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Authors: Rhonda Gibson

Scraps of Love

BOOK: Scraps of Love
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Scraps of Love

By Rhonda Gibson

 

This was my first novella
ever published. It was in the collection titled: Scraps of Love It has been out
of print for several years. It was also my first contemporary romance.         
I hope you enjoy the read.

 

 

Copyright 2004

By Rhonda Gibson

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Dedication

Special thanks go to my own
true-life hero, James Gibson. Thank you for believing in the work God has given
me.

Also, thanks go to my
mother, Louise McConnell, for believing in her little girl.

Above all, I wish to thank
the Lord for all things.

 

Scraps of
Love

By Rhonda
Gibson

 

Chapter 1

 

    "Oh no! Not again!"

    Smoke billowed in the
small kitchen. The fire alarm blared. Colleen Holliday grabbed an
oven mitt and pulled the burned cinnamon buns from the oven.

    She tossed the pan on
the stove. Holding her breath, Colleen snatched the step stool and
jerked out the alarm's battery.

   "Now, Colleen, don't
take out your frustration on the poor alarm." Mr. Wilson
chuckled from the seat at the round table by the bay window.

    She wanted to tell
the old man to mind his own business but resisted the unchristian
temptation. Hanging on to her temper, she hopped off the stool. Colleen
set the battery on the counter, and then made her way to the back
door.

     "Lord,
this bakery is going to be the death of me. I'm not so sure I should
keep it open anymore." Colleen grumbled the prayer as she
opened the door to escape the smoke and odor of burnt sugar. It
wasn't a matter of money. Granddaddy Max's side of the family
made sure Grammy's Bakery would never lack for funds, but if
she continued to burn everything, she was sure to lose her
costumers.

     "Hey,
Colleen. Was that your smoke detector going off again?"
Jenny Walker grinned, revealing red, white, and blue braces.

     I'm afraid so. I
burned the cinnamon buns." She waved the screen door back and
forth. Fresh air filled the small kitchen.

     Colleen knew
the teenager didn't mean anything by her words, unlike Mr.
Wilson, who enjoyed making fun of her lack of cooking skills.

     Jenny pulled
her backpack up higher on her slim shoulder. "I've got a few
minutes before I've got to get to school. Want me to help you with
those buns?" At Colleen's nod, she dropped her backpack and
jacket just inside the door.

     She hated to
admit it, but the sixteen-year-old could cook circles around her.
"Are you sure you have time? I don't want you to be late
again."

      The young
girl brushed past her, "I'm sure. I'm keeping an eye on the
clock. Adam wasn't happy the last time I was late." Jenny went
to the stove and grabbed an apron. She tied it around her small
waist. "I want to go into Durango with my friends
tomorrow. So I'm toeing the line. Adam says if I step over it, I
can just forget about the trip."

      Thoughts
of Jenny's older brother, Adam Walker, took Colleen's mind off the
burnt food. She hated to admit it, even to herself that she
looked forward to his daily visits. As a postman, Adam used
Grammy's Bakery as the spot where he took his morning break. The
memory of his light blue eyes, dark brown hair, and easy smile
softened the frown on her brow.

     Colleen shook her head to clear it.
Enough day dreaming about a man who would never take her seriously.
He hadn't had time for her in high school. What made her think he'd
notice her now? Besides, everyone in town expected him to marry
Cassie Masters, the kindergarten teacher at the
elementary school. They had been dating for more than a year.

     The sound of the small bell ringing
over the door indicated that Mr. Wilson was leaving. She
couldn't suppress the sigh of relief. Since she'd moved back to the
small community of Silverton, Colorado, Mr. Wilson had made a real
effort to come to the bakery every morning. She suspected her dad
had something to do with Mr. Wilson hanging around so much.

     Her father
and Mr. Wilson were friends from days gone by, and Colleen knew her
dad felt guilty for leaving on another mission trip to Africa. His
solution was to have his friend keep an eye on her. Most days, Mr.
Wilson just ordered coffee and read his paper. But there were days,
like this one, when he really got on her nerves.

      Colleen
pushed all thoughts of Mr. Wilson from her tired mind and
focused once more on what Jenny said.

      "You
would think after two weeks you'd get the hang of making
simple cinnamon rolls and pastries." The young girl’s
voice trailed off as though she realized how insulting her words
sounded, and an expression of horror covered her features.

     "It's
okay, Jenny."

     Jenny whipped
her hands over the front of her apron, "No, it's not. I'm so sorry,
Colleen."

     "Really,
it's okay. You didn't mean anything by it." Colleen mixed
together fresh dough for hot rolls."

     "No, I
didn't mean it that way, but I still shouldn't have said
anything. Your Grammy has only been gone a month. Adam would say,
"There I go again; speaking before I think."

     Pain,
sharp and real, sliced through her. Oh, how she missed her
grandmother. Guilt still ate at Colleen for not being there during
her grandmother's last moments. Tears prickled the back of her
eyes. She wouldn't think about it now. She smiled at the teenager.
"Jenny, are you going to be late?"

     "No."

     Colleen
sensed Jenny's dark blue eyes studying her. She dreaded the words
she knew were forthcoming. She narrowed her eyes and stared back at
Jenny. "What? Do I have flour on my nose?"

     "I
still can't believe Grammy left you this shop and apartment. Why
didn't she teach you to cook?"

     They
stared at each other for a moment. The comical way Jenny talked at
motorboat speed took the sting out of the words.

     "Well,
she tried, but I wasn't as good a student as you." A smiled
tugged at the corners of Colleen's mouth. "It's not as though I
can't cook at all; I just have a little trouble with
pastries."

     Jenny
returned the smile. "I'll teach you if you want."

     "I'm
not proud. Teach away," Colleen joked, bending to watch how
Jenny worked her magic with sugar and flour.  

     After
Jenny left for school, Colleen slid a pan of cookies into the oven.
She wiped off the counters and smiled. Chocolate chip cookies were
her specialty.

     She hummed
as she washed up the last of the morning dishes and thought about
Jenny. The girl knew her way around the kitchen. Colleen could
imagine Grammy teaching the young lady in this very room.

     She rubbed
the back of her hand across her stinging, watering eyes, thankful
for the empty bakery. She looked to the table where Mr. Wilson had
sat earlier. Why did he choose Grammy's favorite spot to sit every
morning? Memories washed over her as tears trickled down her
cheeks.

     She
remembered the day she'd told Grammy she was going away
to college. Oklahoma State University had offered her a full
scholarship. At the time, it felt like the chance of a lifetime,
and she'd moved to Oklahoma against her grandmother’s wishes.

     Grammy
held her hands, listened, and then said, "Colleen, you can't
run from God and family forever. When you're ready to come home, I'll
be here."

     Had that
really been only five years ago? Why hadn't she done as her
grandmother wanted and stayed in Silverton? Even now, Colleen
didn't want to admit she'd been bitter toward God over the death of
her mom.

     "Grammy,
I'm not running from anything. I'm going to college to get a
business degree. I'll be able to run a business and help supplement
your income."

     "I
love ya, angel. I'm going to pray God sends you home soon."
The tenderness in Grammy's eyes had almost  changed Colleen's
plans to leave.

     At
Grammy's funereal, Colleen remembered something else her
grandmother had said daily, "Child, why don't you give your
broken heart to the Lord? He'll heal it, and the pain will go
away."

     Those
words came back to haunt her as she'd stood and looked down at
Grammy's casket. Her heart too pain-filled to endure, she'd made
her way to a private corner and sought comfort only
her heavenly Father could give. If only Grammy had been
there to rejoice with her.

     Colleen
picked up the dishcloth and moved to the tables. As she wiped them
clean, she prayed. "Lord I need help if I'm to keep
Grammy's bakery open. Jenny has agreed to teach me how to bake
something other than hot rolls, but I'm thinking I need more
than a teenager teaching me how to cook. I don't know for sure what
I'm asking for, but I know You can supply my every need." Just
whispering the words lightened her heart.

     The bell
over the door jingled. She looked up and smiled when Adam Walker
pushed through the door. He carried a large package in his arms.

     Her heart
surged like a cake rising in the oven's heat at the sight of Adam.
She forced herself to focus on the box as she walked toward him.
"Is that for me?"

     "It's
got your name on it." He set it down and sighed.
"Boy, am I bushed. Between taking care of a teenager at night
and delivering heavy packages during the day, this postman is worn
out. 

     Colleen
caught the hint of teasing in his voice. She shifted her gaze from
the box to him. He smiled. A dimple in his right cheek winked at
her. His light blue eyes sparkled with merriment.

     "Would
some caffeine perk you up? I've got fresh coffee. Want some?"
She found it impossible not to answer his smile.

     Adam
pulled out a chair and sat down. "I'd love some, thank
you."

     She
hurried to the coffee pot. Her heart flip-flopped from the effects
of his grin and the warmth of his voice. What was it about Adam
that sent her heart to fluttering? "Everything," She
whispered for her ears alone.

     Colleen
poured two cups of coffee. She handed one to Adam and cradled the other
in her hands. The heat distracted her from the warmth in her
cheeks.

     Dark brown
hair brushed his forehead when he bent his head to the cup. The mug
looked fragile in his large hands. His blue eyes met her gaze. Intensely
aware of his scrutiny, she watched as his gaze swept over her face,
and then settled on her mouth.

     Heat
rushed to Colleen's face. She looked away from him. "What do
you suppose is in that?" She went into the kitchen for a knife
to cut through the tape on the box.

     The timer
on the stove went off, reminding Colleen of her cookies. She pulled
them out, set them on a cooling rack, then grabbed a knife and
headed back into the dining room.

     Adam
offered her a clipboard and pen to sign with. "It sure is big,
isn't it?"

     This time
Colleen smiled. Colleen knew Adam had seen larger packages.
"Wes, it is." She handed him back the pen and slip board.

     Colleen
turned her full attention to the box. The mailing label read: From
Ethel Collins. Colleen's brow puckered. She had just spoken with
her great-aunt over the weekend, and the elderly lady had never
mentioned a package.

     “Aren't
you going to open it?" Curiosity filled his voice. He had
moved and now stood behind her. A shiver ran down her spine as his
warm breath whispered across her ear.

     The tape
pulled off with ease. Colleen opened the flaps and peeked inside.
Several show boxes filled the container. A slip of notebook paper
lay on the top.

     Colleen
squinted at the small, scribbled handwriting. Aware of Adam and his
interest, she read aloud.

 

Dear Colleen,

     Leah
told me to send this to you at the store if anything happened to
her. She left it here when she moved down there to be closer to you
and Collin. She said you should have it all. Since I'm in my
eighties and have no other relatives, I’m of mind to agree with
her. Please keep our family's memories alive. In the boxes are
pictures, letters, scraps of our heritage, and something that every
woman in our family has discovered. I hope you can come visit me in
the spring. I'm looking forward to seeing what this treasure box
brings you.

                           
Love,

                            Ethel

 

     Colleen sat back. It was almost
like a message from Grammy. She smiled at Adam and lifted the first
of the show boxes.

 

           
      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK: Scraps of Love
4.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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