I looked down on the napkin, adorned in her address written in perfect cursive: 15 Elm Street. She was only two blocks away.
Dale was out the door before I even woke up this morning. Our time together last night left my body tired as my mind still raced. My loving husband left behind a note on his pillow simply stating: I love you. In the kitchen, there was breakfast: toast, a fried egg and black coffee. I just drank the coffee and left behind the rest. It was big day and my butterfly clad stomach had little room for food. A part of me felt guilty, having these thoughts about another when I had such a loving partner already. But I couldn't help it. Dale was predictable and stifling. I needed more. I couldn't live in this small town where I was bound to run into Lily again and just wonder what could be. I had to go for it. Besides, Dale would be too busy to notice anyway.
I wore a short, white cotton dress and strappy black sandals. It was always so hot and sticky here. The thought of ever wearing jeans again was daunting. Hints of perfume emitted from different parts of my body. Hopes were possibly too high but either way I wanted to be prepared.
Passing Gleeson Ave, one more block to go. My heart pounded as I turned left on Elm and studied the quaint homes for the number 15. Number 11 was a gorgeous yellow cottage, 13 was a darker blue that looked like voodoo was undoubtedly being practiced inside. I could have sworn I saw a chicken's foot hiding in the tall grass of the front yard but I was too chicken myself to double check. And there it was, 15 Elm Street. I'd made it. The house was a bit larger than the rest on the street and the yard was a bit cleaner. Of course. The woman couldn't stray from perfection if she tried. Walking up the veranda steps, I folded the napkin and tucked it neatly in my bra. Knocking on the door, I got my first wiff of cherry pie.
"You made it!" she exclaimed as she swung open the purple door.
"I made it," I reciprocated, with an uncontrollable smile.
I opened the screen door and walked past her. Instantly, I picked up on her own pockets of perfume. My mind imagined where particularly she dabbed the fragranced water. She wore miniscule green shorts, a plain black tank-top and bare feet.
"Did you have any trouble finding me?"
"Not at all. You were right; we're very close to each other."
"Uh oh, looks like we'll just have to be best friends now."
We laughed together as we left the foyer and made our way back to her kitchen. The house was airy and bright. She'd decorated everything with a balanced mix of modern design and Southern charm. The cream-colored walls, the light blue accents, the cozy-looking chairs and plush rugs, the smell of pie in the oven, I felt the instant warm welcome of a darling, Southern home.
"So how are you liking it here so far?" she asked.
"It's definitely not New York but I like it. Seems to be full of surprises."
"Well you never know what you might find yourself enjoying. Surprises can be fun."
"I'm definitely learning this to be true."
"Have a seat. I'll get the pie."
I cleared my throat and followed her instruction.
"Here we are," she stated, setting down the most pristine cherry pie I'd ever seen in my life.
"That looks amazing! Thank you so much for having me over."
"Of course, love. When I saw you in Bruce's I just had to meet you."
"Really, why's that?"
She sat down across from me and played with the lace on her tablecloth. Her mouth opened to speak but closed just as quickly.
"I...um, well," she couldn't help but blush.
She continued, "I guess I don't have many friends around here. It was nice to see a new face."
"And besides, you looked absolutely...darling. Your husband's a lucky man."
I cleared my throat.
"Thank you," I said, choking on the words.
"Let me get you some water."
She rubbed my knee and stood from the table.
One touch and my heart nearly stopped.
"Here you are."
"Did I startle you?" she asked with unapologetic eye contact.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm not shy. I don't apologize for that."
"I don't know what you're trying to imply," I lied.
"Victoria, I find you irresistible."
She touched my knee again.