Love Comes Home

By: Kristi Rose

A Collection of Second Chance Short Stories



Lorelei glanced at the clock and stifled a yawn. She was definitely not a morning person and, in her opinion, anyone who thought five hours after midnight was morning was sadistic.

The door banged open and Andee, her business partner, backed into the diner’s kitchen lugging a large crate loaded with groceries and fresh flowers.

“Morning, sunshine,” she said in her typical cheerful singsong voice. Her dark hair swung in a ponytail.

“Bite me.” Lorelei continued to beat the whisk against the bowl of eggs in the crook of her arm.

“Yay! You’re in a good mood.” Andee slid the crate onto the counter and began to unload the cartons of fresh eggs, gallons of milk, bags of spinach, scallions, red peppers, and fresh strawberries from the next town over.

Lorelei finished the eggs and poured them into a pie plate, completing her third quiche for the morning, this one a ham and Gruyere combination. “What did I say about talking to me before I’ve had my coffee and the clock hasn’t struck noon?” She teased.

“To not to. But I haven’t listened to you since we took tap lessons at Mrs. Becky’s dance studio when we were six years old and you told me to try out for the skunk part. Who’d want to be a skunk?” She shook her head while pulling down a large mixing bowl and handed it to Lorelei.

“I was a skunk,” Lorelei said.

“Exactly, and you said it was terrible. Remember how Buck teased you about stinking for all of first grade? Terrible.”

Lorelei paused as she measured out the flour for her waffle mix and curled her upper lip at the woman who’d had been one of her closest friend for the last quarter century.

“And you still ended up marrying him. You’re a true friend,” Lorelei said with as much sarcasm she could muster, considering the early morning hour. Roosters were still asleep.

“And don’t you forget it.” Andee blew her a kiss before she turned to leave the kitchen.

Lorelei finished the waffle mix and pulled the scones out of the oven, replacing them with the quiches. Running a breakfast diner, a popular one at that, was exhausting work and Two Chicks and Bacon closed their doors every day at noon. Lorelei couldn’t imagine how bone weary she’d feel if they ran a lunch and dinner service as well.

“Oh my God," Andee exclaimed as she barged into the kitchen, the daily special’s chalkboard in her hand, the swinging door crashing against the wall.

Lorelei, who’d been checking on her croissants, jumped and burned her hand on the searing hot oven rack. “Ow.” She rushed to rinse it under cold water. “What in the hell?” she asked, closing the oven door with her foot.

“I’m sorry. I totally forgot to ask if you saw the paper this morning.” It was an explosion of words, as if Andee couldn’t contain them any longer. Which she probably couldn't considering secrets leaked out of Andee faster than water ran through a colander. Her intentions never ran toward malice; she simply had a knack for inadvertently spilling the beans.

 “Ah, no. I haven't seen the paper yet as I was here before they were delivered.” Lorelei pulled an ice cube from the fridge and rubbed it over the red welt running across her wrist.

“Guess who’s moving home? Well, not home exactly but back to Florida and crazy close, too.” The smile on Andee’s face was large and laughter bubbled from her lips.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out whom she was talking about. There was only one person from Lakeland, the prodigal son, whose homecoming would make the papers.

“Why would you think I’d care one fig about Cole Williams moving back to Florida or moving anywhere for that matter?”

“Oh come on, Lorelei, its Cole. We’ve all been friends for a million years. It’ll be great to see him again. I bet Buck’s planning all kinds of man fun for himself and Cole—or he will be once he sees the paper.”

“Y’all didn’t know he was moving back?”

Andee shook her head.

“Didn’t y’all just see Cole a few months ago at the Sugar Bowl?” Lorelei tossed the melting cube into the sink and checked the list of items she needed to make and bake. She had no more interest in talking about Cole Williams than she had in getting a gynecological exam. Though both were unavoidable, at least one was in her best interest, the other...not so much.