General Fiction posted February 29, 2024 Chapters:  ...28 29 -30- 31... 

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Natasha plunges into murky waters

A chapter in the book Life's Twisted Road

Life's Twisted Road - Chap 30

by Begin Again

A time when the nuclei of three generations unraveled, exploded, and tragically, changed their lives forever.

"Well, I did hear she had some trouble and ended up at the hospital. The detective mentioned â?"" Jackson stopped, aware he wasn't fooling Isabella. He cleared his throat and started again, "I thought I might be able to talk to her and clear up two cases at the same time."

Isabella lost her smile. She looked directly into Jackson's eyes. "First of all, she's a minor and her mother's not here at the moment."

Jackson injected, "DCFS says you've been appointed her guardian. You could let me â?""

"Sheriff, I know you're doing your job. So, understand that I'm doing mine too. If you want to talk to Natasha, come back with a warrant or her parents' permission."

"Isabella, I just want to talk to her. Maybe I can help."

"You heard me, Jackson. A warrant!" Isabella closed the door and leaned her trembling body against it. Friend or not, she couldn't believe she'd ordered the sheriff to get a warrant. Maybe she was a little like Ava, but in her defense, she hadn't used one swear word.



Officer Jones exited his vehicle and waited alongside the Sheriff's vehicle for Jackson to join him. "Any luck?"

"No, the grandmother suggested I come back with a warrant if I wanted to talk to Natasha. Can't say that I blame her. She's in a difficult spot at the moment." Jackson looked back at the house. "She's damned regardless of which side she takes."

"Yeah, these kinds of cases always rip families apart, don't they?"

Jackson nodded. "What about that rape kit? Were you able to reach Detective Panara?"

"Sure did. He had a lot to say, but it wasn't what I expected." Officer Jones seemed to lose his train of thought as he stared at the pavement, shaking his head.

Jackson understood and patted his officer's shoulder."Is this your first rape case? Wish I could say they get easier, but they don't." Jackson paused for a moment, giving his officer time to regroup, finally adding, "Take your time and tell me what Panara told you."

"I thought for sure the girl would be eager for the test. I mean, nobody wants a stranger touching them, but if it was a way of proving she was telling the truth, I thought she'd consent in the end."

"I'm taking it, things didn't go as planned?" Jackson wanted the information, but he knew his new recruit was working the situation out in his head.

"Not at all, sir. She refused to let anyone near her. According to the female detective who was in the room at the time, the girl freaked out. Panara's words weren't flattering but the gist of it is she was screaming and swearing at everyone."

"What about the mother? She didn't push for the test?"

"According to Panara, it wouldn't have made a difference if she had demanded a test to be done. DCFS didn't allow her in the room. I don't understand this, but he said the girl's of age and can make her own medical decisions."

"What are you talking about? Since when do kids make adult decisions?"

"Yeah, my wife told me that our eight-year-old daughter didn't want her vaccination the other day. When my wife insisted, she was told our daughter could decide for herself. Of course, she didn't get the shot."

Jackson thought for a minute before asking another question. "How about the father? Did you find anything worthwhile about him?"

"He's pretty clean. Doesn't have a sheet. A few speeding tickets. One reckless driving."

"How about domestic violence?" Jackson felt like things weren't adding up in this case.

"Nothing on record, but the wife did file a restraining order once, about five years ago. Claimed he was violent. But neither the girl nor the wife have ever been seen for anything suspicious. No broken bones, black eyes, or significant bruising."

"Well, for now, it's not our case so we'll let it go. I need a cup of coffee. How about you?

"Sure. I'll even buy."


Becky knocked on the kitchen door and then opened it, letting herself in. "Isabella? Nat? It's Becky." She always entered the house without being invited, but she still preferred to announce her arrival.

She heard Isabella answer from the front room. "Come in, dear. This old mind of mine must have been taking a hiatus. I didn't hear the door."

"No problem. I'm here so much, that I kind of let myself in. Hope that's okay?"

"Of course." Isabella smiled at the teenager, remembering when the girls were smaller. She sighed thinking how things had changed. "Natasha's upstairs. Go on up. I've got to get busy with dinner."

"Thanks." Eager to join her friend, Becky took the stairs two at a time. It had been a nerve-wracking day while she sat in class, reliving Nat's last remarks of having a plan. Natasha was cool but her ideas weren't always totally thought out, but if it got them out of trouble, she was all for it.

Downstairs, Isabella opened the refrigerator, but her mind wasn't on the dinner menu. She was wishing she was a fly on the wall, listening to what Natasha would say to her friend. Or maybe Becky already knew about it.

She pulled one of the kitchen chairs out and sat, staring into the hall where Becky had disappeared. Visions of this afternoon's confrontation with Natasha filled her head, taunting like demons around a roaring fire. She twisted and rubbed her hands.

"Forgive me, Lord, but I can't just sit here like a bump on a log. I need to know what Nat is sharing with Becky." Isabella hurried to the staircase, placing her feet carefully, so as not to make the worn boards squeak and reveal her approach.

A bit winded, she paused as she reached the second-floor landing to catch her breath, but more importantly, to listen. The door was cracked open as she strained to hear voices. Nothing!

Isabella moved a few steps to the linen closet, just outside Natasha's room. She eased its door open, using it as a shield in case one of them came out into the hall. Good or bad, it would be her excuse for standing there.

"Nat, how long are you going to stay in the bathroom? I've been waiting all day to hear how you magically got us out of deep doo-doo. Come on, girlfriend, don't keep me in suspense."

Isabella pondered Becky's remarks. So, she wasn't privy to Natasha's bizarre claims. Her legs were trembling as she stood in one place, but she refused to surrender to the pain. A box of books was stored on the linen closet floor. Isabella decided it would make a makeshift chair. She pulled it out, added some bath towels, and eased herself onto it, almost moaning out loud as her knees thanked her.

Startled, Isabella jumped, almost falling off her perch, when Becky yelled again. "Nat, I'm going home."

Alarms rang in Isabella's head, exploding like Fourth of July fireworks. She glanced backward at her bedroom. Could she make it there in time? Would Becky, or worse yet, Natasha catch her spying on them? The sound of Nat's voice begging Becky to wait calmed her jangling nerves. Saved by the bell! She sighed in relief and listened.

"Quit yelling at me, Beck. I've had a rough day."

"You? I've been in class all day, wondering what story you concocted to get us out of trouble. It must have been good."

Natasha slumped across the bed. not looking at her friend. When she spoke, her tone was low and solemn. She mumbled, "I've been molested."

"What? When?" Becky screamed at Nat, horrified by what she'd said. "Oh my God, Nat. Are you alright?" She knelt by the bed, not sure what she should do. "Can I give you a hug?"

Isabella could hear Becky's emotional concern. A sense of shame washed over her. Could Natasha be telling the truth?

Her question was answered by Nat's hysterical laughter. "I'm just kidding."

"That's not funny," Becky growled. "I've been worried sick all day. You never came back to class and my phone was dead so I couldn't call. Why would you even say that if it wasn't true?" She lowered her voice but demanded the truth. "Now tell me what happened, every detail. No lies this time."

"I told you the truth!" Nat laughed at Becky's scowling face. "I did tell them that I was molested."

"Molested? You told your mother and the school nurse that you were molested? Have you lost your mind?"

Nat enjoyed watching Becky wrestling with what she'd told her, so she added more fuel to the fire. "Told a detective, DCFS, and the people at the hospital too."

Becky's eyes widened in disbelief as she asked, "You told all those people that you were molested? Nat, it can't be true because you would have told me, right?"

Nat laughed, "Of course, silly. I wasn't actually molested."

Another wave of relief washed over Becky, immediately followed by more questions. Her voice quivered as she asked, "Did you tell them — about — the party? Oh God, did you say some guy took advantage of you? Because if you did, we're in deeper trouble. They'll ask questions."

"What do you take me for, Beck? Of course, I didn't tell them anything about Juan or the party."

"Okay, spit it out. I don't want to play your guessing games. What exactly did you tell them?" She snarled at her friend, "The truth this time."

As cool as a cucumber, Natasha chuckled and said, "I told them it was my dad."

"Your — dad?" Becky choked, barely getting the words out. "Now I know you've lost your mind, girl. Please tell me this is one of your sick jokes." Natasha's Cheshire cat smile sent Becky spiraling. She hissed, "I can't believe you! Do you have any idea how much trouble your dad is going to be in?"

"Calm down. Nothing's going to happen." Nat rolled her eyes and chuckled, "He shouldn't yell at me all the time. He deserves to be in the hot seat once in a while."

"Let me get this straight. You lied! You told the nurse, your mom, a detective, hospital staff, and DCFS that your dad molested you. Do you honestly think nothing's going to happen?"

"Keep your voice down! You'll have my warden hearing you." Nat nodded toward the door. "She's got radar ears."

Becky snapped, "Natasha, you've gone too far this time. I go along with a lot of your crap, but not this. If your father is convicted, he'll go to prison. My parents say child molesters are brutally abused and murdered in prison."

"He's not going to prison." Nat shrugged her shoulders. "Come on, Beck, nobody is going to take this seriously."

"You are sadly mistaken, Nat. It's their job to take accusations like this very seriously. If DCFS says he did it, he won't be able to be around any kids including you. He'll be a child molester and go to prison."

"That might not be a bad idea. One less person telling me what to do. You have no idea how this works."

"Neither do you."

"My friend in Chicago said they'll investigate and do a lot of paperwork, but sooner or later it will all disappear."

"I don't know, Nat. I hope you're right."

"I am. For now, we can use this to our advantage. My mom wants to make me happy, so I'll get anything I want. And no one is any wiser about Juan, the parties, or anything. We're in the clear."

"I don't want to be a part of this. I'm sorry. You're my best friend but this is way over the top." Struggling with her friend's outrageous plan, Becky moved to the doorway. "Listen, I can't stay. Jeremy is coming over, but I'll be back in the morning. Hopefully, by then you'll have come to your senses."

"That's not happening. If I admit to this, my life is toast. I've got to stick to the story and let it play out, which it will. Trust me!"

Time to retreat! Isabella eased her aching knees to a standing position. She shoved the box into the closet, praying she wouldn't be seen by the teenagers. Her arthritic joints screamed in revolt, but she ignored the pain and hobbled to the safety of her bedroom. Her granddaughter's ugly confession felt like a drum beating inside her mind. She had to do something, but what?


ISABELLA - Natasha's grandmother
AVA - Isabella's daughter and Natasha's mother
DION - Star quarterback and Jason's best friend
JASON - Dion's best friend and teammate
COACH - the high school football coach and team counselor
GABBY - Jason's girlfriend and best friends with Natasha and Becky
BOBBY - Gabby's father
AUDREY - Bobby's sister and Gabby's Aunt
JUDY -THE BLONDE - Bobby's drinking date for the day
PADDY -THE JOGGER - A nice older Irish gentleman
AMANDA - Paddy's wife
LUCILLE LAKEWOOD - one of the arresting officers
OFFICER T. JONES - new officer on the force
CHARLIE - Department Manager for the Sheriff
JACKSON - the sheriff and the man dating Bobby's sister, Audrey
JUAN - Local pool boy and behind the scenes drug supplier
AUSTIN - semi driver and owner of Roscoe
ROSCOE - Austin's co-pilot, a German Shepherd
AL - a firefighter at the scene
TAYLOR - a town resident and mail carrier
ALEJANDRO - a local farmer
LAYLA - a registered nurse and Jackson's sister
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