Sunday, April 20, 2014


For the past half hour, Todd had been pacing up and down the street in front of the bookstore. He couldn’t figure out where Linda had disappeared to. After checking Shana’s store, he realized that she was also missing. This made him suspect that the two of them were up to no good again.
Then from a distance, he spotted the two of them strolling down Main Street, from the direction of the road leading out of town. The only two buildings along that road were the bed and breakfast and the old dilapidated mansion. Who did they know in those places? And why were they out walking when darkness had already fallen?
As they neared the coffee shop, his felt his temper rising. “Where were you? I’ve been worried!” He grasped Linda by her shoulders, wanting to shake some sense into her.
“Stop worrying about me! I can take care of myself! We only took a short walk,” she yelled back, shrugging his hands away from her shoulders. “And don’t ever manhandle me again!”
Todd, upset with himself for losing control, apologized. “I’m sorry, but I was worried.” He turned to Shana and said, “I can drive both of you home.”
“No, it’s all right; Sam walks me home every night.”
As Shana turned to leave, Linda whispered in her ear, “I’ll pick you up at 8:30.”
Infuriated with her, Todd took Linda by the arm and led her to his car. Now he was past being just angry. “Where are you going tonight? And when were you going to tell me?”
“Where I’m going is no concern of yours, but I’ll tell you anyway. I’m going with Mike, David, and Shana to Diane’s party. Shirley invited us to be her guests.” Linda turned to walk home.
“How could Shirley be so stupid? Now I have four more people to worry about!” He couldn’t understand why Shirley would invite them to the private party. Was she trying to stir up trouble? He would have to question her later at the party—that is, if he wasn’t too busy protecting Linda and her silly friends.
“You’re the one who’s acting stupid! I told you not to touch me! Leave me alone! I don’t want to discuss this any further!” Linda said in a stern voice that he’d never before heard directed at him.
He realized that he’d gone too far with his anger, “I’m truly sorry, Linda. I was worried about you, but I never meant to raise my voice. If you don’t inform me where you are going, then how can I protect you? I would never ever hurt you! Sam and I are trying very hard to protect you and Shana!”
Linda stopped walking and turned around. She walked back to him.
Taking her hand, he raised it slowly to his lips, all the while keeping her eyes locked with his, showing her with his eyes what he could never show with words: how much he cared for her. Her eyes drifted closed, as if she was savoring his touch. Oh God! He hoped that she was as enthralled with him as he was with her. He tucked her arm in his and led her to his car.
They were quiet during the short drive home and later at dinner, which Linda prepared with a loud symphony of banging pots and dishes. He understood why she was annoyed, but he knew that he’d had no other choice.

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