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By Brends Nyveld

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She waited for the glimpse of daylight to emerge through the worn curtains in her room before she knew she finally had a reason to get out of bed and go downstairs. The animals in the barn needed her and that was a good enough reason as any to chance meeting Scott. Layers of wool socks hit the frigid bedroom floor as Maddy rose from the bed. She grimaced as the floor creaked under her weight. She hoped to sneak by Scott in the living room without waking him. Eventually, she would have to face him, but she needed time alone in the barn to know just how to handle it.

Scott made an attempt to smile and failed. “I know that. " “She wasn't thinking clearly,” Maddy offered. “She was looking for someone to blame. " Scott smiled down at her. The smile didn't reflect in his eyes. " “It is true. ” Maddy knew he was changing the subject to avoid any further talk on the issue. He grinned at her. " She would let it go for now. “Tell me about it. ” Scott rose to his feet and pulled Maddy up with him. " **** Maddy's sweet scent floated over him and filled his thoughts as he walked down the steps behind her.

Scott wanted to ask Harry how Maddy had been hurt in her marriage, but the opportunity had never come up. He relied on the bits and pieces Harry had offered to fill in the holes. Harry told him Maddy was far too good for Jim Harrison. That Jim had done nothing to deserve her love. While his departure may have thrown Maddy for a loop, it had come as no surprise to Harry and his wife. “Guys like that don't want the love of a good woman. And they don't deserve it either,” Harry had said. But how was Scott different than Jim?

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