Eva sat on her black suitcase in the middle of a road in the barren plains in the wake of tire tracks left by a man who couldn’t speed off fast enough. She smoked her last Newport on the one suitcase she’d been allowed to pack before John had dragged her out of the house. A home wrecking whore, he’d called her. She smirked, flicked the last cigarette butt into the gravel beside the road, and stood. She backed off the road, took her sun hat and glasses off, tucked them into her suitcase, and tousled her hair.
She wandered up the road as a few cars passed by. She huffed at her lack of success and tore into her purple tank top and yanked a few struggled tears into her skirt. She traveled up the road and feigned a struggle with her heavy luggage and collapsed to her knees, lips quirking into a grin for a fleeting moment when she heard a truck screech to a halt behind her. Eva put her head in her hands as a voice called out behind her.
“Miss, everything alright?” The masculine voice rose and inched closer.
She lifted her head and faced the man approaching her. “Yeah, I’m okay, I’m just exhausted.” She struggled to stand, hoisting her suitcase with her.
“Here, let me help you.” He offered his hand to take it. “How long have you been out here by yourself?”
“Just a few hours.” Her voice shook and broke with emotion.
“It’s dangerous for a lady out here. You got someplace you’re goin’? I could get you there.”
Eva bowed her head, hiding a grin before she spoke. “No, my boyfriend, he- he kicked me out of our home. Drove me out here and told me to get out.”
His hand grasped her shoulder. “Looks like he did quite a number on you. Are you hurt? Maybe we should get you checked out.”
She turned to face him and looked down at her tattered clothes. “No, this is nothing. I just need somewhere to stay.”
He nodded and led her toward his truck. “My wife and I have an extra room at our place. I’m sure she won’t mind.”
“Oh, that’s very kind of you, but I couldn’t…” She paused and bowed her head once more.
“I insist. My wife would never forgive me if I left someone out here. She’s always loved helpin’ people and…” He trailed off and smiled, looking at Eva. “Where are my manners? Name’s Thomas, but friends call me Tom or Tommy. And you are?”
“Eva, thank you so much, Tommy.”
“Think nothing of it. My wife Elizabeth will be happy to have you. And my daughter always loves makin’ new friends.”
“Oh, you have a daughter? That’s so sweet.” She managed not to choke on her words.
He led her to the passenger door and helped her inside. “Little Katie takes after her mother.”
“A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.” The saccharine words threatened to strangle her.
“She’ll be so happy to hear you said that. You ready?”
“Can’t wait.” She faked her pleasant smile and turned to look in the mirror on her side.
“Off we go then, we’ll be there in no time.”
Eva nodded and watched her face reflect a knowing smirk back at her while a storm brewed in the sky behind them. Clouds blackened, wind howled, and Eva headed to her next target.