Chapter 12: It's Not Over

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 103

“Jason Weston?” Carter asked, not lowering his gun. “Your father who disappeared twelve years ago, Jason Weston?”

“Yes,” Jason confirmed. “Look, it’s a long story, and I would love to explain, but first I would like to talk to my son.”

Carter hesitated. Then, slowly, hesitantly, he lowered his gun and put it back in its holster.

“It’ll just take a minute,” Sam told the detective, smiling encouragingly.

Again, Carter hesitated, then he nodded, walking out into the hallway with the Collins’. He closed the door behind him, but Sam knew he would be watching through the window.

Sam turned to Jason. “Hi, Dad,” he grinned. Jason laughed slightly and walked over to him, wrapping him in a tight hug. Sam winced at the pain in his ribs, but hugged him back anyway. Finally, Jason pulled away and sat down beside him.

“What were you thinking, jumping off of that cliff? You almost gave me a heart attack,” Jason said, his voice low.

“I was thinking I had to save Ali,” Sam replied. He looked down, “But I guess I didn’t do such a good job...”

“Don’t say that,” Jason said firmly. “It wasn’t your fault. She’s going to be fine. She’s a strong kid.”

“It is my fault, Dad. I would have gotten to her a hell of a lot sooner, and I could have saved her, but I slowed down,” Sam muttered, unable to meet his father’s gaze.

Jason looked puzzled. “Why did you do that?” he asked.

Sam paused, shame burning in his chest. Then he sighed, “Because I trusted Scarlett,” Sam admitted. The words tasted like acid in his mouth. Jason looked shocked as Sam continued, “She got into my dream, told me who she was, and I knew I couldn’t trust her. I knew I couldn’t. But she said she wanted to help me. She’s the reason you got into Ian’s place undetected. So, I stupidly gave her a chance. At first she was great. She told me who some of the major players were in Ian’s clan, she told me a lot of stuff about Ian, she told me where some of the holes were in the clan, everything. I started to trust her. I don’t know why I did. But anyway, I saw Ali get stabbed, and I ran to her, but then I saw Scarlett come out of nowhere and save her, so I slowed down. If I hadn’t slowed down, I could have gotten there before she pushed her, and she’d be awake right now.”

Jason was silent for a moment. “You can’t be so hard on yourself. You’re only seventeen. You couldn’t have known. She tricked you. It’s not your fault,” he said finally, his voice soothing.

“Stop saying that it’s not my fault,” Sam muttered. “It is my fault. It’s my fault Ali’s in a coma, it’s my fault Jake almost got killed, and it’s my fault Mom’s dead.”

Jason stared at his son in shock. “Why would you think it was your fault Grace died?” he asked, stunned.

Sam sighed. “The day of the car accident, I got in a fight at school. Some stupid guy was bullying one of my friends, and he wouldn’t back off. It was stupid. But Mom left early that day because of it. If I hadn’t been so stupid, she’d still be alive. And if I hadn’t slowed down and I hadn’t trusted Scarlett, Ali would be awake right now. And if I hadn’t–” Sam began. Jason cut him off.

“Stop it, Sam,” he said firmly. “Look at me,” he commanded. Sam paused, feeling his father’s eyes boring into him. Finally, fighting back tears, he turned to meet his gaze. “None of that was your fault, ok? None of it. You did the right thing, standing up for your friend. And if it wasn’t for you, Jake would be dead right now. And if you hadn’t gone in after her, Ali would have drowned. You did everything right. It’s not your fault.”

Sam swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. He didn’t quite believe it, but it felt better to tell someone about his mom. He had never told anyone that, not even Ali.

Sam cleared his throat, “So what happened after I took the swan dive?” he asked.

“Well, Luke got your buddy Jake home ok. He won’t be telling anyone what he saw or heard, ever. Daniel made it out without any major injuries. As you can see, I have a few bruises, too,” Jason smiled, gesturing to his black eye and cut lip. “The twins fared a little worse. Peter broke a rib, Jessica fractured her forearm. Amber sprained her wrist. As for Ian...Ian’s dead, Sam.”

“Ian’s dead?” Sam repeated, shocked. Jason nodded. “So is it over?”

“Not quite,” Jason sighed wearily. “With Ian gone, Scarlett’s set to take over as Culfire’s leader. They took a big blow when we won that battle, and it’ll take them a while to regroup. It’ll also take a while for Scarlett to get settled in as leader and sort everything out. It bought us some time, but I’m afraid it’s not over yet.”

Sam nodded, the news sinking in. Then he thought of something. “What about Megan?” he asked. “What happened to her?”

Jason sighed. “Well, after you left, she took a beating. She got jumped from behind and overpowered. From there it was just a savage beating,” he said. Sam’s already-fast heart rate sped up a little. His chest got a little tight, and he started breathing a little faster. Jason didn’t notice. “She’s alive, thank God,” he continued. For Sam, the room was spinning. “She suffered a concussion, some bruised and broken ribs, and had some minor internal bleeding, but she’s going to be ok.”

Sam was struggling to catch his breath. He couldn’t focus his vision. His heartbeat echoed in his ears.

Jason noticed something was wrong. “Sam?” he asked, concerned.

Sam heard him, but couldn’t respond. There was something wrong with him. He had no idea what was going on, and that scared him. He suddenly couldn’t remember where he was, how he had gotten there, anything. The room was spinning at a mile a minute.

“Sam what’s wrong?” Jason’s voice, tight with worry, rose in volume as he stood up. Then he watched as Sam’s eyes rolled back in his head and his whole body seized up. A couple alarms went off, and suddenly doctors were rushing into the room and Jason was pushed aside.

“Sam!” Jason cried, tears welling up in his eyes. He couldn’t lose him. He couldn’t. It would kill him.

“He’s seizing,” a nurse said.

“He’s burning up,” one of the doctors said. “Go get some cooling blankets, now!” the nurse dutifully scurried away as the doctors held Sam to the bed. He was thrashing around and they didn’t want him to hurt himself.

“Sam!” Jason shouted desperately. He was only slightly aware of Detective Carter at his side. “Sammy!”

Detective Carter led him out of the room. John and Lucy were watching through the window. Lucy was crying into John’s shirt. Jason felt numb as he watched. They put ice all around his son, on his wrists, on the back of his neck, on his forehead, everywhere, trying to cool the boy down. And then the unthinkable happened.

Jason’s heart stopped for a moment when Sam’s did. The monitor let out a long continuous beep, and the doctors and nurses became more and more animated. One grabbed a defibrillator from its place next to the bed among the other equipment.

“No...” Jason whispered in disbelief as they shocked him with no response. He was vaguely aware of Carter staring at him. He didn’t care.

They shocked him again. His body seized up. The monitor’s line remained flat.

They did it again, with the same response.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Jason turned away, shaking, overwhelmed with grief. He just lost his son. His baby boy. And they didn’t think his little girl was going to wake up again. He had lost everyone. It was like a hole got punched through his chest. He couldn’t feel. Nothing seemed to exist except for the continuous tone of the monitor and the hum of the defibrillator.

It was the most beautiful sound in the world: the continuous beep got broken up by a series of shorter ones, and a nurse said, “He’s back.”

Jason turned back to the window, weak with relief. He wiped his eyes as the doctor approached them.

“What just happened?”John asked.

“Your son suffered a heat stroke,” the doctor explained.

“Heat stroke? But you said he had hypothermia,” Lucy objected.

“Yes, and that’s true. It’s rare, but sometimes, when the body gets as cold as Sam did, it goes into hyperdrive the second it can start to heat up on its own again. So as his body was heating itself up even after it didn’t have to anymore, his core temperature kept rising, until it reached dangerous levels. His brain essentially fried itself,” the doctor explained.

“Will he be ok?” Jason asked, not taking his eyes off his son’s sleeping form.

“Well, he’s stable, but he’s unconscious. It’s not quite a coma, but he might not wake up for some time. But I think he’s going to be alright in the long run,” the doctor nodded.

Jason and the Collins’ all sighed with relief.

“Thank you, Doctor,” John said, shaking his hand. The doctor nodded and walked off in the other direction.

“Detective, can we talk to Mr. Weston for a moment?” John asked.

Carter hesitated, then nodded, walking off down the hall to the cafeteria.

Jason turned to John and Lucy. They were all quiet for a moment. Then Jason sighed.

“Look, I know what this is about, and you don’t have to worry,” he said. “I’m not going to try and get Sam and Ali back.” He noticed the look of utter relief on the couple’s faces. Since Jason had never actually given up custody, their adoption was technically void, and he could, technically, sue for custody and get them back. “Their home is with you. As much as I would like to be with them all the time, I won’t take them away from their home. I just want to be a part of their lives.”

“Well we have no problem with that, I suppose,” Lucy said. “If they want to see you, and if you’re not a criminal, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t.”

Jason smiled. “I’m not a criminal,” he said. Then his smile faded and looked down. “I left my family twelve and a half years ago because on my way home from a friend’s house, I saw some guy kill someone. He saw me, cornered me, took my wallet and got my address from my driver’s license, and saw the picture of Sam, Ali, and my wife, Grace, that I kept there,” he paused, looking up from the ground, but not meeting the Collins’ horrified, sympathetic gazes. “He told me that if I didn’t keep my mouth shut about what I had seen, he’d kill me and my family. I kept my mouth shut about it, but I was worried that he’d still try and come after me. So, I left. But even after that, I kept in touch with them as best I could. They still got to know me. I just wasn’t there. Then when Grace died, I wanted to go take my children home with me, but there would be too many questions, and there was always the possibility that he could still come back and find them once the murder came to light.”

“So why are you here now?” Lucy asked quietly.

“I heard on the news the Sam and Ali went missing. I was scared that it was a message for me. I couldn’t understand why he would take them; I mean, I hadn’t come forward, but I was still worried. But then I found this,” Jason took a piece of paper out of his pocket. It was a news article. The headline read:
COLD CASE SOLVED AFTER ALMOST 13 YEARS.

“That guy was the one I saw murder that man. The one who threatened me and my family. It was over. Unfortunately, that means I have no idea who took them, but that does mean I get to go home,” Jason explained. Truthfully, that was just a cold case Henry had managed to find that fit the criteria. It was a lucky break, and it supplied him with the perfect story.

“Well, I’m glad they caught him,” John said, unsure of what else to say.

“Yeah, me too,” Jason sighed. “I just hope that Sam and Ali will make it through this. I can finally be a part of their lives without worrying about them getting killed. I’d really like to actually have a chance to be a part of their lives before I lose them...”

John and Lucy said nothing, but it was obvious they agreed. The three of them turned back to the window. It would be a while before the doctors would let them see Ali. She was in the ICU, and according to the doctors, she wouldn’t be able to have visitors for some time.

All that was left to do was wait...

**********


Submitted: April 28, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Alyssa Pryce. All rights reserved.

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