Authors: Cat Mann
A Broken Fate
Beautiful Fate Series
Copyright© 2012 by Cat Mann
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author
’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Special Thanks to Derek Mann, Mrs. Esther Kaplan, Theresa Greco, Mom, Dad,
Rachel Harmon, GWOF.
Thank you to you, for purchasing book two and sticking with the series. You support means so much!
Cover designed by Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers
Always. For holding my heart.
Table Of Contents
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before.
-Edgar Allan Poe
My toes were cold. As I pulled at the covers, my hand frantically searched the other side of the bed for a comfort of some sort. I found myself to be alone and the disappointment in this discovery was quickly replaced by absolute fear. My heart pounded rapidly through my chest. Screaming out, I jumped awake from a night terror causing my ear buds to rip forcefully from my ears. My cell phone made its daily, overly dramatic plunge from my tossed blankets on to my bedroom floor where it landed with a ceremonial thunk. I had the most terrifying dream, one that ended with the death of my mother in a car crash. Running from my bedroom, I searched for her with hot tears streaming down my cheeks, panting breaths and sweaty palms. My feet pounded to a halt in the living room where I found her sitting, reading a book.
shrieked, startling her.
’s the matter?” She looked up over her tattered copy of Tolstoy’s
with a worried expression on her face.
In a panic, I yelled,
“Mom, please! Tell me you won’t go to the fundraiser with Dr. Spruce tonight! You can’t go! I had a dream and it was so real. Please, you cannot get in that car tonight or you will die. Promise me you won’t go!”
She pulled my shaking body onto her lap.
“Ok, Ava, I promise I won’t go.”
I let out an unsteady breath as she held me tight.
Breathing in her sweet scent, I ran my fingers through her soft hair.
“Mom, I love you so much. Please don
’t ever leave me,” I begged.
’t leave you today,” she promised, then smiled at me, brushing the hair off my face. “Tell me more, more about your dream.”
“Ok,” I said, and I explain
ed to her in detail what I saw in my sleep.
“In your dream, did Spruce die
For a moment, the corners of her mouth turned up in a smile. Her eyes were triumphant, then she blinked and the blink swept her emotions away.
“What other dreams do you have?”
“Umm...” I felt unsure; never had I been allowed to talk of my nightmares.
’s okay, Ava. Tell me. I want to know.” Her voice was sweet, convincing.
“I walk in strange halls. People cry for me to come into their rooms. They ask me to let them die.”
’t know. My head hurts, Mom. I can’t think.”
We spent the day together at home and time passed in a haze. I had a pounding headache and I was very tired. Every time I closed my eyes, I was blinded by white light. In my sleep, I could feel hands touching me, caressing my hands, arms and face but when I tried to focus, no one was there.
Unfamiliar voices filled my ears; people were begging me to wake up, to open my eyes. I tried to scream but each time I opened my mouth, I woke up again and I felt woozy and confused.
Each time I awoke, I searched frantically for my mom to be sure she had kept her promise. Each time I found her in the same place,
in the living room with her book in her lap.
“Promise me,” I begged of her over and over. “Promise you
’ll stay with me.” She promised and then questioned me again. She asked me questions about my life that I could not answer. Questions about love.
“What is it like?”
“What’s what like?”
“Love, Baby. What
’s it like for you to be in love?”
I could feel heat on my face from my blush.
Looking down, I stared at my knotted fingers in my lap.
My mom tapped gently on my temple.
“You may not know in here, but you know in here,” and she moved her finger from my temple to my chest, over my heart.
I looked back up at my mom.
Tears stung the back of my eyes my, throat was tight with emotion.
“My heart feels heavy. I am longing for something, but I don
’t know what or who it is.”
“Oh, honey.” My
mother rocked me back and forth.
“Adrian told me this would happen, Ava. I am so sorry. I tried to hide us, keep us safe. I failed us both.”
I wanted to ask my mom who Adrian is, and what he told her, but I drifted back asleep before the words could form. My nightmare and the blinding headaches lasted for three days and would not leave me. Each morning, I searched the bed for something, some kind of solace or warmth. And when I would find nothing there, my heart would crumble and I would wake in a panic.
I stayed at
my mother’s side every waking moment, unwilling to let her out of my sight. She asked me more questions that I did not have the answers to and I asked her questions that she would not answer. We reminisced about happy times we had spent together. Often I found myself in her arms just weeping, begging her to stay with me. On the fourth day of my nightmare, she made me no promises. She repeated the odd notion that I was in love and needed elsewhere.
“Ava, I have been selfish keeping you here with me.”
Tears filled her eyes. “You are not mine to keep anymore and it is time I give you back.” Holding me tight, she rocked me like a small child.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, sitting up in panic. “I
’m not leaving you; stop talking like this!” My confusion caused my head to throb and pound in my ears.
She stroked my hair and then held my face in her hands. She stared into my eyes and turned very serious.
Dropping her hands away from my face, my mother took my left hand in hers, turned my hand over and was overcome with emotion. Resting the back of my hand in her palm, she pointed to my wrist with fervor. I looked down at my bare skin; nothing was there. Tapping the inside of my wrist, she said softly but with determination, “You aren’t safe. You aren’t done. Be careful who you trust, Ava.”
“It’s coming… it is time for you to wake up.”
“I am awake. Stop it! You are scaring me!” I
screamed and choked on my sobs.
“Ava, Baby, I love you so much, but you have to listen to me. Ari is waiting for you, Ava. You have to wake up.”
me one last time my mom whispered a goodbye and then she was gone.
blinked open to bright, blinding lights; the sounds of beeping machines rang out all around me. Shooting up in a panic, I let out a hoarse, painful scream. Tubes jutted out from all over my body and I pulled them out as fast as my bandaged hands would allow. A pair of very strong hands gripped me around my wrists, quickly stopping me.
“Ava,” a man
’s voice said cautiously. “Ava, stop. Stop what you are doing and calm down.” Pulling my body away, I tried to yank my arms free from his grip but it was no use; this person was much stronger than I was.
“Look at me, Ava, please. Look at my face.” I looked up at
the face of the man who held my wrists in his hands.
“Who are you, where is my mom, where am I?” I cried.
“Ava, it’s me. Look at me. Don’t you know who I am?”
pulled back hard again in another attempt to escape his grip.
“Could you please call my mother and let her know I am here?”
The man in front of me dropped my arms and rubbed the scruff on his face.
Baby,” he whispered.
’t call me that,” I snapped and watched as the hurt flowed onto his face. He was too close to me. I stared at him with cold, harsh, unkind eyes until goose bumps ran up the back of his neck and his arms. His jaw dropped and he took a cautious step back.
Closing my eyes,
I searched my brain for my mom’s phone number but I could not think clearly. I tried to remember my address and came up with nothing. Taking in my surroundings, I could tell I was in a hospital, but I didn’t understand why I was there.
“Where am I? Is this the University of Chicago Medical Center? Because my mom is Dr. Baio, she works here. Go get her,” I demanded.
The guy in my hospital room took a deep, slow breath and gently and calmly said, “Ava, you are at White Memorial Medical Center, in Los Angeles, California.” He swallowed hard and added, “Your mother died a year ago. I am your husband, Ari. Please remember.”
! She isn’t. And
, you aren’t! What the hell is going on here?” I hollered. “What the hell have you done to me?”
“Ava, please believe me. I would never lie to you.”
“I don’t know who you are, but you need to leave now,” I was unwilling to listen to him any further.
With an open jaw, he
ran his fingers through his messy hair. “I’ll get your doctor.” He mumbled as he turned and left the room.
Taking in a deep breath, I looked about the room
. I was in a hospital bed. My arms and hands were wrapped up in bandages and gauze, my side, my head and my neck all ached with pain. Bleeps from annoying monitors sounded in my ears. A green, fake leather-looking chair had been pulled out and made into a bed. It was adorned with a pillow and blanket, as though someone had been there for a while. A large, square window was on the opposite side of the bed across the room from me, it looked out into a big hospital waiting room. In the waiting room stood many people who were crying and hugging the man I had just kicked out.
A moment later, a doctor in a white coat entered my room. He cleared his throat, “Hello Mrs. Alexander, my name is Dr. Phillips. It is so good to see you awake. How are you feeling?”
“No,” I said with a panic, “you have the wrong person. I am Ava Baio. B-A-I-O!”
“Ok, Ava,” he began again. Without warning, he shined a very bright light straight into my eyes.
“You have been involved in a very tragic course of events. Your head was hit extremely hard and your body has suffered some breaks, burns and some cuts. I feel confident that you
’ll recover fully, but right now, your mind is trying to protect itself. Over the course of time, you will begin to recall the very unpleasant ordeal that you have endured. More than likely, these memories will be quite frightening.”
“Where is my mother?” I asked again.
“The Alexanders are your family.” He gestured at the group of people in the waiting room. “Your mother is no longer living.”
His words were spoken quietly and with authority, but they sent me into a panic. These people, whoever they were, clearly had me confused with someone else and I needed to get out of the room right away.
My sore hands began to pull at the tubes again, as I screamed at the doctor that I had just seen her; we had been together just a moment ago. I demanded that he go and find my mother at once. The people in the waiting room all stared, open mouthed, through the window at me.
rushed in with a huge needle attached to a syringe full of cloudy liquid and I freaked out even more.
’t touch me! Stay away from me!”
ed up on my bed, pushing my body as far away from the nurse as possible. Stuck and feeling like a scared and cornered animal, I froze as the nurse ignored my pleas and kept walking toward me.
The man who had been in my room when I first blinked into awareness
rushed back in to my side.
“No,” he demanded, “Stop what you are doing right now. She
’s awake now; don’t give her anything she doesn’t want.”
“Mr. Alexander,” Dr. Phillips said, “If she cannot calm down, we are left with no other choice. She will just cause more harm to herself.”
The first man looked at the doctor with a cold glare. He didn’t look like the type of person who was used to being told no.
“I said no and I meant it.”
He turned and looked at me, “May I please talk with you alone for a minute?”
I nodded. I would talk if he kept the nurse and her needle away from me.
Dr. Phillips looked irritated but gave a swift nod and left the room along with the nurse. “Call if you need anything,” she said with a too eager smile before shutting the door behind her. I don’t know why, but the coy, inviting smile she sent him made me want to rip out her throat. I gazed at her with an icy death stare. The guy with the scruffy face saw my expression and the corners of his lips turned up in a little grin. Butterflies awakened and stretched their wings in the pit of my stomach.
Crossing the hospital
room to the waiting room window, he pulled down the shade, giving me the privacy I so desperately wanted. I watched him cautiously as he returned and then sat on my hospital bed. He sat close to me, much closer than anyone else would have dared and he seemed fine – not the least bit uncomfortable. Most people, upon getting so close to me would cause my body to instantly pull back, but with this guy I felt the opposite. Kind of as though I were a magnet and he the fridge.
He looked me in the eyes. “Ava, I am going to touch you. Is that alright?”
I stared at him for a long hard moment, unsure. Finally, I blinked and nodded yes ever so slightly. He took my left arm, turned it over in his hands, and started to un-do the bandages.
“This is the only way I know how to do what I want to do, so stop me if you can
’t take the pain anymore.”
“Your name is Ava Zae Alexander, you are eighteen and we live together on the Southern California coast line... We are Greek… I will explain
you are later.”
me in the eyes, questioning me with his gaze, he waited to see if it was okay to proceed. I nodded another small yes. He continued, “We met at school and I fell completely in love with you. You were my whole world from the moment I first laid eyes on you.” He smiled at me, as if remembering something I could not and then continued.
“You had terrible nightmares nearly every night and I used
those nightmares as an excuse to come to your room at night, so I could get to know you better. Your favorite color is gray and you play the piano better than anyone has ever played any piano…ever. You speak perfect French, and your cheeks turn pink whenever we kiss. My family loves to make a game out of how many times we can get you to blush when we’re all together. Rory always wins. You like college basketball and for some godforsaken reason, you like the Cubs. Somehow, Ava, after months of trying, I finally got you to love me back.”
The gauze on my left hand began to thin and he continued to speak
“Ava, you left. Remember? You went to London. It was the longest six months of our lives. When you came home, you agreed to marry me.”
With bandages from my left hand now gone, he took my hand and placed my sore palm in his, showing me a huge diamond ring.
“We had the most remarkable wedding, Ava.”
Looking down at the ring, then back at the man claiming it was a symbol of our love, I tried to remove it. None of what he was saying made any sense to me.
“No,” he said firmly, “
keep that ring on that finger. I don’t tell you to do anything, Ava, but I am begging you, do not ever take that ring off.”
swelled up in his eyes and I put my hand back down in my lap. He flipped my hand around and held it in his palm showing me my blood-and blister-covered flesh.
“Ava, I know this news may scare you,” he said as he continued to remove the bandages from the rest of my arm, “but you have been hunted and you have killed people, five to be exact. But the important part is that you are not a monster. You are a resourceful, competent and incredible young woman who has been forced into unbelievably challenging situations.”
He showed me my now bare wrist. On it were five tattooed tally marks, and a sixth less precisely formed slash mark that had become a jagged and angry red scar.
Quickly, the words of my mother filled my ears,
“You aren’t safe. You aren’t done. Be careful who you trust.” I swallowed my panic down and closed my eyes. The mattress shifted and squeaked and I felt him move even closer to me and my eyes shot back open. Giving me an intensely sweet look, as though promising me he meant no harm, he slowly put his arms around my neck and began to untie my hospital gown. He moved my hair across my left shoulder allowing it to cascade down my side.
“Are you still okay, Ava?”
He blinked down at me and gave me a very small smile. He softly pulled the hospital sleeve on my right arm down from my shoulder and off my arm, revealing my bare skin and a certain intimacy that gave me pause, but he didn
’t move away.
“Ava, there were people in your life who are no longer with you. But they will always remain in your heart.”
He showed me my bare arm. On it was a flock of beautiful birds taking flight, up towards the sky. Gaping at my own strange skin, my heart pounded. He pointed to the first and said, “This is your father.” Next he caressed the second bird in flight and said, “This is your mother and here is Perry.” With a soft and delicate touch, he finally motioned to the last, “and this is Mia.”
Mia?” I whimpered.
“I am so so
rry,” he said as wiping tears from my cheeks.
“Ava, you may not remember me, but our love is unlike any other. I made a promise to you that I would never leave your side, never make you cry and never stop loving you. I intend to keep those promises.
He stood up, crossed over to the window and pulled up the shade to reveal a group of people, all of whom were crying. Then he came back to my side.
“That is your family, Ava. We all love you.”
I looked out at them, blinked at them, gazed at their sad faces, I knew no one
’m sorry, but I don’t know you. I think you should leave. All of you.”
He closed his eyes, put his fists in his hair and pulled while he let out a sigh of frustration
. A tear slipped from his eye and ran down his cheek. I noticed a little wrinkle on his forehead that seemed so out of place for such a beautiful person. His jaw was square and firm and his nose was perfectly straight. The color of cream, his skin was so clear, so pretty. I could not deal with the pain I was causing this person by not remembering him. Slowly, my eyes traced their way down his face, towards his very soft-looking pink lips. I stopped abruptly at a rosy colored scar just below his bottom lip.
A sudden flash of heat overcame me and my mind was filled with images of the two of us in a moment of passion. He and I in bed, our limbs tangled up together, my fingernails ripping through the flesh on his back. My teeth on that lip
; I could taste his mouth on my tongue. My cheeks burned red hot, and my stomach did flip after flip. I slowly moved my hand up to him and placed my finger on his small scar, willing myself to remember more. His eyes shot open at my touch. A small smile crept across his lips and hope twinkled in his eyes. I climbed onto my knees so I could get even closer and my mind showed me picture after picture of the two of us together...
...Our first kiss, private moments spent tucked away in bed, texts with x
’s and o’s, lying on a beach, swinging gently on a hammock, laughing, kissing, crying, our wedding day, and our wedding night. My mind allowed me to see all of him and I knew that I loved this man more than I loved anything in the world. I threw my arms around Ari and pressed my lips to his. Knotting my hands up in the back of his shirt, I breathed him in. His scent was a drug and I was an addict. Parting my lips, I kissed him as fully as I could, wanting to never stop. Cheers rang out from the hallway and distracted me, but Ari pulled me in tighter, refusing to break our embrace.