Shattered If I Break #4
Shattered If I Break #4
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When you’re heartbroken, it lies beneath everything that you do.
It’s in all of who you are. Foreshadows who you’ll be. It hides underneath your smile, rests between your laugh, revels in your tears and taunts your every thought. You wish it away but are too terrified to let it go…. When Cal first disappeared I swore my heart had broken, and before all of this is over I swear it will shatter into pieces.
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- Billionaire Romance
- Secret Baby
- Opposites Attract
At 23, my heart shattered when Cal, my husband, left me. Now, at 25, I'm a single mother trying to move forward until I discover the reason behind his abandonment. Meeting Chris causes my emotions to resurface, but I can't risk another heartbreak for the sake of my daughter.
Everything I believed, everything I held on to was
Except her. She’s my
One Day Later…
“Why the hell are you crying, Lauren? This is going to fix everything!” His voice
feels like razors cutting through me, fury erupting from him. He’s angrier than
I’ve ever seen him but what scares me is how casual he’s treating this, as if
holding a gun to a man’s head is normal. His hands aren’t trembling, his voice
isn’t shaking, and he’s not acting scared but excited. He’s going to kill him.
When I wake, my
heart is in my throat demanding to be let out.My heart
is in my throat, demanding to be let out when I wake up. My entire
body trembles, replaying what happened a few hours ago, as I lie wrapped up in
Cal’s body. I’m so scared of losing him, of losing Chris, and I
just don’t know if they can handle what’s happening. How does anyone handle
knowing that they killed their mother, holding that secret inside that has been
engrained in their mind? How does anyone let go of the hatred that has been
motivating them year after year? Mr. Rice has agreed not to press charges.
Apparently, it was in some agreement he signed
with Dexter Sr. all those years ago, but the least of my worries was Cal going
to jail. My worry fear is
of him getting lost. He hasn’t said a word since we
pulled him out of that house.
After Lisa dropped
the bomb on us and Chris shut down, I thought that was the worst of it,
because what could top that? But hearing from Mr. Scott about how they came
about adopting Chris, learning that Dexter Sr. is really Cal’s biological
father, and how his mother tricked her own son into killing her because of some
twisted Medea complex broke me. I’m terrified of what
all of this is doing to the man I love. I know the body lying next to mine
well, but I don’t know who will wake up next to me. It’s not Cal, it’s not
Chris, and I can’t even say it is Collin. Collin is an entirely different
story, another persona that I met briefly. He seemed to come out of nowhere,
but I’d even take him making an appearance right about now if only he would
just wake up. At this moment, my husband’s on autopilot, I don’t know who’s in
there, and I’m even more terrified that it will be someone I don’t know.
I haven’t said
anything to him yet because I don’t even know
what to say. I don’t know how he will come back from this, and more
importantly, I don’t know who to talk to for help. Now knowing the truth that
Dexter Jr. is actually Cal’s brother, not his uncle-in-law. Did he know this all along? Mr. Scott
knew this whole time because apparently, he is
the master when it comes toof
keeping secrets. Though I can’t blame him totally since Mr. Crestfield had him
sign a non-disclosure agreement, and he said not even Gwen knew the
relationship between her own son and Dexter Sr. Though he claimed to be
different from Dexter Sr., it seems they have a lot of the same traits.
Still, I shudder to
think what my husband would have been like if his biological father had raised
him. I nestle my head in the space between his head and shoulder. I bite my lip
from saying anything out loud to him each time he tosses his body,
and instead, I hold
him closer to me. I close my eyes and thank God for letting him be here with me
and for allowing me to comfort him during his time of need.
Suddenly I feel a
jolt so hard that it makes my eyes shoot open, and I have to suppress my
scream. It’s so quick and forceful that I’m almost thrown from the mattress,
but I don’t let a sound escape my mouth. I squint my eyes open and see him
sitting up but only for a few seconds before he falls back down on the
mattress, his eyes closed the entire time, as if he’s not even awake but dreaming.
I cover my mouth to
stop the whimper that’s trying to escape. I move to the edge of the bed to
plant my feet on the floor, and I put my head between my legs to slow down my
racing heart and catch my breath.
We’re going to come
back from this. We’re going to come back from this.
I keep reciting this
to myself, but still can’t stop the whimpers
and sobs fighting to escape. I jump quickly from the bed and run out of our
room before he can hear me. He seems to be in a semiconscious sleep, and I
don’t want him to see that I’m scared, that I’m terrified about this place
we’re in now. I sit outside the door and lean back with my knees to my chest,
not willing to be too far if he calls for me. I cry hard and ugly for the first
time since Cal left me those years ago.
He’s here now,
h. He’s not gone.
“Lauren? Are you
ok?” I look up after wiping the tears that are blurring
my visionAfter wiping the tears that are blurring my vision,
I look up and see Mr. Scott. He looks awful—an emotional mess from
the fallout of the bomb dropped—but I don’t say anything and try to appear to
not be an emotional mess.
“I’m fine, I just….”
I don’t even know what to say. The reason he’s here in this house is the same
reason my husband is broken. If Cal or Chris were present, he wouldn’t have
been allowed to cross the threshold. I fought with my conscious conscience
the entire time to accept his help. Knowing how much his son
despises him and wouldn’t want him anywhere near him, I felt guilty but had to
call for help, not knowing what would have happened
if I didn’t. A tiny part of myself was glad to have someone else here so that
I wasn’t alone. I won’t say that I can trust him, but I know he
loves my husband as much as I do.
“I can keep watch if
you want to go to sleep,” his voice is calm and void of the bitterness and
resentment his tone used to hold toward me.
“Keep watch for
what? You don’t think he’d do anything to himself, do you?” I ask,
almost offended. Cal or Chris would never ever think about…
“No, but just in
case he needs anything.”
“No, I want to be
here if he calls me,” I tell him adamantly. He only nods before turning to go
back down the stairs, but then he stops, turning his body halfway toward me.
“Thank you for
calling me,” he says solemnly. I only nod, and there’s an awkward stretch of
silence that lies between us. He stands there, not moving but looking blankly
at the wall. I don’t know what to say to him, nothing that will make this
better. I want to get up and yell, and scream, and hit him in the chest. I want
to ask him if all of the secrets and lies were worth it, but.
Still, I know that won’t make things better for anyone, and I know
that anything I’d say to him is probably running through his mind already.
“Good night Mr.
Scott.” I make myself comfortable where I’ll be sleeping for the rest of the
night. He nods slightly before mumbling the same and making his way downstairs.
When I wake,
I’m no longer on the floor but in my bed, and my heart leaps. How did I get in
here, d? Did
he put me in here… who he is, isn’t even clear to myselfme.
Cal, Chris, Collin, Mr. Scott, a mystery man who has yet to make an appearance?
I cautiously get out of bed, looking for clues to my husband's
state of mind. I should have known he’d be up before me as he always has been,
no matter which identity he took on. I check the bathroom that is empty, and
the balcony is too. My heart beats rapidly as I make my way out of the bedroom.
I’m afraid to leave the sanctuary of this room. If Cal is in the house with Mr.
Scott still here, I don’t know what type of scene I’m going to walk into. I
take the cowardly way out and check the rooms on the second floor, which are
all, empty, and
then gather up my courage to make my way downstairs. It’s eerily quiet, and my
heart stops when I see his tall, lean body leaning up against the island in the
middle of our kitchen. He’s turned the opposite way so I can’t see his face.
But if he were
facing my way, would I know who it was? Could I tell them apart? My brain feels
like that old commercial with the fried egg in the pan. Am I awake,
or is this a dream? Maybe this is a nightmare, and Mr. Scott is tied up in the
closet? I wish I could say the plausibility of that happening is ridiculous
but after everything that’s happened, it isn’t, but it isn't after
everything that’s happened. I let out a small breath and swallow
“Hey.” It’s simple
and sounds pathetic to my own ears, but
it’s all I can muster with my heart galloping as it is. He doesn’t turn around
but motions his head as if to say come beside him. Before I move, I scrutinize
the man in front of me—his posture, his breathing, the way he is
dressed—anything for a clue as to who he is. The fact that he’s not paralyzed
to the bed is a good thing, I hope. I remind my legs that their purpose is to
carry my weight because, for a moment, it’s
as if they’ve forgotten. After what seems like a mile, I stand beside him
resting my own, resting my weight on the island. For
a moment, I’m scared to look at him, afraid to
see who is or isn’t standing next to me. Whoever it is still causes my heart to
speed up, still makes me light-headed, and when he moves behind me and I feel
his skin against mine, it still makes me breathless. His fingers run up my
thighs, and I know this is Cal. Cal is here
with me. No one’s touch makes me feel like this.
His hands slide up
and across my stomach instead of between my legs, and his lips make their way
to the crook of my neck. He rests his head there and squeezes me tightly. I’m
feeling unsure, but it doesn’t stop me from crossing my arms across my body to
hold on to him. When I feel his body starting to tremble, and
his grip lessens on me, I turn and see tears coming from his eyes. I grab onto
him and hold him—his weight almost pulling me down—but I use all of my strength
to hold him up as his cries shake us both.
“I’m so sorry,
baby,” he painfully says, his sorrow rocking us both.
apologize,” I tell him as we sink to the floor. I climb on top of him and
cradle his head against me, as he keeps repeating how sorry he
is. I rub his back and hold him as close as I can.
“We’re going to be
okay. I promise you.” I can feel his sorrow, his pain, his regret, and his
helplessness. I’ve never seen him like this. He’s never shown me any weakness,
but I’m so grateful that he is finally opening up to me instead of
running—instead of hiding it. I vow to myself for every moment he’s weak that I
will be strong. The thoughts I had earlier of not being able to handle this, of
being afraid, are gone. He’s always been my strength, and it’s time for me to
be his. We will get through this. I’ve always wanted him to be my Prince
Charming, but today—if it has to be every day from this day forward—I’ll be his
Something’s happened. I can feel it. The residue of lost time is all over me. My mind is
hazy as things come into focus, and my thoughts are no longer crashing into one
another. It’s been so long since I lost control like this, and
no matter how long I’m gone.; I
know it’s been a while because my brain always feels
fried when I come back. I look around and realize I’m not home, not in Michigan
at least—but in Chicago. I remember this bathroom from the last time I was
here. What’s the last thing I remember? I was at home, in my mom’s kitchen, and
Aidan and Lauren were there. They were angry. I sit on the side of the tub, and
my heart starts to speed up as I remember Lisa. Lisa telling me… she had been
screwing my dad! I told my mom, and I told everyone else too because they all
had to know. I swallow the anger, the regret, and the disbelief that’s
radiating through me and mixing all together. Lisa has a kid! A kid with my
dad! Queasiness floods my stomach as the room starts to spin.
“Focus, focus!” I
yell at myself. Cal must have taken over at that point. How long was he in
control, and what the hell has he done? My head is throbbing, blood coursing
through my body like a floodgate has been opened.
“Are you okay?” my
heart skips a beat as I hear Lauren’s quiet and timid voice. I realize I don’t
have a watch on and my phone is absent. I have no idea what day or date it is.
“Cal?” She calls
again, and his name causes tears to sting my eyes. I’m lost again. I have no
clue of what has been going on, and for me to be back,
it must mean that something is really screwed upwhat
has been going on, and it must mean that something is really screwed up for me
to be back. What could be worse than me finding
out my dad has been screwing my best friend? My pulse is off the charts, and I
panic even more, not knowing how long it has been.
That thought alone terrifies me. I open the door, and she’s here. I’m
surprised every time I recover from these lapsesEvery
time I recover from these lapses, I'm surprised that she’s still here. She’s not dealing with just one guy who’s pretty
screwed up but two, yet she’s still here. Wearing a
tentative smile, her eyes wide and hopeful, but
it has to be a mask, right? Who could be happy in the midst of this? Her
smile’s got to be a Band-Aid over whatever disaster that’s just happened. Even
though I’m not sure if it’s real, seeing her smile and hopeful hazel
brown eyes calm me in the midst of the
uncertainty. Her eyes dart over me, searching my face, and
she swallows as recognition crosses her face.
“Chris?” Her voice
is shaky but lighter; her eyes squint at me as she tentatively approaches me.
My face cracks with a pitiful smile. I can’t even manage to speak. I’m pathetic
and embarrassed. She lets out a breath and wraps her slender arms around me.
Her energy and warmth envelop me more than you’d think someone as small as she
“Is everyone ok?” I
ask her after clearing my throat. I watch her nod, and she rests her head on my
chest. I can feel her heart thudding against my chest.
“Everyone is alive
and well,” she says as upbeat as she can. She leans back and looks at me with
warm but sad eyes.
“What do you
remember?” Her bottom lip is clasped clamped
between her teeth. I let go of her and let out a deep sigh. Before
I can say any more, she takes my hand leading me down the stairs and into the
kitchen area. I sit down at the table and look around for signs of Caylen, but
there isn’t aren’t any.
“Caylen is with your
mother,” she responds as if she’s reading my mind. She sets a glass of water
down in front of me and sits beside me with her own. Our eyes lock, almost
asking each other to reveal things before they’ve been said. She takes my hand
into her lap and squeezes mine. I decide to bite the bullet.
“How long have I
been gone?” I mentally prepare myself to hear the answer. Her eyes lower to my
chest, and I know the answer isn’t going to be one I’ll want to hear.
“As far as I know…
about a month,” she mutters quietly.
“A month!” I listen
in shocked disbelief while gripping the glass tightly in between
my hands. I take deep breaths and glance at the ceiling. It’s like I’ve
regressed back three years.
“Has Cal been in
control this entire time?” I ask nervously, wondering if he’s had a chance to
follow through with finding our dad, and has… no, Dexter wouldn’t let that
happen. It’s the entire reason I agree to let his people follow me. My eyes
land back on Lauren, and now her entire lip is crushed
between her teeth, and she’s gripping her wrist, which I know she does when
“What… tell me, what
did he do?”
Her eyes land on the
table. “What is the last thing that you remember?” she asks carefully.
I can feel my brows
furrow. I clasp my hands together. “I remember…” I chuckle angrily at myself.
“I remember telling my mom about Lisa and my dad.”
“How is she?” I ask,
realizing how much pain my mom is probably in. My face is on fire from my
anger, and thinking about my dad causes my fist to clench involuntarily.
“As well as to be
expected,” Lauren says sullenly. I push myself away from the island and grip my
head, letting out a groan. I have to stop
myself from kicking the stool. She says it’s been a month, but the memory is so
fresh, as if it just happened minutes ago.
Lisa crying and telling me how sorry she is was
while parading the daughter she created with my dad right out in
front of me. How my dad tried to explain himself to my mom, and
me like what he did was explainable. As if there was anything he could say to
justify screwing my best friend while we were teenagers, for lying and hiding
it all of this time, for hindering my treatment for his own selfish reasons.
The man who taught me about being not just a man, but also a good man, is a
hypocrite, a liar, a cheater, and a complete asshole.
Lauren’s voice is tight and high-pitched, and I realize my own breathing is
erratic and how tight my chest is. She tugs my hand toward the floor to sit
down, and she sits across from me holding my hand, her eyes not leaving mine. I
focus on her eyes, her lips, her touch, and I force myself to calm down. The
worst thing that can happen is to lose control and
letlosing control and letting Cal come
“Deep breaths,” she
says while her hands gently cup my face.
“I’m okay.” She nods,
giving me a small smile, her hands moving from my face to my sides. I close my
eyes tightly for a minute and then open them and try to give her a reassuring
“There are things
that you need to know,” she says quietly, and I nod,
preparing myself, seeing as how her face has gone
“I know you may not
be in the best place now,” she keeps her tone light even though her voice is
heavy and it scares me, but I refuse to let her see it.
“I’m ready to hear
whatever it is,” I try to assure her,
squeezing her hands.
“After all that’s
happened, keeping secrets just doesn’t seem to work out for this family,” she
chuckles and I can’t help but do the same.
“Go ahead,” I tell
“When you left, Cal
wasn’t the person who took over,” she says hesitantly, and I scratch my head.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean another
alter surfaced,” she says hesitantly, her voice even but quiet. I can’t help
but cock my head to the side and look at her in confusion. I laugh at first,
but when I see her voice doesn’t break, I laugh again, long and loud,
and my head is shaking back and forth in disbelief.
No way. There is no
fucking way! I can feel a frown locked on my face as she takes in a deep breath
to reveal more.
“His name is
Collin.” Her eyes don’t look at mine, and I throw my head back in frustration.
“Well, that’s just
fantastic,” I say bitterly. “Is he as big of a jerk as Cal is?” I shrug with
indifference, but I can tell my comment has irritated her, and I
can’t help but feel a pinch of jealousy.
“He was different
than Cal. He was different than both of you actually,” she says with a small
grin, and I feel myself frown.
“You liked him?” I
ask, surprised, that
pinch from earlier feeling like a nudge. She rolls her eyes, and I can tell
she’s irritated by the question.
“He wasn’t around
long enough for me to know if I liked him or not.” Her cheeks redden. “That’s
not actually the point right now. He seems to be a neutral party in all of this
and what’s more important is what he did,” she says firmly.
“Okay, what did he
do?” I ask her, annoyance flowing through my voice. I try not to grit my teeth,
but it’s pointless. She takes a deep breath and tells me all that’s transpired
after I blacked out. Apparently, this
Collin is the mediator and knows more about what’s going on than me and Cal
combined. Just peachy.
Oh, and we can’t
forget that he tried to extort Dexter Crestfield, who
turns out is actually my biological dad. Not only that,
but Lauren and my other dad had to stop Cal from killing the man who he thought
was responsible for killing my mother when in all actuality, she
set up her five-year-old son to do the dirty work for her.
After hearing all of
this, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Her voice is calm even though I can
imagine her heart has to be pounding a million miles a minute from the way her
eyes dart between my face, my chest, the ceiling, and the floor. Her gaze
sweeps over me after she’s done, as if she’s waiting with bated breath for me
to react. For a brief moment, I wonder what Cal would do in this situation,
what Collin would do. How can I really be surprised? After hearing what my dad,
my hero did to my mother, the parents I grew up with and trusted, the actions
of parents I never knew doesn’t didn’t surprise
me at all.
“I don’t know what
to say. I guess, Cal couldn’t handle finding that
out?” I ask, and her eyes widen in shock.
couldn’t handle it?” she asks me curiously. I stuff my hands in the pockets of
jeans I don’t remember buying. “What I just told you doesn’t bother you at
all?” she asks, confusion littering her face.
“It does. I mean
some of it,” I admit with a shrug and wipe my forehead.
“I thought all of it would be overwhelming,” she answers,
seemingly confused by my response to all of this.
“I didn’t know my
biological parents—well, apparently I do since my grandfather
is really my dad. But what you said happened with me as a kid, I-I don’t
remember it. It…” I trail off,
thinking how callous it must sound, or stupid even.
“It’s as if it
didn’t happen to me. It doesn’t compare to what’s already happened,” I say
“You mean like it
happened to Cal?” she asks unsurely.
“You could say that.
I’m seriously messed up. In some weird way, I
feel detached from it, like it happened to Cal and not me, which is strange,
but it’s how I feel. Like it happened to someone else. I even feel sorry for
him. Just the fact that Dexter Crestfield is my dad, that Dexter isn’t my
uncle-in-law, but my half-brother is what hits
Her gaze travels
over my face, and I see her attempting to read me,
but my silence seems to be testing her resolve.
I shake my head,
and this time I do, I
stand and push the chair in frustration.
“How do I even
sound? You’ve just told me that my mother got me to kill her, and I
don’t feel any way about it. Something is wrong with me!”
“Chris.” The color
drains from her face as my blood turns cold the second I hear his voice behind
me. I turn to see my dad standing with groceries in both arms,
h. His expression is timid,
but he looks happy to know it’s me.
“Mr. Scott, this
isn’t a good time.” Lauren walks toward him quickly, her eyes wide as a cat’s.
She’s obviously more intuitive than good ole dad here.
“What are you doing
here?” I ask, my tone lower than I’ve ever used with my dad. He swallows hard
“I-I’m here to
help,” he stutters, nervously. I look at his face, which
looks older than I last remember. He’s tired and stressed, but I really don’t
give a shit.
“Wait, you don’t
think you’ve done enough?” I chuckle sarcastically. He looks down,
defeated. He’s so different from the man I thought he was. The man I used to
look up to, whom I respected, admired, and
wanted to be like. Now he’s nothing. He’s dirt.
“Help?” I laugh,
feeling my jaw clench. “How could you help? This is all your fault. You’re a
liar!” I yell at him. His face turns beet red, and his jaw clenches.
“I made a mistake.”
“Mistake?” All the
muscles in my body tighten.
“You think screwing
my best friend was a mistake? Cheating on my mother was a mistake? It wasn’t a
mistake, Dad! A mistake is setting the time wrong on an alarm, incorrectly
balancing your checkbook. That’s a mistake. What you did was not a mistake or
an accident. You ruined our family! You destroyed my friendship,
y. You broke my mother’s heart.
Y and you hid it all, regardless of
what it did to me,” I walk closer to him, and I can see the water building in
his eyes as I ignore the water in my own.
“I will never, ever
forgive you for what you did. You are nothing to me.” I step away from him,
giving him one last glance to know how serious I am, how disgusted he makes me.
I look back at Lauren, who has tears in her own eyes. I
wonder if she’s crying for me, for him, or for herself who has been dragged
into this dysfunctional soap opera.
“You can show him
the door if he can’t find it himself,” I tell her before leaving the room. I
wipe away the one tear that escaped my eye. It’ll be the last one that ever
sheds for him. He might as well be dead to me.
I’m an orphan