Out of Darkness (Heaven Hill) Online - Laramie Briscoe

Chapter One

For services rendered.

Meredith jerked awake as she remembered the dollar bill hitting her back. It was the same dream every night. She always woke up when he said those words and threw the money. Sleep never came after one of her nightmares, even when she took the pills the good doc had prescribed. Carefully, she pushed back the covers of Tyler’s bed and slid her legs to the side. Her heart caught, the way it always did when she saw Tyler asleep on the floor. Maybe one day she would be able to invite him into this bed. Quietly, she dressed and grabbed her running shoes. If she couldn’t sleep, she may as well get something accomplished.

Making her way to the kitchen of the clubhouse, she smiled and waved at those who had come to know her in the weeks she’d been staying here. It was easy to pretend with these people that nothing really had happened to her. She’d taken a leave of absence from her job and moved all her belongings into storage. Meredith had known without a doubt that she could never go back to the life that she had lived before. Any of it. Now her time was broken into two points – before the rape and after the rape.

“Going for a run?” Liam asked as he spotted her running shoes.

“Yeah, is Denise up yet?”

The look that overtook his face when she mentioned his woman made Meredith sad. At one time that was what she wanted, and she wasn’t sure she’d ever get back there again.

“Sure is, she was on her way up here. Just text her. I know she’d love to run with you.”

It went without saying that Meredith didn’t like to run by herself, and Denise usually went along whether she wanted to or not. Meredith was beginning to understand that it was a sign of a real friendship.

“Will you let Tyler know where I am?” she asked, grabbing a couple bottles of water.

“I will, but you and I both know that he always knows where you are.”

Not long after her attack, Tyler had installed a special tracking program on her phone. Before, it would have freaked her out. Now though, it made her feel safe.

“See ya,” she called to the VP as she made her way out the back door.

Stepping out into the sunlight, she looked up. It was coming upon mid-October in south central Kentucky and it should have been at least a little bit chilly, but they were in the grips of an Indian summer. For reasons she couldn’t understand, Meredith was glad. She wasn’t sure she could face a winter being cooped up right now. Being outside in this protected place was the only way she felt safe. The only time she felt alive other than when she wrote.

Writing had become her solace. She wrote something every day. The therapist had suggested it, and she had been amazed at how much she enjoyed it. Although she’d been a reporter, she’d never really been a writer. She loved it even more than the news.

“You ready, girlfriend?”

Meredith smiled, the first genuine one she’d had all day, as she spotted Denise walking towards her, pulling her hair into a ponytail.

“I don’t know why you do that. You always end up taking it down because it gives you a headache.”

Denise grinned. “Makes me feel like I’m a real athlete.”

A laugh bubbled up from deep within Meredith, and she put her hand over her mouth to cover it up.

“Don’t,” Denise admonished. “It’s good to hear you laugh.”

It went without saying between the two of them that Meredith hadn’t had much to laugh about for a while.

“It feels good to laugh,” she admitted softly.

The moment got a little heavy, and Denise did what she’d gotten best at with the other woman, turned the attention away from her.

“So how far are we going to go today? Are you going to give me a heart attack or just an irregular heartbeat?” she joked.

Meredith knew just how much Denise hated exercise, and that said a lot about the person that Denise was. That she came out here everyday, huffing and puffing her way through whatever run Meredith mapped out for them.

“Maybe just an irregular heartbeat. I don’t wanna kill ya just yet.”

“Thank God for small favors.”

With that, the two took off, jogging slowly, but Denise groaned because she knew that soon they would really start running, and that just plain sucked.

“Meredith go for a run?”

It unnerved Liam how quiet