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Posted On 05/07/2015 06:32:42 by JBMorrisAuthor

May 7




“Mom is sad. She cries a lot. I don’t like that.”

“Do you want me to see her?”

Dusty shrugged her shoulders, stared at the floor. Finally she said, “I have to go.”

Hand on the door knob, Dusty looked back at Seth, her eyes dropping, unfocused. Turned down, the corners of her mouth twitched.

Overwhelmed, she mumbled, “Seth,” and ran into his outstretched arms.


“You what!”

Returning from her bedroom, after her mother had asked her to turn off the television set, Dusty said, “I said I saw Seth today.”

Pamela dropped her purse onto the kitchen island. Surprised, excited, she fired back, “What do you mean you saw Seth today? Where? On the street?” Pamela embarrassed herself with her enthusiastic questions. She sounded like a police detective.

Returning to the couch and her cell phone, Dusty said casually, “In his office.”

It was a murder investigation with Pamela as the chief detective. She stood over Dusty, “What do you mean, you saw Seth in his office?”

Continuing to review her Facebook postings, Dusty said, “I took a cab and went to his office.”

The interrogation became intense. “You’re telling me, Dusty Brighton, that you disobeyed me and left the house without my permission? ”Pamela was conflicted on whether she should be angry Dusty had left the house or excited she had seen Seth.

Dusty continued to scan the postings. “Moses said you might get upset.”

“Oh, now Moses is in on this too?”

“He said if you wanted to get mad, you should get mad at him. It was his idea.”

“So everyone is ganging up on me.” A bubble of amusement began to float up inside Pamela. She focused her attention on Dusty to avoid smiling.

“Dusty Brighton, you are grounded until you are forty-five. Do you understand me?” Dusty acknowledged her mother’s life-altering decision with a quick glance. She knew her mother was excited.

Sitting next to Dusty, Pamela dropped her police detective persona, became a mother again.

“Honey, listen to me. I’m serious. Don’t ever leave the house again without calling me first. The city can be a very dangerous place for a twelve-year-old girl. Promise me?”

Dusty dropped her cell phone into her lap, hugged her mother. “I promise.”

“Good. Now that’s settled, I need a cup of tea. Join me, sweetheart.”

Pamela felt restless, opening cabinet doors in search of the tea. Seth was alive, reasonably well, and in the city. Was he excited to see Dusty? Did he say he would call or even better, stop by?. Did he still love her? Oh Pamela, you’re such a mess.

Exasperated, Pamela threw up her hands. “I can’t find the tea.”

Sitting at the counter, grinning, Dusty said, “Mother, it’s right where you put it this morning. It’s on the first shelf next to the refrigerator.”

“Oh.” Embarrassed, Pamela pulled out a box of Knightsbridge tea collection from Harrods Department Store in London, set it on the counter and leaned against the refrigerator. “Okay, I give up, how was he?

“Who, Seth?”

Pamela rolled her eyes in frustration. “Yes, Seth. How is he?

Dusty shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. Fine, I guess.”

Pamela rested her hands on the counter. “Well, did he ask about me?

Ah. . .I don’t think so.”

“Come on, Dusty. Give your mother a break. Surely he must have said something.”

“He seemed kinda of sad. I think he still likes you.”

Pamela turned off the boiling water, having lost interest in the tea “Are you going to see him again? Is he going to call?”

“He didn’t say anything.”

Pamela’s words spilled out in frustration. “That’s it? That’s all you have to say? Hey Mom, I saw Seth today. That’s nice. What did he have to say? Did he ask about me? ‘Gosh, Mom, I don’t know.’ That about it, Dusty? That’s all you can tell me about seeing Seth today?”

“I’m sorry, Mom.”

Pamela started to cry in frustration.

The doorbell rang. 

Pamela snapped, “Now who could that be?”

Careful of her mother’s mood, Dusty said, “I told Cyndi to come over and watch TV.”

“Sweetheart, please tell her to come back another time. I’m not in the mood for visitors tonight.”

“Okay.” She heard her mother crying as she walked to the door.

Eyes wide in shock, Dusty whispered, “Seth.” when she opened door. She instinctively hugged him.

Seth whispered back, “Is Mom home?”

Dusty nodded.

“Who is it?” Pamela yelled from the kitchen.

“Tell her I am a delivery man, and she has to sign for a package.”

“Mom, some guy has a package. You have to sign something.”

They both smiled when Pamela said, “Give me a break.”

Resigned, Pamela dabbed her eyes with a tissue. “I’m coming” She saw him standing at the door with a bouquet of a dozen red roses. “Seth,” she shrieked and covered her mouth with her fingers.

“Hello, Pamela.”

Still holding her face, Pamela exclaimed, “Seth, why didn’t you call me first? Look at me. I’m a mess.” She tried to wipe the residual tears away without smudging her makeup. There was some failure in the effort.

“I’m sorry,” Seth said sheepishly. “I thought maybe you would say no, and I wanted to see you. May I come in?”

“Oh, Seth, don’t be silly. Of course you’re welcome. I apologize for my rudeness. Come in, come in. Excuse my appearance. It has been a long day. I had a lot of meetings.”

“Mom, I’ll be in my room,” Dusty said, closing the door.

“No, sweetheart. I would like you to stay. You are a part of this, whatever this is.” Pamela missed it but Seth caught it. A smile from Dusty.

“Dusty told me you’re moving,” Seth said. “You’ve bought a horse farm in North Carolina?”

“Yes. We’re excited. I’ve been meeting with a number of consultants to help me. It’s rather a large estate and will require a number of staff. I intend to become a serious horse breeder and trainer. Have you ridden horses?”

Seth chuckled. “I know how to drive a tank, but I don’t remember ever sitting on a horse.”

“I can teach him,” Dusty piped up

Standing next to Dusty, Pamela touch the top of her head. “Yes, you can, sweetheart. Dusty is a very good rider, Seth. I know she could teach you.”

“I would like that. I would like that very much.”

Trying to sound casual without embarrassing Seth, Pamela looked at the roses. “Are those for me?”

Embarrassed, while firmly gripping the bouquet with both hands, Seth extended them to Pamela.

Overwhelmed, Pamela touched her lips with her fingers. She wanted to cry for the joy of seeing Seth standing in front of her. Receiving them carefully, as would a jeweler receiving a treasured necklace, Pamela inhaled the strong, rich fragrance. “They are beautiful, truly beautiful. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.” Handing them to Dusty, she said, “Sweetheart, could you put these on the kitchen counter. I’ll put them in a vase in a minute.”

Nervous, unable to control his hands, Seth clutched them. “I hope you will accept them as a token of my apology for what happened at the ball. I—“

“Seth, it’s not necessary to—“

“Please, Pamela. I need to say this.”

Pamela nodded.

“I feel absolutely terrible about what I did. There was no excuse for it.”

“They set you up. You didn’t have a chance.”

“I know, but I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. I want you to know, I am seeing a PTSD psychologist. She has helped me. I know it won’t happen again.” Biting his lip, he said, “I guess that’s about all I have to say.”

Pamela wanted to hug him but fought the urge and remained standing in place. “My dear, Seth. What happened that night was a blessing for both of us. You’re getting the help you need, and I learned the people I used to call my friends are empty, vindictive people. And even better, Dusty and I have found a new wonderful life on a horse farm. I’d say we both came out winners that night. The only loser is my mother. She’d rather love a name than be loved by a daughter and granddaughter.”

Realizing any discussion of her mother was depressing, Pamela said, “So, are they keeping you busy with hostage rescues?”

“Been a bit of a change. I’m no longer out in the field. I coordinate the teams doing the rescue work.”

“So you could work anywhere?”

“As long as I have the net and a laptop, I’m good to go.”

It became silent, awkward. Words were used up, apologies offered and accepted. Pamela looked intently at Seth who continued to play with his hands. Dusty sensed the moment, shuffled her feet.

“Well, Seth Collins, are you just going to stand there, or are you going to kiss me?”

Their kiss was long, passionate with a promise it was the beginning of much more.

Throwing her hands up, Dusty proclaimed, “I’m out of here.”

“Wait,” Seth said.

“What?” Dusty parked her hands on her hips.

“You and I, we’re friends, right?

Dusty shrugged her shoulders, arched her eyebrows.

Pamela whispered in Seth’s ear. “Let me translate for you, darling. She just said yes.”

Seth laughed. “Dusty. I need to ask your mother a question.”

Excited, Pamela interjected, “And I need to hear it.”

“Dusty, do I have your permission to ask your mother to marry me?”

Dusty rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

“Dusty said yes, sweetheart. And me too. Yes, a thousand times over. I love you, Seth,

“And I love you, Pamela. I was so nervous. I thought you’d send me away.”

“Silly man.”

Dusty coughed to express that it was time to end their long embarrassing embrace and kiss.

Pamela said, “Sorry, Dusty. Someday when you fall in love, you will understand.”

“Give me a break.”

Pamela pulled away. “I have something I want to say.”

“What?” Seth and Dusty asked.

“I’m only thirty-four. I want to have a baby. Our baby, Seth.”




A note from the author:

Thank you. Thank you for taking the time from your busy lives to read my stories. I appreciate each of you. This is my last story for the season. I must confess I have a busy fall and winter coming up with writing and publishing. I am uncertain if I will be able to resume my short stories this fall. I should have an answer in a couple of months. You are a wonderful group of readers and it has been my pleasure sharing my stories with you.

My best wishes to each of you.

JB Morris


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