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Excerpt for Adelynn by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Copyright © 2018 by Lynn Achieng’.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems without the written permission from the author, expect for the use of a brief quotations in book review.































PROLOGUE.

Goggling your symptoms on WebMD is not a good idea, Adelynn thought as she looked at the basic black and white website telling her that her symptoms meant she was suffering from skin cancer.

She snorted, yeah right; that was actually better than your fiancé dying in a fiery car crash on the day before your wedding.

It was funny that now she could even snort at that, a year ago just the thought of Martin made her burst into tears.

With a sigh she snapped the laptop top shut and stood, picking up her cup of tea from the table and went to look out the window. She loved it here, up in the cabin alone where the world could not touch her. As she looked out the window into the emptiness of the darkness lighted faintly by the night sky she relished the freedom. Here she was happy and the whole world could not touch her.

You should probably get to bed now, the practical side of her mind reminded her; she called that side Yin.

She can stay up a little bit longer, the other side of her said that she called Yan replied.

Get it my Yin to your Yan?

She knew that it was not normal to speak to yourself and give both sides names but after being cooped up in the cabin almost a year they were the only people she could talk to.

Its past ten o’clock, in fact, it is going to twelve, Yin replied outraged.

Yah right she has no job to go to, she can sleep at any time, Yan argued.

Hey, Adelynn protested out loud even though she knew they would not hear her, I have a job.

Cutting down trees and clearing out leaves is not a job, Yan replied.

She’s right, Yin said like it pained her to say that Yan was right about anything.

You are both wrong, she said out loud, I am going to look for a job at the dinner tomorrow.

They both knew that she had no such plans but now that she had said it there was no backing out, those two would bug her relentlessly.

Crap!

For two voices in her own mind, they were little bugging bitches.

Hey, we heard that Yin said, mind your language young lady.

Bragging Yan said, my baby, is growing up.

Both of you goodnight, she said as she set her cup on the table and climbed up the loft bed to get some sleep. If she was to wake up early then she needed to get some shut eye.

Goodnight sweery, Yin said.

Goodnight, dream that someone finally managed to remove the stick-up Yin’s ass.

She smiled as she closed her eyes and tuned them out as they started arguing.

Hearing them was better than hearing the police officer tell her that her fiancé was not going to make it. She remembered the knot in her stomach as soon as she saw the two policemen walking down the aisle instead of her future husband. The news had hit her and thrown her off track so hard, like a freight train running at a hundred miles an hour and she was not sure she had ever gotten back on the track. She was not sure she really wanted to.

She subconsciously rubbed her stomach like she was getting rid of the knot as she fell asleep.

People would say she was crazy, but really who were they anyway?

They were nobody, she thought as she drifted off, they were nobody.

















CHAPTER ONE.

The next morning she woke up to the sunlight streaming in through the unclosed windows, the birds chirping and the wind whispering.

This is heaven, she thought with a smile. This was what she needed.

She rolled out of bed and fell on all fours to the ground, she took a second down there and reminded herself to breathe. Just breathe you are okay, breath.

Then she picked herself up and headed for the bathroom to relieve herself before she headed for the kitchen for a cup of coffee.

She had just put in the kettle when she heard Yin, I hope you are planning to shower before you head out.

I took a shower recently, she replied.

Recently was three days ago, you almost smell like horse shit.

She snorted, you do not know how horse shit smells like.

Yin replied, that does not mean I cannot imagine and I would imagine it smells just like you do right now.

Yan chimed in, She’s right.

They were exaggerating.

And good morning to both of you, she decided to ignore them as she poured the boiling water into a cup and headed for her favorite place out on the porch.

She sat down on the swing and set it in slow motion as she took in the beauty of the morning. The morning used to represent something different for her, now it just meant a new start. A step closer to healing someday down the line.

Maybe in three more years, she will be fine.

Do not think we have forgotten, Yin said and she sighed.

Okay, I will take a shower, does that make you happy.

It does not make me unhappy, Yin answered, now if only you could clean your bedroom floor then I would be happy.

She always imagined that if Yin was a person she would be one of those short older women who always had their hair pulled back in a tight bun with a constant frown on the face. Oh and a ruler in the hand to snap at your ass for making “mistakes.”

I like that image, Yan said laughing.

I do not, Yin huffed mad.

Sometimes she forgot they were actually in her mind when she was thinking.

She took a quick shower, okay as quick as Yin would let her. Yin kept pointing out places she had not washed. She drew the line when Yin pointed to the nether regions.

She put on a clean underwear and an almost clean jeans trouser; wearing a trouser three times did not make it dirt. Just dirtish.

From the floor she picked up the top that almost seemed clean and smelled it, when she realized it did not smell that bad, she put it on.

Disgusting, Yin said, why would you take a shower then put on dirty clothes.

At least she took a shower, Yan pointed out and she liked Yan for that at the moment.

She reached to the side table for her gun and badge when she realized that she was not a detective anymore.

The fact slammed her really hard, and she rubbed her chest to ease the pain but it did not seem to go away.

A frustrated tear leaked down her cheek, when will the pain end? When would she think of her former life and not feel like her heart is ripping in pieces?

Breathe, she reminded herself.

Just breathe, you are fine.

She took one last deep breath and headed for the door, she could do this.

She could go out and be normal.

It seemed like Yin and Yan realized just how important this moment was, they did not say anything.

She got into her old pick up and drove to the only town in the area which was about thirty minutes away. She had visited the diner several times when she went to restock the pantry but she often sat at the back with her head hunched down.

The food was good and people friendly.

They were probably going to tell her there was no job available and chase her off the property but she had promised.

She looked at herself one last time in the mirror and tried to brush her hair back with her hand.

You should have washed it then it would have been easy to brush, Yin chimed in helpfully, it seemed they were back.

She looks okay, not everybody likes their hair as uptight as yours.

Both of you shut up, do not embarrass me in there.

She started it, Yan protested.

Both of you hush.

She patted her hair one last time, here goes nothing she said as she opened the door with a little more gusto than necessary and felt it hit something.

She had not packed next to the wall, was the first thought that popped into her head before she saw the top someone’s head disappear down from her front window.

She ran round to find a man down on the ground holding his nose, cups of coffee spilled all over.

She went to help, “hey you okay?” She asked as she got closer slowly.

Ooh dear Lord, she killed somebody, Yin exclaimed.

Quick get back in the car and just speed off, Yan suggested quickly.

She should call the ambulance, Yin countered back.

All their voices were drowned out when the man groaned so she moved forward and knelt on one knee next to him.

“I am fine but I think my nose is bleeding,” his voice was horse with just the right depth, his voice seemed coated with dripping honey.

She ignored the flutter in her stomach when she heard it.

“I think so too, let me give you a ride to the nearest emergency room.” She said as she tried to help him get on his feet. He was easily six foot two with a body of someone who worked out so she was not really helping him stand rather just guiding him up.

She helped him to the passenger seat while he still held his head high to help regulate the bleeding. She ran back to the driver’s seat.

“Where to the hospital?” She asked after she sat down and tied her seat belt. He looked at her for the first time and she felt like someone just punched the air out of her stomach.

He was gorgeous even with a broken bleeding nose.

Aaaw, Yan swarmed.

Yin just cleared her throat, impressive.

“Take a right here it is just straight ahead about five minutes away I will direct you.” He said again in that voice, it was a wonder she caught anything he said.

She drove him to the hospital, it was small but the service was excellent, three minutes after they got there he was carted off to see the door.

She plopped down the chair, great the first time in town and she had hit the most handsome man she had seen in a while.

Just great, she said as she buried her face in her hands.

Not one of your finest moments, Yin said helpfully.

Yan just started singing, Adelynn is in love.

Shut up, both of you.















CHAPTER TWO

As soon as Doctor Nathan saw him he flinched, “Mmh dude did you run into a door?”

The bleeding had stopped but his nose was still throbbing like an SOB.

“Yeah, I kind of did,” Nathan was his best friend and they had grown up together since they were kids. They left for college to see the other parts of the country but in the end, they ended back home. Nathan opened the small clinic and he ran for the area chief Police and won because of his background in the police academy and army, a job he took very seriously.

“I have been through worse,” he added.

Nathan looked up, “Yeah you have,” Curious, “were you not looking where you were going?”

He did not want to tell Nathan about the nice lady who had hit him with the door that would just make Nathan more curious. All his friends have been trying for years to get him to settle down and get married. Just because they were married and popping off kids, they thought that he also had to do the same. He did not have anything against ladies, he had just not met the right one for him to take the plunge and he was willing to wait for her. He did not want to make the same mistakes that his parents made when they married the wrong partner and ended up being miserable for the rest of their life.

Nathan gently poking at his nose brought him back to the reality of where he was.

“It seems like there are no major bones broken, just some ice and it will be back to normal in a few days,” Nathan said as he went back behind the desk.

He took a pen and started writing something on the notepad, “This are some painkillers, let us go and get them filled for you.”

No that would not do, if Nathan went with him to the pharmacy they had to pass through the waiting room and they would see her. There will be no stopping Nathan from meddling after that.

He liked his life as it was, so he stood up quickly, “No just give me, I will get it filled and be on the way. I am already late for work.”

That was the wrong move, Nathan knew immediately that something was up.

It was a bitch to have a friend who knew you since you were in diapers.

“There is something I have to talk to you about anyway, Lisa sent me.” Nathan said as he stood up, “and I have some down time now, we can walk and talk.”

David groaned, that name always sent shivers of terror down his spine. Nathan’s wife Lisa was like a one-woman army whose main purpose in life was to get David hitched. She was adorable at five foot two and when you looked at her all innocent you won’t believe the number of shenanigans she had gotten him into in the name of “helping him.”

Everything was fair in love, that was her motto and as the victim of the motto, he did not believe that at all.

It was not really fair to listen to one of Lisa’s friend whine about her ex-boyfriend for two hours. Or better yet the one who tried to sing for him and her voice was one octave lower than a siren’s call, high pitched and just off. At the end, he had to smile and tell her how good she was.

He was not going through that again.

He followed Nathan who had already left the room and was on the hallway.

“What does Lisa want this time?” He asked even though he already knew.

“You know Lisa, nothing much,” Nathan started which meant David would hate it, “She has this classmate who is actually a really nice lady, and you will love her. She is beautiful I have seen pictures.”

David held back another groan, when will this madness end? He thought just as they pushed the door at the end of the hallway open and seated there on the chairs was his salvation.

He did not think twice about it, he just followed his instinct. He left Nathan standing there and strode to where the cute lady who had brought him was seated and kissed her.

Dear God, he hoped she did not slap him.

****

She should slap him.

Or maybe just push him away.

But it seemed that all her senses had fled the moment she walked out her front door this morning because here she was kissing a stranger. It was not a deep kiss, but it was intimate enough to establish that they knew each other better than they actually did.

Maybe when she had hit him with the door he suffered some kind of concussion that created an illusion to him that she was his girlfriend, she mused. It would be bad of her not to play along until his doctor told her otherwise, that is what she told herself anyway.

When he pulled back he looked kind of surprised but he masked it and turned to look at where he had come from.

“Nathan I want to introduce you to my girlfriend.”

Okay, you screwed up the man, Yan chimed in.

She ignored her but Yan was right, maybe she had hit him harder than she thought she had.

She looked at the other man named Nathan, he seemed to be the doctor if the lab coat he was wearing was any indication.

“Is he okay?” She asked as Nathan looked at her weirdly, maybe she had some vegetable stuck in her teeth. Or maybe she had a sign on her forehead that screamed, she hears and talks to voices in her head.

Nathan seemed to come to a certain conclusion before he answered her, “Yah he is going to be fine. With just some ice on his nose and he will be okay.”

“Are you sure he does not have a concussion?” She questioned again because what other reason could there be? Or maybe it was just her luck she had knocked over a crazy person who would follow her around for as long as she lived.

She could feel him tense beside her but Nathan smiled and said, “He is fine.”

The man then turned to her and said, “Beb we have to go fill some prescriptions I will see you in a few.” He planted another kiss on her lips before dragging off the doctor.

She sat back down with a plop, well that went well.

One crazy person meets another crazy person.

You should not let a stranger kiss you like that, Yin thought now was the perfect time to chip in.

Don’t be such a prude, Yan answered.

He is crazy, the doctor said he was going to be fine, make a run for it before he comes back, Yin added.

Yin is probably right, I liked that kiss a lot but that was not normal behavior, Yan agreed with Yin, this was bad.

Maybe he wants a kidney, Yin contemplated, and people will come from that corridor to wheel you in at any second for surgery.

Don’t be stupid Yin, he looked perfectly healthy, Yan argued.

Shrugging Yin added, just saying.

Well, she was not taking any chances, he was okay. She was just about to stand up when he came back without the doctor. He held her by her shoulder and led her outside.

As soon as they were close to her car she turned and asked, “What was that all about?”































CHAPTER THREE

“Did you hit you hit your head when you fell down?” Adelynn asked before he even had the chance to answer the first question. “That would be the only explanation for what just happened.”

David looked back to the hospital window where the nurse and Nathan were not even being subtle about watching them.

Adelynn looked behind him and caught them watching too.

“Can we at least go to the diner, if we can get some breakfast I shall explain what is going on.” At least she had not slapped him yet, he saw that as a plus. Just to make sure she would not back out he added, “You made me spill all my coffee.”

He did not mention the fact that he had already had breakfast and the coffee was for his officers. It did not seem relevant.

It worked when she released a sigh and said, “Okay I guess I owe you.”

He hoped she remembered that because he planned to cash on that favor pretty soon in a much bigger way.

God this is screwed up, he thought as he went to the passenger side of her vehicle and got in.

They did not speak again until they were seated at Maria’s Dinner. The dinner was owned by Maria who ran the dinner as if it was her own home, with a tight fist. She made it the only decent restaurant around and the locals liked the homeliness it portrayed, so it was almost always full. Luckily, the breakfast rush was gone and there was some time before the lunch rush came in, that would give him time and privacy to explain.

He loved his small town and its people but there was no privacy among the locals. Everyone knew just about everything about each other.

When they swung open the door, there were only about four patrons left, scattered all over the room. Others had rushed off to work or to do what they had planned for the day.

He led the way to the back booth and she slid in on to the side facing the door, interesting he thought as he slid in next to her.

He could not seat with his back facing the door and it seemed neither could she. What he had found out about her must have been true.

When she moved to the town about ten months ago he had her checked out, he made it a point to know everyone inhabiting his town.

He did not go into details on why she moved here but he just wanted to confirm that she was not a culprit on the run. He had been pleasantly surprised to find out that she was a fellow law enforcement. That was one of the reasons he had not driven out there often to check up on her.

He got the sense that she wanted her privacy so on the times he went to check on her he did not knock or talk to her, just walked the perimeter to ensure everything was secure.

That made him sound like a stalker, he thought with a smile.

She cleared her throat beside him, seemed like time to explain himself was finally here.

“So do you want to start?”

“Just a second,” he said and as if on cue Maria arrived beside them. She was a tall, busty woman who always had her lime green uniform, an apron and a pad to write on. Personally, he thought that the color was too much but he never said anything on the account of the fact that he liked his hand attached to his body. In the former life, Maria had been in the army. Lime green made her happy so he did not complain as long as he got his food hot and delicious every time.

“What can I get you?” Maria asked Adelynn, she knew what David wanted, she had fed him since he was young.

“Just some tea and toast,” she said.

“Coming right up,” and just like that, she was gone.

For such a large lady she moved fast, almost floating.

“Wow,” Adelynn said grinning after Maria left and David liked her smile so he smiled right back at her.

“Yah that is Maria for you.”

“And to think I was coming to ask for a job before I ran into you, that woman would eat me for breakfast.”

He understood that she meant that Maria would work her to the bones.

He smiled back at her, “You do not seem like someone afraid of a little hard work.”

She smiled back, “Am not.”

Maria came back with some tea for both of them, toast for Adelynn and some traditional root vegetables for David.

After she left they both stirred some sugar into their tea before Adelynn asked again, “About earlier?”

He released a sigh as he replaced his cup on the table.

He wished he could seat on the opposite side from her and watch her face as he talked to her to see how she would react.

“That was stupid and I am sorry.” He said.

“I am more curious as to why you did it,” she said as she moved to the side of the booth. She could not seat with her back to the door but she could look at him from her side. This position helped her have a view of both the door and David as he spoke.

“Truthfully?” He asked as he moved to the center.

She nodded.

“You were my escape route,” he said smiling sheepishly.

“Expound,” she said.

He released a sigh, “the doctor is my best friend and we have known each other since we were kids, and since he got married he has been bugging me to get married too.” At the mention of marriage, she felt something painful lurch in her stomach but she suppressed it.

“Nathan and his wife have seen it as their duty to see me get hitched soon.”

“You can just say no.”

He looked at her like she had said something crazy, “I tried, believe me, I have but the more I resist the more I get roped in. I feel like the sheep going around a tree tying itself to the tree over and over again.”

He then went ahead to narrate to her some of the dates he had been to and by the time he was done she had laughed so hard her stomach hurt.

“So when I went to see Nathan today and he mentioned that he had set up another blind date for me I could not just go through with it.”

She smiled, “so you saw kissing me and lying to him would help you out?”

He laughed, “Yeah.”

She smiled again, “that was stupid what if tomorrow they find out that you were lying they would come back with the same girls.”

“What if they do not?” He looked at her so hopefully, she sat at the edge of her seat.

Here is the bullet to my foot with my own gun, David thought as he explained, “What if you pretended to be my girlfriend for a little while, that would get them to back off.”

He heart sunk, “why would I do that?” She was certainly not smiling anymore.

“I could give you a job at the station.”

Her voice was cold as she asked, “How did you know I was a cop.”

“Even if I had not checked you out, I would have figured it out, it is in the way you carry yourself.”

“You checked me out?”

He shrugged, “Am the chief of police I had to.”

She was silent so long he was not sure she would answer him.

“I am not ready to be a cop,” she said and he had almost given up when she added, “But I can take a low key desk job.”

He almost pumped his fist in the air in victory but he held himself back and schooled his face into one of mild interest, “So you will pretend to be my girlfriend?”

“Why not.” She shrugged. “It is helping you and I get to leave the house.”

He had so many questions like why she lived so high up in the cabin alone but he did not want to push his luck.

He held out his hand and she took it in a handshake, he felt a zing of attraction go through him. He suppressed it.

“Deal,” he said, “See you tomorrow in the morning at the office.” And before she changed her mind he paid the breakfast bill. Before he left the booth he turned to her and said, “That kiss was interesting.” Then he was gone.

After he left and she was seated there drinking her tea did she realize that she did not even know his name.

Great I have a boyfriend and he is nameless, she thought.

Yin chose that moment to chime in, young lady what have you done? You need a whoop ass.

Yan just snorted, this will be very interesting.

She agreed with Yan, this was going to be very interesting.

It seemed like everything was going to be interesting.









































CHAPTER FOUR

The next day she was out of bed pretty early and she took a shower without the harping of Yin and Yan. She even managed to locate some clean jeans and a shirt.

You really should take care of those dirty clothes, Yin said.

Or we could just go shopping for new clean clothes, Yan suggested.

Adelynn liked Yan’s idea better than doing laundry so she noted it down on her to do list for the day.

Stop encouraging her, what should she do with all the other dirty clothes she has? Because even if she buys some more they will still get dirty.

Burn all the dirty clothes, Yan suggested gleefully and Adelynn agreed again.

She could hear Yin rolling her eyes at both of them, you are encouraging her with some bad habits.

Yan answered, that is my job and I take my job very seriously.

She was still smiling as she closed the door and made her way to her car.

Ooh did Yin and Yan entertain her.

About thirty-five minutes later she was seated on the parking lot of the police station looking at the building that looked so formidable. She had not set foot in a police station after the fateful day. She had quit her job and packed her bag and moved to the cabin her parents had left to her when they passed away. It seemed like the perfect gate away and with the settlement she got from the company that produced Martin’s car she did not have to work.

I can just turn back and go home, she thought, she could not do this.

It’s time, Yin said, at least just go in and see how it is if you do not like it you can always leave.

Yan agreed, you are not here by force, no one can stop you from leaving.

She hated it when they both agreed on something but it made sense. She would go in for an hour and if she did not like it she could just live and go back to her cabin. Deal or no deal.

She yelped and almost jumped out of her skin when someone rapped on the passenger side window.

Rolling the window down she said, “You scared me.”

David just shook his head smiling, “Seems like you have lost that touch you had as a lead detective.”

Raising an eyebrow, “Just how much information did you get on me?”

With a grim smile, he said, “Enough,” he knew. But the fact that he did not ask for more made her comfortable enough to go out the driver’s side of the door.

She fell a step with him and took his coffee, “You go around checking up on people who come to live here?”

He just shrugged, “I like to know everything that is going on.”

“I see,” she said as she took a sip of his coffee, black just the way she liked it. The coffee brought with it memories of the thrill of being called out on a case, the grueling and satisfying long hours of digging through evidence. She missed being a detective so much her heart hurt.

But just as she had told him yesterday, she was not ready yet.

“Enjoying my coffee,” he asked with an arch of his eyebrows as he pushed the door to the main building open.

She smiled at him, “So much.”

He just laughed at that.

“Great I found myself a coffee hogger.”

She batted her eyelids at him, “But my sweet you love me.”

They were laughing when they got into the main part of the office where people were already working. They stopped what they were doing to look at them.

“People this is Adelynn, she will be working with us for a while.” He introduced her. They all greeted her warmly and it was not long before one of the women, called Cristy came and whisked her away from David.

He just smiled at her as she was pulled away, “Enjoy,” he murmured then he was gone.

Crap, she still did not know his name.

This was just great.

*****

The rest of the day was actually great, and as Adelynn left for home she was pleasantly surprised.

Cristy was a good person and she chatted almost nonstop while she showed her the ropes. Adelynn did not have the heart to tell her that she already knew most of the things she kept showing her, so she just went along with it.

The upside was when she asked about the boss, Cristy was happy to fill her in.

His name was David Kaba, he was thirty was thirty-two years old and his mother and father had lived about ten minutes from the town. He had grown up in the area and moved out when he was eighteen to join the army then later he joined the police academy. Some speculate that it was because his high school girlfriend broke his heart while others say he has wanted a change of scenery. He came back to the small town and joined the police force for about two years before the former police chief died and he took over.

Ooh, Cristy told her a lot, even where David lived and that his favorite ice cream was chocolate and his favorite shirt was blue corduroy. She did not want to know how Cristy knew all of this things yet she was just the secretary.

She had opened the passenger side door and she was laying out some paperwork she wanted to catch up on at home when she heard David speaking behind her, “Hey Adelynn.”

She jumped a foot high and hit her head on the top of the car.

She rubbed her head as she swore and turned to him, “You have to stop doing that.”

He just grinned at her, “You have to reshape your detective skills.”

She was not going to touch that statement with a thirty-yard pole stick so she evaded it and asked, “Can I help you, David?”

He just grinned some more, “I see someone has been snooping.”

She smirked at him removing her hand from her head that had now stopped throbbing, “Detective skills.”

He smiled, “How much do you know?”

She shook her head, “trust me you do not want to know.”

He raised one eyebrow in question, “Cristy?”

She just laughed, “I will never reveal my sources.”

“Good,” he said, “I came to invite you over for dinner.”

She started to object when he said, “It will be at Nathan’s place so this is all for the deal.”

“Okay, what time?”

“I will pick you up at seven.”

“I can drive myself over,” she said.

“What will Nathan and Lisa think if you get over there alone?”

“Okay, I will be ready by seven.” She said as she got into the car and closed the door after her.

He placed both hands outside her open window and looked at her, “hey I hope you still want to do this.”

Did she?

She just nodded her head yes and he stepped away.

Ooh boy, this will not end well, Yin said.

For ones, she agreed with her.

***

She was on her way home when Yan, the helpful voice that she was asked, so about this date non-date what will you wear?

She pulled up beside the road to panic for a second. Or two.

When she had left the city she had not carried anything fit for the company.

Even before Martin died she had not been one of those girls who liked to wear fancy dresses, put her in jeans and a t-shirt and she was comfortable.

Since Martin came from money, when they went out for events she had dressed up for him. A memory flashed right before her eyes on the first time they had attended a benefit together:

She had walked down the stairs in the dress her best friend Amy had helped her choose for the occasion. She could still remember the look on Martin’s face the first time he saw her coming down. If she could describe it she would say he had looked swept away with love. She did not know how to explain exactly but it is the look the love of your life has on the face as you walk towards them. That was the day she knew that he loved her. He did not have to say it, it was on the way his lips turned up in a smile, the way his eyes shone and the way he glowed in her image.

She rubbed her chest as tears streamed down her cheeks, God she could not do this.

The desire to flee to her house and just close off the world like she had done the past year was so strong.

You promised, Yin said.

I promised she repeated, I promised.

She took her phone and dialed the one number she had not called in about one year, as soon as the call was answered she said, “Amy I screwed up and it hurts.”































CHAPTER FIVE

For the first time, David came up with a plan that he had started to rethink.

He had figured going in that he would just pretend that they were dating and they would keep being friends but he had not factored in the fact that he might start liking her.

He smiled as he remembered her drinking his coffee with no apology.

He had spent most of the day watching her through the glass window that separated his office from the other work and he liked how she interacted with everyone. One time or the other he had seen her retreat into herself but she was never rude to any of the others when that happened.

She would go to the hallway, gather herself then come back smiling.

He liked that about her, he thought as he wiped his body after the shower.

Which was a problem?

Would he be able to let her go when all this pretending was done?

****

Turns out calling your best friend who was a fashion model for help on what to wear was not a good idea, Adelynn thought as she looked at herself in the mirror.

Not a good idea at all.

Amy had made her jump through the hoops of going to get her hair and nails done and when she had listed all she had in her closet/floor, Amy had made her go buy a new dress.

She had been on phone the whole time and each time she tried to hang up Amy threatened to come over and help her herself. Since she was about a thousand miles away and had her own life, she went along with it.

Thank God it was about three hours to seven when she called Amy or David would have found her dripping wet from her shower.

She took a picture and sent it to Adelynn.

A minute later the phone rang, “You now look presentable.”

Adelynn snorted, “I look good.”

“Yeah you do,” Amy said with a small laugh, “I always hated how you can look good with so little preparation while some of us have to take hours to get ready.”

Adelynn laughed, “You call three hours little preparation?”

This time it was Amy who scoffed, “With the amount of work we had to put in, that was very little time.”

Smiling, “Thanks Amy, I would not have done this without you.” Adelynn said sincerely, touching the yellow dress that hugged her slender body and flowed right from her waist.

“You are so welcome.” There was some silence then Amy spoke up, “You are going to call me again right?”

“I am.”

“This year without you was hard.”

“For me too,” she said as a tear slid down her cheek, good thing she had on no makeup. She had settled for a simple nude lipstick.

Sounding teary Amy said, “Do not forget I need a blow by blow details of this date.”

Adelynn just rolled her eyes, “It is not a date.”

When Amy had picked up the phone, Adelynn had explained everything about the deal with David. After she had calm down, Amy had shown her how this was a good idea. Even though it was not a date, it would give her a chance to socialize with other people. Get out of her shell a little bit.

Amy answered, “I know but a girl can dream right.” She could hear the smile in her friend’s voice.

“Yeah right,” she said just as the doorbell rang. “I think he is here.”

Amy started singing, “Adelynn and David sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N” Adelynn disconnected the call before she finished.

She went down the loft stairs smiling as she imagined Amy back in the city laughing her ass off.

And that girl could laugh.

She opened the door to find a strikingly handsome David in jeans and a smug t-shirt waiting for her at the door.

Damn, t-shirts that tight should be made illegal, she thought as she stood there just looking at his biceps.

“Wow, you look amazing,” his voice snapped her out of the daze she had been imagining him pulling her closer to him.

She smiled as she looked up, “So do you. Let me just get my bag and shawl and we shall be on our way.

As she locked the door behind her Yan said, go get him.

Shut up, she whispered under her breath.

“What?” David asked. Apparently, he also had the hearing capacity of a bat.

“Nothing lets head out.”

She said as she went to the passenger side of his pickup. The step was high up from the ground.

Men with big cars, she thought with an eye roll.

She was still figuring out how to climb without toppling over and flashing him when her dress went over her head when she felt someone lift her from the ground.

The zing that went through her body from his touch left her breathless as she sat down.

“Thanks,” she said breathlessly. He nodded and closed the door behind him as he went round the bonnet for the driver’s seat.

Get a grip woman, Yin said. Do not go around throwing your underwear at him.

I am trying, she said just as he got in. She was pretty sure he had not heard her talking to herself this time. Or if he did he did not mention it as he put the car in the shift and they drove off.

****

The dinner was pleasant if you count being under a microscopic scrutiny pleasant. Apparently, Nathan and Lisa did not believe that they were a couple.

As Lisa had put it politely when they got there, “How come we are just hearing about her now? She is beautiful and you never keep anything from Nathan.”

“We wanted to surprise you and Adelynn likes her privacy.”

The silent unbelieving mmh could be heard all the way into town.

Thank God for children, Nathan and Lisa’s son Drew chatted the whole dinner and made it bearable.

She got that they were protective of David and they still did not know her yet their questions pickled.

She brushed it off when David took her hands in his and held it all night. She knew that it was probably for a show but she did not care, it was comforting.

They both released a sigh simultaneously when they got to the car, “That was not so bad.” She said and David burst out laughing and soon they were both laughing.

It felt good.

She did not remember the last time she had laughed so much and this hard. The laughter was coming from her belly and vibrating through her body.

“Yeah,” David said when they both stopped, smiling, “Not that bad.”

As they pulled away she asked, “Is it always that bad or was it my presence?”

David looked at her briefly, “I think she was punishing us for foiling her plans to set me up with her friend.”

Smiling, “we did ruin her plans.”

“Yeah,” David replied, “she will get over it soon enough.”

The radio that was on David’s belt crackled, “David,” he picked it up.

“Yes.”

“Mr. Tingi is at it again.”

David released a sigh, “where was he spotted.”

“On the road leading out of town.”

“Okay, I am on it.”

He returned the radio to its former position, “We are going to have to make a stop.”

“What’s up?”

“One of the residents, Mr. Tingi gets drunk and starts walking in the middle of the road saying he is following the light.”

Adelynn smiled, “This is the scope of your work here.”

He smiled back, “Not exciting enough for you?”

She sighed, “It’s a good change of pace.”

“It won’t take long, I just have to get him in the car so he does not get hurt or run over by an outsider then I can take you home.”

She placed one hand on his arm to get his attention, “Hey its okay.”

Their eyes met and held for a moment and what was unsaid was more than what was said.

Then he went back to driving.

Getting Mr. Tingi to get into the car proved harder than it normally was and by the time they got to his place he had already passed out in the back seat.

Between the two of them, they managed to get him to his bed and tuck him in. They locked the door behind them and dropped the spare key where they had found it.

“I will drive by to make sure he has his other key,” David said and she smiled at him.

It was another forty minutes before they made it to her place. He pulled the car in front of the house but none of them made a move to get out.

David rested his head back on the headrest and looked at her, “If this was a real date I am so sure I would never see you again.”

She smiled back at him, “Totally, you are lucky it was not a date.” Shrugging, “Besides I liked helping Mr. Tingi, reminded me why I became a cop.”

“Why did you quit?” The question was out before he could stop it. He had told himself that he would not push her but he was curious.

“It became too difficult,” She said and he knew there was more to it. Adelynn did not seem like a person who quit when things got tough. She looked like a person who would put up a hell of a fight.

“Okay,” he said and they both knew he did not believe her.

The pain he saw reflected in her eyes stopped him from asking any more questions. Before he knew what he was doing, he had leaned over to her side.

He did not realize until she scrambled out of the car that he had planned on kissing her.

Damn! He needed to get a grip on his impulse.

She did not wait for him to apologize, just slammed the door behind her and fled for her house.

Ladies and gentlemen, David Kaba making women flee since 2018, he imagined Nathan saying and smiled.







































CHAPTER SIX

After a restless night, she got to the office early to find Cristy eating popcorns and watching through the back window into the neighbor’s compound.

She did not want to know why the police station compound was not fenced or why it backed into someone’s compound.

Adelynn joined Cristy at the window, “What are you watching?”

Her attention was soon caught by a woman shouting that she was going to leave and go back to her parents’ house and never come back.

“That,” Cristy said as she filled her hands with more popcorns, “Better than any theatre.” Then she stuffed her mouth.

“What is happening?”

“Mr. and Mrs. Agothe, he always goes away for a couple of days on a drinking bender and when he comes back they argue like this every time.”

“Seriously?” she asked as she sat down beside her.

“Yep, so much fun to watch every time.”

Smiling, “Is she really going to leave?”

Scoffing, “No.”

Their attention went back to the scene outside when Mrs. Agothe threatened to hit Mr. Agothe with a frying pan.

Thirty minutes later David walked into the office to find all his co-workers around the window laughing.

He took a moment to appreciate just how beautiful Adelynn was when she laughed before he walked over to them. As soon as one person spotted him they all dispersed except Adelynn.

“David,” Cristy said with a grin as she passed him. He should make her call him sir but he did not have the heart to. She had known him since he was in diapers, it would just be weird if she called him sir. She would probably even swaddle him for making him call her sir. He will always be a kid to her.

He nodded at her as she passed.

“Morning,” he said as he sat on the table next to Adelynn, “I see you have found our prime source of entertainment.”

She smiled at him and he could swear he saw the sunrise right there in her eyes as they shone, “Yeah, Cristy was good enough to introduce me.”

It was hard but he managed to tear his eyes away to look out, he laughed when he saw Mrs. Agothe chase her husband around with a rolling pin in her hand. They were old so it seemed that even if they were moving it seemed like watching it in slow motion.

“Apparently she could not find the pan,” Adelynn said and he could hear the smile in her voice.

“Those two have always been entertaining.” He said.

“Aren’t you afraid that one day one of them will hurt the other?”

He looked at her, “Those two have been at it since I was ten and they have never hurt each other. I am not scared.”

Thou he was touched by her concern for them.

Slapping her hands on her thigh one time she got up, “Gotta get to work now.” She smiled as she looked at him, “Boss.”

He should have let her go.

He really should have.

As she passed his hand shot out and held her, she stopped and looked at him, “About yesterday…” he started saying then he did not know what he was going to say in the first place.

It seemed she understood because she nodded, “I know.”

Then just like that, she was gone and he was left there looking at the Agothe’s chasing each other. Was life really like that? Going around in circles and going nowhere fast?

Suddenly he felt old for his thirty-two years.

He was turning thirty-three, precisely in three days, maybe he should start thinking about getting married and having kids.

He had a good job that he had worked his ass off to build but that did not keep him warm at night.

The cold nights alone had started being long.

With a sigh he got up, Adelynn was messing with his head.

***

It was a coincidence.

Adelynn really wanted to believe it was a coincidence that Lisa was waiting for her at the diner the next day at lunchtime when David was busy at work.

She knew better when Lisa stood up and walked towards her as soon as walked into the dinner. She looked like a one-woman army on a warpath that was headed directly to her.

Damn, she should have packed her own lunch.

Where was Cristy when she was needed?

Damn, you are in trouble, Yan chimed in with a sing-song voice.

She forced a smile, “Hey Lisa.”

“Hey, Adelynn what a coincidence,” that was a load of crap but Adelynn did not think to call her out would improve their already strained relationship.

“Come join me,” and as if she was scared she would say no, she took her right hand and pulled her towards the table she had been seated. Resistance was futile so she went along with it.

She took a seat before she was shoved into the booth.

She would not put it past Lisa to shove her in in case she refused.

Lisa smiled, apparently pleased with herself, and she took a seat across from her.

Adelynn did not feel comfortable seating in the middle of the dinner because it meant there were so many blind spots but at least she was facing the door.

Like clockwork, Maria arrived to take her order and after Adelynn ordered some rice and bean stew, Maria was gone.

Adelynn was still impressed with how fast that woman could move.

“So when did you get into town,” it seemed like Lisa was jumping right in.

“About ten months ago.” She answered, better to get this over with. She was sure Nathan was somewhere grilling David. Lisa probably gave him a list of questions so they could compare answers later at home.

Lisa should have worked for immigration, the job would have suited her just fine.

“What brought you to our town?”

“The mountains?” she said and tried to smile but Lisa did not smile back. “I needed a break.”

That pinged Lisa’s interest, “From?”

On better thought maybe Lisa would have made a fantastic journalist, but that did not mean she was sharing anything with her about her past. She could barely think about it without feeling her chest constrict. She squashed the urge to rub her chest.

“Life,” she answered firmly looking directly into Lisa’s eyes. Something in her eyes must have told her she was not going to answer that question because she changed tactics.

“When did you meet David?”

Thirty minutes later Adelyn felt like she had been put in a washing machine on a full spin cycle of about eighteen turns.

So this was what it felt like to be run off the road with a bus, she thought as she watched Lisa stand up.

“I am so glad we ran into each other,” Lisa said as she stood up, “enjoy your lunch.”

“I am glad too,” Adelynn said, amused.

“I will see you on Tuesday at David’s birthday party.”

Crap David had not told her that, “yeah I am looking forward to it.” She lied, thank God she had gone through the academy and she could school her features.

As soon as the door closed behind Lisa she took her phone and sent a quick text to David:

I just got run over by the Lisa train

So glad we practiced.

A minute later she heard her phone ping she smiled when she read:

My train is currently running over me.

Poor David, she thought with a smile.

It was good he could handle himself.

****

“Lisa sent you,” he said to Nathan after he read Adelynn’s text message.

Nathan had the grace to look embarrassed, that lasted about thirty seconds.

“Yeah, she is just looking out for you.”

When Adelynn had gone out for lunch, he had been out doing some patrol. He had come back to leave his jacket and go join her in the diner when he found Nathan lounging on the visitor's chair eating a sandwich.

And waiting for him.

He had expected this ambush.

He was even surprised it had taken this long for them to get to him.

With a sigh, he sat down and picked up one of Nathan’s sandwiches, if he was staying he was eating.

“Hey that is mine,” Nathan protested.

“Tough luck,” David said as he took a bite, to the now pouting Nathan he asked, “what brings you by my office this fine afternoon.”

That was when the questions started, just as he had predicted. Lisa really needed to brush up her game.

Now he answered Nathans statement of Lisa looking out for him, “Tell her that I can take care of myself, I carry a gun for a living.”

Nathan snorted, “Guns cannot protect your heart.”

Raising one eyebrow, “and Lisa can?”

Nathan nodded yes so convincingly that David burst out laughing.

The things his best friend came up with.

“You my friend have been whipped,” David said.

Grinning Nathan answered, “Yeah I have and I am very happy about it.”

For a second David was jealous, he wanted to love someone that much he believed all the ridiculous things she told him.

“Well take your happiness out of my office I have work to do.”

David stood up, “Remember on Tuesday we have your birthday party.”

With a sigh, he said, “I remember, I keep telling you guys I do not need a birthday party.”

Nathan just shrugged, “That is the cost of having friends who care, deal with it.”

Then he was off whistling, perhaps to heal more people out there.

David just smiled after him, it was really hard having friends who loved you.

They meddled in your business, took your sandwiches without asking, helped themselves to your office but when you fall they were there to pick you up. That was the best part of all.

He was a blessed man.

































CHAPTER SEVEN

Tuesday came by so fast, during the day everyone wished David a happy birthday.

From the warm wishes, it was obvious that he was well liked by his colleagues. They had lunch together as usual at the Maria dinner, before heading back to work. They had developed a routine, he came to her desk when he wanted to consult with her on any cases, they had lunch together and when she had a new thought she went to his office.

The cases around there were pretty simple, he told her that the difficult cases mostly involved fighting over land by relatives otherwise all the others were calm.

She liked it that way, no chances of her making another mistake like the one that had forced her to quit the force.

She still could not believe that she had almost killed someone.

The man deserved it from the way he had been treating his wife but the fact that she had almost pulled the trigger on an unarmed civilian had scared her shitless.

She was not that person, so that evening she had walked into the chief of police office and handed in her badge and gun.

She could still remember the look of disbelief on his face.

“You cannot do this, you have been under a lot of stress after Martin died and we understand it was just a mistake.”

The mistake did not involve beating a man senseless in front of the wife and wailing kids. It did not involve the black rage that had enveloped her or the desire to hurt someone so bad. To this day she was grateful for her partner who pulled her off him because right now she would be in jail facing a murder charge.

It was the end of the rope for her and she had told the chief of police so, he did not understand but he did not argue.

“You are a damn good detective Adelynn, if you want your job back it shall be here for you.”

She had just nodded then she had walked out, that was the last day she had been in the city.

She was glad that none of the things she had done had ended up in her records, being loved by the chief of police was good apparently. But that one incident would always haunt her.

No need to dredge up old memories, she thought as she pulled up to her cabin to change before she went back to town for David’s party.


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