Welcome Home.

Hey guys, it’s that time again…I’ve been toying around with this first bit of a new short story series for a while. I like how it’s shaping up. This new story series will probably send us into the new year, and long after. #AlwaysRambling.  I hope you will join in and read along!

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Meet Melanie…

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Melanie stares at her reflection in an airport bathroom. Her crystal blue eyes stare back at her.

She fluffs her hair and reaches into her purse for her lip gloss, as she applies some of her favorite very berry with just a hint of pink, and is instantly hit with a feeling of déjà vu. 

Time freezes and she thinks of him. As she often does.

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There she stands in front of her vanity applying her lipstick as she feels him watching her from the doorway of their bedroom.

Turning with a smile, she says, “What are you looking at?”

He smirks, “Everything,” he says casually leaning against the wooden door molding.

“Yea? And…do you like what you see?” she says showing off her outfit.

He smiles and walks over to her, taking her hand he spins her around, as his eyes glance over her full ensemble.

“You. Look. Sexy as hell,” he smiles pulling her to him and kissing her.

She smiles against his lips as she cups his face, her diamond ring sparkling as it sits on her left hand.

Melanie is brought back to reality as a stranger sets off the hand dryer nearby.

She shakes off the memory as she looks at her now empty ring finger.

She looks at herself in the mirror once more.

You can do this, she thinks to herself.

Melanie wipes a tear from her eye, as her cell phone begins to ring.

Grabbing her plaid suitcase and purse, she strolls into the airport lobby, answering her phone.

“Hey mom.”

“Sweetheart! Did you land yet?”

“Yes. Just now actually, I am just about to head out and grab a cab.”

“Oh honey I’m so sorry we couldn’t meet you, there’s just so much prep to do, we have the whole family coming early tomorrow morning.”

“Mom it’s really ok. I understand. It’s no big deal. I will see you soon.”

“Ok honey! Oh I am so excited to see you!”

“Me too. Love you, see you in a bit,” Melanie says with a smile.

“Love you, bye.”

Melanie hangs up and heads toward the exit. Stepping toward the end of the curb, she raises her hand to hail a cab. The fall chill nipping at her nose.

********************************************************************************

“Thank you,” Melanie says to her cab driver as he unloads her suitcase for her.

She looks up at her childhood home, and instantly her heart is full.

She smiles at the festive decorations of hay stacks, pumpkins, scarecrows and twinkling lanterns that line the pathway to the door which is dressed in a sunflower wreath. Orange, yellow, red and green flood her eyes as she blinks to feel more grounded.

It’s been a while.

She reaches for the door knob, the cold gold feeling strange yet familiar at the same time. And turning it, she peers in. Her nostrils instantly flooded with her mom’s famous sweet potato pie and cranberry stuffing.

“Hello?”  She says wheeling her suitcase in as her low heeled booties click and clack over the hard cherry wood floor.

She hears some clinking and banging in the kitchen and then is met by her mother’s streaks and open arms.

“Melanie!!!! Oh my word. You look fantastic,” she says hugging her daughter tightly.

“Hey Mom,” she says smiling.

“Is that my Mel belle that just walked in?” her dad says walking in the front door in his work clothes and rushing to hug her too.

Melanie smiles as she hugs her parents.

“It’s good to be home,” she says finally feeling an inner peace.

********************************************************************************

“Mom can I help you with anything?” she asks as she settles in on a chair at the island across from where her mother works on mixing up some cornbread batter.

“You could get started on the sticky buns?” she says with a smile.

Melanie smiles back with wide eyes.

“Sure,” she says standing and heading to the fridge.

“You remember how to make them?” her mom says peering over the edges of her red rimmed eyeglasses. 

“You put them in the oven, let them rise, add some honey and brown sugar and then get to starting on the glaze.”

“And…” her mom says with a questioning smile.  

“Add a little extra cinnamon for a lot of extra love, How could I ever forget?” she says as her mom smiles at her.

*********************************************************************************

Melanie sits in front of the fireplace. Her eyes glazing over as she watches the flames flicker away.

An image flashes in her mind of him. Them. On that very same couch. He leans over.

“So…are we actually alone in this big old house?”

“I think so,” she says looking over at him her eyes smiling with a sparkle.

He smirks, and leans over to her, kissing her. As he leans into her, the kisses intensify as he switches them to a laying down position, him above her gazing down into her eyes.

“Promise me something?” he says tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Anything,” She says gazing back her hands wrapped around his waist.

“Promise you’ll never leave me.”

“Never,” she says reaching up and cupping his neck, pulling him into a kiss.

“Good, because I don’t think I can handle that.”

She smiles, her heart bursting as they kiss into the night, their clothes disguarded piece by piece.

Melanie looks around her living room, it’s emptier now.

She shifts uncomfortably in her seat.

She sighs, her heart heavy.

You can do this, she thinks.

Her eyes begin to well up.

“Honey?”

Melanie looks up to find her mother looking at her with concern.

“Melanie, what’s wrong? Or do I even have to ask?”

Melanie smiles simply as she brushes a single tear off her cheek with her cream colored oversized sweater sleeve.

“If we’re going to do this…I’m going to need a little liquid courage.”

“I have some Thanksgiving Day punch, shall we sneak a little in tonight?”

“Yes please,” she says smiling faintly.

********************************************************************************

“So…have you seen him?” Melanie asks looking over the brim of her glass as she throws back a giant gulp of Thanksgiving Day punch.

“I have,” her mother says carefully, calmly.

“How is he?” Melanie inquires  caught between wanting to know and not wanting to know but having to ask anyway no matter what the truth may be.

“He seems good.”

“Good. I’m glad. I want him to be good.”

“He asked about you.”

Melanie sighs looking away.  

“Did you tell him I was coming home for the holidays?”

“Did you want me to?”

“No. I mean I don’t know. Town like ours, I’m sure I’m bound to run into him anyway so…”

“He knows. He guessed.”

“Ah,” she says her eyebrows raising.

“He always had a way of knowing you better than anybody…”

“Except you.” She says smiling at her mom.

“Well yes, mother knows best.” She smiles.

“I know I see him every few years. You’d think it’d get easier. But it hasn’t, it just gets harder. I don’t know what to say, or what to do. He deserves so much better than I could ever give him.”

“Honey, I don’t think there is any resentment there. Not anymore. Time does heal.”

“Not all wounds.”

“Maybe not yours. But he seems very much ok. Moved on even.”

Melanie ponders, her eyes watering, and her mind racing as she looks back at the fire, the flames crackling and glistening in the night. She takes another sip of her punch as she stares off into space.

Her mother watching on with a sad heart.

**********************

Who’s this mystery man, that lurks through Melanie’s thoughts?

To be continued…

-<3-

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