We both say hi, and Devon says, “Haven’t seen you around lately.”
“Just got back into town. Had to take care of some business up in Boston. Duke, I wanted to come over and tell you about some work that will be coming your way if you’re interested.”
“You know I am,” I say with a small smile. “What’s the job?”
“You know the old Whitmore place?”
We both nod. Devon says, “That place seems like it's been empty for a while. Even when Samuel was alive, it seemed like he was never there.”
The lawyer smiles. “It won’t be empty anymore. His daughter is taking possession.”
“Daughter?” We both ask in unison.
I never knew Samuel very well at all, but I think I would have remembered if I'd heard he had a daughter. In small towns, people seem to know everything about one another.
“Her name is Avery. She lives in Boston, but she’s coming down for a couple of months to get the house ready to rent out. I gave her your information, so she should be calling you. It’s a huge job, but it’ll keep you busy for a while.”
“I really appreciate it, Clyde. I should be done with the Montgomery job in about a week.”
“Perfect.” He grins. “I’ll see you boys around. I’m going to head home to the Mrs.”
As Clyde walks away, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. I’ve been worried about what I’ll do once I finish the Montgomery job. Idle time is not my friend.
Knowing I will be busy for the next few months makes me feel a whole hell of a lot better.
“Pleaseproceedtotheroute.” My GPS tells me for the hundredth time.
It keeps instructing me to turn onto these back roads and then acts like it has no idea where I went.
Small Town America—where technology goes to die.
I quickly look at the list of directions. Stay on this road for two miles. Turn right on Peach Street. Your destination will be on the right.
Tired of listening to my annoying GPS, I turn it off. I think I can find my way from here.
The town of Maple Oaks comes into view. I slow my speed to the 20 miles per hour that the signs instruct. Each of the small businesses is painted a fun, quirky color. Pretty flowers line the flowerbeds along all the sidewalks. American flags hang out front of most buildings, and bright, pastel-colored Spring flags hang on each light pole. It looks even cuter than the photos I saw online.
People walk down the street in their cowboy hats and matching boots. Everyone smiles and waves at each other. Hell, some of them even give me a friendly wave. I can’t imagine why; I’m sure I stick out like a sore thumb.
As quickly as I drive into the center of town, I drive back out. I come upon Peach Street and turn right like the directions said. I pass a couple of beautiful houses, each of them on a pretty decent piece of land. Since I live in a loft apartment in Boston, I don’t quite get the idea of neighbors not being on top of one another.
The next house I come to must be the one that I’m looking for. I’m sure at one point this house was just as gorgeous as the others, but now, it's just a mess.
I gaze up at it as I pull into the driveway, and try to picture what it looked like back in the day. It’s still a pretty house. It just needs a little TLC.
Slowly, I step out of my car, trying to stretch my stiff legs. I don’t know why I thought that driving from Boston to Texas was a good idea. Okay, yes, I do know. I didn’t want to fly and then have to rent a car for the next two months. It was a logical idea in theory, but even with stopping at a couple of hotels and taking multiple pit stops, I’m absolutely over it.
The hot Texas air slaps me in the face. It’s only Spring, but it’s already hotter than Satan’s asshole. Being a curvy woman, I can’t stand the heat. I sweat like a freaking pig.
I try to ignore the fact that I’m already roasting and turn my attention back to the house. It looks like a colonial style. The bottom story has a porch that wraps all the way around, and the second story has a balcony that seems to mirror it.
To the right of the front door is an old porch swing next to a large picture window. I wonder how many people have sat on that swing through the years. Now, I’m positive if I sat on it, the whole porch would collapse.
I walk up the creaky steps to the front door. I type in the code that the lawyer gave me into the lockbox and pull out the key.