Today’s snippet is the start of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.
Victoria moves to Oak Grove, a tiny town in north Texas, looking for a new beginning. From her quaint antique store on the town square, she encounters more drama than she ever expected. In the midst of getting to know her storekeeper neighbors and learning who she can and can’t trust, will she find the one thing she’s not looking for, true love? Stay tuned each week to find out.
This week’s prompt is: Sea.
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The jingling bell above the front door caught Victoria’s attention, interrupting her task of sorting out silverware patterns. A blond god stood in the doorway, haloed by the golden sunshine behind him. His image banished all thoughts of spoons and forks. Well, not all thoughts. Visions of spooning and forking quickly filled her head, but they didn’t have anything to do with the piles of silverware scattered around on the table.
“Hello,” the vision inquired. “Do you work here?”
Victoria momentarily forgot that she was a store keeper and here was a live, walk-in visitor. Where was her customer service? “I’m the owner.” She advanced and held out her hand. “I’m Victoria. Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for today?”
When her extended hand was ignored, she dropped it to her side. Well! How rude. His golden image receded to a mere mortal, an ill-mannered one at that.
“I’m not looking to buy today. I’d like to sell some things. Are you buying?”
“It depends on what you’re offering.” Victoria tried to keep a clipped tone out of her voice. He was still a customer after all, even if he was brusque and obviously didn’t believe in the art of small talk.
“I’d have to see the items to see if they’re anything I’d be interested in.”
“They’re in the car. I’ll go get them.” The visitor reached for the sunglasses perched on top of head and headed outside.
Victoria edged towards the front window, curious as to which vehicle he approached. He was unlocking a sapphire blue BMW Roaster parked directly in front of Serendipity. A soft sigh escaped her lips. The perfect car to showcase such a handsome man. Good thing I’m not in the market for any man or I’d be like a swooning teenager right now.
As he grabbed a dusty box from the trunk, his bulging forearms brought a flush of heat to Victoria’s face. She scurried back to the table filled with silverware, not wanting to be caught watching.
The tinkling bell gave her warning to compose herself.
“Here’s the dishes.” He sat the box on the floor next to Victoria’s well-worn sneakers.
She looked down at her feet. I would have had to dress for comfort this morning. I knew I should have dressed a little classier today. She kneeled down on the floor and folded the box edges back. “Oh! Franciscan Desert Rose! It’s a very …”
“I’ll go get the trunk.”
“ … popular pottery pattern, first produced in 1941,” she muttered to the retreating back. “Not that it looks like you care.”
When he carried the old steamer trunk in, Victoria didn’t even care that he’d left mid-sentence. Seeing the vintage trunk, excitement bubbled up inside, even if it was marred by a tacky piece of duct tape. He opened the lid, hinges creaking the whole way, and Victoria could hardly contain herself. “Ohhh,” she gasped. She carefully sifted through the sea of treasures within. There were lots of cut out quilt pieces, all vintage calico fabrics, easily dating to the Depression era and possibly earlier. A few skeins of yarn looked handspun and precious. But the tattered box filled with photographs and letters was her favorite find.
She carefully sifted through the old tin types. “Did these belong to one of your relatives?”
“Oh good Lord no. I wouldn’t have any of this old junk around. I found them in the attic of a house I bought. What would you give me for all of it?”
“It depends on how old the dishware is. Although it was first produced in 1941, Franciscan put out this pottery design until 1962 when they sold their plant. In 1984 Wedgewood bought the pattern and moved production to England. Then, Johnson Brothers bought it and ran a limited 60th anniversary line in 2001. Let me take a closer look at what you have.”
The silverware on the table was pushed to one side as piece after piece found their way on the table. Dinner plates, dessert plates, a serving platter, cups and saucers. “These are definitely older pieces, not reproductions. They’re all in very good condition. The butter dish has a few nicks at the base, but they’re not terrible.”
Victoria reached for the pencil and pad she’d been making notes on earlier. Flipping the page over, she started making a list. “Six dinner plates, eight dessert plates, eight saucers, seven cups …” She jotted numbers beside each item on the list and tallied up a total. “I can give you three hundred and fifty dollars for the dishes.”
“Only three hundred and fifty dollars? They’ve got to be worth more than that.” He walked over to some similar plates displayed in a white distressed hutch in the corner. He picked one up. “Look. This single plate here is fourteen dollars.”
“Yes it is.” Victoria bit her lip in an attempt to remain calm. “But if I sell it for fourteen dollars, I can’t pay you fourteen dollars for it. I have to make some money on it too. I have a landlord to pay, utilities to pay, insurance to pay. I’m sure that as a businessman you can understand that.”
A look of understanding passed across his face. “Of course. I didn’t stop to think about that. How about the trunk?”
Victoria looked fondly at the leather carrier. “While this is personally my favorite, the items inside don’t bring much money. Pictures usually only go for a dollar, two tops. The fabric pieces, while fascinating, will probably only sell for maybe ten dollars at best. And the trunk itself is in pretty poor condition. I could go a hundred and fifty dollars for the trunk and everything inside.”
“That’s five hundred all together …” He paused, deep in thought.
Victoria noticed that when he was thinking so intently she liked the way his blue eyes softened with little crinkles on the sides. He wasn’t quite as foreboding or ultra in charge.
The transformation vanished and Mr. no-time-for-dallying-Businessman was back in place. “Deal. I’ll take five hundred for all of it.”
Victoria quickly made out a check, before he changed his mind. She wondered as she was writing it out – ‘Toby L. Burdett’ – why does that sound familiar?