George Carver High School – Afternoon
Penelope was glad that Corey did not restrain her after leading her back to the basement. Instead, he handed her a white bag. The smell of sweet pastry was overwhelming, and it reminded her that it had been a while since she’d eaten anything.
“Thank you,” she moaned as she bit into the oversized cinnamon roll. “Angel’s, right?”
“Angel’s Bakery on Broadway.”
“Yeah, that’s right, how’d you know?”
“Oh, I’ve spent a lot of mornings swinging by there on the way to work to get pastries for my team.”
“They have the best donuts in town,” Corey responded.
The next several minutes were spent in silence as both Penelope and Corey ate their food and languished in deep thought. She wondered if she would ever be free, if she would ever see Derek and her friends again. Corey wondered how he had come so far willingly down a dark path, and he wondered if he would have the courage to kill the woman who had done nothing to him, when the time came.
“Can I ask you something?”
Corey stopped chewing, waiting for her question.
“Are you going to kill me?”
“If your man, does what he’s supposed to do then, we’ll let you go,” he answered.
“But I’ve seen your face and no matter how much I promise that I won’t tell, you know that I’m going to tell as soon as you set me free.”
Corey knew the only outcome, the only outcome that made sense. Telling her anything else was a lie and a waste of time.
“I’ve never done anything to you, or anyone else, so why? How can you live with yourself for doing what you’re doing, what you’re going to do?”
“Lady, just shut up! Shut your mouth!”
Penelope sat silently fighting hard not to cry and knowing that she could lose her life today and there was nothing she could do or say to change the young man’s mind. It was almost an hour before the man spoke to her again.
Corey paced the floor back and forth periodically checking his watch. It was obvious that he was bothered or nervous; whichever, Penelope had learned in her line of work that neither was good.
“I’m not a bad person you know.”
She wasn’t sure if she should speak, he’d warned her to be quiet and she knew what he was capable of when he was angry.
“Della and Paolo are my family; they took care of me when we were in foster care.”
Penelope watched him as he took a seat across from her. Again, she remained quiet.
“I can’t let them down. I can’t disappoint them.”
Kevin had sent the school address to their tablets and now they were racing toward the abandoned high school. The plans indicated several possible hiding places, but they’d decided that the basement in the main building was the most likely spot to hold a hostage. Hotch had requested the help of local police and now the school was surrounded with uniformed officers waiting for the team’s arrival. Corey had no idea that he had company and that his day would come to an unexpected end.
Savannah wasn’t sure what Della was up to but after a lot of convincing, she agreed to meet her at the park for a family picnic. Della had promised to bring the food and would have everything ready when she and DJ arrived. Savannah wasn’t in the mood for a get together, but she knew it was probably a great excuse to get out of the house instead of spending her day off moping and feeling sorry for herself. Despite her divorce, Savannah knew that she had a lot to be thankful for, a great job, an amazing baby boy and a great friend in Della. So, she placed DJ in his car seat and headed toward the place that had been a source of great joy and sorrow; it was the place where Derek had promised to do whatever it took to make her happy and it was also the place where he told her that it was over.
Derek remembered the last time he was here; it wasn’t a good day, but it was a day that was etched in his mind. He wasn’t sure why he had chosen the same place where he had proposed to his former wife as the place where he announced that he was leaving her. Perhaps it was because he’d seen it as almost a sacred place for the two of them; a place where’d promised to love and cherish her and the place where he’d asked her to spend her future with him. When Savannah had no other choice but to admit her affair, he felt that this secret spot would be the place of closure. Now here he was being forced to beg her forgiveness and to ask her back into his life; but if it would save Penelope’s life, then he would do it. He loved Penelope and he would walk through hell to save her.
Just as Savannah arrived at the secret clearing, Della stepped into view with a large smile on her face. Derek watched his ex-wife while hidden behind the thick brush and held in place by the strong hand of Paolo and a gun pressed against his spine.
Della saw the look of surprise on Savannah’s face. The blanket spread on the ground and the large picnic basket was confirmation that Della had indeed taken care of everything.
“Wow, this is quite a spread Della! When did you have the time to pull this together?”
“It was something I’ve been planning for a while now. I know it’s been tough for you and DJ lately and I wanted you to be happy.”
“Thank you, Della.”
Della pulled DJ from Savannah’s arms and kissed him lightly on the cheek.
“Do you believe in miracles, Savannah?”
“If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said yes, but now I’m not so sure.”
Della turned toward the place where Derek was being held and nodded. Savannah gasped at the sight of Derek stumbling into the clearing as if he’d been pushed; she didn’t know the man with him.
Savannah couldn’t help but notice his appearance. His clothes were dirty and disheveled. His face was bruised, and he looked as if he hadn’t slept in days.
“Della, what’s going on? How did you get Derek to come here?”
“I told you not to give up, and that he’d come to his senses and look he’s here!”
“What did you do to him, Della and who is this man with you?”
Paolo took his place next to Della. Savannah approached Derek and began lightly examining his bruises.
“Derek, don’t you have something to say to Savannah?” Della asked.
“I made a mistake Savannah, and I want our family back.”
He sounded like a robot, there was no real feeling and Savannah knew that this was not what he wanted. He was barely on his feet, but he was here in the company of two people whom he did not know. Her questioning by his team earlier and her visit from JJ all made sense now.
“Derek are you okay?”
“I just need you to forgive me and give us another chance.”
“You were so certain that you didn’t want us.”
“I changed my mind.”
“I’m sorry Derek, you were right we don’t belong together,” Savannah began, “I don’t know what’s going on here but I’m sorry, no Derek we can’t be together.”
“NO, no, no!” Della screamed, “you love each other, you told me if he changed his mind, you would take him back!”
“Della, look at him, this isn’t what he wants! His friends have been looking for him and Penelope for days! What did you do, where’s Penelope?”
“Savannah, I did this for you! My family left me in an alley, nobody should be allowed to do that, nobody!”
“Savannah, take DJ and go home,” Derek ordered, “we can talk later, okay?”
Paolo looked at the trainwreck before him. His sister was losing it, she had to know that her plans had no chance of working and yet he went along with it and her anyway.
“NO!” then looking at Paolo, “call Corey and tell him to shoot her in the head and send me a picture of her dead body!”
“Come on Sis, this is crazy! Let’s just get out of here!”
“Give me DJ, Della,” Savannah stepped toward her nanny, “please Della, give me the baby.”
About the Creator
I adore words and I love what happens when we grab them, sleep with them, holler and scream and laugh at them! I love what happens when we throw them in the air and watch them fall magically from our minds onto paper!