Realizing just what that look meant, Peter made quick introductions and beat a hasty retreat. The two ladies stood there, sizing each other up. Finally Bridget broke the silence.
“I can see by the way you are looking at me, and the way you looked at Peter, you really didn't need any help. I ain't no charity case so I will be on my way on the next bus out.” and with that Bridget turned to leave.
“Wait!” Mandy said “When is your baby due Bridget?”
“Guess about a month. Haven't really been to no doctor.”
“No prenatal care at all?”
“Yeah, I had prenatal care for the first six months.” Bridget said “Kind of hard to get prenatal care when you move around so much.”
“Look, you are right, I really don't need any help....or at least I didn't think I did.” Mandy told her “But Peter is right, it would be nice to have someone here when I go to Phoenix once a week. So if you want to stay put until your baby is born, I can use you once a week, maybe Saturday.”
“Can I get paid in cash?” Bridget asked
“May I ask who or what you are running from? Not the law I hope.”
“I give you my word it is not the law.” Bridget assured Mandy “But in answer to your question, I would rather keep that information to myself.”
Thinking a moment Mandy finally said, “I will pay you in cash. How about fifty dollars a day for seven hours of work? Fair enough?”
“It's a deal. What do you want me to do and when do you want to go to Phoenix?”
Mandy laid out her duties and then asked, “Can you come in tomorrow around 9 am so I can show you what is what?”
“I will be here.” Bridget said as she turned to leave.
Mandy watched Bridget make her way slowly across the street to Ms. Hendrick's and take a seat in one of the rockers on the front porch. After a few minutes, she turned and went over to straighten up the shelves.
“Is it safe to come in?” Peter asked as he stuck his head in the door.
“Peter Mitchell, you had no right to spring that pregnant woman on me!” Mandy yelled. “I should kick your ass all the way over to the jail.”
“I know I should have told you and I am sorry. Forgive me?”
Mandy walked up to Peter and gave him a quick hug. “I sort of feel sorry for Bridget. Pregnant, all alone and running from someone or something.”
Bridget leaned back in the rocker and closed her eyes. For the first time in over a month and a half Bridget actually felt safe and able to relax. Surely Mark's parents wouldn't be able to trace her here.
Rubbing her baby bump Bridget said softly, “Baby, no one is going to take you away from me. You are mine....all mine.