NIGHT OF DREAMS--Pamela takes the road most traveled
Pamela clutched Corey to her breast, held her breath and pressed heself against the oak tree as though it were possible to mold herself into the trunk.
The Miata stopped and with the engine idling, a tall stranger stepped out. He stared at Pamela and seemingly surprised, at Corey's small sleeping body.
Pamela reached in her pocket and found the long Ford keys. If he got any closer to her baby, she'd go for his throat.
"Didn't expect to see anyone out on the Fairfax road at this time. Are you all right? Can I be of assistance?"
Pamela knew the long arm of her in-laws and their influence over just about everybody in the county. She trusted no one. "We're fine. Just out for a walk."
"A bit late for a midnight stroll, if you ask me."
"I don't believe anybody did ask you." She stared defiantly into the stranger's blue eyes and fingered the car keys. "You don't look familiar. Why don't you tell me what you are doing out at this time?"
"Getting out of Georgia and into South Carolina. Know what they say about you can never go home again? Believe me, it's true. If I never see Sommesville--my sacred birthpplace--it's none too soon for me."
"So, you're telling me you are just passing through."
"Fast as I legally can, ma'am. Hope to be in Charleston by tomorrow. I'm as sick of this state as it is of me." He pushed back a lock of curly, black hair. "But I guess that's more information than you're interested in."
Pamela arched an eyebrow. Under other circumstances, she would have appreciated the strength of his jawbone, his thick jet black hair and the riple of muscles stretching out of his tee shirt.
"So, I'll make my exit. I thought you might be in trouble, but if you're sure..."
"I'm sure." Pamela felt anything but sure. Maybe he didn't have anything to do with Scotts. Letting him go could be the biggest mistake of her life.
He got bak into the car and slammed the door.
"Momma," cried Corey. "Is it Daddy? Is he going to hit you again?"
The door opened and the man got out slowly. He bent down and looked at Corey. "Hi, little man. I thought you might need a little help."
"Yes," he said. "Daddy made Momma cry. He threw his bottle at Momma and it smashed all over the wall. Then he got my snow globe with the happy family and...." Corey's slow sobs grew into a wail.
Pamela hadn't thought her heart had any pieces big enough to break, but found even slivers could shatter. "Shh, baby, it's okay. It's okay."
"Ma'am, if you don't mind my intruding. I don't think it is okay. My name is Zach and I can understand you not wanting to trust a stranger, but I don't think you've got a choice, do you?
Pamela looked into Zach's face and saw the truth. She had to take the chance and trust this man. "Let's go," she said.
Pamela held Corey on her lap and as Zach stepped on the gas, she looked in the sideview mirrow and said a silent goodbye to Tipton.