Just One of Many Pt. 01byMoonlessNight©
Chris's first thought as he stood in the middle of her living room was that he could love to live like this. It was simple.
At six foot three, and two hundred pounds, Christopher Sparks was nothing but simple. He worked a simple job. He ate simple TV dinners every night by himself, and he wore simple clothes. He was the average, simple, American man. He worked the nine-to-five shift as a cop. He had been a sergeant in the Army only a year after his first deployment in Germany, at the age of twenty-one. He spent his nights there drinking in bars and keeping company that his mother wouldn't have approved of.
Now, he stood in the middle of Catherine Kelly's living room. It was occupied by a simple black sofa, a rocking chair, and a rectangular scratched up coffee table. To the immediate right, a small round table with two chairs served as the dining room. A sink, microwave, and a small counter were the kitchen. Down the hallway a few feet, was one bedroom. That's were Catherine and her two and a half year old daughter were. Catherine was quickly shoving raggedy jeans and baby clothes in bags. Two already sat at the door. Chris wondered how much she would pack.
She bent down on her knees, wrapping a blue and white jacket around the girl, zipping it then kissed her head before scooping her up. She got back to her feet and grabbed the bag, slung it over her shoulder, and walked to the door. Chris took this as the cue that she was ready to go.
Catherine bent and kissed her little sister on her blond covered head. She knew the man thought Megan was her daughter. She wasn't. She was her sister. Myra, their mother, had given birth to her three weeks before she was murder by her husband and the father of her children. She had always wanted the best for her children. Now look at what they had.
Tyler Mathew Carrier was thirty-two years old when he went to prison for murder. He raped, beat, and then stabbed his wife to death. Thirty-two cuts. Tyler Carrier was also a mob boss. He was responsible for over two thousand deaths. Of course, being a mob boss at the top of the chain, he never did get tried for them. The death of his beautiful, twenty-eight year old wife was what brought him down.
Now, Catherine's nightmare had come true. Her worthless piece of shit father had broken out of prison. Now, she had to run. She had promised her baby sister and her own self that she would never let Megan know what really happened that awful January night. Catherine would never let that nightmare come into Megan's life. No matter if she had to drive for the rest of her life. Which is what she was doing now.
Chris stood awkwardly at the door, waiting as she pulled a blanket over the baby's head. Why did they do that? He always saw mothers doing that. Let the kid breathe!
"Are you ready?" He asked, opening the door. Catherine nodded.
Chris led the way to a black Explorer in the gravel driveway beside the house. He opened the back hatch and placed the bags inside. Catherine laid the young girl down on the leather seat, covered her with a flannel blanket he had given her. He got behind the wheel, started the engine and the heater. He waited as Catherine looked around then got in the truck with a sigh.
He had never had a real conversation, but it occurred to Chris what Catherine might have gone through. In the case report, she had been the key witness to her own mother's brutal murder. Her testimony was the only thing that sent her father to prison for the rest of his sorry life. Wait, if she was seventeen at the time, and it had only been two years.....that meant he was driving a nineteen year old across the damn country. Nineteen? And she had a two year old daughter? He thought frantically as he changed stations on the radio.
"I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. With a young daughter and all." He glanced at her and she looked back.
"She's not my daughter." Catherine lowered her voice as she said it. "She's my sister. My mom gave birth to her three weeks before Tyler ki-before what happened."
Chris leaned back in his seat, gripping the wheel tighter. He glanced over at Catherine, seeing him looking at him. He gave her a smile and she tried her damndest to smile back him. It couldn't legally be called a smile though.
"So, you...adopted her?" Catherine nodded, sighing.
"Yeah. I grew up fast. Dropped out of school, got an apartment as far away from that house and neighborhood I could. She knows me as her mother and I won't be the one to ever tell her different."
"But, you're her sister...."
"Do you know what makes a mother? It's not the nine months you carry a baby, or giving birth that makes a mother. The nights you rush to the emergency room because she has a hundred and two fever that won't break, the sleepless nights of rocking her to sleep, and the thousands of diapers you buy make you a mother."
With that, she stared at him. He saw tears in the corners of her eyes. In a blink, they disappeared and he questioned whether they had actually been there. He cleared his throat and picked at the leather on the steering wheel. He tried to calm his nervousness, but he couldn't seem to get a grip on it.
"You have kids? A wife?" Chris shook his head. "Why not? You're what, forty?"
Chris gapped at her opened mouth. Forty? For god's sake, he was only thirty-four.
"I look like I'm forty? You've got to be kidding me-"
"I am." Catherine interrupted, smiling. Chris chuckled.
"I'm only thirty-four. You're what, sixteen, seventeen?" He asked with a smirk. Catherine's smile disappeared.
Catherine turned her head to look out the window. She knew this would happen sooner or later. If it wasn't that she had Megan, it was her age that men started judging her on. Was it impossible for a young woman to have a life if she was still a teen? Was she supposed to be fucking guys left and right, getting drunk on the weekends and skimming off her parents? Well, she didn't have the options. Even if she did, she wouldn't take them. She was a virgin and intended to wait for the right one, or the closet one to him, before she even thought twice before she spread her legs.
"I'm almost twenty. Why do you care?" She snapped, still looking out the window.
"You shouldn't have this burden on your shoulders at nineteen. Raising a baby when you're still a baby yourself."
"You think she's a burden to me?" She narrowed her eyes at him, shouting the question. Before he could think, the little girl in the back woke.
Chris pulled to a stop at a 7-11 to the left. Catherine got out, sitting in the backseat with Megan. She wrapped her in the red flannel blanket, holding her to her chest as she got a black suitcase from the floorboard.
When Chris got back to the truck, he was surprised at the site beside him. The girl-Megan-was wrapped in the blanket on Catherine's lap. On her lap was his brand-new traveling DVD player, in it was a Winnie-the-Pooh movie. Great, driving cross country listening to Winnie and Tiger too. Just what he had planned.
He got behind the wheel again, starting the trip for the second time in thirty minutes. He sipped at a Pepsi while she had refused to eat or drink. By the way she looked, she did that often.
By eight that night, they were in Orangeville. They arrived at the first operator's house. An operator, they make it sound like the Underground Railroad. The operator happened to be a fellow police officer. He was a plump round man with three kids running around screaming and a wife baking in the kitchen. An all American family.
Amy, his wife, set them up in one of the bedrooms on the third floor. It was adjoined by its own bathroom. Unfortunately, it only had a full size bed. When Catherine saw this, she fought a surge of panic in her throat.
"You and the girl take the bed. I'll sleep in the chair over there."
"The girl has a name, it's Megan. And that's fine, but I won't be sleeping."
"You need your rest. Sleep." Catherine looked up from the suitcase she was digging around in.
"I can handle myself just fine, thank you. Why don't you just worry about you for the time being?"
"I can't do that."
"And why is that?" Catherine asked with a huff.
"You two are my witnesses. You're my responsibility."
"Well I can fend for myself, thanks."
"So you say." He mumbled.
Catherine pulled her knees up to her chest on the window seat, a Steno pad and pen on her lap. She had started carrying a notebook with her where ever she went when she was fifteen. Any time she was scared, she was nervous, she wrote. Nothing mattered when she wrote. And afterward, she always felt better.
"I thought I told you to get some rest." Catherine couldn't help but smile.
"Really, I don't recall that." Chris laughed softly, getting to his feet from the hard rocking chair.
"Man, I hate wood." Catherine smiled. "Hey, uh, you wanna go take a walk?"
"Um...sure." Catherine got up from the sill, slipping on some tennis shoes. After she checked on Megan she followed him down the stairs quietly and into the backyard.
Chris had been to these parts many of times. A lake and forest was their back yard, and it was a beautiful sight. He walked side-by-side with Catherine along the stone path. It was beautiful with all the flowers and lake. Amy had really turned the place out.
"Please, call me Cat." Chris smiled.
"Ok, Cat, I just wanted to make sure you were doing ok. I mean besides leaving everything and a mob serial killer coming after you-"
"Is there a good side to all this?" Cat smiled. Chris chuckled nervously.
"I just wanted to see if you were doing ok. I know this must really be hard, but it's for your protection."
Cat sighed and crossed her arms. February really wasn't the time for long walks at midnight. Chris noticed this, taking off his leather jacket and slipping it around her shoulders. Cat took it with a smile.
"I'm doing ok. It's hard on me. It took a long time to get the apartment. And I know to you, it probably isn't the most prettiest of things. But you have to understand that for a fifteen, taking care of a baby, getting a job and apartment, that was a very big thing for me."
"I understand." They sat down by each other on the bench looking out over the lake. "My mom was left with four kids when my dad split. I was only eleven. As the oldest though, I had to grow up. I had to take care of the rest of us while she worked. She did her damndest though. Never missed dinner, though it only lasted for fifteen minutes."
"So... you had....three brothers?"
"One sister, three years younger than me, one brother a year younger, and my youngest brother are five years younger than me."
Chris realized what he had just said. He was getting way too involved with this girl. That's exactly what she was, a girl. Not only that, but a young girl in his protective care. Oh and what he could do to 'care' for her. With that small, tight backside. Small but full round breasts, a slim waist and her long black hair. Her golden brown eyes shimmered by the lake, more beautiful than the moon its self.
"Are you ok?" Chris snapped back to reality, looking up at her concerned eyes.
"I asked if you were ok?"
"Oh, yeah, fine." Chris said, waving it off.
Catherine looked at Chris. He was only in his sweat pants, tennis shoes and a wife beater. She could easily see his taunt and toned abs. She saw part of a tattoo and without realizing, touched it. His chest jerked, shocked by the touch.
"I'm sorry." They both said at the same time.
Chris rested his hand lightly on Cat's arm, leaning toward her. He stared into Cat's wide and scared eyes, and then touched his lips lightly to hers. She jerked back in reaction, like a lightning bolt hit and shook her. Chris raised back, shocked by the terrified look in her eyes.
"Oh my god." She was up and running back up to the house faster than he could blink.
Chris jumped up, running after her. He reached her before she could go through the back door. She started to scream and he cupped a hand over her mouth. He pulled her to the little patio to the left of the house.
"Relax, don't scream. I wanted to apologize. I shouldn't have kissed you."
"Well gee, thanks." Cat said with a roll of the eyes.
"Huh?" Chris asked looking very confused. "I thought you were scared."
"I-I am." Cat whispered, looking down. "I've never....I've never kissed anyone before."
Chris, in a moment, took Cat from around the waist and planted the most passionate kiss he had ever given someone. His tongue slid between her parted lips. She gripped his wife beater in her fists, panting as he kissed and sucked at her neck.
Catherine was in perfect bliss, in absolute heaven. She closed her eyes and held on to Chris like at any moment, she might float away. When a twig snapped nearby, she jumped, turning around in a flash. A shadowed figure moved against the trees. Catherine could have sworn in that moment, her heart stopped and her mind froze.
Chris brought her out of the frozen state. He grabbed her, planting a gun and keys in her hand. He screamed at her to run and she took off like the bullets that started flying by herself and Chris that was right behind her. When she was in the garage running toward the door it swung open and out popped the operator.
He threw the bags and Megan in the back floor board, and helped Catherine in the driver's seat. She gunned the engine and roared out of the garage in the Explorer.
Chris ran like he had in basic. His gun was loaded as he dove into the passenger seat where Catherine was screaming at Megan to stay down and trying not to let the tears that were flooding her eyes block her vision as she roared down the dirt road. When she got to the fork for the interstate, two sedans blocked the way. Without a thought, she heard Chris screaming. She heard Megan screaming and crying in fear. With a determined look, she gunned it once more and blasted through the cars with a squeal.
After fifty-three point eighty-four miles, Catherine still wouldn't stop. She need clothes other that her boxer shorts and tank top, Megan needed something to eat and drink, and Chris needed a shower. She still refused to stop.
Chris pleaded for another hour before she stopped. She parked the car behind the Inn, got a bag and Megan, and then rushed inside the hotel room Chris had just purchased. Chris went in the bathroom and jumped in a hot shower. Catherine fixed a pouch of the instant coffee from the counter in the room and helped Megan into a clean pair of sweat pants and t-shirt. She was asleep on the bed before Catherine had turned her back.
Catherine got a pair of jeans, navy sweatshirt and changed. A few minutes later, Chris came out of the bathroom dressed in a pair of Wranglers and a brown t-shirt. He got a cup of the coffee Catherine was sipping at on the bed. She was also scribbling furiously on a tablet of paper.
Chris sat down on the edge of the bed, sipping at the nasty ass coffee while he called the operator back a hundred miles ago. The man assured him that everyone was safe...the others dead. They hadn't carried a wallet, of course, nothing was known as of now about them.
After the phone call, Chris refilled his coffee cup. He stole a glance at Catherine and saw that she was staring at him. He smiled and she smiled back. His thoughts turned to last night's 'activities' and he looked away. What was he thinking? She was cute, yes. She was also his responsibility. If he screwed up, it wasn't just his badge. It was her and Megan's life. With that thought, his breathe caught and anxiety filled his stomach. He wouldn't let either of them to get hurt. His life would end first.
"You ok?" Cat's voice penetrated through the anxiety fog in his head. He looked up, smiling. She smiled back, still concern clouded her eyes.
"Yeah, suffering from this nasty ass coffee you made." She pretended to be hurt.
"Well, see if I ever do anything for you."
Oh the things you could do for me. Chris nearly slapped his self as words filled his head. What the hell was he thinking? God, he needed to get laid, badly. How was he supposed to survive the trip with her?
"You look like shit." Cat said, breaking through again. He chuckled, taking a swallow of coffee.
"You aren't so hot yourself." Really, she did. Her jeans were nice and snug, capturing her figure great, same as the tight sweatshirt she had on. Her hair was in tangles and matted like a lover's hand would.
"Gee, I know not to seek compliments either." She smiled and her smile made him smile too.
"Oh, you want compliments?" He asked, laughing. "Well, if I ever need a roadblock tore apart, I'll come to you. Better yet, if I need another ten years taken off my life."
"Wanna make it fifteen?" She asked, laughing.
"I don't know, do I?"
"I don't know, you really wanna get a heart attack from that coffee?"
They both laughed. The sound of the cheer and joy filled the room. For a few minutes, Catherine Lea Kelly was happy for the first time in her long and rough life.
It was around nine when they left the hotel. Chris insisted on driving. Really didn't see any road blocks in the future.
"If you do, you let me drive." Catherine had added with a serious yet joking tone. To Chris, that was one of her many talents.
Outside of Massachusetts they stopped at a Denny's. Megan woke long enough to eat some chicken fingers and fries. Cat and Chris both got the Grand Slam breakfast. They shared the morning paper, ate a piece of carrot cake, and then got back to the task at hand.
When they had finished, he back in the driver seat. Catherine got the DVD player out and put a movie in for Megan. She got her coloring book and crayons and sat it out in case she got really bored. When Cat was seated again, he backed out and got back on the interstate.
"So, where exactly are you taking us?"
"A safe house." Cat rolled her eyes. Apparently, she had heard that before.
"Yeah, got that. Where?"
"Another state and somewhere by the west coast." She sighed. He winked and smiled at her. She just rolled her eyes.
The next operator was a lean, tall and handsome man. He served in the marines until he was twenty-six, then retired to the FBI. He made friends in the local law enforcements and helped with witnesses, like Megan and Catherine. He opened the door for them, moving aside to let them in.
"My name is John, anything you need, just let me know." He shook Chris's hand, then Catherine's.
Catherine liked John. He seemed like the strong silent type of guy. After shaking hands, he led them through the house to the kitchen. A door was right behind the back door. Down the stairs and you were in the basement. Another door was hidden behind boxes. In there, was a full size bed with clean white sheets and a smaller bed in the corner. In the opposite corner was a small room-the bathroom.
"There's extra blankets in the closet over there, paper, envelopes, pens-all of that in the desk. Anything else, just send a holler. Oh, and dinner is at seven, I'll come down."
Catherine set her three bags on top of the desk. Chris sat his by the door. She flicked the light on in the small bathroom and saw that is was actually decent. She started the water and went back to the bags. She had packed a few things to make it feel better for Megan. She got out her footy pj's, a bottle of bubbles, and the small bag of toiletries.
She poured some of the bubble bath in the water and watched it foam up, then she turned the water off. She closed the door, and undressed Megan and stuck her in the tub. In the bag of toiletries was a small bag of bath toys for Megan. She unzipped the bag and gave them to Megan. She smiled and started splashing around.