Young Truths (Young Series)

BOOK: Young Truths (Young Series)
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Young Truths
by W.R. Kimble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© W.R. Kimble, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. This book is a work of fiction, and any similarities to real persons or events is unintended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, a great many thanks to CJ, Sue, Annette, and the Snarks for putting up
with all my crap and for the encouragement, advice, etc... And of course, thank you to everyone who has supported my little writing hobby over the years. You all rock!

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1

 

 

I’m being followed.

Again.

Only this time there is no doubt in my mind that the people following me are not friendly. I’ve had this feeling for a few days, but only now have I had the opportunity to actually confirm or deny my paranoia. It seems no matter where I go the same black SUV isn’t too far behind. While I’m used to being tailed with some sort of security detail, this just
feels
different and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Of course, just like last time, I’ve yet to tell anyone about my feelings of paranoia, even though I know certain people will be incredibly annoyed with me for not mentioning something so important. My only excuse is that he’s got enough on his mind and until I’m certain of what’s going on, particularly whether there even is something to tell, he doesn’t need my paranoia added to his issues.

Now, though, I’ve had confirmation that the same SUV has been tailing me all around town, whether it is to pick my son up from school, going to work, or any other seemingly meaningless errand. I have my suspicions of who might be in the driver’s seat, or at least who the driver is associated with, and it’s only a slight comfort that the car hasn’t gotten any closer than a block or so away from me. That tells me the driver is monitoring me rather than seeking to harm—at least for now; previous experience tells me that sort of trouble is probably only just around the corner. And at eight months pregnant that is the sort of trouble I do not need to be dealing with.

Despite my discovery that I’m completely sane and not imagining being followed, I go about my afternoon exactly as I had been; calling attention to the car right now couldn’t possibly do me any favors. I return from the café across the street from the bookstore at which I’ve been working for about four months now with a lunch order for Bonnie Harris, the store’s owner and one of my closest friends, and myself. Bonnie, a wonderfully feisty, take no prisoners woman, seems to be physically deteriorating before my eyes with every day that passes. It’s no secret that she’s been seriously ill for months, but she’s yet to confide in me exactly what’s wrong. I’ve got my suspicions, but it’s not something I’m eager to discuss. Her time at the bookstore has been cut drastically in recent weeks, down to four or five hours throughout the week at most, and every time she’s here, she looks worse than before. Luckily, I’m smart enough to not call attention to it. I have noticed that even as my pregnancy advances, she’s giving me much more responsibility in the store—the accounting, placing book orders, staff schedules, basically everything she’s done since the place opened. Again, I’m not calling attention to it; I think I’ve worked out her intentions and while I’m uncertain how I feel about it, if it’s what she wants, I certainly won’t argue.

“Took you long enough,” Bonnie calls out as I enter. “Thought I was going to have to send out a damn search party.”

I roll my eyes, placing the lunch bags on the counter. “Well, next time, you can go down there and argue with Reg about whether or not bread rolls come with the soup.”

She snorts a laugh. “Stupid kid,” she mutters. “You’d think by now he’d know better than to argue with a pregnant woman.”

“Matt thinks he’s got a crush on me,” I say wryly, sitting on the stool behind the counter with a groan as I pull my Styrofoam packed lunch towards me. “Every time we go in there together, Reg glares at him.”

“You could have worse admirers,” Bonnie says thoughtfully, sitting beside me. “And really, he has to know by now he’s got no shot with you; it’s clear to the whole town how in love you are with that husband of yours.”

I smile to myself and begin eating my roast beef sandwich. It’s been just over two months since my wedding and it still manages to surprise me whenever it’s brought up. This is round two of being Mrs. Matthew Young, and while the months leading up to our marriage weren’t exactly smooth sailing, things seem to be calming down somewhat. Not that we haven’t had our issues—we still tend to argue about the stupidest little things and we’re both aware this is part of getting to know one another again, which takes a lot of the sting out of our arguments. We’re communicating much more clearly than we ever have, even during the three years of our first relationship and marriage. A lot of that is due to Dr. Morris, the therapist we’ve been seeing both separately and together, and her habit of digging deeply into our psyches and emotions, and getting us to share with one another.

Probably the biggest change in our relationship has been how forthcoming Matthew has become about both his work and the dangers that come along with it. One wouldn’t think heading a company that develops a vast variety of technologies would be particularly dangerous, but he’s had all sorts of attempts on his life, death threats, and other... complications, for lack of a better word. In the last six months alone, our son has been kidnapped—twice, the first along with me; his best friend was shot and killed; he discovered an ex-girlfriend, one he’s admitted he considered marrying at one point in time, was behind the majority of the trouble. And that’s not even bringing the plane crash into the equation that resulted in his family’s and my belief that he’d been killed, then him having to disappear for three months. Or the fact that one of Matthew’s enemies is still running around free, probably plotting Matthew’s demise.

I really wish I could say I’m being overly dramatic with those sorts of thoughts, but if Matthew is correct about what else Frank Marone has been behind, we’re far from safe. He seems to be going to very great lengths to destroy my husband and for once in his life, Matthew seems to be taking the threats against him seriously. A lot of that is probably because the threats continue to affect me and our children. Normally, he tends to laugh off most of the trouble that follows him wherever he goes, unless that trouble has the possibility of touching us. That’s how I was dragged into this mess after five years of living a quiet—and rather boring—life in Omaha, Nebraska. Matthew popped up out of nowhere one day to protect me, our son, and my childhood best friend turned boyfriend from things I still don’t fully understand and probably don’t want to when it comes down to it. He and I have had every sort of misunderstanding and argument in the last several months, but one thing I have never doubted is his determination to keep us safe. He risked so much coming after Tyler and me when we’d been kidnapped—apparently there was a very precise plan about how and when Matthew would return “from the dead,” and it didn’t involve a middle of the night kidnapping rescue.

Despite the drama and the heartbreak and the lack of proper communication, I can’t help but think right now we’re in the best place possible. I’m married to my absolute best friend in the world. We’re expecting our second child in just over a month. Nothing is perfect and I know better than to ever expect perfection, but it’s as close as we can get and I can’t remember being happier than I am right now.

Well, maybe not
right
now as I recall my initial problem of the day: being followed. I glance out the all glass windows of the bookshop, seeing the snow covered street and sidewalks and the familiar cars belonging to the small town citizens and other store clerks. There’s no black SUV in sight, only a sleek black sports car belonging to the security detail my overprotective husband has assigned to me. Dave isn’t so bad. He stays out of the way and doesn’t make himself obvious, so I tend to forget he’s there half of the time. I suppose if there really is somebody following me, Dave would have noticed, wouldn’t he? He’s trained to not miss a single thing, especially when it comes to my safety.

This makes me feel slightly better. If Dave had noticed something out of the ordinary, he wouldn’t be sitting in his car reading that romance novel I caught him with the other day. Really, for such a tough guy, he’s a complete teddy bear on the inside. And though I haven’t seen the other side of him yet—the side of him acting as a ruthless protector—I have no doubt he’ll be extremely effective in his duties. I think I’d prefer to never see that side of him, to be honest...

The rest of my afternoon flies by and before I know it, my shift has ended. Part of the reason I came to work here in the first place was because Bonnie had fallen ill and was having trouble keeping up the demands of owning a business and her frequent doctor’s appointments. I’ve watched over the last several months as her health had deteriorated to the point that if I hadn’t seen her every day, I wouldn’t recognize her. She’s thin. Constantly pale. Her short hair has turned wispy. The only thing that hasn’t changed in the slightest is her attitude. She’s still feisty and doesn’t take shit from anybody.

I don’t need anybody to spell it out for me; I’ve seen those symptoms before a long time ago. Experience tells me that the more she deteriorates physically, her personality will change. I’m already seeing the signs—she’s become forgetful more frequently whereas before she never forgot a thing. She tires far more quickly than she should. And while she tries to hide it from me, I know she’s in pain. I think I know why she hasn’t told me what’s wrong with her, and she’s probably right not to confirm my suspicions. I’ve already nearly lost my baby once before following an incident that shot my blood pressure through the roof; I’m on blood pressure medication now, but it’s not worth the risk.

I glance down at my pregnant belly, still in slight shock at the sight of it. I’m not nearly as big as I thought I’d be, or as my friends who’ve been pregnant were at this stage. I often wonder if I would have gotten like this with Tyler if I’d managed to carry him to full term, then decide there’s no use going down that path. My son is perfectly healthy, if on the smaller side for a six-year-old, and my daughter is on track to be born in five and a half weeks. And it’s probably best to not tempt fate more than we already have in recent months...

As I pull out of my parking space and begin to head home, I reflexively glance into my rearview mirror as Dave’s car catches up to me. Still glancing back to the road to keep from having an accident, my eyes frequently dart back to the mirror, checking to see whether the other car I’d been seeing is anywhere in sight. It’s not and I’m tempted to put this whole thing down to paranoia. If somebody really is following me, they would have been noticed by now. Aside from my personal security guard, the citizens of the small Upstate New York town of Santa Clara never miss a thing. These are people who’ve known each other all their lives and when Matthew built his home a few miles outside the town line, they essentially adopted him as one of their own, and later, me, by proxy. They are protective of each other and if anything threatens one of them, it threatens all of them. If one of them had spotted a strange car or person, they would have raised the alarm. Not even Frank Marone, who only a few short months ago owned a travel agency across the street from Bonnie’s bookshop, could stroll through town anymore—since the town found out Frank’s role in kidnapping Tyler, if he sets one foot anywhere near Santa Clara, he’ll be apprehended within minutes.

BOOK: Young Truths (Young Series)
10.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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