Joan's Book Shelf 

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.

​                                                                                                          LOOSE ENDS- Part Two
Copyright 2018
     With friends and family in attendance, the minister officiated at a short service.
One by one, Russ’s colleagues came up to the podium to talk about their friend.
     “He was like a brother.”
     “A heart of gold.”
     “Always willing to lend a hand.”
The funeral director signaled to Jeanie.  “Time to bring Russ to his final resting place.”
Jeanie couldn’t feel anything. She leaned on Mark for support.
     “I’m here for you,” he said, leading her to the parking lot for the trip to the cemetery.
     “I’ll drive. You can come back for your car later.”
     A few months later while she was packing up her belongings, Joe Manna stopped by the Hampton home Jeanie had hoped to fill with children.
He came through the door with a bouquet of daffodils. He always was a cheapskate.
“Bad luck, poor girl.”
     Jeanie cringed when Joe rubbed up against her as he sat on a wicker couch on her veranda. 
She tried to put distance between them, but he inched closer and grasped her shoulders.   
     “I’m an empty nester. If you need someone to lean on, you can count on me. I’ve always admired the way you pitched in when Russ had his drinking problem. It couldn’t have been easy being the breadwinner while he went on benders.”
She hopped off the seat. “The man is dead, Joe. Let him rest in peace. No point dragging his memory through the dirt.”
     He persisted, grabbing hold of her waist and whispering in her ear. “I know what it means to be in need. All of those healthy hormones going unsatisfied. Let me be here for you.”
Jeanie froze. She couldn’t look at him. At fifty five, he had too much fat around the middle, only a fringe of hair around his head, and showed the vestiges of acne but a bank account to stuff a bear’s belly.
She thought of all the times Russ had come home disgusted at Manna’s behavior with female colleagues but pinning sexual harassment on Mana was like nailing Jell-O to the wall. No way would she join the ranks of the walking wounded. She’d rather sleep on a bed of nails than invite Manna into her bedroom. It was time this sexual predator was locked up.
    Russ had told her of Manna’s predilection for preying on young girls.
Jeanie hadn’t been in touch with Mark since the funeral. She’d call him after the fool left. Unlike Russ, who thought with his fist instead of his brain, Mark would use diplomacy to bring down this creep.     
     She looked at her watch. “Where does time go? I have a yoga class in half an hour. I’ll never make it to the gym if I don’t scoot now.”
Jeanie hurried into the house, locked the screen door, and called out. “Thanks for the visit, but I have my memories to keep me warm at night. “
     “You’ll change your mind. They all do.”
     “When hell freezes over,” Jeanie shot back.
     She texted Mark.He answered immediately. “Meet me tomorrow at six thirty at Jen’s place in the city. We’ll talk.”
     Jeanie hugged the pillow where Russ used to rest his head. She missed him despite his cheating ways. A few hours later, she still couldn’t sleep. She opened a book of crossword puzzles.
 Her eyes began to droop.

                                                                               THE END OF PART 2                                             

​                                            VISIT US AGAIN IN LATE MARCH FOR THE NEXT PART OF THE STORY
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