I do NOT own GOOD TIMES, nor it's copyright.

PART Seven

The wind would have blown right through Thelma's skin except the woman

was wise enough to wear her newer blue coat. Its thickness far surpassed

that of her old one, and it's sleeves were actually the proper length for her

arms. Entering the cemetery the wind didn't totally quit, but it did stop

enough as not to yank her coat off. Her mother's grave came into sight the

further she walked into the cemetery.

"Oh, Mama. I'm so tired." Thelma cried out all the frustration she felt over

the boys refusing to back her up, about all the good matches with old friends

her father had turned down flat, or at least turned down after only a few

months. "They were all good woman of our own kind, why did he have to

elsewhere?" There were other words spoken before, and after those words,

to Florida, but the wind covered them up.

If the gal had expected any huge event to occur she'd have been

disappointed, but as it was she knew her mamma heard, and it felt as if the

late Mrs. Evan's arms were around her. Soft words were spoken into her

ear, no, more like thoughts to her mind. It was if her mamma were saying if

she might want to consider at least trying listening to Melanie, but even if

that wasn't the case, well, then Thelma really did need to sit down

and listen; really listen to what her father had to say.

That thought may not have been what Thelma had wanted to be told, but

sighing to herself the fact was acknowledged James Evans had earned the

right to be listened to simply by working so hard to raise her, and giving her

way a honest shot for so long.

"Okay, Mamma, I'll hear Daddy out." Giving a lopsided grin she pointed a

finger at the headstone, "And I'll think about Melanie, no promises there."

Part Eight

James and Melanie were sitting in Willona's front room when the

telephone rang. "It's for you." Willona handed it over to her life long friend.

"Okay, Michael, I'll be right down." Turning to Melanie he told her

Thelma was ready to talk to him. "You'd best stay here with Willona until

we're done." With that he was out the door.

"Melanie, may I ask you something?" Willona curled up in the brown

overstuffed chair she'd bought the previous week.

"Sure." Melanie's smile showed she wasn't concerned about anything

Willona may want to know.

"Why did you come back? I mean really." She raised her hand and waved a

bit. "Don't' get me wrong, I'm glad to see James happy, but I didn't figure

you'd ever come this way again."

"Like I told James I tried to live my life the way everyone wanted me to,

but I couldn't let go of him. So, I figured if I saw him again it would help

me move one. Only.." She chuckled, "He simply reeled me in."

Willona grinned wide, "Honey, I could have told you'd he'd do that. That

man has been carrying a burning torch for you ever since you left."

As the two women continued to talk James was sitting at a table in the

empty diner talking to Thelma. "You really love her then?" Thelma was

tired of fighting her own father and was giving into his way of thinking.

"Yes, Thelma, I do." James clasped his hands together. "I fought it at first,

honest, I did. Kept telling myself to go find someone at church; hell, I even

went out with Willona more than once. But all I could think of was Melanie.

I finally gave up and just figured I'd stay single the rest of my life."

"Then she came back."

"Yes, and when I saw her at the piano and she'd done spoke her piece I

figured I'd see what a little kiss would do. Oh, Thelma.." He'd been staring

off into space, but he turned to face his daughter, "honey, I couldn't give her

a no little peck. It all came out, or about did. It was all I could do to pull

back, and my hands, crud, my whole body felt her reaction." waving his hands he assured her it wasn't all physical. "We didn't just run off and get

married because of that, we sat down and talked, and I mean in depth

talking." They two had also discussed the past, Thelma's mother, and the

reaction of those around them. Finally, Thelma smiled.

"Okay, I won't fight you anymore, Daddy, but don't expect me to call her

mother."

"If you call me mother I think I'll have to find the biggest willow branch

and smack you." Melanie's voice got both her husband, and stepdaughter,

facing her. "Thelma, I never expected you to call me Mom, Momma, or

Mother, but.." Melanie smiled, "I wouldn't mind friend."

Epilogue

James and Melanie did indeed hand the majority of the business over to

Michael. They also kept their word and stayed in his place during the

summers, while living the winters out in California, but during those months

back near his children the Evans family would gather, whenever possible, at

the diner for food, games, and good music.

JJ never really did like Melanie being married to his father, but; for the

sake of his stomach, kept quiet. Michael never regretted being on their side,

and Thelma? That gal actually ended up mellowing out so much that she'd

defend her father's new wife to anyone in sight .

"Ain't never gonna call you Momma though, only got one of those."

The whole room grinned and Melanie leaned against James; not dumb

enough to argue.