Welcome to TUESDAY TALES. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘letter.
Today’s snippet is part of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.
The story of Victoria and her antique shop in Oak Grove Square continues. Earlier in the tale, Victoria purchased a trunk full of old items from a handsome, but seemingly cold and uncaring, man. He enters Victoria’s life again, coming with an odd and surprising gift, a packet of old love letters. His appearance in her life leaves her full of conflicting emotions.
Enjoy – and feel free to leave a comment. Click the link here to go back to the main Tuesday Tales site for more entertaining story snippets.
A groan escaped her lips when she saw the man entering the shop. A little eye candy now and then was one thing. But today, she wasn’t in the mood to deal with Mr. Non-Sentimental.
“What? No pastures to tear down today?” she queried.
An amused expression crossed his face. Sapphire eyes studied her across the room and a smile played around the corners of his mouth, as if he were fighting this simple human expression.
“I come in peace,” he bantered. “Alas, I’m not bearing any gifts today.”
The reminder of his last visit and his unexpected offering made Victoria feel ungrateful and ashamed of her almost rude behavior. “I’m sorry. That remark was unwarranted. Especially after your delightful gesture. I’ve enjoyed reading the letters Charlotte and Edward wrote to each other.”
“I thought you would appreciate them. After seeing the way your face lit up as you went through the items in the old trunk, I knew they belonged here with you.” He grinned and his eyes lit up with a surprising twinkle.
Victoria felt a surge of warmth rush through her body, starting in the middle of her stomach and ending with a red, flushed face. “Um … um …” she stammered, unable to voice a coherent thought.
“There’s something in here I couldn’t get out of my mind. I was hoping you still had it.”
“In here? Funny, I can’t picture anything in here appealing to you.”
Toby’s laugh filled the room and made Victoria’s heart race even faster. “No, you wouldn’t think so, would you? But I saw one item the other day that reminded me of a happy moment.”
Victoria peered closely, examining his face for clues. “So, there was some happiness in your past. It wasn’t all bad.”
“One summer …” his face clouded with a frown, then cleared again. “Mostly it was bad. I told myself I’d never go back to where I came from. That’s why I don’t look back. At all. And I certainly don’t relish remembrances of the past like you do. But, one summer was special.”
He headed towards the corner where the Fiestaware and other pottery were displayed. “Ah good, it’s still here.” He reached for a large yellow Pyrex bowl sitting on the table full of old potato mashers, green handled peelers, and other vintage kitchen utensils. Tipping the bowl he dumped the contents onto the table and headed towards Victoria carrying the object of his search.
“This reminds me of my grandmother. I saw it the other day and a picture flashed through my head of watching her mix biscuits in a bowl like this. She made the best biscuits and she’d serve them hot from the oven with fresh butter and honey.” He paused and looked at the bowl as if it held secrets he’d long forgotten. “I was happy that summer.”
Victoria waited. The temptation to come back with a smart remark about this not looking like his typical household wares was strong, but she held it in. She didn’t want to interrupt his reverie. It seemed that he didn’t travel down memory lane too often, especially with happy scenes like this.
A shake of his head seemed to jolt him back to the present. “I’ll take this,” he said, handing her the bowl.
Victoria took the bowl and turned toward the counter with the register and supplies. She wrapped the bowl securely in a layer of bubble wrap, nestled it in a large paper sack with her logo plastered across the front, and tied the handles with a red gingham strip.
“How much do I owe you?”
“Nothing. This one’s on the house.”
“No. I can’t do that. You have a business to run here.”
“That’s true. But sometimes the heart is more important than money.”
“That’s where we disagree,” he countered.
Victoria laughed. “Oh, I think we disagree on more than this. But I insist. I feel it in here,” she patted her chest. “You need this in your life right now. I can’t take money for that.”
“Then let me take you to dinner.” The invitation slipped out unplanned.