Eddie: Crystal Lake Firefighter Romance Serial - Chapter Thirteen
Well, we have reached the end. *Insert the tears.*
BUT, have no fear, I'm already thinking about book two- Jackson's story.
Someone last week asked for more answers with Sarah's family, today you get them in this chapter. Her story breaks my heart.
BONUS: Did you read Hope's Gift? Then you will recognize Greyson in this chapter. Sigh, sexy firefighters!
PLUS, if you are signed up for the weekly emails, then you know we are discussing how to end the book. I see a beautiful last few chapters.
Remember, this book has not been edited yet. She will get prettified soon.
Happy Reading! oxox
Sending love, Terra
~ Eddie ~
“Hey, you need to check this out,” Jackson said and handed me his phone.
“What?” I glanced at the headline, Local Man Arrested, Person of Interest in Attempted-Murder Case. “Why are you showing me this?”
“Look at the location.”
“Raleigh, North Carolina? Wait. No.”
Jackson shrugged. “It looks like the guy from Marv’s grocery store, he was pretty crazy that day…”
“Shit.” I handed his phone back and grabbed mine out of my pocket. “I need to go.”
On the way to my truck, I pulled up my contact list and found the name I was looking for. I hit call and waited as it rang three times, on the fourth ring a guy answered.
“Well, long time no talk,” the guy said.
“Hey, Greyson. You got a minute?”
“Sure. What’s up?”
I wasn’t up for small talk. Instead, I cut to the chase. “There’s a case in Raleigh about a local man arrested because he is the person of interest in an attempted murder case. Do you know anything about it?”
“What, are you talking about the guy who possibly threw his wife down a flight of stairs?”
My heart sank. If the suspect was Sarah’s father, how was I supposed to let her know? “Hey, Sarah. Oh, by the way, your dad may have tried to kill your mother.” There was no easy way to tell her especially with how new our relationship was, and worse yet, I didn’t know how she would take the news.
“Shit, are you serious? So there is no confirmation the man in custody did it?”
“No, and the woman is not saying a word. She’s conscious but refusing to talk.”
“Why are you interested in a case down here? I thought you moved back to Michigan?”
“Yeah, I did. You know what they say, small world.”
We talked for a few more minutes and then I hit end. I needed to get home.
“You’re home early?” Sarah said and leaned in to kiss me.
“Yeah, kinda. Is Kelsey down for a nap?”
“Yup, she fought hard but finally fell asleep. I was just cleaning up from lunch. You hungry?”
I didn’t want to just blurt out what Greyson and Jackson shared. “Sure.” I sat down at the table and watched her pull out the ingredients to make a sandwich. “How are you doing today?”
“Good. Kelsey insisted we learn more than five numbers. I think you have one smart cookie on your hands.”
“Her mom was crazy smart.”
“Yeah?” Sarah said and turned to face me while still holding the butter knife.
“She graduated top of her class in high school and college.”
“Hey, I need to ask you an uncomfortable question.”
Sarah placed a small plate in front of me and sat down in the chair directly next to me. “I’m not sure what to say.”
“Well, have you talked to your mom lately?”
“My mom? No.” She sounded confused.
“I’m sorry, I’m not trying to upset you.”
“No, you’re not. It’s just that the last time I talked to her was at the shady motel after my dad attacked me. She begged me to forgive my dad, and I left.”
“Has she always begged you to forgive your dad.”
“My mom has been begging me to forgive him all of my life.” She stood up and walked over to the sink. “Why are you asking me this?”
I took a bite of the sandwich, taking a few seconds to think about my next words.
“Can we call your mom and check on her?”
I noticed her scowl. “Why would I need to check on my mom?”
“Well, she may be in the hospital.”
“How would you even know that?”
I pulled the link Jackson had shared with me less than an hour ago. “This.” I handed her my phone.
She didn’t say anything for the longest time. When she finally spoke her voice cracked. “I need to go.”
“I will go with you.”
“She can stay with Jan.”
“Jan is still sick.”
“Then I’ll ask Jackson.” He was my last resort, but I didn’t want her going alone.
“Eddie, I’m not sure.”
I reached for her hands. “Hey, this thing between us.” I moved my chair closer and placed her legs in between mine. “We’re a team now. I will never let your father hurt you again.”
“Eddie.” She reached up to wipe a tear away.
“Let’s call the hospital to see if your mom is really there.”
Sarah pulled her phone from her back pocket and walked into the living room. I wanted to give her space, so I waited in the kitchen. I could hear her side of the conversation. It sounded like she was maybe talking to someone she knew.
Her footsteps became louder. “Thanks, Aunt Cheryl.” Sarah stopped in the doorway. “Mom is in the hospital. My aunt encouraged me to stay put, but said if I had to come home, don’t come alone.”
“Did she say why?”
“Dad was released on bail.” My blank stare must have been telling. “They don’t have evidence to prove he did it and mom won’t talk.”
“Sarah, maybe we should stay here?” I was worried about her safety now.
“I need to go see mom. Maybe she will listen to me.”
I knew Sarah had made up her mind. Which also meant I would not let her out of my sight for a single second.
I stood up. “I’ll go call Jan now.”
~ Sarah ~
“Mom.” I touched her hand. There were bruises all over her face and a deep cut with several stitches on the corner of her mouth. Her arm was in a cast and her right leg had metal rods sticking out in every direction. “Shit, what did he do to you?”
She opened her eyes. “My baby. Why did you come back?”
“You know why. Mom, did he do this to you?”
She stayed silent and stared up at the ceiling.
“Why do you protect him? I don’t get it.”
“Go back to Michigan, Sarah and don’t look back.” She turned her head away from me.
When we arrived in Raleigh, Eddie notified the police immediately. I agreed to go to the station and talk to them. It wasn’t a quick trip, it was more like six hours of questioning. Before I went to see my mom they convinced me to put a wire on in hopes mom would say it was dad who pushed her down the stairs.
“Is that what you want, mom? You don’t even want help from your own daughter?”
She let out a laugh which threw me off. “Help me? No one can help me, Sarah. Your father will always win.”
“Let’s stop him together, Mom.”
She turned back to face me. “No…I’m scared,” she whispered.
“I know you are. I am, too.” I moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “Why was he mad this time?”
She sat there staring down at the blanket. Finally, she reached for my hand and squeezed it tightly. “He lost his job.”
“How long did he have that one?”
“He made a new record of six months.”
“Yeah, that is a new record.” We both laughed which would be weird for any normal family. “This is extreme,” I said and pointed to her leg and arm. “He’s never done something like this before.”
“Yeah, since you left he’s been different. After coming home from Michigan, it just got worse each day. I couldn’t say anything without pissing him off.” She looked toward the door as if she was afraid he was going to storm through any minute. “Please don’t be mad at him. He needs help, but I don’t know how to help him right now.”
“Mom, he tried to kill you. He needs to be locked up.”
“No, Sarah. Please don’t.”
I stood up and stepped away from the bed. “I love you, mom.” I did love her, she made it tough to love her, but I did with all my heart. “I’ll check in with Aunt Cheryl and see how you are doing.” I could tell mom was mad at me because she started crying and yelling.
She probably knew I would tell the police everything. As I left the room, she continued to yell at the top of her lungs, “No! Please don’t. Sarah.”
Eddie was leaning against the wall just outside her room. The moment I saw him, I needed to be in his arms. I think I believed I could change my mom, but I know that was just a fantasy. The reality was, she had been beaten down for far too long. What she believed and what was real were two very different realities. It was time to let go of this part of my life. My Aunt Cheryl was the one who convinced me to walk away almost six years ago and never turn back.
Why did I come back? I should’ve known.
I needed to listen to my aunt this time.
“Just talked to the police chief, they found your dad at a bar about twenty minutes outside of town,” Eddie said and handed me a small brown paper bag.
“Shocking,” I teased. “Dad practically lived at bars.”
“There’s something else.”
“Your mom had to be sedated. She wouldn’t stop yelling for you.”
That news didn’t shock me. “It’s okay, maybe mom can finally rest.”
“Maybe.” He crawled over to lay down beside me. “Aren’t you curious?” He tapped his finger on the bag.
“A little.” I opened it and bent my head to peek inside. “What did you do?” There were all different colors of taffy and a few wrapped chocolates.
“I thought you needed a treat.”
“Some people need wine, I need sugar.”
“Which is probably why Kelsey connects with you so much.”
“Because I like sugar?”
He reached into the bag. “Well, every kid loves sugar.”
I swatted at his hand. “Get your own bag, mister.”
“Oh, is that how it’s going to be?”
His smile fell and his eyes turned black. “Eddie, what are you doing?”
It’s funny, I felt sad but not in the way a traditional family may feel sadness. I knew my mom needed help, she needed to find peace after all these years. The information I shared with the police combined with hospital notes of all my mom’s injuries: My dad would probably end up spending several years behind bars.
I felt relief honestly.
Eddie was now on all fours towering over me. “I’m not done eating my candy,” I teased and reached for another piece.
He grabbed the piece of taffy right before I popped it in my mouth. “Oh, you’re done for now.”
Out of the blue. “Do you think I could be a good mom?” The question popped out unexpectedly and caught me off guard.
He was straddling me but sat back at the sudden question. “Do you want to be a mom?”
“I don’t know. I mean, I never wanted to be before.”
He brought his leg over and sat down on the bed in front of me. “Why?”
“Why didn’t I want to have them?”
“You were with me at the police station.”
“What does that have to do with having a baby?”
I brought myself to the sitting position directly in front of Eddie. “I would never want to treat my kids the way I was treated growing up.”
“Sarah, shit.” He reached for my hands. “You are nothing like them. I have been asking myself how you turned out so good. So kind-hearted.”
“But what if I’m not?”
“Have you felt angry or upset with Kelsey yet?”
“No. I can’t image getting upset at her, she’s so sweet.”
He touched his hand to my cheek. The contact sent a shiver up my spine.
“Baby, you will be an amazing mom someday! I promise.” He moved his body closer to mine. “What brought this on?”
“Jan. Kelsey. You. Life.”
It was true, for the first time in my life something felt different.
I wanted more.
I wanted happiness.
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