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.
“Are you awake?”
What kind of question is that? Of course, I’m awake if I’m talking…
“Can I come in?” The tiny voice whispers.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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!”
“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?”
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.
“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?”
“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.”