Summer Maintenance (SAMPLE)
(A Happy Ending Resort Novella #5)
Written By: Jennifer Foor
Copyright © Jennifer Foor JMF PUBLISHING INC. 2015
This book is a written act of fiction. Any places, characters, or similarities are purely coincidence. If certain places or characters are referenced it is for entertainment purposes only. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. This book is not allowed to be offered for sale, discounted, or free on any sites not authorized by the author. This book may only be distributed by Jennifer Foor, the owner and Author of this series.
Sharing this book is illegal, and doing so will grant you the guilt of forever being a douchebag to society. Don’t be THAT person everyone hates. Purchase a copy and feel good about your choices.
It happened so fast. The haze of it all hadn’t yet hit me. We were having a good time, celebrating our future. The night was just beginning.
We were a family; still young but tight bonded. Nothing was ever supposed to tear us apart.
I struggled to break free from the officer’s strong hold. Discontent filled his eyes as I was being drug from the room of the crime toward the front yard. “Please. Let me see my wife,” I continued to beg. “Stop it. I didn’t do this. I would never hurt her. You’ve got to believe me. He’s lying. I swear I wouldn’t hurt her. Get off of me.”
He yanked me along. “Keep your mouth shut, junkie, or I’ll give you a fucking reason to stay quiet.”
Junkie. That’s what he’d called me. The proof of my addiction still sat on the kitchen table; the bent spoon, lighter, and bag of crack. I couldn’t deny it, so I stayed quiet. We didn’t do it all the time, just on special occasions.
Blood – there was so much of it. Crimson colored spatter was now the backdrop behind the sofa, and surrounding walls. I still felt dizzy from my high. The batch we’d purchased had been stronger than we were used to. I never even knew we had company until it was too late.
While I was being forced outside, I couldn’t get my body to catch up to the swift jerks the officers were pushing me to make.
“I need to see her. I have to know she’s going to be all right. I didn’t do anything,” I announced while feeling my face being shoved into the smooth metal window frame of the vehicle. “Please, just let me see her. I need to be there. Where is my daughter? Callie! Callie!” Out of the corner of my eye I saw a female carrying my young child in her arms. My daughter’s gaze found mine, her cheeks covered in wet tears.
She’d been in the room during the altercation. She’d seen it firsthand – the fact that none of this was my fault – how I wasn’t the person to cause this – how her mother had been caught in the crossfire.
She was scared, and although being carried – completely alone. She needed her daddy, and I refused to stop trying to get to her.
I felt a baton being shoved into my back. “You don’t deserve to be a father. I’m not going to tell you again, shut the fuck up!”
I ignored the cop. He could threaten me as much as he wanted. Nothing would stop me from reaching out to my child. “Baby, it’s going to be okay. Daddy will fix this,” I yelled so she could hear me.
I heard her calling out for me. “Daddy. I want my daddy.”
The cuffs they’d put my wrists in were digging against my skin, tight and inflicting pain. While having them behind my back, I wasn’t able to wipe away my clouded vision in order to be able to see her clearly. “I’ll make it right, baby.”
The officer pressed my head against the window more, but said nothing.
Peering through the glass, I saw medics pulling a gurney out of the front door of our place. A white sheet was covering the body, and blood had already started seeping through the thin fabric.
My beautiful wife, who had been happy moments before.
She was underneath that sheet.
Adrenaline filled me, causing a reaction of heightened strength. I jerked away from the officer and went running, hands fixed in cuffs behind my back, toward the body. “No, no, no!” I knew very well what a covered head meant. As I fought to stay on my feet, darting toward them, flashes of what had transpired ran through my drug inflicted mind. Utter disgust overwhelmed me.
The feel of the gun discharging vibrated off my skin, exactly the way it had when it went off. Aside from the sound of the shot fired, the room went silent, followed by heavy screams, mostly mine. I watched my wife’s body flail backwards, blood spatter covering what was behind her, and then she fell limp on the ground. While struggling to fight my way free and get control of the firearm, her brother took his elbow and clocked me between the eyes. Bright flashes of lights were all I could see while he took full hold of the weapon, cocking it into my temple, while calling out for his sister to respond.
In the far corner I saw her, my beautiful little girl, her dark hair still in a pink bow, the matching dress splattered in brain matter and red splotches.
So much blood, now seeping into a pool next to my wife’s head. I went to rush to her side, only to feel the pressure of the gun reminding me to remain still. “Don’t you fucking move.” He was on a phone, calling someone to come right away. It was hard to listen to him when I couldn’t control my own emotions.
I raised both hands, my gaze falling on the grotesque sight of my wife. Her eyes blinked slowly, never leaving mine, a huge chunk of her head exposed from the blow. She was running out of time.
“Call for an ambulance, you son of a bitch! Get help. Please, help her. God damn it, Shawn, she needs me.”
He shoved me down with his foot, keeping it there so I couldn’t get up. “Go in your room, Callie girl,” he ordered.
“Don’t listen to him, baby. Stay here with Daddy.”
The sound of sirens were in the distance. One of the neighbors must have heard the commotion and then the shot. Help was on the way. They’d lock her brother up for this. He’d brought the gun into our home. He’d caused this to happen. He’d wrestled me to the ground causing the weapon to fire. This was his fault.
“Help is coming, Cal,” I whispered, finally succumbing to the fact that my wife was dying only feet away from me.
I’d made it almost to the body covered in the white sheet before I was thrown onto the concrete in front of the gurney. With no way to reach out for her, I gave up the fight. She had expired. My wife was dead. My daughter was being escorted away.
This couldn’t be happening. She was young, beautiful, and an honest person. She’d never hurt anyone in her life. She needed to be there to help me raise Callie. We needed her.
It was too late.
She was gone.
I thought back to that night again with the same remorse as when it happened so many years ago. Nothing had been resolved. I’d never get back that night, or the years to follow.
My daughter – the one I hadn’t seen since the trial, had grown up without her parents.
She’d never know how much I’d fought to be with her, because my wife’s family wouldn’t have it.
She’d never know how sorry I was for what happened on that night, even though I wasn’t the person to bring the gun into the home.
She’d never be able to understand that I never stopped loving her, not even when I knew she’d given up on me.
I still couldn’t believe fifteen years had passed since that terrible night; fifteen grueling years of wondering if I’d ever get a second chance, if I’d ever see her again.
How does a broken man get back what he lost long ago? When is it too late to continue trying? What happens when hope is lost?
I watched as she climbed out of her little silver compact car and walked up her porch steps. Her black hair blew in the crisp afternoon breeze, her petite body nothing like I remembered before it all happened. It had been ten years since I’d even seen a picture of her, but I’d know that smile anywhere. While gripping the steering wheel like it was the only thing keeping me together, I saw her body disappearing into the small trailer. My heart hurt that this was all she could afford; that her future wasn’t as glamorous as I’d always hoped it would be.
To be honest, I don’t know what hurt me more.
The fact that I hadn’t been there to watch her grow into the young, beautiful woman she clearly was, or possibly the fact that I was the reason she had to squander through life with little resources.
It was a shame that one single moment in time; one action, provoked by both fear and rage, had taken away what could have been.
I’d wept over this more times than I cared to admit. Helpless, behind steel bars, day after day, week after week, year after year, I’d felt them slipping away from me, until there was nothing left but a memory.
How does one say they are sorry, when they can’t do anything to repent for their sins? I’d tried to make amends. I’d written countless letters, called every number I could find on them, reached out to family, neighbors, and friends, but they were gone, much like that future I no longer remember dreaming about.
It’s one thing to be buried in the ground with a death certificate to prove you’re never coming back. For someone to single-handedly wish that for your fate is another.
My marriage, our commitment before God and everyone we cared about, gone without an ounce of consideration. Our life; our daughter’s happiness, replaced with hate and remorse.
How was I to approach her now? I’d ruined her life. I’d taken away everything a little girl would dream of having. How would she ever be able to look at me with nothing but despair and loathing?
There were no prayers left to help me; no silver lining to reach for, my life ended the day that prison sentence was delivered. I hadn’t only lost my freedom, a blossoming career and future, my family that I got up and worked hard for every damn day; I’d lost myself.
Seeking forgiveness was something I’d never be able to grasp. One can’t forgive such devastating repercussions. There are no take-backs. What had become of my life was mine to bear alone. I wouldn’t begin to drag her down in my misery.
Somehow – someway I’d be a part of her life, even if it was from a distance, even if I had to watch from afar to make sure she would always be looked out for.
I’d like to think of it as being her guardian angel, though I knew that title wasn’t fit for someone like me.
I glanced over at the clock on the screen of the old Ford pick-up truck I’d bartered to obtain, realizing it was time to forge forward with my permanent plan. Fixing lawn mowers and other small machines had given me enough money to make my way here. I didn’t care if the motor of this vehicle locked up and the frame collapsed. I was where I needed to be now. This was my plan all along. I was within walking distance of the life I’d left behind. It didn’t matter what extremes I’d gone through to get here, or how I’d had to change. I’d never get back what I missed. I’d never see her lose her first tooth, read her stories before bed, be the tickle monster, or hear her tell me how much she loves me. I wasn’t there to teach her to drive, to strive, and, above all, love. Knowing that was worse than any prison sentence. This was as close to my daughter as I’d ever be.
At the end of the day, it would have to be enough.