Connections Jan 2015 - Page 69

down the aisle. “Well,” Sissy huffed. “That woman always was rude.” She grumbled as she headed in the opposite direction. Clearly time away from town hadn’t improved Melissa Peter’s social graces. Sissy smiled. Shane Chandler was going to be oh, so surprised to learn his old flame was back in town. Sissy couldn’t wait to tell him. As it happens, Sissy got her chance that very evening. She was sitting at the local café when she spotted Shane Chandler entering the pharmacy. “Frank, come on. We need to go.” Frank looked up and gave Sissy a confused look. “What’s the rush? I haven’t finished my coke.” “Come on.” Sissy said, standing. “You have coke at home.” She waited impatiently as Frank threw enough money on the table to cover the bill and a generous tip then followed her out the door. They barely made it in time. Sissy was pulling Frank down the sidewalk as Shane exited the building. They almost collided. “Oh, Shane. I didn’t see you there.” Sissy lied. Frank rolled his eyes. He knew what his wife was up to. She’d been going on nonstop about Melissa Peters all day. Shane tipped his hat in greeting and started to move passed them. He needed to get home. Meg was doing better, but she still had a slight fever and they were out of children’s Tylenol. He wanted to get home before she fell asleep so he wouldn’t have to wake her just to give her the medication. “I’m glad we ran into you.” Sissy said, following Shane toward his car. “You’ll never guess who I ran into today at the grocery store.” She paused, waiting for Shane to inquire but when he continued toward his truck she blurted it out. “Melissa Peters.” She was so happy to be sharing the news she didn’t noticed Shane’s slight misstep. Shane didn’t have time for the town busy body. Did she really think he cared who she’d gossiped with in the grocery store? He was almost to the truck when the words hit him like a freight train. Melissa was in town? He wondered why. Her parents had moved to Florida, some retirement community that would give Jake the rest he needed to get well. “She said she bought her parents’ place and will be living here permanently.” Sissy continued, oblivious to the turmoil that was churning inside Shane’s very soul. “Those were her words...permanently. Did you know she was coming back, Shane? I never heard a word about it. You can imagine my surprise when we practically collided in the frozen food section. She was buying ice cream of all things. You know, that woman better be careful. She might still be small and petite now, but a habit of indulging that way will ruin her figure quicker than spit. None of us are in our prime anymore.” “I’m sorry, Sissy, Frank.” Shane said, trying to breathe. “My daughter isn’t feeling well. I need to get home to give her this medication before she falls asleep.” “Of course.” Frank said, pulling his wife away from Shane. He could tell the man was upset and with good reason. Everyone knew Melissa Peters had broken the guy’s heart. Shane climbed in his truck, started the engine and pulled onto the highway. He had to get away from here. He was on autopilot, habit the only thing leading him in the right direction as he traveled away from the small town toward his ranch. The instant he saw old man Stewart’s cornfield, he pulled his truck to the side of the road and parked. He needed to get a grip. He shouldn’t have been rattled so innately by the news that Melissa was back in town. But Sissy had been so smug, reveling in the fact that Melissa was here permanently. It was the situation, the messenger, as much as the message that had thrown him. But why the secrecy? Connie hadn’t mentioned her daughter’s return to anyone. He knew that, it was a small enough town that if Connie had told a living soul the news would have been everywhere. Shane lowered his forehead to the steering wheel. He’d never gotten over Melissa, he was pretty sure he never would. Unfortunately, he was just as sure that she would never forgive him for his betrayal. How were they going to live in the same town, run into each other at the grocery store or the hardware store and not cause a scene? Him out of frustration because he couldn’t have her and her out of anger because she hated him. He knew he deserved her anger and her hatred. He had no one to