Martha had weathered her fair share of storms in Vermont, was accustomed to the cold, both the chill in the air and the cold shoulder in her marriage, but after the miscarriage she felt like she would never get warm again. So she did the research from the laptop while sitting in front of the fireplace. She knew what she needed when she Googled ‘hope,’ she just never imagined that it would bring her to New Hope, South Carolina. She never imagined that her husband would trick her into leaving and never follow. She never imagined that a southern storm with all its force and fury could be so destructive. But after the storm, the land is washed clean. It’s perfect for a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new love.
Marti glanced at the hammer, then the tile, shrugged, and started swinging. The tile made a lovely high pitched sound as it shattered. The shards flew about the room, ricocheting off the walls and door before landing on the floor. And because that first swing felt so good, she just kept swinging. Each time the sledge hammer connected with the tiles, she would think of what her marriage had been like. She would recall an incident, or a conversation, or any one of a thousand reasons that she should have dumped him, should have ended the marriage years ago. It felt good. Maybe even great. And then she looked down and saw red. Literally. There were blood droplets all over. Before she could even ponder why the room was looking like a crime scene, the wooden handle was ripped from her hands.
“What are you doing?” He sounded incredulous. And annoyed.
“You’re a contractor? What does it look like I’m doing?” She was upset that he had interrupted her impromptu therapy session.
Shaking his head, Joe grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the room. “I know demo and that wasn’t it.”
She growled. “I wasn’t done yet!”
“You, babe? You are finished.” She opened her mouth to argue, but he covered it. With his mouth.
Shocked, she stood there with her eyes wide open. His mouth was pressed against hers. And it didn’t feel wrong at all. Without thinking, she melted into him, wrapped an arm around his neck, and allowed her eyes to slowly flutter shut. Joe bent slightly and scooped her up and held her against his muscular chest. His lips pulled back, but his forehead was pressed against hers. She opened her eyes to find him staring at her.
“Crazy woman,” he muttered to himself as he carried her out the back door of the house. She couldn’t be certain, but it seems like she would have been carried farther if he hadn’t heard the sound of others talking in the front yard.
Slowly he lowered her to the ground and made sure she had her footing before releasing her. She wanted to smile up at him, but she hadn’t decided what to make of that moment. All she could do was look at him and murmur…”Why?”
“I needed to distract you,” he responded with a shrug. And with that he turned and walked away.
About the Author
Nicole lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, a teenage son and daughter, and Kenna. Every day is new and sparkly...which is why she chronicles them on her blog, Suddenly *Not So* Single Journey. It is a way for her to spread her brand of hope, happiness, and love.
Previously, Nicole has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers. In 2010, she joined the Yahoo! Mother Board, became a Shine Parenting Guru, and has become an award winning dating and relationships expert for Shine.
After a few bad sailing experiences, the Moores decided they were safer on land. Their boating adventures will be limited to cruise ships. And those cruises are centered around their travel goal of visiting ever Margaritaville. Two down, eleven to go!
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