- Chapter 26 Aby barbara.wilkey
This work has reached the exceptional level
Emma gets another car.
Guided by Faith
: Chapter 26 A by barbara.wilkey

Depend on God in every part of your life, and He will guide, protect, and comfort you. Will God guide Emma's life? If He does, will she listen?

Seth and Emma met 26 days ago.


Seth crawled out of bed when Ace notified him somebody had pulled into the driveway. As he went to the door, he grinned at Emma asleep on the couch. When Carl was inside, they both studied her.

Carl asked, "Chief, what do we do?"

Grabbing a blanket, Seth said, "Help me cover her. She'll be upset in the morning but let her sleep." He grinned. "She's upset with me most of the time anyway."

As Carl headed toward the door, he said, "I take it you've worked things out."

"We did. We're good. Thank you for asking. I'll call for a ride to work. You'll be bringing Emma too."

"I figured." Carl left.


Chapter 26 A

When Seth entered the living room, Wednesday morning Emma was still asleep. She must've been dead tired. She probably didn't sleep well Monday night.

Coffee aroma filled the air and caused Emma to slowly wake up. "Is that coffee?"

"It is sleepy head." Seth got up from the table. "I'll pour you a cup."

She stood. "I can get my own."

"Just because I have a bad arm doesn't mean I'm an invalid."

"I didn't mean that. I meant I'm not helpless."

Seth handed her the cup. "Sorry, my frustration has only improved slightly."

Emma smiled. "I see." She glanced around. "Last night I thought Carl was coming to take me home."

"He did, but you fell asleep, and we decided to leave you alone. You were especially cute all curled up on the couch."

A light shade of pink grazed her cheeks as she sipped coffee. "I'll finish this, then go home and get ready for work."

"Can you wait a few minutes? I might need your help. After I'm finished, I'll send Ace with you and watch from here. I need to know you're safe."

"That guy can't bother me anymore."

"We're not one hundred percent positive he's the only person. We're still investigating. I prefer not to take any chances." Seth turned toward his room. "It'll only take a few minutes."

While he got ready, Emma started breakfast. She glanced up when she heard footsteps. "What's wrong?" she asked, studying his face.

He held up a hanger holding his uniform shirt. "With one arm there's no way I can tuck in this."

"Don't get any ideas." Emma's hands firmly on her hips. "I won't do that, and there's no way you're convincing me to."

"Calm down. I'd never expected or asked you to." He glanced around her. "Is that breakfast?"

"It is. Hungry?"


As they finished eating, Emma said, "I might have an idea. When I was in college the ROTC students had a dress uniform and another one that wasn't as formal. Do police departments have something like that? You could wear that until you have use of your arm. You'd be in a sort of a uniform."

"Good idea." Seth went into his room and brought out some black slacks and a T-shirt with Beaverton Police Department written on it. "This will have to work. I have two sets. Thursday evening I'll do laundry. Since Monday's a holiday, I'm hoping Friday I can lose the sling."

Seth returned to the bedroom and finished getting ready.

Before Emma started the dishes, she saw Seth's billfold, keys, and the friendship bracelet on the corner of the counter. She touched the bracelet. He kept it. Why?

As she finished in the kitchen, she heard colorful language coming from the bedroom. "Is there anything I can do?"

Carrying a wadded-up T-shirt, Seth, with jaw set, said, "I'm struggling with the shirt again."

Emma attempted to hide her smile as she took it from him. "I'll help. If I'm careful, can I remove the sling and gently pull the sleeve up your arm? It'll be more comfortable than having your arm under it."

Seth studied his arm. "We can try. The shoulder needs to remain immobile, but if you're careful, it might work."

"I can be very gentle."

He shook his head. "I bet you can."

After Seth sat, Emma unfastened the sling, removed it, and held up his T-shirt. "I'll put your left arm in first, and then pull it over your head. If that doesn't work, I'll stop."

Emma carefully slipped the sleeve up his arm, repeatedly asking if everything was okay.

Seth put his finger over her lips. "I'm fine. Quit worrying. If something's wrong, I'll tell you. You don't need to check every second."


"There's nothing to be sorry about."

When she got the sleeve to his armpit, she said, "Now I'll try to stretch it enough to pull it over your head without moving your shoulder."

Standing in front of him, she straddled his leg and moved closer as she attempted to stretch the T-shirt over his head.

"Emma, rethink your position."

She glanced down, noticed her breasts rubbed against his face, and backed away. "Maybe I should do this from the back."

Seth shook his head and grinned. "You think?" Under his breath he muttered, "Classic Emma."

"What does that mean?"

"Don't worry about it. I've come to expect it."

She continued from the back. "I'm almost done. Now to get your other arm through the sleeve."

"The right arm shouldn't be a problem."

After the T-shirt was on, Emma said, "I need to go home and get ready." As she turned toward the door, she whispered, "And regain my composure."

With his good arm Seth hugged her shoulders. "Don't worry about it. We're good." Opening the door for her, he said, "Ace, go with her. Let me know when you're about ready, and I'll call Carl."

Watching her walk away, he added, "Quit worrying. We're good."

As Carl parked at Winters, Emma said, "You can park at the police station, I'll walk from there."

Carl grinned and carried Molly. "But then I couldn't get a coffee and an apricot Danish."

Emma's lips formed a pout. "I didn't make Seth's beignets."

Seth rubbed his chin. "You've done plenty for me today. You made breakfast, helped me with my T-shirt," he grinned, "and more I'm not at liberty to discuss."

With crimson cheeks, Emma went inside the shop.

As Seth and Carl followed, Carl said, "This sounds good. Want to share?"

"Can't. Let's just say classic Emma."

"I bet it was good."

Seth grinned. "Something I won't forget."

Once the coffees and pastries were brought, Seth and Carl got ready to leave, and Seth said, "We'll return in time for the reading group."

Just before the reading group, Seth entered the bakery. He stopped when he saw Ronnie Calhoun following Emma as she took care of her tables. I wonder what he's up to? He grinned. She's ignoring him, but he's not getting the message. Seth walked up and kissed Emma's cheek. "How's your day?"

She touched her cheek. "Pretty good. You're timing's perfect." She turned when she heard her dad call. "I'll be right back."

Calhoun studied Seth. "I don't understand why you're still hanging around. I've already explained about Emma's and my relationship. Emma's always been mine and always will."

"There's a fallacy to that. When I discussed it with Emma, she denied it, except for the part you did date in high school."

"But." Ronnie watched Seth walk away. "You're wrong. Emma and I are a couple."

When Emma came out of Keith's office, Seth walked toward her. She touched his arm. "Thank you." She glanced toward Ronnie. "I see he's still hanging around. Can you arrest him or something?"

He grinned. "I wish I could, but I can't arrest somebody for thinking they're in love."

"I don't know his angle, but I know he has one and it's not love." She faced the door. "The children are arriving."

Seth held up a book. "I've got this today."

Emma turned the book around so she could see the cover and read, "'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein. I love that story. What brought this on?"

Grinning Seth said, "You'll see." He walked to the front of where the children sat. "Are you coming?"

"Of course." As she checked the children, she smiled. "It appears we're ready."

Emma welcomed the children and then said, "Today, we have a special guest. Chief Carter has a book he wants to share. I can't wait to hear it. It's one of my favorites."

Billy raised his hand. "Ms. Emma, will we still do art?"

Facing Seth, Emma's eyebrows rose. He grinned. "Yes, there's an art project planned. Officer Jones will be here in a minute with it. Ready for the story?"

After the children indicated they were, Seth pointed to his shoulder. "As you can see, I have an injury. This injury caused me to think about how much people give to me." His eyes met Emma's. "Especially a certain person. I'm really blessed. I have many people who give to me."

He paused. "Then I thought about how much I give back and decided I don't give nearly as much as I receive. My mom used to read this story to my sister, Abbey and me when we were young. As you listen, think of examples how you can give."

Seth introduced the book, read it, and then asked, "What are some ways the tree gave?"

The children offered suggestions, and then Seth asked, "Then what happened?"

Again, the children answered.

He nodded toward Carl, who brought him a box. Seth reached inside and held up a piece of construction paper. "What I did was glue this tree trunk onto the paper." He then pointed to the leaves. "On each leaf I wrote some way I could give to another person. If you struggle with spelling, you can draw the picture. The idea is to put as many leaves on your tree as possible."

Emma stood beside Seth and reviewed the outside expectations.

On the way out, Emma put her hand on Seth's arm. "You did a great job."

He glanced at her hand and grinned. "Thank you. I've watched you, and you're a natural."

Carl and Seth walked along the curb ensuring no child got close to the street. Emma interacted with the children as they completed their projects.

When the parents arrived around two-thirty, Seth walked up to Emma. "I need to leave. Ms. Barton's arraignment begins at three. If you need additional help, I'll call for another officer."

She scanned the area to see how many children were left. "I'm fine. Good luck with the arraignment."

"Thank you. Carl can stay as long as you need, but he'll need to come to the courthouse when he's finished."

As Emma watched Seth walk away, she whispered a prayer.

The last child left, and then Emma folded the chairs and loaded them on the trolley. As she started to push them toward the church George and Marc Elliot walked up. She smiled. "Hello."

George studied the trolley. "I was hoping we could talk."

"We can. I just need to take these back to the church. It'll only take a few minutes."

He glanced at his son. "Can Marc take them?"

"If he doesn't mind. Pastor Pat's waiting."

Marc pushed the trolley toward the church, and George and Emma went into her father's office to talk.

After Keith shut the door and everyone was seated, George handed Emma a check. "I hope this is enough to cover a day's work and tips."

Emma studied the thousand-dollar check. "Mr. Elliot, I don't make this much in an entire week, let alone a day. This is way too much. I can't accept this." She held it toward him.

He refused it. "Marc and I discussed it and feel with everything he's put you through it's only fair. There's some pain and suffering added." He exhaled. "All of your doctors' bills have been covered. If for some reason you receive any bills, please contact me. The hospital has assured me you won't but sometimes they make mistakes."

Fighting back tears, she said, "Thank you. I really appreciate your generosity."

George stood. "Now, for the matter of your car replacement. Will you follow me?"

Keith and Emma followed him outside. He stopped at a white Ford Fiesta. "I hope you like it. I had a mechanic check it. I thought if I had a daughter, I'd want to make sure the car wouldn't leave her stranded. If you have problems, let me know, and I'll get something else." He handed her the keys and opened the driver's side door. "Let's take it for drive and see how you like it."

Keith glanced toward the shop. "You two go. I need to take care of some things."

As they took the car for a test drive, Emma said, "You've done way too much for me. Why?"

George stared at the windshield. "When I was presented with the facts about my son, I took a hard look at my life. I realized my priorities were wrong. I was a poor example for Marc." He exhaled. "Since he's out on bail, I actually went to church for the first time since I left my parents' house."

"I hope you felt welcome."

"I did."

Emma parked by the bakery. "The car is perfect. Thank you." As she got out, Marc walked up. Emma said, "I lead the church teens' youth group. We meet tonight at seven o'clock. You're invited if you'd like to attend."

"I'm...on...bail. My trial date hasn't been set. I also go to school in Cedarville."

"You're here now, so maybe you could meet some other teens and hang around with them. We're planning some activities, like whitewater rafting. You're welcome."

Marc asked, "Dad, can I?"

"I don't see why not. Thank you, Ms. Winters."

She continued toward the bakery. "Good. I hope I see you tonight."

Character List:

Police Chief Seth Carter - hero and Beaverton's Police Chief

Emma Winters - heroine and waitress at her parents' bakery and bookstore, but just graduated college with a teaching degree.

Winters - the bakery/bookstore Emma's parents own.

Carl Jones - Seth's good friend and right-hand man

Susan and Keith Winters - Emma's parents and owners of Winters' Family Bakery and Bookstore

Molly - Emma's almost four-pound Pomeranian

Ace - Seth's German shepherd, a trained K-9

Pastor Pat - Pastor of the Church and Emma's Godfather

Jake Baker - Seth's mentor and Winters' family friend

Ray Hudson - Works at the bakery

Peggy Barton - Emma knew her in high school and is the assistant librarian, she's making a play for Seth

Linda Holton - the town librarian

Mayor Castle - mayor of Beaverton

George Elliot - city council member, from old money, and father of Marc Elliot

Marc Elliot - troubled teenager

Ronald Calhoun - dated Emma her senior year of high school

Dr. Mason - veterinarian who took care of Molly

Mickey Casey - Man stalking Emma and she killed him


Author Notes
I've been researching men and women's relationships. Basically, to see how far off from reality my romance novels are. I'm discovering they really aren't. I'll start sharing a few things I've learned, one at a time. "People who are late to lose their virginity are shown to have higher education, income, and healthier relationship than those who lose it earlier." I'm sure there are exceptions, but interesting point.

Thank you, Google Images, for a photograph of 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein.

This is the first part of Chapter 26 and a little under 2200 words. If I posted Chapter 26 in its entirety it would be around 3900 words, too long for FanStory.

Thank you for dropping by and reading. I appreciate your help and the time you took to read it.


© Copyright 2024. barbara.wilkey All rights reserved.
barbara.wilkey has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Be sure to go online at to comment on this.
© 2000-2024., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Privacy Statement