sunday's were always her favorite days. the gym was closed, isla had no obligations outside of taking care of mabel and eugene, and they often ended with a low-key family dinner at her uncle's house. this sunday was no different, only more recently sunday's had also been integrated with early morning breakfasts or lazy late morning brunches. she had come to look forward to this time with nate because it was often entirely uninterrupted and quiet, lazy and effortless, on top of being the beginning to a whole new week. isla believed in fresh starts and often tried to make sunday's be the catalyst for the week ahead of her.

this day was no different in particular and started off as many sunday's had over the past eleven months. nate had gotten up much earlier than isla, and when she realized he wasn't coming back, she pulled herself from the stage between wake and sleep and started her day. she was brushing her teeth when the front door closed and she looked out to see him leaving. this wasn't unusual, as isla very rarely kept anything in the house to cook with whenever cyn was away at school, so she knew he was leaving to get ingredients for whatever breakfast he decided to make. the welcoming scent of coffee brewing in his absence wafted upstairs.

the dogs were already laying on their beds downstairs, mabel in the living room and eugene in the kitchen, each of them with chewies given to them by nathan before his departure. each of them received a ruffle to the top of the head and a scratch behind the ears as isla padded her way through the in the pursuit of caffeine.

these simple days balanced out the disasters life had hurdled toward them over the last year. she lived for them, looking forward to these quiet mornings together after a week of scheduling disasters, bruised knuckles and petty arguments. it had become tradition in the life they had built, and isla knew she had many more sundays to look forward to.

her stomach rumbled and she knew whatever nathan had intended to cook that morning would certainly sate the hunger that had suddenly arisen. until then, she had only coffee and some semi-stale rainbow chocolate chip cookies to tide her over until then, so she poured herself a cup and set off to the dining room table where she sat and opened her laptop, revealing a project she'd been working on since her time at an indian ashram back in march. she hadn't told anyone about it just yet, spare a brief mention several months ago to nate that he didn't seem particularly interested in.

isla had set off to work after a few minutes of quiet contemplation and dunking her cookies until they were at her preferable softness—soft on the outside, still crunchy on the inside—and fell into a state of complete and utter focus while she had the house entirely to herself.

she'd barely noticed that her cup was empty with only a few pieces of cookie debris at the botom, so when she tipped the mug to her lips, she frowned in disappointment at the sight. isla pushed away from the dining room table and rubbed her eyes, not realizing how long she'd been staring at her laptop while she sat there. saving the file she had been working on, she closed the lid of her computer and stood from her seat, stretching her arms as far above her as she could, her back and shoulders popping like bubble wrap in the process. a quick swipe of the mug from the table brought it back to her hand and she carried it into the kitchen for another cup of coffee, glancing at the time on the pot and noticing that nate had been gone longer than usual.

although she figured he had only delayed himself this long because he stopped to check in on the three cats, she still decided to go upstairs and grab her phone. it was when she was on the first landing that she heard a gunshot from out front, one that had sent the two dogs in a fit of loud, aggressive barks as they bounded toward the front window to get a closer look. isla followed, heavy footed as she ran back down the stairs to the front of the house to see what the commotion was. the dogs barking had only gotten more aggressive when they saw what was happening.

she had half a mind to let them out, sic them on the men that now had nate restrained almost comically. at first she thought to let out a canary cry, stun them into letting him go so he could fight his way out of there, but the sudden gathering of neighbors on their own front porches gave her pause for thought. she also didn't yell, not wanting to bring attention to herself or him specifically in case someone had already called the cops, so instead, she watched in the same horrified manner that all her other neighbors had watched, mouth agape and eyes wide, only hers were filled with tears, watching the men in blue throw her boyfriend into a van and take off with screeching tires.

when the smoke from the exhaust and burnt rubber had cleared, isla could be found down front at the curb, the gun that had been shot laying on the road. most of the neighbors had gone back indoors and she acted quickly to grab the piece and stuff it into the band of her shorts, trying to look as inconspicuous as humanly possible. on neighbor watched her and isla faked her best smile and waved before slowly making her way back to her front door.

there was a flurry of paws and whines when she had closed the front door behind her and isla tried her best to quell the nervous dogs. her heart was beating so hard in her chest it muffled all sounds around her and made her skin hot with nerves. she was wracking her brain, now running up the stairs with such ferocity that she almost tripped and fell as she reached the last two and straight into her bedroom. a wardrobe stacked against the wall held a specific set of clothing and weapons, locked to everyone but herself for safety purposes.

she dressed as fast as she could, possibly giving stage actresses a run for their money if anyone had been there to time her. her fishnets were pulled on tight, black shorts over them, a blue corset and a leather jacket zipped up in the front. her heavily worn boots were pulled on an laced up and she grabbed a belt that held utilities passed on to her, or gained over the last two years worth of shifts. the morning still had a bitter chill in the air, so she grabbed a bandana to shield her face from the wind on her bike, but she was ready to chase down the thugs that had taken her partner from her.