Phoenix

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Evidence to the Contrary

September 10

Dear Journal,

Well, it didn’t take long for things to get in my way. I’m bummed to say that I missed a day, but I suppose it simply wasn’t worth writing about. I have a few poems that I am considering turning in for English this semester. I’ll probably write them here for safe keeping. Until later.

Cassandra Marie

“Mom, have you been here all night,” the exhausted and flustered voice of her son gave Genevieve a bit of a scare and woke her. She couldn’t decide how long she had been asleep, or what day it was.

“Yes, dear. Grandma stayed at our house just in case Cassie comes home,” Genevieve hugged Jared with the very little strength she had left. “Are you free to go home now?”

“Yeah, Mom, we can go home. Let’s go to the house and rest. We both need to get some sleep. Except, I think it would be worth while to make some calls. How about we go home, you can lay down and I’ll call some people. Specifically that guy she wasted her time with.” Genevieve rose to her feet leaned on Jared to walk to the door. Holding the door open, Jared began to look for his phone.

“Aunt Genie! Jared!” The vigorous and husky voice they both knew to be the youngest grandchild of the family, Dean, stopped them in their tracks. “Wait, you can’t leave just yet. It’s Cassie, she has been found. You guys need to come back in and speak with Granger.” Quickly after hugging his aunt, Dean ushered them both back to the office where Nadia sat. The look on her face was a twisted mess of perplexing and disturbed thoughts. Dean knocking on her door revitalized her. “Detective, I was able to catch Aunt Genie and Jared before they took off.”

“Oh yes, thank you, Dean. Ms. Patrickson, Mr. Quincy, please come in,” Nadia volunteered the chairs in front of her desk to the tired and wary mother and son. “ I know you both have been her a long time. I’m sorry that I had Dean stop you. May I get either of you something to eat or drink?”

“They have an awesome vending machine set up, Mom. They have the tea that you like, too.” Jared knew all of his mother and sister’s favorites. From beverages and foods to movies and books, Jared had them memorized.

“Is that right. Well, that’s quite alright. I’ll would love some water though.” Genevieve’s voice was soft and hoarse. No doubt the rest of everything and being up all night, has really ran her ragged. You would never know it by looking at her though.

“Alright then, Dean will you please get them a couple of water bottles.” Nadia closed the door behind Dean and strolled to over to her desk. “Jared, I’m sorry for last night. I hope you can understand we were pushing hard to be able to locate your baby sister.” Before she could sit down, a knock stirred all three of them. “Yes, who is it,” Nadia sounded irritated but as if she was fighting hard to hide it.

“It’s Dean, Detective Granger.” The quick turn around for the order she had given didn’t seem to surprise her.

“Ah, yes,” Nadia opened the door, attempting her best stature of grace. Dean’s arms and hands were full. As much as Jared knew things about his sister and mother, Dean knew about his aunt and older cousin. His arms held water bottles and bags of cookies and chips. In his hands were two white styrofoam cups.

“Aunt Genie, the tea the Grandma always makes you. Jare, coffee.” Dean caustiously handed them their hot drinks. A feat in its own, it brought a much needed smile to the sullen faces of his superior and his loved ones.

“Thank you, Dean. That was so sweet.” Genevieve blew over her tea to persuade it to cool down. “Now, Detective, excuse me for being frank, but I am a very tired woman. I was told you found my daughter. I want to see her.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. It’s true, Cassandra has been found, but I’m afraid the news is not good. She was roughed up pretty badly, and we believe she was drugged. Whoever did this moved her from where she went to meet Jared. Since your son’s alibi checks out, we have no reason to further suspect him. She was close to unrecognizable when she was found. In fact, we only confirmed it was her because Dean had gone with us and he recognized her. She was found four miles south of where she had told her friend she was meeting Jared. Cassandra is currently unconscious in the hospital. We arranged for Dean to take you. Your car will be perfectly safe here, you can both ride with Dean, and he can bring you back to collect your car.”

Genevieve lost the grip on her tea as she tried to set it on the desk. Hot tea went all over the desk and the floor. Immediately she erupted into tears. Jared and Dean came close to her and tried their best at consoling the woman they both cared deeply about. Feeling shame and desperate to be with her daughter, Genevieve looked at her nephew.

“Take us Dean. Take me to Cassie,” Genevieve was barely capable to get it out. She was weak, shaky and unsure that she could even stand. The two wonderful boys that she used to watch play with each other were now helping pull her to her feet.

“Of course, Aunt Genie. My car is out front. I already called Mom and Grandma. They said they would make calls to everyone else. They also said that they would meet us there.” Dean was always such a compassionate young man. It was no surprise to anyone when he had secured his position as the newest officer in town. It was his dream since he was a young boy. He was always protective, a family trait that emanates from all of them. The two young men accompanied Genevieve through the precinct where the news of Cassandra being found must have gotten out. Beyond the doors reporters stood waiting to catch their lead.

Walking out through the large double doors, the reporters shoved their microphones and flashed bright camera lighting in their faces. Genevieve was grateful for Dean and Jared. They covered her and pushed their way through the crowd. “Jared, you take her to the car, and get her in the front seat. I’ll keep the vultures back.”

Dean made it safe enough for Jared to sneak over to the car with Genevieve. Keeping the big group back, one sneaky snake reporter slinked around and made her way behind the unsuspecting duo. The other reporters yelled out how unfair it was that she got away with moving past, and three more officers came out to help.

Jared opened the car, and guided his mother into the car, closer the door immediately after her feet were secured inside. Catching the disingenuous Viviana standing too close and cutting off his path back to Dean. “What do you want Carvalli. We don’t need this right now. You’re in the way.”

Showing the other reporters just how she always gets the best stories, the beautiful woman laid her thin, well manicured hand on Jared’s chest. “I assure you that I don’t know what you mean. I saw that your mother was so very said, and needing help to walk. I simply wanted to help.” Giving him her best sultry smile, Jared Grabbed her by the wrist, “Now you listen to me, lady. There’s not enough money in the world that would buy you looks good enough to stop me from keeping your roaches away from my family. If you don’t not leave us alone so we can leave, I will press charges. Now, back off.” Tossing her hand aside Jared walked around to the drivers side and met up with Dean. “You think we can get the drivers door open without any of the leeches squirming in, Dean?”

“You got it, cousin.” With dean standing guard, Jared opened the door to talk to his mom. Leaning far in, he reached over and grabbed her hand.

“Mom, how about you go with Dean, let me drive your car. Hopefully they will try to follow me and I can get some distance for you. I’ll be right behind you and Dean will get you to Cass.” Genevieve patted her sons hand then gave him her keys. “I’ll see you in a few minutes, I love you Mom.” He closed the door and stepped back to stand next to his cousin. “I know you’re a big time cop now, but your still my little cousin, and she is still my mother, and Cassie is still my baby sister. Get Mom there safe and quick, and find the monster that hurt Cassandra.” Accepting the direct orders from the man he always looked up to, Dean nodded and got into his patrol car.

“Aunt Genie, lets go see Cassie.” The drive from the police station to the hospital takes only about ten minutes when there was heavy traffic. Which in a small town, heavy traffic means school is out or the farmers are in harvest season. None of that was happening in that moment. The last time Genevieve looked in her side mirror, Jared was directly behind them. For the three of them, the drive felt like eternity. Street lights seemed to stall, other drivers drove too slow, and the highway that held the only entrance into the hospital, appeared to elongate before them.

It had been three days since Genevieve realized first realized her daughter may not be coming home. Carrying on with a troubled heart and distracted mind, short naps here and there were all the sustained her now. The sun was out hot already, it wasn’t more than nine o’clock in the morning. The bright morning light stung at her tired, cried out eyes. She could barely tell when Dean pulled up the emergency room doors.

Jared really did manage to stay right behind them. Before she knew it, he was at her door opening it and helping her. “Dean got us here quick, Mom. Let’s go see about Cassie.”

She rushed to her feet and took off for the doors. Though the bright sun and bright fluorescent lights caused her eyes so much burning pain, she proved to anyone paying attention what a mother would push through to get to her children when they need her. The searing pain reached back through her head to the base of her neck, but still had nothing in comparison to the pain her heart felt. Moving faster than she though her legs could take her, the cold air smelled of antibacterial soap and fresh bleach cleaner. It scratched at her throat, but she persisted through. Her adrenaline was carrying through so fast she didn’t even notice the waiting room was full of friends and family. Their voices calling out to her were muffled by her desire to reach Cassie. The ones that knew her were fully aware, beyond a shadow of a doubt, talking to her right now was a waste of time. Her child was hurt. She didn’t know how bad, and she certainly wasn’t sure what she would walk into when she arrived to the room the were caring for Cassandra in. All she knew was that she had to get to her baby. As the youngest, regardless of being on the verge of adulthood or not, Cassandra was always going to be Genevieve’s baby. She ran through the opening in the electronic door that was made by someone exiting the area. A barrage of arms came around her, interfering with her plan. Someone had once said around her that the anger of a scorned woman was unstoppable. That person had been referring to someone who had been cheated on by her husband. Whoever had started that theory was mistaken, terribly. They had never come into contact with a Patrickson mother trying to get to her beaten child.

The emergency room corridor being filled with all darkened rooms, with the exception of only one, it became easy to find the room that held her daughter. Aside from the darkened rooms, there was only one containing the sound of a beeping cardiac monitor. Genevieve’s run turned into an all out sprint. The sight of her precious child laying dormant in a hospital bed as she stepped into the room stopped her as if she had ran right into a brick wall. It didn’t last long, within the seconds it took her to draw in a sustaining breathe, Genevieve took fast to her daughter’s side.

The unconscious Cassandra, who was more pale than usual, laidback in the slightly raised bed with tubes seeming to come from everywhere. Her hair wasn’t even long enough to put in a small ponytail, let alone cascade down her back as it typically did. Instead it was jaggedly cut on one side and shaved close to the skin on the other. “Oh sweet girl, who did this to you. I’m so sorry. I should have been here,” Genevieve told the fragile girl in front of through quiet, uncontrollable sobbing. She climbed up on the bed next to Cassandra and carefully cradled her head in her arms. “Mama is here now, and I won’t ever leave you again.”

The terrifying noise of the cardiac monitor flat lining caused a scream to erupt out of Genevieve, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Help, HELP ME, SOME BODY HELP MY BABY!” She carefully got up and ran to the door screaming for people to come help.

“Mama, I’m so sorry,” Cassandra cried out from the background of the room staring over at her mother. She was such a strong woman, it pained Cassandra to see her in this amount of pain. “It’s all my fault.”

“Cassandra, it’s not time yet. You must go back,” Paxton told her.

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