Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is to write a story using three of the following words – tender, dreamy, boss, week, table.
Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of A BLANKET FOR HER HEART. His latest book, DANGEROUS DECISIONS, will be published soon.
The young woman lifted the end of the table and carefully lowered it again. It was a process she repeated regularly, deciding whether she could move an item by herself. Most of the time it was about a piece of furniture, but last week it was a pair of large paintings in heavy frames and she had concluded then that she needed help. Today’s decision came out the same way. She groaned inwardly. Whenever she asked Uncle Dan to help her move something she ended up with twice as much work. He’d always find some way to improve the display by moving ten other things around and she’d wish she’d done the first move by herself. His wife, Grace, had cut up a small carpet and shown her how to slip pieces of it under the legs of heavy chests and tables so she could slide them across the floor alone. Dan would have had a fit if he’d known what Grace had done, but they had promised each other not to tell him. Grace told her the damn carpet was a piece of junk that she’d been trying to get rid of for ages, but Dan complained that an antique shop couldn’t make money if they kept deciding their stock was worthless. Grace had surreptitiously reduced the price on the rug more than once, but it had still been in its corner collecting dust.
“What if he asks about it?” she asked Grace.
“Millie, if he notices that it’s missing I’ll eat my hat right out in front of the shop with a brass band playing. If he says anything just say you don’t know. Better still; tell him someone probably stole it. That’ll make him mad, but he’ll be happy that he was right about someone wanting it,” Grace answered with a laugh.
Millie carefully hid the carpet squares and thus far Grace’s hat was still safe. She was about to get them out when the front door opened and a voice called out.
She fell against a chair in her haste to reach the front of the shop. Her hands went out to save her from a fall and swept the Tiffany lamp on the adjoining table into oblivion.
“Oh damn!” she cried amidst the sound of breaking glass and crashing metal.
“What’s that? Are you okay?” the mailman called as he hurried to her side.
Sprawled across the chair and table with her arms and legs askew, she looked up at him sheepishly. “Only my pride and that lamp are hurt. I’m sorry,” she said and struggled to get up.
“Can I help?” he asked. He reached out as if to take her arm, but stopped uncertainly and waited while she put herself back together. “I hope that wasn’t an expensive lamp.”
“I don’t know.” She reached into the wreckage and found the price tag. “Oh well, just a little bit. One hundred eighty five dollars.”
“Will you have to pay for it?” he asked anxiously.
She sat down heavily on the offending chair. “I don’t know. My boss will be upset, but I’ve broken a couple of small things and it’s been all right.”
“What happened? What were you doing?”
Her face flushed and she struggled for a simple, obscure answer that wasn’t a lie. “I was coming to see who was at the door,” she finally said.
“Oh. I called, didn’t you hear me?”
“I thought it was you but I wasn’t sure. You never know who’s in the store, you know. It could be a thief.”
“That’s not good. It could be dangerous for you,” he said quickly. He looked around at the mess and at the rest of the shop and suddenly seemed to remember the envelopes in his hand. “Here’s the mail.”
She took it from him, careful not to touch him as she did. “Thank you. You could have left it on one of the tables in the front.”
“I didn’t want to do that. You never know who’s in the store. Someone might steal it,” he said.
“Oh, you’re right. I never thought of that,”
“Can I help clean up?”
“You’d better get going. People will be complaining about their mail being late,” she said with a shy smile.
He laughed. “Grace said the same thing the other day. She was worried about old Sam Johnson at the gas station.”
“Well then you’d better go,” she said again.
“Yeah, I guess so.” He didn’t twitch a muscle. “You’re sure you’re okay?”
She nodded vehemently. “Absolutely. You’d better go or you’ll be in trouble.”
“I’ll be fine, but you’re right. I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said and half backed, half stumbled out of the shop, almost knocking over a chair as he left.
She sat staring after him with a dreamy look on her face and tender thoughts in her head. “I’ll be here,” she whispered.