With March being National Craft Day, I thought it was perfect to share a small scrapbooking moment from Embellished to Death.
The fall guy. I repositioned all the glitter glue and acid free markers following the Roy G. Biv sequence for hues. I needed something to take my mind off of Bob’s words and the fact I couldn’t do anything about it. Or at least right now. Steve was starting to look like the knock to his head was sapping his energy. There was no way I’d run after Morgan when I needed to keep an eye on Steve. And from what Bob and Ted said about the man, Morgan wasn’t a man to trifle with. He meant painful, hurtful business.
Steve winced and adjusted his chair, turning ever so slightly to the left.
The afternoon sun shone through the windows flanking the back wall of the hotel. The natural light showcased our products beautifully and I hoped it resulted in less returns, though I wished it would tone down a little so Steve wasn’t suffering. I scooted up and sat as tall as I could, hoping to block some of the rays from Steve.
“Do you have tennis items?” A cropper sorted through a pile of sports themed paper and embellishments. “You have every other sport.”
“I packed some,” I said. “There might be a box or two that hadn’t been opened it. I’ll check for you.”
Getting down on my hands and knees, I crawled under the table. The first box I shook was empty. The next had a little heft to it. I tugged it toward me and opened the flaps. Trimmers. Scissors. Piercing tools. I reached up and fumbled my hand around the table.
“Need something?” Steve asked.
“Duct tape.” I wanted to seal the box of possible weapons.
“Here you go.” Steve handed me a roll.
After taping the box, I returned to my original mission. I jiggled the last box. There was something in it. I drew it out and peered inside. Paper and stickers. I hoped the tennis items were in here. The other options were I left them at the store back in Eden, or the trailer. My stomach tightened. I wasn’t looking forward to going outside. I couldn’t send Darlene or Steve. The black sedan might still be there, and I didn’t want either of them running into the owner of the hidden car.
I opened the box. I flipped through the sheets. “Found them.”
“Thanks.” The woman picked out one of each item and headed for the register.
A sealed package of Christmas pattern paper was next and under it Halloween items. This was our discounted product. How did the tennis items get mixed up in here? I lifted the box from the floor.
“Let me get that.” Steve jumped up.
“I got it.” My arms strained. Next year, I’d pass on ordering the Christmas lines for the store. None of my choices sold very well. “Can you clear a space for me? These are clearance items. I’ll just mark the box fifty percent off.”
“We should put it by the register. If you have Bob checking people out, he’s not going to know clearance from regular merchandise.”
Bob had taken up residence in a chair that was on the perimeter but not in the store. Bob rotated his attention between his cell phone, the doors, and Garrison.
“He’s here for the ambience.” I rummaged underneath the table for pieces of cardboard. I wanted to use them as dividers to separate the pattern paper.
A customer handed her selections to Steve.
I removed some of the paper. A butter yellow scrapbook album was at the bottom of the box–Gussie’s gift album. I rescued it from the bottom of the box. One of our mysteries was solved. Grinning, I scooped it out and sat down.
The first page was a heart-shaped collage of photographs, an at a glance depiction of my grandmothers’ lives. Hope and Cheryl aged from innocent teens, to young mothers, grandmothers, all the way to the present where they were strong, independent business owners.
I turned to the next page. Someone had taken a photo of my grandmothers behind the counter at Scrap This. They smiled brightly, arms draped around each other. I saw love, strength, and honesty in their expressions and body language.
My grandmothers had not only lost their soul mates, but their only children. The world had dealt them many harsh blows in their lifetime, and yet they lived fully and without reservations. They hadn’t turned those pains into a reason to create a shield between themselves and others, instead using their experiences to help others through the same heartbreaks.
“I wish I could be like them.” I touched the edge of the photograph, wanting to draw the best of them into me.
“You are.” Steve wrapped his arms around me, placing a tender kiss on my head.
“No, I’m not.”
“If you believe that, then you know what to do to change it.”
Steve was right. I stood, pressing the book to my pounding heart. I yearned to fess up, but now wasn’t the time or place. There were too many distractions and people around. Steve, the man I loved, deserved to be told without an audience.