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said something about a car..."
"Yeah," Josh remembered Natasha had told him earlier yesterday that a car was coming to
pick April and Emily up at their house. "A car with your Grandma and Aunt Jodi is going to come
by and pick you guys up for the service," he explained. "Are you eating breakfast?"
Emily shook her head. "Mom came down earlier and fixed me some oatmeal. She went back
upstairs and little while ago to get ready. I think she'll be glad that you're here."
"You do...why's that?"
came back here didn't I?" April turned from him and walked to the vanity. The thought of swearing she would never return
to River's Edge only to return at Pamela's urging filled her head. "I came back here because she wanted to and now
she's dead. You see the irony in that right?"
Josh stood up and walked across the room to where she stood. "Stop thinking like that and you stop talking like that," he
ordered her. "Because when you do that's when the people who love you the most start to worry April."
"Well the people who love me the most shouldn't worry. I've been integrated now for what five years...six years? I go to
therapy every week just like I'm supposed to and let's face facts Josh - I loved my grandmother but this is the same
woman who branded me a teenage slut and sent me to that God forsaken hell hole in New Mexico," she shivered at the
"Oh God you're right about that place..." Josh winced. "How about we not bring that up again because the only good
things that came from that whole experience was our friendship and Emily. Plus I think we need to remember the good
things about Pamela and well not that."
"You're right. I have a daughter now who worshiped the ground her great-grandmother walked on," April continued. "This
isn't the time to rehash all the horrible things Pamela did to me and you for that matter. And it's not the time for me to
weak, not again anyway. I need to be strong for Emily because this isn't like when Jered died. She didn't know what was
going on...she does now."
Josh walked across the room and shut the door. "I'm glad to hear you say all of those things April, I really am," he softly
told her. "But right now, right here in this room it's just you and me. I don't need you to be brave or strong and I don't want
you to hide what you're feeling right now." He took her by the hand and led her back to the foot of the bed. "So if you want
to scream or cry or throw something against the wall I want you to do it right now, right here with me."
April sat down on the bed and laid her head on his shoulder. "Can I tell you something?" she questioned.
"Besides my daughter...you are the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me," she whispered to him as tears
slowly escaped from her eyes and streamed down her cheeks.
door. As he made his way up the steps of her porch he wondered when enough would be enough - the last several
months had brought his cancer surgery, the struggle to keep it a secret from his family and now the death of one of the
most beloved women in River's Edge.
Granted he thought she wasn't always that warming to April - especially during her pregnancy he thought as Emily
Bradshaw opened the front door for him.
"Hey there sweetie," he smiled at her. She had her dirty blonde hair pulled back into a tight ponytail the same way that
April did every year in elementary school for pictures. Josh couldn't help thinking of how much she looked like her mother.
Childhood he thought...swinging on the monkey bars and making sure you had fifty cents for a can of soda during recess
was all that they had to worry about at Emily's age...it was a much simpler time. Being an adult sucked he thought as he
kissed the top of Emily's head and walked into April's living room.
"How's are you doing this morning?"
Emily shut the front door and shrugged her shoulders. "I guess I'm okay. But you know I really don't have anything to
compare it to you know?"
Josh pulled her close to him and he thanked God for that. Emily wrapped her arms around his waist. He was the only
father that she had ever known and in that moment he wished he had something more comforting to say to her.
"Yeah you're pretty lucky like that kiddo," he smiled. "What about your mom how's she doing?"
Friday, March 22, 2013 - Early Morning
"Good morning everyone. I'm Daniel Smith one of the attorneys with Express Rental Cars here in Philadelphia. I
apologize if I've kept you waiting," the executive stated as he entered into his office in Philadelphia.
"Mr. Smith we spoke on the telephone earlier this week, I'm Natasha Garrett Bradshaw," she extended her hand to
him. "And this is Claire Holland Monroe and Travis McCarty, Pamela's sister and husband. Thank you for taking
the time to meet with us today."
"Of course. Paul Morrison with Infinity Airlines was able to bring me up to speed on your issue and I want to say
that I'm very sorry to hear about Mrs. McCarty's disappearance."
"Thank you," Claire told him. "Natasha said that you told her over the phone that you had records that showed my
sister did in fact rent a car from the Philadelphia airport is that correct?"
The lawyer handed to Claire a photocopy of the rental receipt. "You can see that Mrs. McCarty or someone that
presented herself as such rented a sedan from us on November 22nd. Do any of you recognize the signature at
"I do," Travis answered. "That's my wife's signature yes."
"And you'll also notice on the agreement that the car was to be returned the following day at one of our
Washington D.C. locations but that never occurred," he stated before breaking eye contact with the trio.
"You're not telling us everything," Claire declared as she laid the receipt back on the desk. "My husband has been
in politics for over forty years and probably has had just as many affairs...I know when someone is not telling me
the complete truth. What are you keeping from us about my sister?"
The executive lowered his head and said, "I am sorry to be the one that has to inform you that we did recover
Pamela's rental car in Middletown, Delaware on the afternoon of November 23rd following a super storm that
passed through the region."
"Are you telling us Pamela has been in Delaware this entire time?" Natasha smiled. "Why hasn't she tried to
contact any of us?"
"There's more isn't there?" Travis questioned. "You said you were sorry to inform us..."
"Yes sir there's more and I am so very sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but your wife was involved in a
car accident during the storm. We presumed she was traveling from Philadelphia to Washington through
Delaware when she hydroplaned and hit a downed electric pole before sliding down an embankment just outside
The attorney reached into his briefcase and handed to Travis the Middletown Police Department's report of the
accident. "According to this document there were multiple downed power lines that were sparking in the area of
the accident. I am very sorry to say that..."
"Her car exploded..." Travis gasped as he read the police report. "Pamela's car exploded?
"What!" Claire to gasped at the announcement. "What in the hell is he talking about Mr. Smith? Are you saying that
my sister...that she died?"
Natasha tried to keep her composure, "Pamela has been dead since November and no one from the Middletown
Police or your company tried to contact her family!?"
"Ma'am I do apologize. But our information on the true identity of Mrs. McCarty has been in question since the
accident. The police where never able to identify her body and it's only been since you engaged with us and the
airlines that we were able to piece everything together."
"I want to see my sister," Claire announced. "I want to see for myself that this woman whom you claim died is in
fact my sister. Where is her body at Mr. Smith?"
He slowly shook his head, "That's not possible."
"And just why the hell not?" Travis demanded to know.
"Because when Mrs. McCarty was taken to the corner's office in Middletown she was treated as a Jane Doe and
any body not claimed within sixty days..." he paused, "I'm sorry to say but she was cremated in January."
Claire fell back against her chair and declared in a lower whisper, "I'm going to be sick..."
|March 25, 2013
Written By: Josh Hawkins
supposed to be..."
"It's okay," he reassured her. "I'm here now and I promise you that I'm going to take just as good of care of your mom as
she did for me when I was sick. Okay?"
Josh kneeled down and extended his pinky finger to Emily. "Oh yeah...pinky promise..."
"How long have we been waiting?" Josh glanced over at April who as usual had her nose buried in her cell phone
checking messages. "Hello...earth to April..."
"I heard you," she said without looking away. "And I didn't answer you because only thirty seconds have passed
since you last asked me that same question. The doctor will be here when he's here. Okay?"
"You know I find it strangely peculiar that we've somehow managed to switch roles when it comes to waiting," Josh
declared. "When we first started this process it was you who was the impatient one and me who was always cool as
a cucumber in June," he winked.
April cracked a half smile, "I perfected the art of waiting during your surgery. You should really congratulation me
instead of sitting there mocking me like you are."
"So sorry to keep you both waiting," Dr. Greene closed the door of his Dallas office behind him. "I was just
wrapping up with another patient." He took a seat behind his desk and watched as April put her cell phone in her
purse. "So what can I do for the two of you today," the doctor smiled.
"Calm down Josh..." April said without looking away from the doctor, "he's kidding. I've also managed to perfect
the art of reading the doctor's facial expressions and picking up on his non-whimsical sense of humor."
Dr. Greene smiled and looked to Josh, "This one here's a real pistol isn't she?"
"Why don't you tell me something that I don't already know," Josh finally smiled.
"How are you feeling?"
"I feel okay," Josh answered.
"I made sure that he followed all of your post-op requirements to the letter," April interjected. "I even made him
stay in one of the guest bedrooms at my house and believe when I tell you he did not like that one bit."
"Well...you should really consider yourself lucky Josh to have such a person in your life," the doctor stated. "I see a
lot of patients who go through what you've gone through the last several months and none of them is quite as
dedicated and loving as your friend here. You're lucky..."
"I think we're both lucky to have one another," he replied.
"And fortunately for you," Dr. Greene smiled, "your luck doesn't end there... congratulations Josh you're cancer
Josh turned the corner as he made his way to the top of the stairs in April's home. From down the hall he saw her door
standing open. He drew in a deep breath and braced himself as he inched closer and closer. It was his turn now to be
the anchor in their relationship and if the truth were to be known he welcomed the opportunity to be there for April now.
His mind filled with thoughts of Jered's death and everything that had transpired for April. He would be damned if he let
her go down that rabbit hole again and if she did he thought - she wouldn't go it alone.
From inside her bedroom April stepped out of the walk-in closet and laid on the bed a black and white pinstripe pantsuit
that she had picked up from the cleaners the night before. As she raised her eyes from the garment on her bed they met
with Josh's whom she found standing in the doorway smiling at her.
Pamela would never truly be laid to rest next to Jered that caused Natasha the most grief. Both
thoughts pierced her heart...hurt her to even think about and as she made her way into the
kitchen of her home, she decided it was the latter
"Jodi..." she stopped and kissed her eldest daughter on the cheek. "I didn't hear you come in.
Have you been here long?"
"No," her daughter answered. "Charles was getting the newspaper when I arrived and he let
me in. I made some fresh coffee a little bit ago if you want some."
"I would love a cup of coffee yes." Natasha reached for a mug and lightly laughed, "And from
the smell of it you made it strong."
After her cup was poured Natasha stood across from her daughter at the bar. "Have you by
chance seen your Aunt Claire this morning? I was going to check in on her earlier but I don't
think she was awake."
She shook her head, "I haven't seen her this morning. But Charles did say that she was up and
getting around earlier when I saw him."
"I feel so bad for her...for all of us really. I cannot believe that this, after everything our family
has been through, after everything your grandmother has been through...that this is how it
ends...a damn car accident..."
“Why don’t you go on downstairs and check on the car,” she suggested. “I just want a few minutes to myself before all of
“Okay. I love you Claire.”
“I know you do darling. I love you to,” she smiled as she took a seat on the edge of the bed and reflected upon the last
River's Edge, Texas
"Angela I won't tell you again to sit down and be quiet," Claire snapped at her niece.
"Excuse me? Who the hell do you think you are to speak to me like that?" Angela fired back. "Clearly you don't
know me, because if you did Claire then you would know that do not do things quietly or calmly in situations like
this. You're not my mother so how about doing me a favor and stop acting like you are."
"That is not what I'm doing Angela," Claire told her. "Natasha has something that she needs to tell the entire family
and she can't do it when you're acting like a little five year old throwing a temper tantrum," she raised her voice.
"It can't be that important she's been standing there for the last fifteen minutes talking in circles. I'm tired of
standing here listening to her ramble on and one...especially when you consider the fact that she's not even part of
"That is enough Angela," Andrew roared from the corner of the room. "Natasha has been trying to tell us what she
found out today in Philadelphia and the only thing you've been doing is ranting and raving since she walked
through the door," he told her. "Speaking to Claire in that disrespectful tone is one thing, but I will not allow you to
insinuate for one second that Natasha is not part of this family. She is the mother of my children and she will
always be part of our family. Now sit down and listen to what she has to say!"
Angela cut her eyes at her brother, shook her head and reached for her purse. "All of you can stand around and
listen to what Saint Natasha has to say, but I'm not going to do it. I'm out of here, because what I will not do
Andrew is stand here and listen to her talk about my mother like she's dead. I have no intentions of doing that."
She walked across the living room and was nearly out the door when Claire called out to her, "Stop right there
The entire family watched as Angela froze mid-step and then slowly turned back to face them all. "Don't...don't you
dare say what I think you're about to say," she warned Claire. "It's not true!"
"I'm very sorry," Natasha stated. "I know this isn't the outcome that any of us wanted or ever imagined, but we
verified what we learned in Philadelphia with the Middletown Police Department..."
"Shut up! Shut up!" Angela lashed out at Natasha. "You would say anything...anything to get back at my mother for
the way she treated you after you and Andrew divorced so just shut your lying mouth Natasha!"
"Angela she is not lying," Claire raised her voice. "Your mother is dead."
"No..." Angela cried out. "I don't believe it...the rest of you might, but I don't. I won't believe that our mother is
dead," she looked to Andrew and then to Leslie. "For God's sake people...we're talking about Pamela Bradshaw
McCarty..." tears slowly swelled in her eyes. "We're talking about Pamela Bradshaw McCarty..."
|Coming Soon on All Or Nothing
"Well I was wondering when you were going to show up..." she managed to say as her voice
cracked. "It took you long enough."
"Emily let me in. She's almost finished with her breakfast," he said making his way into her
bedroom. He sat down on the foot of her bed and asked, "How are you holding up this
"You're know literally the fourth person to ask me that very same question just this morning,"
she shook her head. "I've been awake long enough to fix breakfast for my daughter and take a
shower. My mother has called, my father has called and Jodi has sent me countless text
message this morning."
"We're just concerned for you is all."
"Concerned?" she mocked him. "You're all worried that I'm going to crack under the pressure
of yet another traumatic event...another death in the family and break!"
"That maybe what your parents and Jodi are worried with, but it's not what I'm concerned about
right now," he stated to her in a firm tone. "You've been helping me deal with my issues and
you just found out your grandmother is dead. When I ask you how you're doing, it's because I
want to know how you're doing. It's not because I'm concerned about you cracking under the
pressure, it's because I love you and I want to know."
allowed him and Claire to stay since her arrival in December. He glanced at his watch and took
note of the time as he crossed the room to where his wife sat at the vanity putting on her
“Are you almost ready sweetheart?” he questioned. “The car is going to be here soon.”
Claire Holland Monroe stared at her reflection in the mirror. Over the last several years her hair
had turned from a shade blonde to snow white…just like she often thought her mother’s hair
would have done had she lived to be her age.
“You know growing up everywhere Pamela and I went they never believed we were sisters
because our hair colors were so different,” Claire stated in a hushed tone as she lightly
stroked her hair. “This is like a bad dream Charles…a nightmare that I don’t think I will ever
“That’s only the grief talking Claire. You’re going to rise above this just like you’ve risen above
every other trial and tribulation in your life. I know it doesn’t seem that way right now, but I
promise you it won’t always hurt.”
of the bed. “Don’t make promises to me that you’re not able of keeping Charles,” she told him.
“When I think of how she died…” Claire drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, “after
everything her and I went through growing up to think…”