Crossing Palms

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Three

Mark Dawlisky, thirty-one years old, college drop out, six feet tall and the youngest of six siblings. Possibly the dumbest member of his family, or so he kept telling himself. Since he had gotten home, he had done his best to avoid them, in hopes that they wouldn't catch on to what he had done. Mark was only supposed to watch Adina and make sure she hadn't succeeded in her little plan. Which he still couldn't figure out why she would have taken the risk in the first place but, that wasn't part of the job. Just stopping her and the man orchestrating the whole shit show. That was the only thing he had gotten right on this trip. Adina was meddling in things that she had no business playing with, and didn't seem to care about the danger she was bringing everyone into.

There was a reason that certain traditions and beliefs hadn't been practiced or even taught since biblical times. There had been a part of him that wanted to confront her, slap her, ask what the hell she thought she was doing. Maybe lock her away somewhere that she couldn't hurt herself or anyone else. To him, her actions were pure insanity. He just couldn't wrap his mind around it. Then again the thirst for power can be seen through-out human history, and many others had done things that made absolutely no sense in the pursuit. But this?

Mark knew that he was going to have to face his parents, and the others. The truth of the situation would come out and there was no way to get out of it. But they sent him into a death trap. If she and her puppet master had been able to succeed, well he didn't want to think about that part.
Or how deep into it he was going to be if they figure out he was the one who delivered the girl to the hospital.. That was going to come back to bite him in the ass. She had been the innocent in this situation. He had done his research. Raysia Mears had moved away, started a life, found a decent job. She didn't share her sister's power hungry drive. But there were still two things that bothered him about this whole fiasco; what drove Adina Mears and Travis Bailor this far and did his parents know what they had sent him into?

He raked his hand through his hair, and then checked his watch. Almost four in the afternoon, guess this was as good a time as any to call in and let everyone know he's back. He dug his phone out of his pocket and thumbed through the contacts, he still didn't want to call in. His mother was never going to drop the chastising and his father was a proud, arrogant, and self proclaimed honour bound man. His oldest brother and the their sisters were all some shade of their father, yet he was nothing like any of them. He prayed he was adopted.

Mark pressed the call icon and his mother picked up on the first ring. "Yeah, I'm back. Yes. I can be ready this evening. No I'll drive myself. Sure, see you at seven." Mark slammed his phone down on the table. Maybe it was time to retire, move on with his life. If only. No one ever gets to retire from this life. His father made sure the whole family knew that their duty was to the job and then to the family.

*Back in Florida*

Raysia woke to her sister scowling at her phone and slowly shoving a french fry in her mouth. Her stomach gargled so loud she thought it would eat itself. "Yo, you couldnt wake me up when it was still hot?", she teased as Adina looked up and frowned at her, "Well I thought about it, but wasnt sure if you'd be nice, you've never been a morning person. Or a 'wake up' person for that matter. But I did get your cheeseburger, a large rootbeer and some fries. Plus I figured when you're ready we could always order a pizza.", Adina smiled, but it was one of those smiles that you give when youre nervous and not sure what else to say. Raysia just wanted food, and now.

She reached for the bag that Adina placed on the mobile tray and started pulling everything out. No ketchup. Oh well, she was too hungry to really care. Raysia was so lost in the deliciousness of her burger she hadn't noticed that he sister was talking to her, until she heard the word 'baby', she set her burger down, and took a sip of her drink, using this to buy herself a moment to think.

She looked down at the table, not wanting to make eye contact. The doctor had already been in to talk to her while Adina was out. She knew the details. There was some part of her that wanted to feel sadness, maybe even grief, but there was alot that she hadn't shared with her sister. She was too ashamed. But losing the baby felt like a weight had been lifted off of her. Raysia looked up to meet her sisters gaze.
"Alright, I'll tell you this one time, and then I never want to talk about it again. But you have to let me get it all out with out interrupting. Got it?", She waited, knowing Adina wasn't going to just accept this, she added, "You can interrogate me when I'm done." Adina flopped down in the chair, propped her feet up on the side of the bed, and gave a thumbs up.

Raysia didn't want to talk about it but better now than later.
She explained how she had left her job, after realising she had no future there and her need to help others just wasn't being satisfied. That she had walked around town looking at ads and stopping at different outreach centers, trying to find that one thing that just made sense to her. After searching most of the day she stopped for dinner at a cafe, when two women sat down at the table next to hers. Raysia couldn't help but over hear one of them thank the other for being her surrogate. That's when Raysia noticed, one of these ladies was very pregnant. It clicked. She could apply to be a surrogate, help someone who wasn't able to bring a child into this world. She was young, healthy, no criminal records or anything like that, so why not? She wanted to thank them for their unknowing help, but felt it better just to share a friendly smile and be on her way after she finished eating.

There was a new bounce in her step, she felt like she had found what it was she was meant to do. On the way home she stopped at a little corner store and decided to grab a load of junk food and a case of wine coolers to celebrate. Pulling her car around to the side away from the gas pumps, she parked and grabbed her purse. Raysia took her time picking out her items, paid and headed back out to her car. But as she pulled her keys out to unlock the door something struck the back of her head and she blacked out. When she came to she found herself tied face down, bent over some kind of work out bench in what looked like someone's home gym room. She was quickly realising what had happened. Then the pain set in. Who ever had taken her had beaten and raped her. She felt like her life was over, all she could do was cry. It wasn't long before someone came in, she begged to be let go but they never said a word. She tried to turn her head to get a look at them but her arms were already stretched too far and couldnt move. She felt a sting at her inner elbow and then the sound of tape being torn, and placed over her arm. Maybe they injected her with something, or an I.V. she wasn't sure until she felt the chill spread up her arm that must have been from some kind of saline. She pleaded for them to stop, to let her go, but before she knew it they were violating her body again as she passed out.

This cycle of horror continued several more times. Her guess being that they drugged her each time. Then she woke up, in her car, parked outside a hospital. Weak and barely able to move, she willed herself out of her car and practically crawled to the doors of the hospital. She explained the attack to the nurses, after they did their tests some officers took her statement and said they would keep in touch.

A week passed when she got a call to meet with them for follow up questions. After she got to the police station, the woman in charge of her case informed her that the samples taken at the hospital had yet to match anything in the system but they were still looking, she asked a bunch of questions about what details she could remember, but the whole thing felt pointless. After a couple weeks had passed, Raysia went to her doctor to get the remaining results of the tests from the hospital and make sure she was healing, when her doctor informed her she was pregnant. She admitted the first thing she wanted to do was call Adina, but couldn't bring herself to do it. Just spent several days crying on her couch, before deciding that she could still help a family that wasn't able to conceive on their own and give the baby up for adoption. That she wasn't going to feel sorry for herself. What happened sucked but it was time to find her strength and move on. She had just found an obgyn and set up an appointment when Adina called and asked her to come home as soon as she could.

Raysia hadn't made eye contact the whole time she was telling her story, she hadn't wanted to see her sisters pity or sadness. But when she looked over, Adina's face showed no emotion, she just stared at Raysia, occasionally blinking. It was starting to get awkward, neither of them saying anything. With a sigh, Adina got up, leaned over and hugged her sister. "I'm sorry, I wish there was something I could say or do to fix this or to know how to help you. It's a lot to process, and I don't want to leave you but if it's ok I'd like to go out for a cigarette and kinda let it all sink in. That ok?", She pulled back looking Raysia in the face, waiting for the ok to be released, feeling like a caged and confused bird that just wanted to fly away somewhere safe and familiar. Raysia nodded, giving her sister a smile.
Adina grabbed her purse and headed for the elevator.
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