The Long Road Back Ch. 07bysexygirl76©
As I finished my tale the room was quiet, no one moved or spoke. There was a tenseness in the air that scared me. I looked from one face to another but couldn't read anything out of any of them. Finally I looked at Hawk.
His face was inscrutable to, but behind it I saw hurt in his eyes and wanted to wipe it away. I reached up and ran my hand over his face. "I'm sorry Hawk...I'm so sorry."
It was suddenly like a dam broke and the water was filling a village. Everyone started talking at once. Robert went off on how I should have called when Danny threatened me. Suzanne berated her brother on sleeping with a married woman. Mom cried that she was so happy I was home again and that was all that mattered. Jeff started berating me on how I should have called or written sooner to let my family know I was still alive. Only Hawk was silent, his eyes on mine as if he wanted to memorize this moment for eternity.
Suddenly he pulled me roughly against his chest. For a moment I felt a tinge of fear, but when his lips touched mine, they were gentle. Almost like a butterflies wing. When he softly asked for permission to enter with his tongue, I moaned softly and opened my mouth.
He dove in like a man starving and tightened his arms around me. The kiss went on, both of us clinging to the other. Both of us fighting for dominance while at the same time neither of us wanting to win.
Finally he tore his lips from mine and kissed my tear stained cheeks. "Oh god Crystal, I love you so much and I have been in agony over the last five years wondering if you were okay and if you were hurt." He tightened his hold on me so much I felt like my ribs would break and had a hard time catching my breath but I didn't pull away, I just held onto him as if I was afraid he was a dream and that I would lose him again if I let him go.
It was then that I realized that not only was I crying but so was Hawk. His shoulders shook with his sobs but he just held onto me, he let out all the hurt and fear he had held in for the past five years. I wanted to comfort him, I wanted to tell him that it was okay, that I was fine. But I couldn't form the words, so I just held him and tried to let him know through my actions if not through words how much I loved him and hoped that we could start over again. That maybe someday we could be a family like we should be.
Hawk and I just held each other for a while until I heard a soft tired voice by my leg. "Mamma?"
Pulling away from Hawk I looked down at John. His hair was tussled from sleep and his eyes stared up at me as if asking if I was okay. Reaching down I gathered him into my arms and held him close while I looked at Hawk.
He seemed to know what I was thinking because he reached over and tousled John's hair then looked at me. "I won't try to take him away from you Crystal. You have my word on that."
I sighed in relief then smiled at Hawk. John was resting his head on my chest looking at Hawk to and I wondered what was going through that four year old head. I was shocked at the question that came off his lips. "Are you my daddy?"
I didn't know what to say, I looked from John to Hawk then back to John. "Why do you say that sweetie?" I asked my voice breathless.
John looked up at me. "Because I look like him. Don't I?" I could see the confusion in his eyes. For the last four years he had called one man daddy. Now here was another one that he looked like. It didn't make sense. He rested his head back against my chest but never took his eyes off of Hawk.
Hawk looked at me with a question in his eyes as if asking, "what do I say?"
I didn't know what to say. I looked down at my son then at the man who I loved more then life itself. The words just seemed to come out on their own. "Yes John, he is your daddy."
John looked up at me then looked at Hawk, then did something I don't think either one of us expected. He moved out of my arms and climbed into Hawk's lap. Resting his head against Hawk's chest he closed his eyes and wrapped his small arms around Hawk's waist.
I felt tears well up in my eyes as I watched father and son. Hawk looked at me for a minute as if asking what do I do then suddenly as if a light bulb had gone off in his head, Hawk wrapped his arms tightly around John and just held him. Leaning down he kissed his son lightly on the head. "I love you John."
John snuggled closer to him and I heard a sleepy voice say. "I love you to daddy."
Later that night after dinner, once again we sat in the living room just talking and catching up on what everybody had been doing. Suzanne and Robert were sitting on the couch next to mom and Jeff. Hawk and I were snuggled together on the loveseat with John on our lap. "So where are you staying?" Mom asked taking a drink of her tea.
I looked over at her. "I have no idea. I didn't know what kind of reception I would get so I just came straight here."
Mom looked at Jeff then looked back at me as if coming to a decision. "You and John can stay here until you get on your feet. Your room is just like you left it and I have had it aired out every week, I don't know why I just have."
I nodded, that would work at least temporarily until I figured out what I was doing. It was then that I felt Hawk's arm tighten around me. I looked up at him, he had a worried look on his face. Sitting up, I set John on the floor then taking Hawk's hand pulled him up and walked towards the front door.
Once we were outside, Hawk took a deep breath then looked at me. "I guess I just kind of figured you and John would stay with me."
I reached up and put my hand on his cheek. "Hawk, I love you, you know that."
I sighed. "But I just got out of a bad marriage." I moved a couple of feet away from him. "We haven't seen each other in over four years. I can't just jump into your bed, I need to figure out what I am doing. What I want." I turned to look at him.
He reached out and grasped my hand but didn't try to pull me closer. "Don't you want to be with me?"
I laughed. "Of course I do. I've wanted to be with you since that day you rode off."
I moved up to him and wrapped my arms around his neck. "Because if we don't take this slow, we are both going to regret it. Maybe not at first, but eventually we will. And I don't want you resenting me."
His eyes were troubled. I knew he wanted to protest, but I also knew that he knew I was right. Finally he nodded. "I don't like it, but I'll go along with it." He wrapped his arms around me. "It has been a lonely five years. I won't say there hasn't been other women cause there has. But none of them ever came close to you. I can't lose you again." His arms tightened around me.
I kissed him gently then laid my head against his chest. "You won't. I promise. I let you ride out my life once before. I won't do it again."
He lifted my chin with his fingers so we were looking into each others eyes. "You promise?"
"I promise." As he kissed me I knew this was one promise I would keep.
A few hours later, Robert, Suzanne and Hawk left and John was curled up in my old bed with my teddy bear fast asleep. Mom, Jeff and I were sitting at the dining room table drinking iced tea. "I think you broke Hawk's heart when you said you were gonna stay here." Jeff said.
I looked over at my stepfather. "Yea I know. But like I told him , I just got out of a bad relationship and as much as I love him I can't just jump into another one."
Jeff nodded in understanding. He reached over taking my hand in his. "It will all work out in the end if it is meant to. If you and Hawk are meant to be together you will be."
As I crawled into bed next to John a little while later I hoped that Jeff was right.
The morning sunlight pulled me from my nightmares and I sat up in a cold sweat. John was sitting on the bed looking at me. "Are you okay mommy?" He asked.
I looked around the room, it was the same as it had been when I left seven years ago. All the clothes I had worn then were packed up in boxes and put in the attic. The clothes I had brought with me filled the dresser and closet.
My desk over by the closet was still cluttered with old books and papers. Schoolbooks that had never been returned to the school. I stood up ignoring John and slowly walked over to my desk. "Oh please, don't let any be in there." I whispered to myself.
Leaning down, I opened the second drawer of the desk, pulling out a small tin box. This was where I had hid my stash. My legs trembled so I sat down in my desk chair, slowly opening the box. I heard John get off the bed and move over to me but once again I ignored him. "Please." I said to myself. I opened the box and sighed in relief. There were a few bits of leaves laying on the bottom of the tin but other then that it was empty.
I felt John touch my arm and I looked at him. "Mamma, are you okay?" He asked again.
Putting the tin on the desk, I pulled him into my arms, hugging him close. "Yes honey, I'm fine."
A few minutes later, John was in my bathroom taking his shower and I was standing at the dresser looking for clothes for us to wear today when there was a quiet knock at the door. "Yea?" I called over my shoulder.
I heard the door open so I turned to look. Mom was standing there looking very stylish in a beige sun dress, her hair was flowing loose around her shoulders. "I wasn't sure if you were awake yet." She said stepping into the room.
I threw clothes up on the top of the dresser, closed the drawers then looked at my mom. "I just got up. John is in taking a shower. When he gets done, I'll take mine then we'll be down."
Mom nodded but didn't move to leave the room. I had a feeling there was more she wanted to talk about so I stood there watching her waiting for her to speak. "Um....Is everything okay?" She asked tentatively.
Just then I heard the shower turn off and heard John calling me. "Just a minute." I grabbed his clothes and quickly went to the bathroom door, opening it, I handed them into him then closed the door again. "Why wouldn't everything be okay?" I asked moving over to sit on the bed.
Mom moved into the room, closing the door behind her as if she didn't want to be overheard. "Um...I heard you crying out in your sleep last night."
My face went instantly pale. I had had the nightmare again last night. The same nightmare I had every night the first week since I found out Danny was dead. We were driving down a dark street. John was asleep in the back seat. I never saw the semi coming towards us, I screamed as it hit us on Danny's side of the car killing him instantly. I called out Johns name over and over. The first couple of nights I would wake up at this point and make sure John was okay laying beside me.
After the first few nights though and again last night, the dream would shift at this point. I was at Danny's funeral. John would be sitting next to me one minute, then suddenly he was gone. I would look over to the casket and see a bony hand pulling John towards it with John crying out for me.
I would jump up and rush over, grabbing John trying to pull him away. I could hear screaming around me but all I could see was John and this hand holding him. Suddenly the top of the casket would open.
Danny would sit up looking at me, his face scarred up and covered with blood. "Your mine Crystal. You and John are mine." He would say in that deep voice of his. He would pull us into the casket with him, the cover slamming shut as he said. "I always keep what's mine."
Usually at this point I would wake up shaking. For some reason though my mind wouldn't let me wake up at that point this time. I looked over at my mom.
"I dreamt I was buried alive. Buried with Danny. I think he is trying to destroy me even from the grave."
Mom quickly crossed the room, pulled me into her arms and just held me. "No honey, he can't hurt you now. It is just your own guilt at hurting him." She looked at me. "You blame yourself for him dying don't you?"
I looked at her. "Of course I..." I stopped, I was gonna say of course I don't. But then I realized that in my own way I did blame myself. I told myself over and over that if I had never slept with Hawk, then Danny wouldn't have pulled away from me. If he hadn't pulled away from me then he wouldn't have tried to drive home that night as tired as he was wanting so hard to fix our marriage. I leaned against her. "Yea I guess I do."
Just then John walked out of the bathroom, he was dressed in denim shorts and a t-shirt. I could tell that he had tried to comb his hair because it went every which way. "Come here sweetie." I said pulling a brush out of the drawer of my nightstand. When John was in front of me, I turned him so he was facing his grandmother, then brushed out his hair.
"Hi grandma." He said giving mom a huge smile.
Mom just smiled back at him. "Hey good looking."
I watched my mother and son and realized I had to get out of here for a while. Get off by myself. Figure out what I was doing with my life. Figure out how I felt about Hawk. Pushing John towards my mom, I quickly stood up. "Mom, can you take care of John for a while today? I...um...I've got a few errands to run."
Mom looked at me suspiciously for a minute. "Sure honey although it will probably be Jeff who watches him. I've got a student coming over in about a half hour."
"That's fine." I gathered up my clothes, then headed for the bathroom.
Mom's next words stopped me with my hand on the door handle. "Hawk is downstairs, he wants to see you."
I closed my eyes at the sudden pain I felt. "Tell him....tell him....tell him I'll talk to him later. That I'll call him later or something." I turned the door handle.
"Crystal, you have been avoiding him for two weeks. You can't avoid him forever." I heard mom and John walk towards the door. "I'll tell him you need some more time. Maybe he will want to take John to the park or something."
Mom was right, I was avoiding Hawk. I hadn't spoken to him since the night I came back. I didn't know what to say to him. He had been over at the house practically everyday for the past two weeks.
I would hide out in my room until he had left. Sometimes taking John with him, sometimes alone. After about the first week, I was sitting in my window seat looking down at the driveway. Hawk stood next to his car, looking up at me. He knew I was there but made no sign, instead he sighed. His words drifting up to me. "Why won't she talk to me JoAnne? What am I doing wrong?"
I watched mom put her hand on his arm. "She is hurting right now Hawk. She just needs some time to come to some conclusions. About what she is doing, about where she is going."
Hawk nodded. "Okay, if she needs space I will try to give it to her." I watched him get into his car and drive away but I never moved from my spot by the window.
Hawk stayed away for three days after that. The day after I saw him from my window, Suzanne showed up on our doorstep and started yelling at me about how much I was hurting her brother and that I needed to make up my mind about him once and for all.
I stood there listening to her rant and rave until I couldn't take anymore. I had spent the last week listening to mom, Jeff and Robert try to convince me to talk to Hawk. Finally I snapped. I looked at Suzanne and told her that Hawk was a big boy and could take care of himself. Then I told her to mind her own damn business and slammed the door in her face.
I hadn't seen Robert or Suzanne since then but Robert did call that night to apologize for how Suzanne had acted and told me that he would stay out of my business and let Hawk and I work things out. I felt like an ass when I hung up the phone. I looked over at mom and Jeff watching me from the dining room table but neither one said a word. Instead Jeff got up and walked over to where John was playing on the floor with a toy. I turned away from all of them and went up to close myself off in my room.
I stayed up there for three days. Barely eating, never leaving the room, except to go to the bathroom and to take John down to mom or Jeff in the mornings.
I barely spent any time with John except to tuck him in at night. I heard him crying outside my bedroom door the second morning but I couldn't bring myself to go to him. I knew I was pulling away from my son but for some reason I couldn't bring myself to care.
I was depressed, I was confused and I didn't know how to talk to the people who cared about me. I heard someone come up the stairs, sooth John then go back downstairs. I just stared up at the ceiling. I lay like that for a few minutes when suddenly I heard running up the stairs and a pounding on my door. "Open the door Crystal, we need to talk."
I looked at the closed door. "Hawk?" I said softly.
I heard him try to open the door. I knew it was locked. I had been locking it as soon as I took John downstairs in the morning until he came to bed at night. Last night I guess mom and Jeff had taken him to their bed because he never came to mine. He rattled the door for a minute, then started pounding again.
"God damn't Crystal. If you don't want to talk to me fine, but don't pull away from your son. He doesn't understand why momma isn't spending any time with him anymore."
I closed my eyes. Closed my eyes against the pain that those words sent through me. I wanted to get up. To go open the door and go to John. Tell him I loved him. Instead I just turned towards the wall ignoring the pounding on the door until Hawk finally gave up and I heard him go back downstairs.
The third day I was so depressed I couldn't even bring myself to get out of bed. I knew there would be tray of food waiting for me just outside the door and my stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten yesterday. But I just couldn't bring myself to move. Instead I drifted off to sleep, troubled by dreams of Hawk and Danny and John all begging me to love them.
I opened my eyes later to a key turning in the lock. I knew mom had lost the key to my room years ago, apparently she had found it. I watched the door open and looked up to see her standing there carrying a tray in her hands.
She walked into the room, closing the door behind her, then moved over to the desk setting the tray down. My eyes followed her every movement. I could smell the hot soup wafting from the tray and my stomach growled. "Get your butt out of bed and eat something." She said harshly not looking at me.
I looked at her in shock. She hadn't used that tone of voice with me since I was a little girl. Throwing the blankets off of me, I pushed myself out of bed, moving over to the desk. Quietly I sat down and began to eat. Once all the food was gone, I finally turned to look at her. "Where's John?"
Mom straightened up the desk not looking at me. Her voice was cold when she finally spoke. "Hawk took him to the zoo."
I nodded. I didn't know what to say. "Mom...I...I..."
She suddenly turned on me. "I don't want to hear it Crystal. You have buried yourself in this room for the past three days. You have brooded long enough. Even if you don't care about Hawk, or Jeff, or Robert and Suzanne or me, you have a son to raise. He has already lost the man he thought was his father. I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit back while he loses his mother to.
"Now you are going to go in take a shower, brush your teeth, and hair, get dressed and come down stairs where you will welcome your son with open arms when he returns from the zoo. Is that clear?"
I stared at her, who was this woman? Where was the mother who was so happy to see me when I returned? When had this stranger appeared. Finally I realized she was right, I could hide from the world all I wanted to but I couldn't abandon John. "Yes mom. I will take a shower and get dressed. I promise."
She looked at me for a minute, then nodded. "I will see you down stairs in a little while." She kissed me on the cheek then left the room.