One rule I’d learned was that when things were going well, trouble was bound to roll in and upend the apple barrel.
Bruce Wayne and I stood in the brand spanking new office of RBW Landscaping staring at a dead computer monitor.
“Neither one of them is working,” I groaned. “I got duped.”
He shook his head with a smirk. “I warned you not buy used computers from Roger Ditmore. His deals are too good to be true for a reason.”
I shot him a scowl. “‘I told you so’s’ won’t help right now, Bruce Wayne. It might be nearly lunch time, but it’s too early in the day for nonsense.”
He crawled under one of the two desks in our tiny office. We didn’t have a lot of money for splurging, so we’d found one of the wooden desks in a thrift store and made the other from a couple of saw horses and an old door I’d found in the barn behind my house. After jiggling the monitor plug with no luck, he plugged a lamp into the outlet. It didn’t turn on either.
“See there,” I said smugly, my hands on my hips. “It’s not the computers after all.”
Just then my head tingled, and my peripheral vision began to fade. I would have groaned in frustration, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything. I’ve been plagued with visions since I was a little girl. I always see something in the future of a person who’s physically close to me through his or her eyes. They can’t be stopped or controlled. They just burst out of nowhere, and once one takes hold, I can only ride it out.
Our office suddenly disappeared, and I was in Henryetta’s Piggly Wiggly, looking at the cheap Christmas stockings they had for sale in the seasonal aisle. I grabbed two off a hook and stuck them in my cart. Then, just as quickly, I was back in our office, staring at Bruce Wayne. “You’re gonna buy Christmas stockings at Piggly Wiggly.”
He scooted out from under the desk, his eyes slightly wider than normal. He was the only person who’d ever guessed my secret without being told. He said I get a strange, vacant look in my eyes when I’m having a vision, and besides, I always seem to know things I shouldn’t. But while he was one of a handful of people who knew about my talent, I was sure he’d never get used to me blurting out what I’d seen. Especially when it was about him.
He scratched his head with an embarrassed grimace. “I’ve been thinkin’ about getting some for David and me. We’ve never decorated before, but this year feels different.”
“Don’t get them at the Piggly Wiggly. Those things look nasty. I’m pretty sure Violet has some that didn’t get destroyed when the store was vandalized. Let me check first.”
“Okay,” he mumbled, his face turning pink, although I wasn’t sure if he was embarrassed by the offer, or because I knew he wanted to decorate for Christmas. “Let me check the fuse box in the back,” he said, starting to get up, but my little dog Muffy scampered over to see what the fuss was about and jumped on his chest. He rubbed her head and set her on the floor. “It’s an old building, Rose. The wiring’s probably bad.”
I glared down at him. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
He chuckled as he got to his feet. “At least your landlord will be responsible for fixin’ it.”
“Hmm.” I pressed my lips together. “What’s worse? Getting ripped off by the guy who sold me the computers or our office burning down?”
“Is that a trick question?” my boyfriend, Mason, asked from behind me. I hadn’t even heard the door open.
“Mason!” I shouted as I spun around in surprise, my crankiness slipping away. “What are you doin’ here?”
“Well . . .” he drawled as he waved to his leg. “I wanted to show you my good news.” He stood in the doorway on his own two feet, without the cane he’d been toting around for two months.
“You’re not wearing your leg brace!”
His grin spread. “I’m a free man.”
I launched myself at him, wrapping my arms around his neck and planting my mouth on his.
He stumbled backward into the doorframe, then slid his arm around my back and pulled me close. “Be careful, or you’re going to re-break my leg,” he chuckled.
“God forbid,” I murmured against his lips. “I have plans for you later.”
His hold tightened as he grinned down at me.
Muffy barked at my feet. “Not now, Muffy.”
Bruce Wayne released a fake cough. “I’m gonna go check on that fuse. Come on, Muff.” My little dog took off after him without a backward glance, as if she was just as embarrassed as my business partner.
“You do that,” I said, staring up into Mason’s beaming face. I tugged on his hand and shut the door, just then realizing how cold it was outside. “I’m surprised to see you,” I said. “I thought you had a busy schedule today.”
“I do.” He interlaced his fingers with mine and walked to the center of the room. “But the beauty of having your new office on the same square as the courthouse is that I can drop by when I leave my own office.”
I gave him a sly grin. “I confess that might have had something to do with my decision to rent the space.”
Bruce Wayne emerged from the back room, Muffy trailing behind him like he was the Pied Piper. “The cheap rent didn’t hurt either. Which is why half of our fuse box is dead. Rose, I’m sorry to say it, but this place is falling apart.”