The only game I know is pinochle – #fridayfiction

[mybooktable book=”the-loft”]

The only game I know is pinochle – #fridayfiction

“I doubt that,” she laughs. “The only game I know is pinochle and maybe a smidgen of bridge.”
“But you’re a natural,” Sam says. “I can tell.”

Before he has finished showing his album, Pauline arrives. She’s got pictures of pets—dogs, cats and even a small monkey. She shoves the photo of a sad eyed beagle in front of Ophelia and says, “This is Buster, he belongs to Tess Abrams, you’re going to love Tess, she’s a barrel of laughs.”

“But I haven’t actually decided—”

“And this is Mildred’s poodle. Smartest dog I’ve ever seen. Mildred tells her to go get the bunny and Poopsie digs through her toy basket until she finds that stuffed rabbit.”

One by one Pauline goes through the photos describing both the pet and the owner. When she has exhausted her supply of photos, she apologizes for not having a shot of Calvin’s aquarium but adds that it’s a beauty.

After Pauline, Mildred comes with pictures of both her apartment and Poopsie. Several others follow her. By the time Annie and Oliver arrive, Ophelia has seen photos of everything; including the empty one-bedroom with a terrace that overlooks the gardens. She has all but made up her mind yet she says nothing. It is too early. There are arrangements to be made. Legalities to be addressed.

Oliver kisses Ophelia on the cheek and hands her a second box of chocolates. “You’re looking well,” he says.

This is a truthful statement. Ophelia does look good. She is rested and happy. For the first time in more years than she can remember she has made a decision without consulting the stars.

As they move into an easy conversation, Ophelia notices how Oliver tugs Annie close to his side and how she in turn blushes at his touch. They are happy, quite possibly as happy as she was with Edward.

Watching them together, a thought comes to her. “You two should move into the loft,” she says. “The doctor said no stairs, so I won’t be using it.”

Annie shakes her head. “We couldn’t,” she replies. “Edward built that room for you. It’s a place where—”

Ophelia stops her. “Edward’s gone,” she says. “But he intended the room to be a place for lovers. I think he’d be pleased to know I’ve passed it on to someone I love.”

Annie notices something different. It’s a strange new level of acceptance in Ophelia’s voice. This is the first time she’s spoken of Edward as if he is actually gone, as in dead.

She lifts Ophelia’s hand into hers. A worried expression is knitting her brows together. “Are you okay?” she asks. “The doctor hasn’t said something we should know about, has he?”

“I’m fine,” Ophelia laughs. “Better than ever. Being here has actually been good for me.”

“Well don’t get too comfortable,” Oliver warns. “In less than two weeks, you’ll be coming home.”

About the author

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures." Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down." "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write." It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

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