Twisted Perfection
Author:Abbi Glines





My mother had called and said my father wanted to meet with me. I had been ready for this confrontation so while Della was working I went to see him. Except he wasn’t home. Mom told me to have a seat and she’d fix me breakfast while we waited for him. After two hours of listening to my mother’s concern for my future and telling me my grandfather’s wishes, I stood up. I wasn’t staying any longer. Della would get off her second shift soon and I was going to be there when she did. I didn’t have any more time to waste.


My phone buzzed for the fifth time in a row and I glanced down to see Blaire’s number on the screen. I hadn’t talked to her since she had left Rosemary with her fiancé and right now wasn’t the time. I had other shit to deal with. I’d call her back later. I turned my phone off and stuck it back into my pocket.


“He’ll be here in just a few more minutes, honey. Just give him time. He’s a busy man. Let me see if I can find him.” She started to call him when I heard one of the two heavy front doors open and close then the click of my father’s dress shoes on the marble floor.


“He’s here.” She beamed. The relief on her face was obvious. She was getting tired of entertaining me. The feeling was mutual.


“Sorry, I’m late. I had a matter to attend to. Issues with staff that you overlooked but it is taken care of now. We need to discuss your future and decide what it is you want exactly with your life. I understand that Angelina isn’t it. I am ready to accept that. But we need to talk.”


I wasn’t sure I trusted his easy acceptance of my refusal to marry Angelina. He’d been forcing it down my throat since I was ten. I glanced over at my mother who was giving me a fake smile while twisting her hands nervously in her lap. Something was up. They must have another future bride lined up. That was the only reason he would even be ready to consider something else.


“Can we discuss business in my office and let your mother go relax and enjoy the rest of her day?”


I followed him down the hallway toward his office. I had exactly thirty minutes before Della got off work. I could give him twenty minutes then I was gone. He needed to talk fast.


“Cigar?” he asked as he stopped by the humidor that mother had given him as a wedding gift. He’d since then had a room built into the house for his large collection of cigars but he kept a few in here for convenience.


“No,” I replied and stood over by the window instead of sitting across the desk from him like I was a child that needed direction.


“Very well. I don’t need one either. I’ll wait to enjoy one tonight. Douglas Mortimar will be here for dinner. I expect you to join us.” Douglas Mortimar was one of the largest investors in the club. He had an entire hole dedicated to him on the golf course. I was never invited to meetings like this one.


“Why?” I asked, still not ready to trust him. I couldn’t recall Mortimar having a daughter. If I wasn’t mistaken he had a son who was much older than me and visited in the summers with his family.


“You want a bigger part in this business and I’m giving it to you.”


That wasn’t the correct answer. “Get to the point. What is it you will require out of me? I know Angelina has told you about Della. I’m not stupid enough to believe she kept that piece of information to herself. She’s a vindictive bitch, which is one of the reasons I didn’t want to be stuck with her for the rest of my life. So, you know about Della now. Let’s address that first since it’s what really spurred this meeting.”


My father’s jaw tightened and I knew I’d completely messed up his carefully laid trap. This meeting had been to lure me in and show me everything I could have then he was going to hit me with an ultimatum concerning Della. He needed to understand nothing came before her. That if he couldn’t accept her I would walk. Kerrington Club could be left to some distant relative or maybe even Mortimar’s son since Dad loved him so much.


“I know about your little fling. I’ve met her. She’s not exactly what one would call mentally stable.”


What did he mean he’d met her? When? How had he ‘met’ her? I stalked across the room and put both hands flat on the desk he was sitting behind and glared down at his calculating eyes. “What does that mean?” I snarled.


My dad didn’t flinch. He shot me an angry glare with a look of indifference. “It means exactly what I said. She isn’t mentally well and you’re aware of it. However, I did some research on her and it goes much deeper than I think you know or understand.”


He was too calm. Something was wrong. “When did you meet her?”


“I came by your house yesterday morning. She was alone and I had barely spoken a word to her when she went completely catatonic. She didn’t respond. She just sat there staring off in space. You’re a smart man, son. You don’t actually think there is a future with this girl?”


Yesterday. I’d come home and she’d been on the ground. Fuck. “Did you leave her there on the ground like that? You didn’t think to call me?”


My father shrugged his shoulders. “I wasn’t going to touch her. She could snap on me the way she did on her mother. I left. And I did some research.”


He had left her like that. Hate seethed through me as I stared at this man I didn’t even know. He’d raised me but I didn’t know him.


“Did she tell you the police found her with her hands covered in blood? She was sitting there beside her mother’s dead body rocking back and forth completely unresponsive with blood on her hands. The only reason she wasn’t locked up was because she had an alibi. Her neighbor said she’d been out with her all night. She’d apparently been the person to call nine-one-one.”


My stomach churned. Della had found her mother’s dead body. Holy shit. She hadn’t told me that. She also hadn’t told me she’d been a suspect in her mother’s death or how her mother had died. There was so much I didn’t know.


“I didn’t know she had found her mother. Shit.” I stumbled back and sank into the chair behind me. No wonder she was messed up. She’d lived with a crazy woman locked away from the world. Then when she’d gotten brave enough to escape when she could she had come home to find her dead. Blood on her hands. Holy fuck. I had to go. I needed to hold her. She might be okay, but I wasn’t. How much had she had to bear in such a short time?


“I have to go,” I said, standing up and heading for the door.


“As a parent I have to make decisions that are for the best. Remember that when you think I’m controlling your life. I’m helping you become the Kerrington you were raised to be.”


I didn’t look back at him. I didn’t care what he wanted or who he thought I should be. The image of my grandfather looking at my grandmother with so much love in his eyes came back to me. He’d said that he couldn’t imagine a world without her in it. I understood that now. I wasn’t my father’s son. I was his father’s son. The sordid screwed up heartless bastard who was my father hadn’t been something he’d inherited from his parents. They had been the reason I would find happiness in life. My grandfather had taught me what to look for.





By the time Leo pulled into the driveway of Braden’s home, my wrists were raw and I had to pee so badly my stomach was cramping up.


“This is it,” I said through my teeth as I clenched them tightly against the pain.


He opened the door and got out then he opened my door and I didn’t wait for someone else to grab me and jerk me around. I was hurting too bad for that.


He didn’t say anything as he unlocked the cuffs behind my back. I felt like weeping from relief when my hands fell limply at my sides.


He moved to open the trunk and set both my suitcases on the driveway. With one small nod he got in the car and drove away. I went to pick up my bags and stinging pain shot up both my arms. I decided my suitcases could stay out here for now.


I walked to the door and looked up at the house I had helped Braden decorate before she was married. Her husband had bought it for them four months before their wedding so that Braden could get it fixed for them to move into once they were married. It had been romantic. I had stood in her house and wished that some man would love me that much one day.


I wasn’t meant to be loved like that. I couldn’t be. My desire to want that had been selfish. Reaching up, I pressed the doorbell and waited.


When the door opened it wasn’t Braden who I had hoped would be here so I could throw myself into her arms and cry. Instead, it was Kent, her husband.


“Della?” he asked his eyes going wide in surprise.


“Hello, Kent,” I said in a strained voice. My bladder was begging to be set free. “Can I use your restroom?”


He stepped back and let me inside. “Uh, of course, you know where it is.”


I walked past him and decided I’d take a minute to gather myself after I relieved myself.




Once I was finished I stood at the mirror and stared at my swollen red-rimmed eyes. I looked as pathetic as I felt. I washed my wrists with soap and water then dried them. The tender skin stung but at least they were clean now.


I walked back to the entryway to see Kent walking in with both of my suitcases. His eyes found mine and the sympathy and concern in them only made me feel even more pathetic.


“Thank you. I’m afraid I don’t have the car. I didn’t get to bring it back with me. I’ll find a way to get it though.”


Kent put my suitcases down and nodded his head toward the kitchen. “Come on. Let’s get you something to drink and eat if you’re hungry. I called Braden. She’s on her way home from work.”


I glanced at the clock. It wasn’t yet three o’clock. Braden would still be at school. She was a third grade teacher. I sat down on one of the tall bar stools that Braden and I had found at a boutique for a ridiculous amount of money. But she’d loved them and Kent never told her no.


“I know I’m not Braden. But you can talk to me if you need to,” Kent said while he went about fixing me some sweet iced tea. He hadn’t even asked me what I wanted. He already knew. I’d been a package deal with Braden. Kent had loved her and overlooked the fact she was so dedicated to me. He had once said it was one of the reasons he loved her.


“I’d rather just say it once. I’m not sure I can tell it twice,” I said as he set the glass down in front of me. I knew he understood. He’d seen me have more than one of my spells. I wasn’t sure if Braden had ever given him the details. I had once thought that she wouldn’t share that with anyone but now that I knew what it felt like to love someone and want to share everything with them… I believed differently. I was okay with it. If she told him it was her story too. She had every right.


“If there is someone I need to go beat the hell out of you just say the word.”


The fact Kent was so worried about me relieved my mind. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go next but I needed a week or so before I made a life for myself again. I wasn’t ready to be alone. Not yet.


The front door swung open and Braden’s heels clicked down the hallway as she ran toward us. “Della!” she called out and I stood up. Tears filled my eyes. I needed to see her.


“The kitchen Bray,” Kent replied.


Braden came barreling into the kitchen and a sob escaped me as I saw her run straight to me. Her arms wrapped around me and I clung to her. She’d sent me on this trip to find myself and yet I’d found so much more. I wanted to be able to express to her that this wasn’t just heartbreak. I’d made memories of a lifetime that I wouldn’t trade for the world. But right now I just needed her to hold me while we both cried.


She didn’t even know why she was crying she just held me and cried. I had missed her so much. I’d come to the right place. This was home. Even with the memories that haunted me here this was where I belonged. Braden was my home. She was all I had.


“Why don’t we get her into the living room and you two can sit on the couch and cry all you want?” Kent said in a gentle voice.


Braden nodded but she didn’t let go of me. We managed a few more sniffles and sobs before easing back enough to look at each other.


“Are you okay?” she asked.


I nodded then I shook my head. “I don’t know. I’m lost and confused.”


Braden reached down and grasped my hand. “Let’s go to the living room and get comfortable”


I wasn’t ready to talk right now but they both deserved an explanation. I needed to tell them exactly what had happened in Rosemary. And maybe they could help me figure out what I was going to do with my life now. My travels were over. I needed to live my life here. Where I was sure of my surroundings and I couldn’t hurt anyone else.




I began explaining how everything happened at the gas station and then how I ended up there once again because of Tripp. Then I told them about how I lost my heart to Woods and how I would do it all over again.


When I was finished Braden was wiping at her eyes again. “I hate that man. I want to strangle him. How could he do that to you? And does Woods know?”


I shook my head then paused. I wasn’t sure if Woods knew now or not. Did he think I’d just left him? Did that matter?


“It doesn’t matter. I can’t stay with him. You know that more than anyone. What happens when I snap and I lose my sanity? I don’t want Woods to love me and be left with a shell of a woman the way I was left with my mother. He has this life in front of him with so much he’s worked for. I can’t be who he needs. I’m trying to be who I need. I’m not what any man needs, Braden. You know that.”








The lunch shift had ended ten minutes ago. I wasn’t late yet. I parked the truck and headed inside. I hadn’t seen Della in six hours and that was just too damn long. I wasn’t scheduling her for two shifts again. No matter how hard she begged. I shoved open the kitchen doors and everyone froze. Normally my entrance didn’t get much notice. They were used to me walking in and out. Jimmy was clocking out. He glared at me and cocked his hip to the side.


“You just now showing up to worry about the lack of help we had around here? You go and arrest the best damn help I’ve had since Blaire worked here. Then no explanation or peep out of you.”


Arrest his help? What help?


“What are you talking about?” I asked looking around for Della. Maybe she could explain the drama queen’s outburst.


“Oh, I don’t know Woods. Maybe the fact the po-po shows up and arrests sweet little Della and scares the shit outta her then you do nothing. You let them take her and you don’t worry about the fact she’s scheduled to work two shifts today.”


I grabbed the first thing I could reach which was the front of Jimmy’s shirt. “What did you say about Della and the police? Stop blabbering and fucking explain yourself,” I roared. The blood was rushing to my head and pounding in my temples. I had known something was wrong but nothing Jimmy had said made sense.


“The police came and took Della right after she got here this morning. You didn’t know? They said Mr. Kerrington wanted her escorted out of the building before they cuffed her. She was scared man. Really scared.”


I let go of Jimmy’s shirt and he stumbled backwards. The selfish controlling fucker had my Della arrested. She was scared. She was gonna need me and I wasn’t there.


“FUCK,” I roared and stormed out of the kitchen and started running. I had to find her.


“It was Josiah Burton who arrested her,” Jimmy called out behind me.


I was going after Burton first. I’d gone to school with Josiah and it wouldn’t be the first time I’d beaten the shit out of him. It would however be the first time I got charged with assaulting an officer.


“If you hear anything, call me,” I replied and opened the door to go to the police station and the sorry ass police in this town that could be bought.


I’d go see my father last. He wasn’t going to be as easy to threaten.




I didn’t check in at the front desk when I got to the station.


“You have to check in Mr. Kerrington,” Margaret Fritz called out as I stalked past her without a word.


Deputy Sheriff Josiah Burton was in his office when I reached it and I walked into without knocking and slammed the door closed behind me. I locked it just in case I needed time to kill him. I turned to glare at the man I knew had been paid off to do my father’s bidding.


“You better start talking you sorry motherfucker, or the last thing I do before they lock me up is blow your sorry ass head off,” I growled.


Josiah jumped up from his desk his beady eyes going round in surprise.


“I did just what your dad had me do. I covered everything. The paper work is done and filed; she can’t come back to town. I secured it. Calm down. It’s done. No reason to get so damn demanding.”


He thought I knew about this. I forced the raging need to rip his head off down and stared at him deciding exactly how to play this. I needed more information.


“What time did you arrest her?”


Josiah shook his head. “I didn’t. Like your dad told me I just cuffed her and threw her in the back of the squad car. Scared her a bit. Then took her to him.”


My chest was about to explode. They had purposely scared her. My father would pay for this. Every minute she was terrified he would pay tenfold.


“Where was my father? Where did you take her?


Josiah frowned. “Your house.”


He had taken her to my house.


“Is she still there?”


“No man. I told you I did all the paperwork. She was warned not to come back or I’d arrest her and then she was shipped off to wherever the hell he had Leo take her.”


“Why can’t she come back?” I asked balling my hands into fists.


Josiah started to answer and stopped. He studied me a minute and then his jaw went slack. “You don’t know. He did this and you didn’t know. Fuck me,” he said, sinking back down into his chair. “Oh man, Woods. I thought you knew. I thought she was crazy and you were scared of what she might do. I was getting rid of her for you. Your dad said she was dangerous. A mental case. I even roughed her up a bit. I didn’t know… please tell me that girl is screwed in the head and what I did was good.”


I closed my eyes tightly trying not to think about the part where he said he’d roughed her up a bit. I needed to hit someone. “How did you rough her up?” I asked in a slow even voice.


“Just jerked her around unnecessarily by the arm and put the cuffs on a little too tight.”


I grabbed the front of his uniform and jerked him up out of his seat. “Even if she had been crazy, she’s a woman. No woman needs to be handled like that. Ever.” I took a deep breath. “She’s the woman I love. The woman my sick fucker of a father doesn’t want me to love.” I threw him back in his chair and he rolled back and slammed into the wall. I didn’t apologize or wait to see if I was going to deal with charges of my own. I jerked open his door and made my way back out to my truck ignoring questions as I went.


Leo. I had to find fucking Leo.




Leo wasn’t in town. My parents had left on a plane for New York City after I left their house today. No one knew anything. I stood on my porch staring out at the ocean and dialed Della’s phone for the hundredth time just to hear her voicemail.


“It’s Della. Can’t answer my phone right now but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.”




“It’s me again. You’re gone. I wasn’t there and you were hurt. God baby, knowing how scared you must have been and I wasn’t there. I just need to find you. Where ever you are. I need to find you, Della. Call me. Let me know you’re okay.”




Then a dial tone.


I dropped my phone on the table and gripped the railing in front of me. She was going to have to sleep without me tonight. Her bad dreams would come back and I wouldn’t be there. Would someone be there? Was she alone?