2:95 Electric Youth

08-20-18_11-51-38 AM

Owen held the keys in his hand and sighed. It was his birthday and he had just been given a car. He should be happy, and he was. Part of him was sad also. It had been his grandfather’s car. They used to go for rides in it a lot before he died.

“I miss him too, Son. Try to think of the happy memories the two of you had.”

08-20-18_11-52-45 AM

Owen hugged his father. “This is the best gift I could have gotten.

“So this is better than socks and underwear?”

Owen laughed and nodded. “Socks and Roo are pretty great though.”

Raelyn hugged her son. “Happy Birthday, Honey.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Owen looked at his parents. “Is it okay if I invite a few friends over to hang out downstairs?”

Zaiden looked over at Raelyn then nodded. “Try to keep the noise level reasonable. Your sister still isn’t feeling well.”

Owen nodded then looked at Patrick. “Would you like to hang out with me and my friends?”

08-20-18_11-54-03 AM

Zaiden watched the boys go downstairs to their room.

“He’s a good kid.”

“Surprising considering his parents.”

08-20-18_11-54-15 AM

Raelyn nodded but didn’t say anything. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep the secret from him. One visit from her mother could out her and possibly mess up everything.

“You should probably made some snacks for the kids. I will run to the store for drinks. I need to pick up the medicine the doctor called in to the pharmacy for Grace anyway.” She kissed her husband’s cheek, grabbed her purse and keys, and practically ran out the door.

Zaiden watched her leave.

“Daddy, you look confused.

“That is because your mommy is a confusing woman. “He looked at his daughter and smiled softly. “How are you feeling, Peanut? I still have some of that Magic Feel Better Chicken Soup if you are hungry.”

08-20-18_12-00-55 PM

When he saw Grace nod he got the soup and warmed it for her. He sat it on the table and sat down with her. “Are you excited to start school tomorrow?”

“Oh, I don’t think I will be going tomorrow. Mommy said that if I am still sick I can stay home.”

“That’s too bad. You are going to miss out on the extra special ice cream sundae that daddies make for their daughters on the first day of school. It is only allowed to be made on the first day so if you stay home, you will miss it.

Zaiden could see that Grace was thinking hard about it.

08-20-18_12-01-44 PM

Raelyn came in and stood back listening. Zaiden saw her and gave a small smile. She stayed quiet so Grace wouldn’t know she was there.

“You know what, Daddy? This soup is really magic. I feel all better. I think I will go to school tomorrow.”

“I am very happy to hear that you feel better. Now will you please tell me why you don’t want to go to school tomorrow?”

Grace looked down into her bowl of soup. “I’m afraid you won’t be here when I get home. I don’t want you to go away again.”

“Zaiden wrapped his arms around her. “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I will be right here when you get home.”

“With my sundae?”

Zaiden smiled and nodded. “With your sundae.”


08-20-18_2-36-08 PM

Owen introduced Patrick to his friends. He watched Patrick hang off to the side with the girls talking. Maybe he would make a love connection with one of them.

Derick stood beside Owen. “What’s his story?”

“My dad used to date his mom. His parents had some problems and he came here to stay with us for awhile.”

Derick looked Patrick over. “You dad and his mom, huh? You think that your dad might be…”

“No. Dad said they thought so for awhile but had one of those tests done. He’s not my brother.”

“Seems fishy that the woman would just give her kid to her ex-boyfriend.”

08-20-18_2-49-08 PM

“Just drop it, Derick.” He didn’t want to talk to this. The last time Derick was convinced his dad had a secret he turned out to be right and that secret almost killed him. He didn’t want to have Derick tell him any more of his dad’s secrets. He didn’t want to fight with his best friend again. “Rematch on the table?”

“I’ll beat you this time.”

“You always say that.”

“Maybe someday I will.”

2:94 Satisfied

08-17-18_1-35-09 PM

So many things had happened after Chase testified in court. The judge accepted the plea deal and sentenced him to life without parole. Rowana was arrested and tried. The judge sentenced her to life without parole also. The only reason she was not given the death penalty was because Zaiden asked the judge not to. He knew what growing up with the stigma of his mother being executed was like. He did not want that for Patrick.

Rowana and Chase both asked that custody of their son be given to Zaiden. They knew how much he had once cared for the boy and knew he would be taken care of. He was settling into Owen’s room which made Owen very happy.

08-17-18_1-40-27 PM

The biggest and best event to happen was the judge reversing the custody order. Raelyn and the kids were able to move back home.

Zaiden wrapped his arms around Raelyn and smiled. “You are home. No more having to watch you leave after a couple hours.”

She smiled as she leaned against him. “No more lying alone at night wishing I was in your arms instead.”

Zaiden softly kissed her lips. “No more having to use my hand after dreams of your lips wrap…”

Zaiden!” Raelyn put her hand over his mouth. “The children are here!”

“We’ll finish that conversation later. Hopefully with demonstrations.”

Raelyn giggled as she moved away a few steps. “You better behave yourself or I will spend tonight at my parents’ house.”

08-17-18_1-37-33 PM

“Zaiden put his hands up in surrender. “How are they doing?”

Raelyn shrugged and sighed. “They are trying to be strong for Daniel right now. He is a complete mess.”

Zaiden understood. Daniel’s wife, Kaitlyn, had been Zaiden’s cousin. Losing her and her two daughters was a tough blow.

When he thought about it, it was his cousin, Elise, who was hit the hardest with the bombing. She had already lost her brother, Nelson, then her father, Collin. The bomb killed her mother, her only other brother, her only sister, two nieces, all her aunts, and her uncle. Other than her husband, her children, and a few cousins, her family was gone.

Raelyn squeezed his hand to get his attention again. “Are you blaming yourself again?”

“Not this time. I was thinking about Elise.”

“Have you talked to her?”

Zaiden shook his head. “She left town with her husband and the kids. Nobody knows where they went.”

“It is probably a good thing. Give her a fresh start without the painful memories.”

Zaiden nodded. Some days he wished he could move away from it all too. How is your dad? Is he doing any better?”

Raelyn shook her head. “He puts on the strong front for Daniel, but when my brother isn’t there… He misses his grandkids and his best friend.”

2:93 F**k You

08-16-18_12-05-47 PM

Zaiden and Raelyn sat holding hands while they listened to the testimony from Chase. He was glad she was there with him.

“It was Rowana. She planned it. She had me put the bomb inside the casket with the body. It was all for nothing though. The intended target wasn’t even there.”

“Who was the intended target?”

“The wife of the man Rowana truly loves. Raelyn Maynard.”

08-16-18_12-07-25 PM

Zaiden felt Raelyn squeeze his hand. He looked over at her just as shocked by what they heard as she was.

“She thought that if his wife was dead, she could get him back.”

“But isn’t she already married to you?”

“Yes, but that never stopped her.” Chase sighed when he thought about it. “She was married when I met her.”

08-16-18_12-04-40 PM

“Can you tell us about that?”

“I was 14 when I met her. She was a teacher at my school. I was a student in her English class. She would ask me to stay after school and help her grade papers. After a few months we weren’t grading papers.”

“If you weren’t grading papers, what were you doing?”

“We were having sex.”

“And you were how old again?”

“Fourteen.”

“Did anybody find out what the two of you were doing?”

“Yes. Her husband.”

“How did he find out?”

“When school was on break we would meet at her house when her husband was at work. He came home early and caught us together.”

“Then what happened?”

“She shot him.”

“She shot him?”

“Yes. While I was getting dressed to leave she called 911 and told them that she thought it was someone breaking into the house. She knew it was him.”

“If you knew she had killed her husband, why stay with her? Why not go to the police?”

“I was young and scared. She said my family would be next if I didn’t do what she said.”

“What did she say for you to do?”

“She wanted me to quit school and leave town with her.”

“And that is what you did?”

“Yes. I didn’t feel like I had a choice.”

“How did Mr. Maynard come to be involved in this?”

08-16-18_12-07-52 PM

“Rowana found a job working as a counselor with a camp group of young children. She had just finished the job when she met Mr. Maynard at the camp. She had seen the reports of his aunt and uncle looking for him and his sisters. She used him trying to protect his sisters to get him to do what she wanted.”

“Do you know how old Mr. Maynard was at this time?”

“I believe he was two years older than me at that time so he would have been sixteen.”

“What did Mrs. Mackell tell you her plans were for Mr. Maynard?”

“She was going to take control of his bank account. She knew that he was loaded.”

“How did she plan to do that?”

“Her original plan was to seduce him into marrying her. When she realized that could take awhile, she adopted him and his sisters instead. She was immediately given access tot he account so the money could be used for the care of Mr. Maynard and his sisters. She had told the three of them that she was just acting as their guardian so they would have a safe home. When Mr. Maynard was about to turn 18, she knew that the account would go back to him. She decided that having his kid would force him to share the money with her.”

“She was sleeping with her minor adopted son hoping to have his child so she could have a share of his money. How did that work out for her?”

“Not as well as she thought it would. She got pregnant, but a paternity test showed the child was not Mr. Maynard’s son.”

“You claim that your wife made you blow up the church during a funeral because she is in love with Mr. Maynard and wants him for herself. How did she get you to do that?”

“She said that if I did it, she would give me a divorce. If I did not do it, she would kill me. I had already seen her kill one husband. I knew she was capable of killing me also.”

2:92 Monster

newspaper2-92

Zaiden tossed the paper in the garbage as he walked to the door. He smiled when he saw Raelyn there waiting for him. “You could have come in. You don’t have to knock.”

She kissed him softly. “I didn’t want to bother you if you were busy.

08-12-18_6-51-58 PM

He followed her to the sofa. “I was just reading the paper.”

“You saw the article then.”

Zaiden nodded. “I saw it. I don’t feel like talking about it right now.”

Raelyn understood. “I’ll go with you tomorrow if you want.”

He nodded. “Thank you.” He held her hand in his. “I wish the damn judge would hurry and make a decision. I want you and the kids back here.”

They were waiting for the judge to reverse his decision on Zaiden being around the kids. They didn’t want to risk them moving back home then being taken away for going against the judge.

“Hopefully soon. I miss waking up to your face in the morning.”

08-12-18_6-52-35 PM

He kissed her softly and smiled. “How long can you stay today?”

“I am yours until tomorrow.” She smiled when she saw his grin. “Mom and Dad took the kids to visit her sister. They will be back tomorrow.”

Zaiden stood up and pulled her to her feet. “We have a lot of time to make up for.”


08-12-18_7-00-31 PM

Raelyn sat at the table watching Zaiden cook. “I want to get married again.”

“Who to?”

Raelyn smiled and shook her head. “I’m serious, Zaiden.”

“If it is what you want.”

“I want to do it today.”

“Okay. After we eat, we will go find someone to marry us again.”

08-12-18_7-13-49 PM

Raelyn jumped up from the table and hugged him. “I love you.”

2:91 One More Try

08-12-18_3-24-20 PM

Raelyn sent the kids home with her parents while she went with Zaiden. She was worried about him.

“Won’t your boyfriend be mad that you are here with me?”

Raelyn had no clue what he was talking about. “You were the only boyfriend I’ve ever had.”

“What about your dad’s guy that you’ve been dating?”

“I haven’t been dating anyone. Marco has been helping with the kids when we go somewhere. Grace is so much more of a handful than Owen ever was.”

Zaiden looked away when she started talking about the kids. “I wouldn’t know. I’m not allowed visits with them.” That one visit with his mother had been the only visit. The only other time he had seen his kids had been that afternoon at his parents’ funeral.

Raelyn felt bad about the way things had worked out. “That wasn’t my choice, Zaiden. That was the judge. I have always been fine with you seeing the kids. If it helps, they miss you.”

08-12-18_3-27-25 PM

He looked at her like an alien had just flown out of her nose. “Explain to me how that is supposed to help. Is the fact that they miss me supposed to make everything perfect again? If it worked that way, you and the kids would be living here again and my parents wouldn’t be in the ground out there. If it worked that way, I wouldn’t be so damn alone.”

Raelyn covered his hand with hers. “You are not alone right now.”

08-12-18_3-28-55 PM

Zaiden pulled his hand away from her and stood up. He moved to the window to put distance between them. “For how long? An hour or two? You’ll leave and go home to our kids and your parents. Then I will be alone again.”

08-12-18_3-30-46 PM

He hadn’t known she had moved until he felt her arms wrap around him. He closed his eyes as his own arms held her close. He couldn’t stop the tears as all of the emotions of the past year came crashing down on him.

Raelyn held him tight. She knew he needed this. He always held his emotions inside. It was just a matter of time before this happened. She was just glad he wasn’t alone when it did.

08-12-18_4-05-39 PM

When she started to calm down, she led him upstairs to the bedroom. She helped him get undressed then tucked him into the bed. “Sleep, Zaiden. I will stay in Owen’s room tonight.” She kissed him softly then got up.

He reached out and grabbed her hand. “Stay here. Please?”

08-12-18_4-17-57 PM

She looked at him before climbing into bed with him. This felt so much like it used to feel. She looked into his eyes before she brushed a lock of his hair from his eyes. “I have missed you, Zaiden.”

“I have missed you too. I am sorry I fucked up so badly.”

“I am sorry that I didn’t give you the chance to make things right. I know you tried so hard to fix things. I am very proud of you.”

Zaiden felt the tears building in his eyes again. “I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and do things differently. Then I would still have you and the kids here with me.”

Raelyn put her finger over his lips. “I am here now and I am not going anywhere.” She replaced her finger with her lips and softly whispered against his lips. “Ever.”

Zaiden pulled back and looked at her. “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it. My heart can’t take any more.”

Raelyn looked into his eyes. “I mean it, Zaiden. I love you. I want to come home.”

2:88 You Are The Reason

08-09-18_11-42-26 AM

Zaiden watched Grace play in the tunnel. He was happy to have his kids there, but was sad at how much they had grown since he last saw them.

He looked over at his mother. “How did you do it for so many years?”

“It wasn’t easy. There were many times that I almost risked it and came back.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“The risks to you and your father were too great.”

Zaiden thought about what his mother said. He knew that in her case, it was the men of her past that had been the danger.

“Do you think that I am a danger to my children?”

08-09-18_11-45-18 AM

Colleen took the time to think about her answer. “This may hurt you to hear, and I am sorry, but I want to be honest with you.”

Zaiden looked away and sighed. His own mother didn’t think his kids were safe with him.

“Take the kids back to their mother.” He got up to walk to the greenhouse.

“Zaiden Andrew Maynard, set back down and listen to me.”

The look on Owen’s face would have been funny in different circumstances.

Colleen waited until Zaiden sat back down. “I know that you would never intentionally harm the kids. You didn’t mean for Owen to get hurt. We all know that. Right now all of you are testing the waters to see how this is going to work. The kids are already being hurt by you not being there every day. Today is a big step towards things getting back to normal. One false move and it all falls apart.”

08-09-18_11-46-02 AM

Zaiden listened to his mother while he watched the kids. What she was saying made a lot of sense.

“That new guy Raelyn is dating is not father material.”

Zaiden’s head whipped around to look at her mother. “She’s dating somebody?”

Colleen nodded. “He’s one of her dad’s guys.”

Zaiden wasn’t surprised that she was moving on, but it still hurt.

2:87 Get Away

08-08-18_7-44-17 PM

Zaiden was in the greenhouse working on a flower arrangement for his mother when Tony showed up. He had been expecting a visit from him at some point. He just wasn’t sure when it would be.

08-08-18_7-47-33 PM

“Watch out for the bees. They are a bit riled up today. I think it’s the weather.”

Just as the words left Zaiden’s lips, the bees swarmed around Tony. Zaiden wasn’t going to say he didn’t enjoy watching that happen.

08-08-18_7-47-50 PM

Tony looked over at Zaiden and sighed. This visit wasn’t a pleasant one. He could see that the boy knew that already.

“If you came to tell me that the divorce is final, I already know. I also know about the judge’s decision that I shouldn’t see my kids.”

“That is only one of the reasons I am here. We’ll get to that later. Let’s get the bad stuff taken care of first.”

“You mean there’s something worse than me not being allowed to see my kids? I don’t think that’s possible.”

Tony understood how he was feeling. He would feel the same way in his shoes. “I came to let you know that I won’t be sending you on any more jobs for me. You need to focus on yourself right now and what I had you doing is no place for a recovering addict.”

08-08-18_7-53-13 PM

Zaiden felt his fists ball up. He wanted to punch the man more than he ever wanted anything else, but he knew that Tony’s men weren’t far away. They would be on him before the punch landed.

“The only reason I got addicted in the first place was because I saved your son’s life.”

“I know. I am very grateful to you for that.”

“You sure don’t act very grateful.”

Tony sighed and shook his head. “I didn’t come here to fight with you, Zaiden. I actually thought you would see that this is a good thing. Do you want the next time your children to see you to be at your funeral?”

“Isn’t that when it’s going to be anyway? Since I’m not allowed to see them, I’m already dead to them. Why not make it a reality and save everybody the trouble of waiting for it to happen?”

“Dammit, Zaiden. Stop that fucking shit. I came here to tell you that you will be seeing your kids tomorrow. I talked Raelyn into letting you see them. Your mom will pick them up and bring them to you in the morning. Raelyn’s condition was that your mom stays with them while they are here.”

Zaiden looked at Tony feeling like he was up to something. “Why would you do this? You told me that if I ever hurt your daughter, you would kill me. Why are you being nice to me? Is this one of those last wish type of things? You know I want to see my kids so you let me see them one last time before you kill me?”

Tony shook his head. “I’m not going to kill you, Zaiden. I know that what happened was not your fault. I blame myself. I should have checked things out more before I sent you and Daniel there.”

“Who would have expected my own cousin to try to kill me?”

“There’s that also. He’s been dealt with. You don’t have to worry about him any more.”

Zaiden looked at Tony. “Did you…?”

Tony shook his head. “Your cousin is still alive. He is in no position to bother you any longer though. I promise you that.”

Zaiden had no idea what Tony did to Dax, but he was just a bit scared now.

2:86 The Climb

08-08-18_5-16-56 PM

Zaiden was home. His dad had picked him up from the rehab center. He had made sure his dad brought his check book when he picked him up. He made the large donation to the place that he had planned to make. He really hoped it would be put to good use.

His parents offered to let him stay with them. With Zander and Alana living there, they didn’t have the room for him also. He just wanted to be in his own home anyway.

He knew that his parents were worried that he would start using again. They didn’t need to. He had no intention or desire to get into that again. Too much was riding on him staying clean.

08-08-18_5-17-43 PM

The house felt so empty. He sat in Grace’s room hoping that being around her things would make him feel better. All it did was make him remember how little time he had with her before he fucked up.

08-08-18_6-10-04 PM

Setting in Owen’s room wasn’t any better. He missed the boy being in the room playing on his video games or doing his homework.

Raelyn had told him that she was asking for full custody of the kids. She said that if he could stay clean she may let the kids visit as long as someone else was at the house with them.

It hurt that she didn’t trust him, but he understood. If he had been in her shoes, he probably wouldn’t trust him either. She was trying to do what was best for the kids and keep them safe. Maybe eventually he could earn her trust back and she would see that he was once again the man she had originally fallen in love with. Well, he almost was. He was now older and smarter than he had been.

08-08-18_6-19-42 PM

Zaiden went out to his green house to check on his plants. He was happy to see that someone had been taking care of them while he was gone. He would have to find out who it was and thank them.

He looked around the green house and smiled. Finally he was someplace where he could find a little peace and not be haunted by the emptiness of the house. Out here he had his plants and his bees to keep him company.