This is how it all begins…
It was a cool, gray afternoon. Dark walls of clouds filled the depressing autumn sky, threatening to bring down a torrent from the heavens.
But despite the gloomy weather, Pearl Tyler was happy. She was on her way from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Bangor, Maine to start a brand new life. It would be just her and her soon-to-be baby daughter, forming a fresh start after a ten-year marriage she thought would last until her dying days. Until a twenty-two year-old blonde with an knockout figure and an eye for older men lured her husband away from their home, and into an affair that shattered her so-called perfect life.
And here she was, six months later, heading to a new town thanks to her employer. “A secretarial position just opened up in our new office in Bangor Pearl,” she recalled her boss Julie saying. “I don’t know if you’re interested in relocating, but after everything that’s happened between you and Duncan, I thought I would try to get you up there before they hired someone local that doesn’t know a thing about the company. Plus, you’ve always said you wanted to live in New England…”
Pearl didn’t hesitate. She jumped at the chance to fulfill her dream of living up North, where the trees glowed gloriously with orange and yellow leaves in the fall and the cold winters that could take your breath away. She would make new friends and new memories, leaving behind the mess that was her divorce.
With one hand firmly gripped on the steering wheel, she patted her belly. She was now starting to show, and before her obstetrician gave her the OK to travel, informed her she was going to have a little girl.
“How’re you doing down there?” Pearl asked her unborn daughter. “I know it’s going to be a long trip but it’s worth it. So hang in there, it’ll be just a few hours more. We’ll stop and rest soon.”
Pearl turned up the radio. Some pop song was playing. It was an upbeat tune that matched her mood and she hummed along. Seconds later, raindrops began to gently hit the windshield of her blue Chevy Cobalt. She turned on her wipers, still humming.
The rain began to pick up in intensity and Pearl slowed her speed. The sky darkened, and Pearl knew she was in for a doozy of a storm.
Through the drops, she saw a sign on the side of the road. “Welcome to Haven, Maine,” it read in bold black script lettering. Underneath that, said “New England’s Best Kept Secret.”
“I guess it is a secret since I’ve never heard of it,” Pearl muttered to herself.
Driving carefully, Pearl continued on her way. She didn’t see many houses; it appeared to be one of those small dots on the map that was all countryside. Lots of trees, which on a clear day would be gorgeously bright and boasting its colors, looked sad and forlorn against the pelting rain and the stormy sky.
A few minutes later, she passed a barn and a big farmhouse. A few cows were in the field grazing, oblivious to the wet weather. “Well, now I know someone lives here,” she remarked to herself.
A DJ’s voice was now on the radio, announcing the afternoon news and weather. The rain was going to continue into tomorrow, with partial clearing the day after that. Temperatures were going to be in the 60’s and breezy, typical for fall.
The road narrowed, and Pearl was approaching a thick forest. She slowed down even more as she carefully made her way on the smaller strip of blacktop. As she came around a curve, she suddenly saw a dark green Ford pickup truck blaring down on her—from the wrong side of the road. She gasped loudly. “Oh my God!”
Gripping the steering wheel tightly with both hands, she instinctively turned to the right to avoid hitting the truck, which clipped her side as it charged past her. But as she tried to steer back straight onto the road, she hit a patch of slippery road and the car went veering to the left. She desperately tried to straighten out, but couldn’t, heading right for a tree. “No!” she cried out, again trying to get control of her car.
But it was too late. The car hit the tree, but luckily for Pearl and her baby, not as hard as she thought it would. The air bag deployed, socking Pearl in the chest. The impact made her groan, and she unfortunately hit her head on the window. She jerked back toward the passenger side door as excruciating pain flooded the side of her head, followed by a warm trickle that ran down her head and cheek. Still conscious, she reached up to see how badly she was bleeding. It wasn’t much. She wiped the blood onto the steering wheel and again patted her belly. The baby was kicking furiously. “It’s okay little one, we’re fine. Mummy just bumped her head, that’s all.”
Pearl retrieved her purse from the passenger seat and reached inside for her cell phone. Even though she reassured herself she and the baby were okay, she knew she should get to a hospital to be checked out. But could someone reach her from a tiny country town?
She pulled out her cell phone. No bars. It was dead, and the charger was in a bag in the trunk. She started the ignition to see if the car would come on, but it didn’t. She tried again, but no luck. Tears flooded her eyes. Now what was she going to do? Stuck in the woods on a stormy late afternoon, almost five months pregnant, bleeding, head pounding, with no cell phone.
“I have to get help,” she said through her tears. “But how? There’s probably nobody for miles.” But I have to. I just have to.”
She opened up the door, cold rain stinging her face. She then opened up the left side back door and reached in for her raincoat, quickly wrapping it around her, pulling the hood over her long red hair. With her purse snugly around her shoulder, she walked onto the road, heading back in the direction of the farmhouse she passed minutes before. It would take her probably a half-hour to reach it, but she had to trudge on.
But after five minutes of walking on a wet road, darkened by the thick forest on both sides, combined with the kicks of the baby inside her and the searing pain from her head wound, Pearl began to get very dizzy. Clutching her temples, she headed for one of the big oak trees. The leaves would shelter her from the rain. She had to lie down to get her bearings.
Slowly, she leaned up against the massive trunk and slid down underneath it. The ground was slightly damp. Sitting up against the tree, she closed her eyes, and blackness overtook her.
Damien Collins was driving down the wood-darkened road, headed to the Lawrence farm to get milk and a slab of beef Gene Lawrence had cut for him and his family, when he spotted the blue Chevy that hit a pine tree. Pulling his truck to the side of the road, he dashed out to see if someone was trapped in the car, but there was no one. “Hello, is anyone there?” he called out. He looked around a few times then jumped back in his truck. He would call for help once he got to the farm.
Back on the road, he instantly spotted Pearl lying under the oak tree, her tan raincoat standing out against the green and brown of the forest. He again stopped the truck and hopped out, bending down to look at her. He instantly noticed the strands of red hair peeking out from under her hood, and her creamy complexion. He picked up her wrist to feel for her pulse. She was alive, thank God. He gently tapped her cheeks. “Wake up. Come on girl, wake up.”
A few moments later, Pearl opened her eyes. With blurry vision, she was able to make out the fuzzy silhouette of a handsome man about her age, with spiky brown hair and stubble on his face and chin.
Damien smiled as Pearl started to come to. “That’s it. Wake up.” He pulled her up in a sitting position and took down the hood of her raincoat. “Hey Red,” he said softly. “Is that your car back there up against that tree?”
Pearl was dazed and looked at him blankly for a few minutes before being able to answer. “My car—I was in an accident—truck ran me off the road…” Then she blacked out again.
Damien sprung to action. Gently laying Pearl back on the ground, he rushed to his truck and opened up the passenger door. He hurried back, scooping Pearl up into his arms and putting her into the truck. It was then he noticed her slightly swollen belly. “Good God… she’s pregnant,” he said tightly to himself. “I’m taking her back to the house and get help from there.”
Coming up next…
- Damien his family are concerned for Pearl’s safety.
- Quinn and Jude argue over his dead lover, Megan.
- Pearl bonds with her rescuers.