The call I had received came from one of the men I work with, I didn’t know how to tell Braelynn that her mother had been murdered. That piece of shit her mother was seeing apparently had some ties on the outside and was not happy with being locked up. There was a battle waging inside my head, her mother had just gotten home from the hospital only to be gunned down and their home set ablaze. Yes, that’s right. That piece of shit man had someone shoot her mother and then burn their house to the ground. Of course no one had seen anything, it was 9:30 at night, most people were already at home settled in for the night. What was I going to tell my Braelynn, my sweet Brae, that her mother is no longer here for her. Just as we were pulling up to the abandoned warehouse Braelynn’s phone began to ring. I glanced over to see the caller ID come across the screen. It was her mother’s name and picture. I didn’t have any time to think, I just reacted knowing what I knew and jerked the phone from Braelynn’s hand sliding the accept button. Braelynn gave me a surprised look when I took it from her, I held the phone up to my ear and looked Braelynn dead in the eye.
“What the hell kind of sick twisted game do you think you’re playing here?” My teeth gritted, it took everything in my not to speed off from the warehouse to find the miserable piece of shit who had hurt my Braelynn.
“Rohnan! That’s my mother you’re talking to!” Braelynn jumped in her seat lunging towards me reaching for her phone back. That action only made me lean away so that I could hear the voice on the other end of the line.
“Better her mother than her Rohnan. We were just showing what happens to those that mess with us. Keep your girl in check or she’ll be next.” With that the line went dead and I dropped the phone to my lap. I sat staring out the windshield into the night, how am I going to tell her that her mother had just been murdered and that it wasn’t really her mother on the other end of the phone. God I want to wrap her into my chest and keep her safe from the cruel world.
“Rohnan, what is going on?” She’s mad, I can hear it in her voice. I have no choice now, I have to tell her.
“Braelynn.” I began before she interrupted me.
“That wasn’t my mom was it?” She asked, her voice sounding so small and vulnerable. I hated the way it sounded, it only made me think of how she would have been when Maddox hurt her. I look over into her eye’s to see that they have already gone misty without me even saying a word.
“Rohnan, what happened to my mom?” Tears began to make their way over the brim of her eyes, trailing down her cheeks. I don’t like this look on her, she already feels so defeated in this life.
“Braelynn, I’m sorry. I don’t know how… I didn’t know how to tell you back at the cabin.” I couldn’t even look her in the eyes. I felt like I had been a coward back there, but then I felt her hand on my arm.
“Rohnan, you were only trying to protect me. Now please take me home so I can see her.” Her tears are now coming down in rivers down those beautiful sun kissed cheeks. I just nodded and put the car into drive. The guys would have to wait, my girl is hurting.
Braelynn’s House: Braelynn's POV:
As we began to get closer to our street I realized there is smoke coming from what would have been my home. I knew in my heart that it was gone, but my head kept telling me to hold onto the hope it may still be there. Rohnan had gotten a call back at the cabin about my mother’s death. I was too in shock to be concerned about who had let him know. Then the phone call came in from my mom’s phone, it wasn’t her though. I can only assume it was the man who had just killed my mother. As we turned the corner headed towards our street I then knew what my heart had been telling me. I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I knew it was all gone, my mother, my father and all the memories I had in boxes of all those years. They were both gone in a matter of minutes. I clutched at my chest doubling over as I exited Rohnan’s car. There were cops and firetrucks everywhere. The smell of smoke feeling my nose and the muffled sounds of the night. I wasn’t sure how long I had been held up by Rohnan, I didn’t even realize at this point he was holding me. Tears stained my cheeks and his shirt as my heart was breaking into a million pieces.
I noticed a cop close to Rohnan’s age walk up to Rohnan and ask a couple of questions, I think I heard my name being mentioned a couple of times but I was focused on the roar of the flames and the plumes of smoke twisting violently towards the night sky. My life had just been ripped from me and there was nothing I could do to salvage even a sliver of it. I heard Rohnan’s voice call to me but I couldn’t break my eyes away from the scene unfolding before me.
“Braelynn! Hey, you there?” I was standing with Rohnan in front of me with both his hands on my shoulders as he looked into my eyes.
“Braelynn, the cop over there needs to ask you a couple of questions as to who did this to your mom. His name is Dustin, he is a friend of mine.”
“Who did this?” I was furious now, I knew exactly who did this. How he did it, I didn’t know. But it was him, it was Kyle!
“Rohnan, you know just as well as I do that this has Kyle’s name written all over it. Maybe he wasn’t here himself, but he for sure sent someone to my house and…. and killed my mother!” I broke down in yet another wave of tears as I spoke the words out loud. My mother is dead and there is nothing I can do to bring her back. I knew Kyle was a bad person, I just never thought he would go as far as to be behind bars and put a hit out for my mom.
“Braelynn, let’s get you back to my house, okay?” Rohnan’s voice is no longer stern and cold but now warm and sympathetic. God he must really think little of me now adding this to the list of things that has happened since he has known me.
“Hey Dustin, I’m going to take Braelynn to my house. If you have any questions you know where to find us.” He tugged on my shoulders to walk towards his house. I took a step backwards still fixated on what was left of my house. Watching as memories went up in smoke.
“Braelynn, let’s go sweetheart. There’s nothing you can do. It’s done.” He was right, it was done and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Giving in, I leaned into Rohnan’s side as he led my back down the road to his house. I’m not even sure where I will go from this point. I have no where, no one. I’m alone.
Day of Funeral:
“Braelynn, we’re going to be late if we don’t leave right now.” Rohnan called from the bottom of the staircase, I sat on my bed in Rohnan’s spare room staring at the black heels by my feet. I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to relive this scene again. I slipped the heels on and looked into the mirror at my ensemble, not that my mom could care. She isn’t here anymore to tell me if she likes my outfit. I took a deep breath pushing that thought into the back of my mind and grabbed my clutch stuffing my phone inside. Before I walked away I looked into the mirror and whispered “I love you mom, I wish I could have been there to protect you.” With that, I cleared a single tear escaping my eye and made my way down the stairs to Rohnan.
He was standing at the end of the staircase, a scene that was all too familiar. Last time he was waiting for me at the end of a staircase my mother was murdered. Stop it Braelynn, there’s no need to think like this. I cleared my head and gave Rohnan a small smile.
“You look handsome Rohnan.” I say as I straighten his tie.
“You look wonderful yourself Brae, your mother would be so proud of you right now.” I looked down giving a small nod and gestured towards the door.
“We better go, don’t want to keep everyone waiting on us.”
After the funeral was over and we met at my mother’s final resting place I stared into the deep hole encasing my mother’s lifeless body. I held back the tears for as long as I could. I said a silent prayer for my mother, and I silently vowed to myself I would live everyday for not only myself but for my mother as well. She would scold me for sulking around and feeling sorry for myself. I can’t live like that, I have to live for my mother.
“Brae, are you ready to go?” I hear Rohnan coming up behind me. I close my eyes tight and choke back the tears as I turn to see him, walking towards me with his hands in his pockets looking gloomy.
“Take me away Rohnan.” I say walking past him towards his car, I wasn’t ready to engage in conversation just yet. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I wake up tomorrow. Leaning against Rohnan’s car I look down the hill to see him standing above my mother’s shaded grave, wondering what he’s doing just standing there. After a few minutes Rohnan turn’s to make his way back up the hill towards his car and I hear the sound of the car unlocking and I climb inside seating myself.
“Braelynn, would you like to stay at my house tonight, it’s either that or I take you to the cabin for a few nights until we get a living situation figured out for you?”
“Rohnan, what are we? I have known you less than three weeks now, you have literally seen me at my worst in every worse case scenario. Are we friends, are we something more? I don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t get answers starting now!” I was trying to stay calm but everything came out in a jumbled mess, I just couldn’t hold these thoughts in anymore. I mean what man in their right mind would want to stay with a mess like this, or even have feelings for someone like me. My life is a disaster and this is the exact reason I wanted to end my life.
“Brae, I think you need to take a couple of days to yourself before we start talking specifics and putting labels on things. You just said your final goodbye to your mother. This conversation can wait for another day.”
“Labels? Another day? Rohnan, I don’t think you understand what I’m needing right now. My parents are both gone from this world, I have no other family. All my friends are back in Georgia, my home is in ashes. I have myself, and that’s it. I just need some kind of reassurance in my life for once.” The tears were coming down now, and they matched the gloomy day outside.
“Brae.” I cut him off faster than he could spit out the next word.
“Just take me anywhere Rohnan. I don’t care where I go, I don’t feel like talking anymore.” With a sigh Rohnan started his car and we drove in silence to God knows where he was taking me. I could see him glance over at me from time to time. I just wanted to go home and curl up to shut myself off from this world. We finally pulled outside of his cabin, as I reached for the door Rohnan’s hand landed on my leg stopping me from exiting his car.
“Listen, I know you feel like you have the weight of the world sitting on your shoulders right now. I know you said you have no one, but Brae I need you to know you have me. I’m here for you and I won’t let anything happen to you. Please know that I will do anything for you. Should you ever need anything please do not ever hesitate to reach out. I’ll always be there for you.” I was choking back the ball in my throat staring straight ahead, shaking my head with a dry humorless laugh and my eyes fixed on the door to the cabin.
“Rohnan, I really do appreciate everything you have done for me from day one. I really and truly do. I just don’t think you understand what I’m wanting and what I’m needing from you right now. Maybe it’s best if this is where things end, you go your way and I go mine.”
“Brae, you’re not thinking straight right now. Sleep on it tonight and we’ll talk tomorrow okay?”
"Yeah, sure. I'll be needing my car tomorrow, so if you can make that happen that would be great." I was stepping out of the car when his hand grabbed my arm causing me to roll my eyes. I turned back around to see him taking the key to the cabin off the key ring.
"Here, I'll have your car out here first thing in the morning. Stay here as long as you need. Everything you're going to need is in the cabin. I'll take you grocery shopping tomorrow, or you can go. If you want you can just stay here and pay the electric bill, the cabin is paid for."
"Thanks Rohnan, I appreciate it all. I'll just stay here until i can find a place of my own. I don't want to be a burden." I took the key from Rohnan before he could say another word and ran up the steps of the cabin. Once inside I locked the door I went to find a shower, I needed to wash the day off my skin.
Inside the shower I let the hot water kiss my skin. I sat on the bench of the shower and letting the memories slid down the drain along with the water. I can't become this girl again. I have to be strong my my mother, I have to live everyday for her. I will no longer feel sorry for myself, I will be independent and I will go back to not trusting anyone. I'm better off on my own. I turned the shower off and I wrapped myself in my robe.
I walked into the kitchen opening the fridge taking out a bottle of wine before going to see what kind of clothes I can find to wear. Taking the bottle out of the fridge I opened it not bothering to go for a wine glass. I turned the TV on signing into my pandora account. Finding a station I feel suits my mood I turn back down the hall way towards the bedroom.
I see a duffel bag on the bed and open it, there's a letter on the top.
"Braelynn, I picked up somethings for you I thought you may need, inside you will find a phone charge, some clothes for tonight and tomorrow. We will figure this out together."
I threw the note away and bug through the bag to see it's contents. I pulled out a cute night set, and the charger he had packed. I plugged my phone in before going back to the bathroom to put my night clothes on. The music was still blaring through the cabin and my body was beginning to get loose. I was feeling great, I stepped out on the deck patio where Rohnan and I had shared our first "date". I rolled my eyes at the thought walking back inside to turn the music off. I needed to talk to someone, so I did. I grabbed my phone and I called my best friend MaKenna from Georgia.
MaKenna: "Braelynn? Is that really you girl?" MaKenna sounded so happy to see I have called her. I haven't talked to anyone from my past, not since I moved here. I wanted to forget that part of my life.
Braelynn: "Yes girl, it's me! How have you been?"
MaKenna: "I've been missing you that's for sure! I'm a little offended it took you this long to call me though."
Braelynn: "I know Kenn, I'm sorry it's taken so long. I've had some issues I've had to deal with. Come see me?"
MaKenna: "Let me talk with my boss, I'll tell him I have a family emergency to attend to out of state. I'll talk to him first thing in the morning when he gets there okay?"
Braelynn: "Okay, that sounds great. Do you need me to buy you a plane ticket?"
MaKenna: "Girl no! It's a thirteen hour drive, I got this! You just worry about what we're going to do when I get there okay?"
Braelynn: "Yes ma'am! I miss your face sis."
MaKenna: "I know sweetie, I'll be there soon okay?"
Braelynn: "I know you will be, talk to you tomorrow?"
MaKenna: "Sure thing! When Derrick get's in, I'll tell him I have to leave as soon as possible. I'll ask for at least a week off, two might be pushing it, but I'll try."
Braelynn: "Thank you Kenna, you have no idea how much this means to me."
MaKenna: "Anything for you friend. Anything, get some sleep. We'll talk tomorrow."
We ended the phone call and I felt only a fraction better than before I called my best friend. Our story goes way back before I had met Maddox. MaKenna and I were actually roommates at the college we were both attending. We have had some crazy nights together, and we have always had each others backs. She was there for me even when I was stupid enough to stay with Maddox. I truly do not deserve her. I hung up the phone and looked to see I had a text from Rohnan.
Rohnan: "I'm sure I'm the last person you want talking to you right now, after the way things have went between us I feel we do need to sit down and have a talk. I never meant to hurt you, I only want what is best for you. Also, there should be plenty of wine stocked up. Have a nice night, I'll see you tomorrow morning. Sleep good Brae."
I deleted the message and made my way to the bedroom, I pulled back the blankets and I let my body sink into the mattress. Today has been hell, I'm ready to move forward.
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