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One Last Gift (Chapter Six)

With none of her friends around to see what happened, Melanie was alone and losing her life. This is not how she envisioned her Saturday going at all. When she moved here to this town about a year and a half ago, she was nervous as can be. Here is this small-town girl, from a few states over, coming to a completely different environment with such a mix of cultures. All she had was her southern charm and wit, and her cat Lacy whom she had since she was in college. Her first day on the job, she accidentally broke the coffee machine pressing the wrong buttons. “I thought they were all made the same!”, she cried. But in came an older gentleman who fixed the machine before the other coworkers rioted; it was Marco. Marco was the first friend Melanie made here at work, and soon met the others in what would become a monthly get-together to chat and have fun.

Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there. She always told herself that no matter what it was for. She learned it from her father, whom she missed dearly since he passed away when she was young. Whether it was at school, local town events, work, and even dating, she gave it a chance because one never knows what may happen. At school, she joined organizations, and made amazing friends that she stays in touch with when she goes back home to visit her little sister. Local events are something that Melanie and her father always did; from music to fairs to anything that simply sounded interesting they went to. “Dad always believed that life is simply too short to be cooped up in an office or at home all day. You might prefer it, but get some sunshine once in awhile!”, her and her mother would always quote when they took trips to the ocean. She got her warmth and care from her mother, but that adventurous zest for life definitely came from her father. She hoped one day to meet a man as wonderful as he was. And then, one day she met Chase.

At first, she did not like him upon arrival. A month before Chase started working at the company, Melanie was on a second date with a guy named Vince. He was handsome and had a nice job, but his personality certainly lacked. He never held open the door for her, nor did he ask how she’s doing. Not that it’s expected every day or anything, but show you can be a gentleman. He didn’t even offer his coat when it began to rain on them as they departed; guess who forgot to walk her to her car? She never contacted him again, and she wondered how people can be with cruddy folks like that for so long. Vince was just another fella that Melanie figured was among many similar to him who lived in big towns. You rarely had that in small towns, and she began to wonder if maybe she should consider moving closer to home. Her mother and younger sister are alright, but they’re all she has close to her heart. Her little bug (aka Kaley, her sister) was off in college, and so her mom had her friends to hang out with. But Melanie knew at times, her mother missed how life used to be; they all did. But like all things, we learn to move forward as best we can. Sometimes she wondered if moving here for work was her way of running away from her past. No, her father didn’t raise her to run away from her problems. If only he were here to save her from drowning.

She started showing interest in Chase about a week and a half in since his first day at the job. Of course, she was not interested in dating at the time and thought maybe focusing more on her projects would be best. Yet she couldn’t deny how handsome he was. She liked the tall ones who were caring, and she saw that when on his second day there. Sweet, old lady Miss Emily was loved by everyone there. She was 71 years old, and was like the grandmother of the little work family they had there. She answered phones and went through mail for everyone, and sometimes would bring homemade cookies! Melanie loved the sugar cookies with a touch of cinnamon in it. On that day, Miss Emily accidentally slipped on a piece of paper on the ground and dropped supplies onto the floor. Who was the first person who immediately rushed to her aide and took her to the doctor’s? Chase. And it came so natural to him to just jump in and help; you can’t teach that. Melanie was the same with animals, and it showed that night at the dinner Chase went to. The one she planned out and invited him to.

Yes, she invited him mainly to get to know him better and she was liking what she was seeing and hearing from him. That was until Sara showed up to the table. A touch of jealousy did appear that night, but it’s not like he was her boyfriend; just a guy she was getting to know at the time. She was glad nothing happened of it afterwards; most other guys probably would’ve jumped at that chance. But she thought, maybe he is not like most guys. He had that look in his eyes, as if he’s been through a lot in his life and has no time for drama and having his time wasted. Yet he also seemed so adventurous and loved spending his time outdoors. Add that with his compassion, and one can’t help but wonder if he was what she was looking for when she left home. Over the next few days and so on, she would chat more and more with him. They had their own secret handshake and were sometimes pulling funny pranks on each other; or in some cases Darren. She felt comfortable and happy around him, even though they never actually went out on a date. She was hoping that would change after this river trip.

Melanie was nervous about asking Chase to go to the river, because she wasn’t sure how he would respond. She didn’t know if he was seeing someone or had a girlfriend. Talia tried to get that information out of him, but it wasn’t a clear answer though it felt more like he was not taken. When he said yes, she was ecstatic on the inside but played it cool on the outside. No worries about coworkers distracting them, and her friends that did go knew she was interested so they would give them space; as well as evaluate him as all friends like to do. She was hoping to get to know him more in-depth, but he hasn’t shown up yet and perhaps her chance is literally slipping away. As she fell deeper and deeper into the river, she could see the glimmer of the sun shine through the water. “It can’t end like this”, she thought to herself, “Dad, help me”. As her vision nearly faded away, she saw a break in the water and then a sudden rush. Air. She felt it gush past her face, as she was being thrown into the grass off the riverbank. And when the CPR was over, Melanie coughed out the water as quickly as possible. “Are you okay?!”, this person said. “Yes. Thank you so much! How can I ever repay you?!”, she said appreciatively. “Don’t worry about it, you already helped me overcome my fear of swimming”, he answered. And with that she quickly looked up at her hero, and saw a familiar face. “It looks like I’m the one who will have to keep a good eye on you!”, Chase said in relief that the girl he was interested in was alive.

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