Angel's Call Ch. 11-13bytenger©
Thanks a lot to techsan who edited the story pretty quickly and turned it into a better one.
Two weeks later Chris had paid a few more visits to Anna's house which was in an order now and they were ready to go. Chris had sent some suitcases and things like Angela's crib beforehand because there wasn't enough space in the car.
The journey started quietly. Ms. Sanders and Anna were wondering what would be waiting for them once they get to the lovely seaside town. Chris was happy to go away from the city. Although he loved it, it was becoming a great burden to be alert all the time, check over his shoulder, check the mirror if someone is following, check the patrol car, worry about the ones at home when he went to school. Some walking on the sand without any concerns would surely lift his mood.
It was a long drive for the group. They had to stop for lunch and once for a rest at a roadside park with beautiful scenery. As they streched their sore arms and legs Anna walked towards Chris and touched his arm timidly.
"I want to thank you for all you are doing for me. I don't know how to pay it back. But I must tell you I feel much better now that we are away from him."
"Firstly, you're always welcome. Secondly, no need to pay anything back and I don't want to hear about it again. Seeing you back on your feet and happy will be more than enough. I'm going on holiday with two beautiful ladies and an angel. What more could I want? And thirdly, I must admit I feel relieved, too."
Mrs. Sanders complained about her knees and didn't join them but Chris and Anna found themselves on a narrow path into the green forest with Angela in Anna's arms. The rays of the sun were looking for open places to shine through the leaves, the birds were singing merrily and, even though each of them were buried in their own thoughts about the future, Mrs.Sanders observed that they looked like a family and promised herself that she would see to that they became a real family.
They reached the lovely seaside village just as the sun was setting on the sea. Aunt Katherine had already cooked dinner, arranged their rooms and was waiting on the porch as Chris drove into the driveway.
"Welcome, welcome, sweet son. Where have you been? It has been so long. I've missed you so. Here, let me see you. You look a little famished. I'll take care of that while you're here. You must be Anna. My girl, you are a beautiful lady and this little angel should be Angela. Oh, Mrs. Sanders, I didn't see you, welcome," she said without giving a break.
Mrs. Sanders felt insulted by Aunt Katherine's comments about Chris being famished as she had been cooking for them for the past couple of weeks but didn't say anything on the subject.
"Thank you. I hope we won't be a burden for you."
"Of course not. I must thank you for bringing my favorite nephew to me. I couldn't convince him to leave his students and come down here for any holiday for years now. Chris, you'll carry the luggage, I guess. I have placed Anna and Angela's stuff in Clara's room upstairs. You take the room on her right and, Mrs. Sanders, you take this guest room here downstairs."
"Where is Clara going to sleep?" Mrs. Sanders asked with suspicion in her voice. She wasn't too happy to be left away from the group, either. Katherine explained that Clara was her daughter who was away studying and wouldn't be back for summer and even if she came she could use the attic where she preferred to be anyway.
"Call me Melinda, please. Thank you for all the trouble," said Mrs. Sanders.
"And you call me Katherine. It's nothing. You all come down for dinner after you've settled." The two middle aged women had finally started to warm to each other.
Chris looked around the small study which held a single bed that didn't look very comfortable. There was hardly any space left to stand after the bed was pushed in but the view from the window made him sit and watch the last rays of the sunset and thank god for the place.
Aunt Katherine had cooked wonders for them. Even Mrs. Sanders had to admit that they were delicious. Anna had more appetite than she usually had. Chris asked for second servings. They settled in the cozy armchairs in the living room after the meal for coffee. The quiz show on the TV was a nice distraction. They took rounds trying to answer the questions. The winner was to eat the home made ice cream which still sat in the fridge.
"It must be Budapest. I remember reading that somewhere," Anna exclaimed. She was feeling safe, relaxed and comfortable.
"No, dear. The answer is Bucharest. I get the ice cream," Mrs. Sanders said merrily.
"That is so unfair. The ice cream should have been mine. I love strawberries," Anna said and sank back to the couch.
That night the whole group slept peacefully for the first time in a long while. Chris lay in his bed listening to the silence of the night and the waves of sea breaking on the shore before he fell asleep. He felt that he was a lucky man and slept with a smile on his lips.
In the morning he woke up with a hesitant knock on the door. He could see that the sun had hardly risen. And just as he was about to curse he heard her.
"Chris. Are you awake?"
"No, I am not and this is his ghost speaking. Leave Chris be or he'll come and haunt you! God, what's the time? It's hardly morning." Chris was used to sleeping in late on holidays and his voice was rather edgy because of the sleepiness he still felt.
"Sorry, Chris. It's just that we are going for a walk on the beach. I thought maybe you'd like to come, too," Anna muttered apologetically.
He softened as he listened to her sad apology and decided to go with them, anyway. "Wait, I'll be downstairs in five minutes." True to his word he was downstairs in five wearing khaki shorts and a matching worn t-shirt and his brown sandals. "Here I am. Don't leave me back if I fall asleep somewhere."
All the group went out to the warm morning weather. It was a warning not to be caught in the midday sun, when it would be hotter than Hades. Mrs. Sanders put sun lotion on everybody's faces. Chris caught himself wishing he was the one instead of her as she caressed Anna's cheeks. Then he scolded himself. He was there to help her and she was only trusting him because he had assured her of that.
They had taken their shoes and sandals off once they reached the sand. The feeling of the fine sand under their feet was almost meditative. They were having light conversation about the news, politics, weather, global warming, etc. Everybody was so happy and careless. "I can carry Angela if you get tired," Chris suggested. He didn't want this magical atmosphere to come to an end and disappear.
The slow flow of life in the town and the holiday spirit was surrounding them. From the next morning on they settled on a relaxing routine of taking walks by the seaside early each morning, coming back for breakfast then going back and lazing under the sun until 11, coming back inside the house for house games and activities, then going swimming before dinner. Chris found himself gazing at Anna at odd times and verbally punished himself each and every time for trying to breach her trust. She was really beautiful and, with almost all the stress gone off her shoulders, she radiated. She had long legs to adore, nice curves and her breasts were just the right size to hold in your hand and tease.
Her bikini didn't leave much to imagine and some time later Chris gave up the fight with himself and started to fantasize about her when he needed to jerk off which was becoming more often nowadays. He hoped Anna didn't recognize how he felt about her. Well, Anna didn't but Mrs. Sanders and Aunt Katherine did. They had become good friends and had decided that the two young people belonged together. They took every opportunity to drive the two into each other. They usually found a way to leave them alone walking side by side. They made them sit together at the table. They were keen on trying to have the two understand that they loved each other by the end of the summer.
Everybody could see the special bond between Angela and Chris. She cried a lot in the evenings but Chris had a way with her and made her smile and eventually sleep peacefully every time he held her. Even Anna wasn't that successful and was jealous of Chris from time to time.
Anna was grateful to all of them. She was getting used to being sociable and also being casually touched by Chris. They learned about each other's previous lives piece by piece. One night while they were watching a movie about high school kids she began to tell about herself.
"I was an average student but I was a very good cheergirl. I wanted to go to college but we didn't have enough money. I decided to work to save some money for further education. I had wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. Now, it is blown apart." She cried as she realized that now the dream seemed to be blown as she was now a single mother without any decent income.
"We'll help you in any way we can," Aunt Katherine said. She would gladly give the girl some money if she had saved some. Chris made a mental note about it to be remembered in the future.
However relaxed and far away from her problems, Anna still had hellish nightmares about sexual abuse and Stephen coming back to punish her. They were getting less frequent but they were there. On such nights she knocked on Chris's door and had him sit by her side until the morning. She had grown to trust Chris. The armchair was far from being comfortable but he was happy to be able to be there and help her.
One night as he sat by her bed after another episode of nightmares, he heard Angela whining. When he checked on her he figured that she had a high fever. Anna woke up and they had Mrs. Sanders and Aunt Katherine also wake up. They tried to break the fever for an hour or so and then decided on rushing to the town hospital.
Anna was disoriented from the nightmares and the sleepness night, so Chris did all the explaining to the doctor on duty in the little ER of the hospital as Anna stared around blankly. They had stayed in the sun more than usual that day. No, she hadn't eaten anything suspicious. The doctor said he would keep Angela till the morning at least and her mother could stay with her but Chris insisted so much that he should be there too that he turned to the nurse and said, "This little baby is Angela. We have trouble breaking her fever which is too high right now. This is her father who is going to stay with her mother until the morning. Check on the fever every half hour. Page me if it's more than 38,5oC."
Chris didn't even realize that he was introduced as the father. He felt like it anyway. He placed Anna on an empty bed, Angela in a crib next to her and held their hands. Both slept peacefully until the morning. Angela was perfectly healthy by the morning and sent home to rest for the day.
One night towards the middle of July, Chris found Anna sitting alone on the porch, rocking in the swinger with Angela. It was a lovely warm night, the stars were bright, the air peaceful, the salty smell of the sea mixed with the smell of the flowers. She was gazing out towards the sea. Anna was talking softly to her sleeping daughter.
"I feel so good, Angela. I wish this moment would last forever. I'm happy and feel safe here. I don't want to be afraid anymore."
Chris heard this conversation through the screen door, wanted to go out, hold them, make promises but he couldn't. He didn't have the courage as she showed no sign that she would tolerate such behavior.
By the end of July he had to go back to the city for a teacher's seminar for a few days. He warned Mrs. Sanders and Aunt Katherine again and again against Stephen and went unwillingly. It was that first time he left them alone since the beginning of the summer. His mind never reached the city but he checked on the houses where everything seemed fine, attended the seminar and came back with a lovely bouquet of daisies which he handed to Anna as soon as she opened the door.
"The smile on your face is worth every bit of trouble," Chris said as he stepped inside. "You cannot know how much I missed you."
"Daisies are my favorite. How did you know? And we missed you a lot, too," Anna asked happily smelling the flowers.
"They seemed to be right."
A few days later, Aunt Katherine's daughter Clara came for a surprise visit. She was a lively and lovely blonde, self-conscious woman about Chris's age and they were joking around that they were fiancées. Anna told Clara that she could move to the attic out of her room but Clara loved the attic and didn't want to disturb them as she was to go back soon. Anna was jealous of Chris and Clara's close friendship. Stress made her more shy and withdrawn. Chris heard her cry at nights though she didn't call him to her room like before.
Clara and Chris spent time together, talked a lot, went out at nights and although they invited Anna, too, she didn't join them. He was sorry and sad to see this and puzzled about that drawback until Clara and Aunt Katherine decided to step in one night after coffee when he questioned them about her behavior.
"I don't understand what happened to Anna. We were getting along pretty well and now she wouldn't share anything with me other than the air we breathe. I know she is distressed but she wouldn't let me help. What happened? Is it something that I did?" Chris asked Aunt Katherine. He was afraid that he had let his feelings show and got Anna freaked.
"It is me," Clara answered. "It's pretty clear that she is jealous of me being around you so much."
"But you are my friend."
"She doesn't see it that way. For her I am the enemy. I doubt she herself has realized yet but I see that she loves you and I am the threat here."
"I still don't see."
"She thinks I will take you away from her, my thickheaded friend."
"That is never going to happen."
"I know that you love her. Why don't you tell her?"
"I am only keeping my promise to Angela. And she is not ready for a relationship yet."
"What would you describe as going on between you then?"
"Oh, I see!"
Clara had to go back a few days later, then things slowly started to get back to their previous routine.
"Let's do something different. All of our days are alike," Mrs. Sanders said one night as they sat and watched TV.
"Like what? I thought you liked the routine," Aunt Katherine answered crossly.
"I do, but something different would be good for our minds. Why don't we rent a sailboat and spend tomorrow at sea?"
"I'm afraid I won't enjoy being captured in a small boat in the middle of the sea. I might be seasick. And the sun could be harmful," Anna listed cautiously.
Chris jumped to the idea. "Come on. We'll rent a large one with shelter. We'll come back shortly if you are seasick. It'll be a nice change." Chris talked so enthusiastically that Anna didn't feel like opposing anymore and accepted the idea.
Mrs. Sanders excused herself from the trip the next morning saying she wasn't feeling well, and Aunt Katherine stayed back to help her and so Anna and Chris were left with Angela on the trip. They felt like they were set up but they decided to go on with the plan and rented a boat with crew so they didn't need to do much other than sit and enjoy themselves. Anna had packed a cold lunch. They talked about the weather, the birds they saw, the water shining, and how happy they were. They shared lunch with the crew. Anna leaned on Chris and slept on his shoulder. He smelled her hair, even dared to play with some of her curls as she slept and whispered, "I love you. I don't know how long I'll have to wait but I'll wait for you."
When August came, there was still no news about Stephen. The group was relaxing more and more each day. They never talked about Stephen and they almost acted as if he never existed.
Chris came home with a bunch of wild flowers one evening and invited Anna to the town dance which was held once a year at the end of summer on the beach. Even though her heart did a flip flop she murmured something about Angela and was about to reject him when Aunt Katherine and Mrs. Sanders promised to look after Angela and didn't want to hear anymore of it.
When the night came Chris was restless. He had changed his clothes three times, much wasted effort for a casual dance on the beach, he decided, while pacing on the porch as he waited for her. He couldn't believe his eyes as she descended the stairs. The pale yellow dress she wore accentuated her slender figure. She was like a princess, at the same time a delicate flower. Her smell made him dizzy. Anna on the other hand was gazing at the handsome man by the door and couldn't believe that they were going out. She felt her stomach clench; he set little fires on the points he touched. There was a strange electricity in the air. They danced all night. First awkwardly, but then as they got to know each other's steps, more effectively. They were an inseparable couple. A few couples offered swapping partners but they wouldn't take it.
After the dance they took their shoes off and walked by the seaside in the moonlight, side by side. The cool sand under their feet felt great. When Chris turned his head to say something to Anna, he saw the look in her eyes. She was happy and longing. He was drawn to her and their lips connected for the first time. It was a very short kiss. The sound of waves crashing on the sand became unhearable, the only sound was their heartbeats for that single second. Anna forgot about herself just a moment and thought she could be happy after all. Chris ended the kiss afraid to scare her. She was at a loss for words. A million thoughts attacked her at the same time and she wasn't sure of what she felt. Chris was content to just hold hands while returning home. He had feelings to sort out, too. And they were both afraid that the magic of the moment would disappear once a word was said.
When they got back they saw Mrs. Sanders and Aunt Katherine waiting for them seriously.
"Is there anything wrong with Angela?" Anna asked with concern.
"No, she is fine. Look, we don't want to ruin your night. I hope it was good, by the way."
"Then what is going on? Is it about Stephen?" Anna asked again with fear. The coldness started to creep from her feet upwards; she held Chris's hand so strongly that it hurt but Chris didn't feel it as he was just every bit as concerned.
"The sherrif was here half an hour ago. He told us that a stranger has been asking around for a woman with a baby who came to stay in the town at the beginning of the summer. It might or might not be Stephen."
Anna was immediately depressed, started to sweat coldly and felt herself sinking down to the ground.
"Anna, come on. We are here with you. Don't let him spook you." Chris held her strongly.
"I don't want to go through this again. I am not strong enough to fight him. He'll come for me, for me and his daughter," Anna murmured, all the hope of happiness gone, already closed to the outside world.
Chris felt her withdrawal and carried her upstairs to her bed. He was murmuring all kinds of soothing meaningless things to her. She didn't let his hand go even when she slept and she had nightmares one after another with crying fits in between. Chris felt so helpless, so angry at Stephen that he found a way to her life again.
She never recovered to her summer self until they had to head back to the city. The stranger wasn't seen anywhere again. When the group headed back to the city they were silent and worried. Aunt Katherine was sad to see them go as she had grown used to their company. She made Melinda promise that she'd bring the group back as soon as possible.