Piercing Through the Darkness: Excerpt

“Need you.  Call me asap,” read the text from Kandi when he opened it.

He was out having coffee with two of his buddies from work.  They had all been patrolling the area that morning and took a break at the coffee shop on 4th street.

“Who’s that, Jimmy boy?” Dan asked.

Dan was a middle-aged man with grey hair and a muscular build.  He was someone you would avoid on the street if you saw him, but if you knew him, you knew he had a heart of gold.  Unfortunately, he liked to pick on Jimmy about Kandi.  He wasn’t fooling anyone though when he said that he and Kandi were only friends.  A blind man could tell that he was in love with her.

“You know who it is,” he said.

“Yeah.  You get that goofy grin on your face every time she calls or texts you.”

He forced a laugh.  Mostly he was worried about her at the moment.

“What’s wrong?” Cal, his other friend from work, asked.

Cal was thirty, had a shaved head which made him look tough, and was recently married with a new baby boy.  He wore the dark bags under the eyes as proof that their boy kept him up most of the night.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“What’d the text say?” Dan asked.

“Need you.  Call me A.S.A.P.”

“What’re you waitin’ for then?” Cal asked.

He nodded, stood from the table and walked outside already calling her.

“Jimmy,” she answered.

“What’s wrong?”

She explained what had just happened in her first class of the day.  He hated to know the answer to the question he was about to ask.  He took a seat on the bench in front of the coffee shop.

“What’s his name?” he asked.

“Huh?” she asked confused for a moment then said, “Oh.  Mr. Chandler.  I think his first name is Jonathan.”

What had she gotten herself into?

“You know him?” she asked.

“No.  Never heard of him,” he lied.

She was the one who had forgotten him.  It wasn’t her fault though.  She had no memories of that tragic day.

“Anyway,” Kandi said and continued with her story.  He was having a hard time paying attention.  He would say, “Uh-huh,” every now and then or make a disapproving noise when the conversation called for it.  He was more worried about what was going on.

They’d had a pretty good thing going on ever since she’d forgotten.  He’d made sure she successfully avoided him.  He’d been worried about what Jonathan Chandler would say to her if they ever met on the street, and he wasn’t sure how she’d take it mentally since her mind was so fragile.

It took every fiber of his being not to jump in his squad car and drive to her.  He didn’t know what was going to happen now, but he was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be good.  It was possible that she could remember at any moment, and he wouldn’t be around.  It took an hour and a half to get to her from home.  He wished that she were closer, but he couldn’t change that.  She chose the college she wanted to attend, and he was happy for her.  He had just forgotten that Jonathan Chandler taught there.  Maybe he should’ve listened to her more when she talked about transferring classes.  He was pretty sure that she hadn’t given a name.

“Jimmy?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said, upset that he’d let his mind wander.

“It’s weird, huh?”

“Oh yeah.  No doubt.  Wonder what his problem is.”

“I dunno.  It kinda freaked me out, but I guess I can deal with it.”

“If he creeps you out that much, drop the class.”

“I can’t if I want to graduate in four years instead of five,” she kind of laughed about it.  He knew how adamant she’d been about finishing school in four years.  She had joked about not wanting to be in school any longer than she had to be, but she had also been serious about it.  He couldn’t blame her though.  He hadn’t even gone to school just straight to police academy.

“All right,” he said, “I just don’t want you upset every time you come outta that class.”

“Thanks,” she said.

He imagined the smile she must be wearing.  He missed her so much.  They hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks.  She’d either been busy with school, or he’d been working.  They talked every day, but just talking to her wasn’t enough, he wanted to actually see her.

He knew that he should probably tell her how he felt, but he wasn’t going to lose her if she didn’t feel the same way.  That was what he worried about most.  He could deal with embarrassment if she didn’t feel the same way.  He couldn’t deal with the pain of losing her over something like that.  Even though she was his world, he’d sit back and keep her as friend than lose her forever.

“You’re welcome,” he answered and then asked, “So, are you all right?”

“Yeah,” she said, “I probably just freaked out over nothin’.”

She hadn’t freaked out over nothing.  In fact, things were probably just going to get worst for her, but he wasn’t sure how to tell her that.

So, he just answered, “I’m glad you’re fine.”

“Thanks for talkin’ to me,” she said.

“You know it’s not a problem.”

“Good.  I gotta go now.  I’ll call you later.”

“Talk to you then.  Love you.”

“Love you too,” she replied.

He held the phone to his ear until his cell beeped indicating that she had ended the conversation.  He stared at the picture of the two of them that was his phone’s background.  She had her head laid against his.  Her black curls fanned out over her shoulder.  Her blue eyes shone as she smiled.  She was truly a beautiful woman, but she had a dangerous past.  One that was more dangerous to her than she could ever imagine.

He stood and walked back into coffee shop.  He took his seat again, aware that his friends were staring at him.  Suddenly, all the anger that he was feeling just came surging through him.  He slapped his hands on the table and said, “Crap!”

“What’s goin’ on?” Cal asked.

“Kandi’s new teacher is Jonathan Chandler.”

“Oh,” they both said.

“How’d that happen?” Dan asked.

“Apparently she transferred classes.”

“Does she know now?”

“Not yet, but it’s just a matter of time.”

Cal nodded.

“I should’ve stopped her.”

“Jimmy,” Dan said, “you can’t know everything about that girl’s life.  Even if you two were datin’.”

He nodded, but he had vowed to protect her.  At least until she remembered on her own.  He wasn’t going to let anything ruin it for her, and what if Jonathan took his anger out on her one day during class?  He wouldn’t be there to stop it, and she would have absolutely no idea why her teacher was lashing out at her.  Not only did he have to worry about that, but he could do something more drastic.

Cal said, “I know it’s tough, man, but maybe now’s the time to tell her what really happened?”

“I don’t know.  I guess I’ll have to talk to her parents about it.”

“That might be best.  Y’all can come up with a plan from there.”

He nodded again.  He supposed that was what he would have to do.  It was too dangerous for her not to know the truth, but until they could come up with a plan, he hoped that Jonathan Chandler didn’t hurt her in anyway.

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