Romance Fiction posted March 14, 2012 Chapters:  ...55 56 -57- 58... 

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A chapter in the book Lonely Hearts Meet

part four, chapter 17

by barbara.wilkey

Anna is a young mother striving to find a way out of an abusive marriage. She meets a stranger, Troy. Troy fights his own demons. Can they help each other find love, or are their struggles too much?
Last paragraph of previous post:

Anna stopped and took a deep breath. "Troy, I'm staying here. I'm done running. Sam can move inside the lobby if he wants, but I have a job I need to keep and a son to raise."


Today's post:

Troy rubbed the back of his neck. "I see the petals on the Indian Blanket have turned bright red. My Indian princess has discovered her strength." He took out his cell phone. "I'm going to ask Sam to move closer. I hope you don't mind."

"As long as I can continue working, Sam can be wherever he wants." Anna sat at her desk and watched Troy as he spoke with Sam. She smiled. I wonder if anybody else thinks it's strange a homeless disabled vet would have a cell phone.

"I'll stay until Sam changes. He's going to hang around your office." Troy put his phone away. "I hope you don't mind company and have plenty of coffee. Sam likes his coffee." He plopped down in a chair.

Anna opened a file. "I don't mind. I'm sure you'll find what I do boring. The coffee machine is by Ginger's desk."

With a grin across his lips, Troy said, "I get to watch you work. I won't be bored."

"Now who's being incorrigible?" She glanced up from her file and smiled.

It wasn't long before Sam called Troy and had him meet him in the lobby. As the men stood in Anna's doorway, Sam took a sip of coffee and looked at Troy. "You can get to your paying job."

Troy glanced at his watch. "I guess I'd better." He grinned. "It helps when you're the boss."

Anna stood when Troy stepped behind the desk and accepted his hug.

"Try not to cause too much trouble. I'll see you around seven."

Anna stepped back and her eyes met his. "Thank you for everything." She stretched up and kissed his cheek.

Troy cleared his throat. "I'd better get going. Sam, keep me posted."

After Troy left, Sam moved the chair Troy had occupied. "I hope you don't mind, but I need a direct view of the hallway.

"Not a problem. We rarely get visitors." She glanced at her watch. "Mr. Keller, my boss, should return soon."

Anna removed the ringing cell phone from her purse. She glanced at the display. "That's strange. It's Michael's daycare. I hope he's not sick." After she said hello, she listened then said, "Thank you for calling me and not releasing Michael. He doesn't have any uncles. I'm on my way." Anna hung up and rubbed her trembling arms. "Sam, somebody claiming to be a relative tried to pick up my baby. I'm calling Mr. Keller, then I'm going to get my son and take him home."

Mr. Keller's voice was heard in the lobby, before his footsteps were heard in the hall. He stood in the doorway. "Thank you for the adjustments you made to the ad. They loved it, bought it, and want more." He paused. "Anna, what's wrong?"

She introduced Sam and then told him about the daycare calling.

"Take as much time as you need. I understand." Mr. Keller set the portfolio down.

"I think Betty Sorenson will watch Michael, so I should be able to come to work tomorrow. He'll be safe there." She grabbed her purse and briefcase, before she turned toward Sam. "I'm ready." Then she glanced back at Mr. Keller. "Thank you."

Sam put his hand in the small of her back. "While you were speaking with your boss, I spoke with Everett. He's checking with the man stationed outside the daycare." On the sidewalk, Sam shielded his eyes as he scanned the area. "I think I should drive you home. Too many things have happened."

"I doubt that's necessary. Besides, I don't want to leave my car in the parking garage overnight. That would cost me a fortune. I'll be safe with you behind me."

"I'm sure Mr. Sorenson or Mr. Whitman would help with the garage fees. Hell, I'll pay them."

"Thank you, but I'm trying to make it on my own. What could happen in the car? It's only about three miles to the daycare, then another five miles home. You'll be right behind me. I'll be fine."

Sam sighed. "Troy mentioned something about you being obstinate. With what just happened, I doubt you're in any shape to drive, but we'll do it your way. I want to go on record stating I'm in complete disagreement. Tomorrow, I'm driving you to work and won't take no for an answer."

After Sam wrote down a description of the man who tried to pick up Michael, Anna signed out her son. Sam stood behind her as she fastened the child in his car seat.

As Anna fastened her safety belt, Sam watched. "Don't leave the parking lot until I give you a signal." He scanned the street. "There's not a lot of traffic. We shouldn't have any problems staying together."

Anna saw Sam motioning from his car for her to head toward home. She released a deep breath before turning on the engine. Slowly, she backed from the parking space and pulled onto the street, then checked her rear view mirror, making sure Sam followed. When she saw him, she felt the tension leave her shoulders. She glanced back at Michael. "Everything will be all right, sweetheart." I hope I'm right.

At the third stoplight, a car pulled in front of Sam and forced him to slow to a crawl.

"Now, what do I do? Should I pull over and let Sam catch up?" Anna put her foot on the brake and slowed down. Within moments her cell phone rang. When she answered, she heard Sam say, "Anna, don't stop. Go straight home and lock your door. I'll be along shortly. I'll call when I get to your door. Don't unlock it for anybody else. Do you understand?"

"Yes." Anna hung up and pressed the gas pedal. She glanced in her rear view mirror and saw the white pickup pull alongside Sam's black car and cross into Sam's lane. This can't be good. Slim's way too close to Sam. She kept her eyes on the road, but used her rear view mirror to check on Sam at every opportunity.

Anna glanced in her right side mirror and saw Sam's car crash into a tree. She screamed, "No!"

Anna pulled off the road and dialed 911.

Should I see if I can help Sam or go to Paul's? Michael and I'll be safe there. Anna breathed deeply and wiped the tears rolling down her cheeks with the back of her hand. Sam said go home and lock the door. That's what I'll do. She glanced into the back seat at Michael and said, "I love you," before she pulled onto the road and continued home.

As Anna pulled into her parking space, she studied the area, making sure she saw nothing suspicious. I guess we're safe. The only person I see is the teenager walking his large dogs. She turned toward Michael. "Good, you're not eating graham crackers." She put her purse strap over her shoulder. We need to get inside the house as fast as we can.

After Anna shut the driver's door, she opened the backdoor and unfastened Michael's car seat. She held him and grabbed the diaper bag and briefcase, locked the door, shutting it with her hip. Anna rushed to the door; her hands full with baby, diaper bag, briefcase, and purse. She set the diaper bag and briefcase down to get the keys from her purse. Why didn't I keep hold of them? Finally, she set Michael on the sidewalk between her legs. "Don't move. I'll get the door open." She searched her purse for her keys. "Here they are."

Anna slightly opened the door, then turned to pick up Michael, who had crawled about a foot way. A man rushed behind her and pushed her inside, slamming and locking the door.

Anna rushed to the door and tried to unlock it. "My baby! He's in danger. He's only ten months old. He's crying for me."

The man's hand struck her left cheek knocking her down. "Your brat'll be fine."


Thank you, Brian, my husband, for allowing me to use his artwork to show the struggles Anna has breaking the chains of abuse. The flower in the artword is an Indian Blanket. They grow wild in Texas. In a previous chapter Troy told Anna about an Indian Legend and at the beginning of this chapter he is making reference to that legend.
This post is part four of Chapter 17, a much longer chapter. It can not stand alone.

Thank you for reading and reviewing.

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