“So, I will ask you again, Aubrey, who’s this young man?” Her mother asked.
“Yes, and what are your intentions with my daughter?” Her dad added in, looking at Liam.
Liam became slightly stoic and nervous.
Aubrey came to his rescue and said to her parents, “Don’t be so hard on him, y’all, he was dealt a bad hand in life.”
“At least let him speak for himself, though,” Her dad said, then continued, “What’s your name, young man?”
“Liam Hartford.” He said as he finally collected himself.
“That name isn’t common around these parts.”
“Well, you’re right, I’m not from around here. But I am looking for work and a safe place to stay.”
“Well, I happen to know where you can get that. But my daughter has been tremendously hurt before, so I want to make sure you won’t hurt her. I will ask again: What are your intentions with her?”
Liam worked up the courage and said, “To be honest, I just met her today. But I do think she is a wonderful young lady, the little I found out about her and I think she could bring some stability to my life. Not to mention I think she is beautiful and sweet. We also have a similar past, so I won’t lie, I do like her and my intentions would be to at least get to know her, although if she is as wonderful as I think she is, I could definitely marry her and be true to her.”
Aubrey beamed from ear to ear.
“What is your past like exactly?” Aubrey’s mother asked him.
“Well, I had abusive parents who beat me for a yes or no. When I was fifteen I fought back and gave my dad a bloody nose. My mom called the cops and I was arrested. The sheriff molested me while I was in custody. I was also molested by two other guards in juvenile hall. I stayed there until I was eighteen then, when I was released I left that town and never looked back. That was a little over a year ago.” He paused, then continued, “Since then, I have been traveling around The States and parts of Canada looking for work and shelter.”
“How do you travel so much?” Her mother asked.
“I sneak onto freight trains.”
“Well, that is highly illegal and I know you don’t want to go back to jail. Do you?”
“I have no other way to get around though. It would be nice if I had steady work.”
“Well, like I said before I can get you steady work.” He paused then asked Aubrey, “What do you think about him exactly, baby girl?”
Aubrey answered, “I think he is kind and genuine and that I can bring out the best in him. And after hearing what he told you and Momma, I want y’all to know I feel the same way about him!”
The winds began to die down.
“Well, with that being said, I’ll give him a chance. I’m Porter Gables and this is my wife Polly Gables,” Aubrey’s dad introduced himself and his wife.
Liam shook both of their hands.
Some sunlight, albeit still overcast was starting to show again through the shelter glass.
“I wonder if the tornado is gone,” Polly said.
“I can find out,” Liam said, pulling his scanner out of his backpack.
“Good, because I need to get back to cooking.”
Liam turned his scanner on and tuned in the Weather Band.
There was a message played about the tornado warning for their county being allowed to expire.
“I had a crystal-controlled tabletop model, years ago. It’s put away now, though, because the durn thing doesn’t pick anything up anymore,” Porter said.
“I bought this so I can know when a train is coming and where it is headed. But it doesn’t use crystals. I program whatever frequency I want in it.”
“Well, hopefully, you will never hop on a freight train again. Now, I need to survey the fields and see if there was any damage to my crops. You are welcome to stay, but I require you to respect my rules and my daughter.”
“Don’t worry about that. I am very grateful, so I think I can live with whatever terms you come up with.”
“That’s what I wanted to hear!”
“Do you like green beans, Liam?” Polly asked.
“Of course. There was this old man I briefly stayed with and he made the most awesome green beans. But then he was committed to a nursing home. But just so you know, I’ll eat just about anything!”
“My Momma also cooks some awesome green beans,” Aubrey added in.
“Well, I cannot wait to try them.”
With that, they all exited the storm shelter.
Liam and Aubrey went back to the barn loft.
Polly went into the kitchen to resume cooking.
And Porter climbed on his tractor and drove back to the fields…