Something Worth Saving
by Chelsea Landon
Release Date: Feb 4, 2014
Hosted by: Southern Belle Book Blog
Something Worth Saving is a story about a woman questioning her relationship with her longtime boyfriend. Raw and emotional, he doesn’t know how to show her his intentions are pure.
They have love, but is that enough?
I’ll tell you a story about two people who loved with everything they had and fought for what they believed in despite the world around them. They fought for something worth saving.
The story is something beautiful. It’s a story about me.
My reality, the story I’m telling, is that I share Jace Ryan with the world and he keeps us safe. The warmth of his heart and body, all beautiful, and worth saving.
Some would now venture to wonder, what’s missing then?
And I ask myself that a lot.
But it’s the nights that get me because you see that there? That hesitation? The question where I asked myself what’s missing?
You see everything around us tests our will, our faith, and our ability to tell right from wrong, to believe there’s good when there’s only evil.
To me, it’s a fate among the toughest deciding on its path. It’s the restless sounds at night that I awake to wondering what I’m missing. The ones that crept deep in my bones and reminded me that this story, while still being written, had taken a turn into something darker, a place I never thought we would be.
It was one night, one fate and something tragic destroying something beautiful.
Heavy sheets of smoke curling and rolling together constricting my visions of this life I had.
You see that there?
That wrenching pain in your gut knowing not everything as it seems?
Look closer. That nervous energy you now have, stumbling over words you can’t say, a voice muffled under a mask, a moaning plea to be saved, slurred words on the tip of your tongue, there’s the something tragic.
When I have nothing left to give, nothing left to say, it’s him that brings me back to the moment, in the arms of my firefighter, the warmth of his heart and body, struggling to save his family.
Offensive Attack – Something Worth Saving
I was the closest to the flames, and the smoke was too much. Sputtering coughs, I heard the sound of glass breaking, and I was lost in the smoke.
Everyone has a story. Some beautiful. Some tragic.
For a moment, and though it didn’t feel like a moment, this was something tragic.
It was one night, one fate, and something tragic destroying something beautiful.
Heavy sheets of smoke curling and rolling together, constricting my visions of this life of mine.
You see that there?
That wrenching pain in your gut, knowing not everything is as it seems?
Look closer. That nervous energy you now have, stumbling over words you can’t say, a moaning plea to be saved, slurred words on the tip of your tongue — there’s the something tragic.
When I have nothing left to give, nothing left to say, it’s he who brings me back to the moment, in the arms of my firefighter, the warmth of his heart and body, struggling to save his family.
His voice was muffled under his mask, slurred.
Just as I feel like I’m going to fall, it’s the warmth of his breath against my neck thatkeeps me there, on the edge, with him.
“Stay with me, honey.” His voice was muffled by his mask, a harsh gravelly sound,followed by the hiss of each breath he took. “Please. Please just stay with me.”
I said something, though I’m not sure what, and he pushed my hair back, cupping my face with his gloved hand. I felt the warmth.
“You’re okay ...hold onto me. I got you.”
I looked up at him, smoke and flames curling around us. He stared at me for a long moment, and though I knew he had so many questions right then, he had one thing on his mind. Saving us. “Our b-b-babies...”
Tucking me into his chest, he carried me through the heavy smoke to safety.
The air was thick. Black soot surrounded me. My skin felt tight, my lips and cheeks burning so much I felt them cracking.
I remember laying my head against his chest as he took quick steps. My arms wrapped around his neck, holding on as tight as my weak arms would let me.
“Breathe, baby ...please, just breathe ...” Removing his breathing mask, he placed it against my face, urging me to take a breath. I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel I should be able to. “Breathe for me! Please just fucking breathe ...” His voice faded.
I wanted my babies alive. But me, I wasn’t sure I was worth saving.
I deserved whatever punishment fate handed me. The fear inside marks us in ways we’ll never fully understand, and draped over my heart are fears I can’t change.
Primary Search – Something Worth Saving
“Engine 10, Ladder 1 ...Battalion 22 ...800 block, cross streets are University and Western...”
When the apartment address came across the scanner, I went cold. I’d never felt fear like that. It was instant, from my head to my toes, numbing and all-consuming.
The guys looked at me as we loaded onto the truck. “Is that your ...” Their voices trailed off as I started to shake, my head nodding vigorously.
We pulled out. Anxious eyes watched me carefully, not knowing what to say.
I had just talked to her. She was fine.
And then my thoughts went to one person. Ridley.
My breath tripped when the apartment number was called out on the scanner and Mike turned around. This was real. This was so fucking real, and I had to deal with it.
“They’ve activated a second alarm already...”
I felt sick. My stomach dropped, my heart stilled, and I could almost feel the blood drain from my face.
Never did I think he’d actually hurt her. It never crossed my mind.
And all this time, the warning had been there. But most of all, I had pushed him toward it. I had baited him with the one thing that had the power to destroy me. That was the worst feeling of all. I knew it now ...something he’d known all along.
With my mask and air already on, we came around Western, and the smoke was billowing through broken windows shattered from the heat on the fourth floor. Our apartment faced the back so I couldn’t see how bad it really was, but there was no stopping me when I got off that truck.
My dad tried to catch me. Kasey tried, too, and Axe even blocked me, but not this time. I was going in no matter what. They wouldn’t stop me like they did at the pier.
As with any firefighter, I was there to access the situation and respond based on mytraining. How can you do that when your mind is stuck on one thing?
How do I save my family when I’m so clearly caught up with anger?
My hope was slipping through my own fingers as I was forced to make one decision, one that changed lives. I climbed the stairs, forty pounds of gear weighing me down as I took them two steps at a time.
The thick brown smoke and the sagging wood let me know I didn’t have long. If I was going to get to them, I needed to move now. I started taking the steps three at a time and finally reached the fourth floor.
All I heard now was heavy breathing — my own, that hollow sound the SCBA made, the beep of our monitors tracking me as I searched through smoke thick enough to blind you.As a matter of fact, I couldn’t see anything. All that surrounded me was the roar of the nearby flames and blackness.
Sweat poured down my neck and back under my bunker gear.
Where I was standing, the temperature was a mere 150. Maybe a little higher. Near the ceiling, it could be thousands. Crawling, I made my way to the door. Axe was beside me now, Denny and Kasey behind him.
When I got to our apartment and saw that it was fully engulfed, I lost my head in the smoke and reacted as recklessly as I felt, consumed in my own flames. My family was in there, and I let that thought take over.
After dropping the kids off with Judie, I picked up Kari. She thought we were going to dinner. She was wrong.
“Will you help me with something tonight?” If you could have seen my face, you probably would have laughed at me. In that moment, I was thankful for wearing deodorant.
“That depends.” She gave me a confused look and then shrugged.
“You might get arrested.”
“Count me in, then.”
That part was easy. Convincing Kari to do anything illegal was easy because she had this obsession with wanting to be arrested.
Then I picked up Lauren. She was outside, with the neighbor she stalked, arguing about something I couldn’t quite hear.
When she got in, she all but slammed the door. “Can you believe he thinks I work this corner?”
Kari smiled. “You mean as in—”
Lauren didn’t let Kari finish. “Yep.”
“How do you feel about that?” I asked her, watching her neighbor depart. “He thinks you’re a hooker.”
“Not good.” Lauren laughed.
“Pretty shameful actually.” And then she broke down into a pout, her arms crossed over her chest. “I’m a horrible mother.”
“No, you’re not.” I didn’t need Lauren breaking down tonight. I had a plan, and damn it, she owed me from Thanksgiving.
“I wouldn’t leave my kids with her if I were you, Aubrey.”
I’d turned to glare at Kari when Lauren reached around and smacked her upside the head.“I have a problem here. Help.”
“You have many problems.”
“Let’s just focus on one here.” Lauren turned back around to put her seatbelt on. “I’m turning into our mother.”
“There’s rehab for that.” Kari wasn’t helping. But she had a point. Lauren, despite what you might think, knew she had a problem. It was sitting in her lap. At some point I knew she would see what it was, but not tonight. I wasn’t about to get into that.
As we drove, I thought about my plan.
I wish I could slap myself sometimes before I do shit. I really do. Then maybe I would knock some sense into myself before I did things like this.
The more Lauren yelled into the back seat at Kari, the more I smelled alcohol. “Have you been drinking?”
She handed me Jayden’s sippy cup from the back seat. “Nobody’s stopping you from doing it.”
“Do you really put booze in Gavin’s cups?” I pulled into traffic on Washington Street and tried not to run over the hobos who thought they owned the goddamn road. “I thought Axe was joking about that.”
“Don’t judge. Single mother here with daddy issues.”
“You’ve never met your dad,” Kari had to add.
“Which is why I have daddy issues,” she pointed out. “Back to your problems, Aubrey. Where is Jace, and why are we stalking him?”
“No one said anything about stalking.” Kari suddenly seemed extremely excited. “Are you serious, is that what we’re doing?”
“I think he’s at Brooke’s house.” Some dude in a Nissan cut me off and I almost rear-ended him. “Goddamn stupid fucking drivers!”
“Yet another reason I use them. Spill proof.” Lauren smiled when she caught the sippy cup she was using. “So we’re going to Brooke’s house, then?”
“I’m so lost right now.” Kari wasn’t great at keeping up with conversations. She was easily distracted.
I looked at Lauren. “I’m about to make you feel a whole lot better about your life.”
“Doubt that.” She knew exactly what I was referring to.
“Why would Jace being at Brooke’s house be a big deal?” Now that Kari had voiced this question, I almost backed out.
“Aubrey has gone crazy and thinks he’s cheating on her,” Lauren informed her.
I should have gone alone. It would have been easier.
“I didn’t say that. I just want to...I don’t know.” This sounded even worse when I tried to explain it. “It’s been a couple weeks since Logan died...and nearly every day since the funeral Jace has been over there. Which I get. I do. I know deep down it’s just him being there for her, but he’s not talking to me and I just...” My words drifted.
I sound pathetic. I really do.
“You just want to see for yourself,” Kari finished, our eyes meeting in the review mirror.
“Cool.” Lauren clapped her hands together. “Now that we have that settled, stop by McDonalds.”
“Jesus...” When you went anywhere with Lauren, she demanded certain things. Like McDonalds. I was getting impatient.
“Hey, you want me to help you...in turn, you’ll feed me.”
Kari popped her head forward. “I could eat.”
I drove twenty minutes around downtown, caught every stoplight, and managed to get Lauren and Kari their food. Which, by the way, could have fed the entire firehouse.
“Where do you put all that food?” I asked Lauren. I could tell by the way Kari was watching her that she had the same question.
“My ass,” Lauren said, shoving a handful of fries in her mouth, and then taking a swig from her sippy cup.
“How do you stay so skinny with those eating habits and all the alcohol you drink?”
“Cigarettes and Red Bull.”
Seemed logical. To her anyway.
Another dozen stoplights, and we found ourselves outside Brooke’s condo. And there was Jace’s truck parked on the street. My heart hurt that he could talk to her, but not me.
“What do you think he’s doing in there?”
“Probably fucking her.” Of course Kari would say that.
“Kari!” I slapped at her.
“What?” She moved away, laughing, “I was joking.” She smiled. “Kind of.”
If I had binoculars, I would have known, but I didn’t. Just I was thinking about going up there with maybe some lame-ass excuse that I’d just come by to check on Brooke, Lauren got out of my car and started climbing up a tower crane across the street next to another set of unfinished condos.
Brooke’s condo was on the fourth floor, and that seemed very dangerous to me.
Lauren had a thing with climbing. Always had. And up she went.
“Get down here!” My order fell on deaf ears. I doubted she could even hear me. Between the traffic and the steady mist of rain, she couldn’t hear a damn thing up there.
I looked over at Kari next to me. She shook her head as she leaned against a parking meter, her arms propped up and toying with the ends of her hair. “She’s going to fall from that thing and break her neck.” She peered over at me. “How will you explain that?”
“Me?” Kari rolled her eyes as I spoke, completely ignoring me. “You’re here, too.”
Reaching inside the pocket of her hoodie, she pulled out my keys and dangled them in my face. “I have the getaway car...butt crack. You suck at this.”
“I should have never invited you.”
“Aubrey?” Lauren yelled out, but it was more like a distant plea. I thought for sure she would slip on the metal and come crashing down, but she was like a baby monkey up there.
“Well” — Kari pointed at Lauren — “She may be turning out just like your mom, but at least she has a career at the zoo if prostitution and rehab don’t work out for her.”
Lauren asked me something, but I couldn’t hear her. Looking around, I could see the lights in Brooke’s condo were on. What if they could see Lauren?
Fuck. This is awful.
“I don’t see why we don’t just go knock on the door.” Kari, still using a parking meter as her perch, was watching a homeless man across the street who seemed to be looking at Lauren on the tower crane like she was Wonder Woman. “Wouldn’t that be easier?”
“No.” I refused to admit failure. “It wouldn’t.”
Sure, it would have been easier in one sense, but then Jace would know I was checking up on him.
For a good two minutes Lauren yelled at Kari and me as if we knew what she was saying.
“I wonder when she’s going to figure out that we can’t actually hear her?” Kari pulled her hood over her head. “She should stop drinking. It’s killing all her brain cells.”
I kept glancing up at the condo and my sister dangling from a tower crane. The realization that I was damn near thirty and stalking someone like some kind of jealous high school girl wasn’t lost on me.
In fact, it was all I could think about.
“Come on, Lauren! Let’s go!”
She must have heard that, because she started to come back down. And I might add here that a police car had pulled over two blocks up and was getting out of his car. He had to have seen us.
Kari smiled. “This could get interesting.”
When he began to walk toward us, that’s was when I really started to panic. Kari was completely calm. Even waved at him.
Don’t think I wouldn’t have left her if it came down to it. She chose to climb that damn thing. That was her problem.
Nice, Aubrey. Leave your sister.
Just as I was about to run away, Lauren was nearly down. About ten feet from getting off that yellow monstrosity, she slipped and nailed her chin.
I thought for sure we were heading to the hospital.
“Son of a bitch!” she cried out, but she obviously knew if her drunk ass didn’t want to go to jail for climbing a tower crane, we had to get out of here.
Every time I looked up, the officer was closer and Kari was getting giddy, rolling from her heels to her tippy toes, ready to run.
Once Lauren was down, bleeding from her chin, she took off running up the street and down an alley.
“Where are you going?” All three of us were running now, laughing out of fear and panting. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we gained any ground or made ourselves less obvious about what we were doing here, but at least we managed to blend into the alley.
That was when I face-planted, driving my face into the pavement, and now we were both bleeding.
“I can’t take you two anywhere.” Kari looked disgusted. “Now what’s your plan?”
“We should go back.” I didn’t like dark alleys. Especially in Seattle. “I’m sure we’ve lost the cop by now.”
Lauren looked around the dumpster we were hiding by and then covered her nose. “My God, did something die in there?”
“Probably a body,” Kari added, moving behind me to block the smell and using my sweatshirt as her nose guard.
“He looked athletic.” Lauren took the sleeve of her hoodie and wiped her chin. “But your boy was on the couch with Brooke.”
“We should just leave. I don’t—” I stopped mid-sentence when I realized what she’d just said. “Say what?”
Kari rolled her eyes. “Now she’s alarmed.”
Lauren laughed. “I think I need stitches.”
“Focus.” I grabbed Lauren’s face between my shaking palms. “He was on the couch with her?”
She slapped my now bloody hands away, both of us wiping away red. “Yes, they were on the couch with beers in hand.”
I panicked yet again, ready to break down Brooke’s door, when Lauren took off running down the alley to our left.
This time her idea was slightly better. Adjacent to Brooke’s condo was another set of condominiums under construction, only they had open walls on the side facing her apartment.
Why we hadn’t seen that before was beyond me. This I could work with.
We hadn’t made it up one flight of stairs before I slipped. The roof wasn’t entirely done, and the rain had created slippery steps. And it was icy.
The thought wasn’t far from my mind that if I did plunge to my death here, the Seattle Fire Department would be called.
I would be stuck explaining myself.
Soaked from the rain, bleeding from my lip and mascara running down my face, I white-knuckled it as I tried to climb four flights of stairs.
At some point I thought, What do I have to gain from this? But once I was climbing, my logic was gone.
I can pinpoint the moment the logic really left. It was when we started running from the cop. That was when. I was sure of it.
Kari wasn’t much more coordinated than I was. She slipped, too, and tumbled backward down two flights of stairs, and then stood immediately, pumping her fists in the air. “I’m good. Christ almighty, I’m good.”
Lauren turned to look, then began up the steps again. “And she says I’m the unstable one.”
We weren’t able to get close enough, but we could get a glimpse into the French doors that led out to her balcony.
Brooke and Jace weren’t on the couch anymore. Nearly falling off the edge of the building, I had to push Lauren’s skinny ass up to the fourth floor because the stairs weren’t finished. “Cut back on the McDonalds.”
Kari stayed below. I think her stair-surfing rang her bell a little more than she cared to admit.
Even getting higher to the fourth floor didn’t help. We still couldn’t see.
Lauren pulled a flask from her knee-high boots. “Maybe they moved to the bedroom?”
“Fuck you, they did.” I kicked at her, but lost my footing and landed on my ass. Again. “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” It was then that I thought I’d broken my ass. “How have I resorted to this?”
“You. You’re doing this,” Lauren pointed out. “Let’s make that clear. I’m a hostage.”
“Amen, sister,” Kari yelled up at us.
“Hardly.” I tried to get up again but slipped. Lauren and Kari both acted as if that was the funniest thing they had ever seen. More than likely the sound was what was entertaining.
The sound of my ass hitting the plywood floors made a slap like I’d smacked my bare ass. After tonight, if someone saw me naked they probably would have thought I joined Fight Club and got the shit beat out of me. Or tried cross-fit again. Both were about the same, if you asked me.
With all Lauren’s laughing, she dropped her sippy cup. With no amount of amusement, her thumb ran over her nose, giving it a flick. “That was Gavin’s favorite sippy cup.”
“You think it’s less obvious that you’re drinking in public by drinking from a sippy cup?” I kicked her again. This time she kicked back. “It’s pretty obvious that you’re drinking when you don’t have a kid and you’re carrying a kid’s cup.”
All three of us immediately stopped laughing.
The officer was back, clanking his flashlight against the side of the building two stories down. “You girls need to get down from there.”
“Time’s up bitch. We’re caught.” Lauren swayed as she stood, her face twisting into a scowl. “What are the rules on being drunk in public?”
“We’re about to find out.” I didn’t care if I was arrested at that point.
My head hurt so badly, and I wanted to just go home and take a Xanax or something.
Not only was I not feeling very confident about my actions, but my heart hurt so much, thinking that Jace would turn to Brooke. And that she would let him. On both levels it hurt badly.
1.A Beautiful War – Kings of Leon
2.Breathe Me – Sia
3.Grey Blue Eyes – Dave Matthews
4.Closer – Nine Inch Nails
5.This Moment – Katy Perry
6.As I’m Leaving – David Gray
7.In My Veins – Andrew Belle
8.Be Still – The Fray
9.Darling Nikki – Prince
10.Stroke Me – Mickey Avalon
11.The One I Love – David Gray
12.Say Something – A Great Big World
13.Syrup & Honey – Duffy
14.Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd
15.You Found Me – The Fray
16.All Through The Night – Sleeping At Last
A stay-at-home mom, Chelsea Landon spends her days drinking entirely too much caffeine, baking sugar-sweet treats she never eats, and jotting down notes for her novels. A dreamer at heart, she’s creating happily ever afters. She’s a lover, a writer, a dreamer, would rather type than speak, wants to remember everything, loves lots of ice in her drinks, and is slightly introverted.
Ten Fun Facts about Chelsea Landon
1.I love Pinterest. LOVE it.
2.Love coffee. Even more than Pinterest.
3.I’ve always wanted to be a bartender. See #4.
4.My favorite movie is Cocktail. Which has inspired my next book Come Sundown.
5.I travel a lot. Road trips are considered a past time to me. I could get in a car and drive for hours with my music blasting and no destination in sight.
6.If I could go anywhere tomorrow it would be Australia.
7.I constantly feel like a bad parent. Little tiny lives depend on me and that stresses me out.
8.Because of #7, I’m sure I have anxiety.
9.My favorite book is The Outsiders but followed closely by anything Janet Evanovich writes.
10.My favorite color is teal. I hate gray. I wish it would decide what color it wants to be. Black or white. Funny enough, I have a lot of gray shirts. And clearly teal can’t decide what color it wants to be either, can it?
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/chelsealandon13
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Chelsea_Landon
Website – http://www.chelsealandon.com
Email - Clbooks13@gmail.com
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