Chapter 5

A year passed and Anna was true to her word – staying away from South County and the soap opera that was Millie's life.

Timm found out about the affair, of course. Secrets are hard to keep in a small place like South County and when Millie refused to end it, Timm moved into the small apartment above the gas station. Millie filed for divorce but Anna refused to allow the bastard Kevin into the family house and she insisted that they sell the property and divide the profits with Timm receiving a fair share as well. Millie was incensed at Anna's hard ball tactics and she dragged her feet but Anna hired a tough lawyer who forced Millie to sell the house.

Millie hadn't spoken to Anna in months but Anna didn't care. It was Millie who chose to burn her bridges and do it her way and now she was living with Kevin in his dumpy house that was a steep step down from the house she and Timm had enjoyed. Anna had no sympathy for her sister who got what she deserved and she was now back in Blue County to sign the papers with her lawyer at the Greenville Savings Bank finalizing the house sale. She was sad to see the house leave the family but she was damned if she was going to let Millie and Kevin live there mocking the memories of her parents and Timm.

The house sold and checks in hand, Anna stopped in South County on her way back to New York. Ironically, it had started to snow when she parked her car in front of Timm's service station and strolled into the garage bay where he was performing a front wheel alignment on a Honda mini-van.

"Got time for a coke?" Anna asked.

Timm grinned and led her into the warm office, retrieving two cokes from the familiarly ancient machine.

"I have something for you," Anna announced, handing him the check for his share of the house sale.

"I wouldn't have gotten anything if it wasn't for you," Timm said. "She said it was never my house."

"You lived there for nearly twenty years and spent all that money fixing the place up," Anna reasoned with appreciation. "You were there through it all with my Dad. I wasn't going to let my heartless sister screw you over."

"It's good to see you," Timm said, sitting behind his office desk in the small office.

"I didn't think I'd ever come back," Anna admitted, glancing out the window and watching the snow fall.

"You heading back?" Timm asked, taking a sip from the coke bottle.

"No point staying, I suppose," she sighed. "Although I'd love to take a walk in the woods."

"I'll go with you," Timm offered.

She looked at him and smiled. "You don't have to do that, Timm."

"And when we get back I could make us some soup," Timm said.

Anna wondered if she should take him up on the offer. She had a few days before her next taping and she certainly could use the break.

"Maybe the roads might get bad with the snow," Anna worried.

"I'm sure they could," Timm agreed. "You shouldn't travel."

"But you're working," she said.

"Frank can watch the shop," Timm said. "Let's go for that walk!"

"Okay," Anna agreed with a giggle. "Sounds fun."

The small apartment still smelled like soup hours after they had eaten. Anna stood in the window of Timm's bedroom, naked with a blanket wrapped around her watching the snow fall while Timm slept in the nearby bed. The walk had been magical in the falling snow with the memories of her father all around them and the soup had been tastefully delicious, the conversation friendly and warm. He invited her to stay instead of driving to the Motel 6 in the snow and she said it sounded like a good idea.

And now, after the lovemaking, Anna was relieved that she felt no guilt or remorse. It had been wonderful and she glanced at the sleeping Timm with a smile on her face.

"Now you picked the right sister," she whispered before returning her attention to the window. "And the snow still falls," she said with contentment.