“Thank you for being here, Finn. I know Davina would feel better knowing you are here with me.” Fiona spoke sincerely with a regretful sadness in her voice. “I wish we could have talked to you sooner.”
“I’m sorry that I did not get wind of Cole’s activities sooner, Fiona. I am so damn sorry. I loved her like a sister, you know?”
“I know. She loved you too. It’s something that we always knew could happen, him finding us, but I never thought he would kill her.”
“She got too close to the business and rejected Megan’s proposal. Plus, Cole is a complete psychopath. Brooke suffered the same fate, but I feel stupid that I never saw the hatred between the family and my Brooke.”
“Brooke was a great girl and great friend to Davina. I think she kept Davina focused on the good aspects of their lives rather than the mess they were stuck in. I still do not think it was a suicide…Megan had something to do with it. Conniving bitch…”
“Yeah…that part.” He noticed Fiona getting agitated.
With her anger building thinking about Megan again after so long, Fiona decided to step away for a moment. She raised up from the couch and went to the kitchen to grab them some more coffee, patting Sebastian on the head as she wandered past him. He was playing with Klaus and his ball on the floor. She looked back at Finn and noticed the bewildering look upon his face. He was fighting demons inside of himself, especially when it came to dealing with the Devilles.
Finn Marlow was not a stranger to loss, and now Fiona had lost the only daughter she had. Thank goodness for Sebastian, she mused. She had no idea how she was going to get through losing her, but she knew investing her time with Sebastian was the answer.
“Finn, how did you do it? Cope with losing them…”, Fiona asked as she walked back to the room with coffee in hand for both of them.
“Honestly, I became obsessed with stopping them. I used my anger to fuel my desire to bring them down. Brooke would have been so disappointed with how much I tried to hurt them.”
Fiona looked at the clock as it chimed seven times just when he finished speaking. Finn shook his head and frowned at himself for letting so many bad things happen. It made him begin to think about the beginning of it all when life was much easier because he did not know how one family could cause so much turmoil.
“Fiona, I meant to thank you for the flowers when Mom passed on. I was afraid if I reached out that he would find you. A lot of good that did, huh?”
“Hey, we got away because of you. We were always thankful for you getting the Marshalls involved to get us relocated. When Brooke died, we knew it was only a matter of time before Cole escalated. I was the last to know that he had already been abusing her for years.”
“They found Aurora a few weeks ago. She had been missing since right after we moved you, Davina, and Sebastian away from Cole.”
The fear shook Fiona inside her bones. Poor Aurora, she thought with a tear rolling down her blushed cheek. “She died for us? How terrible…”
“It was gruesome…I’ll spare you the details.” He tapped on his coffee cup.
“Thanks for that…she was a sweet lady. She reminded me of Brooke. They were a lot alike in how she handled our families.” She patted Finn on the leg. “I think I will go have a shower. Sebastian is okay with you for a little bit?”
“Sure, I got you. Take care of yourself.” He smiled at Sebastian who was looking at him as he answered Gammy.
As Detective Marlow kept an eye on Sebastian, Finn began reflecting back to the beginning of how he became a detective. He had lost two people that he loved very much because of the seedy life that the Deville family lived with their children. In retrospect, he should have seen that they were bad people, but it was hard to see past the blinders that they put out for the world to see. Even though everyone was close in the early stages of friendship and comradery, it was hard to accept that the Devilles would be capable of ruining so many lives with their evil doings.
It was in the Fall semester of his freshman year at the University of Arkansas that Finn got the gut-wrenching phone call that changed his life forever.
“Mr. Marlow, I am looking to speak to Finn Marlow.” It was an unfamiliar voice on the other end of the line. A female…she sounded sad, and Finn would never forget that voice.
“This is Finn. Who is this?”
“Um yes. My name is Sarah West. I wanted to have this conversation in person, but I realize that is not…Mr. Marlow…we have found your mother.”
“Found her…she’s not missing. What do you mean, Ms. West.”
This was the first time Detective Sarah West did a notification call as a homicide detective. She was very nervous and hated talking to him over the phone to tell him that his mother was gone.
“She was found outside of town, and she is gone, Mr. Marlow. She’s passed.”
“What? No…what are you saying? My mother is dead?” He could feel a lump building in his throat and his chest tightened with despair. “You called and are telling me over the phone that my mother has died…what happened?”
“I’m sorry for your loss and for the way I had to notify you. We need you to come in to get her personal belongings. Will you be able to make it back to Roland? I know you are away at school, but maybe you can make sense of what we found on her.”
The detective sounded sincere, but Finn had no idea what was going on. His mother was found dead about 10 miles outside of town by Lake Maumelle. She was cryptic and was not telling him much. She had spared him the details that day, but later in his career, he found out she had been shot execution-style in her head, beaten severely, and sexually assaulted. The murderer did not even attempt to hide the body. It was laying in plain sight. They thought it was a carjacking gone wrong, but her car was never found. Still, to this day, Finn looks for his mother’s grocery getter with tips that come every so often, and she had been gone for 5 years now.
“Sure. I will come back tonight.”
When he spoke, his voice was full of pain. He was having a hard time keeping it together. He thought about his brothers and about how to tell them.
He packed up an overnight bag with a few outfits and essentials and headed back home. It was going to be a long drive home.
For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:
© E.M. Kingston