“Would you actually kill my dad if he tried anything?” Cade asks.
“What would you think if I did?” I reply.
“I don’t know, I mean he’d deserve it, but I have no idea what I’d think. I know you’ve killed people and I’m sort of okay with that, I guess. I know that you really didn’t have a choice. But unless you do kill my dad, I don’t know how I’d feel. Maybe I’d be happy since he’s put my family through hell, and we’d be better off. Or maybe I’d be upset. I really don’t know,” Cade answers.
“I get that, before my dad died, I used to think of how I’d feel if he did. I went back and forth between happy and sad. I mean they are your family, they raised you. But when he died all, I felt was numb,” I tell Cade.
“Yeah, we really don’t know until it happens. I honestly don’t know what I want with him. I want him to leave my family, but I don’t know about anything beyond that,” Cade responds and we fall into silence.
When we get to the bar, we see the other SUV in the parking lot. Cade parks and we go inside.
I see Kyle sitting at the bar already 3 drinks in. Cade goes up to him and says, “Hey man, can we talk?”
“No, I don’t want to hear any more lies from you. Either you lied about Laura and dad, or you kept him trying to rape her from me. Both options suck and I want nothing to do with you,” Kyle slurs out. So maybe he was more than the three drinks in.
“Please just listen,” Cade begs.
“Get the fuck away from me,” Kyle says pushing Cade away.
I place my hand on Cade’s arm and he looks up. I nod at him and then to a table across from the bar. He takes my direction and sit down in the faraway booth. I being to speak to Kyle. I knew when Jeffery said that I better be able to fix the mess he was serious. So here I was talking to a drunk Kyle hoping to get him calm enough to go back to the cabin tonight. I didn’t need to be any higher on Jeffry’s enemy list.
“Look I get having a messed-up family, but I really do think you need to hear Laura’s side,” I say after Kyle rants about how much he hates his family, especially his dad.
“Fuck that, they are all of a bunch of liars,” Kyle says starting to get angry.
“I get that your mad right now but the only liar is your dad. Laura was too scared to say anything and convinced Cade to not tell you. Don’t you dare blame this on her. Have you met your father? Who in their right mind wouldn’t be scared to stand up to him?” I rant deciding to let out some of my rage.
“You and Cade,” Kyle simply states.
“Well, I guess we aren’t in our right minds,” I say and take a deep breath and continue. “You need to hear Laura’s side, you have no idea what it’s like to be corned in a room and have a man try to rape you,” I say with a serious look straight into his eyes.
I see Kyle swallow and then he says, “Yeah, you’re right. I’m just so mad at everyone. If she or Cade would have told me I could have...”
“Could have what? Yelled at your father like tonight?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” Kyle says while rubbing his eyes. “I love her so much and I couldn’t even protect her from my father. How am I going to ever protect her from anything?”
“It’s not your job to protect the people you love. Laura is an adult and can do that herself. It is your job to be there for her when shitty things happen,” I say.
“Yeah, but that was my father. I should have known or clued in. I put her in harm’s way by having him around her alone in our house,” Kyle says with tears running down his face. I doubt I’ll get him back to the cabin tonight, he’s too drunk and too emotional.
“You’ve grown up with him, you were taught to trust him. It’s not your fault that you didn’t clue in. Hell, I trusted my father for years and he was the evilest man I’ve ever met,” I say trailing off at the end.
“That’s for sure, I hope I can make things right between Laura and me. And I’m moving out of that hell hole of a house as soon as possible,” Kyle says.
“How about we get a room at the motel and then head back in the morning, so we have time to catch the flight?” I say while motioning for Cade to come over.
“Yeah,” Kyle says while he slowly closes his eyes.
I explain the plan for tonight to Cade and then he helps Kyle stumble next door to the motel lobby. We get a room and head inside. It’s not a luxury room but it will do. We are all exhausted and need to rest before we drive back on the snow-covered roads.
As soon as Kyle lays on the bed, he falls asleep and beings to snore. I sit on the other bed and watch Cade; his face looks worried.
“What did he say?” Cade asks as he walks over and sits beside me.
“That he’s moving out and wants Laura to forgive him. He didn’t say much about you though,” I say.
Cade nods. We sit on the bed in silence for a while. I place my hand on his and squeeze. He squeezes back in response.
“I think my mom, Noah, and I should leave too,” Cade says breaking the silence. I agree but I’m in a position where I’ll be screwed if that happens.
“Do you think your mom would go for that?” I ask feeling out the situation.
“No, I’ve been suggesting it since I was 12. The only thing that’s changed is the Laura thing. But he’s been cheating on her for years and she knows,” Cade says sounded sad.
“Do you think that’ll change her mind?” I probe.
“Probably not, I think she may kick him out for a week. But he has ways of getting everyone to forgive him. I don’t know what to do anymore,” Cade tells me while shaking his head.
“Maybe just wait and see how things play out. You can only do so much to try and help your mom and at some point, you have to let her be and look out for yourself,” I say.
“Yeah, I’m about at that point. If he even tries to touch you, I’m leaving. I can’t take this anymore. My whole life he’s picked on me. And I’m not even his real son. I just want to leave it all behind. But I love my mom and know how trapped she is. I think she stays because she can’t leave,” Cade says.
“My mom was the same way but getting rid of my dad made things worse. Sometimes I think I should have run away or something. Things turned out far worse than I could have ever known. I have no good advice for you,” I say recalling my family.
After a moment of silence, Cade says, “I really appreciate your understanding. You actually get this.”
“Yeah, you and I have a lot more in common than I first thought,” I say.
Cade nods and gives me a hug. As he pulls away, I say, “I think we should leave this for tonight and get some sleep. We have to drive back early so we can get everyone and get on the plane.” Cade nods and we both crawl under the covers and cuddle as we fall asleep.
The next day we get up at 7 am and head back to the cabin. When we arrive Cade and I help to pack up everything and load it into the cars while Kyle and Laura talk in their room. Nothing more happened after we left last night, and everyone is okay, well at least physically.
“Put everything in one SUV, I’ll ride with Jeff and the rest of you can go in the other SUV,” Tammy instructs.
“Are you sure? You’d fit with the rest of us,” Cade says.
Tammy lets out a sigh, “Yes I’m sure, I need to talk to him. Don’t worry he won’t hurt me.”
I meet her gaze as she says this, and she looks away. How does he have so much control over her? Maybe talking to Tammy could help me fix everything. Sure, she was in an abusive relationship with Jeffery, but she had a rough past and loved her children. Maybe I could convince her to help me take down Jeffery. I doubt she wants one of her sons running Jeffery’s illegal empire one day.
The journey back to Pheonix was awkward. Laura and Kyle had mostly made up, but no one said a word about what had happened. The plane ride was even worse, Jeffery stayed in the front while the rest of us pretended he wasn’t there.
Cade, my siblings, and I took a cab to my apartment and Cade stayed the night. Maria dropped my mom off after supper. My mom was released on Saturday and stayed with Maria for one night. My mom went straight to her room and stayed there all night. I checked on her, but she got mad and told me to leave her alone.
Monday morning came and Cade helped me get everyone ready for the day. As he was loading Tomás into my car I went to check on my mom before I left. I felt awful leaving her alone today, but I couldn’t miss more school. Maria was going to come at lunch and be with her. My mom had been sleeping until noon most days so we decided she would be able to be alone for a few hours this morning.
When I opened her door, I noticed that she was sound asleep so I wrote her a note and left it on the fridge so she knows where I went and when Maria is coming. School was fine, I was distracted by everything and had a hard time paying attention.
At the end of the day, I took Cade home, his mom had called him at lunch and said everything had been patched up and that he needed to get home. He called me later to say that Kyle did move out but besides that everything went back to how it was before.
Monday night Leo came over to check in and hear about the trip. I lied and said that everything went well. I did talk about the fight and how Kyle moved out. Leo didn’t say much, and I was worried he saw through my lies. I tried to play it off by telling him about my mom and saying that’s why I was so stressed and tired. I looked exhausted and I knew Leo was too smart to think that was from one fight between Cade’s family that I witnessed.
That night my mom said she was going out with her coworkers and left after supper. I was worried but couldn’t do anything to stop her. I put my siblings to bed and made myself a cup of tea to try to calm me down. I finally fall asleep around 1 am.
At 3:30 am I was woken up by a smash. I grabbed the knife from my bedside table and slowly walked out of my room and into the hall.