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Authors: Danielle Girard

Tags: #Fiction, #Historical, #Literary

Chasing Darkness (43 page)

BOOK: Chasing Darkness
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Derek
cried beside her.

Nick
reached in to try to take the gun and Sam heard the sound of sirens in the
background. The backup had arrived.

Derek
heard it too, lifting his gun again. It shook in his hand. “I can’t go to
prison. I can’t.”

“You’re
not going to have to, Derek,” Sam said, though Derek had moved away from her.
“I’m going to help you. We’ll keep you safe. You’re still under eighteen. We
can keep you out of prison.” She thought about the promise she was making. They
tried children as adults for crimes much less severe than Derek’s.

“Please,
Der. It’ll be okay,” Rob added, taking a step forward.

“Don’t,”
Derek snapped, tears still streaming down his face. “Leave me.” He started to
back out of the kitchen toward the front door.

“Come
on, Derek,” Sam said, following him. “Put the gun down.”

“I
can’t, Sam. I have to go. I can’t stay—not after what I’ve done. I’m sorry. I’m
so sorry.” Derek turned and ran, pulling the front door open as Sam and Rob and
Nick all rushed after him.

Nick
reached the door first and screamed to the backup, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”

Sam
reached the door in time to watch Derek lift the gun and aim it at one of the
squad cars.

“No,”
she shouted. “Don’t—”

The
pop of gunshots cut her off and she watched as Derek was knocked to the ground
by the bullets. She closed her eyes and felt herself fall backward. “Oh, God.”

“No!”
Rob screamed, trying to push past them.

Nick
grabbed him and held him in the doorway, shielding his face from the sight of
his dead brother.

Sam
couldn’t move, couldn’t look away. “No. Not Derek. No,” she whispered.

Rob
sobbed and Nick held him as Sam slowly sank to the floor. She reached up and
took Rob’s hand, pulling him toward her. She didn’t care about the pain in her
arm. She held him there as tight as she could, as though somehow by holding
him, she could protect him from everything that had just happened.

They
only had each other now and that would have to be enough.

Epilogue

Eight
Months Later

 

Sam
clasped Rob’s hand in hers as they walked out of the therapist’s office. They
each felt a bit lighter every month. Some days were bad, others were better. It
amazed her what things Dr. Hessel could get Rob to talk about. They often cried
and occasionally laughed in their sessions. Mostly, they worked through a
lifetime of built-up hurt. She hoped Derek could see them from wherever he was.
And she hoped he was finally in a place away from the pain.

As
they neared the street, Sam could see Nick leaning against his Honda. She and
Nick were doing better than she’d ever thought they would. He had transferred
to work under a different captain after managing to come up with enough on
Cintrello to get him reprimanded. Sam appreciated the effort. It turned out
that Gary Williams was partly responsible for Cintrello’s poor opinion of Sam.
Williams and Cintrello had worked on a handful of cases together in their
younger days, and Williams had done a pretty good job of making Sam sound like
the devil to Cintrello. But Sam didn’t feel bad for the captain. A good captain
would have checked his sources more carefully.

Williams
was in jail, awaiting trial on six felony charges, including attempted murder.
But Sam wouldn’t be happy until he was behind bars for life. Aaron, on the
other hand, was enjoying the celebrity status he’d gotten in the papers. And
he’d met a woman reporter who was going to train for the next marathon with
him. Sam was working on a handful of cases on a consulting basis. She wasn’t
ready to be back in the thick of it yet. She wasn’t sure she ever would be. She
and Rob would deal with that as time passed.

“I
thought I’d take my two favorite people to Chevy’s,” Nick said as they
approached.

Rob
looked at Sam and she nodded.

“Yeah,”
Rob said. The tears had left tiny streaks on his cheeks. She was sure her own
were no better, but neither she nor Nick mentioned them. Instead, Nick patted
Rob’s back and handed him the keys to the Honda. “You want to drive?”

“Sure.”

“I’m
sitting in the back,” Sam said, teasing.

“I
was going to call backseat,” Nick countered.

“Very
funny,” Rob said, tossing the keys into the air and catching them again.

Sam
got into the backseat and buckled her seatbelt as Rob started the car and
pulled out into the street. The boys’ talk turned to baseball, and Sam leaned
back and watched the streets pass. The trees had lost their leaves, and now the
days brought more rain than sun. Christmas had gone by in a blur of dark days,
and the three of them had gone to the mountains for a week to be away from the
hoopla of the season. They’d celebrated by exchanging letters about the things
they were thankful for. And then Sam broke down and got Rob a new computer and
Nick bought him two games to play on it. She had to admit Rob looked very
excited to see a real present on Christmas morning, and the games had provided
good fun for them when they needed a distraction. And fun was a hard-won
luxury.

They
thought a lot about what to do on the anniversary of Derek’s death, but so far
they hadn’t come up with anything appropriate. And they hadn’t tackled Derek’s
room yet. Sam and Rob often met in there to talk about what had happened and
what made Derek do the things he’d done. She still smoothed his bed covers and
straightened his books as though he might be coming home any day. Rob had said
he would help her clean it out when they were ready. She knew the time would
feel right eventually.

It
seemed to help Rob that Nick was with them as much as he could be. It helped
Sam too. Since Derek’s death, Nick had spent all but half a dozen nights at
their house. First on the couch, but more recently, he’d started to share Sam’s
bed. They hadn’t been intimate again, but she knew they would be.

“You
guys want to go see the Raiders this weekend?” Nick asked.

“The
Raiders? I hear their fans are insane,” Sam said, not interested.

She
could see Rob’s eyebrows rise in the rearview mirror. “Insane, like what?”

Nick
shrugged. “They’re pretty crazy.”

“Cool,”
Rob said.

Sam
shook her head.

“Come
on, Sam. It’ll be fun,” Nick pleaded, smirking.

“You
guys know how much I hate football.”

“But
you love us,” Rob countered.

She
met Rob’s eyes in the rearview mirror. “I do love you,” she whispered.

Nick’s
head spun and he looked at her.

She
nodded. “And you.”

Rob
and Nick exchanged a look and laughed. “She said she loves us,” Rob teased.
“She’ll definitely go to the game now.”

“Yeah.
She must be insane to tell us that.” Nick looked back at Sam. “Are you okay?”

She
crossed her arms and shook her head at their antics. “Fine.”

He
looked at Rob, who shrugged and said, “Maybe she’s having a brain stroke or
something.”

Sam
laughed and shook her head. “No strokes back here. Just following the doctor’s
advice and sharing my feelings.”

“Wish
we had a recorder,” Nick said, winking.

“Yeah,”
Rob agreed. “At least you’ve got a witness in case she ever denies it.”

“There’s
no denying it,” Sam said. “I love you both.”

“Definitely
a brain stroke,” Nick said.

“Definitely,”
Rob agreed, grinning as he pulled into Chevy’s parking lot.

BOOK: Chasing Darkness
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