AN EASTER STORY
Part Two by Lisa Mondello
This one was going to be tough. Of course, Jeff couldn't really blame Sammie for being a bit miffed at the world right now. Losing her husband and having to pick up her life and move back home had to be rough. Yeah, Dan had done well for himself and Jeff was sure he'd provided well for his family when they lived in the city. But Dan Clark Sr. had let it slip about how Sammie was left with a mountain of debt to settle from his son's business dealings before Sammie and Greta moved back home to Sunrise. Although it had all the makings of something wonderful, this cottage she'd just purchased was a far cry from the kind of high-class home she was accustom to living in before Dan had been killed.
Jeff followed Sammie as she walked toward the front porch.
"I don't know where you want to start," she said. "They call it a cottage, but it's a big house and there's a lot of work that needs to be done. By the way, what exactly do you do?"
"What do you mean?"
She turned back to him, her chestnut brown hair swinging over her shoulders with her movement. She had wide brown eyes with golden flecks that came to life as she answered. "In the house? Are you just a carpenter? Or do you do more?"
He couldn't help but grin. "I don't clean. That's your job. But I can tackle anything that needs tearing out and rebuilding. Even some minor plumbing. And I can paint or stain anything that needs to be finished. I'm pretty much a Jack-of-all-trades."
She nodded and started walking back to the house. Greta was playing in the grass that has just now started to get its green color back after the harsh winter they'd had. As the little girl ran around, her blond curls bounced up as if on fire from the sun. Her periwinkle blue eyes sparkled as she ran.
"I suppose we can start in the kitchen. It's quite old. We can move on to the bathrooms and then get the rest of the house in order."
Pausing at the screen door, she stared at him as he hung back on the top step of the wide porch.
"Are you listening to me, Jeff?"
Samantha Clark was indeed a pretty girl and Jeff could easily see how Dan Clark had fallen for her. He had been listening to what Sammie had been saying, but he'd also been admiring the woman, too. And he'd gotten caught doing it.
"Are you looking to restore the house or rip out everything and start new? This place has some custom carpentry in the living and dining rooms that you won't find anywhere else. And the woodwork throughout is quite unique. You won't find anything like that around here. It'd be a shame if you toss all that charm and beauty away and put something modern in its place."
Sammie cocked her head to one side. "You do know the house well."
"I told you. I've had my eye on it for some time. Always thought one day I'd get the chance to restore it to its original beauty."
She stared at him a moment before offering up a smile. It had him taking in a deep breath to keep from making a fool of himself. He cleared his throat and glanced at Greta before asking, "Where'd your daughter get her blond hair? She doesn't look at all like you or Dan."
The flash of pain that immediately crossed her face had him regretting his question. But as she glanced at her daughter, whatever he saw was immediately replaced with joy and pride. "I've always wondered myself. Dan and I adopted Greta when she was just a baby."