Week 5, Wednesday noonish – Chad’s ranch in East Texas
Will knew he had to get this right. There was no doubt in his mind that they would leave this place with Cally. One way or the other. And he knew that his was best. Not just for her, but everyone. Especially his conscious that was still seeking another way out of this mess. But if there was one, he could not see it.
“Do you remember I told you about my cousin?” He got straight to the point. Because while Cally had only agreed to two minutes, the truth was they could not afford even that. If someone came down this practically deserted road, well, they did not need any witnesses.
She nodded her head. Who had allowed her to dye her hair in such an outrageous way? “Yeah, Bebe, right?”
“Yes, well, I found her.”
“That’s great.” Cally looked every bit the sweet innocent kid she was.
There had to be another way. Why couldn’t he see it? He knew he was selfish, but dammit it, their lives depended on this girl. Not merely his, but Mercy and Bebe, perhaps, if his gut was right, even his child’s. There was so much riding on this.
“But I need your help to free her.”
“My help? What can I do?”
“Remember I said that she was kidnapped on the way to school.”
She nodded again, “But the police did not believe you?”
“Right. But there was one clue in her file. After… Well, after I was fired for letting your father go, I followed it to a small town a bit west of here. To a corrupt sheriff. It’s a long story, and we don’t have the time now to go into it. I promise I will explain it all on the way.”
Will stopped, he inhaled deeply, and he sought one last time for that way. Some way out of this mess. Some path that would allow him to protect Mercy and Bebe without involving this sweet kid. But he came up with nothing.
“The man that your father was working with had her kidnapped and taken to Mexico.” He did not want to strip away this girl’s innocence with the rest of the story.
“My father? Gerald? But they never figured out who he was working with.”
“I did. When I followed that lead to Mexico.”
“That’s great. But why do you need me? Surely you can get the agency to raid the place and get your cousin out of there? Stop the man at the top, too.”
“No, Cally. They fired me. And besides, Diego Garcia has men inside the agency. They would just warn him about any raid. Then he’d kill them and destroy any evidence.”
“Okay, but I still don’t understand what I can do?”
“The man wants his money.”
“Gerald said it was all gone. That there wasn’t any. And even if there was, I certainly don’t know where it is.”
“Yeah, I know that, kiddo. But Diego believes that your mother does. He sent us here to bring you back. So your mother will follow you there.”
“Kidnap me? So he can use me against my mother? Hurt her? Someone like that is not going to just let us go. Even if we knew where the money was and gave it to him, and I’m sure Mama doesn’t know.”
Tears welled in those expressive green eyes of hers, “Why, Will? Were you working for this man all along? Did you become my friend so that you could betray us?”
“No, sweetie, I swear. I never wanted you involved in this. I only helped your father because of you. Because you deserved to be safe and away from all that mess. I wouldn’t even take the money he offered me.”
He started to pace. Come on, god, you gave Abraham that ram trapped in the bushes. Why don’t you come through for me now? Still, there was no answer. Maybe in his bad choices, his grandparent’s god had forsaken him? But why punish this girl? She certainly did not deserve it.
Will noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Roberto reached for the gun that he had concealed beneath his jacket as he took a step away from the car. Cally noticed him too.
“Who is he, Will?”
He was out of time, and he knew it. “That’s Roberto Garcia, Diego’s younger brother. He brought me here to convince you to come willingly. I’m sorry, Cally, but whether you want to or not, you have to come with us. It is not just Bebe’s life that depends on it, but the woman I love as well. I’m so sorry.”
She nodded, “Just one question, Will. How did you find us? Did Gerald tell you where he was taking us? Have you known all along? Do those other men, the bad guys you worked with, know too?”
Will started to shake his head, but it was Roberto who spoke up. “Afraid you can’t blame that one on your father or Will. That one is all on you, ElizaThornberry.”
Will stepped forward just in time to catch the girl as she fell. Her eyes were wide as she stared up at him, “It’s all my fault then? Whatever happens to my mother, it’s my fault? They warned me, even Gerald did. Why didn’t I listen?”
“Shhh, it’ll be okay, Cally. No matter what happens, I promise you I will do whatever it takes to make sure that you, your mother, Bebe, and Mercy get out of there safely. You have my word on it.”
She shook her head as the tears spilled down her cheeks, “Grace, they call me Grace now.”
He smiled as he helped her into the back seat, “Grace? I like it. It suits you much better than Calypso or Cally. But I mean it, Grace, whatever it takes, you have my word on it. I will get you and Cassie out of there safely.”
He looked up to see Roberto scanning the road in both directions. Even if it meant that he laid down his own life. That he never had anything more of that sweet life and love with Mercy than these past few weeks. After all, that was more than he had ever hoped for, probably more than he deserved, too. Yes, even if he never saw, held, or watched the baby, he was almost certain was growing inside the woman he loved. His own little girl. Even if he had to sacrifice all that, he would – for this girl. He had willingly laid down his future and life for her once, and he knew he would again.