Damsel in Distress

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Edward Marston was tired. It had been a long few days. It was Friday and he was looking forward to an easy weekend. He had nothing planned. He had stood in line at the cellphone provider and managed to change his contract. He needed to remove Lisa, his ex-wife, from all his bank accounts, credit cards and mobile phone contract. This took more time than he anticipated. His divorce had just been finalized. At some point he would have to clean out her closet and delete her from memory. It had been months now since they filed but the final papers had just come through last week. He had delayed the clean up as it gave him hope for a reconciliation.

He had been devastated when she decided that one of her co-workers offered her more sexual variety than Edward knew how to provide. She had gone to work one day and not returned. He just received a SMS message that it was over. She would forego everything and just wanted a simple divorce. She had taken what she needed and the rest could go to Goodwill.

As an up and coming lawyer Edward had long hours and worked 12 hour days, even at the weekend. He specialized in construction law. He enjoyed his job. Lisa felt neglected and sought adventure elsewhere.

After Edward changed his contract at the mobile phone provider he decided he needed a caffeine boost. There was a Starbucks two doors down from the phone store. He had nothing on that afternoon and decided a double espresso would revive him. Thankfully, it was a short line but all the tables inside were occupied. There were several tables outside. Several were occupied by some chattering girls. One table had a single lady and two vacant chairs. She had no cup in front of her.

Edward approached and asked if the chairs were occupied. The lady turned to him and shook her head ‘no’. He sat down gratefully and noticed the lady stare into the distance, tears rolling down her face. As a lawyer he didnt want to intrude but felt sorry for the lady. She was beautiful, her skin the color of polished ebony. She had a minimum of makeup, just lipstick, eyeliner and mascara. She didn’t need more to enhance her beauty. She was dressed in a long ankle length summer dress in shades of blue with some pattern. A matching scarf was knotted on her head turban fashion with the knot in front. She was slender and her smallish breasts matched her body size.

“Excuse me Miss,” Edward started, “are you ok?”

She looked at him with big, brown eyes. He could see the fear in her face. “Nobody can help me.” The voice was soft.

“Well, I don’t know the problem so I can’t offer a solution,” he said seriously. The lady stared back at him. “Let me get you some water,” he offered. “Would you prefer a coffee?”

The lady looked him again. She didn’t appear to have a purse and her tears were in danger of falling onto her dress. “I’ll be tight back,” he said and went in. A few minutes later he returned with a tumbler of water and a pile of napkins. The lady sipped on the water and used the napkins to wipe her face. There were black streaks on the napkins showing the mascara from her tears. He noticed she had no nail polish.

“I’m sorry,” she said after a few moments. “I didn’t mean to trouble you.” The voice was low and soft, extremely seductive. “I’m in big trouble and don’t know what to do.”

“I don’t know if I can do anything but I have time and am a good listener. It may help to share.” He took a sip of coffee and continued, “My name is Edward Marston by the way.”

“Kenishia. There is a longer story but the simple fact is that my wife threw me out without anything. I don’t have any ID, cellphone, money or clothes. All I have is what I am wearing. “

Edward didn’t blink. As a lawyer he had learned to mask his feelings. He had heard the word ‘wife’. Was Kenishia in a same sex partnership? These marriages were quite common. Still it was hard to imagine that another person, even another lady, would part with a lady like Kenishia.

Edward looked at Kenishia. She saw him staring but stayed silent. “Letitia came home with Leroy. They were high on drugs. Leroy told me to get out before he broke my bones. I had to get out with nothing and walked in these heels for hours. I had to sit down.”

This sounded like a domestic situation. Edward knew getting involved was not good. Yet, he couldnt allow Kenishia to suffer. It didn’t seem right. He wondered what Kenishia was doing dressed like that at home early in the afternoon.

“Well, i can certainly help you out with some cash if that helps. I can also take you somewhere.”

Kenishia looked at Edward. “Thanks but I have nowhere to go. No ID, no clothes and nothing in my life. I’ll never see Cherise again. I should have let Leroy kill ne.” The words came out slowly.

Edward’s inner voice told him not to get involved. Yet he couldnt bear to see someone in distress. Especially a pretty lady.

“Look this seems like a longer story. I don’t really understand. Come with me and we can go somewhere and chat. Ok?”

Kenishia looked at Edward trying erzurum escort to make up her mind. Finally she said “ok” and rose. She appeared dejected and resigned. In her heels she was just a little shorter than Edward’s six foot frame. He could see her slim figure and graceful lines. She followed a pace behind him to his car.

They drove the ten minutes to his town house in silence. It had several bedrooms and a small garden. Neither he nor Lisa had spent much time on their patio.

“Ok,” Edward said as they entered. “Can i get you a drink? I have everything from tea to wine to something stronger. “

Kenishia looked at him. She really didn’t care. “Tea, please if it’s no trouble.”

“Tea coming up. Why don’t you go out to the patio? I’ll get tea.”

Kenishia opened the sliding door and stepped out on to the patio. There was a balcony overhead affording the patio some coolness and shade. There was a small table with several chairs. They were dusty and Kenishia dusted them and sat down. She gazed at the empty beds and long grass on the small lawn. With some attention it would look great. Her mind was distracted for a moment.

Edward brought out a small tray. He had placed several varieties of cheese, some biscuits and two mugs of tea. “I didn’t have lunch so am a little peckish. Help yourself please.” He took a cracker, placed some cheese on it and waited.

“I’m sorry to put you through this,” she said. “I really don’t know what to do.”

“Well, you are safe here. We have food and drink and can talk quietly. Nothing can be that bad although I know that sometimes it seems that way. I am really sorry you are in a jam. It helps if you can share with someone. Many times a stranger is easier to talk to because he doesn’t know you to judge. I will gladly help if I can. “

Kenishia looked at Edward trying to reach a decision. Why should she trust him? Yet he had been respectful. She took a sip of tea. She had nothing to lose. At least he didn’t look the killer type but you never knew.

“Letitia and I have been together for years now and we have a daughter Cherise. She is three years old. Letitia started on drugs some time ago and that led to some bad relationships like with Leroy. I am a freelance writer and work from home. So I take care of Cherise. Letitia works in a supermarket. She has lost many jobs since she got into drugs.” Kenishia paused and nibbled on a piece of cheese. Her eyes never strayed from Edwards. She took a sip of tea.

“Since I work from home, i can dress as I please. I like to dress nice.”

“You are beautiful,” Edward interrupted. “Really. Of course you should dress as you please and feel comfortable in.” He didn’t want to ask how Kenishia managed housework dressed like that and in high heels. He still didn’t understand how Kenishia and Letitia were together and had a child. He knew people changed as indeed had Lisa. It didn’t seem appropriate to ask.

“Thanks. I was dressed like this because I only bought the outfit yesterday. I was taking care of Cherise when Letitia and Leroy came home unexpectedly. They were high on drugs. Leroy saw me and tried to attack me calling me names and threatening me. Cherise started to cry and clung to me. Leroy was about to hit me when Letitia intervened and stopped him. Leroy got mad and told me that if I didn’t get out of his sight within seconds I would need to be carried out. I was scared and left. I took nothing and am scared to go back. I have no money, ID or clothes. Above all, I don’t know how Cherise is. So, as I said, I wish I was dead.”

Edward looked at her. There was much he didn’t understand. He and Lisa didn’t have kids but he always wanted them. They were just too busy. Kenishia appeared to be a good parent but there still things that didn’t make sense.

“Look, i am glad you shared. I can help with money – call it a long term loan. Cellphone and ID are a problem but your wife or this guy can’t prevent you from entering the house to get your stuff. I will go with you if you like and you can collect basic stuff you need for a day or two until you get sorted. Ok?”

“Thanks. But I have nowhere to go and nobody to call.” The look on Kenishia’s face was close to tears. “I’m worried only about Cherise.”

“Even more reason to go now. I don’t think we want a little girl on our conscience.” Edward stood up. Kenishia hesitated a moment and stood up, smoothing down her long skirt. Edward wondered again how she managed to stay in those heels all day.

Kenishia guided Edward to a street not far away. The houses were older homes with broken gates and littered front yards. Kenishia pointed to a house with several older cars in the driveway. The garden had no litter and there was a small swing frame.

Kenishia sat silently, hands in her lap. Edward patted her arm. “Let’s get this over with.” He got out of the car and moved to the passenger door. Kenishia finally moved her legs out and accepted Edward’s help to stand.

He held her erzurum escort bayan arm as they walked to the front door. Kenishia had no key so needed to knock on the door. “Just get what you need for a day or two. Get your purse, ID and cell with some clothes. Don’t worry. I am here.” He squeezed her arm.

They climbed two steps to the front door and heard the little girl crying. She was shouting for her mommy or daddy. Edward tapped on the front door. It was open.

“Cherise?” Kenishia called out. The crying stopped. “Cherise baby, where are you?”

There was a patter of feet and a little girl hurled out and grabbed Kenishia around the legs. She was crying. “Daddy, where were you?” She hugged tighter and Kenishia stroked her head and told her not to worry.

Edward motioned Kenishia to get her things. He walked a few steps to the living area and saw two figures sprawled in two chairs. Both were large and appeared in a drug and induced sleep. Cartons of Chinese food and bottles of empty beer were evident.

He looked for Kenishia in the small kitchen giving Cherise some food and drink. “Hurry,”

Kenishia looked at him. The little girl was holding tightly to her leg and drinking out of a cup. “I can’t leave her,” she said. “She hasn’t eaten or drunk since I left. I’ll find a solution. Thanks for your kindness.” There was a sadness in that voice as she stroked the girl’s head.

“Five minutes,” Edward replied. “Bring the girl. I’ll watch them in the living room.” He could not imagine a lady move so fast in heels as she rushed about stuffing things into two plastic refuse sacks.

Within minutes they were out of the house and in the car. Kenishia and Cherise sat in the back as Edward sped away. All he could hear was Cherise asking “Daddy where did you go? I was hungry.” Kenishia was stroking the child and telling her not to worry any more. It didn’t take a scientist to see how closely attached they were.

“Where will you drop us?” Kenishia asked, hugging the girl on her lap.

“Where do you want to go? I can take you,” Edward replied.

“We have nowhere to go. But i have my purse and ID now. I need to make sure she gets a good dinner and clean bed. We’ll find somewhere safe.”

“So you are looking for somewhere safe? And a place to eat?”

“Yes. Cherise has done nothing wrong. She deserves better.”

“That I understand. Ok.”

“What does that mean? I can’t afford any fancy hotel.”

“I understand. I have just the place.”

Kenishia had no further questions but hugged the child on her lap. The car stopped and Kenishia looked up. They were in Edward’s garage. “We can’t do this,” she said softly. “We’ll manage.”

“Yes. I have no doubt of that. So, you wanted safe. You are both safe here. You wanted some dinner for her. We can order that. It’s been hard on both of you today, so stay here. There is plenty of space and you can have your own room. If you really want to pay, i can charge you $1 per night.”

“I don’t know how to thank you. It will be very nice for Cherise,” she said. “I can afford your rates but don’t want to impose. You don’t know us, but thank you from both of us.”

“Are we staying here tonight daddy?” The little girl asked.

“Yes, baby, the nice man said we can stay here tonight.” The girl smiled at them both. “I like the man. He’s not like Leroy.”

Kenishia hugged the girl and carried her in. Edward carried in the two plastic bags, a smile on his face. He hadn’t been around children much but her spontaneous comment warmed his heart.

“At the rates I am charging you, I think we can afford pizza tonight.” Cherise shrieked with joy.

Edward walked them upstairs to the second bedroom. He was surprised Kenishia managed the wooden stairs in the heels. He pointed out the bathroom. There was only a Queen bed but Cherise looked very happy.

“I’ll order pizza and see you guys downstairs when you are ready.” He left them and went downstairs. He had many questions but they would keep. He felt good about helping them. It didn’t hurt that Kenishia was beautiful. He was rescuing a damsel in distress.

It took them half an hour to come down. Cherise had on a frilly pink nightdress. Kenishia had removed her turban and now sported a head of curly hair afro style. She had removed her heels and was barefoot. She still wore the same outfit. Kenishia was definitely a beautiful lady with class. “Sorry, I didn’t have time to bring a change for me.”

“It’s ok,” Edward replied. He thought for a moment and asked Kenishia to accompany him. She raised her eyebrows and grabbed Cherise. They walked upstairs into his bedroom. “Sorry,” he said. The bed was unmade. There were a number of closets along one wall. Edward went to the last and opened it. It was a dazzling array of dresses and other garments. “Help yourself. They are scheduled for Goodwill. I’ll take Cherise down and wait for the pizza guy. Help yourself to anything.” Edward saw the look in Kenishia’s escort erzurum face. “They belonged to my ex-wife. We divorced a few weeks ago. I haven’t had time to clean it out. Pick what you want.” He picked up Cherise and carried her down.

Twenty minutes later Kenishia appeared in a skirt, blouse and sandals. She was smiling. “She has beautiful clothes and they fit me.” For the first time that day she had a big smile on her face. “I have no accessories like matching earrings but the outfit fits perfectly. “Her earrings were the large blue clip on discs she had bought with the long dress.

Cherise dominated the conversation, Edward and Kenishia did their best to answer.

“I need to put Cherise to bed. Shall I come down after that?”

“Yes. I would like that. It’s just 8 pm. I’ll clear away meantime. Goodnight Cherise.” The little girl ran over and hugged him.

“Will you be here when I wake up in the morning?” She asked.

“Definitely. You can help me make breakfast.” Cherise’s smile said it all.

Edward watched how the two walked away hand in hand. He had no idea what caused him to reach out and help Kenishia. He had many questions. But the happiness in their faces made him feel great. He also was struck that for the first time in many months that there were other people in the house. There was conversation, laughter and a family atmosphere. Things he had missed over the last few months since Lisa left.

Edward cleared the table and went to the living room. He opened a bottle of wine and poured himself a glass. He took a second glass and placed it next to his on the low table. Kenishia was thus invited to sit next to him. He had many questions in his mind. Why was Kenishia dressed as she was on a Friday morning? Why did Cherise call her daddy?

It took some time before he heard the footsteps on the hardwood floorboards. Kenishia came in and was faced with where to sit. Edward didn’t rise and the glass next to his indicated where he wanted her to sit. He filled both their glasses.

“I couldnt read her a story so I had to create one for her. Thank you for sharing your home with us. Cherise was very happy to be in a big bed and the prospect of sleeping next to me.”

Edward patted the spot next to him and offered Kenishia a glass of wine. They clinked glasses. “To better days,” he said.

“I can’t thank you enough for today. I will look for a shelter or something tomorrow. You really have saved my life. Cherise’s too.” The voice was soft and hinted at some sadness. Kenishia took a sip of her wine. “I know you have many questions.”

Edward looked at her. He really felt something for her. Nobody should have to face what she did today. The danger to the little girl was also a factor. “Look, take your time and share what you want. I am really glad I could help. Have you advised your partner about Cherise?”

She shook her head ‘no’. “You should do that or you might find yourself accused of kidnapping.”

Kenishia nodded and went upstairs. She was down moments later. “I sent her a message.”

“Good. Try and relax. It’ll all be ok.”

Kenishia looked at him trying to make up her mind. She took a sip of wine. “This is not easy. You had no reason to help and I’ll never be able to thank you enough.” Another sip of wine. “Letitia and I are not married as I said. We have lived together for about five years. We had Cherise three years ago. It wasn’t easy as I was just getting on my feet workwise. Letitia went back to work in a supermarket and fell into bad company. Drink, drugs and arguments followed. She let herself go and you saw her shape. She didn’t always look like that. Of course this affected me too. One day we were in a heated argument and Letitia cut up my clothes in a fit of anger. I was in the bathroom at the time. I went in there to escape. When I heard the door slam, I came out. Cherise was about two then and crying. My clothes were strewn all over in pieces. “She paused, close to tears and took another sip of wine. “I had to find some clothes and grabbed one of Letitia’s dresses. I had to cover myself. “She looked at Edward with tears forming at the memory. “I was or am Ken, Cherise’s father. That dress felt so good I started to dress in the house. Goodwill became my store and I acquired a few items. I liked to look as good as possible but I avoided it when Letitia was home although she knew I dressed. I don’t need much make up with my skin color especially during the day. She came home unexpectedly today with Leroy and caught me dressed. I had bought that outfit and shoes just yesterday at Goodwill and wanted to try them out. I had no accessories except the earrings but felt good when I looked in the mirror. It was only lunchtime but they were high and drunk. I didn’t expect her till mid-afternoon when her shift ended. I am sorry. We’ll be out of your hair tomorrow.” Kenishia started to cry.

Edward looked at her not comprehending. Kenishia was a boy? Impossible. They had been together for many hours today and he had no idea. Cherise calling her ‘daddy’ was the only hint. He moved to her instinctively and hugged her to him. He just wanted to comfort her. No words were necessary. He let her cry, holding her tight to him. She was leaning against him and he kissed her head. “I’m sorry for all you’ve been through. You are safe now.” His words were soft and spoken in her ear.

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