by Cadie Laine
The love of his life doesn't remember him
| Four months later Ben finally accepts there is not stopping the inevitable. She was moving away from him and closer to Chad. The two of them had met almost every day for the last few months. It was obvious Stephanie was falling in love with him. The time Chad and Stephanie had spent together was always in public to keep the family name untarnished. She had become more open with Chad than she had with anyone of her other friends. Ben could see that Chad had reciprocated truth about himself, too.
The couple had begun to hold hands as they walked together. They sat across from each other at the coffee shop. A few minutes later, Chad was growing uncomfortable with something. It was noticeable on his face and movements. He couldn't ignore the light in his eyes. Thinking someone's phone was reflecting he looked around but nothing. Shining in his face again he began looking up in the direction of the light. Focusing on what it was...the gun went off. Chad dove instinctively across the table at Stephanie. HE and pushed her to the ground; it was too late. She had been hit in the head. She lay still for a minute eyes closed.
"Come on Stephanie. Come back to me." She moaned as he checked her pulse. Ben arrived on the scene in the next second.
"Gun shot from sniper riffle. Up there on the roof. I caught the reflection but did not get to her in time."
"Is she?" Ben's voice held terror as he feared the worst.
"No." Chad whispered. "just grazed. You know this town better than I do. Go get the person who did this. I will take care of her." Ben agreed and left the couple.
Chad dialed emergency services from his cell phone. Stephanie became conscious for only a moment.
"I love you." She looked so deep in his eyes that he could almost feel her touching his soul.
"I love you too. Don't leave me." He replied to the woman on the ground, as she passed out again. The blood was beginning to flow from her head and he responded to the operator on the phone.
Ben returned to the scene as the ambulance drove up a small crowd was accumulating as the paramedics came on the scene. They placed the body on the gurney, Ben covered Stephanie with the sheet and the paramedics looked at him questioningly.
"She needs to look dead. I know better and she better stay alive. But the person who did this needs to think she is dead."
"Yes, sir. We will start the IV once we are on the way to the hospital." The medic replied. Ben walked to where Chad was and waited for him to finish his statement with the officer. A second officer strolled up and tried to ask Ben what happened. Ben looked at the officer and with purpose. Chad finished his statement with the first officer and turned to Ben.
"Did you find the person who did this?"
"No. He was gone, but it wreaks of Steven. I told the medics she needed to look dead while getting to the hospital. If Steven wanted her dead; he was going to think she was dead. It has to be assumed and reported that Alyiah is dead." Ben ordered.
"We will note it. At least until we get this Steven situation sorted out. You don't think it anyone else? Revenge on the family?"
"No, Steven knew Alyiah would not drive because of how her sister's accident happened. He wanted to make sure that he got her. He's been watching her for a while. I knew there was someone following but could not pin point where and how."
"But she's not dead...wait a minute. You called her Alyiah? She said her name was Stephanie. What is going on here?" Chad was becoming mildly upset that he had been lied to. Ben pulled Chad away from the crowd so the two could converse privately.
"Chad, Alyiah and I have not been completely honest with you. The woman you have been spending time with was not completely honest with you. We did this for her protection."
"Ben, if that's your real name...who are you and what is going on?"
"Chad, if that's your real name...meet me here tomorrow afternoon and I will let you know everything."
"Are you serious? I am going to the hospital to be with Stephanie. You can tell me there!"
"Fine." Ben conceded. They drove together to the hospital to see how Stephanie was doing.