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Kill #23 - Blood Diamond

It had hit all the fans around the world like a ton of bricks. Nick Carter... who had sworn off marriage for years... had just gotten married to Lauren Kitt. The two of them had dated for a few years. Nick proposed to her during the tour and managed to keep it quiet from everyone. Lauren made him happy like nobody else could. She understood Nick the regular guy, not Nick the Backstreet Boy.

Their wedding day went off without a hitch, and everyone was cordial to one another during the reception. The banquet hall was decorated in white and pink. Large tables around a space made for the dance floor. Three large crystal chandeliers accented the ceiling above. It was beautiful. Lauren wore a lacy white dress. Nick held her close as they danced hand in hand, totally in love.

The newlyweds had just finished dancing when Nick leaned in to kiss her, Lauren beaming from ear to ear. "I am so glad you changed your mind about marriage, baby. This is the most perfect day of my life," she said softly.

Nick smiled and opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a creaking sound above them. He looked up as the chandelier began to fall. Several of the guests cried out, the glass flying as it came crashing down. "LOOK OUT!!!" Nick screamed, pushing Lauren out of the way.

There wasn't enough time to move. He felt the glass go into his chest. Blood splattered on Lauren's wedding dress, and Nick collapsed to the floor. He lay there motionless, blood staining his white dress shirt from the wound over his heart.

He was pronounced dead when the paramedics arrived. The crystal chandelier had pierced a major artery, and he bled to death, making Lauren a widow after only one day.



Sitting in the back of the taxi, Nick scowled as he re-read the account of his wedding day death on his phone. He had been trying to marry his longtime girlfriend, Lauren, for years, but every time he came close, he got killed by one of his jealous fans. Or, rather, a falling chandelier.

Chandelier, my ass, thought Nick, peeking down the front of his shirt to check for a scar on his chest. Of course, there was nothing. There was never a scar, never even so much as a scratch. He remembered the chandelier crashing down upon him, just as he remembered every other death he had suffered, but he seemed to be the only one who did. Every time he hopped off the autopsy table or hitched a ride home from the funeral parlor, no one seemed shocked to find him alive because no one seemed to remember he was dead or gone in the first place. Life simply went on, as if he had never died. Or, worse, it lapsed into the past, as if the events leading up to his death had never happened, either.

This was why he had yet to marry the love of his life.

She was waiting for him in the Keys, where they’d been vacationing together until a band meeting had forced him to fly to New York City. Luckily, it was a going to be a short trip. The other guys had families to get home to, as well. Howie’s wife had blessed him with a brand new baby boy, and AJ couldn’t stand to be apart from “his girls” for long. Kevin was still adjusting to being away from his wife and son on business, and Brian wanted to celebrate his birthday back home with his family. For years, Nick had made fun of them for being such boring, old, married men. He didn’t believe in marriage, he would claim, certain he would never want to settle down. Then he’d fallen in love with Lauren Kitt, and his whole outlook on love and life had changed.

He vowed to make Lauren his wife, whether the fans liked it or not. All he had to do was take out the writer who kept meddling with his marriage plans. Delphina Carter. The name alone suggested jealousy. She could take his name, but she would never again take his life. It was do or die… again.

Slipping his hand into his coat pocket, he pulled out the small black box he’d been carrying around for two weeks. He popped open the lid to sneak a peek at the engagement ring inside. The pear-shaped diamond, a seven-carat solitaire set on a thick, platinum band, sparkled in the weak rays of winter sunlight streaming through the window of the taxi. Its shine would only be magnified by the Florida sunshine. He had planned to pop the question on a private island in the Keys on Valentine’s Day, but a series of mishaps with his boat had prevented him from doing so. It was just as well. One more detour, and his romantic proposal was sure to go off without a hitch.

He looked up as the taxi merged onto the New Jersey turnpike. It couldn’t have been a coincidence that his work had brought him within one state of his next victim the same week he was going to propose to Lauren. Luck was on his side.

***


“Is this it?” asked the taxi driver an hour later.

Nick looked out the window at the White Castle. “I hope so.” He paid his fare, tipping the driver extra for his long trip, and climbed out of the cab. It was cold outside. He tucked his hands into his coat pockets as he walked into the restaurant, rubbing the velvet box like a rabbit’s foot. The ring inside would be more than a lucky charm.

“Welcome to White Castle!” He was greeted by a young woman standing behind the counter. There was something familiar about her, and even before he came close enough to read her nametag, he knew it was her. The one he had come looking for. “What can I get for you?”

He stepped up to the counter. “Hi there…” He paused to check her nametag, smiling when he’d confirmed his hunch. “…Delphina. Wow, what a unique name.”

Blushing, the girl grinned. “Thanks, it’s-” She stopped in mid-sentence, her eyes widening as she suddenly recognized him. “Nick! Oh my god, it’s freakin’ Nick Carter!”

“Shh!” he hissed, jerking his finger to his lips. He never liked attracting too much attention to himself in public, especially when he was about to commit murder. “Keep it on the DL, would ya?”

“Sorry!” she squeaked, blushing redder. “It’s just… I’m a huge fan of yours!”

He smirked. “I can tell.”

“So, um… did you want to order something?” she asked, fumbling with a stack of cups on the counter.

He leaned closer. “I’m craving something tasty ‘to go,’ if you know what I mean.” He winked. “When do you get off?”

“In ten minutes!” she exclaimed. “I’ve been on all night.”

“Got any plans?”

She shook her head. “No… I usually head straight home and go to bed.”

He smiled; she was making this far too easy for him. “Wanna go to bed with me?” He half-expected her to drop dead right then and there, but luckily, she stayed standing. It was more fun that way. He wanted to toy with her a little longer before he took her life. He never had trouble luring women where he wanted them, but the real thrill came in trying not to get caught. When Delphina nodded, he leaned even closer, close enough to kiss her, and whispered, “Then meet me outside in ten minutes. Tell no one. I don’t want Lauren to find out. It’ll be our little secret. Alright?”

She nodded again, and he walked out, waiting behind a dumpster until she emerged ten minutes later. “Where’s your car?” he asked. “I took a cab.”

“I take the bus,” she replied apologetically.

“That’s fine.” Even better, he thought. Now he wouldn’t have to ditch her car when he was done, and it was unlikely they’d be noticed on a crowded city bus. They could get off at any stop and simply disappear. “Let’s get off here,” he suggested, spotting a seedy-looking motel down the street. It was the kind of place that rented rooms by the hour, but he gave Delphina enough cash to book a room for two nights. That would give him plenty of time to get out of dodge before her body was discovered. “Put it in your name,” he told her. “That way I can fly under the radar, you know?”

“Oh, sure. I know you what you mean,” she said, smiling.

No, you sure as hell don’t, he thought, smirking back. He stayed outside until the reservation was made, then slipped inside unseen. The room was small and shabby, with suspicious stains on the bedspread. Her dead body would blend in nicely.

“It’s not exactly the Hilton, huh?” said Delphina, laughing nervously as she looked around the room.

“Who’d want a Hilton when they could be with a real girl?” Nick replied, wondering if she’d get the joke. She grinned, giggling as he pushed her back onto the bed. “Woulda been nice if there was at least a crystal chandelier on the ceiling or something, though, am I right? Though, with my bad luck, it’d probably come crashing down on me.” He winked, waiting for her reaction.

Her smile faded. “Why would you say that?” she asked, looking up at him uncertainly.

“I dunno.” He shrugged. “Why would you write about your favorite singer being crushed by a chandelier on his wedding day?”

Her eyes widened. “You read-?”

“You bet I did, bitch. Unfortunately for you, your writing days are over. This is my story now. And in my story, I’m not the victim. I’m the villain.”

He grabbed both sides of her face, muffling her scream with the heels of his hand, and slammed her head into the wall. The back of her skull bashed into the bed’s headboard, and she blacked out. By the time she came to, he had turned the sheets into soft restraints, tying her down to the bed. They would leave no traces on her skin once he removed them.

“How do you think it feels to have something sharp slice into your skin?” he asked in a low voice as he climbed onto the bed. “Sever your arteries?” Slowly, he crawled on top of her, straddling her stomach. “Cause you to bleed out in a matter of minutes?” He smiled down at her. “You’re about to find out.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the velvet box. “You know what’s even sharper than glass?” He flipped open the lid to reveal the ring inside. “Diamond.”

Delphina gasped inaudibly, sucking the gag further into her mouth.

Nick’s grin widened. “That’s right. It’s an engagement ring. I’m gonna propose to Lauren tomorrow, and this time, no one’s gonna stop us from getting married and growing old together. Especially not you.” With that, he stabbed the sharp point of the diamond into Delphina’s chest. The seven-carat stone wasn’t large enough to penetrate deep, but it fit his purpose fine. He didn’t want her to bleed to death yet. He had to make this look like she’d done it herself.

He scraped the stone slowly across her skin, carving a crudely-shaped heart. Then he slashed straight through the middle, cutting the heart in half. “If you’re such a huge fan, your friends and family will have no trouble believing that it broke your heart to learn of my engagement,” he said, digging in deeper to make the wound bleed. “You were devastated. Distraught. You couldn’t live with the idea of me marrying another woman, and so, you decided to end your life.”

“You slit your wrists,” he said, making horizontal slashes across the inside of her wrists, “but you did it wrong at first, so you went the other way.” He sliced vertically, splitting open the radial arteries. Blood spewed from her wrists, wetting the sheets.

“But it was taking too long for you to die, so you cut your own throat. That’s, of course, after you write one last thing - a suicide note on your cell phone.” He held up the Blackberry he’d slipped out of her pocket. “‘To my family and friends…’” He talked as he typed, his thumbs flying across the keypad. “‘I’m sorry for what I have done. I know you’ll never understand the pain that drove me to take my own life, but trust me when I say that I couldn’t stand the thought of Nick Carter spending the rest of his life with any other woman but me. It was unbearable. I’d rather die than be alone, yet there’s no one else I want to be with. He belongs with me. Please understand, and forgive me for putting you through such pain. Love, Delphina.’” He looked up. Tears were trickling down her cheeks, as the blood flowed from her arms. “Does that sound okay? Eh, I guess it’ll do.” Shrugging, he set the phone down on the bedside table and picked up the bloodstained ring.

“Now comes the part where you slit your throat. This’ll really make you bleed. You’ll be dead in seconds - minutes, at most. Then you’ll know what it’s like to feel your very life spill out of you. I guess that’s why they call it ‘kicking the bucket,’ eh?” He chuckled. “Here goes.” Slowly, deliberately, he dragged the pointed end of the diamond across her throat, digging it as deep into her flesh as it would go. A trail of blood followed in its wake, and the wider it got, the faster it flowed. He leaned over her, making sure that the last thing she saw before her eyes rolled back into her head was not her life flashing before them, but his leering face looking down at her, watching her bleed to death.

When the deed was done, he went into the bathroom to wash off the ring. He rinsed off the blood and polished it until it was gleaming, then pronounced it “Good as new,” and pocketed it once more. He strolled out of the motel, rubbing his lucky ring box and singing “Single Ladies” to himself. “’Cause if you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it. Whoa-oh-ohh, oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-ohh…”

***


The next day, on an idyllic island in the Florida Keys, Nick dropped to one knee in front of Lauren. She gasped as he pulled the velvet box out of the pocket of his swim trunks and popped it open. “Lauren Kitt, you’re the love of my life… all sixty-two of them, actually.”

“Huh?” laughed Lauren through her tears.

“Never mind.” He grinned nervously. “What I’m trying to say is, will you marry me?”

“Yes!”

He heard a chorus of cheers in the background. For a moment, he’d forgotten they had an audience - Lauren’s father and a few of their closest friends. He had wanted them to witness the proposal. But now that she’d accepted, he felt put on the spot, unsure of what to say next. He’d only planned as far as popping the question. “I don’t know what to do next,” he confessed, laughing.

“You’re supposed to put it on my finger!”

So he plucked the ring from its box and slipped it onto her right ring finger. It was a perfect fit.

“It’s beautiful!” she gasped, holding it up so she could see it sparkle in the sunlight. He stood behind her, admiring its shine. It looked as if it had never been soaked in someone else’s blood.

“It’s seven carats. The jeweler said it has a high grade of color and clarity.”

“And it’s conflict-free?”

“You mean, is it a blood diamond?” Nick chuckled to himself. “Not in the way you’re thinking.”

“Good.” Sighing with happiness, she turned to face him, placing her hands on his bare shoulders. “I love you so much. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“I love you, too,” he replied, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Till death do us part.”

With any luck, he’d ensured it would be long time before that happened. But with a wife to provide for and, one day, a family, it was no time to take chances. He had to keep killing the fans who sought to destroy him.

Twenty-three down... so many more to go.


Chapter End Notes:
The beginning of the story is Death #6 from 1000 Ways to Kill Nick Carter, written by DelphinaCarter. Sorry Tracy, I couldn't resist letting Nick kill you again - it was just too fitting! When I saw Lauren's engagement ring, I thought, "That rock could be used as a weapon!" and the idea was born.
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