Rebecca awoke with a start when she heard a commotion downstairs. Her heart started pounding in her chest. Whoever it was seemed to not be concerned about being quiet. She grabbed her phone, ran to her closet, opened the door quietly, stepped inside, and quietly closed the door behind her.
With hands trembling she dialed 911 and heard the dispatcher ask what her emergency was. In a soft voice, she informed the dispatcher that someone was in her home. The dispatcher asked for her address and Rebecca conveyed that to her. “Police are on the way” she told Rebecca. “Stay on the line until I know you are safe.”
“Okay, I will, but tell them to hurry please.”
Shortly, she heard heavy footsteps climbing the stairs. Whispering a silent prayer she pushed herself back further into the closet and ducked down beneath her long pants hanging in the closet to hide.
The bedroom door opened and she held her breath praying whoever it was would not find her. “Rebecca”, he called out, “Where are you? You can’t hide from me.” The very thing she feared had come true, her ex-husband had found her and broken the order of protection that she had on him. Her desire to escape was so strong now, but she stayed put. The closet door swung open and she held her breath, fearing he might hear it.
He moved some clothes around and now she was glad the light bulb in her closet was burned out. For some reason he did not bend down to look. He slammed the door and she could hear him head over to the bathroom calling her name again.
The dispatcher told her the police were there and to stay put. She nodded daring not to say a word. Then she heard Jake leave the bedroom and head downstairs. He must have decided she wasn’t there, because he strode over to the front door and she heard the police officers say “Hands up!”
Jake said “I live here, I was just leaving. My wife is at the hospital.” The officers commanded him again “Hands up and on the ground!” Apparently they don’t take people’s word for it. “Hands behind your back.”
“Cuff him!” one of the officers said. She heard her name being called, a different voice this time. One that sounded concerned. She slowly opened the closet door and peeked outside the bedroom door. An officer was climbing up the stairs and behind him she could see Jake laying on the ground hands handcuffed behind his back.
She told the dispatcher the officer was here. “Don’t hesitate to call again, if you need assistance.”
“Are you alright?” the officer asked. She nodded shaking now. “Sit down here. When you are ready, I need to ask you a couple of questions.” Rebecca relaxed a bit feeling the tension leaving her body. It wasn’t completely gone, but the crisis was averted for now.
Jake yelled from downstairs, “I knew you were in there somewhere. I love you Becca! Don’t you know that by now?” She did not respond.
“Put him in the squad car” the officer stated. He turned to look at Rebecca. “You’re safe now. Are you able to answer some questions?” Rebecca nodded. He proceeded to ask her the details of what had happened. She relayed all the information including the Order of Protection on Jake. The officer made notes and informed her that she should call her lawyer about what happened to find out what she should do now.
With that she started to cry, knowing that she would have to move again more than likely to another state. Just when she had settled into this beautiful town and had developed such wonderful friendships. Worse yet, she would have to leave without them knowing and not even give two weeks notice. She knew from her history with Jake and law enforcement that she could never truly be safe. Her lawyer had informed her of this possibility and to not get too attached to people in her new location. Even he did not know where she was living.
She looked up and the officer was looking at her with concern. Again he assured her she was safe. He asked if she had someone’s house she could stay at for a couple of nights. “I can call my coworker, she’s invited me to stay there a few times.”
“I suggest you do that, ma’am. It would ease my concerns about your safety. By the way, I am Officer Cal Bradley.” Now that her breathing had calmed down she seemed to be able to think better. “I’ll bring you to her house so we can know you are safe.”
“Thank you.” she replied.
“No problem, mam, I’m just doing my job. I’ll be downstairs, just holler if you need me.” With that he turned and headed down the stairs.
She grabbed her bag and packed a few things just enough to get her through the next couple of days. Jeanine answered the phone quickly, “What’s wrong, Rebecca?” Rebecca quickly explained everything. “No problem. I’ll be on the porch waiting for you.”
“Thank you Jeanine. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
“That is what friends are for. I’ll see you soon.”
Rebecca finished packing, changed her clothes and headed downstairs. The officer was waiting just as he said. “Jake is on his way to the police station. He won’t be bothering you for awhile. Breaking an Order of Protection is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail.” As reassuring as this could have been, she knew that on good behavior, he could be out sooner than that. She prayed the officers did things by the book or charges could be dismissed.
The officer escorted her to his car opening the front door for her to climb in. He took her bag for her and put it in the backseat. It was only when he climbed into the driver’s side that she got a good look at him. He was very handsome, dark hair, square set chin, and the deepest blue eyes she had ever seen. If this had been different circumstances she knew that he would have been someone she would have been interested in and he was definitely attractive.
She gave him her friend’s address and he plugged it into his GPS. He asked her about her job and where she was from. “I work for a real estate company as an administrative assistant. I am originally from Iowa and after that I moved to Michigan to go to college. I hope to take some college courses soon to work in the field of psychology.
“Wow, Rebecca. That’s impressive! What draws you to be interested in that?”
“I’ve always been good at listening to people and some life experiences that I have had has drawn me to that field. I’m not sure where it’s going to lead me, but I’m going to give it my all.”
“Well good for you! I like hearing stories of people who want to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
“Thank you, I am very excited, but this situation with Jake is disheartening. I thought he wouldn’t find me here. How could he find me?”
“I don’t know Rebecca, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows someone in law enforcement who was able to track you down.”
“I can’t believe this happened. I thought I was safe.”
“You are safe for now, Rebecca, that’s all that matters to me. I think you’ll find that Haven Crest is as safe as its name.”
They arrived at her friend’s house sooner than she had expected. She was enjoying being with this man, but getting attached would not be a good idea. He got out, pulled out her bag from the back seat, opened her door, and helped her climb out of the car. Jeanine was standing on her porch waiting with her robe wrapped around her.
The officer walked her to the porch and bid her a good night. But before he left, he pulled out his card, wrote something on the back. “My cell number is on the back. If you need anything just call me.” He touched the rim of his hat and walked to his car. He opened his car door and with his arm draped over the doors top, he repeated again, “I mean it Rebecca, call me if you need anything.” And with that he climbed in his car, backed out of the driveway, and drove off.
She turned to Jeanine relieved that someone was there for her in her time of need. Maybe she would be able to stay in Haven Crest if she can put this business with Jake behind her once and for all. Time would tell, but for now she needed to sleep. They both headed inside the house and Jeanine showed her to the spare bedroom. Gratefully, she sat on the bed, breathed a sigh of relief. She was safe for now.
The next morning, she dressed quickly and walked to Jeanine’s kitchen and she noticed how much Jeanine’s decor was so much like her personality. It was a cozy home with a freshness about it that brightened up one’s spirit easily. Rebecca loved what she saw so far and was looking forward to a nice breakfast before heading off to work.
But as she walked into the kitchen she saw Jeanine lying on the floor with her eyes wide open, and lifeless. She was laying in a puddle of blood and it seemed to be everywhere. She froze. Her heart started pounding in her chest and she couldn’t breathe. Somewhere in the faint recesses of her mind a thought surfaced to call 911.
She ran to the bedroom and found her cell phone. She dialed 911 and sat down on the bed, her hands were trembling. “911, what is your emergency?”
“I need the police, my friend has been murdered. There is blood everywhere in the kitchen. Tell them to hurry please.” The dispatcher asked her for the address and Rebecca was able to relay that information.
“Stay in the living room and watch for the emergency vehicles.” They are on their way now.
After Rebecca hung up, she remembered Officer Bradley’s words last night, so she dug in her purse for his card and dialed his cell number. Her hands shook as she dialed his number. “Officer Bradley” she heard on the other end. The sound of his voice calmed her. Rebecca quickly explained the situation and that the police were on the way. I’ll be right there, Rebecca. Do you see any unusual cars outside?” She opened the curtains ever so slightly, being careful to hide herself from the window.. Sure enough, there was a black sedan with tinted windows and it looked like two people were in it.
“There is black sedan out there, but it could be a coincidence. What should I do?”
“I’m staying on the phone with you. Go find a place to hide until I get there, Rebecca. I’ll find you, he said.
“You’re scaring me. First Jake and now this.”
“Just hide Rebecca!”
Rebecca looked around trying to find a place that no one would expect her to be. Then she remembered Jeanine had told her she had a hidden storage area in the walls of the basement in case of a tornado. She ran downstairs and searched each wall, then recalled that to be safe from tornadoes you had to be in the Southeast corner.
Walking towards the wall, she could not see anything, except a chest of drawers. As she got closer, she saw that it was not solid wood and then she saw a little door handle on the side of the piece of furniture. She opened it and there inside was enough space for her and another person. There were numerous supplies for a long term stay if needed. She walked inside, turned on the light. After shutting and locking the door, she sat down on the bench and waited.
She picked up her phone, but there was no cell service. Great, no cell service. Rebecca wondered if she should get out of the shelter, but Officer Bradley’s words echoed in her mind and knowing he was coming helped, but she was still feeling afraid. It was then that she realized that the only one she could rely on now was God. So she said a prayer, asking for his help and protection from danger. Claiming his promise that he would keep her safe. As she did that she felt herself relax and a peace wash over her. Listening for any sound was difficult in the shelter, but she knew it was best to wait than take the chance that someone would hurt her.
She could faintly hear people walking around upstairs. They must have come without their sirens on. She decided to sit tight until Officer Bradley found her. Right now, he was the only one she knew was for her. She could hear scuffling of footsteps coming down the steps. “No one here” came the voice.
“I know I saw her come last night. An officer dropped her off.”
“Well, she’s not here. She probably ran after she saw that lady laying on the floor in the kitchen. What did you have to kill her for? You’re leaving a mess and the boss is not going to be too happy about you calling attention to this with your reckless behavior.”
“I didn’t mean to kill her. She was coming towards me and I just grabbed a knife from the counter and stabbed her.”
“Did you have to stab her seven times? Just hit the mark and be done. No sense making a bloody mess of things.”
“Yeah well, you’ll have to tell that to the boss. Come on, we better get out of here before someone comes and finds her body. No one will know
Rebecca could hardly believe her ears. Someone was after her. Maybe Jeanine was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why didn’t they look for her after they killed Jeanine? These two men must be the ones that had been in the vehicle in front of Jeanine’s house. Jeanine, she wouldn’t be dead if I hadn’t been here. Rebecca shivered as she recalled Jeanine’s body lying on the kitchen floor and the callousness of how she was killed. Now not only was she in danger herself, but now she was a witness to their conversation. Unfortunately, she would only be able to identify them by their voices and that one was called Joe. She decided to sit and wait it out. She prayed the police and Officer Bradley would come soon. As soon as she thought that she heard sirens. Well if the men hadn’t left, they’ll certainly run now, she thought.
She looked at her watch, wondering if it was safe to come out. No, she remembered what Officer Bradley said to sit tight. So wait she would. Suddenly, she heard commotion from upstairs. A lot of footsteps and then “Rebecca, it’s Officer Bradley.” She recognized his voice and breathed a sigh of relief. She got up and slowly started to open the door. But what she saw shocked her. There in front of her was Officer Bradley pointing a gun at her. She didn’t understand. He had seemed so nice last night. How was he involved and more importantly, why? If she ever got out of this, she would definitely leave Haven Crest.
She didn’t have much time to think about that though. Officer Bradley said, “Move Rebecca. The boss wants to see you now!” Officer Bradley’s tone was so different than last night. She raised her hands and moved past him. She knew once she got in a vehicle with him, she had less likely odds of getting free from him and whoever was behind this. But she was curious who was behind this and why was it necessary to go to such lengths to get her to come to him. Why didn’t this person come to her?
She continued to inch past Officer Bradley afraid he could get trigger happy. He seemed in command of his gun though and confident he had the situation under control.
“Hey Joe, Cornelius”, Officer Bradley called out, “I found her down here in a shelter of some kind. You idiots didn’t look hard enough.”
A ruccus towards the stairway and footsteps pounding down the steps. Joe and Cornelius arrived at the bottom of the steps, guns drawn. Great Rebecca thought, any chance I had of escaping has diminished. She continued to move slowly past Officer Bradley until she was right in front of him. She turned her head and looked at his face wanting to get one last look at those blue eyes that so infatuated her yesterday. As she looked she noticed the same sparkle in his eyes that she saw yesterday. She couldn’t figure him out at all. Then he winked and said “Duck!” Not waiting to see what he meant, she ducked. At which point he turned his gun towards Joe and Cornelius and fired. He must have hit them, because she heard them fall. Thinking they were dead she looked up only to see them writhing in pain. He had shot them in the arm that they used to hold their gun. Weapons on the floor, Officer Bradley, kicked them away.
Rebecca mystified wanted to ask what in the world was going on, but before she could say a word, Officer Bradley called on the radio for additional help and handcuffed Joe and Cornelius.. Within seconds, officers were down the stairs ready to assist him. Apparently, they weren’t far, in fact were probably in their vehicles waiting for word from Officer Bradley. Who was this man that was able to single handedly disarm two men before they could fire a shot?
Rebecca got up and found a chair to sit on. She was emotionally drained. She realized now that Officer Bradley was working undercover as a snitch to the “boss” whoever that was. Playing the bad cop sure must have made it easier for him to be undercover as then he didn’t have to have a separate identity.
Finally, seeing that Joe and Cornelius were being escorted away, he came over to Rebecca. “So sorry for the scare, Rebecca. We’ve been working this case for awhile. You living here made it easier.”
“I don’t understand. Who are those men and why are they after me?”
“That’s what I was hoping to eventually find out, but when I realized that they had murdered someone, I knew I had to do what I could to protect you. Did you hear anything before I arrived?” Rebecca relayed what she had heard the two men say to each other about Jeanine and how they needed to get Rebecca and bring her to their boss.
“I’d like to have you write down your statement at the police station if you are able to. The sooner you do the more you’ll remember. Time has a way of robbing us of details that prevent us from recalling things later as you would be able to now.”
Rebecca was uncertain. She had trusted him and then he changed and now he expected her to trust him again. “I will do so,” she said, “but only if someone can drive me back to my house so I can get my car and drive to the station myself. I hope you’ll understand, but I am feeling like I need to gain some control now.”
“I’m sorry Rebecca,” Officer Bradley kindly said, “but that is out of the question. Your car was burned and your apartment has been ramsacked. I don’t know how you are involved in this, but we need to keep you protected until we get to the bottom of this. Grab the items you brought here and we’ll get you settled after you make a statement.”