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  • Writer's pictureAuthor K.L. Hall

Triggered: A Potomac Falls Novella: Chapter One

© K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K.L. Hall and www.authorklhall.com with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.


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Chapter One–Triggered

Corinne Edwards


In the wee hours of Christmas morning…


I sat in my car, trembling from head to toe. As cold as it was outside, my hands were a clammy mess. My visible breath was still bursting in and out as I tried to calm my nerves. What the fuck had I just witnessed? It was the first time I’d looked at Knight and had no idea who the hell he was. I knew I’d hurt him by sleeping with his brother, but seeing the hate in his eyes and for him to pull that gun on me? Shit had suddenly escalated to another level. A level I didn’t know if any of us were ready for.

Minutes later, I twisted my neck to see Knight and Quinn racing down the stairs like two bats fleeing the depths of hell. Like most cars in the parking lot, my front and back windshields were covered in a sheet of snow. The only visibility I had from where I was parked was through my driver’s side window. When I’d gotten inside in such a hurry, the snow shook off with the slam of my door. I shrunk my neck to my shoulders, witnessing him race over to the trash compactor and toss something inside before disappearing out of my sightline.

“Shit!” I hissed with my hands frozen to the wheel.

The muscles in my shoulders didn’t relax until I heard tires screeching in the lot. The sound of his tires was drowned out by sirens inching closer as the seconds passed. More curious than nervous, I hopped out of my car and raced to the trash compactor.

“Fuck! This is so gross,” I mumbled before tying my long twists up to keep them out of the way.

With my gloves and cell phone flashlight on, I opened the door and glanced over my shoulder before leaning inside. Unfortunately for me, Knight had thrown whatever he was trying to get rid of in the far back of the compactor, so I had to climb all the way inside.

“Fuck,” I grumbled.

The volume of the whirring sirens continued to rise, igniting a fire under my ass. I pulled in a deep breath, trying to keep the unwanted scent of random people’s trash out of my nostrils. Amongst busted open trash bags, random liquids, and God knows whatever else, laid what looked like a black book bag.

“There you are, you little bitch!” I stated before swiping it up and returning to fresh air as quickly as possible.

I didn’t even bother to look inside immediately. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. It was already the Christmas from hell, and the sun hadn’t even peeked through the early morning sky yet. I drove off and passed the incoming ambulance and two police cars racing into the complex as I exited. I glanced at the book bag sitting in the passenger seat for a second before focusing on the road. As soon as I got home, I would find out whatever he’d been trying to hide.

Once safely locked behind my apartment door, I quickly stripped out of my clothes and headed straight for the shower to rid myself of the gunk and smell of garbage on my body. I scoffed. The fuckin’ things I do for love, I thought to myself. After a twenty-minute shower, I felt clean enough to stop scrubbing and shut the water off.

I pulled one of Knight’s old T-shirts he’d left over my place over my head and slid on a fresh pair of panties before venturing from my bedroom to the book bag I’d left by the door.

“Let’s see what the fuck is in here,” I muttered, cutting through the silence as I unzipped the black bag and turned it upside down to shake out whatever was inside. One of Jackson’s old football trophies, a jersey, and a toothbrush were among the things that spilled at my feet. I reached down to move the jersey and saw a Rolex watch and Knight’s gun tangled inside.

“Oh shit!” I exclaimed with my eyes wide as saucers.

I raced to find my phone and immediately called Knight. The phone didn’t ring at all. Instead, I was greeted with his voicemail. Irritated, I resorted to texting him.


Me: Knight, are you okay?

Me: Can we please talk this out? There’s something I need to talk to you about.

Me: For real. Call me back!

Me: I wanna work this out. Please, Knight.


After my fourth text, which seemed to get more erratic by the minute, three ellipses appeared for a few seconds before disappearing completely. My honey-brown skin tone reddened as I stared at the screen, refusing to blink until I saw his response populate. I was clasping my hands so tight I thought I would crack my phone in half. The light dimmed, and then the screen went completely black within seconds. I knew if he was still with that bitch Quinn, she was probably filling his head with so much toxic shit about me and encouraging him not to respond. The phone flew from my hands to the vacant side of my bed in frustration. I figured I would give him some time to come to his senses. After all, we’d all had one hell of a kickoff to our Christmas.


***


The last few December days stretched into the new year, officially turning the page to a fresh chapter. And yet, I was still as bitter as I’d been since Jolly Ol’ St. Nick shimmied his fat ass down the chimney and delivered my ass a whole stocking full of bullshit for the holidays. Somehow, the pain I felt had morphed into anger and resentment. I’d gone from a self-loathing, tub of rocky road ice cream eating, red wine guzzling, pathetic blob to one bitter ass bitch.

I discovered Jackson had survived the shooting with non-life-threatening injuries and was more than disappointed to find out he hadn’t chosen to press charges against Quinn for what she did to him. Instead, he lied to the police and told them two men had broken into the apartment and assaulted him. Some would say it was real love… that he was a real one for holding her down. I say it was dumb as fuck. That crazy bitch tried to kill his ass on Christmas for the same shit she’d caught him doing time and time again in the past. But I guess everyone had a breaking point. I know I sure did.

My mind was a spiraling tornado of a mess. Knight still hadn’t bothered to return any of my texts or calls. Anytime I looked back at our message thread, all the recent messages had only been from me. The night we broke up, he dropped the bomb on me about moving to Dallas. I didn’t even know he’d been interviewing for positions out of state. He’d tried so hard to blame me for all the secrets I’d kept from him, but his ass had secrets too. Had he been looking to distance himself from me, hoping our relationship would fizzle out once he left? Or had he been fucking Quinn behind my back all along? The more I thought about how Quinn’s ass had both Jackson and Knight eating out of the palm of her hand, the harder it became to put a lid on my vengeful thoughts. After all, the gun he attempted to shoot me with was in my possession, which meant I had everything I needed to prove she was the one who tried to kill Jackson. With Quinn out of the picture, I could make Knight see things between us were far from over. I wasn’t afraid to go to war with her over a nigga, especially not one who still had my heart. And if Knight wanted to put up a fuss, he’d have to learn the hard way. I was way past busting windows and slashing tires. Oh, no. I was going to go bigger than Quinn ever did.













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