One small step for this woman and a giant leap. Verity closed her eyes and stepped over the threshold. Please, Lord. Let this be the one. She was tired of looking and exhausted by the subterfuge.
Weeks ago her mother had snatched the real estate pages of the newspaper from her hand. ‘Don’t for one moment think that you can move out again. I forbid it. Look what happened last time. I would have told you straight away he was wrong for you. When will you learn that appearances are deceptive? The minute you’re out of my sight….’
Marriage to Shane had been a disaster. Five unhappy years and she’d been traded in for a younger model. Verity sighed,
‘That was a big sigh.’
Verity’s eyes snapped open.
The apartment was open plan. From the door she looked through the living area and into the kitchen where a man was standing, carefully sliding a drawer closed behind him.
He strode towards her, right hand outstretched. ‘Lee Baker.’
She liked the gentle way his large hand enveloped hers. She looked up into his happy blue eyes. His big smile. The white even teeth. If this was a fifties movie they’d sparkle.
‘Verity. Please, feel free to have a good look around.’
The advert promised everything she wanted, but would it deliver?
Pale polished timber floors. Bright clean white walls. Large windows. She walked onto the small, north facing, balcony and imagined the potted herbs she would grow. The cups of coffee she would savor as she enjoyed views of the park. From the balcony she surveyed the lounge. She’d have to buy furniture. And a dining suite for the many dinner parties she envisaged. The kitchen was the next logical place to explore.
‘The best feature is the bedroom.’ The pressure of Lee’s hand on her bare elbow propelled her away from the kitchen. She could have disengaged, but it felt so good.
He was right. It was perfect. Light streamed in the floor-to-ceiling bay window, bouncing off the timber floor. She imagined winter weekends. Cushions. A good book. Music in the background.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw Lee nod in approval as she checked the lights and slid open the wardrobe doors. She inspected them carefully. Knocking on the timbers. Sniffing for damp. Suddenly it seemed important to gain his approval.
‘When will you learn that appearances are deceptive?’
She shook her head as she turned back to the room.
‘Something you don’t like?’ He pushed back a thick lock of floppy brown hair.
She felt the blush form in her throat. ‘No. Everything’s fine. Do you mind if I see the rest myself?’
He looked genuinely disappointed. ‘Sure. I’ll be on the balcony.’
Verity took her time turning every faucet on to check the flow, color and temperature of the water. She flushed the toilet, twice. Inspected the shower stall tiles for cracks and new repairs. The wall behind the shower for dampness. If the kitchen passed inspection she decided she’d take the apartment. Mother could rant and rave all she liked. It was time to move on, especially if there was a Lee Baker standing in the wings.
She stopped at the entry into the living room. Cell phone against his ear, Lee’s tall, lean body was draped over the balcony. There was no doubt he was good looking. A strong masculine jaw line. Shoulders broad enough to rest her head on.
No. This time it was not her mother but the still small voice she had so disastrously disobeyed before.
She reached up to open a cupboard.
‘The kitchen was designed by a pro.’
‘Yes.’ She tried the gas cook top. ‘I can see that. I love to cook. Intimate dinner parties with my friends.’
‘Perhaps you could invite me some time.’
Verity turned to face him. He was leaning nonchalantly against the drawers. ‘I’d love that.’
Lee’s cell phone rang. He hesitated, glanced at the drawer, and left the kitchen.
Verity liked the smooth way the top drawer opened. It was when she imagined her utensils arrayed just so that she saw the wedding ring. She picked it up. Inside it read ‘Lee forever love Catherine.’
She grasped it in her hand for a long time before she walked out onto the balcony.
‘I’ll take the apartment.’ She held out the ring. ‘When would you and Catherine like to come to dinner?’
1 Corinthians 10:13 (New International Version ) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
*I appreciate rigorous critiquing.*
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