“There! That ought to do it!” Setting down the hammer and dusting her hands emphatically, Maggie stepped back to admire her work.
The fresh paint on the walls, a soft white with just a blush of pink, gave the alcove a warm glow. Cheery throw rugs accented new laminate flooring and the little love seat with its delicate floral pattern in rose and green hues filled the nook with invitation. One wall was adorned with pictures of seascapes and secret gardens, the other two boasted new walnut stained bookcases that gleamed in the sunlight. All that was left to do was fill those shelves with books.
This corner of the bedroom had been on her ‘do-over’ list ever since she had married Nick and moved into his house. Nick had used it for an office until she’d put a stop to it.
“This is our sanctuary.” She’d explained in hushed tones one night, the flecks of green in her hazel eyes enhanced by the teal in her nightshirt. The fact that they were newlyweds sharing a home with Nick’s two teenage sons made finding privacy, and maintaining it, a precious commodity. Her case for keeping their bedroom an exclusive retreat was strong and before the month was out, the desk was moved into a section of the family room.
At first, the emptied space was simply a place to stack boxes which Maggie slowly unpacked, transforming Nick’s old house into Nick and Maggie’s comfortable home. Though she had great plans for that corner, life kept her too busy to allow time to indulge. But every woman needs a spot to call her own. As long as she had boys in the house, the only place of refuge was the master bath but even that had it’s limits. She bided her time, however, clipping pictures from home and garden magazines, and secreting books into boxes, awaiting the day.
Last month she had retired. While her years as a bookseller had been rewarding, she had looked forward to the day she could stay home, linger over a second cup of coffee, and read books of her own. Between Nick, the boys, her job, and a house to run, her days were always full. When no one was around, she would run her hands over the book bindings at the store and whisper, “Soon.”
The first official day of her retirement, she had flagrantly ignored the alarm clock and snuggled deeper under the down comforter. Only when she’d detected the fragrant aroma of fresh coffee had she sat up to stretch. To her delight, she’d found Nick standing at the side of the bed, mug in one hand, morning paper in the other, a goofy grin on his weathered face. As she’d made room for him on the side of bed, she’d felt his appreciative gaze on her bare shoulders and for one second was tempted to shove aside coffee and paper and let him have his way with her. Instead, she demurely sipped her coffee and let Nick entertain his own wicked thoughts.
He surprised her. “I thought I’d take today off and build those book shelves you have been wanting.”
Magic words. She had pushed the covers aside and scrambled for her jeans.
The day in the shop was wonderful. Sawdust and paint odors mingled with more coffee and peanut butter cookies. Maggie painstakingly sanded and stained every board Nick cut. As they worked, he teased her about the boxes of books she had been collecting. He was as excited as she was to see her dream fulfilled.
Now, her little library nook complete, Maggie, eager to get started, delved in. Anthologies from her favorite authors, series collections, childrens books, poetry, classics and best sellers, how-to books, bibles and study guides, even some old hymnals. Some she hadn’t looked at in years, some she’d forgotten she owned. The dusty smell of old books tickled her nose but she welcomed the sneezes. She tired arranging according to colors, but in the end, order won out and they were alphabetized, fiction on one side, and non-fiction on the other. She ran her hand over the book bindings and grinned.
She brewed some tea, loaded the CD player and pulled a slim novel from the shelf. Then she sat down, and with the cat curled up beside her, began to read.
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