We were sitting on the bank of the beach. It was a warm day and I was greasing Peyton up with suntan lotion. No baby burning today. My brothers all had run in the second we got there. I sat down on the sand as I laid down my towel putting her into a little swimmer. She smiled putting her hands in the warm sand as I pulled on little shoes I had picked up to protect her little feet. “Mama.” She smiled looking out at the boys.
“Almost done sweetheart.” The whole family was here. It is a hot day so most of the town that could spear the time is here. I sat Peyton up smiling. We had this little umbrella that hid the sun was up for when it was nap time and she needed out of the sun. A little sun won’t hurt. Reese was sitting next to me with his laptop out as he typed away working. “Are you coming in?” I asked him. He looked very unprofessional in just his swimsuit.
“After I finish this.” I nodded sadly. I kind of hoped that he would put away his laptop and come with us but I guess I’ll have to wait. If he even comes in. Peyton loves the water. It’s her favorite thing since she was a baby. I’d put her in the bath tub and she’s splash her heart out. I stepped into the cool water as Levi came swimming over to us as Peyton kicked her feet in the water giggling.
“Look at my little niece.” He smiled at her putting his arms out. I had her move into his arms as she smiled at his kisses on her cheeks. “Look at you pretty baby.” He smiled lifting her out of the water holding her above him.
“Be careful with her Levi.” I said as he moved out into deeper water. I knew he had a strong hold on her and I knew this lake is safe, but that’s my baby.
“I will no worries. We would go too far out. Archer saw some fish that were at the bottom, I’m going to show her.” I shook my head as he winked. She attracted the girls of this town and Levi just loves when the girls are attracted. Boys. I shook my head as someone lifted me off the ground.
“I’m sorry.” He kissed my neck.
“For what?” I asked turning in his arms. He smiled at me sitting us down in the shallow water.
“Working. We’re here together and I’m working.” He shook his head leaning his head on my back.
“It’s nothing Reese. I understand you work, it’s your job. Married to the job are you?” He kissed my shoulder.
“Not always. It’s just I’m trying to help a friend out with business. It’s just a tiring thing right now. It’s getting to me.” I leaned my head back to look at him.
“I understand Reese. I really do. You don’t have to explain it to me.” He turned me around.
“Just because you ‘understand’ don’t mean you aren’t hurt.” I looked down. “I love you Sweetheart. I don’t like seeing you hurt.” I looked up at him biting my lip. “We need to work this so we work. I can’t leave, not now.”
“You feel trapped….” He shook his head.
“No, I don’t feel trapped Halyn. I feel happy.” He smiled kissing me. “I feel I have a family, which I take care of.” He leaned his head against mine. “I have my own family now. I love it. I love waking up with you. I love walking down the hall and seeing Peyton sleeping or waiting for me. It’s like my dreams have finally come true.”
“How’d I find you?” I asked him smiling as he tickled me.
“I don’t know but you sure are lucky.” I looked back as I heard the movement of water and a body sitting next to us.
“Afternoon Sis.” Holden said looking out to the lake. Levi came over with Peyton as she started to get fussy. “We should go on the bank out of view.” He stood up taking Peyton. I knew to always trust my brother when he used that tone of voice. Reese looked out to where my brother was looking before following us. He sat me down before handing me Peyton putting his body in front of mine blocking my view as well as the view of someone else. I pulled out Peyton’s towel and wrapped it around her as she squirmed for her bottle. I made it giving it to her looking up at Holden looked around him.
“Who?” He turned to look at me before sighing.
“That douche that followed the other douche around.” He turned back to look. Reese looked confused. I never did give him the story. It was the hardest thing to do. To tell my story hurts more than reliving it. It kills me to just remember what happened, let alone speak of it.
“But he’s…” He shook his head.
“I don’t see him around.” Peyton looked at me as she sucked away before looking at Reese moving her arms around.
“Good.” Holden turned to look at Reese. His eyes flickered to me as I looked down ashamed.
“Peyton’s father.” He shook his head putting his arms over his knees.
“Have you looked at the car?” He blinked at me snapping out of his glare for behind him.
“Yeah. The engines shot. I don’t know if I can fix it. We might just need to buy another.” I sighed. I hate that car. We’ve been able to fix it for the past 5 years. Not it’s dead and I need a new engine. Makes this day better and better. “But I’ll see what I can do.” I nodded. Holden turned back again as Dad came over.
“Why do you keep glaring over there?” He asked sitting next to me as I held Peyton close to my body.
“Nate’s here.” He said shortly. Dad’s face dropped before turning to stone. That’s the one thing that Dad could never keep his cool on. Lucas and his best bud Nate. The scum of our town, as they all say. I never really knew how we even came to be friends before everything went into a relationship. It started freshman year and my brothers hated him. He showed me attention when no one who wasn’t related to would. But even at home you could easily be left out quickly. He showed me what I thought was love. I graduated and we moved in together. That’s when everything went south. It crumbled like a cookie in milk.
Lucas had, has, a temper. He always had trouble controlling it. I always thought I was just special to him. That’s why I got away from it. But it’s because he needed me not to see it till I had stuck, trapped. But he knew I wouldn’t tell anyone. I overheard him talking once saying that’s why he chose me. Because I wouldn’t talk back or fight. And he was right. “Can we talk alone, guys?” I looked at them. They moved enough to be a safe ways away but out of earshot. I looked at Reese.
“It all started when he came home drunk one night. I was reading a book getting ready for bed when he came in.” I shook my head. “He must have gotten mad or someone kicked him out of the bar. He was pissed when he came in. He took it all out on me. Every pinch of his anger was taken out of my body.” Reese stared at me. “I let him. That’s where it all started. I got scared. I stopped seeing my brothers, my family. I distanced myself from them, to protect them. I was terrified of what he would do. It was about 19 months ago though when it all fell to rock bottom. He was high.” I could feel the tears. “He was losing it. Going crazy. He didn’t know who I was.” I tried to take a calming breath. Reese reached out and held me.
“Halyn.” I looked up at him.
“Oh Reese. Peyton’s a rape baby.” I put my face against his shoulder. He moved Peyton out of my arms as Dad came to take her. “I didn’t know what to do.” He held me close to him.
“Oh god. It’s going to be okay.” I shook my head.
“It didn’t get better.” He lifted my face up.
“How did you get out?” I closed my eyes.
“I can’t.” I shook my head. “Not yet. It hurts too much.” He nodded.
“I’m not pushing you. Take your time.” I took a calming breath. “I’m here for you.” I kissed him.
“I love you.” I opened my eyes to see the one first my brother had been protecting me from staring right at me before they shifted to Reese. His face turned to that familiar hard star before he turned away pulling out his cell phone…..
Dad had sent me to go pick up some papers from one of the owners of the bars. It was something he needed before we could get a shipment out. I went to the bar before it opened to get in and out. I opened the open bar door walking in. “Mr. Harris?” I called into the bar looking around. “I’m here to pick up the papers.” I walked over to the bar picking up the folder with ‘Meyers’ written on it. Simple enough. The front door shut making me jump and turn away. My heart stopped flat in my chest making me hold onto the counter as I started to panic.
“Miss me?” He smirked locking the door behind him.
A/N: Well, this is the end of the first book. Sorry it’s short and all. I don’t know when the next book will be out but it’ll be soon. So for now, I love you all. We’ll all be seeing Halyn, Reese, and little Peyton. <3