Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Snippet of the Day

Snippet of the Day
The sound of a smooth engine drew near. Liz shifted her gaze, her reactions hampered from an impending high. A dark-green Range Rover moved over the stones, pulling alongside the quaint Cape Cod that was adjacent to her backyard, a hundred yards away. Duane had called it the carriage house. It’d sat vacant for years. They’d thought of renting it or maybe selling it, which is what she’d chosen to do.
Ben and Noah had already begun their renovations. Liz often witnessed them carrying lumber and other accoutrements into the house. The car door slammed. The package! Liz jumped off the swing, her body now suddenly wired. The marijuana had a habit of doing that. Usually she’d feel calm and at ease, but at times that paranoia would come, overwhelming her. She slinked to the other side of the porch, hiding in the corner.
She lifted the joint to her lips, taking another mind-blowing drag. The paper wilted, burning black at the glowing tip. The smoke expanded in her lungs. Liz stifled a cough, watching her new neighbor retrieve the package off his porch.
Ben’s tall, lean frame bent down to pick up the box. Dark waves of styled hair made his sharply structured face complete. The glare of the sun rebounded off his sunglasses. He unlocked the front door and set the box inside but didn’t enter the house. Liz lifted a finger to her mouth, gnawing on a nail.
Liz’s altered state had led to carelessness. She should have gone inside where she had hid all winter, feeling the need to avoid any type of interaction. He turned suddenly, catching her huddled in the corner of the porch. While he set his briefcase down, Liz quickly crushed out the joint in the soil of a nearby spider plant. Ben descended the porch stairs, making his way across the shared dirt lane.
“Hi,” he called, waving. He trekked across her yard. Liz felt her face cringe in embarrassment. Her yard was ravaged, just like everything else in her life. Residual dead leaves had made a home around her rose bushes, strangling any life out of her flower beds. The grass was yellow and brittle, yearning for fertilizer and a tender hand.
As he directed his steps toward her, Liz’s heart jumped into her throat, her pulse now racing as she watched him climb the stairs at the end of her back porch. The gentle breeze lifted his cobalt-blue tie. Once under the canopy, Ben removed his glasses. Vibrant blue eyes flashed at her, the color of faded denim. He extended his hand.
“I want to apologize,” he said, smiling. Tiny wrinkles around his eyes deepened his soft expression. A light layer of growth was neatly trimmed around his chin and mouth. He resembled a cologne or clothing ad. Tommy Hilfiger came to mind. “I’ve been meaning to come over.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” Liz said. Her fingers braided with his quickly before withdrawing back into the comfort zone inside her pocket. His masculine scent enveloped her. He smelled exactly the way he looked—expensive. She could see the joint stuck in the soil under the plant’s leaves. She moved into his line of vision.
“I want to express my condolences,” Ben said kindly. His face went blank with seriousness.
“I appreciate that.” Liz forced a smile, pained again with the never-ending farce. “How’re things going over there?” she asked, needing to change the subject. She was somewhat curious about them as well as their renovations. Ben glanced back at the house and then rerouted his eyes back to hers. His brows rose.
“Not too bad, it’s coming along. Maybe you should stop by sometime and see it.” He paused. He fussed with his tie, as if feeling trapped in his white-collar attire. “Then you could meet Noah.” Ben shifted his weight. Liz’s eyes fell to his feet, his dress shoes now  dusty with dry earth. He cleared his throat, dragging her attention back to his face. “You like wine?”
“Yes,” she stammered, swallowing through a dry throat. She'd become a social invalid. He’d scared her straight, her heart drumming relentlessly. “I do.”
“Red or white?” Ben asked. He smiled, flashing a set of impeccable teeth, his demeanor friendly.
“Both.” Liz laughed.
“Well, okay then.” He laughed.

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