Twisted Perfection
Author:Abbi Glines





I drank coffee while I sat out on Woods’ porch and watched the waves break against the sand. I had been forbidden to go to work today. Woods said he’d have to deal with his dad and having me there would stress him out. He was worried about me getting hurt. After the night we’d spent, I was too weak to do much of anything else. So, I’d agreed and stayed here.


If working at the club was going to be an issue I’d need to get a job somewhere else. But that hadn’t been an argument I wanted to deal with today. Last night’s high was still with me. I’d lost count of how many orgasms I’d had but I knew Woods had come inside me five times. Each and every time had been memorable.


I had taken my pill first thing this morning before brushing my teeth. If we were going to start having sex like this I couldn’t miss one.


I couldn’t have children. That would be a horrible fate to give a kid. A mother who was destined to lose her mind at some point. No kid needed a life like I’d had. I swore I’d never do to a child what my mother did to me but I couldn’t be sure. Not if I snapped mentally. My mother hadn’t been a bad person. She’d just been unwell.


I shook that fear away because I was being careful. I wouldn’t get pregnant.


My phone rang and I reached for it. Braden’s name flashed across the screen. I hadn’t talked to her in over a week. I’d been so wrapped up in Woods I hadn’t taken time to call her.


“Good morning,” I said into the phone.


“Good morning stranger who doesn’t call her best friend anymore. How are you?” she replied.


“I’m good.” The meaning behind that one simple word was powerful.


Braden laughed. “Good, huh? Like how good? Like he’s super hot and gives you multiple orgasms, or good like you’ve never had better sex, or good like you’re gonna marry him and have his kids?”


I had been smiling until the last sentence. My smile vanished and my heart slammed against my chest. Marry him and have his kids… I could never marry him. He knew that. I’d told him I was crazy and that I could mentally snap at any minute. Did he even love me? I didn’t think so. He hadn’t told me. But I loved him. I loved him more than anything. And I couldn’t marry him. This would have to end eventually because I couldn’t marry him. He would want kids. He didn’t need a wife who would eventually lose her mind.


Oh God. What was I doing?


“Della, you okay?” Braden’s voice asked. I could hear the worry in it. “Shit. Della I didn’t think before I said that. Dammit honey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. Think about the guy and the hot sex. Think about everything you need to tell me. Stay focused. Stay with me.” She was working hard to get me back on track. The problem was I wasn’t off track. I was very well aware of the truth. The facts. And I’d let myself forget them.


“I love him. I can’t love him,” I said quietly into the phone.


The door behind me opened and I turned around to see a man I’d only seen once before. It had been at the ball when I’d had to sing. It was Woods’ father.


“Don’t you say that, Della. You can love him. You deserve this. You are not your mother. You can be happy. This is what I wanted for you for so long. Does he love you too?” Braden’s voice asked me on the other line.


I stared up at Woods’ father as he walked over and took a seat facing me. Why was he here? He was supposed to be with Woods.


“I can’t. I don’t know,” I told her, unable to look away from the hard cold eyes in front of me.


“Yes, you can. You can have babies. They will be beautiful and special like you. Don’t think you can’t.” I had to stop her. I could feel the darkness starting to close in. Visions of my mother and her wild eyes staring at me. The phone fell from my hand.


“Let’s keep this simple,” the man staring at me said with disgust in his voice. “How much money is it going to take to get you to leave and never step foot back in this town again? Name your price and it’s yours.”




Della, Della, let’s sing a song. Della, Della, come eat with your brother. His food is getting cold. He’s waiting on you. Della, did you see your brother’s favorite shirt in the laundry room? He said you took it and he’s very upset. He won’t eat Della. He won’t eat. We have to make him eat.




Did you go outside Della? Your brother said you did. He said you snuck outside while I was sleeping. He sees you. He just wants to keep you safe. I didn’t keep him safe but he’s helping me with you. Don’t you want to be safe Della? You can’t go out there.




Della, he said he was waiting on me. He loves me Della. You don’t love me. You want to disobey me and run around at night outside in the dark. He doesn’t disobey me. He wishes he had stayed with me. Now he’s waiting on me. He said he’d eat his food if I came to him. Della, how do I go to him? What do I do?




“Momma! NO! Momma! NO!” My cries don’t ease the pain. The blood is everywhere. In a pool around her body. I left her and she went to him. I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have left.




I blinked my eyes several times. I was on the ground. I touched the warm wood underneath me and slowly eased myself up. I was lying on the porch. Confused I glanced around and saw my phone lying on the lounger beside me and my cup of coffee on the table beside it.


Mr. Kerrington had been here. I’d been on the phone with Braden. Crap, Braden, I reached for my phone and I had several missed calls from her and two from Woods. I hadn’t been out long. It was only an hour later than the last time I checked. Good.


I glanced back at the door and wondered what I was going to do about Mr. Kerrington. Had I dreamed him being here or was it real? Would he just leave me like that? Wouldn’t he have called Woods? I started to get up when I heard the front door open and then Woods came running into the living room and straight for me. I quickly stood up just in time for him to barrel out onto the porch and pull me into his arms.


“You’re okay. You didn’t answer. I called and you didn’t answer. Why are you on the ground? Did it happen? Did you have a panic attack? Why? Come here.” He was babbling as he sat down on the lounger I’d been sitting in earlier and held me in his lap.


He brushed my hair back out of my face and pressed a firm hard kiss to my lips.


“You scared me to death, Della. Why didn’t you answer baby? Are you okay?”


I didn’t want to tell him the truth but then I didn’t want to lie to him either. But I wasn’t positive his father had been here so I wasn’t going to bring that up.


“I was talking to Braden and she said something that triggered a memory. She didn’t mean to it just happens sometimes. I think I blacked out. I woke up on the ground. She’s called me more times than you. I need to call her back she’s probably freaking out.”


Woods pulled me into his arms. “Dammit. I hate that you went through that alone. I can’t stand it. Fuck,” he growled as he held me tight.


He couldn’t keep doing this. He was getting too upset over my issues. I was already screwed up and I was just going to get worse. It was inevitable. Could he handle that? No. I knew he couldn’t. He would also want kids.


“You can’t always be with me Woods. You have to accept this will happen sometimes when you aren’t around.”


Woods let out a defeated sigh. “I can’t do that. I don’t ever want you alone when that happens. I’m going to find a cure. I’m going to find the best damn doctors out there that can help you with this. We can beat this. I promise you.” He sounded so determined. I hadn’t been honest with him. I hadn’t explained to him that this was just the beginning of my madness.


The look in his eyes mirrored what I felt. Did that mean he loved me? Had I let him fall in love with me completely blind to whom it was he was loving?








Della had talked to Braden and reassured her it wasn’t her fault then gone to lie down and take a nap. She seemed off. Something wasn’t right. I’d never known her to take a nap during the day. And when she’d told me about her episode she hadn’t told me everything. I could see something in her eyes. A hesitation.


I stood at the door to the bedroom and watched her sleep. She was curled up in a ball, which she did often.


Seeing her on the ground when I’d walked in had been like a kick to the stomach. I’d feared driving home that this was what had happened. I hadn’t been sure until I’d seen her there struggling to get up. I hated the idea of it. I hated that she even had the damn things. I was getting her help. Immediately.


My father had also been conveniently missing today. I hadn’t been able to track him down and deal with him. It wasn’t fair that I had needed to leave Della here alone when she could have been at the club with me. I wasn’t doing this to her anymore. That was probably why she’d had the damn attack anyway. She’d been thinking about me hiding her from my dad and thinking she was a problem. I should have thought of that.


A knock on the door broke into my thoughts and I closed the bedroom door so whoever it was didn’t wake up Della before I went to answer it.


Tripp stood on the other side of the door with his hands tucked into the front of his jeans. I opened the door and stepped back to let him in.


“Tripp,” I said in greeting.


“Came to say goodbye. It’s time I left this place and found somewhere new. My dad came to see me yesterday and it didn’t go well,” he explained.


I understood that. Maybe leaving was my only answer. It was his.


“Where you headed?” I asked.


He shrugged. “Don’t know yet. I’ll know it when I find it.”


I nodded and glanced down the hallway. “I’d invite you in for a drink but Della is asleep. She had a bad morning and I don’t want to disturb her.”


“I understand. I wanted to tell her bye too but I don’t have to. Just tell her for me.”


I didn’t like him thinking he needed to tell her anything but I nodded. I didn’t need to be an ass about it. “I will.”


“She sticking around then, I guess?”




“And your dad is okay with this? I heard that Angelina knows now. Word kind of got out.”




“Haven’t talked to my dad.”


“You need to. Before he gets to her first.”


He was right, of course. I needed to make sure my dad stayed the hell away from Della.


“I will.”


“Is she forever for you then? She’s worth throwing it all away?”


I knew he was asking as a friend who had made a similar choice but with a different outcome. “She’s it. No one else. She’s all I’m ever gonna want.”


Tripp grinned. “Can’t believe Woods Kerrington actually fell in love.”


The word love surprised me but only because I hadn’t said it yet. It was foreign to me. I hadn’t thought to use that word but he was right. I was in love. I looked back at the door to the bedroom and thought about Della sleeping peacefully in there on my bed. I loved her. I loved knowing she was in there. That she was mine. That I could take care of her.


“I do love her,” I said simply.


Tripp slapped me on the back. “Good. She needs it.”


Then he opened the door and stepped outside. I didn’t look back to see him leave or wave goodbye. I went to the door and stood there on the other side of it. I put my hands on each side of the doorframe and rested my head against the door. I loved her. I loved her with a something so fierce I couldn’t even name it. Whatever I needed to do to help her I would. She’d be happy. I would spend every second of my life making her smile. I needed to find her a doctor. That was the first step, getting her help.


The doorknob turned and the door slowly opened. I dropped my hands to my sides as Della’s eyes locked with mine. Her hair was mussed from sleep and she still looked tired.


“You love me?”


Hearing her say it made my heart soar. She knew.


“Yes. More than life.”


Instead of throwing herself into my arms and telling me she loved me too she dropped her face into her hands and sobbed. I watched for a moment confused and completely mystified by her reaction. This wasn’t what I had expected.


“Della?” I asked as panic started to take its place in my chest this time.


“You can’t love me. You deserve better. Not me,” she cried looking up at me. Her eyes were full of tears as several trickled down her face.


“There is no one better than you, Della.”


She shook her head. “No, no, no. Don’t you see? I’m not stable. Long term… later… in life I could become like my mother. You can’t love me.”


Her mother? She wasn’t going to become her mother? Why would she even think that?


“You’re it for me, baby. Just you. You’re not going to be your mother. You’re special and unique and we’re going to get you help. But I will be right by your side the entire time. I’ll never leave you. I swear it.”


Della’s tear streaked face stared up at me. I reached over to wipe the tears from her cheeks and pulled her closer so I could kiss her.


“I don’t want to destroy you,” she whispered.


“Losing you would be the only thing that could destroy me.”


She closed her eyes tightly. “But what if I lose my mind?”


I had to get her to see that I wasn’t going to let that happen. She wasn’t her mother, dammit.


“You won’t. I won’t let you.”


Della sniffled and shook her head. “You can’t control it.”


Yes, I could. I would find a fucking way to control it.


“You are mine. Do you hear me? You are mine, Della Sloane. I will take care of you. Nothing is taking you away from me. Nothing.”








I had spent the rest of yesterday curled up in Woods’ lap while we sat on the front porch and watched the ocean. We hadn’t talked much. We’d just held each other. I’d tried hard to let myself believe him and he’d reassured me with words every once and awhile.


Today I’d set my alarm because I was on the schedule to work the breakfast shift and I wasn’t missing another day because Woods thought he needed to coddle me. I was a big girl and I could deal with things. He had brought me to work and kissed me several times before leaving me so I could go get ready in the kitchen. He was behind on work in his office and he’d promised me he would work in there today and not hover over me.


It had taken a lot of begging but he’d agreed. I walked into the kitchen to see a gorgeous blonde with a very pregnant stomach talking to Jimmy. He was rubbing her stomach and cooing at the baby inside. She lifted her eyes to meet mine and a sincere smile touched her lips. I was instantly curious.


“Hello,” she said and her voice reminded me of warm honey. It was smooth but had a southern drawl to it. I wasn’t sure which part of the south it was though. My eye caught the large diamond on her hand. She had to be a member here. But why was she back here in the kitchen with Jimmy?


“Hello,” I replied.


Jimmy glanced back at me and grinned. “Glad you’re back, girl. Yesterday went to shit without you.”


I returned his smile but my interest was right back to the blonde.


“Della, this is Blaire. She’s my BFF who ran off and left me for another man. One I can’t blame her for because he is one hot piece of ass. Blaire this is Della. She may or may not be boinking the boss.”


“Jimmy!” we both said at the same time. I couldn’t believe he’d said that. I didn’t know who this Blaire was.


“Woods right? That boss?” Blaire asked with a mischievous grin.


I liked her.


“Of course, Woods. The girl has taste. She ain’t gonna boink the old man.”


“Would you stop saying ‘boink’?” I could feel my face heating up.


“Jimmy shouldn’t have told me that but since he did, can I say, Woods is a great guy. If you are in fact… um… boinking him, then you picked a good one.”


I couldn’t believe we were talking about this. I forced a smile. “Thanks.”


The blonde beamed at me like she was truly happy to hear I might be doing it with Woods. I wondered if they were friends. I almost felt jealous until I remembered her very large stomach and very large diamond. She was taken. Very taken.


“If I don’t have this baby this week maybe we can get together and have lunch.” I glanced down at her stomach and then back up at her face. It was very likely she was going to give birth any minute. She was tiny except for that basketball in her stomach.


“Okay. That sounds good,” I replied.


“Della Sloane,” a hard voice called my name and I spun around to see a police officer standing at the entrance of the kitchen.


“Yes, sir,” I replied. The last time a police officer had come looking for me had not ended well. The fear that went along with that memory kept me frozen in place. I didn’t like police officers.


“You need to come with me, Miss Sloane,” he said as he held the door open for me to exit. I could feel every eye in the kitchen on me. I wanted to hide from them but I couldn’t move. “Miss Sloane, if you don’t come willingly I will have to go against Mr. Kerrington’s wishes and arrest you right here on the club’s grounds.”


Arrest me? My heart raced at the memory of handcuffs clicking around my wrists as the officer read me my rights. I had to fight this. Now was not the time to zone out. I couldn’t have an attack right now. I had to keep my head.


“What are you arresting her for? I sure as hell don’t believe Woods knows about this,” Jimmy said angrily, stepping in front of me.


“Mr. Kerrington does know. He is who sent me in here to escort a Della Sloane out of the building and then arrest her once I had her in the parking lot. However, if she doesn’t come willingly I will arrest her and anyone who stands in my way.”


He was going to arrest Jimmy for trying to help me. I had to go. I didn’t believe Woods knew about this. Something was wrong and Woods would find me. I would not have a panic attack over this. I would not.


“It’s okay, Jimmy,” I said and stepped around him and went toward the door. I didn’t look back at anyone as I walked out the door and focused on getting out of the building. I was tempted to yell for Woods but I didn’t. I couldn’t get my mouth to move. I was slowly freezing up.


Once I got close to the police car the officer shoved me forward causing me to stumble. I caught myself from falling and grabbed the front of the car. He began telling me I had the right to remain silent and I blocked him out. I tried not to think about the metal cuffs clinking shut around my wrists. If I thought too hard about it I would lose myself.


The officer opened the door to the backseat, put his hand on my shoulder, and pushed me inside. I wanted to tell him to stop hurting me that I would go willingly but I couldn’t. My words weren’t working. I’d forgotten how to use them. The terror was starting to take over.


I wanted Woods. I was scared. Tears trickled silently down my face and I focused on Woods. On his face this morning when he’d kissed me awake. I loved him. I’d never told him I loved him. I needed to tell him.


The car came to a stop in front of Woods’ house. I was relieved. I wasn’t going to jail. I didn’t know why I was here but the relief pushed the other thoughts away.


Two black Mercedes were parked in the driveway. The driver’s side door opened to the first one and out stepped Woods’ father. Something was wrong. Why was he here and why had he had me arrested?


The police officer opened my door and jerked me out of the car when I didn’t move. I stumbled on the split brick road and managed to catch myself before I fell and the cop holding my arm jerked it out of socket.


“Thank you, Josiah, for helping me handle this matter delicately,” Mr. Kerrington told the officer. He let go of my arm and nodded. He tossed a set of keys to Mr. Kerrington before stepping around me and getting into his car.


We stood there in silence as the cop drove off with me still in handcuffs.


“Hello again, Miss Sloane. I hope this time you can stay in your coherent state long enough for me to explain to you exactly what is about to happen,” he said taking a step toward me.


“After our last encounter when you blacked out on me I had your background checked. I found out that my son is throwing away his future for a woman who is mentally insane. Or at least she will be soon. It apparently runs in your family. You’re already showing signs of instability. You are supposed to be seeing a psychiatrist three times a week but you ran off without so much as a word six months ago. You have been in jail for the murder of your mother, which you were proven innocent on because your alibi checked out. However, a track record of crazy is there. I can’t let the heir to the Kerrington name waste his life on someone like you. You’re not good enough for my son.”


He pulled out a diamond bracelet that had to cost a fortune. “And to assure that you won’t be stepping foot back in Rosemary Beach ever again, I have evidence that you stole this bracelet from a customer. She dropped it while dining with us and you brought it back here and had it tucked away in your suitcase. She is willing to forgive you and let it be if you leave town. The officer who brought you to me has this on record and will arrest you and the victim of this theft will press charges if you don’t leave town immediately.”


He pointed to the other black Mercedes sedan sitting in the driveway. “Your bags are inside. I trust you will willingly get in this car and let it take you somewhere far from here. Doesn’t matter where. Just go.”


I stood there weighing my options. I didn’t have my phone. I wasn’t sure where it was. I’d left it in the house this morning. I still had handcuffs on and I was very likely going to jail for a crime because I’d been set up. Where was Woods?


“If you love my son and I believe in that unstable brain of yours that you think you do, you will leave him alone. Let him go. He doesn’t need this or you. He needs someone who can give him healthy children. Someone he doesn’t have to take care of. Don’t you want that for him?”


I did. I wanted all of that for him. I nodded.


“Good. Then get in the car and leave Miss Sloane.”


I looked up at the house that represented the man I loved and a tear rolled down my face. This was right. It was time I left.


“Can I ask you to do one thing? Please tell him I left because it was what was best for him. Not because I didn’t love him. Because I do love him. I want him happy and I want him to have the best in life. I know I’m not the best.”


Mr. Kerrington didn’t reply. He only stood there holding open the back door of the car waiting on me to get in.


“Please, I don’t want him to think I didn’t love him. He doesn’t deserve that,” I begged.


“Woods won’t care that you’re gone. Stop kidding yourself, girl. You are just a distraction for him.”


I knew in my heart that wasn’t true but my emotions couldn’t take another hit. I was too close to shutting down. I tried to swallow past the lump in my throat. “Okay but what about my car?” I asked as I walked over to the sedan with my hands still locked behind me.


“It will make its way back to you. But for now you’re leaving it here. We need to make sure you’ve not stolen anything else before we release it. I’ll leave the key to the cuffs with Leo, your driver. Once you are safely where you’re going he will uncuff you. It’s for his safety, of course.”


I didn’t respond. I just crawled inside. When the door slammed closed behind me I laid my head over on the window unable to lean back because of my hands. I watched Rosemary fade in the distance as he drove away from the small town.


“Where to, Miss?” Leo asked from the front seat.


“Macon, Georgia,” I replied. It was time I went home.