Chapter 1: Damaged Family
A/N Read my new books ‘The Fae Wolf’ and ‘His Little Bounty’ too. I would love the feedback!
“Fuck! Sara, I’m freaking the fuck out. I don’t know where she is,” I scream at my mom’s boss as she tends the bar.
“It’s not my problem, kid. She missed her shift; she’s out of a job. I gave her chance after chance. She’s not my employee anymore,” she replies, smiling flirtatiously at a creepy ancient guy in a trench coat as she serves his drink. He glances over to me and then slides closer, raising his eyebrows.
“Looking for someone, sweetheart?” he asks. I choose to ignore him, jumping off my stool and grabbing my jacket. Before I can leave, I’m stopped by the fucking ghoul again, his trench coat elongating his lanky figure. “It’s not nice to walk away when someone is talking to you, babe.”
“I’m not your babe,” I hiss, pushing him aside from the door. I feel long fingers clasp around my wrist and yank me back into his chest. His moldy alcohol-reeking breath hits my neck and fills my nose.
Just as he’s about to say something else, sucking in a shallow breath, a voice hisses behind us.
“I suggest you take your hands off her, otherwise I’ll have you in handcuffs for assault.” I whip my head around to find my best friend, mentor, and ultimately the most amazing person in my life: Officer Chris Roland. His eyes pierce into the disgusting man beside me, and eventually he releases his grip, backing away once he sees Roland in uniform. “You’re always in trouble, huh?”
“It’s because I am trouble. Trouble follows trouble,” I state back, with a grateful smile though. “What are you doing in here?”
“What do people do at a bar? Drink. It’s been a long day. The question is, what are you doing here, Cade?”
“Looking for my mom,” I reply, sighing.
“She’s missing again? How long?” he questions, just like the cop he is. I chuckle and shake my head.
“Roland, I don’t need you to get involved, again. She’s probably passed out somewhere. She’ll be fine. I just want to find her really. But you don’t need to help,” I tell him.
“I don’t need to help, but I want to,” he retorts, turning around towards the door and dragging me out with him. “Maybe she’s already back at your house. Let’s go there first.”
I sigh, and just accept his help, hiding, not too well, that I’m incredibly grateful to have someone who cares. I love my mom, but she’s going through a lot of shit; she has been for a while. It means that she can’t be there for me, that she can’t be the mother she and I hoped she would be without my father here.
He just walked out on us, and I haven’t heard from him in nine years. I’m glad; he’s a waste anyway. Roland is more of a father to me than he ever was or could ever be. But sometimes I do wonder what he is doing. If he has a reason for leaving us, for leaving me.
I hop into the squad car and strap in, once Roland gives me the glare to do so.
“I told you that you should stay with me, especially if we don’t find her tonight. You’re not staying there alone, even if you didn’t live in a rough neighborhood,” he lectures. The stern look in his eyes warns me not to argue, but I do so anyway, for no reason except it takes my mind off imagining where my mother is.
“But if we don’t find her tonight, someone should be at home for her,” I advocate.
“She’ll be fine if she comes back home. She doesn’t need you there.”
“What if she gets worried that I’m not there?”
“When does she ever?” he blurts out, and then glances over to me guiltily before averting his eyes back to the road. “I don’t mean it like that. I just mean that if she’s coming home, it’s gonna be drunk or high or both. It’s not like she’s even gonna make it up the stairs, let alone worry about you.”
“You’re right,” I mutter, resting my head against the car door.
“Cade, you’ll stay the night with me, either way. If we do find your mom-”
“If we find her, I have to look after her,” I interrupt, giving him a sharp glare.
“Then I’ll help you. I’ll stay over at yours. Only if we find her though.” I nod in agreement and face back to the road, hoping that she’ll be home when we get there. I pray she’ll be home.
After searching for a couple hours, Roland convinces me that it’s too late and too dark to even see her if we pass her, so we head back to his apartment.
Unlocking his door, he leads me into the familiar living room, and sits on the couch, bouncing slightly from the spring. I settle beside him as he switches the TV on and scrolls through Netflix shows.
“I’m sorry, Cade. She’ll turn up. She always does,” he says, hugging my waist into him and allowing me to rest my head against his chest. “We’ll look again first thing in the morning.”
“Thank you,” I murmur, feeling my eyes close as sleep overtakes me.
When the sun rays hit my face, it forces me awake, my eyes adjusting to the difference of light. I find myself in the spare bedroom, on the comfy bed, snug under the covers. Roland must have brought me in here last night.
As much as I protest to staying here, it is quite an upgrade from my own house. This spare room is better than my bedroom at home. The springs aren’t flying out the mattress, the shutters actually close fully, the windows aren’t duct taped up to stop robbers entering and cold night air flooding in. Roland took spare clothes of mine from my house a while ago, just in case, for these times. I’m practically moved in here, a perfect en suite for the room with a collection of toiletries. All he needs is for me to actually be here.
Some might say his generosity is a way to get into my pants, but he’s nothing like that. At all. We met five years ago, when he had arrested my mother for getting drunk and punching him in stupidity. She spent a night in the cell and I refused to leave the station. She was all I had. Roland stayed with me, telling me if I was staying, he was going to stay too. I was just eleven years old, and he stayed with me without complaint. Ever since then, we got closer, him checking up on me at the house, and taking me to school most days. Most days turned into everyday, and he would pick me up too.
There was one time where I was out for a run with him, and we’d run farther than before. I started to lose a lot of breath, my pants shallow and fast and I couldn’t take in enough oxygen. He rushed me to the hospital and I found out that I had asthma due to secondhand smoking. Thankfully, Roland paid for an asthma pump and the medical bill.
He’s been my savior. So when he asks for me to do something, like stay with him, or to not hang out with someone at school, or to go somewhere with him, I eventually comply. He knows that, although I tend to protest all of it, it’s just my nature. But I know he wants what’s best for me.
“Let’s go,” he declares as he enters my room. I shower and change into new clothes before heading out back to my house with Roland. I hope my mom is alright. She does this a lot, but that doesn’t make me worry any less. Something can always change; something can always happen to her.
As we pull up to the house, I notice the front door left wide open. I know we shut it when we left. She might be back, or we might have gotten robbed. I race out of the car and into the house, leaving Roland to follow behind me.
“Cade, wait a minute, let me-” He gets cut off when I become traumatized for the rest of my life.
“What?” Roland questions as he wraps his arms around me to protect me. And his eyes widen when he sees what I see. I try to escape his arms but they tighten around me, knowing that I should have time to let this settle. He pushes me behind him and stalks over to the couch, where my mom lays, sprawled out.
Her skin, washed out white, the temperature tinting it blue. Her eyes, rolled into her head, blank white, no longer colored with little red capillaries. Her body, lax, flopping all over the place, spilling off the couch and onto the floor. The pills are spread over the coffee table.
My lower lip trembles as I watch the sight in horror, tears unknowingly flooding my face. I don’t even notice when they first fall, but they are now flowing like two streams down my face and off my jaw to the floor.
Roland looks back to me, a solemn and shocked look all over his face.
“I’m sorry, Cade. I’m so sorry. She’s... dead.”