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Chapter 42

On Monday morning Cade and I woke up and ate breakfast with his mom and brothers. I was being welcomed into their family and felt horrible about it.

I was tricking them all. I was there to spy on Jeffery, but I liked everyone else in the family. They were so kind and welcoming. Cade was a whole other story. I was starting to fall in love with him, but I knew even if I was able to explain myself he may never forgive me once he found out the truth. The chances that he would never find out were slim. And even if he didn’t, I’d feel too guilty to never tell him.

Cade had also opened up about his mental health and addictions issues. He told me he used to drink, and smoke weed every day, and use cocaine and occasionally meth on the weekends. He was struggling with depression on top of this. Cade said that he had been doing a lot better since the start of the school year. He had quit doing hard drugs and smoked less weed. He had been drinking more than he wanted too and he told me that was the next thing he wanted to work on.

After he almost died his dad got him a lot more help. He had a psychiatrist and two counselors. One specialized in addiction and the other one was Mr. Garett. He was starting new antidepressants and his next goal was to stop drinking alcohol. He told me that he would often turn to alcohol when he was feeling really low and drink so much, he couldn’t remember the next day. I was so happy he opened up to me. I felt like since he told me about his sister and his struggles with mental health and addictions, I could completely be there to support him in his recovery. At the same time, it felt strange, I wanted to be there for him, but I felt horrible about what might happen if he found out I was originally there to spy on his father.

I had talked to Maria, and she said I could pick Tomás and Tessa up after school. Cade and I got up earlier enough that we had time to go to my house so I could change before school. When we got to my apartment it was empty. I tried calling my mom, but she didn’t answer. Since I needed to get to school, I sent her a quick text and tried my best to push her whereabouts to the back of my mind.

Monday was fairly uneventful. I did find out that Cade had skipped most of his classes while I was absent. I tried to ask him about it, but he shrugged me off. I found this strange as the night before he was so open.

Sometimes I understood Cade perfectly and other times like today, I had no clue what he was thinking or feeling. Why would he stop going to school when I wasn’t there? It couldn’t be that bad, I had never seen anyone accept Wyatt, be directly mean towards Cade. I knew he didn’t have friends at school, but I thought he liked to be left alone. Why then would he quit coming? Maybe there was more to it, he hadn’t met my sister at that point. Maybe knowing I had a newborn that he was going to meet gave him so much anxiety he couldn’t go to school. Or maybe it had nothing to do with that and it was the people and memories he had at the school. I wish he’d tell me about it. I couldn’t help him if I didn’t understand.

I kept wondering what would happen to him if something happened where we got in a fight or if I had to leave school. Since my dad died my family has relied on me to survive. Cade was working through a lot right now and was starting to rely on me being there for him when he needed it. I was more than okay with that. He had helped me through some tough spots, and I knew I could count on him when I needed someone to lean on. He was one of the only people I was able to be vulnerable with.

After seeing what he did because I wasn’t at school made me wonder how much he needs me and if I can handle it when I eventually let him down. I knew I was a bad person; I’d been one for a long time. But knowing how much Cade needed me right now made me feel evil. He had no idea what I was really doing. What had I gotten myself into?

The week went by quickly as I was so busy with looking after Tessa and catching up on school. Cade and I were going to take Tomás trick-or-treating on Friday night. Once we finished, we were going to drop him off with Maria and Tessa then go to Clarissa’s house to watch scary movies since it was Halloween. She was having around 10 people over so I thought it would be a good low-key event to take Cade to. Clarissa said that there shouldn’t be any alcohol or drugs, and everybody invited were people from school who were fairly nice.

Tomás and I were on our way to Cade’s house. We were both wearing our race car driver costumes. I was even able to find Tomás a race car-shaped candy holder for Tomás.

“Lota do you think they will have the big chocolate bars?” Tomás asks while looking out his window at some children in costumes.

“I bet they will!” I reply as I watch him bounce up and down excitedly.

When we get to Cade’s house his mom Tammy greets us at the door. She hands Tomás a big Aero bar and asks about his costume. Then she invited us in.

“Cade will be right down, he’s just changing into his costume,” Tammy says with a big smile.

It’s weird to see her, for the past 2 months of knowing Cade his mom’s absence was a constant. Now it seemed like she was planning to be as involved as she could. I truly hoped she was getting the help she needed and getting better.

Leo had done some digging on her. There wasn’t much current information, but we did find out about her past. He was able to talk to Tammy’s ex-boyfriend. He was currently in jail on drug charges. Leo met with him in exchange for money for commissary.

We found out that Tammy was born in Utah and raised by her father after her mom walked out when she was 3. Her father was a drunk and didn’t pay much attention to her. By the time Tammy was 15, she was involved in a bad crowd. She ended up moving out at 16 to live with her drug dealer boyfriend (the one currently in jail). It wasn’t a healthy relationship, to say the least. He had her sleep with his friends and eventually wanted her to with other men he owed money to.

She met Jeffery at a party when she was 19. Her boyfriend at the time owed Jeffery’s father money for drugs. The boyfriend was going to have her sleep with him to repay the debt. Tammy had stood up to him and told him she wouldn’t do it and that she was going to leave him. He ended up beating her and leaving her locked in a room while he went to make a deal with Jeffery’s father at the party.

Jeffery stumbled into the room she was in when he was looking for the bathroom. He was only 24 at the time and wasn’t fully aware of his father’s business. He was still being taught all the ins and outs. According to the source, Jeffery didn’t know about the human trafficking part at this point. Jeffery and Tammy got talking and Jeffery convinced his father to forgive the debt in exchange for Tammy.

He got her an apartment in Phoenix and helped her start a new life. She got her GED and started working part-time at a craft store. Eventually, she took a course and became a medical secretary. While she began her new life in Phoenix she and Jeffery started to date. Leo and I put the pieces together and figured out that Jeffery would have learned about the human trafficking before they got married. Jeffery’s father died a year and a half before the two got married, at that point Jeffery took over everything.

We also pieced together that Tammy knows about the drugs, but we didn’t know what she knew about the human trafficking. At some point, Jeffery had started to become abusive. Cade had told me about how he would beat all of them. The more I learned the worse I felt. Tammy did the best she could in the circumstances she was in. As for Jeffery maybe he wasn’t 100% evil. He had an illegal business thrown on him at 27. I still hated him, but I was beginning to believe that there were reasons behind the way he was.

I grew up with a crooked cop as a dad, because of him I became who I am. I had to in order to survive. I couldn’t imagine growing up with a drug lord father who expected you to take over the business. I also started to think about Kyle, Cade’s older brother. Was he going to turn out like Jeffery? I knew Jeffery was going to start introducing him to the illegal side of the business soon. Maybe what I was doing was going to help this family. If I could take Jeffery down I could free Tammy from his abuse, Kyle from his future, and Cade from his pain. Maybe I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. Who am I kidding it is never okay to trick a guy who you were falling in love with.

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