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Authors: Kelly Favor


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by Kelly Favor

Kelly Favor. 2014, all rights reserved.

Caelyn wasn’t sure exactly when she snapped.

For a moment, all she knew was that Elijah was in the backseat of a police car about to be taken to jail.

Meanwhile, she was sitting in his truck, watching as her hopes were destroyed.

But the next thing Caelyn knew, she was on the move, opening the passenger side door and falling out of the truck, striking her knees on the pavement as her hands broke most of the fall. She was too weak to get out of the truck that fast, but she didn’t care.

Her knees and hands were scraped raw and she didn’t care about that, much less feel it.

She was screaming and crying as she stood up and ran towards the police cruiser.

“No,” she screamed. “No, you can’t take him!”

As she got closer, the police officer got out of the car. “Ma’am, get back in your vehicle,” he commanded.

“No!” Caelyn said. She wasn’t even running that fast, although she wanted to.

She was sort of half-limping, half-walking, as blood streamed from her right kneecap and soaked through her pants. “Don’t do this. Don’t arrest him, please. It’s not his fault. I know he didn’t steal my sister’s credit card.”

The officer held his hand up. “Ma’am, stop right now. Do not come any closer.”

His hand had actually gone to the butt of his revolver.

Caelyn faltered. She was gasping for breath already, having barely even run halfway to the police cruiser. She could see Elijah better now. He was shaking his head in the backseat and trying to say something to her, but she couldn’t hear him.

“Elijah, I love you!” she yelled.

“Do not come any closer,” the cop reiterated. “Get back in your car before I handcuff you and take you in for disorderly conduct and assaulting an officer.”

Caelyn’s mind was gone. She knew that it was over. Elijah had already dodged fate when he’d had his parole violation hearing and they’d allowed him another chance.

This was the end of the road for him.

He was going to go to prison and serve out the rest of his sentence, probably with additional time added on because of this new crime he’d supposedly committed.

She might not see him freed for another two or three years, at least.

Two or three entire years away from each other, leading separate lives.

The thought of being without him for so long, especially when she was struggling with her physical health, was unbearable.

Caelyn broke down then. In the middle of the road, sobbing. Sobbing so heavily that she could hardly see or hear or even think. And then, as if it was all too much, like an overloaded computer shutting down—she went blank.

Maybe she passed out.

Caelyn wasn’t even sure what had happened. It was like a mental short circuit.

One second she was there, the next she was gone, like white noise on the television.

When she came to her senses again, an ambulance had arrived on the scene and paramedics were looking her over, asking her questions. Someone was looking at her driver’s license.

“Do you know your name?” someone asked.

“How old are you?” They said.

Still another person asked her, “What year is it?”

“Can you tell me the name of the President of the United States?”

She answered their questions correctly, but they could tell something was wrong.

She could tell from the looks on their faces that they were concerned about her mental state.

Meanwhile, Caelyn just kept telling them that Elijah had been unfairly arrested.

The cop car was gone and she was starting to get more and more hysterical.

“Calm down,” one of the paramedics told her. “We’re going to take you to the Emergency Room for some tests.”

“No,” she yelled. “I need to see him. I need to see Elijah.” She tried to run away, back to the pickup truck. She was determined to drive herself to whatever precinct they were bringing Elijah.

Somehow she was going to convince the police that Elijah had done nothing wrong. But before she could even get back to the truck, they were taking her by the arm and escorting her to the ambulance. “We really need to run some tests, Caelyn.”

“I’m fine,” she said.

“Let’s just make sure.”

“Please, I need to see Elijah.”

“We’re just going to run some quick tests.”

And then she was placed in the ambulance, and they were strapping her down to a stretcher, taking her vitals.

She was crying again, crying because it really was over. Now she wouldn’t ever be able to get to the police station before they booked and charged Elijah for theft.

Caelyn wasn’t sure she’d ever been this low. But somehow, on the ride to the hospital, she felt a strange kind of peace—or maybe it was just being numb from the shock of everything that had happened.

Out the back window of the ambulance, she could see passing scenery, a glimpse of blue sky, a flash of green trees. Inside, the paramedics were trying to talk to her, continuing to check her vitals, and wanting to know more about the car accident she’d been in previously.

She wasn’t much interested in the conversation, though.

When they arrived at the hospital, she was brought in on the stretcher and then checked by a doctor. After some consultation, they told her they wanted to give her a scan to make sure there was no bleeding or any other abnormalities with her brain.

Caelyn gave up hope. She let them scan her.

She stopped answering their questions. None of it mattered anymore. Elijah was gone. He was in jail. He wasn’t coming back.


Her mother had been called. Apparently, the paramedics had called her to let her know that Caelyn was being taken to the ER.

Caelyn wasn’t even sure if they’d gotten her mother’s number by using the address on Caelyn’s drivers license or some other way.

When her mother showed up at the hospital, Caelyn could hardly look at her.

The doctor explained to Caelyn’s mother that the brain scan had come back clean.

“She doesn’t have any bleeding or ongoing trauma that we’re aware of,” the doctor said.

Caelyn’s mother, wearing a dark coat, and looking tired, just nodded weakly.

“She’s been acting very strangely,” her mother said. “Are you sure she’s okay?”

The doctor, a thin woman with a nest of brown straw like hair atop her head, just sighed. “Your daughter experienced a traumatic brain injury. She’s probably not okay in the way you’d like her to be. Also, her boyfriend was arrested, so she’s upset and stressed, which makes things appear worse.”

Caelyn stared at the ceiling, a deep rage burning inside of her. But she knew better than to speak, as the doctor and her mother debated her health and mental state.

She knew that if she did what she had half a mind to do and started screaming and throwing things around the room, they’d end up locking her up in the mental ward. And that would be exactly what her mother wanted—proof that Caelyn wasn’t mentally competent to decide what to do with her own life.

She didn’t intend to give her mother the satisfaction, and the hospital wasn’t going to release her into her own care. Physically, she was weak and getting weaker.

The strain of losing Elijah had done her in.

“We’ll take her home,” she heard her mother say, but it was dull in her ears.

“Would you like that, Caelyn?” the doctor asked, her birdlike hands fiddling with the chart as she took out a pen to write a new prescription. “Something for anxiety,” she said. “To be taken as needed.”

The prescription was handed to Caelyn’s mother, who pocketed it like some drug deal.

Caelyn hated her so much. She hated her with everything in her body.

The only person she hated more intensely was Deena. And it wasn’t even close.

They brought a wheelchair over and instructed Caelyn to sit in the chair, and then she was wheeled out of the hospital and to the curb, where her father had brought the car around.

For a brief second, when they were moving her into the backseat of the car, she thought she’d actually seen Deena sitting in there, and Caelyn nearly screamed bloody murder.

But it had been some sort of hallucination. The backseat was empty as she got into it. Her father turned and looked back at her with weary eyes. “Hi, Caelyn.”

Caelyn didn’t much feel like answering, so she said nothing.

Her mother got in the passenger side and leaned over, whispering in his ear.

Caelyn’s dad nodded his head quickly. “Got it,” he said, and then pulled out and started driving away from the hospital.

Caelyn leaned against the cold glass of the window, her cheek pressed against it like she’d done so many times as a little girl, driving with her parents to all sorts of places. How different it felt now, she thought dully.

In the past, it had been comforting. The familiar smells of the car—air freshener, her father’s dry cleaning, old leather. But now she thought that everything that had once comforted her had been a lie.

Yes, her parents had been supportive and loving, but only because she’d been the perfect child for them to trot out to their friends and co-workers. She’d been the golden child, and now she was the black sheep.

Now they wanted to destroy her, they wanted to destroy everything that was different from their fantasies of who she was.

Elijah was gone, and it was all because of them—Deena was just a puppet, as far as Caelyn was concerned.

She wouldn’t have even been surprised if Deena had acted on behalf of her mother.

“Are you hungry?”

The question cut through the haze of Caelyn’s dark musings about her family’s true intentions. She blinked lazily. “Hungry?” she repeated, as if it had been a complicated question.

“We can stop at McDonald’s if you want.” Her mother’s voice was soothing, as if trying to lull her into a state of submission. They’d already tried threats, now came bribery.

Caelyn’s eyes narrowed. She wanted to know why her mother was being so nice again, suddenly.

And then she realized why.

It’s because she got rid of her competition. Elijah was the one thing standing in
the way of her taking back control. Elijah was her archenemy and he’s been taken care

She thinks that without Elijah’s influence, I’ll cave in and go back to being the
daughter she wants me to be.

Caelyn smiled a little as it occurred to her how she would get her revenge. Play along until she found her opening—and then she would strike.

“I am a little hungry,” she admitted.

Her mother smiled wider. “Double cheeseburger with fries?”

“And a large Diet Coke,” Caelyn said. “If that’s okay.”

Caelyn’s mother and father exchanged glances. Maybe she’d laid it on too thick, she thought. They were suspicious of her compliance.

But then they each seemed to relax in their seats, as if a more important question than what to eat for dinner had just been answered.

“McDonald’s sounds good to me,” her father chuckled.

“Me too,” her mother replied.


Caelyn ate all her food and drank her soda on the way home. The wrapper sat on her lap, little bits of yellow cheese still stuck to it after she’d eaten her burger. She licked the salt from her fingertips after chomping down the very last French fry.

Conversation in the car had been sparse, as if her parents were afraid to say too much and ruin the calm that had somehow been established.

“You must be tired,” her mother said, as they turned into their neighborhood.

“Yeah, I don’t think I can remember what it’s like to not be tired,” Caelyn said, staring out the window at the big houses and the impeccable lawns. Everything looked perfect, and she remembered a time when it had actually been perfect, too.

Her life had once been so simple, uncomplicated. She’d thought that everything would always be as easy as deciding whether to take Organic Chemistry or Environmental Chemistry.

She’d assumed that she’d meet a nice college boy who was studying to be a lawyer or an academic of some sort. They’d marry, spend holidays with her family and his, discuss intellectual things; go to museums and coffee shops. They would travel to different parts of the country and world as they built their lives and careers.

It had all been on track, until she’d discovered that beneath the beauty and perfection was a rotting pile of garbage.

Jayson had exposed her to the truth behind the lie.

After he’d raped her, Caelyn had known that nothing would ever be the same and she’d tried to run from it. But now there was nowhere left to run. The one person in her life who she could trust and count on had been taken from her.

She wondered what Elijah was doing right this instant. She imagined him in handcuffs, his head bowed, waiting to be taken into a prison cell.

Her breath caught in her chest.

Don’t cry, Caelyn. You cannot cry, not in front of them.

She wanted to scream and cry and yell at the heavens, but that wasn’t allowed.

She was in enemy territory, and she needed to stay strong.

In her mind, she saw Elijah turn and look over his shoulder at her. His eyes were dark and calm and sad, but he wasn’t afraid.

Give me strength
, she said to him.
Please, if you can hear me, Elijah…

Caelyn had never really believed in ESP or any of that psychic stuff, but right then she felt her need for Elijah might create the possibility of it. As if just wanting it enough could force the entire universe and laws of physics to bend to her will.

Let him hear me
, she prayed.
Just let him know that I need him and I miss him. If
he could tell me something to let me know that he’s okay…if I could just hear his voice
right now…

And as she closed her eyes, she saw Elijah still looking over his shoulder at her.

His mouth curled into that familiar smile.

“Don’t be so quick to crumble when the going gets tough, kid,” he chuckled.

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