The End of Me
It was a cool, crisp morning, and Silver looked at the deck of the Wind Dancer as it bobbed up and down in the serene waters. Silver was about to pick up her bag when she heard a voice behind her.
Silver turned to see Walter standing behind her. "What are you doing here?"
Walter took a business card out of his pocket. "My house is close to the docks in Atlanta. If you're ever in trouble, find me."
" Thanks Walter. Take care of yourself."
"You too, Silver."
Four months later, someone knocking on his door awakened Walter. He looked at the clock on his nightstand. "3 am…this better be good." He opened the door and saw what looked like a girl lying in a heap on his doorstep.
"Yes, who are…Silver!?!?"
Walter picked her up and carried her to his couch. "What happened to you?"
"We docked here yesterday to pick up more cargo. The captain put one of our sailors in the brig without any food and when he caught me smuggling food to him, he beat me up and threw me off the ship. I'm sorry to just show up like this, but I don't have anywhere else to go, the ship's already sailed on without me."
"No, it's all right. I'll be right back, stay here." Walter returned a few minutes later with some alcohol, bandages and a clean shirt. Cleaning her up wasn't easy; Silver was literally covered in cuts, bruises and one eye was swollen shut.
"The bathroom's the first door on the left. Here's a shirt for you to wear tonight and you can sleep in the guest room, it's right next to mine."
Walter smiled at her. "Try and get some sleep."
The next day, Walter left work early to check up on Silver. She was in the dining room, eating dinner.
"How do you feel?"
Walter had a package slung over one arm. Silver opened it to find an assortment of dresses and other garments. "Go and try these on, I had a hard time trying to guess your size."
"Walter, you didn't have to…"
"I know, I wanted to. Feel free to make this your home; you can stay here as long as you like."
Silver got up on her toes and kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
Walter was surprised by her touch, but he didn't mind at all. "You're welcome."
Four months passed, and Silver and Walter grew very close as the seasons changed. As she grew stronger, Silver cooked, cleaned, anything to make herself useful. Sometimes she volunteered at the local orphanage. When Walter came home from work, they traded stories, played chess and just enjoyed each other's company. It was a chilly winter night and Silver was starting a fire in the fireplace as Walter walked in.
"Hi Walter, how was your day?"
"Exhausting. I was offered a new case today, but I'm not sure if I'm going to take it. "
Silver took his hand, guided him to sit on the rug in front of the fireplace and started fixing him a scotch and soda. "Tell me about it."
"Mary Lou Robinson is an 8 year old girl. She was walking home from the store one day when two men kidnapped and raped her. Then they beat her up and dumped her in the woods for dead. Mary Lou was found and taken to the hospital. She'll be OK, but she'll never be able to have children. Carl Robinson, her father, was naturally very upset and shot the animals that raped her. The State wants to have him executed."
"Why? He was just defending his little girl."
"Carl and Mary Lou Robinson are black. The men he killed were white."
"Yeah." He took a sip of scotch.
"What are you going to do?"
"I don't know. If I took this case, I'd be the most hated man in the city. There are a lot of people who could make my life miserable. I'm a good lawyer with a real future a head of me, but if I lose, I'm finished. But on the other hand, if this'd happened to someone I care about, I'd have done the same thing as Carl. There are a lot of risks, but I don't think I'll be able to live with myself if I don't take it. I don't think I really have any choice but to accept."
Silver was struck with a strange feeling watching Walter speak. The light from the fire enhanced his already good looks. His light brown hair and hazel eyes perfectly accented his chiseled features and light bronze complexion. In truth, it was a feeling she'd had before, just never this intense. 'Good Lord, I'm in love with him,' She thought.
"What do you think?"
His words brought her out of her reverie. "I think you've already made up your mind. You have a very big heart Walter. I mean it; you're the kindest man I've ever met. No matter what you decide, I'll be here in any way I can to support you."
"Thanks Silver." He brushed his hand against her cheek. Walter was very worried; his feelings for her were getting out of control. He found the more time he spent with her, the less and less he thought of Bernadette, at least in a romantic fashion. 'But she's still hung up on Mush. I guess I'm just doomed to love women that are in love with him. Wait a minute, love?'
Walter took the case and practically lived out of his office. Silver was always there with a steaming pot of coffee, clean clothes, law books, whatever he needed. Walter knew the case would not be an easy one to take and he was right. Almost every time he went into the office in the morning, there would be some sort of racist hate mail. He wasn't too worried about it though, until he came home two weeks later and found Silver on the floor shaking.
"Silver, what happened!?"
"When I came back from the market, I found this on the door." She held up a large manila envelope. Inside were a note and a dead bird. The note read:
"It's OK, really. It's not your fault, you're only doing what's right."
Walter looked at Silver. He wanted to kiss her so badly, but he knew this wasn't the time. Silver raised her face to his and kissed him. It was long, sweet, and the most wonderful kiss either one had ever experienced.
Walter got up and went into his bedroom. He emerged a few minutes later with a suitcase and some clothes.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going to live in the office until the case is over."
"But Walter, I…"
"I love you too much to keep putting you in danger. If anything were to happen to you it would be the end of me. I don't want you to leave this house for any reason. If you need anything, have it delivered." Walter finished packing and turned to leave.
"Walter…" Silver threw herself in his arms. "Please don't do anything foolish. If anything happened to you, it would be the end of me."
Walter held her tighter at these words. "I love you."
"I love you." Walter kissed her once more and then he was gone.
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