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John Marion Francis

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Featured Book
Pieces of Me
by Lena Kovadlo

Enjoy this emotional poetry book where you just might find yourself within its pages...  
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They say when you lose someone you love, you can wish them back in another person… This was the case for me. My name is Cody and this is my story of how a wish I wanted so badly to come true , came true for me.

Chapter 1 - Twin River

They say when you lose someone you love, you can wish them back in another person… This was the case for me. My name is Cody and this is my story of how a wish I wanted so badly to come true , came true for me.

I live in a small ranching town called Twin Rivers in North Dakota. I love it here, the mountains, the trees, the wild life, the open range, our horses, our golden retriever Max. My lovely wife Melissa is my heart. She’s smart, strong, supportive, giving and sweet as April showers. I am a woods craftsman and part time rancher of a small heard of angus and she owns a café in town called “Talk of the town”. Everybody goes there for breakfast, lunch and supper. She’s the best little cook around and everyone loves her.

We both were big attorneys in Washington DC. After ten years in the business we had enough of law and politics and we wanted a change. We had been on vacation out here a couple of times to North Dakota and fell in love with it. After winning a large law suite, we decided to pack up and move out here to Twin Rivers. We’ve been here for twelve years and never looked back.

“Coffee honey?” I asked Melissa lifting up the covers and quilt from over her head, drawing back her golden blonde hair. She smiled slowly opening her eyes.

“Yes baby. I’d loved some.” 

“I’ll be back shortly” I said putting on the handmade robe she made for me two Christmas’s ago. Max our golden retriever was looking at me wagging his tail.

“Hey Max! Want to go out boy?”

I opened the door and out he went. I just stood there for a moment staring out at the majestic mountains, our horses, and taking in the sweet scented air. The sound of the coffee chime finishing broke my gaze. I put on a couple more logs in the low burning fireplace and poured two cups of coffee for us. 

“You want biscuits Melissa?” I called out to her from the kitchen. 

“Yeah” she murmured with her tooth brush in her mouth leaning out the bathroom door. I turned the pan of biscuits in the oven after brushing them one more time with her homemade honey butter. Max came back in wagging his tail barking for his breakfast. 

“Here ya go boy” I said filling up his bowl with Purina.

I put her coffee and biscuit on an oak tray I made for her on the anniversary of our first year of being here and turned to head for the bedroom when I saw Melissa standing in the door way smiling at Max and I.

“You two are the most handsome men on the planet and I am the luckiest girl in the world. I don’t know what I’d do without you two”. She said smiling.

I put down the tray, picked up her cup of coffee and held it up to her lips. She closed her eyes and took a slow sip.

“I don’t either Melissa. I can’t imagine my world without your love next to mine. I need you more than you’ll ever know. I would be lost forever in time if anything were to happen to you or to us”.

I slowly loosened the soft velvet belt from her robe and glided my hands around the soft curves of her hips. She smiled.

 “What are you doing mister?” She giggled

I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her closer to me and hugged her deeply. She drew her arms up around my shoulders and put her nose close to my mine, looking at me with her big blue eyes.

“I love you Cody. I love you with everything I have to give. But if anything were to happen to me, I want you to move on. I know that’s hard for you to hear, but listen to me. I’ll always be in your heart and soul. Know this to be true sweetheart. And when you’re strong enough to move on without me, make a wish and I’ll hear it and I’ll make it come true .”

I didn’t realize that day that those words would be the most profound words that she would put inside of me for safe keeping. She passed away three months later. She’s buried at the top of Whispering Hills facing the mountains just like she wanted. It was our favorite place on the ranch to go with a picnic that she would prepare on Sundays.

The swing that I made for her sways from the gentle pushes of the mountains breeze. Max and I still go up there to visit her on Sundays and take her favorite flowers. I sit on her swing and talk to her about how things are going at the café and how much we miss her. One day I’ll make that wish that she wants me to make. But for now, all I think about is how much I miss her and love her and how broken my heart is without her love. Some days are harder than others but everyday I go into to town and open her café just as I promised her I would.

A year had passed now. Christmas was just three weeks away. The snow had started early this year making everything white and pure. I was ringing up Ed and Sarah’s lunch special when the bell on the door tingled signaling that someone was coming in.

“I’ll be right with you” I said without looking up while giving Ed and Sarah their change. I closed the register draw, pulled out a couple of menus from under the counter. As I looked up in came someone I hadn’t seen before. Standing by the front door pulling off her gloves and blowing into her cupped hands was a tall brunette in jeans, Sherpa boots, a full length duster coat, and warm smile.

“Are you still serving lunch” she asked in a small even voice.

“Um, yes I am, I mean yes we are.” I said fidgeting the menus. “Right this way. Would you like a window seat?” I asked leading the way.

“A window would be great” she said.

“How’s this one?” I asked stopping by the one nearest the fireplace.

“This is perfect” she said taking off her coat. I helped her with it as she let her shoulders release it into my hands.

“Thank you” she said.

“You’re welcome. Coffee or hot chocolate to start?” I asked placing down a menu in front of her.

“Hot chocolate would be a great start” she smiled answering.

“Coming right up” I said jotting down her order.

“I’ll be right back for the rest. O’ and today’s special is Mary Anne’s meatloaf, mash potatoes, and green beans. It’s pretty good”.

My heart was pounding in my chest. I just remembered as I was walking away that I had seen her around town and over at the feed store from time to time.

“Cody? Cody?” I heard in the background as the sound of my name interrupted my thoughts while I was walking back to the counter. It was Mary Anne, Melissa’s cook that started with her when she opened the café.

“Yeah, Mary Anne?” I said looking up from out of my thoughts at her. Mary Anne was smiling at me looking like the cat that ate the canary. 

“She’s Paul & Linda’s daughter. She’s up here for a few months to help them through the winter season business. We got a lot of snow and that means lots of visitors”.

Paul and Linda own and ran the Lazy Days B&B and ranch just north of town. It’s a nice place where tourist that want to bask themselves in western traditions can come and get the full treatment. I took over the hot chocolate to my new guest.

“Here you go. The best hot chocolate in North Dakota” I said placing it down in front of her. She looked up.

“Thank you and I’ll have Mary Anne’s meatloaf special and a side salad.  By the way my name is Samantha”. I began writing down her order then looked back at her.

“O’, I am sorry, where’s my manners. Hi, I am Cody. I own the place. It was my wife’s idea when we moved out here a while back. We have a small ranch.” She smiled looking around then back at me.

“Where is she? I love the way she decorated the place and all these great paintings, who’s the artist?” I looked down then back up at her.

“She passed away a year ago and the art is by her hand. She liked to paint on her days off.” She looked down at the table then back up at me.

“I am so sorry Cody. She must have been truly someone special to be so creative.” I smiled remembering Melissa.

“Yeah she was a special girl. Everything about her is in this place. I promised her I would keep it goin’.” Samantha looked at me and could see how much I missed her in my face.

“Cody, I can see how special she was to you in your eyes.”

“Thank you Samantha. It’s been hard at times, but me and Max are gettin’ by”.

“Max?” She asked in a surprised voice.

“Max is our dog. He’s my best friend.” I smiled answering.

“I love dogs. My parents have one too.” She said.

“Yeah I know. Her name is Molly. They bring her by to see Max when I bring him into town on Saturday’s with me and that just makes his day. Well I better go get your order in before you starve.” I said smiling. She smiled back,

“I’ll have another hot chocolate too”.

“Coming right up.”

Chapter 2 "Ask her to the dance"

“Meat loaf special with a side salad” I said to Mary Anne handing her the order ticket.

“So did you talk to her?” Mary Anne asked.

“Yeah”

“Well… what ya think?” I knew where Mary Anne was going with this so I played along with her.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Come on Cody. Isn’t she pretty?” Well I had to admit, she was pretty. Her smile was nice and she was easy to talk to.

“You ought to ask her to dance next weekend” said Mary Anne with a Cheshire cat eatin’ grin looking at me.

“I don’t know Mary Anne. She might already have somebody” I said.

“Nope, she sure doesn’t. I already asked Linda and she said she an’t got nobody” said Mary Anne with a snappy response. I leaned into the order window.

“What are you two up to? It better not be what I am thinkin’ it is” I said hoping that they were.

“What da ya mean “we”. Well, “we” was just talkin’ at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store last week and Linda said that Samantha was comin’ to town for the winter season and thought that she should come by and say hello and try some of my cookin’ that’s all”.

“Ah ha. Try some of your cookin’, ask her to the dance next weekend. You two gal’s are cookin’ up somethin’ and it an’t in this kitchen” I said pulling out two menus for the next customers waiting at the door.

“Just think about it Cody that’s all I am sayin’, just think about it” she said turning to her pots on the stove waving her spoon at me.

I didn’t know what to think now. Those two cackling’ hens was trying to set me up with Samantha. I guess she was kinda interested after all she did come by. But maybe she was just hungry.

“Right this way ya’ll, today’s special is Mary Anne’s meatloaf with mash potatoes and green beans” I said to Jake and Debbie a couple of my regulars.

I was watching Samantha out the side of my eye while I as placing the menus out. She was sipping her hot chocolate and looking through the local paper. ‘Would she go to the dance with me’ I asked myself heading back to the counter. Well, it’s a week away and I’ve plenty of time to build up the courage to ask her.

“Here you go hun” said Mary Anne putting Samantha’s order on the take away station. “Now you go ahead ask her to the dance” she said pushing the plate towards my hand with hope filled eyes.

“I don’t know Mary Anne” I said looking down at the floor then back up at her.

“What do you got to lose huh? What are you scared of?”

“I an’t scared to ask her. I just gotta find the right time that’s all” I said.

“Well, take her food and remember its okay Cody. It’s time to move on” she said in a motherly tone.

I picked up her plate and silverware and walked slowly over to her table. She put down her paper a looked up at me.

“That looks real good Cody” she said with a smile.

“Well I hope you like it. It’s the best in town” I stammered trying to work up the courage to ask her to the dance.

“Wow, she serves up big portions!” she said stirring her mash potatoes with the gravy.

“Yeah, she doesn’t know the meaning of portion control.” We both laughed.

“Well let me know if you need anything else. I’ll be over there at the counter”. I said not believing the words that just came out of my mouth. I was supposed to be asking her to the dance! I said to myself twisting my towel in my hand walking away.

“Cody?” I heard Samantha call my name. My heart was pounding at the sound of my name coming from her. I turned around and went back to her table.

“Yeah” I said like a kid with wide open eyes.

“Are you working tomorrow?” she asked. My throat went dry for a moment.

“Yeah, all day until close.”

“Well, mother is baking some pies tonight and she wanted me to see if you wanted to come by for a slice of pie and to look at a water heater in one of the rental cabins. She said the water wasn’t getting very hot” she said with big please say yes eyes.

“Ahhhh, sure, I’ll pack my tool box and put it in my truck tonight so I don’t forget it” I said with a big “thank you lord” smile.

“Good. Then I’ll see you tomorrow tonight” she said. “Okay. Tomorrow night”.

Chapter 3 "Tomorrow is my big day"

I rolled down the window and let the mountain air flow in for the drive home. The stars were bright and the skies were clear. ‘Why didn’t I ask her to the dance?’ I asked myself. Am I ready for this? Am I ready to start something new with someone? “Melissa, tell me what to do. What do you think? Did you send her to me?” I looked up in the sky searching for Melissa’s face and smile in the heavens. “Can you give me a sign sweetheart? I want it to be okay with you first”.  I pulled up to the cabin and could see the fireplace glowing through the front windows. Max burst out of the door and ran into my arms.

“Hey Max! How was your day today boy?” I said hugging and patting his head.

“Well I kept the fireplace going for you so the place is warm and Max has already been fed” said Fran, Max’s sitter. Fran is my neighbor’s daughter that watches Max when I am away in town.

“Thanks Fran. He wasn’t any trouble today was he?” I asked paying her.

“Nah, he was a sweetheart as usual. Thanks Cody. See ya tomorrow. Bye!”

“Bye”.

I closed the front door and went to the fridge for a cold beer and sat in front of the fireplace with Max. “Well Max I met someone today. Her name is Samantha. Mary Anne thinks I should ask her to the dance next weekend.” I said to Max who was lying on his side staring into the fireplace with one ear up listening to me. “I am going over to Paul and Linda’s tomorrow for some pie. You want to go?” Max’s ears perked up at the idea. “Okay, you can go too.” I said taking a long draw on my beer and putting another log in the fireplace.

“Looks like you and I got some kind of date of sorts.” I picked up Melissa’s picture and looked at deeply. “I still love you and I still miss you so much. Is this okay? I just need to know. I know you said to make a wish one day when I was ready. I am not quite there yet, but I might gettin’ there. Just tell me if it’s okay.” Max and I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the crackling fireplace and Melissa’s picture in my hand.

The sun was rising as the smell of the automatic coffee brew was filling the air waking Max and I up. “Good mornin’ Max, ready to go out?” I said putting on Melissa’s robe still smelling her scent deep in the fibers.

“Don’t go far okay? We got to go into town early”. I poured a cup of coffee and open up the kitchen window to let the mountain air in. I could see Melissa’s swing swaying in the breeze. “Good morning honey” I said as if she was looking at me waving.

“Good mornin’ Cody” said Fran at the front door with a couple of logs for the fireplace in her arms.

“Mornin’ Fran. How’s it going?” I said to her setting out some biscuits and honey butter for her.

“Fine. Mmmmm, Melissa’s honey butter and biscuits!” she said with a smile. Fran was crazy about her homemade honey butter. Melissa made it by the barrel once a month. I keep it out in the cold storage in the back of cabin.

“Well, help yourself. Max is still outside and should be back shortly” I said to Fran.

“Okay.”

I put on my best newest jeans and button shirt. I didn’t want to wear my usual pull over sweatshirt to work today. I put on my good boots and fancy belt with the big 2nd place rodeo belt buckle. I won it last year showin’ off for Melissa. She thought I was gonna’ kill myself out there riding Wild Wind the mildest horse they had. I smiled at myself over the thought. Ball cap or my cowboy hat I was trying to decide.

“Fran, which hat do ya’ think I ought to wear today?” I called out to Fran. She came in with a biscuit in hand licking the butter from her fingers.

“Well look at you all fixed up fancy. You finally got your eye on somebody? ‘Bout time.” She said.

“I might. So tell me which hat?”

“Well definitely the Resistol. What woman can resist a cowboy?” she said laughing walking away singing “Cody and somebody up in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g”.

She is a good kid. We have known her ever since she was born. Melissa and I are her god parents. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her and her family. They are good people. They were the first ones to welcome us to Twin Rivers and introduce us to everyone in town.

“Okay Max let’s load up. It’ time to go.” I said holding the door open for him.

“We’ll be home later tonight Fran. Just put a couple of logs on the fireplace when you leave after that.” I said.

“Okay Cody. Ya’ll have fun” she said waving goodbye as we rumbled down the drive way and on to the main road.

“Well boy today is our special day. You had a bath and I’ll all slicked up. Wish us luck.”

Chapter 4 “Pie for two”

The sun was rising over the mountains and the snow was glistening and melting slightly. Max had his head out the window enjoying the brisk breeze rushing into his face. We pulled into town a little early. We stopped by the feed store to buy a couple of bails of hay for the cattle and horses.

“Mornin’ Ed” I said walking in with Max.

“Hey Cody, what can I do ya’ for today” said ED putting out some beef jerky on the counter.

“I need a couple bails of hay and a bag of Purina for Max” I said lifting up a bag of Purina carrying it to the counter.

“Hey Samantha” said Ed.

Oh my God she’s here I said to myself. How do I look? I wasn’t expecting to see her until tonight at the B&B.

“Hi Ed” she said in a perky voice making sure I heard her.

“O’, hi Samantha” I said tipping my hat to her.

“Hi Cody, you’re up early” she said.

“Well, Max and I got an early start this morning’” I said patting him on the head.

“Hello Max” she said kneeling down waiting for him to come over to her. “How you doin’ boy” she said showering him with air kisses looking him dead in the eyes.

“Soooo, did you remember your tool box?” she asked.

“Yep, I put it in the truck as soon as I got home last night” I said paying Ed for the hay and Purina.

“Good. Then we’ll be seeing you this afternoon?” She asked.

“Yeah, I should get there ‘bout seven o’clock.” I said picking up the Purina walking towards her.

“Mamma’s pies looked good this morning. I am cooking dinner if you want to save your appetite?” she asked hoping for a yes.

“Sure. That’ll be great.” I said with a big smile.

“Okay we’ll see you later then” she said smiling at me walking backwards then turning around picking out some vegetables.

Max and I went back to the truck. “Well that was unexpected boy” I said opening the door as he hopped in. I looked back at the feed store, started the truck and drove on to the café.

“Hey Mary Anne” I said turning on the Open sign and adjusting some of the salt and pepper shakers on the tables as I walked to the counter.

“Hey Cody, heard you saw Samantha at the feed store” she said with a big smile.

“How’d you know that? I just left the place” I said not believing my ears.

“Well it’s a small town, news travels fast” she grinned. “I am just kiddin’ ya, I saw your truck and her truck their when I was coming to work” she said grinning ear to ear.

The day went by fast with customers coming and going. Before I knew it, it was six thirty. Mary Anne and I started wrapping things up. I turned off the Open sign and lowered the blinds.

“So you’re going over for pie? asked Mary Anne.

“Yep, leaving in a few minutes” I said.

“Now Cody, don’t be shy. Ask her to the dance. Trust me; it’s okay to move on now. I love Melissa too and I know she would’ve wanted you to move on. You’re not going to forget her. She’s everywhere and deep in your heart. Samantha knows that. Just give her chance.”

Mary Anne was right and I knew it.

“I’ll ask her tonight Marry Anne, I promise.” I said as we both started walking out to our trucks. Max hopped in and off we drove to the B&B.

The sun was beginning to set as we drove down the middle of downtown. I turned on the radio and settled back into my thoughts of how and when was I gonna’ ask her to the dance tonight. Maybe after I take a look at the water heater in the cabin or maybe after dessert. I didn’t know when but I could see the B&B exit coming up. Max stood up in the seat. He knew we were close by.

“You want to see Molly don’t ya’ boy?” I said to Max pattin’ him on the head. “We're almost their. See yonder” I said pointing at the road sign.

We turned right then left up the long driveway to the B&B. I could see the lights shinning in the tourist cabins and then Samantha’s parents’ main house. My heart started poundin’ in my chest as we got closer. Max started whimpering. “There’s Molly boy!” I said as I saw Samantha and Molly standing on the porch waving at us. I pulled up and parked next to Samantha’s truck. Max jumped out the passenger window and ran to Molly barkin’.

Samantha looked as beautiful as ever. She had her hair down and parted in the middle, with tight wrangler diamond cut jeans on, cowgirl boots, a pink top and a blue jean jacket on with one hand tuck in waving at me with the other.

“Hi Cody” she said bursting into a smile.

“Hey Samantha, you look nice. I like what ya’ did to ya’ hair” I said in a bashful smile.

“Awe it an’t nothin’ special, I just brushed it out a little that’s all” she said pulling on hair.

“Hey Cody” said Mr. Summers. “Hello Mr. Summers. How ya’ doin” I said with a respectful tone taking off my hat.

“Cody we been knowin’ each other far too long to be all proper with last names” said Paul lighting his pipe and taking long puffs.

“You’re right Paul, how you doin’” I said reaching out shaking his hand.

“That’s more like Cody, I am doin’ fine. Come on in, the girls are just about done with supper” Paul said holding open the screen door.

“Well looka here, how you doin’ Cody” said Linda wiping her hands off on her apron reaching for a hug.

“I am doin’ fine Linda and you?” I said giving her a big hug.

“Oh, I am getting’ along. Better now that Samantha is here to help us out. We got a nice big snow this year” she said patting me on the back and whispered “Ask her to the dance”.

“Yeah we are getting’ a good snow this year. What smells so good? You girls must have been cooking up a storm” I said rubbing my stomach the gave Linda a wink.

“Oh just a little somethin’ you’ll see when I call yall for supper. Now you and Samantha go out to the parlor.

“You want a beer Cody?” Linda said push Samantha and I towards the parlor.

“Yeah, that’ll be great. It’s been a long day”. I said.

“I’ll get it for him momma” said Samantha running off to the kitchen before she could answer.

“She has a crush on Cody” Linda said with a smile walking me to the parlor. “You have me and Paul’s blessings if you two find away towards each other” she said in a soft voice.

“Thank you Linda, that means a lot to me and Max. I am thinking about asking her to dance” I said taking off my hat.

“That would be great Cody, she asked me if I thought you might ask her” she whispered to me seeing Samantha coming out of the kitchen.

“Here you Cody” Samantha said handing me a beer. I winked at Linda and gave her a confident smile.

“Now you two go on in yonder and visit, I’ll call you when I have supper set out” Linda said smiling back at me with approval.  Samantha and I walked to parlor and sat in the rocking glider I made for Paul and Linda.

“So do you know there’s a dance in town next week?” I asked Samantha.

“Yeah, momma told me about it the other day, why?” she said looking at her beer pulling on the label.

“Well, I was sorta wonderin’ if you might want to go with me?” I said trying to look her in the eyes.

“I’d like too Cody. I was hopin’ you would ask” she said pulling more of the beer wrapper off.

“Great” I said with a deep sigh of relief. We just sat their rocking back a forth looking up at the stars.

“Ya’ll ready to eat” said Linda standing at the screen door.

“Yeah mama” said Samantha with a big smile.

“Well, ya’ll goin’ to the dance or what?” said Linda wondering if I asked her.

“Yeah” we both said at the same time. Linda clapped her hands and twirled around.

“Yes! I knew you two should get together”.

“Mama!” said Samantha smiling.

Chapter 5 "I like you a lot Samantha"

"That sure was good eatin'" I said to everyone at the table.

"Glad you liked it Cody" said Linda picking up the dishes from the table with Samantha.

"So I heard you takin' Samantha to the dance" said Paul.

"Yeah, I finally worked up the courage. I was hopin' she would yes and she did" I said with a smile and taking a long drink of my beer.

"Good on you Cody. She's a good woman and you're a good respectful man with his head on right" said Paul.

"Well we'll see if my dancin' is any good". I said as we both laughed slapping the table top.

"What are you two laughing about?" asked Linda bringing in a dish of pie and ice cream.

"Oh just guy talk mother" said Paul.

"Well, here's your pie and ice cream" said Linda placing his in front of him.

"Cody?" whispered Samantha standing at the doorway of the parlor with two dishes of pie and ice cream in her hands signaling me to come with her.

"Well if ya'll will excuse me I am being summoned" I said to Paul and Linda and got up from the table.  Samantha and I went to the parlor and sat on the glider and began eating our pie.

"So what are your plans tomorrow?" asked Samantha.

"Well, Max and I plan on doing some riding on the north side in the morning. That's his favorite exercise route on Sundays my day off." I said.

"Want company?" she asked.

"I'd like that Samantha. I could show you the ranch. It stretches for twenty acres." I said with a big smile.

"Great, I'll get daddy to hook my trailer and bring Molly over." She said beaming.

"Come over whenever you get ready. We'll be up and about. We're early risers."

"How you two doin' out here?" asked Linda reaching for our empty plates.

"Fine mama" said Samantha.

"Well me and Paul are goin' to bed, lock up when you done visitin'" said Linda.

"Okay mama".

I stood up and reached for Samantha's hand. "Can we go for a little walk?" I asked. She place her hand in mine, pulled me towards the screen door.

"Sure".

The night was perfect. The night sky was full of stars. Max and Molly followed behind us.

"Samantha, it's been awhile since I've let anyone close to me and Max. It's been a tough year with Melissa being gone and all. But I like you. I've been alone, but not lonely. Ya' know what I mean?"

"More than you know Cody. I like you too. We can take it slow. There's no rush and we have plenty of time." She said interlocking her fingers in mine to reassure me.

"That makes me happy Samantha. It's a little scary but I feel like I am ready to move on but not with just anybody, but with you." I said swinging our hands slowly together.

"I am glad I am the one you picked. I was hoping you would have. The moment I heard about the dance you came to mind." She said. We walked and talked about her and where she lived for a while.

"Well here we are. I'll see you the in morning?" I said standing, looking at her with her back at the front door. She pulled back her soft hair.

"Yes, you’ll see me in the morning. Have coffee ready" she said as she stepped to the door opening it slowly letting Molly in first. I walked up to her and pulled her close.

"I can't wait Samantha." I said

“Me neither.”

She moved closer to me. I could smell her perfume and feel her soft breath. Our noses touched as we softly and slowly kissed each other.

"Good night Cody". She said slowly pulling away.

“Good night Samantha”.
Chapter 6 “Let’s give it try”

I was putting another log on the fire when I heard a knock at the door. I brushed my hands on my jeans and went over to the door.

“Mornin’ Cody” said Samantha with a big smile and Molly by her side.

“Mornin’ Samantha and Miss Molly, ya’ll come on in” I said showing her into the living room.

“Wow, this is a nice log cabin” she said looking around.

“Thanks, we wanted a big place with lots of room. It has three bed rooms, family room, gourmet kitchen, back patio, and of course the living room. You want coffee and biscuits?” I asked with my hands in my pockets.

“Sure would.” She said looking around.

“Right this way” I said leading her to the kitchen. She looked beautiful. Her long hair was down, her smile was warm, and she smelled liked spring flowers.

“These are good biscuits and the honey butter is just like at the café” she said taking a bite.

“Thanks. It’s a handed down recipe and the honey butter is Melissa’s doing’” I said fixing myself one.

We took our cups of coffee and biscuits out to the front porch and sat on the rockers.

“That looks like a special place” she said pointing at Melissa’s swing and tree on the hill. I looked down into my coffee cup.

“That’s where Melissa is. She wanted to rest there facing the mountains.” I said looking out at her swing. Samantha reached for my hand.

“You are a good man for doing that for her and I am lucky girl that has met this good man. I respect her and what she meant to you and Max. We’ll be alright. Some things take time.” She said.

“I am okay with it now Samantha. I am glad you came into my life and I want you to be here. I have been looking forward to today and our ride together.” I said standing up leaning against the post sipping my coffee.

“Well then, let’s get our horses and go for that ride” she said standing and walking towards me. Her gaze was pure as rain as she looked at me taking my hand and leading us to her trailer.

We saddled up our horses and headed out to the north ridge. The morning was beautiful and filled with sunshine and snow. We rode for about an hour to Lookout Point. It was my place I go to reflect and gather my thoughts.

“This is beautiful Cody. I’ve never seen such majestic views of the mountains like this before” said Samantha sitting on her horse looking out over the vista.

“Yep, this is Lookout Point, my spot on the ranch that gives me pause and reflection.” I said getting down from my horse and walking to towards the edge. Samantha got down and walked over to me.

“It’s just divine Cody, just divine.” She said.

I reached for Samantha’s hand as she reached for mine. Our pinky fingers looped together, then all of our fingers interlaced into each others. I turned her towards me. Our eyes met as she looked up. I pushed back her long hair from her face.

“Samantha, you are my wish. You have my heart. I want to give us a try. I know we can make this work out. I realize you have a life back in the city and all, but if you give me a chance I know you’ll love it here.”

“I made a wish too Cody. It was to hear you say these exact words to me, that you want me here, now, in your life and for me to give what we have found a chance. There is nothing in the city that is holding me there. I needed a reason to be here in Twin Rivers and now I have one” she said. I cupped her face and drew her lips to mine and softly kissed her as she put her arms around me.

EPILOGUE

We went to the dance and two weeks later we drove my truck and a trailer to the city to move her things up to Twin Rivers. It’s been two years now since that day. We both run Melissa’s café; Mary Anne is still working her magic in the kitchen. Max and Molly had six puppies this fall and we are expecting our first child in spring. The doctor said it’s going to be a girl.

We both decided to name her Melissa.

AUTHOR’S NOTES:

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construe d as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

The author does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

eBooks are not transferable. All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission.

 

Copyright © April 1, 2009 – John Marion Francis (Author)

       Web Site: John Marion Francis

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Reviewed by Lois Christensen 10/8/2008
A terrific story of swcond love. I too found a second love and enjoyed it very much to his death. But is is not such a great story as yours keeping up the traditional cafe of Melissa's and naming your child after her. You have a very understanding wife too now to do all this for you. God sent her your way and it is a treasure.

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