Posted in BOOKS

The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes


Meet Dean Karnazes

Ultramarathoner and NY Times bestselling author of 4 books, Dean Karnazes was born in Los Angeles, and grew up in Orange County, CA. He traces his Greek roots to Silimna, outside of Tripolis, and the island of Ikaria.

Dean got into running as a young boy, and actually ran his first marathon at the age of 14. He found running to be a great physical and mental challenge. But we’re supposed to pursue a course of study that will earn us a good living, right? So Dean went to college. Then he earned an MBA. After settling in San Francisco, he became a “successful corporate guy”. He’d achieved “the dream”, as it were, but it wasn’t his dream.

“On my 30th birthday, I decided I didn’t like my life. That night, while out drinking with friends at a bar, I left around 11:00 pm. I had to run. I decided to run 30 miles to celebrate my 30th. I ran through the night, for 7 hours. It changed my life.

Today, Dean is an internationally recognized athlete, a speaker, and best-selling author. TIME magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World”. He’s run all over the world and in all sorts of conditions — in 120◦ temperatures in Death Valley, to -40◦ at the South Pole. He is one of an elite group of runners who has completed 50 marathons in all 50 state — although Dean accomplished this in 50 consecutive days! His incredible feats have been spotlighted on 60 Minutes, CBS News, CNN, the BBC, and so many others. Dean has been featured in countless magazines, including the cover of People magazine Greece. He’s now a monthly columnist for Men’s Health, the largest men’s publication in the world.

He and his wife, Julie, were high school sweethearts. They have two children, Alexandria, 21, and Nicholas, 19. And yes, they all run.


Dean Karnazes Acropolis

High above Athens, at the Acropolis, Dean Karnazes experienced an epiphany.

Embracing his Hellenic roots

Recently, Dean experienced a cultural reawakening. He’s embraced his Hellenic roots in a big way. Kosta, as he now prefers to be called, felt compelled to learn where he came from.

“I realized I was influenced by our forefathers. I always embraced physical fitness, but didn’t always know that my mind, body, and spirit are aligned with them. I felt their presence, but never knew why. To learn these are timeless values is very intriguing. It somehow transcends the ordinary.”

That moment happened when after running the Chicago marathon, he immediately flew to Greece — for the 1st time.

“I was so exhausted; I just wanted to sleep. Then I looked out and saw the Acropolis. Something in me changed. I had to go up there. And right then. I climbed to the top, and stood there in awe. I never felt such a profound sense of providence. I knew I was supposed to be in that spot at that moment in time. I’ve never felt something so powerful, so unsettling in my life. I felt like I was home — like I belonged there.”

Since then, he’s vowed to help Greece as much as he can.

“I promote Greeks, Greece, Hellenism. I’ve taken an active role in Sports Tourism. It’s a rather lucrative segment, as healthy, active travelers spend a lot of money. Greece is the perfect place. It’s genuine — people hear this story and it moves them.”

Running in Pheidippides’ footsteps

Kosta learned about Pheidippides as young boy. His dad made that first connection.

“When I started running, my dad said, ‘Dean, you’re just like Pheidippides!’ He told me that Pheidippides ran that first marathon in ancient Greece, and he explained it at length. I was intrigued, and wondered how could a human run that far — it’s impossible. Part of me felt challenged by it. It was like, ‘Ok, I’m Greek, we’re athletes. I want to do this!’

Kosta actually thought that was all there was to Pheidippides’ story, and didn’t think much more of it.

“Then I met an old Greek man who said that’s not what really happened, that there was more to it. So I decided that I had to learn the truth, to be true to our Hellenic heritage. I started studying ancient Greek history. Pheidippides’ story — the entire story — fascinated me. What really happened is that 2500 years ago, a foot messenger — a hermerodromos — ran from Athens to Sparta — 153 miles. I wondered, how could a man run that far, especially in the mountainous terrain of Greece. This led me on a path to understand how ancient Greek athletes were so superior in so many ways.”

He also realized that he wanted to someday retrace the steps of that first marathoner.
The Road to Sparta cover Dean Karnazes

Spartathlon

Kosta had run plenty of ultramarathons, and footraces of hundreds of hundred of miles. But none were the Spartathlon. He began to train to run ultramarathon of the ancient variety — and in the motherland — but in order to truly retrace the footsteps of his hero, he would only consume same foods as Pheidippides did — figs, olives, cured meat, and pasteli — and only drink water.

“Because there was no gatorade 2500 years ago! This was so different. I’ve run 36 hours continuously, but I had no idea what I would encounter on this path.”

He met a few surprises along the way — and in the dark it can be rather dangerous.

“I met a few porcupines in Messinia. I didn’t know they were indigenous to the Peloponnese. And spiders, lots of big spiders!”

There were 350 starters in the race — the most elite athletes in the world — representing 47 different countries. To simply finish was the goal. And this was no easy feat. Only a third of the starters typically finish.

“The passes around Sparta are incredibly treacherous — I scaled the side of a mountain almost on all fours. The rock there is very barren.”

Writing The Road to Sparta

Kosta tells the his story from the time he started running, to the present, in The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World’s Greatest Footrace. He said the book required extensive research and took 5 years to write. During that time, he took many trips to Greece to study the areas he wrote about, including detailed information on the topography. He worked with the foremost authorities on Ancient Greek culture, including Professor Paul Cartledge from the University of Cambridge; and Dr. P.J. Shaw, the top authority on the travels of Pheidippides.

Review of The Road to Sparta

In the Road to Sparta, Dean Karnazes takes us on a marathon of sorts through his life story, as he embraces his roots, and pays homage to the ancient hemerodromoi — and the most famous one of all, Pheidippides. Follow Dean on his personal quest, in which he validates his hero, learns more about himself, and reignites his passion for all things Greek. Dean shows us a side of Greece most of us will never know, and opens a whole new world to us — one of an almost superhuman feat, with all its ups and downs. He shares the highs and lows, the frustrations, and the fight to finish, through the delirium, and the ultimate test of his body. This race was about more than finishing, and connecting with this hero. Ultimately, it is a means to inspire others. You don’t have to be a runner to appreciate this book. Dean Karnazes shows us what true grit, determination, and perseverance are all about. He inspires us to push just a little bit harder, to not give up, and to pursue our dreams.


What’s next

Kosta will continue to explore.

“Just like Socrates was a citizen of the world, I strive to be one.”

In 2018 he plans to embark on a 1-year global expedition to run a marathon in every country of the world. That’s 203 countries! He’s currently working with the UN and the US State Department to obtain the necessary passports and permits. Kosta is working with corporate sponsors such as The North Face, Colgate-Palmolive, and FitBit.

Dean Karnazes has achieved much, but isn’t even close to the finish line of his career. Watch for more feats of wonder — and many more stories.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01LRWN51A/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Posted in BOOKS

Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff

Looking for a great thriller to bring on your trip to Greece (or wherever) this summer? Check out ‘Dead Olives’ by Jeremy Hinchliff, a thriller set in Greece.


Meet Author Jeremy Hinchliff

Jeremy Hinchliff was born in South Africa but has spent much of his life in England. For the last few years, he’s lived in Messinia, Greece.

He became interested in Greece as a kid reading an old book of Greek myths his father had. Jeremy developed an early love of Homer. He studied ancient Greek through school and college and spent much vacation time in Crete. Over about 20 years of spending time in Greece, he not only fell in love with the country, but he also learned Modern Greek.

Jeremy started writing songs at sixteen and did that for about 20 years. A few years ago, he began writing and publishing short stories. Dead Olives is his first novel. 

Author Jeremy Hinchliff lives in Greece.

Inspiration for Dead Olives

As the Crisis hit Greece in 2008, he was a librarian in an Oxford College, which includes some of the earliest printed books – including Greek. After moving to Greece, Jeremy saw first-hand Greeks and African migrants in Greece both struggling to make a meager living. Jeremy spoke about how the economic crisis and other issues in Modern Day Greece inspired Dead Olives.

“It was just too weird to have the evidence of how influential Greece had been culturally in my hands at work. But then I’d see reports on the BBC of Molotovs in Exarchia and Χρυση Αυγή (political party Golden Dawn) doing Nazi salutes and beating up immigrants, Greek families losing 40% of their wealth, scavenging on rubbish dumps, emigrating, etc. I was fed up with my job so went to live in Messinia and began writing.”

He said he wrote the book to provide another perspective on the Crisis.

“I wasn’t really writing it for Greeks, of course, as they know more than enough about the situation in their country. But I suppose I felt somewhere in the back of my mind that it was for Greece, to commemorate a lousy situation. I wanted something to get into English language fiction about the Greek Crisis. It’s a country that everyone in Europe spends time in on holiday. We have many current affairs reports about Euro Working Groups, and so on, but I wanted there to be something a bit different than that. Of course it’s for Greek writers who really know the Crisis to write the best fiction on it, but I wanted to have a go for any lovers of Greece whose first language is English. Also just for my own sake. Writing fiction is what I do. It was nice to write some set in Greece as it kind of picked up threads of my interest in the place which I might otherwise have lost.”

About Dead Olives

Dead Olives is a fictionalized account of how the financial and refugee crises are affecting Greece today. It takes place in various locations around today’s Greece—Athens, Kalamata, and three small villages.

The economic crisis that hit Greece in 2008 caused major dislocations to Greek society. The austerity measures imposed, in an effort to meet Greece’s staggering debt obligations, have led to high unemployment and cuts to pensions, as well as cuts in medical and other social services. As the economy worsened, many young, educated people with skills left Greece further compounding the situation for those left in Greece. Additionally, the last few years have seen a massive influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa who often live on the fringes of Greek society and have difficulty assimilating.

Throughout history, societies facing severe economic hardship have often looked to blame outsiders. Greece has done a remarkable job coping with the extreme difficulties it has faced. However the Crisis has given rise to a new wave of nationalism and xenophobia, which has led to the rise in the popularity of Chrisy Avyi (Golden Dawn) party. This subject is visited in Dead Olives.

Dead Olives follows the lives of Filoxenia and her beautiful sister Anassa trying to make a living in Athens as well as the migrants Samwells and Sunday Ngone who are struggling just to get by.

The two sisters and two migrants get caught up in events at the FlyKing Hotel in Athens. The effects of these events spread to other parts of the city and the small town of Pano Petro.

Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff cover

Dead Olives, a novel set in Modern Day Greece, is available on Kindle.

Review of Dead Olives

Jeremy Hinchliff did a spectacular job drawing me into the characters and the story, which personalized the plight of Greeks and migrants in Greece in a very interesting way. Each character has an interesting story to tell. Not only will the story draw you in the way all good thrillers do, but Jeremy Hincliff’s eye for detail and his ability to craft a sentence make this a great read.

There are also several interesting historical bits written by a character in the story – historian George Sthenos. For instance, I learned about the language riots of 1901 from these passages.

Having spent time in Athens and Kalamata as well as small towns in Greece I found the author really captured the spirit and atmosphere of Greece.

If you are looking for a well-written book to take with on vacation this summer, try Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff. It’s a great book to bring to the beach in Greece, or if you can’t make it to Greece but would like a book that will evoke the atmosphere of Greece, you’ll find this really fits the bill.
https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Olives-Jeremy-Hinchliff-ebook/dp/B01I4ALTG6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1490286682&sr=8-1&keywords=jeremy+hinchliff+dead+olives&linkCode=sl1&tag=wingre0d-20&linkId=b8d270acd8d0b3dfbe6fb4373c238581

Posted in BOOKS

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Rosaline has been best friends with Rob since they were little kids. Recently, something deeper and more electric has entered their friendship, and when Rob returns after the summer break and asks Rosaline on a sort-of date, it seems they are destined to become a couple, just as Rosaline always knew they would be. 

The next day at school, a mysterious, beautiful girl arrives: Rosaline’s long-lost cousin, Juliet. And suddenly it looks as if Rosaline might be about to lose her best friend AND her new boyfriend…
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1442433140/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1492685554&sr=1-3&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&dpPl=1&dpID=51982-NnYRL&ref=plSrch
About the Author

Rebecca Serle is a full-time writer, which means she gets to wear pajamas to work. She went to the University of Southern California, then got her MFA from the New School in NYC. (She likes New York much more than LA, but don’t tell anyone that.) Rebecca loves shiny hair, coffee, yoga, and pretending to be British. She, too, experienced heartbreak once. It worked out okay, though, because she turned the experience into this book. When You Were Mine is her first novel. Find out more at rebeccaserle.com.

Posted in BOOKS

Famous in Love: Book 1 and Truly, Madly, Famously: Book 2 by Rebecca Serle which turned in a TV SERIES

Paige doesn’t think she’s particularly special, but after getting the starring role in a massive film adaptation of the bestselling Locked trilogy, the rest of the world would disagree. 

Now she’s thrown into the spotlight, and into a world of gossip, rumour and deceit. The only people who know what she’s going through are her two male co-stars, and they can’t stand the sight of each other.

Paige knows it’s a mistake to fall in love on the set of a movie, but days of on-screen romance and intensity start to change her mind. The question is, can she keep what happens behind the scenes a secret when the world is watching her every move?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0316366358/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492685554&sr=1-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&dpPl=1&dpID=51cBb3WGygL&ref=plSrch

Truly, Madly, Famously: Book 2 by Rebecca Serle

After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood’s newest It girl, Paige Townsen, has a blockbuster film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. 

But being half of the world’s most famous couple comes with a price. No matter where Paige goes, someone is always watching. 

Soon she finds herself dodging photographers, hiding her feelings for her other co-star, Jordan Wilder, and weathering tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart – and end her career as quickly as it began.

As she navigates her new LA life, Paige finds that she doesn’t know who to trust: old friends could be betraying her secrets, and new friends are keeping secrets of their own.

Famous in Lights is the exciting sequel to Rebecca Serle’s Famous in Love.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0316366404/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1492685554&sr=1-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&dpPl=1&dpID=51aSVXLyphL&ref=plSrch


About the Author

Rebecca Serle is the co-creator of the Famous in Love television show, as well as the author of When You Were Mine and The Edge of Falling, and is an obsessive lover of all things teen entertainment-a trait she tracks straight back to the WB, and Pacey Witter. She grew up in Maui and Los Angeles, and now lives in Manhattan. She can be found on Twitter @RebeccaASerle.

Young adult novels have been attracting Hollywood’s attention since before the category existed (The Outsiders, anyone?), and in recent years, many of the most successful box office hits and buzziest television series have come directly from the YA shelves. Page to Screen is a series in which authors whose novels have been adapted for the screen share their unique perspectives on the process. Some have little to no involvement, others are writing scripts and sitting in monogrammed chairs on set, but all have experienced seeing their work in a new way.

Today, Rebecca Serle shares the story of how her 2014 novel Famous in Love made it to the small screen—and how she became the co-creator of the TV series. Famous in Love premieres April 18 on Freeform. Check out previous Page to Screen posts here.

Posted in POEM OF THE WEEK

Touched by An Angel by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love’s light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free.

Posted in BOOKS

Twist: A Dive Bar Novel by Kylie Scott

From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.


Review

“Nobody writes inked-up, sexy-as-sin rockers like Kylie Scott!!” –Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of Tangled

“Killer writing, laugh-out-loud humor and so heart-warming you will blush all over.” –Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author of the Real series

“Readers who enjoy whirlwind romances with plenty of sex and laugh-out-loud humor will love every installment.” – Booklist (starred review)

“While retaining her mischievous and wisecracking signature style, Scott has also brought tenderness and honesty to the material that is truly delightful.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)


About the Author

NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Kylie Scott is the author of Dirty, and the Stage Dive series, which includes Lick and Lead. 

She is a long time fan of erotic love stories, rock n roll, and B-grade horror films. 

Based in Queensland, Australia she reads, writes and never wastes time on the internet.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DJ18YE0/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_awdo_x_FGx7yb88CFZC0

Posted in POEM OF THE WEEK

POEM OF THE WEEK


Hard Water by Jean Sprackland

I tried the soft stuff on holiday in Wales,

a mania of teadrinking and hairwashing,

excitable soap which never rinsed away,

but I loved coming home to this.

Flat. Straight. Like the vowels,

like the straight talk: hey up me duck.

I’d run the tap with its swimming-pool

smell,

get it cold and anaesthetic. Stand the glass

and let the little fizz of anxiety settle.

Honest water, bright and not quite clean.

The frankness of limestone, of gypsum,

the sour steam of cooling towers,

the alchemical taste of brewing.

On pitiless nights, I had to go for the bus

before last orders. I’d turn up my face,

let rain scald my eyelids and lips.

It couldn’t lie. Fell thick

with a payload of acid. No salt –

this rain had forgotten the sea.

I opened my mouth, speaking nothing

in spite of my book-learning.

I let a different cleverness wash my tongue.

It tasted of work, the true taste

of early mornings, the blunt taste

of don’t get mardy, of too bloody deep for

me,

fierce lovely water that marked me for life

as belonging, regardless.

Posted in BOOKS

Cover Reveal! Moth To A Flame By Cambria Hebert


Publication date: Spring 2017

The only thing drawn to her more than danger is him…

Danger isn’t Zoey’s middle name. But it is something she can’t forget, something she’s reminded of every time she looks in the mirror. For those reasons, Zoey has become an expert at creating the perfect illusion. Her ability to fool the eye, to create truth where there was previously none makes her the best in the business.

Working as a makeup and special effects artist for Hollywood combines her two life must-haves: her passion for makeup and hiding in plain sight.

It also doesn’t hurt that she’s safe within the heavily secured and secret studio sets, away from the public eye.

Then her perfect job becomes her perfect nightmare.

Not only does her illusion slip with the blast of icy water, but it does so in front of the country’s biggest action hero and the gossipiest of celebrity TV shows.

At first, Zoey thinks danger hasn’t caught up to her and the worst thing about her mishap is the world’s most perfect man sees her in all her not-so-perfect glory.

Until a series of unexplained “accidents” begins on set.

That’s when Zoey knows.

Danger has caught up to her… and this time she fears death has, too.

Add to Goodreads.
Author Bio:

Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house). 

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

Posted in BOOKS

The 91-Storey Treehouse (The Treehouse Books Book 7) by Andy Griffiths

The 91-Storey Treehouse is the seventh book of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s wacky treehouse adventures, where the laugh-out-loud story is told through a combination of text and fantastic cartoon-style illustrations.

Join Andy and Terry in their now 91-storey spectacular treehouse. They’ve added thirteen new levels, including the world’s most powerful whirlpool, a mashed-potato-and-gravy train and a human pinball machine. 

Why not try your luck on the spin-and-win prize wheel or hang out in a giant spider web (with a giant spider), or you can always get your fortune told by Madam Know-it-all or eat a submarine sandwich the size of an actual submarine while deciding whether or not to push the big red button . . 

Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!


About the Author

Andy Griffiths is Terry’s best mate. He is also Australia’s number-one children’s author. 

His books, including the popular Treehouse series, have been hugely successful internationally, winning awards and becoming bestsellers in the UK and the USA as well as in his homeland, Australia. 

Andy thrives on having an audience: he has worked as a high-school teacher, been the lead singer in a rock band and a stand-up comedian. He is a passionate advocate for literacy, has two daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. 

Terry Denton is Andy’s best mate. He is also a bestselling and award-winning writer and illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. Among other things, he worked on the Horrible Science series for Scholastic UK. He lives by the beach with his wife and three kids.

Pre-order now, ships 24th August

https://www.amazon.com/91-Storey-Treehouse-Books-Book-ebook/dp/B06WGX6XVF?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Posted in BOOKS

Shattered Pieces (If I Break Book 4) by Portia Moore


When you’re heartbroken, it lies beneath everything that you do. It’s in all of who you are. Foreshadows who you’ll be.

It hides underneath your smile, rests between your laugh, revels in your tears and taunts your every thought. You wish it away but are too terrified to let it go….

When Cal first disappeared I swore my heart had broken, and before all of this is over I swear it will shatter into pieces. 

RELEASE DATE  30 April, 4 2017

Sneak peak Chapters 1 and 2, If I Break 4 Shattered Pieces

Chapter 1

Everything I believed, everything I held on to was a lie…

Except her. She’s my only truth—Cal 

One Day Later…
Lauren
 
“Why the hell are you crying, Lauren? This is going to fix everything!” His voice feels like razors cutting through me, fury erupting from him. He’s angrier than I’ve ever seen him but what scares me is how casual he’s treating this, as if holding a gun to a man’s head is normal. His hands aren’t trembling, his voice isn’t shaking, and he’s not acting scared but excited. He’s going to kill him.
When I wake, my heart is in my throat demanding to be let out. My entire body trembles, replaying what happened a few hours ago, as I lie wrapped up in Cal’s body. I’m so scared of losing him, of losing Chris and I just don’t know if they can handle what’s happening. How does anyone handle knowing that they killed their mother, holding that secret inside that has been engrained in their mind? How does anyone let go of the hatred that has been motivating them year after year? Mr. Rice has agreed not to press charges. Apparently it was in some agreement he signed with Dexter Sr. all those years ago, but the least of my worries was Cal going to jail. My worry is of him getting lost. He hasn’t said a word since we pulled him out of that house.
After Lisa dropped the bomb on us and Chris shut down, I thought that was the worst of it, because what could top that? But hearing from Mr. Scott about how they came about adopting Chris, learning that Dexter Sr. is really Cal’s biological father, and how his mother tricked her own son into killing her because of some twisted Medea complex broke me. I’m terrified of what all of this is doing to the man I love. I know the body lying next to mine well, but I don’t know who will wake up next to me. It’s not Cal, it’s not Chris, and I can’t even say it’s Collin. Collin is an entirely different story, another persona that I met briefly. He seemed to come out of nowhere, but I’d even take him making an appearance right about now if only he would just wake up. At this moment, my husband’s on autopilot, I don’t know who’s in there, and I’m even more terrified that it will be someone I don’t know.
I haven’t said anything to him yet because I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know how he will come back from this, and more importantly, I don’t know who to talk to for help. Now knowing the truth that Dexter Jr. is actually Cal’s brother not his uncle-in-law. Did he know this all along? Mr. Scott knew this whole time because apparently he is the master when it comes to keeping secrets. Though I can’t blame him totally since Mr. Crestfield had him sign a non-disclosure agreement, and he said not even Gwen knew the relationship between her own son and Dexter Sr. Though he claimed to be different from Dexter Sr., it seems they have a lot of the same traits.
Still, I shudder to think what my husband would have been like if his biological father had raised him. I nestle my head in the space between his head and shoulder. I bite my lip from saying anything out loud to him each time he tosses his body and instead hold him closer to me. I close my eyes and thank God for letting him be here with me and for allowing me to comfort him during his time of need.
Suddenly I feel a jolt so hard that it makes my eyes shoot open, and I have to suppress my scream. It’s so quick and forceful that I’m almost thrown from the mattress, but I don’t let a sound escape my mouth. I squint my eyes open and see him sitting up but only for a few seconds before he falls back down on the mattress, his eyes closed the entire time, as if he’s not even awake but dreaming.
I cover my mouth to stop the whimper that’s trying to escape. I move to the edge of the bed to plant my feet on the floor, and I put my head between my legs to slow down my racing heart and catch my breath.
We’re going to come back from this. We’re going to come back from this.
I keep reciting this to myself, but still can’t stop the whimpers and sobs fighting to escape. I jump quickly from the bed and run out of our room before he can hear me. He seems to be in a semiconscious sleep, and I don’t want him to see that I’m scared, that I’m terrified about this place we’re in now. I sit outside the door and lean back with my knees to my chest not willing to be too far if he calls for me. I cry hard and ugly for the first time since Cal left me those years ago.
He’s here now, he’s not gone.
“Lauren? Are you ok?” I look up after wiping the tears that are blurring my vision and see Mr. Scott. He looks awful—an emotional mess from the fallout of the bomb dropped—but I don’t say anything and try to appear to not be an emotional mess.
“I’m fine, I just…” I don’t even know what to say. The reason he’s here in this house is the same reason my husband is broken. If Cal or Chris were present, he wouldn’t have been allowed to cross the threshold. I fought with my conscious the entire time to accept his help. Knowing how much his son despises him and wouldn’t want him anywhere near him, I felt guilty but had to call for help not knowing what would have happened if I didn’t. A tiny part of myself was glad to have someone else here so that I wasn’t alone. I won’t say that I can trust him, but I know he loves my husband as much as I do.
“I can keep watch if you want to go to sleep,” his voice is calm and void of the bitterness and resentment his tone used to hold toward me.
“Keep watch for what? You don’t think he’d do anything to himself, do you?” I ask almost offended. Cal or Chris would never ever think about…
“No, but just in case he needs anything.”
“No, I want to be here if he calls me,” I tell him adamantly. He only nods before turning to go back down the stairs, then he stops, turning his body halfway toward me.
“Thank you for calling me,” he says solemnly. I only nod, and there’s an awkward stretch of silence that lies between us. He stands there, not moving but looking blankly at the wall. I don’t know what to say to him, nothing that will make this better. I want to get up and yell, and scream, and hit him in the chest. I want to ask him if all of the secrets and lies were worth it, but I know that won’t make things better for anyone, and I know that anything I’d say to him is probably running through his mind already.
“Good night Mr. Scott.” I make myself comfortable where I’ll be sleeping for the rest of the night. He nods slightly before mumbling the same and making his way downstairs.
When I wake I’m no longer on the floor but in my bed, and my heart leaps. How did I get in here, did he put me in here… who he is isn’t even clear to myself. Cal, Chris, Collin, Mr. Scott, a mystery man who has yet to make an appearance? I cautiously get out of bed looking for clues to my husband’s state of mind. I should have known he’d be up before me as he always has been no matter which identity he took on. I check the bathroom which is empty, and the balcony is too. My heart beats rapidly as I make my way out of the bedroom. I’m afraid to leave the sanctuary of this room. If Cal is in the house with Mr. Scott still here, I don’t know what type of scene I’m going to walk into. I take the cowardly way out and check the rooms on the second floor which are all empty and then gather up my courage to make my way downstairs. It’s eerily quiet, and my heart stops when I see his tall, lean body leaning up against the island in the middle of our kitchen. He’s turned the opposite way so I can’t see his face.
But if he was facing my way, would I know who it was? Could I tell them apart? My brain feels like that old commercial with the fried egg in the pan. Am I awake or is this a dream? Maybe this is a nightmare, and Mr. Scott is tied up in the closet? I wish I could say the plausibility of that happening is ridiculous but after everything that’s happened, it isn’t. I let out a small breath and swallow my nerves.
“Hey.” It’s simple and sounds pathetic to my own ears but it’s all I can muster with my heart galloping as it is. He doesn’t turn around but motions his head as if to say come beside him. Before I move, I scrutinize the man in front of me—his posture, his breathing, the way he is dressed—anything for a clue as to who he is. The fact that he’s not paralyzed to the bed is a good thing, I hope. I remind my legs that their purpose is to carry my weight because for a moment it’s as if they’ve forgotten. After what seems like a mile, I stand beside him resting my own weight on the island. For a moment I’m scared to look at him, afraid to see who is or isn’t standing next to me. Whoever it is still causes my heart to speed up, still makes me light-headed, and when he moves behind me and I feel his skin against mine, it still makes me breathless. His fingers run up my thighs and I know this is Cal. Cal is here with me. No one’s touch makes me feel like this.
His hands slide up and across my stomach instead of between my legs, and his lips make their way to the crook of my neck. He rests his head there and squeezes me tightly. I’m feeling unsure, but it doesn’t stop me from crossing my arms across my body to hold on to him. When I feel his body starting to tremble and his grip lessens on me, I turn and see tears coming from his eyes. I grab onto him and hold him—his weight almost pulling me down—but I use all of my strength to hold him up as his cries shake us both.
“I’m so sorry baby,” he painfully says, his sorrow rocking us both.
“Please don’t apologize,” I tell him as we sink to the floor. I climb on top of him and cradle his head against me, as he keeps repeating how sorry he is. I rub his back and hold him as close as I can.
“We’re going to be okay. I promise you.” I can feel his sorrow, his pain, his regret, and his helplessness. I’ve never seen him like this. He’s never shown me any weakness, but I’m so grateful that he is finally opening up to me instead of running—instead of hiding it. I vow to myself for every moment he’s weak that I will be strong. The thoughts I had earlier of not being able to handle this, of being afraid, are gone. He’s always been my strength, and it’s time for me to be his. We will get through this. I’ve always wanted him to be my Prince Charming, but today—if it has to be every day from this day forward—I’ll be his superhero.
 
 
Chapter 2
Chris
Something’s happened. I can feel it. The residue of lost time is all over me. My mind is hazy as things come into focus, and my thoughts are no longer crashing into one another. It’s been so long since I lost control like this and no matter how long I’m gone, I know it’s been awhile because my brain always feels fried when I come back. I look around and realize I’m not home, not in Michigan at least—but in Chicago. I remember this bathroom from the last time I was here. What’s the last thing I remember? I was at home, in my mom’s kitchen, and Aidan and Lauren were there. They were angry. I sit on the side of the tub, and my heart starts to speed up as I remember Lisa. Lisa telling me… she had been screwing my dad! I told my mom, and I told everyone else too because they all had to know. I swallow the anger, the regret, and the disbelief that’s radiating through me and mixing all together. Lisa has a kid! A kid with my dad! Queasiness floods my stomach as the room starts to spin.
“Focus, focus!” I yell at myself. Cal must have taken over at that point. How long was he in control, and what the hell has he done? My head is throbbing, blood coursing through my body like a floodgate has been opened.
“Are you okay?” my heart skips a beat as I hear Lauren’s quiet and timid voice. I realize I don’t have a watch on and my phone is absent. I have no idea what day or date it is.
“Cal?” She calls again, and his name causes tears to sting my eyes. I’m lost again. I have no clue of what has been going on, and for me to be back, it must mean that something is really screwed up. What could be worse than me finding out my dad has been screwing my best friend? My pulse is off the charts, and I panic even more not knowing how long it has been. That thought alone terrifies me. I open the door, and she’s here. I’m surprised every time I recover from these lapses that she’s still here. She’s not dealing with just one guy who’s pretty screwed up but two, yet she’s still here. Wearing a tentative smile, her eyes wide and hopeful but it has to be a mask, right? Who could be happy in the midst of this? Her smile’s got to be a Band-Aid over whatever disaster that’s just happened. Even though I’m not sure if it’s real, seeing her smile and hopeful hazel eyes calm me in the midst of the uncertainty. Her eyes dart over me, searching my face and she swallows as recognition crosses her face.
“Chris?” Her voice is shaky but lighter, her eyes squint at me as she tentatively approaches me. My face cracks with a pitiful smile. I can’t even manage to speak. I’m pathetic and embarrassed. She lets out a breath and wraps her slender arms around me. Her energy and warmth envelop me more than you’d think someone as small as she is should.
“Is everyone ok?” I ask her after clearing my throat. I watch her nod, and she rests her head on my chest. I can feel her heart thudding against my chest.
“Everyone is alive and well,” she says as upbeat as she can. She leans back and looks at me with warm but sad eyes.
“What do you remember?” Her bottom lip is clasped between her teeth. I let go of her and let out a deep sigh. Before I can say any more, she takes my hand leading me down the stairs and into the kitchen area. I sit down at the table and look around for signs of Caylen, but there isn’t any.
“Caylen is with your mother,” she responds as if she’s reading my mind. She sets a glass of water down in front of me and sits beside me with her own. Our eyes lock, almost asking each other to reveal things before they’ve been said. She takes my hand into her lap and squeezes mine. I decide to bite the bullet.
“How long have I been gone?” I mentally prepare myself to hear the answer. Her eyes lower to my chest, and I know the answer isn’t going to be one I’ll want to hear.
“As far as I know… about a month,” she mutters quietly.
“A month!” I listen in shocked disbelief while gripping the glass tightly in between my hands. I take deep breaths and glance at the ceiling. It’s like I’ve regressed back three years.
“Has Cal been in control this entire time?” I ask nervously, wondering if he’s had a chance to follow through with finding our dad, and has… no, Dexter wouldn’t let that happen. It’s the entire reason I agree to let his people follow me. My eyes land back on Lauren and now her entire lip is crushed between her teeth, and she’s gripping her wrist which I know she does when she’s nervous.

If I Break 4 Shattered Pieces Sneak Peak

APRIL 21, 2017 by PORTIACMOORE filed under: UNCATEGORIZED Leave a Comment
Chapter 1
 
Everything I believed, everything I held on to was a lie…
Except her. She’s my only truth—Cal
 
One Day Later…
Lauren
 
“Why the hell are you crying, Lauren? This is going to fix everything!” His voice feels like razors cutting through me, fury erupting from him. He’s angrier than I’ve ever seen him but what scares me is how casual he’s treating this, as if holding a gun to a man’s head is normal. His hands aren’t trembling, his voice isn’t shaking, and he’s not acting scared but excited. He’s going to kill him.
When I wake, my heart is in my throat demanding to be let out. My entire body trembles, replaying what happened a few hours ago, as I lie wrapped up in Cal’s body. I’m so scared of losing him, of losing Chris and I just don’t know if they can handle what’s happening. How does anyone handle knowing that they killed their mother, holding that secret inside that has been engrained in their mind? How does anyone let go of the hatred that has been motivating them year after year? Mr. Rice has agreed not to press charges. Apparently it was in some agreement he signed with Dexter Sr. all those years ago, but the least of my worries was Cal going to jail. My worry is of him getting lost. He hasn’t said a word since we pulled him out of that house.
After Lisa dropped the bomb on us and Chris shut down, I thought that was the worst of it, because what could top that? But hearing from Mr. Scott about how they came about adopting Chris, learning that Dexter Sr. is really Cal’s biological father, and how his mother tricked her own son into killing her because of some twisted Medea complex broke me. I’m terrified of what all of this is doing to the man I love. I know the body lying next to mine well, but I don’t know who will wake up next to me. It’s not Cal, it’s not Chris, and I can’t even say it’s Collin. Collin is an entirely different story, another persona that I met briefly. He seemed to come out of nowhere, but I’d even take him making an appearance right about now if only he would just wake up. At this moment, my husband’s on autopilot, I don’t know who’s in there, and I’m even more terrified that it will be someone I don’t know.
I haven’t said anything to him yet because I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know how he will come back from this, and more importantly, I don’t know who to talk to for help. Now knowing the truth that Dexter Jr. is actually Cal’s brother not his uncle-in-law. Did he know this all along? Mr. Scott knew this whole time because apparently he is the master when it comes to keeping secrets. Though I can’t blame him totally since Mr. Crestfield had him sign a non-disclosure agreement, and he said not even Gwen knew the relationship between her own son and Dexter Sr. Though he claimed to be different from Dexter Sr., it seems they have a lot of the same traits.
Still, I shudder to think what my husband would have been like if his biological father had raised him. I nestle my head in the space between his head and shoulder. I bite my lip from saying anything out loud to him each time he tosses his body and instead hold him closer to me. I close my eyes and thank God for letting him be here with me and for allowing me to comfort him during his time of need.
Suddenly I feel a jolt so hard that it makes my eyes shoot open, and I have to suppress my scream. It’s so quick and forceful that I’m almost thrown from the mattress, but I don’t let a sound escape my mouth. I squint my eyes open and see him sitting up but only for a few seconds before he falls back down on the mattress, his eyes closed the entire time, as if he’s not even awake but dreaming.
I cover my mouth to stop the whimper that’s trying to escape. I move to the edge of the bed to plant my feet on the floor, and I put my head between my legs to slow down my racing heart and catch my breath.
We’re going to come back from this. We’re going to come back from this.
I keep reciting this to myself, but still can’t stop the whimpers and sobs fighting to escape. I jump quickly from the bed and run out of our room before he can hear me. He seems to be in a semiconscious sleep, and I don’t want him to see that I’m scared, that I’m terrified about this place we’re in now. I sit outside the door and lean back with my knees to my chest not willing to be too far if he calls for me. I cry hard and ugly for the first time since Cal left me those years ago.
He’s here now, he’s not gone.
“Lauren? Are you ok?” I look up after wiping the tears that are blurring my vision and see Mr. Scott. He looks awful—an emotional mess from the fallout of the bomb dropped—but I don’t say anything and try to appear to not be an emotional mess.
“I’m fine, I just…” I don’t even know what to say. The reason he’s here in this house is the same reason my husband is broken. If Cal or Chris were present, he wouldn’t have been allowed to cross the threshold. I fought with my conscious the entire time to accept his help. Knowing how much his son despises him and wouldn’t want him anywhere near him, I felt guilty but had to call for help not knowing what would have happened if I didn’t. A tiny part of myself was glad to have someone else here so that I wasn’t alone. I won’t say that I can trust him, but I know he loves my husband as much as I do.
“I can keep watch if you want to go to sleep,” his voice is calm and void of the bitterness and resentment his tone used to hold toward me.
“Keep watch for what? You don’t think he’d do anything to himself, do you?” I ask almost offended. Cal or Chris would never ever think about…
“No, but just in case he needs anything.”
“No, I want to be here if he calls me,” I tell him adamantly. He only nods before turning to go back down the stairs, then he stops, turning his body halfway toward me.
“Thank you for calling me,” he says solemnly. I only nod, and there’s an awkward stretch of silence that lies between us. He stands there, not moving but looking blankly at the wall. I don’t know what to say to him, nothing that will make this better. I want to get up and yell, and scream, and hit him in the chest. I want to ask him if all of the secrets and lies were worth it, but I know that won’t make things better for anyone, and I know that anything I’d say to him is probably running through his mind already.
“Good night Mr. Scott.” I make myself comfortable where I’ll be sleeping for the rest of the night. He nods slightly before mumbling the same and making his way downstairs.
When I wake I’m no longer on the floor but in my bed, and my heart leaps. How did I get in here, did he put me in here… who he is isn’t even clear to myself. Cal, Chris, Collin, Mr. Scott, a mystery man who has yet to make an appearance? I cautiously get out of bed looking for clues to my husband’s state of mind. I should have known he’d be up before me as he always has been no matter which identity he took on. I check the bathroom which is empty, and the balcony is too. My heart beats rapidly as I make my way out of the bedroom. I’m afraid to leave the sanctuary of this room. If Cal is in the house with Mr. Scott still here, I don’t know what type of scene I’m going to walk into. I take the cowardly way out and check the rooms on the second floor which are all empty and then gather up my courage to make my way downstairs. It’s eerily quiet, and my heart stops when I see his tall, lean body leaning up against the island in the middle of our kitchen. He’s turned the opposite way so I can’t see his face.
But if he was facing my way, would I know who it was? Could I tell them apart? My brain feels like that old commercial with the fried egg in the pan. Am I awake or is this a dream? Maybe this is a nightmare, and Mr. Scott is tied up in the closet? I wish I could say the plausibility of that happening is ridiculous but after everything that’s happened, it isn’t. I let out a small breath and swallow my nerves.
“Hey.” It’s simple and sounds pathetic to my own ears but it’s all I can muster with my heart galloping as it is. He doesn’t turn around but motions his head as if to say come beside him. Before I move, I scrutinize the man in front of me—his posture, his breathing, the way he is dressed—anything for a clue as to who he is. The fact that he’s not paralyzed to the bed is a good thing, I hope. I remind my legs that their purpose is to carry my weight because for a moment it’s as if they’ve forgotten. After what seems like a mile, I stand beside him resting my own weight on the island. For a moment I’m scared to look at him, afraid to see who is or isn’t standing next to me. Whoever it is still causes my heart to speed up, still makes me light-headed, and when he moves behind me and I feel his skin against mine, it still makes me breathless. His fingers run up my thighs and I know this is Cal. Cal is here with me. No one’s touch makes me feel like this.
His hands slide up and across my stomach instead of between my legs, and his lips make their way to the crook of my neck. He rests his head there and squeezes me tightly. I’m feeling unsure, but it doesn’t stop me from crossing my arms across my body to hold on to him. When I feel his body starting to tremble and his grip lessens on me, I turn and see tears coming from his eyes. I grab onto him and hold him—his weight almost pulling me down—but I use all of my strength to hold him up as his cries shake us both.
“I’m so sorry baby,” he painfully says, his sorrow rocking us both.
“Please don’t apologize,” I tell him as we sink to the floor. I climb on top of him and cradle his head against me, as he keeps repeating how sorry he is. I rub his back and hold him as close as I can.
“We’re going to be okay. I promise you.” I can feel his sorrow, his pain, his regret, and his helplessness. I’ve never seen him like this. He’s never shown me any weakness, but I’m so grateful that he is finally opening up to me instead of running—instead of hiding it. I vow to myself for every moment he’s weak that I will be strong. The thoughts I had earlier of not being able to handle this, of being afraid, are gone. He’s always been my strength, and it’s time for me to be his. We will get through this. I’ve always wanted him to be my Prince Charming, but today—if it has to be every day from this day forward—I’ll be his superhero.
 
 
Chapter 2
Chris
Something’s happened. I can feel it. The residue of lost time is all over me. My mind is hazy as things come into focus, and my thoughts are no longer crashing into one another. It’s been so long since I lost control like this and no matter how long I’m gone, I know it’s been awhile because my brain always feels fried when I come back. I look around and realize I’m not home, not in Michigan at least—but in Chicago. I remember this bathroom from the last time I was here. What’s the last thing I remember? I was at home, in my mom’s kitchen, and Aidan and Lauren were there. They were angry. I sit on the side of the tub, and my heart starts to speed up as I remember Lisa. Lisa telling me… she had been screwing my dad! I told my mom, and I told everyone else too because they all had to know. I swallow the anger, the regret, and the disbelief that’s radiating through me and mixing all together. Lisa has a kid! A kid with my dad! Queasiness floods my stomach as the room starts to spin.
“Focus, focus!” I yell at myself. Cal must have taken over at that point. How long was he in control, and what the hell has he done? My head is throbbing, blood coursing through my body like a floodgate has been opened.
“Are you okay?” my heart skips a beat as I hear Lauren’s quiet and timid voice. I realize I don’t have a watch on and my phone is absent. I have no idea what day or date it is.
“Cal?” She calls again, and his name causes tears to sting my eyes. I’m lost again. I have no clue of what has been going on, and for me to be back, it must mean that something is really screwed up. What could be worse than me finding out my dad has been screwing my best friend? My pulse is off the charts, and I panic even more not knowing how long it has been. That thought alone terrifies me. I open the door, and she’s here. I’m surprised every time I recover from these lapses that she’s still here. She’s not dealing with just one guy who’s pretty screwed up but two, yet she’s still here. Wearing a tentative smile, her eyes wide and hopeful but it has to be a mask, right? Who could be happy in the midst of this? Her smile’s got to be a Band-Aid over whatever disaster that’s just happened. Even though I’m not sure if it’s real, seeing her smile and hopeful hazel eyes calm me in the midst of the uncertainty. Her eyes dart over me, searching my face and she swallows as recognition crosses her face.
“Chris?” Her voice is shaky but lighter, her eyes squint at me as she tentatively approaches me. My face cracks with a pitiful smile. I can’t even manage to speak. I’m pathetic and embarrassed. She lets out a breath and wraps her slender arms around me. Her energy and warmth envelop me more than you’d think someone as small as she is should.
“Is everyone ok?” I ask her after clearing my throat. I watch her nod, and she rests her head on my chest. I can feel her heart thudding against my chest.
“Everyone is alive and well,” she says as upbeat as she can. She leans back and looks at me with warm but sad eyes.
“What do you remember?” Her bottom lip is clasped between her teeth. I let go of her and let out a deep sigh. Before I can say any more, she takes my hand leading me down the stairs and into the kitchen area. I sit down at the table and look around for signs of Caylen, but there isn’t any.
“Caylen is with your mother,” she responds as if she’s reading my mind. She sets a glass of water down in front of me and sits beside me with her own. Our eyes lock, almost asking each other to reveal things before they’ve been said. She takes my hand into her lap and squeezes mine. I decide to bite the bullet.
“How long have I been gone?” I mentally prepare myself to hear the answer. Her eyes lower to my chest, and I know the answer isn’t going to be one I’ll want to hear.
“As far as I know… about a month,” she mutters quietly.
“A month!” I listen in shocked disbelief while gripping the glass tightly in between my hands. I take deep breaths and glance at the ceiling. It’s like I’ve regressed back three years.
“Has Cal been in control this entire time?” I ask nervously, wondering if he’s had a chance to follow through with finding our dad, and has… no, Dexter wouldn’t let that happen. It’s the entire reason I agree to let his people follow me. My eyes land back on Lauren and now her entire lip is crushed between her teeth, and she’s gripping her wrist which I know she does when she’s nervous.
“What… tell me, what did he do?”
Her eyes land on the table. “What is the last thing that you remember?” she asks carefully.
I can feel my brows furrow. I clasp my hands together. “I remember…” I chuckle angrily at myself. “I remember telling my mom about Lisa and my dad.”
She nods.
“How is she?” I ask, realizing how much pain my mom is probably in. My face is on fire from my anger, and thinking about my dad causes my fist to clench involuntarily.
“As well as to be expected,” Lauren says sullenly. I push myself away from the island and grip my head letting out a groan. I have to stop myself from kicking the stool. She says it’s been a month, but the memory is so fresh as if it just happened minutes ago. Lisa crying and telling me how sorry she is while parading the daughter she created with my dad right out in front of me. How my dad tried to explain himself to me and my mom, like what he did was explainable. As if there was anything he could say to justify screwing my best friend while we were teenagers, for lying and hiding it all of this time, for hindering my treatment for his own selfish reasons. The man who taught me about being not just a man, but a good man, is a hypocrite, a liar, a cheater and a complete asshole.
“Chris, breathe.” Lauren’s voice is tight and high-pitched, and I realize my own breathing is erratic and how tight my chest is. She tugs my hand toward the floor to sit down, and she sits across from me holding my hand, her eyes not leaving mine. I focus on her eyes, her lips, her touch, and I force myself to calm down. The worst thing that can happen is to lose control and let Cal come back again.
“Deep breaths,” she says while her hands gently cup my face.
“I’m okay.” She nods giving me a small smile, her hands moving from my face to my sides. I close my eyes tightly for a minute and then open them and try to give her a reassuring smile.
“There are things that you need to know,” she says quietly, and I nod preparing myself seeing as how her face has gone grim.
“I know you may not be in the best place now,” she keeps her tone light even though her voice is heavy and it scares me, but I refuse to let her see it.
“I’m ready to hear whatever it is,” I try to assure her squeezing her hands.
“After all that’s happened, keeping secrets just doesn’t seem to work out for this family,” she chuckles and I can’t help but do the same.
“Go ahead,” I tell her firmly.
“When you left, Cal wasn’t the person who took over,” she says hesitantly, and I scratch my head.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean another alter surfaced,” she says hesitantly, her voice even but quiet. I can’t help but cock my head to the side and look at her in confusion. I laugh at first, but when I see her voice doesn’t break, I laugh again, long and loud and my head is shaking back and forth in disbelief.
No way. There is no fucking way! I can feel a frown locked on my face as she takes in a deep breath to reveal more.
“His name is Collin.” Her eyes don’t look at mine, and I throw my head back in frustration.
“Well, that’s just fantastic,” I say bitterly. “Is he as big of a jerk as Cal is?” I shrug with indifference, but I can tell my comment has irritated her and I can’t help but feel a pinch of jealousy.
“He was different than Cal. He was different than both of you actually,” she says with a small grin, and I feel myself frown.
“You liked him?” I ask surprised, that pinch from earlier feeling like a nudge. She rolls her eyes, and I can tell she’s irritated by the question.
“He wasn’t around long enough for me to know if I liked him or not.” Her cheeks redden. “That’s not actually the point right now. He seems to be a neutral party in all of this and what’s more important is what he did,” she says firmly.
“Okay, what did he do?” I ask her, annoyance flowing through my voice. I try not to grit my teeth, but it’s pointless. She takes a deep breath and tells me all that’s transpired after I blacked out. Apparently this Collin is the mediator and knows more about what’s going on than me and Cal combined. Just peachy.
Oh, and we can’t forget that he tried to extort Dexter Crestfield who turns out is actually my biological dad. Not only that but Lauren and my other dad had to stop Cal from killing the man who he thought was responsible for killing my mother when in all actuality she set up her five-year-old son to do the dirty work for her.
After hearing all of this, I feel like I’ve ran a marathon. Her voice is calm even though I can imagine her heart has to be pounding a million miles a minute from the way her eyes dart between my face, my chest, the ceiling, and the floor. Her gaze sweeps over me after she’s done, as if she’s waiting with bated breath for me to react. For a brief moment, I wonder what Cal would do in this situation, what Collin would do. How can I really be surprised? After hearing what my dad, my hero did to my mother, the parents I grew up with and trusted, the actions of parents I never knew doesn’t surprise me at all.
“I don’t know what to say. I guess, Cal couldn’t handle finding that out?” I ask and her eyes widen in shock.
“Cal, couldn’t handle it?” she asks me curiously. I stuff my hands in the pockets of jeans I don’t remember buying. “What I just told you doesn’t bother you at all?” she asks, confusion littering her face.
“It does. I mean some of it,” I admit with a shrug and wipe my forehead.
“I thought all of it would be overwhelming,” she answers seemingly confused by my response to all of this.
“I didn’t know my biological parents—well apparently I do since my grandfather is really my dad. But what you said happened with me as a kid, I-I don’t remember it. It…” I trail off thinking how callous it must sound, or stupid even.
“It’s as if it didn’t happen to me. It doesn’t compare to what’s already happened,” I say quietly.
“You mean like it happened to Cal?” she asks unsurely.
“You could say that. I’m seriously messed up. In some weird way I feel detached from it, like it happened to Cal and not me, which is strange but it’s how I feel. Like it happened to someone else. I even feel sorry for him. Just the fact that Dexter Crestfield is my dad, that Dexter isn’t my uncle-in-law but my half-brother is what hits home.”
Her gaze travels over my face and I see her attempting to read me, but my silence seems to be testing her resolve.
I shake my head and this time I do stand and push the chair in frustration.
“How do I even sound? You’ve just told me that my mother got me to kill her and I don’t feel any way about it. Something is wrong with me!”
“Chris.” The color drains from her face as my blood turns cold the second I hear his voice behind me. I turn to see my dad standing with groceries in both arms, his expression is timid but he looks happy to know it’s me.
He shouldn’t.
“Mr. Scott, this isn’t a good time.” Lauren walks toward him quickly, her eyes wide as a cat’s. She’s obviously more intuitive than good ole dad here.
“What are you doing here?” I ask, my tone lower than I’ve ever used with my dad. He swallows hard in response.
“I-I’m here to help,” he stutters, nervously. I look at his face which looks older than I last remember. He’s tired and stressed, but I really don’t give a shit.
“Wait, you don’t think you’ve done enough?” I chuckle sarcastically. He looks down defeated. He’s so different from the man I thought he was. The man I used to look up to, who I respected, admired and wanted to be like. Now he’s nothing. He’s dirt.
“Help?” I laugh, feeling my jaw clench. “How could you help? This is all your fault. You’re a liar!” I yell at him. His face turns beet red, and his jaw clenches.
“I made a mistake.”
“Mistake?” All the muscles in my body tighten.
“You think screwing my best friend was a mistake? Cheating on my mother was a mistake? It wasn’t a mistake, Dad! A mistake is setting the time wrong on an alarm, incorrectly balancing your checkbook. That’s a mistake. What you did was not a mistake or an accident. You ruined our family! You destroyed my friendship, you broke my mother’s heart and you hid it all, regardless of what it did to me,” I walk closer to him, and I can see the water building in his eyes as I ignore the water in my own.
“I will never, ever forgive you for what you did. You are nothing to me.” I step away from him, giving him one last glance to know how serious I am, how disgusted he makes me. I look back at Lauren who has tears in her own eyes. I wonder if she’s crying for me, for him, or for herself who has been dragged into this dysfunctional soap opera.
“You can show him the door if he can’t find it himself,” I tell her before leaving the room. I wipe away the one tear that escaped my eye. It’ll be the last one that ever sheds for him. He might as well be dead to me.
He is.
I’m an orphan again.