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Authors: Kate Benson

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #War, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Military

The Commitment

BOOK: The Commitment
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The Commitment

by

Kate Benson

Copyright © 2014 by Kate Benson

All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission or the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Editing and formatting by Chasing Sophie Publications
©

For Sophie

“When you find your forever, you just know.”

~
Jack Walker
, The Promise by Kate Benson

Chapter One

Sophie

“Are you sure you’re okay to drive, Soph?” Ana asks as we make our way down the steps toward her Jeep.

“Yeah,” I sniff, wiping my tearstained cheeks with the back of my hand as I pull the driver’s door open and rush to turn the key in the ignition.

Lowering the volume on the radio that is blaring Ana’s favorite pop music, I glance over at her, making sure she’s secured her seat belt before peeling out of the parking lot.

For the first few moments, nothing much is said aside from the occasional expletive from my best friend as she takes in my hasty driving. Much sooner than I think, we manage to make it through the unusually light traffic and onto the highway.

Once the city begins to shrink behind us, I hear the soft sobs coming from her. Reaching over to grab her hand, I do my best to offer her comfort, not surprised when I’m met with the deeper cries that flee from her chest.

“I can’t believe Lucy’s gone, Soph,” Ana whispers from beside me in the passenger seat. “I just talked to her. We just saw her and she seemed to be doing so much better.”

“I know,” I manage, my voice cracking with emotion.

“Debbie didn’t say …?”

“No,” I admit, quickly swiping my tears away on my shoulder and keeping my eyes on the road. “She just said… She just said...” I try in vain, my chest constricting as I struggle to get the next part out. “She just said I had to come and get JT.”

“Are you sure you’re okay to drive, Honey?”

“Yes,” I manage, releasing her hand for a moment to use the sleeve of my cotton shirt to wipe my eyes clear again. “We don’t have time to pull over…”

“Sophie, you can’t drive…”

“I have to get to him,” I argue, cutting her off and doing my best to compose myself. “I’ll be fine. I just need to get to JT.”

“Okay,” she says quietly, weeping right along with me.

We’re on the road for what seems like forever but is likely only twenty minutes when I break the silence.

“Shit!” I blurt, remembering I’d been on the phone with Chase when my aunt called. “Ana, can you text Chase? He’s probably freaking the hell out.”

“Yeah,” she says, retrieving my phone from my purse. “It’s almost dead and you have like a million missed calls.”

“Please just let him know we’re okay,” I tell her as I press my foot down further on the gas. “Tell him I love him and I’ll call him when I can.”

As I look up and take in the mile marker on the side of the road, I let out a long breath.

We’re already halfway to Camden.

 

Chase

My mind is absolutely reeling as I climb into my truck and make my way as quickly as possible toward the highway.

One of the tests was positive.

I’ve tried Sophie’s cell phone at least another half dozen times since I walked into that bathroom with no luck at all. I know she can’t be too far ahead of me, fifteen minutes at the most, but until I talk to her, I’ll be a wreck.

She’s driving and she’s upset and one of the tests was positive. Why the hell isn’t she answering her phone?

“Any luck yet?” I hear Drake’s voice through the speaker of Jack’s cell phone.

“No,” I hear him admit quietly as I watch the dial on my speedometer climb past eighty. “We’re still trying.”

“Well, I’ve just left the hotel and they’re not there,” Drake says through the speaker. “I’m getting on the highway now.”

As Jack ends the call, I keep my eyes peeled for Ana’s Jeep but it’s still nowhere in sight. Silence fills the truck as we fly as fast as the engine will allow us.

“Hey man,” I say quietly, glancing over to find his eyes rising to meet mine. “I’m sorry about Lucy.”

“Thanks,” he says quietly, clearing his throat. “She’d been sick for a while, but I think all of us kind of thought she’d get through it. We hoped, anyway.”

“Yeah, Sophie…” I start, unable to swallow the lump in my throat as I imagine what my girl’s going through right now.

Luckily, I’m not made to as he nods his head.

“Yeah, I know,” he says quietly before returning his gaze out the window.

I’m about to respond when my phone chimes, notifying me of a text. Taking a quick look, I see Sophie’s face flashing across my screen and let out a sigh of relief.

It’s Ana. Soph and I are okay, we’re halfway to Camden, she said she’ll call when she can and she loves you.

“How long has it been since we left the office?” I ask him, keeping my eyes trained in front of me on the road.

“Twenty… Thirty minutes tops,” Jack says quietly. “We’re making good time though. I think we’re nearly halfway there.”

I watch my speedometer climb to ninety and thank God for light traffic.

 

Drake

As the phone begins ringing, I’m relieved when I see Sophie’s name scroll across the display on my radio.

“Please tell me she’s with you,” I say into the hands free.

“It’s me, Babe,” I hear Analise’s soft voice through my speaker.

“Thank Christ,” I say, relief filling my veins as I hear her voice. “I’ve been worried sick about you, Baby. Where are you?”

“We’re on the way to Camden,” she starts, her voice wavering. “Lucy…”

“I know, Love. I’m so sorry,” I offer, wishing like hell I was with her right now. “I just left Houston and will be with you as soon as I can.”

Hearing her begin to cry softly into the phone, I press harder onto the accelerator.

“Thank you. We’re a little over halfway there now,” she tells me. “I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner. Sophie’s phone was going dead and I left mine at the office.”

“I know. I found it in the bathroom. I have it with me,” I admit, listening to the silence on the other end as she puts two and two together.

“Drake,” she starts softly. “I was going to tell you, I just…”

“We’ll talk about it when I see you,” I offer, my mind reeling as I realize what this could mean for us. “Just get there safely. I see your Jeep and Chase’s truck. I’m right behind you.”

“Okay,” she whispers into the line, turning to see me coming up behind them.

“I love you, Analise,” I say, holding her eyes as they find mine.

“I love you, too.”

As she ends the call, let out another breath of relief and feel my chest fill up again with more worry. I meant every word I told Analise this morning in my office. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her, including raising a child, but it’s never been something I’ve wanted.

My dear old dad didn’t stick around long enough to impart much wisdom on me, but there is one thing that I did learn from him early on.

The Mitchell men excel at many things. Fatherhood just isn’t always one of them.

 

Chase

As I watch Sophie pull onto the road that will take us to Lucy’s, I can’t stop the breath of relief that leaves me. Between the news of Lucy’s passing, finding the pregnancy tests at the office and watching her drive ninety for the past twenty minutes while her chest heaved with sobs, I’m a nervous wreck.

She speeds onto the street, barely stopping before she’s out of the Jeep. I pull up behind her and watch her break out into a full sprint towards the front door, calling for her godson.

“JT?” she calls out, the desperation in her voice breaking my heart.

A police officer stops her as I catch up, saying something I can’t quite make out.

“I’m Sophia Ryan,” she explains, looking past him to the door he won’t let her to.

“I don’t care who you are,” he spits out rudely. “This is a police matter, ma’am.”

“Sheriff Shepherd!” she shouts, causing us to jump as she continues to try and push past him.

The officer restrains her, sending my protective streak into overdrive. I’m rushing toward them to come to her defense, but she quickly reminds me she doesn’t need saving as she turns her head to face him.

“Listen, you’re obviously new to both Camden and the whole cop thing,” she spits back. “But if you don’t get your fucking hands off me and let me to my godson, your day is about to get a whole lot harder.”

“Excuse me?”

“Hey! Let them through,” we hear from a heavyset older man in uniform as he jogs towards us. “Sophie, he’s in the backyard, Honey.”

“Thank you, Mr. Shepherd,” she manages to call out to the officer I assume is Matt’s father.

Releasing her from his grip, she runs past them and finds him on the swing set. When her steps slow, a small sob escapes her as he glances up and their teary eyes meet.

For the first time since I’ve met them, he doesn’t rush into her arms.

 

Sophie

As I gently pull him from his spot on the swing and into my arms, JT’s little chest begins to rack with sobs. Sitting on the wood mulch that’s beneath the massive swing set I got him for his birthday, I hold him to my chest. I hold him tighter than I ever have before, unable to stop the tears from falling.

“My Sweet Pea,” I whisper into his golden hair. “Oh my sweet, brave boy I love you so much.”

His little hands grip my shoulders as he begins to wail, his pain piercing straight through to my soul. He says very little, the occasional call for his mother or my name, but in this moment, his silence speaks volumes only certain hearts can understand.

We sit beneath the trees for a long while, the darkened sky bringing a slight breeze as the temperature gradually begins to fall. With the exception of Chase bringing a jacket over to wrap around us and kiss my hair, we’re left alone. When he falls asleep, exhausted from his sorrow, I lift him in my arms and make my way across the grass to where Chase is waiting beneath the tree.

Without a word, we walk to the truck and I climb into the backseat with JT still in my arms. Pulling the seatbelt around us, I position the jacket so it’s covering his back and hold him tightly.

“Sweetheart, I don’t know if that’s safe…”

“Drive slow,” I whisper, barely recognizing my own voice. “He can’t sleep in this house and I’m not letting him go.”

His aqua gaze holds mine and after a brief moment, he slowly nods.

“Okay, Baby,” he says softly before securing the seat in front of us, closing us in.

Eventually, we make it to the hotel and Chase leads us to our room. He pulls the covers back on the bed silently as I kick my shoes off and sit on the bed. Keeping him close to my chest, I hold him in my arms, calming his gentle whimpers with the soft hum of our song in his hair. When he finally falls into a deep sleep, I glance up to find Chase sitting in the chair beside the bed, his eyes already locked on mine.

“I love you, Sophie,” he whispers.

“I love you, too,” I mouth, holding his eyes as a tear falls down my cheek.

Standing to make his way over to me, he crouches next to the bed. Careful not to disturb JT, he gently wipes my face clean and cups my cheek in his hand. I can tell there’s something he wants to say, but he doesn’t. Instead, he simply holds my eyes and runs his hand over my forehead, pushing the hair away from my face.

As my eyes begin to grow heavy, I turn my head slightly to kiss his palm and he lets out a small sigh. Standing slightly, he leans over and presses his lips to my temple.

“Everything’s gonna be okay, Baby,” he says softly, leaning back to meet my eyes again.

“How?” I manage.

Letting out a breath, he searches my face before his eyes fall back to mine.

“Never forget, Sweetheart,” he whispers. “You and me, okay?”

The gravity of everything hitting me all at once with his words making me unable to speak, I simply nod.

“Get some rest, Princess,” he whispers before settling back into the chair beside the bed.

The last thing I see as I drift off are his azure eyes gazing into mine.

BOOK: The Commitment
12.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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