I have probably lost most followers of this story, but I am determined to finish it! Hope some of you are still reading!
The air at the diner was strained the following week as apparently Allie could hold a grudge and she was most displeased with Monica. Several times, the little angel tried to pull her aside to apologize but the woman always found a way to not be alone with her. Andrew was fully aware of Monica's distress and did his best to reassure her that Allie only needed a little bit of time, but his words fell on deaf ears. Monica was incredibly fond of her friend and the thought that Allie was angry with her was almost more than she could bear.
Andrew was beginning to think he was going to have to intervene on his wife's behalf as Monica had resorted to picking at her food and despite the fact that she would often try to hide it from him, he knew her well enough to know how upset she was. With the angel being almost eight months pregnant, he was simply unwilling to allow this to go on much longer and his protective instincts were on overdrive.
He was thinking he was going to lose the opportunity to speak to Allie once again as he watched her getting her things together on Friday afternoon, "Allie? You're heading out?" Business has been slower this afternoon as there had been a break in the hot temperatures and the locals were choosing not to spend the evening indoors, even to eat.
"I have a few errands to run, Andrew," She replied briskly, not noticing the way Monica's head shot up from her booth where she was working on the accounting for the business, "Our wholesale produce guy's truck broke down this morning and we are nearly out of lettuce and onion so I need to swing by the farmer's market to pick up enough to see us through the weekend."
Before he could even respond, Monica was clearing her table, "I'll come with you."
"That won't be necessary," Allie began, her voice still holding a tinge of anger that caused Andrew to give her a hard look.
"No, it is necessary," Monica's voice was just as firm as she decided she was not going to be put off again. She struggled slightly to her feet, her pregnant body causing her to move a bit more slowly.
Allie did not miss Andrew's piercing green eyes and she emitted a small sigh, "Fine. My car is out back. Andrew, I will take her home once we are finished."
"Thank you," He replied, not missing the relief that shone in his wife's expressive cocoa colored eyes, "I'll see you at home, baby."
The silence between them was nearly palpable as Allie started the drive to the outskirts of town, but Monica was unwilling to let another day pass without somehow making this right.
"Allie. I meant it when I said how sorry I was last week. I never meant to hurt you."
"You had no right to go through my things," the woman replied, a hard edge to her voice as she kept her eyes on the road ahead.
"No, I didn't," Monica admitted sadly, "I just…I have been worried about you and I thought if I understood more, I might be able to help you."
"Worried about me?" Now she gave a sidelong glance at her young friend.
"Yes. You see, Andrew was reading me some of the books in our apartment and I couldn't help but notice the inscription in the books and then I was out one evening and heard two women talking about you…talking about the accident…" Monica didn't miss Allie's sharp intake of air and she continued with great caution, her voice a soothing whisper, "I'm so sorry about your husband and son. I can't imagine the amount of pain you have felt…that you still feel."
Emotion had lodged itself in her throat and all Allie could do was give a sharp nod in acknowledgement at first before she found her voice once again, "Jonah was killed instantly…he was thrown from the car. Ryan…well, he was on life support…"
"Oh Allie," She murmured, tears pricking the backs of her eyes as the puzzle began to come together, all but the missing piece, "But who is Em?"
There were tears streaking her face now at the mention of the name that still caused waves of pain to flow through her, "My daughter. Emily. She was driving the car that night. We're…estranged. She moved away…I don't even know where she is now. I knew once…she had gone back to school in California for nursing…but she's moved and has not told me where she is," Allie's hand left the steering wheel to wipe ineffectively at the tears, "The letters…they have all been returned to me as address unknown. She's all I have left and I don't know where she is or if she is all right…"
Monica was certain her angelic abilities had returned as the images rushed back to her. Laying in the emergency room after fainting and hitting her head. The attending physician had tried to get her to stay but after the shocking news of her pregnancy, she had been too stunned, confused and terrified to do so and risk Tess finding her. She remembered how as she had tearfully stumbled out into the broad daylight, the voice of the young nursing student had broken through the chaos that had been her mind for weeks. She had tried to convince her to stay for observation that night due to the angel's concussion, but Monica had refused….
"Well, then, can I at least call you a cab or call someone to come get you?" The girl's worried hazel eyes took in the pain in Monica's expression and she wanted to help any way she could, "You really shouldn't be walking around out here with that nasty cut on your head. It isn't safe. Who can I call?"
Emotion threatened to choke her. The only individual she wanted anyone to call was Andrew but that was impossible. Everything was impossible. When had her entire existence suddenly become about impossibility?
"There's no one. I…I don't even know where I'm going. They can't find out the truth…" A tiny sob escaped her, the sharp intake of air causing a twinge of pain in her head and her fingers moved up to brush lightly against the bandage on her forehead.
"About your pregnancy? What about the father?"
A soft, pain-filled moan escaped her at the mere thought of the baby's father. She needed him so desperately; wanted more than anything to feel his arms around her, to hear the certainty in his voice as he told her it would all be all right, "I have to go…"
But where? If Tess found out about the baby, Monica's existence would become more of a living hell than it already was if that were even possible. Tear-filled eyes finally turned to her companion, her eyes barely making out the name badge on the student nursing uniform, "Rachel…where are you from?"
Confusion filled the girl's eyes, "Hambleton, West Virginia…"
"Allie…" The words finally formed on her lips as her memory cleared, "Rachel…."
"That's her middle name," Allie replied, confusion laden in her voice, "How do you know that?"
"Because I know where she is."
As their eyes met, neither of them saw the other driver run the red light and only the high pitched sound of rubber on concrete caused them both to turn horrified eyes to the road. White hot pain seemed to explode from Monica's body at the same instant the sickening sound of twisting metal reached her ears. She barely felt the burning sensation to her face nor the pressure to her chest though she was slightly aware of Allie's car being pushed violently across the road. Another deafening crash brought fresh pain before her entire world went black.