As she began to relax and feel safer she studied the man who had befriended her. She liked his looks. He wasn’t as old as he’d looked in the shadowy street. Only about thirty, perhaps a few years younger, she decided as she saw him in the brightly lit kitchen. She thought he was quite handsome with wavy dark brown hair and clear blue eyes that seemed to look right into her soul. It was frightening in a way but she was beginning to think she could really trust him. She realized she wanted to trust him. She felt comfortable with him and wanted him to take care of her. When he smiled at her she smiled back letting him see more of her feelings than she had intended.

He was surprised to see her open expression of trust as she looked at him directly and said, “I owe you an apology…” She paused then said, “I’m sorry I don’t know your name. Oh god, I’m awful I didn’t tell you my name either.” She hesitated again clearly embarrassed then continued, “I’m Evelyn O’Connell. I’m sorry I didn’t trust you. I was afraid you might take advantage of me like the men at the modeling agency tried to do, but I see now you aren’t like them. You really want to help me—actually you have already. Thank you for a warm place to stay and food. The soup was very good and the garlic bread was the best I’ve ever tasted.” “I’m very pleased to meet you Miss O’Connell. I’m Jonathon Mason and you don’t owe me any apology. You were cold, alone and frightened. It was natural for you to be afraid to trust me. I sensed you’d been victimized. I hope you weren’t hurt. Are you really alright?”

“Yes I’m fine. One of the men tried to make me have sex with him but another man made him stop so I’m OK.”

“Well I’m glad there was someone to protect you. You can tell me all about what happened and how you came to be in such a situation in the morning and I’ll try to help you but right now I think you should try to get some sleep. You must be very tired. Why don’t you sleep in my bed? I’ll sleep on the couch in my study. Don’t worry, there’s a lock on the bedroom door and I promise I won’t bother you.”

Evelyn looked apprehensive but said, “I’m tired and I should try to sleep but I’m still pretty tense. It’s been a very stressful day. I don’t want to take your bed away from you. I can sleep on the couch. I trust you. I don’t think you’d ever hurt me. I don’t want to put you out. I’ll sleep on the couch and I don’t want to lock the door.”

“It’s not a problem Evelyn. You won’t be putting me out. I want you to feel safe. I’d like for you to sleep in the bedroom with the door locked. It would make me feel more comfortable knowing you’re safe even from me.” He smiled at her and she smiled back. She was beginning to really like this man. It surprised her that she was opening up to him so easily, especially after her experiences earlier in the day—actually yesterday.

Still protesting that she didn’t want to take his bed away from him, she let him lead her into the bedroom. It felt so right that she almost asked him to stay and sleep with her but she decided that would give him the wrong impression. She was beginning to have feelings for him that she found hard to understand and she didn’t want him to think she was a slut. She was after all still a virgin at nineteen.

She removed the robe, crawled into bed, and thanked him again. He said, “I’ll lock the door on my way out. If you need anything let me know I’ll be asleep in the den.”

She sat up in bed and said, “Jonathon, I don’t want you to lock the door.” She blushed and looked down. “I suppose that sounded like an invitation. I didn’t mean it like that. I meant I trust you. You don’t need to prove yourself. I’ll be quite comfortable with the door unlocked.”

Pleased he said, “I’m happy to know you trust me but I think it would be best if I locked the door. I’ll be more comfortable with the door locked. I don’t think I can trust myself if I leave it unlocked. Have a good rest. Sleep as late as you like in the morning. Good night Evelyn.” He crossed the room, set the lock on the door and closed it.

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