A/N ~ A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have read, favorited,reviewed and followed this little endeavor of mine. It means the world to me. :)

Chapter 2

I waited until I was almost 20 weeks before I told Jake. I had wanted to be sure that everything was okay with the baby so that Jake wouldn't worry while away from home serving our country. The night I told him I was pregnant he just seemed...off somehow.

"HOW DARE YOU CHEAT ON ME! EVERYONE KNOWS YOU CAN'T GET PREGNANT THE FIRST TIME!" It was the first time I had ever truly been afraid of him.

Jake didn't call me after that, and I made no attempt to contact him until the birth of our son Seth, exactly 2 weeks before his due date, on May 23rd.

Charlie made the call for me. I was terrified that Jake would disown our son. I grew up missing my father, and I wanted so much more for my son.

Jake's answer was to demand a DNA test. I cried and cried. How could he think I would do that to him? To us? All I wanted was a family for our son to grow up in, happy and healthy. The test was performed before we even left the hospital. Jake was to undergo the same swab on base in Iraq.

The results were back within the month. Seth was definitely Jake's son.

Jake apologized, and I thought we were going to be okay. We would work through it, we would finally be a family.

Jake returned from duty a changed man when Seth was 9 months old. He had made a group of new 'friends' while he was deployed, he called them his brothers. He returned a highly trained drug addicted, abusive killing machine. He boasted the highest kill rate in his unit, a fact confirmed by his 'brothers', which terrified me.

Any little thing set Jake off. If I forgot to pick up the milk while I was out or dinner wasn't ready on time, or I didn't give Seth a bath when Jake felt he needed it, or if I answered a question with anything other than what he wanted to hear, he would beat me, never hitting me anywhere it could be seen by someone else, but always making sure I knew his displeasure with me. He would apologize after every beating, profess his love for me and in the same breath he would swear if I ever left him he would kill our son. I couldn't take that chance, I wouldn't let something I'd done cost another life like it did my mother.

I held out hope that Jake would get better for almost 4 years, trying my best to avoid doing anything that would set him off, until one day Seth dropped a glass. That was all it took for him to turn on Seth, a stupid broken glass. He beat me nearly to death that night while I protected our son.

I woke in the hospital 3 days later with a worried Charlie sleeping in a chair beside my bed. The neighbors had called 911 after they heard all the commotion. Jake was arrested and charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Seth and I moved into Charlie's cabin after I was released from the hospital. Life seemed to return to some semblance of normality. Jake was in prison, and we were free to go about our life as normal people. I started leaving Seth with Charlie while I ran a few errands. We settled into a routine, Seth (del: ,) and I. Charlie would come over and watch Seth while I ran errands. (del; and) I took a job working part time while Seth was in school. I didn't earn a lot, but what I did earn was enough to cover our few living expenses.

Life was looking up - until today.

A/N ~ A HUGE THANK YOU to Momma2fan for beta'ing this for me!