Chapter 17: Defenses

Gwen stared hatefully at the suitcase laying on the bed. Gary was gone, and had been for some time, but the case was still where he left it—on the bed. She stood in the tea room peering through the bedroom door. He did that on purpose, she thought. That jerk! No one could make her so angry so quickly.

Yet at the same time she stood there debating on if it were safe to enter the room.

At first she thought herself so silly and started to snatch it from the room. But no sooner had she set foot in the door that the awful feeling came back. This time it sent her mind reeling so that she had to lean on the wall to maintain her balance. That overwhelming sickness tried to overtake her and it was all she could do to fight it off.

Why…why is this such a problem for me? It’s just a room…right?

Over and over she had tried throughout the day without much success. Her body refused to move past the door. Over and over she was confronted by the same sick feeling that made tears burn at her eyes. The pain was unbearable.

Gwen wandered back into the kitchen, defeated once more, when she heard a knock at the door.

Cautiously she approached. She suddenly wished she had a weapon of some sorts, but she was already too far from kitchen to try for a knife. Peering through the lacy curtain dangling above the door’s arch window, she could make out a figure. A woman? Perhaps. Gwen lifted the lacy veil to her relief.

It was Lois. Shes was carrying something bulky as well.

“Laurel dear,” she called. “Are you up?”

The artist quickly unlatched the door. “I’m so glad it’s you,” she exclaimed.

Lois was taken back momentarily as it was the first time the blonde had said anything much above a whisper. “Well,” she began, noting a pair of sacks at her feet. “Help me get these inside.”


Gary returned late that night to the small cozy home he had deposited his mystery guest at earlier in the day. His mind still ran with thoughts of the previous hours following the curator to the museum like an unwanted stalker and invading on the escalating conversation in the gallery.

Bryan had moved close on purpose—too close. What’s more, there was something he kept hidden in his pocket. Gary noted how the lawyer clenched it. He was sure he recognized the shape, but he couldn’t be for certain. The lawyer wouldn’t…would he…? As Gary had watched, he felt as though he was watching a thriller movie in HD. Something was about to happen, but what?

His latter conversation with the curator in regards to his so-called missing wallet was just as interesting.

Shawn apparently wanted no intruders on this particular case and especially not reporters. He had even went so far as to accuse the reporter of spying and threatened to report him for breaking and entering. The nerve!

Gary shook his head.

“What am I getting myself into,” he muttered pulling his keys out as he approached the door. With a heavy sigh he pushed it open.

There in the entry way, Gary did a double take.

Laurel was laying passed out on the couch, a blanket loosely pulled over her; her arm covering her eyes so as to block out any unwanted light. Quietly he shuffled to the kitchen to find dirty dishes already in the sink and one cabinet half open revealing it’s newly stocked contents. Lois must have stopped by already,he thought.

“Hmmm,” he muttered as curiosity struck him.

He made a bee line for the tea room only to be disappointed. There was the suit case, still resting on the bed. He gave a heavy sigh as he stepped to the door when a sudden whoosh of air sent him spinning around.

There, struggling to breathe, fire burning in her eyes was his guest—frying pan in hand.

“You,” she screamed.

Even in the dim light of the room Gary could see the rage on her face. Possibly she was angry for yet another invasion, but then again there was the luggage.

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa,” The reporter gestured; his hands up in defense. “You could hurt somebody with that thing!”

“Exactly,” she argued taking another swing.

She barley missed a headshot when he ducked into the bedroom she hated. She swung again for good measure but he was already beyond reach unless she intended on chasing him. After all—he was cornered.

“Why don’t you put the pan down and we talk like normal people,” Gary pleaded cautiously.

Normal? Normal,” she shouted, her objection echoing louder as she repeated it.

“At least as normal as possible, ok? I know you’ve been through a lot, but now’s not the time to take it out on people.”

“Who are you to tell me what to do?”

Gwen pointed the pan at him. All she wanted was one good hit. That was all she needed. Then perhaps she could face Bryan. The thought made her hands quiver.

Gary saw it.

She was relying on her animal-like instincts again. She was afraid and desperately trying to defend herself. He just happened to be her unlucky target.

He watched her heavy breathing and shaky frame. He knew he could take her down easily though it might mean getting hit in the process. Then again what would that solve? She had already built up a hatred for men—particularly him at the moment. How could he get through to her?

With a heavy sigh, Gary spoke. “Look, I’m sorry if I startled you—”

Sorry? What would you know about sorry?”

Her hands were shaking worse now. Tears burned in her eyes.

The reporter took a step forward causing her to back. She couldn’t do it. It was written on her face. Her eyes were the ones doing the pleading now.

“It must be hard what happened to you,” he continued, softening his tone. “I can’t possible imagine something like that happening to my sister.”

She swung blindly at him as he had moved too close for her comfort. She was startled by the sound it made as it collided with something in it’s path.

To her surprise, Gary was holding up his arm, secretly cringing from the pain throbbing through it. The woman had an arm for sure. Shocked, she dropped her weapon. The pan clattered on the floor.

“That’s…quiet a swing you got there,” he said examining her reaction.

Before she got any other ideas he kicked the pan away and stepped around the table toward her. Gwen was sobbing now, her body pressed against the wall. He supposed she expected him to treat her no better than her previous abuser. She wanted to hide in her tiny closet; away from everything. Her tears poured relentlessly down her face.

“Don’t hurt me,” she begged. She put her hands up in a feeble attempt to protect herself.

Gary could only pity the miserable creature. He took a tissue from his pocket and wiped her face. She fought his hands at first, expecting him to do worse than she had.

“What happened to you,” he asked, his tone almost a whisper.

She stared up at him as he stuffed another tissue in her hands and nudged her back to the kitchen where he sat her at the table. Cautiously he turned his back looking for the tea kettle. She sat silent wiping her tears. Gary glanced back to see the frustration in her eyes as he filled the kettle and set it on the stove.

“Do you drink much tea,” he asked.

“I just tried to kill you, and you’re asking me about what I drink,” she demanded rather puzzled. “Besides, I aren’t I suppose to avoid caffeine right now?”

“Oh right…hot chocolate then?”

Gwen gave a heavy sigh and nodded. She decided it best not to argue with the man. She sniffed a bit as she watched him pulling cups from the cupboard. Who was this man? What was he trying to do? Why did she suddenly feel…safe? She couldn’t let this man get to her—she wouldn’t. It was the same mistake she had made with Bryan. While she might have appreciated his help, she couldn’t afford to let her guard down—not now.

Copyright The Faithbook 2012

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~ by The FaithBook on February 17, 2012.

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