Unwoven Ties - Bethany Lopez
About the Author
Also by Bethany Lopez
Prologue - Kelly
“You did a great job pitching at practice, buddy,” I said as we drove down the rain-soaked highway. It was coming down hard, in sheets slashing against our windshield. “I’m sorry the rain cut it short.”
I saw Jake shrug out of my peripheral vision, but knew he was disappointed. The coach was teaching him how to throw a curve ball, and he was desperate to perfect the new pitch.
“Hey, what do ya say we go to the movies after Dad gets home? Something with lots of action.”
When my suggestion was met with silence, I pulled my hand off of the steering wheel and patted him on the leg.
“C’mon, it’ll be fun...”
Finally, he gave me a small smile and said, “Okay, that sounds good.”
I was about to say something sarcastic, like “I don’t want to force you to have fun,” but was distracted when a shiny black sports car came quickly up behind me, then swerved over to get in the other lane.
As it sped past us I muttered, “What an idiot … He’s going to get in a wreck driving like that in this weather.”
No sooner had the words left my mouth when I saw a flash of black swerve then flip over, landing in the median ahead of us.
“Oh my God!” I shouted, then began to slow my car down and pull over to the left shoulder. I squinted, trying to see signs of life through the downpour as I pushed in my hazards light.
I turned to Jake and handed him my cell phone.
“Here, call 911 and don’t leave the car, no matter what happens.”
“No, Mom,” Jake argued, and I saw a flash of fear cross his face, something I hadn’t seen since he’d turned twelve and worked hard at maintaining his cool.
“I have to, bud, what if someone’s hurt?” I explained, holding his shoulder as I said again, “Stay in the car … Promise?”
“Okay,” he responded shakily. “I promise.”
He was already dialing the phone as I unlocked my door and jumped out into the rain. As I raced to the overturned car, I was vaguely aware that I was already soaked through.
I could smell the putrid stench of gasoline as I slid toward the car. I fell to my knees in the muddy grass and tried to peer through the passenger window. Unable to see more than shapes, I pulled the door handle, but found it was stuck.
“Shit!” I sat quickly on the ground and braced myself against the side of the car with my feet, then pulled with all my might, screaming, “C’mon!”
It opened suddenly, causing me to fall onto my back, but I sprung back up and crawled to the open door. Once my head was in, out of the rain, I wiped the wet from my eyes and looked around the interior of the car as they adjusted to the change in light.
I saw a child in the back seat, startled but awake, and a man unmoving, with his head resting on the steering wheel.
I reached around the seat, fumbling for the lever to bring it up, and I wondered how I’d get the child out of her seat without dropping her on her head. Finding the lever, I pulled and brought the seat forward, then twisted my body around the side, lifting one hand to unbuckle her seatbelt, and thrusting the other out in hopes of catching her once she was free.
What was only a matter of seconds felt like a lifetime, and it seemed as though I watched it all happen from somewhere outside of the car, rather than actually being the person pulling the child out to safety.
She started crying once she was in my arms and the cold rain began to hit her tiny face.
“Daddy!” she yelled over and over again, as I ran what I hoped was a safe distance from the car and set her on the ground.
“Shhhh, baby, you stay here, I’m gonna go get your daddy.”
I didn’t have time to offer more comfort than that; the smell coming from the car made me nervous, and when I saw a fire begin to flicker in the front of the car, I ran as hard as I could toward the driver’s side.
Without trying the handle first, I braced myself like I had on the other side, yanking at the handle as I pushed against the car with all of the strength my legs could muster.
“How is that fire still going in this