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The Shop on Main(9)

By:Kay Correll



She’d gone from living with her parents with them taking care of her and voicing their frequent decisions on her choices in life, to marrying Rick, where her decisions and ideas weren’t even taken into consideration. The shop had been a heady freedom, an independence she thoroughly enjoyed.

When Rick had told her he wanted a divorce, she would have never believed her life would work out like it had. They were civil, if not friendly, with each other. The boys seemed to be adjusting to their new lives. She now had her store, which she truly loved. The living area above the store was a bit cramped for them and the boys were always bickering about sharing a room, but it was working out okay. They could walk to and from school, it was only a few blocks away.

Timmy came running over. Jeremy was right on his heels. “Mom! Throw us the soccer ball. We’re going to play soccer.” Timmy was out of breath from the race with his brother.

Bella leaned down to the soccer ball resting at her feet and tossed it to them. “Here you go.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Jeremy caught the ball with his feet and dribbled it over to the grassy area where a handful of boys had gathered.

She watched as the group of boys divided up and started their game. Laughter and shouting carried across the park. She sat watching the boys and letting her mind wander. Jenny had invited her over for dinner on Saturday. She knew her friends were always trying to keep her busy on weekends that the boys were at Rick’s. Though, honestly, her life was so chaotic these days, she didn’t mind a few nights alone with a book and a hot bath.

A shadow passed over her.

“Hello.”

Bella looked up into the glare of the sun. She squinted her eyes. Ah, the Owen guy. “Hi, Owen.”

“Are you just sitting here enjoying this great weather?”

“Yes, well no, I’m watching my boys. They’re over there playing soccer.” She pointed over to the group of boys running around the field.

“Ah, I see. Which ones are yours?”

“The one in the red t-shirt and… oh, there’s Jeremy. He’s got the ball now.”

“They must keep you busy.”

“That they do.”

Owen sat down on the bench with her. He was dressed more casually this time, but still more dressed up than most people in the town. He had on grey dress slacks and a button-down shirt in a pale blue color. The whole outfit, and Owen, looked like they should be in some fancy magazine.

“You have a very pretty town.”

“We do.”

“Have you lived here long?” Owen stretched out his long legs in front of him. He had on black leather shoes that look like they cost more than all of the shoes in her closet, combined.

“My whole life. Born and raised here.”

“That must be nice to be so connected to a place.”

Bella hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it was nice. She liked knowing so many people in town, and recognizing most of the others. She did feel connected to Comfort Crossing and had no desire to leave. “Where are you from?”

“I live in Chicago right now. Moved around most of my life. California—the LA area, London, Houston, Philadelphia, California again. Anyway, those are just a few of the places I’ve lived. Don’t really have a place I’d call my home town.” Owen’s eyes held a hint of sadness.

“That’s a lot of moving around.” She didn’t envy him at all. She knew a lot of people would think it dreadfully boring to live in a small town, the same one where she grew up, for her whole life. She didn’t care. She loved it here. The heady smell of the magnolias, the humid earthy aroma in the heat of the summer, the swishing of the willow trees in the backyard of the house she grew up in and her brother still lived in. She even liked the muggy heat of the summers. She could drink in that summer evening air with the sounds of crickets and stars chasing across the sky. She was a Southern girl through and through. Comfort Crossing would always be her home.

~ * ~

Owen looked over at the sunlight hitting the copper red hair of the woman sitting next to him. The faint breeze blew locks of it away from her face. She reached up and tucked a fly away tress behind her ear. Izzy sure lived in a different world than he did. Small town in the South. Friendly people who knew you as they passed by on the street. He wondered what that would be like. Not that he’d really ever have a chance to find out. He moved around from Chicago to one town after the next, setting up the business he took over.

She kept glancing over to watch the boys as Owen talked to her, keeping an eye on them, but not in a hovering type of way. She was just letting them have fun with their friends. Free play. He wasn’t sure he ever had much of that growing up. There was always sports team practice, private music lessons, and private tutors to make sure he made the highest grades.

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