“I can’t believe your still going to the dance,” Katrina glared at her sister.
“Why should’t I?” she asked as she preened in front of the mirror. She smiled at her reflection “do I look alright?” she asked.
“You’re unbelievable,” Katrina threw up her hands “don’t you care about mom? Dad? Garrett? Anyone but yourself?”
Kara gave her a look that clearly showed her answer. Laughing at Katrina’s look of astonishment she said “I care about what Augie will think of me in this dress. Can’t have him thinking he choose the wrong sister now can I?” Turning from the mirror “face it dear sister I’m the pretty one. You’re just,” she waved her hand dismissively at her Katrina “the nerd. We all know the nerdy girl never gets the guy despite what the movie’s depict.” Twirling around in front of the mirror she giggled “absolutely perfect, don’t you think?”
Crossing her arms she scowled at Kara “yes absolutely perfectly hideous.”
“You’re just jealous because I get the boy you wanted.” Kara’s eyes narrowed as she approached her sister “let this be a lesson to you. I play to win. If you stand in my way you’ll get hurt.”
Katrina grabbed her arm “is that what happened to Garrett? Did he get in your way? What’s wrong with you? He’s just a little kid.”
Jerking away from her she snarled “he deserved what he got for spying on me.”
“But mom,” Katrina cried “she’s in jail because of what you did.”
“I hope she stays there too,” Kara cried in triumph “Garrett will never contradict me. He’s to scared.”
“I know,” Katrina said quietly.
“What can you do? It’s my word against yours.” Kara scoffed “Daddy will always believe me over you. I made sure of that. I’m his sweet little angel who can do no wrong.”
Katrina’s hands curled into fists with impotent rage “I’ll find a way,” she muttered as Kara walked past.
“Good luck with that,” Kara whispered in her ear “but I’m leagues ahead of you.”
After Kara skipped from the room on her way to the dance with August. Katrina threw herself on the bed sobbing. She had tried to hard to give Kara the benefit of the doubt. What had she gotten for it? Burned. All the secrets she had confided in her somehow found their way to her parents. Kara smirking as she received her punishment for some party she had snuck out of the house to attend. With Kara’s help her relationship with her dad slowly deteriorated.
“Have a seat Mrs. Bennett,” the officer gestured towards a hard wooden chair.
“I want a lawyer,” she said as she sat down.
“Why do you think you need a lawyer?” the officer asked her.
Staring back at him,”I’ve been arrested. Who wouldn’t need a lawyer in my position?”
“I thought you said you didn’t have anything to hide?” the man growled at her.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t need a lawyer,” she restated taking a deep breath trying to keep calm while the man’s tactic’s unnerved her.
His fists came down hard upon the wooden table causing her to jump “scum like you who take their aggression out on small defenseless children don’t deserve fancy lawyers.” A sharp knock against the one way glass had him moving towards the door. He turned “better get comfortable you’re going to be here a while.”
“Where’s mommy?” Garrett asked looking around the room anxiety clear in his voice.
Ian reached out to soothe him “son she can’t be here. I’m sorry.”
“Why?” he cried struggling to sit up.
“Garrett calm down,” Ian sat beside him smoothing his hair back “she’d be here if she could be.”
“Did someone hurt her too?” he asked in a small worried tone.
Ian glanced up towards the door where an officer stood “no honey she’s not hurt.”
“Then why isn’t she here?” he cried picking at the blanket. “I want her here.” Giant tears ran down his nose “don’t she love me anymore?”
Wiping his son’s tears away Ian sighed “I’m sorry baby but mommy can’t be here. She wants to be more than anything but she can’t.” He glared at the officer who no doubt was taking note of everything that was being said. They may believe Ian had nothing to do with his son’s bruises but they were looking for proof that Celia had. He disliked not being able to tell Garrett why his mom wasn’t there but that was a condition he made with the police in order to be allowed in the room with his son. He couldn’t let Garrett feel he had been abandoned. He was smart boy. Ian knew it was just a matter of time before Garrett figured it out.
Garrett’s eyes widened in alarm when he noticed the police officer. His eyes filled with tears “they think she hurt me don’t they? She didn’t. Not my mom. She’d never hurt me.” He struggled to sit up staring angrily at the man “get out. Get out,” he screamed “I want my mom.”
Ian glared at the officer then turned his attention towards his son “she’s ok. She wants you to get better.”
“I want her here with me,” Garrett whined “she’d never hurt me.”
“I know baby,” he ruffled his son’s hair “but someone did.”
“Sir,” the officer said stepping forward “you aren’t supposed to discuss that.”
“I can’t ask him who did this to him? Are you freaking kidding me?” Ian frowned standing up confronting the officer.
“If you persist in questioning the child I’ll have to ask you to leave,” the police man informed him without any discernible emotion.
“Why that’s….” Ian began then looked down when Garrett took his hand.
“Daddy please don’t let him take you too,” Garrett pleaded tugging on his hand.
Sitting beside him Ian took the small boy in his arms “calm down. I’m not going anywhere. I promise I’m staying right here until you can come home.” Garrett closed his eyes letting his father’s voice lull him to sleep.
“Augie let’s dance,” she grabbed his hand dragging him onto the dance floor.
With little choice he followed her on the dance floor. It was a slow song and he hesitated to put his arms around her. “I um I…” he stammered uncertain what to do.
“Here like this,” she guided his hands one to her waist the other she held onto. “see that wasn’t so hard was it?”
“Err um,” he hated how he became a stuttering idiot whenever he was around her. She was pretty and a small part of him was flattered that she chose him to escort her to the Sweet Hearts dance but he couldn’t help but feel disappointed that Katrina hadn’t asked him. He had thought they had chemistry. He liked the way her eyes lit up behind her glasses when she talked. The way she pulled on her braids when she was deep in thought.
“Augie,” Kara’s annoying voice broke through his thoughts “you’re not paying attention to me.”
“Err sorry,” he apologized. He made a concerted effort to listen to her but he simply wasn’t interested. It was an incessant complaint of how so and so’s dress didn’t fit right and so and so’s hair was done by their mom. She droned on and on.
“Augie,” she slapped his shoulder “you’re not listening. Am I that boring?” she blinked her eyes up at him.
“No sorry” he sighted it had been a mistake accepting her invite.
“Don’t you want to be here with me?” she looked up at him with large innocent seeming eyes.
“No” he blurted without thinking “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have come.” He saw the cold calculating look take the place of the innocence he had seen earlier.
“You think I’m not good enough for you,” she accused.
“I didn’t say that,” he was quick to deny “I just don’t….” he was about to say he didn’t like her He didn’t like the way she controlled everything. Didn’t like the way she had manipulated him into accepting. He definitely didn’t like the way she insisted on calling him Augie.
“You don’t like me,” she accused “that’s what you were going to say wasn’t it?”
“No…yes,” he stammered “I wanted Katrina to ask me.” He cringed at the cold fury that filled her eyes and curled her lips.
Gene walked by the girls room. Stopped debating whether he should go in. Knocking he waited for the occupant to respond. He had a feeling he knew who was crying behind the closed door and why.
Katrina quickly wiped at her eyes before opening the door a crack. “Grandpa”she cried opening the door wide and throwing herself into his arms “It’s just awful Grandpa.”
“What is?” he asked patting her head.
“Everything” she mumbled “just everything.”
“Tell me” he suggested “maybe I can help.”
Nodding she took his hand “Kara’s the one who hurt Garrett.”
Her words momentarily took his breath away. “How?” he cleared his throat “how do you know that?”
“She told me,” she sniffed “said it was my word against hers. She said Daddy would believe her over me….She’s been telling him all kinds of stuff about me. I’m sure he hates me….but he just has to believe me this time.” The tears streamed as she babbled. Gene tried to absorb what he was being told.
You’re dad doesn’t hate you,” he told her firmly breaking into her dribble “did you hear me? He doesn’t hate you.”
“You have to say that,” she mumbled.
“No I don’t” he chuckled “your dad is worried about you and your choices. That doesn’t mean he hates you.”
“Really?” she asked looking up sniffing.
“Yes really,” he dried her tears “it’d take a lot more than that for a parent to hate their own child.”
“What about Kara? She’s pretty awful” she pointed out “he still believes her.”
“Be honest. Has she told him anything untrue about you?” he asked tilting her tear streaked face up to him.
“No but they were things I told her in confidence,’ she admitted.
“So you can’t blame your dad for being upset with you when he found out now can you?”
She shrugged unwilling to admit just yet he was right “it was just a party.”
“Katrina if it was just a party you wouldn’t have needed to hide it from your parents,” he chided her.
“You’re right I’m sorry,” she apologized “but what about what Kara did to Garrett? We can’t let her get away with it.”
“No we can’t but the police won’t take she said testimony either,” Gen fell silent thinking “well tell your mom’s lawyer and see what she suggests.”
“Will mom go to jail if we can’t get Kara to confess?” she asked.
“I don’t know sweet pea. If your brother would just talk it’s make things a lot easier,” Gene said.
“With reason” Gene admitted hating stand on sidelines while his family suffered.
Gene hugged her close “is there anything else?” he asked.
“Yes but I’d rather talk to Grandma,” she saw the disappointment in his sensitive dark eyes. “It’s about a boy…I…I just thought it’d be easier to talk to her…” she stammered.
He smiled nodding in understanding somewhat relieved since he was still getting used to the idea that his granddaughters were old enough to date. “I need to make some calls,” he said “I’ll have Grandma come up to talk, ok?”
“Thank you,” she kissed his cheek before he walked away.
A few minutes later Aimee knocked on her door. Katrina grabbed her hand pulling her inside. “Grandma how do I steal a guy back from someone?”
“Whoa what?” Aimee asked in surprise “I think you need to talk to Gene not me. I don’t know anything about getting or stealing boys.”
“But you got Grandpa,” the girl protested.
“I did but only because he pursued me” she smiled “I was so scared and inexperienced. Gene was my knight, my hero and yet he wasn’t perfect. Far from it,” her eyes got a far away look in them as she remembered. Shaking her head she patted Katrina’s hand “does this have anything to do with the boy Kara went to the dance with?”
“Yes,” she mumbled “she only asked him because she knew I was going to. She knew I like him…”
“Sweet pea,” Aimee said gently “does this boy like you?”
“I thought he did but….”
“Now you’re not so sure,” Aimee finished for her “why did he go to the dance with Kara?”
“I don’t know” she admitted “Kara’s really good at getting what she want’s.”
“I think you need to find out the why before you do anything else.” Aimee told her “it may not be what you think.”
“Or it could be” she mumbled. She was almost positive that Kara had somehow convinced August that she wasn’t interested. If she had to guess she had snuck outside and called him the night Garret was hurt. Had he overheard her? Confronted her? She looked at her phone as it chimed informing her of a text. She smiled as she read it. Looking at her Grandma “she said “that was August. He says he’s sorry. He shouldn’t have gone to the dance with her.”
Aimee stood up kissing the girls head “I’ll leave so you can respond back to him.” Katrina barely nodded as her fingers flew across the touch pad in her eagerness to reply.
“Daddy” Garrett’s low voice jerked Ian awake.
Leaning forward he brushed his son’s hair from his forehead “shhh baby it’s late.” He looked towards the door where the officer was silently dozing.
“I can’t sleep,” he complained
“Bad dreams? Ian asked sitting on the edge of his bed.
Nodding Garrett turned away from his dad’s concerned face. A tear ran down the side of his nose. He wiped it away as he said “mommy didn’t hurt me.”
“I know baby” Ian kept his voice low hoping they wouldn’t disturb the dozing guard.
“You know who did?” Garrett said more in surprise then asking a question.
“Shh” Ian admonished him trying to keep the boy quiet. “I know” he nodded looking towards the sleeping officer. “We’re not supposed to discuss this.”
“Why?” Garrett asked knitting his brows in concern.
“They think I’ll coerce you into not identifying who hurt you,” Ian explained.
“You wouldn’t do that,” Garrett insisted “it’s wrong to lie. You said so.”
A brief smile flashed across Ian’s face “the police thinks everyone lies. They expect everyone to lie to them.”
“Cynical much,” Garrett said cracking a grin “if I can’t tell you how am I supposed to make them believe mommy didn’t do it?”
“I don’t know baby,” Ian sighed. He had the uncomfortable feeling the police had already decided Celia was guilty and were only waiting to pounce on anything that confirmed it. “It’s not for you to worry about,” he told his son “mom will be ok. As soon as this get’s cleared up she’ll be giving you the biggest most embarrassing hug ever.”
“You’re sure?” he asked unconvinced.
“I’m positive” Ian forced himself to sound confident to reassure him. If only he believed it. He hated to think of Celia alone in a tiny cell. He hated not being able to see her beautiful face. Hear her voice. Hated above all else not being able tell her how much he loved her. A heavy sigh escaped his lips when he thought of all the things he missed and should have seen. He could have saved his family so much pain.
Celia paced her tiny cell unable to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes she would hear someone banging against the metal bars or screaming how much they hated being in there. She wanted to curl up into a tight ball and pretend she’d wake up at home with Ian’s arms wrapped tight around her. All this would be a bad dream. She couldn’t believe her daughter was responsible for all of this. She couldn’t help but believe she was responsible for it. Was it her punishment for letting John take Kara for those four months when her world was lying shattered around her feet? She’d never forgive herself for doing that. Knowing what John was. She’d regret it for the rest of her life.
She brought a hand up to cover her mouth. There was more to Kara’s behavior than that. She always had a mean streak ever since she was little. One of her outbursts almost cost Katrina her eyesight in one of her eyes. Celia had never believed that was just an accident. Maybe she hadn’t meant or knew what she was doing would cause so much damage at the age of two but Kara definitely had wanted to hurt her sister. The question was why?
Ian had been a good father to her despite the fact she wasn’t his biological child. Kara had gone from hating him to clinging to him. Her actions toward her siblings and to Celia when they showed any affection to Ian was borderline obsessive, jealous. She couldn’t blame Ian for being blinded by her act of sweetness. She manipulated things that made everyone look bad but herself. What would she do now that Ian’s eyes had been opened?
Ian’s eyes filled her mind. The pained look he had as the officer led her away. He would have fought them to keep her from going with them. She had to convince him to stay and take care of Garrett. Her knight in shining armor. Her hero. She loved him so much. Her heart ached to see him again. To hold him. To hear his voice as he told her everything would be ok.
Author’s note: I’m curious to know what you as the reader would like to see as the ending. I provided a few options that I came up with but if you would like to see something else please add it and we’ll see what happens. Please vote for what you would like to see happen. I’m leaving it open for a week and you can vote multiple times.