When Sparks Fly
Monica hugged her back, fighting her own tears that threatened to fall. She’d never given much thought to the fact that she had no adult relationships in her personal life; she’d always just accepted it. But being around these people triggered a longing in her that she’d kept buried since her parents died. Feeling this woman’s arms around her elicited emotions she hadn’t felt in a very long time.
    “What’s going on in here? Someone die?”
    “Oh, Bill!” Fran admonished, releasing Monica and wiping her eyes. “She made supper for us. Wasn’t that nice of her?”
    “Nice indeed,” Bill winked, shuffling over to the stove to investigate. Lifting the lid on the soup, he inhaled deeply. “Ahhh…smells delish.”
    Fran and Monica started laughing at his choice of word.
    “What?” he asked. “The grandkids keep me up-to-date on today’s vernacular.”
    “Nothing wrong with that.” Monica walked over and gave him a gentle squeeze. “Are you feeling better?”
    “Fine and dandy. Don’t really know what all of the fuss was about. Just needed some rest, is all.”
    “You know very well what the fuss was about, William,” Fran scolded lovingly. “Now scoot so that we can get supper on the table. Why don’t you take Kimber in the other room with you?”
    “Come on, kiddo,” he said, holding out his hand to the child. “Let’s go see what sort of mischief we can get into.” The pair walked into the living room, the ever faithful Leroy trailing behind. A moment later, the unmistakable sounds of a ‘wascally wabbit’ drifted into the kitchen.
    “You’ve done such a fine job with Kimber,” Fran commented as she set the table, neatly arranging spoons by the bowls. “Does she ask about her father much?”
    Caught off guard, Monica turned, ladle in hand, from where she was filling a soup tureen. Chowder dripped onto the floor making wet splotches on the white tile. Noticing the mess, she hurriedly replaced the spoon in the pot, and grabbed some paper towels to clean up her spill.
    “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
    “No, you didn’t.” She threw the towels away and washed her hands, using the distraction to gather her thoughts. The truth was, Kimber didn’t miss her father at all. Phillip had rarely spent any time with her, and when he had, he’d acted like she was a bother. The little girl had picked up on his mood and kept her distance. Sadly, no bond had formed between them and she hadn’t even questioned when he was no longer in their lives. Not wanting her daughter to overhear, she answered in a low voice. “She doesn’t. Phillip never wanted her. He considered her to be a burden even before she was born. He tolerated her because he had to but to be honest, she was closer to the apartment manager than to him. I’ve always felt like a terrible mother for not choosing a better man to be her father.”
    “You shouldn’t blame yourself,” Fran said, taking her hands. “He’s the one losing out. Why, that little girl in there is a joy to be around and if he can’t see that then he’s an ass!”
    Monica burst out laughing. Though she’d always thought it, she’d never quite heard it put so bluntly, especially not by such a kindly woman. “I’ve frequently thought so.”
    Waving her hand in the air, Fran remarked, “She’s better off without him. She deserves to be around people who love and cherish her. You both do.” Giving her a knowing look, the woman went back to setting the table.
    Wondering if there was a hidden meaning behind her words, deciding that she’d rather not think about it, Monica began mixing the biscuits, plopping dough onto a baking sheet. Sliding it into the oven, she set the timer for ten minutes then left the kitchen to freshen up, never noticing the figure standing outside of the French doors.
    “Joseph, my, you startled me,” Fran exclaimed as he walked in from the porch. “I never heard you drive up.”
    “Yeah, I’m sneaky that way.” Leaning

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