tagNon-EroticCan I Find My Way Back Home?

Can I Find My Way Back Home?


Chapter 1

As I walked down the cold, dark street, I pulled my cold hand out of my jacket pocket. Running my fingers through my long, stringy brown hair I looked up and down the street.

It was as deserted as it had been an hour ago when I spent the five dollars the trucker had given me on a meal. I had no idea where I was, or how long I had been traveling. It seemed like forever to me.

Forcing my hand back into my pocket and lowering my head against the cold wind, I almost missed the headlights come up behind me. Praying and hoping, I held out my thumb. At first it seemed like the semi was going to go on by. I watched as the May trucking sign flew past me. I sighed as I put my hand back into my pocket and continued walking when suddenly the truck stopped.

I stood there and watched as the passenger door opened. Not sure what to do, I half ran, half walked towards the cab. When I reached it, I pulled myself up and looked at the driver.

He was an older guy with black shoulder length hair dotted with gray. His face was covered by a bushy beard and mustache. I watched as his eyes moved over me. Then when they reached my face, he smiled. "You gonna stand there all night or get in?" He asked smiling. "The heater doesn't work to well on the outside."

Looking around the truck, I wondered what kind of payment this guy would want if I went ahead and took the ride. So far I had been lucky but there was always a first time. Standing on the step, holding onto the door, I looked around the truck. There were log books sitting on the floor between the two seats. In the sleeper I saw a sleeping bag unfolded and laying on what seemed like a twin mattress. A half a sandwich was laying on the passenger seat along with a thermos that I figured must have had coffee in it. "Where are you heading?" I asked.

He smiled at me again and chuckled. "I'm heading to Atlanta to see my wife and kids. I promise you'll be safe if you want a ride."

It was as if he had read my mind. I looked at him shrewdly for a minute deciding which way would be better. Taking a chance with him or freezing to death. "Why did you stop?" I asked as I slowly climbed into the cab.

He waited until I was warming up to the heater before he answered. "I don't like to see anyone out alone on Christmas Eve."

I looked at him with a startled expression as he shifted gears, "Christmas Eve?"

He smiled at me as he pulled back onto the dark road. "That's right. I was hoping I could get home before Christmas but had a load to Seattle take longer then I was figuring on." He looked at me for a minute before turning his eyes back to the road. "Do you even have any idea where you are or where you're going?" He asked taking a drink of something from a cup on the dash.

I looked out the window as I answered. "Where I'm going? No. Where I am? I think I'm somewhere in Oklahoma. But I'm not sure."

The man chuckled. "Actually we're just outside of Dallas."

I looked at him. "But how can that be. The last I looked I was in Oklahoma. What am I doing in Texas?"

"Beats me, where did you start out? Maybe you went the wrong way."

I looked at him shrewdly debating on how much I should tell him. Finally I decided that the truth was better then a lie. I snuggled down in my jacket and looked out at the dark sky. "I started in Aurora, Oregon six months ago. I've been on the road ever since."

I heard him shift gears again and sigh. I looked at him but he was watching the road. "What is a girl like you doing on the road? I can tell by your clothes that you are definitely not poor."

I looked down at the designer jeans, 300.00 cowboy boots and denim tank top that I was wearing. Along with the beat up jean jacket then I looked at him again. Before I could say a word though he continued; "Just looking at the diamond and amethyst ring on your finger and the Rolex watch on your wrist I would say that you are a very wealthy woman. What could possibly make you leave that and pick hitchhiking?"

I looked back out at the night sky and thought about what he had said. It did seem kind of peculiar, although I couldn't remember why I left in the first place. "To be honest, I don't remember."

I felt him look at me. "Amnesia?"

I smiled. "I don't think so, I know my name and where I'm from. I just can't seem to remember much about my life or for that matter why I left. Or even where I'm going. All I know is that I can't go home."

He was quiet for a while so I looked out the window on my side, just watching the darkness engulf the scenery. After what seemed like hours, but actually couldn't have been more then 15 or 20 minutes, I saw lights as we came into a town.

I watched as he pulled into a TA parking lot. The lights from the building hurt my eyes so I lowered them into my jacket. When I heard him turn off the truck I turned to look at him.

I flinched as he reached out his hand but all he did is stroke my hair and smile. "I'm not going to hurt you." he said softly. "What's your name?"

I looked at him for a minute then said, "Laurie. Laurie Miller."

"Well Laurie. My name is Jake Taylor. I'm at my limit for the night. No more driving for at least 8 hours so here is what I'm gonna do. If you wanna go to Atlanta with me you are more then welcome. I'm gonna get a room and get some sleep. Looking at you I think you could use some to along with a decent meal."

I blushed as he said this and looked out the window. "I don't have any money." I said not looking at him.

He just chuckled again, making me look at him. "And I won't sleep with you for a place to sleep and food or a ride."

This made him laugh out loud. "Well as tempting as that sounds I'm too tired tonight to do more then sleep anyway. Besides I would never ask that of you or anyone. I may be a trucker and there may be a lot of rumors about what us truckers do when we're away from home but let me tell you. I've been married for 35 years. I am happily married and have never strayed. Nor do I plan to ever stray. I am perfectly happy with what I have at home."

I lowered my eyes suddenly feeling ashamed of the thoughts I had of this kind man. "I'm sorry." I said not looking at him.

He lifted my head with his finger and smiled. "Don't worry about it. Now as I was saying. You don't need to pay me back or anything. To be honest it would be nice just having the company."

I watched him reach into the glove box and pull out a weathered old wallet. Opening it up, he pulled out some money and handed it to me. Before I could protest he smiled. "Take the money. I want you to get you some clothes, those look like they could stand up by themselves." He looked down at my clothes. I looked to and started to laugh. The jeans were covered in mud along with my boots. The shirt had a stain on it that looked like ketchup.

Clutching the money in my hand I smiled at him then suddenly threw my arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. "Thank you. But why are you doing this?"

He pulled me away from him and smiled. "Well for one I don't think anyone should be alone on Christmas Eve. For two you remind me a little bit of my daughter and if she was ever in this predicament I would hope that someone would do the same thing for her. Now come on, let's go get a room."

I watched him as he made sure everything was shut down then climbed out of the truck. As I climbed down I thought that maybe for once something would be okay.

I was walking through the shop carrying a pair of jeans and a shirt and looking for anything else I might need when I saw Jake walk up. "Find everything?" He asked looking at the small bundle in my arms.

"I think so," I said picking up a brush and some hair ties. "Get the room?" I asked as we walked towards the counter.

"Yup, Room 413, with two double beds," he replied showing me a room key.

"Cool." I put my things on the counter then smiled at him. "I don't know how I can ever thank you for this."

He smiled at me then said. "Well for starters you can take a shower. No offense girl, but you stink."

I laughed as I paid for my things. "I'm sure I do. I haven't had a shower in almost a month." I said taking my bag and change.

"How come it's been so long?" he asked as we walked towards an elevator.

"I haven't had the money. I would get a little money from the truckers I got rides from but that would always go for food. I would eat cheap so I could make it last as long as I could. I never knew when my next meal would be coming."

I saw him look at me as we stepped into the elevator but thankfully he didn't say anything.

After my shower, I came out of the bathroom dressed in a robe from the motel. Looking over at one of the beds, I saw that Jake was curled up under the covers fast asleep. Smiling, I moved over the other bed and started to untangle my hair. He had told me that there was room service and I could order anything I wanted, but after my shower, all I really wanted was sleep. I figured I would eat in the morning.

Without taking off the robe or even getting under the covers, I lay down on the bed and fell fast asleep. As I drifted off I started to remember something that I was sure for some reason I was trying to forget.


Opening my eyes, I stared into eyes the color of night. A small smile was on my lips I looked at the man who was now my husband. I was nineteen, and had just become the wife of the most sought after bachelor in town. His name was Peter Miller but everyone just called him Hawk because of the hawk tattoo on his back. He was 24 and had just gotten out of the army. Now he ran the Miller construction company that he and his brother Michael owned together.

Hawk was the most handsome man I could ever remember meeting. His midnight black hair rested on his broad shoulders that filled out the tux he was wearing very well. My hands were resting on his narrow hips and I thought that no one could possibly be as happy as I was right now.

I was drawn out of my reverie by claps and yells from the people around us. "I think we're supposed to do something." I whispered softly against his lips.

"There isn't anything I would rather be doing right now then kissing you." He whispered back. Then as if to prove his point he kissed me again. This got a huge response from the rest of the people in the church. I finally pulled away from him when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

Turning away from Hawk, I smiled at my father. "You look beautiful honey." He said his sea green eyes sparkling with tears.

"Oh daddy, you're not going to cry, are you?" I asked hugging him tightly.

He cleared his throat. "Of course not." Although I could hear his voice breaking. "I just don't believe that my little girl has gotten married or that you are having a baby. You're growing up to fast for your old man."

I chuckled as he held me at arms length. I watched him look past me to Hawk who was resting his hands on my shoulders. "You take good care of my little girl."

"I promise sir." I heard Hawk reply.

A little while later, I danced in my fathers' arms. "You know, you surprised everyone when you married Hawk instead of Michael." Dad said as he twirled me to the music.

I rested my head against his chest and sighed. "Dad, we have been through this. I gave Michael the choice of me or the army. He took the army. He said he wanted to travel and see the world. That he wasn't ready to settle down yet. "

"Well as long as Hawk makes you happy." dad said as the music stopped.

I moved out of his arms and smiled. "Yes daddy, he makes me very happy." then without another word I crossed the room to my husbands side.

Hawk was talking to Michael who had gotten a two week leave before he left for Italy to come to the wedding. "Congratulations Laurie." he said kissing me softly on the cheek.

"Thank you Michael. I'm glad you could come." Hawk must have sensed the tension between his brother and me because he put his arm around me while smiling at his brother.

"Michael just told me that he is thinking about leaving the army." Hawk said looking at his brother.

I looked at Michael with shock written all over my face. "Really, I thought you were happy with the military. You told me that you wanted to see the world. That's why you enlisted in the first place."

Michael had the decency to blush before he stammered. "Well, I have been doing a lot of thinking and since dad died I feel like I should be here. You know mom isn't doing all that well and besides I figure I should help my little brother run the company now that dad isn't there to help."

"Well I'm sure that Hawk wouldn't argue." I said sweetly. "As it is, maybe it would be good after all then maybe I could get to see him more."

Hawk laughed at this and kissed me on the cheek. "I'm going to get some punch. Plus I see mom and I want to see how she is doing. Why don't you two dance?" Hawk said pulling Michael and I together while he slowly pulled away.

Before I could reply I was in Michael's arms and he was turning me around the floor while I watched Hawk move over to his mothers' side.

Moving my eyes from my husband I looked at my brother in law. "Why didn't you tell him the truth?"

I felt Michael's hand tighten on mine. "What was I supposed to tell him? That I was dishonorably discharged because they found me in bed with my captain, who just happens to be a man?"

I turned my face away from his, and then looked back at him. "Michael, are you ever going to tell Hawk or anyone else the reason we really broke up? Or are you just going to let them believe that it was because of the military?"

I felt Michael step on my foot as he missed a step in the dance. "I don't know." He replied "To be honest, I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that I'm gay myself, let alone ruining Hawk's life or anyone else's. "

For a minute it was as if the music had stopped. I didn't hear it; all I heard was Michael's heart beating against my ear. I stopped dancing and just stood there in the middle of the floor. I watched couples dance around us but none of them mattered. Only Michael mattered at that moment. Watching the other dancers, I grasped Michael's hand in mine and pulled him off the dance floor.

When we reached the French doors, I pulled them open and pulled him outside closing them behind us.

I looked up at the moon, and then turned back to him. "Michael, you have to tell him. Hawk has a right to know."

Michael looked at me as if I had just told him he had a terminal disease. "Why? Why does he have to know? "

I looked at him for a moment then walked over to the other side of the terrace. Resting my hands on the banister, I looked out over the gardens of my mother in law's house. I always thought she had the most beautiful gardens. The roses wound their way around the statues that were silhouetted in the moonlight. Sighing deeply I turned back to Michael. "Did Hawk ever tell you why he left the military?"

Michael thought about it for a minute. "He said that it was because he was in love with you and he knew how you felt about him being in the military so he got out because of you."

I chuckled at this. "Well that is partially true but not completely. "I looked at him and forced a smile. "Michael, he got out because of you."

Michael gaped at me for a full minute before he seemed to be able to find his voice. "What do you mean he got out because of me?"

I walked over to him and rested my hand against his face. "He got out because you went in."

Michael looked at me like I was speaking Greek or some other foreign language he didn't understand. "I don't understand what you are trying to say."

I turned away from him and rested against the banister again. "Michael, Hawk knew how much I loved you. Even if he didn't know that you didn't share it. When he found out that you had decided you would rather be in the military then be with me, he felt like he should be here to take your place. "

I felt his eyes on my back as he digested what I told him. "Well, why would he do that? I mean what does you and me breaking up have to do with him?" He asked placing his hand on my shoulder.

I turned to look at him with tears in my eyes. I looked into his chocolate brown eyes and told him the secret that I had held for most of my life. "My parents and your parents decided a long time ago that it would be a good idea to connect our two families. They both admitted that it was because of business. Miller construction and Burke construction would do well if combined. Why do you think that your dad had been pushing you and Hawk both to enter the family business?

Michael looked at me. "I never really thought about it, you want the truth."

"Well I don't think Hawk thought about it either until your dad told him what I am about to tell you. When I was born, my parents and your parents decided that when I was old enough I would marry either you or your brother. I had no say in the matter, even though this is the 20th century and arranged marriages aren't done anymore.

"Anyway, originally they wanted me to marry you, even though you are ten years older then I am and Hawk is closer to my age. They thought it would be best because you would inherit the company when your father died and Hawk would just get his inheritance. But you would be in control of the company so they felt that it would be best if you and I wed. When I first told my parents that you had decided you wanted to go into the military instead of being with me. They went off the wall."

I moved away from the banister and walked slowly across the terrace. I felt like I needed to put some space between us. Sighing deeply, I finally turned back to look at him. "My dad told me that you and I couldn't break up. That you and I had to marry one day." I saw Michael's face go white as a sheet as I continued. "When I asked him why, he just said that it was my mom and his wish that I marry you. When I told them that there was no way I was going to marry you so they could just forget it. Dad threatened to lock me in my bedroom until I gave in."

"You didn't tell them the truth about why we broke up?" Michael asked his voice shaking.

Before I could reply, I heard the French doors open and someone come outside. Turning in that direction, I looked into the face of Hawk. "There you are. I was wondering where you disappeared to." He said coming towards me and wrapping his arms around me. "Oh baby, you're shivering. Come back inside."

I pulled out of Hawks embrace and looked at him. "I'll be in, in a few minutes. I'm talking to Michael right now."

I saw Hawk look from me to his brother then back to me. "Is everything okay?" He asked seeing Michael's white face.

I heard Michael take a deep breath and say. "Yes Hawk, everything is fine. You go on back into the party and we will be right there."

Hawk looked suspiciously at his brother, then turned back to me and smiled. "Okay but don't be to long. They are about ready to cut the cake."

I kissed him softly. "I won't."

Hawk hugged me to him. Gave his brother another strange look then went back inside. Once he was gone I turned back to Michael. "In answer to your question, no I didn't tell them the real reason. I felt there was no point in it."

Michael seemed to relax at that.

"What I'm saying though is when your dad found out that you and I had split up and that you had decided you wanted to go into the military he called Hawk. During one of Hawk's leaves he told me what I have told you. I finally got the truth out of my dad one night after Hawk had taken me home from dinner.

"Hawk was the one who originally told me about the merger and that since I wasn't going to marry you then I would have to marry him. That is also the night that Hawk proposed. I didn't know him very well at the time but since it seemed I had no say in the matter. I said yes."

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