The fast forward previews I put into each book are carefully thought out and planned. They say a lot about where the story is headed and what the future might hold. This particular scene comes at a point in the next novel and is integral for many reasons. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek! (And remember, it is a dream sequence)
“I don’t know where she is. I’ve called all over and she’s just gone,” Sabrina said as she paced back and forth. “We have to call Uncle Tommy.”
“And give him a heart attack?” David asked as he scrolled through his phone. “No way. We can figure this out. Maybe she went for a walk?”
Bee rolled her eyes at her best friend and he shrugged.
“Right, she doesn’t go on walks.” David stood up and rubbed his face. “I think we should go to the cemetery.”
“What?” Bee ran in front of him. “Do you think she died and they already buried her so they wouldn’t have to tell us? I thought they said she would get better.” Her almond shaped eyes filled with tears.
“No, don’t be ridiculous,” he said and reached to hold her but she walked away.
“So now I’m ridiculous?” Bee crossed her arms and glared at him. “Maybe I should just go and take care of this by myself.”
“Sabrina, stop it,” he held his hands on her shoulders. “What I meant was that my mom always told me when she was growing up and had trouble, she would go to the cemetery and talk to her parents. Maybe Naomi did that. She is 14 years old and something happened to make her go off alone.”
She nodded. “I’m sorry, you’re right. I’m just being stupid.”
“No you aren’t. You’re scared and so am I. Let’s go find her.” David took her hand and they ran to his car.
Naomi sat in the cemetery and looked at her mother’s gravesite. It was in a protected area of the grounds to keep people away but they all had access. She leaned against the stone and traced the letters of her mom’s name with her fingers.
“Something really bad happened today, mommy,” she said in a small voice. “I don’t know who to talk to and you told me I could always come to you. I know you aren’t here and I understand you had to leave, but I didn’t know where else to go,” she cried and her long red hair fell over her face.
“Someone said something to me at school and I didn’t believe them, but the more I thought about it, the more some of the pieces began to fit together.” She sobbed and jumped when there were hands on her.
“Oh Daddy,” she said and crawled into Tommy’s arms.
He held his daughter as she cried and he felt his own tears fall. After a few moments, he pulled back and grabbed a tissue, handing it to her.
“How did you find me?” she hiccupped.
“The school called and said you didn’t make it to class and they have strict instructions to make sure your absences are documented. I called Bee and she and David confessed they were going to look for you because they saw you weren’t in your class. I panicked, but then I realized that maybe you needed some time with mom. Aunt Julie often came to talk to them when she couldn’t talk to me,” he smoothed her hair down and smiled at his mini Red.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you,” she said honestly.
“That’s okay. Would you like me to leave you alone?”
She shook her head and looked at him. “Are you my real dad?”
He was stunned. “Of course I am. Did someone tell you differently?
She was quiet before she met his gaze. “Anthony said I was a product of rape,” she barely spoke in a whisper. “I wasn’t sure what that meant, but then I looked it up.”
Tommy felt sick. “Naomi look at me, please.”
She did and her eyes were swimming. “I am your father. Your mother and I loved each other completely and you were a product of that love. Have I done something to make you doubt that?”
“No daddy, but so much of mommy’s past is a secret. I hear things all the time from the other kids, but you never talk about it. I know she was hurt by someone and I know it was bad, but I feel like everyone else knows this big secret that I don’t. I thought maybe you were afraid to tell me. I know you want to protect me, but I’m 14 years old daddy. I can handle it.”
Tommy nodded. “You’re right. You deserve to know it all, but I think there is something else you should see first.” He stood up. “Will you come with me?”
She nodded and took his hand.
Tommy drove them to the hospital and Naomi looked at him. “Did I miss an appointment?”
He smiled and shook his head. “Nope. This is step one.” He walked out and she followed him. They came to a big room and he walked in, leading her to the table and sitting down.
“This is where I met your mom for the first time.”
Naomi’s eyes were wide. “Here? In this room?”
“In this room. She was talking to a patient and I kind of burst in and asked her to leave.”
“Right, you probably didn’t even notice the patients. You probably just demanded they get out,” Naomi laughed and saw her dad’s tears. “What’s wrong?”
“Sometimes you just remind me so much of her,” he smiled.
“No, little Red, never be sorry for that. Your mommy was the best woman I ever met and the gift she gave me in you is something I cherish every day. You are my proudest light, always know that.”
She blushed and looked around. “So did you ask her out here?”
He laughed. “Not quite. Let’s just say she didn’t like me very much.”
“But daddy you’re squishy,” she giggled as she teased him.
“I thought I told you not to call me that,” he grinned.
“Sorry,” she walked to the window and looked out.
“Come on, one more stop.”
She followed him to the roof and he walked to the ledge, looking out across the land. Naomi stood there next to him and held his hand.
“This is where we found out we were pregnant with you,” he said softly.
She looked up at him and saw his eyes were seeing a scene she couldn’t.
“Were you happy about it?”
He looked at her and nodded. “So happy. We were scared to death to be parents, but from the moment we knew for sure you were coming, we were never happier.” He walked to the bench and sat down with her. “I know you asked me to tell you about Mom’s past, but I need you to know something. She was so much more than that event. She worked so hard to make a life with me and you and leave the past behind. What happened to her was horrific and it took a lot for her to trust people, but when she did, we were let into a magical world. What other people say, that’s on them. What you need to know is that you were loved and wanted and what your mom went through is not a reflection of you in any way.”
She nodded, “I miss her.”
“So do I,” he said his voice catching in his throat.
“Can we listen to her CD on the way home?”
He wiped his eyes. “We can do whatever you want.”
They sat there for a while longer, both lost in different memories.