Chapter 13

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 A/N~ Okay, real quick. Thank you, whoever you are, for reading No Matter What You Do, Stick with the Pack. You are a huge help in my effort to to get published someday. After this goes through some Beta readers and editing, I am going to offer it as a free ebook on Smashwords, so if it's not to much trouble please give me your honest feedback, tell me what you want in this story. After you're done, visit to get a treat from yours truly! Again, thank you for your help! 


          It happened one day during my shift. Nothing much was happening in the bookstore or the café, Cale was sipping on a latte and Parker was playing with the cash register while I tuned Baby. We had a mini TV on and turned to the news, just to feel like we were doing something relevant. And it was rare that we had news from the States, but this somehow made it all the way to Abaline.

            Tonight’s top story: A Mystery from a Missing Family from Oregon.

            I dropped Baby and ran over to that minuscule TV, turning the volume up and grabbing the attention of Cale and Parker.

            Markwood University Professor Archer Charlane and his family go missing only months after their youngest daughter, Katlyn Charlane, runs away. Police seem to think that the disappearance of the family, the runaway daughter, and a group of her friends are all connected. No breakthroughs have been made in the case yet but suspects have been named. Maxine Daniels, Nathan Daniels, Patrick Daniels, and Hector Rockefeller are all in police custody. More on that at six.

            For a moment, I couldn’t think straight. I turned the TV off and just stood there. Time, for a moment, paused. Just a moment where nothing happened. I closed my eyes and pressed my lips, trying my best not to panic. I underestimated the situation again. Turns out Northern was impatient. Clearly this was his doing. But a month! Just one freaking month! My muscles clenched up. Of course things would play out like this. Of course I would be too late, again.

            The first words to leave my mouth after the report had ended were, “Cale, I quit.”

            “What?!” She exclaimed. “What are you thinking?” Cale jumped out of her chair.

            “I’m thinking I have a lot less time than I thought I did.” I smiled grimly, turning to walk out the door. I’d have to go back to the apartment and grab some stuff, give Paula a visit.

            “No no no, baby girl.” Cale grabbed me as I started to head out. “This is craziness. You stay on that stool and you play your beautiful music!” She stomped her foot.

            “I need to go Cale.” I waved her off, not paying much heed.

            “You don’t need to do anything.” She shook her head. “Please, whatever that just was, leave it be. You belong here now, Maddy Dan, and nowhere else.”

            I started to get a bit irritated, turning around and looking down at her. “No, Cale, I need to-“

            “You just stop right there!” Cale shouted, tears brimming her eyes. “Now I’ve already lost one baby and I won’t lose another. You sit down on that stool and forget about leaving!” She tried her hardest to hold back tears. I stood there, not quite sure how to respond. Clearly me leaving wasn’t just about me.

            “Cale.” I spoke softly, turning around and resting both of my hands on her shoulders as they shook. “Cale listen to me.” She refused to look at me. “Right before I left home, there was something I really needed to do. Something that probably would have prevented that police report in the first place.” My gaze flickered to the TV and a very confused Parker for a second. Parker I held my gaze with, wishing that if I could convey with my eyes just how important this was too me. “But I couldn’t, because my family wouldn’t let me, because they wouldn’t listen to me. They wouldn’t listen and it cost me so much, and now it might even cost me everything.” I swallowed a lump in my throat. “So I need you to listen to me right now, before I have to give anymore up.” Then she decided to look up at me with the saddest puppy dog eyes I had ever seen. “You’ve been like a mom to me this past month. Hell, better then my mom was, you didn’t ask questions and you didn’t push me. You knew I needed help so you helped me, no questions asked. And Cale, that meant the world to me. But no matter what you do, it still isn’t going to take away that problem. I told you when I moved in, I was only going to stay here for a year. It’s because I was afraid that if I stayed to long something like that would happen.” I paused. “If I don’t get back down to Oregon, all of those people will die. I need to set things right again, Cale, or else I’ll never be able to live with myself.”

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