Beyond the Past, Chapter 1

"This was a fast-paced novel that kept my attention!"
~Veronica, a reader

 Chapter 1
Copyright 2013 by Jo Huddleston

January 1, 1951
Atlanta, Georgia

Emmajean bolted upright in bed, her heart hammering against her chest, and eyes searching the darkness. What had awakened her? She glanced at the clock. Two o’clock in the morning. She’d only been in bed a scant thirty minutes. She had worked with Barry till after the New Year's Eve celebrations settled down.
 She eased aside the shade at her bedside window that overlooked the street to see what awoke her. Three cars parked beneath the street light and four men huddled on the sidewalk. Two of the cars were police cars, one was not. Two of the men wore uniforms, the other two had on suits. They approached the house and hurried to get up the steps to the front porch. When they knocked on the door, Emmajean scrambled from her tangled covers, searching for her house slippers. She jerked her housecoat from across the foot of the bed and pushed her arms into it. As she cinched the belt around her waist she stepped across the room and opened her bedroom door. At the same moment, Barry opened his bedroom door directly across the living room from hers, buckling the belt in his pants. When he saw Emmajean he put a finger against his lips and motioned with his other hand, palm forward, for her not to come out of her room.
Another knock came through the door and a gravelly voice said, “Open up. Atlanta police.”
Barry went toward the door, again motioning for Emmajean to stay put. He opened the door a small crack and backed up as the four men pushed through.
An overweight man in a rumpled brown suit looked at Barry. “Are you Barry Wagner?” Then he swung his gaze toward Emmajean, still standing in her doorway. She saw his degrading smile and tugged the cotton housecoat closer beneath her neck.
“Yeah, I’m Barry.”
“Is that your car parked in the driveway?”
“Yeah. What are you doing here?”
The man exchanged glances with his partner who smirked toward Barry. Then Brown Suit’s attention turned toward Emmajean. “Young lady, are you Emmajean Callaway?”
Wondering how he knew her name, she answered, “Yes, sir.”
The heavy man walked farther into the room and motioned for Barry to sit on the sofa. The two men took chairs across from the sofa. The uniformed policemen stood near the door.
The designated speaker for the men cleared his smoker’s throat. “I’m Detective Hamilton and we have a few questions for you. Where were you this evening for the last three hours?”
“Right here. Both of us.”
“Is that right, Miss? Were you here all evening with this man?”
Emmajean knew they had not been home all evening, but Barry gave her a slight nod of his head. “Yes, sir.”
“Come on out here and join us.” Hamilton waved Emmajean to the sofa.
Emmajean eased across the living room and settled next to Barry on the lumpy sofa. What was going on? Were they in some kind of trouble?
“What are you doing here?” Sweat dotted across Barry’s brow. “You must be at the wrong house.”
“Nah, we’re not at the wrong house. We have witnesses who say you’ve not been home this evening. They say you were seen in your car north of town at a drive-in and this pretty little redhead here went to different cars delivering some kind of goods.”
“Now you leave her out of this.”
“Out of what?”
Barry fell silent.
The detective pulled some papers from his inside coat pocket, snapped them open, and held it up for Barry and Emmajean to see. “This here’s a search warrant. We’ve been watching you two for a while and we have cause to take a look around.” His degrading sneer spread across his face. “Okay, boys. Get started. I doubt there’s anything in the little lady’s room, but look everywhere.”
When one of the officers started toward Barry’s bedroom, Barry jumped up from the sofa.
Detective Hamilton rose and moved in front of Barry. “I think you’d better just have a seat there. You can get up when we’re finished looking around.”
It didn’t take the policemen long. “Looky here.” One of them came out of Barry’s bedroom holding up a small brown paper bag opened at the top resting on the palm of his hand. He carried several more bags bunched in his other arm and hand. The detective met the officer and peered into the bag.
“What do we have here?” The other detective joined him, reaching into the bag, checking its contents.
“And there’s plenty more in the bedroom.”
 “Okay, you two, let’s go. Both of you get yourself dressed. We’re going downtown.”
“You can’t take us anywhere.”
“Oh, but I can, Mr. Wagner. You’re under arrest for possession of and selling of a controlled substance. You know, drugs. Marijuana.” He turned to the other detective and said, “Hank, read them their rights.”
Turning to the two officers, Hamilton said, “Gather all that stuff up and let’s get it all to the station.”
“No. You can’t take any of my things.”
“Well, yes, Barry, we can and we are. Now, get yourself and your little lady ready to go.”
Emmajean had remained dumbfounded throughout the entire questioning. Why was Barry carrying on so? Why did the detective think they had any illegal drugs and what did that mean, anyway? When the two suits motioned her toward her bedroom, she complied and shut the door behind her.
She wondered how she could get out of this. She didn’t want to go to the police station. What if her family found out? She whipped her gown off. After she donned her bra she stutter-stepped and yanked on a pair of blue jeans, pulled a Georgia Tech T shirt over her head and slid into a pair of Keds. She grabbed her purse from the chest and eased over to the window. She raised it inch by inch.
~ ~ ~
Barry returned to the living room from his bedroom. He had on a white T shirt, shoes, and held his jacket across one shoulder. He shifted his feet, waiting with the other four men for several minutes, all of them somewhat nervous in each other’s company.
Detective Hamilton finally approached Emmajean’s bedroom door and knocked lightly. When she didn’t answer, he knocked more forcefully.
“Miss, are you ready? It’s time we got going.”
Barry wondered what Emmajean was trying to pull. She had ways of outsmarting folks. When she still didn’t answer, Barry watched the detective as he motioned toward one of the officers. “Go outside and check that window on the front of the house. We don’t want her slipping off.”
Barry hoped she had left. He didn’t mean for her to get involved with the police.
~ ~ ~
Emmajean raised the window just enough so she could slip through and drop to the ground, which was only a few feet below. Angela was right: she was too skinny. But that served her purpose tonight. She threw her purse out first and heard it splat on the ground. Hanging onto the window sill with both hands she backed out as quickly as she could. With her six foot body suspended, she turned loose her grip on the window sill and dropped the remaining short distance to the ground.
“Going somewhere, Miss?”
She whirled around to find a policeman just behind her. He seized her upper arm as if with a vise and pulled her toward the front porch.
“Hey, what are you doin’? Let me get my pocketbook.”
He kept his hold on her arm as she bent down and retrieved her purse. The officer led her to the front porch and hollered, “I got her, sir.”
When the men came outside, they carried five large plastic trash bags. The police had handcuffed Barry’s hands behind his back. He looked at the ground as they led him to one of the police cars. The policeman who held Emmajean’s arm steered her toward the other police car, stuffed her into the back seat and shut the door.
Emmajean perched on the edge of the back seat. “Where are you takin’ me? You can’t just take me away from my house.”
When the officer didn’t respond, Emmajean tried to get his attention again. “Hey, talk to me. Where are we goin’? I want to go back to my house.”
Finally, Emmajean gave up trying to engage the officer in conversation and slid back in the seat. That’s when her tears began to track down her cheeks. Since she had left Newton after graduating from high school, nothing had gone right for her. Nothing. She came to Atlanta to get into the fashion world. That didn’t work out so she got a job at Mr. Baker’s diner and moved in an apartment with Angela. She’d met Barry at the diner and soon began working for him delivering packages to guys who met them at a drive-in restaurant. She didn’t know the packages held illegal drugs. She really didn’t know. She had already realized she was country-come-to-town but was too proud to admit her failures and slink back to Newton. Now look at her!
Hustled into the police station, Emmajean looked up at the big round clock on the wall that said three o’clock. Three o’clock in the morning and here she was in the downtown Atlanta police station.
The police fingerprinted Barry and Emmajean. Another officer took their pictures and booked them. Now an hour or so later, where was Barry? She hadn’t seen him since they’d been fingerprinted. She sat alone in a small dingy room with only a metal table and two folding chairs. The wooden door swung open, banging into the wall. Detective Hamilton came in and stood across the table from her.
“Now, Miss, I want some answers and I want them straight. What were you doing with Barry Wagner earlier tonight?”
Emmajean didn’t answer. She knew trouble when she saw it and she was not going to volunteer any information. “I want my one telephone call.” She had watched television since she’d arrived in Atlanta. She knew they had to give her one telephone call.
“Miss, I said I want some answers.” He took a few steps toward her. “We’ve got your friend in another room. He’s already spilled the beans and now we want to hear your side.”
She hesitated. Had Barry already told them what they were doing north of town tonight? Would Barry betray her or was the detective lying to her, trying to trick her? She decided that surely the detective wouldn’t lie to her. The police people were supposed to be folks you could trust. “We met some boys at the Dixie drive-in on the north side of town. Barry gave me small paper bags turned down at the top and told me which car to take them to. He said not to look inside or I might be embarrassed. He said just deliver the paper bags and bring back the money they would give me.”
“You never looked inside the bags?”
“No. Since Barry told me not to look I figured there must be man-stuff inside and I didn’t want to pry into his business.”
“You really didn’t look in the bags?” He finally sat in the chair across from Emmajean. “You trying to tell me you didn’t know what you were delivering?”
“That’s right, I didn’t.”
“Are you that stupid? Your friend must not care much for you, asking you to help him deliver drugs.” He ran his fingers through his thinning hair. “Where’re you from?”
“Newton. That’s north of Chattanooga.”
“I know where it is. That explains it. You’re not a city girl. You’re a country girl.”
“Well, yeah, we had a small farm. We didn’t live in town.” That fact embarrassed Emmajean. That’s why she came to Atlanta: to leave her humble lifestyle behind. She’d sure done a great job of getting a new lifestyle! She looked at the clock on the wall of this little room. Eight o’clock. They’d been there the rest of the night. “You have to let me use the telephone.”
Hamilton asked her a few other questions but she fell silent. As he left the room, Emmajean shouted at his back, “Give me my telephone call.”
A short while later a female clerk stepped into the room. “Okay, honey, you can make your telephone call. Follow me. When you’re finished, off you go to a cell.”
Emmajean stood at the telephone on the wall in the hall and had difficulty dialing the operator with shaking hands. Finally she placed her call—person to person, collect.
~ ~ ~
Jim looked up when he heard one tap on his office door. Peggy, his secretary, came in. “You have a collect call from someone calling herself Emmajean. Do you want to accept the call?”
“Yes! Put her on, please.”
The intercom buzzed. Jim jabbed the button. “Yes?”
“I have Emmajean on the telephone.”
“Thank you, Peggy.”
Jim stabbed a button on the telephone. “Emmajean! What’s wrong? Are you okay? Talk to me.”
From the other end of the line he heard Emmajean’s sobbing.
“Emmajean. I can tell something’s wrong. Now, tell me about it.”
“Jim, I’m in jail.” More sobbing.
“Where are you? What have you done?”
She repeated her words. “Jim, I’m in jail. I need help. Can you please help me?”
 “Yes, Emmajean, anything. Tell me what’s going on.”
While Emmajean told her story in chunks separated by crying, his brain ran about two steps ahead, thinking what in the world he could do. Emmajean was in Atlanta and he was here in Newton. How could he help her?
“Emmajean, you hold on. I’ll be there in a few hours. Listen to me. Stop crying and listen to me! Don’t say another word to anybody there. Nobody. Don’t sign anything. Not anything. If I can get a lawyer to you before I get there you can talk to him and no one else. Hear me?”
Emmajean swallowed so loud Jim could hear her over the telephone. “Yes, I hear you. Please hurry. I’m scared. But I won’t say anythin' else.”
“Tell me where you are.”
Jim could hear his sister asking someone where she was. “I’m at Atlanta Precinct #312. Right down in the city.”
“Can you hang on there a few hours?”
Jim could hear the doubt in her voice. “Buck up now, chin up. I’ll see you in a while.”
~ ~ ~
Jim no sooner cradled the telephone when he picked it up again and buzzed Peggy. “Get me the law offices of Chip Rawlings. And please do it now.”
He tapped his pen on his desk and waited with his other hand on the telephone. What a way to start a Monday morning. As soon as Peggy buzzed him, he got on the telephone again.
“Hello. Chip?”
“No, sir. This is his receptionist. How can I help you?”
“This is Jim Callaway. I’d like to speak to him, please.”
“Mr. Callaway, I’m sorry, Mr. Rawlings is in Chattanooga today on a case. He’ll probably be there a few days. Can someone else help you?”
“Yes. Let me speak to his partner, please.”
“Wait one moment, please, and I’ll connect you with Mr. Claude Walton.”
When Mr. Walton answered his telephone, Jim identified himself again.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Callaway?”
“Well, I wanted Mr. Rawlings to help me with something in Atlanta. My sister is being held there and I want to get someone to her as soon as I can.”
“Mr. Callaway, none of us here can do law work in the state of Georgia. We can be present at an arraignment but we can’t actively take any part in it.”
“Oh.” Jim heard the defeat in his own voice.
“However, I know a lawyer down there we’ve used before. I could put in a call to him and ask him to visit your sister. His name is Bertrand Cox. Would that be okay with you?”
“Yes, it would.”
“Fine. Now tell me where your sister is and her full name.”
“Atlanta Police Precinct #312. Emmajean Callaway. But one more question. Do you have a lawyer in your office that could go down to Atlanta with me? I realize he can’t do anything on the case, but I’d feel more comfortable with someone local down there overseeing things.”
“Well, yes, I believe I can send one of our young lawyers with you. But don’t be telling the folks down there that he is overseeing the case. That wouldn’t go over too big. Let’s see, we could let Terry Fields go with you.”
“Fine. That’s fine, Mr. Walton. Can he go today, right now?”
“Yes, I believe so.”
“Please tell him I’ll pick him up in a few minutes. You’ve been a great help. Thank you.”
When Jim tried to put some papers into order on his desk, he reached again for the telephone. “Peggy, please get me the residence of Caroline Hensen in Knoxville, Tennessee.” While he waited for the call to go through Jim continued to move some things on his desk until Peggy buzzed him.
“Caroline, it’s Jim. You okay today?”
He waited for her to finish some small talk. “Caroline, I wanted you to know I have to go down to Atlanta immediately. It’s Emmajean. She just called me, frantic and crying. She’s in some kind of trouble with the Atlanta police, along with a guy she must have been seeing. I don’t know how long I’ll be down there.”
He nodded as he listened to her reply. “I’ve got to run. I’ll call you when I get back. Bye.”
On his way out of the office he asked Peggy to please get word to his Chief Financial Officer John Allbright and tell him about Jim leaving. “I’ll be in Atlanta to help my baby sister with something. Anything that comes up you can’t handle just talk to John. I’m thinking I’ll be gone for a couple of days. I’ll check in with you a time or two.”
~ ~ ~
When Jim drove to pick up Terry Fields at the lawyer’s office he was waiting on him. “Mr. Fields, you probably should take a few clothes with you, maybe for two or three days.”
Fields agreed and Jim took him to his apartment then went home to grab a few things for himself.
They finally got on the road toward Atlanta. “Mr. Fields, thanks for coming with me. Mr. Walton told me you couldn’t actually work on a case in Georgia, but I’m glad you’ll be around.”
“Sure, glad to help anyway I can. But please call me Terry.”
“Sure. How long you been a lawyer?”
“I passed the bar four years ago soon after I finished law school at UT and been with this firm since then. I’ve been in several cases with the partners already and I’ve learned a lot.”
“Have you ever been in on a case involving drugs?”
Terry looked at Jim with questioning eyes.
For the next several miles as he drove, Jim explained what he knew of Emmajean’s problem with the Atlanta police. “That’s all I know and that’s not much. I told her not to talk to them or sign anything until the other lawyer or I got there.”
 “You gave her good advice.”
“I just hope she follows it. She’s scared.”
“Being scared is natural even if you’ve just been pulled over for speeding.”
~ ~ ~
Precinct #312 was certainly in the middle of Atlanta. Jim left his car in the closest parking lot to the precinct he could find. Their destination was one of many brick buildings crammed into small spaces.
The female at the front counter wasn’t overly nice, just doing her job.
Jim inquired about the whereabouts of Emmajean. “She’s with her lawyer now.”
Jim looked at Terry who stepped to the counter. “We’re part of her lawyer’s team. We’d like to join them.” He handed her his card. Jim didn’t hesitate to hand her one of his cards.
The lady locked eyes with Jim. “You’re no lawyer.”
“No, ma’am. I’m her brother.”
She kept their cards. “I’ll be right back.”
A few moments later the female reappeared, her countenance and body ramrod straight. “Follow me.”
Jim and Terry fell in behind her and followed her to the far end of a long narrow hall. She stopped at the last door on the left, knocked once, and opened the door. Stepping aside, she motioned them to enter the room. One step inside, all Jim saw was a blur of motion speeding toward him.
Emmajean wrapped her arms around Jim’s neck and sobbed onto his chest. “There, there. Hang on, Emmajean. I’m here. I’m right here with you.”
Her sobs shook her body for a few minutes until they subsided. Jim pushed her away and held her shoulders. “You going to be okay?”
Doubt shone in her eyes. “I’ll be okay now that you’re here. I’m sure glad to see you.”
Bertrand Cox, the Atlanta lawyer, introduced himself and Jim and Terry did the same, exchanging business cards. Jim explained Terry’s presence. A deep frown showed on his face upon hearing of the young lawyer’s involvement in the case.
“Mr. Cox, I’m only here as a support for Mr. Callaway. He wanted somebody from home to be with him. I assure you I will only observe. I won’t move in on your case.”
Cox looked Terry up and down before finally speaking. “I’ve been talking with Emmajean. It seems she unknowingly has gotten herself into a little mess.” He told Jim and Terry the story as Emmajean had told him.
Jim waited for the lawyer to say more but he didn’t. “Mr. Cox, Can you help her?”
“That’s what I’m here for.” He had dodged Jim’s question.
“Please give us a straight answer. Even Emmajean needs to know exactly where things stand.”
Mr. Cox pushed back his chair and rose from the beat-up metal table. He paced the tiny windowless room then came back to the table. “I’ve handled many cases involving drugs. I’ve usually won them. Now Emmajean’s case here is a little different. She was a party to the drug selling but had no knowledge that she was. That’s the wrinkle in the case.”
“You mean you can’t be my sister’s lawyer in this because she was innocent of what she was doing?”
Terry attentively stood to the side, not saying anything. Jim looked at him and when he didn’t speak, Jim remembered Terry was only supposed to be an observer. So they had to wait until they were away from the Atlanta lawyer before they could discuss any of this.
Mr. Cox returned to his chair facing Emmajean. “Yes, I think I can help your sister. I’m ready to give it a shot. That is, if you want to retain me.”
“Yes, I do. Mr. Walton recommended you and that’s enough for me. What are you going to do? What’s next?”
“First, there’ll be a preliminary arraignment. It’s scheduled for Thursday morning. At that time I will plead the court for bond and release of your sister. The case will then be presented before a grand jury but I don’t have information on when that will be. With the charges what they are I’m sure the grand jury will decide that the case needs to be bound over to a jury trial. A judge will set a date for trial to begin.”
“Okay, she gets out on bond. What’s next?”
“Emmajean must stay in the state, preferably in Atlanta.”
“Will she be free to get out and about? Maybe get a job?”
“Yes, she will.” Mr. Cox turned toward Emmajean. “But during that time, young lady, you must not get involved in any criminal activity whatsoever. Not even a parking ticket. Do you understand that?”
“Yes, sir.” She shot a miserable glance toward Jim.
“Well, that about does it for now, y’all. I’ll start right away working on Emmajean’s defense. Are you boys going to stay or head back home?”
“We’ll stay a while. May I telephone you if I have questions?”
Mr. Cox started toward the door. “Yes. Yes. You have my card there. Anytime.”
As he disappeared through the door, Jim handed Emmajean his business card. “Emmajean, here’s my card. You call me anytime. Collect. I wrote my home telephone number on the back side.” He grabbed her in a bear hug and she held on to him until the female warden came to take Emmajean to her cell.
~ ~ ~
“It tore me up to see them take Emmajean to a cell.” Still in Atlanta, Jim and Terry had just finished dinner.
“I’m sorry, Jim. We can probably see her again tomorrow. I feel certain that bail will be set at the arraignment on Thursday.”
“Two more days in jail! For something she didn’t know she was doing.”
“That’s right, Jim. But if I was Mr. Cox, I’d figure out a defense of Emmajean based on her not having knowledge of conducting a sell of illegal drugs. And even at that, she was just aiding her friend Barry.”
“Some friend! I’m glad he didn’t get her hooked on the drugs.” They rose to leave. “Let’s go get some rooms, stay the night and maybe go back to Newton sometime tomorrow. Then come back down here early Thursday morning. That okay with you?”
~ ~ ~
When Jim and Arthur met for lunch on Wednesday, Jim filled in his best friend on his trip to Atlanta. “Bones, I’m afraid for her. Down there in the jail cell. She was pretty shaky even when we were with her. I hate thinking about what kind of shape she’s in all alone now.”
“Jim, your sister has always been a feisty, determined kid. She’ll do what she has to. You need to calm yourself down.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Everything going okay with you and the family?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, maybe not. That boy of ours is really pushin’ his limits. He’s messin’ up in school. If he doesn’t straighten up he might not graduate with his class in June.”
“What’s happening?”
“We all know he's never liked school. He skips classes and sometimes a whole day. The school telephones so often you’d think they were our best friends. When he’s not at school we can’t figure out where he is and he won’t tell us.”
“Has he still got that old car of yours?”
“Yeah, and with it he could be anywhere.”
“How are his grades? I guess they're not too good.”
“You got that right. Jim, I’m as scared for Art as you are for Emmajean. And his mother worries all the time about him.”
“How is Callie?”
“Like I said, she worries a lot. Thank heavens, our girl is doin’ well in school.”
Jim studied his friend’s face. Something else was bothering him. “Bones, what else are you not telling me?”
“Jim, I think Art is runnin’ with some boys who’re doin’ some drinkin’. You know how that is, Art’s liable to be drinkin’ too.”
“I sure hope he’s not drinking and driving. If he got stopped for that he’d probably be in a jail cell like Emmajean.”
~ ~ ~
Thursday morning at ten o’clock Judge Orr’s gavel struck the block, sending an echo through the almost empty chambers.
The bailiff read the charges. “Case #176, Barry Wagner is charged with possession with intent to sell an illegal substance, a Class B felony and Emmajean Callaway is charged with aiding the act of possession with intent to sell an illegal substance, a misdemeanor.” The judge gave a slight nod and the bailiff took a seat.
“Do the parties have legal representation present?
Mr. Cox and Barry’s lawyer both stood. “Yes, Your Honor, they do.”
“Is the prosecution present and ready to go?”
An assistant district attorney seated at a table to the right stood. “Yes, Your Honor.” Then he sat.
“Very well, let’s get this arraignment underway, gentlemen.”
Mr. Cox rose. “Your Honor, I request bond be set for my client on her personal recognizance. Her release will not pose a real and present danger to others or to the public at large. The defendant has no prior criminal record. The charges against my client are aiding in the criminal act. The 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, ‘Excessive bails shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.’”
“Yes, I know what the 8th Amendment says.” The judge growled and rubbed his chin, glaring at Emmajean. The prosecution didn’t voice any objection to bonding out the female defendant.
“Bond set at $5,000.” Judge Orr pounded his gavel on the block. “Mr. Cox you and your client may leave the courtroom.”
After Jim paid the bond, the four of them left and pushed through the front doors of the courthouse. “Mr. Callaway, I’ll keep you up to date. When the grand jury convenes and their verdict. If a jury trial is set, I’ll let you know.” He trotted down the courthouse steps and turned left.
Jim held Emmajean’s elbow as they descended the front steps. Terry walked on the other side of Emmajean, taking in her every move.
“Let’s get you checked into your room at the YWCA.” Jim pointed to the right. “It’s just down the street.”
“Jim, you’ve already got me a place to live?” She turned to Terry. “See what a good big brother I have?”
He returned her smile. “I guess that’s what big brothers are for.”
“Jim, can you take me to Barry’s house to get my things there?”
“No. You’ll not have any more associations of any kind with Barry. Remember that. The folks that run the YWCA will watch out for your needs. You can have your meals at their cafeteria and they have recreation and things. After we get you checked in, we’re going shopping for any new things you want. Terry, you’re going too aren’t you?”
“Yeah. Sure. I like to watch people spend money. You’d better watch your billfold, Jim. This pretty girl looks like shopping excites her.”
“It does, it does. Let’s hurry to the YWCA and then go shopping at Rich’s.”
After shopping, the guys were worn out but Emmajean remained fresh and wanted to continue. “Emmajean, let’s call it quits for today and go get some supper.” Jim motioned her toward the sales clerk behind the counter.
Emmajean dumped all the garments she’s selected onto the counter top. “Okay, Jim. This was a lot of fun.” Then she sobered. “Big brother, thank you for takin’ care of me today and for all these clothes. I didn’t have anythin' but the clothes on my back and you took care of me, again.” She looped her arm through his as he paid for the garments and the clerk placed them in a large sack.
Emmajean, reached to pick up the sack. “Here, I’ll get that for you.” She turned and saw that Terry was going to carry her things. She took a good look at him and decided how cute he was. She loved his smile.  She’d been so torn up and busy all day she hadn’t paid much attention to him. “Sure, thanks, Terry.”
After they returned to Emmajean’s room with all her shopping bags, she spread the clothes one by one across her bed. “We did some shopping, didn’t we?”
“Looks like it. If you need other things write them down and when I come back we’ll go shopping again.”
“Jim, that’s so sweet of you.”
Jim exchanged a look with Terry. Jim knew what Terry had planned to do before they left Emmajean. “I’ll be in the lobby, ready to go when you are, Terry.”
He hugged his sister before leaving the room.
After Jim left, Emmajean shot a wary look toward Terry. “What’s going on?”
Terry stepped toward the bed and laid his briefcase on it. He opened it and withdrew a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. He turned toward Emmajean. “Jim knew what I planned to do. That’s why we went on to the lobby. I wanted to give you this.”
Puzzled, Emmajean took the package from his outstretched hand.
“It’s for you.”
She pulled the twine and it slipped away as the brown paper unfolded to reveal a Bible. It was a well-worn black Bible. She looked into Terry’s brown eyes for an answer.
“This was my grandmother’s Bible. Mother gave it to me a long time ago. This morning I noticed you didn’t have a Bible. I want you to have this one.”
“Why?” Emmajean spoke in her no-nonsense, straightforward way.
“You didn’t have one. Now you do.  I thought you might like to have it.”
“But it belonged to your grandmother.”
“Yes, it did.” He closed his briefcase. “Now it belongs to you. I hope you enjoy your time spent reading it. Maybe it will help you not to be lonely down here all by yourself.”
“You’re right, Terry.” She started to step toward him then changed her mind and stood still.
“I’d better get on out to the lobby. Jim will wonder what happened to me.” He leaned toward Emmajean and placed a light kiss on her cheek. “I’ll see you again before long.”
After Terry left the room she closed the door and leaned back against it. Nobody outside her family had ever been kind to her. She clutched the Bible to her chest and smiled.

© 2013 Jo Huddleston All Rights Reserve

No comments:

Post a Comment