SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is “Doonah Cross Me,” a prequel for the character of Doonah Cross who premiered on Wattpad last year that will run over the next several days. This is Part Five.

“I’ve been seeing Mattie for a few months now. We met on a dating site. I used to scoff as those things, but now that you’ve encouraged me to get to know a lot of these apps that you call them to better understand your world, I’ve seen that sometimes they can bring good if you take things slowly and carefully.”

Doonah watched him squeeze Mattie’s hand.

“Go ahead and talk if you want, Mattie. I don’t want to totally speak for you.”

“I was as scared as Noah,” Mattie admitted, sounding much less nervous now. “My husband died young, serving our country. I never thought I would find any kind of love again. But I think with Noah, I have.”

“I’d been trying to figure out the right time for you to meet Mattie. She’s very much the person I’d want to be with, and if things worked out for us, maybe even have another child with, Doona. But if you didn’t like her I wouldn’t even consider it.”

“Dad,” Doonah said. “You realize I can’t say yes or no just this very minute. I need some time. And also, I have something I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you.”

Now Noah looked puzzled, and Mattie returned to that state of being uncomfortable.

“I want to move out, away to the big city, and try my hand living on my own. Its’ just that I was so afraid of you being alone. But now that you have Mattie, maybe you won’t be.”

“But how will you live?” Noah said, concerned.

“I’ll find my way, Dad. I’ve been saving all the money from my gigs for quite a while. And there’s the money Mom left, now that I’m old enough for it and finally shown I can be responsible. Please let me try being on my own for a while, and you and Mattie try seeing how life is for you without me around every day, and then we can see in a while how things are. Would that work for you?”

Doonah watched her father look back and forth between the two women in his life, but in the end looked at Doonah with a smile on his face.

“I don’t think I have much of a choice, since I can’t keep you here forever. I just hope you can navigate the mysteries of the big city alone, my sweet daughter. Just remember, I always love you.”

I knew my Dad had cause for concern. I’d mis-stepped before, and he and my aunt supported me. Yet, sometimes, the bird needs to leave the nest. Neither of us could escape it.

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