Sometimes when the world seems to be crashing in it’s hard to realize maybe somebody else has experienced just as much pain. Cash Phillips is wrapped in his own emotional hell but soon he’ll find out that the neighbor next door has a painful past of her own.
Cash Phillips is trying to escape the past that haunts him, but moving to Serenity Point soon proves to be everything but the safe haven he seeks. When the woman next door reminds him of the woman he couldn’t save. And the passions he long ago silenced rise from the grave. Can Cash start over? Or will the past he ran from follow him to Serenity Point and drag him back to hell?
“What did the cop say?”
“They all know what happened, what I went through, what she went through. He just told me he hoped she would be okay and that he would talk with Francis about unnecessary emergency line calls. She actually called 9-1-1,” she laughed and shook her head. “He offered to send a medic over about my lip, but I was okay. I had learned how to fix my own scrapes…”
“Trying to calm Maddy, well, let’s just say it took an army, but I’m all she had. I don’t know what monsters she saw in her head while she slept. She never talked about it with me, but I know she would fight them and sometimes, while I was trying to be her safe haven she would kick, claw, punch…sometimes I was on the receiving end of that. So you see I couldn’t have left her with anybody else. Nobody else would put themselves in that position for anybody else’s child.”
“I see,” his voice was dry and almost angry. She didn’t know if he was angry with her, with people for not helping her, or with Francis for calling the cops on her.
“She’s come a long way. She doesn’t hide under tables anymore. The nightmares are few and very far in between, and she’s learned how to wake from them without going on the attack. She’s better. I know it will always be with her, but I hope, I pray, that she’ll be able to live her life without it haunting her.”
“The way it haunts you,” he said more than he asked.
“I didn’t see them get killed; she did.”
“It still haunts you.”
“They were all I had. Gabe was all I had…but then I had Madeline to look after and she kept me going.”
“That’s how you survived.”
“At first it was our baby. I had to bring him into the world safely. But then…when I lost him…I wanted to die. I had lost everything, every connection to Gabe, and I just wanted to die. But then I looked over at that little girl with the blond hair and the green eyes that once were so full of life but looked so empty then, and I knew that it wasn’t about me. I couldn’t give up because if I did then what would she have? Who would she have? Nobody. She would go into foster care and end up God only knows where. My sister trusted me to watch over her child in the event something happened where she and Daniel couldn’t and I vowed I would honor her wishes.”
“Hmm,” he nodded.
“What about you? You said your wife was murdered. How did you survive that?”
He sat silent for a minute before looking out at the garage door in front of him. “I didn’t.”
She could see the pain etched on his face, as if he were feeling guilty for moving onward. “You have,” she said. “You just don’t realize it yet.”