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Roxy goes to Italy to present an educational documentary.
Three novels later, I found myself in the exact opposite of where I thought I wanted to be. Famous and recognizable. Sure, the money was good. Hell, the money was fucking fantastic! But I craved the anonymity that I had before and I was having a hard time adjusting.
So I bought my lovely house in North Carolina, far enough inland to escape hurricanes and with enough land to discourage nosy neighbors. My daughter, who was living in Atlanta, came to visit once a month and my son, in Miami, came up every couple of weeks so I was never lonely. Or so I thought.
I went into town to do some shopping and was very surprised to see an actor that I absolutely loved. Gale Harold, one of the stars of the show, Queer As Folk, was striding down our 'Main Street' and gazing into shop windows. I pulled myself together enough to find a parking space and jumped out, intent on getting his autograph when Mrs. McArdle roared through the intersection.
Gale was standing in a parking space, admiring the architecture of one of the old buildings and didn't notice her approach. I watched in horror as she came flying down the street and I saw her corkscrew curls whip around as she noticed the empty space. Her wheels pivoted and she maneuvered her automobile toward the curb. Gale hadn't noticed. He had removed his sunglasses and was squinting up at the cornices when I shouted at him.
I didn't think. I forced my body into action and sprinted toward him, tackling him as the crunch of metal and glass sounded loudly behind us. The last thing I saw was the look of astonishment on Gale's face just before we both crashed to the pavement, his leather-clad torso breaking his fall and my head breaking mine.
I opened my eyes and immediately winced from the bright lights and the pain that brutally stabbed through my skull.
"Finally!" My daughter smiled, leaning over to press a kiss to my forehead. "I thought you were taking a vacation." I started to sit up and she pushed me back down. "Mrs. McArdle totaled her car, by the way." Her words bounced around my brain as snippets of pictures flashed through my brain. I remembered what had happened and I turned to her with a question on my lips. She smiled, speaking before I could even get the words out. "He's waiting outside."
"He wasn't hurt?"
"Just a few scrapes. Momma, you saved his life."
"No, I didn't."
"Yes, you did." The words came from behind her and she stepped aside to make room for my visitor, the man himself. For several long seconds, I forgot to breathe as those dark eyes focused on me and heat suffused my entire body from head to toe. "How are you?"
"Uh, fine. I think." I raised a hand to my forehead, my fingertips meeting a thick pad of gauze and antiseptic tape. "Brains are probably scrambled but what the hell. They were scrambled before this."
He smiled and gave his flowers to my daughter and she set them to the side. "I'm Gale, by the way."
"Yes, I know who you are." I took his hand, clasping it gently. "I'm Gena, Gena Richards."
"Well, Gena, I don't know what to say."
"Thank you is sufficient, Mr. Howard."
I nodded in acknowledgement. "I'm glad that I was there."
"I am, too!" He laughed. "So when do you get out of here?"
"I don't know. Hopefully before I have to eat. It's been awhile since I've been in the hospital but I know that the food hasn't gotten any better."
"You've been here for two days, Momma. I'm sure they'll keep you for another day for observation."
"Ugh." I covered my eyes, shaking my head. "I'm doomed. Say, what are you doing in North Carolina anyway?"
"Doing a movie."
"Good for you."
"It's a Queer As Folk reunion."
My eyes nearly popped out of their sockets and my daughter laughed out loud. "Here? In North Carolina?"
"It's supposed to be where Lindsay and Melanie have moved to."
"I thought they moved to Canada ... "
"Well, if you're the fan your daughter told me you were, you know that we filmed in Toronto, pretending it was Pittsburgh. So North Carolina isn't that much of a stretch."
I shrugged. "Yeah, I guess not."