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Chapter Seventeen

I took a nap on the blanket, a short one, but long enough to make me feel groggy and slightly muddled. Muffy lay next to me, her face on her paws, soft snores coming from her tiny body. Leave it to me to not only get a farting dog but a snoring one, too. But she was a good dog and I was grateful she was mine. I reached my hand over and scratched the back of her neck.

Lying there with the soft breeze tickling my skin, I realized this is what people meant when they said it’s the little things in life. I felt the tears returning. Enough tears. There wasn’t enough time left to waste on tears.

When the kids woke up, we loaded everyone into the minivan and headed to Violet’s house. It didn’t take much convincing to get Ashley to jump on her trampoline in her backyard with me, especially considering she had begged me to jump many times before. When we tired of jumping, we played dress up. Ashley gave me a makeover, placed a tiara on my head and we paraded around the house using our princess waves. Afterward, I convinced Violet to teach me the basic elements of knitting.

“Now? Let’s do it next week.”

“No,” I said a little too abruptly.

Violet narrowed her eyes. “What’s the rush?”

I’m going to die on Sunday and it’s on my list of things I wish to do before I die didn’t sound like an appropriate answer. I shrugged then tried Ashley’s puppy face. “Please?”

Violet laughed, “I need to get dinner started.”

“Just a few steps…”


“Just a few stitches. Please?”

Violet relented and thankfully I was a fast learner.

“What do you want to make?” she asked as I cast a long row of uneven stitches.

“I dunno, a scarf?”

“That’s pretty easy. You keep up at that pace and you could be done in a couple of weeks.”

I didn’t have a couple of weeks, but that didn’t matter. I just needed to learn how to knit.

I washed my face before I left. I would have just enough time to make sure my house had been put together before Joe showed up.

When we got home, Muffy sniffed around our yard, reacquainting herself with the territory and marking all the appropriate places. I pulled the keys from under the mat as Joe pulled in.

“Please don’t tell me you had those keys under your rug,” he said as he got out of the car.

“Okay, then I won’t.”

He groaned as he walked over. He looked dirty, his hair a scroungy mess. Streaks of grease covered his hands and ran up his arms. He smelled of sweat and gasoline. As crazy as it was, I had never seen him sexier.

“Why would you do such a thing?” he asked, but not in his usual bossy tone.

“It was only this one time. The cleaning ladies left them under the mat since I wasn’t home when they finished.”

“Cleaning ladies? Why would you need a cleaning lady? Your house is spotless.”

I shrugged. I really didn’t want to go into the morning’s events. “Maybe I should have sent them over to your house instead, since it’s so messy and all.”

He laughed but sounded a little uneasy. “Yeah…what do you want to eat?”

I unlocked the door and turned around to face him. “I really don’t have much food to cook.” I didn’t really see the purpose in making a grocery store run at this point.