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The Christmas Scarf

By:Kay Correll

The Christmas Scarf_ A Holiday Novella (Book 3.5) (Comfort Crossing), - Kay Correll


CHAPTER ONE





Missy Sherwood glanced around at the bare walls and empty room. The late afternoon light filtered in through the battered blinds on the small window. She’d always planned to replace them but never had found the time or money to do so. Probably just as well since she’d only be leaving them behind now.

She slowly left the room, closing the door behind her. She crossed the cramped space that served as a kitchen and sitting room and dropped her apartment key on the counter. It was best that her two roommates were at work now, she didn’t really want a fancy goodbye, or even words of encouragement.

She’d tried to take Nashville by storm, wanting to be a country singer along with every third person in the city. All the singers-slash-waiters or singers-slash-receptionists.

Now the company where she worked as a receptionist had closed, so she’d lost that job and couldn’t remember the last time she’d even had a backup singing gig in spite of constantly going to auditions. She’d had high hopes of getting hired as a backup singer to Keith Harper after getting a second call back, but nothing. She’d promised herself she would give herself until the end of this year to make it, if not, she would call it quits and find another way to make a living.

The Christmas lights blinked on a pathetic but free tree in the corner. She placed two small presents beneath the tree for her roommates.

She tugged a hat on her short, unruly curls and with one last look around the apartment, she turned and headed out the door, pulling it firmly closed behind her. She walked the three blocks it took to get to the parking garage, hauling a suitcase with a large tote bag balanced on top and her guitar in her other hand. The garage had been the closest parking space she could afford by her apartment. Christmas decorations dotted the store windows as she walked past. Music spilled out on the street when a man hurried out of a liquor store. She walked into the parking garage and struggled up the two flights of stairs to her spot. At least she wouldn’t have to wrestle her way up and down these stairs anymore.

She set her guitar in the backseat of the car. With a tug and a push she leveraged the heavy suitcase into the trunk and dropped the tote bag on top of it. The slam of the trunk echoed through the garage, closing on the end of her non-existent career, the end of her dreams.

She had nowhere else to go but home.

~ * ~

Missy sat in her car on the street in front of her mother’s house. She was sure this was the house, though she hadn’t ever been there before. Her mother and her new husband had moved in a few years back. If only they’d stayed in the house she’d grown up in, where she felt at least a bit like she belonged. At that house she would have just walked in the door, calling out for her mother. But at this house, she was almost a stranger. She’d only met her mother’s new husband a handful of times, at the wedding, and a couple of times when they’d come through Nashville on one of their many trips.

Now she was just going to show up on their doorstep? What was she thinking?

But what choices did she have? Out of work. Barely enough savings to survive until she found some kind of work. Any kind of work. Her things were in the basement storage at her apartment—her former apartment—and she’d assured her roommates she’d be back for them soon. She couldn’t face coming home to Comfort Crossing with her belongings crammed into her car, announcing her defeat. She needed a few weeks to adjust to everything.

She swung open the car door and headed for the front porch. Her mother, as usual, had decorated the house to within an inch of its life. It had embarrassed her as a young girl growing up, but now it made her smile, a touch of familiarity in her life. She climbed the porch steps and rang the doorbell.

The door swung wide. “Missy.” Her mother smothered her in a hug and covered her with flour at the same time from the bag she held in her hand. “Oh, I’m sorry. Look at the mess. I was baking. Guess there’s a rip in the flour sack. Come in, come in. Why didn’t you call? No, never mind, I’m just so glad to see you.”

Her mother bustled her inside as Missy let her mother’s words wash over her. It was always a stream of sentences with her mother.

“Hi, Mom. Thought I’d come home for Christmas and surprise you.”

A look of concern flashed across her mother’s eyes, but was quickly hidden behind her smile. “Well, come in and sit in the kitchen. I have a batch of cookies about to come out of the oven.”

“Oatmeal?” Missy could only hope for her favorite.

“Oatmeal it is. I was going to mail off a batch to you later today. But here you are.”

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