Authors: P. J. Belden
P. J. Belden
© P. J. Belden 2014
Tough Love (#4 Hidden Secrets series)
Copyright © P. J. Belden 2014
Cover Image (Lake) by
Cover Designed by P. J. Belden
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locale is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages for review purposes only.
This book is for my girl Shannon. We aren’t always handed the best in life, but making the best out of what we have is what’s important. You are a beautiful person on the outside as well as you are on the inside. So my thank you for you… I give you Jackson!
Hehehe I hope you enjoy the story. <3 Hugs! <3
To my husband and incredible kids, the love and belief you have in me is empowering and keeps me pushing ahead. I love you all so very much!
*Author Note* Though Shannon’s name is based on a real life person that is where the similarities end. Nothing in this book happened specifically to the real Shannon.
you look back at your life, what will you see? For me, I would see all the things that I couldn’t do. I will see all the things that I put last. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I wouldn’t change them for the world, but the fact of the matter was I needed (and deserved) a life. My family has always come first for me, but today I was going to put myself first and start my life on the track it should have been years ago.
though all my dreams and all my goals have been put on hold up until this point, didn’t mean they weren’t still there. They were just buried. They were just hidden for a little bit. Not many people I went to school with understood why I put myself last all the time. Not many understood the choices I have made in my life, but it was okay. They were my choices to make and my consequences to carry throughout my life.
family has consumed my life, leaving me behind to try and find a crumb of a moment for just me. Please don’t get me wrong. I regret no decision that I have made. Each one has been for a just reason, but I’m not a little girl anymore. It was time that I ventured out and claimed the world around me. It was time to become Shannon Angel Mitchell.
can you come in here?”
you know I hate that. Call me Shanny or Shannon nothing else. Just because my initials spell out Sam doesn’t mean I have to be called it. Sam is a boy’s name.”
you are grumpy today aren’t you?”
do you want mama?”
mom was beautiful. She may not be model thin or beauty, but she was absolutely gorgeous for a fifty year old woman. She had long silver hair. No, I don’t mean gray, I mean silver. It was an odd color but so beautiful. Margret Mitchell was beautiful indeed. Her bright hazel eyes stood out against her silver hair and fair complexion. She was medium height and over the years had let go of her athletic figure she had when I was younger. She was still beautiful to me though.
need you to take your brother to his appointments this month. Your father and I are going to go on vacation. He loves you going with him to places.”
I came here to tell you I just can’t do it anymore. I need to break off and do things on my own mom. I’m twenty-six years old and I can barely live in my own place right now. I had plans mom. I wanted to go to college to become a lawyer and all of that. Hell, I haven’t even dated in five years. I love you and dad. It has been hard on you guys, but it’s been hard on me too. Sebastian and Atreyu mean the world to me, but mom they are my brothers not my kids.”
you are the only one that Sebastian trusts around him. If he was like Atreyu things would be different and you know it. But they aren’t and you are our only option. Why do you have to pick now to claim the selfish card?”
statement shocked me and my mouth dropped open. “Excuse me? I’m selfish? You are sitting here throwing a fit because you aren’t getting your way, but I’m the selfish one? I hardly think so. I have done more with Sebastian than any of you have and even Atreyu. I have put my life on hold for them as well, all of my life the minute the boys were born. How can you seriously sit here and tell me I’m selfish?”
mother glared at me. This is not the normal way my mother acted. She has always told everyone what a great daughter I was and all that good junk, but not today. Today she felt I wasn’t a good daughter apparently. I have given up everything to help them with Sebastian and Atreyu. My mom had had her tubes tied after countless miscarriages. They settled on the fact that I was the only child they would have.
om went to the doctors for a routine screen and found out that she was pregnant. At first they were completely shocked. Neither really said much for a few months. Other than ‘forty-five and I’m pregnant’ or my father saying ‘fifty and having another child’. It wasn’t until they went in for the first ultrasound that they started to get excited and then when they went in to find out the sex of the baby, they found out they were having twin boys. It was a shock for all of us, but they found their footing and got excited about the pregnancy.
love my brothers and will do anything for them, but I needed to find me at some point.
horn sounded down below and mom started gathering things. She walked with a few bags to the door and without turning around she said, “Give us this time and after that you can have all the time you need. You are far from selfish, Shanny, but your dad and I just need to have this moment to reconnect.” Then she walked out the door and that was that.
am now stuck here attending to my brothers while my mom and dad have fun doing whatever they were set off to do. How fair was it that I wasn’t even asked to take care of my brother, just expected to do it?
Shan Shan.” I hear from behind me.
frustrated growl sounds throughout the apartment before I stomped into the kitchen to start preparing lunch for the boys that my mother conveniently didn’t do. Slamming a pan on the stove, I grabbed out the bread and slammed the door to the bread box shut. Then grabbed cheese and butter from the fridge and slammed the fridge door shut. I know real mature for an adult, but right now I didn’t feel like one.
Shan Shan,” came the shaky slur from behind me.
was so angry at my mom and dad right now, but I couldn’t take it out on my brothers. My mom and dad were going to get an ear full when they got back from their trip. Turning around I smiled at my brother, Sebastian. They were adorable boys. They looked just like my dad only with my mom’s eyes. Their reddish colored hair made their bright hazel eyes pop. They were even tall for their tender ages of three, but so darn skinny. These boys ate like freaking pigs too, but always seemed to look like they get nothing at all.
Bass, how’d your play group go?”
didn’t go because mom said you were coming over to spend time with us,” he said, fidgeting with his shirt not looking at me.
am. We are going to have a month of just me and you guys. How’s that sound?”
Are you angry?”
not at all sweetie. You know how much I love you and Atreyu. I love being around you guys. Nothing makes me happier.”
Sebastian said finally looking at me.
buddy. Now do you want to help me make lunch?”
clapped his hands and moved by me to help make his favorite grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was a simple meal to make, but for Sebastian it meant it was something he could do on his own and be ‘normal’. The little things pleased Sebastian and that made cheering him up so much easier than Atreyu.
* * *
Two weeks later, we are heading back home from another appointment for Sebastian and Atreyu. Exhaustion doesn’t even begin to cover how I am feeling right now. Anger built up inside me the longer the time carried on. Sebastian’s night terrors have gotten worse since the last time I had him overnight. On a single hand I could probably count the hours I have slept.
in the driveway, I dragged myself up the steps on the porch and dug in my purse for the keys. Honestly, I think I’m to the point of hating my parents for never thinking of me. Just as I found the keys in my purse, I could hear the phone ringing from outside the door. Hurriedly I unlocked the door and ran for the phone.
I said, panting.
Who is this?”
name is Officer Lake. Ma’am, I need you to come down to the police station. We have something we need to talk to you about.”
guy was talking in circles and all I wanted to do was get the boys down for a nap so maybe I can get a little nap myself. Instead, I have an officer on the phone that for whatever reason didn’t want to just come out with whatever he called for.
sorry Sir, but I can’t. I have my brothers and they can’t be left unattended and they have a schedule to stick to. Is there a way that someone could come here or tell me over the phone?”
it is about your parents…”
are vacationing right now. They won’t be back for another two weeks, but when they do, I will have them call you to discuss whatever this is.”
really need to get going. I’ll have my parents call-”
parents died today,” the officer blurted.
stilled, my grip tightening on the phone. “What?” I breathed.
officer went on to tell me that my parents were on a hike this morning and my mother had gotten too close to the edge when the ledge gave out. My father caught her wrist, but as he tried to pull her back up to safety the ledge gave away more and they both fell fifty feet. They were rescued, but went into cardiac arrest on the operating tables.
world stopped. My hatred for them leaving was what killed them. I killed my parents. Now I had to tell Sebastian and Atreyu that our parents would never be back again. My legs gave out and I dropped the phone. I was freezing, but it was radiating from inside of me. My heart shattered in my chest. My body shook as tears fell to the floor just like the pieces of my heart had done earlier.
felt little arms wrap around me and was surprised to find it was Sebastian hugging me. Atreyu wrapped his arms around me only moments later. I would spend the rest of my life doing right by them. They would have nothing to worry about. I’ll be here for them always. Only weeks ago I wanted to take a hold of my life and now part of my life has been torn from me. It really puts things in perspective for me.
will come between me and my little brothers. When my parents looked down on me, they would see that I put them first like they had since they were born. I would raise them like they would have. It was my fault they were no longer here. I took the very people that gave us life away from us because I wanted to be selfish. I was selfish and now I lost two very important people to me that I loved more than anything in the world.