Center Stage Ch. 06

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I’ve always heard the expression ‘like a deer caught in headlights’ but I never truly understood the meaning of it until this exact moment. Time seemed to slow down. I could feel myself stop breathing. There is no way this is fucking possible. It is supposed to be Lucas. He’s supposed to be the crazy nut job that’s been harassing me. I could practically hear the theme song to The Twilight Zone playing through my head. What the fuck is going on? Ariel’s face was as cold and hard as the gun she was holding in her hand. Her voice had an edge to it.

“I want you to sit down. I would suggest no sudden movements on your part either. We don’t want this gun to go off accidentally now do we? Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t intend to use it either. Now SIT.”

She motioned me back towards the couch and I plopped myself down. My brain was going a mile a minute. How is this even possible? I would have never in a million years expected this.

“Why, Ariel? What have I ever done to you?”

Ariel sat down opposite me and crossed her legs. She continued to keep the gun pointed directly at me.

“This has nothing to do with you, Cameron, you just happened to be an unfortunate pawn in this whole thing. I tried to warn you though. How many times I tried to keep you out of his way, but did you ever listen? Nooooo. You had to crack through his shell. You had to bring happiness back into his life. I never thought anyone would be able to get through to that self-serving son of a bitch. I can’t believe I underestimated you.”

Recognition dawned on me. All the conversations we had. I thought she was just being a friend and trying to keep me from getting hurt, but she was really trying to keep me from getting through to him. I looked over at her.

“This is all about Zack isn’t it? Why?”

A very unladylike snort came from Ariel.

“Why? You’ve obviously never had to live in the shadow of someone else. Can you even imagine what it would be like to have someone like Zack as an older brother? So fucking successful. So fucking smart. I have to live up to that expectation for anyone that knows we are related. They see the things that he is capable of and they fucking expect the same, if not better results, from me.”

“So you’re holding me at gun point because you’re jealous of Zack?”

Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared.

“No my dear, Cameron, that is why I am going to kill you.”

My eyes widened in absolute fear. She was holding me at gunpoint, but I honestly didn’t expect to actually die. Don’t ask me why. For some strange reason I just figured she wanted to scare me. I didn’t think she was actually capable of murder. Then again she did unplug my phone and come over here with a gun.

“Do you really think you can get away with this, Ariel?”

Her mirthless laugh echoed through the room.

“Oh I know I am going to get away with it, Cameron, I’m going to make sure all the blame gets passed to sweet Lucas. It was just a stroke of luck for me that he came pounding on your door tonight. It’s a good thing I was here to witness you letting him in. Even though I tried to stop him from shooting you I just couldn’t. He was too big and strong for little ole me.”

I gazed at her with pure hatred on my face.

“Zack will know. He said they found a match for the fingerprint. I am sure they have figured it all out, you twisted bitch.”

Ariel leapt up from her seat. She continued to keep the gun pointed directly at my chest.

“I would be careful what you say sweet thing. You need to remember which one of us has the gun. You are going to die, but if you don’t watch your fucking mouth you might die sooner than I have planned. Understand?”

By this point she was standing almost directly in front of me, but out of my reach if I wanted to try and disarm her. I heard an ear piercing howl come from my bedroom. Obviously Madison knew something was wrong, but she couldn’t figure out what since she was trapped in the room.

“It’s a good thing your pup is put away. I am sure she would cause all kinds of problems, and I really wasn’t looking forward to hurting her.”

The thought of Madison getting hurt made me sick to my stomach. I was glad that she was locked up in the bedroom.

“You really think you are going to get away with this?” I looked deep into her eyes. I expected to see some sign of the craziness that was lurking in her head. What I saw though frightened me even more. There was nothing crazy about her. She was very calm and serious. Ariel obviously planned this out well. “What about the fingerprint, Ariel?”

“Cameron, if they would have looked close enough my fingerprints are over all of the notes. That doesn’t prove anything though. You let me read all of them. Of course my fingerprints would be on them.”

My eyes closed as a long shuddering sigh was released from my lungs. She was right. I did let her handle the notes. Could that mistake ruin everything? Wait a God damn minute. That wasn’t a mistake. How could I have known at the time that she was this super crazy uber douche bag? I opened my eyes and met hers Sakarya Escort with a hard look. Ariel took a step back and cocked the gun. The sound of the metal hammer clicking into place nearly made me piss my pants. I had to find a way to distract her before she actually fires.

“Why, Ariel?”

A cold, calculating grin appeared on her face.

“Why not, Cameron?”

“What did Zack do to you to make you hate him so much?” I tried to take a calming breath. If I could keep her talking maybe I could find a way out of this. “I know he’s an asshole and a total bastard sometimes but…”

“You don’t know anything, you faggot!”

There was such malice and anger in her voice the air rushed out of my lungs. It was almost like she had hit me.

“Do you have any clue what it’s like to be the younger sister of perfection?”

My mouth moved but no sound came out.

“Answer me, you stupid mother fucker!”

Before I even knew what happened I felt a sharp, excruciating pain rip through the side of my head. I was barely able to hang on to consciousness. My eyesight was starting to clear and I could see Ariel standing in front of me. She must have hit me with the butt of the gun. How the fuck did she move that fast? I put my hand up to feel the area where she cold cocked me. As I pulled my hand back I could feel the sticky wetness on it. I glanced at my hand and saw the blood that was running down my palm and onto my arm. I was barely able to stop myself from emptying the contents of my stomach. Ariel sat back down opposite of me.

“Let’s try this again. Remember that punishment. If you forget to answer me again then you die.” She leaned back but kept the gun carefully aimed at me. “Do you have any clue what it’s like to be the younger sister of perfection?”

I looked at her and shook my head.

“Well then sweetie let me tell you what it’s like. Nothing I ever did was good enough for my parents. Why is that? I’m sure you’re asking yourself that. I asked myself that for so many years. I finally figured out why. Zachary. You see everything he did was fucking perfect. He had a 4.0 grade point average. Zack was student body president for three years. He was the valedictorian for his high school and college graduating class. Zack had everything going for him, and I had to live in his shadow every day of my fucking life.”

By now I could feel the blood as it ran down the side of my face. I was feeling a bit lightheaded, but I was using all my strength to stay focused and awake.

“You poor baby, you had a tough childhood.” I know that I shouldn’t have been egging her on, but if she was going to kill me then I wasn’t going to go silently. “Everyone has had tough times in our lives. So the fuck what?”

Ariel frowned at me and held the gun up a bit more.

“Now, Cameron, I though you had better manners than that. Settle down. I don’t want to have to teach you another lesson.” Ariel’s face became a hard mask again. “I have to admit that I never thought the mighty Zachary would ever have a weakness, but it seemed that luck would be on my side. I found out a dirty little secret that he was hiding. I found out he was gay.”

The memory of this caused a look of pure glee to shine from Ariel’s face. I could feel my stomach swell again. This was disgusting.

“ Whom else could he confide in? His sweet younger sister of course! Zack poured his heart out to me. It would have been rather touching if I didn’t hate the cock-loving bastard. I offered as much support as I could, but I bided my time and waited for the perfect opportunity. It didn’t take long for the opportunity to present itself.”

She stopped talking and looked at me with a questioningly look. Obviously she wanted me to figure this part out for myself. It took a moment before I realized what opportunity she was talking about.

“Lucas.” I said as I wiped some of the blood that was dripping from my face. “So you got lucky when Zack met Lucas? Big fucking deal.”

“Lucky?” Ariel cackled. “There was no luck involved in their meeting, Cameron, darling, who do you think introduced the two of them?”

“What?” I attempted to keep the shock from my voice, but it didn’t work. “You introduced the two of them?”

She nodded her head proudly.

“I have to admit that it was by far one of the best parts of my ‘destroy Zack’ plan. Lucas may appear smart, but manipulating him was like moving checkers around the board. I was able to orchestrate Zack’s coming out and the backlash that came from our family. If it wasn’t for me I bet most of the family would have been okay with it, but I couldn’t have that, now could I?”

“You twisted piece of fucking…”

The sound of a gunshot echoing through the room silenced me. I didn’t feel any pain, but maybe my body had gone into shock. I glanced down and sighed with relief to find that she didn’t hit me. As I glanced to my right though I could see a hole in the couch about chest high.

“From this point on, Cameron, if you don’t talk nicely to me then I am not going to play with you anymore. Besides Adapazarı Escort time is running out. If you want to hear the rest of this I suggest you be a bit more pleasant. I don’t want you to die without knowing how much trouble I’ve had to go through. Now where was I?” Ariel tapped a finger on her lips as if she was in deep thought. “Ah yes. Okay. So I effectively alienated Zack from all of our family. I thought at first that would be good enough, but then I realized that he still had some happiness. He was still with Lucas. Zack thought Lucas was his true love. That’s so sweet isn’t it? It’s just to die for.”

The last sentence passed over her lips with an icy malice I didn’t think any human was capable of. It was in that moment that reality had finally settled in. I was going to die here. There was nothing that would stop her from killing me. Obviously the psycho made sure she always got her way. Ariel began her rambling again.

“Of course, I couldn’t allow his happiness to continue. That wouldn’t really suit my plans at all. So I got Lucas really drunk one night. I let a friend of mine into their apartment and helped get Lucas into bed. Zack came home later that night and found the two of them in bed together. Nothing happened, but he certainly didn’t know that. If you could have heard the fight they had, Cameron!! It was totally scrumptious! I have to say that it was really a stroke of genius on my part. So poor little Prince Charming retreated back behind the walls of his castle. It didn’t take him much time to look for something to fill the void. Luckily for me it was CSP that filled the void, and of course he gave his wonderfully talented supportive sister a phenomenal job. Things went so smoothly from that point on. I thought everything was right on track, but then my plan encountered a huge snag.”

“I’m guessing that I was the snag?”

“BING BING BING! Chuck, tell the man what he’s won!” Ariel said in her best game show host impersonation. “Yes, you were the snag in my plans. I didn’t expect you to last long at all. No one else could put up with his shit. How was I to know that you were a resilient little fucker? You totally flew under my radar. I kept trying to guide you away from him, but you just wouldn’t give up. You should have listened to me, Cammy.”

“What did you call me?”

Ariel smirked.

“Did you honestly think Zack would share such intimate information with Lucas? I was the one that told Lucas about that night with you and Zack on the couch. And you didn’t take my advice either. Right before I left you I told you not to do anything fucking stupid. And of course you went ahead and told Zack that you loved him. I still can’t believe that you did that. Honestly, I am even more shocked that the pig fucker even admitted that he loved you back.”

Can any of this even be possible? How could I have totally misjudged Ariel? Why didn’t I see her for the manipulative bitch that she really is? Then again she’s obviously had years to cultivate her skills. I bet even a detective couldn’t puzzle this out. Where the fuck is Matlock when you need him? Shit he’s probably down at the fishing hole with Opie and Aunt Bee. Concentrate Cameron! You need to distract her. It may be the only way you can escape. It was almost like she was reading my mind.

“You’re not going to escape, Cameron, you are right where I want you. The only way you are leaving this apartment is in a coroner’s black bag. So don’t get any crazy ideas that someone is going to save you. It’s just you and me kid.”

“You won’t get away with this, Ariel, you are…” It was difficult to continue speaking. The room was starting to shift and sway a bit. “You are going to get caught.”

“Who is going to catch me, Cam? I’ve already taken care of you and your pesky dog. Face it, sweetie, I’ve won. Your death will send Zack back into his shell. Luckily I will be there to comfort him, and then it will just be a matter of time before I take care of him as well. Of course I will have to take over CSP. It seems like I will be making out pretty well, don’t you think?”

“I’m fixin to knock your ass into next week, bitch, and next Thursday I’ll kick your ass again.” If I was going to die then I certainly wasn’t going to go quietly. “You’re nothing but a whiny, spoiled, pouting whore who couldn’t…”

“SHUT UP!!!” Ariel screamed as she stood up. The gun was shaking in her hand. “It’s sudden death time, Cammy, two minute warning! Wait a minute, who am I kidding? I doubt you understand any of these sports sayings anyways. A poor little fag like you wouldn’t know shit about sports. Right?”

“I understand you completely, Ariel.” I said as I slowly pushed myself up into a standing position. “What I don’t understand is how a dumb fucking cunt like you could have pulled something this elaborate off?”

“Time to die, Cameron, I would say it’s been fun, but we know that would be a lie. No one can save you now.”

Ariel pointed the gun at my head.

“I can save him.”

Both of heads snapped to the voice that was coming from the hallway. Lucas! How the fuck did Serdivan Escort he get into the apartment?

“How the fuck did you get in here?” I yelled at him. I sighed and rolled my eyes. “It would just be my luck that Dudley Do-right shows up instead of Superman.”

“I climbed down the fire escape. Luckily the window in your bedroom was unlocked, and I was able to climb in.” Lucas said.

He lifted his arm up and pointed a gun at Ariel. Oh fucking great! I’m bleeding and trapped in a room with an asshole and a psycho. If I live through this I am calling Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. I’d rather be trapped in a room with Charles Manson and Hannibal Lector. If dumb mother fuckers could fly then my living room would be an airport.

“Attention K-Mart shoppers!” Ariel said with a cackle in her voice. “There’s a two for one special in Cam’s living room! This is even better than I planned! I can kill both of you and still frame Lucas. I must have been a good girl this year because Santa decided to give me my presents early!”

A thought suddenly occurred to me. If Lucas came out of my bedroom, then where the hell was Madison? I locked her in there earlier tonight. I would bet a million dollars that she is biding her time and is going to attempt a lassie-like rescue. Please let that dog have some common sense for once in her life.

“The cops are already on their way, Ariel, do you really think that no one heard that gunshot earlier? Why didn’t you just hang a sign out the window that said ‘Psycho Killer Here!”

“Wow, Lucas, you had an actual thought for once in your life.” The sound of gunfire echoed through the room again. Lucas jerked backwards and fell to the floor. He didn’t move. “Too bad it was your last thought.”

I was slowly trying to back away from Ariel, but I bumped into the coffee table. She spun towards me.

“Don’t go anywhere, Cameron! You and I have some unfinished business.” She took a step towards me with a maniacal smile on her face. “Since Lucas is out of the way I think it’s your turn to die. It looks like your luck has run out. Good bye, Cameron.”

Everything moved in slow motion. Ariel’s arm slowly swung up in front of her. She aimed the gun at my chest. Just as I saw her finger tense on the trigger I caught a blur of motion out of the corner of my eye. Madison! Just as Ariel was about to fire Madison leapt towards her and she bit Ariel’s arm. I heard the gun recoil one more time and suddenly everything went black.

* * *

Zack’s Point Of View

It was a cloudy day as I stood in the cemetery. The wind whipped through the air and it brought a slight chill with it. I didn’t bother trying to close my coat though. I was still numb. I looked down at the freshly covered grave and my eyes stung with unshed tears. I felt like I should be crying, but I just couldn’t. So much had happened in the past three days, and I spent most of that time crying my eyes out. Memories flashed through my head.

I remembered sitting on the floor in the middle of Cameron’s living room. My arms wrapped around his barely breathing body. Blood covered both of us. His blood. A chill ran through my body. There was blood running down his beautiful face from a gash in his head. There was also blood all over his chest. He had been shot in the shoulder. The paramedics were barely able to pry me away from him. I didn’t want to let him go.

I rushed out of my meeting earlier that night because I got a call from one of the police detectives. They matched the fingerprint they found to Ariel, my own sister. It wasn’t a surprise that her fingerprints were on the letters. Mine were too. The detective wasn’t talking about a print on the letters though. They found her print on one of the envelopes. I knew that no one but Cameron had touched the envelopes. I tried to get to Cam’s place as fast as I could, but the traffic wasn’t cooperating. When I finally was able to rush into the apartment the sight that greeted my eyes made my blood run cold.

Lucas’ body was sprawled in the hallway. He was shifting slightly on the floor. I could barely hear the groans coming from him. Ariel was backed into a corner of the living room with a very pissed off Madison snarling and howling at her. I could see a pair of legs sticking out from behind the couch. I ran over and found Cameron’s unconscious body there. His breathing was very ragged and I was barely able to feel a pulse. I couldn’t help the scream that erupted from my throat. Madison spun around to find out what the source of the sound was. As soon as she saw me she came running towards me. She quietly barked at me. That had always been Madison’s way of greeting me. She leaned forward and gently licked at Cam’s face. A whining sound filled the room and that made my heart break even more.

I heard a pair of feet shuffling in the room. My head jerked up and I saw Ariel trying to get up. She finally was able to stand up and she started towards the door. I was just about to yell at her to stop, but Madison was faster than I was. She took off towards Ariel. Just as Ariel was reaching the door Madison darted in front of her and successfully tripped Ariel. Ariel’s head connected with the wall with a sickening thud as she fell. Her body hit the floor and she didn’t move. I couldn’t believe any of this was happening. This was not fair! I finally found Cam and he was being taken away from me!

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