In our last chapter we dealt with the situation with Cindy’s Mom, Sylvia was serving the last six months of her jail term. Sylvia rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized after she nearly died in front of JJ and Kara. During her initial evaluation, her diagnosis was brain cancer requiring emergency surgery. Uncle George helped get her released early for medical treatment and her good behavior.
Storyteller’s notes: I need to warn you, this is another chapter that deals with death and more importantly the death of a loved one. I have tried not to make it to graphic, and deal more with emotional side of this story. This is a real emotional chapter, but I feel it advanced and enriched the overall story. It shows that JJ is not always the hero, and allow some of his other family members to shine. If you been waiting for some of this, you can think Demik.
Demik private messaged me several times, sometimes with a critique sometimes with encouragement and lately with some very good ideas so I included them into the storyline.
Please remember this is fiction, and the facts portrayed are not reality, any and all names were products of my imagination. Please forgive misspelling and misused words. I have done my best to edit and correct them but I am sure I missed a few in the nearly 9293 words. All thanks to Microsoft Word and its recent improvements. Please enjoy it in spite of my failings. I do appreciate the positive comments I have gotten, along with the votes. If I continue to make a mistake, kind of like Kata feel free to PM me.
The Ten of Them. Chapter 26
Composed by Hard93 and Demik.
It is an early Saturday afternoon, and we are relaxing after lunch. Crystal sets in my lap and Sam leans against me both asleep in the warm sun light that shines through the glass keeping out the cool air of late winter. We enjoy the quiet after a boisterous morning. Ms. Clark brought the girls over so they can enjoy the pool. We took the opportunity to have a makeup birthday party for Cindy; it was a surprise to Cindy and her mother Sylvia as well, Because Cindy’s sixth birthday had passed during early December nearly two months before. Sylvia imprisoned at the time, and the orphanage could not provide one for Cindy.
Sylvia had begun her cancer treatment, although she was only beginning to feel the full effects of her chemo she was weak and had very little energy. Sylvia did enjoy watching her daughter splash in the pool and enjoy yourself. I was still Cindy’s foster father, although we were letting her sleep at Sylvia’s apartment during the weekends. Daniel, Kara and Karen left to help Sylvia this afternoon.
The Coach was working on this project with his crew, I tried not to think of it because Kathryn would learn of her surprise but given her smug grin, I think it is too late. I think, do not ruin the surprise for the rest of your sisters. Kathryn sticks her tongue out at me in response to my thoughts.
Charles, Jane, Mitch and Jim walk in followed by Ron and Reese. Charles grins seeing the sleeping girls, Mitch shakes his head with a smile, Ron and Reese’s eyes spark with laughter, and I can tell Jane just wants to scoop them up.
Ron says quietly, “Major Denton call this morning he wanted to know how Sam is doing.”
I raise an eyebrow not knowing whom he refers to. Charles says quietly in a voice so smooth it would not wake the lightest sleeper, “He was our executive officer, and he just decided to retire. He was the last person to challenge you on the punch omatic.”
I smile and softly say, “The officer who gave me my coin.” Without disturbing the girls, I slide one hand in a pocket and remove the silver dollar sized coin. I roll it across my knuckles. When Ron, Mitch and Charles removes a similar coin from their pockets, I remember what they told me of unit coins. As long as you have one when someone else brings one out you do not have to pay for the next round at a bar or restaurant, if you are the person who brought it out you are the challenger. If everyone else has one and displays it, the challenger buys the next round.
Smiling I say, “I guess Bobby’s and Mary’s for dinner tonight.” Jim instantly notices that, it is not that he does not appreciate his mother’s cooking; he is just very sweet on Bobby’s youngest daughter Debs. Charles, Ron, and Mitch suppressed their laughter as Jim, even thou he works there and it is his night off, eagerly shakes his head yes.
Ron asks, “How did you get that coin?”
I reply, “Major Denton gave it to me.”
Ron and Charles look a little shocked. Ron says, “I have only seen him hand out three in the time I was in service.” Charles shakes his head in agreement knowing the Major.
Therefore, I began telling the story about how he challenged my parenthood of Sam. I explained what I told him, and what he said when he tossed me the coin. Ron, Mitch and Charles grins and shake their heads.
In her sleep Sam mumbles, “Love you Daddy.” That brings a bright smile to my face.
Charles says, “One of the only other coins he gave was to Sam’s father. I guess he knows you’re her Daddy now.”
Ron says quietly, “He asked me about you, and if you have done what you said. I related the story about Lester, the pizzeria, and then pointed out that he witnessed one time himself. I reminded him that I was Sam’s godfather and I believe she is exactly where she should be. He chuckled over the phone and he told me you are exactly like Sam’s father in spirit. Then I told him in spirit you are Sam’s father.”
Sam mumbles, “That is right Daddy you are just like Angel Daddy, my father.”
Crystal mumbles in her sleep, “My Daddy too.”
I smiled brightly filling the pride of fatherhood. It is unlike anything else, loved by a child and to love that child totally, is true happiness. Not all the money in the world can buy the feeling you get, you only have to love them that is all it requires to receive this bliss.
Mom takes a photo she is getting very good at catching these lifetime moments I really like to see them, share them with the rest of the family. Mom sets the camera down, gently takes Sam in her arms and Jane takes Crystal, and they are going to put them on their beds.
When they are out of the room Charles chuckles, “You know the more they sleep the faster they grow.”
Remembering a conversation with Alyssa and a promise I made to Joan I say, “I wish I could keep them small forever, but I know that is not possible. All I can do is enjoy the time I get with them.”
Charles looking at his son knows exactly what I am talking about the early years of a child can be the best for the parents. The frustrations come as that child begins to try to prove that they are not a child any longer. I will have to remember that when they wants more responsibility, more freedom that is part of growing up. The long road to adulthood can be very trying to the parents. I really do not know how Mom and Helen did it. They could have told us to stop trying to be an adult too soon.
Charles and Jane asks if they can use the TV room, and I remind them that they should treat this home as their home, remember your Sam’s and Crystal’s grandma and grandpa.
Charles chuckles, “It is just that Jim and Mitch are always playing Xbox or something. Jane and I never get to watch a movie.”
Reese asks, “What movie?”
Before I know it, Ron and Reese have joined Charles and Jane in watching the movie.
Mom, Helen along with Michelle and Kathryn are in the kitchen, and they bring a snack to the dining table, one of Kathryn’s cravings has me ravenous. Kathryn set the plate made for me beside hers.
Kathryn craved an Elvis sandwich that is a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. If you are unfamiliar with it, first you take two pieces of white bread spread peanut butter on one slice add bananas slices until the next piece of bread barely sticks together. Place the sandwich in a hot skillet with melted butter, toast both sides of the sandwich until the banana is warm soft and sweet, by that time the peanut butter is nearly liquid. Serve with a large glass of milk. They can be heavenly, but very hard on the waistline.
My sister-in-law and our mothers giggle at us as we tear into the sandwiches. Kathryn glares at her sister giving her a look that says, as if you never had one.
Michelle giggles and says, “I swear if I pinched JJ, Kathryn would shout. I hope JJ can stand it when you give birth baby sister.”
That causes Kathryn to think, wanting to test it she reaches down to pinch her rib only to find my hand in the way. On impulse, Kathryn pinches the back of my hand, when she quickly lets go and says, “Ouch!” Michelle begins laughing so hard she nearly fell from her chair. Mom and Helen giggle along with Michelle’s laughter.
Looking at Kathryn I say, “You are the one wanted to test Michelle’s theory. Before you ask, I think I can filter it. So yes I can share your pain and you mine, or filter it out.”
Helen says, “I hope you can, because giving birth is not easy.” After taking a deep breath Helen says, “Speaking of hard things, how is Sylvia? She looks a lot better it has been a month since her surgery, and she seems to be recovering quickly from that.”
I begin, “Kara, Daniel, and I took Sylvia and Cindy to that new treatment center they opened downstate. It is only forty-five minutes from her apartment. The doctors there gave her a ten percent chance of recovery, the week after her surgery. A recent breakthrough and MRI done this week and the doctors has increased her chances to sixty percent.”
“Kara and Daniel are overjoyed at the news. Kara and Sylvia have really become great friends. Poor Daniel when he is in the room with the two, is usually outvoted in just gives them whatever they want. I know Sylvia will become weaker because of her treatments in the next few weeks. The effects have just really started hitting her, you saw how week she looked this morning. For the next few months, she is going to spend every weekday at the treatment center. They let her come home on the weekends. She is going to spend the weekends at her apartment with Cindy, Kara and Karen have volunteered to stay with her just in case. That means Daniel probably spent most of his weekends there too.”
“Sylvia impresses them both. Now free of her addiction Sylvia is a great mother to Cindy. Kara and Sylvia have planned out a vacation for after her recovery; together the four of them are going to see the Grand Canyon.”
Before this latest development, Sylvia was watching how Cindy got along with Daniel and Kara. Instead of being jealous of Daniel and Kara, she came to me. She asked if I could get the legal documents drawn up that if something ever occur to her, and giving her condition probably would, that she wanted custody of Cindy to go to Daniel and Kara. Sylvia also asked that I not tell Daniel or Kara. That is something Kathryn knows, but because of my promise to keep it secret, she will keep it too.
Mom states, “It has been a lot busier around here than normal, Crystal’s adoption how is it going?”
Kathryn replies with a smile, “It is going really well, another three weeks and Crystal will be ours permanently. Ms. Clark came back yesterday, we became Crystal’s executors last week, but yesterday she was checking up on Cindy and Crystal. She informed me that the judge in this case has approved Crystal’s adoption is just a matter of time before it becomes legal. Then the signing ceremony like we had with Sam.”
Helen asks, "Did you guys get an invite over to Kara and Daniels tonight for Dinner?"
I reply "Yes, I asked what Kathryn and I should bring but they said nothing just ourselves."
Helen asks, "I understand she had some news to tell us. You have a clue to what it could be?"
I answer, “No idea could be anything, I know Daniels business has really picked up, and he has been designing everything from businesses, to new homes and doing renovations. Kara has been helping Sylvia as much as she can after school. I know she has been busy as well with school, and the martial arts classes though she does seem distracted, maybe a little depressed."
Helen says, "You think Daniel and her are having problems already? If he is hurting my daughter so help...”
Cutting Helen off I say, "No I think it is more to do with the fact she is torn over the situation with Cindy, and she is envious of Kathryn."
Kathryn is startled; her emotions erupt as she says, "Jealous of me, why?"
Addressing Kathryn on what I have observed, “First, everyone has been fawning over you and your pregnancy, petting your belly, rubbing it telling you how special you are. Kara wants that too, she wants to be Cindy’s mother so bad, but as Sylvia improves something she wants too, she sees the situation for what it is.”
Now directing my observations to Helen, “Okay this is going to be hard to say Helen and I mean nothing mean by it, but just events I have observed. I know Kathryn is your baby, and mothers tend to be closer to the youngest. However, your older children especially your daughters still feel a little left out. Especially Kara and Karen, they love Kathryn but they still are a little jealous of the affection you and the Coach lavish on her. I know that might be just their perception and you truly do not love them any less. Occasionally you should try a little harder on giving them affection. I know you can fix the situation, it should be easy enough just tell them how proud you are and how much you love them.”
Helen startled says “Really?"
I reluctantly remind Helen at one time when her daughters received mixed messages, and could easily misunderstood her motivations. I began, “Helen remember the party three years ago, and sure your daughters got wild. Nevertheless, you dressed all them down the same except for Kathryn. I know that was because of our engagement, you saw it differently. However, I am unsure if your daughters realized that. Some people must think that they had all done the same thing; they should receive the same punishment. Maybe you should have explained it better to them then. I know you did try, it is just probably hard to think when you are standing there naked in front of your mother.”
Helen is a little shocked and says, “I was trying to motivate them to stop their wild behavior, to do like Kathryn and find someone special for them.”
Kathryn can sense where I am going, although unhappy about it she allows me to continue without her interrupting. I say, “That might not been the impression they got. They may have thought you favorite Kathryn. They did not realize that you and Michael had already accepted our engagement, and eventual marriage. That when you allowed Kathryn to move in with me, it was not them seen Kathryn as a young woman like I did, they so you letting their little sister move-in with a man.”
Helen realizing that her sisters could easily see Kathryn as the spoiled pampered little sister who always gets her way even if that was not the way she saw it. Helen says, "I had no idea, I really do want what’s best for my daughters, all of them, and I never ever meant to play favorites. How do I fix this?”
I reply, "That is up to you, but I have faith that you can. Talk to them, let them know how you feel it could be that easy."
Michelle had been listening; although she tried to remain out of sight, I caught her out of the corner of my eye. Finally getting her courage up Michelle walks back in. She stops in front of Kathryn and gives her a hug in whispers into Kathryn’s ear, “I know you love me that is one thing that has made it easier. I was jealous of how Mom treated you. Here you are my baby sister and so young moving in with JJ.”
Tears spring up in Kathryn’s eyes as she looks at Michelle she says, “You know I would never do anything to hurt you. It is just that I have never felt that young.”
Michelle with tears of her own gives Kathryn a smile saying, “I know, and I come to realize that even though you’re younger in years, in some ways you’re my big sister. Mom is right you and JJ are the two most married people ever. You have been since you met, and I do have a right to be a little jealous, who would not be. I am also very, very happy for you.” Michelle and Kathryn wrap each other in a warm hug.
Michelle begins giggling pulling back from Kathryn. Michelle has green eyes, and says, “Look at you, our baby big sister.”
Kathryn begins giggling along; she uses Michelle’s analogy and playfully refers to her, “My big little sister.” They both stick their tongue out at each other as only sisters can tease each other.
Helen comes and hugs the two, looking into Michelle’s eyes she says, “Michelle, I am sorry if you misunderstood what I wanted to do. I love you, and I am so very proud of you. Even when I did mess up you turned out so good.”
Michelle hugging her mother tightly says, “I know Mom, I love you too.”
As the three embrace my phone rings, I wipe a tear away as I answer, “Hello.”
Karen is on the phone and she is nearly frantic as she explains, “JJ, can you get Mom and Dad...” After a deep breath she continues, “It is Kara she is in the hospital... It is really bad... They need to get here.” This is the most upset of ever-heard Karen to be. Karen hung up the phone unable to go into more detail. As I turn to them, Kathryn has gone pale and shaking, I am sure if it were not for the fact that her mother and Michelle had held her she probably would be on the floor.
Looking at them I say, “We need to go NOW. We got to head to the hospital, it is Kara, and Karen was too upset to give me any more details."
Michelle becomes the strength of the three, now holding both her shaking mother and sister. Mom comes and helps seeing them in distress. She begins them towards the garage, and I get the intercom for the TV room, getting Charles’s attention. I quickly tell him of the situation and they volunteer to watch the girls for us.
I sprint to the garage, and help Michelle with her mother, Kathryn have nearly recovered enough to get into our SUV on her own, but Mom helps her into the back seat with her mother. As the garage door is still coming up I start the car, when I have just enough room for me to make it under I begin pulling out, I am careful of the bicycles, but fortunately there is no children riding on the driveway. The radio still adjusted to the local station, and a news bulletin comes over the air. (Escape convict shoots two local women, one dead, injures another. Police at the scene have regained control of the escape convict, more details when they become available.)
Helen screams, “Not my baby, not my Kara.” Michelle and Kathryn cries beside her mother yet trying to comfort her.
I call Uncle George; his contacts with the police may mean he knows more than anyone else does at this moment. “Uncle George, do you know anything about what happened to Kara? If not maybe, you should come to the hospital too. Karen gave me a call, she said Kara is hurt, she did not give me any other details.”
Uncle George is stunned, “JJ this is the first I have heard, of course I am on the way.”
I call my father-in-law, once he answers I say, “Dad, get to the hospital as fast as you can, Karen is there apparently Kara is hurt. I got Helen, Mom, Kathryn and Michelle with me we are on our way.” Of course, he asked if I knew what was going on, and I had to confess I did not know.
The normal twenty-minute trip took me ten; I had not even realized I was driving that quickly although it seemed like the longest ten minutes of my life so far. Arriving at the emergency room we run in, we waive the nurse away she must think Kathryn is in labor. Spotting Daniel, we run straight to him. Helen wraps him in a hug crying. Poor Cindy caught between the two and squeeze much like Sam was at the airport.
I ask as I work Cindy free, "Daniel what happened?”
Daniel begins, “We were with Cindy and Sylvia at their apartment. We were bring in Cindy’s birthday presents, just having a good time when we heard a crash at the front door. Seems Cindy’s Dad must have made bail or escaped but he broke in carrying a gun. He came in and fired right away. The bastard was aiming right at Cindy; Kara scooped her up in her arms but did not have time to get out of the way. Sylvia dived in front just as he fired. Sylvia caught most of it, which saved Kara and Cindy.
I did the only thing I could do; I grabbed a lamp ripping it out of the wall and threw it into his face. That only stunned him for a moment, I was trying to hit him, but he blocked and countered his right hook felt like a mule kicked me. It knocked me on the ground as I was rolling away. He started reloading is shotgun. Kara sprang at him giving him a kick that sent him backwards, the bastard had to be six foot four inches. Kara kicked him so hard he came off the ground. I grabbed his shotgun and the shells he had pulled from his pocket. I reloaded the shotgun and shoved it under his chin, if he had moved I was going to blow his head off.” Daniel shaking, he looks very pale, he is trying to bring himself back under control so he can continue.
When he is a little more in control, he says, “That is when I had a chance to look around, and Sylvia was dying. She told Cindy that Kara and I were going to be her parents. She loved her, and would always be looking out for her little bit of an Angel. Kara was there beside her, she and Karen were trying to stop the bleeding but it was just too much. Kara was turning white herself. That is when I noticed the bleeding that was coming from her leg. Karen noticed it at the same time, Karen was on the phone with 911, she told the operator that they were two victims, and please hurry. Karen went to work on Kara’s leg. I am sure that saved Kara’s life, it was too late for Sylvia. She died before the ambulance arrived.”
Daniel can no longer control himself and he begins to cry, Helen pushed out of the way as Cindy pushes herself back to his chest. The young girl’s arms go around Daniel and she cries with him. Helen covers Cindy not as tightly this time as she cries with the two.
After a few moments, Daniel pulls himself back and control then continues, “We got here, and they took Kara in, they were given her IV fluids in the ambulance, they began her on blood as soon as they walk through the door.”
Karen comes out she has a bandage on her arm where she gave blood for her sister. Seeing her mother she rushes to her, Helen releases Daniel and Cindy to hold Karen.
Uncle George arise shortly before Michael senior, they both look scared to death as they run to us, they both ask, “What happened?”
Daniel tells his painful story again. Fortunately, by the time he finishes a doctor emerges with an update. The doctor begins, “Kara went through surgery fine, we got to her in time and she will make a full recovery in a few weeks. She will need some physical therapy to deal with the leg wound. She is remarkably healthy, that is probably one of the things to help save her. But how in the hell did she end up with a dime in her femur.”
Daniel asks, “Doctor about the baby, did she lose it?”
The family simultaneously ask, “Baby?”
The doctor has a reassuring smile and says, “Babies, your wife will have twins. It is too early to tell what sex they are, but they came through fine too.” He leaves us alone to attend to his duties.
Daniel pulled into a bear hug by the Coach, who has tears of relief and joy streaming down his face like everyone else in the family. The Coach slaps Daniel on the back and says, “That is my son-in-law.”
Daniel once free says, “We were going to announce to the family tonight that she was expecting she is so happy.”
Karen, Kathryn and Helen take Cindy to the bathroom, I am not sure if Cindy realizes how much blood is on her.
Kathryn gives me a nudge by our bond she reminds me of the will Sylvia with my help had written. Fortunately, the will was signed and notarized earlier last week, and executable nearly immediately because I am the executor to it. I pull Daniel over to the side and say to him, “Sylvia was not lying to Cindy, you and Kara are her guardians. A will names you as such.”
Daniel looking into my face asks, “How do you know JJ?”
I inform Daniel, “Daniel, Sylvia had me help her with it. It was just in case she did not survive. However, it is still a valid will, and I am the executor to the will. We need to tell Cindy, Kara and you are who Sylvia wanted to raise Cindy if she could not.”
A tearful Cindy can no longer stay away from Daniel, and comes tugging on him needing held and comforted. Daniel takes her into his arms holding her, Cindy cries softly against his chest. Daniel says, “I know Cindy, it really hurts. I am going to miss your Mom too. She is my hero, what she did saved you and Kara, for that I will always be grateful.”
Cindy through her tears says, “She is my Angel Mommy now. I wish I did not want to be like Sam.”
Daniel does not give her a second before he says, “Cindy what happened in no way is your fault. What you wanted did not cause this. What your mother did was because of her love for you. She protected you, the one thing in the world she loved more than life itself, and you are right what she did made her an Angel.” Cindy gives him a sad smile that does not last long before she goes back to crying against his chest.
At this stage, I know it is best just to let her cry, more tears she sheds now the easier her recovery will be. She is with the parents I guess destiny chose for her. I cannot help but think, this could have been different if we had not saved Sylvia, and then she would not been there today to save Cindy and Kara. Cindy’s father intention was to murder Cindy, no matter where Cindy was he was bound to come for her. Like Daniel, I too will be forever grateful to Sylvia.
I go to Karen giving her a hug and saying to her, “You did great sister. Thank you for being a hero.”
Karen hugs me back and cries on my shoulder for a moment bringing herself under control she looks into my face she asks, “Do you really think I am a hero? All I did was call for the police, and a little first aid.”
Holding her gaze I say, “Yes, you acted in a bad situation, a lesser person could have just lost it. What you did saved Kara. You did your best to save Sylvia but her injuries were just too much for anyone.”
My phone rings it is from home. Charles says, “Sam woke up having a nightmare, she wants to know where you are at.”
I answer, “First tell Sam, Kara is hurt but she and her babies are going to be fine. We are at the hospital now with her. They may let us see her in a little while they just moved her to recovery. We should be home shortly.”
Charles asks, “What happened? Is there anything we can do for her?”
I relate Daniel story to Charles, then what the doctor had informed us. I ask, “The doctor mentioned Kara had a dime in her femur, how could that happen?”
Charles says, “That bastard reloaded the shotgun shells with dimes. He definitely wanted to kill somebody. They do a lot more damage than normal shot.”
A nurse comes out and announces, “The doctor is going to allow two family members to see Kara at a time. She still little druggie from the medications, but she will recover quickly.”
Helen says, “Cindy we need to get you some clean clothes before you get to see her, with all that blood on you. You will scare her to death.”
The nurse says, “Daniel we can give you some scrubs, but we do not have anything to fit Cindy.” Most of the blood that is on Daniel came from Cindy’s clothing. Although uninjured Cindy did hold to her mother for a long time after she had passed.
Kathryn and I, asks Cindy, “Cindy you can come back with us and have a shower then will bring you right back, so you can see Kara.”
Cindy says, “I do not want to leave Daddy Daniel.”
Daniel says, “Cindy, it will be okay. I will be right here, and you can come back when you are clean. No one in our family will lie to you Cindy, your Aunt Kathryn and Uncle JJ will bring you right back.”
Cindy gives a sniffle, “Can Sam come back with me I need to talk with her.”
I tell Cindy, “I do not think I could keep Sam away, she loves Kara too. I am sure Sam loves you too, and she would do anything for you.” Cindy gives a shake of her head and I open my arms as she reluctantly leaves Daniel’s embrace. Kathryn and I take her back home, Kathryn pull Cindy into her bedroom, and I go change my shirt.
In the family room, I find my daughters with Charles, Jane, and the rest of my adoptive family. I begin, “The good news is that Kara will be fine. Unfortunately, she was injured. Sadly, we lost Sylvia. Sylvia gave her life to protect Kara and Cindy. Once we all get through this everybody’s going to be fine, Cindy will be going to Daniel and Kara, once Kara is back on her feet.”
Sam and Crystal come to me; I pull the two sad little girls into my arms. Sam asked, “Is there anything I can do?”
Crystal says, “Me too Daddy, I want to help.”
I say to them, “Cindy is grieving, let her know that it is okay. She did not do anything wrong, and we love her.”
Jane, Reese and Misty inform me that they will be going back with me. They need to bring Kara new clothes, and help with anything they can. Charles, Ron, and Marshall volunteer to drive for us, and they will run any errant needed.
Alyssa, Joan, Johnny, Jim and MC will remain here, Alyssa along with Charles and Jane will coordinate everyone, Joan, Johnny and Jim will also watch the children, Alyssa and Misty will prepare meals along with coordinate any additional support needed.
I smile realizing that my adoptive family is pulling together to do whatever they can to see that Kara is made comfortable, protected and that everyone has the time and ability to help. No one person will be responsible for everything, and everything will be coordinated to give Daniel, Kara and Cindy time to heal.
Charles catches me saying, “JJ, I just found out, that it was Cindy’s father who attacked them. The kick that Kara used was a little more powerful than what you believed. He is dead. The DA is investigating the possibility that she intended to kill him. That she had the means, and knowledge not to use deadly force to subdue him.”
Shaking my head I say, “That man is a fool, this was easily a case of self-defense. She just did as I had instructed her several times in a situation like that you cannot hold back. When facing the adversary bent on the death of another or yourself, you cannot take the chance of not using all your strength.”
Charles says, “I agree with you, it is only when you try to be gentle with your adversary that you are vulnerable.”
I state, “When someone is trying to kill you, vulnerable is the last thing you want to be.”
Charles replies, “I totally understand Kara’s actions, even if she tried only to knock him out, the amount of adrenaline that must have been surging to her system was probably higher than any time in her life. It is no wonder that kick killed him.”
That should make an adequate defense. She was more frightened than any time in her life, she was holding Cindy in her arms when the shotgun fired, and Cindy was the intended target. Her mother jumped between Cindy and her Ex-husband with perfect timing.
I tell Charles, “That would be true, the only time anything occurred like that was when the bear attacked, she was brave enough to come back for Michelle, and what I thought was Michelle trying to get back to her feet was Kara pulling her up. I know at that time also when I kicked the bear, I had no idea I was going to kick it that hard. The amount adrenaline in my system easily doubled my strength.”
Charles adds, “I have seen men do things nearly what you would call super human during times of great stress. I saw men react so quickly your eyes could not follow what they did, I saw one man do what three men should not been able to do. Adrenaline is amazing. It can make you so strong and so fast for a few minutes.”
I say, “It is not something that Kara deals with often, fortunately. Kara would have no idea what adrenaline would do in her system, she had not even started training with me until her sophomore year, three and half years ago. Although she is very skilled, she lacks any practical experience using her martial arts, we do not use barriers for the class to break. For safety reasons no one spars at full strength, even though skilled Kara truly had no idea of how much damage she would do.”
Charles states, “That would be your second line of your defense, if that stupid DA presses charges.”
Asking Charles’s advice feels natural and I know the man has a lot to teach me. I ask, “You think I should get a lawyer to start coordinating a defense for Kara?”
Charles is reflective before he says, “The DA may take that as a sign of guilt or a challenge. As I understand it there is not a lot of work for him in this county.”
Ms. Clark clears her throat, “I am sorry to interrupt you JJ, I am not here as a social worker right now. Is there anything I can do for Cindy or Kara?”
Thinking of how Crystal reacted, I asked Ms. Clark, “Sylvia had a will written, it named me the executor and transfers custody to Kara and Daniel. I know you are not here as a social worker, but as our friend. Could you help me explain that to Cindy? I do not want her to be fearful of her future.”
Ms. Clark smiles, “I have noticed how they react to each other, and I think Sylvia had chosen wisely.”
Smiling my agreement I say, “I do love Cindy, and wish what is best for her. Daniel and Kara seemed to fit her. The best part is I get to still be her uncle.”
Kathryn comes in with Cindy, fresh and clean from her shower, seeing Ms. Clark she nearly panics but Kathryn says reassuringly, “Miss Clark is not here as a social worker, she is here to find out if there is anything she can do to help you.”
Cindy is still somewhat hesitant as she comes forward, I say, “Cindy there is a few things that Ms. Clark and I need to discuss with you. Do not worry nothing is going to change overnight. You have a say when and how it changes.”
Kathryn brings Cindy to the couch, and I sat beside Cindy holding her hand, Kathryn holds to her other hand. Ms. Clark sets opposite us, looking at Cindy and seeing how fearful she is Ms. Clark says, “First Cindy, I believe no one will take you away from this family. I would not recommend it, and I believe none of my coworkers would also. So you do not need to worry about that, although you may see me a little more often in the near future, it is not to take you away.” Cindy relaxes, and her whole body stop shaking.
I tell Cindy, “They will be some changes, but you will tell me when you are ready for them.” Seeing the look of curiosity on her face I ask, “Cindy do you know what a will is?”
Cindy’s eyes go wide thinking that the lack of that knowledge may affect her future now fearful again. She shakes her head no. I smile to reassure her and say, “Cindy a will is not a bad thing, and it is what we write when we want others to know what we want carried out if we die. Your mother had one written, she put me in charge of making sure what she wanted would occur. When you are ready and Kara is back on her feet, you can live with Daniel and Kara. Your mother knew that Daniel and Kara loved you. She thought it would be best for them to be your new Mom and Dad. She knew she was sick and there was a possibility that she did not survive, that is why she wrote the will. Because your mother loves you, she wanted to see you happy. Nothing you did caused this, it is just that bad things happen that is why we write wills.”
Cindy asks fearfully, “Are you sure uncle JJ? Before Mommy got out of jail, I did not want her back. I did not want anyone to be my Mommy and Daddy but Kara and Daniel.”
Answering Cindy’s fearful question I say, “I am certain, you did not know how much your mother had changed. I do not blame you for not wanting her back if she had not changed. Your mother was able to show you her true self, not what the drugs made her. She proved she loves you more than her life itself, she knew if you survived you would be with parents and family who love you.”
Cindy again tearful says, “I was just getting my Mommy back, when that bastard took her away. Mommy told me he was not even my real Daddy. Uncle JJ, why did he have to do that? Mama Kara and Angel Mommy was both hurt, when Mama Kara grabbed me I heard her saying “Oh God no.” I know she was trying to jump out of the way, but there was no time. She jumped just as I heard the boom, I felt something heavy bump into us and push us backwards. That was my Mommy just before she became an Angel.”
I answer Cindy truthfully, “I do not know why he would do something like that. I do not understand people who allow hatred to destroy their own life. What he did, no one else could control. You did not cause him to do what he did.”
Ms. Clark says, “Cindy your uncle is right, no one can control what someone will do because of anger or hatred. What he did, he had decided to do. Your Mom decided to protect you. Sylvia used the only thing she had to do that.” Miss Clark begins crying and through her tears she says, “Sylvia proved she was a good mother, she proved she loved you.”
Cindy through tears she says, “I knew Mommy loved me, she never had to prove it. I knew she loved me when she got off the drugs, when she used the drugs she loved them and could not love me.”
Doing my best I still cannot hold tears back. I tell Cindy, “That is what love can do for you Cindy. It can make you stronger when you need it. Love for you is what brought her back to us. She almost died a month ago, her love pull her through that. She wanted to show you who she really was. Not the woman on drugs, she wanted to be your mother to make up for what was lost.”
Cindy is trying to wipe the tears away that seemed only to come faster. Through those tears she says, “I know what I lost now, that is what makes it hurt so bad.” She comes into my lap and puts her head on my shoulder, Kathryn and I do what we can to comfort her.
After a few more moments Cindy asks, “Uncle JJ can we go back now? I want to see Moma.”
Ms. Clark says, “I can come, I am a grief counselor. I know Cindy is grieving and that is good, Daniel and Kara will need to grieve for their friend. They will need some counseling; they may have what is called survivor’s guilt.”
Charles from the doorway says, “I will drive you. That way you can be in the back seat with Sam and Cindy.”
Through my tears, I can barely make him out, and Kathryn is worse. Charles driving would definitely be a good idea. Ms. Clark says, “I will follow you Charles.”
Twenty-five minutes later, we pull into the hospital parking lot. Charles drops us off by the door, saying he will be in shortly. Jane had driven Misty, Joan and Reese. Reese had sent Ron out for things like tissues, a soft blanket and a dozen other items. I think it was just to keep him busy.
Reese says, “I love him, but sometimes Ron is a bull in a china shop. I just did not want him upsetting Kara tonight. When he found out about the DA wanting to investigate, he said he is going to shove his prosthetic foot up the DA’s ass and leave it there.”
I cannot help but chuckle at the mental image that invoked, Sam and Crystal both have their hands over their mouths trying to hold back their giggles. Giggling Cindy says, “That is really funny Aunt Reese.”
Reese scoops Cindy up into her arms, she smiles at Cindy and says, “Cindy, we love you and that makes us family just as much as blood.”
I smile and hug the two, then we head on into the waiting room. Once inside, I noticed Daniel and Helen is not there, the Coach catches us. Pulling us over to one side, he says, “We are letting Daniel stay with Kara, and were taking turns replacing the other person. Helen just went back in, were going to let Cindy go next. Cindy you can stay as long as you want.”
Cindy says, “I did not get to speak to Sam yet.”
The Coach looking at Cindy says, “Cindy you can call me grandpa from now on. You have a few more minutes to speak to Sam.”
Cindy and Sam with Crystal tagging along goes to a corner still in sight, the two are talking quietly as Crystal shakes her head. I am not sure what Cindy asked Sam, but both girls began to hug her immediately. Sam says quietly but I still managed over hear, “Cindy you did not do anything wrong.” The three girls hold onto each other and I can tell that all three are crying.
Ms. Clark puts a hand on my shoulder keeping me from going to the girls. Ms. Clark says, “Sometimes they need peers support more than parental support. Give them a little while.”
I follow Mrs. Clark’s counsel and give the girls time. I guess Cindy had asked Sam the same question she asked me earlier. Cindy knew Sam lived through something similar. I guess that is why she wanted her advice.
I almost regret having Cindy’s birthday party, I would hate for this happened on her birthday. I am afraid, that might affect Cindy’s future. Every year Cindy would dread her birthday, it bringing up the bad memories. I hope that we can separate the two events in her mind. I know I will try to separate Crystal’s memories of Christmas from those of her parents’ death. It would be terrible to associate events that are supposed to be happy and cheerful with tragic events.
There is a commotion at the front desk that draws my attention. That ass of the District Attorney, along with what seems to be every reporter from this end of the state is there. The District Attorney is demanding to see Kara. He got my attention, also the attention of the Coach and Uncle George.
Kara’s Doctor steps forward he says, “Mrs. Akins is in no condition to be questioned by the District Attorney at this moment. When she arrived here, she was in critical condition. She underwent surgery to remove a foreign object from her leg that severed her artery. The young woman is extremely lucky that she received first aid nearly immediately after her gunshot wound.”
Surprisingly that seems to change the attitude of the press, and they began asking him questions immediately. He had limited the information that they received an effort to slant public opinion against Kara. The press realize this quickly, and like everyone else, the press does not like being a tool.
Uncle George had been making phone calls, his gotten a hold of the sheriff earlier this evening. He wanted to know the circumstances of the escape. What he now knows, when Sylvia’s ex-husband made his escape he was in custody of the District Attorney. Uncle George strolls into the media frenzy, taps the deputy on the shoulder. The deputy immediately turns and says, “May I help you your honor.”
Uncle George looking at him says, “Could you please arrest the District Attorney. I believe he may have actually assisted in the fugitive’s escape.”
Many of the reporters are actually red-faced, not accustomed to anger generated by the misuse of the media. Their shock does not last long as they begin firing questions at both the District Attorney and Uncle George. The deputy makes a call on his radio that remains unanswered by the sheriff.
Two FBI agents stroll into the hospital. The District Attorney is shocked as they display their badges. When they place him in handcuffs, the press begins firing more questions. Anger flashes on the District Attorney’s face as the two FBI agents escort him out of the hospital.
Uncle George explained what he could. “What the District Attorney is unaware of that I had surveillance placed in his office. The FBI placed the surveillance, after several cases were lost because of errors done by the District Attorney’s Office. Several drug dealers are dismiss because of procedural mishandling by the District Attorney. I suspected he mishandled these cases purposely either because of blackmail or pay off.” He did not know what was on the tapes for the day, and he would not be able to tell me if he did.
Sylvia’s ex-husband charged with intent to distribute of a controlled substance, making him a drug dealer by trade. That explains several things about Sylvia. Her ex-husband had gotten her addicted to drugs, using them as a method of controlling her. Perhaps Sylvia knew too much about his business, possibly even a connection between the District Attorney and her ex-husband. I am sure the FBI will get to the root of the situation.
I hope that the new District Attorney, will see that Kara’s actions were self-defense. Although the law does differ on the use of deadly force, it is a technicality the previous District Attorney was going to use to defer interest away from himself.
I mean that if Kara had a handgun and shot him, what would be the difference. You shoot the perpetrator to make them stop. Most people taught to aim center of mass. Kara did that with a single kick, the kick that I instructed on its use. That kick normally will not kill someone. Some other contributing factor must be involved.
I get to see Kara, shortly before the end of visitation. Daniel and Cindy had been in with her, and then both leave. Kathryn and I get to see Kara then. Kathryn runs in the door, Kara gives her sister a smile, a very sad smile from her hospital bed. Kara’s eyes are red and puffy. Kathryn steps up to the bed unsure of what to do, I know she wants to crawl onto the bed and cuddle with Kara.
Through our bond I warn, be careful of her leg. Kathryn says, “Like I would forget.”
Kara is a little confused looking at the two of us she says, “Your kids are going to hate the fact that you too can communicate telepathically. Remember how many times we got Dad to let us do something.”
Kathryn smiles at her sister saying, “That was you and Karen, they learn better by the time I tried it.”
Kara pointed out, “All you had to do was pout and Daddy gave you everything you wanted.”
With love in her eyes Kathryn says, “And do not forget half the time it was the stuff you sent me after.”
Kara giggles little and says, “Well I was only the baby for year, then Karen for two, by that time I already figured out Mom and Dad doted on the baby. You cannot blame a girl for using it.”
Kathryn says, “I never minded, getting stuff for you. Speaking of which is there anything I can get for you?”
Kara asks, “JJ, Kathryn is it true, am I going to be Cindy’s mother?”
I tell my sister-in-law, “That depends on two things, is that something you want and is that something Cindy wants. I have it in my power to make you her guardian. That is what Sylvia wanted. I am in charge of making sure Sylvia’s wishes become reality. To become her mother you will still have to adopt her.”
Kara closes her eyes, through her tears she says, “I never wanted Sylvia to lose her life. I do love Cindy. I did not want to become her mother like this.”
Not wanting to see my sister-in-law in the state of mental anguish I tell her, “It took both you and Sylvia to save Cindy do not forget that. Kara, you did not do anything wrong. Loving Cindy is not wrong. Sylvia knew that you and Daniel both love Cindy that is why Sylvia had me help her with a will. No one expected that her ex-husband would escape. You prove you are worthy of being Cindy’s mother, Sylvia knew that when she protected Cindy and you. Sylvia was your friend too, a true friend just like you were to her. Do not stop loving Cindy because you feel guilty about still being alive and Sylvia is not. Give her daughter a good life. Sylvia wanted that for you and Cindy.”
Looking at Kara I could tell my words hit home. I also know there is still more I can say so I continue, “If it was not for us Sylvia would have died a month ago. She never would have the opportunity to show her daughter her true self. You afforded her that. The state was not going to release her without the medical care that you provided. You gave her the chance to say goodbye to the daughter you share. I know she is grateful for that. She knew that still was a chance she would not survive her medical problems, she made her life count for something. Do not throw that away. You have a guardian angel now in Sylvia, she was too weak to move like she did if not.”
Kara shakes her head yes, but my words did not stop her tears. Kara through her tears she says, “I know I am just going to miss my friend. Sylvia is so much like Cindy. I could not help but fall in love with her like my sister. It feels like I lost a sister, you know what I mean.”
My friends come to mind, Ron and Reese, MC, Charles and Jane, Mitch and every single one of the Edwards, and Thurgoods. I would feel the same way if I lost any of them. Sylvia was in my heart as well, I know I will feel her loss for the rest of my life. I tell my sister, “I know exactly what you mean, I will miss her too.”
Kathryn despite Kara’s injury crawls onto the bed with her, holding her sister she says, “Kara I love you. You scared me to death today. Please do not ever do that to me again. I do not want to be without you.”
Kara says, “I have been hearing that a lot today.”