sitting, Emma wandered over to the sideboard and gazed at the photographs. She picked up one of Tiny, astride his Harley with a little blonde girl in front of him.
“ That's my niece, Amy.” Beth took the picture and ran her thumb across it. “She died before I got pregnant with Abs. Losing her was the hardest thing we've ever had to deal with. To be honest, if it wasn't for Samson, I doubt Joe and I would have made it.”
“ I'm so sorry.” Emma guessed there was much, much more to that story, but she just touched Beth's arm, then picked up a photo of Abigail holding her new baby brother. “Wow, he looks like his dad. I can't wait to meet him.”
“ He's got his dad's personality, too. Not a peep from him most of the time, but when he loses his temper, everyone knows it.” Beth smiled. “You know, I'm beginning to understand why Samson fell in love with you.”
By the time they were halfway through the bottle of wine and a quarter-way through the pizza, Emma had decided she really liked Beth. At the wedding she'd come across as a little smug, but she guessed that being pregnant and marrying the man she loved could do that to a person. Now, though, she realized nothing could be further than the truth. She was smart, with a quick wit, and was so unashamedly in love with her husband that Emma could understand why Deke was so fond of her. She took another slice. “This is great, I can't remember when I last had homemade pizza.”
“ Thank you. I don't make it often, but when we were kids, Joe's mom would make it for us. It's my comfort food.”
“ So were you and Joe childhood sweethearts?”
“ No. We've been together for nearly eight years, but I've known him all my life. One day, when I'm far more drunk than I am now, I'll tell you the whole sordid tale.” She grinned. “What about you? Samson told me you're an artist.”
“ Yeah, I sell my canvases in Boise. They sell okay, but I do a few shifts in a local diner as well to stop me turning into a complete hermit as much as anything.” She grinned. “It's easy to lose track sometimes, and if I'm left to my own devices I can go days without seeing anyone.” She eyed the last slice of pizza. “Are you going to eat that?”
“ Help yourself. I shouldn't be eating it at all. I put on so much weight with Luke.”
“ You look fine to me.” Emma grinned. “You have a great figure, like a real woman. I'd love a body like yours.”
“ You're very kind. But I've got a closet full of clothes that will tell you different.” She yawned. “Jesus, I'm sorry, I'm such a lightweight. It's really rude of me, but do you mind if I head upstairs? The prospect of a whole night with no snoring or crying babies is just too tempting.”
“ I'm sure it is. You go on up. I'll clear this away then hit the hay as well.”
~ oOo ~
Beth was turning out to be the perfect house viewing partner. While Emma was swooning over the original doorknobs and wandering around yards trying to figure out where the chickens would live, she was poking damp patches suspiciously and discussing potential boundary issues with the agent.
Most of her house hunting had been done online, and it had been easy to narrow down her search: Plenty of outdoor space, sunny kitchen and room for a studio, all for as little as possible.
The first house they had looked at was an outright 'no.' While it had looked good on paper, the neighbors were too close and just felt all wrong. Emma had loved the second. It was in the most perfect location, a couple of hours’ drive from Seattle, and stood on a huge plot of land. The house had a few issues, but she figured she could fix it up. Beth had shaken her head, pulled out her cell and stepped outside, only to return minutes later, and handed Emma the phone. “Hello?”
“ Hey, baby girl. Beth tells me you want to put an offer on the place you're looking at.”
“ It's perfect, I don't want to lose it.”
“ I think you'll find perfect
Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Valerie Wallace