Margret smiled at me, and I thought she looked so beautiful. Her eyes sparkled and he skin seemed to glow. The woman was way out of my league. She had long, pale blonde hair and a lithe, athletic body that seemed far younger than mine.

We walked along, her clinging to my arm as a low fall breeze whipped her skirt around her legs. I was in heaven.

“Thank you,” I said.

“For what?”

“For going out with me.”

She laughed and it sounded like a choir singing. “I should be thanking you.”

“I disagree. You could do so much better than me.”

She stopped us and reached up to stroke my cheek with long, delicate fingers. “You don’t give yourself enough credit.”

I nodded. “I don’t know what you see in me.”

“You make me feel safe,” she said. “Never underestimate what that does for a woman.”


Two men stood at the end of the street blocking our way. Margret squeezed my arm, sinking her nails through the sleeve of my shirt.

“Ain’t she a pretty thing,” one said.

“And ain’t he an ugly one.”

I heard the step behind us and turned in time to see the bat coming at my head.


When I opened my eyes, I was sitting with my back against a fence. My clothing was shredded and I was covered with blood. Margret was crouched down beside of me, stroking my hair.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

She jerked at the sound of my voice and smiled a huge smile. “Yeah. I’m fine.”

“What happened?”

She leaned forward and kissed me. “You protected me from them.”

I looked around, seeing the pieces of the men scattered up and down the street. Steam still rose from the largest chunks. Frost covered the ground and I could see the sky lightening down the street.

“Have we been here all night?”

She nodded. “You were out of it, so we waited here. If you’re ready, we can go home and I can give you a bath.”

She helped me up and I wobbled and limped my way back to where we parked. A bath with Margret sounded so good that I stopped thinking about anything else.

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