Status: Active

Dear God

Chapter 09

***2nd UPDATE OF THE NIGHT! Make sure you read Chapter 8!***

Des Moines, Iowa. Last time I was there, I had opened my mouth and asked Caroline to move to California. I had promised her that I wouldn’t push her in her decision, but I knew things were going to start picking up for the band and there wasn’t going to be much free time for me to make trips out to visit as frequently as I would like to. I didn’t want things to get strained between the two of us before they even really got started.

We have been in almost constant contact with each other, talking about the kids, the band, her work and every time we hung up I missed her so much. Hanging up after FaceTime calls were the worst and made miss her even more. Especially if she was feeling a little confident and wore some risqué clothing. Those calls made me hate the fact that she lived so far away.

When I finally had some free time, I hopped on a plane to surprise Caroline and was disappointed to learn that she was scheduled to work. At first I was really bummed and a little peeved, but then I got to spend some more one on one time with Lilly. And that is how I found myself sitting in the middle of Caroline’s little living room, playing princesses with the five year old.

“Are you sure you don’t mind watching her, Matt? I can take her to the diner with me if you want to get out and explore what little there is around here.” Caroline said, breezing into the room as she fixed her hair. Watching her made me wonder why I waited as long as I did to see her again. Why I never sucked it up and made contact with her after she left the first time. Made me wonder how I survived the time we did spend apart.

“Not at all, Care. It will give Lilly-Pad and I a chance to spend some time together.” I winked at the little girl before turning my gaze to the older woman.

“Alright” She huffed. “Lilly, you need to listen to Matt, okay? He will tuck you in tonight since I won’t be home.”

Lilly looked up from the doll she was playing with, her eyes lit with excitement. “You’ll sing to me right?”

I chuckled and smiled at the young girl. “Of course I will, but you have to eat all your veggies tonight.”

“Speaking of, the roast is in the oven. It’ll be done in an hour.” Caroline kissed Lilly’s forehead before throwing a wink in my direction. “See you guys later” She called with a wave and was out the door.

Lilly and I continued to play with her dolls while she asked me questions about Carly, whom she missed a great deal. The two of them had formed a quick bond that was heart breaking to break when the time came for us to leave.

“So Lilly, do you think you and Carrie would like to visit California?” I asked the little girl, wondering what her feelings were on moving. If Lilly was okay with it, maybe Caroline wouldn’t have such a tough time with her decision.

“Where’s that?” She asked, her head cocked to the side.

“It’s where I live with Carly and Jesse. It’s where your uncle Brian and Michelle live.”

Her eyes grew to the size of saucers. “You no live here?”

I chuckled, oh to have the mind of a child again where everything was so simple and small. I shook my head and answered her. “No, sweetie, I’m just here visiting. Do you think you’d like to visit where I’m from?”

“And your doggie?!”

I laughed. Ever since Carly mentioned Bella and Shadow, Lilly was obsessed with dogs. Jesse had to make it worse and mention Pinkly, Icky, Majesty, and even Dan’s husky, Nala. Ever since then she’s been bugging Caroline for a dog, something Caroline wasn’t thrilled about but I found hilarious.

“Yes, you’d get to see the doggies. And you’d get to play with Carly again.”

Before Lilly could answer me, my phone rang. When I saw that it was my lawyer I sent Lilly to her room before answering.


“I’m sorry to be calling so late, but this is something that you need to be made aware of. Melony waived her parental rights. The papers just came through to my office.”

“Fucking bitch!” I seether. “Where are the kids now?”

There was a long paused before Jason answered. “CPS picked them up…she left them alone.”

I saw red. “She did what!?” I was aware that I was yelling but nothing could calm me down right now. My children were left by their mother and I wasn’t there for them. “She fucking left them? For how long? No, don’t answer that. What do I need to do?” I asked as I opened Caroline’s laptop and began searching for flights home. This was so out of the blue. One of the reasons I was able to visit Caroline was because Melony had asked for the kids because she was taking them to her parents for a family reunion of sorts. How did it go from “my parents miss them” to “I’m going to leave them alone”?

“Neighbors said that she was picked up around noon and when they realized you weren’t coming to get them, they went over to the house. Apparently, Jesse answered the door crying and saying that Carly needed to be changed and that he couldn’t do it. It sounds like she left while they were napping.”

“Mother fucker, I want a restraining order. She’s not coming near my kids again.”

Jason hummed in agreement. “I figured you would say that and I’ve already had Jessica start drawing up the papers. They’ll be ready for you to sign in the morning.” Jason sighed. “Matt, I know you’re visiting someone right now, but you need to get home to your kids.”

“I know, I’m trying. I can’t find any fucking flights. I don’t want them to spend the night in the system. Brian is Jesse’s godfather; can he pick them up and keep them until I get there?”

“What about Carly?”

I stopped my search for a minute. “What do you mean? Can’t Brian get her too? Zack is Carly’s godfather, but he and April just left on a second honeymoon and is out of cell range.” I was starting to lose it. “Please Jason, can’t you pull some strings? Just for tonight can’t Brian take her? I don’t want them separated, they’ve already been through enough. I’m trying my hardest to get home.”

Jason sighed. “I will see what I can do. Since it’s going to be less than twenty-four hours CPS might allow this. I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, call Larry and fill him in and get your ass back to California". He said before hanging up.

“Fuck!” I growled, restraining myself from throwing my phone against the wall. I ran my hands down my face and groaned.

“Matty…?” A timid voice called from the hallway.

I turned around and there stood Lilly, her lip quivering. “Baby girl, it’s okay. Come here.” I waved her over and picked her up when she got close enough. “I’m sorry if I scared you.”
She placed her tiny hand on my cheek and gave it a little pat. Tears burned my eyes as I saw my own little girl doing the same thing to me. I grabbed her hand and placed a small kiss on her palm. “I’m okay, I’m just mad at someone.” I kissed her cheek before setting her down. “What movie do you want to watch while we eat?”

I knew Caroline would have my head for allowing Lilly to watch a movie while she ate, but I needed her to be distracted while I made the rest of my phone calls. I could deal with an angry Caroline if it meant getting my kids into the arms of someone they knew. Once the movie was in and Lilly was settled on the floor, I went into the kitchen to call Larry.

“Larry Jacobson”

“Larry it’s Matt Sanders. I have a situation that you need to be made aware of.”

Larry sighed. “Who’s in jail this time?”

“No jail...this time.” I smirked. Yeah, we got ourselves into some situations over the years. “Melony waived her parental rights and did it in a dramatic and infuriating fashion.” I launched into what my wonderful ex-wife did all while trying to control my anger.

Larry whistled when I was finished. “Okay, so the restraining order is a must. The most important thing is, are the kids okay?”

“From what I hear they’re fine, just scared. I’m waiting to hear back from Jason about having Brian pick them up and keep them until I’m home. There is a possibility they won’t let him take Carly because he isn’t her guardian, Zack is, and he is away. I’m not calling Racheal because she’s just as flaky as her sister.” I sighed. “I also can’t get a flight home tonight.”

“I’m already on the flight. The charter should be at the airport by midnight.”

I could kiss that man! “Thank you, Larry, you’re a god send. I will keep you in the loop but right now I need to call Brian.”

“I’ll get in touch with Jason. You just worry about getting home to your kids. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you, Matt.”

“Thanks Larry, I will.”

After hanging up with Larry, I checked on Lilly before dialing Brian’s number. As soon as he picked up, I launched into the situation. This time I let my emotions show because I didn’t have to be rational or professional. Brian loved my kids just as much as I did, and I knew he’d do anything and everything he could for them.

“I need you to get them, please.” I begged, tears evident in my voice. “You can take them to the house if you need to, you have a key. Just please bring my babies home.”

“Try and relax Matt, Chelle and I are already out the door. We will bring them back to our place. They’ll be okay.”

“I just can’t believe she left them.” My voice cracked.

“She’s a crazy bitch, Matt.” Michelle said, with no malice in her voice. “April and I kept telling you.” She sing songed, clearly trying to ease the tension of the situation.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. The girls of our group were not shy about their feelings towards Melony since the day I brought her back on the bus at one of our stops. “I know, I know. I just never thought she would leave her kids.”

“Well you don’t have to worry about her anymore. We will text you when we have the kids.” Michelle said gently.

“Thank you. Both of you.”

After I hung up with the Haners, I cleaned up the dishes from dinner and joined Lilly on the couch. She was quick to snuggle up to me and I was quite okay with it. I absentmindedly rubbed her back as she curled up on my chest, making me miss Carly. As much as I loved coming to visit the Harper sisters, I missed my little girl.

Thinking of Carly and Jesse made the anger and guilt come slamming back and I sat there fumed as I thought about what Melony did to my kids. If I was home, this never would have happened, I would have been there to pick them up and protect them. Thinking of the what ifs lead to me thinking about all the things I missed in their lives because of my career. Melony refused to join us on tours and flat out rejected any ideas of the kids coming with Michelle and the rest of the girls. I knew that when I got home and got this situation under control I was going to talk to the guys about an unofficial hiatus. I needed to focus time on my family. Even if that meant spending even less time with Caroline.

I knew I couldn’t keep bugging Caroline about moving back to California, but now more than ever I needed to know. I needed to know if she was willing to make the move and be closer to me. I needed her closer to me now more than ever, but I couldn’t make her move.

The soft snores drifting from my chest caused me to smile. There was nothing like the innocence of a child to brighten even the crappiest of days and make everything just a little bit brighter. I shifted my position so that I was laying down and Lilly was flat on my chest. I continued to rub her back as I watched the movie still playing on the screen. I didn’t want to leave the little girl and her big sister, but my kids needed me. I just hoped I was going to see them again. I sighed and tried to ignore the slight ache in my chest as I slowly drifted to sleep.

The next thing I knew, I felt Lilly’s weight disappearing, causing me to jump awake and try to catch the little girl. I was met with a light chuckled and Caroline’s soft voice.

“Easy there, Papa Bear. It’s just me.” She chuckled softly. “I’m going to put her to bed.”

I sat up slowly, trying to wake up. “When you get her down, I need to talk to you.” I said, sleep still evident in my voice.

Hesitantly, Caroline nodded before walking down the hallway. I groaned as I noticed that my neck was stiff from laying on the couch. I stretched myself out before checking my phone. I noticed that Brian had texted me telling me that he and Michelle were with the kids and that they would stay with them for as long as needed. I quickly sent him my thanks and ran a hand over my head and down my face with a large sigh.

“That was deep.” A soft voice called from the kitchen. I turned and watched as she grabbed two beers and joined me in the living room. “What’s going on, Matt?” Caroline put her hand on my arm and rested her chin on her hand. Clearly she knew it was something big. I could see the confusion and worry in her eyes and it gutted me that she even had to worry about something.

“I have to go back to California…”

Shocked, she pulled away. “What? Why? You just got here yesterday. We’ve barely spent any time to…gether. Matt, are you breaking up with me? Can you not handle the distance? Because I’m trying my hardest with this, I’m still getting back into the swing of things.” Tears filled her eyes as she looked away from me.

“What? No, Carrie, no.” I grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze. “I’m not breaking up with you, baby. I know you’ve been trying with everything and it shows.” I leaned forward and placed a kiss on the side of her head. “I love you, Caroline. I have no intention of leaving you any time soon.” I shook my head, kissing her again. “No, I need to go home because something came up with the kids.”

“What’s wrong? Are they okay? What happened?”

I couldn’t help but smile at her concern for my kids, showing me that bringing her back into my life was a great decision. “Melony waived her parental rights.” I growled.

“She did what?!” Carrie yelled, jumping off the couch. “That bitch! How dare she?! Those are her children!” She looked over at me. “You need to go back home, Matt.”

“I know and I am. But I need you to come with me.”

I stared in awe as Caroline shot off the couch. “Say no more, Matt. Can you give me like fifteen minutes to get things together for Lilly and I?” Wordlessly, I nodded and watched her take off down the hallway. She stopped before she got to Lilly’s door and turned to me. “Can you get Lilly’s bag while I get her clothes together? Let’s let her sleep as much as we can because I know once she knows she’s going to get to see Carly, she’s not going to go to sleep.” She chuckled, then sobered up. “Don’t worry, Matt. You’ll be home in no time and those sweet babies will be in your arms again.” I walked to where she was standing and kissed her deeply before getting the things together that she asked me too.

Twenty minutes later, Caroline and I had Lilly loaded up in the car and we were on our way to the airport. I tried to engage in conversation with Caroline, but I was far too distracted with making sure my kids were okay. Jason had called me and informed me that because Brian wasn't Carly legal guardian, they couldn't release her to him. I nearly lost it, but Caroline's reassuring hand on my arm or leg as she drove, kept me as calm as someone could be in this situation.

Just spoke with Jason. CPA won't released Carly to you and Chelle....I don't know what to do

I sent Brian a text as Caroline and I spoke about nothing in particular. I knew she was trying to distract me, and as much as I loved her for it, it wasn't working. I just wanted to get home to my kids. Just as I was nodding off, my phone rang with my FaceTime tone. When I opened it, I was created by my two, clearly upset, children.

"Daddy!" They both cried.

"Hi my little, bats." I smiled. "Are you being good for your Uncle Brian and Aunt Michelle?"

They both nodded and looked at their aunt and uncle with sad eyes. "Daddy, when are you coming home?" Jesse asked quietly.

"I'm on my way to the airport now, bud. A few more hours and I'll be there."

"But I want you here now." Carly cried, turning her face into Brian's chest.

I felt my own tears burning my eyes as I watched my kids cry. Michelle noticed the toll it was taking on all of us and took the kids to get a snack to help distract them.

"Brian..." I trailed off helplessly.

"We're going to stay here with them until you and Caroline....hi Care-bare" Brian wiggled his fingers at Carrie who laughed and waved at the phone as well. Brian turned his attention back to me. "Don't worry about them more than you already are. They're safe and they aren't alone anymore. Just get here as soon as you can."

"Brian, do you guys have anything of the kids' with you? A blanket or doll or something? It will help them a little right now." Caroline suggested, looking down at the phone before turning her attention back to the road.

"We don't, but I can send Chelle back to the house to get something for them."

Brian and I spoke a little more before we disconnected. I gave Caroline directions to the parking lot as we approached the airport. Once we got to the airport, I sent Caroline and Lilly to the plane while I spoke with the pilot. After everything was said and done with the pilot, I went to the plane and smiled when I saw Caroline sitting with a sleeping Lilly in her lap. She was humming "Dear God" as she rubbed the toddler's back. When Caroline noticed me standing there, she looked up in smiled.

"Come sit down, Matt. It's going to be a few hours before we're there. There isn't much you can do from the air. So take this time and relax." She said quietly.

Nodding, I took Lilly out of her arms and held her in my own. I looked over at the amazing girl next to me and kissed the top of her head. "Why don't you get some sleep to, sweetheart. I'll keep an eye on her."

"Matt, she's not an infant." She teased. "She'll sleep through anything. Get some sleep."

As the plane took off, Caroline rested her head on my shoulder and was soon fast asleep. I took the quiet time to think about what was going to happen once we got back to California.
♠ ♠ ♠
Update 2 of possibly 3 tonight!

Melony is a BITCH! And things only hit the fan from jere