As I stood frozen in place, I felt like I was watching a movie or witnessing the events of someone else’s life, right before my eyes. It was all too hectic, too crazy to be happening to me.
The howl of the squad cars’ sirens and the pandemonium of the paramedics, officers, and detectives’ voices created a deafening hubbub.
My eyes scanned the scene, but they never found what they were searching for.
I spun around hopefully and my eyes locked with brown eyes, but they weren’t the chocolate ones that I wanted to see.
Adam rushed towards me. “Caitlin,” he repeated. “Oh, thank God you’re alright! You can’t imagine how glad I was to hear your voice. I was so scared. I came out of the gas station and you were just gone.” he held me close, but I pulled away.
“Where’s—” I was interrupted by a female police officer.
“Caitlin?” she asked.
“Come with me,” she smiled as she flashed her badge. “I’m Officer Meredith Sanchez. You can call me Meri.”
“Meri, do you know where—”
“Now, don’t worry about that, Sweetheart.” she said. “He’s never going to hurt you again.”
“Come with me.” she repeated as she nudged me into a wheelchair and began to cart me towards a large swarm of people.
I looked over my shoulder, but Adam had disappeared.
I was soon ushered into the crowd and then, swept into the back of the ambulance.
The paramedics all talked at once, rattling off random medical lingo as they inspected the bruises and cuts on my face.
Suddenly, I was being instructed to buckle up in one of the padded benches.
“Excuse me,” I told a tall dark-skinned guy who smelled of peppermint and looked like a young Usher. “Where’s Justin?”
“Pardon?” he asked as he knelt down so that he could clearly hear what I was saying, but by that time, some of the personnel had cleared the yard and I could clearly see the front door of the large, brick, upper middle class home we’d been locked away in.
Justin was being led out of the house by two officers who had him in handcuffs.
I felt my heart shatter in a million pieces.
“Justin!” I screamed as I stood up off the bench and ran over to the back of the truck. “JUSTIN!”
He obviously couldn’t hear me over all of the commotion because he didn’t even look my way as the officers had him to duck into a squad car.
Tears poured down my cheeks. “Justin,” I whimpered.
“Miss Beadles, we’re going to have to ask you to sit down.” the handsome Usher-look-a-like said. I caught a glimpse of his name-tag and I realized his name was Marvin.
“Marvin?” I spoke.
“Am I going to see him again?”
“Who? The guy who hurt you?” he asked. “No. He’s never going to bother you again.”
The driver barked out some instructions that interrupted me.
“Miss Beadles, you’re going to have to sit down now, okay?” he said. “We’re going to take you to the hospital.”
I turned to look for Justin again, but just like Adam, he was gone.
As I sat down, I felt very alone in the world.
I was happy that Justin was alive, but, still, all the life had been drained out of me. Justin was on his way to jail. Why? Because he’d protected me. He’d tried to defend ME. Seth was either dead or on his way to jail, too. Why? Because I didn’t know how to break off the relationship before it ever got this bad. It was all MY fault. All of this was happening because of ME.
I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. Instead, I just stared into space mindlessly.
The chaotic noises increased when the driver turned on his sire and flashing flights and began to speed away from the scene.
Everything seemed to be a blur.
We arrived at the hospital and I went through several different procedures. The entire medical staff was friendly and sympathetic. They tried their best to comfort me and explain what was going on. I gave my consent when necessary, but for the most part, I ignored them.
I was tired. Tired of hurting. Tired of trying. Tired of running. Tired of crying. Tired of explaining. I was tired of living.
After the battery of tests were completed. I sat alone inside of a completely white room.
It didn’t look like your typical hospital room, because there were no machines or beeping noises. It was just super clean, and super plain.
I heard a knock and I looked up to see the same female officer whom, I’d met earlier and a tall, lady doctor who’d worked with me, also.
“Caitlin?” the officer asked. “I’m Meri. We met earlier, remember?”
I nodded as I chewed on my bottom lip.
“This is Dr. Cole, she examined you.”
“We’d like to talk with you, if that’s alright.”
I shrugged. “Sure.”
“As you know, we ran several tests,” Dr. Cole began. “We were able to gather lots of data and evidence, but we need you to tell us what you want us to do with this information.”
I nodded again.
“Your parents are right outside.” Meri said. “Would you like for them to join you, or would you rather speak with us alone?”
“Send in my mom, please.” I squeaked. I didn’t want to talk about all of this in front of my brother and father.
“Certainly,” they nodded.
I smiled softly and gave a small wave as my mother entered the room, “Hi.”
Her bottom lip trembled and tears filled her eyes, but she forced a smile as she sat down on the bed next to me. She gave me a huge hug.
“Two of the first tests we run on rape victims, is first for STDs and secondly, for pregnancy.” Dr. Cole informed us.
I felt my mother tense at the word ‘pregnancy’ and I felt sick.
My parents were laid back and supportive, but they’d always been a stickler for education. Christian and I had known from the time we were three-years-old, that college or some form of secondary education wasn’t an option. We HAD to graduate from high-school and we HAD to get some kind of degree. I wasn’t exactly sure how a baby was going to fit into those plans.
“Fortunately, the first test came back negative.” the doctor smiled.
“Thank God,” I breathed.
“What about the second?” Mom asked in a quivering voice. “Is she pregnant?”
“Yes,” the doctor and I answered in unison.
My mom looked surprised, “You knew?” she asked me.
“I took a test,” I bit my lip again. “I—I, wanna keep it.”
More tears filled my mother’s eyes. “What about your education?” she questioned.
“I don’t know, I’ll work something out. You and dad will help me, right?”
“There are certainly several options.” Dr. Cole told us. “Here,” she handed me a pamphlet. “There’s information about all kinds of different possibilities. You’re still early in your pregnancy, so, you have time to decide, okay?”
We both nodded.
She smiled softly. “I wish you and your family the best of luck. God bless you.”
She nodded before slowly and quietly exiting the room.
“Also, earlier, you informed us that you would like to press charges against Seth McIntosh, correct?” Meri asked.
“Yes,” I agreed, but then I noticed what she’d said. “He’s alive?”
“Yes.” she answered. She had no idea how much those words meant to me. “Alright, we’re going to need to get your statement.”
I told her everything I could remember while she recorded it and took notes. It was hard and I broke down into sobs several times, but I did it.
“Okay,” Meri nodded once we’d finished. “I’ll submit this to the department and we’ll work out a lawyer and everything for court. Any questions?”
My mother shook her head, but I spoke.
“What happened to Justin?” I inquired. “I saw him being placed into the squad car. If Seth’s alive, why did they arrest him?”
“He’s arrested under the charge of simple battery,” she explained.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s basically saying that he unlawfully used force against another person, with the intentions of harming them.”
“But he was defending me!” I exclaimed.
Meri scribbled down a few notes, “As I said, we’ll take a look at all of this for the court case.”
“But what happens until then?” I asked. “Does he stay in jail?”
“I’m really not certain,” she admitted. “However, considering what he’s charged with, he’ll probably be allowed out on bail, does that answer your question?”
I lay inside of my bedroom and stared at the walls as the sound of my parents’ voices traveled up the stairs.
“What about adoption?” My dad asked.
“She already said she wants to keep it,” my mother spoke. “If she carries it for nine months, she’s certainly not going to want to give it up.”
“What are you saying? Do you think she should abort it?”
“I don’t know,” she sounded exasperated. “I just feel like Seth’s ruined her enough already. She says she’s fine, but she has inner scars that will probably never heal. She’s been traumatized and I don’t see why she should give up her education too.”
“I’m surprised she wants to keep it. You’d think that she’d want an abortion, so she won’t have those memories of its father.”
I heard the sound of a bang against my window and I slowly climbed out of bed.
Cautiously, I pulled back my curtains to see Justin sitting there.
I flung open the window.
“You’re alright!” I exclaimed as he climbed through and I threw my arms around him.
“I’m fine,” he chuckled. “Shush,” he placed a finger up to his mouth as he stretched out on my bed. “Our parents don’t know I’m here.”
“SHE’S SIXTEEN, WILL!” my mother shouted. “SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS, SHE’S A KID! I’m not going to let that THING, ruin her life. I’m NOT gonna do it!”
Justin looked at me, “They know?” he asked.
I nodded. “They’ve been going on about it all night. ‘It.’ That’s all they called my baby. It and thing.” I sighed. “I have a life growing inside of me. A little mini-human not an, ‘it’.”
“I’m sure they just want what’s best for you, Caity.” Justin said, as he placed his hands on his stomach. “A kid’s a huge responsibility.”
I played with his fingers. “Yeah, I guess you’re right, but it’s not the baby’s fault that his or her dad’s a jerk.”
“True,” Justin yawned before closing his eyes.
Suddenly, I realized I hadn’t told him that I was pregnant. “Justin?”
“How did you know?”
He opened his eyes. “When I went looking for you at the cabin, I saw the test.” he told me.
“Are you mad?” I asked.
“About Seth? Of course I’m mad. I’m damn pissed.” his jaw clenched.
“No, I meant the baby.”
He shook his head, “No. Like you said, it’s not your fault or the baby’s fault. It’s Seth’s. That’s why I don’t care if they decide to lock me up for 10 years, I’m glad I shot him.”
I stared out the window, “You shot him?”
“Yeah,” he admitted. “I didn’t seriously hurt him though, I just shot him in the arm.”
“Because, I wanted him to feel a hundredth of the pain he’d inflicted on you, but mostly, I wanted to scare him. I wanted him to know that he can’t just run around hurting people and not have any consequences. Whether he gets it here on earth or not, when he meets God he’s going to have to pay for all of his crap and I wanted him to know that.”
“I don’t think you should have shot him at all, but I’m so glad you didn’t kill him.” I told him.
“I wanted too, I swear, I wanted too, but God just told me that, no man has the right to take another’s life. No matter what he did. You should always choose to love instead of hate.”
“I agree.” I smiled. “Love surpasses all understanding.”