what he did tonight?”

She shakes her head again.

“He cried.” I think back to the tears in Caleb’s eyes. No man has ever felt like that about me before. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever happen. And yet Caleb feels that way about weird Dawn. “He couldn’t bear it that something might have happened to you.”

“He would have gotten over it.”

“I don’t believe he would have. It would’ve destroyed him.”

Dawn considers this for a moment as she sits on the pier, wiping away the chemicals I sprayed into her eyes.

“What I said before is true, you know.” I look out at the ocean, watching the waves crash against the shore. “There hasn’t been a day that goes by when I don’t think about Amelia and hate myself for what I did. Yes, I made up the part about us being friends, but I was always running in her honor. It was all for her. My penance.”

“That doesn’t erase what you did.”

“I know. I wanted you to know it though.”

Dawn’s eyes go down to her ankle. The cord is still secured to her right leg. She starts working on the knot, attempting to untie it.

“Caleb really cried?” she asks as the knot pops open. I nod.

“He didn’t even cry over Mia,” she murmurs.

She doesn’t say anything else. Neither do I. We just sit together, watching the tide come in, both of us glad it’s not pulling us into its clutches as we realize how close each of us came to suffering that fate tonight.

You'll Also Like