Town of Chance: Fight for Freedom(10)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer



“What did he do?” Max asked.

“He denied it. Then I saw more things, and Skip was getting more protective of me, especially around Mickie and even Jerry. Then he was hitting me more. You know, just knocking me around because, or being rough. I was so angry with him I told him I didn’t want to be with him anymore and that I was leaving. He smacked me around good. Things happened, and I was done with him.”

“What do you mean things happened?” Max asked.

She looked at him and felt the tears in her eyes. “He did things to me. Threatened me in a way that I won’t talk about.” They both squinted their eyes at her, and Max took a deep breath and released it.

“Does this have something to do with why you won’t accept the Pace men as your guardians?”

“Yes.”

“And?” Tazer pushed. Of course she would have to pour her soul to them.

“And because I saw what happened to C.J. when Cameron came hunting Caroline down, I won’t let Skip, Mickie, and their crew of shit come after Kenneth, Sam, and Bender. I won’t. The best place they can be is far from me.”

“Because these men will come looking for you now that they know you’re still around?” Max asked.

“Because they think I belong to them.”

“What?” Tazer asked, looking shocked and angry.

“You need to explain more to us, so we know the level of danger you’re in,” Max said.

“Let me explain it to you like this, Max. Skip didn’t like to share me with anyone, not even my friends that I lost by the way because he devoured all my time when I wasn’t working. One night, when something went down, and it had to have been pretty bad, everything changed. Skip was kissing me and telling me how sorry he was. That he was going to make it up to me. That I just needed to do him one favor. He just kept repeating it and then next thing I know he has me tied down.” She started to cry.

“What happened? Did he rape you?” Max asked her.

She sniffled and looked to Tazer and then to Max. “Please, I can’t talk about it. I just can’t get past it. I’ve been going into Cambridge to see someone. I go every Sunday.”

“Who?” Tazer asked.

She swallowed hard and wiped her eyes. “A therapist. After seeing everything that Caroline went through, I know I have to start living my own life and not live in fear. At least that was the plan until today. I won’t be able to stay here much longer.”

“No, you’re not leaving. You’re safest here, in Chance,” Tazer said to her.

“I won’t be safe anywhere once they find out where I am. They’ll want to finish what they started, and in Skip’s screwed-up head, he’ll think I’ll forgive him and he’ll want me to come through on his promise he gave that night.”

“Which was what?” Tazer asked.

She was quiet a moment. “Let’s just say that I was a bargaining tool to help make something disappear.”

“A bargaining tool?” Max asked.

“Apparently I was the reward, the payoff, for whatever favor Skip asked for.”

“Damn, Shelby,” Tazer whispered.

Max exhaled. “This guy Mickie that you saw in Charlesburgh, was he part of this situation?” Max asked.

She didn’t say a word. “He was there, when Blade showed up.” She closed her eyes and willed away the images in her head. She remembered the feel of Blade’s hands against her skin and the feel of the cold blade of the knife as he threatened to cut her into pieces like he did to the others if she didn’t shut the hell up.

She felt the hand on her shoulder, and she gasped and stepped back.

“I’m done. I’m finished. You get the gist of it.”

“I know you’re scared, Shelby. We don’t need to know the specifics right now. We get what you’re not saying. We’re going to protect you from this man and the others. It was a good thing that Tazer was there and ensured that you weren’t followed here. Now it’s our responsibility to take the next steps together. No more secrets. You see anyone from New York around here, or elsewhere, you contact me right away.”

“And me, too.”

“Tazer, you’re not her guardian. Kenneth, Sam, and Bender are.”

“No. Didn’t you hear what I said? They could get killed or hurt because of me. Look how close Cameron got to killing C.J. Caroline is still trying to recover from that. I won’t put those men in harm’s way. I won’t put my sister or anyone else,” she said to them.

“It’s not your decision. I’m in charge and I have the final say.”

“I can do it for now. Maybe it will pass and Mickie won’t find her.”

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