Remember Me(3)

By: Ashlee Mallory

A little boy, no more than two, had pulled away from everyone and made his way over to the moving conveyor, where he climbed up and tottered across the slanted surface. No one from the group even looked his way, even as a loud ringing sound announced the imminent arrival of the baggage. But instead of sliding to his butt or climbing off the carousel, the little boy kept on walking, his steps becoming more precarious.

And still no one from the group looked his way.

No. Wait. The blonde seemed to realize the situation and was walking toward the kid. But she was probably a good thirty feet away, twice his distance. The carousel started moving. The toddler faltered. His arms flew out in front of him and he tilted sideways, falling, his little body about to meet the shiny, hard floor. Sam lunged forward and grabbed him just before his head slammed into the ground.

“Dylan!” The blonde had reached his side and grabbed the small bundle from Sam’s arms, her voice breathless. “Thank God. Are you okay?”

But the little boy seemed impervious to the danger he had barely escaped and struggled until she relented and put him down. He ran back to the group.

“Thank you,” she said, and smiled, gratitude warming those baby blues. And suddenly he was hit again with the feeling that he knew her from somewhere. Whoever she was, she could easily disarm a guy with that warm smile and those shining eyes.

Hell, if he didn’t watch it, he’d be asking for her number, or something even more ridiculous. Get a grip. After all, this was the same woman who had been too preoccupied to safely supervise her kid. Probably most of the dozens running around here were hers—and a husband lurked somewhere out there as well.

“You really should take better care of your kid,” he managed to choke out. His voice, not exercised much over the past few hours, was gruff even to his own ears. “Airports aren’t playgrounds.”

Any gratitude quickly dissolved as her blue eyes narrowed to slits, and her face brightened considerably. Ahh, hell. He hadn’t meant to snipe at her. He was dead tired and just wanted to get in his rental and start navigating those icy roads for home.

He hoped he could keep his sanity for the next couple of months. So far, it wasn’t looking too good.

His black suitcase came into view, and with no small amount of relief, he headed over and pulled it off the carousel. His duffel was still on the floor by the pillar where he’d dropped it, and he went and grabbed it, too. The woman’s straight back was all he could see as she returned to her group, pony tail bouncing. He swept up his duffel and headed to the exit, still wondering why she seemed so familiar.

Ah, well. He hadn’t come home for touching reunion      s, anyway. And he sure as hell hadn’t come home for touching pretty blondes.

No matter how tempting the thought might be…

The snow that had pounded the Salt Lake Valley the previous evening had melted into a slushy mess around her ankles by the time Allie reached the school the next morning. She trudged through the muck, grateful for her spot at the front of the faculty parking lot that had taken seven years of teaching at St. Andrew’s Academy to earn.

Excitement blossomed in her chest when she saw the small construction contingent parked on the north side of the school. Hopefully, the storm wouldn’t delay the first day of construction on the school’s new peace garden, scheduled to start today. She probably should be grateful yesterday’s snowstorm had held off until after the morning’s ground breaking ceremony.

She stepped into the school’s foyer and was assailed by the aroma of today’s lunch, Chicken Parmesan, already wafting from the cafeteria—along with wet socks and someone’s generous application of baby powder perfume. After taking a moment to wipe her boots, she swept into the hallway and proceeded to the faculty lounge for another dose of morning caffeine.

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