To The Rescue
Lynn Branson tossed the unruly map into the passenger seat of her rented KIA with a sigh. Pine trees lined both sides of the two-lane highway stretching out empty before her. She should have gotten a car with GPS but she'd been trying to save a few dollars. Now she was lost. Nothing to do but keep driving, take the next exit and hope to find someone who could tell her where she was.
The engine hesitated and the car slowed. Lynn glanced at the fuel gauge. "No, not empty. This can't be happening." She pumped the gas pedal then pressed it all the way to the floor. The engine died and the car continued to slow. Lynn steered toward the side of the road and manged to pull onto the grassy edge as the car came to a halt. Taking a deep breath, Lynn turned off the ignition. Now what? She remembered her cell phone. Last night she’d packed it in her suitcase and earlier this morning loaded that suitcase in the trunk of her rental car along with the rest of her bags.
Standing at the rear of her vehicle, she pulled her suitcase from the bottom of the trunk onto the top of her luggage and pulled the zipper along its track. A breeze brought the fragrance of pine trees and teased her hair. Panic washed over her when she couldn't find the phone. She fumbled through the neatly folded and stacked clothing until finally discovering it had slid to the bottom. She flipped it open, pressed the power button and waited. She pressed it again. Still the screen remained dark. Panic threatened to take control but she shoved the fear aside. So, she hadn't turned her phone off before packing and now the battery was dead. Someone would come along sooner or later and help her. After zipping her suitcase and closing the trunk, she turned and stared down the road the way she'd come. The last exit had been miles down the road, she'd never be able to walk back to the last convenience store. Better to wait for someone to find her. She sighed and returned to the driver's seat.
A half-empty bottle of water sat in the cup holder next to her. She took a sip, let the cool liquid slide down her throat. At least she had plenty to drink. A small cooler sat in the passenger side floor and held four more bottle of water along with some ice. In the seat next to her sat a large bag of corn chips, a jar of cheese dip along with an opened bag of chocolate. Lynn replaced the cap on her bottle and returned the bottle to the console. All she could do now was wait. She rolled down the windows a bit to let in the breeze, locked the doors and leaned against the window.
Lynn jerked awake. She turned to the window and looked up at the man who had tapped on the glass.
"Miss, are you okay?"
She nodded. "I'm fine, but my car is out of gas."
"I can give you a ride to Ridgewood. It's not that far ahead." He glanced back behind her car to his truck then down at her. "I'm Cameron."
"Thanks, but if you'll call someone, I'll wait here." Just because he looked trustworthy, didn't mean he was. She'd learned that lesson with Vince. Vince Carter, playboy handsome and with money to spend on fancy cars, expensive dinners and all the luxuries she didn't have. However, it hadn't taken long to find the dark side hidden under his designer suits.
Cameron shook his head. "Ma'am, I can't leave you here. My momma would disown me." He thought for a second, finally pulled a cell phone from his pocket and stuck it through the small opening in the window. "In the contact list you'll find the sheriff's office. Call them. Tell them who you are, that you are stuck out on highway seventeen and that Cameron Daily has offered you a ride to town. They'll vouch for me."
Lynn held the phone for a moment, then flipped open the cover. Maybe he could be trusted after all. She pressed the call buttoned, waited as the phone rang on the other end. A woman answered letting her know she'd reached the Ridgewood Sheriff's Department. Lynn explained why she was calling and listened as the woman laughed then confirmed Lynn would be safe with Cameron. Still listening, she unlocked the door and stepped out of the car.
"She wants to talk to you." Lynn handed Cameron the phone and studied him as he listened. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Cameron stood at least a foot above her five feet five inch height. Dark hair curled around his ears and his eyes were the color of melted chocolate. He smiled into the phone.
"Yes, ma'am. I understand." He took a breath. "That's what I told her. Yes ma'am." Cameron added another "Yes ma'am" then closed the phone and slid it into his pocket. Gazing down at Lynn, he ran a hand through his hair. "Ready?"