umbrellacropped

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike. —Rowling

Episode #8 Max Clarke

Max hung up the phone after hearing Scott’s update on the accident. He slumped back in his seat feeling somewhere between angry and anxious.

How in world could Harley have been in an accident with MY daughter and not tell me! Max thought outloud.

Max grabbed his personal cell and dialed Harley’s cell without a second thought.  Had he’d been thinking, he would have known that this conversation would not go well. His conversations with Harley rarely go well unless she needs something.  But, his focus was on his daughter Bailey.  Max couldn’t imagine that she was in harm’s way and Harley didn’t think enough of him to let him know.  Max felt his face get warm. He knew his anger was justified, but he knew better than to start a shouting match Harley if he wanted some answers.

Harley, hey it’s Max. How is Bailey, is she ok? Max asked calmly She’s fine Max. Why? Damn, It’s the middle of the night!  Harley answered coldly.

I’m working on a case and one of the detectives saw you and Bailey’s name in the report.  You guys were in an accident on the Holiday? Max inquired trying to remain cool.

Oh well yeah, but it was just minor. A few scratches and Bailey sprang her wrist really badly, but it was no big deal Harley continued nonchalantly.

No big deal! Damn Harley, my daughter was in an accident!  You don’t think that’s something I should have known about? Max felt his voice rising and his neck getting tense.

Max look—She’s fine. She went to camp as scheduled. You pick her up on the 28th and she spends a week with you while I am on the cruise. Calm down. If there was something you should have known I would have told you. Harley snapped back.

This was something I should know about! When something is going on with her, I have the right to know.  Period.  You don’t get to decide that!  The fact that I am her father decided that for you and don’t forget it. I know you hate me but seriously that was downright selfish. Wait, You mean Bailey didn’t say anything about letting me know? Max asked almost sounding more hurt than angry.

Hate you? I don’t hate you. Max don’t get it twisted, I have no feelings for you whatsoever, how about THAT? Harley replied spitefully.  And yes Bailey mentioned it, but I told her not to worry about it. Frankly, I didn’t give a damn whether you knew or not. It was nothing you could do except get in my way. I told Bailey I would call you, but whatever… I neglected to remember ok? Now get off my back with this.  Bailey is not some fragile rag doll and she is ok. Leave us alone! Harley raged on.

Leave you alone?!! Max said almost shouting.  Harley damnit, she is my daughter!  Whether you care or not…whether you are indifferent or not..is irrelevant. If something like this ever happens again and I don’t know about it you will wish I did.  Now you can try that theory if you want to, but trust me. You don’t want to play with me about my daughter, Harley. Don’t ever, ever let that happen again—good bye.

Max abruptly hung up the phone without waiting for a response. As he got out of the car, tears formed in his eyes as he replayed the conversation in his head.

“I have no feelings for you whatsoever” “I didn’t give a damn whether you knew or not”

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike. Max would have preferred Harley hate him as he accused her of…rather than just be indifferent and not care.  How is possible to have loved someone with everything in you only to watch it wither and die into something cold, callous and unrecognizable.  Bailey was the only bright spot in the entire mess.  She loved her daddy and for Max to know that she had been hurt and he wasn’t there to comfort her or assure her made him angrier than he liked to be.  Only Harley can push those buttons but Kelly was running a close second and she was calling back on the other line.

Max looked at the phone and let her call go to voicemail.  He was certain that talking to her and Harley in one night was not a good move.  Max decided instead to funnel his emotions into helping the detectives solve this case.  He had a more vested interest now.  His daughter was hurt by whomever was chasing Malcolm Woods and who more than likely killed Tara Woods.

Max called Officer Jensen back.  He figured that the best way to channel this rage was to get to the bottom of the accident for starters.

Hey Scott, its Max. Thanks again for letting me know about Harley’s accident.  I just talked to her and she and Bailey were fine.  I was wondering though, where are we on the investigation of the accident?

We? Scott answered. Max you know you aren’t “on” this case.  Especially not now given that your wife and daughter were indirectly involved. It’s a conflict of interest.  Scott continued.

EX-wife! And yes I know, but I am here to help and since Malcolm’s corporation is in my domain I care a lot about how this shakes out. Max added trying to sound balanced.

Max, look. We haven’t gotten far and we haven’t much to go on.  Harley and Bailey didn’t see a thing.  There was actually a car between them and they swerved out of the way.  Malcolm’s truck would have hit the other car much harder had it stayed in place.  He clipped her car slowing him down a little before ramming Harley’s car. Scott added.

So this other car, did they see anything?  Do they know who was chasing Malcolm?  Max added.

No, not really. The other driver’s memory is sketchy at best.  She actually engaged Malcolm before he fled the scene. He talked to her, but didn’t make much sense. He babbled something about protecting “her”.  She was probably the last person to see him alive.  Valiantly. she made a dash for Harley’s car to care for them before passing out from jamming her head on the steering wheel on impact. Scott explained.

This other lady…can I talk to her?  I’m good with victims as you know.  I may be able to help her remember something that she thinks is irrelevant. Max asked hopefully.

Max, we have her under full surveillance.  She did see the drivers but doesn’t remember much.  The issue is if they saw her! If they think she can identify them she could be in danger. No one has engaged her from what we can tell so we are just monitoring her from the perimeter and keeping an eye on her. Scott added.

Scott, don’t lose her. She may be the only person that can give me answers about what happened to my daughter….I mean Malcolm.  Are you SURE I can’t talk to her? Max pleaded. She is actually headed out of town on business.  We have detectives overseas that will pick up minor surveillance for us and we will pick her scent when she gets back. We have her covered Max. No one will get to her. Scott promised.

Thanks Scott. Keep me updated on the witness.  I appreciate you keeping an eye on her, Max said.  That’s good. I need her. I need her help. She holds the answer for me and she doesn’t even know it.

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time

_____________

Episode #7 Chloe Randall

It’s said that its painful to forget someone you love. It’s also said that it’s painful to wait for someone you love. But I have confirmed that the worst pain comes when you don’t know whether to wait or to forget. –Dasgupta

The black sedan continued to trail Chloe until she arrived at the office. She had driven very tentatively given the pain in her shoulder. The makeshift ice pack slipped out of place causing her to grab it on occasion, plus try to drive with her free hand. She was pulling in the lot when she realized that she would have to leave the icepack in the car unless she was prepared to field a lot of questions from co-workers and colleagues. Deciding to leave it behind, Chloe parked her car and checked her makeup to be sure that any scratches and bruises were covered before getting out. She put on her corporate face and made her way toward into the office. She slung her purse on her shoulder out of habit and nearly buckled under the pain. Thankfully, it was her smaller crossbody bag and not her gigantic furry bag that she had just packed away for the summer. She rearranged the strap across her chest, sticking the arm through and putting the weight of the bag on her “good shoulder”.

Chloe heard her phone ringer go off..the song “Is it a crime” by Sade rang through her purse. She knew it was Brent and let it go to voicemail. She didn’t want to see his face, hear his voice or speak his name right now. She wanted to forget all about him. Quite honestly she wanted to forget what he had become and wait for him to become the loving, caring man she thought she signed on for. But it is said that it’s painful to forget someone you love. It’s also said that it’s painful to wait for someone you love. But Chloe is figuring out that the worst pain comes when you don’t know whether to wait or to forget. Right now ”forget” was the choice and ”ignore indefinitely” wasn’t far behind.

Before she could get to the elevator, her phone rang again. This time the ringer was the theme from the Golden Girls which could only mean it was Lexi on the phone. Chloe stopped in her tracks and then kept walking. She decided against talking to her as well. Lexi would know something was wrong and Chloe didn’t have enough in her vocabulary to try and convince her that Brent was an incredibly loving husband and that she was a contented devoted wife. Lexi knew better and Chloe was too fragile to be on her A-game.

Walking into her office, no one would ever know what Chloe hid beneath her silk blouse and painted on smile. She was a master of disguise. Her masks were undetectable by the general public. Her friend Lexi saw behind a few…but no one ever got behind them all and Chloe wore them continuously and perfectly. After getting into her office and finally closing the door, Chloe exhaled like she just ran barefoot through the jungle covered in fresh blood. Going through her emails, Chloe had a message from Dubois Fountaine.
The Fountaine account was one that Chloe had worked trying to land for the last year. Their contract with a competitor expired soon and Chloe wanted Randall, Kuching and Tate to be positioned to be the new PR firm representing them. Mr. Fountaine’s email surprised Chloe. It read:

Ms. Randall;
Thank you for your kind presentation. Our board of Trustees have determined that Randall, Kuching and Tate are certainly positioned well to take over our PR responsibilities at the end of our currently contract. However, before we ask you for a final presentation and proposal, we would ask that you take a more up close and personal at our organization.

We would like you to spend a few weeks here in London at our expense, looking at company’s brand and current marketing strategy. Please call my assistant Angelique at the number below and let her know when you would like to arrive. We shall see you soon Ms. Randall.
–D. Fountaine

Chloe quickly called Angelique and made arrangements to leave on the last weekend in July. She couldn’t think of a better way to get away from Brent, regroup and decide what she was going to do about her marriage..and in London no less…for FREE. Chloe started to get excited as Angelique went over flight options and hotel choices with her. When she hung up, she smiled for the first time in a long time.

Outside her office parked about a ½ block away was a black van. Inside there were men who had just heard and recorded Chloe’s conversation with Angelique. One of the men was on the phone with someone and he stated “Ms. Randall will be out of the loop soon, her job is pulling her away. We will pick up her scent as soon as she gets back to the US. With Malcolm and Tara out of the picture she is the last person that saw us and can identify us.” Yes sir…the man responded to whomever was on the phone. We will eliminate her testimony one way or another.

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

_______________________________________________

Episode #6 Max Clarke

The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone–Kundera

The back up officers from the station had arrived at the Vita Medical Center Hospital. Max helped some of the technicians put caution tape around surgical bay 3 where Tara Woods lie assassinated on a gurney. Max replayed his time with Tara in his mind…when he walked into ER to interview her she was a wild, disoriented, injured mess. She had trashed the exam room and fought the nurses in an effort to get away.. from someone or something. Thankfully Max was able to calm her down and talk to her…but his frustration was mounting as he thought about the fact that he didn’t get enough from her to help him find out who did this to her and why. Her husband, Malcolm Woods whose death also remained unsolved was the catalyst to this. Max thought about the obvious—crime family retaliation– but that didn’t click at all.

Malcolm was one of the most brilliant scientists of this decade. He was being paid grant after grant to complete project after project…he didn’t need money. The answer was in either one or two of the only places Malcolm spent his time…His lab or his home. His lab was in a different county than his home which made jurisdiction a sticky point with officials.

Malcolm’s lab was actually in Max’s jurisdiction– in Traverse City, Michigan. Traverse City is over 4 hours from Malcolm and Tara’s Bloomfield Hills residence. Malcolm was killed in Oakland County not too far from their home. Max found out that officials believed that Malcolm was probably trying to get to Tara when he had the car crash with local residents, fled and was later abducted. Max being down here in Oakland County wasn’t really official, but he had many friends in the Oakland county sheriff’s office. He used to live in the county when he was married to Harley. It was also an excuse to visit with his daughter Bailey while he was there.

Malcolm Woods’ reputation in the Traverse City area was renowned. He went out of his way to become a part of the community, even though he slept in a small loft designed in the lab for him when he didn’t want to drive all the way home. Max felt responsible to at least get some answers for what happened to a “part-time” up standing citizen. When a chance to interview Tara came up, he jumped at the chance to set up shop in the area for a few days. A few friends from the sheriff’s office worked to gather information for Max from the accident and the witnesses and promised if anything significant developed, they would let him know.

Max had texted Kelly to let her know that it would be tomorrow before he could drive back home. Texting Kelly was a courtesy but not really a necessity. Max didn’t always feel like he owed her anything, but sometimes the emotional debt he owed her overwhelmed his good sense. There was a time back when Max knew his marriage was over and Kelly’s passion seemed like a breath of fresh air. Making love to Kelly back then was seemingly a godsend. Her suave words and unbridled lust reenergized Max. Feeling desired and desirable rekindled Max’s animalistic instinct and consistent craving for the arms of a woman. But almost after every episode no matter how incredible and mind blowing the sex was, it was just that…sex. Eventually it started leaving Max feeling empty and ashamed. He never imagined being with anyone but Harley. However, he surmised that being with Kelly was like a burden being lifted. He was liberated from Harley and anywhere away from her was a good place to be.

Looking at his watch Max realized that, that text to Kelly was over 5 hours ago. It kept things simpler if Max played the responsible boyfriend role.

Max wrapped up his investigation at the hospital and promised the commander that he would stop by the station tomorrow before heading back up north to turn in his report. Max was exhausted, hungry, frustrated and angry. Tara was killed right under his nose and somehow he felt responsible for that. Driving back to his hotel, Max called Kelly.

Hey, just calling to let you know I’m wrapping up here and will drive back up tomorrow evening. Max said wearily.

Just great Max…I wasted a whole evening waiting for you only for you to say that you aren’t coming back at all? Kelly snapped back

Kelly, I texted you. I told you what happened. Babe, I’ve got a lot going on and I don’t feel like arguing with you. Max retorted with a sigh.

He knew where this was going. It was where EVERY conversation went with them– to a full fledge argument. Kelly started in on Max about not being there for her and that his job was always getting in the way. She went on and on until Max finally tuned her out. Her voice coming through the speakers of his car was akin to the screeching of nails on a chalk board. Max pulled into the hotel parking lot and Kelly was still whining and complaining. The fact that Max felt powerless to get out of this cycle was the source of a great deal of shame. His friends seem to all know that Kelly was cantankerous, lazy and a poor fit for Max, but his fear of being alone, kept him on a leash. The whole relationship humiliated him. It is said that the basis of shame is NOT some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel… that we must be what we are.. without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.

Max got another call and dismissed Kelly mid-sentence without really realizing it. He stayed in the car and quickly clicked over. It was Officer Craig Jensen.

Craig, hey what’s going on? Max asked, sounding relieved that he could put that conversation with Kelly behind him.

Max! Glad I caught you before you turned in. Most of the guys here didn’t know you when you were here so they didn’t know to tell you…when I saw the report again tonight I saw the names and….

Craig wait…didn’t know to tell me what? Max interrupted.

Remember the accident that Malcolm Woods was in? When he sideswiped one car and ran into another.. Craig explained

Yeah, what about it Craig? I heard no one was hurt, just some bumps and bruises…you guys were following a lead on one of the witnesses…but….Max added

It was Harley, Max! Craig said matter of factly. Malcolm Woods’ car ran into Harley’s car and Bailey was with her.

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

Episode #5 Chloe Randall’s story continues…

The most precious, valuable possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman’s heart. The most tragic thing that ever comes to a man in this world is the realization that he has destroyed it.

Chloe closed the door behind Officer Jensen and headed back to her bedroom. She was confused as to why this case was such a big deal. Between the calls, the emails, the messages and visits she had talked to more police officers than a teacher in the police academy. Chloe thought about the accident and how she could have been killed.

Chloe recalled the conversation with Brent from the hospital and how nonchalant he was about the chain of events. He quipped “I can’t just hop on a plane and come back to Michigan, Chloe” when she told him she was in the hospital for observation. “Brent, I wasn’t expecting you to! I just wanted you to know what happened. Lexi is here and I’ll be fine” Chloe remembers shouting back. She shook her head frustrated with the memory of how insensitive Brent could be sometimes. But she had grown accustomed to it and it had become her new norm.

Chloe walked toward her bedroom and immediately her nose caught the scent of “Background”…It was Brent’s cologne. Chloe figured that he must be dressed and about to leave and was happy that she could get ready for work in peace. She walked in and Brent was fixing his tie and looking in the mirror. He heard her come in and without even turning around he said “Why did you shower downstairs, you said you were jumping in with me and then you just leave?”

You seemed a bit distracted Brent, so I thought it best I just use the other bathroom. Chloe answered.

Distracted? What are you talking about? I was standing there kissing you and you just walked off. Brent protested.

Walked off? Chloe retorted. Brent, I walked off because you were more engaged with whatever or whoever was on your phone at the time. You didn’t even notice I stopped kissing you. You weren’t even into me. You don’t think I detected that? Chloe continued.

Chloe, you are overreacting AGAIN! I was just checking a message on a very important deal. So now I can’t do two things at the same time? So unless I’m just “all about you”…I can’t function? Brent added sarcastically.

Important deal? Brent, you were kissing your wife! I would like to think that was a pretty big damn deal. I am not so naive that I don’t know that I am not your priority? I get it; you are into your kids and they are important, you are into your ex-wife, she is important, you are into your job, it’s important and you are sure the hell into your phone because THAT DEAL was SO important…but you aren’t into me, because I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things! I just have to accept whatever you happen to have left! Chloe said fighting back tears.

Quit complaining Chloe! What are you jealous of my kids? Damn, you are such a spoiled child. Not into you?…Oh, because I’m not kissing your behind 24 hours a day..I’m not into you? What the hell do you want from me? Brent yelled stepping up to Chloe.

Want? Brent I don’t WANT anything from you! Your kids take, take, take! Your employees take, take take! Your Ex-wife takes, your fraternity, your parents, everyone takes from you and you give of yourself, your time, your money…willingly…until it comes to me! I seem like the chore and in an effort to not let any of those others down you will ignore me, push me aside, and act like everything else is more important. Brent, I’m not your child, I don’t want anything from you..all I want IS you! Why can’t you understand that! Chloe screamed through tears.

This is ridiculous! I don’t ignore you. You are the problem! You are way too damn needy and you need to grow up. I give you everything you need. You have a nice estate to live in, cars, the best of everything. All I get in return is your ungrateful attitude and I’m sick of catering to you! Brent said grabbing Chloe violently by her arms.

Brent’s grasp caught Chloe off guard. Startled, she lost her balance and tripped over Brent’s shoe, falling onto the floor slamming her arm and shoulder brutally into the giant maple bed post. Chloe just sat there, shaking. She was afraid to move, afraid to cry just frozen in the moment. Her inner instinct was telling her to run but her mind somehow registered that she was getting was she deserved. Caught betwixt and between flight and fight…anger and hurt…
incidental and abuse..Chloe heard Brent screaming over her but she couldn’t make out anything he said. She was stunned and she felt reduced to a rag doll that Brent no longer cherished or adored. Her heart was no longer safe with him.

Chloe put up her hand as she struggled to stand by leaning heavily against the post. She was signifying that she was done talking and that she didn’t want Brent’s help getting to her feet. Her shoulder felt like a truck ran over it, so she supported it with her other arm holding it as if it were in a sling. Brent went over to her and motioned as if he was going to touch her perhaps just to help and Chloe jumped out of his path.

Don’t touch me Brent. Don’t ever touch me again. Chloe whispered with an authority that Brent had never heard before. Chloe walked into the master bathroom and kicked the door shut with her foot leaving Brent standing there in his thoughts. He sat on the bed bewildered at what just happened. As accidental as it was, Brent came to a startling revelation, something he knew, but just experienced for himself. The most precious, valuable possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman’s heart. The most tragic thing that ever comes to a man in this world is the realization that he has destroyed it. Brent knew he had destroyed what little was left of Chloe’s heart and trust. The question he asked himself as he sat on the bed was whether he was going to work to get it back and make things right…or simply let her go.

Chloe waited in the bathroom until she heard Brent’s car leave out of the garage. She got dressed for the office, being certain to wear a full blouse to cover the bruises on her shoulder and back. She took an ice pack out of the freezer and headed for her car. Chloe’s radio was left on and when she started the car the comedy station came blasting through the speakers. She quickly hit the power button on her steering wheel to turn it off. She wanted silence. No laughter, no music, no noise—just silence. All Chloe could hear was the deep panting breaths she took as she tried not to cry. Pulling out onto the street, Chloe was surprised by the number of kids already outside playing at 9:30 in the morning. She loved summer and always loved the sound of kids playing, but not today. Today, it annoyed her.

Catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror, Chloe realized that she needed more makeup. She was grabbing at her handbag to find her compact. Between driving, being mentally exhausted, feeling violated and sore, and trying to make up her face, Chloe was distracted to say the least. She was so distracted that she didn’t even notice the black sedan that pulled out behind her and had been tailing her since she left home.

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

___

Tonight’s Episode #4 Max

When you are wounded and bleeding you don’t necessarily need a long term commitment…all you simply want is for someone to help you hold it together…until you get it together. –Cami Deni

 

Max walked down the hospital hallway and was stopped by several nurses and assistants thanking him for his help in calming Mrs. Woods and bringing order to her room. Max was gracious, but internally frustrated that he was leaving the hospital with no more answers than he started with.  Tara was obviously frightened. Someone was obviously after something so valuable that they were willing to kill Malcolm Woods two counties away, ransack his home and torture his wife. Max thought about the mess he saw when he walked into Tara’s ER room…blood everywhere…screaming, yelling, confusion, chaos..he thought to himself that the room was representative of his life with his ex-wife Harley.

In college and all through dating, Harley and Max were the life of the party. Her family told Max that she was “difficult”, but Harley was convenient and comfortable and after a year gave him an ultimatum.  It was a typical bear trap and knowing Max’s loyalty Harley knew it would not be easy to walk away. Once they married they became the ultimate party planners and would host some of the most fun-filled bashes imaginable.  No one knew that after the party was over it was really OVER. Harley would hug on her cats and sometimes get back to work on her computer usually without even acknowledging Max for hours…for days..for weeks. She was cold, sometimes heartless and self-centered. She sealed the deal with Max quickly by getting pregnant within the first year even though she and Max had previously determined to wait until after three years to have children. Harley was a six figure corporate accountant who was smart, creative, witty and clever.  Her cleverness in the workplace translated to a sharp, divisive tongue at home. Her investigative skills in finding that penny on a balance sheet or expense report leaked into her relationship with Max causing her to be fault finding and accusatory. The passion, what little of it existed- dried up quickly and was replaced with sarcasm, disdain and cynicism. Harley complained to her single girlfriends and anyone who would listen looking for validation for her behavior, rarely taking responsibility for her portion. Max was continuously labeled the “problem”. His feelings of anger, rage and disappointment became buried in the crossfire of being a gentleman and being human.

Harley and Max would argue daily..to the point where Max could almost look outside of himself and see someone totally different when he dealt with her.  Between the cussing, the fighting, the threats, the grandstanding and ultimatums…He didn’t recognize himself. In the midst of this, Max’s father had taken ill and Max did what he could to spend quality time with him.  Max Sr. liked to go fishing, so Max made a point of taking him every other weekend without fail.  But Harley quickly became jealous of that time and accused Max of using his father to avoid her. Max began to make excuses to his dad so he could spend more time with her and soon Max Sr. passed away.  Max unconsciously blamed Harley for robbing him of time with his father.  Max became bitter towards her and his grief and depression began a vicious cycle that took the marriage to the brink.

In the final session after rounds of marriage counseling Max became open and vulnerable in a last ditch effort to save the relationship.  But all that he heard on the other end from Harley was “I’m done.”  It felt like a poisonous bullet shot through his skull as his mind tried to wrap around the fact that his marriage was over… the relationship that had always been there was now gone and it took his daughter with it.

Max became an open wound that bled from the inside out. He worked out an amicable visitation for Bailey and there was nothing else he cared about. He left his condo and all the “success trappings” behind and started his life over on broken jagged pieces. To this day, he still can’t put his finger on what went wrong and what his part was in it.  But the betrayal and failure still hurts and his hope was that Kelly, who came around near the end of his marriage, could cure that. He was wrong.

Kelly was like peroxide for lack of a better word.  She couldn’t really fix anything…or heal anything…or change anything…but she kept things from getting worse. When you are wounded and bleeding you don’t necessarily need a long term commitment…all you simply want is for someone to help you hold it together…until you get it together. She came at the right time…and initially for the right reason.  Kelly helped Max get on his feet.  She listened to him. She let him cry without judgment. He felt needed again.  She brought back a level of intimacy in Max’s life that he thought was lost forever. Although it wasn’t quite laced with the feelings and passions that he really wanted…the physical touch, the yearnings, the desire to be desired was addicting after being without it so long. Kelly met the need. However, the “better” Max became…the less tolerant he was of Kelly, her temper tantrums and insecurities. Every time she came to his home it was like being with your surgeon that did your procedure 5 years ago. You respect the fact that they helped you through a rough time but he is no longer really useful, since the immediacy of danger has past. Only the sick need a physician and Max’s patience with Kelly was dwindling.

Max headed to the hospital main lobby to grab a bottle of water from the gift shop before going back to his squad car.  His phone buzzed and it was a text from Kelly, She always texted him when she let herself into his house. Max caught himself cringing..he had hoped she wouldn’t come over this weekend.  But having Kelly there versus being alone sounded like it made sense, even though it truly didn’t. Max put his phone back in its holster and paid for his water although the attendant was adamant about him taking it as a professional courtesy.

Max begin walking to the main entrance when his radio crackled with noise from headquarters about a possible 187 at Vita Hospital.  Max quickly responded telling dispatch that he was still at the hospital on the Woods case and could assist.

“Officer Clarke—we received a panic button on the 4th floor-surgical west wing.  We were alerted by hospital security and are sending back up immediately”… reported the dispatch clerk.

Max headed to the west wing elevator and went up to the 4th floor.  Not knowing what to expect, he prepared his weapon by unsnapping the holster.. When the doors opened, Max didn’t see or hear any chaos but looking up the hallway he spotted a group of doctors in the hall speaking with the hospital security guard.  The guard caught Max’s eye and abruptly ended his conversation.

Over here, Officer . The guard beckoned for Max to come toward his direction.

Sir, the victim is right this way in surgical bay number 3.  It was one gunshot to the head and one to the chest. The Guard continued.

Wait, the victim was IN surgery? Max asked.

Yes sir. The surgeons over there stated that someone dressed in identical scrubs walked into OR and shot the patient point blank and ran out.  As doctors, they immediately of course tried to save the patient but it was too late. The perpetrator is almost impossible to identify since he had on a mask and scrubs. The guard added.

Max looked at the group of stunned physicians and then told the guard “Make sure no one leaves off of this floor until backup comes.” The killer could still be here.

Yes sir, I will lock the elevators and post men at the stairs. The security guard answered.

Thank you…Max said as he went into the OR suite to see the victim and secure the crime scene.

When Max walked in he could still hear the eerie hum of machines and instinct caused him to draw his weapon.  Carefully he walked toward the gurney and saw the instruments on the floor that must have been dropped in the chaos. He pulled the sheet off of the victim’s face and then put his weapon back in his holster. It was clear, Mrs. Woods wasn’t going anywhere.

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

_____________________________________________

Tonight’s Episode #3…Chloe…

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. Albert Einstein

Brent was headed to the shower and Chloe decided this was as good of time as any to try to act like their marriage was normal. He was shaving first and she decided to get out of her night shirt and go into the bathroom to surprise him. Brent had taken off his pajama pants and wrapped a towel around his waist. Chloe stood there for a moment watching him multitask shaving and checking his work messages on his blackberry.

Watching her husband semi-nude made Chloe pause. She was not sure that she was turned on, turned off or just neutral. She actually felt nothing. It saddened her to think that as hard as she worked for this marriage, this is what she ended up with. It was over before it started and she wasn’t sure why. The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said nor explained…Chloe had emotionally waved goodbye to Brent and their marriage almost a year ago. What’s even sadder than that is because Chloe is a master at charades….Brent had no idea.

Shaking off the doldrums once again..Chloe put on her wife mask and walked up behind Brent putting her arms around his waist.
Good Morning honey. Chloe said while kissing Brent in the center of his back.
Hey, Clo. Brent said as he bent down to rinse the remaining shaving cream off of his face.

Are you heading in the shower? I could ummm join you….toooooo save on water?? Chloe said mockingly with a telling grin on her face.

Sure sweetheart, Brent said turning around and engaging Chloe in a surprising kiss. After about 20 seconds, Chloe shocked herself by really enjoying it..in the midst of the kiss she smiled..and exhaled almost relieved. She opened her eyes so she could remember the moment that her marriage could be turning around …and when she did she saw Brent’s eyes open too. Except they weren’t gazing lovingly down at her..they were looking over her shoulder. Chloe quickly closed her eyes again to try to catch the tears that were forming and gently stepped away to find her worse fears realized.

Brent was completely engaged in with his blackberry. Chloe just looked at him and he continued to scroll through emails, probably from the office or it could have been texts from his ex-wife and children. It didn’t matter. Whatever it was, rated higher than Chloe and all of a sudden she realized that she was in her bathroom, with her husband, completely naked and totally humiliated and ashamed.

Embarrassed that Brent still didn’t seem to notice that the kissing had stopped and that Chloe had stepped away…she grabbed the other towel off of the rack and went to the lower level bathroom to shower. Showers are wonderful for crying. Tears are just as cleansing as a loofah sometimes. Other times, like today, tears can be dehydrating and tiring.

As Chloe was drying off she heard the doorbell ring. She ran upstairs back to the master bathroom where Brent had finally jumped in the shower. Chloe grabbed her robe and slippers undetected and headed to the door. When she looked out the door window she couldn’t believe it was them again.

AGAIN? I have told you all everything that I can remember at least four times. I don’t know anything else! Chloe explained as she opened the door for Officer Craig Jensen who had questioned her at least 4 times since the accident on Memorial Day.

I understand that Mrs. Randall. I know it’s’ been a two weeks now but we were hoping that there was some small detail that you forgot, or left out thinking it wasn’t significant that could help us understand more about what happened Monday. The officer clarified as he came into the front hallway.

Look its simple..A big truck was coming behind me, I swerved and it still hit me and smashed into the car in front of me. A man jumps out wearing a lab coat with blood all over it comes up to me, grabs me like he was going to rob me and talking VERY crazy..then he hears the cars coming and he runs…well limps.. across the street. That’s it. I mean I know now that the man was that scientist guy Malcolm Woods..but that’s all I know. Chloe said throwing her hands up.

Mrs. Randall, you mentioned that the men in the cars stopped at the scene before pursuing Mr. Woods? The officer asked while taking notes in a notepad.

Well, yes they got out and just tore the truck to pieces looking for something and then they heard the sirens I guess..and sped off. Chloe added

Mrs. Randall, I know you got a fairly good look at them and have worked with a sketch artist to help us identify them, but did they say anything to you or each other that you can remember? Officer Jensen asked.

No, they didn’t say anything to me. They were swearing..pretty mad that they didn’t find whatever they were looking for. I am sure they saw me..I mean I wasn’t two feet away …I was headed to the car that got rear ended which was right in front of the truck that they were looking in…but they didn’t address me at all. Chloe said exasperated. Look, I really need to get ready for work, so if I remember anything I will call you.

Sure Mrs. Randall. I understand. I’m sorry, I know we have asked a lot of questions. Mr. Woods was a pretty influential scientist and solving his homicide is a priority for the department. We know he was killed in the woods after being tortured and we believe that the men you saw could have had something to do with that. Please know if you see or remember something or at any time you don’t feel safe, please give us a call. The officer stated.

Sure, I’m sure there is nothing else, but ok I will call Chloe said wearily.

Officer Jensen walked back to his car and radioed the station. “Captain, Mrs. Randall doesn’t remember anything else yet. I recommend that we continue surveillance. I am certain that the Caprelli’s saw her and that makes her a target whether she realizes it or not. We have already spotted two cars following her to her office but no one has made a move”. Officer Jensen relayed.
The police radio buzzed and Jensen’s captain answered. “Keep Miles and Brian on her but do not engage her. Right now, she is the only bait we have.”
_______

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax beginning on Memorial Day when their separate prequels begin with new additions WEEKLY! You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

Episode #2 June 3rd (One week later)

Max Clarke

June 3rd, 2013 (One week after Memorial Day)

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” ― C.S. Lewis

Officer Max Clarke got the call over the radio that there may have been a break in his case that was just admitted to Vita Mercy General.  Tara Woods who is the wife of Malcolm Woods, the scientist found dead in the woods last week, was just brought in due to a mysterious car accident.  The car was found on the side of a deserted road with no other car around and nothing that it could have hit.    She had gone missing yesterday and her family assumed it was because she needed a break after the funeral. But when her sister came by to check things out and found the Woods home ransacked she called the police.

Max arrived at the hospital and a nurse led him to the triage area where Mrs. Woods was being treated. As they got closer, Max could hear a major commotion up ahead.  The nurse in front of him picked up her pace to almost a sprint. As they approached the room, the nurse pulled the drape partition back revealing what looked like a scene from a brutal WWE wrestling match. Blood was splattered all over the walls and floor. The IV poles and monitors were knocked over and the bed was totally disheveled. The patient appeared to be in a heap in the corner surrounded by nurses and attendants trying to hold her still.  There was a doctor over on the side trying to prepare an injection, obviously to sedate her.

The nurse accompanying Max went to assist with prep for the injection and Max went toward the huddle.  Just as he stepped forward, the crowd began to scuffle with the patient again..muffled cries of pain and chaos filled the air.

LET HER GO. Max’s command cut through the confusion like a warm knife on softened butter.  Tentatively, the nurses backed away and the two attendants that were left holding her arms looked at Max as if to say “us too?”.  Max simply glared and slowly they released her arms.  The woman fell forward into the corner that she was facing.  Her back was toward the people in the room and Max reached out and put his hands gently on each of her shoulders.  She initially jerked away.  Max simply said “No, I’ve got you”.

The woman’s body froze stiff in response to his statement and Max’s reached his hands out again placed them on her shoulder. This time she reacted, but did not resist. He didn’t move her.  He held her steady from behind as they sat on the floor. He whispered in her ear and whatever he was saying, seemed to relax her slowly.  Her body language was not as tense.  After a few minutes she finally seemed contented, almost borderline normal.

Max has always had a knack for working with victims. His appearance would give the impression that he was gruff, or overly aggressive and in a sense he was when it was appropriate.  But when it came to having empathy for someone that had been hurt, Max always knew what to do in each situation. His strength for bearing another persons’ struggle was just as natural to him as breathing. His father was the source of that strength.  Maximillion P. Clarke Sr. was a proud man who raised Max to be a man of courage, who was concerned with the plight of others. He also taught him to be a giver of not just things…but a giver of time..a listening ear..a helping hand.  After the death of his dad, Max’s sensitivity to hurting people seemed to intensify. More than likely it was because of his own pain; His mother was the source of that pain.

Her rejection of Max left him scarred emotionally and mentally. The scar his mom left on his heart was ripped open again after a bitter divorce from his ex-wife, Harley and a joint custody battle for their daughter Bailey. Kelly, who was a great friend through the divorce, is now Max’s toxic thorn. The friendship evolved to a relationship that continuously accommodates Kelly’s narcissism, lethargy and selfish behavior. They break up, make up, break up, make up and Max’s innate need to repay her for her initial kindness makes this rebound relationship difficult to define or end. The redundant turmoil adds to an already deep seated childhood pain and rejection he’s rarely admitted or discussed with anyone.…. and “those who keep silence hurt more.”

Dr. Brookside along with the staff there stood in silence, not sure what to do next.  The nurse slowly walked up to Max and held up the needle and Max raised his finger as if he were asking for a minute.  The other nurses had started to clean off the bed and wiped up blood and medication from the broken IV.  Max and the patient just continued to sit on the floor.

As the rest of the staff continued the clean-up process and resetting of the area, One of the nurses came over to Max and softly said “Officer, the bed is ready for the patient again, would you give us some assistance in getting her situated.?”

Max stood up on his knees, but kept his body as a protective barrier between the patient and those in the room.  He said softly, “Get me that rocking chair out of the corner and slide it here.”

Sir? The nurse replied.  The bed is ready sir; we just need to hook her IV up and… Max interrupted her.  Ma’am, go get the chair, please.  Max continued to stroke the patient’s back who was still in the floor, assuring her that everything was ok and that he was would take care of her.

The attendants slid in the chair and placed it as close to Max as they could.  He stood and then bent down to scoop the patient up in his arms. She looked like a tired, tattered and second hand rag doll.  Her hair was sweated out and wet, her clothes looked as if they could have been very expensive, but covered in blood and dirt, it was hard to discern.  She only had on one shoe which fell to the floor when Max swung her around to walk toward the chair.  The nurse came over and Max stopped to look at her, trying to figure out her motives.  The nurse simply went around him and held the rocking chair steady.  Max nodded and sat down with the patient in his lap.  He began to rock gently and she began to cry uncontrollably.  Max motioned for the nurse to bend down toward his ear.

If it is alright with the doctor, please ask everyone to step out for a minute.  I want to talk to her and I think she will feel more comfortable without everyone hanging on her every word. Max asked.

Sure, Officer.  After the nurse spoke  relayed the message, Dr. Brookside gave the staff the nod to wait outside. Max began surveying  Tara’s face and noticed her labored breathing and the bleeding bruise over her rib cage. He knew she was in trouble and if he was going to get anything from her, he needed it to get it quick. She was probably going to need surgery immediately.

Mrs. Woods, I’m with the police, Detective Max Clarke.  You were found in your car and we need to know what happened.  What do you remember?

I’m not sure…the patient said looking unsettled and beginning to sound panicky again.  I don’t know where I am and people were pulling on me and…

Relax Mrs. Woods…you are going to be ok. Just tell me what you remember. Do you remember getting into your car?  Where were you going?

I don’t know…I mean I wasn’t going anywhere, Tara said between sobs…I was cooking…and I something fell in the other room..I went toward the door…and…someone was there… going through our things..and then they…Tara stopped mid-sentence. Her eyes grew wide and her breathing got rapid as if she remembered something that she could not speak of.

Tara grabbed at Max’s shirt with her weakened hands..in full panic…”please don’t leave me here by myself, you don’t understand”.  Tara started getting upset again. Max could tell that she was disoriented and he needed to her to get stable so he could get an accurate account.

Its ok, you are not alone. Max kept rocking her. Now I need to let the doctors do their job so we can get you better. Just then, the Nurse stuck her head in and Max made a gesture with hand indicating that he wanted the injection.

Just relax and stretch out your arm ma’am this will help you rest, the nurse instructed Tara.

No!!  Wait…!! Tara began to protest and tried to get up out of Max’s lap…  I need to go….Malcolm said….. protect her…  I can’t be here…when they…I know too….need to….Mrs. Woods began to drift off as the effects of the medication caused her to lose her train of thought.

Max gently placed her in the bed and stepped out.  He thought to himself…”Protect her?”  Who is she talking about?

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax beginning on Memorial Day when their separate prequels begin with new additions WEEKLY!  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

__________________________________

Episode #1 Memorial Day—Chloe Randall

“When you say “Yes” on your wedding day, you are saying YES to stuff you haven’t even seen yet. Things you can’t imagine”.

When Chloe heard that statement yesterday in church she thought she would vomit. She went to church looking for answers but it appeared as if she found herself asking more questions.

Every passing day made her marriage more unrecognizable. Back in the day, she would get angry at Brent’s insensitivity and an argument would ensue. Chloe’s passion about saving her marriage from destruction and doing whatever it took to fix it usually led to compromise..on her part. Within a few days, bandaids were put in place and they would drudge forward together determined to not to let any “silly” thing break them apart.  But 3 years later, Chloe’s passion had waned and she found herself teetering on the fine line between not giving up and no longer caring. “Not caring” is a scary place to be. When it “doesn’t matter anymore” you make different types of decisions.

Like her decision to not go with Brent to Virginia to visit his family for the Holiday. Brent assumed that she was going and didn’t even mention it until the last minute just “knowing” that Chloe would fall in line, grab a bag and get aboard. Not going would certainly cause things to get funky- but when you don’t care, you make different types of decisions.

So Brent and his two kids left for the airport and Chloe sat on her bed home alone, unmoved by the fact that she was by herself on Memorial day. Unmoved that is for about 10 minutes after the door shut behind them…and then the tears began to fall.

She wanted Brent to come back and say that he wasn’t going without her. She wanted him to compromise and think instead to go to his family on Saturday and be back to spend today with her. She wanted it to matter to him that she wasn’t with him and do everything in his power to try to work out something that made sense for them both.

She wanted Brent to choose her…just once.

He didn’t. Chloe wasn’t sure if he knew how.  She wanted to not care, and not appear to be so bratty or and needy. The fact was she was needy. She needed her husband and wanted him to need her.  She loved him and wanted their marriage to be strong and secure more than anything. BUT when you say “Yes” on your wedding day, you are saying YES to stuff you haven’t even seen yet. Things you can’t imagine.

It was all she could do not to climb back in the bed and keep the pillow over her head for the entire day, but Chloe decided to go to the ATM and then the grocery store instead and THAT decision changed her entire summer forever. Chloe grabbed her furry handbag and made a mental note that since this was officially spring now…she should change her purse. She fished for her keys through seemingly the bottomless purse made worse by a ripped lining of course as she made her way to the garage.

On the way to the Credit Union, Chloe came to the intersection of Grixston and Main.  She saw that the light was going to change before she could reach it and began to slow down. She glanced up in her rear mirror and saw a blue Ram truck approaching. She knew it was coming too fast to stop in time enough not to hit her.  In a panic, Chloe veered left into the empty turn lane. The truck slammed into the back of the car in front of Chloe’s car. He also clipped the back right corner of Chloe bumper, jarring her further over into the lane and causing her to smash her head on the steering wheel. A man wearing thin rimmed glassed, about 6’ 1, dirty blonde hair and a bloodied lab coat jumped out of the truck and ran toward Chloe who had since jumped out of the car to check on the passengers who had been rear ended. She grabbed her purse and began to look feverishly for her cell phone which was caught in the lining. Before she could find it, the bloodied man caught up to her and grabbed her arm. One of his fists was partially balled up and she winced thinking he was going to hit her to rob her. He grabbed at her purse and Chloe’s worse fears were confirmed, he was robbing her. Chloe struggled with him as he took his balled fist to reach at the purse while still holding her with the other hand.  And then he looked Chloe dead in her eyes with blood dripping down his forehead and spoke saying—protect her, please don’t let them get her”.

Who?  Wait what?  Don’t let who get her? Chloe asked..but the man appeared to be in shock and couldn’t say anything else. Coming from the same direction they had just driven, you could hear tires screeching and more cars coming, and coming fast. The bloodied man moved with a start..and began to run limping and bleeding across the road.  He turned around and looked at Chloe with tears in his eyes and formed his mouth to say “please”.  Chloe wanted to run after him; she still had no idea what he was talking about. But it didn’t take long to realize that he was being chased.  About 3 dark unmarked official type cars barreled through the intersection and split up without stopping.  The windows were rolled down but it was difficult to make out any faces. Chloe had made her way to the other car and the woman and her daughter seemed to be ok just shaken and bruised. The little girl was crying and holding her arm. The mother told Chloe that she had called the police and they should be here soon.  Just then another dark official car pulled up to the Ram truck again totally ignoring the accident…Two men with dark long hair wearing suits, gloves and carrying handguns jumped out and quickly ransacked the vehicle. They pulled up the seats, went through the cab, glove compartment, every nook and cranny within 60 seconds.  They were looking for something and based on the level of swearing that took place afterward whatever it was they didn’t find it. Seeing the wreckage, other cars begin to stop to help block the road and offer assistance.  Sirens in the distance and now an audience caused the men to hurry back to the black car and take off in the direction of the previous group.

Within a few more seconds, the officers got to the scene. Chloe and the other bystanders waved them over and directed them to the mother and her little girl.  But as they got closer, everyone rushed toward Chloe asking if she was ok and she kept responding that she was fine.  The EMS then arrived and the EMT technicians immediately came to asked Chloe to lie down on the second stretcher as the first one raced to the car holding the mother and daughter.

Lay down? For what…no I’m fine Chloe explained.  Just take care of those two, Chloe answered motioning to the mother’s car.

Maam, are you hurt?  You look like you’ve lost quite a bit of blood the EMT asked Chloe while trying to shine a light in her pupils.

What?  Chloe said as she looked down at her clothes.  The bloodied man had bled all over her shoes, her jeans and left blood on her blouse where he had grabbed her.  Unbeknownst to Chloe, she had blood on her face where she had wiped not knowing blood was also on her hands from her struggle with her would be assailant.

No..this isn’t my blood Chloe answered just then remembering what had taken place.

Who blood is it? The EMT asked her.

I don’t know sir. I mean it was the guy in that RAM. Chloe said pointing to the now ransacked, banged up truck.

Maam, where is he?  He has lost a lot of blood and needs help the EMT asked hurriedly.

I don’t know!  Chloe answered getting upset.  He ran across the road and then these other men came and looked in his car and then…wait first about 3 cars came and then they sped past us and then the men came and they jumped out and… Chloe stopped as she started to feel disoriented.

He told me to take care of her, Chloe said beginning to cry.

Take care of who maam..? The EMT asked as he motioned for the techs to bring over another gurney.

I don’t know Chloe said..becoming overwhelmed.  I don’t know who she is..but I have to protect her…Chloe said as everything began to fade to black.

——-

Hey all—This is where you will find the up-to date-scoop on #ChloeandMax beginning on Memorial Day when their separate prequels begin with new additions WEEKLY!  You can still read tidbits about them on twitter @ChloeandMax1…and get ready…this raw, emotional, romantic story about love, choices, friendship and the walking wounded will be coming this LABOR DAY 2013 when Chloe and Max meet for the first time.

Please honor me with your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s