We finally get to Illinois just before 6am. Amelia slept the whole way, so she was full of energy when it was time for our next step. I carried her across the street in my right arm and rolled our suitcase with my left. I walked up to the truck and saw a lady around forty standing by the driver's side. I saw her red baseball cap with the angel. She had long blonde hair that was in a low pony tail and looked to be around 5'7. She was slim but athletic. Just as I came about eight feet from her she turned around.
"Are you my runaway angel?" She said in a thick jersey accent.
"Oh please don't call me ma'am. Call me Izzy. She slapped the door of her truck and I saw the logo. LADY IZZY'S 18 WHEELER CO. "Climb on in I'm headed to South Dakota for a pick up. There is a facility for you just outside of one of the small towns." She took my suitcase and threw it behind her seat. There was a small cot back there.
Just as I climbed in she asked," Who is this precious little thing?" Amelia hid her face in my side. She has always been really shy.
"This is Amelia." I said with a small smile. "Thank you for doing this."
"No need to thank me. I was in your position about twenty years ago. I promised when I got on my feet I would help. So I started my own eighteen wheeler company. I have fifteen other trucks, all ladies who drive, all helping women just like you." She started driving down the road and I couldn't help but feel much safer knowing that she understands my situation. "It is about a ten hour drive. There is a small diner about an hour up the road. Best steak you'll ever have. We'll stop there. Now I am only allowed to drive for about six hours straight, if it is alright with you we will stop and get a room to rest. I know you both have already had a long journey from New York."
"Yes that would be perfect."
We sat in silence on the drive to the diner. When we got there we had steak and eggs for breakfast. Amelia was still too shy to talk to Izzy. Izzy told me about her runaway story. She was married to her high school sweetheart, but he became a drunk who beat her everyday for no reason. No one believed her, not even her own family, so she ran. Once back on the road for six hours, we stopped at a little hotel in Iowa next to a Denny's. We checked into our room. It had double queen beds and a shower I was so excited to see. After being on the road for over twenty hours, you start to feel icky. After we ate dinner at Denny's I put Amelia down to sleep and decided to join Izzy outside.
"Want one?" She asked pointing a cigarette towards me.
"No thank you I don't smoke." I replied as I stood next to her by the railing right outside the door.
"Yea I don't either. I tend to have one or two, just to relax my nerves when I pick up a new angel." She lit the cigarette that was between her lips and gave a long drag.
"How many women have you helped?" I couldn't help my curiosity.
Izzy took another drag and blew out the smoke as she spoke. "I lost count after a few hundred. I've been doing this for ten years. So whats your story angel? If you're okay with telling me."
"My name is Mila. I will be twenty three years old. I lost my parent's and older brother to a house fire when I was eight. My brother got me out and went back in to get my parents who were trapped in their room. He never came out. I didn't have any family so I went into the system. Bounced around until I was eighteen and then was on my own. I started working part time as a waitress to pay for college when my husband came in with a few of his college buddies. He got my number and we dated. Things were perfect. Within a year we were married and a few months later I was pregnant with Amelia. I thought I had the perfect life." I stared off, trying to figure out how it all went down hill. "On my twenty first birthday, Sebastian came home from work and hit me. I had no idea why. After that everyday he would hit me. Clothes not folded properly? Hit. Didn't season the food just right? Slap. Cried while he raped me? Broken rib. I don't know how or why he became such a monster. I took his beatings and never said anything cause I thought no one would believe me. He's the Chief of Police's only son and the city's golden boy. I was just an orphan who didn't have anybody but one best friend. She is the reason I am here, she helped me."
"I'm so, so sorry you endured that." Izzy said as she hung her head.
"Honestly it wasn't the beatings or him raping me that hurt the most. It was that I thought I was finally safe and loved, and I was wrong. I was sexually and physically abused while in my foster homes. Either by the husband's or their sons. It went on for years and I would report it, but nothing ever happened. I was called a liar and a troubled child, so eventually I just gave up and laid there. I had no more fight in me. But now I look at Amelia and I know she can't see me just laying down and taking whatever is dished out. I have to be her example to be strong and to fight." I didn't realize the tears that were streaming down Izzy's face as I spoke.
"You are the strongest woman I have ever met. Out of all the women I have helped, I have to be honest, none of them went through as much as you did and you are standing here so much stronger than they were. This is just the beginning and you have already come so far." She gave me a tight hug. I was tense at first but soon relaxed and hugged her back. "I need to make a phone call. It is about your placement, don't worry. Go ahead and go get some rest, we have a long day tomorrow."
I went back inside to brush my teeth and lay down with Amelia. By tomorrow we will be in a new place, with a better life.
Come on pick up. Pick up.
"Hey it's Izzy I have a favor." I hope he accepts. This is too important.
"This couldn't wait until morning! You know its almost midnight!" He yelled back. I don't know why he is so mad, he doesn't even sound like he was asleep.
"No it couldn't wait. You know the organization I am a part of. I have a young woman and she-"
"No." He interrupted.
"You didn't even let me finish !" I argued back. I know I was going to get it for talking back but right now I didn't care. Mila needed to be somewhere safe. Even though the facilities were perfectly safe, I knew this place was better.
"I don't care. I already told you this is my town and I don't want a bunch of runaways here. No matter their situation." Authority started leaking from his voice. Any second now he could give me the command and I wouldn't have the ability to argue anymore. I needed to think of something and fast.
"She can take my cabin. I am hardly there anymore. It is deep in the woods, has ten acres, and I can get one of the teenagers in town to run up her groceries and other necessities so you never have to see her." Amelia wasn't in school so that wasn't an issue. "I can send her money to pay for the bills and food so she wouldn't even need to be in town for work."
"No. If she is going to be here she will not be having it so easy. Six months. Then I want her out of here."
"A year, and I will never ask you to do this again."
"Deal." He said in almost a growl.
"We will be there day after tomorrow. Thank you Alpha Cruz."
In two days I will be driving a human and her daughter to a small town with my pack that has been there for over two hundred years. The humans there know about us, but Mila doesn't. I don't know if I should tell her.
Alpha Cruz - OBVIOUSLY DON'T TELL HER YOU FUCKING IDIOT.
Izzy- Understood Alpha.
Well that was decided. Time to go to bed. As I walk back into the room I see Mila and Amelia asleep already. She really is such a strong, beautiful woman. I can't imagine why all those people hurt her.