As day turned into night they ate dinner together, still talking about random things but they were getting to know one another.
“This is really good.” Braden said taking another mouthful. Abbie flicked him under the table signaling him that he was putting to much in his mouth.
“its spaghetti with secret sauce that I put in.” Van said pick up the dishes.
“whatever it was it was awesome.” Abbie said giving her a hand with them.
Braden and John went into the living room to watch some baseball.
“So, did you like the shopping that we did?” Van questioned. As she handed the dishes to Abbie and she put them away.
“oh yes I did. I like that top that you picked out. It looks really pretty on you.”
“why thank you. What did you think about Shannon?”
“She’s the coolest. Really fun to hang out with and I like her style.”
“that’s great.” They finished up with the dished and went to watch the game with the guys. Time pasted by quickly as it turned 11:00. Abbie got already for bed as did the rest of the family. She went over to Braden’s room.
“alright, where is he?”
“where’s who?” he asked.
“Mr. Bunny Pants??” She folded her arms.
“you brought that raggedy thing here?” He got up.
“yes. And he’s not raggedy. He’s just old.”
“oh yeah. He’s missing both eyes and he’s falling apart from being in the washing machine to much.” He went over to her room and rummaged in her stuff. He looked under her bed and finally found, Mr. Bunny Pants.
“here’s you stupid animal.”
“Only stupid to some.” She replied. “Can you turn out the light when you leave please.”
“going to bed so soon oh Queen of the Darkness?”
“no I’m going to watch some TV and then go to sleep.”
“o.k. Not to late ya hear?”
“yeah I hear.” Braden made his way back to his room when he was stopped by John.
“I was helping Abbie locate Mr. Bunny Pants.”
“Mr. Bunny Pants???”
“Don’t want to know.” He said as he went to is room and Braden went to his. Evangeline got out of the bathroom and cuddled up to John while he rested peacefully. He felt her presence around him. He put his arm around her, pulling her close to his chest.
“it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be huh?”
“It was better than what I had expected.” He said with a sleepy voice.
“you get some rest.” She whispered in his ear. “you’ve had a long day.
Days turned into weeks as Abbie and Braden were living with John and Evangeline. John enrolled Abbie at Mt. Tabor High school, where she is a 10th grader. She had already made friends and brought some home to do some projects with. Braden got himself a dorm at LU. Shannon eventually got to show him around with the help of Jen and Riley. He promised Abbie that he would come home every weekend to come and see her. But this weekend wasn’t one of the greatest.
Evangeline was at work with a client while John was at the police station doing his own thing. John decided to come home early to spend s
ome time with them, now he wished that he hadn’t.
“I’m going to punch your face in Braden!” he could hear Abbie scream at the top of her lungs when he opened the door. John saw her running around threatening Braden with a pillow. As he walked in, he set his stuff down on the kitchen counter and went to see what the fuss was all about. He felt them coming around the corner. As Braden wizzed past John, John got hold of Abbie and picked her up with one hand pulling her to the couch. She tried to get out of his grip but it was to tight.
“Let me go! let me at em!” she said swing her free arm. John flung her to the couch and held both of her arms so she wouldn’t get away.
“What are you fighting about.” Abbie took in a deep breath and calmed herself down.
“Braden said that if dad really loved us, he wouldn’t of dropped us off with you.” She looked into John’s eyes as he looked over at Braden with a look of shame on his face.
“is that true Uncle John???” he looked at her bringing his grip off of her. He saw the pain in her eyes as if she regretted to ask him if it was true.
“no, no sweetie, it isn’t. Your father, he loves you very much. I promise you. Now why don’t you go and work on your homework.”
“o.k.” she got up and walked up stairs to her room. John was left there with a puzzled look on his face. He found Braden drinking a glass of water in the kitchen.
“how could you tell Abbie a thing like that?” He looked off into the window.
“I don’t know what came over me. I was frustrated and I guess she was the first person that came in contact. I didn’t mean too. Really I didn’t”
“I think you should go and apologize to her.”
“I think I should too.” Braden made his way to Abbie’s room and
noticed she wasn’t there.
“Abbie?” He went wondering in the house trying to find her to apologize for what he had said. He felt guilty for saying that to her. After all he was her big brother. She looked up to him. He saw the bathroom light on and the door wide open. He knocked on the door to tell her he was coming in. The next thing he saw was horrifying. He saw Abbie passed out on the bathroom floor close to the toilet. He ran up to her, supporting her head on his lap.
“Abbie, Abbie! Uncle John! Come here quick! It’s Abbie!” he yelled. John felt the rush of adrenalin come to him. He ran quickly down the hall and up the stairs. He found Braden in the bathroom with Abbie moving a little.
“what the hell happened?” he questioned both of them.
“I…I got dizzy and felt like I was going to puke, and I-I did and then I blacked out.” She said rubbing her head.
“Let me call Michael and see what I can do. Braden take Abbie to the living room until I come back.” he got up and went off to make the phone call.
“Mikey its me. I need a favor.”
“what is it?”
“I think Abbie’s sick. I-I-I don’t know what’s wrong with her but she blacked out and she doesn’t look to well. She looks really pale. Can you come over as soon as you can? Please?”
“of course. I’m on my way.” He hung up the phone and went to go check on the kids. He saw Braden putting a blank over Abbie as she was quietly resting. Braden walked up to him.
“she told me she was feeling bad so I told her she could rest and get some sleep.”
“o.k. that’s fine. Do you know what caused it?”
“no. She’s not allergic to anything. Well not that I know of.”
“well I guess were going to have to wait until Michael comes.”
“Why’s Uncle Mike coming?”
“ Because he’s a doctor that’s why.” he ran his hand in his hair and then put them on his hips. Braden sat down in the chair next to Abbie and was startled when they heard the door open.
“Michael called me and told me what happened.” Van said as she threw her purse down on the counter and rushed to Abbie’s side. She felt her head.
“man she’s hot.” she said rushing to the kitchen to get a cloth and put water on it. She came back as fast as she left. She placed it slowly on Abbie’s head not to startle her. She flinched a little and started to get up.
“lay down baby you need to rest.” Van whispered motherly to her. Abbie sat back down and closed her eyes. Feeling like the life was being sucked out of her.
“do you know what happened to her john?” she said stroking Abbie’s soft blonde hair.
“I think the person that you should be asking isn’t me. It should be Braden.” they both looked at him as he was staring at the floor.
“I went into the bathroom and I saw her lying on the floor passed out. I didn’t know what to do so I called John. Is Abbie going to be alright?”
“She should be fine.” There was a knock at the door.
“get in here what took so long?” John said pulling his brother in.
“I’ll tell you later.” He rushed over to Abbie’s side. He pulled out his Doctor tools and started using them on Abbie. John watched as his brother. He was so gentle, yet intense with his work.
Evangeline looked of at Braden. His head was down, resting on his clasped hands. She went over to him and rubbed his back letting him know that it was going to be o.k.
“its not your fault.” she said to him quietly.
“I’m not saying it was.”
“look I see it in your eyes that your blaming yourself. Abbie is going to be just fine. John wouldn‘t have told you that if it wasn‘t the truth.”
“what’s the verdict Doc?” john said sitting down on a spare chair in the room.
“Well,” he started off. “it looks like she has some food poisoning . What was some things that she has eaten over the past couple of days.”
“well yesterday I took her down to Teddy G’s. She had some of there garbage fries.” Evangeline came into the room after taking the wet cloth off of Abbie.
“what did they have on them?”
“um some chili, and melted cheese.”
“that wouldn’t of caused it.”
“Do you think she could have been poisoned?”
“that might be a possibility.” Michael answered “We might want to go and investigate it.”
“that’s a good idea.” He grabbed his old leather jacket that he took every where. Worn and had a hole in the left pocket. The colors have faded. He’s had ever since he got out of the Police Academy. He shut the door quietly, knowing that Abbie was in there asleep.
“Michael hurry up we have no time to waste.” Getting out his car keys
“I’m a comin. I’m a comin. What‘s the big deal?” He said jogging.
“ I know that its not thing.”
“Mikey Don’t you start that shit with me.”
“Would you just tell me.” He gave his brother a look. They look that screams out “you better tell me or else I’m going to tell everyone something’s wrong.” look. John had to confess.
“fine. Get in the car.” they shut the door as Michael leaned into john. Even though know on was there, they still whispered as if there was someone. He started up the car and drove off.
“I got this in the mail yesterday.” He reached in his pocket of the leather jacket and pulled out a letter. It was written on a regular, ordinary piece of paper. He opened the crinkled letter and read it.
John, I will ruin you new life with Evangeline, you nephew, and your niece. You took my dreams. I was suppose to have a life with Evangeline. She was suppose to be my wife. Not yours. Now you will have a great deal of suffering over the next weeks. I hope your life goes down the drain. Then I will have my dreams. And you. Well you’ll just crash and burn.
“do you know who write this?” giving the note back to John.
“no.” He concentrated on the road.
“But I think the same person tried to poison Abbie.”
“Well we don’t know exactly if it is poison. It might just be food poison.”
“But what if it isn’t. Michael, Scott left me his kids in my care. If something were to happen to them,”
“John don’t think like that.”
“And then there’s Evangeline. I don’t know what I‘d do if I lost her…”
“have you told her?”
“no way. And scare her?? She would be worried all the time. I can’t have that.”
“Lets just try and figure this out. O.K.?” His brother put his hand on his shoulder. He knew John was worried.
“Alright.” he got out of the car.
Abbie just came out of the bathroom. Before she got out she looked at herself in the mirror. She was paler than she had ever been before. She looked like shit to tell you the truth, but anyone would after just throwing up. She laid back down on the couch and put on some cartoons on the T.V. Van came in the room with some hot tea.
“here babe.” she said handing the tea to her.
“thanks but I’m not really hungry or thirsty at all. I’m just tired.”
“I know dear, but do you think you could just take a sip? It would make your throat feel a lot better.”
“o.k. Are you feeling any better?”
“o.k. well I let get some rest.” She started to leave to room.
“Wait, could you bring something to me? And then if you want, stay with me and talk?” Van put a smile on.
“yeah, what do you need?”
“Its going to sound stupid, but in my room I have a stuffed animal, Mr. Bunny Pants, could you bring him to me please?”
“sure but then you have to do something for me.”
“drink some of that tea and make yourself feel better.”
“I’ll do my best.” Evangeline left the room and came back quickly.
“here you go. So what did you want to talk about?”
“well, I don’t really know. You want to watch a movie or something?”
“Before we start, do you know where Braden is?”
“he told me he was going for a walk.”
“oh” she said with disappointment in her voice.
Braden took a walk in the park. He passed by some little kids playing in the sand box. He remembered those days with Abbie. He remembered when she put sand down his pants and thought it was funny. He remembered the talk that his Dad gave him before they left.
“Now I want you to take care of your sister.”
“yes dad I know.”
“Philly’s a bad place just like A.C remember?”
“yes, yes I know.”
“so protect her. You hear me?”
And that’s what he told him. No ifs ands, or buts about it. He told his father that he would and he failed. He put out the cigarette that he was smoking out and started to walk back to the house.
“o.k. so let me get this straight, someone has paid you to do this?” John question the man behind the counter. He was sacred and John knew he would spill easily when he showed his badge.
“what did this man look like?”
“actually I didn’t see him.”
“you didn’t see them well how they hell did you get paid then?”
“it came in the mail.”
“in the mail?? that’s the lamest excuse I’ve heard in years.”
“I’m telling the truth I swear to you.”
“look, a girl’s life is on the line, if you’re lying its going to be your own fault that an innocent little girl dies.”
“I’m telling the truth.”
“you better.” He stormed out of the restaurant with Michael right behind him.
“you do know that she’s not going to die right?”
“yeah. I just said that just incase he was lying. Makes him feel guilty.”
“Ahhhh.” Michael said getting in the car.
As they reached the drive way john stopped and looked at his brother.
“don’t tell Van.
“What about that letter?”
“yes dumb-ass. The letter.”
“I wasn’t going to tell her.”
“But its not good to keep secretes from the one you love.”
“oh I better go and see how Abbie is doing.” quickly changing the subject.
“Here comes the scary part.”
“I know.” Abbie said pulling the blankets and Mr. Bunny Pants close to her. John and Michael came in the door, seeing the girls cuddled up on the couch together watching a movie.
“what are you watching?”
“shhhhhh. Cabin Fever.”
“oh.” John said sitting in his chair. He looked at Abbie’s face. She looked worse than when he had left. It looked like Van did her hair in a French braded. She got up and ran to the bathroom. Van stopped the movie.
“how long has she’s been throwing up?” Michael questioned.
“ever since you left. Couple times and hour.”
“o.k. When she comes back I need to take her temperature.” Braden came in the door.
“where’ve you been?” John asked.
“I took a walk. Evangeline said it was alright. How’s Abbie?”
“I feel like crap.” She said coming in the living room. wiping the corners of her mouth. She sat back on the couch and grabbed Mr. Bunny Pants. Michael pulled out his ear thermometer.
“can I take you temperature?”
“sure.” she sat as still as she could be while Michael checked her out.
“well, your temperature has gone down a little. I’m going to go and get some prescription for you to fight you’re poisoning and…..” Abbie was fast asleep leaning on her arm for comfort.
“and I’m talking to myself. I’ll be back in less then a half-in-hour. Try to keep her hydrated”
“o.k.” Van showed him the way to the door.”
“remember, she’s my niece too. There’s no thanks to be needed. I was helping family.” The house was silent after Michael left. Waiting to see if Abbie would make it. She was a McBain. They ALWAYS made it threw anything. Anything.