As Shelby turned back around to face the dining area, she found herself staring at the kitchen clock. Until this moment, she had forgotten that the kitchen had a clock. She remembered buying the sunflower clock at a small market years ago during a road trip to Juarez Mexico. The friend she had traveled with suggested that they stop at a small market just outside of Santa Fe to do some souvenir hunting. Shelby found a small shop with a variety of sunflower decor, including the wall clock hanging over her kitchen cabinets, although sadly, now hidden under a layer of grease and grime. She closed her eyes as her mind filled with heartache. Now, more than ever, she felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame for how she had treated her friend; a man unlike any other man she had ever known. An immediate question filled her mind, “Why did I walk out of his life?”

Knowing the power and importance of words, Shelby spoke to herself very softly, promising to make things right with her friend, “I’m so sorry…someday I’ll tell you…I promise.”

Suddenly, she remembered the last thing he had said to her, minutes before she walked away from him; every word and syllable came back to her.

“Shelby…I will always be here for you,” he had said softly, while looking deep into her eyes.

Although friends since Highschool, their relationship had remained platonic right up until their final hours together. During the course of that friendship she had developed very strong feelings for the man, and now more than ever, she found herself needing to know if he felt the same way.

The house fell silent as both Shelby and the crows finished speaking at the same time. She did not hear the dogs, either outside, or downstairs, and that raised a high level of concern. She walked to the door and placed her ear against the slick wooden surface. Nothing, not a sound from the other side. The area behind the door was small, with stairs leading down to the left, and a door leading outside to the right. The door Shelby was standing in front of opened by sliding to her left, disappearing into the wall between the kitchen and the stairs. In one fluid motion, she unlatched the lock and slid the door one inch into the wall. The landing was dark, lit only by the sunlight passing through a single window in the heavy door to her right. The curtain, designed with an black and white pattern of various flowers, was old, faded, and unwashed, another victim of homeowner neglect.

Shelby slid the remainder of the thin wooden door into it’s hiding place. Completely stunned and bewildered, she said,”Where are the flipping dogs?”

2 thoughts on “Bella In Ogni Modo [Beautiful In Every Way] [Part 11 of 20]

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