Authors: Melissa Blue
Tags: #romance, #small town, #contemporary romance, #aa, #estranged, #mother daughter relationship, #aa romance, #reunion love story
SEE MEGAN RUN Published by Melissa Blue
Copyright 2012 Melissa Blue
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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This title was initially published in 2008 and I find
at the heart of the story, the dedication the same:
To the men in my life-listen up, this might be the
last time I do this in public:
For the man who taught me the meaning of close. Oh,
and you can now brag that I am multi-published.
For the one who wakes me up at 3 a.m. for yogurt and
Lastly, for the boy who stole my heart and the man
who still has it… my heart breaks and at the thought of you.
Megan Hazley frowned at the dirt driveway
leading to the home she had sworn never to step foot in again and
then said into her cell phone, "Think wire hangers and you’ll get a
sense of the woman who birthed me."
"She cannot be that bad. Not once have I ever
suspected you to be a Unabomber, so you didn’t turn out too bad,"
With one hand holding the phone to her ear
and the other on the steering wheel, Megan maneuvered up the last
slope. She still couldn’t see the house, but that was okay—she
still didn’t want to be there. "I’m a workaholic who has called her
general manager ten times in one day."
"The Boutique is very much like your child.
You’re just having separation anxiety."
"I hear a ‘but’ coming."
"You’re right. You are a workaholic. I can
handle everything and every customer that comes in. If I think
there is something I can’t handle, I’ll give you a call. What you
need to focus on is seeing your mother again."
Megan slowed the car considerably. "You’re
right, I know."
"I’m starting to think you don’t trust
The guilt started. This was coming from her
general manager of six years. Lynne was the only person in her
employ who knew the ins and outs of the day-to-day business, who
knew what retail she liked to stock and the fact she used only
fine-point pens. Megan loosened her grip on the steering wheel.
When had she become a control freak? She
glanced at the house coming into view. Oh, yeah, somewhere between
the night her mother kicked her out of the house and the first day
she opened the doors of The Boutique. "I’m sorry. I just want—"
"Everything to run smoothly." Lynne paused.
"You really sound guilty. I’m sorry. I was pulling your leg. Have
you made it to the house yet?"
"Yes." Megan had followed the circular drive
and now looked up and out of the windshield to see the high
antebellum pillars, the long wide porch, and the black shutters
clashing with the white paint. It was still beautiful and
immaculate. It was her father’s house. She ignored the instant
pang, inevitable whenever she thought of him, and shook her
I can’t believe I’m here
. She looked
ahead, where miles of green stretched out before her. All those
hours of work must have fractured her usual resolve, because she
was actually in Riverbed, a city so deep in the country that any
population over 1500 was considered "city living."
She turned back to her father’s home,
noticing the lack of wear on the paint and how the welcome sign
above the door jamb still held each letter and the royal blue
curtains in the front window still looked new. Had nothing changed?
That’s what worried her the most. Without stepping out of the car
Megan knew what she was walking into. She must have lost her
"It looks the same." She killed the engine.
"I should be back before ten tonight."
Megan paused, knowing she could use a day off
and sure she was going to need one after meeting her mother. She
took in a deep breath before saying words she hadn’t spoken in six
years. "And I’ll see you tomorrow."
"As in, you’re considering this a day off? As
in, you’re not stepping one high-heeled pump into The Boutique for
Megan heard the phone cord rattle on the
other end. Lynne had to be pulling the phone away from her ear to
stare at it, probably wondering whether she’d heard Megan
"Who are you and what have you done to my
"I’m not that bad." Her eyes strayed to the
house. She should get off the phone, but she wasn’t ready to. Megan
didn’t think she ever would be. Her hand started to cramp—she was
gripping the phone like it was her only lifeline. Okay, to be
honest, she was that bad.
"You’ve implied your mother is a crazy
lunatic who, might I add, you haven’t seen in years, and this is
the only reason you have ever taken a day off. You’re that bad."
Lynne seemed to pull the admission from her thoughts. "I still love
you, though, so, whatever she has to say, keep an open mind. People
"Unless, hmm..." Nothing came to mind that
would make Megan forgive her mother for what she had done. Much
less forgive how her mother had treated her as a teenager. "I need
to get this over with and done. I want to know why she plans to
sell Dad’s house."
"I’m going to say this, and you might hate me
or fire me later, but hasn’t your father been dead for a long
Megan tore her gaze from the house. "Yes,
"No, say it."
"Never mind. I want you to have a good day.
Besides having to see your mother. Do something crazy like have a
glass of wine before noon."
"It’s already 11:30."
"Then get plastered."
Megan laughed at Lynne’s frankness. It
reminded her why she’d hired Lynne. They were complete opposites
and their relationship kept her balanced. Lynne never had a problem
telling her to relax. Out of the corner of her eye Megan saw the
oak door open.
"I’ve been caught, got to go."
Lynne murmured a goodbye and Megan snapped
the phone shut and got out of the car, ready to do battle until she
saw the gray hair and starched white apron.
Megan let out the pent-up breath she’d been
"Girl, I thought you’d never get out of the
car. What were you doing, planning to drive away?"
The years fell away and she felt like a
teenager again. Megan let herself get enveloped in the warm hug,
closing her eyes as the long-forgotten scent of flour and brown
sugar assailed her senses. This was the closest to home she’d been
in twelve years.
"Stand back, let me look at you." Jane’s face
softened, deepening the laugh lines around her mouth and the crow’s
feet shadowing her eyes. She stayed still as Jane took in every
detail, even though Megan wanted to run her hands over the
"You look just like your father."
Megan hugged her again.
this, if only this
. "You smell the same, which means you’ve
Jane looped her arm in Megan’s. "I have, but
you’re not getting any until you’ve talked to your mother." Megan
opened her mouth to protest. "Don’t give me any lip."
Megan took heed to the threat. "Why is she
trying to sell the house, anyway?"
"That’s between you and your mother."
This had to be bad, if Jane wouldn’t give up
the goods. Over the years Megan had received a million letters on
the latest town gossip, of course always with a sidebar that she
should call her mother. "Where is she?"
"In the living room, waiting for you." Jane
dragged Megan inside the door and closed it behind them. "Now you
go on. And listen."
Was she that obvious? Jane lifted her chin,
tapped it and then headed toward the kitchen. Megan pulled down her
suit jacket, squared her shoulders, and moved toward the living
room. She heard a woman’s laugh, deep and sultry, and almost
stopped. She passed the arched entrance. A woman with long ebony
hair, blushed cheekbones and blood-red lipstick on her mouth sat on
the couch. The woman hadn’t seen her. It took another moment for
Megan to realize the woman in stiletto heels, peasant skirt and
gypsy-style shirt was her mother.
The cell phone Nicole was laughing into might
as well have been glued to her ear. Megan took the time to take in
this imposter with her mother’s face. The woman she’d known wore
Chanel suits more apt for the Sixties than the Nineties. She always
wore her hair coiffed or in a roll and was the type to put on her
pearl necklace and earrings before choosing her underwear. That
woman thought it was ladylike to walk around like she was mightier
But this woman—this woman would forego
underwear altogether. Her legs were crossed at the knee, not the
ankle. Megan fought the urge to walk out slowly while she still
could, and then it was too late. Her mother met her eyes from
across the room. Nicole rose off the Victorian couch, saying into
her phone, "Sorry, got to go."
The emerald skirt stopped at Nicole’s ankles.
Polish in the same shade as the red lipstick graced her toenails.
Oh, and this imposter was also color-coordinated just like the real
Nicole? Is my mouth hanging open? Megan stepped back as her mother
came toward her with arms outstretched.
"Hello," Megan said, keeping all emotion from
her voice. Her mother’s arms dropped back to her sides.
"I’m so glad you came." Nicole sounded like
she meant it.
"Why are you selling the house?" Megan stayed
by the arched opening, not willing to move until she recognized the
woman in front of her, because for the first time in her life Megan
was considering the existence of aliens. Those abduction and
probing stories didn’t sound so farfetched now.
"Why don’t you sit down, dear?" Nicole, her
mother, said warmly. Warmly.
Megan inched her way into the living room and
sat down on the loveseat across from the couch. "Why are you
selling the house?" Megan asked again, her tone more brisk than it
had been before.
Nicole moved back to the couch. "I’ve heard
your business is doing well."
After twelve years this woman wanted to do
small talk. Megan wanted to get in, then out, and be done with her
mother again. She had no intention of starting a mother-daughter
duo at this time in her life… or ever. But apparently this wasn’t
what her mother had in mind. Megan kept her back straight as she
answered. "Yes, it is."
The light dimmed in Nicole’s eyes, but Megan
refused to feel responsible for that. What had Nicole expected? An
Oprah family reunion?
"You want me to get to the point, don’t
"I came here because you told me you were
going to sell Daddy’s house."
To be honest, Megan hadn’t answered any of
the other pleas sent in letter form. She’d have gone on ignoring
the letters if not for the last one. She’d opened the letter and
been surprised at its shortness, but it had been effective. The
I’m selling the house
could have piqued
Nicole pushed a stray hair behind her ear.
The fist around Megan’s heart loosened its hold. The old Nicole
still existed in this gypsy with her mother’s face. The old Nicole
she could deal with. The old one was what Megan had prepared
herself to face, during the five-hour drive to Riverbed. She sighed
inwardly and waited for Nicole’s answer.
"I felt it wouldn’t be right for me to sell
the house without you knowing or having a say about it."
Megan bit back the bitter words wanting to
fall out of her mouth and said only, "It matters what I think?"
Okay, that wasn’t exactly non-bitter, but it
was the best she could do. To Megan’s surprise her mother lifted
her chin in the air.
"Yes, it does."
The silence stretched between them. Megan had
no way to reply without sounding angry, without lashing out. It
still felt surreal to be sitting in the same room with her
"I’m selling the house because I’m getting
married," Nicole finally said, breaking the silence.
Those words made the moment too real. Megan’s
fingers dug into the loveseat’s arm. Her eyes betrayed her,
glancing down at Nicole’s ring finger, where a diamond big enough
to be a paperweight glinted.
"Let me guess. Since you actually have an
engagement ring this time, things between you and Taylor didn’t
"No, they didn’t." Nicole said and her voice
didn’t waver. "We, uh, I broke it off with him a year after you
?" Megan recognized
the challenge in her own voice, and that wasn’t why she’d come.
"Forget it." She rolled her shoulders. "Who is the guy this