[This story is the 7th part of the One Summer Day Novelette. Click HERE to find the Parts 1 – 6 of this tale].
For the first time in years, Anna slept the night like a baby. She was finally starting to believe that there was a way out, that there was a possibility for a happy future, for her and for Josh. She woke up with a smile, the prospect of being back home with her parents made her happy. Yet there was a nagging sensation at the back of her mind. However, she was unable to put a finger to it. She knew that she couldn’t stay with her parents, sooner or later she would have to come up with a plan. She can’t always be on the run, at some point Dave would catch up. By then, it is imperative that she get to a more stable situation to be able to stand up to him.
What would she say to her parents about her future plans? After all, it’s not just her, there was Josh too. That’s when it struck her, her parents have no idea about Josh. They do not know that they have a grandson. She wondered how they would react.
By 10 in the morning, Anna was at the airport waiting to board the flight to Chicago O’Hare airport. Another 2 hours and she would be with family again.
“Why is the time not moving?” Liz said as she looked at the clock for the hundredth time.
“Sweetheart, I doubt you can make it go any faster by staring at it every 5 minutes” John called out from the living room as he continued to set and then reset it.
“Yea, well, it wouldn’t go any faster if you keep resetting the living room either!” Liz shot back.
John came into the kitchen, took Liz in his arms and cupped her face. Looking into her moist eyes, he smiled and told her “Honey, it’s ok, you need to relax! Our daughter is finally coming home and nothing is going to change that!”
“I know but I just have this weird feeling! As if something is not right. Her voice Jo, last night her voice on the phone, it sounded…. umm.. frightened, as though she was afraid of something!”
“Gahh… you are just over reacting. She had a long flight and was definitely tired. Don’t go digging too much into it now”
“But why would she choose to land in NYC, Jo? Why didn’t she just come here instead?”
“It’s been so many years, she probably wanted to make sure we were home before heading over or she probably just wanted to meet some friends in NYC.”
“I hope you’re right! I hope there’s nothing more to it” Liz said with a sigh, yet at the back of her mind she knew there was something that was not right.
Just as she stepped out of the airport, Anna saw the familiar faces of her parents approaching her. They stopped short of her as if in shock. Anna knew the reason for their shock. She moved towards them, slowly, with Josh who was clinging on to her. Her mother rushed forward and hugged Anna. When she broke free of the embrace Anna introduced Josh to her parents who were ecstatic to learn that they were grandparents. Josh seemed particularly fond of them for he promptly jumped onto his grandpa’s arms.
Her parents didn’t ask her any questions; they were simply too happy to have her back. On the way home, Liz was busy making plans about all that needs changing at home to make it safe and comfortable for Josh.
They were just about starting to settle down after reaching home when the doorbell chimed.
“I’ll get it,” John called out as he walked to get the door. He opened the door and saw a tall, muscular man standing a little too close to him.
“Don’t say a word, just walk in,” Jim ordered pointing the gun at him.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“I said not a word!” Jim snarled through gritted teeth “Now, move in!”
John moved aside to let Jim in who closed the door shut behind them. Anna instantly recognized the person walking into their living room with her father. She felt a bead of sweat break out from her neck as she stared at him paralyzed with fear.
“Jim…. What are you doing here?” Anna stuttered
“Maybe the better question is what are you doing here, Anna?”
“I am … I am…visiting my parents,” Anna tried to explain.
Jim pushed John towards Anna and her mother and pointed the gun at them and said “Now, listen carefully, Anna. I know why you are here. You really don’t think my presence here is a coincidence, do you?”
Anna knew it then that he was here because of Dave. “Is he here too?” she asked
“He will be, soon! And I am here to ensure that you are here when he shows up”
Anna swallowed hard and took a quick look around the room. There was too much at stake to lose it all now, after coming so far.
“Don’t even think about it, sister!” Jim warned as Anna started to move towards Josh’s room.
Dave had another 3 hours to kill before landing in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Although he was planning to take the first flight to NYC, he changed his mind after his last conversation with Jim. He was at the Dubai International Airport heading towards the check in counter for his flight to NYC when he got the call from Jim who gave him the details of the conversation between Anna and her mom.
So, she’s heading straight home. Just as I thought, so predictable, Annie! He thought as he came out of the check in line and walked towards the ticketing counter. He bought himself a ticket to a flight that was leaving to Chicago’s O’Hare airport around the same time.
Dave hardly slept in the flight, he used the time to come up with a plan for his revenge. Anna had hurt him by taking off like that, now, he wanted to hit her where it hurt the most. But, what is it that he can do that would hurt her the most?
And just like that he knew what he had to do to make her come back begging. The answer was Joshua.
Women! As foolish as they are, the moment they become a mother, they become vulnerable and stupid! He let a smirk play on his lips as he thought about his plan.
Dave was never too keen on having kids, however, he let Anna keep the baby because he knew that someday that decision would come in handy. Only, he wasn’t expecting to use it so soon!