Derek wanted to go after Kelly but his feet wouldn’t carry him. He wanted to thank her but his voice wouldn’t let him.
The baby, who had slept through the entire ordeal, began to stir in Janet’s arms and drew his attention away from the door.
He met Janet’s eyes briefly before pulling her into an embrace. The baby made sounds of protest between them and they laughed.
“Okay, princess, okay.” He said.
“Her name is Lauren.” Janet said.
Derek stared into her eyes while he tried to decide how he felt about the baby being named after his baby sister that hadn’t made it.
“I hope that doesn’t upset you. I just knew somehow that it was meant to be her name. I dreamt about it when I was pregnant and the first time I held her I could just feel it; that’s just her name.” Janet said with an apologetic shrug.
Derek looked down and shook his head to indicate that he understood. The important thing is they are all safe.
At that thought, he made his way to the door and looked outside. The sun was rising and it seemed like a beautiful morning was on its way. Except for the shattered window of Janet’s truck, everything looked normal.
Derek stepped back inside and locked the door, then went to the alarm panel and changed the code.
“Get the baby fed and ready to go. Then I’ll need to get pictures of the bruises before we head out to the hospital for the rest.” He said to Janet.
She shook her head and began making her way down the hall to the nursery.
Derek retrieved his cell phone from the kitchen table where it had been abandoned earlier and called Kast.
“Blake?” Derek asked, as if someone else might answer Kast’s phone.
“Derek? I was just about to call you.” Kast said.
“Oh? What’s up?” replied Derek.
“We found a truck this morning in the strangest place. The driver is deceased and I need you to come help me out on scene.”
“Where did you find the truck?” Derek asked.
“The side of Rocky Ridge.”
“Don’t people wreck there all the time?” Derek asked.
“People wreck in this area all the time, sure; but this guy… you should just come see it for yourself, with your own eyes. It sure is something.” said Kast.
“Well, I was actually calling to see if you could meet me at the hospital. We had a bit of a situation at my place last night and I need to run it by you to see what you think should be done.”
“We?” Kast asked.
“Uh, yeah… I’ll include that in the story too. Can you meet us there in about half an hour?”
“Yeah. See you there; and Derek?”…
“Will do.” Derek said before ending the call.
Derek made his way down the hall to his bedroom to change clothes and get ready to leave for the hospital. After that, he would have to go to work with Blake at the crash scene. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do with Janet and Lauren.
His mind was starting to focus in on the baby’s name again until he entered his bedroom to find Janet there; naked.
He froze in the doorway unable to look away. “What are you doing?” he managed to mumble.
Janet blushed and looked down. “You needed pictures.”
Her statement snapped him out of his stupor and he started noticing all the marks Janet’s husband had left on her.
Now all he felt was pissed.
Janet must have noticed the sudden change in his mood. She shifted uncomfortably and wrapped her arms around herself.
Derek let out a weary sigh and slowly crossed the room to her. He stopped a few inches from her and reached out his arms, giving her the space she needed to choose to either move away or step into his embrace.
Janet didn’t even hesitate. She shot forward and wrapped her arms around his waist. He closed his arms around her and tried to be mindful not to squeeze too tight. When he heard her begin to cry against his chest he soothed his hand down her hair.
Derek hoped that he seemed more calm on the outside than he was inside. His mind struggled with all the emotions that threatened to stamp out his logic and push him to act impulsively.
The night before played in his head along with memories of the last time he had Janet in his arms. Images flashed and blended in strange ways; Joseph pointing a gun at them, Janet on the beach, his parents bringing his sister Lauren home from the hospital, Joseph bragging about watching him put in the security code, Janet reading a book in front of their old fire place, his sister’s tiny coffin, seeing himself in the bloody mirror at his first crime scene, Kelly walking through his front door to save them after jumping from a cliff…
Every cell in his body demanded action while the last of his logic demanded strategy first. He needed a plan and was too overwhelmed with emotion to think of one. He needed to get to Kast.
Blake Kast always seemed to be a dozen steps ahead of others. He always knew what to do.
Derek gently pulled himself back from Janet and tried to appear to her the way Blake appeared to him; like a man who knew exactly what to do.
He wiped at her tears with his thumbs, gave a sad half grin and turned away from her to walk to the closet. He pulled the two sliding doors together to close it, thinking the white doors would be the best background for these photos. He then grabbed his camera from the small table in the corner and allowed his thoughts to drift into less emotional territory.
He let in memories of how he ended up with the camera and the first time he used it for something other than crime scenes. It was a phenomenal camera that took exceptionally clear pictures.
When his old department had upgraded to newer equipment he had opted to keep using this camera. The chief had given it to him as a gift when he went from photographer to investigator; he had gifted himself with a new apartment with a view. He had used this camera to capture his first sunrise from his new balcony and it been used for nature photos ever since.
Derek turned around to face Janet again. Now it would be used to photograph the evidence of abuse from his wife’s other husband.
*Thank You for reading!*
End of Story 7-Part 1
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