Four more weeks had passed and Casey was now five months pregnant and clearly beginning to show. Her classes were going well and she was almost done with them. Chad continued to sit beside her and try to talk to her but she was more interested in passing the classes.
The wedding plans were well underway and she had reserved everything she needed. Offering financial assistance to pay for the wedding, she gave Connie money on a weekly basis as Connie paid for all the reservations.
Casey had chosen Taylor to be her maid of honor and as for her bridesmaids, the chose three friends from her classes. Travis chose Rand as his best man and three friends from his school to stand as groomsmen. Purchasing the tuxedos and gowns, she waited for her wedding gown until closer to the wedding, knowing she would have grown quite a big bigger in three months.
It was Friday, St. Patrick’s Day when a girl she had gotten to know as Kali approached her. “Casey, a group of us are going out for a drink after class. We thought you would like to go.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t drink.”
“Don’t worry about it, we’ve got you covered.” The girl winked, knowing she could get away with serving her drinks.
“No, it’s not that I can’t drink because I’m a minor, but I can’t drink because I’m five months pregnant.” Casey informed her, rubbing her belly.
“What, I had no idea. You’re barely showing.”
“Yeah, so I really can’t drink.”
“That’s alright, you don’t have to drink alcohol, you can have pop. We’ll dance, play some pool...” Kali said, encouraging her.
“Maybe, I’ll think about it.” Casey said as she sat back in her seat.
When class was over, she went to her car and thought about the invitation one more time. Knowing she hardly leaves the apartment when she’s not at work or school, she decided to take Kali up on her invitation. But not without a phone call to Travis.
“Travis?” She said as he answered the phone.
“Hey Casey, what’s up?”
“I’ve been invited by Kali to have a drink. I think I’m going to go, if you don’t mind. Don’t worry, I’m not going to drink alcohol. I’ll have pop, just hang out with the group for a while. I won’t be too late. I’m going to a place call ‘Crossroad’s Bar’, in case you want to show up.”
“No, I’ll just stay here and watch TV. You have fun and relax, you deserve it.”
“Ok, I’ll see you when I get home. I love you Travis.”
“I love you too Casey.” He said before hanging up the phone.
Starting her car, she followed Kali to the bar, not knowing where it was. Following the group inside, she sat at a large table, surrounded by other students. Chad sat down beside her and she looked at him.
“I’ll buy you the first drink, what do you want?”
“Just a Coke.” Casey answered.
“I know you’re only seventeen, but I can get you something a little stronger.” Chad offered.
“No, a Coke is fine, I can’t drink.”
“Because I’m pregnant.” She said, showing her expanding bump.
“Really? Congratulations. A Coke it is.” Chad said and stood from the table.
Returning a few minutes later, he handed her a glass of Coke and sat beside her again. “Do you want to play some pool?”
“I wouldn’t mind a game.” She said.
“Good, you sit there and drink your pop, I’ll rack them up.” Chad said as he stood and went to the pool table.
Letting Casey break, she failed to drop any balls and it was Chad’s turn. After finishing her first glass, she went to buy the next but Chad insisted. Taking her turn while he was a the bar, she knocked in two consecutive balls but it was again, Chad’s turn.
Suddenly she began to feel extremely tired and somewhat funny. Wanting the game to be over, she sat down, feeling weak and dizzy. She knew it was time for her to go but she could barely move. Having to use the bathroom, she stood to her feet and tried to walk. Her hands and feet felt numb as she tried to stumble to the bathroom.
Holding onto the rails, she used the toilet then stood back up. She almost felt like passing out but she managed to straighten her clothes and walk from the bathroom. Chad was standing by the bathroom door when she came out.
“Are you alright ’cause you don’t look like it?” Chad asked as he followed her back to the pool table.
“I don’t think I can play anymore.” She said as she sat at the table. “I need to call Travis and have him come and get me, I don’t think I can drive.” She mumbled.
“No, don’t worry about that, I’ll take you home.” Chad said, tugging on her hands.
Standing to her feet, she felt ill. “I need to get to my car… but I think I’m going to be sick.” She said and stumbled to the door.
Chad followed her outside and waited until she was beside her car. Then he grabbed her and picked her up, putting her in the back seat of his car. Casey was too weak and dizzy to fight back. The drug he had given her was taking a strong hold. Vomiting on the floorboard, she closed her eyes and passed out.
When Casey opened her eyes, she looked around the room and realized she was in the same bedroom that she had seen in her dream, when she had sex with Chad. She didn’t understand what was going on. Trying to move, she realized she was naked. Her hands and feet were tied together behind her back and her mouth was covered with duct tape.
Although her mouth was fully sealed by the duct tape, she screamed as loud as she could. Chad came in through the door and walked to the bed. Reaching up, he pulled the duct tape from her mouth. “It doesn’t matter how loud you scream, no one is around to hear you.” Chad said.
“Why are you doing this?” Casey asked.
“I just wanted you to meet my girlfriend. You might know her, her name is Emily.”
“Emily? What are you talking about Chad?”
“By the way, my name isn’t really Chad. It’s Charles. You can call me Chuck. Emily does and you look just like her.”
“Oh my God...” She said, suddenly scared to death. “Where is she? Where is my sister?”
“Well, she’s not here, yet. But she will be in about thirty minutes. That leaves me just enough time to see if you’re as good as she is.” Chuck said and unbuttoned his pants.
Casey couldn’t believe this was happening again, the rape, the promise of death. Rolling her over on her stomach, she couldn’t move as he raped her from behind. Casey cried, screamed, but she still couldn’t move, the rope attached to her hands and feet were too tight and her hands felt numb.
Her head ached from the drug she was given and she still felt ill. Casey couldn’t do anything but lay on the bed and cry, fearing for her life. She just didn’t understand why Emily wanted her dead.
The house was completely quiet, not a noise or a creak. Ten minutes after he left the bedroom, he heard the door fling open. “Casey?” She heard Travis’s voice, yelling.
Then she heard two gunshots that made her jump. Instantly, she cried harder, expecting he had killed Travis. She could hear the doors open and close but remained completely quiet. Casey jumped when her bedroom door flung open and she saw Travis.
“Help me!” She nearly screamed, crying harder yet.
“Oh my God Casey, what happened?” Travis said, pulling a knife from his pocket. “Are you hurt?”
“He raped me...” She sobbed.
“Don’t worry Casey, that just angers me more. I think I killed him. I’m calling Jason, as soon as we get out of this house.”
“Emily is on her way here, she should be here any time.”
“That could be a good thing. But right now, we need to get you out of here.” He said, cutting the ropes.
Pulling her up, he pulled off the blanket and wrapped it around her then escorted her out of the house. Casey looked down at Chuck as she walked past him, seeing the gunshot wound in his head. Getting into the car, he left the driveway, hiding in another driveway, half mile down the road. “Are you sure you’re alright?” He asked her again.
“I am now.” She said. “Thank you Travis, how did you know?”
“Hold that thought...” He said as he pulled out his phone and called Jason then waited for him to answer. “Jason, I need the police and an ambulance. I’m twenty miles west of Holland at an address of twenty one fifteen Lakeside Road.”
Travis paused for a minute before he started from the beginning. “Casey called me and told me she was going out with a few friends and she would be back soon. She told me where she was and I thought I would join her. When I got there, her car was there, but she was gone. The friends she was with told me she left with Chad.”
Again, there was a pause before Travis continued. “Chad is a guy she went to night school with. He was suspicious and wouldn’t leave Casey alone so I followed him home a few times. That’s how I knew where he lived. Where Casey was.”
“Tell him Emily should be here soon.” Casey reminded him.
“Emily is behind this and she is on her way here, I think, to kill Casey.”
Travis drew in a deep breath as he hung up the phone. Just then, they saw a car pass them. But it was dark and with the lights, they couldn’t see anything as it passed them in a hurry. Out of curiosity, Travis turned around and followed the car.
“What are you doing?” Casey asked.
“That car, what if it’s Emily? She was right behind us, she probably just got there and found Chad, and left in a hurry.”
“His name wasn’t Chad, it was Charles. But that doesn’t really matter, he’s dead, isn’t he?”
“I think. We struggled with the gun and I accidentally shot him in the head.” Travis said as he followed the car.
Knowing they were following her, Emily sped up, maneuvering along the twisty, curvy road. But she lost them when Travis’s car began to spit and sputter. Looking at the gauges, he saw he had ran out of gas. “God Damnit.” He said, pounding his fists on the steering wheel.
“What’s wrong Travis?” Casey asked.
“My car ran out of gas.”
“What the hell.”
“I’m sorry, I was concerned about you, I didn’t think to look at the gas gauge.”
“Come on, we might as well walk back to the crime scene. Otherwise we’ll get in trouble for leaving.” Travis said as he got out of the car.
By the time they walked the five miles back to the crime scene, the darkness was lit by flashing blue and red lights. Walking through the cars, they came to an officer and asked for Detective Powell. The police officer looked at Casey, wrapped in a blanket, then pointed at him as he was coming out of the house.
Detective Powell noticed the two standing there and approached them. “Come on, let’s get into my car, you can tell me everything.” He said, opening the back door of his car.
Casey and Travis climbed in, then Jason shut the door and got into the drivers seat. “Ok, I understand you went out with friends, what happened Casey.”
“I didn’t realize he was going to be there. I think he drugged me, I felt really funny and when I woke up, my hands and feet were tied together, behind my back.” Her voice lowered as she continued. “He raped me.”
“And Travis, you went to the bar where they were and discovered her gone? What did you do next?” Jason asked him.
“I came straight to his house and burst through his door, surprising him. He reached for a gun and we struggled. It was his finger that pulled the trigger, not mine.
“Ok, relax Travis, I don’t think you’ll be going to jail, if we discover that’s what happened. Did he say anything to you Casey?”
“Yes. I asked him why he was doing this and he told me he wanted me to meet his girlfriend. Her name is Emily. It was my sister, I told you she was alive. And I think she’s gone. We tried to follow her, but his car ran out of gas five miles down the road.”
“Emily aye? You two stay right here, I’m going to see about getting you some gas.” Jason said as he got back out of his car.
Stuck in the back of his undercover police car, they couldn’t open the back doors. Casey scooted over in the seat and leaned against Travis, crying again. She couldn’t get the rape off her mind and she felt dirty and ashamed again.
Ten minutes later, Jason returned to his car and let them out of the back seat. “I’ve sent an officer after some gas for you. He should be back in a half an hour or sooner. There’s a gas station a few miles from here, I think they’re still open. In the meantime, I think Casey should be checked out by the paramedics. And you might want to go to the hospital for a rape kit.”
“Is he dead Jason?” Casey asked.
“Yes.” Jason answered.
“Than what’s the use of a rape kit?”
“At least for the purpose of sexually transmitted diseases.”
“Yes, I should do this. Jason I need to tell you that I’m five months pregnant.”
“Yes, I know. I’m a cop, I learn these things.” He smiled. “Come on...” Jason said and escorted her to the ambulance.
The paramedics looked her over, checked her vitals and the baby’s heartbeat and deemed them both to be fine. Travis took Casey to the hospital for the rape kit which they determined all the tests to be negative. The doctors gave her a complete exam, including an ultrasound to check the baby. Giving her and the baby a clean bill of health, they released her.
Returning home, Casey dropped the blanket on the living room floor and went directly into the bathroom. Feeling disgusted by the rape, she showered where she scrubbed the filth off of her. It was nearly two in the morning before they finally lay down in bed. She had only three and a half hours to sleep before she would have to be up in the morning to go to work.
It was six thirty when she heard the knock on the door. Looking at the clock, she jumped out of bed, knowing she was late. “Casey?” Travis spoke in a weak voice.
“Someone is knocking on the door.” She said as she put her robe on.
“Oh no, you let me get it.” He insisted and climbed out of bed.
“It’s probably just Joel, I’m a half an hour late.” Casey admitted.
And she was right, Joel stood in the hallway, concerned and knowing she was late only one other time. “Is everything alright?” Joel asked Travis.
“Yeah, she just overslept. She’ll be down in a few minutes.”
“Ok. I’m sorry but I had to check.” Joel said before turning to leave.
“And we’re glad you did.” Travis returned before shutting the door.
Casey hurried to get ready to go, kissing Travis on her way out the door. Trying to munch on breakfast between customers, Casey was starving. She told Joel about her encounter last night and he agreed to provide extra protection while she was at work.
Monday when she returned to her night classes, everyone gathered around her, getting her story about the incident. They apologized for allowing him to take her out of the bar, stating they had no idea. They had all been stunned by the rapid spreading news of her incident Friday night. She somewhat informed them of her situation, in an effort to have more security at school. Any new male students would automatically be red flagged.
But a week went by without incident and she wondered what her sister was up to. Her memory had almost completely returned, except for homecoming night, after she returned home. That segment of her memory had been permanently erased. It was nothing but an image of a recurrent dream.
Tuesday morning, she had the day off and left to run errands when Travis left to go to school. She visited the lawyer, the bank, paid her rent, bought groceries and time for their phones then returned home. With an arm full of grocery bags, she dragged her exhausted self up the stairs, getting that familiar feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Unlocking the door, she went in and dropped the grocery bags on the table. Just then, she saw Emily walk from her bedroom and drew in a deep breath. “I knew you were here, I could feel you.”
“So, you do remember me. I heard my perfect sister had gotten knocked up and I had to come see for myself.” Emily said. “And it looks like it’s true.”
“Yes. I’m pregnant with Travis’s baby. The man you wanted for yourself.”
“Yes, I did. In fact, I wanted to be with him so much that I killed Heather to get her out of the way. Then you stepped in.”
“So why did you kill mom and dad, Avery?” Casey asked.
“I hated you all. You were always put on a pedestal and me, I was always beneath it. You always got what you wanted, I got shit. I hated our parents and I killed them for the money. But you, you just had to survive. Not this time, I’ll make sure of it.” Emily said as she pulled a gun from the back of her pants.
As soon as she saw the gun, Casey lunged toward Emily, grabbing her by the wrist, trying to control the hand with the gun. With a knee in Emily’s groin, Casey punched Emily in the face. Hearing the gun discharge, Casey felt the bullet hit her in the upper abdomen. Her uterus instantly began to cramp, nearly taking her off her feet. But she continued to struggle with Emily.
Casey knew she was fighting for her life again and she found a new strength within her, pushing Emily backwards into the table. But Emily still had the gun in her hand and she pulled the trigger again. The bullet missed it’s intended target, landing in the wall behind Casey.
Casey pounced on Emily, still trying to gain control of the gun. Pushing the hand with the gun above Emily’s head, Casey tried to control her. Emily grabbed Casey’s long hair and yanked her head down against her chest. But Casey pushed against her, practically ripping the hair from her own head, trying to overpower Emily’s grasp.
Sitting on top of Emily, Casey punched her in the face again and again until Emily knocked her off with the hand with the gun. Casey felt the cold, hard metal as it hit her in the side of the face. Shaking her head, she picked herself up off the floor and found herself in the same position. Again, she lunged at Emily, knocking her over the couch. Immediately, she ran towards the door. Hearing the gunshot, she ducked, the bullet hitting the door frame.
Nearly tripping down the stairs, she ran out the door and into the kitchen where she collapsed on the floor, holding her belly. Joel saw her as she fell, and saw the blood trail she left behind. “Casey...” Joel said and fell to his knees beside her.
“I heard the gunshots and called the police. I was just about to come up when you came through the door.”
“I’ve been shot in the belly. I’m so scared. Please call the school and let Travis know what happened.”
“Yes, I will.” Joel said and picked up the phone, having the operator connect him to the school.
Casey lay on the floor, the blood running down her belly. She cried and was scared to death that her baby would die. She could feel movement and knew it was alive, at least for now. Hearing the sirens behind the building, Joel ran outside and flagged them down while talking with the school, asking for Travis McAdams.
Police flooded her apartment as well as the kitchen but Emily was gone. Paramedics immediately attended to Casey, lifted her onto a gurney and placed her in the back of the ambulance. She was on her way to the hospital as Joel was talking to Travis on the phone, telling him what he knew about Casey’s condition.
Travis left the school and drove directly to the hospital, scared to death of what he would find when he got there. Finding the closest parking spot, he jumped out of the car and ran into the emergency department, looking for her. Approaching the desk, he asked for her. The woman asked him to have a seat and she would let him know when the doctor is finished.
Travis could hardly contain himself, pacing the floors. Trying to calm himself, he stood and watched out the window. Casey had been given a sedative to calm her as the doctor examined her wound. Rushing her into surgery, he needed to find the bullet and remove it before it did more damage to the baby.
The bullet, projected in a downward angle, shot through the edge of her uterus, did some damage to her small intestine and lodged into the muscle against her spinal cord. Removing the bullet, the doctor repaired the damage to her small intestine and stitched up her uterus. The bullet did no damage to the placenta or the baby. She was very lucky.
Finally, the doctor came out to speak with Travis, Connie and Joe, who were now also there. Explaining to them the nature of the surgery, the doctor reassured them that her and baby would both be fine. Then he gave them the ok to go see her as soon as she woke from the anesthesia.
This time when Casey was coherent enough to open her eyes, she was surrounded by people who loved her and she remembered everything. But she was unsure about the condition of her unborn baby, especially when she felt no movement. “My baby...” She said and rubbed her belly.
“Our baby is fine Casey, the bullet missed.” Travis said, taking her hand.
A look of relief covered her face, followed by a look of anger. “I’m going to find and kill that bitch. I’m sick of this shit and I’ve had enough.”
“Easy baby, you need to calm down and rest right now. The police have stepped up their search for her. She’s not going to get very far.”
“My sister has evaded the police and the public for five months, what makes you think she wont now?”
“Because now they know she’s alive and well. I think you will be in here a day or two, you’ll be safe.”
“I’m not staying here, I’m going to find her.” Casey said, sitting up in bed.
“Oh no, you’re staying right here. Casey please, think of our baby. Please let the police handle this.” Just as Travis said it, they heard a knock on the door and turned to see Jason walk in.
“How are doing Casey?” Jason said.
“The baby is fine, I’m fine.”
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Jason asked.
“We will be back in a few minutes.” Connie said, tugging on Joe’s shirt.
Watching as Joe and Connie left the room, Jason looked at Casey. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“I was out running errands. When I came back to my apartment, I saw she had entered by the open door. I could feel her and knew she was in my apartment. She confessed to killing Heather Boyd, then confessed to conspiring to kill our family. She said she killed them for the money, but we all know who really pulled the trigger.”
“Heather Boyd? She confessed aye?” Jason said. “Do you know where she may have went?”
“I have no idea. I wonder if she’s staying in the house.”
Immediately, Jason called dispatch and had them check the residence. “And obviously she had gun.”
“Yes, she said this time she would make sure I wouldn’t survive and she pulled a gun from the back of her pants. We struggled with the gun and there were two shots fired. One missed us both and I felt the other hit me. We struggled again with the gun and I knocked her over the couch then took off out the door. I ran downstairs to the restaurant where I collapsed on the floor. Joel had heard the gunshots and called the police.”
“We’re going to catch her Casey.” Jason said. “She’s not that elusive.”
Just then Dr. Grant walked through the door, shaking hands with Jason and Travis. “How are you feeling Casey, are you still having contractions?”
“Yes.” She said. “Am I going into labor?”
“We’re trying to prevent that. We’re giving you magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions. It may take twelve to twenty four hours or longer. And we’re giving you something for nausea, the magnesium sulfate may make you nauseated. I want you to try and lay on your left side, it will help reduce the contractions. If you need anything, you just have them page me.” Dr. Grant said.
Nodding her head, she agreed, turning on her left side. With everyone but Travis vacating her room, she knew she could get some rest. Trying to keep up with work and classes seemed extremely exhausting to her and she knew that right now, she had time to rest. Connie and Joe peeked in to say goodbye before leaving, bringing her some magazines and books from the gift shop.
It was merely twenty hours before the cramps subsided. Deeming her pregnancy safe from premature labor, they sent her home on strict bed rest. She knew she would get behind in her classes but Travis was able to pick up her assignments. Joel understood her position and granted her a temporary leave of absence.
Having learned the truth about the murders, Casey knew it was just as safe to live in her house as it was the apartment and decided to move back home. Taking her time, it took her three days to pack their things. Travis took the weekend to move all their belongings into the house. She felt far more comfortable in the house she had grown up in.
Glad to be sleeping in her own bed, she felt more relaxed, especially with Travis at her side. Although she knew Emily would make another deadly appearance somewhere, sometime. After another week of rest, Casey got the clearance to return to work. And she worked extra hard to catch up on her studies.
After her third day back to class, she got into her car and left the school at approximately ten after nine. Travis was expecting her home in the next ten minutes. Turning onto the road, she felt the cold steel against the back of her head.
“Pull over.” She heard Emily’s voice.
“Go to hell.” Casey said and accelerated. “If you’re going to kill me, I’m going to kill you too, in this crash.”
Swerving, she tried to keep the gun from her head. Suddenly, she slammed on the breaks then stomped on the gas, smashing Emily’s face against the seat, then against the back seat. Emily smacked Casey in the head with the gun but Casey shook it off.
Accelerating again, she drove straight for a commercial propane tank, smashing through the parameter fence. Opening her door, she hit the switch for locking the doors. Jerking the wheel, she jumped from the car and rolled away as the car slammed into the tank. Immediately, it exploded, killing Emily instantly.
But Casey was too close and the blast gave her third degree burns on her back and side. Her hair had been singed off, her clothing was melted to her skin and the force knocked her unconscious. Drawing the attention of everyone within a five mile radius, there were multiple calls to 911. The police being the first on the scene, they managed to move Casey away from the high heat of the flames. But they were careful not to disrupt any injuries she had sustained in the accident.
The firetrucks pulled up and the fire men rushed to begin putting out the flames as the ambulance pulled up. The paramedics wasted no time getting Casey on the gurney and putting her in the ambulance, rushing her to the hospital.
Travis saw the breaking news broadcast but had no idea of the relation to Casey, although as time passed, he began to worry when she didn’t come home. Then his phone rang. It was Jason, telling him of Casey’s accident. Travis rushed to the hospital but Casey was still unconscious. It was nearly three in the morning when she woke.
Feeling the intense pain from the second and third degree burns, she opened her eyes to see Travis asleep in the chair. Casey looked around the room and instantly remembered the accident that brought her here. Then she wondered if her plan had worked. Was Emily dead?
Trying to move and change positions, she realized how sore her entire body felt from the fall from the car. It was a risky move that could’ve ended in tragedy for her and Travis. But to save her life, she did the first thing she could think of, escaping her car before slamming it into that huge propane tank.
Laying in the quiet darkness, she cried from the physical pain and emotional anguish. She realized she had tried to kill her own sister, that was trying to kill her. Feeling depressed, she cried harder. By the time the sun came up, she lay in bed, staring off into space, all cried out.
The staff brought in a breakfast tray but she pushed it away, feeling ill. Travis drew in a deep breath and stretched, opening his eyes. Seeing Casey awake, he stood to his feet and went toward her bed.
“Hey.” He said. “I’m so glad you’re alright.”
“Emily...” Casey mumbled, hardly able to talk.
“Emily is dead. They found her body in the back of your car. You can tell me later what happened, you need your rest right now.” Travis said, holding her unburnt hand.
“But I can’t rest, I’m in so much pain.” Casey sobbed.
“I’ll have them page Dr. Grant and see what we can do about that.” Travis said.
With her pregnancy, they could only give her a mild pain reliever. Suffering through nearly three weeks of pain and healing, she was six months pregnant when they finally released her from the burn unit.
A few more exams and she passed her GED, although they could not grant her diploma until she turned eighteen so she couldn’t start college with Travis. She wasn’t upset, she would give the first year to their baby and stay home with it. Ultrasounds determined she was having a son, naming him Travis Henry McAdams Jr before he was born on July 21, her due date.
Their extravagant wedding took place at the large barn, outside at the altar, decorated with pale yellow flowers and ribbons. Upon her eighteenth birthday, she gained full access to her trust account where she paid for her schooling and part of Travis’s. Just before Travis’s classes started, they moved to Sweet River, where Northwestern University was located.
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