Hearts of Sacrifice

Hearts of Sacrifice

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

Bad boy Hunter Cartwright always has been the black sheep in his loving but prosperous family. He's overshadowed by his big brother Billy who everyone loves and looks up to. When tragedy strikes, it is a wound that cuts deep and one that separates Hunter from everyone who loves him. Eight years after his abrupt departure, Hunter makes his return home to Oregon. Much has changed including the girl he grew up with Sophie. She's always been around as his sister Michelle's best friend and his friend too once upon a time. Sophie dates his younger brother Evan now. The fiercely competitive Evan is none too thrilled with his return just like Sophie. Can Hunter make amends to his family and regain all he's lost including the friendship of the one girl Sophie who means more to him than he ever realized?

Summary

Bad boy Hunter Cartwright always has been the black sheep in his loving but prosperous family. He's overshadowed by his big brother Billy who everyone loves and looks up to. When tragedy strikes, it is a wound that cuts deep and one that separates Hunter from everyone who loves him.

Eight years after his abrupt departure, Hunter makes his return home to Oregon. Much has changed including the girl he grew up with Sophie. She's always been around as his sister Michelle's best friend and his friend too once upon a time. Sophie dates his younger brother Evan now. The fiercely competitive Evan is none too thrilled with his return just like Sophie.

Can Hunter make amends to his family and regain all he's lost including the friendship of the one girl Sophie who means more to him than he ever realized?

Chapter45 (v.1) - Family Reigns

Author Chapter Note

Hunter and Sophie return to the main house...<br /> <br /> “Honor and vigilance are what our nation’s armed forces represent. <br /> An act of valor…their willingness to answer our country’s call <br /> is a constant reminder of duty, honor, and sacrifice.”<br /> --Unknown <br />

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2018

Reads: 406

Comments: 2

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2018

A A A

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CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE – Family Reigns

 

At nightfall when the rain finally began to taper off, Hunter and Sophie made it back to the main house walking side by side.  Neither uttered a word still wrapped in their own thoughts.  Even when he put away his bike, and Sophie returned the horse to the stable, they said nothing.  There really wasn't much to say after so much that had happened.

Michelle watched for them.  When she spotted them coming, she rushed toward the front door in her excitement.  She nearly pounced on Hunter.  He laughed with good humor as she wept at his neck.

“Sorry, baby doll.”  Hunter stroked her back to soothe her.  “Didn’t mean for you to worry, but you sure know how to rally the troops.  Maybe you should have been a soldier?”

Michelle looked up at him and saw he teased her with a smile on his face that reached his eyes.  She laughed with relief as she poked his shoulder.  “You jerk!  You had us so worried.”

He nodded his acknowledgment.  “I’m fine.”  He glanced at Sophie who walked by them and inside the house.  He then focused on his little sister.  “I just needed time alone.”

“You know Sophie suggested the same thing,” Michelle said amazed as she looped her arm with his.

“You knew just who to send then.”

Sophie smelled something that grabbed hold of her stomach and got her legs moving as she entered the foyer.  She hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  With all the anxiety and activity, she was starving.  The house smelled of freshly baked bread and roasted meat with herbs.  Her mouth watered with the grumble of her empty stomach. 

“Finally had enough, huh?” Evan slurred from the Jack Daniels’ bottle he tilted to his mouth.  He struggled to his feet from one of the parlor chairs he slumped in.

Sophie paused and gazed with wide eyes at her boyfriend who eyed her with sizzling hate she had never seen before.  “You’re drunk?”

“Ding! Ding! Ding!  Give that lady of the night a prize!”  He took another swig of the black labeled bottle.

She looked back at Michelle with a frown.  Evan’s sister still engaged Hunter and had not reentered the house.  Sophie stared at her boyfriend for she had never seen him in such a state before.  It frightened her.

“Evan, what’s wrong?” she questioned drawing near him in concern.

“Not a got damn thing!” he spat with venom and waved at her.  “I feel numb just like how I felt when I saw you two at the boathouse.”

Sophie’s heart sank with her sudden intake of breath.  She quickly walked before him in horror.  “Oh, no, Evan, I’m so—”

Her boyfriend slapped her soundly as he roared, “You lying, whore!  How long have you been screwing Hunter behind my back, huh?!  I bet you two have been laughing at me in how you fooled me all this time, huh?”

Sophie stared up at him stunned when she stumbled into a chair nearest her at the power of his strike.  She touched her face and tasted the blood that ran down the corner of her mouth.

Hunter entered the parlor with his sister at his arm in the same moment.  They saw what Evan had done.  Michelle stared dumbfounded with a gasp.  One instant Hunter stood beside his sister, and the next she witnessed him leap at Evan effectively knocking their brother to the floor.  The bottle of Jack Daniels flew out of Evan’s hand.  Instead, his fist flew at Hunter’s face.  Hunter returned the blows taken with some of his own.

“Stop it!” Michelle shouted as she came out of her shock. 

Aunt Flo and Uncle Dave ran into the parlor with frowns at the commotion heard.  Both parents stared, astounded at their sons rolling about on the floor punching each other in a fury.

“You boys stop this nonsense this instant!”  Uncle Dave attempted to pry the men off each other.  Just when he managed to get a hold of Hunter who rolled on top of his brother, Evan took full advantage and landed a crushing blow to his brother’s jaw.  Dave lost his grip on Hunter when his son went after Evan again.  The men rolled back and forth knocking furniture askew as they brawled and continued to throw terrible blows to the face, stomach, and kidneys.  Dave tried to pry them apart again only managing to get an elbow to the jaw for his effort, which sent him flying backward grabbing his chest.

Aunt Flo screamed while she scrambled after her husband, “Dave!”

“My nitro pill…” he choked out and clutched at his chest still.

“Daddy!” Michelle shouted when she came to his side with her worry at the puckered pain on his sweaty, pale face. 

Aunt Flo stood immediately as Mrs. Riggs entered the room with a prescription bottle in one hand and a cell phone in the other.  She called for an ambulance in her calm British lilt.  “Mr. Cartwright is having a heart-attack,” she announced into the phone.

Sophie stared from one crisis to the other stupefied at how things spiraled further out of control in the space of a few seconds.  She stared at Hunter and Evan acting like two-year-olds as they fought over a coveted toy.  Hunter managed to pin his brother down while panting and punched Evan out.  Satisfied, the older brother backed off the younger with a busted lip.  Hunter's eye swelled, too when he glanced at Sophie.  She shook her head in disgust at the childish man before her and looked beyond him in regret.  Hunter’s smile of triumph faltered when he stared in the direction she did.

He frowned in horror to see his father grabbing his chest and chewing on pills his mother fed him.  “Dad!” Hunter cried and leaped to the pale face man’s side next to his sister who wept.  He stared helplessly at his mother and saw the pill bottle in her hand that looked like nitro pills. 

***

Dave Cartwright needed to be airlifted to the hospital.  While his wife preferred that he go to Southwestern Memorial, Seapoint General was closer.  For his emergent need, Dave was flown there.  The emergency room doctor ordered an MRI upon his arrival.  The test detected several high percentages of blockage in his coronary arteries that reduced blood flow and needed oxygen to the heart. 

Before his wife Flo and daughter Michelle arrived together driven by Scully with Sophie and Hunter following in their respective vehicles, the emergency room doctor rushed Dave up to surgery.  Hand in hand, mother and daughter sat in the waiting area of surgery eager for word on Dave’s condition from either the kind nurse they met or the doctor working on Dave.

“Dr. Fran Laurel is the attending surgeon,” the lovely copper-haired nurse said to Hunter as she looked up at him grinning brightly.  “Your mother and sister already await her there in the waiting area.”

“Thank you,” he said with a nod to her and then turned to find Sophie just behind him.  He grabbed her hand absently and walked to the waiting room with her trailing behind him.

They found his mother and sister seated beside each other looking at them eagerly.  The hope in their eyes lessened when they realized it was only the two of them and not the doctor.  He came before the older and younger woman who looked like mirror imagines of each other trapped in time. 

“No word yet?” Hunter asked them.

Flo shook her head.  Michelle looked up at her best friend and older brother holding hands.  “Nothing yet,” his sister said.  “They work on him now.  Test show that he was really blocked.”

“How long had Dad known he had a bad heart, Momma?” Hunter asked as he stared at the older woman with a frown.

His mother shook her head.  “I don’t really know.  You know your father hates to worry anyone.  I happened to find out about the pills the other day and looked to discuss it with him.”

“So when he complained of being tired this must have been why?  And you wanting him to slow down was because of his heart?” Hunter pressed as he stared into her powder blue eyes.

“Yes, his health definitely worried me, but I also wanted to spend a little more time with him.  I just never imagined…”  Momma cut herself off as she brought a tissue to her eyes and wept.  Michelle held her mother to her small body and looked up helplessly to Hunter with tears in her powder blue eyes.

He shook his head and ran his free hand through his hair.  “I’m sorry, Momma.”

“Why were you fighting your brother?” Flo asked in looking from him to Sophie who only lowered her head.  She slipped her hand out of Hunter’s as she turned her back on them.

“I swear I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.  If he doesn’t pull through this, I’ll never--”

Momma’s eyes widened.  “Don’t you dare!  Don’t you dare say it!  He will pull through this!”

Hunter nodded his agreement, and she calmed down instantly.  “Yes, you’re right, Momma.  Dad will.  He’s so strong.  He loves us too much to leave us now when we’re all finally back together again.”

“Are we?  Hunter, what’s the meaning of you fighting Evan like that in the first place?” Michelle asked, staring at him angrily.

He shook his head.  “None of that matters now.  Only Dad does.”


© Copyright 2020 Amy F. Turner. All rights reserved.

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