Read Meghan's Wish (Love and Danger) Online
Authors: Amy Gamet
by Amy Gamet
Copyright © 2012 Amy Gamet
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Table of Contents
Bonus Excerpt: Meant for Her (The Love & Danger Series, Book One)
Meghan O'Connor had been in love with Liam Wheaton since as long as she could remember.
Her parents had done what they could to stop it, carefully erasing his name from the birthday party invitation list and failing to pass on phone messages when they intercepted his calls. But Largo was a small town, with only one class at each grade level, and ten months out of the year Liam and Meghan spent six hours a day together.
There was talk of sending Meghan to boarding school at Saint Catherine's, but in the end Tom O'Connor couldn't justify the additional expense, just to get his daughter away from Chip Wheaton's son.
Chip was a drunk, and a mean one at that, who could be found at The Well any night of the week. He worked at the quarry, or doing construction, in-between layoffs and being fired time and again. His wife Lindsay cleaned houses and cared for the couple's five children, who always seemed a shade dirtier and a tad more disruptive than the other children of Largo.
Liam was the oldest. He got a job as a stock boy at the Super Duper when he was fourteen, and the townspeople could often be heard commenting on how clean and polite he was
for a Wheaton
Meghan didn't care that Liam was a Wheaton. All that mattered to her was that he was gentle and kind, going out of his way to make sure she was happy, and flashing his devil-may-care smile to cheer her up when she was not.
He had the darkest brown hair and strong, handsome features, marred by a razor-thin scar that ran from his left ear to his chin. His father had crashed the family sedan into a maple tree when Liam was five, propelling the unrestrained boy face-first through the windshield.
Meghan thought the scar made him look like a warrior.
For the most part Liam was quiet, keeping his smart wit and quick temper hidden from those who didn't like a fast tongue on those they look down upon. He excelled in school, but with the future before him like so much blank paper, Liam knew only that he wanted to spend it with Meghan.
He only got in serious trouble once, when Ricky Powell asked Meghan to go with him to a dance and she said no. Ricky touched her face and called her a bitch who'd rather go slumming with trash. Liam broke Ricky’s nose in two places.
The pair signed up for track and field instead of soccer so Liam didn't have to buy cleats and a ball, and when Meghan tried out for a part in the school play, Liam volunteered as a stage hand. It was after a performance of My Fair Lady, in the heavily draped wings of the stage, that they shared true love's first kiss.
Patty O'Connor didn't miss the high flush on her daughter's ivory cheeks, nor the newfound spring in Meghan's step. Patty was in the crowd when Liam broke the school record for the hundred meter dash, and saw Meghan embrace Liam like only a woman holds a man.
A shocked Patty could feel the eyes of the other parents upon her, shame covering her like fire, wishing the bleachers would give way beneath her just to draw attention away from that filthy embrace.
Meghan was taken out of track and field, and the theater troupe, and her father sat her down to explain exactly what kind of people the Wheatons really were.
Meghan seemed to take his words to heart.
Over the next several weeks, she went out of her way to make it up to her mother, watching her younger sister, cleaning the house and doing the shopping. Patty was just beginning to think things were back to normal when Bonnie Harrison called to say she saw Meghan and Liam making out behind the Super Duper, “like a couple of horny teenagers.”
Saint Catherine's was called, only to find that the nuns were in the process of shutting down the school due to poor enrollment.
Patty marched a mortified Meghan into the principal's office at school, and Meghan shriveled as she listened to her mother reprimand the administrator for allowing Liam Wheaton to get his
on her innocent daughter. Well aware on which side his bread was buttered, the principal gave Liam his own private lunch table, away from his classmates, and Liam's desk was moved to the opposite side of the classroom.
It was a full year before her mother sent Meghan back to the Super Duper.
“I need eggs for the casserole, and I can't walk away from these,” she said, gesturing to several pots bubbling on the stove. Patty exhaled loudly, staring at her daughter. “Go to the store. And no funny business, young lady. Do you hear me? If that Wheaton boy is there, you ignore him. Not a word.”
Meghan's bike flew down Main Street as fast as her feet could pedal, her dark hair blowing behind her in the breeze. All the way there her heart pounded in her chest, her hands gripping the handlebars too tightly as her emotions raced in anticipation.
They hadn't even spoken since the fateful track meet, the adults keeping a close watch on them at every turn. Meghan pulled her bike up on the curb, hastily snapping the lock and running inside. She scanned the aisles one by one until she found him, his long body reaching onto a high shelf.
She bit her lip as she started toward him. “Liam,” she called out lightly, and his head snapped up.
His eyes held hers, devouring her, setting her belly to tingling. “Meggie.”
“My momma let me come buy some eggs.” What a stupid thing to say, but it didn't matter, because they were together again, face-to-face.
“I've missed you,” he said, his eyes falling to her lips.
Meghan felt herself flush, loving the sound of his words after so much silence. “Meet me,” she said quietly.
“I don't know.”
He took a purposeful step toward her. “The old powder mill, by the river.”
She had heard stories about what went on there. Dirty stories about men and women and what they could do to each other. She felt dizzy, even as she nodded her consent. Anything to be close to Liam. “When?”
“I get off at six.”
Her parents were going to a concert, and Becky had a sleepover at a friend’s house. “I'll be there.”
And so it was that Meghan O'Connor and Liam Wheaton made love at the old powder mill, the summer they turned sixteen. When Meghan slipped from Liam's arms and raced to beat her parents home, she had no idea that two great changes were about to take place, that would alter her life forever.
A new life was forming in her belly, and the old powder mill was about to go up in flames.
“I'm home,” Meghan called from the doorway of the apartment, her arms wrestling with a seven-foot spruce. Warm, humid air and the smell of something baking greeted her, making her mouth water. “Fiona?” She pushed the top of the tree over the threshold, a branch whipping back to scratch her face. “Damn it,” she muttered. “I could use some help here, please!”
Footsteps padded to the other side of the doorway, Fiona's heart-shaped face and green eyes just visible over the foliage. “You got a tree!”
“I think the tree got me, actually. I'm bleeding, and I'm stuck. Help me get this in there.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Crawl under there and pull the trunk in first. What are you baking?”
Fiona knelt down under the boughs, her red hair just visible beneath the full branches.
She looks more like Becky every day.
“Rhea's making a spice cake,” said Fiona.
“It smells fantastic.”
“It has rum in it. She's been hitting the sauce ever since.”
A sing-song voice came from deeper in the apartment. “I hear you, Fiona dear.”
“You're hallucinating, Rhea. I left an hour ago,” she yelled back.
“This isn't working,” said Meghan. “Grab the top of this thing and pull.”
“No, here,” she said, pushing the largest branch toward her daughter. The tree snapped free of the door frame and into the living room, falling onto its side.
“Nice one,” said Fiona, her gaze meeting her mother's eye-to-eye, a light smile at her lips. She wore a plaid button-down shirt and leggings that hung off her body like borrowed clothes. Her skin glowed more pale than ivory, a new and unflattering change.
Meghan forced a smile onto her face. “How was your day?
“Good. I take it we're decorating a Christmas tree tonight?”
“Unless you have other plans.”
“Rhonda and Kathy asked me to catch a movie. But that's okay, I'd rather decorate.”
A petite, fifty-something woman with short brown hair walked in the room. “Can I help too?”
“You'd better. We're not doing all the work ourselves.”
The phone rang and Fiona ran off to answer it.
“How was work?” asked Rhea.
“Good, good.” Meghan nodded, then stopped abruptly. “Bad. It was awful, actually. I spent the whole day redoing all the artwork for the Gazelle account that I just did on Friday.”
“I thought that nightmare was finished!”
“Yeah, me too...” Meghan trailed off as Fiona came near with the phone.
“It's for you,” she said, her eyes wide. “It's Dr. Haring.”
Meghan's brows drew together. She took the phone and walked into the kitchen, turning to be sure Fiona hadn't followed her. “This is Meghan.”
“Ms. O'Connor, it's Dr. Haring. I know I said I wouldn't have anything for you until Monday, but I just got the lab results and I wanted to let you know ASAP.”
Every muscle in Meghan's body clenched in anticipation.
“I'm afraid it's not good news,” he said. “Three out of six alleles, which is quite common for a parent.”
Meghan slid down the cupboard and sat on the vinyl floor.
The doctor cleared his throat. “I told you it was extremely unlikely you would be a match, Ms. O'Connor...”
“One in two hundred.” Tears began to collect in her eyes.
My baby. My poor, sweet baby.
She wanted to get off the phone, but didn't trust herself to speak.
“Forgive me, Ms. O'Connor, but I need to ask again. Does Fiona have any other family?”
“No.” The word hung in the air, and Meghan waited to see if he would challenge her with a basic knowledge of biology.
“Well then, you may want to organize a donor drive. But the chances of finding a match from an unrelated donor, not already on the registry, are formidable.”
Rhea Goldstein sipped her mug of tea as she cleaned up the last of the spice cake dishes. She was more at home in Meghan's kitchen than her own, having cooked the balance of her meals over the last eight years in this space. The mirror image of her own apartment, the kitchen had a breakfast bar that overlooked the living room, and she could see Meghan sitting on the floor in the glow of the Christmas tree lights. Fiona had gone upstairs to take a bath.
Rhea pulled out a bottle of fragrant red wine, poured two glasses.
She drank one down and refilled it, taking a moment to prepare for battle before joining Meghan by the tree, handing her a glass and sitting herself down rigidly in a side chair. “I think it's time you told me the truth,” she said.
Meghan looked confused. “What?”
“The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you, God.” Rhea felt her voice shake, knew that her grasp on her wine glass was tight enough to snap the stem if she wasn't careful.
Rhea sipped her wine, remembering the first time she saw Meghan and little Fiona with her Santa hat, unpacking everything they owned, two days before Christmas. Peeking though her front curtains, Rhea knew right then they were running away from something. She’d been drawn to the woman and the girl from that first look, imagining she might find a way to befriend them, or prove herself useful.
Rhea had been alone for a long time.
She introduced herself and offered to help, which they politely refused, then Rhea came back to her apartment. The squalor that greeted her was a surprise.
When did I let it get so bad?
Dirty dishes that had been sitting in the same place for weeks, stacks of papers and heaps of clothing--whether clean or dirty, she didn't know. She opened the windows to the icy December air and cleaned her apartment for the first time in months, then showered and blew dry her hair.