Coffee To Go (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 4)

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What's the matter with me? I really like him - a lot. So what if he kissed me? But she knew the minute they kissed, their relationship would change from good friends to something very different, and something she knew she still wasn't ready to deal with. Her feelings for him were becoming stronger every time she was with him. Just as she was dozing off at eleven, the phone rang. Picking it up, she said, "Hello?"

"Just wanted to thank you again for the great dinner and for finding the root for me. Oh, by the way, don't sweat the small stuff. Goodnight." And he hung up before she could say anything.

Yeah, I know, it's all small stuff in the broader scheme of things. But she felt better for having heard his voice, and was able to drift off to sleep with a smile on her face.

A week later, the smile was gone and Melanie was devastated. She had been across the street from Kelly's restaurant when she happened to look over and saw Russ with a tall blonde in his arms, kissing her on the cheek. She thought she was going to throw up, her reaction to the image was so strong. All of the feelings of betrayal, hurt, and anger came flooding back and she felt tears forming in her eyes.

Hurrying in a daze to her car, she unlocked it, slid behind the wheel and drove back to her apartment as quickly as possible, her errands forgotten and her mind in a fog.

Sitting on her balcony with a glass of wine, she tried to persuade herself that she was being completely unreasonable. We are just friends and I have no claim on him. Who he dates is none of my business, and why am I getting so upset anyway? During the following week, she did her best to keep her mind on her work and provide good service, but her evenings were spent staring at the wall, feeling nauseated, and wondering what was wrong with her. She didn't want to talk to Russ, so she let the answering machine pick up her calls. He started leaving messages on the weekend, but she ignored them, hoping he would give up.

Monday after work, she was on her way to her car in the parking lot, when he came up behind her, took her by the arm, and walked her, resisting, to his truck.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" Melanie tried to pull away from him.

"We're going to go have a chat. Hop in." He held the truck door open. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way, but do it we will. Your choice."

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