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Washington, Utah

All rights reserved 2011

Prologue

It was an odd feeling. As she held him in her arms for the final time, knowing it would be the last time he ever placed his head upon her chest, a sense of remorse tugged slowly at the edges of her heart. She loved him, she was certain of that. But she had always known this day would come. She told herself she could make this work, but she knew it wasn’t meant to be. Here was the proof right in front of her. As they hugged a final goodbye, him sitting on the edge of the bed, neither of them shed a tear. It was still hard though. She would miss him and the nights would be difficult. But it would be better than living with someone you had no future with.

“I’ll miss this,” she said almost robotically, trying to sound tenderer than she felt.

She was afraid of looking at him. The walls she had built up knowing she was going to do this today were threatening to crumble. She couldn’t look into his blue eyes. Yesterday she couldn’t wait to get this over with, but now she felt like she could break at any moment and beg him to stay. But that would make things worse. They did that last time.

“I will, too,” he said quietly.

He held her waist tighter and kissed her lips softly. Even with him sitting he was nearly as tall as her. Melody had always loved the way it felt to curl up in his lap. At five-foot-two and a hundred pounds soaking wet, he was double her weight and stood more than a foot taller than her. She had rearranged the kitchen table so he would quit walking into the chandelier and hit his head.

She pointed to the king size bed. “I won’t miss that though,” she said with a laugh. The bed was hard as a rock but the only bed long enough for him to sleep on. “I’ll sleep in the guest room and you can take the bed with you.”

He smiled but with a tinge of sadness. He had slept in the guest room the night before. Not because the bed was softer, but because they had been fighting.

“I’ll leave it for you,” he said.

She ran her fingers through his short hair and down his cheek. He was incredibly good looking with his rugged features and calloused hands. He came home every night covered head to toe in dirt and mud after working twelve hour days. She loved that about him. He knew how to work hard and never asked for anything he hadn’t earned. There was so much she was going to miss, but a lot she wasn’t.

Melody let out a deep sigh. “I need to go.”

“Where?” He didn’t let go.

“I don’t know. I just don’t want to be here when you leave.”

That was all it took.

He stood, kissed her hard on the lips and then grabbed his bags. Jake didn’t like being told what to do and often did the opposite of what she asked to prove a point. He was going to make sure he left while she was still home.

He stopped in the bedroom door and turned to face her. “Call me sometime. I’m not that far away. We can still hang out, it’s not like we hate each other.”

“Okay,” she replied half smiling, knowing she wouldn’t call. “I love you, Jake.”

“I love you, too, Mel, and you know that’s hard for me to say.”

She listened to his footsteps as he went down the stairs. She heard the “clink” of him dropping his key on the counter. A minute went by before she heard the front door open and close. Finally his diesel truck rumbled to life and he pulled away.

Melody sat on the bed with a dejected feeling. She should have left earlier, before he packed. She didn’t want to feel this way. She didn’t want to be the last one standing here when it ended. She looked around, the room felt empty now with his clothes gone. She crossed the hall and stripped the guest room bed of its sheets. They had made love on them this morning, after the break up. Then they had gone to breakfast, holding hands.

She threw the sheets in the wash and then grabbed a garbage bag and threw away everything that reminded her of him. She was going to start over and she was going to start now.

Chapter 1

Jordan wiped the counter top slowly, keeping her eyes down so she could pretend she wasn’t overhearing the conversation taking place just a few feet in front of her.

“You’re moving? Just like that?” the woman sobbed.

The man was looking away, not wanting to make eye contact with the blonde dabbing at her make up with a tissue. “It’s not that far away?” he told her quietly.

The woman looked around the coffee shop embarrassed. “When do you leave?” she said a little quieter.

“Tomorrow.”

“Did you give two weeks at the office?”

He nodded, ashamed, as if he knew what was coming.

The woman jumped out of her chair, too shocked to respond right away.

Jordan couldn’t help but peak at the couple. The woman was pacing and the man was keeping his head down. Jordan had seen the couple at her shop many times, but they hadn’t been in for a while. Today appeared to be a chance meeting. The blonde seemed surprised to see him there. Jordan felt a pinch of empathy for the woman, she was obviously heart broken.

“So you’ve known for two weeks and you’re just now telling me?”

The man was backpedaling now but Jordan’s phone rang and she couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation.

“Jordan’s Coffee,” she said cheerfully.

Jordan Downing opened her coffee shop the previous spring and it had become her baby. At 24, she was independent and loving the freedom of running her own business. Sure it came with a lot more stress, but nothing she couldn’t handle. She was renting a space from a man who owned the car wash and gas station that was connected to her coffee shop. She found a steady stream of customers who waited in her shop while their cars were being washed.

Jordan ended her phone conversation as the blonde left the coffee shop. The man didn’t stay much longer, just long enough to let the female get in her car and start to drive away.

The coffee shop was empty now. Jordan hated this part of the day.  It always slowed down after lunch and she had to find ways to occupy herself. Usually she could watch her crush from the window who worked at the car wash, but it was his day off. She turned on the radio and started perusing Facebook to kill time. Her friend Jessica “needs food desperately or her baby chipmunk will die” on Zoo World, someone needed help in Mafia Wars and had their crop die on Farmville. Rough day, she thought as she chuckled to herself.  She had never gotten into the games but her friends were addicts.

The bell on the coffee shop door tinkled and Jordan looked up as a petite brunette walked in. The woman looked around, obviously coming in for the first time.

“Hey, welcome to Jordan’s!” she told the newcomer.

The girl smiled warmly but seemed hesitant to approach the counter.

“We have smoothies and non coffee drinks, as well,” Jordan said, trying to coax her into trying something.

The girl nodded and set her purse and what appeared to be a laptop bag on the closest table to the door. “Just a large vanilla latté, please,” she said quietly.

Jordan watched the girl as she made the drink. She definitely wasn’t from the area. She was having a hard time distinguishing between whether the woman was shy or anti-social. But as Jordan watched the woman approach the counter, she realized it was a hint of sadness that kept her from saying anything. She smiled, but her eyes seemed heavy and sad. Standing closer, Jordan realized she was very petite, a bit shorter than Jordan. Her long hair had a red tint to it that made it sparkle when she walked as her hair swayed behind her. Yet, although she was quite beautiful, the woman seemed unaware of it. She wore very little makeup and her hair hung long and straight. She wore jeans tucked neatly underneath her brown boots and a relaxed pink T-shirt.

“Where are you from?” Jordan asked.

“Las Vegas,” the woman said with a hint of a southern accent. She handed Jordan her debit card.

Jordan peeked at the card as she ran it through the card swiper. Melody Ashby. “You don’t sound you’re from Vegas,” she said pointedly.

Melody smiled. “Well I grew up in Tennessee but I just moved here from Vegas. I went to school there.”

“What brings you to Washington, Utah?”

Melody looked away. “Just starting over.”

Jordan saw the sadness had come back in the woman’s eyes and she didn’t press any further.

All rights reserved 2011

 

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