Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Holiday to Remember Chapter Twenty-Four

(jump to the first chapter)

Chapter Twenty-Four – Men… Who Needs Them

by Barbara Edwards

Candy flipped open another file, but her gaze refused to settle on the page. Silence echoed through her open office door. Down the hall, a single strand of garland sparkled and twisted as air moved from the heat she’d turned up. Someone had left a holiday candle in one of the cubicles, and the scent of spiced apple drifted to her. She pulled her cashmere sweater close and ignored the fact that her favorite lay at the foot of Mitch’s bed. A shiver ran over her skin. Chilled by the slushy city streets, she needed warmth. Mitch’s steaming body came to mind, and she snarled aloud. Those long, slow hours making love were in the past.

Her hand slid across the wide desk, sending the file to the floor. Anger and pain combined in a dangerous cocktail. If he were here, she’d show him pain. Her fist slammed down, and she winced. She didn’t need him. She didn’t need a man, period.

Rising to her feet, Candy rubbed her arms as she paced to the wide windows. Nightfall lent sparkling beauty to the street below. She’d been so proud to occupy the corner office of her own business. Years of hard work and dedication had taken her to the top of the advertising industry. Her mother would have been proud of her accomplishments. She pressed her hand against the cold glass.

What was Mitch doing? Did he regret letting her go?

Why? Why? Why? The why pounded like hammer blows inside her skull, and a tear trickled down her cheek.

Rubbing it away, she straightened her shoulders. Mitch wouldn’t talk to her, wouldn’t explain. And she’d let him get away with that? It wasn’t like her. She spun away from the window.

Her mother’s smile glinted from a candid photo on her desk. The breath caught in her throat. Her mom had loved Michael. Her big heart had welcomed the lonely boy. Though he had only a single neighbor and a big sloppy dog, shedding love like loose hair, Mitch’s life now held more affection than it ever had in his youth. She rubbed away another tear.

Had she judged him too harshly? She’d blamed him for not talking to her, but had she asked the right questions? Pain closed around her heart and squeezed.

Her hand shook as she reached for the phone.

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