- Harmless Flirtingby GWHARGIS
This work has reached the exceptional level
Carrie comes to Miranda's house.
Miranda's Trouble In Paradise
: Harmless Flirting by GWHARGIS

Miranda Jessup Buckley has decided to find out what happened to Dougie Wilcox.

So far, Miranda has been contacted by Dougie and warned her to keep pretending he's dead. Aaron professed his love for her. And Miranda has to weigh the consequences of keeping Dougie's call from Waylon.


I ask Carrie to come to my trailer instead of meeting her at Haynes Pond. I have a good strong cup of coffee while I wait for her.

I shiver as the fall chill settles over me. The seasonal temperature change never used to bother me, but the older I get the more I feel it. I go grab a cardigan out of my closet and sit on the couch. I look out the window, trying to see if Aaron is still home.

Damn it, why did he have to tell me that? Things are gonna get weird now. I just know it. Clearly I'm a catch, but he couldn't handle me and my personality for one week. He's a gentle and sweet soul who would be an adoring boyfriend, I have no doubt. I just seem to be drawn to red flags, with the exception of Mitch, who has none, which is kind of a red flag in itself.

Why would nice, level headed, law upholding Mitch fall for me? I'm sarcastic, head strong and not above breaking the rules when needed. But he did. And as my momma reminds me every chance she gets "Mitch is a catch. Don't screw this up."

I'm so busy spying on Aaron, I nearly jump out of my skin when Carrie knocks on my front door.

"It's open, come on in," I say.

She steps through the door and holds out a bag. "Donuts. I couldn't resist."

"Coffee is there on the counter and the cups are in the cabinet to the left of the sink."

After she's fixed her coffee and joined me on the couch, she looks around. "Cute place. Very homey."

"Thanks," I say. I watch as she takes it all in.

"Ah, the tree of life," she says, motioning to the picture behind the couch. "I had one similar to it when I was in college."

I get the feeling that she has outgrown it and thinks I haven't.

"It's just there until I find something I like. You should have seen what was there before it. A giant poster of a Ford Mustang. Framed and mounted on foam board. Yes, siree, that made a statement."

Carrie's eyebrows lift in surprise. "Did you break up with Ford and fall in love with Chevy?" She's teasing.

"It was Dougie's." I say. "When he moved in, he took possession of everything in here."

"Tell me about Dougie. He sounds fascinating."

I wince. Dougie, fascinating? There are many ways to describe Dougie Wilcox but fascinating is no where on the list.

"Where should I start?"

"Beginning is always good." Carrie reaches for a powdered donut before settling back on the couch.

"I had been divorced from my husband for a little over two years. I was working one night at the Little Eagle and was trying to close up. He walked in, to buy beer. I remember seeing him around when I was in high school. He went to Patterson, I went to Cameron." I pause to take a sip of my coffee. "He was one of those guys who made you feel funny. You know what I mean? Wrong in all the right ways. I was transported right back to high school. I fell hook, line, and sinker."

"Sounds romantic."

I laugh, nearly spitting my mouthful of coffee all over her. "Dougie was that guy who peaked in high school. Still clinging to his glory days. I went from girlfriend to mother in a couple of months. He was, shall we say, high maintenance."

"But you loved him?"

This is a tough one. Did I love Dougie? I cared about him. Thought I was madly in love for a while, but it turned out I was in love with the idea of being in love with him.

"Why did y'all split?"

I shake my head. "No idea. I got wind of some information that he was moving out of the area. I left work, drove here and caught him packing up everything. I yelled that I couldn't possibly leave everything behind on such short notice." I look over at Carrie. I don't feel like I'm talking to a therapist. She's become my friend. "That's when I realized he had no intention of taking me with him. Dougie Wilcox was done with me."

Carrie reaches over and takes my cup from my hand, then places it on the coffee table. "That must have hurt."

"I didn't have time to hurt. I had to figure out how to take care of Waylon. Then there was that whole Ed Preston murder thing."

"So, you've never really dealt with it. You just sucked it up and moved on."

"That's what you do, isn't it?"

She doesn't respond right away. "I want you to do something. Write a letter to Dougie. Tell him exactly how you feel. The next time we meet up, you can read it out loud, then we burn it."

I wait for the punch line but apparently, Carrie is serious. "I know it sounds silly, but getting those feelings out and on paper does help with closure."

"I'll do my best."

There is another knock on my door. This time I get up to go see who it is.

"Morning, Aaron," I say, trying to keep my voice level. Act like nothing has changed. Just your good pal, Aaron, standing on your porch, holding a box from Amazon.

"This got delivered to me by mistake."

"Thanks for bringing it over." I meet his gaze before we both look away.

Before I know it, Carrie is beside me at the door. "I need to run grab something from my car," she says, as she scooches past us. Her dimpled smile appears as she looks at Aaron.

"Oh, Carrie Tate, this is my friend and neighbor Aaron Earl."

He smiles shyly as he nods a greeting.

After she goes to her car, I watch her lingering there. She casts a quick glance at him as he walks past.

"Nice to meet you, Aaron," she says.

A smile spreads across my face. She's interested in him. I can tell. This might end up being a good thing.

She looks up and sees me smiling at her. Her hand touches over her heart and she pats the spot.

"I think I'm in love," she giggles. "Now, tell me everything you know about Aaron Earl."

Oh, Carrie, Carrie, Carrie, I'll tell you about him, everything you need to know, just not the part that's going to break your heart. I'll never let on that Aaron's in love with me.



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