The sliding door opens and Chase comes in, followed by Bill. The pair take in the view of Cindy sitting at the table as Alyssa leans back against the wall, dabbing the last bit of tears from her eyes.
“Everything okay?” Bill asks as he glances between them and both girls simply shake their heads yes. In the process, though, Chase’s eyes don’t leave Alyssa.
“I’m fine now – honestly,” she answers as she throws the Kleenex aside. “What about you guys?” Bill then trades a glance with Chase, who just gives a simple nod.
“We’re good. We had a good conversation, actually. I wasn’t against Cindy originally making me fly her up here, but it’s been worth it.”
“I’m glad you guys came too, honestly. It allowed me to break down some barriers I didn’t realize were there.” Chase looks between them confused, intrigued by what they discussed while he was outside with Bill. He just thought they were discussing usual girl things, but this seemed more serious.
“A mother always know when her baby needs them, and if she can help her baby’s best friend then it’s a bonus,” Cindy comments with a smile. Chase felt his curiosity building as he continued watching them.
“I don’t mean to intrude, but what did you guys talk about?” He wonders as Alyssa takes a deep breath. She didn’t know if it was best to reveal the discussion topic to Chase, but she figured he’d find out eventually from Cindy.
“We talked about what happened while Randy had us,” Alyssa starts. “I just had it on my mind and the opportunity just presented itself – perfectly and strange, but glad I took advantage as it felt nice to get it off my chest.” Chase was relieved to see Alyssa was taking the steps she needed to take. However, a glance at his mom and his mind could only wander as to what she was thinking. He knew the details would probably hit deeper than the original news.
“Well, Chase and I reflected back to what happened at Daytona with Randy actually,” Bill says, catching everyone’s attention. “It seemed that both of these children had something on their mind and needed someone to listen.”
“Everything okay now?” Cindy wonders as her eyes remain focused on Chase, who could only let out a sigh.
“They’re better,” he starts. “It felt good to get that off my chest, but certainly there’s still a lot there- that I don’t want to touch at this exact moment. There’s other events, and other emotions that I still need to sort through piece by piece.” He knew his mom would have more to say about that, knowing that she’d want to push the button with him – as she always did. Sometimes it helped, but sometimes that backfired. He also knew the details from Alyssa would probably push the issue more, depending how much detail she gave.
“It’s a start, and that’s better than where you were before,” Alyssa comments as she walks over, patting him on the shoulder. “As long as we’re taking the steps slowly, it’s going to be okay, right?” He shakes his head yes. “I know it’s getting late – and I don’t want to intrude or cut short purposely, but I need to go grab a shower and get ready for bed. Is that okay?” The group shakes their head yes. “I’ll see you after, okay?” Chase then gives her a light kiss as she leaves the room.
“Are you sure you’re okay by yourself?” Chase asks as she leaves the kitchen and she looks back, shaking her head yes. She then gives Bill a glance, knowing already that it’d probably be best to leave Chase and Cindy alone for a bit.
“Since you came to see him, I’ll give you both some time to speak – alone,” Bill states, having caught the glance from Alyssa. He then leaves the room, going to the next room as the pair face each other.
“Well, they weren’t subtle in the fact that we should have some alone time, were they?” Cindy stands up and shakes her head no.
“It’s ‘cause Alyssa knows what I’m feeling based on what was said, and your father knows me quite well,” she says. “Besides, you knew a conversation with just us two was coming, right?” Chase lets out a sigh as he shakes his head yes.
“Did she tell you….everything?” He questions and Cindy shakes her head yes, making her way over to where Chase was standing.
“From the moment you got there till you guys were rescued, and her emotions. It was tough to hear it, but I understood. She needed to get it out because it was hurting her, and I was willing to listen if she felt comfortable. I’m not going to lie – it was tough to listen to what he did to both of you, and it tore my heart apart at times. I felt the fear, the heartbreak, the worry, the pain, the helplessness, panic – all those emotions, again.” She then reaches out to him, pulling him into a hug before he could figure it out. “I love you so much Chase, and I hate that you have to go through this.”
“I love you, too.” He easily wraps his arms back around her in return, not denying the feeling anymore. He knew those emotions that she was feeling – having felt them every day. He knew how much she cared about him and fretted over the smallest thing, and knew the hug was the most comfort he could offer everything that she heard. It was also comforting in return for him to have the hug, letting some of his emotions calm themselves with her support. He was never going to be too old for a hug from mommy.
“Be thankful that you’re okay, always remember how strong you are, and know that you can get past this. It could’ve been worse, but I know you guys can pick up the pieces.” She then steps back a bit, looking into his eyes. “And know nothing is your fault – whether what happened to her, or the feelings connected. You didn’t cause any of it, Chase. It was all Randy and his devious plan.” Chase shakes his head yes, accepting, knowing that she was right – no matter the amount of times his mind tried to flip it otherwise.
“I try to tell myself that every day and it helps, slowly. But you also realize that you don’t need to worry about me 10 times over. I am a big boy, I can handle this.” She then smiles, brushing a piece of hair out of his eyes.
“Chase, no matter how old you get, you’re my baby and I’m going to take care of you.” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that was probably true – and knowing he wouldn’t ever get too annoyed. “I just can’t believe that she almost did that, and made Alyssa believe it.”
“That’s the psychological war fare that is Randy, though. Think about how many times he played me over. The hotel incident with the key and the fight. The deal with Demi, and how he tried to flip that game in the water. He knew that Alyssa being hurt would hurt me so he used that to his advantage in controlling my moves. He then got Kassandra to flip the cards and play that on Alyssa. That’s half the battle with them – psychological and physical. It’s why it’s hard for any of us to get over because we realize we were controlled, manipulated, deceived, and that hurts more than anything.” Cindy then looks at him surprised, intrigued by the advice that he was throwing back at her in return. Perhaps he had grown even more than she realized.
“How did you become so smart?” He smiles as he knew he couldn’t take all the credit.
“Dad may have helped with that with his advice, actually. We talked about that a little as it came up in my thoughts in how Randy controlled my moves at Daytona with the photos of Marie and Dale kidnapped.” Cindy shakes her head, understanding.
“And this advice is helping, I bargin?” Chase shrugs his shoulders with a sigh.
“A little, actually. I haven’t fully managed to convince myself that Randy pushed me this way and I truly couldn’t get out of the traps, but it’s happening slowly. It’s all part of recovering, right? Forgetting the pain of blame and manipulation, realizing that you can trust people, letting things go – that’s all part of what I need to do.” Cindy lets him go, walking back to the table as she lets out a sigh.
“I just hate that you have to do this again!” Chase couldn’t help but agree with her as he hated the feelings, too.
“I hate it, too, but at least I know from previous experience that I can overcome this and everything will be fine.” Cindy looks over with a slight smile. She liked the glimmer of hope he threw in – once again, different than the past. The growth was shining through with each moment.
“You also have an amazing young lady to help you through it, too, and I know you can help her as well.” Cindy glances down at the table, before looking back up at Chase. “Based on my conversation with her, besides my own worries, the advice I can offer is be patient. She’s got a lot of pain based on everything, and it’s going to take time, but she’s coming around slowly. Let her express it as she can, and be patient with her in certain circumstances. I don’t need to say much but you know where I’m headed.” Chase shakes his head yes, understanding.
“I wouldn’t push her or make her do something that she didn’t want to. I’d make sure that she’s fully comfortable and ready before even thinking about that. I know what it feels like to regret it later and I don’t need that for her. It’s why I’m also taking my time in waiting till I’m absolutely sure, too.” Cindy knew it was odd to touching on this type of subject with him, but it was worth it based on everything.
“I know I didn’t even have to say anything, because I know I raised you well. I just wish-”
“No regrets, no looking back, no trying to redo things, no placing blame. That’s what you always told me.” He then walks over. “Mom, everything will be fine – I promise.” He then gives her another hug as she holds him tight, finally letting him go.
“You should go check on Alyssa. It’s late so I should get going.” Chase glanced at the time, before looking at her.
“There’s no sense in you both flying home now. Stay over the night in the spare bedsroom. You’ve done it before, you can do it again. Besides, I think you guys left some stuff there.” Cindy was caught off-guard by the offer, expecting Chase to want sole privacy with Alyssa in their house.
“Are you sure?” Chase shakes his head yes.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable with you guys going home this late. You can sleep over tonight, stay for breakfast, see some people tomorrow and then head home.” She shakes her head, accepting, knowing that she wasn’t changing his mind.
“Thank you – but I still say that you should go see your girl. So go on, and I’ll worry about getting Bill and I settled.” He then smiles as he gives her one final hug before heading off.
Cindy lets out a sigh as she stands there for a couple minutes, letting herself process everything, feeling someone come up behind her after awhile.
“You made the right decision to come see them,” Bill starts. “But you know, they’re going to be okay…” Cindy shakes her head yes, knowing Bill was right. However, she couldn’t escape the thoughts in her mind.
“I just can’t imagine them going through that…” Cindy comments as Bill rubs her shoulders.
“I know, I can’t either.”