Billionaire Protector

By: Nikki Chase

It sounds so simple, but I was always too close to the problem to see the solution. Well, I’ve spent some time distancing myself from the problem, and now I see what has to be done. I know I can’t just give in. Not again.

“I’m serious this time, Alice. I know I’m a bad person,” Fred says. He slaps himself in the face, making a loud smacking sound. It happens so quickly that by the time people turn around to look, he’s already sitting normally, albeit with one red cheek. “Please. I’m so sorry. Hit me. Come on. Let’s go somewhere so you can hit me as much as you want without people looking.”

“I don’t want to hit you, Fred.”

“What do you want, then? What can I do so you’ll give me just one more chance?”

I stay quiet, looking around us to think of a good way to escape the situation without drawing people’s attention.

“What are you thinking about? Are you thinking about how pathetic I am? It’s you, Alice. It’s because of you. I can’t help it. I’m too crazy about you. You made me this way. Please give me another chance. I’ll do better, I promise.”

I swallow, my heart beating faster. He’s getting more unhinged. What can I do to stop him from melting down?

In the past, I used to back down at this point and agree to get back together with him.

But I’ve made so much progress these past few months. I don’t want to start all over again when we inevitably break up.

“I gave you many chances in the five years we were together, Fred,” I softly remind him.

“Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.” He shakes his head repeatedly. “You already like someone else, don’t you? Who’s this guy who gave you the flowers, huh? If I see that motherfucker…” Fred balls his hand up into a fist and raises it, like he’s ready to punch someone.

Throughout our relationship, Fred has always been overly jealous and insecure.

Once, I wandered into a new neighborhood for a couple of hours and didn’t realize that my phone had died. By the time I got home and turned it back on, I had sixteen missed calls from Fred and twenty-three text messages.

We proceeded to have a tearful hour-long argument over the phone, in which he accused me of having met someone else in the produce aisle, and of deliberately turning off my phone so he wouldn’t interrupt.

Yeah, I can’t deal with that anymore. Not for another minute.

“This is not about anyone else, Fred. This is about you and me. And we’re done.” I stare at him as I get up this time. “If you try to stop me, I’ll scream and people will get you off me. I’ll call the cops if I have to.”

“Fuck, Alice. How could you? You’re being so mean and selfish right now.”

I look him right in the eye and speak slowly so he hears every word. “I don’t care what you think of me, Fred.”

With that, I turn around and walk out of the café.

As soon as the door closes behind me, my feet feel light. It’s like I’ve left behind a big weight at the table. A big, Fred-shaped weight.

All this time, I was afraid of being alone. But what’s so bad about being alone? It’s way better than staying in a miserable relationship.

I grab my phone and fire off a quick text to Fred’s sister, Wendy. We’ve never been close and I don’t really like her, but I have her number anyway just because Fred and I were together for so long.

Wendy, keep a close eye on your brother, would you? He just told me he’s having suicidal thoughts. Thanks.

I fire off the text.

Fred’s not my problem anymore.

I should’ve done this years ago.




I fucked up.

I thought I was being careful, only coming to The Local every week.

I’ve been holding myself back. I thought it would be enough to distance myself from Alice, enough to keep them away from her.

But now they know. They know she exists.

I have a plan. I just don’t know if it’ll work.

No, let me rephrase that.

I know for sure that it’ll work, but Alice will get hurt in the process.

God fucking damn it. How did I let things get this bad?

Driving all the way to the city every week, just to have dinner alone at the same restaurant? Sure, that’s not weird at all.

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