By Anita Louise

Part Fourteen

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(c) copyright 1/02

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  Chapter Thirty Three

Once they were in Bobie's jeep and heading down the road, Belle turned to look at the woman.  "Jeanne is a nice person.  I can see that she and Skylar Richmond would be good friends, they are a lot alike."

"Oh.  And how would you know that?"

"I have gotten to know Jeanne and from all I have read and heard about Skylar it just seems so.  Are you all right?"

"Nothing a good rest wouldn't help.  Just tired.  Guess Jeanne has spoken to you about Skylar, a lot more than Sky has done in regards to her with me.  I knew she had sent some information to a friend in the FBI, but I didn't know the friend was . . ."

"A beautiful woman,"  Belle added, wishing she had not.

"You think she is beautiful?   Course I haven't been around her like you have but from what I saw."

"What you saw was a woman that had just showered, and cleaned up after a run in with a skunk.  She looks very relaxed, I kinda like her hair wet, combed back."

Bobie pulled into a parking lot.  "Oh my God, not you too?"

Belle gazed around then asked,  "A drive in?  Thought we were going to a store.  What do you mean not me too?"

"Thought maybe hamburgers and fries would be good.  As well we can get drinks here.  Nothing alcoholic but it will wet a person's whistle.  I meant, you have fallen under the woman's charms too."

"If you mean I like Jeanne, the answer is yes.  For a long time I have been alone.  Oh I have the tavern and it has given me a life.  It is just I always felt there was more to life.  Something missing.  I have always enjoyed the time we have together.  But I always knew you were tied to your job.  Doubted anyone could ever pull you away from this.  Happy to know that Skylar Richmond has been able.  I like Jeanne, she treats me like a person, not someone that is just there for a drink or idle talk.  So if you are going to rain down on the woman, know I will defend her.  And just because she and Sky are good friends, does not mean anything else."

"WOW!   This is amazing.   I never knew."

This time Belle raised an eyebrow and asked,  "Never knew what?"

"That you wanted to be more than an acquaintance with me.  I have always found you to be an amazing woman Belle Gardner.  But I am just a deputy sheriff, nothing special.  I have seen the way you and others carry on at the tavern.  The laughter, the jokes, the singing during Karaoke nights.   Always thought you had a passel of friends, never once thought you might be lonely."

Reaching for the door handle, Belle replied,  "Had you known, would you have done anything differently?"

"I like you, I've always liked you and know I can depend on you.  It was a blessing when you helped me with the jeep and the drive.   You have always been there for me if I needed you.  I feel terrible now knowing you have been  lonely."

"You know what they say, a person can be alone even in a room full of people.  And don't go get all dog sad eyed, I have not always been lonely.  I think everyone has their moments in life.  I have always liked you, held special feelings for you Bobie Parker and I know we will always be friends.  Because of Jeanne Randolph, I now realize there is more to life outside of Springfield.  There are some really good people.   First things first, need to get you past these feelings you have for Jeanne."


"Yes, I saw the look on your face when you gazed at the two of them.  It was obvious you had immediately put up a fence and I might add an eclectic fence around your property."

"Ouch!   That hurt.    I admit it threw me at first.  But I believe what Sky tells me and she said the two are close friends.   I am glad she has a good friend like this."

"Uh huh, sure.  You know this is all new to me but I can tell you that when Skylar Richmond gazes at you, her eyes are filled with love.  There is no room for anyone else in the woman's life."

"You talk like someone that is so well informed.   How do you know what a look of love is to one of friendship or anything else?"

"It's easy.  Eyes are the mirrors to one's heart, to ones soul and hers speak volumes."

"Amaze me, you amaze me.  I look at you and wonder how I never saw the tenderness, the care before.  All these years, struggling, fighting back tears, throwing myself into my job, hating to go home.  My heart so empty at times I cried myself to sleep.  It pains me to know that somewhere else in town, you felt similar sensations."

"You had it much worse than I ever could imagine.  First your mother, then your father, a terrible way to have to face life.  Now I know why you threw so much into your job.  About that last remark,  If you had, what would you have done about it Bobie Parker?"  Belle reached for the handle and opened the pickup door.

"Same thing you would have, had you known about me.  Make an effort to talk, come into my life, open the door.  The least we could have done was play a game of monopoly."

Stepping down, Belle called back,  "More like poker.  But I think I would have enjoyed any game with you.  Actually I would have enjoyed being with you, letting you know you weren't alone, that there was someone that cared.  Let's go get the food.  The other two are probably all talked out by now and wondering just where we are."

Taking the key from the ignition, Bobie followed suit and was soon walking into the building with Belle.  There weren't many in the room and both women were glad of this.  After ordering, they went to sit in a nearby booth.

Belle leaned against the seat.  "One of us needs to call and tell them we will be a little late in getting back."

Bobie tipped her head to the side replying,  "Go to it.  I'll keep watch for the order."   Watching Belle walk to the hallway, her mind mulled over what the woman had said.  `Actually I would have enjoyed being with you, letting you know you weren't alone, that there was someone that cared.'   Heaving a sigh, she wondered when the order would be ready.

By the time Belle made it back to the booth, Bobie had retrieved the meals and had set them up.  "Thought perhaps we might eat before we go back."

Sitting, Belle smiled and nodded.  "Sounds like a plan to me, I am hungry and the other two won't mind.  They are still mapping out strategies."

"I take it, neither one misses us?"

"Not the case.  They do.  I talked with Jeanne and I talked with Skylar.  Both look forward to our return and of course the food."   She chuckled and reached for the tempting hamburger on her plate.

"Would love to know what the two of you have been up to since Jeanne came to town?  Thought perhaps you might fill me in."

"Sure, as long as you fill me in on what you and Skylar have been doing?"

Bobie smiled, reached for her burger and replied,  "Deal."

Jeanne had been pacing the floor, pencil in hand.  "Tell you what Sky, how you did it I don't know but you have gone and gotten yourself in a fine mess."

Sky was sitting holding a map on her lap, long legs stretched across several chairs.  "Look who is talking.  Seems to me you too are in a pickle.  I mean, sounds like Sheriff Burgess has you in his sights too.  So don't say anything about the mess I am in.  I will tell you though, I wouldn't have traded a day of being here."

Hearing the woman's words Jeanne turned and stared.  "A day of being with Bobie Parker you mean."

"It has been a wondrous adventure.  Few things I would have changed but you are right, Bobie is at the top of the reasons I am still here.  And of course, solving a few things."

"Like the Kiva incident?"

Nodding she leaned back.  "That is one."

Jeanne walked to the table, gazed down at Sky's outstretched legs.  "Comfy?"

"Yup."  With those words she moved her feet adding,  "There, chair is all yours."

As Jeanne sat, her eyes met the woman's for an instant.  "I feel terrible at what has happened to you.  The man Trenton,
the . . ."

"Don't.  The sooner I forget this, the better."

Leaning forward Jeanne placed a hand on Sky's right knee.  "As  long as you continue to look into the goings on, this will never be forgotten.  The man Trenton is a big part of the puzzle we have been putting together here.  How do you think Bobie will take the news?"

Emerald green eyes appearing vague she looked away.  "Not sure.  Do you think I should tell her?"

"It is up to you.  And don't forget in the middle of all this is, The Windigo."

"Haven't forgotten.  It is just so hard to believe.  There have always been stories, fable's one might believe.  I never gave any credence to them."

"Maybe this is a good time to at least have an open mind.  We have been putting things together, trying to make sense of all that has been occurring.  Somehow this creature has a role.  Do you think Deputy Parker will agree?"

"I will have my hands full trying to explain all of this to her.  But I feel in the end, she will come to terms with our conclusion.  The sooner this is over the better for everyone."

Realizing her hand was still on the woman, Jeanne pulled it away.  "Maybe and maybe not.  It might very well mean you lose Bobie."

"Nah.  Never happen.  Want to take a walk?   I'm feeling all cooped up in here."

Jeanne stood then said,  "A walk sounds fine.  What about the women?"

"Leave a note in case we are not back when they return."

Belle took the last sip of her coffee then said,  "We had better head back.  Pick up their order and  be on the way."

"Right.  I'll go get the order."  Before Belle could reply, Bobie was standing and heading to the counter.

Nearing the counter, she smiled toward the woman who had been busily packing several orders of fries.  "We are about ready to go, I'll pick up the rest of the order now."

Beatrice Bartine, nodded.  "Be just a few minutes.  Hope you had a pleasant meal."

"It was fine.  Notice not many customers in here tonight, is there a reason for this?"

"Not sure.  There is a big game at the park, a dance following.  Maybe people will be in later.  Are you Bobie Parker?  I have been wanting to ask but afraid it might upset you."

She glanced around the room before answering,  "Yes, I am.  Why do you ask?"

"I have a close cousin to Donald Antone and he was in here telling me that your boss, is in the area looking for you.  Thought you might like to know.  This way you can hook up with him."

"Thanks.  I appreciate the information.  Do me a favor though, if anyone comes in here asking about me, say you haven't seen me."

Handing Bobie the ready to go meals, she asked,  "Are you in trouble?"

"Let's just say at this moment my boss and I are having a few problems.  Nothing you need to worry about.  Thank you.  Did your cousin say where the Sheriff was last seen?"

The woman thought for several minutes then replied,  "I think near the park."

Bobie hurried toward Belle and as she neared muttered,  "Come on, we have to get out of here."

Quickly getting to her feet Belle looked surprised and asked,  "What has you acting like there is a fire about to sweep you up?"  Bobie didn't answer instead she headed for the door.  Shrugging Belle followed the woman outside.

Bobie stopped as they neared the jeep.  "I just found out that the Sheriff is in town, and he is looking for me.  I will take you close to the wigwam, let you out and . . ."

"Hold up, what are you rattling about?  We should both go in and tell the women what is happening."

"No, I have thought about this.  It is best you take the other two back to Springfield while I divert Sheriff Burgess."

Belle took the two orders from Bobbie before saying,  "It is your life but I still think you should go in and talk to the others.  Diverting the Sheriff may not be as easy as you seem to think it is.  Besides you shouldn't have to divert him.  You work for the man, he has never had a better employee."

"Thanks.  But I have to do this.  I don't want Sky  nor Jeanne or you to get into trouble because of me.  Now let's go."

Once in the jeep and heading for the Wigwam, Belle mumbled,  "How do we all get in touch again?  I know they will ask?"

"Meet up at my cabin."

"A good plan except the Sheriff has it watched."

"All right you have a better idea?"

"How about my place."

"Sure, whatever you say.  We are getting close.  You can handle this Belle."   Before long Bobie pulled the jeep alongside the curb and stopped.  "I'll see you soon.  Promise."

Belle watched the jeep turn a corner and disappear before she began walking toward the Wigwam.  Approaching the door to the room she let out a deep sigh knowing Skylar would not take this news well.  Entering, she was surprised to find it empty.  For a second her heart leaped into her throat, fear gripped her body.  The two meals landed on the wooden table as she called out their names.  There was no answer and it was then she saw the scribbled note.  Quickly picking it up and reading the words Belle muttered to herself,   "Now you two go off gallivanting.  Picked the darndest time."

It didn't take long to find the off road to the park.  The problem was trying to drive around all the vehicles and busses that were parked everywhere.  Turning the street corners weaving in and out of traffic, her eyes constantly searched for signs of Ben Burgess.  There were many adults, as well as young people crossing the streets, laughing, playing games as they ran and it took Bobie back to school and times like this.

It was the very large man that stepped from behind a pickup that caused her to slam on the brakes and come to a quick stop.  The jeep's engine sputtered and died at the same time her head hit the steering wheel.

"Are you all right?"   The sound was distant at first but louder as the person spoke.  "What were you doing?   Didn't you see the signs stating this street was closed to traffic?"

Why didn't this person go away?  Just want to sleep.  Bobie Parker was tired, but the words would not stop.  It was the wet cloth on her forehead, cheeks, and lips that finally brought about a stir within the woman.  Eyelids flickered several times before she opened her eyes.  "Wha . . .  What happened?"

"You don't remember?"

Starting to move, Bobie realized she was in this man's arms.  "I was driving and something stepped out in front . . ."   Grasping her head she swallowed and tried to move.

"I am the 'something' that stepped onto the roadway.  But the road was closed.  You shouldn't have been driving on it.  The game has begun already.  Is this where you were going?"

"No.  Loo . . .  I was looking for someone."

"Can you sit up?  Don't know who you were looking for but I am thankful your brakes work."

Sitting with the man's help, Bobie replied,  "Just shook up a bit.  I apologize for almost hitting you.  Didn't see any sign."  Blinking several times, she tried to focus on the man.  He was tall and  muscular, for this she was thankful.  His  eyes were large, and wide apart, protected under thick dark eyelashes.  The eyes themselves were baffling, they seemed to change in color many times as he talked, never twice the same.   They were eyes that cloaked the soul with a thousand appearances,   "Sorry about almost hitting you.  But I have to go, and hope you will accept my apology, Mr?"

He stood, helping her to her feet replying,  "Miles, my name is Miles Trenton."

Weakness overcame her for a second and Bobie lost her balance. The man's strong arms did not release her, instead held her close.  "You really got a hit on the head.  Should have a doctor check you out.  I would be happy to drive you to the hospital.  Miss?"

"Not important.  Just someone who should have stayed home.  By any chance have you seen Sheriff Ben Burgess anywhere around here?"

He mulled over her question then answered,  "You mean the Sheriff of Springfield?"

Nodding she grasped his hand and pulled away from the man's grip.  "Yes. That's the one.  I am fine.  Once I get the jeep going, I will be on my way and I promise to be more careful."

The man walked with her to the jeep.  "Offer still goes, I will be happy to take you to the hospital."

Climbing into the jeep, Bobie turned the key hoping to hear it start, instead it just made grinding noises.

"Hold up,"  the man called out.  "Let me check under the hood."

Bobie pulled the release then climbed down muttering,  "I can do this."

Tipping his head back, he gazed at the woman.  "You are a little spitfire, aren't you?   It was my good fortune to be in your path this night."

Bobie took the man into her eyes, his long, black, damp hair was combed straight back and  like many, he wore boots, blue jeans, western shirt and a denim jacket.  "Anyone ever tell you, your eyes are fascinating?  I think I like the Azure best."

He grinned and began to look under the hood of the jeep.  "Let's see what the problem is.  Azure huh?   Any reason why?"

"Tranquility.  When you look at me, I feel at peace.  Well I did.  How's it going?  Do you have any idea what the problem is?"

He was leaning over, totally engrossed in the engine, hearing her words, he raised up, as head and hood collided.   "Ouch!"   Reaching up, he quickly stepped away from the vehicle making sure the hood stayed in one place.

 Bobie was watching and holding back a giggle that was trying desperately to escape.  "You're a tall man Mr. Trenton, whatever possessed you to pop up like that?"

He scowled toward the jeep then gazed at the woman.  "You said, `when I look at you, you felt peace', then added, `well I did'.   I think that is enough for anyone to do a turn around.  Have I done something in such a short time to change your opinion?"

"It's not you.  Well it is but . . ."

"Which is it?   Me or what?"

"It's your name, Miles Trenton.  Are you related to Jim Trenton by any chance?"

He walked toward the jeep, leaned against the fender replying,  "And if I am, does this make me not trustworthy?  I am not my brother's keeper, nor he mine."

"That is all I wanted to know.  You are related.  I really have to be on my way.  Let me take a look see.  Maybe I can figure this out."

"No need.  I fixed the problem.  You had a loose connection to the battery.  Just tapped it and should work."

"Right.  I'm supposed to buy that."

"Get in, try to start her up.  If the jeep doesn't start, then I will eat my hat."

Climbing into the jeep, Bobie smiled.  "But you're not wearing a hat Mr. Trenton."

He winked and stepped away from the jeep.  "That is what I was counting on.  Give it a try, can't hurt anything."

Bobie was shocked when the motor began to purr.  She turned to thank the man but Mile's Trenton was nowhere in sight.   Chill bumps said hello and for a brief second she actually felt as if her skin was crawling.   Stepping out, she closed the hood and looked around the area.  No sign of the man.  Climbing into the jeep, and turning it onto the side road, she began to look for any sign of Sheriff Burgess.

The game had started and most people were already in the stands.  It sounded like everyone was having a good time from all the cheering that was echoing the area.  By this time, thoughts were tormenting her and most had to do with Skylar and the other two at the Wigwam.   Was Sky upset?  What did Belle tell them?  Did Sky and Jeanne find out anything in regards to what had been going on in Springfield?  Was there more than friendship that held these two women connected?  How did Bell Gardner ingratiate herself into Jeanne's confidence so quickly?

She was just getting ready to head back toward Tupac and the Wigwam when Ben Burgess drove past, in that instant both people realized who the other was.  The Sheriff's vehicle did an abrupt turn in the road, with lights flashing and siren blaring the car bore down on Bobie Parker's jeep.

Several vehicles behind sat Miles Trenton, the man had been following her.  He parked and watched.  "Go woman!  If you don't want Burgess to get you!"  He knew she couldn't hear him, but he hoped she could feel the urgency to evade this man at this time.

Bobie was doing her best to dart in and out of side streets, only to find herself blocked at a four-way stop.  Cars entering, cars leaving the area had slowed traffic to a snail's crawl.  Realizing the Sheriff was close behind, she scolded herself,  "Now you have gone and done it.  Sheriff catches you, all hades will break loose.  Should have stayed put."

The Sheriff's vehicle was now a car behind hers and it was at this time a pickup darted across the road and stopped in front of Sheriff Burgess.  It now had two lanes blocked and car horns were sounding as people yelled.  Bobie turned to look back and it was then she saw Miles Trenton sitting in the pickup, he smiled, held up a Stetson and placed it on his head.  The Sheriff and Carmine were walking toward his pickup and upon nearing, the man hit the gas and tore off, leaving the two men standing in the exhaust fumes.

Taking this opportunity, Bobie hit the gas pedal and too sped away.  Ben Burgess slammed his Stetson onto the road, jumping up and down on it as Carmine stood and watched in amusement.

Continued in part fifteen

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