Short Stories

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Welcome to my short stories, I hope you enjoy and please leave a comment!

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Customer Service I Think

My first week on this new job, and I like it a lot, who said you can’t meet men in a “men’s clothing” store, shoot, I get the most attention and had some pretty decent sales this week, my first week.  Chris was the other sales person and had been employed there about a year.  He had a regular set of customers but was always l king to for more commission.  He was also a very nice quiet guy, he wasn’t giving out information about himself, after working here a week all she knew was his name and he was in school.  She liked Max because he was older, and a few times she caught him looking at her, she wasn’t sure if it was flirting or not so she didn’t pursue it.

After only a week she thought she was good at reading people who came into the store, the better dressed people bought the most and a few “regular” people came in buying smaller priced items, she was looking for that large sale so when this woman came in with a young boy, she sized her up mentally – she was dressed casually, but sharp, she carried a designer bag, she didn’t necessarily look like “money” was probably going to look through the sales rack.  Anika decided to take her break instead of helping this woman, so she went to the back of the store before she could be asked to help her.

*********

Weddings, why do everyone have to get married in the hot summer month of June….I ponder this question while sitting in the waiting area of one of New York’s finest menswear boutique shops.  This shop has been open for about a year and business has boomed.  They pride themselves on customer service, attention to detail, and the area’s best personal styling service from the best designers around.

I’m waiting for my grandson to come out and show me the suits he picked to wear to the wedding of his cousin Alexis.  He didn’t want to be a part of the wedding party because it was just too much hassle and being a teenager he wanted to be able to eat and hang out at the reception and must importantly hang out at the beach.

Miles came out of the dressing room in a charcoal three piece suit with a crisp white shirt and at first glance, he reminded me so much of my son, it brought tears to my eyes.  His dad was a firefighter and lost his life saving children from a fire three years ago.

“Miles you look handsome, boy that suit fits perfect, walk over to that mirror and turn around, yes that looks great, do you want to wear a bow tie or a regular tie?” I ask him as he studies himself and pose as if he was in a photoshoot.  “I don’t know grand, what do you think?” He asked.

“I don’t know either son, check with Max he is over by the register, I will be right back” I told him as I walked to the back of the store where I noticed the new employee was talking on her cell phone, a store policy she was breaking.

“Ma’am you can’t come back here, she said with an attitude,”

“and why is that?” I asked her.

“Because this area is for store employees only, so I need you to leave and if you have a problem, I can have my manager help you” she said with a smirk and turned back to talking on her cell phone.

“girl this customer is about to get on my nerve, she probably going to buy that expensive suit then return it later for her money back, I hate cheap people” she laughed on her phone.

At the register, Max the manager was ringing up a customer when I walked over to him.

“Hey boss lady, how are you, I will be with you one minute let me finish ringing up Mr. Thomas” he said as he smiled.

“Hello Mr. Thomas, how are you doing, it’s good to see you, she said then turned to Max, “no problem”.

Max finished ringing up his customer and walked over to the display of ties and bowties to talk with Ms. Sullivan the owner of the store.

“Ms. Sullivan, how are you doing, I see Miles found the perfect suit and we picked out a bowtie with pocket square and cufflinks set.  He should be ready for the wedding, did you get a chance to meet the new employee Anika?”

“No we didn’t meet formally but I walked to the back room and she was on her cell phone, please have her come out to meet me”.

Max immediately frowned because he knew that he will have to find a new employee, because Ms. Sullivan didn’t play when it came to her rules for the store, his whole attitude changed when he walked back to the room and heard her still whispering on her cell phone.

“Anika”, he called her loudly, she turned around and smiled while hiding her phone behind her back.

“Yes Max, I was on my break, but I’m done, can I help with something?” She asked hoping he didn’t see her on the phone.

“No but, I want to introduce you the owner of the store Ms. Sullivan

” He smirked.

Anika, looked around the store to see who could possibly be the owner, she was looking at a well-dressed white woman that was talking to Chris the other store clerk and thought that must be her, she smiled because she was ready to put on her best behavior.

Instead of Max walking in that direction he walked toward the cash register where the woman who came to the back room, she immediately thought that he had to take care of her first them introduce her to the owner.

“Max, that woman at the cash register, came to the back room and I had to put her in her place, she had the nerve to ask why she couldn’t come back there, she laughed,”

Max turned around and looked at her with pity and before he could said anything, Anika laughed again and said, I told her if she had a problem that she could talk to the manager, “you” she pointed at him and laughed again.  At this point Max just shook his head, he knew for sure Anika was about to get the surprise of her life, and her attitude and earlier behavior just got her fired.

Chris walk with his customer over to the cash register just as Max and Anika was walking up.  He rang the customer purchase up, thanked her and gave her the receipt.  She walk out the store.

Anika was confused she thought that she was owner.  Now she got a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach and looked over at the customer she got smart with.  She looked back and smiled at her shaking her head.

“Anika”, Max called to get her attention, “I would like for you to meet the owner, Ms. Sullivan, and her grandson Miles.”

Anika, opened her mouth but nothing came out.

“You can close your mouth, Anika, and you can leave early today, as a matter of fact, you won’t be coming back”, I value customer service skills, and employees who follow direction and store policies”, Ms. Sullivan said with a big smile.

The Plan (One woman’s plan to leave an abusive relationship)

AMY AND SHAWN

Amy was wiping the blood from the floor as she groaned out in agony.  The harder she wiped the floor the more her nose and mouth dripped causing more blood to appear on the floor.

“Didn’t I tell you to get that blood off my floor?” His voice was filled with so much bass, authority, and hatred.”

“I’m trying,” she cried, trying to not sound as if she was talking back.  She looked at him and cried, even more, knowing that at any minute he will hit her again if she didn’t do what he wanted, even though at this moment it felt like it was impossible.

“You got one minute to get this place cleaned up or we going to have more problems!” He said and then walked out the bathroom and into their bedroom.

She got up to get more towels and to try and stop the bleeding.  When she caught a glimpse of herself in the bathroom mirror, tears filled her eyes as she looked at the once pretty, confident women in the mirror.   At that moment something inside her clicked, she knew what she had to do, she couldn’t stay and let this man who was supposed to love her beat her down mentally, and physically anymore.  She just found out she was five weeks pregnant.  Her self-esteem was rock bottom but her body hurt and she just couldn’t do this anymore or she could lose the one thing she wanted more than anything, her unborn child.

Shawn noticed she was looking at herself in the bathroom mirror he walked over to her and grabbed her by the neck, “Get out the mirror and finish cleaning this bathroom now!” he pushed her on the floor, then walked out the bathroom calling her stupid, dumb, ugly…..Amy tuned him out and started cleaning the floor with a vengeance.  She decided to let him think that he had her scared, which a part of her was still scared but an even bigger part of her was hurt, tired and ready to get out of this situation.

Shawn was putting his clothes on and told Amy he would be back later and that she better not leave the house or call his phone, he laughed knowing that he had her phone in his pocket.

Amy, came out of the bathroom looking down and said okay with her shoulders hanging down looking like an obedient slave.  Shawn laughed and left out the room.

Amy waited until she heard the front door close then the car pulling out of the driveway before she went to the window and saw the brake lights getting further away.  She ran a bath with Epsom salt in it and decided to relax her tired achy body and think about her next steps to save her life.

While bathing Amy thought back to the first time she meets Shawn, he was a gentleman, quiet but made sure to keep her interest.  He seemed to do everything right, to get her.  Once they started dating exclusively, he made sure she had all she needed, he even suggested that she quit her job and move in with him, she was adamant about keeping her job but she did move in with him after six months of dating.  Slowly things began to change, she spent so much time with him, and she didn’t hang with her friends anymore and didn’t talk to her sister as much especially since she lived on the west coast. She missed her and wanted to go out to visit but Shawn always promised he would take her but when it came time to go he was always busy.  Now she began to recognize that for the last two years, she had been cut off from her only family and any friends she had.  She cut back on work to working from home part-time, she only went into the office for meetings.  When Shawn started with the pushing and shoving, then apologizing now it was all out fists and no apologies.  He even pulled a gun on her and told her that he would kill her before he let her leave him.  He entertained his friends and he wasn’t about to let them clown him about not being able to keep his girl in check.

The water had grown cold and Amy felt like a prune getting out of the tub. A part of her wanted revenge, but she knew most of all she wanted to have peace and be safe and to do that she had to get away from Shawn.  Her new motivation besides wanting to live was the life of her unborn child.  Shawn hid her cell phone or took it with him before leaving but he never knew she had another one hidden in a pair of her boots in the back of the closet.  It was time to make a call and a plan, but where to begin, she got her phone out and called her sister.

***********

Shawn was sitting drinking and talking to the fellows, bragging about how he got his girl in check and how he can make her do anything he wants.  Jeff was tired of him talking and told him to shut up so that he and the other guys could enjoy the entertainment at the club.  Jeff told him that if he had everything under control the way he says – he wouldn’t have to keep telling them about it.  This pissed Shawn off and he immediately begins to think that just talking about Amy had his boys mad at him and how it was her fault and he would have to take care of that when he got home, he was drunk, high and mad.  He cut his eyes at Jeff and shrugged, “you mad because you can’t keep a woman!” If you knew how to handle one you wouldn’t be trippin off what I’m saying, with that, he walked to the bar to get another drink and talk to the chick that was eying him when he walked in.  Shawn looked at his best friend and business partner and wondered what was wrong with him, lately, something was off with him, but he would figure that out later.

Two hours later, they were sitting in the VIP section of the club and everyone was enjoying themselves except Shawn who was still pissed at Jeff.  Jeff noticed his attitude and tried to smooth things over because he knew that Amy was going to get the beat down and he was just tired of hearing about it and the few times he went to Shawn’s house he saw the bruises on her.

“Look Shawn man we are having a good night, the club has brought in a lot of money tonight with the new band and our VIP services is over the top”  we should be celebrating and you are sitting here with a mad face, man it’s all good tonight” he said trying to sound upbeat.  Shawn looked at him with a smirk and gave a head nod and kept whispering in the ear of the thirsty chick he picked up at the bar earlier.

The next morning Shawn had the worst hangover, he sat on the side of the bed with his head in his hands, he called to Amy but didn’t get an answer.  He tried to get up but the room was spinning, he decided to lay back down and deal with Amy later.  He went back to sleep.  Amy was downstairs about to head out to work for her one meeting this month, she was glad to get out the house, she put on makeup to cover the bruise on her face.  The swelling was still on her lip but she didn’t care at this point.  Just as she was leaving out she opened the door and Jeff was just about to knock.

“Amy I’m sorry to come by so early, I came to check on yo—him”, he stumbles saying.  “Jeff, Shawn is still sleeping, but you can come in and wait for him to wake up if you want, I’m on my way to work, I have a meeting today,” she said as she walked past him.  Amy didn’t want to stop and talk she needed to get to the office so that she could work on her plan to escape.

Jeff, noticed the bruise and the shape of her nose, it wasn’t broken but the swelling was there and her lip was busted, he shook his head and went into the house and closed the door.  He stopped in the kitchen and got a cup of coffee that was still fresh, then went up to the master bedroom, he knocked on the door but didn’t get an answer so he walked in and saw that Shawn was still asleep fully dressed.  He decided to leave and get up with him later, as he was walking out the room he noticed the bloody towels hanging out their dirty clothes basket.

Later that evening, Shawn was sitting in the kitchen waiting for Amy to come home.  When she walked through the door, he immediately when to her and she automatically cringed and covered herself as if to ward off his attack, he smiled but felt sorry for all of a minute before he told her that he wasn’t going to hit her.  Amy noticed that food was cooked and the table was set with flowers and a bottle of wine was chilling.

Amy was standing there with tears in her eyes because she knew what that meant, the empty apology and unwanted sex, she tried to seem excited but it just wasn’t in her.

Shawn came behind her as she stood still and hugged her and began kissing her cheek repeatedly.  “You know I’m sorry and I promised I’m going to get better.”  He turned her around and looked into her eyes and then nestled his face into her neck.

Amy was scared but melted in his embrace.  At times like this, she usually thought that this was the man she fell in love with, but the reality was that when he tried to kiss her lightly on the lips, her mouth hurt and the reality came back with the pain in her face.

He pulled back looking directly at her waiting for her usual words, but when she didn’t say them he asked her if she believed him.  She didn’t look in his eyes but he grabbed her face lightly so that she had to look at him, and she lied ” yes I forgive you and I believe you”, she said with a fake smile.  In her mind, she was cussing him out.

They ate dinner like a normal loving couple, he asked about her day as if he really cared but before she could tell him he did like usual talk about himself, sports and what his friends were getting into.

They settled into bed and decided to watch a movie, Amy was glad because she didn’t want to do anything but get comfortable and go to sleep. Shawn’s phone kept going off with calls and texts messages after they got in bed, he excused himself and went into the bathroom to check his messages, when he came out he promised Amy that there was business at the club and Jeff needed him. Amy pouted as if she was upset, but in her mind, she was screaming “yes please leave”.  He went into his closet, got dressed and told Amy he was sorry and they could do movie night later, and to not wait up for him, it would probably be a long night. Now Amy just nodded okay and told him she loved him and for him to be careful.

When he left and she was sure he was gone, she put the alarm on and went to his office and opened his safe, she took a picture of everything inside. She was careful to put everything back as she found it. She noticed he had 5 stacks of hundred-dollar bills banded with 10,000.00 on them. She got an idea of how to fund her escape. Smiling she closed the safe put everything back like normal she felt her stomach and told her unborn child everything was going to be okay, then she left his office.

Jeff was sitting in his home office watching the live video of Amy in Shawn’s office. He knew that Shawn was holding out on money and some of the drugs they provided in the club. He put the cameras in Shawn’s office the last time he was over there drinking and watching the fight.

He also had footage of Shawn beating Amy in his office and although he was mad at what he was seeing he couldn’t understand how someone as smart as Amy stayed in that situation but he also knew that Shawn threatened her life on several occasions. He watched the video again and noticed she rubbed her stomach and looked as if she was talking about it, he figured she was pregnant.

Two weeks passed and Shawn was still playing the loving boyfriend to Amy. He was also seeing the girl he met at the club a few weeks ago. He was playing the big spender, taking her out to eat, giving her money to shop and was looking for an apartment for her.  This peaceful time was just what Amy needed. She replaced most of the bills in his safe with crisp one-dollar bills, she cleared the money from her bank account, and she had all of her important papers secured. She also gathered old pictures of her family she wanted to keep and a few sentimental things, everything else she would leave. She wanted to make sure the house looked as normal as possible.

It was a Friday night and Jeff decided to stop by Shawn house to see if he was going to hang at the club tonight. When he got there, Amy was dressed casual but he could tell that something was going on with her, she invited him in to wait for Shawn.

“Amy, how have you been, it’s been awhile since I last saw you?” He asked.

“I’m good, a little tired, actually had a lot of work to do this week,” she replied while sitting at the kitchen counter.

“Do you want anything to drink, or eat, I have some leftover fried chicken,” she told him.

When Shawn walked in he saw that Amy and Jeff were talking and eating in the kitchen, looking too comfortable to him, he immediately got heated and walked in with a frown on his face.

“What’s up Jeff, what you doing here eating my food” he was dead serious.

“Man, I came over here to get you, I thought you were coming to the club tonight, we need to check on a shipment, Amy was being a good host and offered me something to eat, since I know I’m going to be drinking I decided to take her up on the offer, you got a problem with that” he said while standing up facing Shawn.

“ Naw man go ahead and finish eating, Amy let me holler at you a minute, upstairs,” he said.

Jeff knew that something was about to pop off and he wasn’t going to let him hit her tonight.

Amy, shook her head and looked at Jeff as she was walking out the kitchen, she knew Shawn was pissed and she hoped that she could get away from him before he got violent again. As soon as she stepped in the bedroom Shawn pushed her hard on the bed.

“I know you ain’t messing with my boy in my house, I don’t like how cozy ya’ll look when I walked in, why didn’t you tell him I wasn’t home and to come back” he raised his voice now standing over her.

“Shawn that is your best friend, I’m not interested in him at all, you never said to not let him in when you weren’t home and he rarely ever come over here uninvited, you are over reacting”, as soon as that came out of her mouth she knew he was mad…..he reached down and tried to backhand her but she blocked her face,

“Oh you want to fight back now, just because Jeff is here don’t mean I still won’t knock some sense into you, he yelled and grabbed the hand that was blocking her face and used his other hand and punched her in the side of her head.  He looked at her and notice she was trying to hold back tears.  He guesses she was trying to be touch today.

“Oh, so you want to be tough today?” He asked.

She just looked at him and when he didn’t see any fear that was usually in her eyes, he only saw a blank and coldness there that pissed him off more.

He began to punch and beat her like a man, at first, he didn’t notice Jeff calling for him or trying to pull him off of her. Blood was over his hands and shirt and Amy was doubled over and holding her stomach.

Jeff pushed him off the bed and grabbed him.

“Man get off her you caused enough trouble,” he said walking over to Amy and bending down to comfort her.”

“Jeff what are you doing, man this is my business, she will be aight” Shawn said while pushing him away from Amy.

“I’m checking to see if I need to take her to the hospital.  You went too far this time,” he said shaking his head.

Amy’s face was bloody, but she insisted that she didn’t need to go to the hospital, she looked at Shawn then slowly walked out of the bedroom and into the guest room next door then slammed the door.

Jeff shook his head and walked out the room and went downstairs, leaving me to change my clothes and take a quick shower.

“Yo Shawn, man we need to leave” Jeff yelled up the steps.

“I’ll be down in a minute” Shawn yelled.  Shawn went to the guest bedroom door and tried to open it, but it was locked, he yelled through the door

“If I didn’t have to go to the club… we gonna finish this when I get back, so don’t go to sleep cause it’s on”, he said and walked away from the door and down the steps.

Shawn, came down the steps mad and went to the kitchen to look for Amy’s purse, when he found it he looked inside and took her wallet so she couldn’t use any cash or credit cards and her keys, so she couldn’t drive anywhere, he already had her phone, he was going to make sure she couldn’t do anything until he got back. Jeff was looking at him like he had lost his mind,

“man don’t look at me, I’m doing what I have to do to keep control of what goes on in my house, when I get back she is going to know it, let’s go take care of this shipment so that I can get back home, I’m not staying out all night” Shawn said walking out the door.

Amy was in the guest bedroom, on the bed crying knowing that it was now or never. She got up and watched them pull out of the driveway both driving separate cars. When she saw them turn the corner she immediately went to the closet in the guest room and got her other purse, keys and go bag she had been preparing. She already had all the money out the safe, she left three one hundred-dollar bills on top of one-dollar bills on each set that was in the safe. She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror, her face was once again swollen, her eye, lips, and nose bloody.  He head hurt where he punched her at and a knot was forming over her eye also.  She protected her stomach as much as she could but she was having cramps and was scared that she could possibly lose her baby.  She used the toilet hoping to not see any blood, she was relieved but still scared when her urine was clear. Amy took a shower, as the water was cleaning her skin, her crying was cleaning her soul, she was finally going to save herself and she felt good.

She went downstairs and notice that Shawn had been in her “fake” purse just as she expected, this wasn’t the first time he went in her purse. Amy was ready, she had changed her clothes, with her backpack in hand she locked the house and was heading out the back door when she opened it Jeff was standing there, scaring the crap out of her.

“What the hell Jeff, you scared the crap out of me, why are you at my back door and where is Shawn?” she asked holding her chest and afraid.

“I left him at the club, I came back to check on you, I wanted to make sure you were okay and see if you wanted to get out of this craziness?” he said with a concerned look on his face, before she could answer, he took in her appearance her face was bruised, her eyes red and puffy from crying and swelling he saw that she was indeed ready to leave.

“Jeff, I’m leaving now, I know you are his friend and will probably tell him, please let me go I can’t go through the abuse and cheating anymore, I have to think about more than my own life now, I’m pregnant, please let me go” she begged with tears in her eyes.

Jeff pulled her into his arms, she was a little hesitant at first but gave into the comfort he was offering.  She cried again as if it was the first time, Jeff just stood there holding her and promising that he would help her.

***********

Shawn was at the bar drinking after going over the inventory and wondered where did Jeff run off to.  He was becoming suspicious of Jeff the way he was always trying to defend Amy, just as he was about to leave, he saw the chick he had been trying to impress and sleep with sitting at the bar on her cell phone, she was looking good in her tight red bandage dress, her killer heels, she was beautiful, she was texting on her phone when he came over and pushed up behind her.

“Hey girl, I was hoping you waweretopping by tonight, you didn’t answer when I called or texted you earlier, what’s up”? He whispered in her ear.

“I was busy, but I’m here now what do you have planned for tonight?” She said turning around and getting all in his personal space.  Jeff walked up to the bar, got a drink and told Shawn that everything was okay and that he dropped off some packages and now he was ready to just chill in the VIP section.  Shawn waved him off and walked away with the girl he had been talking to. Instead of taking her to the VIP section he took her to his personal office, walking in he closed and locked the door.

This was the moment that Stacy was waiting for, she looked at Shawn with his fine self, and wondered how he could beat on her sister.  She was disgusted and pissed that this man had systematically broken her down to the point where she had to plan to escape him and seriously fear for her life and that of her unborn child. She was so glad her sister called and finally told her everything now she was going to do all she could to help her out and get her away from him. Amy was scared to tell Shawn about the pregnancy because he could get mad and hold that against her or beat her so bad that she lost the baby.  Stacy was determined to do anything to keep that from happening.  Now was the time to make sure he couldn’t hurt her sister anymore.  She was glad she never met him, so he didn’t know what she looked like.  She was ready to make sure justice was served.  It took her two weeks to put this plan in motion but today things changed with the text she just got from Amy.

Shawn went to his private bar and poured himself a drink, “you want me to refresh your drink?” He asked, Stacy snapped out of her thoughts and got her act together, she walked over to him and kissed him passionately, while taking his drink from his hand.  Shawn got caught up and took over the kiss.  Shawn lifted her up and walked her back to his desk and placed her on it.  He kept kissing her and trying unzip her dress with one hand and the other hand was pushing the bottom of her dress up.  Stacy knew at that moment things was going to get out of hand quickly, she pushed him back and breathlessly said she needed another drink, thinking she would need liquid courage to go through the worst thing possible with this man to get her sister away from him.  Trying to think quickly about how to get the GBH into his drink, she caught a break when Jeff knocked on the door and then walked in telling Shawn there was a problem and he was needed right away, Jeff smirked at Stacy then turned and left the office.

Shawn was pissed to be interrupted it seem he couldn’t get with this girl for nothing, something always came up at the same time, he needed to handle the problem quickly, he was mad but fixed his clothes and left the office telling Stacy he would be right back.

Shawn returned to his office ready to continue getting to know Stacy better, but was surprised that she wasn’t there.  She left a note saying that something came up but would be back before the club closed.  He balled up the note then poured himself a drink and sat in his chair wondering how to delay giving the money he kept in his home safe to the supplier.  It was beginning to feel a little hot in his office and he was feeling a little queasy but he continued to drink, until his eye sight was fuzzy, he couldn’t even think straight, he tried to get up and lay down on his couch but he didn’t make it, he never felt the floor greeting him.

Jeff walked into Shawn’s office and noticed him passed out on the floor.  He took the drink from Shawn’s desk and liquor bottle from his mini bar and walked to the bathroom and poured them down the sink.  He stepped over Shawn not taking time to even check for a pulse.  He turned the lights out in his office then closed and locked the door.

***********

Stacy walked into her hotel room and saw Amy sitting crying on the bed, she immediately thought that beating Shawn did earlier had made her lose the baby. “Hey sissy why are you crying, do you need to go to the hospital?” She asked in a panic.

“No, I’m just thinking about all that has happened and I’m truly scared, suppose he comes looking for me?” She cried again.

“Don’t worry about that, but are you really ready to leave this situation or you just mad at him right now, I’m asking because once we do this there is no turning back you have to know that”? Stacy said while kneeling in front of her sister.

Amy dried her eyes and straighten up her shoulders, “I’m ready, just a little scared, I got the money and all of my important papers, I left everything in its place, I didn’t take any of my clothes, shoes, so he will think I just left the house to get a break from him. I didn’t move the car either.”

“I think he had trackers on everything, he has my cell phone, but every piece of clothing and the shoes I have on is brand new.”  He knows that you live in California, but since he didn’t allow me to keep in touch with you, he don’t know exactly where and he don’t know your real name, just the nickname I called you, but I still feel hesitant to move to Cali.”

“That’s why we are not moving to Cali, I resigned from my job and moved out of my apartment, we are going to Maui, I have a friend who needs help with her real estate business.”  Stacy said with a huge smile on her face.

“Wait, we going to Hawaii?” Amy was excited now and the smile on her face was priceless.

“We are driving across country to Cali and catch our flight to Hawaii from San Diego, I just brought a Jeep, we can pick up the things we need along the way, so we can spend some of that money as we travel across country”. Stacy and Amy stood up and hugged each other crying all over again, but this time it was happy tears.

Jeff looked at his watch and shook his head, it has been a long night, he was more than ready to put his plan into action.  He wasn’t a snitch but he knew that Shawn was trying to take over his part of the nightclub and had him followed.  Jeff decided to send a tape of the illegal operations to a detective that had been hanging around the club lately.  Jeff secretly cleaned out his office and had already sold his home a few weeks ago and was ready to move away and start over.  Amy didn’t know that he knew about her plans to leave before she begged him to let her leave earlier.   He knew the identity of her sister the same woman in Shawn’s office who was trying to drug him.  His real specialty was surveillance and cyber security he intended to pursue that when he got to his new destination.  He pulled up to the hotel and saw the new Jeep that Stacy brought yesterday.  He didn’t want to scare them, but he always had feelings for Amy and decided that he was going to be with her as a friend or more if she let him in time, but this morning he was going to help his “friend” and her sister leave without a trace.

Six months later…….

Laying in the prison infirmary, staring at the ceiling, Shawn was wondering how he got to be in that position, this was the second beating since he got here. This beating had left him with severe head trauma, busted left eye socket, broken ribs, nose, leg and arm, they didn’t want him dead but wanted him to be in the worse pain of his life and they succeeded.

He knew in his heart that this was pay back for what he did to Amy and a few other women, but mostly it was from his supplier for not having his money.

Over time he realized just how little he knew about Amy and how he isolated her to soon, he should have found out more about her sister, he was sure that she helped her get away from him.

When he finally woke up the next evening on the floor of his office, he knew something wasn’t right.  He couldn’t even remember what happened that night except after leaving the house he went to his club with Jeff, who he couldn’t get in contact with.  He checked out his office in the club and it was cleaned out, he called, left text messages even drove by his house that had a big “sold” sign on the front lawn.

He went home to find everything intact but Amy was gone and had left everything he had brought her even her jewelry.  He had hoped that she would have taken something because he had tracking devices in them and her shoes and purses all because Jeff suggested that he keep tabs on her.

He went into his office and checked his safe and was blown away….the money was pretty much gone, this chick replaced the majority of his money with crisp “one dollar” bills.  He knew he was in trouble, the drugs and other important papers for the club was still there.  He notice a legal document that made his head spin even more.  Jeff had sold his half of the club to the supplier he owed money to, so Jeff was off the hook for his part of the money and that left him with paying the balance of money to the supplier, which now he didn’t have.

Before he could sit down and really digest what was happening there was loud knocking on his door, he got up to open it and the police was there with a warrant for his arrest and a search warrant for house.

His business was taken down, from the inside out. Everything pointed to him, but he knew that Jeff set him up to take the fall for the drugs, and other illegal operations that was happening in his club.  His supplier wanted his money and didn’t care that everything was taken from him by the police.  He was glad he put aside money in an account no one knew about, but he still didn’t have enough to pay for a lawyer, and the supplier, so he paid the lawyer hoping that he could get off and make a way to pay the supplier.

He wondered if his life could get any worst.  Before he could finish that thought, a Doctor walked in he hadn’t seen before with a syringe.

“Hello Shawn, some friends send their regards,” his smile was sinister.  He emptied the syringe into his IV.  As things started to get fuzzy for Shawn, the Doctor or whoever he was leaned over and whispered in his ear the Jeff and Amy and his unborn daughter send their regards.

Shawn, couldn’t move or speak, whatever the Doctor had given him had immobilized him and his sight was going, he just let the tears fall as he slowly closed his eyes and let the darkness take over.

***********

Jeff was sitting on the beach holding Amy’s hand as they watched the beautiful sunset on another great day in paradise.  Her stomach was growing and the baby girl kicked like she was playing soccer in her mother’s stomach.

Amy never thought that she could be this happy, she looked at her husband, and they got married as soon as they got to the island, even though her sister wasn’t too happy about it at first.

Just as she was about to leave the hotel with Stacy, Jeff showed up saying he was coming with them.  Stacy protested but Amy felt in her heart that Jeff was serious about being there as a friend for them and was ready to go where ever they were going.

It took almost two weeks to drive from Virginia Beach to San Diego.  During the trip Jeff explain what he did to Shawn and expressed his true feelings about Amy.  The cross country trip was a sobering experience for the three of them.  They decided that if they was going to make it everyone had to be brutally honest with each other.  No more secrets and everything that happened in Virginia Beach stayed buried there forever there would be no going back.

Stacy was excited about starting over again also, she loved working at the small real estate company with her friend from college.  She was the maid of honor for her sister and she loved Jeff like a brother for stepping in and being a husband to Amy and father to Amy’s baby girl.

Jeff brought a small office building and opened J & A Security the private security firm he was proud of and he rented out the other space to the real estate company Stacy and Ella her college friend owned.

Jeff kept tabs on the club in Virginia Beach, which the supplier now ran.  He also, knew about the death of Shawn.  He decided to not tell Amy about the deal he made to make sure they was safe.  The supplier used his services quietly from time to time to keep check on his competition.  He also kept in touch with a distant cousin who ran a security firm in Virginia Beach with his best friend, they worked some private cases but decided that no one needed to know about their family connection, not even his wife.