Cherry Hill 2-Finding Happiness(2)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

“What kind of things do you bake?” Autumn asked as they entered the house and the smell of something delicious filled the air.

“I do a lot of fruit pies, cookies, cupcakes, and special order celebration cakes. Things like that,” Bridget told her.

“It smells so good in here,” Autumn said, and then they entered the extra-large industrial-style kitchen. There were multiple ovens, a really big stove with eight burners and two wall ovens, a huge island in the middle, and even a big table that sat fifteen.

“My God, this is awesome in here. A cook’s dream kitchen.”

“And a baker’s. My husbands helped me to design it.”

“I love it. It’s very impressive.”

“Do you cook, Autumn?” Brady asked her.

“I love cooking. I actually worked as a short-order cook through college. It was a lot of fun.”

“Your Aunt May said that you would probably want to find a job and work,” Bridget said to her and then offered her a bottle of water.

“Yes, thank you. Uhm, actually I will be looking for work, but I need something well…”

She looked at Shay, him being a state trooper, and wasn’t sure about stating how she needed to be paid off the books because technically that was kind of illegal with tax purposes and all.

“Off the books. We get it. May explained to Bridget that you’re concerned about this ex of yours. We got it covered and have set some potential opportunities up for you,” Shay said to her and eyed her over, looking kind of angry or maybe that was just these men’s demeanors. Bridget said they were retired military. That Shay was a trooper and Ken and Brady worked for the government.

“Wait, I don’t know what you planned, but I don’t want you all more involved than you already seem to be. I was fine traveling on my own for the last four weeks.”

“Injured, no protection, scared I’m certain, too, and well, seeing you now, I for one am glad you’re here and this is working out. A petite, beautiful young woman like yourself traveling alone would be a target. It’s a blessing that nothing happened the last four weeks,” Ken stated.

“I took precautions best I could. I drove a lot. Seven hours today to get here.” Shay’s eyes widened.

“Well, no more traveling alone or running. You’ll be safe here in Cherry Hill and under our protection,” Brady told her.

“Yes, and with our connections between the police and the government, we’ll know if this ex of yours decides to start looking for you,” Ken said to her.

She felt the tears in her eyes and rubbed her hand along her ribs. “You all know that Connor was in the army and that he’s a cop in a local town there in Connecticut?” she asked them.

“We know honey,” Bridget said to her. She swallowed hard.

“He didn’t lose his job for what he did. They assigned him anger management and counseling. He’s on probation for three months. He’ll start looking as soon as he has access to the computers at work.”

“You were smart though. You didn’t register the car in your name. You haven’t used any credit cards. You emptied your savings account and have been using cash, correct?” Shay asked her.

“Yes, sir, but he was in the military. He thinks differently. I left before I was even fully recovered, ya know.”

“We have a great doctor in town, a friend and one who can keep things quiet, but Bridget will explain the rules around Cherry Hill, and how things have to go,” Shay said to her.

“Rules? What do you mean?” Autumn asked and felt a bit nervous.

“This week, I’ll introduce you to Sheriff Kane McCabe. He runs the show around here and is in charge of ensuring every member of town’s safety,” Shay told her.

“I’m good. You just said you guys would protect me, and for obvious reasons I don’t trust cops, so talking to this sheriff isn’t an option.”

“Oh, it will have to be because as soon as he finds out you’re living in town, and then working in town, he’ll introduce himself and welcome you. We’ll beat him to all the other stuff and just tell him why you’re here and about the protection you need.”

She adjusted her bag on her shoulder and started to backstep.

“Well, I guess this isn’t going to work out after all,” she said. Shay and his brothers squinted at her, and she started walking back toward the door.

“Autumn,” she heard him say, but then Bridget told them to let her talk to her. As she got outside and headed to the car, Bridget ran up to her.

“Autumn, wait. Please, honey.” She stopped, exhaled, and turned around to face her. Autumn’s heart was racing. “Look at me,” Bridget said to her and Autumn tilted her head up to lock gazes with Bridget.

She stared down at her, and into her eyes, and Autumn couldn’t help but to feel defeated and like she was truly on her own no matter what. She could never trust another man, another person fully, and certainly not some sheriff or military men.

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