Read Loving Charley Online

Authors: Casey Peeler

Tags: #romance, #dating, #college life, #new adult, #southern literatrure, #mature young adult, #teen and young adult, #pretty little liars, #teen romantic fiction, #teen 16 plus

Loving Charley (4 page)

BOOK: Loving Charley
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“Okay.” Is the only word I
can manage, and Cash pulls me in to let me know that everything is
going to be all right. He inhales a deep breath like he’s trying to
ingrain this moment. Then, as if they are watching from a distance,
Dad and the officer return.

“Miss Rice, have you decided what you
would like to do?”

“Yes, sir. I want to file
second-degree rape charges and a restraining order.”

Without thinking twice, the
officer takes the previous paperwork, pushes it to the side, and
then pulls up new documents on his desktop and begins to type. Once
the items are complete, he gives me a little debriefing about how
things will go from here.

“Miss Rice, now that this
is in the system, a warrant for his arrest will be made. He will
have to appear before the magistrate to see if bond can be made
along with the terms and conditions of his release and a court date
will be established.”

“What do you mean by
‘release’?”

“Basically, the magistrate
can determine if he can be released with certain regulations.
Regardless, he will not be able to come near you.”

I shake my head in
understanding. The officer leaves to make copies and gives them to
me, but not before having a final word with Cash. “Son, if I were
you, I’d get myself a lawyer right now. You’re gonna need one, but
I'll see what I can do. You better pray you get Judge Reeves on the
stand. She’s as good as they come. She knows her stuff and a good
guy when she sees one.”

“Yes, sir,” Cash says as we
stand. We all shake the officer’s hand and make our way out of the
office to front of the station.

As we open the wooden
door, our eyes meet Mr. Sloan.
Oh,
shit!
My heart begins to pound, my
breathing increases, and I think I might pass out. I try to walk
backward, but Cash stops me.

Mr. Sloan looks in our
direction with rage engulfing his face. He approaches us swiftly,
stopping within inches of Cash. He begins to yell at Cash, pointing
his finger and attempting to grab his shirt when the officer
approaches and reminds him that might not be the best
decision.

Mr. Sloan turns to the
officer and informs him that he might want to get to the Grassy
Pond Medical Center because his son is fighting for his life thanks
to Cash.

“Excuse me, Mr. Sloan. I
believe you better not touch him, or you will have charges filed
against you. There are some things you don’t know about your son,
and I’ll be more than happy to escort you to GPMC.”

With that comment, Mr.
Sloan takes a step back from Cash. He and the officer leave through
the glass doors while we stand there. As if time has just stood
still, we are brought back to reality by the
receptionist.

“Yeah, we are fine. Thank
you for your help,” Dad says as he guides us to the
door.

Chapter 6

The ride back to the farm
is anything but quiet. I’m actually at a loss for words and in
shock from running into Dylan’s dad at the station. Dad and Cash,
on the other hand, spend the ride talking about the best lawyers in
town for and him and me.

As we approach the house, I
can see that the lights are still on, and I can only assume that
everyone is still awake. The one thing that is different is the
extra vehicle in the driveway. Cash’s parents are here. Turning, I
glance to Cash, and he shrugs his shoulders.

“Cash, I see your parents
decided to come over. I think that we all need to sit down and talk
about this because I can only imagine what the morning will be like
once the Sloans talk to the police tonight.”

“Yes, sir,” Cash
says.

Once the truck is parked,
Dad turns off the ignition. “I’m going inside, but y’all take a
minute before you come in.” We agree with a silent nod. Dad gets
out of the truck and makes his way to the house. Mama greets him at
the door with a look of sheer panic when we aren’t with him. After
Dad motions to the truck, she looks relieved, and they go back
inside.

I crawl over the front seat
and into the back with Cash. His hardworking arms are waiting for
me. We don’t talk; we just hold each other. Tears begin to fall
from my eyes.

“Char-coal, it’s gonna be okay. I
promise.”

“How can you promise? We
don’t know what the future holds. I can’t live without
you.”

Removing his arm from my
shoulder, he turns to face me. “If there is one thing I’m sure
about in the future, it’s us. Nothing else matters, Charley Anne
Rice. We are going to be together forever. So what if I have to pay
the price for taking up for you. I don’t care. It will be well
worth the time I might have to spend in the big house because I
know that you’ll be waiting for me when I get out.”

“Please don’t talk like
that. I can’t even stand the thought of you in stripes,” I say with
a half-grin.

At that moment, Cash does
what he does. He makes me feel happy inside and out. He starts
singing in his most girlie soprano voice. “I hate stripes and
orange ain’t my color. And if I squeeze that trigger tonight, I’ll
be wearing one or the other.”

Wiping my tears, I begin to
grin from ear to ear. Shaking my head, I say, “I can’t believe
you’re singing Brandy Clark’s “Stripes.” You do know that’s about
why you don’t want to go to jail.”

Shrugging his shoulders, he
responds, “I know, but I couldn’t resist seeing you smile. Come
here,” he says as he brings his lips to mine.

Right then, I fall even
more in love with this boy. He has had my heart for as long as I
can remember. He’s the other half that makes me whole, and I’m glad
that the entire world knows.

Cash gets serious. He takes
my hands in his as I face him. I’m not sure that I’m going to like
what he’s about to say, but I know it will be what I need to
hear.

“Char-coal, I think we need to get in
there. My parents are probably outta their head about now. Just
know that I love you.”

“I love you too, Cash
Money.” I kiss him slowly because I want to savor every moment I
have with him.

Cash helps me out of the
truck, and we walk hand in hand to my house. As we open the front
door, we overhear our parents talking, but before we can even make
our way to the kitchen, we are bombarded by the Kluft girls, Tessa,
Piper, and Joe.

Tessa is the first one out
of the gate with twenty questions. “What happened? Is he gonna get
it? They aren’t going to do anything to Cash, are they?”

When she takes a breath, I
jump in. “Tess, y’all, chill out. It’s a lot to explain, but you
sending me that text is gonna help put Dylan behind bars for a long
time. The only problem is that it’s evidence against Cash,
too.”

They all look at each other
and turn as pale as ghosts. “What do you mean?” Piper
asks.

“Basically, that video
shows Cash beating the shit outta him, and that means he’s gonna
face charges if Dylan is the typical ass he is… we know he’s not
gonna let Cash get away with it.”

“Well, that just sucks,”
Hayden says. She’s always keeping it real.

“Yeah, it does,” I
say.

Cash pipes in right after
me, “It’s one of those things that you hate to have to do, but you
know it needs to be done. If I have to do a little time or get a
little dirt on my record, I’m okay with that. It’s not like I have
to pass a background check to work on the farm. Now, if y’all will
excuse us, we have to talk to our parents.”

Cash and I make our way
into the kitchen, and as soon as Cash’s mama sees him, she bursts
into tears and pulls him into her arms. His dad is standing there
with a questioning look aimed at me. Mr. Montgomery has always
liked me, but I think he knows that I’m the one that has total
control over his son. Needless to say, I don’t think he likes that
part very much.

Cash gets his mama to calm
down, and we all sit at the kitchen table. Dad starts by telling
Cash’s parents that they need to listen to everything before they
ask questions. He tells them that’s what they did, and it paid
off.

Shaking their head in
agreement, they turn their attention to Cash and me. Cash takes my
hand and laces his fingers with mine, prompting me to
speak.

“Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery,
I’m sorry that Cash has been involved in all of this. I want to
start from the beginning, but I’m not going to tell you all the
details. I’ve already told this twice, and I really don’t want to
relive it again. Cash is free to tell you as much or as little as
he wants once y’all go home. Also, please wait until I finish to
ask any questions.”

“Charley, I believe we can
do that, but you have to understand that Cash is our child, and we
will stick with him no matter what. The fact that there seems to be
so many secrets is what bothers me the most,” his dad
says.

“I understand that.” Taking
a deep breath, I tell them the nightmare that began a year and a
half ago. I do leave out as much detail as possible, but when I
talk about Christmas break and the plan that I put in place, I see
Mrs. Montgomery start to get fidgety. I pause and tell her to hear
me out.

Once I get to tonight with
the party, police station, box of evidence, and how we all fit in
this awful puzzle, Mrs. Montgomery begins to cry just like my mama.
It must be a “mama thing” because I believe she understands what
has happened, why certain events didn’t add up over the time, and
now what Cash is going to have to deal with thanks to
me.

When I finish, Dad chimes
in, “Y’all, I know it’s hard to understand, and if I hadn’t heard
Charley tell this story twice, I’d be in the same boat as you. One
thing I want you to know is what Cash did what was right, even
though he might have to pay the price. He did what any of us would
do for the woman we love. I can’t thank him enough. He saved my
sweet girl when I couldn’t. My best advice is to call a lawyer
tonight or in the morning. The Sloans aren’t gonna let this one go.
That is one thing I’m sure of.”

Silence fills the air as we
wait for Cash’s parents to speak. Instead of waiting, Cash takes
matters into his own hands. “Mama and Daddy, I know this is a lot
to think about, but I had to. I love Charley, and if you had seen
her that night, you wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt that I
didn’t save her from it happening at all. I will say the last month
has been the longest of my life. I’ve known what was going on and
had to watch Dylan touch her. Charley is a helluva woman because
I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have gone through with this plan. But…
tonight… I had to take over. He was going to kill her. I know he
was, and I couldn’t watch that no matter if I never get outta
jail.”

Mr. Montgomery begins to
speak. “Son, one thing I want to say is that I’m proud of you. You
know what you want and never give up, but dammit, I don’t want to
watch my son go to jail. You know the Sloans have a lot of power in
this town, and I just don’t know how we are going to afford a great
lawyer.”

Cash’s mama turns to him
quickly. “Really? You’re worried about the cost? This is our Cash!
I don’t care what it costs, if the farm goes under or anything
else, because that is my baby!”

Whoa! I have never heard
Cash’s mama talk like that to his dad. She is usually pretty quiet,
but I guess that’s what happens when you start talking about
someone’s baby, even if he is nineteen.

“Aight, we’ll get the best.
Cash, just know you are going to have to help even more around the
farm.”

“Yes, sir,” Cash
says.

My mama, being the fine
woman she is, decides to give her two cents. “Y’all, I think we
need to try not to worry about that right now. Maybe we can both
worry about lawyers in the morning ‘cause Charley is going to need
one as well.” That thought makes my stomach turn.
A lawyer.

After spending a few
minutes discussing what we will do tomorrow, Cash and I excuse
ourselves while our parents talk alone. We make our way to the
living room to find everyone else waiting impatiently. We tell them
that tomorrow’s gonna be a rough one, and tonight we just want to
try to take our minds off of it.

“So, what do y’all say we
go to Turtle’s?” Tessa asks.

“Are you sure that’s a good
idea? I mean, I don’t want attention to be put on us any more than
there has to be,” I say.

“I guess you’re right. What
do you say we grab a movie and hang out here then?” Tessa
suggests.

I look at Cash, and he
smiles. “Sounds good to us, as long as I get to pick,” I
say.

Everyone looks at me, and
then they say in unison, “
Sweet Home
Alabama
, we know.”

“How’d ya guess?” I smirk.

Chapter 7

We all sit in the living room and watch my
favorite movie of all time. As I watch it this time, I can’t help
but think how glad I am to have Cash beside me as I nestle more
into his arms. He wraps his arms tighter around me, and I look up
into those wanting eyes. I know that he wants me as much as I want
him, and one day I’ll be his forever.

BOOK: Loving Charley
10.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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