“Cheyenne, wake up,” Eric said shaking her.
“What time is it?”
“It’s almost noon,” he replied smiling as she wiped the sleep out of her eyes.
“Why would you let me sleep that long,” she asked looking at the alarm clock across the room.
“You’ve been up all night the past couple of nights with your nightmares that I thought I’d let you sleep straight through since you were fine last night.”
“Thanks,” Cheyenne said smiling.
“Are you hungry?”
“A little bit.”
“Want to go get some breakfast,” Eric said, “I mean some lunch.”
“Yeah, just let me shower and get dressed.”
“I’ll meet you downstairs.”
Eric shut the door behind him and Cheyenne got undressed. After she showered, she met Eric downstairs and greeted the Staal family.
They were all happy to see that she was well rested after a couple of rough nights in the house, Jared and Jordan still didn’t know her situation although she promised both Marc and Eric that she would tell them.
Eric and Cheyenne were laughing over their lunch at the local diner that Eric had gone to with his family from the time he was a kid.
“Have you thought about not going back to New York,” Eric asked as they finished their lunch.
“I have a job there, so I have to go back but trust me it has crossed my mind. Marc told me that I should move back to Canada but I can’t bring myself to leave him.”
“He’d always be there for you if you needed him just like he is now, it’s just he’d have to cross over the border.”
“Easier said than done,” Cheyenne said when her phone rang. Looking down at the caller ID she noticed it was a New York area code. Pressing the talk button, she immediately froze when she heard the voice of a New York Police officer.
“Is this Cheyenne Danielson,” the voice asked.
“Yes it is, may I ask who’s calling?”
“This is Detective John McKnight from the NYPD, we’re calling to let you know that your mom is in the hospital and your dad is currently under arrest for attempted homicide.”
“Oh my God,” Cheyenne said handing the phone over to Eric who took the call.
“Ma’am, are you there? Ma’am?”
“This is her friend, Eric, who’s calling,” Eric said taking the call for her.
“This is Detective John McKnight from the NYPD, we called to tell Miss Danielson that her mother is currently in New York Presbyterian Hospital in the ICU. Mr. Danielson has been arrested for attempted murder and is currently being held in lower Manhattan jail on $500,000 bond. We fear he may attempt to try and harm Miss Danielson next. We need her to answer a few questions for us, however, we cannot ask these questions over the phone therefore we need her here as soon as possible.”
“She’s currently with me in Canada but we can be on the next flight out.”
“Thank you, sir,” Detective McKnight replied, “Just tell her to come to the precinct on Broadway and ask for me or Detective Cleary when you get here.”
“Alright, I thank you for calling,” Eric said, “Have a good day.”
“He-he beat her until she was near death,” Cheyenne sobbed into Eric’s shoulder as he came and sat next to her. Eric called for the check and the waitress told him it was on the house and he helped Cheyenne to the car. Immediately calling the airport on the drive home from the diner, he booked the next flight to New York.
Cheyenne ran in the house to start packing causing both Linda and Hank to look at Eric with puzzled expressions.
“She got a call from the NYPD, her dad tried killing her mom and they think he is after Cheyenne now, so we have to fly to New York so she can answer questions.”
“Oh my God,” Linda gasped, “Have you called Marc?”
“We called him on the way over here, our plane leaves in an hour.”
“Go help her pack,” Hank told his oldest son.
Eric headed upstairs and helped Cheyenne pack before he packed his suitcase. Cheyenne was still in the guestroom waiting for him to finish. When he came back to the room, Cheyenne tried to give him a small smile but she immediately broke own. Setting his luggage against the door, he wrapped his arms around her and gave her a hug.
“Everything is going to be okay, I promise,” he said kissing her forehead, “I’m not going to let him hurt you. As long as Marc and I around, he will never hurt you, ever again, do you hear me?”
“You can’t promise me that, you have no idea what he’s capable of.”
“Cheyenne, look at me,” Eric said turning her face towards his, “I’m not going to let him hurt you.”
“We better get going,” Cheyenne replied looking at the clock, “We got to catch our flight.”
Cheyenne and Eric hugged Linda and Hank goodbye and told them that they would call them as soon as they landed in New York. Jordan and Jared were in the barn shooting pucks and had no idea what was going on.
Cheyenne texted Marc at the airport letting him know that their flight was now taking off. Marc knew the trip from Thunder Bay to New York all too well, so he knew when to pick her and Eric up at the airport.
Cheyenne and Eric were quiet on the plane, Eric didn’t know what to say and Cheyenne was still in complete shock that everything happened the way it did.
When they touched down in New York, Marc was waiting for them. As soon as he saw Cheyenne, he gave her a hug just like Eric did back in Thunder Bay telling her that everything was going to be okay.
Marc dropped Eric and Cheyenne off at the NYPD’s 34th Precinct in Manhattan. Cheyenne was immediately taken to Detective McKnight’s office.
“Miss Danielson, Mr. Staal, please have a seat,” he motioned for them to sit down, “So, Cheyenne how long have the beatings been going on?”
“For as long as I can remember,” she replied, “He first started beating me when I was four years old but I can remember him beating my mom all of the time. We thought it would be different when he got the job in the NHL and would be on the road all of the time but it just got worse when we moved to New York. I moved out when I was eighteen to go to college and he hated it. I ended up moving back because I didn’t want to leave my mom alone and he continued to beat me. I met Eric’s brother, Marc last year and started staying with him after my mom pleaded with me.”
“When was the last time you spoke with your mother?”
“I spoke to her last week on the phone and she said that he was out of town on business which happened to be in Minneapolis. Eric and I went sightseeing there and I saw him, I don’t think he saw me at the ice rink but I can’t be too sure. Other than that, it’s been about two weeks now.”
Detective McKnight looked at Cheyenne’s wrist where the visible bruise was and he asked her where else she had them.
“They’re pretty bad on her back and her stomach, she also had handprints on her neck that just faded,” Eric said.
“Miss Danielson, we need to take a couple of photographs so please sit here while I go get the Polaroid.”
Detective McKnight left the office to go grab the camera to take pictures of Cheyenne’s bruises and Eric grabbed her hand and held it in his, rubbing her knuckles reassuringly.
Detective McKnight returned and took the pictures that he needed and a couple extra just in case some didn’t turn out.
“Mr. Danielson will be under arrest until he posts bond and even when that happens, he will be under house arrest until further notice but until then, if you have any questions feel free to call me at the number on this card,” he said handing a card to Eric, “If I’m not in the office, leave a message. Miss Danielson, you may return to Canada if you wish. I feel you will be safer up there than you will be here. We will contact you with a court date. Would you like an escort to the hospital to see your mother?”
“I’d appreciate it, if you wouldn’t mind,” Cheyenne said smiling slightly.
“It’s no problem, I’ll grab Officer DiNardo and you’ll be on your way.”
Officer DiNardo drove Eric and Cheyenne to the hospital. When the nurse at the desk saw Officer DiNardo, she told him the room number that Susan Danielson was currently in.
As soon as Cheyenne saw the sight before her, she broke down crying once again and clung to Eric. Her mom’s face was black and blue and she had a bandage wrapped around her head with blood seeping through. There was a tube down her nose helping her breath and Cheyenne thought her mom looked helpless lying there.
“I never should have left,” Cheyenne said as Eric wrapped his arm around her waist. Marc came in a couple of minutes later and his eyes widened when he saw Susan lying there in the condition she was.
“Oh my God,” he whispered, “That son of a bitch. That piece of shit should be the one laying here right now.”
Eric nodded his head in agreement and Cheyenne kissed her mom’s cheek and told her to be strong before she headed to the nurse’s station where the doctor was standing. After being reassured that her mother would make a full recovery, Cheyenne left her phone number with the nurse in case they needed to contact her if an emergency should occur.
Officer DiNardo drove in front of Marc back to his apartment complex and made sure they got into the apartment safely before he wished Cheyenne the best of luck.
“What did the cops say,” Marc asked.
“He’s in jail until he posts bond and if that happens, he’s on house arrest until his hearing. Detective McKnight wants Cheyenne to stay in Canada until the trial because she is safer there than she is here,” Eric replied.
“I’ll be leaving in a few days so I’ll be home, make sure she never leaves your sight.”
“Thanks guys, I appreciate it a lot, would it be okay if I lied down for a while,” Cheyenne asked.
“You can sleep in my bed,” Marc said smiling as Cheyenne walked down the hall towards his room.
“I think she should stay in Raleigh with me when the season starts. The cops don’t want her in New York and she can’t stay alone in Thunder Bay so I think she should come to Raleigh with me.”
“I’d feel better knowing she was safe but let’s not hound her with this tonight, she’s been through enough,” Marc said.
“You’re right, we’ll do it when we have to. So, how’s the negotiations going?”
“They’re going great, I’ve been offered a five year contract worth almost twenty million.”
“Not bad, broski,” Eric said, “Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” Marc said, “I’m going to go change, I’ll be back.”
Eric sat down on the couch and turned on Marc’s TV where he settled on watching the Yankees vs. White Sox game.
Marc entered his room and found that Cheyenne was still awake, “Hey, how are you holding up,” he asked.
“I’m okay, I guess,” she said forcing a smile.
“Everything is going to be fine, I promise,” Marc said sitting on the bed next to her, “Just keep telling yourself that. You have my whole family here for you.”
“Thank you, it really means a lot that you all care about me so much but anyways how’s the negotiations coming?”
“I just told Eric that they offered me a five year, twenty million dollar contract.”
“Marc, that’s great, I’m so happy for you,” Cheyenne smiled.
Marc’s phone rang and he answered it knowing that was his agent, he came back in the room and jumped on Cheyenne who giggled, “My agent talked to the Rangers and the deal is final, all I have to do is sign it.”
“Oh Marc, I’m so happy for you!”
Marc bounced up and down on the bed next to her like a little kid. He was so caught up in the moment that he kissed her. Cheyenne laughed as Marc repeatedly apologized for being caught up in the moment.
Eric was walking down the hall to go to the bathroom when he heard the commotion coming from his brother’s room. When he peeked through the crack of the door, he didn’t understand the sense of jealously that overcame him when he saw Marc kiss Cheyenne.
Eric felt betrayed because Marc said they were just friends but the last time he checked, friends don’t kiss their other friends. Walking back towards the living room, Eric sat back down and finished watching the game.
Cheyenne and Eric flew home the next morning and Cheyenne couldn’t help but notice that Eric was acting weird.
“Eric, are you okay, what’s wrong,” Cheyenne asked.
“I’m fine,” Eric lied.
“Are you sure because you’re acting weird.”
“I said I’m fine, just drop it,” Eric snapped and immediately apologized.
“It’s okay,” Cheyenne smiled lightly trying to hide her frown.
“All that matters to me is that you are safe,” Eric said smiling through his jealousy.
She didn’t know what Eric’s problem was but she didn’t care at the moment because right now she had bigger problems to deal with and Eric’s sudden coldness towards her was not one of them although she did wonder just what was bothering him! He was perfectly fine in New York but now he was distant with her. Trying to think about what could possibly be bothering him, she sighed in defeat as the pilot announced that they would be landing in Thunder Bay shortly and to fasten their seatbelts and secure their belongings, too bad the seat belt couldn’t secure Eric’s insecurity about what was going on between his brother and Cheyenne.