If she had to make another bow tonight, she might just lose her mind. Sophie expertly tied another bow with floral wire and set it aside. She had to go home. Had to stop the madness. She looked around her little floral shop and smiled. It was warm and homey with the white twinkle lights and floral arrangements all around the room.
She didn’t care that it was Thanksgiving Day and she should be home baking or doing something for her family’s big celebration. Thanksgiving got lost in the shuffle of the Christmas rush for Sophie.
The clock on the wall chimed three in the afternoon and she stretched her arms and rolled her head to stretch her neck muscles.
One more bow and she’d head home to bake. She tossed the finished bow onto the pile, put on her winter coat that she really didn’t need, since it was still warm despite it being November in Maine and headed home.
She flicked off the lights, closed and locked the door and climbed into her very used hatchback car that read The Enchanted Florist on the side.
It was just getting dark as she pulled into the driveway leading to her small house on Raymond Pond. She took the corner and jammed on the brakes.
There was a truck in the driveway and a man standing on a ladder his arms reaching above his head, a swatch of tan skin was exposed where his black T-shirt and his jeans didn’t meet.
She hadn’t scheduled any maintenance and who knew what this guy was doing to her roof.
Putting the car in gear, she rolled forward making sure to block his truck so that if he was trying to break into her house, he wouldn’t get away without a fight.
He turned to look when she turned off the engine. Tucking something under her eves, he brushed his hands together and started down the ladder.
“Excuse me,” Sophie said. “What are you doing to my house?” As she walked closer she could see exactly what he’d been doing. Around each window, the door and along the outline of the house, his man had put colored Christmas lights.
His voice was like silk and she felt her irritation grow that he thought because he was good looking and sounded like a young Sean Connery that he could mess with her house.
“I didn’t ask for my house to be decorated. You might have the wrong place.”
Despite the darkness setting in, she thought she saw him turn a little red. He walked to his truck, opened the door and pulled out a work order. “It says right here 45 Beaver Point Lane, Raymond. Next to your door it says 45, correct?”
“Yes. Let me see that. Who hired you?” She hurried over to where he was standing and pulled the paper out of his hand. He was right.
On the paper it read, “Decorate full house, trees, add wreathes and a Christmas tree and decorations inside. It wasn’t signed.”
“The address is right, but there is still a mistake. I don’t do Christmas. Not here anyway,” she told the man.
“What do you mean, you don’t do Christmas. Everyone loves Christmas.”
“Not me. Not here. To me Christmas is the means to an end.” She sighed. “Why am I telling you this? Just take the lights down.”
He shook his head. She got a good look at him. He was maybe in his late thirties, military cut hair and tan. His muscles bulged under his shirt and she wondered for a second if he was here for another reason other than putting up lights.
“I’ll have to talk to the boss about this. I can’t just take them down because you said to. I have no proof that you actually live here.” He cocked his head to the side.
“Who do you work for? And what is your name. I’ll call your boss directly.”
“Ma’am. It’s Thanksgiving, so why not wait until tomorrow to call him. There’s no sense disturbing him while he’s with his family.”
She thought about that for a second. She could wait until tomorrow. “Hey, why are you here on Thanksgiving and not stuffing yourself with turkey and the fixings?”
He crossed his arms. “I’m working. Some people work on holidays.”
“Defensive much? Police and firefighters work on holidays. Guys who string lights don’t have to.”
He rolled his eyes at her.
She shook her head at him. “Listen, I’ve been working all day and I don’t have time to argue with you about this. I have to make rolls or something to take to dinner with my family. Just leave everything and I’ll call your boss tomorrow. I’ll take care of this.”
“I’d like to finish what’s left. I won’t bother you,” he said, his voice back to the melty sound meant to seduce her into doing what he wanted.
“Fine. Do what you need to do tonight.” Shoot. It worked. He was staying.
She moved her car and went inside. She cracked open three containers of Grands biscuits plopped them on a cookie sheet and threw them in the oven that was not preheated.
Cooking wasn’t her forte.
She toed off her shoes and went upstairs to change into clothes that would satisfy her mother, whom she loved, but didn’t always live up to her standards.
She loved living where she did. Her view from her bedroom was the lake and her neighbors didn’t have the right angle see in. She didn’t even have shades on her windows.
As she started to pull off her shirt she looked out at the lake, but saw a man instead.
She shrieked, then ran to the window, threw it open and glared at him.
“You’re done. Get off my property.”
He tried to suppress a smirk. “I’m sorry Ma’am. I was trying to get the lights up on this side of the house. It was what I had left. I thought you were downstairs.”
“Obviously, I’m not,” she retorted.
“You need curtains, Ma’am.”
“Listen…whatever your name is…what I need is for you to go away and not come back. You’ll have to make your living at someone else’s expense.”
“I’ll leave, but I’ll be back tomorrow to finish the job. I always finish the job. And by the way, my name is Darron.”