I have one more short story I'd written a while back called Heart Supplement. I thought I would send it to you for fun! Also, if you're near Vicksburg, Mississippi, tomorrow, I'll be signing my novels at Lorelei Books. The address is 1103 Washington Street.
Rachel never expected to be a widow at fifty. Now her friends had talked her into selling health supplements and attending this convention in Atlanta. The new business gave her activities to fill the empty evening hours, but spending the night in a fancy hotel room alone seemed strange. In the past, she’d only stayed in hotels with her husband and family. She sucked in a breath and pressed the elevator button to head down to the lobby. She could do this. The products were good, and she’d learn more about them this week, maybe get motivated to make more sales.
A ding brought her attention up to the lighted numbers. The doors slid open, and a man in a designer suit smiled. “Going down?”
“Yes. Thank you.” She took a step inside, but stopped. The man’s blue eyes looked familiar. It couldn’t be. “Are you—“
“Rachel?” The voice was warm and deep. The same voice she’d spent hours listening to on the phone in high school.
“Steve?” Rachel couldn’t stop a smile. Or the warmth filling her chest. How long had it been since she’d seen her first real boyfriend? She really needed to stop staring, but the years had been kind to him. A nice set of smile lines crinkled his eyes, and his dark blond hair held a few strands of gray, but they only made him more attractive somehow.
“I can’t believe it. I was thinking of you not long ago. Actually…I think of you often.”
Heat crept up Rachel’s cheeks, and she struggled with how to answer.
Steve cleared his throat and continued, “I heard you married, so I don’t want to get in trouble with your husband or anything.” His brows drew together above his arched nose. “Do you stay in touch with anyone from school?”
The elevator jerked to a stop at the bottom floor. She hadn’t even noticed it moving. When the doors opened, she took a few steps into the lobby, then paused. Should she tell him she was single? She hadn’t thought of dating yet. Of course, her friends had tried to set her up with a widower from the grief support group. “I’m on their social media page, but otherwise, I haven’t stayed in touch.”
She hadn’t seen Steve in the group and had been curious what had happened with him after his family moved two states away his last semester of school. They’d both been heartbroken, and neither of them could afford out-of-state tuition. Their long distance romance had finally dwindled during college. Though she’d been happily married, she had to admit, she’d wondered what happened to Steve. Was he healthy and content wherever he’d landed?
“I’ve avoided social media, but maybe I should join the rest of the world so I’ll know what’s going on.” His phone rang in his pocket. He pulled it out and pressed a button to end the call. “Seeing you is a bit of a shock. I haven’t even given you a hug or asked how you are.” He held open his arms.
Rachel took a cautious step closer and allowed him to wrap his arms around her. Somehow his embrace still felt warm and familiar after three decades, and she let herself melt into his shoulder. Tears burned behind her eyes. “I’m widowed.” The words blurted right out of her mouth. What an idiot he’d think she was.
His hold tightened, pulling her closer. “I’m sorry. When? How are you?”
“A year. I’m making it.” Sighing, she took a step back out of his arms. She smoothed imaginary wrinkles from her dress. “I don’t know why I said that. I’m sure you’re in a hurry. Are you in town for business?”
“I have a conference here this week. Software development. Totally boring unless you’re a computer geek like me.” Those blue eyes twinkled as he gave her a tender look. “I never married.” He shrugged and winked. “Never found a girl as sweet as my high school girlfriend.”
Rachel’s heart skittered at the compliment. “I’m here for a conference this week, too. Not software, but health supplement sales. It’s my new hobby since…”
“I understand.” Steve nodded toward the café in the lobby. “Can I buy you breakfast and catch up on the past thirty-plus years?”
“I think I’d like that.” She smiled. “It might take more than one breakfast to cover all that time.”
He returned a huge grin. “This week just became much more interesting than software or supplements. We may have to have breakfast every day…lunch and dinner, too.”
I hope that was fun!! How would you continue the story in your imagination? Email if you have some fun ideas! Also, let me know if I can pray for you, too.
By the way, my friend Jennifer has a free book I wanted to let you know about below. She's a great author, and super sweet person!
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson