MANA'S SHORT STORY SERIES LIST ON SIDE COLUMN

Contribute to MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story and Help Forgotten Harvest During the COVID-19 Economic Crisis

WRITING PROMPT

The impact of the coronavirus disease has jeopardized the health, safety, and employment of many people who now find themselves in need of food. 

Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit food rescue organization, has been working with government, nonprofit, and community organizations to deliver food to people in need. Forgotten Harvest delivers 138,000 pounds of surplus food per day to local charities six days a week.

MarketingNewAuthors.com (MANA) and its parent company, Robbie Dean Press (RDP), have supported charitable projects over the years through posts on "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story."  Through this latest short story project, MANA plans to donate to Forgotten Harvest, BUT AT NO COST to those who contribute to the short story. 

MANA IS NOT ASKING FOR MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS ONLY LITERARY CONTRIBUTIONS. 

This is how "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story" works: 
1. The photo at the top of this blog post serves as a writing prompt. The first person to post can write five sentences or more based on the prompt. 

2. The next writer adds to the story of the first post. After that, every writer adds to the story of the previous writer.

3. For every 10 posts of five sentences or more, MANA will donate $10 to Forgotten Harvest (up to $500).

This activity is twofold:

• It provides money for Forgotten Harvest to provide food for people in need. 

• It provides an opportunity for you to be a part of a creative experience. 

Post your contributions in the comment box below. You will be able to contribute as many times as you would like. 

Also, encourage others to post so that you can release your creativity and help families get through these uncertain times. 

To double the fun—and the donations—MANA has a continuous short story for writers under 13 years old. So, if you have children or know young writers, then visit the blog post: "Contribute to MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story for Young Writers and Help Forgotten Harvest During the COVID-19 Economic Crisis."

MANA is giving people of all ages another way to be a positive part of the challenge of COVID-19!

Questions? Contact MANA at 734-975-0028 or email: info@marketingnewauthors.com


39 comments:

  1. As I view the beauty of this garden, I find myself humbled. I am humbled to be alone. I am humbled that I am fortunate to see such beauty. I have an opportunity to pause and reflect on not only the beauty but different things that are a part of my life. I am very lucky to have a loving family. Oh, I see my brother, Dan. Gee, what a surprise! I did not know he was here.

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  2. Dan has arrived here with a whole group of friends from the community. I have never seen Dan hanging out with such a diverse group of people. Naturally, this makes me curious, so I walk over to greet my brother and his friends. Dan is three years older than me, but we look very much alike. Whenever we encounter new people together, it is very easy for them to tell we are siblings. As I approach the group, Dan spots me and yells, "Hello Sara!" He has a big smile on his face. When I get to him, we hug. I ask, "who are all of these people?" Dan's smile gets even bigger. He explains that he was walking to the drug store downtown this morning and came across this diverse group of folks in the city-center park. They are holding a "Be Kind" rally. I become intrigued as Dan continues his story.

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  3. I smile, and enjoy the rest of his story of the "Be Kind" rally. Before he joins back with the group I ask, "why did you bring them here of all places?". He smiles and looks at them, then says " they have each been through some crazy things in life, I just thought they would enjoy this beautiful, peaceful sight". Knowing he was correct, I went over to the large group and introduced myself to them. Although I thought it was nice to be alone, it felt amazing to be with all these people.

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  4. Being with these people was nothing like being with the average person. They had an infectious kindness that just radiated through them. No wonder Dan brought them to our garden, they added to its beauty. With each passing moment they taught me how to greatly appreciate life. The grass seems greener and the scent of the flowers grows stronger as our conversations linger.

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  5. As the day draws onward and the conversations dig deeper we learn more about the purpose of the "Be Kind" rally. Our new friends have experienced hate greater than I could have imagined. I quietly whisper to Dan "How can people who have been so hurt be so kind?". He turns to me and says "They don't let hate create a heavy heart.". I think of how I have held onto anger in my life and think of the pain it has caused me.

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  6. This world has a way of destroying our kindness and killing our empathy. Our friends don't wallow in pain they instead sow the seed of kindness. Yielding a bountiful garden, of those who spread beauty. Through these conversations I am learning to turn pain into a beautiful garden. So I ask our new found friends "What is the secret to showing kindness like you do?".

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  7. Walking around the garden, being the introspective person that I am; moves me to regard these special moments of peace, laughter, and genuine kindness to a higher degree. So, next time when I visit this beautiful garden the scent of the flowers will bring to my remembrance this day and how it has paved a way for the future. Making a stand for kindness and showing people that they do matter. Dan has always had a genuinely kind heart filled with brilliantly heartfelt ideas. Such a great idea to host a "Be Kind" rally in a garden; moreover, the optimal place to foster harmony and peace! I wonder where the rally will be hosted next year?

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  8. As a new year begins I feel lighter unloading the past hurts that have begun sprouting out of me. I am quite relieved upon learning that this year's "Be Kind" rally will be at the same garden location as the previous year. I have met so many new friends who have consistently been an encouragement and blessing in my life. It has taken a few more years than I would have liked; however, just as a farmer must wait patiently for his crops we to must be patient with others, and pray that they have a change of heart for the better. I have personally witnessed many hearts who have chosen to be better instead of bitter.

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  9. Just as soil must be cultivated to reap a harvest, we too must be cultivated. The "Be Kind" rally helps to bring to light some of the things thing that we may not see as an issue; however, the context in which these potential issues are brought to the surface is key to the solution of peace among-st our brothers and sisters. Once we are cultivated there is now room for new sprouts of kindness, love, and respect to grow.

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  10. It is starting to be late. Dan and I have spent the majority of the day sharing conversation with the folks from the rally. We both felt hungry and a little tired. There was one member of the group still in the garden as we decided to go get a bite to eat. Dan tapped him on the shoulder as he sat in quiet with his eyes closed The sun was beginning to set. Our friend, who had introduced himself as Galileo, open his eyes and looked at Dan. Dan said, "Galileo, Sara and I are going to grab a bite to eat, would you like to join us?" Galileo smiled and barely nodded his head, and accepted our invitation. Galileo was a tall skinny man with dark Mediterranean-toned skin. He has wild black wavy hair, and a full beard. He has ice blue eyes that made us stare. He appeared to be in his early 30's but seemed to be wise and experienced for his age. As he got up to his feet, I wondered what Galileo would share over dinner.

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  11. Dan, Galileo, and I walked along the stone path leading out of the garden. The sun had just slipped below the horizon. It was a peaceful evening. The was a very gentle breeze blowing. We noticed two bats frolicking and darting through the evening air. One of them swooped down fairly close to Dan's head. Galileo paused for a moment, bent over, picked up a very small pebble, and flung it into the air where the bats were feeding. It was fun to watch one of them chase the pebble until it got sufficiently close enough to realize it wasn't a mosquito. Galileo watched the bat chase his pebble, then he looked back at each of us with a gentile smile on his face. We reached the end of the stone path and turned onto the sidewalk. There was a small pizza grill about one block away. We were all ready to have a slice or two.

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  12. As the three of us entered the restaurant the smell of fresh melting cheese filled our noses. I salivated fiercely. I hadn't realized how hungry I'd become. Dan, Galileo, and I sat at a small table in the front of the restaurant looking out the large picture window onto the street. Galileo said, "this is a nice spot, thank you for inviting me here." I sad, "you are very welcome." As I looked into Galileo's eye's I felt strongly attracted to him. He seemed gentle, patient, and kind. Dan could see me staring and shot me a look. I tried to recue myself with conversation, asking Galileo, "Galileo, where are you from and what brings you to our small town?" He replied, "Well Sara, I just moved here from Miami to take a position as an elementary school teacher. I will be teaching the third grade when school starts back up in the Fall". My heart skipped a beat, Galileo was here to stay. Dan asked, "so why did you move here from Miami, it's quite a drastic change in scenery?" Galileo looked at Dan and said, "I needed a break from city life." Galileo went on to say, "When I turned 30 last month I decided it was time to find a bride and start a family. I wanted to find a great spot to raise kids, so, here I am!" I think I about fell out of my chair. Just then, our waiter walked up and said, "Hello, my name is Juan and I will be serving you this evening, can I get you all something to drink?"

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  13. I ordered one of the local lagers and a glass of ice water. I could barely concentrate on what I was doing. Dan and Galileo ordered the same. My mind was racing. Dan and Galileo discussed hobbies while our drinks were prepared. I felt flush all over. Could I be experiencing love at first sight? I thought I heard Galileo say he loves to mountain bike. Could it be? I am passionate about mountain biking. I concerntrated to bring myself back into the conversation. Jaun arrived at the table with our beer and we agreed to order one large meat-lovers pizza to share. I turned to Galileo and said, Galilieo, did I hear you say you like to mountain bike?" He looked straight into my eyes with a gaze so deep I felt like it was going all the way through my head. He replied, "I absolutely love to mountain bike, yourself?" I was slipping into a time-warp state of mind where everything seemed to be happening out of time. I replied, "I'd love to show you some of my favorite local trails, would you like to meet up in the morning?" Galileo looked a little surprised, I know he could sense that I was asking him on a date. With the kindest smile I've ever seen, he said, "there's nothing I'd rather do!" Just as he finished answering me I caught a side-glance of Dan. His expression was a little perplexed. Dan has never been one to keep what he's thinking to himself and this instance was not to be any different. Dan blurted out, "Gee guys, I'm feeling like the third wheel here!" I was elated by Galileo's answer. He said, "That's OK Dan, we won't make you leave!" Galileo finished his reply and shot me a wink. I think I was starting to float way.

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  14. As I was driving home from our dinner, I kept imagining all of the possibilities for tomorrow morning. My heart fluttered and I felt the blood rush to my cheeks just thinking about it. Ever since my break up with Matt, I have not been able to put myself out there. As I got home, I curled up with my dog and started reading a captivating book, just waiting for the morning to come. Eventually, after doing my nightly routine, I was able to finally fall asleep.

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  15. As I woke up in the morning, the crisp air was blowing through my cracked window. I rolled out of bed, ecstatic for the day about to come. I made myself my favorite breakfast, chocolate chip waffles, and decided to eat on the back porch. Right after breakfast, I got a call from Galileo. He asked me where we were meeting and what time. I decided it would be best to ask if I could just pick him up, so that way maybe it would be easier for me to ask him to eat with me after our morning ride. He happily agreed, but then I realized, I am not even close to being ready. It is go time! I went to go back inside to get ready, and for some reason, my lights weren't turning on. I thought it was strange, but continued to my bathroom so that way I could shower and get ready. At this moment, I realized my water was not working. What are the odds the power would go out? Is this a sign trying to tell me that this is not right?

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  16. No Way! I refused to believe this is a sign of bad karma. I quickly brushed my teeth with a bottle of water from the fridge, grabbed my hair and put a tie in it, and left some food and water for my pup Buster. Buster could sense my excitement. He also knew I was leaving him alone for a while. It's funny how I can almost her what Buster is thinking. I looked at Buster and said, "well buddy, wish me good luck, I love you Buster!" With that, I darted out of the door, grabbed my bike, loaded it on the car rack, and sped off to meet Galileo. The minimal preparation time made me a little bit bummed. I looked at myself in the rear view mirror and said, "Well Sara, Galileo is certainly going to see the 'real' you today!" I was so thrilled to be doing this. I looked out of the windshield and saw a beautiful sunrise breaking right in front of me. I smiled, I'd be seeing Galileo in less than five minutes.

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  17. It should have been a short drive, but alas it was not meant to be. I hit a pot hole as I was driving over. I blew my tire out and hit the pot hole hard enough that it dislodged my bike, throwing it into oncoming traffic. I screamed in frustration as I watched my bike get ran over by an on coming produce truck. I grabbed my phone to call Galileo to let him know what was going on. My phone is dead. I groan I cannot believe I forgot to charge it. Now what am I going to do? He is going to think that I stood him up.

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  18. I am not going to let that happen. There is no way this is not happening. I grab my bag and keys out of the ignition locking the door as I slam it shut. The car is going to have to wait. I glance over at my mangled bike and try not to cry as I turn my back on it and start walking to see Galileo. I hope he does not think that I am standing him up and waits for me yo reach him.

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  19. As I am walking to the meet up spot, a car drives by me, slowing down. I start to think to myself, "Classic horror movie plot, a young woman walking along a road.." Low and behold, it's Galileo. What has my life come to? I have a tear streamed face, unwashed hair, and a broken bike. Galileo slowly pulled over and got out of the car to speak to me. I explained everything that happened this morning, and apologized over and over. Right when I thought I would never stop apoligizing, Galileo kissed me mid-sentence. I was shocked to say the least. He led me to his car, so that way we could drive back to mine so he could change my tire. Where has he been all my life?

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  20. After Galileo changed my tire, he insisted that we go back to his house for breakfast. He told me that I could follow him back to his place, we could eat, I could shower, and then he could come over to look at my breaker to see what is going on with my power. I was beyond grateful. After he changed my tire, I hopped in my car to follow him to his house. The drive was a bit far, but it was nice knowing what was ahead of me. I felt so grateful that Galileo was so understanding of my situation. As we pulled down his long gravel driveway, I was astonished. He lived in a small cottage made of stone right on the water. It was beautiful. He greeted me in the driveway and showed me inside. He gave me the grand tour, and I was impressed at his style. Eventually, he offered to make breakfast while I was in the shower. He showed me the bathroom and got a fresh towel ready for me. I turned it on, appreciative for the shower to calm down my nerves of such a stressful morning.

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  21. Right as I stepped out of the shower, I realized he left out a shirt and sweatpants for me to put on. How much better could this get? I dried off, and put on the clothes. They smelled like fresh cotton. I walked toward the kitchen to hear a woman talking. I slowly backed up. I was unsure as to what situation I was about to be walking into. I heard my name, so I gained the confidence to walk in. Galileo smiled at me and told me we would be having a whole feast. Slowly, the woman turned around and looked me up and down.
    "Hi, I am Anika. I am Galileo's ex-wife," said the woman in the kitchen. I was shocked to say the least, but found it in me to smile and introduce myself. I suddenly felt very uncomfortable. Was I welcome here? So many questions and thoughts entered my mind.

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  22. I knew Galileo seemed too perfect, I suppose it’s my fault for expecting perfection. Breakfast with his ex-wife, what a perfect first date. Even though I was disappointed, I decided to make the most of it. Today was already a long day and I was hungry. Anika leaned on the kitchen island and judged me from across the room. To avoid the jealous stares, I said “Is there anything I can help with?”.

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  23. Anika scoffed and said “ I think I need to be going, traffic in Miami is going to be horrible if I don’t leave soon.” She grabbed her purse and stormed out of the word without another word. Even slamming the door on her way out. Galileo shook his head looking at the omelet he was preparing. He stepped towards me and said “I’m so sorry I had no idea that my ex would be stopping by today. She was dropping off some of the stuff I left at our apartment.” I looked at him for a moment, wondering why wouldn’t he have mentioned he’s been married before?

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  24. Seeing my puzzled expression, he turns off the stove top and brings the food to the table, gesturing for me to take a seat. He said “I know what you are thinking, I made it sound like I’ve never been married before. That wasn’t my intention. I've just been trying to move forward with my life. My relationship with Anika is one that I’m trying to move forward from. She really wasn’t a kind partner, and I had to move so I could build a better life for myself.” With many questions still whirling in my head, I asked “How long has it been since you guys have gotten divorced?” He replied “ Over a year, I’ve asked all my friends and family to not tell her where I moved. But she got it from a mutual friend who didn’t know the real Anika.”

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  25. Galileo seemed different when talking about Anika, a man of such strength and life seemed to shrink into a smaller version of himself. This moment was when I realized the pain she caused him; I walked over to him and looked into his watery blue eyes. I put one hand on his shoulder and softly said “I’m sorry that you had to go through that. I’m glad that you got out and are trying to heal.” He wiped his eyes and smiled back up at me “ Thank you, let’s enjoy this meal before it gets cold.” Sara recognized that Galileo had more baggage than she would have ever imagined. But, that doesn’t make him any less perfect.

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  26. After the meal Sara makes her way to the door and thanks Galileo for the meal. She takes one last glance into those sad ocean eyes as she places her hand on the doorknob and turns it Galileo places his palm on the door and closes it and spins Sara around. "Sara you and I know that I am a damaged individual, but there is something about you that makes me want to take risks with you." Sara was in shock before she could get a single word out Galileo pulls her close and kisses her. The passion, the sadness, the missing lust was everything Sara needed to give into his soft lips.

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  27. Sara pulls away and looks at Galileo with a smile on her face. "So what does this mean for us Galileo?" Sara asks Galileo pulls back and grew quiet Sara asks what is wrong as she takes a step closer to him he takes a step further back and replies in a soft voice. "I think it is best if you just go." Sara with a puzzled expression looks at Galileo. "What is going on don't you like me? Why else would you kiss me if you did not like me?" He walks past her and walks towards the door and opens it "I was meant to be alone so just let me be that way."

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  28. cfortney@mcc.eduJune 30, 2020 at 4:26 PM

    On the drive back home, I was so shocked at everything going on. Despite this, I knew it was time to let my dog out. I turned up the radio, rolled down the windows, and tried to destress. The day was so beautiful. There was barely a cloud in the sky. As I rolled down my driveway, I was not so pleasantly reminded that my power was still out. Once I pulled around the big curve, I noticed a truck in the driveway. I got a little freaked out- who is at my house?

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  29. Sara laughs at Galileo's gravity tone. "Galileo you and I both know we could have something great! Don't do this don't push me away." Galileo looks at her in a more stern matter. "I said leave Sara I don't like you that way it was a mistake you are a mistake waiting to happen!" Sara takes a long hard glance at him and he watches her eyes swell up with tears. Before he could get anything else out Sara fills up with anger and screams at him "This is why you will never find love because you do not want to be loved!" Then just like that she stormed out of his house leaving Galileo all alone.

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  30. Sara storms out of the home with tears rushing down her face as she scrambles in her purse to find her car keys. As she swings the driver's side door open and gets into the 2008 Honda civic she starts up the engine and sits there letting the tears fall down her cheeks. Finally, she pulls off feeling so worthless, so used, so unimportant in this world. She heads back to her home and kicks her heels off at the door and pours herself a glass of wine and sits on the couch in silence. Suddenly her phone vibrates she looks down at it and sees one name. Galileo.

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  31. Galileo hearing ring after ring after ring his heart drops when Sara's number sends him to voicemail. Do I leave a message? Do I just hang up? Do I text her? Suddenly the beep to indicate to leave a message awakens Galileo and he quickly hangs up. Why did I let her go how could I be so stupid I hurt her forever she will never come back after last night.

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  32. Sara finishes her wine and takes a shower and recollects the past two hours. Galileo switches into his night ware and lays in his bed. Sara as she gets out of the shower dries off and lays in bed. Galileo watches "Men In Black". Sara facetimes her mom. Then at midnight the two turn off the electronics and stare at their phone hoping for the other to text or call. However, they never did and they both went to sleep that night with a broken heart.

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  33. cfortney@mcc.eduJune 30, 2020 at 5:06 PM

    The dreams I had last night were a rollercoaster. I woke up the next morning to a text from my mom. She told me to cheer up and make the most out of the day. I mosied out of bed groggily and moved to the couch. I remembered my mangeled bike, and decided it was time to fix it. This would be a great way to take my mind off of things.I grabbed all of my tools, and began to work.

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  34. Sara put her headphones in and got to work. She didn’t let herself focus on the events that happened yesterday, or Galileo’s hot and cold attitude. On the other side of town Galileo sat on his porch drinking coffee. He didn’t like how he hurt Sara yesterday, but he was scared. After everything that happened with his ex wife, he was scared of how much he was attracted to Sara.

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  35. Still he knew that Sara isn’t Anika. He knew he needed to make up for what he said yesterday. So with a new vigor he got up and got dressed for the day. He got ready in record time and headed for his car. On his way he stopped at a local bakery and picked up a muffin and some coffee for Sara. Once he got to Sara’s house, he stopped and sat in the car for a minute. He looked at his drivers window and seen her fixing her bike. She was so gorgeous, how could he have ever tried to push her away, he thought.
    -Brittney Stockwell

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  36. He climbed out of his car and headed toward her. Sara didn’t see Galileo walking toward her, so when she felt a tap on her shoulder she jumped. When she realized who it was, she frowned and looked up at him. “Can I help you?” She asked him. “Look Sara I’m sorry for yesterday. I just got scared and said thing I didn’t mean” Sara interrupted him, “Galileo you don’t get to play hot and cold towards me, and then show up the next morning thinking a simple apology will work. You made it obvious yesterday that you’re not ready for a relationship. That’s fine. Now if you’ll excuse I need to fix my bike.” With that she put her headphones in and got back to work.
    -Brittney Stockwell

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  37. Galileo was hurt by the way Sara dismissed him, but he knew he deserved it. He wasn’t about to give up though. So he set in motion plan B. He drove to the bike shop and got Sara a new mountain bike. He set it up to be delivered in 2 hours. With that he rushed home to get ready. Sara was completely baffled when the new bike showed up. It came with a note that read “I’m sorry we couldn’t ride yesterday, please let me make it up to you. I promise I won’t act like that again. If you’re willing to forgive me, meet me at the trail at 12 o’clock”
    -Brittney Stockwell

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  38. Galileo waited nervously at the trail head. It was 12:05 and he wasn’t sure if Sara was coming. This was a big gamble, but he hoped she would at least forgive him enough to show up. Right as he was about to give up, he sees her civic turn into a parking spot. A big smile lights up his face as he watches Sara get out of the car. But it soon drops when he sees she isn’t dressed to go biking nor does she have the bike he had sent to her house. As Sara stops a few feet in front him Galileo asks “where’s your bike?” Sara scowled at him.
    - Brittney Stockwell

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  39. Then she smiles as she says "you know I can't accept that". Galileo laughs and steps closer to Sara,"Well do you at least forgive me?". Sara takes a deep breathe and says playfully "I guess so". He takes the final step closer to her and grabs her hand looking deeply into her eyes. "Good" he says, "Because I can't stop thinking about you, and what happened between us, I am so so sorry, you deserve so much more". Sara looks away,speechless.

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