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The Storm, a story of finding new love...
Molly bumped into the driveway with a joyful skid and stopped in front of her upstairs garage apartment. Petunias hung from the balcony over the two large bay garage doors. The fall of vibrant color inspired her to do something new and life reassuring.
“Hello Molly.” The spirited greeting came from across the yard where Mrs. Pinkerton sat on her front porch. She had owned the house next door for as long as anyone could remember. As a child, Molly would wander through town just for a visit…and would get a cookie as her reward.
“How are you, Mrs. Pinkerton?”
“I’m doing just fine, dear.” She studied Molly with the understanding eyes of a fellow widower. “You look good today. Pretty dress. How’s the new job?”
“It’s been interesting. I never expected to be there so long and I do miss my job at the library, but,” Molly shrugged her shoulders, “I’m happy.”
“So ya are. Good for you. You’ll start seeing men, I suppose.”
Molly smiled. Mrs. Pinkerton insisted she get a man, soon.
She didn’t balk anymore when a friend mentioned her need to find someone new. At times it was annoying, yet she couldn’t stay mad at an eighty-six year old woman, either. Besides, she did get lonely.
“I’ve been thinking I’ll wait for your great grandson to come of age. Now he’s a cutie.” Molly loved when Cheryl, Mrs. Pinkerton’s granddaughter, came to visit with her passel of five kids. Sean, the youngest, was a fifteen month blue-eyed wonder who loved to snuggle down on her shoulder. She found herself longing in those moments.
Mrs. Pinkerton studied her.
Leaning on the white picket fence, Molly blushed and laughed. A breeze swept around her legs and she relished the feeling of freedom the wind granted her. “You’ll be the first to know when I find a new man.”
“Humph.” Mrs. Pinkerton shifted in her seat and started rocking again. “I see we’re getting a new neighbor.”
“Really? You mean in Katie’s place?” The landlord had taken the large two-car space below her apartment and made it into a ground floor unit. Sure enough, a moving van sat to the left of the azalea bush.
“How about some pizza, Chief?” A voice drifted from the garage and was loud enough for the two women to hear. A deep rumbling baritone answered, “Get pepperoni and mushrooms.”
Molly winked at Mrs. Pinkerton. “Guess I’ll go say hello. Check ‘em out for you.”
She stopped at her car first to gather her things. In her hands she held her briefcase, thermos, and a bag of collected garbage from her car. Each night, no matter what the circumstances, she liked to pull everything out of her car. A clean slate each morning started the day just right.
She rounded the corner of the garage only to be assaulted by the rising ruckus. The original bay doors had been permanently framed, insulated, and drywalled on the inside. The main living space and kitchen, with ceilings of twelve feet, opened onto a patio directly under Molly’s balcony.
She stood in the entryway for a few seconds before a man rose from the pile of discarded boxes. His smile was immediate and contagious. She took in the chaos of opened boxes, clothing, and furniture before coming back to his face.
He brushed his hands on his jeans as he walked toward her.
“Hi. I’m Jacob.” His smile was sincere and she shifted the weight of her burden so she could greet the man properly. “You must be Molly.”
“Yes.” She smiled, assuming he had spoken to the landlord, or even Mrs. Pinkerton. “Welcome to the neighborhood, Jacob.”
She was still pumping his hand when the second man returned from the bedroom and the world as she knew it came to a grinding halt. She dropped Jacob’s hand. Deacon Bonning in the flesh. “Oh God.”
His smile was devastatingly slow and captivating in a way that Jacob’s hadn’t been. The air surrounding her sizzled and she failed to inhale, couldn’t seem to catch the breath she needed to sustain life.
Her mind seized with distress. What was he doing here?
...Charlie? Did they know more about what happened to Charlie?
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