Page 39 of Breathe into Me

“Well, come on over here, girl. I won’t bite.” She sweetly smiled at me, but it didn’t help my unease. I slowly made my way toward her and she handed me the rolling pin.

“You ever roll out pie dough before?”

I shook my head. “No, ma’am.”

“Oh, honey, you’re going to have to cut the ma’am stuff out right now. My name is Emma. You best learn to use it.” I noticed then she said everything with a smile. This woman could be insulting you, but her smile was so sweet that you would never realize it was an insult.

“The trick is, you have to make sure you have enough flour so that the pin doesn’t stick to the dough. Like this.” She said as she sprinkled the flour over the ball of dough in front of us and began to roll it out. “See? Now you try. I have a couple pies I need to get out of the oven.”

She handed the roller back to me and I went about rolling the dough out just like she had. My mom had never made pies from scratch before. We always bought the frozen kind or the ones already baked from the deli. My mom was a hell of a cook, but she could not bake to save her life. The cookies were always burnt, the one time she tried to bake me a birthday cake the middle of the cake was still wet. We had laughed about it for hours and she vowed to never try baking again.

Lost in my memory, I didn’t notice Emma had returned to her position beside of me.

“Am I doing this right?” I asked, the dough was rolling out easily but I had no clue if I was rolling it too thin or if it was too thick.

“That’s perfect. I’ll grab a pan and let you lay it in it.”

She laid one of those aluminum pie pans in front of the dough I had just rolled flat. “Now what you have to do here is fold the dough over the roller and then lay it over the pan.”

Yeah, that would be easier said than done because when I tried to lift the dough from the countertop it began to tear. I immediately stopped what I was doing. “I’m going to mess it up. Maybe you should do it.”

She just shook her head. “It’s okay. Just quickly move it and we can worry about if it tears later.”

I took a deep breath and did as she said. When I finally had the dough in the pan, there was only a slight tear.

“Now here’s how we fix that. Just take your fingers and pinch the tear closed. Then lightly press down on it ‘til it is even with the rest of the dough.”

I did as she said and had the hole closed in no time. She then dumped a bowl of cut apples into the pan with the dough, sprinkled some sugar and cinnamon on top, then placed the dough she had already rolled out on top of the now-full pie pan. She then cut off the excess dough, pinching the edges to seal the two doughs together before placing the pie in the oven.

“Now that that’s done, come sit and talk with me.”

She led the way to a small corner table that had a pitcher of lemonade sitting there. We both took a seat and she filled up two glasses that sat beside the pitcher.

“That grandson of mine has not stopped talking about you. I think he might be in love.”

I choked on my lemonade. Kane … love me? That was just crazy. Though I had some crazy strong feelings for Kane, I wasn’t even sure the feelings were mutual. I could always hope they were, but until he said the words to me I would never know.

“Kane has never brought a girl here or even talked about one to us before. You must be something special.”

I could feel the blush creeping up my neck. I was nothing special. It made me happy to think that she believed I was but when she found out about my past it would be a hard fall. I should probably set her straight about it now, but I didn’t want to. For just a little while I wanted to be someone different. I wanted to be special.

“Kane is something else. I have never met anyone like him before,” I said in between sips of my lemonade.

“He sure is. That boy has not had an easy life. Losing his parents so young changed him. He went through a faze for a while where he wouldn’t let anyone close to him. He was out of control. The rage that was inside him about things he could not change, and the fact that he wouldn’t let himself grieve over the loss of his parents, had me fearing he was ruined. His first instinct was to react with his fists. I don’t know how many times I had to go to the school and talk to the principle about him fighting with the other kids. He actually broke one poor boy’s nose with a locker door once. We tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t let us in. As soon as he graduated he moved out and hardly came around for a while.”

I couldn’t believe the things she was telling me. This didn’t sound like the Kane I knew at all.

“Oh, sweetie, I didn’t mean to scare you. I can tell by that look on your face that you never expected to hear all of this. He is nothing like that boy anymore. From time to time we would hear the rumble of that dang motorcycle go by and we would see him park at the park down the street. His daddy used to go there when he was a teenager and had been taking Kane there pretty much since he was born. Then one day instead of driving right by our house he surprised us and pulled in. Ralph and I had been sitting on our porch and he walked right up to us and hugged us, apologizing for everything. He said that he knew that his parents would be disappointed in the way he had turned out, and it made him sick to think of the way they would look at him now … and from that day on he has been a completely different person. He goes to school, he works, and he still takes time to come see his old Paw and Maw.”

Now that was more like the Kane I had come to know. Considerate and kind. I knew Kane had a past, everyone does. Lord knows my past is far from fairytale perfect, but it hurt me to know that he went through so much pain and fury over his parents the way he did. It also made me hope, though. Looking at where he had been to where he is now sparked some faith that I too would one day heal. That I would be able to come to terms with what had happened.

“He has also changed since he met you.” Her words jarred me from my thoughts and she placed her hand on mine. “He has seemed happier these last few weeks. When he talks about you he lights up. I haven’t seen him light up like that since he was a boy. Sure he has come to terms with his parent’s death and has learned to live again, but you my dear, you make him happy again. And I thank you for that.”

I just smiled back at her. I didn’t really know what to say. Kane made me happy too. I never thought things would end up here but I was glad they were. I was glad Kane was in my life. I was surprised when I felt a set of warm lips brush against my cheek and when I turned, I found Kane’s gray eyes and his wide smile.

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