#My52 “Captive Heart, Part V”

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#My52 – Week 19

Word Prompt – home

Word Count – 763

Reading Time – 3 mins, 21 secs

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Mark smiled as he stepped out of the Tahoe.

Home.

The chaos of his world always disappeared when he went home.

It didn’t matter home was no longer the three-bedroom home in the cul-de-sac on Highview Avenue in Altadena. His home was wherever his parents were and that would never change.

After retiring, Charles and Trudy Kelly gave up urban life for quieter climes just outside Fresno. Only four homes sat on Old Spanish Trail Road and the Kelly’s owned the last one on the end, at the edge of the woods.

Prentiss exited the vehicle, walking around the front to stand next to his brother.

“Why does this always feel so good?”

Mark chuckled.

“‘Cuz we’re kids again and Mama and Pop will make everything right?”

Slapping his brother on the back, Prentiss nodded. “Exactly.”

They looked up as the front door opened. Charles and Trudy walked down the pathway to greet them looking a decade younger than a couple in their mid-sixties.

At just over six-feet tall, Charles was shorter than both his sons, but his brawn was equal to theirs and showed no signs of softening with age. He’d given up the corporate look of close-cropped hair and a clean-shaven face and now shaved his head and wore a two-day growth beard.

His wife of forty-two years walked at his side; her five-feet nine-inch stature almost regal. Her salt and pepper block braids were wrapped atop her head like a crown.

And as always, they held hands.

“C’mon kiddo. Let’s go see if Mama and Pop can work their special brand of Kelly magic and right your world.”

Mark grinned, following his brother up the pathway, but he couldn’t ignore the niggling feeling of dread creeping up the back of his neck.

“So, just like that, she demanded you marry her? Like she’s the queen of the planet?”

Trudy stroked her husband’s arm. “Calm down, CJ. It could have been worse.”

“I don’t see how it-”

“She could have shown up with a minister and a shotgun.”

Prentiss roared with laughter, and Mark and Charles chuckled despite the gravity of the situation.

Trudy’s expression sobered.

“Mark Allen, if you’re positive you’re the father of this child, there’s no question you’ll be a responsible father and provider. That’s just who you are. But I don’t understand why she wants marriage. It’s not something you do on a whim. Being a parent is a big responsibility, but being a spouse is hard work.”

“Am I that much work, Gertrude?”

She grinned and kissed his cheek. “Honey, you are a full-time job and overtime on the weekends.”

“TMI! TMI! Children in the room.”

Prentiss threw his hands up over his face while Mark squeezed his eyes shut.

“What children? You see any children, Trudy?”

“No, but I see two grown men on the other side of thirty.”

Grabbing his chest, Prentiss feigned injury. “Dang, Mama. Direct hit.”

She waved him off addressing Mark.

“All I’m saying is marriage is a lifetime commitment that too many don’t take seriously. Back in our day and the days of our parents, if a young woman got pregnant, there had to be a wedding to remove the shame and keep family dignity. Of course, it didn’t, and they shamed some women the rest of their lives… even the men who got them pregnant and married them.

“Things aren’t like that now, but women still pay a harsher price than men, because it’s too easy for them to walk away. But that’s not the kind of son we raised, and as long as Yvonne will work with you for the child’s benefit, I see no reason for either of you to lock yourself into a marriage that doesn’t have a strong foundation of love, trust, and honesty.”

“Okay, Okay, Mama. I get it. I understand.” He reached over and squeezed her hand. “Thank you. You still give the best lectures around. But marriage isn’t on the list right now. I still need to confirm Yvonne’s pregnancy. I’ve had too many friends—male and female—freak out over home pregnancy tests that were wrong.”

“I ask her to make an appointment next week with a reputable doctor and text me the details. I plan to be there.”

Charles and Trudy exchanged surprised glances before Trudy responded.

“Explain to us again why you needed our input?”

Mark held out his upturned hands, fingers splayed. “Um. That’s the extent of my plan.”

Charles slid to the edge of the sofa, leaning toward his youngest son. “We’ve talked all around the subject so I’m just going to ask the question.” Concern was etched deep in his furrowed brow. “You said marriage isn’t on the list right now but is it something you’re considering? Son, do you want to marry Yvonne?”

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Mark’s dad didn’t pull any punches, but what will Mark’s answer be?

To be continued…

 

Part IPart II   |  Part IIIPart IV  |

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

The Devil You Know, Part IX #52weeks52stories

Intruder

#52weeks52stories: Week 19

Word prompt: task

Word Count: 876 (Reading time: 1 min, 55 sec.)

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Part I    |     Part II    |    Part III    |   Part IV   | Part V

Part VI   |   Part VII   |   Part VIII   |

(All links open new windows.)

Apprehension hung in the air as Sally Bennett and her children huddled into the small conference room.

Joanie and Carolyn sat side-by-side at the end, clutching hands and watching their mother.

Det. Marks took a seat at the other end of the table.

Darrin stood behind his mother’s chair, curious why the large uniformed officer was standing so close to her.

“Detective, please, what is all this about? Why did you insist I return to the hospital?” Sally’s voice was hoarse from exhaustion and stress.

“Mrs. Bennett, Dr. Lacey updated his report to rename the man we first believed to be your husband John Doe 417.”

Sally held his gaze. “No, it’s not Frankie.”

“Your husband was adopted as an infant, correct?”

“Yes.”

“And he had no information about his birth mother? Never went looking for her? Anyone ever come looking for him?”

“All he knew was she was an unwed teen, and he was adopted by an older couple from Maine.” She glanced back at her son then addressed the detective again. “But I remember Darrin telling me no record was found of Frankie’s adoption. How is that possible?”

Gavin stared at his clasped hands, choosing his words carefully.

“Ma’am, I wish I had answers for you, But I promise you, we’re exploring every possibility.”

“What does that mean… exploring every possibility, and why did you demand my mom come here.” Darrin stood behind Sally, his hands clenched in anger.

“Mr. Bennett, we-”

“Enough!” He motioned toward his sisters. “Their nerves are frayed, and hearts broken.” Darrin rested his hand on Sally’s shoulder. “Whether or not you find my dad; whether you find the answers to this case… I have to protect my mother and sisters. If you know something we don’t, tell us. Otherwise, I need to get my family as far from here as possible, so they can rest their bodies… and their minds.”

Gavin Marks saw the fear, anger, and defeat in the faces of Sally and her children.

Swallowing his pride and the rest of his questions, the detective stood and walked toward the door.

Though his face was devoid of expression, he narrowed his eyes at Brian Holland as he passed and knew the uniformed officer understood.

Marks paused at the door and turned to Sally.

“Mrs. Bennett, please come with me… your children too.”

Sally and her daughters left their seats, following the detective without question, but Darrin hesitated.

“Mom?”

She paused in the doorway, half-turning to her son.

“What else can we do, Darrin? We need answers.” She left the room with Officer Holland close behind.

Marks stood at a large gray door just down the hall. As the small group caught up to him, he peered through the window and waved his hand. A door release buzzed, and the detective pulled the door open just in time for Carolyn and Joanie to walk through. A glance over her shoulder brought Sally relief when she saw her son was the last person through the door.

A lone nurse sat at the large nurse’s station. She exchanged looks with Det. Marks and placed her hand on a file next to her.

He knew the task was done and motioned for the family follow him again.

Just past the nurse’s station, three men were standing in the hall. Marks stopped when he reached them and turned to Sally.

“Mrs. Bennett, this is detectives Ganson and Hill from Baxter, and this is Dr. Stanley.”

The men all murmured greetings.

Marks nodded for Ganson to continue.

“Ma’am, we answered a call earlier this evening after a lady found her neighbor dead in his apartment.”

Sally gasped, clutching her chest.

Ganson held up his hand. “I apologize for saying it that way but let me finish. The man wasn’t dead but critically wounded. Paramedics got him stabilized enough for transport and due to an emergency at the closest hospital, we ended up here.”

“Detective, what does this have to do with our family?” Carolyn was now showing the same anger as her brother.

“The neighbor and the landlord identified the man as Gary Sievers. Is that name familiar to you?”

Sally glanced at each of her children as they shook their heads, weary and confused. “No, it isn’t, detective. So, what does he have to do with all this?”

Ganson looked to Hill, who spoke up.

“Mrs. Bennett, after the doctors worked on the victim, I went through his clothes looking for a cell phone… business card… anything that could lead us to family or friends. I found a wallet and the driver’s license identified the man as Franklin Bennett.”

His sisters emitted twin screams and Darrin moved to their sides, holding on to them both.

Sally grabbed the detective’s arm. “Where is he? Where is my husband?”

“Mrs. Bennett-”

She cut Gavin Marks off with a glare.

“I want to see him now! You should have told me he was here the second I walked in. Where is he? Tell me now or I’ll check every room on this floor!”

Dr. Stanley stepped in her path.

“Ma’am, you don’t know everything yet.”

“I know he’s alive!”

“Yes… he has a pulse and a heartbeat, but it may not be enough to save him.”

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved