Melba Gilley from Murder Past Due by Miranda James talks about her friend Charlie Harris
A few years ago, when Charlie Harris moved back to Athena a widower, I have to tell you my heart did a little pitter-patter. By then I'd been divorced from Frank for a while -- and just why we divorced is a whole 'nother story, and not one I'm proud of -- and I was more than ready for a new man in my life. Charlie sure enough would have fit the bill, but he was in no state to look at a woman when he first got back to town. I knew his late wife, Jackie, too. Heck, we all went to high school together, and any fool could see, even back then, the two of them didn't know nobody else was in the world most of the time.
Charlie seemed a little bit lost at first. He'd up and left Houston after Jackie died and his two kids were out of the house, and I don't think he knew what to do with himself. Grief can really do a number on you, that's for dang sure. But then he found Diesel in the parking lot at the public library. I think that cat probably saved him from going crazy from all the hurt he was going through. I've never known a cat like Diesel. I mean, he's the biggest dang cat I've ever seen, other than the bobcat I spotted that time at Aunt Eula's farm way out in the country. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if one of Diesel's parents was a bobcat, let me tell you.
Anyway, back to Charlie. Now, he's not exactly handsome, at least not like a Hollywood star, but he's right nice looking. Emphasis on the nice. He's got a kind face, with dark hair graying around the edges, and those deep blue eyes make me lose my breath every now and then. Problem is, all he wants is for us to be friends like we were way back when. I've seen the way he looks at me sometimes, and I know I'm still pretty dang attractive -- I can still wear my cheerleading outfit, thank you very much. But as much as we enjoy working together at the college library, I think friends is all we're ever going to be.
Because I've noticed lately that he seems to be spending an awful lot of time over at Helen Louise Brady's bakery. Now, I don't have a thing against Helen Louise -- I went to high school with her too -- but I do get tired sometimes of the way she drops in those French words. I mean, we all know she lived in France for a few years, but does she really think we all remember our high school French?
Charlie's a sweet man, and as much as I'd like to get closer to him, I'm beginning to think that may not be such a good idea. This thing he's got with finding dead bodies, well, it's not natural, don't you think? It all started with Godfrey Priest, that lecherous, slimy son-of-a-you-know-what! Can't say as I blame anyone for murdering him, but then Charlie had to go and get himself involved in a murder investigation. It was a little exciting, sure, but it's also kind of creepy. And dang if it hasn't happened again. Diesel's there with him, too, every step of the way. Makes me think of those books with that man and the two Siamese cats. Now what is the author's name? It'll come to me in a minute.
Oh, heck, there's the buzzer. Peter Vanderkeller, the head of the college library and my boss, is back from his meeting. Gotta go, hon. Talk to you later.