Connections Jan 2015 - Page 63

Copyright ©2014 Melanie P Smtih Chapter One Melissa pulled into the driveway, shut off the car and just sat looking at the old house. Memories flooded her mind. Happy memories. Life had been so simple as a kid. Summer afternoons taking turns on the slip-nslide, tag in the dark, truth or dare. All the things a happy, healthy child needed. She glanced in the backseat and smiled. Jeremy was still sleeping. At seven the long drive from Denver to Hidden Lakes must have seemed like a life time. Jer had finally settled down and conked out about an hour ago. Melissa took a deep breath and quietly opened the door to her Ford Escape. It was one of the few luxuries she was able to keep after Mitch’s death. Melissa closed her eyes, took a deep breath and tried to push the memories from her mind. Thinking about Mitch was still too difficult. She was so proud of him. Knowing he gave his life to save a young mother and her infant child helped her to accept the loss. But the knowledge didn’t take away the loneliness, especially at night when she tried to sleep alone in that big king sized bed of theirs. It had been over a year now, but the pain of losing not only her husband but her best friend was still so acute. She wondered if she would ever have peace again. Mitch wasn’t only a good man; he was a wonderful father to Jeremy. Their little family would never be the same. She just hoped this move would give them the change they needed to move forward. Melissa headed for the front door but stopped to study the wooden stairs leading to the porch. Two of the steps were rotting to the point they had become dangerous. She’d have to fix them right away. Her son was full of spit and vinegar, just like his father. She knew that with all his energy, he’d fall through them in no time. Melissa skipped the damaged steps and walked the length of the porch. Once she reached the far end, she tipped the empty flower pot and retrieved the key. She smiled, her mother had hidden a key under that pot for as long as Melissa could remember. Hidden Lakes was a small, friendly town. Even if the neighbors knew about the key, they would never abuse the knowledge. Melissa placed a hand on the old railing and winced when it swayed. There was so much work that needed to be done to this house. The growing list of neglected repairs demonstrated just how serious her father’s condition really was. The doctor’s said he would live a long, happy life. But only if he slowed down and made some drastic changes. Thus the move from Hidden Lakes to retirement heaven in sunny Florida. She pulled a hair band from her pocket, gathered her long blond hair into a pony tail and headed for the house. She knew the inside of her new home would be not only clean, but immaculate. Connie Peters was meticulous about her housework. That and the best homemade pies in Colorado were two things Melissa could always count on from her loving mother. Melissa pushed open the large door and reached for the light switch. She smiled as she studied the humble furnishings. It wasn’t the most elaborate house on the block, but it was home. For the first time in over a year, Melissa relaxed a little. Stepping into the familiar home made her feel as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She moved to the thermostat and turned up the heat. According to the calendar it was already spring, but Mother Nature had her own schedule in Hidden Lakes, Colorado. Once the sun set, it was downright chilly. Melissa stepped back outside onto the porch to check on Jeremy. Once she was sure her son was still sleeping, she rushed into the house and up the stairs. She automatically headed for her room, but stopped in amazement the moment she switched on the light. Her parents had completely redecorated. The room was painted white with a sports wallpaper boarder running across the top. There was new carpet and the full sized bed was covered with a large comforter that matched the wallpaper. Clearly this was made for Jeremy. Had they set up the master for her? Of course they had. Melissa frantically blinked, trying to prevent the moisture forming in her eyes from falling. She was almost successful. It was a lost cause the moment she opened the door to the bedroom that had always been her parents. They had completely remodeled. The new bedroom set must have cost them a