Unspoken Vows, Book 1 of the Heartbeat Series

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Chapter 4. Battle Scars

When Brandon finally reached me again, Angela and I were on the tarmac of the airfield outside of White Plains, making our way off the airfield to my truck parked in the lot. Brandon sounded panicked, and I couldn’t hear him for my jet taxiing to its hangar. I had to have him repeat himself, to which an exasperated Brandon centered himself to begin again. After I helped my daughter into the passenger seat of my Range Rover and put her bag in the back, Brandon started over.

“She’s not here,” replied a frantic Brandon. “I got stuck in traffic for over an hour, or I would have been here sooner. Anna said she just got in her car and left. I keep calling the cell phone, no answer, Alex, no answer. What did he do to her?”

“Damn her,” I said, “that bull-headed bitch and I are going to go rounds over this one. You stay there, I’m going to collect her.”

Without time to lose, I sped over to Randy’s house, telling Angie not to get out of the SUV for any reason, since I didn’t need two women to chase after. When we arrived, Randy’s driveway was empty and the garage closed. No lights appeared on, and I wondered where she met him, or if he had her car parked in the garage after all. I took a deep breath as I approached the front door, then took yet another before I rang the doorbell. No answer. After two minutes, I walked over to the garage window and peered inside. Two vehicles, his black SUV and her little blue sedan, were parked inside. Megan’s in there, and he’s not answering the door. I dialed her cell phone, knowing that it was in her purse or on her jeans. She answered it on the fourth ring.

“Where in the hell are you?”

“Where are you?” she asked, sounding very distant.

“I’m in Davenport’s driveway. I told you to stay on the estate. What in the hell are you doing in his house?”

“Help me—”

Randy took the phone from her. “This is none of your business.”

“It became my business the first time you laid a hand on her. If she isn’t in her car and following me home in five minutes, I’m calling the cops and telling them that you are holding her against her will.”

Randy hung up the phone. The garage door opened a minute later. Meg’s clothes were rumpled, and her face was marred with bruises and blood as stains from streams of tears made tracks down her cheeks. She ran out of the garage and into my arms.

“Can you drive?” I asked her, trying not to react to the nose that had crusted blood about it and the eye that was blackened or the bruises on her cheeks. She nodded when I knew once again she should have shaken her head.

“Let’s go, you’re done with this asshole.” The only satisfaction I got from that moment was seeing Davenport stand in the back of the garage with a ripped shirt and rake scrapes on his arms and chest where her nails ripped open his skin.

Gingerly, she sat upon on the driver’s seat as I locked the door before shutting it. My eyes were on Davenport and not trusting him. She keyed the ignition and followed me out of the drive and home to the estate. When we got inside, Anna and Brandon were waiting. I introduced them to Angela, who had been a real trooper through this chaos and then led a glassy-eyed Megan into the great room before asking Anna to get her a bottle of spring water and an ice pack for her eye.

“Oh my God, look at you,” exclaimed Brandon. “What happened? What did he do to you?”

Meg said nothing. She stared blankly across the room, as if in shock.

“Your face is covered in bruises. Did he hit you?” She nodded and then shook her head. Her answer was unclear. He hurt her, but Megan wouldn’t admit it. For some damn reason, she was used to protecting those who hurt her.

“Where else did he hit you?” I asked, trying to hold my tongue. While reaming her a new one for disobeying me would have satisfied my temper, it would have shattered her just then, so I opted to be the nice guy instead of the pissed off boss who would have really liked to have given her a piece of his mind at that moment.

Megan looked to the floor. Brandon crossed his arms over his chest and asked her again. Something told me there was more to the story. Randy was covered in scrape marks, defensive wounds had a ripped shirt, and stood far enough away from me to tell me he was guilty as sin for this.

“He slapped me, and . . . ”

“What?” I asked, bending down in front of her in a whisper tone. She didn’t want everyone to know.

“Tell me what he did to you.” My hand grasped one of hers, and I saw the bloodied fingertips, the broken nails that defended her. Whatever he did to hurt her, she put up quite a fight.

With my hand, I tucked a stray tendril out of her face and behind her ear, seeing that her right eye had closed up from the swelling.

“I can’t.”

“You can,” I assured her, squeezing the hand.

“No, I can’t. I blacked out.”

She leaned over and sobbed on my shoulder, wrapping her slender arms around my neck. When she did, her mid-drift top rose, and I saw the red stripes on her back. I pulled the shirt up higher and motioned to Brandon to come around the back of the couch to see for himself. His eyes grew wide and his face red with rage.

“She’s going to the hospital,” said Brandon to Anna, who handed him the icepack. “Can you stay with Angie?”

“Yes, of course.”

“No,” said Megan.

“I want an answer, Megan. Where else did he hurt you?”

Meg looked to Angie and Anna since she was too ashamed to say anything more, I knew that he had raped her, but her clothes weren’t ripped. My eyes dropped to her belly where a red semi-circle bled onto the hem of the white cotton mid-drift shirt. I pressed her shoulder so she leaned against the couch and lifted the shirt, seeing the mangled mess that had coagulated at her navel.

“Good God, he ripped out the piercing.”

“Let’s go,” said Brandon, “I’ll drive.”

Angie stayed with Anna who I knew would dote over the girl the whole time we were gone. Megan was a wreck, and in the back seat of Brandon’s Blazer she panicked and sobbed, holding onto me throughout the trip to the hospital. The triage nurse led us back to the cubicle then sent Brandon and me out while she changed Megan into a hospital gown and examined her wounds further. She tied the gown’s cloth ties for Megan and gently set her back on the gurney and covered her with a sheet. As she left, Meg curled on her left side in the fetal position, drawing her legs up to her chest.

After Brandon and I reentered the cubicle, he stood behind her and stroked her hair, while I held her small hand. Meg stared off into space not saying anything, her eyes blinking away tears and the pillow beneath soaking up those that fell from her eye against it. I reached into my pocket for my hanky and realized she already had it. Meg understood what I was searching for, opened her other hand, and set the crumpled hanky in mine with an apologetic look on her face. I smiled and wiped the tears from her eye and kissed her forehead then gave it back to her. Brandon was visibly upset and couldn’t look at her any longer. He just sighed.

When the doctor finally entered the cubicle, he examined her face, the mangled navel and the welts on her back, then he left us to return with the nurse and female resident who ushered us out of there. Brandon and I stood at the nurses’ station answering the questions the female resident asked us about Randy Davenport and Megan’s relationship.

“Were you raped?” asked the doctor loud enough in the cubicle that he distracted me from the resident’s line of questioning. I turned to watch for her response.

Meg said nothing, but her eyes fell on me. The doctor, turning to see where her eyes went, shut the cubicle’s drape and told her that they would do a rape kit and suture her navel, while the resident interviewing me sent us to a private waiting room a moment later.

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