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For our visitors reading pleasure we are serializing some of our short stories and articles.  Be sure to stop by every month and read the latest installment.
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LOOSE ENDS
PART THREE
by Joan Ramirez
Copyright 2018

    Jeanie looked over her bank statements. Russ’s funeral had eaten up a lot of her reserve funds. She needed to get on with her life and service her upcoming client events, but healing a broken heart was gut wrenching. She clock watched until her meeting with Mark. If it were up to her, she’d knock Manna on the head, stuff his body in a trunk, and throw him into a cement truck.
     She arrived first and took a seat in the back of the neighborhood café.
 A few minutes later, Mark walked in.  He gave her a kiss on the cheek and slid into a seat on the other side of the booth.
    A hint of sandalwood lingered in her nostrils. She shouldn’t be feeling this way. Russ was only gone a week. Yet something stirred in her being in the same space with Mark. The way his clothes formed to his body. She felt a rush when his fingertips brushed against hers as he handed her a menu.
    “I’m glad you called. I’ve been worried about you, but work has been super hectic. How’ve you been?”
    “Puzzled about why anyone would want to kill my husband.”

Jeanie stared at the menu but nothing appealed to her.
    “I’ll have a bowl of soup and a diet coke.”
    “Make mine a burger and fries. I’ll stick with water.”
    The waitress took their order.When the waitress left, Jeanie gave him a blank stare.
    “I have a stack of folders filled with client events. I can’t seem to concentrate. I start a project, and Russ’s face appears before me. We were having problems before he died, but I wouldn’t hurt him for the world. “
    Mark grasped her fingertips. “You need someone in your life. When you’re ready, I’d like to apply for the position. You’ve had it rough. The whole town knew Russ was having an affair.  I’d like to see you get past this pain.”
    The waitress served their food and winked at Mark.
    “We don’t see you in here often. I’ll make sure to take real good care of you next time.”
    Mark nodded. “Thanks. No special treatment required.”
    Jeanie took a sip of soda. “I feel nauseous.”
    “It’s nerves. You have to stay calm and focus on your future.”
    “We have to contact Alberta Hamlin. Russ worked with her on a few crime cases at the paper.”
    Mark took a bite out of his hamburger. “She’s in Canada, isn’t she?”
    Jeanie looked in her phone directory. “I’ll text her.”
    “Whatever you think best.”
    She pushed her plate away. “I don’t have much of an appetite these days. “
    Jeanie looked at her messages. “Alberta answered. She’s doing research for a freelance job. Will call me back in a few days.”
    “I hope you know what you’re doing. Alberta and Russ were an item for a while in college. When she finds out he’s gone, she may turn against you. Remember, you took him away from her.”
     Jeanie leaned into Mark. “I think my husband was murdered, and Manna is involved. If there’s a cover up going on, Alberta is the best person to get to the bottom of it. She’s an investigator with rates that I can afford.”
                                                                                                        
    
J
                                                                               THE END OF PART 3                                             

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