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      Jessie raised her eyebrows and leaned back in her chair to get a better view of Dr. Peterson’s tea table. Sure enough. There sat Miss Tyler, the town librarian. Jessie had always thought Miss Tyler was plain and stern looking. But today she was almost pretty. Her hair was swept back and she wore crystal earrings that caught the light when she turned her head. Her dress was a nice rose color that made her look slim and even young. As Jessie studied the librarian, Dr. Peterson leaned his head toward her and listened intently to something Miss Tyler was saying. Well, well. Those two seem very friendly.

      “Lean back any farther in that chair and I’ll be picking you up off the floor,” said Tina.

      Just then a young girl, about seven or eight years old, walked from the side door and sat on a brocade chair next to the piano bench. Jessie and Tina paused and blinked.

      Wearing a simple white dress with lace at the collar, everything about the child shone. With rosy skin, bright green eyes and a mass of blonde curls that bounced when she moved, the girl looked as if she’d stepped out of a picture book.

      “Wow,” said Tina. “That’s about as cute a kid as I’ve ever seen.” She put the strainer on her cup and picked up the teapot.

      Before Jessie could comment, Cami Falkinborg, in a soft green dress, appeared, gave a little bow and sat down on the piano bench. Bryce Peterson was right behind her, his violin in his left hand. He bowed and walked to the piano.

      Jessie could barely breathe at the sight of Bryce, dressed in tan flannel slacks and a snowy white shirt, open at the neck. His brown hair was combed perfectly with a part at the side. She watched as his eyes scanned the room and lighted on her. He smiled. Her heart was thudding as he tucked the violin under his chin and nodded at Cami.

      The room became quiet as music filled the air. Jessie was trying to get her breathing back to normal. A few people, including her father, had looked her way when Bryce gave her “The Smile.” But soon the audience had forgotten about everything else but the wonderful playing of Cami and Bryce. Each time Cami nodded at the young girl her way when Bryce gave her “The Smile.” But soon the audience had forgotten about everything else but the wonderful playing of Cami and Bryce. Each time Cami nodded at the young girl with the blonde curls, the child would stand and turn a page of the music. At the finish, the guests rose and clapped with enthusiasm.Jessie watched Bryce leave the room.

     “I’m starting piano lessons this week,” she announced. She popped the last of the scone into her mouth and with both hands pushed her hair back over her shoulders.

     Tina choked and started to cough. She glanced at her dad who was busy talking to Jessie’s parents. “You’ve got to be kidding. You can’t sit still for more than five minutes at a stretch.”     

     “Well, I’m going to sit still for this.” Jessie brushed crumbs from her lap and stood. “Let’s go out on one of those balconies.” She pointed to the tall French doors that opened onto tiny terraces with a view of Willow Lane.

Shadows On The Lane

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