It had only been two days since Nick’s departure, and already, Jed fell back into depression. Trina came to see him every evening after work, forcing him get out of his room. His parents drove him to his therapy appointments, making sure he didn’t miss any. He felt completely useless and dependent on everybody else.
Jed had come a long way since the accident, though. He shuddered, remembering those horrible weeks of agony.
When he first woke up in the hospital, and his family broke the news to him, he thought it was all just a nightmare. He didn’t believe any of it.
“That’s crazy,” he told his parents. “I’m sure the doctors are mistaken. Just give me couple of days.”
Trina and his parents never left his side. He couldn’t understand why his mother’s eyes were always red and swollen, as if it was the end of the world.
Finally, when Jed still couldn’t move his legs a week later, anger like no other hit him. He hated everybody and would kick them out of his room. “Get the hell out! I don’t need any of you all!” he would shout, even to the doctors and the nurses. They had to sedate him several times because he was trying to pull his tubes out. Jed hated the world for the predicament he was in.
Once he realized nobody was planning on leaving him alone, he went into deep depression. He even told Trina that he should have died in that accident. “Trina, please, if there’s any way at all you can help me. I don’t want to live like this. I can’t feel anything from my waist down. No, I won’t live like this.”
“Jed, please. We’re all here to help you. Please don’t say things like that,” Trina begged.
Tears rushed down Jed’s face. “Don’t make me live like this. What kind of life do you think I would have?”
“Oh, I love you so much, Jed. Please, you’re my strong brother. You can’t give up. I can’t bear it.” Trina wiped her tears quickly. “Listen, Sage is a doctor. I think she’s out of the country, but I need to try to reach her. She can help you. I know she can.”
Jed pushed the IV pole down when he heard the name he despised with passion. “Don’t you ever bring her up again! She’s a nobody to me and to this family. What the hell do you think she can do for me? Just get out. You’ll never understand what I’m going through.” He didn’t care that he was hurting his sister. He just wanted everybody to leave him alone.
Eventually, when he was medically stable, he was flown to Texas, so his family could keep an eye on him. He received inpatient rehabilitation for several months and was left with no choice but to participate in his therapy sessions. Finally, when he was released from the hospital, he moved in with his parents.
Even with the support of his family at his parents’ home, to wake up every day and face the world was tough. As difficult as it was to get out of his bed, he knew the therapy sessions his parents took him to daily were important. He pushed himself to work hard, and the therapists continued to encourage him, saying that he was definitely having more movement in his legs.
When he didn’t have early morning therapy, he normally stayed in bed until he was coerced to get up. Wednesday was one of those days, so when Jed heard a knock on his door, he assumed it was one of his parents.
He grunted, hoping they’d leave him alone. But, the door swung open and he heard it close again. “Ma, I’m sleeping in today,” he muttered.
“It’s eleven o’clock. How long do you plan on sleeping in?” Recognizing Sage’s voice immediately, he lifted his head up to make sure he wasn’t hearing things.
Seeing her standing there with her skinny jeans and a snug t-shirt, Jed’s heart skipped a beat. A burst of emotions hit him—especially annoyance.
“What are you doing here? Who said you could just walk in my room like this?” Jed wanted to punch the wall, angry that she still held the power over his feelings.
“Your parents, actually.” Sage walked to the bed. “When do you plan on getting out of bed?”
“Not your damn business, Sage. You’re not welcome here. Can you leave?” The thought of her, of all people, seeing him at his most vulnerable state infuriated him. How dare she walk in here as if the last ten years hadn’t happened? Sure, growing up, she came in and out as she pleased. In high school, when they were dating, she practically had moved into his parents’ house.
“Whatever. I wanted to see you, okay? I’ll be leaving soon, and I wanted to make sure you were doing all right.”
“What the hell! Just get out!” Jed did not want her to witness him struggling to get out of bed.
“Jed, I’m not leaving. I want to talk with you, but I’ll wait in the living room. I’ll give you privacy right now, unless you need any help.” Sage folded her arms in front of her chest, her lips set in a thin line.
“Get out! Now!”
After Sage turned and stormed out, Jed threw his pillow at the door, frustrated that she had to come and disrupt his state of mind. He knew she was stubborn, though, so he reluctantly crawled out of bed and got into his wheelchair.
Heading to the bathroom, he decided he should at least get himself somewhat cleaned up since she looked beautiful as ever. She had not aged one bit in the last ten years. If anything, she was even more beautiful, her dark hair longer than in high school, and her body seemed to have more curves in the right places than he remembered. Splashing his face with the water, he cursed at where life had taken him. Knowing there was no time to dwell on anything at the moment, he finished up by putting on his sweatpants and a black t-shirt. His damp hair was more curly than usual, and he hadn’t shaved in couple of days, so a beard was starting to form. Refusing to do anything more with his appearance, he took a deep breath and headed out of his room.
Jed could hear his parents talking with Sage. Annoyed and feeling betrayed that they were being friendly with her, he clenched his jaw tightly and continued wheeling toward the one girl who had broken his heart.
“Hey, Jed. We were just catching up with Sage. Did you know she just returned from Brazil? She worked with kids there to help them. She does this kind of stuff all the time…and all over the world.” His mom was babbling, so he knew she was nervous.
When he remained silent, his dad said, “Come on, honey. Let’s leave these kids alone, so they can catch up.”
Jed’s eyes remained on Sage, trying to show her that she had no effect on him at all. Sage was nervously fidgeting with her fingers and looked everywhere but at him.
“It’s okay. Sage and I won’t be long. We can step outside on the porch,” Jed finally said.
“Yeah, we’ll be outside,” Sage agreed, heading toward the door.
Once outside, Sage sat on the rocking chair and waited for Jed to pull up next to her. Keeping his distance, Jed said, “What’s up? What do you want to talk about?”
Taking a deep breath, Sage closed her eyes. Finally, she opened them and said, “I’m going to be honest here. After I saw you the other night, I went straight home and Googled you. I wanted to find out what happened. First of all, I want to say how sorry I am.”
“Don’t need to hear that. What else you gotta say?”
Sage sighed. “You’re not making this easy for me, Jed. This is really hard—to see you after all these years. I tried to stay away this week, but I needed to see you. I needed to find out how you’re really doing.”
“Well, Sage, how the hell do you think I’m doing? I can’t walk, I can’t piss, and I can’t take a shit. I have a goddamn tube going up my penis that collects my piss. My parents have to make sure I have a bowel movement regularly. What else do you want to know?” Jed knew he was being harsh, but he didn’t care.
“If you’re trying to shock me, it’s not going to work. I’m a doctor, remember?”
“You asked how I was doing. That’s the best I got for you. Why do you care anyway? It’s not like you’ve tried to contact me through the years. Not once did you try to find out how I was doing.”
“I did try to contact you at first, but you wouldn’t return my calls, remember? Besides, I knew how you were doing because you’ve been all over the media, Jed. Your songs were all over the radio, and every time I logged onto my computer, there was usually some sort of news about you, especially on all the gossip sites. I knew about your success, your tours, who you were dating…yeah, I admit it. I kept tabs on you, okay?”
Jed didn’t respond, surprised at first. He sighed, shaking his head. “I don’t know what you want from me. Why are you here? There’s nothing left to say.”
Sage looked away quickly, staring off into the horizon. Just then Jade came running, excited to see her. Sage petted her and pulled her into her arms. “Jade! I’ve missed you, girl. You look great!”
This time, it was Jed who looked away. Pain pierced through his heart as he remembered they had rescued Jade together from the shelter during their senior year in high school. They also had chosen her name to be a combination of both of theirs. At the time, they had decided that Jade was their first baby until they were older and more responsible to have their own kids one day. But, of course, Sage didn’t even stick around to raise Jade. Instead, Jed ended up taking his baby to LA with him, and she had been his best buddy for the last ten years. The fact that Jade recognized Sage instantly felt like another betrayal.
When Jade continued to kiss Sage, he finally couldn’t take it anymore. “Jade!” he called. “Come here.” Jade immediately leaped off of Sage and approached him. “Sit,” Jed commanded. “Stay!”
He knew Jade wouldn’t disobey him, and in some strange way, he felt a small victory over Sage. Recognizing it was silly, he still wanted to rub it in her face that Jade was his baby.
Sage bit her lower lip and turned her attention back toward him. “How long are you here?” she finally asked.
“Don’t know,” he replied abruptly.
“I’m here for at least a few more weeks. For what it’s worth, you look great, and believe it or not, I’ve missed you. Like, a lot. But I know you don’t care to hear all that, so I won’t bore you. Jed, I’d like to see you more. If you don’t want to catch up on our personal lives, fine. I would love for you to tell me how your rehab and everything is going. I have a lot of colleagues who are neurologists. Maybe I can help somehow.”
“I don’t need your help, Sage. Why the hell would I take help from you?” Furious, he began to push his wheelchair back toward the house. “Take care and have a great life.” He continued without turning around to look at her.
“All right, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Sage replied.
Before Jed could turn his wheelchair around to yell at her, Sage leaped off of the porch and was already disappearing down the driveway and into her car.
Hope you guys are enjoying Broken. More to come in a near future. If you want to read the full story now, you can get it from Amazon. It’s also free on Kindle Unlimited. Link: here
I posted Chapter 1 last week. Each week, I’m going to try to post another chapter of my short stories. These stories were fun to write, so I want to share these amazing characters to my readers.
Here’s the link to Chapter 1, so please read this first before continuing. Chapter1
It was a two-hour drive to the resort. Ryan was driving while Kat enjoyed the country breeze blowing from the windows.
“So, what did you tell Sarah?” she asked.
“Women are crazy…no offense. I tried to tell her I was going away with my buddies for the weekend.”
“You mean you tried to lie to her.”
“Whatever. Anyway, she started throwing a fit about that. Something about how come I don’t take her away for a weekend. It got so annoying that I just had to break it off right then and there.”
“Are you serious? You broke up with her? All because of a little disagreement?”
“She was starting to become too clingy anyway. I’ve been feeling claustrophobic lately.”
Kat shook her head in disapproval. “What happened to the nice Ryan I used to know when we were kids? That Ryan would have treated his girlfriend like a princess.”
Ryan laughed. “That Ryan never dated. He couldn’t even get a date if he tried.”
“Well, you went from one extreme to another. You’ve never wanted to be in a serious relationship? I mean, Ryan, we’re getting old. Maybe we should be thinking of finding somebody to settle down with.”
“Speak for yourself. I’m in my prime age. We’re only twenty-eight. You make it seem like we’re in our fifties or something.”
Kat rolled her eyes, wondering what happened to her sweet, innocent Ryan in the last ten years. “Well, one day, somebody is going to steal your heart, and you won’t even know what hit you.”
Ryan remained silent for several seconds. Changing the subject, he said, “Okay, let’s talk about the game plan for this weekend. Do I need to know anything? What kind of boyfriend am I to you? How did we decide to start dating? We need to make sure we have the same stories, Kat.”
“Right! Okay, so you have to convince them that you’re head over heels in love with me. That’s the best payback. I’m dying to see Jeff’s reaction. Nobody knows I’m bringing you. They all think I’m coming alone. I can’t wait to see their faces when you walk in with me.” Kat smiled to herself, visualizing the entire scenario. “As far as how we started dating… hmm let’s see…Oh, I know! You’ve always been in love with me since we were kids. You just never had to guts to tell me. But, one day, when we were out, and we were both drunk, you finally had the courage to confess to me. I decided to give it a chance, and well, you won me over.”
“That’s stupid. I don’t like that at all. It makes me sound pathetic. You know, less of a man that I had to get drunk to tell you my feelings. Why can’t you be the one who asked me out? How about, you were drunk and called me over. You attacked me, but I was a gentleman and didn’t take advantage of you. When you woke up in my arms the next day and realized that I respected you enough to not do the dirty, you realized that I was the one for you. It was like an epiphany.” Ryan smiled smugly at his version of the story.
“Wow, that’s really bad. But fine, if that makes you feel more like a man, we’ll go with that story. By the way, you know we have to share a room, right?”
“I figured as much. It would look very strange if we were in different rooms. I don’t have a problem with it. I mean, it’s not like we’ve never shared a bed before.”
Kat laughed, remembering how they would have sleepovers all the time until they were about ten years old. After that, both of their parents allowed them to hang out, but restricted sleeping together.
“Wish we could go back in time, Ryan. Everything was just so much simpler back then.”
Ryan reached to hold her hand. Squeezing it, he said, “You just make things more complicated than it needs to be. Things can still be simple.”
She sighed, shaking her head. “No. Life is complicated. We were so innocent back then that we didn’t notice. When middle school and high school came, everything changed.”
He removed his hand and placed it back on the steering wheel. “It didn’t have to change. We drifted apart. You hung out with the popular kids. I’m sure being a big time cheerleader put a lot of pressure on you regarding who you could hang out with. A nerdy guy with glasses and pimples would not have been cool at all.”
Kat sensed the bitterness in his tone. “Ryan, I know I was a bitch back then. Those stupid, so-called ‘popular’ friends are not even in my life right now. You’re the only one who has stood by me through all these years.” She leaned her head onto his shoulder. Ryan meant the world to her. She knew she was nasty to him those years growing up, but once she matured, she had always regretted it.
Ryan sighed and placed his arm around her, bringing her closer to him. “Hey, on the bright side, at least the pimples, the greasy hair, and the glasses are gone now.”
“Amen!” Kat agreed, leaning her face up and kissing his cheek.
Before long, they were pulling up on the dirt road which led to the oversized cabin. There would be seven other couples there. Luckily, the cabin was large enough, consisting of eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, basement, and a large living room. The law firm liked to send the attorneys away once a year. They felt it was good for team building and the morale of the firm.
Kat’s anxiety began to build as they pulled up the driveway. She had purposefully avoided Jeff at work since the breakup. How was she going to handle being under the same roof, especially with his new girlfriend?
Ryan must have sensed her uneasiness because before exiting the car, he grabbed her hand. “Hey, you okay? Show me the confident, badass Kat I’ve known all these years.”
Kat took a deep breath and nodded. She could do this, especially with Ryan standing by her side. “I’ll be fine. I just needed a second.”
Without saying anything further, Ryan jumped out of the car and swung around to open her door. He then grabbed their luggage and waited for her to catch up. Smiling reassuringly at her, he gave her his arm for her to hold while they both walked toward the door.
Jenna, one of her colleagues, ran out. “Katrina, you made it! You’re the last to arrive.” She turned her attention toward Ryan. “Oh, hey! Ryan, right? I didn’t realize Katrina was bringing anybody?” She then turned her gaze toward Kat, her eyes dancing with curiosity.
“Hey, Jenna. Yeah, I wanted to bring my boyfriend to the retreat. Can’t be away from him for all those days,” Kat replied, proud of herself at how smoothly she handled that.
“Hello, Jenna. Long time, no see,” Ryan said, flashing his sexy smile.
Kat detected the flirtatious tone and glared at him when Jenna’s back was to them. Damn him, he just can’t help himself.
Ryan smirked, shrugging his shoulders innocently.
Once inside, the rest of the guests crowded around them, everybody talking at once about the plans for the weekend. Kat immediately noticed Jeff as he slowly strolled toward them from the living room.
“Hey, guys! You all remember Ryan, right? My best friend from childhood? Well, he’s now my boyfriend.” Kat decided to just throw it out there right from the start.
Everybody stopped talking and stared at Ryan and then back at her. Kat could feel the heat rising to her face, wondering if she totally screwed that one up.
Ryan placed the luggage down and said, “Hey, glad to be here. I probably know most of you here, except for the significant others. I just couldn’t let Kat go without me. I would miss her every minute of the day. Hope you guys don’t mind me tagging along.” He pulled Kat into his arms and lifted her chin, gazing into her eyes. Slowly, he lowered his lips to hers, teasing her. “Three days without you would be the death of me, Kat,” he whispered.
While several women from the audience sighed, Kat knew her face was probably beet-red by then. She had not prepared for this at all. She thought she could pull this off, but she was failing big time. Not only was she flustered from Ryan’s kiss, she was completely astonished by his acting skills. How the hell was he so good at this?
“So, where’s our room, guys? Would love to unpack and get cleaned up a bit,” Ryan asked the group.
“Oh, yeah, sorry, Ryan. Where are our manners? You just threw us off guard with that sexy kiss,” Larry said, and several people chuckled. Larry was one of the guys who had organized this trip. “It’s upstairs. Come on, I’ll show you guys.”
Kat sprinted after Larry, well aware of Jeff’s eyes following her and watching her every move. Once Larry left Ryan and her alone in the room, she closed the door. She immediately noticed the tiny room with the full sized bed in the center. Against the wall, there was a small chest with a mirror and four drawers. This is going to be a long weekend, she thought.
Ignoring the setup of the room, she turned her attention back to Ryan. “What was that?” she whispered.
“What?” he asked innocently, raising his eyebrow.
“That…that kiss…downstairs. I was not prepared! You should have warned me.”
“Kat, you were making a total fool out of yourself. I was trying to save you.”
“I made more of a fool out of myself from your kiss. I was not ready for that,” Kat continued to whisper loudly, her hands on her hips.
“How could I know that my kiss was going to get you all rattled? I didn’t know I had that kind of effect on you.” Ryan laughed, unable to hold back.
Kat picked up the pillow and threw it at him. “It didn’t have any effect on me. I just didn’t realize you were going to kiss me right then and there. I needed to be prepared, that’s all. Besides, it’s not like that’s the first time we’ve kissed!” she hissed.
Ryan was in the middle of unpacking his clothes, but turned to her when she said that. “You remember that? We were like four years old.”
“Of course I remember. That was the first time. We snuck a peck in the closet. But then, we kissed again when we were ten. And, the last time, we were thirteen. That one was a bit longer.”
Ryan laughed. “Yes, I remember all of our innocent kissing. I think we were curious more than anything. Guess there will be a lot of kissing this weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”
“Oh my God, Ryan! You’re impossible.” With that, she took her luggage and began throwing her clothes in the drawers.
Fifteen minutes later, they were both heading downstairs, holding hands. As soon as they arrived in the living room, Jenna grabbed her and said, “Come on, Katrina. I’ll get you some wine. Ryan, do you want anything?”
“Yeah, I’ll take some beer if you have some.”
“Of course,” Jenna replied. She continued to pull Kat into the kitchen with her. “Holy shit, Katrina! Why didn’t you tell any of us? He’s so hot. How do you manage to get the most beautiful guys?” Jenna poured the red wine into the glass and handed it to her. She leaned into the fridge and grabbed a Bud Light. “Did you see Jeff’s face? It was priceless!”
Kat took the opportunity to inquire about Jeff. “Which one is his girlfriend? I don’t know everybody here.”
“Oh, she’s the cute blonde who looks like she’s twenty-one. Her name is Angel. I don’t know what he sees in her. I swear, she’s probably ten years younger than him.”
“Angel? Really?” Kat couldn’t help herself, and she noticed her immediately.
Angel had long, curly hair, a petite body, and a gorgeous face. Yep, complete opposite of her. Kat had brown, wavy, shoulder-length hair, green eyes, and although she prided herself to be physically fit, she knew she wasn’t petite by any means. She was 5’8” and being a natural athlete, she had strong, defined muscles. Jeff was 6’1”, and his new girl, Angel, seemed like she was just over five feet. As much as Kat hated to admit it, she knew that Angel was a looker. She had the innocent beauty that most guys would be drawn to and would want to take care of her.
“Yes, he told us her name was Angel. She’s kind of clingy, though,” Jenna continued. “Who cares about her, though? I want to hear more about what happened with Ryan and you. I always knew there was something there between you two. I was just wondering when you guys were going to figure it out.”
Kat swallowed hard, faking a smile. Before she could reply, she heard Jeff say, “So, Ryan, how did you and Katrina finally hook up? We want to hear about this.”
Ryan looked at her and smiled. As he held his hand out to her, Kat walked to him and took it. She handed him his beer, and he pulled her into his embrace as he planted a kiss on her forehead.
“Oh, I’ve always been in love with her. Probably since the first time I saw her…yeah, I was about three years old when my family moved next to Kat’s house. I would say it was love at first sight for me.” Ryan caressed her back, pulling her tighter into his arms.
“That is the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard,” Dee, one of her other colleagues, said. “What about you, Katrina? What finally convinced you to give him a chance?”
By now, Kat was so confused, she couldn’t remember what story they had agreed on. When she continued to stand there with a fixed smile on her face, Ryan continued, “Oh, she had no idea I’ve felt this way. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. One day, we were hanging out at a karaoke bar, and I had plenty to drink. I finally got the courage to get on stage and sing to her about how I felt.”
Kat was frozen. Where was this coming from? They hadn’t discussed this at all.
“You sang to her? You’re kidding! How sweet are you!” Dee jams her boyfriend in the rib.
“What? Oh, man, you’re gonna get all the guys in trouble here,” her boyfriend said.
“What did you sing to her?” Jenna asked, dying to know the details.
“One by Ed Sheeran,” Ryan replied. “Once I was on stage, I announced that I was dedicating the song to my best friend, Kat. Of course, after I sang the song, she finally figured out how I felt about her. And, well, the rest is history.”
“That is the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard,” somebody said, while other females began to sigh loudly around the room.
“You loved my singing, didn’t you, babe?” Ryan turned his attention to Kat, flashing his cocky lopsided grin.
“Yes, babe, I did. You sounded just as good as Ed Sheeran, if not better. Stole my heart that day,” Kat said, staring hard into Ryan’s eyes, and silently promising him he wasn’t going to get away with this one.
That’s all for now, folks! Chapter three is coming your way next week. Kat and Ryan’s story is becoming interesting, right?
If you’re interested in continuing with this story or any other short stories, you can get Loving You Hurts So Good on Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited. Amazon
If you’re interested in reading any other books, here’s my Amazon page. Link
On Feb 16th, my seventh novel, Fate’s Roar, will be released! Yikes!
Here’s the prologue:
They were in that burning house. He could feel it. As he dove down, hoping he wasn’t too late, Shane felt the hot, crackling wind, accompanied by thick, black smoke, whipping around him. The flames rose high, daring him to come closer, hissing and roaring.
He had no time to worry about the raging inferno. Without a second thought, he crashed through the roof of the house and plunged downward to where his brother’s ring was calling out to him. Shane wasn’t worried about his flesh being burned because he knew he would heal quickly. On the other hand, Damien and Kelsey were mere humans. All he could do was pray they were still alive.
Shane allowed his senses to take over, and within seconds, he was standing next to both of their bodies. Snatching them up in his arms, he flew out of the burning house, making sure to cover them with his own body in order to protect them from the flames. As soon as he had them a safe distance away from the blazing building that was on the verge of collapsing, he placed them down on the ground.
“Damien! Come on, open your eyes!” Shane was desperate as he shook him. He wouldn’t allow his brother to die like this.
Shane could hear Damien and Kelsey’s heartbeats, but just barely. If only Damien hadn’t decided to become a human, he would already be healed. Pushing the thought away, Shane forced himself to focus on the current situation. He had to get Damien and Kelsey help before it was too late.
When he heard voices not too far away, Shane leapt back up to his feet. Carrying Damien and Kelsey in his arms, he sprinted toward the sound. Within seconds, he was standing behind tall bushes, watching a woman and a young girl next to her.
“Mom, I’m worried about Aunt Kelsey.” The young girl stared at the fire, looking terrified at the sight.
“It’s okay, Samantha. Help is on its way. Besides, Damien is with her, so I’m sure they got out,” the mother said, trying to reassure her daughter.
“How could they have? Look at the fire, Mom! Damien was shot, remember?” The girl was pulling on her mom’s shirt, trying to hold back her panic.
Shane cringed when he heard that Damien was shot. He had smelled blood, but wasn’t sure what the injury was from. He was at least glad he saw a man’s dead body in the woods as he was approaching the house. He presumed that body must belong to the lunatic serial killer that had been after Kelsey. Realizing he couldn’t afford to waste another second, he shifted into his human form. While still holding Damien and Kelsey in his arms, he approached the woman and her daughter.
As soon as the woman saw him, she instantly pointed her gun at Shane. “Stop where you are. I’ll shoot.”
“It’s okay. I’m not here to hurt you. I’m Damien’s brother. Kelsey and Damien need your help.” Shane placed their bodies down so the woman could get a closer look.
“It’s Kelsey!” the young girl exclaimed, and she began to run toward them.
Her mother grabbed her from behind and held her back. “Stop, Samantha! We don’t know this person!”
“Please, they need help,” Shane begged as he kneeled next to his brother. What if this woman refused to help? Should he take Damien and Kelsey to the nearest hospital? Shane knew there wasn’t enough time for that, though. They were barely hanging on. He should just grab the woman and make her help.
“Help is on its way. Don’t move!” the woman commanded, the gun still pointing at Shane. “There’s a crazy killer on the loose.”
“You don’t need to worry about him anymore. He’s dead. I saw his body with my own eyes,” Shane assured her. “I can’t stay here. You need to help Damien and Kelsey. They’re barely breathing.” Shane was just about to use his powers to force the woman to cooperate, but he noticed she lowered the gun and walked toward him, still holding her daughter’s hand.
As soon as she approached them, the woman collapsed next to Kelsey. “Dear God,” she whispered. “It’s the smoke inhalation.” Immediately, she started CPR on Kelsey.
Following her lead, Shane began to do the same with Damien. When he felt the young girl standing close to him, he glanced up at her. Wide, amber eyes with tiny gold specks stared back at him in awe. For a split second, he was lost. In that instant, time had stopped, and he had to fight hard to maintain his focus. What was it about this innocent girl who was watching him so intently?
Knowing he had to ensure that the mother and the daughter forgot about him, he used his powers to get into the young girl’s head. He decided that soon as he was done with her, he’d do the same with her mother. Since she was busy with Kelsey, the mother didn’t notice Shane whisper to the girl. “You will not remember seeing me. All you know is somehow Damien and Kelsey were able to get out. When I count to three, you will close your eyes. One, two, three.”
The young girl did not close her eyes. Instead, she watched him curiously. “Are you a superhero?” she whispered.
Shane shook his head in shock. His powers hadn’t worked on her. How could that be? It was impossible! He tried it again, but the girl continued to resist his powers. He could even feel some type of a barrier in her mind—a barrier he couldn’t break.
“Why are you naked?” she asked out loud.
“Samantha!” her mother scolded as she continued desperately with CPR.
Shane had completely forgotten about his appearance. When he had shifted into a human, he didn’t have any clothes he could put on. It was the least of his priorities given the circumstances.
“I’m sorry, but I must go,” Shane said to the mother. “I believe your help is almost here. At least Kelsey and Damien are breathing a bit stronger now. I would appreciate it if you don’t mention me to the authorities. Please just tell them they were able to get out from the burning house, but soon passed out.” Shane’s acute sense of hearing could already hear the emergency sirens in the distance.
The mother stood back up and blinked several times, as if trying to decide. The young girl stepped closer to him and said, “Thank you for saving Aunt Kelsey. We will keep your secret. Right, Mom?” She looked up at her mother, waiting for her to agree.
Shane contemplated whether he should use his powers on the mother to make her forget seeing him. He quickly changed his mind, though, not wanting the burden of keeping his secret to solely fall on the young girl.
He took a step closer to the mother and daughter team. “My name is Shane. I’m Damien’s younger brother. Please take care of my brother and Kelsey. I will come to the hospital as soon as I possibly can.”
The mother nodded. “I’m Sofia, and this is my daughter, Samantha.” Sofia still seemed hesitant, but relieved that Damien and Kelsey were out of the fire.
“Aunt Kelsey calls me Sammy. You can call me Sammy, too,” the young girl softly chimed in.
Shane’s attention fell on her once again. He threw her a slight smile and said, “Thank you for being so brave, little Sammy. And thank you for keeping my secret.” When the sirens were becoming louder, he turned back to the mother. “I must go.”
Without another word, Shane turned and disappeared into the night. All the while, he could feel the young girl’s haunting eyes boring into him.
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