The next morning at the station:
Angie and Bill walked into the station, hand in hand, and everyone took notice of them. They truly were a beautiful couple and of course, images of them possibly getting married flashed in front their eyes. Of course, David couldn’t help teasing them.
“So, what’s the occasion? You two look amazing, by the way.”
“Angie and I are taking a trip to visit my family in Jersey City; it’s just for the day,” Bill replied, nervous and worried.
Angie picked up on it. “We stopped by to ask a favor while we’re away, if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Could we step in here for a minute?” Bill asked and walked toward a small conference room.
“Sure,” David replied and followed them.
Once inside, Bill shut the door.
“Something’s wrong; what is it?”
“Bill and I have made a decision but it’s a secret. You can tell Ashley, but only in an emergency.”
“I guess I should sit down?” He asked and sat down.
“Angie and I, well, we’re psychics meaning we dream of future situations, people we know and don’t know; it depends.”
He chuckled. “You’re serious?”
“Yes, very serious, and the only reason we’re telling you this is because… Angie had a dream of me dying and we have no idea how to stop it because she and I were the only ones in the dream.”
He shook his head to clear it. “You had a dream of Bill dying and you’re taking this seriously?” Angie nodded. “Have you had these dreams before and did they come true?”
“No, but,” she started.
“Look, you two, take this day trip, have fun and don’t think about things like this. We’ve gotten through some bad times over the past month, but it’s over, well, almost over. Tony and his cronies are in jail, no bail, no anything.”
“Well, I guess we can put it aside for one day,” Bill said and glanced at his girlfriend.
“I suppose,” Angie reluctantly agreed.
“Alright, shoo, get out of here,” David said and escorted them out.
Once they were gone, he headed back to his desk, but minutes later, Captain Jones spoke to him. “Can I see you for a minute?”
“Sure, what’s up?” David followed him to his office.
“There’s no easy way to say this but Tony is out on bail. I have no idea where he got the money.”
“No way; he’s out walking around?” David asked and thought of Angie’s dream.
“Yes, he’s out and the trial isn’t for months.”
David rubbed the back of his neck. “I have to tell him.”
“Bill was just here and he and Angie are on a road trip to visit his family.”
“Call them right now.”
He called Bill’s cell phone but it went to voicemail. “I’ll call Angie’s sister and get the number.” He called Dede and she gave him the number. Of course, she knew of him, Angie told her about David and the drug busts. David called Angie and she picked up on the first ring.
“David, what’s wrong; why are you calling?” She glanced at Bill; he frowned. “What did you say? I see; I’ll tell him.”
“What’s happening? David called you; it must be serious.”
“Yes, he tried to reach you but your cell phone is off.” She paused. “Tony is out on bail.”
Fuming; he wanted to turn around and go back, but they were on the bridge. “There’s an exit just ahead; we’ll turn around and go back.”
“But, why should we? We need to tell your family everything we know about Tony, and we should do it in person, not over the phone.”
“Angie, it can wait.”
“No, we have to tell them in case he tries to hurt them. You know he’s got nothing to lose; he’ll try anything to hurt you.”
“Nothing to lose,” he murmured. “Alright, we’ll keep going.”
Less than an hour later, they arrived and exited the car. His sister and his Mother came out to greet them.
“Mom, Sis,” he whispered and enveloped them both in a hug. “I brought a friend to meet you. Angela, this is my Mom and my sister Beth. Meet Angie.”
Angie came forward and held out her hand. “Just a friend,” his Mom murmured and glanced at her Son. “No handshakes here,” she whispered and enveloped her in a hug.
“And this is Beth,” he said and they also hugged. “Let’s go aside; we have a lot to tell you. Mom and Beth exchanged glances then they headed inside.
“Where’s Burt; is he at work?” Bill asked and looked around.
“Yes, but he’s getting off early and he’ll be here soon,” Beth replied.
“And the kids are at day care?” He asked.
Now, Beth was concerned. “Yes, but you knew that.”
In the living room, sipping ice tea, his Mother, Agnes, had a question for her Son. “We know you’re in love with her. There’s no need to beat around the bush. Do you love my Son?” Agnes asked bluntly.
“Mom!” Beth exclaimed and glanced at Bill. If he could blush, he would.
“Well, yes, I do,” Angie replied and glanced at her hands.
“Now that’s out of the way; we have news,” Bill hesitated.
“Are you engaged?” Agnes jumped the gun.
“Mom! Please!” Beth rolled her eyes.
“No, Mom, do you see a ring on her finger?” He paused to gather his composure. “The reason I’m here is because of Tony; he’s out on bail.”
“Oh, I see; we saw the news,” Beth said. “So, that’s why you asked about Burt and the kids?” She asked, extremely concerned.
“Yes, he has a vendetta against me,” Bill said.
“But you two were so close, almost brothers,” Agnes said, feeling pain at those words.
“I know we were close, but we’re not kids anymore; it’s over.”
Beth and Agnes stared at each other. “Is the reason he hates you is because of his sister and how things fell apart after the prom?”
Bill glanced at Angie; she turned to stare at him, but didn’t say anything.
“That may be part of it, yes.” He paused and changed the subject. “Just make sure the kids are in close contact always; keep the gun handy and if anyone comes around looking suspicious, call the police immediately. I’ve already spoken to the local authorities and they’re aware of situation. Just please be careful.”
Angie touched his arm hoping to calm him. He placed his hand over hers and it calmed him somewhat.
“We’ll be careful, now how about lunch? I made sandwiches, salad, and dessert?” Agnes asked.
“Sure, we’ll stay,” Angie answered.
After sitting down for lunch, Burt walked in with his two sons, Robert, almost five, the oldest, named after Bill’s Father, and Burt, Jr., who just turned three.
“Burt!” Beth exclaimed and went greet her husband and sons, happy to see them. After kissing her husband, she leaned down and pulled both boys into a hug, but didn’t seem to want to let them go. Burt sensed something is wrong.
He touched her shoulder. “Is something wrong?" Then he spotted Bill in the dining room with a guest. He stiffened. “So, you’re home.”
“Hi, Burt, we just came for a visit.” He glanced at his Mother. He stood up and held out his hand. Burt shook his hand. “This is Angela and we’re good friends. Angie, this is Burt.”
Angie held out her hand. “Nice to meet you. You have a beautiful family.”
“Thank you,” Burt said and shook her hand.
“Are you hungry; there’s plenty?” Agnes asked.
“I’ll go wash up and we’ll be back. Come on boys.” The boys hurried to catch up with their father.
Beth sat back down. “I’m sorry, Bill.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Bill said and took a bit of his sandwich.
Angie wanted to ask about Burt’s attitude, but left it alone.
Agnes spoke up. “You should tell her; she has a right to know.”
“Know what?” Angie wasn’t sure she wanted to hear any more secrets.
Bill sighed. “Burt hasn’t forgiven me because I joined the force and he couldn’t.”
“No, that’s not why he’s mad at you; tell her the truth,” Beth said.
He raised his sad eyes to his girlfriend. “I accidentally shot someone.”
Her heart constricted. “Who was it?”
“Burt’s younger brother. We were kids, and the gun went off and he died instantly.”
“Oh no, how horrible. How old was he?” Angie asked, tears hovered waiting to fall.
“Five and I was six.” The tears came; then he stood up and left the room.
Angie followed him.
Agnes and Beth held hands, holding back tears.
Out on the porch, Angie wanted so badly to comfort him, but she wondered if he wanted it. The guilt must be eating him alive.
“How can you look at me; I’m a murderer. I’m no better than Tony.” Then he broke down.
Angie pulled him into her arms. “Please don’t cry.” Holding him close, she said, “You are not like him, not by any stretch.” She pulled away and took his face between her palms, then wipe away his tears. “You are the man I love and the most honorable, decent, moral, and you’re perfect for me.”
“You don’t hate me?”
“No, why would I? I loved you, even before we met. I love you, Bill.” She pulled him back into her arms.
Holding her tighter, he murmured. “I love you so much; please, I need you.”
“I’m here; I’m right here.”
Minutes later, Agnes poked her head out. “Is everything alright?”
He left her arms and pulled himself together. “We have to go, but remember what I said about keeping an eye out.”
“I’ll remember.” She came closer. “I love you, Son; that will never change.” She held out her arms and hugged him close and kissed his cheek.
“Good bye, Mom. Tell Burt that I’m sorry.”
“I’ll tell him.”
“Bill, wait,” Burt called from inside the door.
Bill stiffened but didn’t turn around.
“I haven’t seen you in a while, and I guess it all came back and I’m sorry.”
“You mean that?” Bill asked hoping it was true.
“Yes, I do mean that.” Burt held out his hand. Bill shook it then they both moved in for a hug. “You’re forgiven.”
He was going to cry again. “Thank you, Burt.”
“You go home and look after your ‘friend’ and I’ll look out for the family. We’ll be fine.”
Relieved, he tried to smile. “Thank you, Burt.”
They turned to go, but just as the about to enter the car. “Uncle Bill?”
He leaned down and gave his nephews a hug. “Hey, Bobby, Burt! I can’t believe how much you’ve grown.”
“Uncle Bill, you always say that every time you see us,” Bobby said.
He smiled. “I do; don’t I? But it’s true. You know what, I’ll have to come back more often, because the next time I see you two, you’ll be taller than me.”
“No, we won’t,” Burt said with a smile.
“Can I get one more hug goodbye?”
They hugged their Uncle Bill. “We miss you.”
His eyes watered. “I miss you too.” He stood up and his sister was there unsure what to say. “Beth?”
“Bye, Bill,” she said and hugged her brother and kissed cheek.
“I’ll be in touch; I promise,” he said.
“Bye, everyone!” Angie said and waved goodbye.
Angie climbed inside, then Bill waved goodbye the drove away.
A few minutes of driving, Angie had a lot to take in, but the gun incident stayed in her mind.
“That was some visit,” she said, hoping he would talk about it.
“Yeah, it was.”
“Bill, I’m not going to grill you about your first love, but about the accident.”
“I truly don’t want to talk about it.”
“Alright, just listen. My dream has been bothering me and now I know why. It wasn’t that Tony wanted to kill you, it was you wanting to harm yourself. The blood represented the guilt you feel over the accident.”
“Is that what you think?” He asked a bit stunned.
“Yes, I do. It’s a metaphor about how you’ve lived your life since then like leaving school; becoming a policeman; no real friends or even a real relationship with anyone. You don’t feel worthy of being loved.”
“I don’t know, but you may be right.”
“Did you have any therapy after the accident?”
“No, not at first, but it was hard for me and I couldn’t relate to my school mates. It got so bad that my parents took me out of school. I was home schooled for a while. My Mom is a teacher. It was during that time that she took me to a therapist.”
“I see, well, I think it helped. You do get along with your co-workers; you work hard; you’ve even received awards for your bravery.”
“Oh, you’ve read my biography?” He smiled and she watched her grin but she didn’t deny it.
“Yeah, I have and I’ve never been more proud of you.”
It warmed his heart. “Thanks, Angie.”
“You’re welcome.” Just then, her cell phone beeped. “Oh, it’s Dede. Hi, Dede. Yes, we’re fine. Oh, I’m sorry, I should have called, but Bill and I visited his family in Jersey City, but we’re on our way home. Okay, I got it. Yes, I’ll see you soon.”
“What did she say?”
“The same as your Mom and asked if we were… engaged.”
“What? We’ve been dating what, like a month, not even that long.”
“I know, it just feels like we’ve known each other for years; doesn’t it?”
He thought about that. “In a strange sort of way, I guess it does.”
“I like it.”
He smiled. “I do too.”