On Steady Ground (The Walker Brother's Series)

BOOK: On Steady Ground (The Walker Brother's Series)
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On Steady Ground
The Ian Walker Story
Jennifer Anderson

Copyright © 2013 Jennifer Anderson

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher.

The Publisher makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any commercial damages.

2013-05-05

Dedication

Thank you to my husband who is my biggest fan.

Chapter One

My life has been anything but the storybook ending that I envisioned. Throwing my last pair of pants in the suit case I zipped it quickly giving my bedroom a quick once over. My gaze going to the corner of the bedroom where our first real fight occurred, showing me the true terror of his ways. My vision swinging to the bathroom door where he called me a stupid bitch, and there was the spot where the verbal abuse began. Looking towards the bed my eyes started tearing up, this was the place where our love affair started and the place where it ended. How strange that a spot can be pure happiness and bliss one moment and terror and despair the next. Looking down at the pillows I was thrown on after he took his fist to my face. That was the moment where everything became clear to me. Rubbing my still throbbing cheek with my palm.

“Are you all ready to go Lizzy?” My friend Ben said walking in and grabbing my suit case.

I haven’t heard anyone call me that since I graduated high school six years ago. Looking up at Ben and giving him the best smile I could muster, “Yeah. I’m ready.” Ben a true friend, I have known him since the third grade when he moved in next door to me. The one boy on the block who enjoyed pulling my pig tails, we were inseparable through school. He hadn’t changed all that much, average height, brown short hair, and glasses. The same smile I remember seeing as a child, he came to help me pack and move with him to my hometown where I left behind so many good memories.

Craig was at work and Ben wouldn’t hear of me taking the train back home four hours away. He didn’t know exactly what happened until he saw my face. I had to admit I was glad he was here just in case Craig decided to come home to apologize. He doesn’t know I’m leaving him yet. He’ll know soon enough when he comes home and finds the dresser drawers emptied. Divorce papers will follow as quickly as I can manage. He wasn’t always like this, obviously or I would have been running in the other direction as quick as possible. He was handsome, charming and we dated two years before marrying for two. You would think I would have seen signs prior to our engagement but there was nothing. Then it was like the day after we got married, he switched. It was like I had married a stranger at that point. I could take many things in life, the one thing I refuse to take is being hit. The emotional abuse was bad enough, making me feel stupid and ugly but hitting me was my wake up call.

Walking over to the mirror and gazing at my black and blue cheek. Blonde hair now down to the middle of my back, he hated my hair long. He said my long blonde hair and blue eyes attracted to many men. It infuriated him that I wouldn’t chop it off. Looking up at Ben, he towered over me, most men did since I am a mere five foot four.

Looking at me with compassion in his eyes, “You still look beautiful Lizzy.” Walking over and pulling me into his arms. “We should get going.” Looking around nervously, he was angry at my current state, but he was never one for confrontations. Grabbing another suit case and bag, sighing with defeat in my heart. Walking out of my bedroom for the last time, I stared at the picture of Craig and I staring back at me happily. I don’t know when it was I fell out of love with him. The first time he called me an idiot? The first time he tried telling me what to wear? The first time he cheated on me? Or was it only what seemed like moments ago when he hit me for the first time? Whenever it was, this chapter of my life was soon to be shut forever. Wiping the tears from my cheeks, I refused to waste another single tear on that man. The plaque under that smiling picture reading Craig and Elizabeth Miller Forever. Wanting to get my name back to Harris as quickly as possible, my most pressing order of business once getting back home was finding a divorce lawyer. Turning I followed Ben out of the door, vowing never to return to this house again.

The ride home was mostly in silence. Ben the usual talkative sort, stayed quiet and left me alone with my thoughts. Pulling some strings he already got me hired on at the local diner. Being from a small town, you didn’t have to pull to many strings and the owners remembered me from high school. I was appreciative of the opportunity to make some cash of my own and to get back on my feet. Not relying on anyone anymore being the ultimate goal.

My parents giving birth to me late in life, they have long since retired over seas, leaving me with no family. Looking towards Ben he was the closest thing to family that I had left. Looking over at me, he grabbed my hand, holding it in comfort.

“Ben, please don’t tell anyone what happened.” Rubbing my cheek gently.

“What am I supposed to say if people ask?” Glancing at me with a look of concern.

“I don’t know. I fell down the stairs?”

“Over used Lizzy. They’ll know for sure.”

Sitting and contemplating, “Car accident?” Looking hopeful at him.

Nodding his head in agreement, “That may work. Car accident it is Lizzy.”

My head throbbing with the on slot of lies I was already concocting. Knowing if I told the truth, I would have every busy body knocking on my door by days end. Not to mention I was just completely ashamed at the turn of events my life had taken. How the people would relish in the fact the straight A, solid class president and homecoming queen got knocked on her butt. Quite literally.

The hours stretched by and the familiarity of my childhood surroundings started to take place in front of my eyes. A barrage of emotions hitting me all at once. Happy to be home, but never really thinking I would ever see the small town of Greenville again. With farmland passing by me, the sound of my cell phone going off in my purse pulled me out of my reverie. I knew that ring tone and I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to leave my phone behind. Wanting no way of him contacting me, this was the worst sort of oversight. Glancing over at Ben he shrugged his shoulders and kept staring forward. Turning off the smiling picture of Ben and I on my screen, I switched it off completely and shoved it back in my purse.

Turning onto an old familiar road, “Where are you living now Ben?” Asking confused.

“I’m living on the old Walker farm. They have a house they rent out to the farm hands.” Looking at him, I couldn’t imagine him as a farm hand but nothing is rarely as it seems in life.

“Wait a minute.” My heart leaping into my throat. “Walker. As in Grant and Ian Walker?” Memories flooding me again.

Winking at me and smiling, “The one and only sweetheart. It seems your old flame Grant has made quite a success out of himself.”

Groaning loudly and banging my head against the seat. The last thing I wanted was to run into Grant again. My life in shambles, his obviously successful, the thought made me want to puke. “Ian? How is he?”

Smiling at me again, he said nothing. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Oh Lizzy. I remember the googly eyes you used to give Ian when he wasn’t looking.”

Smiling, “Yeah maybe. Me and every other girl in high school.” Shaking my head, “Oh the Walker brothers. How many hearts were left in their wake?”

Laughing, “What I wouldn’t have given to be one of their brothers.” Ben said pulling into a long gravel drive.

Laughing, I remembered both fondly. Grant was the easiest to access and the most popular. Always dressed nicely, he was good looking, charming and quite the ladies man. Ian was so much different. Equally handsome Ian was quiet, calm and strong. Always remembering him being built, muscle stacked upon muscle the guy was never afraid of getting dirty. How different the brothers were. “So, you’re working for Mr. and Mrs. Walker then?”

“Ian.” Ben said pulling up to a tiny house, set a few yards down from the big farm house.

“Come again?” My heart beating a little faster.

“Ian is who I am working for. After Mr. Walker died his mom moved into the city close to Grant and Ian took over the farm and the house.”

My stomach pitching, I never knew Bob had passed away. Now feeling guilty for not sending a sympathy card. “Why didn’t you tell me Bob passed?”

“Lizzy no offense, but when you moved. You moved. As in you dropped off the face of the earth. An email from you once in a while barely gave me any opportunity to keep you apprised of the small town news.”

Feeling guilty again, when I did email Ben it was from a secret email account and if Craig had found out, the beat down probably would have started earlier. “I’m sorry Ben. You’re right.”

“I know I am.” Smiling. “I’m just glad you’re home now. I missed you Lizzy.” Putting the car in park, he reached over and hugged me tightly.

“I missed you to Ben.” Opening the door and sliding out of the car, I took a deep breath and grabbed a suit case walking up the two steps onto the old, faded porch. There sat two old rusted lawn chairs and a big tiger striped cat stretched out on a mat in front of the door.

Pushing the cat out of the way with the door, “Get out of the way Snickers.” He said walking in and setting my suit case down in the kitchen.

“Snickers?” I laughed patting the kitty on the head before walking in.

“Yeah, I don’t know. It was all I could come up with.” Shrugging his shoulders. “Okay, ground rules sweet thing.”

Rolling my eyes, I knew this was going to be good.

“First off, you’re room is here.” Opening up a door, leading into a small room adjacent from the kitchen. “Now when I have a little booty coming home with me, you make yourself scarce.”

Rolling my eyes again, “Anything else Captain charisma?

“Nope, that’s it.”

Laughing, “Okay. I don’t think I’ll have any problems memorizing the rules.”

“Good.” Looking down at his watch. “It’s one o’clock. I need to get back to work before Ian thinks I’m taking the whole day off. So, get settled. You start at the restaurant tomorrow.”

Pulling him in for a hug, “Thank you Ben. You have no idea how much this all means to me.”

Looking down at me and kissing the top of my head, “Lizzy I have known you forever. You are like a little sister to me. I just want you safe and happy.” Pushing me out in front of him, “Now go get settled.” Pulling on one tall boot and then the other.

“Thanks Ben.” Wheeling all my luggage into the room, shutting the door behind me. The bed was a small single but it wouldn’t be any problem fitting my small stature in it. Sitting down and looking around, there was a small dresser in the corner with an old radio sitting on top. To the left of that was a small closet door. I had managed to fit most of my clothes into the luggage cases, only leaving behind a few pairs of shoes that I couldn’t fit. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit everything in, but I didn’t care. I was just glad to be away and be able to breath freely again. Looking out the small window beside the bed, I had a good view of Ian’s house. Remembering the times I would frequent that big farm house when I dated Grant, bringing back fond memories. Thinking back, I couldn’t remember exactly the reason Grant and I broke up. It seemed like a lifetime ago. More than likely, he probably got tired of me and moved on to the next girl. He was nice enough to me, although a bit vain. Through all that Ian always peeked my interest. He was always such a mystery and mysteries interested me.

Although both brothers were popular, Grant was the one who embraced the role entirely. You would see Grant hanging out with the other popular kids on a regular basis. Ian however, he got a long with everyone and didn’t really hang out with any specific group. He hung around with a couple of guys that seemed like good friends but always seemed uncomfortable with his popularity. Even when I engaged Ian in conversation, it rarely lasted very long. Laying back and gazing out of the window, I could see Ben stalking off towards the barn. Propping a pillow up under my head, I watched as the horses grazed around him. Something out of the corner of my eye catching my attention, Ian walked out of the house smiling over at Ben saying something I couldn’t make out. He looked every bit as handsome as he did six years ago. He was even more filled out, and his smile took me back in time. Him and Grant had the most handsome, endearing smiles you could ever behold. Watching him walk across the yard, I slid down lower, as to not be seen. With each step he took, you could see the muscles beneath his white t-shirt moving with his long strides. Ben laughing in response, I shook my head and fell back onto the bed.

How drastic my life has changed in a mere twenty four hours. Looking down at my hand where my wedding band and engagement ring still took possession of my finger. Sliding it off, and looking at it briefly, I placed it in the nightstand drawer. My finger felt naked without it. My heart felt just as naked and empty.

I spent the rest of the afternoon putting up my clothes and hiding the few trinkets in the drawer that reminded me of Craig. Hearing a knock on my room door, Ben walked in dirt caked from head to toe smelling of sweat and manure. “Whew Ben, take a step back.” I said plugging my nose, smiling.

“C’mon, give me a hug Lizzy.” He said stepping forward.

“Ben, get away or I will kick you.” Saying, retreating to the bed quickly.

“Geesh, is that any way to treat your best friend?”

Sticking my tongue out at him, our relationship regressed back to when we were kids again.

Laughing at me, “I’m going to take a shower and go into town for a couple hours. Pick me up some hotties. You want to join me?”

“Um No. I wouldn’t want to cramp your style.”

Smirking, “Well you would definitely do that. That’s for sure. All the women would look at you in hatred, all the men would look at me with appreciation. It would ruin my chances of picking any woman up. Although, for you I would be willing to sacrifice.”

This was the Ben I missed. One of those moments where I didn’t know whether to laugh or just feel insulted. I chose to laugh, being that I felt like it had been to long. “You go pick up your hotties Ben. I am just fine where I’m at. I might go take a walk later.” Looking out at the sun dropping in the sky.

“Okay Lizzy. Your loss.” Walking out and leaving a trail of dirt behind him. “Oh yeah, there is food in the fridge. Help yourself.” He yelled across two rooms before a door slammed shut.

BOOK: On Steady Ground (The Walker Brother's Series)
9.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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