“You’re kidding me, right?” I ask her, hoping that she was just joking.
She shakes her head sadly before handing over her phone.
AVA SHARP’S HOUSE BURNS DOWN HOURS AFTER SHE REVEALS HER IDENTITY AS HOPE
I read and re–read the title of the news, hoping that this was one big joke. I’m proven wrong when I
scroll down and see the video of a burning house.
As much as I didn’t want to believe it, there was no way to deny that it was indeed my house
With my heart in my throat, I place Mary’s phone down and stand up quickly. My movements are
jerky as I rushed out of the room.
“Ava, wait” She calls me but her words fall on deaf ears.
Faces blur as I move at a speed that would put vampires to shame. Nothing registers in my mind
as I get outside.
Getting into my car, I peel out of the parking lot just as Mary burst through the door. She waves.
her hand. Trying to make me stop. I ignore her and keep driving.
My head was in turmoil. Anger and panic wage war inside me.
Did I forget to turn off my stove and that’s what caused the fire? I had no answer because I couldn’t
remember if I had turned it off or not.
My phone rings with an incoming call from Rowan. I ignore it. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind
to deal with him.
I get more calls from Ethan, Letty and even Travis and mother. Just like with Rowan’s call, I ignore theirs too. I just wanted to get to my house and see how much damaged they caused.
“Fucking bitch, watch where you’re going” a man screams and gives me the middle finger.
In my rush to get home, I almost ran him over.
“Sorry” I shout out the window, but he doesn’t listen. He instead continues to curse me and I
Twenty minutes later, I’m pulling into my neighborhood.
I drive slowly as there are civilians, cops, police cars and a fire truck. I bring my car to a stop and walk a short distance to where my house was burning.
I watch in horror, unable to believe that it was true. Firefighters were trying to extinguish the fire, but even I knew that by the time they’re done there won’t be anything left.
I feel my heart break as I watch the fire consume my house. It may not be grand but it was mine
and Noah’s home for the past few months. I loved it and I had so many good memories there. 1
Tears threaten to fall. Why was this happenifng to me? Haven’t I been through enough?
“Ava” his deep voice brings me back from to the present.
I turn to find Rowan behind me. He looked at me with sympathy and I hated that more than anything.
“What are you doing here?” I ask as I wipe away my tears.
The only good thing was that no other house had caught fire. I don’t know what I would have done if others suffered because of me.
“You weren’t picking up your phone, I was worried” he answers stepping forward.
I wanted a hug so badly, but I knew I wouldn’t get it from him. Couldn’t get it from him.
“I’m fine” I give my house one final looking before turning and walking away. There wasn’t anything I could do anyway.
I increase my steps when I hear his footsteps behind me. I was out of a home so I needed to get that shit sorted out first.
Getting into my car, I think I’ve lost Rowan, only to be surprised when he opens the passenger door and plants his large body in my car.
“What the hell are you doing?” I shriek in disbelief.
“You’re upset, there is no fucking way am I allowing you to be on your own he puts his seatbelt on as he replies.
“Get out I snap.
“Get out of my fucking car, Rowan”
He levels me with a cold look. “It’s either you start driving or we sit for however long it takes….your
I glare at him, but he doesn’t budge. We have a stare down for a couple of minutes. Eventually, I give up when I realize he wasn’t going to leave.
“What about your car?” I ask as I start mine.
I knew that he must have driven here or had his driver drive him. Rowan wasn’t the kind of man
who takes cabs.
“Dennis can drive my car back home….I’ll call him when I need him” he mutters just as I reverse
mine and then drive off.
“Home…I no longer have that” I whisper sadly.
“It’s going to be okay”
“Is it?” I ask sadly.
For some reason I felt that it wasn’t going to be okay. That the worst was yet to come.
Taking out my phone I call my real–estate agent. He picks up on the first ring.
“I’m so sorry, Ava. I saw what happened to your house” he says in a high pitched voice.
“It’s okay” I pause. “Please tell me you have something for me, anything really, given I’m now
I didn’t like the idea of staying in a hotel for whatever period of time. I don’t know what I will do if he tells me he has no house on offer.
“I have one and it’s perfect for you. I’m sure you’ll love it” he says and I sigh in relief.
“Okay, good please send me the address now, I want to check it out. If I like it then I’ll take it.”
He agrees before I hanging up
“So you’re getting a new house? You know I have properties which you’re entitled to. You could have just picked one and I would have given it you” Rowan says startling me a bit.
He’d been so quiet and I had been so focused on getting a house that I had completely forgotten
that he was with me in the car.
“No thanks… I can buy myself a damn new house and that is exactly what I will do. I don’t need or
want your help” I snap.
He mutters something under his breath, but it’s too low for me to hear.
We’re quiet for a while. The atmosphere in the car awkward.
“I’ve been wondering how you got wealthy. The last time I checked, your father cut you off from his will” he asks breaking the silence.
At first I thought of ignoring him, but then I realized what he was doing. As much as he was probably curious, he also wanted to distract me from my thoughts. To distract me from the fact that I had lost completely everything in the fire.
“I somehow knew our marriage wouldn’t last. It was given either I would give up and ask for a divorce or you would. Personally I thought it would be you. I knew it was only a matter time before Emma came back and you left me” He takes a deep breath at her name.
I didn’t know what happened between them yesterday after I left, but I didn’t care. It was after all, none of my business..
“I also knew I didn’t want a single dime from you except what was Noah’s. I wanted to continue providing Noah a life he was used to and I couldn’t do that on my teacher’s salary, so about four years into our marriage I took all my money and invested it in a new company” I pause before continuing.
“The bank told me that it was risky, that the probability of that company succeeding was small. They were sure that I would lose my money in the end. Tom’s logistics proved them wrong and flourished”
I smile at the memory. Tom’s logistics was a big company and very successful in its field. I was still a share hold but a silent one.
“I started earning from my shares and it felt great. I took a part–time business course, just to know the ins and outs of managing a business. From there, I started investing in startup companies. Those who needed capital and couldn’t get them from the bank, came to me. I went through their business proposals and if it had potential then I invested.”
So far, I have not made a bad investment. After the companies grow, they either buy me out or I
remain as a member of the board.
I give him a side way glance, just to gage his reaction. He looked impressed.
“And this has been going on for more than five years?” he asks quietly.
“Yes…when I made my first million, I was so excited to tell you, I wanted you to be proud of me. To
see that I wasn’t just a loser” my mind goes back to that day. “I remember I waited for you to come home, but you didn’t so I kept the news till morning, still excited to tell you. When I saw you in the kitchen the next day I sat down next to you and told you that I had something to tell you”
I pause to swallow and take a deep breath. The memory was burned into my brain.
“Instead of listening you turned and looked at me coldly and told me that you didn’t care what I had to say. That you didn’t care about my life or what I was doing. You cruelly then told me that I could drop dead right then and there and even then you wouldn’t care, so instead of wasting your time and ruining your morning why don’t I just go and pester someone else”
The silence that settles over the car is heavy. I see his Adam apple bobble as he swallows.
“Ava…” he begins gruffly but I cut him off.
“So, I never said anything after that morning and since you made it clear you weren’t interested in anything I did, I kept quiet about anything and everything that concerned my life”
The memory still hurts, but just like with everything that happened with Rowan, I’m learning to live with it. One day I know it won’t hurt so badly.
We fall into silence again. When I couldn’t take it anymore I move to put on the radio just as his phone rings. He picks it up.
“Yes, I’m with her right now” he says.
He listens before answering. “Sure, we’ll be right there”
He then hangs up the phone and turns to me. “The chief wants to see you at the police station”
“Because of the fire he wanted to see us before he leaves for an important meeting, so you’ll have to reschedule viewing of the house”
I don’t even think when I turn my car around and head in the direction of the station.
“Why did he call you?”
“Because I have a personal interest in this particular case” that’s all he says.
“I told you I don’t want or need your help. I would prefer if you stay out of my life” I groan in
What was so difficult to understand? We were done so he shouldn’t be up in my business.
“You’re the mother of my son, Ava. There is no fucking way I’m going to sit back when someone is
targeting you” 3
Since the station wasn’t that far, we get there quickly. I don’t have the time to answer before he’s jumping out of the car.
I quickly follow him and catch up to him just as he is entering the station. We head straight to chief’s office. 1
“Take a seat” he says once we’re inside.
“What do you have for us?” Rowan immediately asks, his eyes fixed on Brian.
“There’s no way to say this, but we are treating the fire as arson”
I could hear him, but for some reason my mind wasn’t processing anything.
“What do you mean?” I ask slowly, my voice coming out shaky.
“I mean that someone deliberately set you house on fire” he pauses. “We believe that whoever it is thought you were inside and burned your house with the intention of killing” a
My mind goes completely blank after that. His answer sending chills down my spine.
Deep down I know. I know that if it wasn’t for the early morning meeting I had with Mary, I would have been burned alive. If it wasn’t for that meeting, I would probably be dead right now,
I was able to escape death yet again, but how long can I outrun it before it catches up to me?