Thirty-One and a Half Regrets

By: Denise Grover Swank

Before he could answer, the side door of my house opened and Mason hobbled toward us on his crutches. “Well, hello, Joe. What a surprise to see you here.” He stopped next to me, wrapping an arm around my waist.

“I’m moving into my old house,” Joe said with a grin, his gaze landing on Mason’s hand at my waist then rising. “Rose and I are neighbors again.” The challenge in his voice was clear.

“Well then, your timing is perfect,” Mason said, his friendly tone not matching the look in his eyes. “Seeing as how Rose is moving out to her mother’s farm.”

Joe’s smile fell. “Is that true?”

I nodded. “Violet’s moving in here next week.”

“But I’m sure Violet will appreciate having you for a neighbor.” Mason leaned down and kissed my temple, his lips lingering for several seconds. “I’ll go finish packing your bathroom.”

As Mason walked away, Joe’s eyes narrowed in determination. “We’ll be working together quite a bit now, Mason. Seeing as how I’m the new chief deputy sheriff.”

Holding onto the door, Mason paused for a second and then turned at the waist, flashing Joe a firm smile. “I’m looking forward to it.”

And just like that, my life got even more complicated.