Write about a shocking lie.
“Babe, can you--”
“Don’t call me babe.”
He raised his hands in surrender. “Sorry. Emma, can you please put the gun down? I can explain.”
My finger shook as it hovered over the trigger. I’ve never shot anyone or anything in my life, but tonight would be an exception. “Drop the accent. I know you’re not Scottish.”
“Okay. Okay.” My stomach squeezed as I heard his true accent. American. Just the simple change made me realize how easy it was for him to pretend and how he’d fooled me into believing he was someone else.
Someone worth loving.
He started to move closer. My shaky hand was no longer driven by fear, but from pure rage. I straightened my arm purposefully, pointing the barrel of the gun straight at the center of his chest. “Don’t come any closer! I’ll shoot, you lying son of a bitch. You wasted a year of my life. A year! How could you do it, Chris?” I didn’t realize I was crying until a salty, hot tear dripped into my mouth. I swiped at it with my free hand. “Is Chris even your real name?”
“Let me explain. Please,” he pleaded.
“What’s the point? Everything out of your mouth is a lie.”
I took my gaze off him for just a second to look around the cabin’s small living room. It was dark aside from the warm glow coming from the fireplace and the white, twinkling Christmas lights strung up around the space. It was our one-year anniversary, and I had a feeling this romantic holiday getaway was going to lead to a proposal. Instead, I discovered something entirely different.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“I fell in love with you,” I said, the words exploding from my mouth, fueled by my shattered heart. God, it hurt. “I thought you loved me too.”
“I did...I do, Emma.”
“You’re full of shit. I was just a job to you.” Pain flooded my chest. “Who are you? Who sent you? Why me?” The last question came out as an anguished cry. “Why did you have to come into my life? I was doing fine, and then you showed up and made me believe I finally found the person I’d spend my life with. How could you be so cruel?”
“This wasn’t about you, Em.”
“How could it not be about me?” My scream reverberating throughout the quiet cabin. I took a step forward and shoved the hard metal into his chest. “I was a target–”
“You weren’t the target,” he cut me off, his voice full of empathy. His glance flickering down to the gun pressed against him, before he raised it again to look at me. Every fiber of his being was begging for me to hear him out. It was clear as day on his face.
My heart paused. Hoping. Wanting to believe. But as soon as that wish floated through my mind, I remembered who he was: a liar. I tightened my grip on the gun.
“There were talks about your father resurfacing. He’s in over his head,” he continued. “We knew it was only a matter of time before he reached out to you or your mother. My organization needed someone to get close to you to be there when it happened.”
“Wh-what are you talking about?” The arm gripping the weapon wavered and fell to my side. I shook my head, bewildered. “You’ve met my father a million times over the course of the year. He’s never gone anywhere. What do you mean ‘resurfacing?’”
“Maybe you should take a seat.”
I stood my ground. “Tell me what the hell is going on, Chris.”
“The man you’ve known your entire life isn’t your biological father.” His statement was clear and resolved, making it hard to leave any doubt despite how ludicrous it was.
It felt like someone kicked me in the gut. “What are you saying?”
“Your real father is a very bad man. His involvement in the underground arms trade has caused countless terrorist attacks. He’s the reason so many people have died. We even have reason to believe he was involved in the 9/11 attacks.”
Please, if there’s one thing left to lie about, let it be this.
“By the time your mother realized who he was, she was already six months pregnant with you. She got out and tipped us off. We put her under witness protection to make sure you and her were safe from him. He disappeared soon after, only leaving traces of his involvement, but never enough to find him. Until now.”
“I don’t understand,” I whispered as I was hit by the sudden realization that my mother has been lying to me my entire life. I took a seat on the couch, my legs now too wobbly to hold me up.
“I was assigned to your case several years before you and I ever met. I’ve been watching and listening, making sure not to get involved until absolutely necessary. About a year ago, we heard rumblings of your father’s involvement in an attack gone wrong. Now there’s a hit out on him. He’s been good at keeping a low profile, but we know he’s close to figuring out where you and your mother are.”
I sucked in some air. It felt hard to breathe.
“Emma, I came into your life to protect you and hopefully many more innocent lives.” He ran a hand through his hair, his tell for when he’s under stress. “Damn it. I didn’t mean to fall in love with you, but I did.” He kneeled in front of me and grabbed my hands, his stare fixed on mine. “And I know I’ve lost your trust, but that’s the one thing I need you to do right now. It’s a matter of life or death.”
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