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Kevin’s heart jumped into his throat as he heard Sarah’s frantic voice over the phone. He could hear Keith in the background, yelling at her to open the door. There was a loud banging noise and Sarah screamed. Kevin paced around his living room, listening to the dispute escalate.

“Sarah!” he screamed into the phone as he heard more banging and sounds of movement coming from her end of the line.

He could hear her crying and he quickly ran upstairs to his office and picked up his cordless phone. With a trembling hand, he set his cell phone on the desk and dialed 911.

“911, what’s your emergency?” said the voice of a female dispatcher.

“My friend just called me and I think she’s in trouble,” he said shakily. “You’ve gotta help her!”

“Okay, what is your name, sir?” she asked.

Kevin huffed as he stated his name. “Kevin Richardson.”

“And your phone number for verification?”

Kevin ran a hand over his face as he picked up his cell phone, listening for more coming from Sarah’s phone. His focus shifted away from the dispatcher and he barely heard the question.

“Sir?” the dispatcher said, bringing Kevin’s focus back to his cell phone.

“407-836-3111,” he stated as he listened for Sarah, holding the cell phone up to the opposite ear. He could hear garbled voices as if the phone had been tossed across the room.

“What’s the address of the friend you’re calling about?”

“223 East Concord Street,” he said with a nervous sigh. “You have to send someone quick. I can’t hear her on the phone anymore. Her boyfriend is a fucking psychopath.”

“Alright, Sir, we are sending someone her way right now. Would you like us to call you after we get a report from the police?”

“Not necessary,” Kevin said as he stood up and headed downstairs, shoving his cell phone into his pocket. “I’m heading her way.”

“Sir, we really advise against that. The police will handle it.”

Kevin clenched his jaw as he grabbed his keys off the coffee table. “I’ll see them when I get there,” he said as he hung up the phone and rushed out the door, barely stopping to lock it behind him.

Kevin stepped swiftly to his car, shoving his key into the keyhole and unlocking it before getting into the driver’s seat. He didn’t bother putting on his seatbelt as he turned on the car and hastily backed up onto the street. His back wheels squealed against the asphalt as he peeled away and headed in the direction of Sarah’s house. He went down the block and turned at the signal that lead him to the highway, to cut the travel time in half.

His usual twenty minute drive took ten minutes because he sped on the highway at 80 miles an hour. He gripped the steering wheel tightly as he focused on the exit signs, thankful that there was no traffic on the highway and no cops to pull him over in the process. Kevin spotted the sign for Concord Road and slowed down to exit the highway. He barely stopped to yield to oncoming traffic and cut in front of a red Jeep that honked loudly as he sped ahead of them. His heart beat heavily against his chest in relief of avoiding an accident and also in fear of what he might find when he arrived at Sarah’s house.

Parking his car on the street, he quickly made his way up to the door. The police had not arrived, which didn’t surprise him. The Orlando police department wasn’t known for their speedy response time. Kevin exhaled sharply, curling his fingers into a fist and banging loudly on the door. He listened for any sounds coming from inside the house but nothing was heard. Kevin creased his brow as he reached down and turned the doorknob, hoping for a miracle that it would be unlocked. He let out a breath of relief as the knob turned and he was able to quietly step inside. He silently looked around the dimly lit living room, intently listening for any sounds of movement or voices coming from within the house. There was no sign of Keith or Sarah at the front of the house so Kevin stealthily crept down the hallway, hoping to find them somewhere.

As he crept around the corner, he noticed a closed door at the end of the hallway. A small beam of light glowed at the crack located at the bottom of the door. He could hear Sarah sobbing and Keith’s voice echoed from behind the door.

“Get the fuck up!” Keith shouted.

“Let go of me!” Sarah shouted back, her voice echoing with fright.

Kevin balled up his fists as he heard something crash against the wall, followed by Sarah screaming in terror. Keith shouted loudly at her and Kevin could feel his blood boiling within his veins. Clenching his jaw tightly, he instinctively stepped back and lunged powerfully against the door with every ounce of muscle strength in his body. The door flew open with a loud crack against the wall. Kevin angrily stared at Keith who was kneeling down on the floor in front of Sarah with his hands around her wrists. He breathed heavily as he stepped toward Keith, grabbing him by the back of his shirt and pulling him up on his feet.

“What the fuck?!” Keith shouted as Kevin shoved him against the wall, wrapping his large hand around his neck.

Kevin stared into Keith’s eyes as he pressed harder against his throat, cutting off more of his airflow. Keith gagged against Kevin’s hand. He reached up and tried to pry Kevin’s hand away from his neck as Kevin pulled him down and punched him in the stomach. Keith groaned as he hit the floor and Kevin began to violently kick him in the ribs. After several kicks, Kevin reached down and pulled Keith up by the arm and stared at him intensely.

“If you ever touch her again, I will fucking kill you!”

Keith chuckled as he spit blood out of his mouth. His stance staggered against Kevin’s grip on his arm. He leaned in close with an evil sneer on his face. Kevin cringed at the strong scent of alcohol as he laughed breathily.

“Fuck off, Faggot. Sarah’s my bitch and there’s not a fucking thing you can do about it."

Kevin gnashed his teeth together and pulled his arm back before curling his fingers together and punching Keith in the nose as hard as he could. Keith’s body slumped over as he fell unconscious. Kevin angrily let go of him and watched him fall to the floor. He glanced over at Sarah who was slouched over the edge of the bathtub, breathing weakly. Kevin stepped over Keith and scooped her up into his arms. Sarah limply leaned against him, wavering in and out of consciousness. Kevin swallowed a lump in his throat as he observed a large gash on her right temple and blood was trickling down her face. He quickly removed his button down shirt and applied pressure to the wound. Looking down at the floor, he noticed shards of broken glass scattered across the bathroom floor. A half broken crystal vase was located on the bathmat and he exhaled deeply as he realized that the crash he heard earlier must’ve been from the vase. It was obvious that Keith had thrown it at her and it shattered on the floor.

“Sarah….can you hear me?” he asked as he leaned down to cup his hand on her cheek.

Sarah’s eyes slowly opened and looked up at him in confusion. “Kevin…” she whispered as her eyes closed again.

“Sir, step away from the girl,” said a voice from the doorway.

Kevin quickly looked up to see a male police officer, pointing a gun at him. He shook his head and held his hands up. “I didn’t do anything, officer. I’m the one who called in the 911 report,” he explained calmly.

The officer slowly approached him with the gun still in his hands. “Step away from the girl and come with me,” he said sternly. “We need a medic in here!” the officer shouted to the front of the house.

Kevin sighed as he carefully moved Sarah out of the way and stood to his feet. He continued to hold his hands up as the officer guided him out of the bathroom. Kevin walked with the officer into the living room as a group of paramedics rushed past them and went into the bathroom.

“Officer, I swear, none of this is my doing,” Kevin explained as he slowly turned to face the police officer.

The police officer put his gun back into his holster and pulled Kevin by the arm, guiding him out of the house where they were greeted by a group of three more officers. Kevin frowned as a tall Hispanic officer approached him with a notepad in his hand.

“I found this guy sitting on the bathroom floor next to two unconscoious victims, Chief.”

“Is this the guy?” asked another male officer.

“He says he’s the one that called in the report.”

The second officer approached Kevin, observing him for a moment before speaking. “What’s your name, sir?”

“I’m Kevin Richardson. I called in the report. If ya’ll had gotten here sooner, we wouldn’t have this confusion,” he said bitterly.

“Cut the attitude before I have you arrested,” the officer said firmly.

Kevin sighed as he observed the officer’s name plate located above his shirt pocket. “Look, Officer...Martinez. I can show you my ID to prove that I am who I say I am. I’m the guy who called in the report.”

Officer Martinez stared at him for a moment and nodded. “Is your ID located in your wallet?”


Officer Martinez glanced over at the officer holding Kevin’s arm. “Phillips, reach into his pocket and give me his wallet.”

Kevin rolled his eyes as Officer Phillips reached into Kevin’s back pocket and grabbed his wallet, handing it to Officer Martinez. He opened it and used his flashlight to see the details of his drivers license and gave Officer Phillips another nod.

“Let him go. The ID says he’s Kevin Richardson.”

“Thank you,” Kevin said politely as he rubbed the ache away from his arm.

“What can you tell me about the situation?” Officer Martinez asked as he guided Kevin away from the pathway of the paramedics who were rolling a gurney into the house.

“My friend Sarah lives her with her boyfriend Keith. Apparently he’s been abusing her for a while. Tonight, I was on the phone with her when he started the fight.”

Officer Martinez nodded as he jotted notes in his notepad. “So when you got the call, that’s when you called 911 to report it?”

Kevin nodded as he watched the paramedics wheel Sarah out in a gurney and placed her inside the ambulance. “Where are they taking her?” he asked as he ran his fingers through his hair.

“Orlando Regional,” Officer Martinez replied nonchalantly. “So when you got here, what happened?”

“The door was unlocked so I walked in. I found Keith in the bathroom with Sarah. He had thrown a crystal vase at her head.”

“Did you see him throw it at her head?”

Kevin frowned and pinched the bridge of his nose to ease the tension headache that was starting to form behind his eyes. “No, I did not.”

“Then how do you know he threw it at her head?”

“I’m just assuming because I heard a crash against the wall before I broke into the bathroom. The glass was all over the floor and Sarah’s head had an open wound.”

“Was there any contact between you and Keith?” he asked, looking up from his notepad.

Kevin sighed and slouched his shoulders as he watched the paramedics take a second gurney into the house. “Things did get physical between me and Keith.”

“Did he threaten you?”

Kevin clenched his jaw as he shook his head. “He didn’t threaten me but he was physically hurting Sarah. I walked in on him holding her by her wrists and she was screaming.”

“So you intervened?” Officer Martinez questioned.

“Yes, I intervened. He was beating the shit out of her!” Kevin said in a louder tone.

Officer Martinez frowned and shoved his notepad into his pocket. “Mr. Richardson, if you insist on using that tone with me then I will have you arrested for disorderly conduct.”

Kevin exhaled loudly and held his hands up in submission. “I’m sorry. I’m just...I just want Sarah to be okay.”

Officer Martinez nodded sympathetically as he tucked his pen into his shirt pocket. “I get it,” he said, glancing over his shoulder as the paramedics rolled Keith out on gurney and set him inside a second ambulance. “Hey, Phillips! Follow them to the hospital. I don’t want that guy going anywhere until we talk to him.”

“Got it, Chief,” Officer Phillips said as he got into his car and followed the ambulance to the hospital.

“So am I free to go or what?” Kevin asked impatiently. “I need to get to the hospital and be with Sarah.”

“We have your number. We’ll call you if we have any further questions. In the meantime, don’t leave town for the next 48 hours.”

Kevin frowned as he dug his keys out of his pocket. “Wasn’t planning on it,” he muttered and turned on his heels to his car.

As he settled into the driver's seat, he sighed as the flashing blue and red lights from the police cars bounced through his car. He put on his seatbelt and cautiously pulled onto the street and headed in the direction of the hospital.

Kevin circled the parking lot twice before finding a parking spot and quickly running into the ER. The front desk attendant informed him that Sarah had been taken in for tests and treatment of her head trauma. There was no timeframe as to when she would be done, so Kevin waited patiently in the waiting room. As he waited, he made a few phone calls, informing people of what was going on. He watched several people come into the ER and even more people leaving after receiving treatment. A scowl formed across his face as he realized he was in for a very long night. Kevin slouched back into his chair and rested his head on his hand as he stared blankly at the TV on the wall across from him. His eyes began to grow heavy as he listened to the echoing voice over the intercom, prompting a doctor to the maternity floor. His body was coming down from his adrenaline rush and fatigue was taking over.

Hours had passed and he jolted awake at the sound of his cell phone ringing in his pocket. He sniffed his nose and sat up straight as he blinked to adjust his vision and read the caller ID screen. Kevin sighed as he opened his phone and put it to his ear.

“Hey, Brian,” he said wearily.

“I got your voicemail. Is everything okay?”

“I don’t know,” Kevin said as he ran a hand over his face. “I’m still waiting to hear from the doctor.”

“So you’re still at the hospital?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’ve been here for hours,” he replied with a sigh, glancing at his watch. “It’s almost 3 am. What are you doing up at this hour?”

“I fell asleep on the couch,” Brian said with a chuckle. “I woke up to turn off the TV and I saw your missed call.”

“I see,” Kevin said softly with a yawn.

“Do you need me to come up there and sit with you?”

“No, I’m okay,” Kevin said with another yawn. “Hopefully the doctor will be here soon.”

“Alright...well...will I see you at the studio later?”

“I don’t really have a choice in the matter,” Kevin replied with a sigh. “I’ll be tired as shit but I’ll be there.”

“Call me later and let me know what’s going on.”

“I will. Good night, Brian.”

“Night,” Brian echoed and hung up.

Kevin shut his phone and shoved it back in his pocket as he stood up to stretch his legs. He raised his arms over his head and leaned from side to side to relax his back muscles and sighed as he sat back down. He glanced to his right and saw a doctor coming his way. Kevin stood up again and anxiously waited to hear what he had to say.

“Mr. Richardson?” the doctor questioned as he approached him.

“That’s me,” Kevin replied. “How is she doing?”

“She’s going to be fine,” the doctor assured. “We mended the wound on her head and took a few XRays. She has two broken ribs and a few bruises but there’s no sign of a concussion. She’s stable and coherent.”

“How long will she have to stay here?”

“We want to keep her overnight for observation but if she’s still doing okay after tomorrow then she should be good to go home.”

Kevin nodded, sighing of relief from the good news. “Can I see her?”

The doctor nodded as he tucked his clipboard under his arm. “She’s in room 306.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” Kevin said in appreciation.

“I’ll be back in a few hours to check on her,” he said softly and headed in the opposite direction.

Kevin quickly made his way over to the elevator and took it to the third floor. He hastily glanced at the room numbers and paused when he reached room 306. He swallowed a lump of air that gathered in his throat as he quietly opened the door and peeked his head inside. The room was dark with a faint glow of the moon shining through the curtains on the window. He stepped lightly across the room and stood beside Sarah’s bed. His brow creased with worry as he observed the bandage on her head and the IV hooked up to her arm. He went around to the other side of her bed and sat in the chair, taking her hand into his. He watched her sleep for a moment and rested his forehead against their joined hands. Kevin silently prayed for God’s protection and raised his head when he felt her stirring on the bed. His eyes met hers as she looked at him wearily. Kevin wordlessly squeezed her hand and looked at her in silence.

“Thank you…,” she whispered tearfully.

Kevin stood up and gently kissed her forehead, lingering his lips against her uninjured temple. “You’re safe,” he whispered as he cradled her head in his hands before gently letting go and sitting back down in the chair, taking her hand once again. “Just sleep, Sarah. I’m not going anywhere,” he said softly, sliding his thumb over her fingers.

Sarah wearily nodded as her eyes began to droop. Kevin lifted her head to his lips and gently kissed each fingertip and watched her slowly drift back to sleep. He sighed as he observed her for a moment and adjusted his chair closer to the bed. Without letting go of her hand, he relaxed and silently stared at the wall until he fell asleep peacefully, knowing that was going to be okay.