*SINGLE MOM NEXT DOOR*
CHAPTER 18:FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.
“You aren’t my husband”I said, trying to sound in control.
I prayed Nate would appear any second,but I knew that probably wouldn’t happen.
He grinned at me, making my stomach clenched.
“You thought you were rid of me,huh?”
“How did you get….out of jail?”
“Had another guy like me who was desperate to break out.We set the place on fire….it wasn’t easy at all,We even killed two f√¢king cops and thanks to you I have to stay in hiding my entire life”His voice turned angry.”And you didn’t waste any time in finding yourself a lover,did you?”
“What did you do to Nate?”I demanded, looking around for a way to escape.
“Let’s just say he’ll be chasing horses for a long time”He looked around the room.”You have a nice setup here.Too bad you aren’t going to be able to stay and enjoy it.Get dressed,bitch.We’re going to get the brats and get the hell out of here”
“No, leave the children out of this!”
“Can’t do that”He told me.”It’s the only way I’ll keep you in line”
I couldn’t go through this again.”I’m not going with you”
He walked towards me then pulled a gun from the belt of his trousers.
“You are, unless you don’t want your lover to live”
I gasped then caught my skirt as Eugene threw it at me.
I got dressed as fast as my trembling hands would allow, all the the time trying to come up with a plan to get away….and keep Nate safe.
“C’mon,quit stalling”Eugene grabbed me by my arm and pain shot through me.
Memories of my old life flooded back,but I couldn’t let him get control again,I also knew that he was going to make me pay dearly for turning him in.
He even got two cops killed just because he wanted to get me.
I’m sure the police were on the lookout for him.
Why did I even get involved with this psychopath in the first place?
I had no doubt that he would hurt me…. maybe even kill me.
Thank God that Aiden and Annie were at my mom’s place.
I would make sure they stayed that way.
I won’t let him get them too.
Eugene hauled me through the dark house and out of the front door.
I didn’t see a vehicle,but realized that he wouldn’t be so stupid as to drive up to the door.
“How did you find me?”
He jerked me along beside him toward the road that led to the highway.
“Simple! I figured you were going to go running back to your mother when I didn’t find you at our house in Portland.I’ve been hanging around your mother’s house for days with no sign of you until tonight when you showed up with your lover and the kids.When you left with him,I followed you two and I’ve watched your lovey-dovey show all evening”
He stopped abruptly and I ran into his sweaty body,his sour beer breath nearly made me gag.
“Don’t you know that you can never get away from me?”His mouth crushed against mine.
As never before, I found the strength to fight him.
I pummelled my fists into his chest until I broke free.
I began to run, praying I could hide in the dark.
I didn’t get to the high bushes before he tackled me to the ground, driving the air from my lungs.
He pinned me as he smacked my face.
I hit him back scratching and clawing at him.
I didn’t know how long we struggled before I felt his weight being lifted up off me.
I watched as the two men fought.
Eugene rolled away and pulled out his gun.
I heard the sound of the hammer being cocked.
“No,Eugene, don’t!”I cried as he aimed the weapon at Nate.
“I’ll go with you.I won’t fight you anymore.Just don’t hurt him”
Before anything happened,the shrill sound of the police’s siren filled the silence.
Nate caught Eugene off guard and lunged at him.
The gun went flying.
Then Nate rammed his fist into Eugene’s jaw and he dropped to the ground, cursing loudly.
Nate hurried to my side and wrapped his arms around me as the police car skidded to a stop, flooding the area with its headlights.
Three policemen sprang out of the doors with their guns drawn.
“Raise your hands!”One of them demanded.
Nate did as he was told.
“Officer, I’m Nathan Carter.I made the 911 call”I said and nodded to the ground.
“That’s Eugene.He tried to kidnap Laurel and held a gun at the both of us”
Two of the cops held Eugene down and handcuffed him as the first cop who introduced himself as Bruce retrieved Eugene’s gun.
He returned to us.
“Are you okay?”He asked Laurel.”Do you need to go to the hospital?”
“No, I’m fine”She replied.”He didn’t hurt me”
I knew she was lying.Her face showed the end result of Eugene’s fist.
“Are you sure you don’t wannna see a doctor?”I asked.
She shook her head.”What about you?”
“I’m fine.I’m just glad I got here in time”
“It was Eugene who let the horses out”She told me.
“I figured something was wrong when I found out that the fence had been cut.I called the cops thinking someone was stealing the horses.I didn’t know Eugene was behind it until I came back to the cabin to see if you were safe”
“What about the horses?”
“You’re more important than anything else, baby.Though Asher insisted on going after them”
“Now that the police are here,maybe you should go and help him”
I shook my head.
Is she f√¢king kidding me right now?
“I’m not leaving you, Laurel”I slipped my arm around her but she pulled back.
“I’m fine,Nate.I just want to see my children”
Tears flooded her eyes.”I need to know that they’re safe”
I pulled out my cellphone from my pocket.”Here…call your mom and make sure”
I know the kids are okay but she looks frightened so I can’t say otherwise.
Laurel took the phone and walked a few feet away to make the call.
I wanted to stay with her but she seemed to want to be alone so I took the opportunity to talk to Bruce.
“He needs to be locked up for life.Look what he did to her face”
“His picture is on the wanted list in Portland.He’s an escapee and he killed two cops.That alone would put him away for a long time.But I’m still gonna need a statement from Mrs Morales…..”
“They’re no longer married.She’s Laurel!”I snapped.
I was insanely possessive of her.
“Sorry, it’s been a rough night.Could she come in tomorrow morning?”
“No problem, we’re gonna inform the Portland police force that we’ve found him”Bruce went back to the car and drove off.
Laurel returned and handed me the phone.
“Aiden and Annie are asleep but I need to see them.Please,can you take me there?”
“Sure,we can leave in the morning…”
“I want to leave now.I can tell my mom the truth and if she’ll allow, I’ll stay with her for a while but I’m not sure what’s gonna happen after that”She couldn’t meet my eyes.
My gut tightened.”What are you trying to do, Laurel?”
She looked at me.”Right now,I have to concern myself with my children and surviving.You almost got hurt today because of me. I can’t drag you into my mess of a life.”
I stepped closer.”What if I want to be there…to help you?”
“I have to help myself”This time,she met my gaze.”Please,Nate.Try to understand,I have nothing to give you”She swung around and hurried off toward the cabin.
I just stood there, feeling as if my heart had been ripped out from my chest.
She was wrong.
Laurel had everything to give me.
Everything that mattered to me.
And just like that….one week passed by….
It had been one week since Eugene showed up.
One week since I decided to give Laurel time to cool off.
She probably came to get some of her things from the apartment when I wasn’t around.
I miss her.
I miss Annie and Aiden.
I miss them like hell.
And the fact that she can’t see how good we are together really hurts.
She had told Felicia the truth.
I don’t know how the woman took the news but she met up with me.
I could see how disappointed she was that I wasn’t really Laurel’s husband or the father of her kids.
I made my intentions known to her and she promised to plead with Laurel for my sake.
Even if she was livid that her daughter had something to do with that riffraff.
She was more angry hearing the abuse part so she hired a hotshot lawyer who was making sure he gets a death sentence this time.
The families of the late cops weren’t left out…they were also pressing charges.
So once again,I see no benefit in being violence.
It only makes things worse.
His violence had also made things worse for me.
Laurel probably thinks she’s better off on her own without me…. without any man.
I still want to hold on to a glimpse of hope even if I’m feeling pretty hurt right now.
I sat on the porch and watched Annie and Aiden play “catch me if you can”
I was taking a leave from work because I feel really numb to do anything… I’m f√¢king messed up.
In a way I wished I could work.
At least it kept me busy so I wouldn’t have so much time to think about how much I missed Nate….and remember.Remember how it felt to have him hold me….to klzz me.I closed my eyes recalling the many times we made love.
A memory of Eugene pointing a gun at him overshadowed my thoughts.
I really didn’t deserve him.
He was living a peaceful life before he met a f√¢ked-up single mom.
“Thinking about him again?”
My eyes shot open to find my mom sitting on the chair next to mine.
I told her the truth that night after getting back from Nate’s ranch.
At first,she had been so upset and disappointed.
She didn’t speak to the previous day and after thinking things through.
She also apologized for her negligence during my childhood.
She advised me to be a great mother….a greater woman than her.
I’m such a mess.
In her attempt to make it up to me,she had pulled all her connections to Eugene’s case.
Hire a good lawyer and very soon,I’ll be facing him in court.
“No”I lied.”I have too many things on my mind,like my future and finding a new place”
“You really want to cut Nate off like that?”My mom asked.
“He should find someone else…someone better…”
“You’re being selfish,Laurel.Don’t you care about what he wants?
“I do and he’s too good to be with someone like me”
“Why are you degrading yourself like this?Why do you feel unworthy of love?What has Eugene done to you?He just showed up and made you disorganized and you’re just going to let fear ruin your entire life.”
Tears stung my eyes.”I can’t do anything….”
“It’s normal to have fear of the unknown.For instance,you have an exam you have to rewrite,many people fidget because they don’t know what the outcome would be,they don’t wanna write that damn exam again but they still have to try harder to pushed through that stage.Life is all about taking risks.You are scared of what a future with Nate might be like.”
I looked away from her.
She’s right though.
“Nate loves you.I’m not saying this because I’m fond of him.I’m saying this because I know it…when I saw you two making out at the garage and when I met up with him…he seemed desperate requesting that I talk you into giving him another chance.He loves you and your kids.If you succeed in making him walk away from you…do you think you can ever find a man like him?Can you ever forget him?”
I know I can’t forget him…but I’m doing what my head is telling me not my heart.
I started to speak when I heard the sound of a car.
I looked up to see a car pulling up on the garage…at the side of compound.
My heart raced.It was Nate.
Nerves had my pulse pounding in my ears as I got down from my car.
I saw Laurel sitting on the porch with her mom.
I feel extremely scared that I might get dumped today.
Before I could get any closer,Annie cane running to me.
I bent down and hugged her realizing how much I had missed her calling me that name.
She pouted.”I missed you.Aiden and I wanted to see you but mommy says we can’t”Her eyes teared up.”Can you tell her it’s okay?”
I looked at the porch….at Laurel but she seem too busy with her mom to even spare me a glance.
My chest ached and I had a strong feeling that I’m going to leave here… brokenhearted.
I stared at Annie.
“I’ll do my best”
Aiden ran out of the house.
“Nate, you’re here!”He squealed.
“How have you been,buddy?Have you been good for your mother?”
He nodded.”I painted a lot of pictures of you”
Annie wasn’t going to be left out.”I painted a lot of pictures of you too.”
I bit my bottom lip stopping myself from laughing but I felt glad that they’ve been thinking of me too even if they had definitely drew caricatures instead.
“Thanks guys.I can’t wait to see those paintings”
“Why didn’t you come to see us sooner?”Aiden asked.”Don’t you care about us?”
“I care a lot about you and your sister”I assured them. I tugged on Annie’s ponytail and saw Laurel watching us.
I’m sure she couldn’t hear what we were saying.
“Do you love us?”Annie asked.”Do you love mommy?”
I couldn’t find my voice but I nodded.
“Then marry her”Aiden suggested.
These kids didn’t mess around.
I decided maybe I should plead my case to them before I faced Laurel.
“Yes,I want to marry your mother.And I want to be your dad too”He watched as two pairs of eyes widened.
Annie gasped.”Can we live with you forever?”
“Oh, yeah”She cheered.
“You love us?”Aiden asked.
I swallowed as I placed my hand on his shoulder.
“Yes. I love you.I can’t promise that I won’t get mad at you and your sister but I’ll never raise a hand on either of you”
“I know you won’t”Aiden said so confidently.”Will you teach me how to play baseball?And can I ride a horse when I’m older?”
I had trouble speaking because I wanted all these but I don’t know if I’d have a chance to have them in my life.
“I’d planned on it”
“And will you read me stories at night? I know with time,you’ll be good at it”Annie said.
I laughed.”It’ll be my pleasure,princess.Now,you two need to give me some time with your mother…alone.I’d like to take her somewhere so we can talk.So I can tell her how much I care about her.Is that alright?”
They both nodded, enthusiastically.
“I can watch Annie”Aiden offered.”We’ll be good for grandma”
“Great,son, because I’m going to need all the help I can get”
Annie cupped her mouth and whispered.
“Give mommy klzzes.She likes klzzes”Then she ran off with her brother.
I smiled.At least,I had the kids on my side.
I slowly strode towards the porch.
“Hello, Laurel, Felicia…… Laurel,do you think I can talk with you a minute?Alone?”
She hesitated,then came down the steps.
I couldn’t help but notice she had lost weight and the dark circles under her eyes…those big, beautiful eyes.
At least,there were no remaining traces of bruises.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine”She replied.
“Good”I felt awkward and glanced off to where the kids were playing.
“Aiden and Annie are doing okay too.”She continued.”I hate to think of what would have happened if they’d been at the cabin when…”
“But they weren’t”I stressed.”They were safe and they’ll be safe from now on”
I took a step closer aching to touch her,to take her in my arms.To hold her and erase her pain…her fears.
Instead, I said.”I know of a very nice place downtown,we could go there,loosen up and talk.”
I didn’t say anything for several seconds.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea”
His face fell.”O….Okay.If you don’t want us to go anywhere.We can talk here.What’s happening to us?”
“I just think you deserve someone better”
Hurt flashed through his eyes.
“Is this your own way of breaking up with me?”
Looking into his eyes,I felt my resolve slipping.
“After Eugene showed up,I’ve not been myself and I need time to think….”
“Time”He repeated slowly.
“I stayed away for a week.Do you know how much I missed you?It was as if the sun hasn’t risen since a week now.You can’t just keep tossing me around like this because I love you.Please,Laurel, let’s just go out…have some fun.Let me make you feel better again”
“Not now”I replied.
“When will that be? Never? That’s a cop out and you know it.But if you think that’s all there is between us then I can’t change that”He said, angrily and I know I had pushed him off to his limits.
He was giving up.
He was giving me what I wanted.
He was walking away from my life.
“I can’t force you, Laurel but I won’t hang around where I’m not wanted either”With one last look,he spun and headed towards his car.
I ached to go after him.
I love him but I felt he deserved more….I felt I could never give him what he needed and someday he might regret being with a woman like me.
Eugene had made me have a low self-esteem.
My attention changed when I saw my kids running after his car.
I ran after them to stop them from going after a moving vehicle.
Nate seem to notice them too,he was at the gates when he came to a halt.
He got down from the car and walked back to them.
“Don’t you ever run after a moving vehicle again!”He warned just like a father would scold his kids.
I saw his love for them in his eyes.
My mom was right.
I don’t think I can ever find a man like him.
I stood few feet away from them.
“We’re sorry,daddy but you looked angry”Annie said.
“You didn’t even bid us goodbye”Aiden added.
He bent before them.
“I’m sorry, something suddenly came up”
“Did mommy make you angry?”
“Will you visit us tomorrow?”Aiden asked.
“No, I’m busy”
“What about the day after tomorrow?”Annie asked.
I stared at him.
He looked broken.
I had hurt him.
How do I make this right?
He stook up and walked towards his car.
When he came back,he was holding a cellphone.
“I hardly use this so you can have it.”He said to Aiden.
“This is my number and this is how to dial a number so you can call me when you miss me”He said, then stood up straight.
“Bye Nate”Aiden muttered.
Annie seem too sad to say anything.
He got into his car and sped off.
“I think we won’t see him again”Aiden announced, sadly.
Annie turned to look at me with tears filled eyes and I realized that I had lost the only man who has ever loved me unconditionally.
I’m so sorry for not posting yesterday everyone…. I had network issues.