The faint bubbling of the fountain was the only sound in the quiet of the morning until the singing began. The voice was clear and feminine. Cinnamon stepped from the porch and followed the sound to the fence. She peeked through a gap in the pickets. In the yard next door stood a slim young woman, trimming rose bushes while she sang.
Cinnamon called through the fence. “Hello.”
The young woman stopped singing and looked in Cinnamon’s direction. “Hello.”
“You have a lovely voice.”
She approached Cinnamon, smiling. “Thanks. I just sing for my own pleasure.”
“Well you brought me pleasure today.
“I can’t see you well. Will you come around to the gate?”
They soon stood face to face. Cinnamon noticed the younger woman’s shiny dark hair and ice blue eyes. Her skin was smooth and lightly tanned, and she wore a fresh pink sun dress.
Cinnamon was suddenly aware of her faded Bermuda shorts and old blouse. “I’m Cinnamon Parker. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
“Thanks. I’m Dena Rogers.”
“Are you all moved in?”
“If you need anything, my sister Clove and I are right next door.”
“I appreciate that.”
“Why don’t you come over for lunch? Clove’s making beef stew. There will be plenty. I’m sure you don’t have time to cook right now.”
“That sounds nice. My husband won’t be here for lunch today.”
“Good. We’ll eat in about an hour. I’ll tell Clove to set another place.”
Cinnamon went inside where her sister was reading the paper at the kitchen table. “I’ve just talked to our new neighbor.”
Clove looked up. “Oh?”
“Yes. She seems nice, and she’s coming for lunch. Bet you’ll like her.”
“I’m anxious to meet her.”
She tied her apron on. “Let’s finish up the stew.”
They worked until the doorbell rang. Cinnamon invited Dena into the kitchen to meet her sister. Clove took in the attractive young lady. “Welcome to the neighborhood. My, aren’t you pretty?”
Dena smiled. “Thank you.”
Cinnamon patted Dena affectionately. “She has a beautiful singing voice, too. Why don’t you entertain us?”
“Of course you could. We’d love to hear you, wouldn’t we Clove?”
Dena smiled and offered a familiar ballad.
When she finished, the two sisters clapped spontaneously. Clove spoke. “That was just lovely. You know, Cinnamon and I used to sing a little in the church choir.”
Cinnamon wiped her hands across her apron. “Oh now, Clove. That was nothing.”
“I’d like to hear you.” Dena nodded towards the sisters.
“We won’t sound nearly as good as you.”
The two older ladies didn’t hesitate long. They sang a chorus of “Amazing Grace” in shaky voices.
Dena clapped politely.
Clove laughed. “We’re out of practice.
Lunch was spent in pleasant conversation. Clove served a three layered fudge masterpiece for dessert. Dena only picked at it.
Cinnamon eyed her plate. “You’re not eating much today, dear.”
“I’ve got so much on my mind with this move.” She swung her dark tresses over her shoulders. “In fact, I really need to get home. Thank you for lunch.”
“Of course. Come back any time.”
Clove saw Dena out and then returned to the kitchen. “Cinnamon, she’s adorable. She’s so pretty, and sweet, and she has such a lovely voice.”
“I agree. We’re going to like having her next door.”
The sisters puttered the afternoon away. Cinnamon wandered back out to the porch where she often enjoyed the sunset. Just as she had settled into her favorite wicker chair, she heard voices next door. She recognized Dena’s voice immediately. Cinnamon went to the gate and was about to open it. When she heard her name, she stopped and listened.
“Guess what I did today, Mike? I had lunch with the Spice Girls.”
A male voice answered. “Sure you did.”
“I went to the neighbor’s house. They’re two old ladies named Cinnamon and Clove. They wear sloppy clothes and aprons, of all things. They served me beef stew. Greasy beef with some mushy vegetables. Then they served me chocolate cake, which I barely touched. It would have ruined my figure. They gobbled it down, though. No wonder they’re both so fat. It’s pathetic.”
There was a pause. “They even tried to sing. They sounded like old hens cackling. Now that I’ve met them, I’m going to avoid them.”
Cinnamon dropped her hand from the latch and walked away, being careful not to make a sound.
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