Authors: Monica James
Something Like Redemption
Something Like Redemption
Copyright © 2014 by Monica James. All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: September 2014
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
To Papa and Mum...
I love you to the stars and back
Table of Contents
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
~ William Shakespeare ~
It’s been said that before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. All the good, all the bad, all the significant, or the non-significant, it’s all meant to flicker before you, presenting you with an epiphany. And then in turn, you’re meant to embrace death, and accept it’s your time.
But what happens if you’re not ready to die? What happens if your life is snatched out from under you, with no real say as to why it ended so suddenly?
If that’s the case, do those who meet a tragic demise not have the luxury of this magical epiphany? Is it fated for those who fight death with their last dying breath to just burn out and… fade?
If this is so, then my quest for revenge and redemption is fueled with every negative emotion I can invoke within myself. And that negativity is directed toward the two people who took so much from me without giving it a second thought.
An eye for eye, the bible says. Well, I’ll settle for anything, as long as the end result is the same.
My dad and Phil, they’re already dead… they just don’t know it yet.
“Red, are you awake?”
‘No!’ my insides scream, squeezing my eyes shut.
My sense of hearing is finely tuned, as my eyes have been shut for the past three hours, refusing to open, because once they do, the events of why I’m here will become real.
I don’t want to believe that my dad, who I put a bullet into, is not really dead. Nor do I want to believe that he and his drug dealer—my former boss, Big Phil—shot a man in cold blood, ending his life like it never mattered.
But it did matter.
It matters to me.
mattered to me.
And it’s because of me he’s dead.
Hank protected me until the very end. He could have ratted me out, but he didn’t. He faced my dad head on, proving to be more of a parent than my own biological father. So, where’s the justice in him being dead, while his murderers roam free?
There isn’t any.
When I jumped on a bus, headed for the sleepy town of South Boston, Virginia, close to three months ago, I never imagined the harm I would cause to so many people I came to care for.
Especially not the man who’s sitting beside me.
There’s nothing simple about Quinn Berkeley, and from the get go, I knew he would change my life forever. But I never foresaw just how much. Nor did I ever predict that his brother, Tristan, would do the same.
Tristan, who Quinn and I left unconscious and bleeding to death on his hallway floor, is the reason why Quinn and I are alive.
Yes, we’re on the run from the police, as we’re both prime suspects in Hank’s murder (courtesy of my dad) but we’re alive.
And we’re together.
But I don’t blame Quinn for resenting, or even hating me. I mean, I’m the reason why his baby brother was coughing up his own blood, thanks to a stab wound my dad and Phil inflicted on him.
I hate myself for it, and I will continue to do so for all the days of my life.
But that’s good.
All that hate and anger will fuel me to rid this earth of two scumbags, ensuring they will never hurt another living soul ever again.
Quinn’s unique, refined scent wafts through the truck, and I tell myself to stop sniffing him as it’s inappropriate, and also kinda creepy. And while my sense of smell goes to town on his signature fragrance, my brain is yelling at me, demanding I open my eyes, as Quinn just asked me a question.
Yet my eyes remain closed.
How am I supposed to open them and face the man whose life I have just destroyed? Because of me, Quinn’s life is one big, fucked up mess, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Or is there?
Yet I feel nothing but warmth and kindness radiating off him.
“I know you’re not sleeping,” he says in his unique, deep voice, which gives me shivers from head to toe.
“How do you know?” I ask, cracking open an eye, only able to take in his beauty this way.
Step by step with Quinn—I’ve learned the hard way. If I overindulge too fast, too quickly, he’s proven to be hazardous to my health.
“Because of the way you’ve been cursing like a sailor,” he replies with a small smile, his face inches away from mine.
Both my eyes snap open, needing to pay justice to the stink eye I’m currently giving him. He returns my look with a playful, lopsided smile, but the strain around his eyes reveals how our messed up situation is weighing heavily upon him.
“Where are we?” I ask, looking around at our unfamiliar surroundings. All I see is a strip of derelict shops and lots of greenery.
“Someplace in North Carolina. Thought we could get something to eat and withdraw some cash,” he replies, muffling a yawn with the back of his hand.
He looks beat. Again, this is my fault.
“Sure,” I reply, unbuckling my seatbelt.
My Border Collie pup, Lucky, likes the sound of that, as he sits up, wagging his tail excitedly. Patting between his ears, I’m so happy he’s in better condition than when I first found him. “Okay, buddy, you’re coming, too,” I coo, melting as I look into his tender brown eyes.
Quinn exits the cab, and I take a minute to watch him like a total creeper.
He stretches his long arms above his head, which results in a sliver of his hardened tummy to become exposed for my viewing pleasure. My eyes drop to his ink, which I only know is there because I’ve been lucky enough to have seen him topless.
I know what lies underneath that plain, simple t-shirt, and let me tell you, there is nothing plain, nor simple about it. I berate myself over checking him out because one, he’s cocky enough, and two, I need to wean myself off of him, because three hours is a long time to plot and plan.
I’m certain of a few things. Goes without saying my need for revenge is what’s animating me to survive. But I’m not selfish enough to drag Quinn down with me.
I’ve done enough of that.
No, what I have planned is going to
Quinn. It’s going to clear his name, and in time, this will all be a distant memory for him.
But to do that, I have to sacrifice myself to save him.
I have no doubt that at the end of all of this Quinn will hate me with every fiber of his being. But you know what? I can live with that.
I can live with that fact, because as long as he’s happy and free—I can live with anything.
Wheels in Motion
“Did you want me to drive for a bit?” I ask, looking down at Quinn, who’s nursing his third cup of coffee like it’s going out of fashion.
We’re sitting in a roadside diner called Yo-Yo’s, and it’s nothing like Bobby Joe’s—the diner I worked at back home.
It’s funny how I don’t consider L.A.—the place where I grew up—to be my home anymore. But when was it really my home? It stopped being my home the day my mother up and left and moved to Canada. I was three when it happened, and I haven’t heard from her since.
It was my mission before all this shit happened to go find her and ask her to fill in the blanks, because my father sure as hell didn’t. I was prepared to beg for an explanation for why she left, because how could a mother abandon her three year old child? Was I a disappointment? Is that why she left?
But now, now my priorities have changed.