Just Another Day
This is a work of original fiction. Please do not reproduce it without permission from the author. Copyright by Jenah, February 2005.
Author’s Note: Just Another Day is a prequel to a story I wrote for an Academy Halloween Special in 2003. If you enjoy this story and are interested in finding out what happens next, the link will be provided at the end of this piece.
Mrs. Renaldi carefully walked across the grass between her house and her reclusive neighbor’s. It was a cool evening and she pulled her sweater closed with one hand as she balanced a pan of still-warm brownies in the other.
Shannon, who had just stepped out of her front door to leave for work, hurried over to assist the elderly woman. “Mrs. Renaldi,” she lightly scolded, “Why didn’t you call me? This ground is too uneven…”
“I’m perfectly all right! I wanted to bring you something seeing as you had to work on the holiday. I’m glad I caught you before you left.”
“To me, it’s just another day, Mrs. Renaldi. Nothing special.”
“Oh, well. I guess you don’t want these brownies then.”
“I didn’t say that.” Grinning, Shannon took the pan and offered her arm. “May I at least help you home to express my gratitude?”
“Certainly, Dear.” Mrs. Renaldi held on to a muscular bicep and they slowly made their way back across the grass.
Shannon made a mental note that the project of putting a stone path in this area was going directly to the top of her To Do list. Since moving into the neighborhood, her fondness for the lively, Italian grandmother next door had grown. Often, Shannon took care of yard work and household repairs that Mrs. Renaldi and her husband were no longer capable of doing. She refused any sort of monetary compensation and soon found herself the frequent recipient of delicious homemade Italian dishes and chocolaty desserts.
“Thanks for the brownies,” Shannon said, opening the door and making sure her neighbor got safely inside. “If you keep feeding me like this, though, I won’t fit into my clothes anymore!”
“I don’t think that will be a problem.” Mrs. Renaldi smiled at the attractive, tall, athletic woman who was dressed for work in a khaki Animal Services uniform with a gun strapped to her side. That, combined with long, dark hair pulled into a ponytail and intelligent brown eyes, made for an imposing, yet stunning, image. “You’re an absolutely lovely young lady…”
Shannon looked heavenward and sighed.
Undeterred, Mrs. Renaldi continued, “Don’t you worry about a thing. The right one is going to come along soon. I can feel it in my bones.”
“If you say so Ma’am.” Let’s hope it’s not just a touch of arthritis you’re feeling. “I need to get going now. Good night and thanks again.”
“You’re entirely welcome, Dear. Good night and be careful.”
“I will.” Shannon jogged to her car and got in. She placed the container of brownies on the passenger seat, fastened her seatbelt and started the engine. After backing out of the driveway, she turned on the radio only to quickly turn it off when the strains of a love song filled the car. Damn! I can’t wait for this day to be over.
She drove to one of the better steak places in the vicinity, having decided, in spite of the holiday, to treat herself to a good meal before work. The restaurant was almost empty, as it was too early for the dinner crowd, and Shannon was thankful that it wasn’t full of affectionate couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. It was hard enough being single on any given day, but holidays were even more difficult. And THIS day, February 14, was the absolute worst. It was a day especially for lovers and when you didn’t have one, it truly sucked. It could be a depressing twenty-four hours indeed, but Shannon was determined to enjoy her steak, have scrumptious brownies later, and try to tiptoe through the evening shift unscathed by the Valentine’s Day hoopla.
After ordering, Shannon stretched her legs out under the table and leaned back into the comfortable padded backrest of the booth. She opened the paperback novel she had brought along and became engrossed in the story until the waitress arrived with the meal.
“Would you like any steak sauce? Another soda?”
“No, thanks. Everything is fine.” Shannon happily dove into her dinner.
Suddenly, there was a commotion near the front of the establishment.
A young man with flowers and balloons had burst in and surprised his girlfriend, who was working at the hostess stand. The woman squealed in delight and then stopped abruptly when she realized she might be disrupting the customers. She glanced into the dining room and, for a split second, she and Shannon caught each other’s eye. The woman’s joyous expression turned sympathetic when she saw that Shannon was alone. She grabbed her boyfriend’s hand and pulled him into the kitchen.
The place quieted down and Shannon resumed eating, though it was with a little less gusto. So much for avoiding the hoopla. She paid her bill and headed to work. In the car, she smiled at the delicious smell of chocolate that permeated the air. Mrs. Renaldi is spoilingme. I bet there’s frosting on them, too.
Shortly thereafter, Shannon arrived at the Animal Services building and parked in her assigned space. She picked up the pan of brownies and paused, gazing out the windshield at nothing in particular. What if she’s right? Maybe I’ll meet somebody soon. It wouldn’t be the first time she told me something that turned out to be true. Shannon opened the car door and got out. Well, for now,I need to concentrate on work. She locked the vehicle and strode purposefully toward the building. If Mrs. Renaldi is right, then next year Valentine’s Day will be different.
But today, it’s just another day.
To read more about Shannon go to…
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