Legacy of Love(6)

By: Donna Hill



“It’s true,” she volleyed back. “You can pretend with everyone except me. Those are the rules. Anyway, you’ve been on my mind all day. Is everything cool?”

Jackson stared up at the ceiling for a moment. Before he’d left New Orleans for Atlanta, he’d confessed to his sister about the strange pull he’d been feeling, and that somehow his destiny was in Atlanta.

“It’s getting stronger,” he finally said.

Michelle was quiet for a moment. “Anything new…different?”

“I thought I saw her today.”

“What? Really? What did she look like?”

“Whoa, hold on.” He chuckled. “I mean I didn’t actually see her. I kind of thought I might have caught a glimpse of her.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth he knew how ridiculous they sounded.

“Hmm, like an impression,” Michelle deduced.

Jackson grinned. If anyone could understand it would be Michelle. “Exactly.” He went on to explain what had transpired earlier in the day.

“You made the right decision, Jackson, about everything. Keep opening yourself and the answers will come. I firmly believe that.”

“So do I, sis.”

They talked for a while longer about the family, their respective jobs and then Michelle revealed the other reason for her call. “Carla is getting married. The announcement was in the Time-Picayune last weekend.”

The news barely stirred him. He was only mildly surprised that he didn’t feel something more. “I’m happy for her. I wasn’t the one.”

“I want you to be happy, too. And my sixth sense tells me that it’s only a matter of time.”

“I’m going to hold you to that.”

“You do that. I haven’t been wrong yet. Listen, gotta run. We’ll talk soon. Okay?”

“Yep. Tell Travis hello and give my niece a kiss for me.”

“Will do. Love ya.”

“Back at you.”

Jackson placed the phone on the coffee table. Michelle was right. Her intuition was always on point. How it was going to finally play out, however, was anyone’s guess.





Chapter 3




Zoe decided to forego the ten-minute drive to work and opted to walk instead, making up for her missed visits to the gym over the past week. She strolled, her mind and spirit lifted by the warmth of the morning sun and the soft breeze that carried the scent of blooming flowers and the secret aroma of the South—rich, lush, troubled, ever changing…and something burning. She quickened her pace.

The sound of screaming sirens drew closer and when she reached the corner she saw grey smoke billowing out of one of the buildings on the street. A crowd began to gather even as the fireman urged them back.

Zoe’s hand flew to the center of her chest. “Oh, no.” Slowly she approached the growing crowd. The hair on her arms and at the back of her neck seemed to rise. Her heart pounded. For a moment she felt light-headed and swayed where she stood. The scene in front of her started to recede.

“Are you all right?”

A strong arm gripped her around the waist, keeping her from sinking to her knees. Her rescuer guided her across the street and helped her to sit down on a bench.

Zoe sucked in long breaths of air trying to clear her head.

“Smoke must have gotten to you,” the voice was saying.

She shook her head to clear it and looked into the most incredible pair of dark eyes that were staring at her with concern. She knew those eyes, that voice. But that was not possible. She didn’t know this man. Fear crept through her body. She wanted to run, but she couldn’t make her body move.

“Sit right here, I’m going to get you some water.”

She watched him rise and tower above her, the same image that came to her in her dreams. Her stomach dipped and rose and dipped again. She gripped the arm of the bench.

He hurried down the crowded street, weaving his way around the clutch of bodies, trucks and fire hoses.

Another fire truck screamed onto the street. Flames leaped from one building to the next. Shouts rang out from the crowd as they were urged back by fireman and now the police. News vans pulled onto the street.

Zoe got to her feet and was suddenly caught up in the crowd that was being pushed back by the police.

“Move it back! Move it back!”

Zoe merged with the throng, swept along with the wave of bodies until she was ushered off of the street. The farther she moved from the scene the clearer her thoughts became. She tried to spot him, convince herself that he was real and not some trick of her imagination. He was gone, as if he never existed. He probably didn’t, she told herself as she took an alternate route to the museum.

By the time she arrived she felt exhausted, drained as if she hadn’t slept and then worked all day. Yet, it was barely nine o’clock, and for the first time in weeks she’d actually slept through the night.

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