I almost leapt out through the door, but Mom jump across the opening and pulled me further into the house. “No, you can’t go out there like this. Not in front of the Sheriff and this girl. You have to stay quiet and see where this goes.”

“But, what is she up to? I don’t have a sister. I’m an only c***d. You said that dad was your first. You got married young and I came along.”

“All that is true, dear. So we need to hear what she means but not like this. Whoever she is and whatever she wants we don’t confront her like this. Certainly not in front of the Sheriff. We’re naked for crying out loud. Are you okay?”


“Then let’s listen to more.”

We returned to the doorway. As we approached, what we heard is Juli, “… hard to believe. I know from both Michele and her Mom that she is an only c***d. That claim needs more explanation.”

“Ma’am, I will but to Michele. This is very personal and I don’t want to have to admit it more than I have to. Please, believe me that I mean no harm to her or her family. I just don’t know where else to turn.”

Juli turned to the Sheriff and they walked a few steps away and continued a short discussion that was too quiet for us or the girl to hear. “Are you sure, Juli? I could take her back to the courthouse with me and wait for Michele to let me know if she wants to talk to her.”

“It will be okay, Tom. Really. She’s more scared of us than a threat. Besides, Harry will be back shortly and Tim Hawkins shortly after that. And I have two very good protectors right here.” She was indicating the dogs sitting at the foot of the stair to the porch.

“Alright, Juli. But if you have any trouble, any at all, you have me on speed-dial, right?”

“Absolutely, you know I do. We’ll be fine and we’ll just wait for Michele.”

The Sheriff seemed reluctant but he finally relented. Before getting into his car, though, he delivered one final stern warning to the girl not to make any trouble. He drove off looking over his shoulder but was finally gone. I wanted to charge right out but Mom stopped me, again. “Not naked. We need to give her a chance to explain. She’s already clearly been through a lot and being accosted by two naked women may not get the answers we need.”

I was ready to shake off her hand on my arm when we heard Juli, “Well, this day is turning into something different. Young lady, you stay right there. Do you like dogs?”

“I had one before. But these are awful big. Are they safe?”

“Good, you just hold onto the question. Boys, you just watch her. I need to step inside and make myself more presentable. All I wanted was a shower …” and with that she is climbing the steps to the porch. She glanced over her shoulder at the girl watching the dogs very carefully and very nervously. Opening the screen door and entering the foyer, “Well, that’s what I call a surprising turn to an otherwise wonder day.” She looked at us and laughed. “And here you stand naked. Okay, here’s what we do, I’ll take her to the barn. She might be from a small town but she is not a country girl. The barn should interest her and give you two time to get home, put some clothes on and return like you know nothing about what has just happened here. We’ll see if her story stays the same and what else comes out.”