(A very civilized contract signing!)
I couldn’t hide the grin spreading across my face. The relief at landing in such unexpectedly pleasant surroundings was palpable (with this many books and the promised freedom to borrow would help save a tremendous amount of money – up side? It will keep me from actually acting on any impetuous impulses – in my defense I haven’t ever actually stolen anything – just keeps the mind limber to think how you might try). We both knew she had me, so why act coy? “I would love to move in!”
We settled on terms:
Money: a very reasonable amount.
Move in Date: as soon as I wanted – in fact I left with a set of keys.
Parking: In the alley where it was acceptable.
Schedule: Beatrice’s travel dates.
No fuss, no muss.
I couldn’t pin down the nagging sensation that I forgot to ask Beatrice something, but relief overwhelmed all other emotions quickly. If it was important I would think of it again.
One interesting fact, Old Town where the Lavender Lady resides is only a few minutes from my previous employer. Driving up to the cemetery I spotted a knot of Residents hovering just inside the wrought iron gates.
Right – ointment meet fly.
Pulling over to the side of the drive a bit farther down the lane from the gang (I didn’t want the Princess dinged by the inattentive bereaved) I flexed my toes and waited for the pins and needles to recede to manageable levels and for them to catch up. While I waited I stuck my hands free device in my ear and pulled my phone out of my pocket. When I exited the Princess the Residents started peppering me with questions.
“What is going on?” “What’s Little Ben doing to the cottage?” “Why are your things in boxes?” “Why aren’t you working in the utility shed?” “Why did Ben make the rounds this morning?”
I leaned against the pink door letting them slowly peter out. Trying to talk over them would only mean I’d have to repeat myself (I found most people couldn’t talk and listen at the same time). I’d intentionally put this adulting step off; they don’t take change well and I didn’t know how best to sugar coat the news for them. So I just followed my Aunt Pearl’s example and pulled the bandaid off fast, “Ben laid me off last week and I have to move out of Nevermore.”
Wind whipped around us, blowing my hair into my eyes and stray leaves around my knees. Shouting above the noise, “We will work this out. Now stop!” Immediately the wind died down to a persistent (if annoying) breeze and another round of twenty questions started.
“Why?” “Will you still visit us?” “What will happen to Nevermore?” “What is Little Ben going to do now?” “Can we visit you?” “Will he hurt my squirrel?”
We stood and talked, and talked and talked – me reassuring them I would not be far away. Yes, I would come and visit them. Yes, they could visit me. Yes, I would explain any changes Ben made to Nevermore. By the time they dispersed, only a gentle breeze blew and dusk settled in around us – I longed to take out my camera, the left-over light of a Fall day made for excellent pictures. But my heart wasn’t in it. I retreated further from the idea when an orange hybrid pulled up next to the Princess.
This should be entertaining.