A Short Story
Copyright by Rebecca Scarberry All Rights Reserved
Cover Design by Jason White
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental.
It was a dream of a lifetime for thirty-year-old Jeremy Martell. He told his five month pregnant wife, Rita, the only birthday present he wanted was to go to the Diamonds Forever State Park. Without hesitation, she agreed to make the four hour trek from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Murfreesboro, Arkansas on Jeremy’s birthday in 2013.
Jeremy loved his wife, but she seemed to have fallen out of love with him four years ago when their son, Todd, was born. It nearly tore Jeremy’s heart out every time Rita pushed him away.
Before Todd was born she had a temper, but she was affectionate towards Jeremy. Her personality had changed since Todd’s birth. She was indecisive and easily angered.
An old school buddy of Jeremy’s told him he heard Rita had, in fact, never stopped loving her high school sweetheart, Jean-Paul Mcleary.
She and Jean-Paul had made a perfect couple, having the same curly red hair and radiant blue eyes. The two of them were inseparable for two years. That was until senior prom night when Jean-Paul had seen Rita dancing with his best friend. When he saw her kiss him on the lips during a slow dance, it was too much for him. He asked for his class ring back that night. They never spoke to one another for the remainder of their high school years.
Todd was the most important person in Jeremy’s life. It hurt him deeply that Rita was one of those mothers who had her heart set on giving birth to a baby girl. When Todd was born she was disappointed and angry. She made no excuses for her neglect and dislike of the sweet boy. When Jeremy was out of town, she often fed him cereal for dinner, rarely made him bathe, and spanked him for the least little thing. This worried Jeremy when Todd told him about this.
Jeremy was the regional manager for the Ozark Suites hotel chain and had to spend weeks at a time away from home. He thought about divorcing Rita off and on, but he was hoping that the birth of their second child, a girl, would change things. He thought there might be a possibility she’d be so happy to finally have a daughter, she’d start treating him and Todd better.
Ever since Todd was two years old, he had feared Rita. He was a normal child whereby he tested his parent’s limits. He quickly learned what Rita’s were. He was bright and looked a lot like his father with olive skin, black curly hair, dark blue eyes, and slight dimples in his cheeks.
Jeremy started to question his sex appeal and started taking his wedding band off while out of town on business.
The trip from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Murfreesboro took the Martells four hours. The scenery along the way was beautiful, but the trip itself was tiring. And just like most children, Todd asked several times if they were there yet.
Rita told Jeremy she would remain in their hotel room and work on a knit baby blanket. She seemed nervous and easily agitated. She would snap at Jeremy for no good reason and this upset Jeremy a great deal.
“Come on, Todd, let’s get going,” Jeremy instructed.
Rita was knitting and didn’t even say goodbye to them as they walked towards the door to leave. Jeremy was so upset with her attitude, he suddenly felt nauseous. His chest tightened, he got a severe headache, and he felt like he was going to pass out.
It was obviously blood. Jeremy looked from his four-year-old son’s innocent face to his tiny bloodstained hands as they both stood in the mud at the diamond park.
Doing his best to keep the fear from his voice, he asked, “You haven’t gotten cut on some glass or something, have you?”
“No, Daddy.” Todd shook his head and hid his hands behind his back.
Jeremy squatted in front of the child, gently coaxed his hands from behind him, and turned his palms upward. His son looked confused, his eyes brimming with barely contained tears.
“Daddy, am I in trouble?” His voice quavered.
Jeremy shook his head. His heart pounded as he inspected the child’s hands, cradling them carefully, but they weren’t cut, or even scratched, only bloodstained.
“What happened?” he asked, his relief tainted by panic.
Todd looked at his palms and tried in vain to wipe them clean on his black, puffy, down jacket.
“It’s nothing, Daddy. I can show you.”
Jeremy plodded over the rocks they encountered, feeling a sense of dread as he followed his son. He became suspicious, guarded, and there was a strong, unfamiliar odor. An eerie quiet roused a protective fear.
He stepped over protruding pine roots and lifted his son over the deepest ruts, made by people digging in the mud; searching for gems.
“See, Daddy.” Todd pushed his knit cap above his eyebrows and pointed to something in the mud. “It’s a rag doll.”
Jeremy gave the child a gentle shove to the side. When he saw the misplaced mound of mud, he fell to his knees.
His heart stopped beating for a split second. He tried to make sense of what he was seeing. A woman’s head protruded from the mound. Her face and hair were covered with dried blood. Jeremy stared at her dead eyes and almost gagged once the full impact of the horrific odor of death hit him. He closed his eyes, hoping this was a nightmare. When he realized she was truly dead, tears ran down his face.
He attempted to stand, but his legs were too weak. He fell forward, and it was a struggle to control his emotions. He pulled his knit cap down over his forehead with trembling hands.
Todd had lost interest and had gone back to filling his small, red bucket with mud. Jeremy tried to reach the authorities on his cell phone.
“Oh, my God, I can’t get a signal! Come on, Todd we have to go to the Discovery Center.”
As he raced to the Discovery Center, Jeremy carried Todd on his shoulders. Todd giggled as he wrapped his tiny hands, still covered with dried blood, around Jeremy’s chin.
As soon as Todd and Jeremy entered the Discovery Center, Jeremy sat Todd down. The child immediately ran to one of the display cases.
“Call the sheriff! There’s a dead woman buried in the mud!” Jeremy shouted.
The only person in the Discovery Center was a tall thin man with thick graying hair. He was standing behind a long counter and jerked his head up to see who had shouted. His mouth opened but no words came out. He stood and stared at Jeremy.
“I’m serious! Make the call! I tried, but I can’t get a signal on my cell.”
The man immediately reached for his cordless phone and made the call.
Todd looked up at his father and said, “Can we go back and dig now, Daddy?”
“In a minute, Todd.”
The child quickly pulled his knit cap and muddy boots off, and started sliding back and forth across the slick expanse of linoleum flooring. The room filled with the sound of his sweet laughter. He turned to see if his father was watching and when he realized he wasn’t, he called out, “Watch this, Daddy.”
The man behind the counter pressed the phone against his chest and looked at Jeremy. “The sheriff is asking for the identity of the woman found. Do you know the victim?”
Jeremy hesitated a few seconds, took a deep breath and answered, “Yes, her name is Selena Montgomery. She also has an alias.”
Two minutes later, the man ended the call and placed the phone back on its charger.
Todd walked up to the desk and looked up at the man.
“I found a rag doll in the mud,” he announced.
The man stared at Jeremy, and Jeremy could see the man’s quick realization that the child had no idea he had found a dead body.
“Hush, Todd,” Jeremy instructed. “Go on over there and look at the pretty rocks in the display cases.”
“The sheriff is on his way,” the man informed Jeremy.
Jeremy walked towards the man and asked, “Do you mind if I use your phone to call my wife? She’s in a local hotel room.”
“No, go right ahead.”
Jeremy let the phone in their room ring eight times.
“There was no answer,” he said to the man as he handed the phone back to him. “I’ll call her again in a little while. Maybe she went to get a soda. Come here, Todd, let’s go back and get our tools.”
Todd scrunched his face into a pout and replied, in a whiny voice, “But Daddy, I don’t wanna go home. Can’t we search for more pretty rocks?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. The sheriff told me you’re to stay right here with me until he arrives.”
Todd tugged on Jeremy’s puffy down jacket. “Come over here, Daddy. I want you to find a rock for me just like the one in this picture.”
Jeremy walked over to the display case and bent down to see what Todd found so interesting.
Out of curiosity, the desk clerk walked over to see for himself.
“Oh, that’s a picture of a fourteen-carat Amarillo Starlight that was found here in the park two years ago,” the thin man said.
Todd looked up at the man and said, “I don’t like carrots.”
The man pretended he hadn’t heard him.
Jeremy asked, “Is it all right if we go to the restroom?”
“I suppose that’ll be okay. Make sure you come right back.”
Jeremy instructed Todd to sit on the floor. With shaky hands, he struggled to get Todd’s boots back on his chubby feet. Once the boots were on, he took Todd by the hand and led him to the front door.
The restrooms were located in a separate building, behind the Discovery Center. Todd grabbed at the fly of his jeans and said, “How did you know I have to pee, Daddy?”
“Daddies just know these things.”
Jeremy was happy they had the restroom all to themselves. He stared at himself in the mirror and fought back tears. After he splashed water on his face, he tried not to think about how sad he was that he would never see Selena again. He then helped Todd wash the blood from his tiny dimpled hands.
Just as Todd and Jeremy turned the corner, on their return to the Discovery Center, they saw two uniformed officers enter the building. When Todd and Jeremy entered, the man behind the desk, said, “Here they are now.”
The sheriff’s deep voice resonated throughout the room, “Your name?”
“My name is Jeremy Martell. This is my son, Todd.”
“Mr. Blom tells us you know the victim. Would you please tell us her full name and what your relationship was with her?”
Jeremy’s skin grew ashen. Todd ran back to look at the picture of the Amarillo Starlight.
Jeremy scratched the top of his head through his cap and said, “I won’t lie to you. Won’t do me any good anyway. With some quick detective work, you would soon reveal the truth.”
The sheriff became impatient, “Just answer the question, Mr. Martell.”
Before Jeremy answered, he looked to make sure Todd was not within earshot.
“I’ve been having an affair with her. She told me her name is Selena Montgomery. I met her one year ago while I was on a business trip. We saw each other as often as possible.”
Before Jeremy could continue, the sheriff asked, “What kind of business was that, Mr. Martell?”
“I’m the regional manager for the Ozark Suites, the hotel chain, located in four states.”
The sheriff asked, “Did you murder this young woman?”
“No. I fell in love with her the first night we met.”
“Do you know if Selena had any enemies?”
When Jeremy replied, his voice cracked, “No, she was the sweetest person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.”
“Do you have a wife, Mr. Martell?”
“Yes, Rita stayed behind in our suite. She’s five months pregnant and has no interest in prospecting for diamonds.”
“What vehicle did you drive into the park today, Mr. Martell?”
“That red Mustang convertible, parked right out front.”
The Sheriff’s heavyset deputy walked towards Jeremy and said, “Please hand me the keys Mr. Martell.”
Jeremy retrieved a set of keys from his front left pocket and handed them over.
“Please give me the hotel phone number and your room number, Mr. Martell,” the sheriff instructed.
Jeremy did as he was told and the sheriff stepped outside to make the call.
Todd asked his father, “When can we go find one of these rocks like in the pictures, Daddy?”
Jeremy ignored his son and began to pace. He watched the sheriff through the large picture window and didn’t like the look of concern on the sheriff’s face.
The sheriff came back into the building moments later and said to Jeremy, “One of the hotel clerks says he saw your wife get into a taxi three hours ago, Mr. Martell. Do you know where she might be headed?”
Jeremy stared at the sheriff in disbelief. He was speechless.
The deputy walked into the building. He held a hatchet in his gloved right hand. It had blood on the cutting edge, as well as long strands of blood-soaked platinum blonde hair.
“The trunk of the Mustang was open and I found this inside, Mr. Martell. Do you have an explanation?”
Jeremy looked confused. “No I don’t. I don’t own a hatchet.”
The sheriff turned to Mr. Blom, “Are there security cameras in the parking lot?”
“Deputy Carter, please cuff Mr. Martell and read him his rights. Then place him in the cruiser. Once you have done this, obtain a search warrant for the inspection of their suite.”
As the deputy cuffed Jeremy, Todd ran towards him shouting, “What are you doing to my daddy?”
When the sheriff reached down to take Todd’s hand, Todd grabbed his arm and bit down hard.
The sheriff let out a loud screech and shouted, “Knock it off, young man. That hurt!”
Jeremy was so stunned by all he had just heard, he didn’t even notice what the child had done.
It seemed like an hour before the sheriff and his deputy returned to the cruiser. The sheriff opened the back door, nearest Jeremy and leaned in.
“Mr. Martell, one of my other deputies has found a note to you from your wife. It was on one of the beds.”
Jeremy asked, with hesitation in his voice, “What did the note say?”
“It basically said she knows you killed Selena.”
Jeremy’s mouth grew dry, and he felt beads of sweat forming on his forehead. He felt like he might pass out.
“I have more bad news for you, Mr. Martell,” the sheriff said.
Stunned and speechless, Jeremy looked up at the sheriff.
“Dispatch has just informed me that there has been a Greyhound Bus accident. No survivors. Your wife was on that bus.”
Jeremy took a couple of deep breaths, tried to swallow and asked, “Where was the bus going?”
He was ignored.
“My deputy also found a love letter to you from Selena lying on one of the beds in your hotel room.”
“I don’t understand any of this,” Jeremy said. “I never received any love letters from Selena. I know I look like the guilty one here, but I didn’t kill Selena!” Jeremy had to shout, for the Sheriff had walked a short distance away. “I’ve been framed!”
In spite of Jeremy’s continued protests of his innocence, he was still put in jail. Every time Jeremy’s folks visited him, they brought new pictures of Todd. With each new picture, Jeremy missed the child that much more.
During each phone call and visit from his folks, Jeremy begged them to find a better attorney to represent him. His main complaint was that he felt like his attorney considered him guilty of murdering Selena.
The prosecuting attorney had presented evidence suggesting Jeremy had lied about his whereabouts following their arrival in Murfreesboro. The “Discovery” they had was a video of a red Mustang convertible, entering the diamond park hours prior to the time Jeremy said he had. The security camera, located at the entrance of the park, had captured this evidence.
Jeremy asked his attorney if the video showed the vehicle license plate number. He was told the vehicle didn’t have any plates.
He spent hours in his cell trying to think of some way to prove he hadn’t lied about anything regarding Selena’s demise. He asked his attorney if he’d checked to see if any red Mustangs had been rented locally on that day, or if any local residents owned one, the attorney said he was checking into this.
He became more and more depressed as the days and weeks passed. He thought about how much he loved Selena and how their relationship began. He missed her so much, he often wept during the night.
It had begun the day he was on a business trip to Murfreesboro, Arkansas. He discovered a beautiful blonde sitting a few barstools to his left in the Ozark Suites lounge. She was dressed to kill in a slinky red dress that left little to one’s imagination. It was short and strapless, showing her flawless, lightly tanned skin. Her long blonde hair floated off her shoulders as the breeze from the air conditioning vent above radiated down. Her hair was shiny and enticing.
When she turned to see a newcomer enter the lounge, he caught a glimpse of her sky blue eyes and full lips, accented with just a touch of pink gloss.
He waited to see if the newcomer would sit next to her. He didn’t, so Jeremy took his mug of beer in hand and walked over to her.
He boldly leaned towards her, “Are you expecting someone?”
“My girlfriend should be here any time, but you’re welcome to have a seat,” she said with a smile in her eyes. She took a sip of her beer, “Busy place.”
“Yes, I know. I’m here on business. I’m the regional manager for this hotel chain and every time I visit this lounge, it’s always full of people.”
“Oh, this is the first time I’ve been in here. My girlfriend said she’d meet me here over an hour ago. I don’t know where she is and she’s not answering her cell phone.”
Right at that instant, her cell phone rang. As she flipped it open, she slid off the tall barstool ungracefully and walked a short distance away.
A minute later, she climbed back onto her stool. “Well, she won’t be able to make it tonight.” She took a deep breath and then took another sip of her beer.
“I hope you don’t plan to leave, I could use some company. I’m a long way from home and not looking forward to a long meeting I have tomorrow morning.”
Before answering, she downed the last of her beer and said, “I also live far away, I’m thirsty, and I don’t have any meetings to go to tomorrow.” She followed this with a giggle.
Jeremy was dazzled by her smile. She had perfectly straight, brilliantly white teeth, and her lips, wet with beer were irresistible. He loved how cheerful and sexy she was.
She gave his arm a gentle pat and said, “My name is Selena. What’s your name?”
“I’m Jeremy Martell.”
When they shook hands, he noticed a large diamond ring. Her left hand had none.
“Not to be nosy, but what do you do for a living?” Jeremy felt she looked a lot like the singer, turned actress, Selena Montega.
“I’m in between jobs right now,” she replied as she continued glancing around the lounge with a serious expression on her face.
“Is something wrong?” Jeremy asked as the bartender sat fresh beers in front of them.
“No, not at all.”
Selena and Jeremy drank and talked for hours. The question of whether Jeremy was married or not, never came up. They felt no pain and freely touched one another as they spoke. With each suggestive joke he told, she would laugh and wiggle on her barstool. This caused her slinky dress to rise further and further up her shapely thighs. He took every opportunity to sneak a peek at her matching red lace panties and fought to keep the circus in his pants under control.
One of Jeremy’s jokes made her laugh so hard she lost her balance atop the stool. As she began to fall, Jeremy grabbed her by the waist and pulled her towards him. Before he had a chance to analyze the situation, their lips met. It was a slow, sensuous kiss. Her mouth was warm, relaxed, and addictive.
After ending the kiss, he brushed her hair aside and said, “I have a room upstairs, let’s go up and have a nightcap.”
Selena said nothing as she grabbed her small, red leather handbag from the stool next to her, stood, and took Jeremy’s hand as he led her towards the elevator.
As soon as they entered his room, Selena tossed her handbag on one of the beds. She then flopped down onto her back on the other bed and let out a sigh of relief.
Jeremy stood back, admiring the way her long blonde hair draped across the quilted bedding. He wanted to ravish her, but refrained for fear of frightening her. He said, “I think we should both pass on that nightcap.”
She raised her head a fraction, grinned, and sarcastically replied, “Ya think?” This was followed by her adorable giggle.
He sat next to her on the edge of the bed, and removed his shoes. He then leaned towards her and she opened her arms to welcome his embrace. Their kisses were passionate, and before long, she had one leg draped over him, pulling him closer. The feel of his hardness seemed to excite her more and more. She took a few seconds to remove her tiny red panties, pushed Jeremy onto his back and began to undress him.
They made love twice before falling asleep.
When Jeremy woke the next morning, Selena was gone, and there was a note on the pillow next to his head.
Before reading the note, Jeremy sauntered to the bathroom and took two aspirin. His head was pounding, and he was unsteady on his feet as he glanced at his tan, unshaven face in the mirror above the sink.
Once he picked the note up to read it, he realized it was brief. All it contained was her name, phone number, and email address. He reached for his pants, which were lying on the floor, removed his wallet, and shoved the note into the torn inside lining.
There was one rendezvous with Selena Jeremy would remember for the rest of his life. They met on a secluded Southern California beach one day when he was on a business trip. This section of beach was actually an exclusive camping area on a military base. One was required to apply for a special permit to camp there. Selena had connections and had acquired such a permit.
It was early June, and the morning fog had just lifted. Before Jeremy reached the entrance to the parking lot, he could hear the roar of the ocean and smell the salt in the air. His heart began to beat faster with the thought of holding Selena in his arms once again.
As he was parking the car, he saw only one person on the beach. He was too far away to be certain it was Selena. The woman stood in the shallows, looking down at her feet. She soon turned around and saw him digging his feet into the soft white sand as he headed towards her.
She immediately ran to him.
Once they met, she threw her long, thin arms around his neck and began to kiss him. She tasted of peppermint gum and he smelled cocoa butter. With her feet off the ground, Jeremy twirled her in a circle. The soft sand hindered him, nearly causing him to stumble.
Selena laughed with a sultry tone that resonated throughout Jeremy’s entire body. When she looked up at his face with a smile she said, “I’m so happy to see you, Jeremy. I love you so much. It would be a dream come true if you were to leave Rita one day, get custody of Todd, and we could then be together.”
“Well, if things don’t improve after the birth of our baby girl, your dream just might come true.”
“I’ll wait as long as it takes. And if she mistreats your baby girl, get custody of her too. We’ll raise the children with the love they deserve.”
“You look beautiful in that lavender bikini. It looks like you’ve been spending some time in the sun. Your tan is glowing.”
They couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day for this. It was warm, with only a slight breeze and nobody in site.
Jeremy asked, “Do you have anything to drink? I’m so thirsty.”
She took his hand and guided him towards the colorful orange, blue, and yellow blanket.
“Right this way. I’ve brought lunch and some bubbly. It’s after twelve o’clock, so I figure it’s not too early to pop the cork.”
After they each drank a glass of champagne and ate their prime rib sandwiches they walked to the ocean hand in hand. Jeremy admired the way her long blonde hair floated in the breeze behind her perfectly shaped head.
She turned and smiled at him. He became lost in her large blue eyes, sparkling in the sun.
As they stood knee-deep in the water, a wave grew larger than expected, and Selena didn’t have time to run. She let out a screech as she put her hands up, protecting her face.
Jeremy took her by the hand and led her back to the blanket. Before she sat down, she slipped her wet bikini off and put on a sleeveless see through, white linen blouse. Jeremy followed suit and removed his swim trunks.
Before long, they laid down on the blanket. Selena was on her back, her chest heaving with each breath. As Jeremy pressed his chest to hers, he could feel her swollen nipples beneath her blouse. She moaned as he began to kiss her and she fondled his erection.
Jeremy began to run his fingers through the blonde curls between her legs. Ten minutes later, well into their ecstasy, Jeremy spotted a short, chubby man in tan shorts. He was about one hundred yards away, holding a large video camera on his shoulder and obviously filming them.
Jeremy immediately stood and yelled at the intruder, “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”
The man stopped filming and hurried towards the parking lot.
“Go after him, Jeremy. You have to get that video from him!” Serena’s face was bright red and she had a frantic expression on her face.
“I wonder if he plans to blackmail me or something,” Jeremy said.
“It’s not you I’m worried about. If that man leaves with that video of us I might as well bury my head in the sand right now.”
“You’re not the one who’s married,” Jeremy said.
“Maybe not, but you’re not a singer turned actress like I am either. That video could ruin my reputation if it gets publicized.”
Jeremy was stunned. It came to him within seconds. “Oh, my God! You’re Selena Montega aren’t you?”
Selena stared at him in disbelief. “I thought you knew who I was all along. You’ve always made sure we met in the most private of locations, and up until today, you’ve been able to shelter me from all of the paparazzi.”
“When I first met you in the hotel lounge, I thought you looked like her. I soon forgot about it; thinking I was imagining it simply because your first name is Selena.”
Selena frantically put her clothes back on and gathered her belongings.
“I love you, Jeremy. I’ll email you soon. I have to get back to my hotel room and call my publicist.”
Jeremy started to feel as though he was losing his mind after having spent two years locked up. He began to notice that he lost track of two and three days in a row. His folks, Rosie and JC, mentioned bringing him items he’d asked for and what days they had brought them. Those items were nowhere to be found, and he didn’t remember them visiting on those days.
Late one morning, he woke up with a headache. He tried to open his eyes, but they felt heavy and sticky. He tried to reach up and wipe them, but his arms felt like lead. It was so exhausting and he soon gave up.
What seemed like hours later, he tried to open his eyes again. This time he was able to pry one eye open. Everything was blurry. And once again he tried to reach up and wipe his eyes. His arms wouldn’t move.
Adrenalin kicked in, and he felt fear flooding his body. Eventually, he was able to wipe one of his eyes with a shaky hand. Soon both eyes opened, and he saw Selena’s face. He was startled by this and tried to roll over, thinking he was dreaming. He couldn’t move and blinked several times.
He heard somebody shouting close by and once his eyes focused, he saw Selena standing over him.
“Jeremy, it’s Selena! Can you see me?”
He felt sleepy and closed his eyes without answering her.
The next time Jeremy opened his eyes, it was his mother standing over him. She was wiping his forehead with a damp cloth. She didn’t speak, and when he looked beyond her, he discovered he was in a hospital room. The walls were off-white, there was a light blue curtain on a silver rod, and there was a strong medicinal odor.
He felt something in his nose and turned his head from side to side, causing some plastic tubing to move across his damp cheeks.
Rosie, his mother finally spoke, “Welcome back, my sweet boy.”
He tried to speak, but his mouth was too dry. He started to panic. Many questions ran through his head. The first question was: why am I in a hospital?
He heard his mother shout, “Nurse Helena, he opened his eyes!”
The nurse began taking his vitals.
With a smile on her face, Rosie said, “Can you believe it, he was in a coma for two years, and he’s back on my birthday!”
“Coma?” Jeremy said to himself. “I must be dreaming. I’ll soon wake up in my cell.”
He forced his eyes open and found Selena, his mother, and a short older woman, dressed in blue hospital garb standing by him.
As the nurse turned to leave, she said, “His vitals are good. I’ll get a doctor in here as soon as I can. Happy birthday, Rosie.”
“Thank you, Helena.”
“Jeremy, I’m here, sweetheart. I bet you’re thirsty,” Selena said as she slipped some ice chips into his mouth. They were refreshing and with each swallow, his throat felt better.
She fed him the ice chips for ten minutes, and Jeremy soon asked, slurring his words, “Am I dreaming?”
“No, you just came out of a coma. Don’t you remember? You had an aneurysm rupture in your brain. You lost consciousness while you were in your hotel room right before taking Todd to the diamond park.”
“Do you have a calendar?” Jeremy asked her.
She reached into her handbag, lying on a chair behind her, and dug out a small date planner from the Hallmark store. She held it in front of him, and he clearly saw the date on the front. It was two years past his thirtieth birthday, the day he’d looked forward to for so long.
“I love you, Jeremy,” Selena said with sincerity. “I’ve been coming to this hospital every day I wasn’t working.”
“Thank you, Selena. I love you too.”
“It’s going to take time to regain muscle strength. They have some of the best physical therapists here in Fayetteville.” His mother said. “You’ll be up and chasing after Todd before you know it.”
Helena, the nurse returned. She had a syringe in one hand and an alcohol soaked cotton ball in the other. When she inserted the needle in his arm, Jeremy was convinced he wasn’t dreaming. It burned a great deal, but he said nothing. She left the room as quickly as she had entered.
“Excuse me,” Selena said on her way to the restroom, a short distance away.
“Mom, is Rita alive?”
“Honey, don’t worry about her right now.”
“Why not? I hope she’s treating Todd okay.”
Rosie looked sad and stared into her son’s questioning eyes. “Remember, you have been in a coma for two years, Honey. You’re better off without her.”
“I don’t understand.”
Rosie heard the toilet flush. “I’ll tell you later.” She cocked her head towards the restroom, hoping Jeremy would understand that she wanted to talk to him in private about this matter.
“How is Todd?”
“Todd is just fine. He’s with your dad. He took him to the county fair today.”
A tall, slim doctor with short curly brown hair walked up to Jeremy’s bedside.
“Welcome back to the human race, Mr. Martell. I’m Dr. Conner.”
“Thank you,” Jeremy replied.
The doctor shinned a bright penlight into Jeremy’s eyes. As he slipped it back into a pocket in his white coat, he asked Jeremy to wiggle his appendages. Jeremy complied.
“Very good. After some physical therapy, I think you’ll make a full recovery, Mr. Martell.” He then left the room, without another word.
“I’m going to the cafeteria for some coffee. Would you like for me to bring you a cup, Rosie?” Selena said.
“Thank you, Selena. Yes, I’d love a cup of coffee.”
As soon as Selena left the room, Jeremy asked, “Can you bring Todd tomorrow?”
“Yes, of course I will.”
“Where is Rita?”
“I’m sorry, Jeremy, she divorced you. She has married a high school sweetheart of hers. She gave us guardianship over Todd. When you’re able, you’ll be able to get full custody. During the guardianship hearing, she admitted you’re not the father of her baby girl. Her new husband is the biological father.”
“What’s his name?”
“Jean-Paul Mcleary. He’s the Murfreesboro sheriff.”
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