FAGE Six Pack
Title: Lighthouse in the Storm
Written for: mama4dukes
Written By: Bell 1 (Aunt Bell)
Chapter Word Count (minus A/N): 4.334
Prompt used: Blake Shelton: God Gave Me You
www . youtube (.com) /watch?v=zpX7S9VkZzw - Take out the four spaces and parenthesis, or find the link on my profile.
Summary: A charmed life with a promising future as a professional football player until one moment of weakness becomes the catalyst to struggles and hardships. Will life ever turn around for this once strong, tantalizing man, or will it become his demise? A FAGE 6-Pack story written for mama4dukes. AH (Edited again in 2015)
If you would like to see all the stories part of FAGE Six Pack visit the facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps or add the C2 to get all the stories direct to your inbox (Take out the four spaces and parenthesis, or find the link on my profile).
www . fanfiction (.net) /community/FAGE-6-pack/93625
AN: I had to laugh at the prompt I decided to write because when the e-mail came in from Vampmama, there were two songs as prompts. I chose God Gave MeYou because this song inspired me. The funny part is, I was in the middle of reading a fanfiction story when the prompt e-mail came, chose this prompt, finished reading the fic, and guess what… yep, that's right, the last chapter of the fic was a song fic chapter for God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton. So, seems it was meant to be mama4dukes. *winks*
mama4dukes – I hope you enjoy this fic written for you and I hope you enjoy this pairing. I was pleasantly surprised and a bit nervous to be given you as my recipient. ;)
For my recipient's sake, I am taking creative license with what a certain university offers for their majors.
An extra special thanks to hlsmith for their beta work, to MarieCarro her amazing banner work and patience, and finally to hlsmith and MarieCarro for their help with pre-reading. Thank you also readingmama (vampmama) for managing this gift exchange through writing.
Unfortunately, I did not create these characters, but thanks to Stephenie Meyer I am allowed to play with them for my enjoyment and mold them to my imagination.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~ LitS ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Chapter One – Life's Blessings
Every time I walk through the door I count my blessings for simply having a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and food for nourishment because I haven't always been so lucky.
There was a time the thought of owning my own home, or even having one drawer of clothes was an impossible dream. Food was sparse. There were days at a time I was unable to calm my grumbling stomach. Sometimes it became so bad there was no audible protest. Those days I lived mostly on the only thing affordable and available, water. When sustenance was available you had to be there at the head of the line, or you went without. The same could be said for a warm place to lay my head in the winter, or a place to cool off in the summer.
There was one place I knew I could always go whenever the weather or my hunger became really treacherous, but my guilt and shame would overcome me. I felt undeserving of the help they could provide. I was so far into self-loathing I could no longer see how anything I have done, or left undone, could be forgivable when I was unable to forgive myself. Especially when the friends I thought I had seemingly abandoned me too.
Shaking myself from the dreary thoughts of my past, I hang my coat in the hall closet and walk up the stairs. Setting my keys on the nightstand by the bed, I gather a pair of running pants and a tank top to change into. After putting on my running shoes I head out of the house for a six-mile run, starting on the path next to the house. Though running relaxes me, it also can bring back painful memories.
"Get out of here, you bum! We don't need your type sullying the streets with your filth and drunkenness. You're a disgrace defiling our streets. Shoo, before I call the police."
I scamper off empty-handed from today's efforts of scrounging up scraps to eat. It's been five days since I last ate. Every day I have gone to the food kitchen. The first couple days I arrive late, but after figuring out what time I have to be there, I arrive to an already long line. Before I even make it to the door they close due to no more food available.
Afterwards, I go through alleyways of restaurants as they close. However, a new city ban on giving food to the homeless, claiming the FDA is unable to check the food, keeps many restaurants from giving out leftovers. This makes it impossible to find anything suitable to eat. Many restaurants now have their dumpsters secured, or keep from throwing the bags outside until the day the trash collectors arrive to avoid the hefty fines, or the risk of a shutdown.
It really makes no sense. Why put a ban on helping others in need? It is the same food restaurants sell the public, but the FDA isn't examining each of those dishes before being served. I know the government is full of far too many fat-cat, over paid politicians with an elitist mindset, but it isn't so large they have at least one FDA agent in each restaurant all across the country just checking food quality and regulations before every dish is given to the diners. Plus, there haven't exactly been an exceeding number of homeless deaths due to food consumption… more like lack of ANY nourishment.
I often wonder how long it will take before I become one of those nameless bodies no one cares about, no one remembers, no one claims, and left to a fiery end. My once strong, muscular physique – now thin and weak – is unrecognizable even to me. A once clean-shaven face is now covered with a full, thick, and dirty beard. The former healthy complexion replaced with pale and sickly skin. Bright, hazel eyes are dull, sunken in, and emphasized by the dark circles. Even the clothes on my back hang loose on me, torn and dirty. I was fortunate enough to find a thin rope now used as a belt.
Reflective surfaces are no longer my friend; I avoid them like the plague. It's not about vanity, more because I cannot associate who I am now with the man I once was; the thought of getting my life back is a forgotten and impossible dream.
I wish I could say I lost count of the days, but the day it all changed still haunts me. I never thought I would end up like this, but so many things led to my being here, the last being the absolute worst. When the last straw came crashing down on me, I had no one left. The few friends I thought I had left were unreachable, or didn't return my calls. I also had no family left. Money ran out long ago, leaving me living in the streets with harsh winters and summers.
I jog through the woods until I reach the park on the edge of town. I use what I can of the children's play equipment to work my upper body before finishing my run through the streets of Incline Village, Nevada toward home.
"Hello, Mrs. Denali", I say as I pass her.
"How many times do I have to tell you to call me Tanya?" She hollers.
I laugh loud enough to reach her ears, but internally think when you respect me and stop flirting with me all the time. Even if she were to divorce her husband, I wouldn't go there. The woman gets around more than the town's happy-go-lucky stray dog, Jake. Any little inkling of attention would only encourage her more. To the average male she is considered a hot ticket, but to me she is an attractive woman with no morals and a low self-esteem, filling the void by guiding different skin boats to tuna harbor.
"Hey, Emmett. Are you coming over on Monday?" Riley Biers, a young student at Lake Tahoe Community College, asks.
"I'll get back to you."
He chuckles and winks as I pass. "I get'cha!"
Arriving home I walk onto the deck overlooking the lake scenery, remove my tennis shoes, and strip down to my boxer briefs. I head to the lake for a refreshing swim through the beautiful waters of Lake Tahoe. About half an hour later, I am back on the deck grabbing a towel out of the waterproof, outdoor storage cabinet to dry off. Then I head inside, take a shower, and change into some shorts and a t-shirt before making something for dinner.
Once dinner is finished, I put anything I am not going to eat away and place the dirty dishes into the dishwasher before picking up my food and heading to the kitchen table. Without the distraction of cooking, sitting here eating in the quiet house unnerves me so I stand up and turn on the stereo to the classics playlist in the living room. Hearing the soothing sounds of strings and piano helps me to concentrate on the notes instead of getting lost in my thoughts. You learn to appreciate the things you lose; being able to listen to whatever I want is one of them.
I place my plate and utensils into the machine and start the cleaning cycle. Turning off the stereo, I pick up my briefcase at the door and head to the office. It still amazes me how unbelievably lucky I am to have a multi-room home. Pulling out the papers, I set to work on grading today's tests and assignments. When that is complete, I notice it is after seven-thirty and decide I should head to bed since I didn't sleep well last night.
Taking off my shirt and shorts, I crawl under the covers in my natural state with just a sheet draped over my lower half. Lying on my back, I drift to sleep.
My sister is the only family I have left and fortunately, she allows me to stay with her until I am able get back on my feet, even though my brother-in-law is completely against it. Unable to prove it, I simply know James is not the person he claims to be. He often stays at work late even though he is in an entry-level position, yet he somehow has plenty of money to support his wife, claiming an inheritance from his parents.
The friends he hangs out with are shady characters who often have scantily dressed women attached to their side. There is a near constant stench of alcohol and weed on them. Fortunately he has never allowed these men anywhere around Alice and actually treats her well.
James isn't much better than his friends are, but he dresses better with long, blonde hair reaching the center of his back. I don't actually get the point of a man having long hair. It bothers me more that his hair is longer than my sister's dark, chin-length hair. He also spends more time on it than his wife does, just so he can tie it in the back.
My sister is an exuberant, happy person who only sees the best in James. He is good at hiding his true self from her. No matter how much I try to help her see his true colors, Alice won't hear it. Every time I try to help her catch him in a lie in the past couple years he is a step ahead. When she will surprise him at work with something to eat, he is always there. I'm not sure how he does it.
When my own troubles begin, I am forced to give up. Eventually the only choice I have remaining is to depend on their charity. For eight months I've been living in their basement, the only place James will allow even though they have two guest rooms.
I am not the same fun, jubilant man I used to be. Life has been difficult recently. Naïve is not how I would describe myself, though definitely inexperienced to the ways of the world. I now know I was living in a sheltered world, which found a way to break me. Serious, subdued, and humbled better describe me these days.
It is a stormy Sunday afternoon. I am on my way to pick up Alice from her custom design clothing shop. Once again her husband is too busy to bother. She called him so he could pick her up once she arrives on the other side of Puget Sound. They live on Bainbridge Island and the ferry terminal is within walking distance of her store, but she doesn't drive.
I have just finished a job lead near Union Bay when I receive the call from scar-face himself. Before leaving, I call the shop to let her know I will pick her up there, but when voicemail picks up, I hang up and opt to send her a text instead. It has been fifteen minutes with no response, which isn't like her. Since I am only two blocks from the shop, I decide she left her cell in the office once again while sewing in the back and couldn't hear it over the machines.
Unfortunately when I arrive, the store located south of Safeco Plaza is dark. Knowing she probably began walking toward the ferries before seeing my text, I drive down Marion Street, hoping to catch her. Thankfully since it is a weekend afternoon the streets are practically barren, most choosing to remain home in this weekend weather.
When I reach First Street, the corner blocked off with emergency vehicles, someone is lying in the street. As I begin turning the SUV around, my heart sinks out of my chest. The neon green raincoat I left at Alice's store a week ago is in the middle of the intersection. I throw the car into park and run directly toward the seemingly unmoving bright beacon.
When I meet the barriers, several strong arms hold me back. That's when I see what would forever change my life, my sister lying motionless. The downpour mixes with the tears streaming down my face.
"ALICE!" I scream out before I feel myself being shaken. A stinging slap crosses my face. I look grief-stricken toward the source.
"There you are, Sir. I have been trying to get your attention for a couple minutes now. My name is officer Cheney. What is your name?" I give the aged officer my name. "What makes you think you know the victim?"
"The raincoat… she… she made it for my birthday last year." I tell him between shuddering sobs.
"What relation is she to you?"
"What is your sister's name?"
I take a deep breath knowing I need to get myself under control. "Alice, Sir."
He nods and begins leading me past the barrier, letting others know I may know the victim. As soon as we are by her side, I break down at the sight of my sister's mangled, unnaturally twisted body covered to her ankles in the oversized neon green raincoat, wearing the too big matching goulashes. Her left arm is trapped under her body in a seemingly impossible way. The right leg is bent far enough that if I didn't know any better, I would think her knees were on the back of her legs.
Her beautiful, brown eyes are wide open, but it's not what disturbs me the most. Within her scratched face and the blood washing away from the rain is a look I have never seen on her features… fear and horror.
If the situation weren't so tragic, I might have laughed when I see her cell phone still securely clutched in her right hand. I swipe my finger across the screen and fall deeper into despair. My text immediately flashes onto the screen. "Oh, Alice. Why didn't you just wait for me?" I whisper as a hand touches my shoulder.
"I'm sorry, but I have to ask this. Can you positively identify the victim?"
I nod as I reach to close her eyes. "Yes. Her name is Alice Deschamps. She is my sister. What happened?"
"It was a hit and run, Son. There was a high-speed chase going through town. When Ms. Deschamps was crossing at the light the fugitive's vehicle ran the red light and hit her dead-on at fifty miles an hour. Her body was flung into the air over the first two police cruisers, landing in the center of the intersection's southbound lane. The third officer saw what happened, stopped immediately to check on Ms. Deschamps, and called it in."
I struggle to ask the next question. "Was… was she alive?"
I see the sorrow cross officer Cheney's worn and wrinkled face, his grey eyes sorrowful. "No, she died instantly. I believe it was due to the severe head trauma when she was struck and again when she landed."
I sigh in relief. If she was dead when the officer stopped, she couldn't have suffered long. "Thank you. Have you contacted anyone yet?"
"No, Sir. You arrived only ten minutes after we put the roadblocks up. We will be calling her husband. Would you like to accompany us? We will have your vehicle brought to the station."
I nod my head knowing driving isn't a good idea.
Waiting for the paramedics to load her body onto the gurney, I call Ben; watching as they drape a white sheet over her and place her into the ambulance. Alice and I went to him after our parents died two years ago to set up our final wishes. Ben will handle everything, including calling the funeral home.
Our parents were visiting friends in Oklahoma when an F5 tornado came through town. As luck would have it, our parents perished and their friends survived. Not that I want their children, all under the age of twelve at the time, to lose their mother and father… I just miss my parents, especially now.
Officer Cheney leads me to his squad car, allowing me to climb into the passenger seat and handing me her possessions – the matching rain hat and umbrella, as well as her purse. Anything else on her at the time of death will be released later.
It takes an hour and a half before James arrives. I have been waiting here the whole time. The officers tell us what we could expect as well as the fact they have caught the fugitive, who is currently in lockup for manslaughter as well as a number of other felonies. When they tell me the fugitive's name I nearly lose it, but manage to maintain my composure. I look over at James, no emotion whatsoever. Does he even care that his wife just died? He is the master of deception and hiding his true thoughts, or emotions, but I know better.
Laurent Bourbon is one of James' closest friends. When he called me, James was out with his friends. I'm sure Laurent was one of them at the time. Questions run rampant through my head. How could he do this to her? According to the officer, the car didn't even swerve. Did they do it on purpose? Did they even see her? How did he avoid being caught with Laurent? Once everything is wrapped up at the police station, I head home.
The next day I arrive home after an early morning interview, but all the locks have been changed and there is no answer, even though I know James is inside. After knocking and ringing the doorbell for ten minutes, James walks outside.
"There is no longer a reason for me to let your sorry ass stay in my home anymore, Emmett. The only reason you were allowed here is gone, so get off my property, you good for nothing pervert before I call the police." He turns to go back into the house and locks it.
Getting into my beat-up SUV, I call everyone I could think of who would be willing to help me out; but no one answers. Messages are left for each as I head to a hotel. When I arrive, I discover my only credit card is denied and my bankcard evidently doesn't have sufficient funds.
The bank informs me a financial representative closed account, but I do not have one. However, all the appropriate forms are signed with what they verified as my signature. When I tell them I did not authorize this, they tell me there is nothing they could do now, but suggest I could contact the FTC, Federal Trade Commission, or the police if I suspect identity fraud.
I go directly to Ben's office afterward, but find out he is out for the rest of the week. I leave him a note and call his cell phone, but there is no answer. How is it possible to run into all these roadblocks and not be able to reach anyone?
The next week is spent living out of my tent at my favorite free camping area with a tiny hot spring about half a mile to the east. I attend the funeral, but no one shows; not even to the luncheon following Alice's closed casket burial service. I don't understand how it is possible. Before the service begins, I call everyone I know who wouldn't miss paying his or her respects to my once very upbeat and social sister. Once again no one answers.
No one I could reach.
No place to stay.
No job perspectives.
Nearly dead cell phone battery with no way to charge it.
Less than a quarter tank of gas left.
I keep fighting.
With no way to fill the tank I am forced to sell my vehicle after the low fuel light appears. I take with me all the camping gear in the back, pulling on the pack. With two thousand dollars from the sale, I take the bus to my church on the other side of Seattle. The pastor finds me an affordable place to stay. Having lost my cell phone last night, I purchase a prepaid cell phone, but am unable to retrieve the contact list from my contacts backup registration. Next I buy a nice suit and a winter coat at the second hand store and get back on the job search.
For the next four weeks I go to every possible place I can to find employment, but somehow I am even less able to find work than before Alice died. I do what I can, following all the leads I get, but every time I am either too late, or not what they are looking to hire. Even the quickie mart turns me away. I find a few places hiring by the hour and pay cash, but it isn't enough to tide me over and it is a first come deal. However, even though I arrive early every day, there is no guarantee they will pick the same people.
It has now been two months since losing my sister. Between food, rent, utilities, bare essentials, and bus or cab fare, I am down to my last ten dollars. My prepaid cell phone has been out of minutes for the past week with no funds to add more. Rent is due tomorrow and the cash pay employers have not picked me for the past month. I will have to turn over my place tomorrow.
I have been stopping by Ben's office once, or twice a week, but each time I am told he has been out of town, or unreachable. I try finding his address on the internet at the public library and even in phone books, but it seems his private information is unlisted and unpublished.
Most of my friends do not have a landline telephone, so without a way to retrieve their number from my old phone and no way to look up their number online, they are still unreachable. After purchasing my prepaid phone I left messages with the New England Patriots, but never heard back. Jasper's place of employment escapes me and Edward's school wouldn't give me any information, or even take a message, claiming they have no way of tracking down their students.
Although I don't want to bother her now with her overwhelmingly successful business, I also need help. Knowing she would be there for me, I find her business number online and call. A male answers and tells me she is at a catering event, so I leave a message with him. It was my last hope.
Today is the day. I gather the few belongings I have and place them into my backpack. Knocking on the landlady's door, I deliver the news. "Hello, Mrs. Cope. I am here to turn in my keys." She is a sweet, kind, and generous lady who attends my church.
"OH!" She says surprised. "Do you have a place to stay?"
Not wanting to take advantage, or put her out I lie and tell her I am going to be staying with a friend. Each day following, I look for work and go to the library when necessary. When my clothes become dirty and I am a bit scruffy-looking, I am no longer welcome at the library.
I have sold off everything except my sleeping bag and tent. The only other things I own are the clothes on my back, my winter coat, my suit, gloves, stocking hat, scarf, a water bottle, my pocket Bible, and a few personal care items such as a toothbrush, comb, and two spare pairs of underwear. All these things easily fit into the sleeping bag, which is tied to the tent bag.
I never did hear back from Jasper, Edward, Peter, or anyone else I left messages before running out of minutes. Ben never returns any of my phone calls, or sought me out. The last time I stop by Ben's office, the receptionist sees me coming and has already called the police.
I don't bother going to the pastor again, ashamed of where my life has ended up. I am in the depths of despair and depression has weaved its way into me. I no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything seems hopeless, useless, and worthless… I feel worthless and abandoned by the only friends I thought I had, including Ben.
That's how I ended up here.
None of this stops me from praying to God, or asking Him for forgiveness though. Even if it does seem hopeless, I know He is always there.
Suddenly an angel appears before me and wraps her arms around me. We are standing on the beach as the sun sets over the ocean, our arms wrapped around each other. The warm wind gently blows off the ocean as the tide rises, tickling our feet. The auburn highlights come out in her wavy, brunette hair sweeping across my arm resting on her lower back. She looks up at me with her dark brown eyes; the depth of adoration within is so intense I could buckle under.
"Just you and me. There's nothing to worry about." Hearing those words relax me because I know with her by my side, I can do anything. She is my strength through my doubts... my lighthouse guiding me when I am lost in a storm. She amazes me with her devotion. "I love you."
"I love you too, Angel." I bend down and slowly, gently capture her lips with my own, bringing my right hand up to cup her face as our mouths dance, mold, and form together. Is it wrong to kiss such a divine being? I realize I don't care because the feel of her lips shadowing my lead sends tingles throughout my entire body. Moments later, I am sweeping her into my arms.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~ LitS ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A/N – What do you think?
I really hope mama4dukes enjoys this fic written for her.
I love seeing readers favor and alert my stories, but I REALLY LOVE hearing how much you enjoyed it, or what you enjoyed about the story by leaving a review. I reply to every review I receive. I LOVE connecting with all my reviewers to thank then and maybe even discuss things, so please allow me the courtesy of logging into FFn to leave a review, or at the very least, leave your Fanfiction profile name so I can PM you.
If you see grammatical errors, please PM (private message) me so I can correct them.
~*~ LitS ~*~
I'm in love with a C/B FF story that SHOULD have more than 482 reviews! It is well written and one of the more original FF stories I have read in a LOOOONG time! It is C/B and many OCs, plus the main characters go through some big changes. I truly believe the anti-hybrid readers would love this story too. PLEASE give it a try (by Corinne Tate):
Go to fanfiction . net and then add: /s/6980703/1/Cold-Fragile-Hearts