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A Second Chance

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Do we get more than one chance at love? Morgan Conners didn't think so until she met Greg Holden. Now she's thinking maybe she could be happy again, back in her home town. At 37 Morgan never imagined she would be finding herself moving back home to Summersville, Indiana. But after experiencing one the worst heartaches a person could, the death of her husband, that's exactly what she was doing. Things begin to look up as she begins a new life, until she meets her co worker, Greg Holden, That when everything is turned upside down. Greg Holden had been the Physical Education teacher at Summersville High School for 3 years, moving to the small town after a very messy divorce. He had no intentions of looking for the next Mrs. Holden, that is until he met the new girls Physical Education teacher. Now he was thinking maybe trying again wasn't such a bad idea after all.

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Chapter 1

Morgan stopped her black SUV in the driveway next to her sisters little silver car and killed the engine. It was late and the only light outside came from the warm glow emanating from the light Cassie had turned on over the front door and the soft glow of the full moon.

Morgan sighed as Dylan and Paige exited the car and slowly walked up the stone path leading to the house. Her sigh was a mix of exhaustion and frustration. Summer vacation was coming to an end quickly and she hadn’t located a home or a job here and today turned into yet another bust . They had looked at 5 different places, in 3 different towns, that were either to small, or over priced for the condition. One even made rules of how long people could be at her house before her rent increased each month for another occupant. Morgan seemed to be seeing a lot of that problem since she started her housing search a month ago.

Her sister had no problem with them staying here as long as they needed, but she was used to being on her own. She opened her door as she pulled her keys out of the ignition, tossing them into her purse as she slid her small 5 foot 9 inch frame from the leather seat. She pushed the car door shut, a little harder than it needed, taking some of her frustration out on it. She slung her black purse over her shoulder and massaged her left temple as she walked up the path to the front of the house.

Morgan shivered, the temperature had dropped since they left that afternoon and her Capri’s and sleeveless top weren’t enough to keep the chill at bay. She rubbed her bare arms feeling the goosebumps that had popped up. She could hear the crickets chirping from the bushes around the porch. She loved to sit outside during the summer and listen to the crickets, Morgan smiled slightly as she breathed deep. Smelling the lingering scent of someone’s barbecue and the roses her sister planted several years ago growing beautiful pink blooms beside the porch. She wished she was in a better mood so she was able enjoy the evening. Maybe tomorrow would be better and she could sit outside and enjoy a drink with her sister.

She entered the house and locked the front door behind her turning to see Dylan and Paige laying on her sister’s leather couch. “Go get ready for bed. It’s been a long day.” she said hugging them as they got up off the couch. She had only wanted what was best for her kids and her being depressed all day was not going to make that happen. Morgan frowned as she watched them walk down the hall to the room they were sharing. “We will find a place soon, I know it.” She called after them. She knew how hard packing up and moving halfway across Indiana, leaving their friends behind and having to share a room could be.

It wasn’t her plan, Morgan tried her hardest to make it work in Edinburgh, it had been her home for 16 years. They stayed an entire school year after Jacob died, trying to continue on normally, trying to push past the hurt and pain. But watching the trucks and soldiers daily in town, and walking the halls every day at the High School, was more than she could take. She couldn’t shake the depression, even with the help of medication.

Even though she felt proud when Jake wanted to join the National Guard shortly after the attack on September 11th , she always feared deployment, like any other soldiers wife. Morgan remembered that day, like it was yesterday. It was Jake’s week to be at the base, he had only been gone two days. She could still see the Guardsmen standing with the principal in the door to the gym, their heads bowed in sadness. It’s like seeing a police officer at your front door at 3 in the morning to a military family. She still remembered the pain, how it took her breath away, how her legs wouldn’t work. The nausea as she felt the over powering urge to throw up.

Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would lose him in a freak training accident on base. It helped to know that he saved 4 of his fellow soldiers lives that day, but that was Jake, always looking out for everyone else, not thinking about his safety. During a routine training exercise a live grenade had bounced back into the training area. Jake pushed the other 4 members of his training team over the protective barrier before it had went off.

Morgan couldn’t walk past his office without tearing up, even though they removed his name quickly from above the door. He had been the High School Counselor for 16 years, it would always be his office. The office where he proposed to her during lunch 15 years ago, the same office where she told him she was pregnant with Paige. She had gotten used to seeing him through out the day, passing him in the hall, sharing cafeteria duty, or sharing lunch in the teacher’s lounge. It was hard for her, she needed to go somewhere he had never been, where there were no memories of him every where she turned, she needed to go home to Summersville.

Now she was here, and she was struggling in her attempts to make a new life. She had applied to several different schools as soon as she had arrived over a month ago, but had still yet to get a call from any of them. She had thought her 16 years as a teacher would make her an easy choice for any district, however there wasn’t much demand for a physical education teacher in the area. She was feeling now that this was the wrong choice, that she had failed her kids.

Morgan wiped the tear running down her pale cheek and walked to the room her sister set up for her to stay in. She flipped the light switch as she opened the door and dropped her purse on the dresser. She looked at the full size bed with it’s floral comforter and light blue sheets. Morgan groaned as she fell onto it, laying cross ways, missing her own bed and feeling defeated. She had no idea how long she had been laying there feeling sorry for herself, beating herself up for her weakness that pushed her to make the wrong choice before she heard a light tap on her door.

Morgan lifted her head and saw her sister Cassie standing in the doorway, her short auburn hair wet from her shower, wrapped in her blue bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. “So have any luck today?” she asked as she sat on the corner of the bed. Morgan laid her head back down on the bed and groaned, not wanting to talk about it. Cassie smiled, “I will take that as a no.” she said rubbing her back, wanting to reassure her sister that everything would work out.

“Well Martin called this afternoon.” her sister said. Morgan looked up at her again “What did he want?” she asked wondering what reason her ex brother in law would have to call his ex wife. “He wanted to know if the application and resume that is on his desk were yours. He was told this morning that his Girl’s PE Coach wasn’t returning for the new year. She decided to move to Kansas with her husband.” her sister said with a smile. “What did he say?” Morgan asked crossing her fingers hoping this was the break she had been waiting for. “He said he would put in a word with the school board for them to consider your application.” she said smiling at her. Morgan hugged her sister, this was great news, the best news she had heard in over a year. “I told you to give it time, things would work out.” her sister said as she hugged her tight. “I know, but it was beginning to look very grim for while, it still doesn’t solve the housing issue.” she said taking a deep breath. “One problem at a time little sister.” Cassie said as she patted her leg

“So how was your date with what’s his name?” Morgan said grinning at her sister. “His name is Doug, and it went OK.” her sister said smiling. “OK? That good huh?” Morgan said. “It was a first date Morgan, we were both nervous. He asked me to go out next weekend, so maybe we will have a better time.” she said laughing as she stood up. “Get some rest. Tomorrow we will go do something to take a break, take everyone’s mind off the problems.” she said as she left her sisters room and shut the door behind her.

Morgan felt a bit better after hearing that Martin was going to help get her application approved, she hated using people she knew as connections, but sometimes you had to have help, and this was one of those times. Morgan smiled as she changed into her pajamas then put her long wavy auburn hair in a ponytail before climbing into bed. She grabbed her phone from her purse to check her Facebook to see if any of her friends had any leads on houses for rent in the area before heading to bed. Her sister was right, one problem at a time, tomorrow they would go out and do something fun and not worry about house hunting. Morgan plugged her phone in to charge, then turned the lamp off, she scooted down under the floral blanket and laid her head on the cool fluffy pillow and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning Morgan stretched as she walked into the kitchen feeling better than she had in a long time. She had actually slept, only waking twice last night instead of every hour like she had been since she got here. It had been a long time since she had slept through the night without taking a sleeping pill, years to be exact.

She smiled as she watched the humming birds flying around the feeder outside the window above the kitchen sink as she filled the pot with water so she could make coffee. She poured the pot of water into the tank, scooped fresh coffee grounds into the new filter and flipped the pot on. She began to lightly hum as she pulled the pan out of the cabinet and set it on the burner, turned the stove on, then dropped a few tablespoons of butter in the bottom to melt as it warmed. Morgan pulled the eggs out of the refrigerator and began cracking them in to a bowl. She tossed the shells in to the trash and began whisking them when her sister walked into the kitchen.

Morgan watched as Cassie shuffled to the coffee pot and poured a cup, then just as quietly went to the table and sat down. Cassie was not a morning person, never had been, if you were smart you talked to her as little as possible until after her first cup of coffee. Morgan looked out the bay window behind the table at the sun shining on the dew covered grass and smiled as she watched the neighbors Tabby cat chasing a bird through the back yard, she opened the pantry door and pulled out the bread. “Hey Cass I’m making french toast you want some?” she asked looking over at her sister holding her cup of coffee in both hands. She heard an unintelligible noise she assumed was a yes and smiled as she turned back to the task and began laying the slices of coated bread in the buttered pan. She popped a package of precooked bacon in the microwave before flipping the slices of bread in the pan.

15 minutes later everything was finished, making the entire house smell delicious. Morgan began assembling the toast and bacon on plates as she heard the kids walking through the living room towards the smell of food. Morgan smiled at how much they were like their father, when food could make them stop what ever it was they were doing and run towards it. Morgan made them plates and sat them down at the table then went to pour them both a glass of milk.

As she set the two tall glasses of milk down she heard her cell ring she wiped her wet hands on her t shirt and pulled her phone out of her pocket saying a few curse words as she almost dropped it, “Hello?” she said putting the phone to her ear. “Mrs. Conners?” the man on the other end asked. “Yes this is Morgan Conners.” she said walking into the living room to hear over the sound of Paige arguing with Dylan over how his snoring kept her up all night. “Mrs. Conners this is Dr. Tanner, Superintendent of the Summersville school district. I was given your application yesterday as a recommendation from Mr. Long our High School Principal. I was wondering if you were still interested in a position with our school district?” he asked. Morgan smiled “Yes Dr. Tanner, I’m very interested in working for the school district.” she said wincing, hoping she didn’t sound to eager. “Wonderful. Do you think you could come in Tomorrow afternoon for an interview? I would have you come today, but I have budget meetings all day today.” he said laughing slightly. “Tomorrow would be perfect Dr. Tanner.” she said trying hard to not jump up and down. “Great, I will see you at 1pm. Do you know where the office is?” he asked penciling her in to his schedule. “Yes, I am familiar with the schools. I graduated from Summersville.” she said feeling a bit of pride as she acknowledged that bit of information. “Yes, we did note that when we looked at your resume. We always love to see Alumni take an interest in working for the district.” he said laughing again. “We are planning a big change this year for our Physical Education department, and we think someone who loves the school will make this change work.” he said with a smile in his voice.“I will see you tomorrow then Mrs. Conners.” he said before disconnecting the call.

Morgan did a little dance around the living room before walking back into the kitchen to eat her breakfast. “So, who was on the phone?” Cassie asked. “That was Dr. Tanner, I have an interview tomorrow afternoon.” Morgan said unable to contain her smile. “So Morgan, any idea’s where you want to go today?” her sister asked looking up at her. “Let’s go on a hike.” she said smiling at her sister. “We can go to Moberly Park and hike the trail.” she continued getting excited at the idea of getting outside, and the potential job. She needed to be outside, it was probably the reason she was so down and depressed lately. Exercise was her way of blowing off steam, relaxing her and clearing her mind. Normally she would run most mornings, but since she had been here, she hadn’t, finding some excuse not to.

After breakfast was cleaned up and dishes were in the dish washer, everyone headed off to got dressed for the park. Morgan put on some legging Capri’s, her running shoes then tugged on a loose Summersville Falcon’s t shirt. She went out to the living room and mentally planned her outfit for her interview while she waited for everyone else. Once everyone was ready to go, they all climbed in the car and drove across town.

Just on the edge of town sat Moberly Park, the hiking trails were widely known for it’s scenic views, as well as it’s ability to accommodate any one in any physical condition including those in wheelchairs. It had wide, smooth paved walk ways, drinking fountains set along the path, as well as benches in well shaded areas to rest on. Morgan smiled as she remembered coming here as a teenager with her friends to hike these trails and talk about boys. How they would climb up to the Look out Point and sit on one of the benches and dream about what their lives would be like after graduation. She had always known she wanted to be a teacher, and knew she wanted a family. So she guessed her dreams had came true, even though parts weren’t meant to be forever.

Morgan jogged a head of everyone to the trail entrance and stopped at a bench to retie her shoes. She began to stretch as she listened to the sound of the wind blowing through the tree’s, she closed her eyes, lifted her face to the sun and imagined that it was Jacob whispering to her, telling her to have a good time, not to dwell on the bad today. Let nature and Summersville heal her broken heart, and that he loved her. Morgan smiled for a minute feeling better already. When Cassie and the kids caught up to her, she walked with them pointing out interesting facts that she had learned over the years about the park, heading up the path towards Look Out Point.

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