The men’s footsteps thudded on the hardwood floor along with the tap of the cane. “Melody, do you want us to meet in the kitchen?” She recognized the lawyer’s voice and glanced at the kitchen table. There were some breakfast dishes along with a discarded newspaper. The dishes ended up in the sink and she tucked the paper under the counter. Running a dishrag over the table, she replied. “Sure, kitchen is good. I’ll make some coffee.”
Oliver Douglas entered with a smile and pulled out a chair. “Coffee would be appreciated. My wife calls it the devil’s brew since she started a caffeine free health kick. I try not to drink it in front of her. Removing temptation and all of that.”
Melody turned back to the counter to rinse out the coffee pot before she started a fresh batch. It also allowed her not to watch Levi prepare himself to sit. It would wound any man’s pride, having to struggle with a leg that wouldn’t cooperate, but in a man so young it must be worse. The tightness of his shoulders and his general demeanor let her know his injury was a permanent one. His face was more like a fallow field were hope would never grow even it was planted.
The aroma caused her to breathe deeply. The smell of coffee was so evocative. It reminded her of wrapping her cold hands around a warm cup countless mornings. For a second, it made her forget the wounded warrior at her table. She didn’t see any real choice. To fight him for the house would be well unpatriotic. Besides, he already had a lawyer. Was it Mr. Douglas?
The silver haired lawyer hummed under his breath as he arranged papers on the table. At least someone was happy. He could be contemplating the coffee or getting the business done with and returning back home. At least he had a home. Stop that. It isn’t anything you haven’t been through before.
It would be hard to imagine the gentlemanly lawyer penning such a stern missive. Besides, she didn’t recognize the name on the letter, only the attorney at law underneath. Grabbing a dented tray that proclaimed the wonders of the Grand Canyon, she arranged cups and spoons on it. Never thought she’d use for this when she picked it up at the thrift shop.
“Uhm, I don’t have any sugar, but I do have artificial sweetener.” She put a couple packets of the substitute on the tray.
The lawyer stopped rustling the papers and smiled up at her. “Perfect. I need to lose a few pounds anyhow.”
Her eyes moved over to Levi.
“I like mine black.” The words came out abrupt, rather like the man.
Just as well, she thought, since she didn’t own any creamer. She bobbed her head in acknowledgment, but it didn’t matter because he wasn’t looking at her. Well, be that way. I’ll show you who the better man is. Make that woman.