Shade's Fall

Page 6


As soon as the thought came to mind, Lily pictured an imaginary door blocking all thoughts of her life from before. It was a trick she had learned when she was a little girl, and she still used it to keep all the memories at bay.
She became angry when everyone treated her like a child, yet she used childish tricks to keep the negative tide of emotions away instead of facing them. She didn’t want to remember the memories that were locked away behind that door, though. She fought her fears and anxieties every day, terrified that what was behind that imaginary door would take what little sanity she had left.
* * *
The next morning she woke, sitting up, covered in sweat with her pajamas clinging to her. She took a shower, washing her hair and enjoying the cool water on her overheated flesh. When she dried off, she dressed in a cool, pink sundress that had little cap sleeves. Lily preferred wearing dresses to jeans, liking the loose feel of them on her body than the more constrictive clothes women of her age preferred.
Going to her bed, she pulled the sheets off then put fresh sheets on, making it carefully. She picked up the dirty ones, carrying them downstairs as she hoped Shade had kept his word and left.
Beth and Razer were sitting in the living room drinking coffee when she came down the steps.
“Good morning,” Lily said brightly.
“Good morning,” they both replied.
“Can I get you some breakfast?” Beth asked, starting to get up.
“No, thanks. I’ll pour me a cup of coffee in a minute.”
Going into the back laundry room off the kitchen, Lily started her sheets in the wash before pouring herself a cup of coffee.
“Did you have a good time last night?” Lily asked, sitting in the chair, carefully balancing her cup of coffee.
“Yes,” Beth answered. Lily wondered at the blush on Beth’s face but didn’t make a remark.
“What did you do last night?” Beth asked.
“Read for a while, watched some television and then went to bed.” Lily watched Beth’s face to see if Shade had told them about her fainting then decided he hadn’t when her sister’s expression remained the same.
“Any plans for today?” Beth asked.
“No. I thought I would just clean the house.”
“I’ll help,” Beth offered.
Razer got to his feet. “I’m going to mow the lawn while you two clean. I’ll throw some hamburgers on the grill when I get finished.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Lily grinned, getting to her feet.
They managed to get most of the cleaning done before Razer had lunch ready. They spent the remainder of the day taking care of the household chores and relaxing. Lily enjoyed spending time with Beth and her husband, knowing the moment wasn’t far away when this time would be gone forever.

“What’s wrong?” Beth paused in loading the dishwasher.
“Nothing.” Lily smiled. “I was just thinking about how things are changing. I’m graduating in December and your house will be ready. I guess I’m already missing you guys.”
Lily took her sister’s hand when her eyes filled with tears. “Beth, I didn’t mean to make you sad.”
“I don’t want you to leave Treepoint.”
“I haven’t made up my mind what I’m going to do. It all depends on where I get offered a job. At one time, you didn’t want me to settle for Treepoint.”
Both of them knew the likelihood of getting a job as a social worker in Treepoint was slim. It was a small county and state jobs didn’t open often.
“Promise me that you won’t rush out and make a decision if you get offered a job somewhere else?”
“Of course. I prefer to stay in Treepoint.” Deciding to lighten the atmosphere, Lily said, “But I have to go find my cowboy first and convince him to come back with me. Penni is loving Texas. I’m thinking of going to visit her after Christmas. The band she’s managing, their tour doesn’t leave until February.”
“That sounds like fun,” Beth said, finishing loading the dishwasher.
“I thought so. Maybe I need to change my mind and go after a rocker instead of a cowboy.”
* * *
The next morning, they walked to church, enjoying the pretty summer morning. Lily and Beth walked arm-in-arm with Razer following behind. In church, they sat together with Beth in the middle. Many of The Last Riders had begun going to the church. Viper joined Winter in the front with Evie, Jewell and Bliss sitting along the same pew. Lily wondered how many motorcycle club members attended church regularly, not that it really mattered. She was perfectly happy to have this club at her church.
Shade never attended, though. Lily shook away any further reflection on him. She found her thoughts wandering to him more now that she worked with Shade and shared lunch with him every day. Her eyes went to The Last Rider women, wondering at his relationship with them and which one he was involved with. Lily never asked Beth any questions about The Last Riders. Every time she had previously broached the subject, when Beth had first started getting serious with Razer, Beth had avoided discussing the individual members and their relationships. Lily had shrugged it off, not one to invade others’ privacy when she didn’t want anyone questioning hers.
After the service, they stopped and talked to Pastor Dean who was standing in the front of the church. Lily smiled at him brightly. He was an excellent pastor who had taken over after her father’s death a few years before.
“Lily, how are you this beautiful morning?” he greeted her.
“Just fine, Pastor Dean. I enjoyed your sermon.”
“Thank you. I have a favor to ask of you. Several parishioners have made donations which I put in the basement. Since it has a separate entrance, I thought that, if I could get a couple of volunteers to clean out the basement and then organize the donations, I could open it to the public who need our help.”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea. I would be glad to help,” Lily offered.
“I would appreciate it. Rachel has volunteered to help next Saturday. Does that work for you?” Pastor Dean asked.
“Yes,” Lily said eagerly.
“I could help,” Beth joined in the conversation.
“I think Rachel and Lily will be enough for now, but thanks for offering. If it becomes too much for them, I’ll give you a call.”
“Oh, okay.”
Pastor Dean gave Beth a warm smile. “Beth, you have plenty to keep you busy with our food outreach program. I think that’s enough of a contribution of your time.”
Beth laughed. “I do stay pretty busy. I’ve promised Razer I wouldn’t take on anything else until we get in our new house.”
“I have every confidence that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, Beth.” Lily watched as Beth gave Pastor Dean a bright smile at his response. Her sister was so pretty standing in the sun with her flaxen hair shining and her light-colored, paisley dress. She looked like an angel. Lily turned away, her eyes darkening with torment. Not like me with my demons constantly chasing through my mind.
Attempting to shake herself from the feeling, Lily walked to the sidewalk and waited for Beth and Razer. Her eyes drifted across the street to the diner, seeing the motorcycles outside the restaurant.