The Long Road Back Ch. 14-15bysexygirl76©
The whole way through the trial, I sat with bated breath. When I saw Daniel's sister arrive at the courtroom with my friend Jake, I released my breath. Hopefully, the truth would come out. I left the witness stand then went to talk to Jake. "Here she is." He said holding onto Ms. Talner's arm.
I looked at the woman standing there, the woman who had caused this mess. "You are Danny's sister?"
She looked at the floor. "Yes. I will tell the truth. I guess." Jake whispered something in her ear. She nodded then looked at me. "I'll testify."
I nodded then walked back up the aisle. Once I got to the table where Crystal was sitting, I leaned down to talk to Mr. Wallace. "Mr. Wallace, Crystal's ex-husbands sister is here. She is the one who actually killed Ms. Rodriguez. Put her on the stand so we can get out of here."
Mr. Wallace looked at me, "Are you sure?"
I just nodded. "Okay." When he stood up, I moved back to my seat.
"What is going on Hawk? Who is that woman? Why does she look so much like Crystal?"
I looked over at JoAnne, and then watched as Ms. Talner moved to the witness stand. "Hang on, we're about to have all our questions answered. I waited while JoAnne nodded, then turned my attention back to the witness stand.
I sat tensely the whole time she testified, it was as if I was waiting for her to bolt or something. Finally, it was all over. Crystal was free.
Crystal jumped up, hugging everyone before she came to me. I just gathered her into my arms, holding her close.
"How did you know?" she asked me.
I looked at her quizzically for a minute then realization dawned. "That Danny had a sister or that you were being framed?"
I smiled at her. "Well actually it was Suzanne who suggested that you might be being framed. It did not connect at first, but then I thought that it had to be a coincidence that the girl who killed Sheila had your figure and your hair color. Well the hair color was no big deal; I mean it is really easy to color your hair. Nevertheless, I was obsessing about it. I could not get the thought out of my mind.
Then I remembered what you told me about Danny, about how his father had acted at the funeral. At first, I thought maybe he had hired someone to frame you. So I called him, confronted him. That's when he told me about Sabrina, how she was Danny's sister. I asked him what she looked like. He told me that she had your build and strawberry blonde hair. Well it all fell into place. I called every hotel in town I could think of. Of course, she wasn't listed under her real name but the fourth place I called said that yes they had a young woman staying there that fit my description. I sent my friend Jake to check her out." He nodded towards the guy standing at the back of the courtroom. "When he confirmed who she was, he had a long talk with her, and convinced her to turn herself in."
I smiled again. "For what?"
"For believing in me, never giving up and trusting me."
I smiled more brightly. "You're very welcome, now let's go home."
She wrapped her arms around my neck. "That is the best suggestion I have heard all day."
Keeping my arm around her waist, we headed towards the door. All I wanted to do was get Crystal home and spend the next 24 hours with her in bed. We stopped, when a man stepped into the aisle. He was about 6' tall with thinning hair and the starting of a beer belly. I was about to ask him to get out of the way when Crystal suddenly fainted in my arms. I held her easily against me for a minute before gathering her up in my arms. Then I turned back to the man standing there. "Who are you?" I asked.
He looked at Crystal for a minute, and then looked at me. "I'm her father."
I looked at him in shock, "Her father?" I looked around the courtroom. It was deserted. I moved into an empty seating area and lay Crystal gently down on the bench. I looked up to see the man claiming to be her father holding his coat balled up out to me. "Thank you." I said putting the coat under her head. Then I turned to look at him. "What are you doing here?"
Thomas looked at me for a minute. It was as if he was debating whether or not I was worth talking to. Then he sighed. "Who are you?"
"My name is Joshua, but everybody calls me Hawk. I'm Crystal's boyfriend. You didn't answer my question."
He looked at me for a minute. "I know."
I was distracted when the door to the courtroom opened and JoAnne and Jeff walked back in. "Hawk what is taking so long?" She asked looking at me.
I looked at my future father in law. At least if I had my way he would be. "Ask him."
It was then that JoAnne noticed Thomas was standing there. "I was wondering if you would be brave enough to show your face." She said with contempt in her voice.
Thomas just looked at her and I swore he aged 10 years in just five minutes. Instead of being intimidating like he had been with me. He looked tired. "I couldn't just let my daughter rot in jail JoAnne."
She walked up to him. "No...but you could just drop out of her life for 7 years. Never get a hold of her or Robert."
Just then, I heard a moan and looked down at Crystal, she had her eyes open. "What happened?" She asked. Then her eyes found her fathers, "Daddy?"
Thomas smiled at her and sat down on the bench by her feet. "Hey baby girl. How are you feeling?"
I sat down on the other end of the bench and lifted her head so it was resting on my lap. Crystal looked at her father. "Like I was just run over by a truck, this has been a very long day." She ran her hand over her face.
"I know it has baby girl. Why don't you let your boyfriend take you home and we can talk later." he stood up and headed back down the aisle. He didn't say anything to JoAnne and Jeff.
I helped Crystal sit up then sat holding her as she looked at her mother. "What was that all about?"
JoAnne looked at her daughter. "I don't know honey. I don't know."
* * *
We had been home for a couple of hours. I was laying on the couch with my head resting on Hawk's lap and him stroking my hair. Jeff was sitting on the floor playing with John and mom was in the kitchen making dinner. Suzanne and Robert along with their baby were on the loveseat.
Suddenly the doorbell rang. I did not want to move so I looked over at Robert. He smiled at me. "Sit still." He stood up, walked over, and opened the door. "Oh...It's you."
I sat up as I saw my father walk into the house. "I hope this isn't a bad time." He said coming in and closing the door behind him.
Suzanne held Rose close to her as Robert sat back down beside her. I looked over at Hawk who was watching my father then down to John who had stopped playing to watch the man who had come into the house. "No...it's fine." I said looking at him. "Why don't you sit down?" I pointed to the only empty seat, a chair next to the couch.
He didn't glance at John but moved over and sat down. John seemed to take offense to this. He stood up and marched over to his grandfather. "I know who you are. My mom and dad told me. You are my grandfather." His little five-year-old body was tense with anger. "You can ignore me all you want, but I am not invisible. My name is John Michael Anderson and I am 5 years old." He held up five fingers in my father's face.
I held my breath as I looked at my father. He looked at John for a minute then smiled and looked at me. "He's a good boy. He has my attitude. I don't know if that is good or bad." Then he held his arms out to John.
I smiled as I watched my son greet the grandfather he had never met.
Mom served dinner and we had normal chitchat while everyone ate. Afterwards, John went into his room to watch a movie and we all turned to my father, looking for answers. Thomas Miller sat back in the chair and took a drink of his iced tea. His eyes met everyone's in the room, then finally rested on mine. "I know you all have many questions. Ask them and I will try to answer them."
I leaned against Hawk but looked at my father. "Why did you pay my bail?" I asked before anyone else could say a word.
My father looked at me in surprise. "That should be obvious. I'm your father. I couldn't just let you sit in jail. Especially for something I knew in my heart that you didn't do."
I watched him for a minute then nodded. I was satisfied. Robert spoke up next. His voice was harsh and full of pain. "Where have you been for the past seven years?" His voice broke and I looked over to see his eyes glistening with tears.
Thomas looked at his son and sighed. "I'm sorry Robert. I knew I should have kept in touch. But, I thought it was best under the circumstances that I stayed away. You see, I'm dying."
Everyone in the room but my mother gasped. She just looked at her ex-husband in shock. "What?" Robert asked leaning forward. "What do you mean your dying?"
Thomas nodded his head. "I have prostate cancer. The doctors gave me maybe a year or two. That is why I ignored little John and your baby, who by the way, is very beautiful." He smiled at his granddaughter asleep in her mother's arms. "I don't want to get attached to them and then have to leave them."
JoAnne looked at him as if a light bulb had gone off in her head. "That's why, there never was another woman was there?"
Thomas shook his head. "No. I have spent the last seven years in and out of hospitals. The cancer was in remission for a little over a year then flared up again. They cannot do anything for it. That's why I showed up now. I wanted to see my family one more time before I die."
Tears ran down my cheeks but I didn't brush them away. "Oh daddy," I cried getting up and throwing myself into his arms. He wrapped his arms around me and just held me as I cried against his shoulder. "I'm sorry baby girl. I loved you and your brother very much. But I didn't want you to sit back and watch me die. I thought it would be better if I left. I never expected things to turn out the way they had."
I pulled away from him but kept my hands on his shoulders. "But daddy, I'm glad they did."
He looked at me. "What?"
I looked over at Hawk who smiled with tenderness at me. Then I looked back at my father. "No, I'm not happy about all of it. But if you hadn't divorced mom, then I never would have gotten into the drugs and alcohol and I never would have gone to LA and met Hawk." I moved back to the man I loved and sat back next to him cupping his face in my hands, "Who I love more then anything in this world." I looked back over to my father. "Plus, I wouldn't have a wonderful son. A son, who may not carry on your name but along with Rose, will carry on your line. Your line won't die out with Robert and me." I looked over at my brother and saw tears running silently down his cheeks."
"I was so mad at you." He choked out looking at his father. Thomas looked at his son. "I didn't understand how you could leave your family for another woman." Robert stood up and walked over to our father. Kneeling before him, "Can you ever forgive me dad?"
Thomas held his arms out to his son and Robert went into them crying like a baby against his chest. I looked over at my mother and saw she to had tears in her eyes.
* * *
Six months later in the middle of July on a warm summer day, we buried Thomas Miller. The man I knew as my father. The man I loved with all my heart. As I stared at his casket and held the hand of my son, I hoped that John would grow up to be just like the best man I had ever known.
Thursday, August 12th Hawk's POV
Today is the day I have been dreaming of for the past few years, the day I would ask Crystal to be my wife. I had it all planned; I was taking her out for a romantic dinner. Then we would come back here and I would propose to her.
Today is a special day for both of us. It was six years ago, today that Crystal and I met that day at the beach; it was the day that had changed my life forever. I had spent almost a year lying beside her every night and loving her more each day. I wanted her to be my wife. Nothing could go wrong today. I wouldn't let it.
I sat on the bed looking at the diamond and Amethyst engagement ring. I had bought it the day I rode away from her at the beach. I had a feeling even then that I would need it some day. Now that day is here. I watched it sparkle in the light and smiled. I was so engrossed I almost didn't hear the front door close. I quickly put the ring box in my pocket and walked out to greet the woman I loved. "John over at mom and dad's?" I asked hugging and kissing her quickly.
She smiled as she wrapped her arms around my waist. "Hmm...Yup, It's just you and I tonight. So we got any plans handsome?" She ran her hands lightly over my bare chest and I felt myself grow hard.
"Later." I told my body. I had promised myself that I would not make love to her again until after I proposed. I wrapped my arms around her and smiled. "How about a candlelight dinner and then coming home and who knows what?"
She seemed to ponder that for a minute. "Hmm...Sounds great. What's the occasion?"
I looked at her with a smile. "You honestly don't know what today is, do you?"
She looked at me with confusion in her eyes but the smile still on her lips. "Should I?"
I tightened my arms around her and held her close to my body as I leaned down and whispered in her ear. "It was six years ago today that you and I first met."
She pulled back a bit and looked at me through wide eyes. "Are you serious?"
She put her hand over her mouth. "Oh god, I totally forgot." She giggled softly.
I just kissed her softly. "It's okay. You had a lot going on back then."
She groaned as she rested her head against my chest. "Don't remind me. I don't even want to think about what led up to that day."
I kissed the top of her head. "I'm sorry for the pain you went through Crystal. But I'm not sorry that I met you."
She looked up at me and wrapped her arms around my neck. "I love you Joshua Mitchell." She pulled my face down to hers and brought her lips to mine. The kiss started out slow and easy then escalated from there. By the time I finally pulled back, we were both breathing heavily. "Make love to me Hawk." She panted pressing her body close to mine.
I wanted to. God help me I wanted to. I could feel myself straining against my jeans. But I had made myself a promise and I was going to keep it. I gently pushed her away from me. "Later baby, Right now you need to take a shower and change. We have reservations at 6."
She acted like a little hurt kitten as she pulled away. "Okay." She whimpered. Then swinging her behind seductively, she went into the bedroom.
I sighed as I felt the ring box in my pocket. Somehow, I had a feeling this was going to be a long night.
We had dinner at an Italian restaurant down the street from our house. It was nice. There was a candle lit on every table and a violinist playing romantic love songs at each table. I had planned to propose when we got back home but the atmosphere was so perfect here that I decided not to wait. Crystal was looking over the menu at the dessert area and the violinist was playing a love song at our table. I took the ring from my pocket and set it down on the table in front of her.
She set the menu down and smiled at me as she took a sip of her wine. She set the glass down and noticed the ring box sitting in front of her. "What is this?" She asked opening the box, "Oh my."
I took her hand in mine and looked at her. "I wanted this to be perfect. I cannot think of a more perfect place to be with the woman I love. I will get down on one knee if that is what you want. I will do anything to make you happy and that is what I want. I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy." I squeezed her hand gently. "Crystal Miller Anderson, Will you marry me?"
I sat there at the table looking over the dessert menu. I knew I shouldn't have any. I had eaten so much dinner that I felt like I might explode. But that chocolate cake did look good. I heard the violin next to our table and smiled at Hawk as I put the menu down. I picked up my wine glass and took a drink then set it down. I was about to tell him that I was enjoying the evening when I saw the ring box sitting in front of me on the table. I knew it hadn't been there before.
"What is this?" I asked picking it up. When I opened the box, I gasped, "Oh My." The ring inside was beautiful. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I felt Hawk take my hand and I looked at him as tears of happiness filled my eyes.
"I wanted this to be perfect. I cannot think of a more perfect place to be with the woman I love. I will get down on one knee if that is what you want. I will do anything to make you happy and that is what I want. I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy." I felt him squeeze my hand gently. "Crystal Miller Anderson, Will you marry me?" He asked.
I looked at him then down to the ring. I knew the answer he wanted to hear. He wanted me to say yes. There was nothing to decide. I looked at him again with tears in my eyes. "Yes." I said almost in a whisper. "Yes, with all my heart. I will marry you." I said in a more even tone.
The violinist smiled and started playing again as Hawk slipped the ring on my finger, then leaned across the table to bring his lips to mine.
We passed on dessert and went home where we barely made it to the bedroom before we were all over each other. Even though we were hungry for each other, we made slow passionate love. It was like the first time all over again. Only this time we were not on a blanket on the beach. We were in a bed together and I didn't have to go home to my husband the next morning. This time I was able to stay with him for as long as he wanted me. As I drifted off to sleep, I thought I could never be as happy as I was at this one moment.
Epilogue 5 years later:
Hawk and I were married in a small ceremony. We spent our honeymoon in Hawaii and then went home to spend our lives together with John. Nine months later our little girl named Ashley came into the world and a year after that came Nathan. At that point, we took care of that problem. We were so happy. We had each other and three beautiful children.
I never did use my psychology degree but I was happy being a stay at home mom. Each year we drove down to LA to visit Nancy and Andrew. They still take in foster children, and are happy with their lives.
Robert and Suzanne gave their daughter a little brother named Anthony and Jeff and mom played the happy grandparents.
Now as I sit in front of the computer screen on this Christmas night and finish my story. I knew that all was well in the world.
I sat on the couch today with Hawk and watched our children opening their Christmas presents. The room full of joy and laughter. Suddenly as I turned my head and looked into Hawk's eyes full of love, I knew I had completed my journey. I had finished my long road back.
I was home.