Friday, March 26, 2010
And Easter Story Part Four--Missy Tippens
An Easter Story
Part Four—Missy Tippens
Jeff’s next door neighbors, Dan Sr. and Marjorie Clark, were the closest thing he had to family. He’d hurt for them over the last year. But having little Greta home had seemed to help ease the grief.
The rich aroma of a pot roast wafted his way making his mouth water. Marjorie had made his favorite. Kind and generous, the Clarks had invited him over for dinner several times.
But this time, he was nervous. Nervous, of all things. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d acted this crazy.
“Pass the mashed potatoes, please, Mr. Jeff.” Greta sat next to her mom like a little princess with her napkin in her lap, batting those baby blues, using her best manners. Dan and Sammie had raised her well.
“Sure, princess.” He grabbed up the bowl and held it out to Sammie.
“You do know she’ll be asking for a tiara now.” Sammie shook her head at his use of the nickname. But she seemed pleased. And then she smiled. Her sparkling brown eyes met his, but the eye contact didn’t last long. She looked away. Then at him again almost shyly.
Man, those eyes packed a punch. As he watched the gorgeous brunette scooping mashed potatoes onto her daughter’s plate, he had to admit she was the reason for his racing heart and itchy nerves.
“You sure are quiet tonight, Jeff.” Dan Sr. clapped him on the back almost as if he sensed the reason for Jeff’s distress.
Jeff had never had a woman give him the jitters before. And he’d been okay with Sammie while at her house working. So why now? Could be because he was afraid his attraction would show—to her late husband’s parents. Not cool. “Just tired. We got a lot done on Sammie’s house today.”
“Sammie?” Dan raised his brows at the use of the name apparently only Jeff used. The man looked briefly at his daughter-in-law, then back at Jeff. “Well, now, that’s good to hear you’re making progress. Tell us all about it.”
Thankful to have a distraction, Jeff jumped right in. Talk of the house kept the conversation going for the rest of the meal. And Jeff managed to regain his equilibrium. Once finished eating, he pushed back from the table and stretched. “Another fine meal, Marjorie. Thank you.”
Marjorie waved away his compliment, obviously pleased. “How about some dessert?”
“I can’t hold it tonight.”
“None for us either,” Sammie said. “We need to head home and put Greta to bed. I have that early interview.”
As Jeff stood, the doorbell rang. “Don’t get up.” He shook hands with Dan Sr. “I’ll get it on the way out. Probably just someone selling something.” He waved and said goodnight, trying not to let his gaze linger on Sammie. He would miss having her work by his side in the morning.
When he opened the front door, a young woman stood at the bottom of the steps with her back to the door as if she was walking away.
“Can I help you?”
She froze. Slowly turned. And looked as if she’d seen a ghost. “Jeff?”