Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Chapter Eight, page 1 of 9)


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Sunday night Alex left again, but this time with a promise to come back for Easter. This time they didn't kiss good bye, and Carmen was sure that Lori was the reason. Alex and Lori had been together most of the day. Apparently their conversation in the barn had scared him off. If he though Lori was less complicated, he was in for another shock. But then, he wasn't looking for a permanent relationship, and Lori wouldn't be nudging him to get married. Lori would be content with things the way they were.

Time was galloping by and now she was further from her goal than ever. Before Alex came on the scene, marriage was only a yes down the road. Now she couldn't marry Josh - and couldn't bring herself to break the news to him. Why burn that bridge when she might get desperate enough to cross it? Maybe her feelings for Alex were nothing more than temporary infatuation.

Alex might have given up on her, but Josh had doubled his efforts. He was around nearly every day now, and when he didn't show up, he called on the phone. He was actually making an effort to please her as well. He'd even taken her dancing once, and yesterday he picked her a mess of greens. He wouldn't be caught dead with a bouquet of wildflowers and there was no way he was going to waste money on flowers that would wither and die within a week. It wasn't the money he objected to so much as the irrational logic. She tried to help him drive Alex from her mind, but at times it seemed an impossible chore. The man in her dreams often started out as Josh, but always ended up being Alex.

Good Friday was exactly that - warm and sunny with only a few marshmallow clouds drifting overhead. Katie was busy sewing something for her hope chest, so Carmen grabbed her cane pole and some liver from the refrigerator, and strolled down to the pond. Kicking off her shoes, she rolled up her pants legs and settled in for a good time. She baited the hook and threw it in the pond, watching as tiny waves rippled out from the bobber and gently lapped at the grassy shore. Dropping to the ground, she plucked a piece of grass and tucked it between her lips as she leaned back against the old apple tree. Above her, bees buzzed around the aromatic apple blossoms. Somewhere in the distance a meadowlark began its melodic whistle, and a hen sang industriously up by the house. From the lip of the pond, the panoramic scene was breathtaking. The hills were a profusion of snowy dogwood and pink plumb and cherry blossoms. Wild phlox filled the air with a heavenly scent that rivaled lilacs. Nature was at her peak, blending the wild blooms with various shades of green. She closed her eyes and dozed in the warm sun. It was a heavenly day.

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