DESTINY
by Mary Bell
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Chapter Two

     He struggled to wake but was in the midst of the most terrifying dream.  He was driving down a dark highway when two cars forced him off the road.  Four men got out of each vehicle and pointed guns at him and forced him to get out of the car.  He complied and they proceeded to kick and punch him.  He was hit and kicked too many times to count.  His attackers uttered not a word while beating him.  One of the men walked to his car while the others kept pummeling him.  When they stopped suddenly, he thought it was finally over, and then he saw the baseball bat.  He threw up his hands to ward off the attack, but was too slow and felt the crack of his skull as the bat made contact….HARD!

     Cade opened his eyes with a start!  It took him a moment to orient himself to his surroundings and to calm his breathing and when he did he heard the sound of someone typing.  He wiped the sweat off his forehead and forced himself to the sitting position.  In the corner of the room at an old desk, Emily sat hunched over the computer keyboard typing furiously.  She was so engrossed with what she was writing that she did not hear him moan in his sleep.  He breathed in a sigh of relief, she did not need anything else to worry about right now.  What the heck was that?  Was it a memory?  If so, it was horrific!  He sure hoped it was just a bad dream, but he didn’t think so.

     After lying there and listening to Emily type for about thirty minutes, he asked her what time it was.  “Oh, are you awake?  I’m sorry; I got an idea and had to run with it.  It is midnight.  How do you feel?”  She got up from the computer and walked over to the couch.  “I feel a little better, just ache all over.  My body is protesting every move.  Ya know, I need to go again.”  He looked at her with a pained expression at having to ask her assistance again.  “No problem let me support you.  Use me to lean on.”  She looped her arm around his back and under his arms so he could lean on her.  He slowly managed to gain his feet and began to walk to the bathroom when he stubbed his toe on the table leg and almost fell.  If it weren’t for her keeping a tight if painful grip, he would’ve taken another fall.  “I seem to have a problem with my equilibrium.”  He was grimacing in pain.  Emily looked at him with a look of sympathy, “Well, you have had the stuffing beaten out of you, so it is understandable that you may have difficulty in walking.  Don’t worry, I’ll be here to help you until you can do it on your own.”  She shut the door and didn’t hear him mumble to himself, “I hope you are here a lot longer than that.”

     The next few days preceded pretty much the same as the first, with her taking care of him.  He was lucky she had found more old clothes as his jeans had seen better days.  When he slept, she would do the chores, like getting in the firewood, making the meals and cleaning up and then she would work on her book.  The nightmare recurred every time he slept and he awoke at the same point each time.  Emily heard him yell out at one point and when asked about it, he said he just had a bad dream.  He didn’t elaborate and she didn’t ask for more explanation. She wisely knew to give him time and he would tell her.

       They had long, heartfelt talks late into each night about each other’s hopes and dreams for the future.  He thought her biggest dream would be to become a famous author, but it wasn’t.  She wanted a family, a husband, children, and the American dream.  She wanted to give her children what her parents had given her.  More and more he wished he would be the man to make that dream come true. First he would have to remember who and what he was.  It wouldn’t be fair to Emily to get involved only to find he had a girlfriend or worse a wife!

     By the end of the fourth day, he was well enough to walk around some with the help of a cane Emily had fashioned from a branch.  He had teased her about her talent with a knife.  She just responded with a shrug and a wink.  They had become more and more comfortable with each other and could almost finish each other’s sentences. He thought this is what soul mates are supposed to be like.  He wondered if you could truly fall in love at first sight, because he was sure what he felt was love.  It thrilled him and scared him.  He wondered why he got frightened at the thought of loving Emily. He was puzzled by the trepidation that he felt each time he allowed himself to enjoy the feelings he had growing inside his heart.

     On the seventh day, Emily surprised him with a short walk outside.  He forgot what it felt like to have the sun on his face.  They walked down by the river he had followed that fateful night.  He was beginning to heal quite rapidly, the bruises had turned brown and yellow instead of black and blue and the swelling had gone down.  He still had a little dizziness and his ribs were still somewhat sore, yet all in all, he was vastly improved!  She had found an old coat of her father’s for him to wear, as the weather had turned quite chilly.  Fall had arrived with a vengeance!  The leaves were various shades of orange, yellow and red.  It was a magnificent sight to behold.

     After going a short distance, Emily instructed him to turn back and return to the cabin.  “Why?  I feel great and it is a beautiful day!”  Cade argued with her.  “You’ve done well for your first time out, but I don’t want you to over do it.  You took a pretty severe beating and you need to take it slow and easy.”  He glowered back at her but acquiesced, after all, she was the nurse and the boss!  The walked back to the cabin and neither knew exactly when or how it happened, but they found themselves hand in hand by the time they arrived.

     Cade thought it felt good to hold her hand; it fit just like a glove.  He knew that sounded cliché, but that was the best way to describe it.  Emily took his coat and hung it up on the coat tree and turned to go fix lunch when she tripped over Cade’s cane and went sprawling!  She closed her eyes while waiting for the inevitable pain when she hit the floor but it didn’t come.  Cade had caught her just before she hit and was helping her back to her feet.  She found herself looking up and losing herself in his expressive eyes.  Cade’s hands went around her waist and pulled her to him, his intent plain on his face.

     Her heart pounded in her chest like a drum and she felt his doing the same under her hand.  He bent his head and gently brushed her lips with his.  Electricity shot through her at the contact of their lips.  Cade lifted his face slightly from hers to look into her liquid blue eyes and met a look of pure love.  Emily lifted up on her tiptoes to kiss him again, this time more than just a slight touch.   She put all of her heart and love into the kiss and Cade knew then that she felt for him what he did for her.  When the kiss ended, she looked at him and smiled.  “I’m sorry if I was presumptuous, I mean, you did want to kiss me again, didn’t you?”  He looked at her with the look of a man completely smitten and just kissed her again.

     That night as Cade lay in his bed, as he was now able to climb the stairs and Emily no longer worried he would die, he thought on the events of the day.  He knew he loved her with all his heart and was pretty sure she felt the same way.  Why, then did he feel afraid for her?  Was there something in his missing past that would endanger her?  If it proved true, he would have to leave as soon as he was able.  He would allow nothing to harm her if he could prevent it.  He prayed his memory would return so he could go on with his life.  He truly wanted to make a life with Emily, the life she dreamed of.  As he dozed off to sleep, the dream returned……

 
     The next morning, Emily awoke feeling refreshed.  She was anxious to spend the day with Cade.  She found herself looking forward to every moment spent with him.  She hummed as she dressed and made up her bed.  She looked in the mirror and fluffed her hair.  The advantage of very curly hair that had no frizzles was she just had to run her fingers through it and it was done.  She noticed the flush in her cheeks, “Is this the look of a woman in love?”    She had a bounce in her step as she made her way down the stairs and into the bathroom.  She was surprised to find that Cade was not up yet.  She wrinkled her brow, “I’ll have to go and wake up the sleepyhead!  Can’t sleep the day away!”

     She made her way back upstairs to the room he used since he was able to walk on his own.  After knocking three times with no response, she became worried, and opened the door a crack.  “Cade?  Are you awake?  Cade?”  Still not hearing any response, she opened the door fully and was stunned!  “He made up his bed?  I don’t think I have ever heard of any man making up his own bed!”  She looked around the room and discovered he had left it neat as a pin.  As she turned to leave, something on the pillow caught her eye.  She walked over to the bed a saw it was a note to her.  Her fingers trembled as she picked it up.  She felt an intense feeling of foreboding as she sat on the edge of the bed and began to open the folded piece of paper.  As she read, the tears began to fall, her heart began to break and her world spiraled out of control.

 Emily,

     I want to thank you for all your help.  Last night, my memory returned.  I realized the life I left behind.  It is a life you would not fit into.  I am sorry it you thought this was more than just friendship between us.  I must go and get on with my life.  I hope you can do the same.  Good luck with your story.  I had to borrow your truck, and I will have someone from town bring it out to you.  Thank you and Goodbye.           Cade
 

     Emily sat there for an eternity.  She ran the gambit of emotions.  By the time her truck was returned by the town sheriff, she was just numb.  She thanked the sheriff for driving all the way out here to return her truck and offered him some coffee.  He declined as he received a call on his radio.  His partner had followed him out and within minutes of arriving, they were on their way.  She was thankful, as she did not think she could continue to hide her emotions from them.  If they knew what had happened, they would’ve thought she was an idiot!  She walked into the cabin and began to cry.  How stupid she had been.  To think he could have loved her!  To think she thought herself in love after only a week! She began to throw anything she could get her hands on.  When she could no longer stand, she sank to the floor and sobbed uncontrollably.  Her heart was destroyed.  At the same time, she felt like a complete and utter fool.  She cried until no more tears would come and she could only hiccup, then she fell into a listless sleep.  Her dreams consisted of one thing, Cade’s face.

       After wallowing in her own self-pity for days, she decided to make the best of it and forced herself to continue writing. Cade would never know it but his rejection of her had fueled within her the impetus for a magnificent love story with all the trimmings.  She worked furiously to finish each chapter.  She would show him that this homely woman had a fire in her he would regret trying to put out!   Within the month, she had finished her book and was leaving the cabin to go to New York to see her publisher.

     Before leaving, she visited a realtor friend of her parents and told her to sell the cabin.  After this past month, she never wanted to set foot in it again.  She took one last walk around the cabin and the riverbank she and Cade had walked that day of their kiss.  She warmed herself with the notion that it was a good learning experience, however deep in her heart; she knew she would never fully recover from the hurt.  Her writer’s block was gone and she had already begun the notes for her next book.  Cade would never know that in hurting her, he had saved her career.  “Thank you, Cade.”  She whispered as she turned to climb into her truck and began her last drive down that mountain.
 

     Emily settled back into her apartment in New York.  She felt happy to be home.  All the anguish of her family’s deaths was fading.  Now she was left with the wonderful memories of their lives.  She knew she would never forget them but her grieving period had come to an end.  It was now time to get on with her life.  Between grieving for her family and for Cade’s loss, she felt she was a stronger person and would now be a force to reckon with.    As soon as she arrived in the city, she telephoned her publisher to let her know she had finished her book and would have it delivered to her offices tomorrow.  She clicked on the television as she began to unpack and go through the mountain of mail.  She vaguely heard the soap opera and only a heard a bit more of the news.  She paid slight attention to the snippet about the employee of the recording studio that went state’s witness against the company in some sort of scandal.

     The next morning, Emily prepared to have her book messengered over to her publisher.  She thought better of it and decided to hand-deliver it herself.  She glanced at the paper over her morning coffee and toast.  There seemed to be a huge uproar over this man, Matthew Sinclair, who was fired from the company after reporting the theft and piracy of some big name star’s music.  He had then been assaulted and had now returned to testify against the thieves and his bosses.  Emily thought it showed strength of character that a man would come back and testify against those that had assaulted him.  “Good for him!”   She put down the paper and prepared to go to the McCoart building.  Her publisher’s office was located on the sixth floor and she wanted to get there early.

     She took one last look at herself in the mirror and was surprised at the strong, independent woman she saw looking back at her.  Although the past few months had been painful, she had gained wisdom and strength from them.  “Well, I will know to keep my guard up from now on.  I won’t be fooled by someone with a gorgeous face again!  Although, a gorgeous face doesn’t hurt!”  She smiled at her facetiousness, shook her curls, and left with the package for the McCoart building.

     Emily was pleased with herself.  Catherine loved her first chapter of her book and promised to read the rest within the week and get back with her on any rewrites.  She was exceptionally delighted that Emily had regained her love of writing.  “It is evident in this first chapter!  You’ve found what you had lost!”  She exclaimed.  So Emily found herself in the elevator headed to the lobby with a large grin on her face. It was felt good to smile again!

     Matthew walked into the lobby of the McCoart building heading for his lawyer’s offices that were on the eighth floor.  Simon, Cash and Waterman were a prestigious firm and so far had lived up to their reputation.  The execs at his former place of employment were surprised to see he had returned with a vengeance.  The assumed he got their little “message” and would make no more trouble for them.  He proved them wrong.  With the evidence he gave the DA, they were immediately arrested and charged with fraud, theft, piracy, assault and numerous other charges. He felt vindicated that the DA believed him and was now on the road to sending them to jail for a long time.  Then he had every intention of suing the label for unjustifiable firing and then try to get his life back on track.  He fully intended to go back and straighten things out with Emily.  He knew that was where he belonged.

     As Matthew got to the elevators, he turned and for a moment, thought he saw her.  The woman that had stolen his heart and ruined him for all others.  He shook his head; she just resembled her from behind. She was nowhere near New York City.  He was reminded of how it felt to kiss her but had to shake off the memory, it was too painful.  He regretted hurting her, but it was better this way.  If he did not make it out of this, then she would not have to grieve again.  He put his hand to his forehead and sighed, he missed Emily.  She was so caring and compassionate.  Well, he would never find that here in New York!  He got on the elevator and continued on his way, all the while thinking of the innocent beauty he had had to hurt to protect.

     Emily left the building and proceeded to treat herself to a shopping spree.  She bought two new outfits and one pair of shoes and even a new purse!  She hummed all the way back to her apartment.  When she arrived, she had a message from her friend, Phoebe Tomlinson.  She called her and they chatted for over an hour about everything that had happened while she was gone.  Her friend was justifiably upset over Cade and vowed to emasculate him should she ever see him.  Of course, she was just saying what every good friend would in the same situation.  They made plans to meet the next evening and go out on the town.

     Emily went to work on her next book, surprised at how the ideas sprang so easily into her head now.  A few short weeks ago, she had contemplated giving all of it up and now she could not imagine life without writing!  It was funny how life changed.  She was taking little funny happenings from growing up and incorporating them into her new love story.  Funny, she had been burnt in love and now was writing like she knew what it was all about!  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned certainly rang true in this instance!

End of Chapter Two

Chapter One
 Chapter Two
Chapter Three

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