Today’s Snippet Saturday topic is Family – one of my very favorite things to write about! Since I did my Cascadia wolves last week, I thought this time I’d toss out a passage from MAKING CHASE. I love the Chase family so much, I’m always thrilled to revisit them.
CHASE BROTHERS: MAKING CHASE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2007, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
“We’ll make sure the picnic goes smoother. There’s gonna be a lot of us. We’ll put her near Momma. No one will mess with her then. Oh and Maggie too. We’ll be on the outside. No one’s gonna hurt her, Matt. We’ll keep her safe. One thing we all need to keep doing is let this town and the people like Melanie know Tate is one of ours and we believe in her.”
Matt didn’t know what else to say. Family did what family needed to do. Still felt good though.
He caught up with Tate. “You still up to dinner at my parents’ house?”
She sighed. “There’s no choice. She’s bound to have gotten at least five calls by now and she’ll just hunt us down at home if we don’t go over there and tell her the story firsthand. And speaking of hands, yours looks like hell. I want to clean it up better and I’m quite sure your mother has first aid supplies.”
He grinned. “Come on then.” He waved at everyone else. “See y’all in a few.”
Polly met them at the front door, anxious. But instead of cooing over Matt’s hand, she pulled Tate into a hug and it made her want to cry. She towed Tate down the hall and into Edward’s study, closing the door behind her and leaving Matt in the foyer.
“Let it go now, honey. Give the tears up to me and be done with them,” Polly crooned as she rubbed Tate’s back.
As soon as Polly gave her permission, it was like her body just let it go and a sob so deep wrenched from her body that it buckled her knees but Polly just went to her knees with her and continued to rock her and rub her back while she wept.
“It was wrong, Tate. What he said was wrong. What they’ve done to you is wrong. They’re wrong. You’re a good person. You love my son and he loves you. You’re worthy of this wonderful gift you and Matt have. Don’t you let them take the certainty of who you are from you. You’re strong. You survived worse than those idiots in town who can’t stand to see anyone else happy. You hear me? You give me those tears you’ve been holding back for so long and let them go. You’re safe here.”
So Tate let it go. Cried and cried and cried until there was nothing left and long minutes later, totally spent, she let Polly help her to the couch.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall apart like that. I don’t even know where it all came from.” She accepted a box of tissues and a glass of water from Polly who sat across from her and clucked. Her voice was rusty and every few seconds she hiccuped.
“It came from inside you. Where you’ve pent it up to be strong for everyone else. Tate, I know you, girl. You take everyone else’s burdens for them. But you can only take on so much before it breaks your back. Sometimes you need to let it out. Tonight must have been very ugly.”
“He called me a whore. A whore.” Tate shook her head, still shocked. “I didn’t hear it firsthand. That was the first time Matt punched him apparently. But I heard Matt telling Shane everything Ron said. Men. They must think we can’t hear them at three feet away.”
“They don’t know we multi-task as well as we do.” Polly nodded her head . “You’re not a whore. He’s wrong. You know that.”
“I do. But it hurts anyway. He accused me of being a gold digger. Polly, I’d never use Matt for his money. Not ever. I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve achieved in my life. I love Matt, I’d never hurt him like that. Ever.”
“I expect it does hurt, being misunderstood and misused. It’s shocking to be faced with so much hatred. I know you love Matt. Matt knows you love Matt. Hell, honey anyone with eyes in their head can see you love my son. They are bad people. Wrong. The people in the world who count know the truth and that’s all that matters. As for the rest of them? Don’t let them see you hurt, Tate. They aren’t worth it and you’re better than they are. You hold your head up because you have every right to.”
Tate nodded, blowing her nose.
“There’s a bathroom right through there, sweetie. Wash your face and come out when you’re ready. I expect Edward is holding Matthew back out there. Can I let him in? I know he wants to help.”
Tate needed that, needed to see Matt, to be held by him. “Yes. Let me get cleaned up and I’ll be out in a minute.”
She went into the bathroom and looked at the ruin of her face. Her eyes were red and swollen as was her nose. Every last trace of eye makeup was gone or dripping down her cheeks. She looked like she had the starring role in a B-horror movie.
Still, after a few minutes of cold water compresses she began to look and feel better and she knew it was time to face the music.
The first gut wrenching sob broke Matt’s heart. His father had simply put his arms around him and held him as they’d listened. Edward had urged him to let her cry it out, to let Polly mother her because she needed it desperately.
Matt wanted to rush in and take over, wanted Tate to open up to him that way but he understood Tate never would have let him bear the pain she held inside. Thank goodness his mother had been there and known just what Tate needed.
For long minutes she’d cried and cried and Matt had wanted to climb the walls. Her siblings arrived and they’d all stood in the hall and listened to her grief leave her body. Maggie held tight to Kyle, Shane to Cassie. The Murphys clutched each other and they’d all held vigil.
Twenty minutes later, his mother had come out and told them all very quietly that Tate needed a few minutes to clean up and to go on and get in the dining room. She sent Matt in to her, knowing they both needed it. Before he closed the door, Anne approached him quietly and said, “Melanie Deeds has a bill coming due.” He couldn’t have agreed more.
The door to the bathroom finally opened and her bottom lip trembled as she stepped into his embrace.
“Oh, Venus, I love you so much. I wish I could protect you from all this.”
She didn’t answer, instead just pushed herself closer to him.
After several minutes he kissed her gently. “You okay? Do you need more time or do you want to go and eat dinner?”
“I can’t face anyone. You all must have heard.”
“Heard what, Tate? Heard you being human? Heard you being mothered instead of doing all the mothering for a change? We love you. I’m glad my mother could help and I’m sorry you had to see all that tonight. Come on, everyone is waiting and they want to love you. Let them comfort you for a change.”
“They’ve all got enough to deal with.”
“Tate, don’t be selfish right now. They need to help. I need to know you’ll lean on me from time to time. You take so much on, give us all the gift of being the strong ones every once in a while.”
“You’re going to make me cry again.” The way she clutched his shirt made him want to keep her indoors and shield her forever.
“It’s okay to cry you know. It’s not a weakness.”
She made her little hmpf sound and he knew then she was on her way back to being all right.
They walked out into the dining room and her siblings came to her, pulling her into an embrace. Matt put his arm around his mother and they watched until Liv burst in, pregnant and pissed as hell.
“Where is that Melanie and who’s gonna hold my hair?”
Marc came in after her, grinning. “Liv’s a little excitable after we got a call about what happened tonight. She wanted me to drive her around looking for Melanie but I talked her into coming here instead.”
Cassie laughed and Maggie joined her as the three of them hugged each other and then Tate.
“If you’d just gone into labor early this afternoon none of this would have happened. Truly, Liv, I blame you.” Tate blinked up at Liv, who laughed and hugged her again.
“I’m trying, sweet thang. Orgasms, spicy food, cod liver oil and this baby is blowing me off. Gets it from her father. Oops, did I say her?”
Marc burst out laughing as everyone excitedly discussed Liv’s slip and the gender of the next grandchild.
Matt pushed Tate into a chair and made her a plate. “Eat it.”
She shrugged, obeying him as she began to eat. Others noticed and began to fill plates and eat. His momma beamed at them all, doting over everyone, making Liv sit and get her feet up.
The dinner was a nice way to exorcise the demons of the evening. Being with family washed that all away.
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