Romance Fiction posted March 18, 2012 Chapters:  ...56 57 -58- 59... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Danger lurks everywhere.

A chapter in the book Lonely Hearts Meet

part one, Chapter 18

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?

Paul glanced up from the newspaper. "Hi, Everett." He stood and offered his hand. "Betty, why didn't you tell me we had company? I didn't hear the doorbell."

"It didn't ring. I was outside getting the mail when Everett drove up."

Everett smiled at Betty. "It does my ol' heart good when I can trick Paul." He chuckled.

"You two old goats." Betty laughed. "I'll get some ice tea." She turned toward the kitchen. "Margaret and I just made a fresh pitcher."

Paul motioned for Everett to sit. "Is everything all right?"

Everett nodded his head toward the den. "I think we need to work on some strategies. The Rodgers family is getting too dangerous."

The two men walked into the den and shut the door. After they were seated, Everett began, "I think we have enough evidence on Ted Edwards and Billy Joe Stuart to have them arrested. They're getting bolder and Anna's in danger. I'm pretty sure Billy Joe has numerous parole violations."

"I agree. Neither of them is opposed to breaking the law."

"Excuse me a moment." Everett answered his ringing cell phone. "What? How did that happen?" He stared at Paul and shook his head. "Okay, thanks for the warning. I'll take it from here."

Paul rubbed the back of his neck. "My worst nightmare just came true, didn't it?"

"I'm afraid so."

Betty opened the door, carrying a tray with two filled glasses. Her glance flitted from man to man. "What's wrong?"

Paul removed his cell phone. "Anna may be in danger. I don't have time to go into details. Could you and Margaret use my office for your quilting?"

"Of course. Is there anything we can do?"

"No, just make sure all the doors and windows are locked. After Everett and I leave, turn on the alarm. I want the house to look empty. No matter what happens, don't open the door. I don't want to worry about you." He kissed her cheek. "You just need to worry about finishing that quilt for Michael."

He searched his phone for a number and pressed the key. There was no answer. He tried again, "Come on, pick up." Still no answer.

"Shit!" Everett shoved his phone in his pocket. "Sam's not answering either. Come on. I'll drive."

As the two men hurried from the house, Paul said, "Turn on the house alarm."

Troy answered his ringing phone. "Hi, Dad." He listened for a few moments, then said, "I'm leaving now." He slammed the phone down on his desk. "Damn!" On his way out, he grabbed his motorcycle helmet. "Nancy, I don't know when I'll be back. Cancel my afternoon conference call and lock up when you leave."

Troy climbed on his Harley Davidson and repeatedly attempted to kick start it. It always starts on the first kick, unless I'm in a hurry. The engine roared. "Finally!"

On the street, Troy's bike roared past the cars in the right lane. He stopped at a red light. "Come on!" He hit his handle bars. "Green." He revved the engine and took off.

Troy glanced in his rear view mirror and watched a truck speeding closer behind him, until it was very close. Strange.

It went into the right lane and pulled up alongside him. A 1976 Chevy c10. I bet it has a 454 under the hood. Troy opened the throttle and sped ahead of the truck.

Soon the truck pulled over into his lane and followed him, from a distance. This guy's looking for trouble. He's following me. Now what?

Troy pulled into a gas station convenience store. He parked, walked inside, and called his dad. "I'm being followed." He listened, then answered, "Yes, it's a dark blue Chevy pickup, around 1976; license number TX RD NCK 1. I'll wait for your call." While he waited, he bought a soda and stared at the truck through the window.

A few minutes later, Troy answered his cell. "Dad, what'd you find out?" He listened. "So the truck is registered to Ted Edwards. How's Anna? Is Sam with her?" He threw the soda can in the trash. "Is Sam all right? If he's on his way to the hospital, then Anna's by herself. How close are you to her apartment?" He listened again. "Gated communities do have downfalls. You can't always get in. I'll be there in about 10 minutes. 'Bye."

Unable to get through the gate, Paul and Everett parked and walked toward Anna's apartment. Paul counted six police cruisers. When he recognized Michael's cry, he jogged toward the cry until he saw a police officer holding the child. "Sir, I'm his grandpa. Can I hold him?"

Michael put his arms out toward Paul. "Giga."

"It's obvious he knows you. Maybe you can calm him." Yhe officer handed the child over.

The baby cuddled into the familiar chest but continued whimpering.

"How come Michael's not in the apartment with his mom, and who called you?"

The officer pointed to the teenager with the large dogs. "That boy saw a man shove a woman inside and slam the door. The child was left on the outside. When he went to pick him up, he heard the lady screaming and a lamp or something breaking. He heard a man scream obscenities. Do you know who might be holding her hostage?"

"I'm guessing it's her former husband, Bobby Rodgers. He was just released from jail." Paul kissed the top of Michael's head. "Is there any way he could be escorted to my house? His grandma is there and he'll be safe. He doesn't need to be here."

"I'll check for you, sir. We don't normally transport children." The officer walked away.

When the officer returned, he said, "A social worker is bringing her car and a car seat. She'll drive him to your place. These two officers will escort them."

"I'll call my wife and let her know to expect them. When they get close to my house, can they run code? I've instructed my wife not to open the door for anybody." Paul wrote down the address and handed it to the officer.

"I understand."

When the social worker arrived, she took Michael, who immediately started crying.

Paul took him back. "Let me put him in the car seat." After Michael was safely inside the car, Paul called Betty.

He watched Michael leave, then walked closer to the apartment and heard Everett ask, "How long will it be before the negotiator gets here?" He put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "It's not good, is it?"

Everett shook his head as Paul closed his eyes and prayed.


Thank you, Brian, my husband, for allowing me to use his artwork to show the struggles Anna has breaking the chains of abuse.
This post is part one of Chapter 18, a much longer chapter. It can not stand alone. If you are just joining me, welcome, but you may be confused because this post begins with page 296 of much longer novel.

Thank you for reading and reviewing.

SAFE (stop abuse for everyone)

National Domestic Violence Hotline (800)799-7233
Each state has it's own hotline number.
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