Redemption Chapter Three

Chapter Three

The ambulance sirens cut through the murmurs of onlookers. Red flickered off the windows of the store and swiped over Molly’s still face. Her chest rose and fell, but she hadn’t opened her eyes since she lost consciousness. Aidan rubbed Cody’s back as his trembling son clung to him. Corbett knelt next to Molly, murmuring something Aidan couldn’t hear.

“I’m sorry,” Cody cried, soft hiccups breaking up the stuttered words. “I wasn’t s’posed to go in the street.”

“It’s okay, buddy.” Aidan checked him over half a dozen times, and other than a few scrapes, couldn’t see any serious wounds. Anger and fear mixed in Aidan, and he wasn’t sure which of the two dominated. Cody seemed to be okay, but Molly definitely wasn’t, and the car hadn’t bothered to stop to check the damage they’d caused.

Krysta stood beside him, eyes wide as she clung to his arm. She’d been the one to take charge, calling the police and paramedics. She always knew what to do in almost any situation. When his wife died, Krysta was the one who made sure he ate, who made sure Cody had someone there, and who made sure found some sort of normalcy in their life.

And yet, Aidan knew he didn’t love her the way he’d loved his wife. Not even close. Honestly, he wasn’t sure he loved her at all. She was intelligent, beautiful, and so sure of herself. Any man would be lucky to have her in their life. Aidan just wasn’t sure if he was meant to be that man.


Deputy Alyssa Miller, Aidan’s best friend since they were kids, pulled up at the same time as the ambulance. She walked over to them, frowning.

“Aidan!” She put her hand on the butt of her gun, eyes searching the growing crowd. “Are you all right? Cody?”

Paramedics rushed out, pushing Corbett out of the way, and tending to Molly. Aidan couldn’t imagine what state his son would be in if Molly hadn’t thrust herself into the street, shoving Cody out of the way. The car took off—hit and run. Aidan hadn’t recognized the maroon vehicle but considering how many tourists were in town for the upcoming Seafood Festival, it wasn’t a surprise. Aidan just hoped someone had caught the license plate. His first instinct had been his son, so he hadn’t gotten a good look.

“We’re okay,” he reassured Alyssa.

Cody had minor injuries—the worst of which were skinned knees and elbows from tumbling across the pavement. Aidan’s heart had stilled in his chest at the sound of tires squealing. He’d seen Cody run but knew there’d be no way for him to get to his son in time. It didn’t stop Aidan from trying. He’d never moved so fast.

The screams had been heart-stopping. Worse even than when he watched his wife, Bernice, wither away from cancer. That had been something he could prepare for—it didn’t make the loss any less, but it hadn’t been an abrupt end where he didn’t get to say goodbye.

“What happened?” Alyssa looked over at the paramedics, now shifting Molly to a gurney.

Cody’s arms tightened around Aidan.

“Can we talk about it at the hospital,” he asked. “I still want Cody to get checked out.”

Alyssa nodded. “Of course. I’ll send the Sheriff over while I deal with the scene here.”

They loaded Molly into the ambulance, Corbett riding along with them.

“I can drive,” Krysta said, and they walked quickly to her car, Aidan sitting in the back with Cody, thanking the guardian angels who’d kept his son safe.


They sat in the waiting room, Cody bandaged and sleeping across two chairs. The events had taken the energy out of him. Aidan leaned his head back against the uncomfortable seat and closed his eyes. The image of Molly lying in the street, blood dripping from her nose and ears painted across the inside of his lids. Her arm had been draped across her chest, wrist at an awkward angle. His heart had stopped, chest tightening. Each second that went by before the ambulance arrived had seemed interminable.

It neared two in the morning. Krysta sat next to him and squeezed his hand. Her slender fingers wrapped around his was a familiar and reassuring presence.

“Babe, why don’t you let me take, Cody home? I’ve got an early morning, and he could use a real bed.”

Aidan smiled a bit, turning his head and prying his eyes open. “That would be great.”

She brushed a strand of blond hair from his eyes, and leaned over, giving him a chaste kiss. Aidan kissed her back but found himself left wanting. Krysta didn’t lack in anything—she was a good woman—smart, kind, and always trying her best. As much as he wanted, though, he couldn’t seem to shake the fact that she wasn’t Bernie. Guilt laced through him. Krysta deserved better than that.

“I’ll help you carry him out.” He stood up.

She waved him off. “Don’t be silly. I’ve got it.”

Adjusting her purse, Krysta walked over and picked Cody up. The boy stirred for a moment, before finding a comfortable spot with his head on her shoulder and fell back asleep.

Krysta rubbed his back. “Call me when they tell you how she is, all right?”

Aidan nodded. “I will.”

She smiled and walked out, leaving him alone in the waiting room. A few others sat around anticipating news of their loved ones. Corbett had gone to the cafeteria to get coffee fifteen minutes ago. Molly’s camera and cell phone were shattered beyond repair, leaving them with no way of getting information about her. The hospital had no records on her to let them know who to contact. That left her with no family or friends to be called until they could find out more about who she was.

Mysterious and beautiful. Her long mahogany hair and dark brown eyes had caught his attention right away. There’d been a sadness in her—the same sort of sadness he’d see in himself when he looked in the mirror sometimes. Aidan found it hard to keep his gaze off her, even with Krysta standing next to him. His mouth had gone dry and for a moment, he thought he might fumble over his words. Aidan hadn’t done something like that since he met Bernie. She’d been the only woman who could knock him off his game.

He wondered what really brought Molly to their town. The timing of her showing up seemed more than just to take photos. Maybe she’d been another victim of Peter Blake’s—she may have lost her mom too. Three other women had their lives cut short by that twisted son of a bitch’s hand. He took a breath and steadied his anger. There was more to her traveling photographer story than she let on he thought, but it wasn’t his place to pry.

Corbett walked over, handing him coffee in a small, Styrofoam cup. He sat down with a groan, his joints creaking from the strain. “Krysta take Cody home?”

He nodded. “Yeah.” Sipping the coffee, he made a face. “Ugh, that’s disgusting.”

“We’ll have to make Heather brew a fresh pot for us later.” Corbett chuckled at Aidan’s grimace.

Aidan’s stepmother had gone to the city to get some supplies she needed for the town’s Wine and Seafood Festival. She was ready to drop everything and come back, but Corbett assured her they’d be fine till she got home in the morning.

Exhaustion crept into Aidan’s bones and he rubbed his face with vigor. All he wanted was to go home and fall into bed. Between the execution and Cody nearly being run down, he was spent. No amount of bad coffee could restore his emotional strength—only a good deep sleep, and maybe a glass of whiskey.

Alyssa showed up instead of the Sheriff. Seemed he was dealing with something else at the time but would be around later to talk to them.

“How’s Cody,” she asked.

“He’s okay,” Aidan said. “Thanks.”

She was a good cop and a good friend. Aidan knew that part of why Alyssa had gone into law enforcement was because of what happened twenty years ago. Her mom was still alive and living in California, but just like the rest of the town, she’d been affected by Blake’s slaughter.

“Do you know anything else about the victim,” she asked them. Even after her own long night, Alyssa’s light brown hair had kept its sleek bun. Her tan uniform didn’t have a wrinkle in it and Aidan wondered if she ever found time to sleep. He wished he had her energy.

He shook his head. “No, but dad talked to her more than I did.”

Corbett shrugged. “Nothing more than what I’ve told you. What about the car that hit her?”

The only description Alyssa had been able to get on the car was that it was an older model, maroon sedan. No one caught the license plate. Exciting things like this didn’t happen in Bellefort. If they were smart, they’d left town. If they weren’t—well, Bellefort was the type of town where people tried to watch out for one another. After Blake, the town tried to rebuild their sense of safety, to take care of the people who lived or visited. They didn’t want any more blood spilled and they wanted it to feel like home again.

“As soon as I learn more, I’ll let you know.” She smiled at them. “Give Cody and Heather my love.”

She hugged them both before leaving. Aidan stared at the double doors that separated them from the main emergency room. At some point a doctor would come through and give them some word about Molly’s condition. She didn’t have any family to be there for her—not until they found out more information and he couldn’t imagine how terrifying it must be for her.

“She’ll be all right,” Corbett put a hand on his shoulder. “That girl there is a survivor.”

“Oh yeah? How do you know?”

“All us survivors got a look about us.” He nodded and sipped his coffee, grimacing. “You’re right, that’s awful.”

Aidan smirked, and nodded, both about the coffee and what his father said about Molly. He ran a hand through his blond hair, now slightly greasy from sweating and not showering. A strand fell near the corner of his eye and he pushed it away.

“Hello, Spencers,” a doctor said as she walked up to them. “Doctor Leslie Noles, at your service. I understand you came in with Miss Molly Harper?”

Corbett nodded. “Yes ma’am.”

“Well,” she said.  “She’s pretty roughed up, but also pretty damn lucky. She’ll be okay.”

They stood, both trying to follow the rapid succession of her words. The woman talked faster than a teenage girl on speed.

“What about family?” Corbett asked.

“I sent her name and ID down to the Sheriff’s station,” she said. “But unless she’s got a record or ran away, it’s not like the family is going to be just sitting around waiting for her. Even if she didn’t check in with someone, people have to be gone for forty-eight hours before they can be reported missing. It’ll take some digging.”

Aidan let out a relieved breath. He didn’t know Molly, but she’d saved his son, and really, that’s all he needed to know. He hoped it wouldn’t take long to find her family. Trying to go through something like this alone would suck, and he wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

“When can we see her?” Corbett asked.

Aidan shoved his hands in his pockets, looking at Dr. Noles.

“You can stay with her if you like. Not like we have anyone else to call as of yet. It’ll probably be nice for her to have someone around when she wakes up.” She tucked a strand of strawberry blond hair behind her ear. “Of course, if she forgets who you are, she might be a little panicked. Temporary amnesia isn’t uncommon with this type of trauma.”

“She doesn’t remember anything?” Aidan felt sick. Molly saved his son.

He hated that she had no one to come and help her—that she had no one for them to call. Everyone deserved to have someone worry about them. Especially when they did something as selfless as saving a child they didn’t know.

He felt like a bad father, having not paid more attention to Cody. He imagined the townspeople whispering how he’d been too occupied with the past that he hadn’t been paying attention to his son. Most days, Aidan peeked his head out the window so much Heather would chastise him for being overprotective, or Corbett went out to watch the boy. He didn’t know how things got away from him today.

Maybe it had been the execution. At first, he hadn’t planned on going. His father said it wouldn’t change anything or bring any sort of closure, Blake would be just another dead man. Corbett didn’t believe in the death penalty. Aidan didn’t know if he did or didn’t, but he just knew he needed to be there. He’d needed to see Blake take his last breath and know that evil man could never again harm another family.

Dr. Noles led them to the room, “We won’t know if her memory has been affected until she wakes up. It’s a possibility we have to take into consideration. If she does experience memory loss it would likely be temporary.”

An IV rested on the back of Molly’s hand, the catheter held down with white medical tape. Monitors and machines surrounded the bed, monitoring vital signs, and beeping in succession with her heart. A wave of remembrance, sitting with his wife day after day in a room exactly like this one, made his chest tighten. He pushed away the past, trying to focus on the present.

Her dark hair splayed around her pale features like a halo. He remembered her having more of a tan before she’d been struck. It made her seem almost like a porcelain doll. A white cast cocooned around her left hand and forearm. Light bruises accented her skin in various spots. His hands tightened, balling into fists at the thought that the person lying in bed, could have been Cody.

Corbett went over and took the seat next to the bed. He brushed a strand of hair out of Molly’s face. Aidan wasn’t surprised. He was sure Corbett held the title of ‘World’s Most Compassionate’. Always the first to help, the first to smile, and the first to forgive. Aidan strived to be like him, but in a lot of ways, he knew he’d always live in his father’s shadow.

Molly’s fingers twitched, and for a brief moment, the heart rate monitor went up, but soon it evened out, along with her breathing. He’d hoped she’d wake up, but it didn’t seem like her body was ready to do so.

His wife, rest her soul, had she been here, would have been just as compassionate as Corbett. Aidan found himself at a distance, not going near the bed, despite the fact that he wanted to. Dr. Noles said Molly would be all right, and Aidan didn’t know her very well, but something deep inside was frightened that Molly would die, that he wouldn’t be able to help her the same way he hadn’t been able to help his mother.

A childish fear, he knew, but he couldn’t help it. It had been a fear that stuck with him, and again, with his wife, he’d been able to do nothing as the sickness took her. Maybe that was part of the reason he distanced himself from Krysta. He couldn’t stand to be helpless while another woman he cared about died.

Now, this stranger who came into their life to save him from another tragedy, lay in bed, and all he could do was stand there, drinking bad coffee, and wait. Aidan wondered if he were somehow cursed. He seemed to be common denominator in all of this. His mother, his wife, and now this woman he’d just met.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Aidan ran his fingers through his hair. He needed to get away from the smell of antiseptic and the looming feeling of sickness. After Bernie, hospitals were a hard place for him to be.  “I’m going to go home to be with Cody.”

Corbett nodded. “I’ll stay with her in case she wakes up.”

“Are you sure?”

Another nod. “She saved my grandson’s life. I’m not going to leave her to wake up alone.”

A stream of guilt washed through Aidan’s veins, but it didn’t outweigh the memories of sitting vigil by his wife’s bed. “All right. I’ll have Heather come by in the morning.”

“I’ll let you know if there’s any change.”

Aidan looked over at Molly for a long moment, taking in her chest rising and falling. She’d be all right. Corbett was right—something about her screamed survivor.

“Night, dad.” Aidan walked out, keeping his eyes focused on the red exit sign as he walked down the hallway. He needed to get out before the place consumed him.

Stay Tuned for Chapter Four!

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