Gunpowder and Lead

Author's Note: This is an entry for A Drop of Romeo's Star-Crossed Round 13 writing contest. This round was a one shot. This is one of the darkest romance stories that I have ever written. This story was inspired by Miranda Lambert's song "Gunpowder and Lead."

Oh, I did "The Museum."

Now

To say that this summer was supposed to be best one ever was a bit of an understatement. I had it all mapped out. I was going home after my final year of university to help out on the family farm, get a job, and enjoy seeing those long lost friends. I was finally supposed to finish the novel I've been writing for the past ten years or so. We were supposed to go on road trips to the city to make fun of the way they dressed, how entitled they seemed to think they were to everything, and make fun of their art.

You see I cannot stand modern art. I really do not see how throwing a few specks on a white piece of paper could be considered art. That's just my take on the matter.

That was all before I discovered that you can go home, but not to expect everything to remain the same. The small towns all had secrets to hide and some of them are so very dark.

There was no such thing as Romeo and Juliet. We are all just trying to steal the greatest prize and use it while we can.

My best friend, Elena, watched as our new hired hand climbed out of his beat up truck. "Who is he?"

I handed her a small sack full of green bean seeds. "Carson Matson." I bent down and started placing some of the seeds into the ground.

"Stop pulling my leg, Bella!" Elena dropped s few seeds into her row. "Carson Matson is fat, pimply, and dorky."

"It's been four years," I pointed out. "University is supposed to change people."

She eyed him. "It sure does. He's actually hot."
I watched as Carson went over to my dad. The two men talked and pointed with their backs to us. I knew that Carson had changed and yes he did look good, but Elena just didn't get it. She had been sheltered for most of her life, getting everything handed to her. She just did not know about the secrets the Matson house held. She hadn't been here when it all went down.

She hadn't been here that night when Carson and his little sister had come running out of our corn field with tears running down their eyes, claiming that their father had shot their mother before coming after them. By the time the law got to the house, old man Matson was dead. They found Carson's mum in the back room.

It really wasn't a secret, but Elena hadn't known because her father was dragging them all over the country campaigning for a national election. Her family probably had no idea the hell we went through.

I still could not look into Carson's blue eyes without thinking about that night. That event had brought us closer together. We had been each other's angels whenever we got into dark places.

She also had no idea what went down County Road 233.

Then

We stared at County Road 233. Since I was still too young to have my license, Carson had offered to drive me. It was either him or my father. I just could not bring myself to ask my father to drive me to see my boyfriend.

Carson stared at Alex's large house. His family was one of the wealthiest families around, having made their fortune off the oil and gas industry. My father had been the one to introduce me to Alex, claiming that we would be a good match. Alex's family agreed and here we are.

Carson cleared his throat. "Well, here we are."

I looked down at the dress I was wearing. I normally did not wear dresses, but there was just something about Alex that told me I should wear one. "Yeah, I guess we are."

"What time should I come and pick you up?" Carson asked, not taking his eyes off the house.

"Um, I'm sure Alex will bring me home." I opened the door. "Thanks for bringing me."

Carson nodded. "Anytime." He reached over and grabbed a hold of the door. "If he won't bring you back, call me, no matter how late it is."

"I will." I shut the door behind me, heading up to the large house.

I knocked on the door, looking back at Carson who was still waiting on me. A few seconds later, Alex opened the door with a big smile on his face. I looked over my shoulder as Carson drove away.

"Well, now, you look nice," Alex said as he shut the door behind me.

"Thanks." I looked around the house. It seemed bigger than ever before. The awful looking painting looked even worse today. "Are we alone?"

Alex moved closer to me, gently touching my cheek. "Yes, I made sure to pick a day that my parents weren't home."

I nodded. "Good."

We moved deeper into the house. The house did not have a homey feeling. It kind of felt dead to me. It was so quiet and everything was right in its place.

Alex smiled at me as he took my head. "I really am happy to have you here. It's so nice that we can finally be alone. "

I smiled back at him. "Yeah, it is."

We settle onto the couch, staring at a large television.

"Would like you to watch something?" he asked. He handed me the remote. "You can pick. Your daddy doesn't seem to be the kind who buys satellite TV."

I snorted. "You sure got that one right." I started flipping through the channels as Alex moved closer. His skin felt so wonderful against mine.

"I want us to stay like this, Bella," he whispered, his breath felt so warm against my skin.

I paused and looked into his eyes. "I do too."

Now

Elena leaned back against the worn counter, drinking her iced tea down in one gulp. "You know. We should do something."

I looked at her. "Like what?"

"You always have a list for the summer. Are you really trying to tell me that you don't?" She placed her glass on the counter.

"I just really haven't thought that much about it."
Carson came in, grabbing a glass and pouring himself some grape pop. "Thought about what?"

Elena's eyes trail up and down his body, which I pray he doesn't notice. "A plan for the summer. She always has one and now she doesn't!"
"I am just happy to be out of the city. Do you know what it was like living there for four years?" I asked.

"All that shopping so close and not having to drive over an hour to get to everything? It was heaven!"

Carson and I exchanged looks. Once again, university did not really give Elena the chance to grow up.

Carson set his empty glass in the dish washer. "It was nice talking to you, but the cows in the back field need checked."

"I'll come with you," I offered, following him out the door.

Elena caught up with us a few second later. "I am not about to miss the chance for an adventure."

"You do know we're riding horses?" I asked. Elena had a huge fear of horses.

"I'll be okay. Just give me one that's nice and we'll make it work."

"Are you sure?" I pressed. Carson and I sill really needed to talk about that night. We kind of made it our goal not to talk about it until we were ready. The fact that he took a job at my family's farm was a good enough sign for me.

Elena nodded. "Yeah, I just have to be back a couple of hours."

Carson bowed his hat. "Okay, then, sounds like the matter is settled."

Elena brushed past us on our way to the barn.

Carson's arm brushed up against me. "I really was hoping that she wouldn't come." He kept his voice so low that I could hardly hear him.

"I know." I watched as she disappeared into the barn. "Look, we really need to talk. I just don't' know if you're ready."

He took off his hat, running his hand through his short hair. "I didn't think I was, but I do." He paused. "Has there been any kind of investigation?"

I nodded. "Yeah, but they didn't turn anything up. We did such a good job that not even the best in the business can find anything."

"Good." His eyes trailed off to the barn. "We'd better get in there before she comes and finds out."

"Yeah."

We made our way to the barn and out to check the cows. Elena really did not have any problems with her horse. It just took her awhile to get comfortable with the mare, but that was about it.

The hot summer heat warmed my skin, creating a golden brown that the girls in the city would kill for. Some of the boys would too, but they just would not admit it.

Then

A few weeks later, Alex and I found ourselves alone at the swimming hole, something that never happens in the heat of summer. We laid there stretched out on the dock, watching the white fluffy clouds race over us. The cool wind put goosebumps on our flesh, but I didn't feel the cold. I could only feel him.

He grabbed my hand. "What are you thinking about?"

"How are we going to make this last?" I whispered. "We're both going to university in the fall."

"I know, but let's not think about that now." He moved his body on top of mine. "Let's think about the present."

His hands stated exploring my body a little bit rougher than I would like. "Um, Alex?" I snapped, shoving him off. "That's too much."

He smirked up at me; of all the things he could do, he chose to smirk. "Come on, babe, don't be like that." His hand reached for me again, but I kicked it away before it could reach me.

I moved off the dock. "NO!"

He got to his feet so fast that I did not have time to react. He flipped me on the ground, positioning his body on top of mine. "Whenever I want something, I tend to get it, you bitch!"

I spat in his face, hoping that some of it got in his eyes.

He raised his hand and slapped me hard across the face. The impact stung so bad that I knew I would have bruises in the morning. I blinked up at him, trying so hard not to cry. I would not cry in front of this monster, this bastard.

He started shaking me like I was nothing more than a rag doll, screaming at me, but I didn't hear the words. I raised my arm, the one he wasn't holding down, picked up a rock, and smashed it into the back of his head.

He went limp for the briefest of times, which gave me the chance to get away.

"BASTARD!" I screamed at him as I ran away. I didn't turn back to make sure that he got to his feet, like some girls would. I really didn't care if he did. He was going to die for what he did.

My cheek burned as I got into my truck. I pulled away just as Alex came flying out of the woods. He threw things at me, but it did not hurt the truck.

The tears that I had been hiding ran down my cheeks, burning where he has slapped me. He was not about to get away with this. I was not one of this girls who let her boyfriend beat her up.

Oh, no, this was not the end of this.

I was going home and load my shotgun. He might think that he is all big and mighty with his fist, but my gun is bigger.

I pulled into the farm. No one was around as I got out of my truck.

"Bell!"
Swearing, I froze.

Carson.

Now

Carson and I watched as Elena pulled out of the driveway and disappeared. We stand there for several minutes before speaking. Well, actually we didn't speak. I jerked my head toward the barn, where no one should be. Out here in the open, it was just far too easy for someone to listen in.

We paused in front of the empty bunkers.

"I really don't know how to start," I said, staring out at the empty field before turning to him. "You really shouldn't have gotten involved."

"Bella-" Carson started in.

I held my hand up to silence him. "I really do want to thank you for that," I finished. "If someone ever found about what we did, we are so done. I still feel like I should tell someone, you know, get it off my chest. If I do that though, then it means I and probably you are going to jail."
Carson moved closer to me, so close that our arms were actually touching. "So, use art."

"What?" I just had to make sure that I had heard him correctly. If I didn't know any better, I could have sworn that he said to make the confession using art, which I hate. Sure, I could draw somewhat decent, but I still didn't like it.

"You heard me. You could always sell it and write a story about it."

I frowned. "Are you for real?"

He shrugged. "You said that you wanted to get it off your chest and here is your chance."

I ran my hand through my sweat drenched hair. "You are for real."

"Think about. It would make for a good work. People are really into depression and sad stories, aren't they? Plus, you could say that you are doing it to make more people aware of relationship abuse."

I stared at him. "How in the world did you come up with that?"

He stared off into the field. "I really have no idea. It just seemed to pop into my head and it kind of made sense."

"Well, it does make sense." I paused. "What about you? How do you feel about this whole thing?"
He turned and looked at me. "Honestly?"
I nodded.

"I'm glad the bastard got what he got. I still can't believe that his parents really think that he ran away with some girl to an island and is the drug lord there. Really? Wouldn't you at least try and look for your son?" Carson growled.

I shrugged. "It makes life a lot easier for us."

Then

Carson walked closer to me. I moved so he couldn't see the bruise. "Bella, I didn't think you would be back so soon."

I shrugged, walking in the direction of the house. "Change of plans. I thought you and Dad were going to be gone all night."
He fell in step next to me. "Change of plans."

I froze. There was no way I could go in there and face my dad with this giant bruise on the side of my face and there was no way that he would believe that I had tripped over something.

"Your dad had to go into town and wouldn't be back for awhile," Carson said.

He was trying to get in front of me for some reason. There is no way that he knows what is going on. I just don't see how he could, but this is also Carson. He just seemed to have a way of knowing whenever something just was not right. It was kind of creepy really.

"I just have to go take care of something that I don't want him to know about." I brushed past him, but he caught my arm before I had the chance to get away from him.

He moved my head to the side, revealing the bruise. "Is this what you are talking about?" He moved his hand up to my cheek, like he was going to touch it.

"Please don't," I whispered.

"What happened?" he whispered, lowering his hand. "Did he do this to you?"

I moved away from Carson. "I'm going to take care of it and I don't need your help." I walked quickly toward the house.

"Bella!" Carson had ran to catch up with me. "What are you going to do? You should put some ice on that."

I shook my head. "I really can't tell you what I'm going to do. The less people who know the better."

He blocked my way to the door. "Bella, what are you going to do?" His voice was serious.

I sighed. Maybe it I just told him the truth, he would laugh it off and leave me alone. "I'm going to load my shotgun and show him something that is bigger than his fists."

Carson blinked. "Are you being serious?"

"Get out of my way or help me!" The words came out of my mouth before I could stop them.

He moved to the side. "I'll help you. Do you have a plan? You know to hide the body?"

"Um, no, not really." We stepped into the house. "I was just planning on getting even with him. We'll have to have some place good and a reason for him disappearing. Something that people in a small town will believe, but will be so scandalizing that no one will really question it outside of their little gossip circles," I went on.

Carson snorted. "Good luck with that. Everyone is going to talk no matter what you say."

"And I'm going to have play the role of sad girlfriend." I shook my head. "This is going to be wrong."

"Did anyone see?"

I shook my head. "He made sure that no one was around."

"Well, at least we have that much going for us."

Now

We watched as it started to rain, first slowly, then into a full monsoon. There was just something nice about hearing the rain hit the old tin roof and watching the holes fill with water.

"So, no one really questioned it?" Carson asked again, breaking our silence.

I shook my head. "No, I guess his parents did admit that he had a problem with drugs. The law had been involved a couple times, but they always paid the department off so everything was kept hush, hush."

Carson shook his head. "Got to love the county law." He paused. "Are we really going to do this?"

"Do what?" I pretty much had to yell it over the rain.

"The painting and story. You have the paints left over from university. I saw them whenever I was helping you unpack." He smirked as I mentally cursed myself for that one, because he was right.

"I don't know. What I am even going to do with it?" I toed at the dirt with my boot.

"Sell it. People are always into that crap, I already told you."
I sighed as I moved close to the door. "It's not like we can actually do anything else."
Laughing, I raced out the door, letting the cool summer rain hit my skin. My clothes were already clinging to me as I looked back at Carson, who was still standing in the doorway. "Come on!" I yelled. "You can't be afraid of a little rain!" I stopped in the middle of a large mud puddle, letting the water lap at my boots. "Come on! You're wasting time!"

Shaking his head, he stepped out from underneath the doorway and was by side in a matter of seconds.

I kicked water at him. "See, it isn't so bad."

His t-shirt clung to him, making his muscles visible. Elena would probably pay good money to be here right now and for a few pictures. "Okay, I'm here. Now, can we get out of this miserable weather."
"Ah, has the city turned someone into a wimp?" I teased, walking slowly toward the house.

"No, I just don't like to get wet," Carson muttered.

"Wimp," I whispered as we stepped onto the porch.

We entered the silent house with water dripping off us. We both kicked off our boots and walked into the downstairs bathroom.

"Here," I said, handing him an old towel. "The better ones are upstairs, but I think someone would say something if we tracked clear up there."

Carson took the towel, using it to dry off his hair. "This will do."

I took hair out of its ponytail and started to work on it. "Well, don't take too long. We have a lot of work to do."

Then

I could not believe that I had allowed Carson to talk me into waiting until the weekend to take care of Alex. In a sick way, he was probably right. It was a well known fact that Alex's parents went out of town every weekend and that he stumbled home drunk about three am every Saturday. Still, the thought of waiting that long does kind of get under your skin.

I laid back on my pillows, waiting for sleep to overtake me. It had become so much harder to fall asleep now.

The darkness did overtake me and send me into dreamland.

I climb the creaking stairs and enter my room, only to find that my room is not empty.

Alex jumps off my bed and rushes over to me, putting his hand over my mouth. "There is no point in yelling. I know where everyone else is."

I try to bit him, but he has his hand positioned just out of biting range.

"Bella, why did you even try to leave me?" Alex asks, his voice low and dangerous. "Huh? Why do you insist on playing this game?"

I kick him hard in the knee. He grunts, but doesn't go down.

"Bella, you are going to pay for that. You know that I don't like games."
My eyes narrow as I kick him again. This time I aim just a little higher.

Alex falls to the ground groaning. "YOU BITCH!" he screams.

Seeing my chance, I turn and race to the door, but Alex is quicker. He reaches out, grabs my ankle, and sends me falling the floor. Even though my eyes are burning, I turn and kick at him. I am not even fully aware of where I am kicking. There is only one clear thought left in my brain: Get away from him.

I stretch my hands out in the direction of the doorframe, but end up falling short. I look behind me. Alex is slowly gaining back control, but my blows are keeping him on the floor.

Turning my attention back to the door frame, I stretch out my hands again. Closer...Closer...Ah, I got it! Keeping my grip tight on the doorframe, I open my mouth and scream as loud as I can, praying that someone will hear it.

Behind me, Alex is spraying me every curse word out there, but I don't pay any attention to what is coming out his mouth. I just keep kicking in the direction that I hope is his face.

Just as quickly as it started, it ends with a loud crash.

I woke up with shaking hands and sweating. I reached over to my nightstand, flipping on the light. My room is empty, not even the shadows of the night lurk about.

I turned the light off again before my dad could see it. He was one of those fathers who wanted to know when something or someone was hurting his little girl.

Still staring at the wall, I lowered myself back down into bed. It would all be over soon.

Now

Carson and I spent most of that rainy afternoon painting. We really didn't talk much, but it was kind of nice being there side by side, working on a mission together. It actually didn't matter that we were, in a way, admitting to a crime. I just hoped that no one put it all together.

Carson wiped his forehead off, leaving a rainbow of paint on it. "I didn't realize it was that late. My chores aren't done at home and I really don't think anyone is nice enough to do them for me."

I smiled down at our halfway finished painting. "Dad's not back yet either." I stared out at the blowing trees. "Shouldn't he be back by now?"

Carson shrugged as he got to his feet. "It's hard to tell. Knowing him he stopped over at the Ryan's and hasn't made it to town yet."

"I guess that is possible." I cracked my knuckles.

Carson moved closer to me. "Don't worry." Lightning flashed behind us. "It will all be okay."

I stared up at him. When had he gotten to be so tall? His breath trickled by nose. He moved a little bit closer and I didn't step back. I had not let a male, expect for my father, to be this close to me ever since Alex. I hadn't date at all at university. I had buried myself in my studies and the two jobs I worked to get through. I just didn't do people.

"Carson," I whispered. Maybe it was time change it all.

He moved even closer to me, bending his head down so we stood nose to nose. "Bella, let me make you happy."

Normally, I was not one to need a man to make me happy and I still wasn't. However, this was Carson and it had been so long since I had let someone get to close to me. Plus, this was Carson. It wasn't like he was going to hurt my on purpose. "Do it," I whispered.

Our heads came together. He gently touched my hair and he came closer and closer until our lips were touching. I ran my hand over his short, soft hair. His stumble rubbed against my face, creating a little burn, but I didn't pull away.

His lips were way too soft for someone who spent most of their life on the back of horse. I was close enough now to see how long his eyelashes were and how clear his skin was.

I pressed my lips against his, hard, but not too hard. We moved in prefect movement, our bodies just seemed to work and it made sense that we were doing this.

A few minutes later, he pulled away with a big smile on his face. "I hope that wasn't too much."

I shook my head. "No, it was just right."

"Good, then." He looked over at my clock. "I really should be going."

"Yeah, I'll walk you out."

Then

Carson picked me up later than night in his black truck. We decided it would be best to use his truck over my red one.

I rechecked my gun before climbing into the truck, trying to hide the big smile on my face. Sure, I wasn't happy about going out and killing someone, but it was just thought of actually getting even with someone. This was my chance to stand up for all of those women who had been wronged over time.

I refused to play the part of the victim.

"Ready?" Carson asked as I got in.

I nodded. "If he's not home, we just drive away. If we get stopped, we say that we are on our way back from the shooting range."

Carson put the truck into drive. "Sounds good to me."

We drive in silence to County Road 233. My heart pondered in my chest; my hands were so sweaty that I feared I would not be able to get a good grip and aimed. I was not going to do me any good to be nervous. That would screw the whole plan up.

Carson parked in a set of trees about just at the edge of the Matson's property. "Will this do?"

I nodded. "Yeah." I opened the door. "I'll call you once it's done."

He nodded. "Okay, are you sure you don't me to come?"

I shook my head. "No, I have to be the one to do this." I slammed the door shut behind me as I stepped onto County Road 233.

There was no one else out as I began my revenge march. That was one of the beauties about living in a small town. No one tended to be out this late. I smiled as the dirt crunched under my feet.

Sweet justice was about to be delivered.

Alex's house was dark, but that didn't mean a thing. He could be entertaining some guests that his parents did not approve of. I wondered if he was doing the same thing to them that he had done to me. Maybe she would join me in my fight.

I walked through the unlocked door, only to be greeted by silence. I checked every room in the house, but no one seemed to be home. Well, that was just lovely.

I sent a quick text to Carson and lowered myself into a chair near the front door. Alex was going to have a nice surprise waiting for him whenever he decided to come home. He would come home too. There was no way he going pass up the chance to come home to an empty house. I'm just surprised that the party is not here.

I peered down at the floor. "Interesting." I picked up the bottle of wine, which even had a whine opener with it. I kicked back, enjoying the Matson's finest. Tonight was going to be great.

Now

I watched as Carson drove away. For some crazy reason, I kept touching my mouth. I could still feel his lips there and it really did feel wonderful.

I looked at the mess on the floor. The painting did not look all that bad. Carson surprised me by having a few art skills of his own. We weren't going to become rich off of this little adventure, but I was sure that some university would be happy to have it for their little collection. They always seemed to be in up and coming artists.

I moved my head to the side as I looked at it closer. The house with some major changes was there just fine and if you looked a little closer you could see the body on the steps with a young woman standing over it. The hardest part was trying to make everything look different. The practice drawings we had made always ended up being a dead ringer for the real thing.

I picked up a few of the brushes and went into the bathroom. It really was kind of odd that my dad wasn't home yet, but Carson could be right. He could have stopped at another farm and was talking. I ran cool water over the brushes, turning the sink into a rainbow of different colours. It would had been really nice if we could just wash away all of our troubles. It would have made everything so much more simpler.

I turned off the water as the rain grew heavier. Carson should have made it home by now. I hope he had anyway. His truck's windshield wipers were horrible and he never replaced them.

I knelt down again in front of the painting. It was still far too wet to move, but I couldn't leave it just laying there. We should have done it on a table or put something underneath it before we started.

Shaking my head, I tossed the paints back into the box. I really did need to clean out my dorm stuff and get rid of some things. When would I ever need a philosophy book again?

Downstairs something banged, sending a echo clear up through the house. I feel back on my heels with my eyes narrowed. This was an old house and was always making noise, but that didn't sound like a normal noise. I somehow doubted that the noise came from my father. He always announced that he was home to the whole world.

Now, I was not about to do what everybody seemed to do in horror movies. I was not about to go see what the noise was about. It also didn't help that my gun was downstairs, locked in a safe.

So, I grabbed the next best thing. I played softball in school and still kept the bat under my bed. I grabbed it and placed myself behind my bedroom door. If anyone came in, they were going to get a nasty surprise.

Then

Sitting behind a door of your former boyfriend's house in the middle of the night is good for the soul, let me tell you that much. It really changes your views on a number of things.

I threw back another round of wine. All I needed now was a cigarette and we would have a party going. Now, I normally was not one to do these kinds of things, but there was a first time for everything.

I was really starting to see what people got out of drugs and alcohol. Just for a brief amount of time, you were not in control of your body and not responsible for your actions. It was the line that I had heard some many times come out of my peers mouths.

I peered down into the bottle. It was getting kind of on the low side and the room was starting to spine, just a little bit. I shifted my grip on the gun. Surely, I would still be able to get him. From what I had seen about his drunkenness, he really wasn't too swift. I could still shoot and have him down before he even knew what happened.

I smiled. The boys around here always went on and on about their crazy ex-girlfriends, complaining all the hell that she put them through. Well, I think I would take the crown on that one. At least, none of their girlfriends ever tried to kill them or actually did it.

Yes, sir, Alex was going to have a lot of things to talk about once he died. He would also have to answer the questions about what he did to piss me off that much.

I threw back the final bit of wine when I heard movements outside. Smiling, I sat the bottle down and rechecked my gun. This was it.

"Hello, house!" Alex yelled from outside as he fumbled with his keys, cursing. "The only problem with this, house, is that we are all alone! No fine ladies were able to come with me tonight!" He started to sing the current lame pop song that was currently on top of the charts for some unknown reason.

I fought back the urge to laugh, wondering how long it would take him to figure out that the house was unlocked.

"Just a minute, my naughty sweet."

I gulped. Maybe he wasn't actually alone. It was very possible that some other female had fallen for his charm, like I did. Yes, Alex was charming and cute, but there was no way I was going to forgive him for what he did.

You see, what happened earlier was not the first time. It was the last time, but it was far from the first time he had laid his hands on me. Like an idiot, I took him back, but there was just something about the last time that was going to make it the last time.

The door opened and I smiled.

Now

My grip tighten on the bat so that my knuckles were now a brilliant shade of white. The noise was still downstairs and it still did not sound like that of an old house.

"Come on," I muttered, shifting around, but not making all that much noise. "Come on. I'm ready for you. Come at me with everything you have, I dare you." If only I had my gun, I really could light this place up. It was kind of funny-me thinking about my gun. I hadn't used it since that night.

My heart stopped. Whoever was below was now hovering on the steps. Anyone who came into my house knew to stay off to the side on the bottom step. It was far weaker than any of the others. My dad had been cursing that thing out for years and saying that he was going to fix it, but never did. I really did hope that person broke the step and was now stuck.

I sat there with my tight grip on the bat, trying and failing to control my breathing. I swore that anyone coming would be able to find me in a heartbeat.

The creaking kept getting louder as they climbed up the steps, pausing every once in awhile. They thought they were in a horror movie; they were expecting me to dart out and be an easy kill.

I mentally snorted. Being an easy kill? Yeah, that like a real smart thing. Everyone was a born fighter, rather they wanted to admit it or not.

The footsteps stopped at the top of the steps and did not move for another minute or two. Whoever it was had breathing that was heavier than mine. It sounded like they had not walked up a set of steps for awhile or maybe never.

I listened to the heavy breathing. It really did seem too loud to be female, but who was I to judge gender based on the way someone was breathing. The footsteps had been heavy this entire time, which did kind of hint to either a female walking in heavy unfamiliar boots or a male. That was one thing I learned at university. Males did tend to walk a lot louder than females.

The footsteps started moving, pausing at my father's room. I held my breath. It kind of sounded like whoever it was looking through the room. You would think that they would not want me to be aware of their presence, but I guess not. They were opening ever drawer and door. Judging by the noise, they were throwing things out of the way.

I tightened my grip again. That creep was in there touching my mother's things. No one was ever touch them. It kept her alive around here. It was our way of hanging on to her.

My mother would not want me to go into for her things. However, she probably would have frowned upon what I did to Alex too.

Then

He paused inside the door for a brief second, before slamming it shut. He attempted to throw his keys on the small table across from me, but missed by a lot shot. He laughed as he stumbled across the room and almost fell over as he bent down to pick them up.

I buried myself deeper behind my own door. He couldn't see me yet and it had to stay that way for a few more minutes.

He struggled to get himself upright, holding onto anything that he could. It took him a few attempts, but he does manage to get himself standing. He held onto his head, laughing. "Wow, I am so going to regret this one in the morning." He stumbled into the kitchen and started banging around in it.

I shake my head. He didn't even bother to look, which was what I wanted him to do, but still.

The small TV in the kitchen came on, its colours shone off the walls. A few of them even went as far as to hit my face. All Alex had to do was come out of the kitchen and he would see me. He would probably act like he was sorry and everything and ask me to sleep with him. I wasn't sure, but it just seemed like the kind of thing he would do.

Movement...We had movement in the door of the kitchen.

Taking a deep breath, I stood up and pointed my gun at what I hoped was Alex. "Come out!"
Alex stumbled out, his eyes narrowed. I was kind of surprised he listened to me. That's what getting drunk will get you. "Bella?" His voice came out loud and clear. He stepped further out into the light. His eyes got wide at the sight of my gun, pointed right at his heart. "What are you doing?"

"You cannot beat me anymore. You will not touch another person." I took the safety off; its click echoed throughout the house.

Alex started shaking. "Bella, point the gun down and let's just talk about this. I really am sorry for whatever it was that I did."
I shake my head. "Wrong answer!" My finger rested on the trigger.

He didn't move. "Bella, you really do need to stop this. I don't know why girls go over the edge for the littlest things."
I really was going to do this. "No, Alex, you can't get out of this." I really had no idea why I was dragging this out. My plan had been to just kill him and get it done. There was no part about talking to him.

"Bella, you really do need to stop being a Drama Queen." He started to come closer to me. "I am going to have to teach you a listen." He raised his fist, just as the boom echoed throughout the land.

His eyes grew wide as he hit the floor, gasping.

I knelt down next to him, ignoring the blood pouring around us. "No, I am going to teach you a lesson," I whispered.

Now

The scum bag is still digging through my mother's things. It was going to take away her smell if he wasn't careful.

I walked down the wall with the bat hovering in striking mode. Anyone who dared come across me was going to wake up tomorrow with a nasty headache.

I paused outside my dad's room, wincing as something broke from within the room. I flatted myself against the wall as the shadows got closer to the door. It was for sure male. There was no doubting that.

I listened to his heavy breathing. He seemed to saying something, but I couldn't make out what it was. I wiped one of my paint covered hands over my cheek. I probably looked like an Amazon warrior, but I didn't care. It would probably add to the surprise.

I shifted my grip around on the bat, getting a better grip as the shadow moved closer to the door. This was going to be it.

Then, the shadow did one of the stupidest things I had ever seen. It paused right inside the door. Beads of sweat threatened to pour into my eyes. I mentally willed it to find another home. It would burn and I could not stand body parts burning.

I held my breath as the shadow slowly disappeared back into the room. Well, this was not good. I winced as something else broke.

Okay, enough was enough.

I stepped out of my shadow and into the doorway. "HEY!"

The male's head jerked up. His eyes resting on me with narrowed eyes. "I was wondering when you were going to appear, princess."

My heart stopped. "Alex, you're supposed to dead."

Alex's cool laughter echoed off the walls. I tried not to stare at the mess he had made out of my parent's room. So many of my mother's things were gone forever. "That's what you thought. I can't believe you did that."
I gripped my bat harder. I was going to make sure I did the job right this time. "There was no way you came out of that alive."

"I will admit it did take me awhile to get over it. Good thing my grandparents were able to take me in and my parents didn't question the rumours." He shook his head, his smile growing wider. "Really, Bella, did you think you could get rid of me that easily?" His eyes paused on that bat. "Now, come on, didn't you learn from the first time?"

"Didn't you?" I fired back. "You have a lot of nerve coming here."

We started circling each other for some reason. Both of us dared not to look away. His smile was getting to me for some reason. It was the same smile that used to melt my heart, but now it was nothing more than poison.

"Really, Bella, is this the best you can do?" he taunted.

I didn't answer.

Then

I pulled out my phone.

Carson picked up after the first ring. "Is it done?"
I stared down at Alex's bleeding body and nodded several times before my voice found words. "Yes, it's done. Can you hurry? The blood is getting everywhere."

"I'll be there as soon as possible," Carson said. I could hear the truck staring up in the background.

"Good." I really had no idea how a dead person could bleed so much. "Please, hurry. I really don't want to have to clean more than necessary."

Carson laughed. "Only you would worry about the mess, not the fact that you killed someone."

"Well, he did deserve it," I fired back.

"Not saying that he didn't, Bella." He paused. "Bella, he really did deserve to die. It's not right for him to get away with what he did. He needed to be taught a lesson."

I looked down at Alex's body again. I really did need to stop doing that. His eyes were still open and staring right at me. That was kind of disturbing and I really didn't want to touch his eyes, which was even grosser.

"Okay, I'm here," Carson said. "Don't shoot me when I come in."

I laughed. "I'll try not to. Just make you sure don't do anything stupid. I'm armed after all."

"Right."

I moved away from Alex's body. His eyes were just getting really starting to get to me. There was just something about looking into unmoving and unblinking eyes that can really get to you. It was just so messed up and wrong.

The door opened behind me. I grabbed my gun and pointed it out the door.

"It's just me," Carson said as he entered carrying a trap. "Don't shoot."

I lowered my gun as Carson came closer.

He swore at the sight of the body. "You weren't kidding, were you?"

I shook my head. "No, I didn't realize there would be so much blood." I placed my gun on the floor. "This was stupid. I don't even know what I was thinking."

Carson gently touched my hair. "No, it wasn't stupid. This is you standing up for yourself and doing something to better yourself. He was threat and you took care of it. So many people don't have the courage to do what you just did."

"I killed someone," I pointed out.

"Yeah, and he deserved to die."

"Okay."

I kept telling myself that as we got to work. The hardest part was not rolling Alex onto the trap and carrying him out the truck. No, the hardest part was making sure that we got all of the blood out and wiping everything down. I never knew how hard it was to get DNA off of everything.

We didn't say a word as we worked. Maybe we were both afraid to. Maybe we just thought that if we spoke, it would bring someone to the house and we would be caught.

Maybe we didn't want to find out what gunpowder and lead could do to us.

Now

He moved closer to me. "Really, is that the best you can do?" He was just taunting me now. I just knew it. He really didn't have a plan. "Bella, Bella, Bella, don't you see?"

"No, you don't see!" I snapped. "What makes you think you can come into my house like this? What do you think gives you the right?"

He shook his head. "Bella, what gave you the right to shoot me? Huh? You probably don't want that to get out, now do we?" He was so close now that I could see his foul breath. This just had to be a dream. It was just a dream.

Only it wasn't.

Alex's laughter shook off the walls as I tightened my grip on the bat, ready to hit him. "You really are kind of sad, you know that? You couldn't take you beatings like a woman, now could you?" He paused. "I am the male in our relationship and I have complete power over you. These things will never change and I really don't get why females just can't understand that."

I kicked him hard between the legs. He grunts as he falls to the ground. I raised the bat and hit him over the head. He doesn't move.

Gasping, I ran down the hall, past the sad looking painting in my room, and down the back stairs that people who only come to the house a lot know about. I don't stop, don't pause to listen for Alex.

"Where is it?" I muttered, looking around the kitchen, once again kicking myself for being one of those people who was always glued to their mobiles. "There!" I ran over to the cordless phone, dialing as I ran out the door.

"Emergency," a cool male voice came out.

"He's trying to kill me!" I ran across the yard to the back to the barn. "He's going to kill me!" I looked over my shoulder. Alex would surely be coming around soon.

"Who's trying to kill you?" The dispatcher sounded a bit more alive now. "Miss, you have to slow down and stay on the line. I'm sending someone out now."

"My boyfriend." My voice came out more like a cry than anything. I willed myself not to break down now. "He's coming after me and he wants to kill me." It was big risk doing this. Alex could tell them everything, but, then, the reasons for why I tried to kill him would too. "Please, tell them to hurry."

"Miss, you have to slow down," the dispatcher said again. "I need you tell me exactly what's going on."

I laughed as I climbed up to the second level of the barn. "It's kind of a funny story, you see. I thought he was dead, while the rest of the town thought he was drug lord on an island. His parents didn't deny the drug lord rumour. It's just all very messed up."

Then

After it was done and the hole was covered, Carson as sat in the back of his pickup, sharing another bottle of wine that we had found in the Matson's house. They really should be more careful about locking all of their things up.

"So, now what?" Carson asked, looking at the almost empty bottle. "He's dead and buried. What do we do now?"

I took the bottle from him, taking a nice long drink. "I guess we go home and wait. We've covered all our tracks, right?"

He nodded. "Yeah, there's no way they can trace it back to us. Just make sure you play up the poor, grieving girlfriend role good and no one will question it."
I looked at him. "What about you?"

He stopped in mid-drink. "Me? What about me?"

"What role are you going to take?"

"Hum, guess I really never thought about me" He leaned back on his elbows. "What would be a good role for me?"

"You could play the role of childhood friend helping someone get through the rough times and doing what's right by making sure a young lady has someone by her side." I shook my head. "Man, I'm good. Gotta love small towns and honour."

Carson laughed. "You really are putting it on kind of thick, aren't you?"

I elbowed him. "Hey, I try. You wanted a role and now you have one."

We stared up at the starlight night. It really was a beautiful summer's night-the kind of night that was supposed to be about being together and having fun, not killing someone. The bugs sang their song, which did sound really dark and kind of depressing and all. Every once in awhile a bat would fly across, landing in a tree nearby.

I got to my feet, pulling Carson up with me. "We really do head back," I said. "My dad is putting in hay and you know what that means."

Carson groaned. "Don't remind me. I really hate hay season. Why do they insist on knocking both farms down at the same time while worrying about the weather?"

I shrugged. "No idea, but we cannot miss it."

He sighed. "I guess."

We jumped down out of the truck.

I stared into his clear eyes. "Thanks for everything. Not too many people would have came out here with me." I smiled. "It really does mean a lot to me."

He smiled. "Don't mention it. Plus, it really did sound like a good adventure."

I nodded. "Yeah, I guess it did."

We got into his truck.

Carson looked like he wanted to say something, but he just put the truck into drive and we drove away. I kept looking over my shoulder as the grave grew smaller and smaller. There was just this feeling that would not leave me.

"Is something wrong?" Carson asked.

I looked one final that the site. "No, I don't think there is." I shook my head. It was all just in my head.

Now

"Please hurry!" I yelled into the phone. "He's coming! I can see him!"
That much was true. The kitchen door had opened and Alex was storming across the yard to one of the other barns. He wasn't walking as fast as he normally did, but still. He was the type of person to search all of the buildings to find me.

The dispatcher came across again. "I need to stay with me. Someone is coming to help you."

Tears started flowing down my face. I had no idea when they started, but was annoying. I was not the kind of person to cry when things got bad. I really didn't how crying helped anyone. It jut made everything that much more worse in my book.

"Honey, I need you to stay calm," the dispatcher came across again. "I'm going to stay on the line with you until help gets there."

I wiped my nose. "Okay." I sounded really gross, but if she did believe what I had said earlier, then was going to be a long night for me. "Okay." My voice came out stronger that time.

I stared out the window as Alex came out of the other barn. He did look mad, but not as mad as I thought he would be. Maybe he's gotten over the whole trying to kill you thing. Anything is possible these days, isn't it?

I took a deep breath. It really would be hard for him to find me up here.

Everything was going to be okay.

Then

"Everything is going to be okay," I told myself as I settled into bed.

Carson had dropped me off about an hour earlier. I somehow had managed to get into the house, put my gun away, shower, and get into bed without waking my father. Good thing he was kind of a heavy sleeper.

I pulled the blankets up over my head, enjoying the darkness. It really was so easy to give into the darkness. Once you let it consume you, living on the dark side really was a lot of fun.

Revenge was great. I just hoped that where ever Alex was that he was paying for what he had done. He should have known better. He should have known better than to cross me.

Now

"Are you still there?" the dispatcher asked me.

"Yes," I whispered.

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the sirens. If I could hear them, then Alex could too. I really did hope he took off and we didn't have to deal with this. He was going to go down with me. I knew he knew that much.

I peered back out the window. Alex was standing in front of the tractor frowning with his hands on his hips.

Run. I closed my eyes and willed him so hard to run.

It must have worked, because when I opened my eyes, he was gone.

I stared there for several minutes not moving as the lone police officer got out of the car.

"It's all going to be okay," I muttered.

One Year Later

Carson and I stood in front of the painting at a university's museum. We hadn't gotten much for it, but it did get us a meal at a nice diner.

A pair of university students stood in front of us, staring at it.

"I bet it's kind of a sad story. She killed him and looks happy about it," one said. "I really don't like looking at dark things like this."

The other one shook her head. "Maybe he did something to deserve it." She paused. "They really did end up like Romeo and Juliet."

"How do you know?" the first asked.

The second pointed to the sign below the painting. "It says so right here. They both ended up killing each other in a dual."

The first shook her head again. "People really are messed up."

The pair walked away.

Carson put his arms around me. "I really do think the title is fitting."

I leaned into him. "Yeah, it is." I stared up into his eyes. "Gunpowder and Lead."

"Are you ready?" he asked.

I nodded. "Yeah."

I didn't get a good edit in. I thought I had another week to do this.