Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Same Page

"There's a condo for sale in a complex I used to live in," my friend Monica told me over the phone. "Another friend of mine just vacated. The place hasn't been listed yet. I think you'll like it." She paused a moment. "And the benefits."
"What's that mean?"
She laughed. I could almost see the smirk on her face. "You'll see—"
I wrote down the address and thanked Monica.
The next morning I took off work, found Crystal Creek Estates, and knocked on the superintendent's office door.
"Come in!" a deep male voice called.
When I entered, the man finished his work at the computer and swiveled his chair around to face me. Dressed in jeans and a blue polo shirt, he said, "Good morning." He smiled slowly, deep dimples creasing his lean cheeks.
My heart did a crazy flip-flop, completely unexpected. It had been a long time since I'd seen a man so attractive. Get a grip!, Katie.
Managing to avoid stammering, I said, "I'm here about the condo—two bedrooms. I'm Katherine Wells."
"Tyler O'Neill," he said. "Monica sent you?"
I nodded.
"Well," he said, "let me show you around."
While we strolled over to the unit, I explained to Mr. O'Neill that I was sending my son, Jason, off to college this fall, and I'd decided the big home I'd lived in happily all these years with Jason and his dad—who had died ten years ago—was simply two big for me to maintain any longer. I needed a two-bedroom condo so that when my offspring came home from college on holidays and during the summer he'd have his own space.
"This is perfect," I told Mr. O'Neill as he showed me around the place.
"Obviously," he said, "you're free to completely redo the rooms, paint them whatever color you like, make your own new curtains, if you like."
"I can do that."
I explained that I owned my own craft shop, Yours Truly. Though I featured crafts of all kinds, I specialized in handmade quilts and Afghans, and I could easily make curtains. "But I'm lousy painter," I said.
"No problem. I've painted two-thirds of the units in this complex."
"You're hired," I said, happy with my good fortune
That evening I called Monica. "I'm going to buy the place," I told her.
"Gorgeous, isn't he?"
I admitted Tyler O'Neill—dark hair and eyes, a slow smile warm and friendly—actually took my breath away.
Monica said, "He was divorced long ago. He was a fireman—his wife felt he didn't make enough money. He's retired from the department." Monica's husband is a fireman, too.
The next day in Mr. O'Neill's office, I filled out forms and signed papers. "I hope you'll like it here," he said after we finished, his tone genuinely sincere.
"I'm sure I'll get along, but I hate giving up my home."
"I understand," he said.  Then, " might want to paint before you move your things in. The work will be much easier."
And so that's how Tyler O'Neill and I ended up haunting hardware stores for a couple of nights, selecting paint and finding the best prices. By this time I was calling him Ty, he was calling me Katie, and I realized that I felt a deep attraction to him, the kind I hadn't felt in a long time. But what about him? Could it possibly be?
Near the end of the month, when the painting was finished and my furniture moved into my new place, I said, "You've got to come to dinner tonight. Help me celebrate my first night in my new home."
"I'd love to."
That night, I made pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, tossed salad, and homemade apple pie. He brought a bottle of champagne. He ate like a lumberjack. Later, when we sat in the living room on the couch, listening to music by candlelight, he said, "This place is going to make you a wonderful home."
"You're an artist with a paint brush," I told him.
"But you selected the colors, and they blend perfectly."
I smiled at him. When he smiled back, his dark eyes soft, I felt myself filling up with amazing warmth. "All I need now is new curtains."
"Is that all?" he asked.
My gaze caught his. "Maybe something else..."
I blushed but halted before I added, And a man.  I surely didn't want make a fool of myself.
But the way his eyes penetrated mine, I felt as if he were reading my mind. His hand rose and gently touched my cheek. Then he kissed me for the first time. Our lips lingered softly, my heart quivered, and I knew for sure we were on the same page. Exactly.

The End

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