Gender: Male Age: 55 Location: Southern US
|Introduction: James and Megan's life continues.|
I recommend that you read* A Kind Stranger 1 & 2 *first or this story will not make much sense to you.
This story is non erotic.
I hope my writing is better than my first attempt (The Awakening of Katie). I have a lot of trouble with words that sound the same but are spelled different depending on their use such as: their & there, or shudder & shutter. If you notice this please leave me a comment. I’m trying to improve.
A Kind Stranger 3
Mary smiled at James as her eyes softened with love. She suddenly knew he understood her heart ache of being an unwanted unloved orphan. She began crying again and grabbed James hard around the neck. He held her tight around the waist with one arm and gently patted her shoulder with his other hand.
After a long few seconds he loosened his grip expecting her to pull away but she didn’t. She was still crying and held him tighter around the neck not wanting to let go.
He looked at Megan and saw Katie and Tara leaning against her, one on each side. All three of them had tears flowing down their cheeks and their eyes were red and swollen. They were all smiling and it reinforced the feeling that he had done the right thing fostering Mary.
James lowered his arm around Mary’s bottom and stood with her tightly in his arms. She laid her head on his shoulder, wrapped her legs around his waist and he carried her out the front door of the orphanage to the SUV. When Megan opened the back door of the SUV he whispered into Mary’s ear, “Mary it’s time to go home.”
She loosened her grip and rubbed her eyes. He set her down and she stepped into the SUV. They put her few meager belongings in the back and started the drive home. All of the emotion and crying had taken its toll on them; they were all exhausted and didn’t speak much on the way home.
James stopped the SUV in the driveway of the house and they all got out. He retrieved Mary’s belonging out of the back and followed the girls to the front door. Tara was holding Mary’s hand as Megan unlocked the door and opened it. As Tara and Mary walked in Megan said, “Welcome home Mary.”
She had a big smile on her face and said, “Thank you, I’m very happy that you’ll let me live here.”
James took her belongings upstairs and set them down in Tara’s room. He then took Mary’s hand in his and said, “Mary come with me and let me show you something.”
He opened the door across the hall from Tara’s bedroom and walked in with Mary. The room smelled a little musty from lack of use and there was some dust on the furniture. On the left side of the room was an antique four post double bed with a matching night stand next to it. Against the right wall was a chest of drawers and a French style vanity set with an oval mirror. In front of them between the two tall double hung windows was an antique walnut roll top secretary’s desk.
James said to Mary, “As soon as we get it painted this will be your room. You can pick the color and what kind of curtains you want.”
Mary was in shock and filled with surprise. Never in all of the foster homes that she had lived in was she given such a large and beautiful bedroom of her own. She said, “You mean it’s all mine, even the desk?”
James nodded and said, “Yes it’s all yours even the desk, you can decorate the room any way you want.”
She let go of his hand and went to the bed, sat on it and bounced a couple of times. She then went to the window and looked out for a few seconds before she was distracted by the desk. She ran her hand slowly along the hand carved scroll work along the edge and opened a few of the drawers which were mostly empty.
She looked genuinely happy with a huge grin on her face as she ran back to him and hugged his waist.
Megan was busy unpacking and sorting through her clothes when they returned to Tara’s room. James said, “I need to go to the store and get a few things for Mary’s new bedroom.”
They all left for the home improvement store where Mary with Megan’s help picked the color of her room and chose new carpet. James spent the remainder of the evening moving the furniture out of the room and cleaned and repaired the walls and trim in preparation for new paint and carpeting.
The next morning after breakfast Megan took all three girls shopping for new clothes for Mary. James stayed home and painted the room and got it ready for the new carpet that would be arriving along with the installers in the early afternoon. The ladies arrived back home late in the afternoon about the same time the carpet installers left.
James opened the front door as all four of them walked up the sidewalk with both hands full of shopping bags. He was truly amazed at just what it took to outfit a girl with clothes. They set all of the bags down in the living room and he was given a fashion show by a very excited Mary.
The following day Megan and the girls went shopping again. This time they shopped for curtains, rugs, and new sheets and blankets for the bed. James worked hard getting her room ready and it looked a little sparse with a lack of furniture and other personal items but Mary happily fell asleep in her new room Sunday night.
Megan took the girls to school Monday morning and when she returned she said to James,” Tara and Mary’s teacher wants to talk to both of us as soon as possible.”
“Did she say why?” James asked.
“No not really.” Megan said, “She was busy with the students but she was smiling so I don’t think it’s anything bad.”
That afternoon they both went to the school to pick up the girls. The girls waited in the office while James and Megan went to Tara and Mary’s classroom. Their teacher greeted them with a smile and a handshake and said, “Come in. it’s so nice to see you again.”
Megan said, “It’s nice to see you, I hope there isn’t a problem.”
“Oh no, no, “she said, “Just the opposite. Mary is a very bright girl and she seems to be enjoying school and life in general much more since you took over her care.”
“That’s nice.” James said, “But why did you want to see us?”
“You don’t understand,” she continued, “Talking and working with Mary throughout the school year I’ve discovered that she is gifted, bordering on genus. She can read at an eighth grade or higher level and no matter what I give her to do she completes it with ease and now that her home life has improved considerably her learning will accelerate.”
Megan and James looked at each other dumbfounded and he was not sure what questions to ask her so he said, “How should we handle this?”
“Mary is in need of a challenge. Frankly she is bored in this class. You need to expose her to things that would be appropriate for someone who is in high school.”
“Like what?” Megan asked.
“Well to begin with books. She is capable of reading hundreds of pages per day if she is interested in the subject. A computer with an internet connection would also be helpful. There is software out there that teaches the user the fundamentals of a computer. ”
“We have a large library room and a computer with an internet connection.” Megan said, “Anything else?”
“Yes, maybe some computer classes at night. One night a week should be enough.” She added. “She is very interested in computers but she only gets limited exposure to the ones in our library.”
They picked up the girls from the office and headed home. Tara asked, “What did our teacher say?”
“Oh nothing much, she said that both of you are doing quite well and that Mary likes to read.”
When they got home Mary set her book bag down and James said, “Mary please come with me I want to show you something.”
James and Mary went to the library and opened the door. He didn’t go into this room very much but he thought that Mary would be spending quite a bit of time in here. All four walls of the library were covered in dark solid cherry paneling with cherry trim. Directly in front of them against the far outside wall was a large fireplace flanked on either side by tall windows. In front of the fireplace were two large hunter green wing chairs with matching ottomans and floor lamps. Behind the chairs and directly in front of the door was a large mostly red oriental rug on which a rectangular oak research table sat with four matching oak chairs. The walls on both sides were filled from end to end with books about eight shelves high. James had estimated at least two thousand books were on the shelves.
Mary looked around and whispered ‘wow’ to herself. She looked back at James and said, “Can I look at the books?”
He said, “Yes you can look at anything you want in here. But it will be your responsibility to keep this room clean and neat. Put the books back where you find them before you take more off the shelf.”
“Yes sir.” she said as she walked to the book shelf and began reading the titles.
One of David and Mary Williams’ favorite hobbies was collecting first edition books and reading. During other times in the library James had glanced at some of the titles and knew that most all of the classics were in here plus a lot of titles that he had never heard of. He thought to himself that it would take young Mary a long time even at the rate she could read to finish reading all the books in here.
It was a true joy living under the same roof with Mary. She instantly bonded with James following him around the apartment complex helping him whenever she could. When they watched television Mary always chose to sit on James’ lap.
One of Mary’s favorite times was when James came into her bedroom to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight. He would usually stay a few minutes and tell her a story of his life growing up. The stories were sometimes sad and Mary could sometimes relate his stories to her own past life. When he finished they would hug each other and he would tell her that those sad times were over and they now they had each other. Mary fell asleep each night with happy thoughts and always had sweet dreams.
They didn’t have to tell her to help clean up around the house and apartments; she did her chores without whining or making a fuss.
One of Kimberly’s favorite times of day was morning when she walked to school with her friends. She looked out the back door and saw two of her friends already waiting on the benches in the center of the apartment complex. Kim quickly grabbed her school backpack said good bye to her mom and ran to join her friends. When all five of them were there they slowly walked to school gossiping usually about the boys in their class. Kim and her friends were all ten years old and were in the same fourth grade class.
She was a happy child with a caring mother and lots of good friends. Kim didn’t have a father, it was just her and her mom. She had never seen him and her mom didn’t say much about him when she asked her about him.
Kim’s mom had a good job and they lived in a nice two bedroom apartment in a different part of the city. The apartment complex had quite a few families with children that Kim could play with. Kim had a nice big bedroom with lots of pretty clothes that filled her closet.
Kim’s didn’t realize it at the time but her good life changed one summer day when her mom came home early from work. She was crying and in a terrible mood. Kim asked her mom what was wrong but she just screamed at Kim and told her to go to her room.
The next day Kim found out that her mom had been fired from her job. Her new boss was a womanizer and when she refused to ‘put out’ he made up a flimsy excuse about her job performance and fired her on the spot.
Kim’s mom tried for months to find another job of equal pay but the economy was bad and she couldn’t find one, not even for a lesser wage. Her mom was an orphan with no family to call on in this time of crises so things started spiraling downhill at a fast pace. She applied for and received welfare and food stamps but it just wasn’t enough to live on in the way that they were accustomed to.
Within a few months they had to move out of their nice apartment away from Kim’s friends into a cheaper small one bedroom apartment in a not so nice neighborhood. Kim’s mom used the only bedroom so Kim’s bedroom became a futon in the corner of their small living room. The new elementary school was too far and too dangerous for her to walk to so she had to take a school bus to school.
A few months later when Kim out grew her clothes her mom had no other choice but to get her new ones from the Goodwill. The clothes fit her ok but they were old and not in todays style. Nobody she thought to herself take ‘in style’ clothes to the Goodwill.
Because of this, some of the mean girls started teasing her about her lack of style and most of the others students fell in line with them and teased her. Kim’s happy carefree life took a turn for the worse and she now felt sad and lonely most of the time. She became an outsider and a loner living on the edge of the school’s social order. She kept her head down and avoided others so she wouldn’t have to endure the endless teasing about her clothes.
Kim’s mom in desperation started hanging around in bars at night hoping to find a companion that would help take care of her and her daughter. Most of the men that she met were turned off and ditched her as soon as they found out that she had a daughter. Some of the men were just looking for a one night stand and she found out quickly that she could sell her body to make extra money.
Some nights Kim would close her eyes and pretend to be sleeping when she heard the key slide into the lock of the apartment. She would listen and sneak a peek at her mom as she quietly escorted a man to her bedroom. Kim would wait a few minutes and quietly sneak over to the bedroom door and listen. She could hear the bed springs squeaking and a lot of moaning and giggling coming from the bedroom. Kim listened to stories at school from the other kids and knew that they were having sex.
Kim found out that some of the men her mom brought home were dangerous. Once when her mom went into the bathroom and left the two of them alone. The man coaxed her into coming close to him. He grabbed her arm and pulled her tight against him and rubbed her small breasts and put his hand between her legs. After that day Kim was careful not to get too close to them especially when they were drunk.
Kim’s mom lost all of her own self respect and began drinking heavily almost every day trying to forget her problems. In the morning Kim would have to get herself dressed and catch the school bus while her mom lay passed out drunk in bed. When Kim got home from school her mom would be just getting out of bed. She would get dressed most days and head to the bar leaving Kim home alone to fend for herself.
Most of their money went towards alcohol and beer so there was little or no food in the house especially towards the end of the month so Kim relied on the food from the school cafeteria. It fell on Kim’s shoulders to wash her own clothes, cook, and keep the apartment clean. She had to force her mom to go to the grocery store on the first of the month before she had a chance to sell her food stamps for cash to buy more alcohol.
Kim’s life dragged on like this for five long agonizing years. When she was fifteen and a sophomore in high school her life, if that’s possible, took a turn for the worse. Her mom’s five years of alcoholism was taking its toll on her body. She would often become sick spending days at a time in bed. Kim tried to get her to go to a doctor to get some help but she refused. It became another of Kim’s responsibilities to take care of her while she was sick.
One day when she returned from school she went to the bedroom to check on her sick mom. She appeared to be sleeping in the bed and when Kim touched her cold arm to shake her to consciousness she stepped back and screamed, realizing that she was dead. Kim had done the best she could do taking care of her but it wasn’t enough.
She called the police and the coroner arrived and her body was removed from the apartment. During her interview with the police she lied to them and said she had an aunt that she would go stay with. With no friends or family to call Kim stayed in the apartment alone and returned to school after her mom’s funeral.
Word had spread among the students at school that her mom had died and it didn’t take long for one of the seniors to take advantage of the situation and befriend her. Michael was a tall popular boy and Kim was happy to have a boyfriend and someone to talk to. When she first met him at school he sincerely told her how sorry he felt about her mom’s death, hugging her tightly. Kim had not received many if any hugs in the past five years so with all the emotion bottled up inside her she began to cry on his shoulder.
After school she saw Michael again and he offered her a ride home in his car. She accepted the ride and invited him in when they got to her apartment. They talked for some time and then Kim asked if he would drive her to the grocery store. She used all of her mom’s food stamps to buy groceries not knowing when the welfare department would catch up on the paper work and cancel the account making the card useless.
The following month Kim checked the welfare and food stamp account and was happy and relieved that the money was deposited as usual. She once again had Michael take her to the grocery store and spent most of the money on food in case the welfare department cancelled the account. She paid the monthly bills with the checkbook forging her mom’s signature silently hoping that she wouldn’t get caught and sent to jail.
Michael became a regular visitor at Kim’s apartment with her sometimes cooking him dinner. They would often sit on the couch after dinner and kiss, Kim even allowed him to touch her breasts. One thing led to another and they ended up in bed.
Michael told her that he loved her as she spread her legs and allowed him to penetrate her for the first time. Kim thought to herself how nice he had been to her and felt that she was falling in love with him. Michael continued telling her that he loved her and wanted to marry her as they made love night after night.
In late May just a few days before Michael was to graduate from high school Kim thought she was pregnant. She thought to herself that she would quit school, marry Michael, move into a nice house and live happily ever after. She decided to tell Michael the good news after graduation that he was to be the father of her baby. After the graduation party when they were alone in her apartment she told him that she was pregnant.
The smile left his face as he said, “Who’s the father?”
Kim smiled and said, “You are silly.”
He raised his voice and said, “I can’t be you must have slept with someone else!”
His face filled with anger and Kim quickly began to get scared. She had never seen that look on his face before as he moved toward her. Kim was unsure of what he was going to do so she began to back away from him. He grabbed her by the throat with both hands and chocked her for a few seconds before he slapped her and pushed her down hard to the floor. “You fucking slut, I never want to see you again!”
He turned and walked quickly to the door as Kim held her throat and spoke hoarsely, “Michael wait, you’re the only one I’ve slept with! I love you! Please don’t go.”
Michael heard all of those words but never turned around to look at her as he opened the door and slammed it shut behind him. Kim sat on the floor where he had pushed her, she massaged her neck and cried as her dreams of a happy life came crashing down around her.
The next day she tried to call him but he didn’t answer his cell phone nor did he return her text messages. After two weeks of not returning her calls she decided to try and talk to him in person. She took a bus to his house noticing as she walked down the sidewalk that his car wasn’t there but she still decided to knock on the door.
His mother answered the door and smiled, “Yes, can I help you?”
“Hello my name is Kim,” She answered, “can I speak with Michael please?”
“I’m sorry Kim but Michael moved out of the house last week.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that. Do you know how I can contact him?”
She stopped smiling and looked suspiciously at her as her voice hardened slightly, “Michael left instructions with me not to tell anyone where he lives. If this is important I can get a message to him.”
Kim was heartbroken as she realized that Michael used her for sex and didn’t want to see her or the baby she was carrying ever again. She realized it would be pointless to try and contact him.
“No, it’s not important,” Kim lied to the woman as tears began welling up in her eyes, “Good bye.”
She turned away and walked back to the sidewalk knowing she would have to deal with her pregnancy on her own. Kim boarded the bus back to her apartment and began to formulate long range plans. She knew that eventually the welfare money would end and she would have to tell someone that she was pregnant and alone.
Being a minor with no family she knew that she would be placed into the foster care system like her mom had been. Being pregnant she was unsure if she would live in Saint Catherine’s orphanage or the women’s shelter downtown. Her bus trip would take her a couple of blocks from the shelter so she decided to get off the bus and see firsthand what the women’s shelter looked like.
It was a large, old, and dirty three story sandstone building that had seen its better days. The first floor had very large windows but the second and third floor windows were smaller and closer together. She assumed that the upper two floors was the dormitory where the women lived. The building was set back from the side walk a short distance allowing for a few small trees and a small sitting area in front of the building.
A sign on the front door said ‘free lunch,’ Kim hadn’t eaten any breakfast or lunch today so she decided to go in and try out the food. Kim walked through the door and immediately noticed the odor. She frowned as she saw that some of the people that were eating looked dirty.
Two men sitting at a table close by her were wearing nasty smelling dirty clothes and she couldn’t believe they hadn’t washed their filthy hands before they ate. She silently said a prayer to herself, ‘Dear Lord please help me I don’t want to live in this place.’ Just as she was about to leave she noticed a nice looking woman smiling at her and she was walking across the dining room toward her.
A very sad time in Megan’s life was the few years before she met James. Her sorry good-for-nothing ex husband was out of a job most of the time and she had to find other means to conserve what little money that she had. To save money she would often bring Katie and Tara to the women’s shelter to feed them. The people who ran the shelter were very nice to Megan and her girls; they even offered her a place to live if she ever wanted to leave her husband.
It was only natural after she married James that she came back to the shelter to volunteer and maybe help someone else who needed a break. Some days she would help out in the child daycare, on other days she helped out in the kitchen and dining room. Megan arrived at the shelter that morning at about ten-o-clock and helped with the free lunch that they served every day.
Megan had just installed a full insert of food into the serving line when she looked up toward the door. She didn’t know why she chose that exact moment to look towards the door nor did she understand the Powers at work conditioning her mind. She did a double take as she noticed the beautiful teenage girl walk in. Megan thought that she had seen her somewhere before and the wheels were spinning in her mind trying to remember where that had been.
The teen stepped through the doors and moved to the side out of the way of others that were coming and going through the door. She scanned the room looking unsure of herself so Megan began walking toward the girl to welcome her as one of the volunteers did for her on her first visit to the shelter. The teen was frowning and Megan thought she saw the teen silently mouth the words ‘Dear Lord’.
She couldn’t stop staring at the young teenagers face. She had dark brown shoulder length hair, brown eyes… beautiful brown eyes that were looking sadly at the dining room. Yes, she had definitely seen her somewhere before but couldn’t remember from where. She had seen a lot of people when she was a waitress at the diner and decided that she had probably been one of her customers.
Megan smiled and held out her hand and said to the teen, “Hi’ I’m Megan.”
The teen cautiously held out her hand and shook Megan’s hand and replied, “Hi, I’m Kim.”
“Hello Kim is this the first time you’ve been here?” Megan asked.
Kim answered, “Yes this is my first time.”
Megan asked, “Are you hungry?”
She nodded her head and Megan gestured with an outstretched arm for her to go to the cafeteria style lunch counter. Megan walked with her and then stood behind the buffet and watched the hungry people filling their plates. She knew that for some of the people this would be their only meal of the day.
She didn’t understand why but she continued looking at Kim sitting at a table eating her lunch. Megan studied her eyes, lips, and other features as she wondered where she had seen her before and wondered why such a sad young girl was eating a free lunch here. Megan watched her as she finished her meal and brought her tray to the dish washing window.
Kim slowly moved around the room stopping to look at a bulletin board. She continued slowly walking pausing for a few seconds to look down the open hallway toward the administrative offices in the back of the building. She made eye contact with Megan as she turned and walked across the dining room toward the exit.
Megan smiled at her and slowly walked toward the path that Kim would take to exit. When she walked by Megan said, “Good bye Kim. You’re welcome here any time you need a hot meal or someone to talk to.”
She half heartedly smiled at Megan and quietly said, “Thank you.” as she walked through the exit doors.
Kim returned to the apartment and kept to herself for the rest of the summer so the other residents wouldn’t realize that she was living there alone. It was a boring existence, most days she listened to the radio while rereading old magazines. Just about every day she would cry when the thought kept going through her mind of what will happen to her when the money ran out. She knew she was too old to be adopted and the only place she could live was the orphanage.
Twice a week, very early in the morning because it was safer she would ride the bus to the grocery store only buying what she could carry home. The money kept being deposited in the accounts for the next two months much to her relief. In the beginning of September when she needed the money the most it wasn’t deposited.
She needed to buy some looser fitting clothes for school to hide her swelling belly. Kim had just a few dollars left to her name and knew that her life was going to fall apart within a week. She didn’t have enough money to pay the rent or utilities and the food wouldn’t last for more than a week or so. For some strange reason that she was not fully conscious of she decided to go to the women’s shelter to eat lunch and then stop at the Goodwill and spend the rest of her money on some loose fitting clothes.
Megan had a busy day scheduled on that particular day. She needed to go grocery shopping and the girls were pestering her to take them shopping for school clothes plus two or three more errands she needed to run. Megan was in a hurry so she quickly grabbed her purse and decided to go to the grocery store first.
The traffic was heavy and slow moving as her mind began to wander off the subject of grocery shopping. Suddenly a crystal clear image of Kim and the inside of the woman’s shelter formed in her mind. Megan didn’t consciously understand why but at the last second she turned left and headed towards the shelter.
Kim stood in line at the shelter waiting for her turn when she heard a familiar voice behind her say, “Hello Kim.”
Kim turned and recognized Megan, the woman that she had talked to the last time she was there.
Megan said, “I’ve missed you. I thought you would have come back for lunch sooner.”
Kim lied and said, “Yes it has been a while,. I’ve had a busy summer.”
Megan noticed the extra weight that she had put on since the last time she saw her. Her stomach was bigger and her breasts seemed larger. Then it dawned on her, ‘She’s pregnant!’ Megan said to herself. ‘Good Lord she can’t be more than fifteen or sixteen years old and nobody is with her. I wonder if there is someone else or is she all alone.’
Megan sensed something was wrong and she wanted to talk to her some more so she picked up a tray and got in line behind her. They talked about little or nothing while they walked through the line filling their plates. Megan followed Kim to an empty table and they both sat down. They talked while they ate and when they were finished eating Megan casually asked her, “Kim how old are you?”
Kim shifted her eyes back and forth not making eye contact with Megan and said, “Ahh… I’m eighteen. Why?”
Megan knew she was lying and gently put her hand on Kim’s arm and said, “Kim I’m just a volunteer here. I’m not going to say anything. How old are you really?”
Kim was getting nervous, “Why do you want to know?”
Megan moved her lips a little closer to Kim’s ear and whispered, “Kim, I know you’re pregnant. “
Kim was about to panic and run when Megan said, “Please don’t be afraid of me Kim. We need to talk. Would you like to go somewhere that’s private?”
Kim knew that she needed help but she was frightened and didn’t want to lose her freedom and be forced to live in an orphanage all alone. The landlord would be knocking on her apartment door any day now looking for the rent money and the electricity would soon be shut off. She needed clothes and other things if she was to return to school next week. Kim was worried as she looked at the warm smile on Megan’s face.
Her instinct was telling her to trust Megan so she sighed and nodded yes.
“There’s a quite room down the hall.” Megan whispered.
Kim felt safe walking down the hall with Megan and was feeling at ease talking to her. They walked into a vacant room and Megan closed the door.
Megan asked again, “There’s nothing to be afraid of Kim I’m not going to hurt you. Will you please tell me how old you are?”
Kim sighed and said, “I’m fifteen but I’ll be sixteen in December.”
“Oh I see Kim, do your parents know that you’re pregnant?”
She began to quietly sob and said, “My mom died about three months ago and I don’t know who my father is.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry about your mother Kim. Do you have any other family?”
“No, my mom was an orphan so I don’t have any aunts or grandparents.”
Megan’s heart was aching and she could feel her eyes getting misty as she opened her arms to give Kim a hug. ‘The poor child,’ Megan thought to herself, ‘she’s pregnant and all alone.’ She whispered to her as she held her in a tight hug, “Don’t worry Kim it’s not the end of the world. I’m going to try and get you some help. Where have you been living?”
“I’m staying in the apartment where my mom and I used to live. They kept on sending the welfare and food stamps so I just paid the bills and stayed there. Do you think I’ll get in trouble for using the money after my mom died?” Kim asked as Megan released her from the hug.
Megan thought for a moment and answered, “I don’t think so Kim they probably won’t know who spent the money anyway. Besides most of the money is yours and you put it to good use.”
Megan looked down at her stomach and asked, “How far along are you?”
Kim replied, “About three months I guess.”
Megan smiled and asked, “Have you seen a doctor?”
Kim knew pregnant women were supposed to see a doctor and she was disappointed in herself for not doing so. She let her head and eyes fall to her feet, to ashamed to look at Megan and slowly shook her head no.
Megan sighed and thought for a moment. She put her finger under Kim’s chin and gently lifted her head up until they were making eye contact again.
Megan said,” I know we just met Kim but do you trust me?”
Kim sighed and said in a frustrated tone,” I guess I’m going to have to trust somebody. I’m just about out of money and food and the rent on the apartment is due. They’re going to find out about me pretty soon.”
“Ok Kim, I’ve got a plan,” Megan said in a gentle but confident voice, “we need to get some things done, let’s go out to my SUV.”
Megan and Kim walked to her SUV as they talked. “Kim, will you show me your apartment?”
Kim gave Megan directions and they drove to the apartment. Megan had always avoided this particular part of the city. The crime rate was a lot higher here and she was worried as she parked in front of the apartment.
She walked into the apartment with Kim and looked around. Kim took good care of the apartment. Everything was neat and clean with no dirty dishes or clothes scattered about. She looked in the kitchen cupboard and saw a few cans of food and some dry goods. The refrigerator was empty except for a few cans of soda and some condiments. There was no milk, fruits, vegetables, or meats of any kind. This worried Megan she knew that Kim wasn’t eating the way a pregnant woman should be eating.
Megan walked into the bedroom and looked in her closet and asked, “Do you have any maternity clothes?”
“No,” replied Kim, “I was planning on going to the Goodwill after I ate at the shelter.”
“Ok Kim, first things first.” Megan took Kim’s hand and they left the apartment walking back to the SUV.
“Here’s what I have in mind. First let’s go to the mall and get you some looser fitting maternity clothes.”
Kim protested, “But I don’t have enough money to buy clothes from the mall.”
Megan smiled and squeezed her hand, “Don’t worry about the money Kim it’ll be my treat.”
Megan continued, “It’s very important for the health of your baby that you need to see a doctor.” Megan said, “Don’t panic Kim but the best way to do that is we need to get you signed up with social services.”
Kim gave Megan a worried look. “But when they find out about me I’ll have to live in an orphanage like my mom did.”
“Don’t be alarmed,” Megan smiled reassuring her, “I’m not going to just drop you off at the orphanage and leave. I know some people down there and I’m sure I can get you through the process in the express lane.”
“It’s also too dangerous and you’re too young to stay at that apartment by yourself. I’ll have to talk to my husband James, and if he and social services agree, you can stay with us. I can’t guarantee it but I’m pretty sure I can make it happen.”
Megan drove Kim to the maternity store at the mall and they picked out five or six sets of clothes. While she was in the dressing room trying on the clothes Megan called James.
Megan explained to James the situation that Kim was in. “James I have to do something, she’s just a kid and only a few days away from living on the street.”
“Good Lord, Fifteen? Pregnant and living alone without parents?” James said with a surprised tone. “Yes of course she can stay here. I would have been disappointed if you hadn’t brought her home with you.”
“Thank you James I knew you would understand. We should be home in less than an hour.”
When Kim was finished trying on all of the clothes Megan told her, “Great news Kim, I talked to my husband James and he said you can spend the night with us at a minimum and after we get you registered with social services tomorrow I’m sure they will let you stay with us at least until your baby is born.
Kim began to sob lightly; a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She had been making most of her own decisions ever since she was ten years old. Her mom was too busy looking into the bottom of a whiskey bottle to give Kim much help growing up. She was happy that someone was once again taking care of her and making decisions for her.
She hugged Megan and whispered, “Thank you Miss Megan you don’t know what this means to me.”
Megan held her tightly and rocked her in her arms as she thought back to the day she met James. If James hadn’t given her the apartment to live in her next stop was going to be the women’s shelter. She knew what a little help from a kind stranger felt like and she smiled to herself suddenly realizing that it felt even better being on the giving end this time.
They left the shopping mall and Megan drove Kim to her house to meet James and her girls. As they drove up the driveway Kim said, “Wow this is a big house, is this where you live?”
Megan answered, “Yes this is it. I hope you like it.”
“It’s beautiful; I’ve always lived in an apartment and never in a house.”
James opened the front door of the house and walked to the SUV as the girls waited and watched from the porch. Megan told Kim, “That’s my husband James and those are our three girls.”
James saw the shopping bags and opened the back door of the SUV to retrieve them. Megan gave him a hug and a kiss as Kim walked around the SUV and stopped next to her. “James this is Kim, Kim this is my husband James.”
James smiled and shook her hand and said, “Hi Kim it’s very nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too Mister James,” Kim answered, “Thank you very much for letting me stay with you tonight.”
James smiled as he remembered back to when he was eighteen years old and didn’t have a penny in his pocket. David and Mary Williams welcomed him and gave him a chance to get back on his feet before he started his new job. They fed him those first few weeks and gave him an apartment free of charge until he started getting his regular paycheck. It was the least he could do to help out such a young vulnerable person as Kim.
“You’re very welcome Kim.” James said.
They walked to the front door and when they got close to the porch Megan said, “Girls this is Kim she’s going to stay with us at least for the night.” Megan pointed to each of the girls as she said their names, “Kim these are our daughters, that’s Katie, Tara, and Mary.”
Mary pushed her chest out having a sudden feeling of pride and smiled as she realized that it was the first time that Megan had referred to her as her daughter.
All three girls started talking at the same time asking Kim questions.
“Girls! Girls!” Megan said raising her voice over the top of their voices, “Kim doesn’t understand a word you’re saying with all three of you talking at the same time. Let’s give her some time to adjust before you start with the questions.”
Kim and the others walked into the large foyer and she immediately looked up at the high ceiling, she had been in buildings with high ceilings before but never in a house with a high ceiling. She then looked to her left and saw the spacious living room with the plush sofas and chairs. Against the far wall between two large windows she saw a large wooden cabinet that held a big flat screen television. Her television had quit working a year or so ago so it has been a long time since she had watched TV.
Megan said, “Follow me Kim I’ll show you to your bedroom.”
Kim followed Megan down the long hallway past the kitchen and office toward the back of the house. Megan then walked through a doorway into the most beautiful bedroom that Kim had ever seen in her life. The antique dressers and tables looked expensive like something that came from a museum or the pictures in one of those ‘living’ magazines.
Kim quickly scanned the elegantly designed room from the pictures and paintings on the walls to the thick soft rugs on the hardwood floor. Every picture and rug seemed to be just the right size and made for that exact spot.
Megan walked around the bed and opened the double doors to a large closet in the far corner of the room. She opened the draperies that covered the windows and then pointed to the other side of the room and said, “You can use that bathroom.”
Tears formed in Kim’s eyes as she said, “It’s the most beautiful room that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
James set the shopping bags down on the bed and said, “We’re glad you like it.”
Katie added, “The bed is real comfortable, Tara and I used to sleep in here before we got our own rooms upstairs. Mom can we show her our rooms?”
Megan said, “Ok just don’t ask her a million questions.”
The girls spent the next few minutes showing Kim the rest of the house while James and Megan talked in the kitchen. “James you need to go to her apartment and get some of her things that she will need. Take a few boxes and two suitcases. Get her clothes, bathroom things, and her important papers; she will need her birth certificate tomorrow when we take her to Social Services.”
Kim and the girls came into the kitchen after the tour and said, “This is the biggest and most beautiful house I’ve ever been in.”
Megan smiled and said, “I’m glad you like it Kim. James and Katie are going to take you to your apartment to get some of your things that you will need while the rest of us stay here and cook dinner.”
Kim nodded her head and turned to follow James out the door. Megan called out to James just before they left the room, “James, don’t let her carry anything heavy.”
When James and Kim stopped to look back at Megan she had a cold chill run down her back as they both smiled at her almost identically.
James didn’t know where his ancestors came from but Megan and James both thought that he was Eastern European. Kim too had the same skin tone, hair color, and facial features and looked to have had ancestors from the same region of Europe.
Megan, Tara, and Mary cooked dinner for their growing family while James, Kim, and Katie packed up things that she would need from her apartment. James and Katie had just brought the last of the boxes into the house when Mary announced that dinner was ready.
Kim walked into the kitchen and saw what she thought was a Thanksgiving feast that would have made any mother proud. The table was set with plates, silverware, glasses and napkins. Mary was setting a big bowl of mashed potatoes on the table while Tara was bringing a large bowl of tossed salad.
Katie saw that Kim wasn’t sure where to sit so she offered, “Kim this is your chair.”
Kim sat in the chair that was between James and Katie with Mary sitting across from her.
“Wow,” Kim said, “Do you eat like this every night?”
Megan set the large platter of pork chops on the table and sat at the head of the table opposite James and answered, “Yes this is a normal dinner for us.”
“The table looks very nice and the food smells wonderful.”
Kim reached for a pitcher of iced tea when Megan smiled and said to her, “Kim you need a lot of vitamin D, you should drink milk.”
Kim knew that Megan was right so she set the tea down as James filled her glass with milk. Kim was happy, her real mother was gone but she knew in her heart that Megan and James would look after her with her best interests in mind. She silently said a prayer to herself hoping that social services would let her live here with James and Megan.
As Kim ate she looked around the table and studied everyone’s face. She smiled every time Megan or the other family members looked back at her.
Katie was curious of this and asked, “Kim why are you looking at me so funny?”
“I’m sorry for staring at you Katie,” Kim said, “But it’s been a very long time since I’ve sat down to eat dinner with other people. My mom usually wasn’t there when I ate dinner.” Katie was satisfied with the answer and continued eating her dinner.
After dinner and the kitchen was cleaned up Katie followed Kim to her room and asked, “Can I come in?”
Kim replied, “Sure, come in I’m just going to change clothes and put some of this stuff away.”
They talked while Kim opened the bags of clothes and hung them in the closet. Katie looked close at the pants she had and said, “Those are maternity clothes. There for pregnant women. What are you doing with them?”
Kim sighed and sadly looked at Katie, “I’m pregnant”
Katie surprisingly replied, “But you’re too young to have a baby.”
“Yes I know. I made a bad mistake. My boyfriend told me he loved me and wanted to marry me.”
“Oh,” Katie said, “Mom told me about that and said to be careful about those things.”
Later that evening Megan and Katie helped Kim unpack the rest of her things and found her mom’s death certificate and her birth certificate. She would need them tomorrow when they went to social services. Megan looked at the death certificate and the birth certificate and saw that her mother’s name was the same on both. When she looked at the space provided for her father’s name it was blank.
The following morning James called Mrs. Parker at the orphanage and told her about Kim. “Oh the poor girl,” Mrs. Parker said, “I’m glad you found her. No telling what would have happened if she fell in with the wrong people. Bring her in around ten this morning and I’ll personally take care of the paperwork. ”
That morning James, Megan, and Kim went to the social services office to do the paper work so Kim could start receiving assistance. Their top priority was to get her to a doctor to check on her health and the health of her baby.
They sat at Mrs. Parker’s desk in the large open office area and after all of the applications were filled out James said, “Mrs. Parker we would like to care for Kim at least until her baby is born and maybe longer if that’s possible.”
Mrs. Parker smiled and said, “I’m glad to hear that James all of our foster homes are full and she would have to stay here if you hadn’t offered to care for her.”
Kim was happy and relieved; she looked at Megan with an excited smile. Megan whispered, “See I told you everything would work out.”
When it was time to sign the papers James looked them over and stopped and stared at the paper work. Mrs. Parker and Megan noticed a surprised look on his face and then a worried look. He started leafing through the other papers in the folder until he found Kim’s birth certificate. He stared at it for several seconds and then set all the papers down on the desk.
James pushed his chair back and stood. He picked up the birth certificate again and looked at both sides of the document as Megan asked, “James what’s wrong?”
He took in a deep breath as he stared at Megan for a few seconds. He glanced at Kim and then turned and walked across the room to the window and looked out. Megan looked at the documents that James was looking at and didn’t see anything wrong with them.
She touched Kim’s hand while trying to smile to reassure her and said, “I’m sure he’s just nervous about taking on additional responsibilities. Let me go talk to him.”
She walked over to James and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Oh god I don’t know.” He said to Megan as he continued to stare out the window.
“Please tell me James, it can’t be that bad.” Megan said with a worried tone to her voice, “Is there something on the application that’s bothering you?”
“No… I don’t know. I have to think.” James said as he turned away from Megan and began walking.
Megan didn’t understand what was wrong. Was he having second thoughts about caring for Kim? She was beginning to get nervous when James stopped after walking several steps and turned to look at her. He sighed as he looked back and forth between Megan and Kim. He noticed Kim looking over at him with a worried look on her face as Mrs. Parker was trying to comfort her.
James nervously told Megan, “Oh god… I don’t know what to do. We need to talk.”
Kim watched from the desk as Megan walked toward James and listened as he talked to her. They were too far away for Kim to hear anything that was being said. She was thinking that James had changed his mind about taking care of her and was telling that to Megan.
James didn’t look happy as he mostly stared at the floor while she watched his lips move. Part way through the conversation Megan’s mouth fell open as she listened to James. She had a surprised look on her face as she covered her mouth with her hand and quickly looked back and forth between James and the desk where Kim sat.
At the end of the conversation Megan looked extremely surprised as she put her arms around James’ chest and hugged him. Megan spoke to him for a few seconds before she took his hand and walked back to the desk with him.
Megan looked extremely excited as she asked Mrs. Parker, “All of us need to go somewhere private to talk.”
As Kim nervously stood she asked Megan, “What’s wrong?”
Megan hugged her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry Kim everything is fine and you will know what’s going on in just a few minutes.”
They all walked to the back of the building and went into a small conference room. Mrs. Parker closed the door as Megan told James, “Tell her James.”
James was nervous as he paced back and forth on the far side of the large conference table. “How do I tell her?” James said as he continued pacing.
Megan walked around the table to his side, stopped him from pacing and said, “Just tell her what you told me.”
James looked at Kim and took in a deep breath before he spoke, “Kim please don’t be angry with me. I think it’s possible… ah… I think I knew your mother. We went to the same high school. One night I walked her home and we… ah… had sex.” James looked a Kim for a sign to see if she was angry.
“What does that have to do with signing those papers?” Kim asked almost in tears, “Did you change your mind about letting me stay with you?”
James nervously continued, “No... It’s nothing like that. Ah… I remember it being a cold night just before I graduated, probably around February or March of the year you were born.
There was silence in the room for several seconds until Mrs. Parker suddenly gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.
It still hadn’t dawned on Kim until Megan started counting off the months in front of her. “April,” Megan held up one finger, “May”, Megan held up two fingers. When Megan got to December she was holding up nine fingers. “Kim you were born in December, nine months after James and your mother had sex.”
Kim surprisingly looked at James and took in a deep breath, “You mean you’re my father?” Kim said as she put her hands on her face and started to cry.
James quickly walked around the table and stood in front of her. “Kim I’m so sorry.” He said, “Your mother broke up with me a couple of days later and she didn’t tell me she was pregnant. After I graduated I never saw her again. I didn’t know you existed, had I known I would have been there for you. I’m so sorry Kim.”
Megan spoke, “let’s not jump to conclusions, there still is a good possibility that James is not your father. “
“I know someone over at the DNA laboratory.” Mrs. Parker said, “If you want, I’ll call them and see if you can be tested.”
Megan asked Kim, “Do you want to find out for sure if James is your father?”
Kim was still crying as she nodded her head yes.
James was heartbroken, he desperately wanted to hug and comfort Kim but he was unsure if she was crying because she was happy or sad.
“I’ll make the call.” Mrs. Parker said, “In the mean time I’ll put your application in my desk until we find out for sure.”
Mrs. Parker pulled Megan away from James & Kim and whispered, “The DNA test is just a formality she’s a carbon copy of James.”
Megan smiled as she whispered back, “Yes the likeness is incredible. When I first saw her I thought I knew her from somewhere but now I realize that she just looks so much like James.”
Mrs. Parker left the room to make the telephone call to the DNA laboratory.
Kim wiped the tears from her eyes and looked up at James and said, “It’s not your fault, you didn’t know. I just wish mom would have said something to me. She was the only one who knew who you were.”
James opened his arms offering Kim a hug if she wanted one. He didn’t want to make the first move still not being sure of her mood. Kim tucked her arms in, drawing closer and he enveloped her with his arms. His hand cradled her head and he stroke her hair, her head was against his shoulder. Slowly he rocked back and forth while his fingers stroking her hair.
“Oh Kim I’m so sorry.” James said in a soft tone, “I’m going to make up for the time that I wasn’t there for you.”
“I’m so happy I found you.” Kim said trying to hold back her tears, “It’s been a tough few years on me. When my mom died I thought I would be put into the orphanage and be alone with no family for the rest of my life.”
“I’m very happy things turned out the way they did. “James said to Kim, “You don’t have to worry anymore I’m going to take care of you now.”
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