Brooke reached out to Finn as she stood there in her doorway. She was still shaking from the encounter with Flannery, and Finn had not seen him dash off into the alley as he was parking his car. She knew that Jericho had always been a problem because of his crush on her, but this time was different. Her mind played back how he looked standing there before her. He was always looking like he just finished a grunge rock set because his appearance was always so dirty, but the thing that scared her most was the darkness he had behind his eyes when it came to her. His eyes were green with envy against Finn being the one that she wanted to spend her life with, and he made her feel as if he were saying that he would have her no matter what she wanted. She got the impression that no one else was supposed to have her, especially Finn, if he couldn’t be with her. Her spine was tingling with fear from his visit, so when she saw Finn, she could not contain her fear when she leaped into his arms.
“Finn, I am so glad you are home.” She clung to him like she had not seen him in years, pulling him so tight against her body.
“Hey beautiful, what in the world has you so upset? I’m here now baby…You’re safe now.” He held her back as tightly as he spoke those words into her soft hair. Her heart was beating at a tempo that Finn had never heard before, and he knew she was distraught.
“Flannery was just here and followed me up to my door. He was talking crazy about wanting me and having me. He thinks that you are a problem, and he said you would get me killed. It was creepy, Finn.” She leaned her neck back to look into his eyes. Her blue-eyed gaze was full of love and caring for him, but dread hid behind her stare. “Please, can we get out of here for a little while?”
Brooke was not a stranger to feeling broken. She had felt that way all her life because of her mother’s ways of handling her and the other two girls. The difference that Finn made in her world was immeasurable. It was the only decent thing her mother had done when she forced her across the street to introduce herself to the boy. When Flannery came around, she felt that same brokenness, and today it was worse…she felt like this was her end. He made things feel final… like she was taking her last breath in his presence.
Finn ran his hand through her dark hair, and the curls hugged his fingers. “I will do anything for you, Brooke Deville. Let’s get your bag together, and we will get away for a while.”
She did not waste a single second to begin getting a packed bag. She rushed in the door, and Finn grabbed her keys out of the lock on the outside of the door. “You shouldn’t leave your keys in the door like that, babe. It’s dangerous.”
She responds to him from the next room while she’s in her closet, “I know. He snuck up behind me, and I forgot all about them. I think he’s been following me around town all day.”
Just as she finishes speaking, she found something peculiar in the back corner of her closet. “Finn, what in the world is this?” She beckoned him from the living room.
He secured the door, and he joined her in the closet. “What’s what?”
On the floor in the corner of the large walk-in closet of their house was some sort of electronics that neither of them had seen before. It had a green light on it, and other lights were flashing as they moved around and talked to one another.
“This! What is this? I’ve never seen anything like it before. Did you know this was here?” Brooke wondered.
“I have no idea, Brooke. I…I didn’t put anything like that in the closet or anywhere else. I have seen one of these before though…in Mom’s closet when I was looking for her will in the safe.” He was tripping over his words because the shock was filling his gut with dismay.
Seeing the device, he could only think about one thing. Someone had come into the house and installed that damn thing without either of their knowledge. It was scary, even for a man of law enforcement as Finn was. He had no desire to unplug it because he thought that would bring more dangerous people into their sights. He was speechless, and he was not sure what they should do about the device. If someone were listening, they would have just heard them discover the recording device, and they were already in imminent danger from finding it. He just stood there staring at the lights blinking as Brooke spoke.
Brooke talked slowly, and each time she spoke a word, the lights would light up from green to red. “Okay…that’s it. We need to get out of here.”
Finn agreed with her with a nod and began packing his bag faster. She scrambled for the rest of her clothes in the drawers, packed them up, and grabbed her jacket from the closet. Finn packed up his bag just as fast as his love did, zipped up his bag, and grabbed both bags. He set both bags by the door and made his way over to the yellow telephone that was mounted on the wall. The cord was long and tangled, so as he grabbed the earpiece from the wall unit, he had to unravel and pull at it to go around the corner into the kitchen. Brooke watched him and smirked a little watching him while he scuffled with the old phone.
“I should call and report that device to my sergeant. It will only take a moment to contact him. Okay, babe?” Finn held the telephone receiver in his hand.
Brooke nodded and waved him on to do what he needed to do. She was feeling overwhelmed and scared, so she sat down on the couch in front of the Zenith television. She turned it on to check the news while Finn made his call, and she could not believe what was on the television.
The news anchor on the TV said, “Megan Deville has been arrested in connection with a sex trafficking ring that spans over five different states. She is currently being held without bond at the Pulaski County jail. We will have more on this story tonight on the evening news.”
Brooke was so humiliated when she saw her mother’s face flash across her Zenith television. It was something that she had always worried would happen after seeing the inside circle of the business that her parents were running. She never wanted any part of it, and it disgusted her that her parents would exploit young women the way that they did. She had to accept a long time ago that her parents were monsters, and she hated them for it.
“Finn! Look whose face is on the TV!” Brooke was beside herself seeing her mother’s mug on the news. Her eyes were burning with tears from the indignity of seeing that dreadful woman that she had called her mother in a mugshot.
Finn finished up his telephone call to his sergeant just as she was beckoning him to the living room. When he saw Megan’s face sprawled across the screen, he stopped abruptly in his own tracks.
“I was afraid of this. I’m sorry, baby. The task force has been watching them for a while now. They brought me in on the case last week. I couldn’t tell you any details. I wanted to warn you that we were closing in on a conviction, but it’s work stuff, ya know?” He attempted to avouch for his part in the investigation, but he just walked up beside her and put his arm around her waist. “Don’t watch that…it will just upset you.”
“Finn, I am humiliated. Everyone knows my weirdo mother. Is Davina in trouble too?” Brooke plopped down on the couch, and she was white as a ghost from the shock she just witnessed on the midday news.
“You know I cannot tell you any details. It’s best you don’t know. It will protect you…they will probably want to talk to you at the station about your mom though.” Finn sat beside her gently. She was shaking.
“I really don’t know anything. Not anything they don’t already know, that is…I got away from Mom and Dad as soon as I could. You know that because I moved in with you and Georgia as soon as I could.” Brooke was frustrated that she was going to be bothered by her family’s crime empire. “I hate them! I wish they would have sent me to boarding school like they did with my brothers.”
He wanted to lighten the mood and playfully stated, “But then you wouldn’t have met my crazy ass…” He giggled and tickled her sides. She couldn’t help but laugh and get playful with him.
“I don’t know what I would do without you.” She remembered he was calling the station when her mother’s chaos crossed her vision. “How did things go with Sarg?”
“He’s going to send some people over. They should be here any moment.” Finn stood up from the couch and walked up to the old Zenith to shut it off. “No more news today…let’s make some lunch.”
Brooke nodded her head and followed him into the kitchen. Finn always made her feel better, and he was great at keeping her emotions at bay, especially when it came to Megan and Corbin Deville.
As they sat there eating their lunch, turkey sandwiches, and Lay’s brand potato chips, Brooke thought about all the detriment that her family brought down upon society, and when she looked at Finn, she felt so guilty. He was living life without his mother because of the hate she had for her own mother, and it was a heavy burden to carry.
She looked up at Finn as they nibbled on their food, placed her hand on his, and said, “If anything ever happens to me, please let everyone know that my family is behind it.”
“Nothing is going to happen to you, my love. I promise. I won’t let anyone get to you or hurt you. They will have to go through me to get to you.” Finn held her hand in hers as he reassured her that she would be safe with him.
It was a promise that Finn Marlow would not be able to keep, and it would eat at him just as much as the death of his mother. Georgia had taken Brooke in at 17 years old. She emancipated herself away from her controlling parents. They were furious. It was the reason Georgia met her demise at the edge of Lake Maumelle. Therefore, Brooke always claimed that Georgia’s death was her fault due to the anger they exuded towards Georgia for taking their daughter away from them…at least that is what they believed. She wasn’t wrong…at all. It got them both killed.
The doorbell rang. The forensic team had come to collect the device, and Finn left the table to let them in and assist them in collecting the device.
For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:
The bolded and hyperlinked words in the story were using word challenges from the Daily Spur, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, Word of the Day Challenge, My Vivid Blog, Your Daily Word Prompt, and Three Things Challenge. This story started from a flash fiction prompt from Fandango.
© E.M. Kingston