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Money Talks




Ann Summerville




A white cloud drifted by.  Like her relationship with George, a puff of wind and off it went in another direction.

Michelle thought back over the past year. First George cancelled their March wedding because his mother was ill but not too ill to go on a cruise a month later.

Then it was his job.  They were in the middle of a merger and April was inconvenient.

His sister decided to get married in May, so that month was out.  Did Michelle have any idea how much planning went into a wedding?  He had the audacity to ask. 

Michelle knew breaking up with George was for the best and was much happier now.  A tear slid down her cheek. 

“I am happier now.” 

She had her routine.  A jog along the river, morning coffee at the café, home to shower and change then a busy day at work.  The evenings were another matter.  TV and cookies.  At least maintaining her weight wasn’t a problem. 

What if he had changed?  Michelle thought of the wedding dress hanging behind her bedroom door.  What if things could be different?

Finishing the circuit she slowed down and stopped, catching her breath outside the café.  Breathing in smells of freshly brewed coffee and cinnamon rolls, Michelle opened the door and waved to the girl behind the counter. 

“You’re a bit late this morning.  Here’s your coffee and chocolate cookies.”

“Thanks, Angela.”  Michelle handed her $10 and sipped the coffee.

“Here’s your change.”

Michelle looked down at the dollar bill.  Across George Washington’s portrait in red ink was, MICHELLE, MARRY ME – GEORGE. 

“How did. . . .”

Angela raised an eyebrow and nodded toward a booth.


“Do you have a pen, Angela?”  Michelle wrote under the red words, took another sip of coffee and walked over to the booth where George was grinning from ear to ear.

“Before you answer, I need to tell you few things.” George stood and faced her.  “My mom moved to a retirement home with someone she met on the cruise.”  He gripped her hand crushing the dollar bill in her palm.  “My sister got divorced last month and I was demoted.”

“Really?”  She gazed into his eyes and smiled.  “So you’ve changed?”

“I should never have let you go Michelle.”

“So what do you have in mind?”

“Well, I thought we could have dinner tomorrow night and make plans.  I’ve got a cousin coming out from New York but I’m free between 6:00 and 7:30.  Unless he has something he needs help with, of course.”

“Of course,” said Michelle as she slid her hand from his and placed the crumpled money on the table.

She took a step back, turned and walked toward the door.

“You forgot your cookies.”

“I don’t need them any more Angela, thanks.”  Michelle waved to George and opened the door.

“You didn’t answer me.”  George called.

“Yes I did.”  Michelle closed the door as George looked down.  He smoothed out the money and stared at the black writing. 




ANN SUMMERVILLE was born in England, and in search of a warmer climate, moved to California before settling in Texas.  She is currently working on a cozy mystery set on the southwest coast of England.  Ann resides with her son, two boisterous dogs and a somewhat elusive cat. Her previous work on SHINE is here.



"I saw writing on a dollar bill I had in my wallet and thought it would be a great way to pass on a message."

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