Cara Lundy couldn’t believe she let her sister Robyn talk her into going on a hike with her and her friends.
“I should have known they’d ditch me!” Cara muttered as she walked along. She was sure this was the path she saw them take. “Stupid flowers just had to capture my…” she stopped mumbling to herself as she looked up in awe. Coming to a complete stop. “Is that…? It is, it’s a golden eagle!”
Putting her binoculars up. She followed its flight until…giving a screech she backed up as the eagle suddenly looked as if it was close enough for her to touch.
Her screech became a yell as she lost her footing and tumbled backward down the hill. She came to a stop at the foot of the hill, losing consciousness.
The golden eagle had been watching the girl for quite some time as she almost stomped her way up the hiking path. He’d seen a group of others earlier and wondered if she was with them.
He noticed her pause and her gaze move up. Thinking she might be looking at him, he began to glide closer, gazing at her golden hair that shined so pretty in the sunlight. He saw her put something to her eyes before she let out a screech worthy of an eagle. Then she began to tumble down the side of the hill as he slowly circled high above her. There was nothing he could do to help, but when she came to a stop, he began to glide closer, landing not far from her.
Eagle continued to watch her because she held his attention, pulled the string to his very soul it seemed. Maybe it was her scent, the sweet scent of honeysuckle. Maybe it was her looks. Her long dark blonde hair, and pale skin. Whatever it was, it kept him from flying away.
The girl eventually gave a low groan and the eagle stood watching over her as her eyes flickered open.
He stood there, stock still as her gaze moved toward him.
“I must have hit my head really hard because I’d swear there’s a golden eagle standing in front of me,” she whispered.
The golden eagle cocked his head, turning it to gaze unblinkingly at her with one golden brown eye.
Cara slowly sat up, rubbing the back of her head slightly.
The eagle shuffled backward, looking as if he would fly away at any moment.
“Wow, you are really beautiful…a truly magnificent looking bird,” Cara whispered.
The eagle preened, his chest puffing out.
Cara gave a slight and slightly husky chuckle as she watched him. She then gave a heavy sigh as she looked upward at the sun. “Almost noon, wonder if they miss me yet? Probably not. Instead, they’re probably halfway to somewhere for lunch not even caring that one body is missing.” She stood up then a bit shaky, wincing, and brushing off her clothes off as she said, “Guess I’ll be walking home.”
The eagle took two steps toward her, then stopped.
She smiled. “You really are a handsome fellow. Perhaps I’ll see you around.”
Then with a slight wave, she began carefully making her way back up the hill.
Eagle felt a sadness he didn’t understand come over him as he watched her move out of sight. He would think more about the reason for it later.
When he couldn’t see her anymore, he quickly took flight for home.
Cara slowly and carefully made her way back up the hill grunting in her pain every now and then. Out of breath, she reached the top and stood still to catch her breath. “I really need to exercise more.”
Starting to walk again, she headed down the path to where Robyn’s boyfriend Jackson had parked. She gave a groan with she saw his car was gone, and so was Danny’s. Though she wasn’t actually surprised.
Cara dropped her head down as she felt tears well up in her eyes. Thinking back to that morning, and her conversation with her step-mother Monica.
“You should go with your sister Cara,” Monica said. “The two of you spend very little time together, it would be a good chance for you to bond.”
“I don’t know, I doubt Robyn would want…” Cara started only to be interrupted by Robyn herself.
“Robyn would want what?” Robyn asked as she waltzed into the kitchen.
“Oh, I was just telling Cara it would be good if she went with you this morning on the hike. She hardly has any friends and it would be a good bonding experience for the two of you also,” Monica said.
Robyn had turned with a smirk, which should have warned Cara right then she was up to no good. “That’s a great idea, Cara, be ready in twenty minutes,” Robyn said, sounding slightly sarcastic, as she left the kitchen.
Monica had beamed at Cara, obviously not hearing the sarcasm, and Cara just couldn’t tell her no!
So, since Robyn had agreed, surprisingly, Cara had no way to back out, without looking like the horrible sister in Monica’s eyes. Monica saw things through rose-colored glasses when it came to Robyn.
Cara had known it was a mistake, deep down, she’d known, but had stupidly agreed anyway.
So, that morning she’d piled into Jackson’s car along with four other people. Jackson’s friend Danny had met them at the hiking path along with four others who had ridden with him. Then the ten of them had started up the path.
Cara soon realized she was the odd man out. Except for grunted hello’s, everyone had ignored her. Now they’d left her to walk home.
“Good thing it isn’t that far,” Cara grumbled as she started walking.
Forty-five minutes later, she’d finally made it home. Because of her bruised and battered body, the normally twenty-minute walk had taken much longer! She was now tired, sweaty, and her legs were shaking like wet noodles.
Walking in the front door, she heard laughter from the living room, her sister’s laughter.
Cara rolled her eyes and continued limping toward her room. Walking inside, she locked her door before flopping into her bed. She knew she should shower but had no energy, and her legs refused to hold her up any longer. Instead, she closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.
A banging on her door had Cara grunting as her eyes fluttered open, “Yeah?”
“Stop hiding out Cara and come to dinner,” Robyn yelled through the door.
Cara stumbled from her bed and unlocked the door. Pulling it open, she stared at her sister.
Robyn began to snicker as she covered her mouth with one hand. “You look so gross, even more so than normal! What did you do, walk home?”
She then burst into laughter before walking away.
“Hardy, har, har,” Cara said, faking a laughed as she glared at her sisters retreating form. Then she shouted, “I’ll be down after my shower.” After slamming her door, she growled, “Annoying sisters!”
Ten minutes later, Cara walked slowly to the dining room. Her whole body hurt from the fall she’d taken, and from her walk.
“What’s wrong with you?” her dad asked.
Cara carefully seated herself after filling her plate. “Took a tumble while hiking.”
“Oh dear,” Monica murmured, looking upset.
Cara heard Robyn’s snicker and turned to glare at her. Then she said softly, for Robyn’s ears only, “Shall I explain where you were when I fell?”
Robyn quickly lowered her head and began to eat. Robyn might have Monica snookered, but dad knew how she tended to treat Cara.
“That’s what I thought,” Cara muttered lowly.
“So, I’m guessing I shouldn’t ask if you had a good time,” dad asked.
Cara shook her head. “No dad, not really…although, I did see a golden eagle.”
“Oh,” Dad said with a raised eyebrow. “I haven’t seen any eagles around here in a very long time. I’d have loved to have seen it.”
“I saw it far off and thought it was a golden eagle, at least I thought that’s what it was,” she told him, now feeling excited. Her love of birds came from her dad. “I looked through my binoculars, to verify, and suddenly, he was right there! He almost looked close enough to touch. It startled me so bad, I lost my balance and ended up rolling down the hill.”
“Ouch,” Dad exclaimed with a grimace. “Talk about the pain of discovery.”
“Yeah, he was magnificent though,” Cara said. She decided to keep her close encounter with the eagle to herself.
“To see one so close,” Dad murmured, still in awe, his eyes wide and glazed. After a few minutes, he shook himself out of it and returned to eating.
As soon as Cara was finished eating, she excused herself. Returning to her room, she opened the bottom drawer of her dresser, Then, slipping her hand in, she pulled up the false bottom she herself had made.
Pulling out her journal, she began to write about the day she’d had. As the words flowed onto paper, she felt her shoulders relax. Writing always made things not seem so bad.
Finishing up, she stood and walked across the room. She quickly returned the journal to the drawer and closed it. She’d learned the hard way to never leave the journal where Robyn could find it.
When Cara was twelve, and Robyn was fourteen, she’d had a huge crush on Tyler Martin.
Tyler was in Robyn’s class.
Cara had written all about how cute Tyler was, how she wanted to date him and have him give her, her first kiss. She’d written about being “in love” with him.
Robyn had found her journal and taken it to school. By the end of the day, most of the school knew of her crush, including Tyler. He’d come up to laugh in her face telling her she was just an ugly kid and he’d never look twice at her. He, of course, went on to tell her how beautiful Robyn was.
Cara had been crushed in more ways than one, but she’d learned a lesson. Never let her sister know anything and to hide her journal well. Therefore, the need for a hiding place.
Closing the drawer, and putting her clothes back in it, she walked back over to her bed with a yawn. It had been a long day, and even after taking a nap, she was beat. So, crawling into bed, pulling her covers up almost over her head, she snuggled into sleep.
Getting up almost with the sun the next morning, Cara showered and dressed. She had to be to work by seven and wanted time to eat breakfast before leaving. Thankfully, she wasn’t as sore as she had been, so that wasn’t slowing her down.
Walking into the kitchen, she saw her dad at the table. “Morning dad,”
“Morning Cara, off to work soon?”
“As soon as I eat. All that fresh air yesterday perked up my appetite.”
“I’ll just bet it did. How are you feeling this morning after your fall?” he asked as he stood up.
“I’m much better, thank goodness,” she answered.
Placing his coffee cup in the sink, he headed for the door as he said, “I’ll see you tonight.”
“Okay dad,” Cara said.
She quickly finished her breakfast, not wanting to run into Robyn. She’d been working extra hard, since she’d graduated almost two and a half years ago now, to save up enough for a place of her own. Robyn might be okay with mooching off dad the rest of her life, but Cara wasn’t.
Part of the time she’d had two jobs, but right now, she only had one, being a receptionist in a dentist office. Although, it was temporary, and she’d soon need another. She enjoyed her job and only having one since the pay was good.
In three months, her cheap used car would be paid for. She’d also managed to put a little extra back each month for a deposit on an apartment. The money she was now putting into her car would hopefully be enough for rent.
Then, no more Robyn!
Swallowing down her glass of juice, she put the glass in the sink and headed for the door and her car.
“Good morning,” Cara said, greeting Dr. Judy Lassiter as she walked into the office.
Dr. Lassiter turned with a smile. “Good morning Cara. We have a full schedule this morning starting with our resident grump, Mr. Jim, then Ms. Dolly.”
Cara grinned. Ms. Dolly was an eighty-something-year-old sweetheart that came almost every week. Her family was busy with their own lives, leaving the older woman at loose ends.
Cara figured Ms. Dolly was either lonely or bored. She’d come to make herself at home and chat with all the other patients. Today though she had a scheduled appointment.
At nine o’clock sharp, Ms. Dolly walked in.
Cara glanced up and couldn’t help but grin at the sight of the little old woman. Today, she had her waist-length hair in two braids, a feather and leather strap binding them. She was wearing an A-line dress that fell almost to her ankles which was a bright vibrant red, and a pair of white moccasins.
“Good morning Cara,” Ms. Dolly called.
“Good morning Ms. Dolly. You look chipper today,” Cara answered.
“I am. My grandson, who I’ve barely seen in the last couple of years, arrived home Friday. In fact, he drove me here this morning. I’ll introduce you when he comes to get me after he’s run his errands.”
Cara propped her elbow on her desk and placed her chin in her hand. “Your grandson, Wamblee, (pronounced: Wah-hel’-lee) the one who’s been conquering the world of doctoring?”
Ms. Dolly laughed. “That’s the one, he’s finished his education, worked under a doctor for experience and now plans to open his own practice.”
“I’m sure it will do well. This town could use a good general practitioner.”
Ms. Dolly nodded. “Yes, it could. That old goat must people have to go see isn’t worth anything, and he’s older than me! It’s either him, or drive forty miles to see the other one.”
“And one old goat is as good as another?” Cara asked with a giggle.
Ms. Dolly nodded.
“Well, once your grandson proves himself, he’ll have plenty of patients I’m sure,” Cara said just as the bell over the door jingled. Looking over, she smiled, “Mr. Jim, go right on in, Dr. Lassiter is waiting for you.”
The older gentleman grunted as he walked by, making his way down the hall.
“Grumpy old men,” Ms. Dolly said as she laughed. She turned at the sound of the bell on the door and grinned. “Well, well, Marianne, long time no see.”
“Hello, Dolly!” Marianne said, giving Dolly a hug. “Come, sit, talk a bit while we wait for the doctor.”
Dolly gave Cara a half wave as she went to sit with her friend.