Lifting his good arm to knock, the door opened before his knuckles made contact.
Agent Price had to be the most cold and indifferent woman he'd ever had the privilege of meeting. Not that it was a privilege so much as a misfortune. Dressed all in black except for the white shirt beneath the suit jacket, her apathetic expression remained steady.
"I see Doctor Baldwin took care of you, Mr. Carrington, and you're only twenty minutes late."
Jeremy snickered, but refrained from commenting as he stepped into the office and she shut the door behind him.
"Normally I would require more appropriate attire, but I'll make an exception." She looked down at his un-tucked shirt with blood splattered up one sleeve. "Have a seat."
Scowling, he sat down. He detested this woman. If they were anywhere but here, he would take her down a few notches.
She continued speaking as she walked around the desk and sat down. "I was surprised when I was told you called to make an appointment," she noted in a cool tone, "considering the outcome of our last meeting."
"My temper sometimes gets the best of me" he casually defended.
"And does that happen often?"
Jeremy took a deep breath. "On occasion."
"You don't appear too concerned," Jeremy observed, casting his eyes around the room. "Your sidekick not on staff today?"
Her dark eyes held his as she glanced down at his arm held secure in the sling.
She opened a file on her desk, and scanned it quickly.
"Why have you come here today, Mr. Carrington? You understand the law and must abide by it. What remains for us to discuss?"
This woman was like fingernails on a chalkboard, grating on his every nerve, but somehow he managed to stay calm, mashing his tongue between his back teeth until he tasted blood.
"I want a re-examination of my case."
"It isn't necessary. You have no blood tie to the child, do you?"
"No," Jeremy mouthed.
"But Mr. Mathews does, isn't that correct?"
"Were you bonded to Alana's mother, Elisa?" she continued to press.
A nerve began to pulse in the side of Jeremy's jaw.
"No," he growled.
"Was Mr. Mathews bonded to Elisa?"
She knew exactly what she was doing, pushing all of the right buttons in an attempt to push him over the edge and reveal just how quickly he could lose control.
"Yes," he muttered.
"The facts are straight forward, Mr. Carrington. The law will prevail."
"The facts are not straight forward," he snapped, "I'm the only father that little girl has ever known. I've raised her since her mother died. She is all I have left."
His raised voice and the fact he'd leaned forward menacingly in his chair didn't faze her.
"I'm not in the business of emotion, Mr. Carrington," she answered, "my job is to evaluate the facts and uphold Pack Law. Sympathy has no place in my line of work."
Jeremy leaned back in his chair, his eyes never leaving her face and a sneer on his tight-lipped mouth.
"I just want to know one thing."
"And that would be?" she inquired.
"Were you a bitch before you took this job, or did this position turn you into the bitch you are now?"
Okay, this picture literally makes me cringe...
What are you afraid of, and why?
It's important to understand the source of your fear.
Fear is learned, an impression from our own experiences, or possibly someone else's.
Here's an example.
I've been stung by wasps in the past; the big fire-red type that leave an inflamed and swollen welt as evidence they've been there.
They don't want you to forget they mean business.
It's an understatement to say I dislike wasps.
I loathe wasps.
Because I've experienced their angry wrath and understand without a doubt it hurts like hell, I've developed a justifiable fear of wasps. (Justifiable to me anyway)
Now, with that being said, my daughter has witnessed my flailing arms, unladylike curses, and less than graceful sprints across the yard often enough to understand these angry flying torpedoes from the netherworld cannot be trusted, and one should be terrified when in their midst.
To my knowledge she's never been stung, but because I instilled in her this fear from my own experiences, sadly, we now run like screaming crazy idiots together.
I fully understand the source of my fear - painful encounters with aforementioned offenders.
In my daughter's case, the source of HER fear is MY fear.
And I truly hate that.
On the other hand, I'm not afraid of snakes.
While many people would walk on water if a snake slithered up beside them, the two of us have caught many just to have a look and then set them free to go on their sneaky snakey little way.
Had I been a panicked sweaty mess around the slender legless creatures, my guess is, she would be as well. But because I haven't ingrained that fear in her, she has no reason to be alarmed in their presence.
The point this story was supposed to reveal is that sometimes we are afraid of things not because of our own experiences, but because of deep-rooted fears belonging to someone else.
Although fear isn't always a physical threat to one's body, mental fear is just as terrifying and can manifest into physical distress just the same. Fear of public speaking, fear of confrontation, fear of what other people will think, ect.
Whether mental or physical, can you identify the source of your fear?
Is it YOUR fear, or the powerful influence of another person's thoughts or actions you've witnessed in the past?
(What could happen, what might happen - according to Billy Bob)
Don't lose yourself in the fear of others or let fear paralyze you to the point you miss out on a great opportunity.
Don't judge a situation based on another person's experience and always, always search for the source of your fear.
Once you find it, you might discover the fear you've been allowing to feed you isn't even your own.
He heard the man's voice at the same time the weapon rammed into his ribs. The hot pain shot through Jeremy's body, every muscle bunching into tight, throbbing knots. Falling to his hands and knees, the device was withdrawn, leaving his muscles to continue with uncontrollable spasms.
Jeremy fought against the effects of the electric current rushing through his body. As hard as he tried, he couldn't lift his head to look up, only down at the floor where he could see their feet- her pointy-toed heels and his black suede loafers.
"Be advised that any action you may take in an attempt to rectify this situation will be considered a direct violation of Pack Law and punishable to the fullest extent of the DPLA's capabilities."
Jason tossed a card on the floor next to him; it landed face down, the shiny white material contrasting sharply against the dark hardwood. "Our contact information," he spat, "if you should discover you need it for any reason."
Their shoes left his line of vision and he heard the footsteps crossing the foyer and the finality of the latch on the front door.
In both physical pain and mental anguish, he remained on his hands and knees, staring down at the interweaving pattern of the dark and light shades of wood grain in the floor planks. He couldn't understand what was happening, or why Shane would do this to him.
I'm not sure when I realized it.
It might've been a cold day in January as I gazed out the window across the snow covered field, sipping a cup of hot coffee and thankful to be inside where it was warm. It could've been on a sultry day in July while I mowed grass, sweat trickling down the middle of my back as Breaking Benjamin crooned 'Dear Agony' through my earphones.
I can't be certain when the realization hit me, or why it did at whatever moment it decided to.
It was the sudden rush of awareness that life is much easier and less complicated when you give up on trying to understand people, change people, or make other people's problems your own. I will never understand what goes on in someone's mind, or why they do the things they do, and truthfully, I'm thankful for the revelation.
I once spent quite a bit of time delving into the intriguing dark places in others, trying to figure out what made someone tick and what might be done to 'fix' them. But all along, I could never 'fix' any of them. I discovered it wasn't my place, and I found people don't want to be fixed.
Who am I to decide who needs fixed anyway?
Maybe it's me who needs 'fixing'.
I discovered a huge weight lifted when I decided I would no longer question or ponder the actions of others unless their activities directly affected me in some way.
I would also be willing to bet money that many people often wonder what kind of craziness goes on in my head as well, but no one seems to be asking.
Scared of what they might find, I'm guessing.
I found I expected way too much without stopping to realize not everyone is the same as me. Someone else may take an entirely different route than what I could imagine taking in the same situation.
People are only people...no more, no less. Don't expect too much.
And just the same as me, you'll find by letting everyone else's issues go, you'll have less complications in your life, and a sense of relief - as well as peace.
Learn to take people at face value; sometimes it's the only value they're supposed to have in your life.
Oh Jeremy...what a life you've been dealt.
I sometimes feel terrible for the things you are forced to face, overcome, or accept.
It's almost as if I'm not aware of your violent history.
But I AM aware, and it is what makes you unique.
Experienced to the highest of extremes, your emotions make you a killer, but your aren't beyond feeling love. You discovered something extraordinary in Elisa, and then she was tragically stolen from you. You will never be the same again, and would have given up if not for the child.
You exist now only for her... she is your world.
Already enraged by earlier events, he grasped the soft flesh of her upper arms with both hands, yanking her roughly against him. She swallowed with difficulty, the movement of her throat producing a nervously loud gulping noise.
He whispered through clenched teeth against her ear.
"I'll make you sorry you came here," he muttered.
Jeremy smelled fear. He felt it radiating and seeping into his own skin where their skin meshed together. The scent stimulating every sense, it quickened his pulse and teased him. As the roar of blood coursed through his veins, his fingers bit deeper into her arms, her skin blanching white from the pressure.
He could hear the escalated beat of her heart and rapid intake of breath, but she remained motionless. Even though the tension of her body testified to the fact she wanted nothing more than to bolt, she didn't flinch. He was beyond furious and his body screamed for any outlet to release his anger. Had she struggled, he may not have been able to control the impulse to snap her neck.
"Please," she pleaded softly.
His face softened slightly at the high-pitched tone of her voice. Jeremy wouldn't hurt her, even as much as he wanted to hurt someone...anyone, she wasn't the source of his rage. As he pulled away, his mouth brushed her cheek unintentionally, the surprising heat tingled across his lips. Startled by the distantly familiar stirring it caused, he took a step backward. His face no longer portrayed anger, but instead a shadow of anguish that moved through his gray eyes and quickly disappeared; an expression so slight she would never realize anything happened at all.
But he knew.
"But," he grinned, "All is as it should be." He touched my face tenderly with the tips of his fingers.
Even then, I knew he didn't really mean it. Deep inside, I realized he would give up everything to have her back. I was young, but not oblivious. Just today, although he laughed as we played together, I saw his eyes travel towards the grassy slope and linger on the solitary tree where the monument stood camouflaged in its shade. For a few moments, he would lose himself to random memories, and a dark shadow would pass over his face. I never interrupted his silence. I knew he needed those few precious seconds to be with her.