The Fall Chapter 7
“You’re…what? No, that can’t be.”
His response caught her off guard. It was not what she’d envisioned in her head.
“Savannah, you knew the rules. I thought you understood how things were. This was just for fun nothing else. Come on now, that’s one of the things I love about you.”
“I know but…I fell in love with you and I thought…”
“You thought what?”
“Come on Savannah, I’m a married man. I’m not leaving my wife and a baby is not going to change that.”
“Hamilton, I love you!”
“And I love you but this isn’t about love. My wife is a very rich and very powerful woman. If she knew about a baby, she’d destroy us both.”
“But you don’t love her, you love me.”
“Maybe and maybe not. I’m not leaving my wife, Savannah not for you not for anyone.”
Hamilton pulled the distraught Savannah into his arms and gently kissed her on the top of her head. He loved her he really did in his own way just like he had loved the others before her. It always ended this way but he’d been careless with this one. Savannah had managed to get under his skin but he couldn’t no, he wouldn’t let her ruin things for him. There was too much at stake.
“Savannah, you’re young and in a few years you’ll forget I ever existed. So this is how it’s going to be. It’s the best thing for both of us. This is our chance to make a good decision and one day you’ll realize I was right.”
Savannah had allowed Hamilton to talk her into getting rid of their child. A child that she’d conceived out of her love for him. Watching the car pull away from the curb, she allowed herself a rare moment of reflection. She’d traded a future with her child, their child for a career and a check…a very large check. At the time it all made sense, Hamilton was so persuasive. He promised to always be there for her if she would just do this favor as her last act of love for him. Now at a time when regret had nearly driven her mad, she wanted the one thing that she had so easily destroyed, a baby. She saw her future in Derek’s eyes whether it had ever been there or if it was something created in her mind was beside the point. She wanted Derek he represented a second chance. She’d allowed Hamilton to get away long ago but there was no way she’d make that same mistake again.
The Kennedy Street Project – Atlanta, GA –
Darren checked his watch for the third time. He could hear Savannah’s voice in his head.
“Fire him, for god’s sake! You’re too nice! Most employers would never tolerate an employee showing up ten minutes late let alone an hour.”
Sheldon had been one of the first people he’d met upon arriving in Atlanta. The two met at the coffee shop in the city’s center where Darren went most mornings for coffee and a quiet moment. The tall thin man had come in after Darren and noticed the design plans tucked under his arm. Just as Darren had found a table and sat down the long-haired, bespectacled young man struck up a conversation.
“The Lee Mansion!”
Surprised, Darren looked up into the younger man’s eyes.
“Yes, that’s right! Impressive not many people would know that especially looking at them upside down.”
“I’ve been reading upside down since grade school. It always helped to be able to see what my teacher was writing before she handed me the note to take home to my parents.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, and I also have a Masters in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.”
Darren chuckled at the odd man and invited him to share his table in the packed café. For the next hour Darren sat in amazement as Sheldon Rice talked non-stop about anything and everything. Darren had learned a lot about the young man, most importantly, he learned that Sheldon needed a job.
He was an amazing craftsman especially with the fine details that Darren had begun to believe was a lost art. He soon learned that not only had the young man lost his last two jobs but he’d obviously lost his watch as well. Savannah wanted him fired, but Darren saw something in the extremely intelligent man and for some reason he felt oddly drawn to him and oddly compelled to protect him.
Darren knew he couldn’t wait on his tardy employee any longer. There was a lot of demolition to be done before daylight was lost. He’d found this property by accident while out for a run a few months ago. It sat abandoned on a large vacant lot a few miles from his home. Apparently, no one had seen its beauty beyond the weathered graying wood and the sagging roof. The weeds and the junk that passersby had dumped on the lot seemed to confirm for most that it was a lost cause. Not for Darren, it had caught his eye immediately and he felt compelled to purchase it much to his wife’s chagrin.
Escrow had finally closed and now Darren would begin his plans to restore it to its regal beginnings. Most of his other projects were placed on the market immediately after his work was completed but this house felt different and familiar and he hoped beyond hope that once he was finished he would be able to convince Savannah to make this their new home.
After touring the property, he decided to begin demolition on the second floor. The three large bathrooms were complete gut jobs and he knew it would take him the entire day to tear down and haul the remains to the dumpsters outside. So, grabbing his old ladder from his truck he headed up the rickety stairs chuckling to himself that the ladder was almost as worn as the house. Again, he could hear Savannah nagging him about investing in a new ladder. After all, they could afford it. Shaking his head, he took his first step, then another. Each time the stair above moaned and creaked louder than the one before. Picking up speed, he took the stairs two at a time and just before reaching the top step the loudest creek sounded grabbing his attention just before the step gave way sending him plunging down and crashing hard against the first floor.
Atlanta Women’s Health Center –
Savannah lay quietly on the exam table anxiously waiting for her OB/GYN, Dr. Iris Crayton to come in. This little visit had become a regular every other month since arriving in Atlanta. Each time Savannah hoped for better news. Armed with the hope that Hamilton and Marcos’ visit had given her she prayed that this visit would give her good news as well.
“Hello, my friend!”
Iris stepped into the room smiling at her patient. She wished that she had better news for the desperate woman. Like so many others, Savannah refused to believe what the doctor had told her several times before.
“Iris, hello. Please tell me you have good news.”
Before answering, Dr. Crayton grabbed a stool and wheeled it next to the exam table.
Savannah saw the look in her friend’s eyes. She didn’t have to say another word but she needed to hear them anyway.
“I’m sorry, but nothing has changed. Maybe you and Darren should consider adoption.”
“NO! We want our own baby. I know it sounds selfish and I know there are thousands of babies who need homes but…”
Iris gently grabbed Savannah’s hands and waited for the woman to look at her.
“Your condition is very rare. The fact that you ever got pregnant is nothing short of a miracle.”
Tears began to stream down Savannah’s face. Iris felt bad for her friend and she wished that she could tell her something that would give her hope but she couldn’t.
“It’s not fair! It’s not like I went to some dirty back alley apartment and had an illegal abortion or something! I did everything right! It’s just not fair.”
“I’m so sorry. I wish I had better news.”
“If I had known fifteen years ago about this, condition, I would have never allowed anyone to talk me into getting rid of my baby.”
“Have you told Darren that you can’t conceive?”
“No, no and I don’t want him to know, not yet anyway.”
“Of course, but you’re going to have to tell him eventually, the sooner the better.”
Iris stood and handed Savannah a few tissues and waited for her to calm down.
“Savannah, you and Darren are amazing people. I wish you would reconsider adoption. I’d hate to see a child miss out on two great parents.”
Savannah shook her head and closed her eyes still trying to deny what the doctor had again told her. Dr. Crayton quietly left the room not knowing what else to say to comfort her colleague.
Kennedy Street Project –
Sheldon hopped out of the old dusty car and waved as the driver pulled away from the curb. He was late again. Nervously, he jogged toward the front door. He needed to clean up his act and he had to admit that Darren had been more than lenient when it came to his attendance. As he pulled the squeaky door open he silently vowed to do better.
“Boss, I’m here!”
Sheldon expected to hear sounds of demolition but it was oddly quiet.
“Darren? Look man, I’m sorry I’m late. My ride forgot to…”
Sheldon stepped inside the large foyer that opened to a view of the grand stairway…what used to be the stairway. Sheldon saw a large space where the stairs used to be. Now all that was left were the two bottom steps and the two top steps. Then amidst the rotten wood, rubbish and the dark shadows was Darren’s still body.
Atlanta General Hospital –
Sheldon paced the waiting room. He knew Savannah didn’t care much for him and he dreaded seeing her. He’d called her immediately after calling 911 and she’d instantly began grilling him and screaming that it would not have happened had he been on time. It was what he expected from her but Sheldon had already begun blaming himself for the accident.
Savannah burst through the Emergency Room doors frantic and looking around for a familiar face. She’d just stepped out of the Women’s Health Center when Sheldon’s call came through. She was furious and she would not rest until Darren fired the worthless loser.
She turned toward the familiar voice and searched his face as the young resident approached her.
“Jeremy, where’s Darren? Is he okay?”
Jeremy placed his hands on her shoulders to hold her still. He knew that the only thing that ever rattled the woman was her husband.
“Calm down. He’s going to be fine.”
She exhaled and he could feel her body shudder with relief.
“What happened? I got a call from his, employee, that he’d been hurt.”
“Luckily your husband has a hard head. He took quite a fall from some old stairs.”
Savannah shook her head and rubbed her temple.
“Can I see him?”
“Of course. He’s got a nasty bump on his head, a mild concussion and some minor cuts and bruises. I gave him a sedative so he may fall asleep on you. He’s in three-twenty four.”
The doctor smiled and nodded as she headed down the hallway.
BAU Headquarters – Quantico, VA – Evening –
It was late, ten-thirty to be exact. One by one the team filed into the conference room in foul moods and in desperate need of caffeine. Unlike the others, Penelope welcomed the interruption of her evening time alone, especially at night were the worst times and the quiet of her home haunted her and reminded her of her loss.
“Thanks for getting here so quickly.”
Hotch waited for all of them to take a seat.
“Three teenage girls, all seventeen and all students at Mt. Helena’s Catholic School went missing two hours ago.”
“It looks like they knew each other. It’s Friday maybe they decided to go on a road trip.” Rossi suggested.
These girls were low risk, straight A students, one is a cheerleader, one an athlete and the other the captain of the debate team.”
“If we’ve learned one thing in doing this job is that the good kids aren’t always good.
“I don’t think that applies this time, Rossi.”
“What haven’t you told us?”
“All three girls were scheduled to volunteer tomorrow morning at a local hospital. According to Becky Hunter’s parents, she wouldn’t miss that.”
“Why? Were they completing community service hours for graduation?” Reid asked.
“No. Becky’s eleven-year old brother recently passed away from Leukemia and she and the other two victims have been volunteering at the children’s hospital ever since.” Another thing. In our third victim’s room was a sign of struggle. It looks like this unsub tried to cleanup before he left but the CSI’s still found chards of glass under the bed with blood spatter that may be our victim’s blood. Garcia, I want you to go with us on this case.”
“Where are we going? JJ asked.