Cold Hearts(3)

By: Sharon Sala

He watched until she made it to the curb, and then he pulled her car into the empty bay and hung the keys on the board by the phone.

* * *

Lissa was soaked by the time she got home. She changed into dry clothes before starting a load of laundry, then began making something for supper. Keeping her students inside today during the noon hour meant lunch hadn’t happened for her. She wanted something filling but quick to make, which took her straight to eggs. Within a short time she had a cheese omelet and a couple of slices of buttered toast on a plate, and was ready to dig in. She settled in front of the television to eat, enjoying the food and grateful for the roof over her head because the rain was really coming down.

Once she finished eating, she cleaned up the kitchen, switched the load of laundry from the washer to the dryer and took a cookie with her as she went back into the living room. She channel surfed for a couple of minutes until she happened on a country-music program highlighting hit songs from the past ten years. The moment she saw who was performing and heard the song he was singing, she froze.

Alan Jackson was singing “Remember When.”

She closed her eyes, but it didn’t stop the tears as the memory came flooding back.

* * *

Mack stood naked before her, his hand outstretched.

Lissa shivered once but took it without hesitation. They’d made love before, and she knew what it felt like to come apart in his arms.

He swung her off her feet and carried her toward the bed.

“I love you, Lissa. So much,” he whispered, as he laid her down and then slid onto the bed beside her.

“I love you, too,” she said, as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

The radio was playing softly in the next room, a song called “Remember When.” She sighed as he began leaving a trail of kisses from the base of her throat all the way down to her belly. She would remember this moment long after they grew old together. She wanted him inside her so bad that she ached, but she knew Mack would take his sweet time. When his fingers slid between her legs, she moaned.

“Do you like that, baby?” he said softly.

“Yes, yes, yes.”

His breath was warm against her ear, then her cheek, and then he kissed the little mole near her lips. When he did, Lissa turned to capture the next kiss for herself, but instead of kissing her, he gently bit the edge of her lower lip and rolled her nipple between his fingers just hard enough to send a sharp ache of longing through her body.

He pushed a knee between her legs, asking her to let him in, and when she did, in one fluid motion he slid inside her so fast that she gasped, unprepared for the suddenness of his actions. She began moving beneath him, already chasing the climax to come. They moved in rhythm without speaking, lost in the sensation of making love.

She went from the heat of passion to a full-blown climax so fast she almost screamed. She was still coming down from the high when Mack shuddered. The blood-rush shot through his body in gut-wrenching waves as he collapsed on top of her and then kissed the hollow at the base of her throat before he pushed up on one elbow to look at her.

“We’re so good together,” he whispered. Then he kissed her again.

* * *

The song ended and so did the memory. She didn’t want to remember how good they were together. She didn’t want to remember how easily he could make her lose her mind. What she did remember was that six weeks later, when she’d found out she was pregnant, it had never occurred to her that Mack would let her down.

When she’d told him, the look on his face had been as panicked as she felt. But he’d immediately put his arms around her and told her that he loved her. It didn’t help that she’d felt him shaking even as he’d said the word marriage. He wasn’t the only one who was scared. Her future was changing, too.

And then she’d had the miscarriage. The fight they’d had afterward was almost bizarre. She’d never understood his anger or why they hadn’t spoken since, and just thinking about it made her lose her appetite. Unwilling to go down that road again, she changed channels and tossed the cookie in the trash.

Wind blew rain against the window in a rat-a-tat pattern that gave her the shivers, but the evening passed without incident. It appeared the inclement weather was serving as a deterrent to her stalker. Even creeps hated getting wet and cold. She went to bed, assuming when morning came that Paul Jackson would have her car back in order.

* * *

It was ten minutes after eleven—almost the witching hour. Paul had Lissa’s car on the hydraulic lift and was standing beneath it, finishing up the work. He’d replaced the faulty fuel pump but in the process had noticed an oil leak, and after a quick check he’d located a pinhole in the oil pan. After that he’d had to call Freddie Miller, the auto parts dealer, to open up so he could get a replacement and promise the dealer a mess of fresh catfish the next time he went fishing for his trouble. He hurried back to the garage so Lissa’s car would be ready for her as he’d promised.