The Brightest Sunset(5)

By: Aly Martinez



We stared at each other.

The ultimate showdown.

Mother versus Father.

Nature versus Nurture.

Heart versus Soul.

Neither of us willing to back down.

Not when it came to holding on to the only sunlight we were ever going to get.

“I’m giving you one more chance, Reese. Let her go,” Tom growled behind me.

Porter’s gaze locked on mine. “When she lets go of Travis, I’ll let go of her.”

Travis.

His son.

Fuck that. This was my son.

The sound of his name lit a fuse inside me. Years of pent-up anguish suddenly detonated, feeding a white-hot rage I’d never felt before.

It was visceral and ugly.

But it came from the most beautiful place in my heart.

The place that had been created and filled the day my little boy had been born.

The place I couldn’t forget no matter how hard I had tried over the last ten years.

The place that harbored the most agonizing pain a person could experience, unleashing it like a vile animal sent to destroy me every single morning I woke up without him.

The place that was currently whole for the first time in ten fucking years.

My face vibrated as I screamed at the top of my lungs. “His name is Lucas!”

In my explosion, my grip must have slipped, because suddenly, my son broke free of my arms. He went straight to Porter, who protectively stepped in front of him.

“No!” I yelled, diving forward. Porter’s hand came up and landed in the center of my chest, where he held me back.

And then all hell broke out around us.

Tom caught me around the waist, dragging me back as Charlie went after Porter.

“Get inside, Travis,” Porter grunted as his face was roughly shoved against the brick beside the door.

My little boy stood there frozen, horror contorting his pale face as he peered up at Porter. The woman at the door moved fast in his direction. She grabbed his shoulder and curled him into her front, hiding his face as she backed him inside the house.

“Lucas!” I screamed, kicking and clawing my way out of Tom’s hold.

“He’s not Lucas!” Porter shot back while Charlie clicked the cuffs around his wrists.

But he was.

And I’d just lost him all over again.

“No. No. No!” I cried when the door shut behind him. “Lucas!”

“Charlotte, look at me,” Porter called while Charlie read him his rights. “It’s not him. I swear to God it’s not him.”

“Shut up, Reese,” Tom growled, tucking me tight against his front.

Porter’s body flexed and strained as he fought to get to me. “Charlotte, please look at me, sweetheart,” he begged in such a sweet voice that I swear I could feel the actual shards of my heart breaking in my chest.

Not even ten minutes earlier, I would have happily gotten lost in the sea of his blue eyes for all of eternity.

But that was before I’d had something to fight for.

“Lucas,” I choked out, tears flowing down my chin.

Tom brought me into a bear hug with my arms pinned at my sides, but my fingers still stretched as though they could reach the door.

“Please,” I begged softly. “Please give him back to me.”

“Charlotte!” Porter continued to bellow, but I kept my eyes trained on the wooden door that separated my heaven from my hell.

My son was in there.

My baby.

And he was alive.

My knees suddenly buckled and the fight left me on a ragged sob. “Oh God. That’s really him.”

Tom held me tight. “We need to get to the station.”

“How…how is this possible?” I stammered.

“I have no fucking idea, but I need you to get it together. The sooner we figure it out, the sooner you can get him back.”

My whole body was trembling, but with those words, my heart slowed and my lungs inflated.

I was going to get him back.

He was going to come home.

He was going to be mine again.

I hadn’t been brave enough to dream about that moment in a lot of years.

And there it was—a reality.

And, for some fucked-up reason, I couldn’t comprehend why my chest still hurt.

Turning, I got my answer.

Porter was in the back of the patrol car, his arms secured behind him, his wide eyes locked on me, fear carved into his face, and his mouth moving in the pattern of my name.

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