Christmas, Alabama (Excerpt)

“Nick was still considering ways to communicate the importance of self-preservation when his reckoning finally came.
She was loud, and she wasn’t taking no for an answer. “I want to speak to Doctor Sullivan. He has something that belongs to my momma.”
“Angie, you’re not allowed back here unless you’re a patient. I’ll give him a message.”
Nick heard Candy, the receptionist, try to dissuade someone named Angie.
“You gonna call the cops on me?” the woman sneered. “Thought not.”

The reckoning manifested itself in the form of a tall brunette, with very large hair, in skin-tight jeans, red“cowboy boots, and an impressive, uh, chest that was encased in a tight reindeer sweater whose eyes were exactly in the nipple positions, for lack of a better explanation.

She spotted him as soon as she burst through the double doors, with Candy nearly hanging off the woman’s arm, still trying to dissuade her. “So, you’re the snotty piece of shit who can’t be bothered to pick up the phone and return a casserole dish when somebody spends time cooking you a welcome dinner?”
“Excuse me?” Nick was taken aback at the woman’s manner, and, he had to admit, the sweater with the strategically placed reindeer eyeballs. Was she even wearing a bra underneath? It was like a horrible train wreck where one couldn’t look away. With great effort, Nick dragged his eyes from the shocking scene on the woman’s chest. “I’m sorry. I apologize if I’ve offended you. I don’t think we’ve me. I’m Nick Sullivan.” Nick stuck out his hand.
“I’m Angie Davis.” She narrowed her eyes, but shook his hand anyway. “I’m not used to being ignored, and I don’t appreciate it. Didn’t anybody tell you who I was when I dropped off the tuna noodle casserole?”

“He shook his head, but suppressed a shudder at the memory of the smell when they’d broken the cheese seal. “I have your dish ready to return. I figured you’d stop by to pick it up. I’m not used to this custom. It’s not something people do where I’m from. Sorry.” He shrugged.

“Well, anybody with any home training or good sense should realize that when someone leaves a phone number, you should make a call.” Her well-groomed eyebrows shot up, making her point that he had neither.
He walked over to where a variety of casserole dishes were stacked on the counter. He’d been avoiding those phone calls, hoping the containers would magically find their way back home. “Ah, here it is. Tuna noodle surprise.” Then, he cringed that he said it aloud.
“Why did you call it that? It’s Momma’s special recipe. Are you saying you didn’t like it?” the screamer called Angie demanded.
“I didn’t say that.” He handed over the oval glass dish. “Here you go. Thanks for your kindness. But you can’t be back here if you’re not a patient.” His patience with Angie of the obscene sweater was at an end.”
 
Excerpt From: Susan Sands “Christmas, Alabama.” iBooks. 

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