~Untitled~

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, so here it is. I’ve been busy working on my third novel called Saving Her: Minnie’s Lust. It is book one of a series of three. It is pretty exciting, dark stuff! 

This blog today is going to be focused more on life lessons I like to keep reminding myself of. Recently, I viewed my reviews on my amazon page and like every author out there, I can’t please everyone. My goal isn’t to please everyone, only the readers that like what I write. So, like every single autho out there, I have “haters”. That’s ok, though, because it doesn’t bother me anymore. Haters are the people that don’t buy the entire book and only assume what it is about and find anything about it to pick out that is negative to try and bring you down or get under your skin. Working as an Uber driver on the side until my writing career fully takes off has taught me alot about ignoring the haters because not every driver is for every rider. Just as in writing, not every author is for every reader out there. So, I laugh at these insults or bad reviews instead because that is the only way to not let it affect you. Instead, be proud of your work no matter what you are doing and stand by it. That is the only way to get through the hard times and truly make something of yourself and that is exactly what I’m trying to achieve. 

I’m not a huge fan of youtube, but there is this one youtuber I follow because one thing he always says sticks out to me especially when it comes to the haters. He always says no matter what yo do, there are always going to be haters out there because they are either jealous that they can’t do something like that or just find enjoyment in bringing people down becuase they can. He also laughs at his haters because of the ridiculous comments. That is the attitude I have and I would like to spread on to others that are trying to write, or become a youtuber, or have some talent they want to pursue. Don’t let anything get in the way or stop you from achieving those goals. It is hard work, trust me, but once you get there it is all worth it. Including the haters. Eventually, I will be at the point where I don’t even pay any attention to the hater comments, and so will all of you. As jacksepticeye would say, “haters will be haters, no matter what you do in life, there will always be haters”. He is exactly right, the key is learning how to overcome it…tough skin!! 

I will always write and I will always be a writer/author. Nothing in this life can change that, and nothing is going to stop me from publishing more and more books. I know where I want to get and I’m going to get there. This is the attitude everyone needs to have instead of being afraid what others are going to say or think. Who wants haters for their readers anyway? I sure don’t! Especially if they aren’t going to read the entire book, then they aren’t worth my time worrying about. Haters in general aren’t worth any time and worrying about.

“Get rid of the negativity and pursue the positive!” – Quote for the day!

~Book Blogging~

Being a first time published author is hard work! But enjoyable and exciting all the same. I love it. I love watching my career start taking off and watching the progress. So…I’m working on my second novel now. About a singer who gets into a really bad car accident that puts her into a coma and her family is around her sharing memories so you get to learn about who she really is…because when she wakes up she doesn’t remember. There are many ugly twists and heart wrenching parts in the book. 

Anyway, those of you that have followed my first book Hopes and Destinies from the beginning, you all know that I didn’t post the last 2 chapters. This is a must read book! A five star review already! So, if you haven’t please buy and read it both ebook and paperback are available! Ebook is available for $3.99 and paperback is available for $5.99. Next week, I have a week promotion on it where ebook sells for $1.99 and paperback is $2.99. If you like what I write, stay tuned for more novels by me. This is just the beginning!! 

 Here is an image of my paperback book! 

A mysterious romance novel about a girl who is living a double life to stay alive. She experiences murder and love all in the same life not knowing that one day both of her lives she is living are about to merge into one. She realizes the man she is so desperately in love with isn’t who he says he is, but neither is she. She starts to learn that sometimes fate gets in the way…maybe her destiny of living a double life. What was once destinies, is now hopes of finding solitude and love again. -About the book-

amazon.com/author/jesspagor  

Read the sample and leave a review. (There’s free sample of my ebook). An author wouldn’t be an author without the readers. Even for a little light reading 🙂

I do have a twitter account now for those that would like to follow me for more updates. You can find me at @jesspagor

The weather here is crappy; rainy and thunderstorms. Lots of wind too!! You would think we had a tornado…. We had a tornado last week. That was pretty scary! We had to hide in our little bathroom…(we don’t have a cellar or a basement). Every sound of the tornado was heard…luckily we were all safe. 

Life has been pretty crazy with advertising and marketing for my books and home stuff. Of course the tornadoes played a huge part in my time lol crazy crazy. 

Here is an image of my ebook of Hopes and Destinies. Everyone has to start their career somewhere and its always at the bottom. It always gets better from here! Tell your friends and anyone else you may think will like my books! My saying is: There’s always an author out there for every person. Just like there’s a hairstylist for every person and a doctor for every person, a mechanic for every car. My books are classified as suspicious romance and dramatic romance. If this is your genre or an interesting genre to you, then these books are right up your alley!! Try the free samples today!! 

~PUBLISHED!~

Hey guys!! I know it has been a while since I wrote on here but things have been busy. First off, if you have been following my novel Hopes and Destinies you know I didn’t post the last few chapters. I DID finish the book and have published a kindle copy and a paperback copy. Below is the link to my author page on amazon so if you loved the book please please please go on there and purchase and find out what happens next! By the way, I am doing a promotion on this novel starting next month so be sure to buy it then!! Right now, it sells for $5.95 on kindle. Starting next month it goes down to $2.99 that’s half price!! Only for the month of June though. Also, if you purchase the kindle version, you can purchase the paperback version for $1.99!! That’s quite the deal because the paperback alone sells for $10. 

amazon.com/author/jesspagor

You all have been such a great inspiration to me because I thrive to write stories for those that love to read them. You all made this possible for me and that just makes my day making your days. This blog is going to be short, but I just wanted to give an update for those that have been wondering. I am now a published author and the happiest I’ve ever been!! You all can expect more from me in the times to come. With that being said, I am working on a new book right now. It’s actually a rewrite on my very first novel I wrote in highschool and never got it published. So I will be posting a link also to my author facebook page. Be sure to like it to follow me for more details and updates on new novels. I will be starting a twitter account soon for my author page as well for those of you that like to follow on twitter. I will post on this blog site when I get that up and going. 

@jpagorauthorpage – on facebook!

Anyway, go check it all out!! 

 

~Chapter 8!!! Time to wrap it up!~

Finally finished chapter 8!! Some big twists so this is not the chapter to miss!!!  Only a few more chapters left until I publish!! I am starting chapter 9 as we speak. I have all night to write so let’s see how far I get in chapter 9! So enjoy chapter 8 below!! It is a little short..we are getting to the end, readers!! 

 

I’m sitting on the couch next to him. He has a pad of paper open to a blank page, pen in hand. My head is in my hands as I slowly explain to Jason exactly what happened ten years ago. He is quiet as he takes notes and listens to me cry and tell my story again. I tell him about how my father used to beat my mother, how he killed her, how he went after me next, and how I stabbed him in self-defense. I tell him about how he was supposed to spend life in prison, but he must’ve pulled strings to get out early because he is Chicago’s best defense attorney. I tell him about how my father is after me to kill me, and about why I changed my name. I even tell him about Aunt Bethany and the part she played in my life protecting me. I tell him everything including how he was right; I never intended on falling in love with him. I tried avoiding him at all costs. I never once notice Shayna standing in the doorway listening as tears stream down her face. I hurt her, too, and I feel ashamed of myself for letting all of this go on for so long. I try to get any emotion out of Jason’s expression, but as always, he is so hard to read. He isn’t Jason anymore, he is Deputy Steth.

Jason remains silent as he paraphrases on his note pad everything I’m saying to him. Never once does he look up at me which makes me cry even more. What would life be like with him if I was a normal girl with no problems I was hiding from? Lately, that question has been running through my head like wildfire.

When I am finished talking, he closes his note pad and without looking at me he says, “OK, I will take this into the office tomorrow and start working on a plan of protection with Sheriff Williams. Until then, this is all we can do is stay here for tonight.”

“Do you think Sherriff Williams will help you, Jason?” Shayna asks quietly from the doorway. First time she has spoken throughout this entire confession.

“He has no choice if I make him,” Jason responds in a quiet voice as he stands up from the couch where we are sitting. “I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”

He walks slowly into the guest bedroom that is off to the side of the living area we are in, and closes the door softly behind him leaving me and Shayna to stare silently at each other.

“I know I’ve hurt you, too, Shayna. Just know that everything I said to you about being the best worker I’ve ever had was all true. I understand if you don’t believe me right now. I know one day you will.”

“I always believed you, Hope,” Shayna says softly. “What I can’t understand is that if I was your best friend, why didn’t you tell me before now? It just hurts to know that you didn’t even trust me like you should’ve. All the times I was there for you and confided in you about things I’ve never told anyone…you couldn’t even do the same for me. If anyone should be sorry, it should be me for allowing myself to trust you like that.”

“Shayna…” More tears are rolling down my face.

“It’s done, Hope. Whatever comes of this will be. I’ve always had your back…even now. I just feel like the fool for doing so.”

“You will always be my best friend,” I choke out as she turns away from me, and walks away; wiping tears from her eyes as she does so.

I am alone. Not in the sense of physically being alone in the room, but alone in the sense of knowing I’m by myself in this situation. I always have been. I can’t count on anyone being there and understanding what I’m going through; what I’ve been going through for the last ten years of my life. It’s always down to me, myself, and I. This is why Aunt Bethany didn’t want me getting too close to anyone. I now understand the meaning behind her protection and her words of trying to keep me away from everyone. Aunt Bethany

My mind wanders to Aunt Bethany. I know I should go visit her again to see how she is doing. I know she isn’t getting any better, and she won’t, but she needs to hear me say I was wrong before she decides to leave this earth and leave me alone. She is, and was, the only person that was ever there for me; the only person that kept me from feeling alone in this world.

Immediately, I scramble with all my belongings, and run out of the house…again. This time without anyone realizing I’m running. I pull my phone out of my pocket and call for a cab because my car is locked up in the garage of Jason’s house. I’m too frazzled to go back now and try to get it out, especially if I don’t want them knowing I’m running again.

The cab takes me all the way to UW-Madison hospital, where Aunt Bethany has been staying for the last few days. The driver takes me all the way without me even glancing back into the distance. I don’t think about Jason or Shayna or even the situation that we are all in because of me. All I think about is staring straight ahead into the future; to keep moving forward.

The cab drops me off at the front door. I don’t hesitate when I get out and throw the driver a fifty-dollar bill. He looks at me astonished as I turn and run into the hospital building. I take the elevator to the ICU floor; once there, I run all the way down to Aunt Bethany’s room. I pass nurses and doctors on the way, all of them yelling at me to slow down. I don’t listen to them. I barely hear them as thoughts of Aunt Bethany run through my head. I must get to her…

Doctor Dalorez is in her room once I reach it. I come to an abrupt halt at the doorway. Everyone in the room is quiet. All I hear is my heart pounding profusely. What is happening? I watch as Doctor Dalorez walks around the room looking distraught. After a few moments, she spots me. Her expression grows saddened as she makes her way slowly toward me; almost like she’s contemplating what she’s about to say to me.

“Destiny…” she says quietly in recognition.

“Doctor Dalorez…what’s going on?” I choke out.

She sighs. That is when I notice the bags under her eyes. She must’ve been called in last night and been here ever since.

“Please talk to me!” I exclaim. I hadn’t noticed how loud I was until I spot every doctor and nurse looking at me from every angle on the floor.

She shakes her head. “Go in and see her. When you are finished, please come to my office. We can talk there.”

She leaves me without saying another word.

I walk into Aunt Bethany’s room to find the same setup of tubes on her. The only difference is that it appears she can no longer talk according to the handwritten message on the white board. There is a tube going down her throat which I assume is for food. Her breathing is very raspy as I come closer to her so she can see me.

“I must leave, Aunt Bethany. I can’t stay here anymore. I don’t know how much longer I am safe here now that my secret is getting out. God only knows when that man is going to come here and find me again…I just…couldn’t leave without saying…goodbye to you,” I stutter out as tears come flowing down my cheeks. How do I do this? How do I say goodbye to my Aunt that is already dying? How do I say goodbye early? How do I let her know I will not be attending her funeral? This is the last time her and I will see each other…

She stares up at me as tears form in her eyes as well. I can tell she wants to say something, but can’t.

“I’m leaving today. I’m going out and starting a new life where I will be safe again. I know you will find me…your spirit will. I believe that. I have to. I need you to know something before I leave…you were right. You always were. I was stupid for fighting with you and for disobeying you. I want you to know you will always be in my heart…I will be using the tools to survive you always taught to me growing up…so, don’t worry about me.” I lean in and give her a kiss on the forehead. “I love you, Aunt Bethany. I always will and I will never forget you.”

Just as I say what I need to say to her, the machine starts beeping indicating she had flat lined. No longer breathing. She stayed with me as long as she could because she knew this day would come where I would come in and explain everything to her and say my goodbyes. She held on for that.

I put my hand to my mouth trying to keep in the choking sobs as I back away from her. Nurses start filing into the room one by one. As soon as there’s enough nurses in the room, I run for the door and down the hallway before the doctor comes in. She said she wanted to speak to me, and honestly, I have nothing to hear form her or say to her. My time here is done.

I run until I am outside the hospital again, but don’t stop there. I keep running with the road in my focus; I’ll call a cab once I’m walking down the road.

SMACK! I am on the ground, hurting. My lungs are fighting for air. It all happened so fast I barely had time to register the arms wrapping around me, one around my body and the other one around my neck. Those same arms holding me tight, and then throwing me on the asphalt ground. I continue to lay there as the pain through my head throbs harder with every second that passes. My lungs are stinging from the lack of air in those short seconds. I move a hand to my head, which is then instantly covered in blood. I am bleeding…badly.

A foot is pushing me over to face the person whom hurt me. I close my eyes not wanting to see them, but a voice makes me open them in shock.

“I told you no more running!” The voice says, angrily.

Jason? Why…what…?” I stumble on my words trying to make sense of this situation. All the while, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in my head.

Jason bends down, and picks me up by the collar of my shirt. He holds me up to him by the collar of my shirt, which makes me lose even more air in my lungs.

“Hope, the things you have done to me…when I tell you not to run, you run anyway. What is wrong with you?!” He shouts in my face as he shakes me vigorously.

“Jason…you…hurt me,” I whisper out in as much feeling as I possibly can.

“Now, you know how it feels to be hurt, Hope…”

“Put her down,” a deeper voice says calmly from the behind Jason.

My heart instantly stops as I realize that voice belongs to my father. What is going on? My eyes never leave him as he makes his way up to us, to me. Jason lowers me to the ground, not taking his angry eyes off me, and keeping my arms in his tight grasp.

“Hmm, you’re bleeding, Destiny,” my father says matter-of-factly, running on hand across my forehead.

I flinch at the touch as my body tenses, Jason’s grasp growing tighter.

“Listen, Destiny, we need to talk. Let’s catch up! It has been, what, ten years?” Angst says in what seems to be a professional voice.

I nod, scared of what is about to happen. Confused as to why Jason is helping him. Was this part of the plan all along? Was I the fool from the beginning when I thought I had fooled everyone else?

“Why are you helping him?” I choke out, looking right at Jason.

His eyes grow saddened at the creases, but keeps his eyes locked on mine the entire time my father explains.

“You see, Destiny, he was always on my side right from the beginning. I hired him to follow you, and keep an eye on you. He would report to me daily on your whereabouts and the things you had been up to. I met him while I was in prison. He was one of the academy students touring the prison one day. Right after he graduated, he had gotten the job as the courtroom bailiff. When I was relieved of prison time, I paid him to drive me back to our home in Chicago. That is where I hired him as my detective. I gave him the necessary tools he needed to get a job in Arlington as the new night police officer, so he could spy on you and not get caught. I also hired his sister to get close to you as well. Why do you think your aunt didn’t want them in your life? She knew this entire time about them the moment those detectives spotted you and her at that restaurant ten years ago. You see, I was always in the loop just waiting on the perfect time to make my final move.”

I look over at Jason, whom is still staring at me and holding me by my wrists as tightly as he can.

“Now I see why you were always so eager to turn me in. Why? Why would you make me fall in love with you? Why would you lie to me? Did you even have a girlfriend that died or was that some bullshit story you were feeding me all this time?”

Jason sighs and looks at my father. My father nudges him the OK to speak.

“Yes, I did have a girlfriend I loved very much. However, the man who killed her happened to be your father. He ran her off the road causing her car to flip four times down into the ditch on the side of the road. I was the first officer that arrived on the scene and your father was there. I recognized him from the trip to the prison in Chicago.” Jason takes a deep breath and looks at the ground as he continues the rest of his explanation. “He killed her because I had failed to do what he asked of me. As soon as I graduated from the academy, he sent me to find you…I had a very small time limit window. He said if I couldn’t get you to him by the time he had asked, I was going to pay…and I did. I lost her…because of my actions. I went on and resented myself for losing her the way I did…” Tears are now streaming down his face, but he keeps talking. “I made it my mission then to find you…to repay her memory. Shayna wanted to turn you in right away…but I wouldn’t let her…”

“Why?” I almost shout.

He looks at me just then at the sound of harshness in my voice.

“Because I fell in love with you, and I’ll be damned if I lose you, too.”

Just then, the sound of gun shots being fired run through my ears, but only aimed at one thing: my father. Jason has me pinned on the ground as he tries to cover me from the bullets flying through the air.

I am so confused…what is going on? What do I believe? The last forty-eight hours of my life have been all sorts of inside out, and twisted. Is all of this for real?

I push against Jason to try and free myself from underneath his body that has me pinned in this awkward position on the hard ground. He notices my struggle and pushes my body harder into the asphalt, making it impossible to even try to escape.

Out of the side of my eye, I see the salute of my father fall to the ground after hearing what seemed like hundreds of gun shots being fired. He falls next to me and remains motionless.

“Come check him!” Jason is yelling at the person whom was shooting at my father.

As the person approaches my father’s dead body, I am taken by surprise that much more because the person holding the rifle is Shayna; a tiny girl that I didn’t think was capable of even operating a gun. Her brother is law enforcement, so she probably took lessons from him…

She pokes his body a few times and announces he’s dead. She shoots him one more time just to make sure.

I am frozen in shock at the entire scene that played out before my eyes as Jason picks me up off the ground. He carries me as he follows Shayna back towards the hospital doors.

The first nurse he sees he flags down and tells her to take me to a room, and that I’ve been a victim in a violent crime. He assures the nurse he’s a police officer by showing her his badge after he sets me down on top of a bed she brings over. Once she starts taking me to a room, I hear Jason tell Shayna to call the sheriff and get them down here to take care of my dead father in the parking lot.

Once the nurse has the bed arranged in a room, Jason tells her to inspect my entire body. I try to sit up and tell him I’m fine, only to be pushed back down by him, and told to lay still.

“Can you be more specific, sir, about the violent crimes she was a victim of?” The nurse asks Jason as she starts to undress me in front of him. “I need to know what kind of injuries I’m checking her for.”

My eyes are wide as I realize his eyes are on me; all of me.

“A shooting that happened right outside in the parking lot,” he replies quietly.

The nurse nods and continues her pursuit in undressing me and checking for injuries. Jason keeps is eyes on me as I become more and more naked. I am frozen in shock as I realize that Jason has never seen all of me naked. We had that touchy-feely make out session that got quickly interrupted…

I feel a pang of hurt as I remember that day. Feels like forever ago…when it was only just days ago. So much has changed and happened since then, including finding out he was working with my father this whole time. He made me fall in love with him…only to turn me in.

He sees the flicker of hurt and disappointment in my eyes. His eyes grow sad as he turns and looks away from me as the nurse continues to examine my naked body.

“Mr. Steth, I found an open wound on the back of her head that needs a few stitches. Otherwise she is good to go,” the nurse explains a few moments later. “I’m going to go get the doctor to clean it up for you.”

“Thank you,” Jason replies, not once turning around to face me or the nurse as she walks out of the room.

We are alone in the room. Neither of us says anything while we wait for the doctor which isn’t long at all. The doctor sedates the spot on my head after she cleans it, and it takes her what feels like thirty seconds to stitch it up. Jason tells her to medicate me for the pain, which puts me to sleep.

The only thing I hear as sleep consumes me is the low humble of Jason’s voice and the beep of the heartrate monitor next to me.

~Chapter 7 to Hopes and Destinies is now complete!~

Sorry it took so long guys! It has definitely been a crazy few weeks. I was dealing with the passing of my aunt. Was constantly going back and forth to Illinois (3 hour drive one way) for a few days which took away writing time. Started a new job so for a little while I was working 12 hour days 7 days a week ugh. Got engaged! Now things are starting to cool down a little bit thank goodness! I finally had time to finish chapter 7 today. I tried to keep everyone updated as much as I could because I don’t want you guys to think I just stopped writing. No No No! Anyway, here is chapter 7! I am starting chapter 8 today! (Also, now it is fishing season so watch out for my fishing and gardening blogs!) 

My body is melted into the bed. I couldn’t get out of it even if I tried. Even with the smell of bacon and eggs wafting in from downstairs. I roll over and put the pillow over my head to block out the smell. That does smell delicious, though.

I try to lift my body up into a sitting position wipe my eyes, but the pounding headache from lack of sleep isn’t helping matters. Even though this bed is so comfortable to the point where it causes my body to melt into it, doesn’t mean I slept. My mind wandered all over the place from the events of yesterday to Jason hurting to the thoughts of what could possibly happen today. All of that makes me curl up even deeper in this bed. Maybe the bed will eventually swallow me up and I’ll be gone forever…

“Hope,” a tiny voice says from the bedroom door. I try to sit up enough to see whom the voice belongs to, but fail at every desperate attempt.

“Yeah?”

“Are you awake?”

What kind of question is that? Of course, I’m awake if I’m talking…

“Yeah.”

“Can I come in?” The tiny voice whispers.

“Yeah…”

A long shadow covers the bed now as the person with the tiny voice walks into the bedroom. My eyes follow the shadow to its owner. Shayna. Her eyes look sad as she stands over me.

“What’s wrong?” I ask her.

She sits down on the bed beside me, and takes a few deep breaths.

“It’s Jason,” she says without looking at me. Her eyes are trained on the floor with her hands in her lap.

“What about him?”

“I’m not supposed to tell you…”

“Shayna! Tell me!”

She closes her eyes as she responds with, “he wants to turn you in.”

What?! I am shocked. I feel winded, like I was just punched in the stomach. Hard.

“Are you sure?” I ask her in a choked voice.

“Yes. Last night, I tried talking to him about this whole situation like I promised you. He didn’t want to talk about it, so I let him go to bed and sleep on it. Well…this morning he gets up…the first thing he says to me is…he is going to do the right thing. He doesn’t want to harbor a fugitive…he doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore.” Tears are now streaming down her face. She looks defeated. “I can’t let him do that to you, Hope. You’ll die…”

“Why does he want that?”

“He said he doesn’t want to lose his career he’s worked so hard for…”

I interrupt her by throwing the covers at her. I am half way out of the bed when she starts asking me what I’m doing. I ignore her by storming out of the room, down the stairs to the bedroom where Jason is at this moment. I push the door open hard, and see him putting on his uniform. He looks at me in surprise, his shirt half way buttoned.

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” I shout at him, walking forward so he walks back against the wall. Exactly where I want him.

“Hope…”

“No, don’t you dare start with that! You want to feel closer to the dead, right? Is that why you are doing this to me? Why don’t you just take your gun and shoot me in the head, then!”

His eyes are wide with fear as he stands in the corner against the wall he backed into; too speechless for words.

“I trusted you, Jason! Yeah, I may have lied to you, and I’m sorry. If I could take it back, I would, but I can’t. At least I came clean to you last night! This is how you show your feelings for me? By turning me in? I guess I know where I stand in your eyes. You never loved me the way you say you did…”

“Hope, you’re a goddam fugitive! It is my job to turn people like you in…”

“No! It is your job to protect people like me who are hiding from the bad people! Haven’t they taught you anything in police academy? Or do they just teach you to be the biggest assholes that only think about yourselves?”

“Hope, you lied to me! How can I believe that you are who you say you are, not to mention innocent…?” Jason counters. The words hit me like knives all over the moment they leave his mouth.

“Jason, you have to understand…”

“No, what I understand is that I fell hard for you. Something I haven’t done to anyone since her,” he says indicating the ex-girlfriend story he told me a few days ago. “Then, you have to lie to my face about everything you are. What a slap in the face, right? Nice way to make me look like the fool in this situation, Hope. Now, you expect me to protect you?!” He scoffs and walks away not finishing his thought.

I am wounded deep. Deep into the pit of my heart. A wound that will never go away no matter how hard I try to fix it.

“Explain something to me, then!” I yell after him. He stops short in the doorway, his back facing me.  “Why did you come after me yesterday?”

He doesn’t say anything as he ponders his answer. He takes a deep breath and slowly turns to face me.

“I don’t know,” he says, then turns and walks out of the room leaving me alone; speechless. My heart has officially been ripped from my chest and stabbed a million times. My chest hurts as I try to breathe in deep breaths to stay calm; my lungs are fighting for air.

The room is caving in around me, and I can’t take the feeling anymore so I run. I run for the front door in tears. I make it to the door, swing it open and run. I keep running down the front porch steps, through the yard, and down the street. I don’t bother to look back at the screaming from Shayna as she screams after me. I don’t bother to slow down until I see the supermarket in my view. I make the rickety steps two at a time, fumble with my apartment keys until I get the door unlocked, and dart inside. I slam the door shut, locking it quick behind me. I lean against the door, breathing heavy, and cry. I cry for what feels like hours, until my tears run dry; my body dry heaving.

What am I going to do, now? I think to myself. I should go to Aunt Bethany, but I don’t want to hear the I told you so’s. I should go see how she’s doing anyway…

I take a moment to compose myself, grab my purse, and make my way back down the creepy stairs. I don’t pay attention as I run across the street to the parking lot. Once I reach my car, I am in it and driving down the road towards the highway to the hospital in Madison.

The atmosphere at the hospital feels different today, somehow. I notice there are hardly any nurses or doctors on staff today as I walk down the hallway towards the intensive care units. Aunt Bethany is hooked up to more machines today, I notice as I walk into her room. I have to stop and collect myself again before walking any further into the room from the sight I see.

“Aunt Bethany?” I choke out, walking toward the end of her bed.

“I’m here, honey,” she whispers. “Come to me so I can see you.”

I walk slowly to the front of the bed. She is looking at me with dark grey eyes that are sunken in now. Her skin a pasty white; a yellow tint to it. I hear her ragged breathing as she tries to keep her breathing even.

“Come to me, dear,” she whispers as she sees me. I kneel toward her face close enough so she can attempt to give me a kiss on the cheek.

“You’re worse,” I mention as I stand back up.

“It is God’s way,” she whispers back. “What upsets you? I see…by your face…you’ve been crying.” This sentence alone takes all her energy away. I see it by how she struggles to say it; like she is fighting her lungs with air.

“I hate seeing you like this, Aunt Bethany. You need to fight this.”

“It is my time, Destiny. It has been my time for a very long time…”

“No! Because you say it is? Because you want it to be?” Tears are streaming down my face again.

“Don’t be upset…I will always be there right next to you. Even when…you don’t know…it.”

I take a quick breath and look her dead in the face as I tell her what has happened. “Jason wants to turn me in.”

Her breath catches as she tries to breathe. Her eyes never leave mine.

“Aunt Bethany…I saw my father yesterday. The detectives cornered me outside of the hospital when we were leaving…took me to jail. My father came and tried to take me back with him…Jason saved me. I told him everything…now he wants to turn me in because he thinks I’m a fugitive running…because of you I lied to him in the beginning…because of you is why I hurt so much right now…because of you I hurt him…” More tears come streaming down my face as I choke out everything that has happened because of her.

“How…can you…think…that?” She whispers as tears start streaming down her face as well.

“Because it’s true, Aunt Bethany. I love him and now I hurt him. I love him and now he is going to turn me in…”

“Listen to me, Destiny…If he loves you…too…he will not turn…you in…”

I am sobbing now. I turn away from her so she doesn’t see me cry hysterically.

“I just came by to tell you thanks for everything.”

“Destiny…wait…”

I stop, wipe away the tears, and turn around to face her again.

“Chuck…passed away…last night…” she whispers out in a soft, choked up voice.

No…I start to cry again as I walk out of her hospital room. This is a nightmare. This all cannot be happening…any moment I will wake up…any moment…

I continue walking out of the hospital aware that in this moment, it may be the last time I see Aunt Bethany alive. She is dying fast. A lot faster than expected. Don’t think about it, Destiny. You have a lot more to think about right now…

“Hope!” A man’s voice yells my name as I’m halfway to my car in the parking lot. The sound of his voice makes me jump and instantly freeze up.

A hand is on my shoulder. I spin around to come face to face with…

“Jason!” I exclaim. “What are you doing here? Are you here to turn me in?”

“Will you listen to me?” He asks in an irritated voice.

“No, I will not. The time for listening has come and gone, Jason. Right now, I’ve got to get out of town…”

“Not without me, you’re not.” He retorts in a stern manner.

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. You are not leaving this town without me.”

“Have you gone insane? I confided in you and you wanted to turn me in. Do the right thing, remember?”

“Hope, I’m sorry. I honestly don’t know why I’m here because I should turn you in instead of helping you…”

“How are you helping me, Jason? All you’ve done was get in my way and threaten to take me back to Chicago.”

“Hope, I’m scared, OK?”

I take a step closer to him. “You don’t think I’m not? Do you have any idea how hard it is to wake up every day and keep pretending to be someone else for ten years straight? I’ve wanted to tell you since day one, Jason, but I can’t get turned in. I can’t go back because if I do my father will kill me. That is the only reason he came here yesterday.”

“No, but I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. Not until I met you. You make me want to look up for once in my life instead of down at the shadows. I don’t feel the need to be close to the dead anymore, Hope…all because of you. I guess that’s why I’m here putting my entire life on the line for you…”

“So, you don’t think I’m a fugitive…?” I ask sarcastically as I fold my arms across my chest. This boy is a roller coaster ride, literally.

He takes an exaggerated breath before responding. “I don’t know, Hope. I do…but, somehow, I don’t. Shayna believes you. She told me last night to follow you, and stick by you because you need it. I’m just not sure if that’s what I truly believe…”

“Yes, you do,” a tiny voice sounds from the distance behind us.

We both turn around and see Shayna making her way over to us.

“Yes, you do, Jason,” she says once more as she reaches us. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be right now apologizing to her.”

“Shayna, what are you doing here? I thought I told you to stay home,” Jason says, angrily.

“Yeah, well, she needs you, and you need me.”

“For what?”

“To help you keep your mind straight. We are twins, Jason, remember that. No matter what we need each other. Right now, in this situation, you need me to help you straighten out your thoughts because your scared. You are scared to follow your instincts for once. No offense, but you would kind of fall apart without me,” she says matter-of-factly.

“Shayna, sometimes I hate you,” he says as he shakes his head.

“I know,” she responds with the brightest smile. Anyone could see it from space. Then, she turns to me and says, “Will you please forgive my jackass of a brother so he can be your body guard?”

I can’t help, but to laugh at the way she words that question. She always has a way of making me laugh, somehow. No matter if we are in a situation like this or buried in paperwork in my office.

“What is your plan, then, genius?” Jason asks Shayna before I have time to respond to her question.

“We go with it, of course.”

“No, that’s not how this works. Protecting her means we have to keep her hidden…”

“And not turning her in,” Shayna says as she casually interrupts her brother like he was boring her.

I shake my head as they make plans concerning me right in front of me like I’m not here.

“You guys, can we go back to my place and discuss this so I can shower and change my clothes?” I ask, interrupting their bickering.

They both stop and stare at me like I have gone insane. The expression on Jason’s face just went from angry to angrier, and I didn’t think that was possible. Every muscle in my body clenches tight.

“Have you both gone insane?” Jason exclaims to both of us.

“What?” Shayna asks, clearly confused now as to why Jason is yelling at her, too.

Jason ignores her and continues yelling, not once taking his eyes from mine. “We are going back to my place until we can figure this out!”

“As much as I love you, Jason, you are the biggest pain in the ass ever!” I start yelling back, not realizing the words flowing from my mouth. “I’ve slept in these same clothes for the last two days! Not to mention I’ve been hiding for the last ten years of my life, I think I’m OK going back to my place to shower!”

“Absolutely not!”

“Now all of a sudden you want to care when just a few hours ago you wanted to turn me in?!” I’m yelling at the top of my lungs now. “I am going back to my place whether it’s with you or without you.”

I start walking towards my car, leaving him there to stew.

“I’ll go with you!” Shayna shouts after me. She runs to the passenger side of my car. Once we both reach my car, we look at Jason one last time before climbing in it.

“Shayna, make sure you guys get what she needs and head back to my place. She can shower there,” Jason says calmly before he turns and starts to make his way back to his car.

Shayna nods and climbs into my car. Once her and I are inside, I ask her where her car is.

“It’s at home,” she responds.

“How’d you get here if you didn’t ride with Jason?”

“I took the bus,” she says casually.  “I would’ve climbed into the backseat of his car, but he would’ve known. I didn’t want him to know I was coming because he would’ve never come here.”

I nod showing her I understand. Then, we drive in awkward, thick silence all the way back to my apartment. Once we are there, I pull the car up to the front of the grocery store, and we both get out of the car. She follows me up to my apartment, and I realize she has never been inside my apartment before. What kind of friend am I? I unlock the door and allow her to walk in first.

Shayna walks in slowly taking in everything around her. Her eyes are wide as she looks around at my tiny, unkempt apartment.

“This is where you live?” She asks in shock.

I nod, afraid to use my voice to answer her; afraid of what she might think of me now.

“Why?” She asks, turning to face me.

My expression grows puzzled at the sound of her question.

“What do you mean?” I ask her.

“I mean, you are the general manager of a good business and you live in a tiny apartment that, no offense, looks like could give you hepatitis,” she responds as she continues to look around her.

“It’s a nice place to live for now, and cheap…”

“Why not buy a house? You can do that, you know.”

“I’m in the process of buying a house, actually,” I lie to her.

She looks at me and narrows her eyes. “Really?”

“Yep.”

“Where?”

I take a moment before I answer her. Crap, she knows I’m lying…

“Not too far from here…” I say, slowly.

“Why do you insist on lying to me, Hope? I know you’re full of shit the moment you start talking. That’s how I knew you were telling us the truth about you and your…situation. You are so easy to read it’s not funny.”

“Look, my plan is to buy a house once I find something I like. For now, this place is home.’

“This place doesn’t have wallpaper!” She exclaims.

“So?”

“Or walls that are painted! Looks like a jail cell in here if you ask me.”

“Well, no one did, Shayna,” I respond in a flat tone that makes her shut her mouth.

I roll my eyes at her, and make my way to the clothes pile in the corner of the living area/bedroom. I dig through the clothes to find something that isn’t horrible smelling or extremely dirty. Once I’m happy with what I find to wear, I take it to the bathroom to shower. I feel dirty. Not like I was outside rolling around in the dirt dirty, but dirty like a…whore? Who am I? I turn the water on as hot as I can stand it, undress, and get into the shower to wash it all off; wash everything off.

Once I’m out of the shower, I get dressed in the new clothes I picked out for today, and go back to the clothes pile to find a few more outfits to last me a few days. I put them all into a Walmart bag along with all my toiletries I’m going to need every day. I am aware of Shayna standing behind me the entire time watching me; watching my every move. I can’t help but wonder if she was telling the truth about Jason not knowing about her plan or if he knew all along and meant to send her with me to watch me…

I turn around and look right at Shayna once I’m finished packing my bag. Her face instantly goes red from embarrassment. Caught.

“You lied to me, didn’t you?” I ask her in a quiet voice.

She continues to stare back at me without a change of expression or even a blink of an eye. I take a step towards her and repeat my question a little louder this time.

“You lied to me, Shayna, didn’t you?”

“I don’t understand, Hope…” she starts to say.

“Your brother knew you were coming along, didn’t he? It was the plan all along to get you to come up here with me to watch me.”

She doesn’t say anything. Her eyes are wider than ever. She’s shocked that I caught on to their plan.

“I’m not stupid, Shayna. I’ve been watching the way you hover over me. I’m not dangerous. I’m not going to run away.”

“He’s just worried…” She says quietly, her eyes trained on the floor the entire time like she’s ashamed of herself for lying to me.

“Yeah, he sure seems worried about me,” I say sarcastically to her. I am so annoyed at everyone right now. I wish the last two days didn’t happen.

We don’t talk to each other the rest of the time inside my apartment. As soon as I have everything together, we are walking out of the apartment and descending the rickety stairs. We make it to my car, and all the way to Jason’s house without saying a word; all the while the atmosphere is growing thick with awkwardness.

Jason is waiting in the screened in porch when we arrive. He runs to the garage to open it for us so I can drive my car into the garage to keep it hidden from view. Shayna is already out of the car by the time it comes to a full stop, and I’m throwing it into park.

“She’s mad at us,” I hear her say to Jason as I’m getting out of the car.

He is glaring at me as I shut the car door behind me. I glare back and make my way to the front porch where he is grabbing my arm, making me spin around to face him. I rip my arm away as soon as I am face to face with him.

“You have no reason to be mad at us,” he says in a stern voice.

“Yes, I do. Where am I sleeping since I’m not allowed to go back to my place?” I say in the same tone.

“Hope, we need to talk…”

“No, we don’t. Not anymore. By the way, my name is Destiny,” I spit out at him with no feeling or emotion in my words.

He winces at my words like knives were hitting him.

“You can take my bedroom again.”

“I’d rather not.”

“Look, you wanted a body guard. Now you got one…”

“I’ll sleep on the couch downstairs,” I say, interrupting him.

I push him aside, and make my way into the house. I find my way somehow to the living area on the main level, and make myself at home by putting my bag on the floor next to the couch and grabbing blankets from the top of the couch to lay them across the couch in a pallet form.

Jason walks in to watch me. He stands in the doorway with his arms crossed, a straight face expression on his face.

“Maybe I overreacted,” he says after a few moments of silently watching me make myself at home.

I’m sitting on the couch taking my shoes off as he says that. I stop in mid-action and look up at him.

“A little?” I ask in a flat tone. “You know, Jason, I would’ve though you would’ve done your research after I gave you my statement. That’s what good cops do, isn’t it? Or do they not teach you that anymore in the academy?”

“Will you stop throwing my job in my face, please?”

“Why?”

“Because, Hope…Destiny, you have no idea what it’s like being me or doing what I do on a daily basis. I strive to be the best, plain and simple. I follow the rules and yes, I did my research on you that night you were here and told me your story,” Jason explains not moving from his spot in the doorway.

“Then why did you still accuse me?” I exclaim. I am standing now as I throw my arms in the air.

“Because all the reports said was yes, your father was guilty of murdering your mother, but it also stated that you are a wanted felon in Chicago for the attempted murder of your father.” I am silent. I think my lungs have left my body because I can’t breathe. He goes on. “The report stated that you tried to murder your father after watching him murder your mother. After you stabbed him, you ran away never to be seen again. I follow the law, Destiny. My job is to bring people like you in especially after seeing a report like that.”

“Then what am I doing here?” I choke out.

Jason takes a deep breath as he runs a hand through his hair.

“Last night, your father pressed charges against you. He put a price on your head so high the entire area of Madison will be looking for you. I almost lost you once, I’m not going to lose you again.”

“What about the law?”

“I don’t believe you’re a killer, Destiny. Am I confused? Majorly. I need you to tell me everything, and please don’t ever lie to me again.”

“I never intended to hurt you, Jason.”

“No, Destiny, you never intended to fall in love with me.”

~Ehh…What to say?~

I am lost in thought…What do you say? 

This past week has been rough. I haven’t had much time to write chapter 7 which makes me sad. Tonight when I am done writing this blog I will sit down and write. I have to get it done. 

Let’s take a minute and collect ourselves…catch up on the events of the week…

I quit my job early in the week which left me without a job. Not a very smart thing to do since my boyfriend was left paying the bills (our bills exceed his paycheck). I had no choice but to quit. I was being taken advantage of, my boss wasn’t listening to my schedule requests (I have a family that I barely got to see which led to fights with my boyfriend), but the biggest thing was that since since the shop is losing money they wanted me to go over and beyond…basically do more for less pay. I can’t do that. Nobody can. So I had more time to write since I quit which led me to post 2 chapters a week. GREAT!! I got a new job though so expect the chapters to come once a week sometime. I got a job at an embroidery company. They have better work hours so I am able to see my family and have a set schedule every day. I am very structured and I like my routines. Anything outside my routines I hate. So, I’m nervous but excited to start my job tomorrow. 

Aside from that, my aunt passed away on Friday. It has been a very emotional weekend all around. She was a stubborn fighter, but the virus that hit her this last time was too much for her. She is now with my grandfather and not suffering anymore. I was close with her and this is all tearing me apart…

My boyfriend took me to see Logan Friday night after my aunt passed. Such a good movie and a must see if you are a fan of the wolverine like me! I am so upset, though, that this is the last of the wolverine. It can’t be!! Who’s with me?? Anyway, go see it! We are waiting on the fast and furious movie to come out too. Counting down the days. 

It has been warming up by our house so we are getting ready to go fishing soon. Very soon. Maybe tomorrow? We are anxious to go fishing! Hopefully we catch some big ones this year! Last year was a good season. 

I am going to try and have chapter 7 done by the end of the week for weekend reading material. It is a big chapter meaning a very important chapter so I want everything to be perfect. Therefore, it will take me the rest of the week to finish. Also, now that is coming of fishing season I may write a lot of fishing blogs. We have been watching a lot of fishing videos on youtube, hopefully the techniques work. They usually do! It will definitely be fun to see what all kinds of fish are hiding out on the lake, and to see HOW BIG! I will also be building my garden outside this year, so I may write a few gardening blogs as well. So much material! 

I am going to leave this blog here, though, for today. I have got so much to do with chapter 7. I do ask of you all to keep my family in your thoughts especially my 2 little cousins whom are now without their mother. Thank you so much for reading. Stay tuned for more updates about my novel and the chapters. Have a safe week everyone! 

~Anyone ready for Chapter 6 to Hopes and Destinies?~

So chapter 6 is done. It is a little shorter than the rest of the chapters, only because this is where it gets serious. How is everyone enjoying the chapters so far? How did you all like that twist and cliffhanger at the end of chapter 5? Story isn’t over yet! Anyway, I have decided I am going to dedicate this novel to my aunt that is passing away when I publish it. On my off time, I’ve been struggling with this. Anyway, chapter 7 will be done early next week. Expect it to be longer because this is when everything starts to happen. Chapter 6 is kind of just the middle pulling it all together. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! Please leave comments or like the blog page. You can even follow me here on my blog site if you like what you read. Otherwise stay tuned  because the next few chapters you don’t want to miss! We will be coming to a close soon and I am going to publish it so be sure to look for it on the Amazon kindle (I will be sending out updates of when I’m finished with it.) Don’t worry we have a few more chapters yet! Enjoy reading!!

Chapter 6:

The jail cell is dirty and cold. There is one cot next to the wall that is harder than a rock, and cold to the touch. I have to pee, but I am not sitting on the crusty old toilet bowl in the cell, especially when there is no privacy.

I continue to watch the two detectives that brought me into the police station; they are talking frantically to someone on the phone only five feet away from me. I am scared; this must do something with my father. My father…My heart stops because I suddenly recognize the two detectives. I remember them like it was yesterday; it was ten years ago at the Perkins restaurant that I had seen them last. How could I forget?

“Miss Connor,” one of the detectives say to me once he has hung up the phone. “Your father has been looking for a long time for you. He will be pleased to see you again.”

“He’s in prison!” I spit out at him through the bars.

He takes a quick step backward, and then says with caution, “No…Not anymore. He is actually on his way here to pick you up.”

No, no, no, no. How can this be? My father was supposed to be in prison for life. What is happening? I feel my whole world being ripped out from underneath me, as well as all the air in my lungs.

I grip the bars in front of me and bow my head, trying to breathe. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. I remind myself with every breath of the next step. Once I’m calm enough to stand straight, I look around. Every cop in on duty seems to be in the office today; talking on phones, playing on the computers, chatting in the corner by the coffee machine. Why is no one fighting with these detectives? These cops know me, they know Aunt Bethany.

A bald middle-aged cop by the Name of Carl Sanders walks by my cell just then. I know him because he’s always Aunt Bethany’s partner on cases they have to solve together. I reach out to him suddenly.

“Carl!”

Carl turns and looks at me surprised. “Hope, what are you doing?”

“Help me!” I whisper to him frantically. “You know this is wrong. You know me! You need to get me out of here!”

He looks hurt, then. Like I had just stolen his favorite puppy. “Hope…I…I can’t…I’m sorry.”

“What do you mean you can’t?”

“These detectives are the FBI from Chicago. We don’t have a say anymore. Therefore, there’s nothing I can do to help you. I’m sorry.” He continues walking away like our conversation never happened.

I hear the slamming of the double doors and look over to see none other than Angst Connor storming through the police station with two other detectives following behind him. My father. What is this madness? How can he be strolling in here like a free man after what he did to my mother ten years ago? Something doesn’t add up…

He looks the same as I remember him. Salt and pepper hair slicked back with tons of hair gel, wearing a grey business suit looking like he came straight from the court house. He walks up to my cell and stares at me with a big grin across his face. His beady eyes staring right into my soul burning a hole there.  It is at this point I can see some of the old age wrinkles starting to form on his face.

He continues to stand there and stare at me, smiling for a moment. I take a step backward, my heart pounding wanting out of my chest.

“Hello, Destiny. It’s been a very long time, has it not?” Angst sneers with a smile still on his face.

I am frozen. It has been ten years since I went by that name. Destiny…I gasp.

“I am here to take you home. Where you belong.”

“I am home. This is where I belong,” I spit out in a defensive manner. I am beside myself at how confident I am standing up to my own father. This same man whom murdered my mother in front of my eyes and then tried to murder me as well. This same man whom is supposed to serve life in prison. This same very man whom is standing in front of me now…Ten years later.

“My, my, Destiny,” he says to me, shaking his head. “Have you forgotten where your roots lie? Chicago is your home. Not this tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Your home is with me, your father. We have so much time lost to catch up on. These detectives have been working around the clock for the last ten years trying to find you to bring you home to me. Where you belong!

I jump when he says that last sentence. His voice is familiar, but so unfamiliar it startles me.

My cell door is opening, suddenly. Two men are stepping inside towards me. I am backing away frantically. Hands are all around me; all over me, pulling. Pulling me out of the cell. Handcuffing me. Dragging me out to the black Escalade my father apparently arrived in. I am stopped short right as the back door to the Escalade opens. My father is jumping in. I am being pulled again towards the vehicle, and I see my chance. I start to resist by pulling the other way, kicking and screaming. The two detectives that have a hold on me keep their firm grip and start dragging me even more.

“LET GO!” I am screaming, but no one is around that can help me. “HELP!”

“Shut her up, now!” I hear my father snap from the open door of the Escalade.

“HEL-“ I am on the ground, head hitting the cement hard. I can feel the wind being knocked out of me as well as the throbbing start on the side of my head. I close my eyes and concentrate on the pain. It is the only thing in this moment that lets me know I’m still alive.

“What did we tell you, you little bitch?” I hear one of the detectives hiss at me. It is in that moment I feel something hard hit me in the side knocking more air out of my lungs. A foot, I would assume, with a hard steeled-toe boot.

The pain hits my stomach and I must hold back tears and vomit. My eyes remain closed; squinted now from the pain.

“Get her up before we start to create a scene.” My father’s voice sounds far away, now. Almost like we are in a tunnel. Must be the pain in my head that is messing with the sound around me.

The sun is shining so I can see shadows behind my closed eyelids. Therefore, I can make out the shadows of the two detectives walking over me to pick me up off the ground. Right as I feel their hands grip both my wrists, I hear something. A familiar sound. A familiar voice.

“Don’t touch her!” The familiar voice says with clarity and confidence.

“Boy, you have no business being here. Would you like us to revoke your badge and gun?” One of the detectives say in response to the familiar voice as they pick me up off the ground.

I keep my eyes closed because I refuse to look at my reality around me. My life being ripped apart from where I stand.

“Oh, you mean this gun?” I open my eyes just then to see who that familiar voice belongs to. Jason is standing only a few feet in front of us looking exactly the same as earlier, holding a gun to the two detectives. “Now, I said to let her go!”

I see out of the corner of my eye my father descend from the vehicle and stand in front of us facing Jason.

“Ah, Mr. Steth. How are you on this fine day?” He asks Jason very calm-like. I can see the expression on Jason’s face is downright confusion. As it should be, because I have no idea why my father is being so…civil?

“Fine, and yourself?” Jason answers in a stern manner never once putting his gun down or breaking eye contact with anyone. He doesn’t even flinch. Damn, he’s good! I think I’m even deeper in love with him, now.

“Very good. You see, I think there’s been some sort of confusion, here. Why don’t you put your gun down so we can explain?” My father says acting very professional like he’s back in a court room again.

I’ve never witnessed my father at work. I’ve never witnessed him being civil with anyone. This is a complete new side that I am seeing. The professional one that says “this is just business”. Seeing this side of him makes me even more afraid of what is going to happen next…or at some point. I am more scared for Jason in this moment, though. He has no idea what my father is capable of or even who he is.

Jason doesn’t say anything; his poker face remains.

“You see, Mr. Steth, this girl you are risking your life to save,” my father points to me, “she isn’t the person you think she is or ever was for that matter. I am here to take her away back to where she came from. Now, it is in your best interest to put your gun away and walk away while I give you the chance. Think about it, you can’t take all of us.”

“You have no idea what I’m capable of,” Jason says as he turns the safety off on the gun. His finger already on the trigger as he points the gun at my father.

My father takes a step toward him laughing. I recognize that laugh. That is the laugh he used to make right before he would beat my mother; like he thought she was being ridiculous or something and he found it funny.

“Give up, son. You’re not going to win this fight.”

“I give up the moment you let her go,” Jason says, nodding toward me.

“Very well, have it your way. I warned you,” my father says as he pulls a gun out from his belt the same moment Jason fires his gun.

I watch in horror as my father stumbles backward a few steps and falls back. He is clutching his shoulder while the blood comes pouring out. Jason doesn’t miss a beat, though. As soon as my father hits the pavement, he is aiming his gun at the two detectives holding me, and he shoots them in the chest right before they have the time to think about grabbing their weapon. They both let go of me as soon as they are hit, and I am running again. Instead of running to Aunt Bethany’s house this time, I run for Jason. He is motioning for me to run across the street toward the only car parked there as soon as more police officers come barreling out of the police station to see what the commotion is all about.

A brand new black Dodge Charger is the car I’m sprinting to. When I reach it, the driver side window rolls down and Shayna is smiling up at me.

“Shayna?” I ask out of breath and surprised.

“Who else would come save your butt?” She says sarcastically. “Hurry, get in! It’s unlocked.”

I wait for Jason to reach me so he can open the car door for me. He opens the door to the backseat and waits for me to slide in, then slides in after me. The car is peeling away from the police station before Jason can shut the car door.

As soon as we are safely away from the police station, Jason grabs a bobby-pin off the floor board of the car, and unlocks the handcuffs from my wrists.

“Shayna, take us to my place,” Jason orders, never taking his eyes off me. He looks hurt; genuinely hurt. I know I have a lot of explaining to do, but I don’t know where to start or how to start.

Shayna doesn’t respond as she drives the car toward Jason’s house. I know she is ashamed in me as well, and I need to make it up to them. If it wasn’t for them, I would be on my way back to Chicago in cuffs to face whatever fate my father had in store for me. I am forever in their debt since they put their lives in danger for me without even knowing who I really am.

Minutes pass like this until we reach what seems to be Jason’s house. We are back in Arlington, parking in his driveway. I look out the window to look at his beautiful two-story house. There’s an indoor porch right out front going into the house. A white picket fence surrounds the yard; like every girl’s fantasy dream house. The house is a beautiful beige color. I’ve always dreamed of having a house like this someday. A two-car garage the same color as the house is what stops us from going any further into his driveway.

“I’ll go open the garage doors, Shayna. When I do, pull the car in. We want to keep it hidden for a while,” Jason says as he pulls his seatbelt off, and opens the car door to get out.

Shayna nods, no words which is unusual for her, and Jason slams the door behind him as he gets out of the car. We watch him walk up to the house and disappears inside of it. The awkwardness is tense in the car which makes me want to open the door and run away from all of this that much more. I can’t keep putting them in danger like this. It isn’t fair to them, but somehow, I stay glued to the car seat and wait for Jason to come back.

As directed, Shayna drives the car into the spacious garage as soon as Jason opens it. He is standing in the garage off to the side waiting for her to pull it inside and shut it off. Once inside, Jason shuts the garage door as soon as the car is clear of the door. Shayna shuts the car off and gets out of it, I follow suit. Jason doesn’t say a word, instead he motions for us to go inside the house. We do as directed. I follow Shayna out the side door of the garage to the front porch of the house. I can’t help but notice the lawn care done; very well maintained like seen on rich property. My breath is instantly taken away. He can’t possibly take care of all of this himself?

Shayna holds the door to the house open for me once we are inside the indoor porch. I walk into the house and am instantly taken back by how fancy the house looks. There is a spiral staircase in the middle of the walkway we are standing in, now. There are rooms on both sides of this area. The house looks very well kept, almost like he’s barely here. Which makes me wonder where else he would be…

“Upstairs,” is all Jason says as he walks in behind us and locks the doors.

There is no time to look around anymore than I just did as I’m being pushed toward the stairs by Shayna. I grip the railing tight and slowly make my way up the spiral staircase, trying to peak around at what I can see of the house which isn’t much. All I’m able to see is part of the kitchen which appears to be one of the rooms on the side, and the dining room which happens to be the room right across from the kitchen. The higher up we go, the less of the downstairs I can see. Once we reach the top, we are met with another room. The living room? There is a flat screen TV on the wall across from us, a stereo system with surround sound sitting on a shelf next to it. There is a two-piece black leather sectional couch that separates the stair case from the TV; a room divider. I notice the floor is polished wood and the walls are an off-white color, nothing hanging on the walls.

Shayna slips by me once we reach the top of the stairs and plops down onto the couch, waiting. I follow her assuming this is where Jason wanted us to sit. Jason appears at the top of the stairs seconds later, and follows us to the leather couch. He sits down next to me leaving a few inches in between us. Shayna is on the other side of me, eyeing me up and down also a few inches away from me. I suddenly feel like a disease in this house that nobody wants. I want to go home.

“Hope, I need you to be one hundred percent honest with us right now, OK?” Jason says at last, putting his head in his hands.

I hate seeing him hurt like this all because of me. I nod and wait for him to continue with the interrogation.

“Who was that man that I shot?” He asks quietly and as calm as possible.

I take a deep breath and close my eyes. I don’t open them as I respond with, “My father.”

“Your father?” Jason asks as if he doesn’t believe me.

I open my eyes this time and raise my voice a little bit. “Yes, my father. I haven’t seen him in ten years.”

“Did he abandon you or something?” Jason sneers. I hate his tone right now, but I know I’ve hurt him.

I don’t respond right away because I don’t want to be honest with him anymore. I’m scared.

“Hope, you need to tell me,” Jason says when he realizes I’ve clammed up.

I gulp down my tears and say, “Do you remember when I told you that my mother had died when I was a kid?”

Jason nods.

“My father was the one that murdered her…right in front of my eyes. I was twelve…”

Shayna gasps. She covers her mouth once she realizes she made sound, her eyes wide and full to the brim with tears.

Jason sits all the way back against the couch cushion, his expression soft now. He feels bad.

“What does that have to do with him taking you away?”

“I’m originally from Chicago. After he murdered my mother, he came into my room and tried to kill me, too. I was smart, though. I had a pair of scissors and stabbed him in the neck…almost killed him. I moved in with Aunt Bethany afterward, and we moved out here to be protected…and safe…”

Jason shakes his head. “Hope, that still doesn’t explain anything to me…”

I put my hand on his lap to stop him from talking. “I lied to you, Jason. This whole time because I needed to be safe…”

“I don’t understand…”

“My name isn’t Hope, Jason. It’s Destiny. Destiny Hope Connor, a wanted woman in Chicago for the attempted murder of Angst Connor; the best defense lawyer in Chicago and my father. I am also considered a runaway fugitive, have been for the last ten years.”

Jason stands just then, putting his hands on the back of his neck, and walking away from me towards the TV.

He turns around slowly and stares at me. “Can’t they see it was self-defense?”

I shake my head. “No, because it wasn’t the police that issued those offenses. My father was. I was so surprised to see him here! He was supposed to be in prison for life. Being Chicago’s best lawyer its perks, I guess. He can do stuff like that. So many criminals walk the streets in Chicago because of him.”

“I can’t believe this.”

“Jason…”

“YOU’RE A WANTED PERSON, HOPE!” Jason shouts suddenly, making me and Shayna jump a little in our seats. “There’s nothing I can do about it! Not to mention you lied to me instead of being honest with me in the beginning. Even when I told you that you could tell me everything. I wanted to know everything, Hope. I feel like I don’t even know who you are.”

“Jason, I’m sorry,” I choke out as the tears break free.

“Don’t. You’re lucky I came after you today, especially after leaving me speechless in the parking lot of the hospital. Do you have any idea how that felt? Watching them take you away like that, and knowing there was nothing I could do? It was like the biggest slap in the face you could’ve ever given me, Hope…sorry, Destiny, if that is even your real name I have no idea.” I instantly hate how he says my real name. It rolls of his tongue like it leaves a bad taste in his mouth. It makes me wince at the sound of it.

Jason starts to walk toward the stairs without even looking at me.

“Jason,” I plead trying to get him to stop and listen to me.

“You know what, Hope? I trusted you! I told you everything and things that I have never told anyone! For once, I thought I found a girl that was worth being with, but it turns out you’re just another girl,” he spits at me. “You can sleep in the guest bedroom for tonight. Shayna will show you where everything is. As of tomorrow…” He shakes his head like he can’t bear the thought running through his head right now. He descends the stairs two at a time. We hear a door slam shut downstairs moments later. I assume it was his bedroom door.

I look to Shayna whom is still wide eyed with shock at the confessions just made.

“Shayna, I’m sorry. You know me! You’ve worked with me for the last seven months! You’re my best friend…” I plead to her.

She closes her eyes like it hurts too much to look at me. I wait until she opens them again.

“You’re right, Hope. I do know you…or the person you were being…”

“I’ve been me this whole time, Shayna. Just a different name. You have to believe me!”

She puts a consoling hand on my shoulder to stop me from talking.

“I know. You must understand something…my brother doesn’t like breaking the law. He follows it pretty well. Do I believe he thinks you’re at fault? No. Do I think he is never going to speak to you again? No, you just have to give him time. This was a big blow to him, Hope. It was to all of us. He killed two men tonight because of you. FBI men to be exact. My brother has never pulled his gun on anyone before let alone shoot somebody with it. Do you have any idea what kind of trouble he is probably going to be in because of you? Just to learn the truth about you…I’m on your side, Hope. I believe your story. I’m sorry all of that happened to you and that your past is now catching up with you. Let my brother toss and turn over it tonight, OK? I’ll talk to him. I’m not letting him turn you in.”

“Thank you, Shayna.”

“I’m going to go to bed. I’m going to sleep on the couch downstairs tonight. Let me show you your bedroom.” Shayna gets up and I follow.

I follow her to a door off to the right side of the living area. She opens it and turns on the light to reveal a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, and walk in closet. Walls are white with beige color carpeting. There is a bathroom connected to this bedroom that I can see from the doorway. A full bathroom with a sink, toilet, shower and…is that a jacuzzi tub? I think I’m in love…no, I think it’s shock. I look at Shayna and she smiles and turns away toward the stairs.

“Oh, he may have told you it’s the guest bedroom, but it’s actually his bedroom he gave you for the night,” Shayna says before she starts to make her way down the stairs.

I stand in the doorway of the bedroom with that new piece of information, and ponder the idea of sleeping in Jason’s bed for the night. He really does care…even if I have hurt him deeply.