Chapter One Part Two

Evan barely slowed his pace once they got back to Lollygagger’s Acres. He pulled his winter gear from the hall closet, threw it over his shoulder, said (and kissed) his goodbyes and walked back out with a promise to call if he wasn’t making it back home that night. Bernice looked at the vintage kitchen clock, noting that it was already pushing 8 p.m.

“He won’t be back,” Darlene echoed her thoughts as she walked in from the living room with her and Cameron’s supper plates. “There’s sausage and spinach quiche in the fridge.”

Bernice smiled at the mention of food and pulled a plate from the cupboard.

“So,” Darlene prompted as she loitered in the doorway, “How’d it go?”

Bernice dished up a healthy portion from the glass baking pan. She stuck it in the microwave. “It didn’t. The pastor was late, and then Evan got called into work.” She was waiting for the barrage of questions about why her state investigator fiancé would be called out to work so late in the evening, but Darlene went a different way.

“Why was Pastor late?” Darlene questioned as she set the dishes in the kitchen sink.

The microwave dinged. Bernice retrieved her late supper. “He was visiting someone in hospice.”

And that’s what Darlene chose to interrogate Bernice about. “What? Who?”

Bernice was taken aback by the dramatic reaction. “I don’t know.”

“You didn’t ask?” Darlene pushed.

Bernice frowned. “No, it’s none of my business.”

Darlene frowned back. “Since when?”

Shaking her head, Bernice sighed. “Darlene, it’s been a long day. Kindly let me eat in peace.”

Darlene rolled her eyes. “Fine, I’ll just call Marsha. She’ll know who’s dying.”

Bernice waved the matter away with her fork. “Fine.”

Darlene took the cordless off of its charger on the wall. “By the way, your realtor called.”

Bernice swallowed and got up to get her purse. “Why didn’t he call my cell?”

Darlene gave a snotty answer. “I didn’t ask. It’s none of my business.” With that she returned to the living room.

“Go chew on Marsha’s ear, you smartass!” Bernice yelled after her and pulled out her cell phone.

“Oh, Bernice,” the realtor answered without saying hello. “I’ve got news on the place we looked at last week.”

“Good, I hope,” Bernice reacted evenly.

“The inspection came back. You were right. The sewer’s bad, but the well’s okay.”

“Well, that’s something, I guess,” Bernice decided and filled her fork. “So, they’ll come down in price to cover the cost of the new sewer.”

“Better than that. They’re knocking off twenty grand,” the realtor paused, “um, but they’re changing up the offering.”

Bernice chewed quickly. “What’s that mean?”

“Well, they decided to only sell you the acreage around the house and buildings. They’re keeping the rest to rent out to the neighbors. Apparently, with all the drought down South, the price of corn’s expected to go sky high.”

Suddenly, the quiche lost its appeal. Bernice set down her fork. “So, what you’re telling me is they want to knock twenty grand off the price, but sell me, say, seven acres worth of beat up buildings and a bad sewer in exchange.”

“Well, they figured since you’re only running a hobby farm, it would be a waste to sell you all that nice crop land.”

“And there’s nothing I like better than buying a dinky lot surrounded by someone else’s cornfield.”

“So, that’s a no?” the realtor clarified.

“That’s a get-me-my-earnest-money-back kind of a no, Jerry.”

There was an audible sigh in response. “Okay then, Bernice. The check’ll be in my office tomorrow.”

“Sure thing.”

There was another pause. “So we keep looking. Did you want to make an offer on the one we looked at this afternoon?”

“Not right now. Thanks.”

“Alright then. We’ll call it a night.”

“Yep, see ya.” Bernice killed the call. With her portion of quiche cold again, and Bernice not feeling like heating it back up, she chose instead to stick the plate in the fridge and pull out a bottle of wine. She spyed some lovely cheese hiding amongst the leftovers and pulled that out too. She cut up a few hunks of cheese, tore the end off a loaf of crusty bread, and took the plate with a glass of wine into the living room.

She was just in time to watch Darlene hang up the phone. Darlene looked confused. She faced Bernice. “Marsha says no one is in hospice right now that she knows of, and she would have been told, because she’s the head of the call chain for prayer when something like that happens.”

“Hmm,” Bernice grunted as she took her seat with her rations.

The grunt did not improve Darlene’s mood. It only made her scowl at Bernice with suspicion. “So, why’s the pastor lying?”

Comments are closed.