Landon blinked as the door slammed in his face then, still fuming, turned on his heel and stormed off the porch. People around the block had stepped out of their houses to investigate the argument and most of them were slipping back in their living rooms and kitchens to call the people around town. A fight between one month pregnant Addi Parker and returning army hero Landon Walker would certainly be gossiped about, Landon predicted. He noticed a man glowering at him across the street. The man had a shock of bright white hair that fell across his face and brushed in front of snapping brown eyes. The man was short and stocky and dressed in battered jeans, a plaid shirt, and a dark brown ten-gallon hat. And he was beckoning for Landon to come over.
Landon looked around. Everybody else had gone back into their homes, so the man could not have been beckoning to anybody else. He sighed testily. First Addi, now a stranger. He didn't want to deal with this. However, Landon pasted on a plastic smile and walked over to the waving man.
He was in hearing distance when the man shouted, "Landon Walker, we need to talk!"
Landon's smile became broad and authentic. He waved happily and shouted back, "Bill Montgomery! I haven't see you since I left!"
Bill spat at Landon's feet, shooting visual daggars at the tall, handsome man. Landon stopped. The men looked at each other for a moment, Landon staring wide eyed at Bill's narrowed brown eyes and Bill glaring murder into Landon's dark, quirky green ones.
"You disgust me, talking to poor Addi like that," Bill finally gagged out. He looked at Landon like he wasn't worth even being talked to.
Landon took a step back, despite of himself. "What do you mean?" he asked genuinely confused.
"She gets it enough from Brandon," Bill sneered the name as if it were a contagious, utterly disgusting toe fungas, "and her family and anybody else that doesn't believe her story. She doesn't need anymore. Especially from you."
Landon's anger surfaced. "Oh yeah, well if she didn't want to get pregnant, she shouldn't have had sex in the first place."
"Don't play coy, boy." Bill spat agian. "As if she didn't tell you." Landon looked at Bill blankly. The old man's face grew softer and his eyes wider. "You mean she didn't tell you?"
"Tell me what?" he said sofly. His heart began to beat anxiously. Had he accused Addi for nothing?
"Dear boy, Addi was raped by an international felon one month ago." Landon, the the tall army hero with muscles to spare, fainted.
Addi eventually stood. Numb hurt dimmed her senses as she shuffled up the stairs and into her white and blue bed room. She sat down on her bed and pulled open a drawer. A single photo fluttered out and Addi bent down to pick it up. She smiled and carressed the glossy surface of Landon's picture. His quirky smile shot back at her and lit up his green-gray eyes. His tossled black hair made her laugh.
Her laughter died soon, however, as she remembered his accusations from earlier. She looked sadly at the smiling profile in front of her.
"I'm so confused, Landon," she whispered, choking on the lump forming in her throat. Tears welled up in her bright blue eyes and a drop fell onto the photo. "Why don't you believe me when I say I didn't do this to myself?"
She kicked her leather sandals off onto the floor and pulled her feet under the covers. She closed her eyes and snuggled her face into her warm pillow. She fell asleep curled up in a fetal position with Landon's picture clutched to her stomach.
© Copyright 2016 Gail Ryder. All rights reserved.
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