The Obsession Page 56

Naomi gestured to a three-tiered piecrust table. “You didn’t get that out of a Dumpster.”

“Job site again. The lady sold it to Kevin for ten dollars—it was broken, the top tier snapped clean off. So he fixed it—you can’t even tell it was broken. And I’m—”

“I want it. When you’ve refinished it, I’ll buy it.”

Thrown off rhythm, Jenny blinked. “You think fast.”

“It’s just the sort of thing I want. I’m looking to mix a lot of old pieces, character pieces, through the house. This is perfect.”

“I should have you over more often. Will you barter for it?”

“You’ve already got the torte.”

“I mean, would you trade me a picture for it and the work on the desk? You’ve got this one on your website, and I keep seeing it over our little fireplace in the living room in a white—shabby-chic white—frame. It’s sunset, and oh, the sky is just full of red and gold and going to indigo blue, and the trees are reflected on the water. And there’s a white boat—sailboat—in the sound. It makes me think that’s what heaven could be. Sailing in a white boat on the water into the red and golds.”

“I know the one you mean, but it doesn’t seem fair—two pieces for one.”

“I know what your work goes for. And I know what mine goes for. I’m getting the better deal.”

“Depends on where you’re standing. Done—but I frame it. Tell me what size you want.”

Jenny pointed toward a frame—shabby-chic white.

“About twenty-four by eighteen. I’ll take the frame with me.”

“Oh boy! And what I really wanted you to see was that bench. It just seems right for your bedroom deck.”

Following the direction, Naomi stepped around a couple of projects in progress and saw the high-backed wire bench, done in a distressed forest green.

“No pressure,” Jenny said quickly. “If you don’t like it—”

“I do. And it would work there. Better, if I ever get the grounds cleared and decently landscaped, it would be wonderful as a garden seat, wouldn’t it?”

“In a shady nook,” Jenny imagined. “Or in the sun, by a weeping cherry.”

“Absolutely. And it would make pretty seating on the bedroom deck in the meantime. Sold.”

“Will you trade me the water lily print for it?”

“You make it easy,” Naomi agreed.

“I have this frame—distressed silver—and I can just see that print in it, on my bedroom wall. It’s fun helping decorate each other’s houses.”

“Let’s see the frame.”

“Ah, it’s over . . . there.”

With Jenny, Naomi started toward it, then stopped. “Oh! My desk.”

At her tone, Tag stopped exploring and trotted over. Naomi all but cooed as she ran her hand over the smooth wood. “I know it’s just stripped and sanded, but it’s already beautiful. Look at the hues, the grain. It’s like somebody had dressed a gorgeous woman in a baggy black coat, and you took it off. I think we just made a hell of a good deal, both sides.”

“That’s what good friends should do.” Delighted, Jenny hugged an arm around Naomi’s waist. “I’m going to love seeing my work in your space, having your work in mine. And now, why don’t we go out the door here so we can walk around outside. I bet Tag wants to see Molly. They’re friends, too.”

“He decided she wouldn’t try to rip his throat out. Now he takes her the tug rope when he sees her. It’s sweet.”

They stepped out into the side yard.

“It’s awful quiet,” Jenny commented as she turned to secure the door. “Quiet worries me.”

She’d no more than said it before Naomi took a blast of cold water—heart-shot.

Xander swung around the corner, leading with a huge water rifle. Naomi held her hands out to the sides, looked down at her soaked shirt, and looked up.


“Hey, sorry. I thought you were Kevin.”

“Do I look like Kevin?”

“Can’t say you do, but I figured him to double back from this way. Kids broke the treaty, and the three of them are ganging up on me. This would be the fog-of-war sort of situation.”

“Fog of war, my ass.”

“It’s more your—” He broke off when he took a volley of shots in the back.

“Xander’s dead!” Tyler did a war dance. “Xander’s dead.” He wiggled his butt and shook his water gun at the sky.

“Traitors. You’re living with traitors and back-shooters,” Xander told Jenny.

“You shot an unarmed woman. I’ll get you a dry shirt, Naomi.”

“Thanks. And thank you for killing him,” Naomi said to Tyler. “He ambushed a noncombatant.”

“You’re welcome.”

“You’re a really good shot. Could I . . .” She took the gun and shot a stream into Xander’s face. “There. That’s what we call a coup de grace.”

Maddy giggled, then started climbing up her father’s leg. “Xander’s got cooties.”

“That’s right.” She gave Tyler back the gun, then narrowed her eyes at the gleam in Xander’s. “Don’t even think about it,” she said before walking away with Jenny.

She ate in one of Jenny’s T-shirts and enjoyed herself more than she’d thought possible. Good food and good company, two things she rarely took the time for or had the inclination for, proved the perfect end to the day—even when she found herself cornered into playing Xbox.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies