For today's Spotlight, I'm posting a scene from the new Kelly Flynn Mystery which will be out this coming Tuesday, June 6th. In this scene, Kelly is recounting a memory for teenager Cassie.
A funny memory tickled the back of Kelly’s mind. She decided to share it since it would make Cassie laugh. “You know, several of us played on coed volleyball teams a few years ago. Megan and I were both playing on one team. And Steve and Marty were playing on another coed team.”
“That sounds like fun,” Cassie said, as she continued to wind the yellow yarn.
More memories surged forward, and Kelly grinned. “That was during a weird time when Steve and I were not talking to each other, not going out together, either. In fact, we didn’t see each other at all. Whenever I’d go over to see Megan and Marty, Lisa and Greg, and Jennifer and Pete, Steve wasn’t there. And the reverse would happen whenever Steve went to visit them. I wouldn’t be there.”
The yarn winder stopped turning immediately. Cassie turned in her chair, instead. “What! Why?”
Kelly laughed. “Like I said it was a weird time. I’d said something to Steve that he didn’t like, and he got mad. I came back to the cottage where we were both living together, and Steve had moved out completely. His clothes were gone, everything. Even his toothbrush.” Kelly shook her head, thinking back now over the incident that caused their breakup.
Cassie stared back at Kelly, her eyes wide, clearly incredulous at what she was hearing. “I can’t believe that. What did you say?”
Kelly let out a sigh, realizing she would have to explain more for the story to make sense to Cassie. “Well, let me back up some and try to explain. The Recession had hit Northern Colorado like it did everywhere in the country, and builders and developers either shut down their housing developments or slowed them to a crawl. Some builders went out of business completely. No one was buying houses. Steve was hanging on by his fingernails. Everything he’d worked so hard for was slipping through his fingers, and he couldn’t stop it. He’d even had to sell his properties in Old Town. Anyway, one night we’d come from being with the Gang and Marty and Megan announced they were going to get married. Later, when Steve and I were back at the cottage, he suddenly, out of the blue, asked me if I wanted to get married, too.”
Cassie was listening attentively, Kelly noticed. And, Dee Dee was looking over at them from across the room where she was checking buttons. Even Rosa, glanced over from her spot behind the front counter.
“You said ‘yes,’ didn’t you?” Cassie demanded.
“Well. . .” Kelly started, wondering how to begin.
“No, she didn’t!” Mimi’s voice interjected. The smiling shop owner had suddenly appeared from around the corridor where she’d obviously been listening.
Cassie blinked, clearly astonished. “What!”
“Well. . .” Kelly tried again. “I didn’t really say anything at first. I was so shocked that he even asked I just stared at him. Then, I blurted out something like, ‘Steve! You’ve barely holding on, and you want to get married?’”
Cassie’s blue eyes got even wider. “Oh, no. . .” she whispered.
“You didn’t,” Dee Dee ventured, looking as surprised as Cassie.
“Yeah, I did,” Kelly confessed. “And I could tell from the look on his face that I’d said the wrong thing. The very worst thing. I could see that Steve was looking for reassurance. Everything else in his life was falling apart. And I acted like I was rejecting him. So, he walked away. The next day when I was at a client’s office, he came and cleared out all his things. I was going to apologize and try to make up, but I never got the chance. Steve was gone.” Kelly looked around at her transfixed audience.
“What happened then?” Cassie asked. “How’d you two get back together?”
“Yeah, this is a great story,” Dee Dee said with a laugh. She gestured toward Kelly. “I take it this Steve is the father, right?”
Kelly laughed out loud at that. “Yes. Yes, he is. And, we did get back together, but not right away. It took about a year---”
“Didn’t you two see each other around town or something?”
“Nope,” Kelly said, shaking her head. “I was either working in the cottage across the driveway, here in Lambspun, or going to see my client in Denver or my other client’s properties in Fort Connor. I kind of burrowed into my work. And, so did Steve. Because the housing situation was so bad, he actually joined with a builder in Northern Colorado who had a commercial development he was working on along with some other commercial sites around Denver. So Steve was out of town all the time. He said he would often bunk at a friend’s place in Denver or sleep in his car.”
“Ohhhhhhhh, poor Steve,” Cassie sympathized.
“Yes, poor Steve,” Mimi echoed in a teasing tone from behind the counter. Rosa giggled.
“Hey, you, two. I didn’t make Steve sleep in his car,” Kelly countered with a laugh. “All our friends said he just dropped out of everyone’s lives for about six months and squirrelled himself away in Denver.”
“Squirrelled away,” Cassie snickered. “Never heard that before.”
“Carl taught me that word,” Kelly teased. “Anyway, about six months after he walked out, we accidentally ran into each other at this big real estate developers’ conference at a hotel in Denver. Steve’s boss asked him to attend and pick up any new ideas developers were tossing around. I attended because my Denver client was there, and he wanted me there as his financial advisor.”
“And. . .” Dee Dee encouraged.
“And, Steve and I nearly ran into each other at the coffee machine.” Kelly laughed softly, remembering. “He just stared at me, his mouth open. After a moment I said to him, ‘Are you just gonna stare at me or say something?’ Anyway, that got us talking at least. Work stuff mostly, then we both went back to our seats. That’s all.”
Cassie looked puzzled. “That’s all? Something else must have happened.”
“Yeah,” Dee Dee prodded. “How’d you two get to that volleyball game?”
“Oh, yeah,” Kelly said with another laugh. “Sorry. Pregnancy Brain. Since we at least broke the ice, we would say ‘hello’ to each other at the conference. Then a couple of weeks later, Megan and I started playing in a coed volleyball league in Northern Colorado. Believe it or not, Steve and Marty were playing on one of the other teams. And we had to play them one time. Well, I was playing front line one night and Steve was right across from me. We were both getting into the game, and one shot came over the net and I. . .well, I stuffed it. Right in Steve’s face.”
Cassie looked shocked at first, then burst out laughing. “You didn’t!”
“Ohhhhhh, yes, I did,” Kelly said with a grin. “And I enjoyed every minute of it.”
“What’d Steve do?”
“Yeah, what’d he do?” Dee Dee asked with a laugh.
“He shook his head to clear it, then he looked across the net at me and said, ‘You didn’t just do that.’ And, I said: “Yeah, I did,’ and laughed. Then he said, ‘Coming back at ya!’ And a couple of shots later he stuffed me right in my face. Really rang my bell.” Kelly laughed out loud, remembering. “Payback.”
“Love it,” Dee Dee said as she returned to the buttons.
“Yay, Steve,” Cassie teased and returned to the butter yellow yarn on the winder.