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Chapter 34 – Reassessment
Lilly Snow did not look happy.
Neither did Noah Pitt.
On Lilly, any expression other than joy seemed unnatural. Like a hand with six fingers or a candle burning a black flame. A smile was her face’s default position.
She did not exactly scowl at Noah Pitt when he walked around the front of his snowplow, but there was no inner light in her bright blue eyes, and she looked at him with suspicion, like a puppy who had expected to be petted, but was kicked instead.
“Oh, shit,” he muttered, echoing his sentiments from the first time he had seen…and tried to resist…her.
Lilly studied him unblinkingly.
“Um,” he said, staring into those disapproving eyes. “I guess I owe you an apology.”
She squinted in his direction and asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
Noah’s brow furrowed.
“A lot, I guess. But specifically…?” His words from her ended with a question mark.
“Specifically, Mr. Cranky Snowplow Driver,” Lilly continued to glare, “you were rude, dismissive, and mean to me.”
Noah bowed his head. “I was belligerent and distracted. I was stupid. I was blind. I was…” He raised his head and pleaded, “Help me out a little here.”
“Cold and aloof.”
“That, too. And I apologize. So I’ll fill out the paperwork and go right ahead with the adoption.”
Lilly clutched the debris-filled paper bags to her chest, walked through the invisible barrier surrounding the parking space, and stood inches from Noah Pitt.
“Adoption? What adoption?”
Lilly gasped in wonder, never before having seen him in a laughing mood.
He took the paper bag out of his arms, crumbled it, and tossed it twenty feet to land dead center in the nearest garbage pail. Then he wrapped a big hand around the red sleeve of Lilly’s coat and said, “Let’s go across the street.” He decided in the direction of Rocco’s Bistro. “I’ll buy you’re a conciliatory dinner. You’ll be all fat and happy and you’ll forgive me.”
Which is what they did.
Noah even got Lilly home early enough for a good night’s sleep before their meeting at the mayor’s office in the morning.
Noah did not.
I have spent the next two hours on the telephone, discussing objectives and logistics with Amos Goode. He also assisted the new Director of the Department of Public Works to organize drivers, vehicles, materials, and facilities so that they would be ready to roll by 7:00 am on the next day.
Copyright © Shelly Reuben, 2022. Originally published in The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY – evesun.com Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her books by her, visit www.shellyreuben.com.