Chapter 17: Are We Friends Yet?
Written by: Whitney Emeigh
“Thanks for the warning,” she grumbled beneath her breath. Karl paid her exactly zero attention. Adette laid the snips aside and rose to her feet. She peeled the gardening gloves from her fingers as she turned to face Lana. Lana was leaning against the front gate. Her face was an interesting mix of jealousy and annoyance.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I didn’t realize there was anything to talk about. I just saw you earlier today,” Adette answered truthfully. Lana flung the front gate open. The sound of the wood slamming shut made Adette wince.
“Nothing to talk about! Adette, he’s the town’s most eligible bachelor. He hardly pays half the girls in town any attention, but you, he talked to. Someone said he even kissed your hand!” Lana’s words slowly became an incomprehensible squeal.
“It was a singularly unpleasant experience,” Adette replied. Her lips turned down into a frown just thinking about it. She rubbed at the back of her hand as if it had suddenly become dirty. When she looked up, Lana was staring at her as though snakes and flies had suddenly flown out of her mouth instead of words.
“It’s just because you’re not from here I suppose.” Lana clasped her hands in front of her skirt and shook her head.
“You should be happy I’m not the competition,” Adette said doing her best to pretend she wasn’t a little offended. She gathered her bundles of herbs and her gloves and headed for the porch.
“Come on Adette, I didn’t mean it like that.” Lana scurried around in front of Adette. “I just wanted to know what he said to you. That’s all really.”
“So it has nothing to do with the fact that you like him?” Adette lifted an eyebrow.
“I never said that,” she replied sheepishly. Several times she began to speak but never got the words out.
Adette huffed and pressed her way into her kitchen. The herbs landed on the counter with a muffled plop. Lana trailed behind her. She sank, like a ghost, into one of the kitchen chairs. Adette busied herself with her herbs and ingredients.
“You could help me a little while you work out what it is you mean to say,” Adette said over a bucket of water. Her practiced hands were stripping the herbs of dirt and then setting them off to the side. Lana rose wordlessly and took over her place at the sink.
Adette began to create small bundles out of the clean herbs. The tension slowly ebbed out of the room. One set of fingers formed bundles while another set cleaned. In very little time, they were finished. Adette scooped up the bundles and headed out of the cottage’s back door. Beyond was a small, connected green house. Along the ceiling ran poles and strings.
Adette set the bundles onto one of the tables, and began to tie them one by one onto the strings and rods. Lana did her best to help but soon realized that she wasn’t as adept as Adette.
“I had no idea this room was back here. In fact, before you moved here, I had no idea that this cottage was even out here. What is all of this for anyway? Why do you need so many herbs and things?”
“It’s a sort of hobby I suppose. I’ve always been interested in the healing properties of different plants. They also smell nice which is a plus,” Adette said. She picked up another bundle to keep her facial expression hidden.
“I have to say it was quite the find. I was very surprised to find such a place myself and so cheap. I think even the realtor might have been surprised,” Adette chuckled. She turned and wiped her hands on her apron. There was no doubt that the realtor had been surprised because the house truly hadn’t existed before she came.
“You’ve almost managed to change the subject. I’m not going to be so easily put off though,” said Adette. She led the way back to the kitchen. Once inside, she dropped a tea kettle onto the stove with a clang.
“I don’t see why we need to keep talking about it. Unless–”
Adette whirled around. Lana, who was just following her through the doorway looked away and shoved her hands into her dress pockets.
“No,” Adette said flatly.