Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)
- TITLE: Detour
By Darleen Coon
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There was a knock on her car window. A concerned looking police officer peered at her. “Ma’am, are you alright?”
She turned the key so she could lower the automatic window. She gave the officer a watery smile. “Yes, sir, I’m a little upset, but I’ll be fine in a couple of minutes.”
“I can call someone to come get you, or I can drop you off somewhere if you’re too upset to drive.” He offered with a smile.
“No, that’s very kind. I promise not to drive until I’m calmed down.” She took a deep breath and exhaled, attempting to control her emotions.
He gestured to his car. “I’ll just sit behind you, doing my paperwork until your feeling up to leaving.”
She started to protest, but he held up his hand. “I have to get it done and this is as good a place as any. If you change your mind about wanting any help, just beep.”
After 20 minutes, Luke watched her drive away. “Hmm, I hope she’s alright. She was pretty upset.”
He glanced down at her information on the pad in front of him. Maybe, just maybe he’d have to check for himself that she was ok. When she’d looked at him with those chocolate eyes filled with tears, his insides had twisted and he’d wanted to protect her.
Luke got up early on his day off, went to the gym, showered and decided to drive by Maggie’s place. He was worried about her, hoping that whatever had upset her was better now.
As he approached her address, he spotted her kneeling with trays of flowers ready to plant all around her. He pulled up to the curb and loped up the walk until he stood in front of her.
She looked up, raising her eyebrows, clearly puzzled.
“Would you believe that I was just passing by?” He laughed, reaching down to take her hand and help her up.
“Seriously, I was worried about you. I cheated and looked up your information so I could check on you. I hope you’re not creeped out that I did that.”
Standing with her hands on her hips, she looked at him incredulously. “Really? I don’t think anyone’s ever gone out of their way to check on me.”
It was his turn to look incredulous. “You’ve got to be kidding! I imagine you’ve got all kinds of guys wanting to help you.”
She shrugged. “Nope.”
He glanced down at her flowers. “How about I help you plant your posies, then we go to lunch?”
She eyed his clean jeans and shirt. “Are you sure?”
He looked her in the eye. “Absolutely.”
After a couple hours of digging, planting, and watering, they walked to a hotdog stand in the park. They sat on a bench munching their sandwiches, drinking sodas, laughing and arguing about who was the dirtiest.
Suddenly Luke quit smiling and touched the back of her hand. “You wanna tell me why you were so upset the other day? I’m a real good listener.”
Hesitating only a moment, she took a deep breath. “When I was a baby, I was left on the doorstep of an elderly couple. I was very sick and they didn’t think I’d make it. In the basket with me was a flash drive with pictures of me with a teenaged girl. I’ve been trying to track down that girl for years. I’ve looked in yearbooks, newspapers and even on Facebook. I thought I’d finally found her, but when I got there the woman denied having a daughter.”
Tears clung to her lashes as he reached out and brushed them away with his thumb. She didn’t protest when he pulled her into his arms and stroked her hair. “I feel like I’m at a dead end, that I’ll never find her, never be a part of her life. The Hunters were great, but passed away soon after I graduated high school.”
He gave her shoulders a squeeze and whispered against her hair. “Honey, there are no dead ends, just detours. If and when God wants you reunited with your mom, it will happen.”
She pulled back, sniffling. “A detour? I like that. I can’t give up. Besides, having a friend who’s a professional investigator should be a plus.” She squeezed his knee and winked up at him
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