Born into a life of poverty to a mother who doesn’t love her, Angela doesn’t have much hope. One night, a stranger offers her a few comforting words, but little does she know he will change her life forever. She struggles to make her own way, falls in love with a boy from school, and tries to dig herself out of the sad world she’s trapped in, but it all comes apart when that same mysterious stranger returns to claim her for his own.
“Angela? Angela Harris?” A pleasant smile lit up his face. He came toward me, his arms outstretched. I wanted to back away, maybe step aside. This couldn’t be real. He crushed me in an embrace.
I stared up into those big blue eyes and awoke from my dark dreams. Tommy Davis was before me. And I was a wretched creature. A minute more and he would have been dead. I had followed him with the intent of killing him.
“Yes,” I muttered trying to keep my teeth hidden. “Yes, and you’re Tommy.”
“What happened to you? You never came back to class.”
“My mom died.”
“Oh God, I’m sorry to hear that. You look...you look different... but good.”
“Yeah, you look just the same.” It was too much for me, the closeness of him. This big lug of a football player holding me, he was even cuter now that he’d aged a bit. And what was he thinking of me? What did I look like? My clothes were stolen from a dancer I had found on Park and Third. She was nearly gone, crack or heroin, I couldn’t be sure. Did I look like a streetwalker or maybe someone going out to a bar? I looked cheap.
“I have to go,” I said in a rush. “Big date and all.”
“Oh,” he said, a frown turning his lips down. His arms fell away and I wanted them back. I hadn’t even returned his hug. “Well, it’s good to see you again. Listen, I could give you my number. Maybe we could go out sometime.”
“Yeah, yeah that would be great.”
“Angela Harris,” he said, wistful. “I’ve been looking for you since high school. You just...vanished.”
Tears stung my eyes. I struggled not to let them fall. “I’m so sorry, Tommy.” I wanted to tell him I loved him, that I needed him now more than ever, but I couldn’t do that to him. I just couldn’t.
“You know, like when I’d be in a crowd and someone would walk by, I’d always be so disappointed when she’d turn and it wasn’t you.”
A tear dribbled down my cheek. I prayed he wouldn’t be able to tell is wasn’t clear, but pink and stained with blood. I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him. He balked at first, startled by my advance, but settled in and kissed me back. God, it felt so good, so real, not like any kiss Rory had ever pressed to my lips.
When I pulled away, I smiled at his look of confusion and wonder. “I’ve always loved you,” I blurted. “I want you to know that.”
His face crumpled like he might cry. He held me against him, and I closed my eyes, sniffling against this man who smelled so good and tasted even better. He should have been my husband. I should have had his kids by now. I didn’t think I could even have kids. “I gotta go.”
He nodded and held me tighter.
“Gimme your number. I’ll call.”
“Promise?” he asked.