Fiction Friday

“I wouldn't have recognized your mother here.” He picked up one of the loose photographs. Behind it was one of her most treasured pieces. If she could drag him bodily away, he might not see it.

She took the picture of her mother from his hand and turned away from the shelves to look at it. “She's lost a lot of weight. She smokes to much and drinks. She got sick right after this picture was taken.”

“You took care of her?” He stared at the picture on the shelf.

“Yes, of course.” She cleared her throat wishing she'd hidden that picture. “Wouldn't you like to go down and get something to drink? Better yet, shouldn't you go home?”

Ignoring her, he picked up the one. Framed in cheap, dollar store plastic that she'd bought when she was fourteen, was a grainy picture of Thad and herself. A sunny, summer day when they'd gone fishing. He probably didn't even remember her being there. The Mason boys and Jeannie[thad's sister], Bobby and his girlfriend had all marched down to the homestead creek.
Her second summer in Coopersville she'd been eleven. Big-eyed and mesmerized by the boy next door. Unfortunately, he hadn't been so much a boy, but a grown man. In this one instant though, he'd leaned against the fence where she sat and asked her if she was having fun. Jeannie had called out and as one they'd both looked up with huge grins on their faces from laughing about how Thomas had fallen in the creek.

“This is great. I can't believe you have it.”

She shrugged. She'd tossed aside her childhood crush, but hadn't had the heart to get rid of it. Even when she'd decided to hate him, she hadn't been typical. No burning session after a night of beer with her girlfriends, no Edward Scissorhands to mutilate it. “Seemed a shame to throw it away.”

Seriously, could he ignore her request to go downstairs any more blatantly?

He set it gently back on the shelf. “What are you so nervous about?”

“I'm not nervous.” Her house shoes were under the bed. She slipped them on. “It's weird having you in my bedroom.”

He started wandering again and leaned onto the bed with his palms flat against the quilt. “Nice. Firm, yet soft.”

She lifted a brow.

Turning, he sat then bounced a couple of times. “Good bounce.”

She pressed her lips together to stifle a laugh. “Are you finished?”

“Wait,” Thad said pointing his finger. He leaned back against her pillows and headboard. “Good support. Comfy.”


“So, who is this Roarke to you?” He patted the bed for her to come and sit beside him.

She snorted with a shake of her head. “You want to talk about my past lovers?” Heat rose on her neck at the implication. God. She had to get out of here. “Roarke wasn't a lover. He was a good friend. His wife was in my nursing class. I babysat for them occasionally and he gave me guitar lessons.” She huffed. “Why am I explaining this to you? I'm going downstairs now.”

Thad watched her clear the doorway, heard her feet on the stairs before he blew out the huge breath he'd been holding. Holy moly, he was in serious trouble. “Get a grip.”