Karalee took in her empty apartment. Everything of value was gone. Her home had been burglarized. She searched for evidence that the thief might still be in the residence, but everything was eerily quiet and there were no signs of forced entry. The alarm hadn’t gone off either.
It had to be an inside job, Karalee thought. Someone who knew her had done this. But she had no friends. On the other hand, her Fiancé, Chris, always had different people coming in and out of their apartment being he was an aspiring actor. Had he unknowingly let someone get the code to their security system? They’d always been so careful, and the neighborhood they lived in was safe too. There had been a few car break-ins over the past year, but nothing to panic over.
Trembling, Karalee opened her purse and searched for her Blackberry. She knew she should call the police, but instead she called Chris. He was at a meeting with his talent agent, Brenda Myers. Brenda had signed Chris to her agency three months ago, and he was already getting small acting roles on television. Today, he’d been called in to do a second reading for an upcoming movie. There was a good possibility that he would get the role. If he did, his career would really take off. She would be right next to her man as he walked the red carpet.
Karalee hated to call and interrupt him with this bad news. He was going to be just as pissed as her that someone had broken into their apartment. She picked up the hammer from the floor just in case the crook was still inside. Snatching out her cell, she hit Chris’s number that was programmed on her phone. It went straight to voicemail.
“Hello, this is Chris. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you.”
She blushed. His deep, sexy voice always made her hot. However, now was not the time or the place to be distracted by her man. This was serious.
“Chris, baby,” Karalee said, breathing hard into the phone. “When you get this message, call me. It’s an emergency.”
She ended the message and dialed 911. She heard a recording telling her to remain on the line. She cursed. Someone could have been trying to kill her for Pete’s sake. She moved deeper into the ransacked apartment. The living room and dining room set were gone. So were the expensive art pieces from the walls. Even the computers and big screen television had been stolen.
She raced to her bedroom. The only thing left was a table that had belonged to her late grandmother. Her heart ached as she headed for the closet. She searched through her clothes. She found her wedding dress, hidden at the back. “Thank God,” she whispered, placing a hand over her thudding heart.
It had taken six months for her to find the perfect dress. She and Chris were getting married in two weeks. They were also moving into their new dream home. She knew she would not feel safe in the apartment anymore. There was someone other than herself to think about. Smiling, she placed a hand over her stomach. A small bulge was beginning to form. She and Chris were having a baby! Yesterday, the doctor had told her that she was six weeks pregnant. She would share the good news with Chris on their honeymoon.
Karalee looked over the empty bedroom. Her heart ached. They would have to buy new furniture. She and Chris had discussed buying new furniture in the past, but had decided against it because she didn’t have a steady job. The only jobs she’d had were under the table ones. She hadn’t worked a nine to five since the unthinkable had happened at eighteen and she’d served six months in prison. Now, Chris was supporting her and paying for everything, including her mother’s rehab bills.
Moving to Chris’s closet, she noticed it was completely empty. Wooden hangers stared back at her. She closed her eyes and sighed. It had taken Chris years to collect his expensive shoes and suits. Even his jewelry box was gone.
There was a loud crash. She almost jumped out of her skin. Quickly, she jerked around with the hammer tightly in her hand. Scanning the room, she noticed it was her overweight cat. She had knocked over a picture of her and Chris that had been on the table. She rushed to the cat and took her into her arms, rubbing her silky fur. “Snow White, I’m happy they didn’t steal you.” The cat purred and licked her paw.
She picked up the picture from the floor. Chris had taken it the day she and him had graduated from college. He’d whisked her away on a romantic vacation to the Bahamas afterwards.
She smiled. She was so blessed to have a man like him. He was going to be a great father to their baby. With Snow White in her arms, she moved back to the kitchen. 911 hadn’t answered yet. She turned on the phone’s speaker and placed it on the granite countertop.
A blinking light, under a pile of papers on the living room floor caught her attention. She put Snow White down and moved to the light. It was the answering machine. She pressed the play button and headed back to the kitchen. Chris’s voice stopped her dead in her tracks.
“Karalee; I really don’t know where or how to begin. I moved out and I’m not coming back. I’ve been trying to get the courage to do this for years. I wanted to tell you in person, but I knew you would try to stop me, so I waited until you went to visit your mother in rehab to move my things out. I’m relocating to New York to pursue my acting career. It’s now or never. I’m 34 and I’m not getting any younger. I want to make something out of my life and be more than a computer programmer. My talent agent, Brenda, thinks I have a shot at making it. I need to see if I can. Please don’t be angry. I can’t go through with the wedding and live a lie. I just don’t want to wake up twenty years from now and wonder what if. I’ve taken care of you and your mother for long enough. It’s time for me to do something for myself. I do love you, but being tied down to a 9 to 5 is killing me. You can keep the apartment. The rent is paid up until the first and so are the other bills. I also left you some money in the pantry. I hope you can move on and find it in your heart to forgive me. You are a good woman and I’m sure some man will be lucky to have you. Unfortunately, that man is not me.”
Karalee leaned on the counter for support. Hot tears raced down her cheeks, and her hands were trembling. Her stomach began to cramp. At first, the cramps were light, but then they became unbearable. Sobbing, she collapsed to the floor and curled up in pain.
She noticed bright red blood on her hands. It was coming from underneath her skirt. “My baby!” she cried, holding her stomach as the blood flow increased. The voice of the 911 operator brought her from her shock. Weakly, she stood and picked up the cell.
“911, what’s the nature of your emergency?”
“I need an ambulance,” Karalee moaned before collapsing to the floor