Clash (Left Turn #1) - Belle Aurora Page 0,1
confused as I was. It took some work but I quashed the panicked look on my face before I turned back to my grandmother. Instead, I pasted on a smile that didn’t quite translate. I was sure it was distorted. It felt weak and artificial. “Nanna, I’m just going to speak to Officer Kelly a moment, okay?”
The charming woman who raised me peered up at me with a delicate smile. “Okay, dear.”
Nanna sat quietly with her purse in her lap, and I stood, walking out of the room. Officer Kelly followed, closing the door behind her.
I paced a while, and Officer Kelly let me, obviously sensing my inner turmoil. My breathing began to heavy. The more I walked, the more my movement became erratic. A short noise left me as the alarm I was feeling came to head. Covering my mouth with my hands, I paced some more.
Suddenly, my feet halted and I somehow found the strength to whisper, “Something’s wrong.” The moment I said the words, the familiar sting of tears assaulted my eyes. I blinked rapidly. My voice cracked, “Something’s wrong.”
Officer Kelly comforted me as I held my head in my hands and wept, placing a gentle hand on my shoulder.
Yes. Something was wrong.
After a long chat with Office Kelly, Nanna was released into my care and, offering her my arm, I walked her over to the car where our neighbor Jim waited patiently. I felt awful. “I’m so sorry, Jim. I had no idea it would take that long.”
Jim smiled kindly. “No problem, Em. Not like I had much to do today. This was a little adventure for me.” Then he grinned at Nanna. “Fay, darlin’, you get yourself into a bit of trouble, I see?”
Nanna looked over at Jim, awash with confusion. “Is that Bert?” She beamed. “Why, I haven’t seen you in ages.”
Jim’s smile fell. He watched her a long moment before we exchanged a look.
A concerned look.
Jim had been our neighbor since forever. He and Nanna got along so well. They were around the same age. They both loved tending to their gardens in the springtime, and underneath their friendship, I had a feeling Jim was secretly in love with Nanna.
I didn’t know who Bert was.
My brows pulled together and my lips pulled down simultaneously.
As a matter of fact, I didn’t think Nanna knew who Bert was.
Once in the car, we drove in complete silence. Then out of nowhere, Nanna spoke and when she did, she did it quietly. “Where are we going, Emily?”
I spun in my seat, relieved to hear her return to the here and now. When I saw the utter confusion on her face, my heart broke. “We’re going home.”
“Oh,” she uttered, her brow knitting softly. “Of course.”
Jim and I exchanged the same look we had before.
Something was definitely wrong.
I woke to the smell of burning and the sound of the smoke alarm beeping loudly.
My body turned cold and I gasped, wide-eyed. Terrified, I rolled out of bed as quickly as I could and dashed out of my room. “Nanna!”
But there was no response.
The fear in me rose to a whole new level.
Hands shaking, I called out again, louder this time. “Nanna!”
My sock-covered feet slipped on the tiled floor, and when I reached the kitchen, my eyes widened. Smoke billowed up from the stove and whatever was melting on it.
The fumes wafting up to the ceiling were awful, thick, and smoldering. Rushing over, I took a dishtowel and covered my mouth and nose with it, coughing loudly. With hesitant fingers, I switched off the stove and took an oven mitt, trying to lift the…
Oh, geez. Are you kidding me?
The electric kettle had melted right into the red-hot element.
Great. Just great.
Sighing in frustration, I tried to do what I could with it. Once I managed to lift the entire element off the stove and throw it into the sink, I turned on the cold water, leaving it on as I searched the house, opening windows as I went.
The pink-lined clouds in the distance told me dawn was fast approaching and the longer I looked, the more tense I became.
Oh God. Where is she?
I called out cautiously, “Nanna?”
A sharp knock sounded at the front door. The sound hit me right in the chest. Tired and on edge, I paused a second. Blinking into nothingness, I ran a hand down my forehead before going to answer it.
Nanna stood there in her nightgown. Jim was stationed behind her in his brown plaid robe and his