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Authors: Kate Owen

Tags: #F/F romance, contemporary

Safe Passage (12 page)

BOOK: Safe Passage
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Gen smiled politely at the sheriff. "No, I'm just a friend who came along to help."

"I see. And why'd you bring a dog?"

"In case there were animals to contend with, he'd know before we would," Jules said simply.

"I see. Well, this is all in order. But Ms. Delacroix, you and your friend need to leave soon, the cemetery closes at dusk."

"Of course, officer, we'll be out of here soon."


The cop turned to go and Jules went back to the niche, and removed stacks of papers. "Ready to go?"

"More than ready. You sure know how to show a girl a good time, Jules. Two crypts in one day. Sexy."

Jules laughed as they got in the car and headed back to the city. Gen started reading the papers to Jules as they drove. It appeared to be the pages cut from her aunt's journal and it chronicled the budding romance between Evie and Julianna. There was also a stack of coded letters that Gen put aside for them to decrypt later.

"Evie was a domestic in the house. She did the laundry, that's how they met," Gen said as she continued to read. "Wow, they were really in love."

"Gen, as much as I want to hear what happened and how they fell in love, I need to know what happened on New Year's Eve 1939."

Gen nodded and flipped ahead in the journal pages. She stopped on the right day.

"January 1, 1940. Papa is dead. I can't believe it happened like this. I was supposed to be leaving to go to New York and then Paris with Evie. I wasn't supposed to be mourning Papa and soon Evie too. How could this happen like this? Evie and I were supposed to meet at the riverboat launch. It was a faster way out of town than a train. We were to pick up a train to New York in St. Louis. Evie met me at the boat launch. We had it planned, she had to look like my servant or people would ask questions. I hated ordering her around, but it had to be done. As we were lining up to get on the boat, Papa came up and grabbed us both by the elbows and took us away into the alleys of the quarter. 'How could you, Julianna, with a nigger woman? You dishonor your family and this will land you in hell.'"

Gen stopped to wipe her eyes. "I begged him to understand. I told him I didn't want to love her, but I just did. I could never be happy with any of the men he wanted me to be with, because I loved Evie. Then he took out the gun, it was his old gun from the war. I remember watching him clean it to keep it in perfect working order. It was the gun he told us had saved his life many times. He pointed that gun at Evie. He said, 'I will just have to do this to protect you from yourself, Julianna. You corrupted my daughter, Marie. You think I'm stupid? I knew something wasn't right with you two. That's why I fired you. And now, I have to get rid of you so you can't continue to taint my daughter.' I jumped in front of Evie and said, 'If you kill her, Papa, you have to kill me too.'"

Jules pulled the car off the freeway and parked along the shoulder.

Gen gripped Jules' hand as she continued to read. "'Get out of the way,' Papa yelled at me, and I moved toward him and he threw me down to the ground. I could smell the bourbon on him and I knew we were in trouble. Evie ran to me when she saw me fall. She lifted me up and cleaned the scrape on my head. Papa went to kick us both and Evie jumped up. The two of them wrestled for the gun, and it went off. I screamed for Evie and she stood, blood on her hands, but nowhere else. Papa's chest was torn open and bloody and I watched him as his eyes went glassy.

"Evie kissed me and said, 'Julianna, you have to get out of here.' 'No, I can't leave you with this,' I said. She told me, 'Julianna, it is too late for me, but not for you, the police are coming, someone would have heard the shot, go.' 'Evie, no,' I cried, but she put my last letter to her into my hand so the police wouldn't find it and ask questions. 'I love you,' she said as she ran toward the sounds of the approaching police. I took the gun, hoping it would keep her out of trouble, and went home, like the coward I am." Gen stopped and squeezed Jules' hand.

Jules wiped tears away with the heels of her hands. "She didn't kill him."

"No, she didn't. In fact, nobody murdered him. Evie killed him in self-defense, to protect your auntie."

Jules smiled. "Thank you, Gen."

Gen leaned over and gently kissed Jules she backed up a few inches and gave her a watery smile. "Any time."

Jules laced their fingers together and looked up at the sky, the sun was setting across the swamp.

"Thank you, Auntie and Evie," Jules murmured too softly for Gen to hear, "for bringing me to her."

About the Author

Kate Owen, writer and chai tea addict, was born and raised in the Lone Star state (but has only ridden a horse once with disastrous results). She’s lived all over the US and even spent some time studying in Italy, but she came back to settle down in Dallas a few years ago. Kate has been writing since she was a kid, and has always enjoyed telling stories to entertain anyone she can coerce into listening.

By day, she works as a teacher for kids with special needs and writes. By night she is at the beck and call of two awesome dogs, eats out at gastropubs, enjoys craft cocktails, catches live music at various Dallas venues, and writes more. She loves playing guitar, hanging out on the lake, and watching movies that make her laugh.

She’s out to everyone but her grandmother, so don’t tell her.

Read Kate’s blog:

Follow Kate on twitter: @kateowen129

BOOK: Safe Passage
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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