Romance Fiction posted July 8, 2012 Chapters:  ...71 72 -73- 

This work has reached the exceptional level
The finale

A chapter in the book Lonely Hearts Meet

part two, Chapter 22

by barbara.wilkey

Anna's 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?
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After the family held hands and said prayer, Betty began passing the food.

Why does Daddy keep staring at Troy and me? Anna glanced around the dinner table, then took a bite of food. I wonder if anyone else notices. After she watched him do it a few more times, her eyes met his. "Why do you keep looking at Troy and me?"

"It seems you two are pretty fond of each other. I was wondering if he knows you in the Biblical sense. It seems here in the big city Anna has forgotten her upbringing."

"Daddy?" Anna's eyes widened and her face flushed crimson.


"Abner!" Louise set down her fork.

Troy glared at Anna's father. "Sir, I resent the implications."

"I haven't heard either of you deny it." Abner slammed his napkin on the table. "Louise, we're leaving. I won't eat dinner with people who break commandments!"

"Louise, please stay seated. Mr. White, I'd like a word with you in private. Please come to my den." Paul dabbed his lips with a cloth napkin and shook his head when Troy stood to join them.

Abner's face turned crimson and veins popped on his neck. "I have nothing to say to you, sir. I have no desire to stay here for another minute. I know you have an unmarried couple living within a few yards of each other; probably sharing the same bedroom. I'm not blind. I can see how your son looks at Anna. My wife and I are leaving!" He glared at his daughter. "You'd be wise to come with us." He stood and walked from the table.

Paul followed. "You've made false accusations about my son and my client. You have slandered my home and the good name of my wife."

As Abner stood at the door, Paul said, "Neither your wife nor daughter are here. Let's try to settle this as gentlemen."

"There's nothing to settle."

"First you need to get your facts straight. Troy doesn't live or stay in this house. He has an apartment across town. Anna's here until she's finished healing. Because of the spleen surgery, she isn't supposed to lift Michael."

"You must think I'm an idiot. I've seen the way Mr. Whitman looks at my daughter."

"I won't deny Troy's in love with Anna. He's never said as much, but I think it's true. I'm sure he's never acted on it."

"How can you be sure? Have you spied on them?"

"I don't need to. I know my son."

"Dad, you don't need to defend me." Troy entered the hall. "I can stand up for myself." He faced Abner. "I have in no way disrespected your daughter. It wouldn't hurt to have more faith in Anna."

The three women followed Anna into the hall.

"Troy, please." Anna took a deep breath. "Daddy, I don't want to be disrespectful, but you're wrong. Paul was my lawyer. He and Betty have treated me like their own daughter. They found my apartment, they helped me with furniture, and now they're letting me heal in their home. But the most important thing they have taught me is how to make decisions."

"I don't believe you and Troy are brother and sister. I have eyes." Abner clenched his teeth.

"I'm not saying that." Is that all he got out of what I just said? "Troy understands how abuse affects women. When he was ten, his mother was murdered in front of him by her husband. He has done nothing except help me. If it wasn't for this wonderful family's help, I'd be dead. They don't deserve this."

Anna put her hands on her hips. "Troy has never even really kissed me. He's kissed my forehead and cheek, but nothing more. He's too much of a gentleman to compromise me." She glared into her father's eyes. "I know I can never be your little girl again, but I want to be your daughter. I need my daddy and Michael needs his grandpa. It's up to you. If you can't accept the truth, I'm sorry. You can leave if you want, but I'm staying. I'll be moving in with Margaret. I'm sure we can work out an agreement on rent."

Louise stepped away from Betty and Margaret. "Abner, Anna's right. These are good God-fearing people."

"I've never been talked to like this."

Silence filled the air.

"Why don't we go back to the table? Dinner's getting cold." Betty turned toward the dining room.

Anna smiled when she saw Betty and Margaret give each other a 'thumbs up.' I did it. I stood up for myself. She sat at the table and waited to see who would join her. Will Daddy come?

Troy took his spot at the table and nodded at his mom and Aunt Margaret.

Everett came in from the back porch. "I think the storm's gone." He set Michael in the highchair.

"You don't know the irony of that statement." Troy grinned.

"I just call it like I see it." Everett chuckled. "Michael and I went outside to find a rainbow."

Louise walked in, bent down, and gave Michael a hug.

Time passed before Paul came in and sat down. "We need to restart this meal." He glanced toward the doorway and waited. No one came through the door. "I think we need to say the blessing again."

"Paul, do you mind if I say it this time?" Abner entered and stood behind his chair.

"I think that's a good idea." Paul nodded for the family to hold hands.

Abner bowed his head. "Dear God, we humbly come before you. Thank you for giving Anna this family to help her in her time of need. We wrongly shut the door, but you provided a window. Thank you for bringing us together under one roof and at one table. Please bless the food we are about to eat so it will nourish our bodies. Keep us on the right path. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, your son." He sat and stared at his plate.

A few moments passed before Abner stood and put his arms around his daughter. "You'll always be my little girl. I've made mistakes too. We'll work this out."

"I love you, Daddy."

"I love you too."

After dinner, the men went into the living room and discussed sports. Betty and Margaret started dishes. Louise and Anna took Michael for his bath.

While Michael was put to bed, Abner stood outside the door. When Anna walked from the bedroom, he said, "I was wrong when you asked to come home and I said no. That decision forced you to marry Bobby, didn't it?"

Tears welled in her eyes as she nodded.

"When he started beating you, why didn't you just show up at our door?"

"I was afraid too. I was afraid you'd turn me away and Bobby would find and kill me."

"I put you in a no-win situation. I'm sorry. Can you forgive your old dad?"

"I already have." She kissed her father's cheek.

"Abner, I have the checker board set up." Paul glanced toward them.

"I guess I'd better show them guys how real Checkers is played." He sat with Paul.

Anna went to the backyard and walked along the flowerbeds.

"I thought I'd find you here." Troy bent down, picked an Indian Blanket with mostly red petals, and handed it to her. "I knew you'd become my Indian Princess."

"You've always had confidence in me." Anna touched the petals, then pointed toward the flowers. "They're wilting."

"They'll be back next spring." Troy glanced at the bench. "Let's have a seat. We need to talk."

"It's wet. It rained."

Anna watched Troy jog to a shed, open it, and return with a towel.

"It's dry now." He grinned and tossed the damp towel in the corner of the bench. He took Anna's hand and led her to it. "Have a seat." He sat beside her.

A breeze blew the tree above them and water droplets fell. Anna giggled.

Troy took the towel and wiped a drop from her cheek. "This is becoming impossible."

"You'd better hurry. I'd say in less than ten minutes, no, less than five people will be out here." She put her finger across his lips. "Before you start, I want to apologize for my father."

"No reason to. I understand he's worried about his daughter." He grinned. "Do you think things will be better between you and him?"

"He apologized. I think we are headed in the right direction."

"Good." Their eyes met. "Anna, I love you." Then their lips met.

"I love you too, but ..." She paused.

"I hate that word. 'But' what?"

"I need time to heal. I want time to discover who I am and what I like. I've always just gone along. Remember when you asked me which restaurant I wanted to go to and I didn't have any idea? I'd never had a choice before."

"How long do you need?"

Anna chewed on her lower lip. "Maybe, a year. Is that too long?"

"It's completely up to you. I'll wait as long as you need."

"I'll see you, won't I?"

Troy grinned. "Just try to get rid of me. When you go back to work, I'll be there to take you to lunch every day."

When Anna and Troy heard laughter, they turned toward the house.

"We're being spied on." He shook his head.

"My parents or yours?"

"How about both and an Aunt Margaret?" He waved his hand motioning for them to come out. "We know you're there."

Betty, Louise, and Aunt Margaret walked out the door.

"So the men are innocent." Anna laughed.

"Aunt Margaret, what are you trying to hide behind your back?"

"I painted Anna a new picture. Do you want to see it, dear?" She held it out.

"Of course." Anna took the painting and unwrapped it. A tear rolled down her cheek. "Troy, look!" She tilted it so he could see.

"It's perfect. The Indian Blanket arch is beautiful."

"I couldn't decide if Troy or Anna should hold Michael. I finally decided Troy should."

"I like the way Troy's arm is around Anna." Betty pointed.

"It's a perfect family. When we were giving Michael a bath, Anna told me about the Indian Blanket legend." Louise touched her daughter's shoulder.

"Betty, do you have dessert?" Paul called from the back porch.

"I guess the men are hungry, again." She smiled as she walked toward the house. "Yes, I'm coming."

Margaret and Louise followed.

Anna held up the painting and stared at it. "We're going to be the perfect family, aren't we?"

"You'd better believe it." Troy took the artwork from Anna and pulled her into a one-armed embrace. Their ensuing kiss was soft and gentle. Neither hurried to end it.


Thank you, google images for allowing me the use of an Indian Blanket. I thought a deep red one would go well with this post.

This is my ending post. It CANNOT stand alone. If you are just joining me, welcome, but you may be confused because this post is part of a much longer novel.

Thank you for reading and reviewing this novel. I'm happy you stuck with me as I posted many short posts and it took forever to finish this novel. My energy level prohibited me for posting longer post. I have started a new novel, Savannah Love. I hope you follow this one. I'm stretching out in new territory with this novel. I have a feeling I am going to need some help.

SAFE (stop abuse for everyone)

National Domestic Violence Hotline (800)799-7233
Each state has it's own hotline number.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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