Among the Tulips

Free Among the Tulips by Cheryl Wolverton

Book: Among the Tulips by Cheryl Wolverton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cheryl Wolverton
going to be a problem.”
    She wasn’t aware of how animated she was as she moved her spoon in circles explaining about the brushes.
    â€œIt will come with practice.” Lot’s of practice, he thought. She’d kept getting carried away and making funny uncontrolled strokes when he’d been trying to teach her control today.
    He wondered if she was always so animated. The way she’d talked earlier had led him to believe that she wasn’t. He didn’t think she had ever had a chance to cut loose and have fun. He got the feeling she had lived a very sheltered life with no time for herself—until now.
    He loved watching her come to life. Yesterdayand this morning before the painting, she’d been a bit reserved, but now, she was much more open.
    â€œSo you said you’d never painted before, but did you have any art lessons?” he asked, trying to draw out more information.
    She shook her head. “I’ve tried my hand at drawing and writing poetry, but with the kids, I never had time for lessons.”
    â€œIt sounds as if they took up a lot of your time.”
    â€œI never had a moment for myself,” she said, oblivious to how that sounded. “As they got older I was always running them everywhere. I still do my son’s laundry. He’s thirty-three-plus and drops by once a week. I do laundry, and he and I sit and talk.”
    â€œAbout what?” he queried, frowning slightly. Thirty-three and he still brought his laundry to his stepmom to do? The man should be taken out and told the basics of life. He himself had done his own laundry from about twelve onward.
    â€œUsually his work. He’ll tell me what’s going on in his work and what he’s hoping to accomplish. He has his Ph.D. and works at a local chemical plant where he designs analysis for quality control purposes.”
    â€œWhat did he say when you told him you were coming to Holland?” he queried mildly as the maid brought in their salads.
    â€œWell, he wasn’t happy,” she replied and took a sip of her water.
    He lifted his glass to his lips and sipped, watching as Annie’s features changed slightly from animated back to the reserved, tired-looking woman of this morning. “He didn’t think it was very responsible of me to take off so soon after his dad’s death.”
    â€œIt’s been four years,” Victor said and then regretted it. He didn’t want to put her on the defensive.
    â€œI told you that too, huh?” She looked as if she was trying to remember what she’d told him and then shrugged. “My son was certain I’d come over here and go crazy and blow all of the money Harry left to me. It wasn’t much by today’s standard, but if I’m frugal, I can make it last the rest of my life.”
    Frugal.
    In other words, Harry hadn’t left her a lot of money and the kids were worried she was going to blow it all, leaving them nothing. He was beginning to see a picture painted of Annie’s life that he didn’t like.
    He reminded himself he wanted to enjoy her company, but how could one simply enjoy a person’s company if one didn’t expand one’s knowledge about that person? She was so open and innocent, sharing what many people certainlywouldn’t share with someone they barely knew. But that was just Annie.
    â€œSusan, my daughter, is a nurse and she thought it was simply wrong of me to leave. I have a house and a cat, what more did I need?”
    A life, Victor wanted to say, but he refrained.
    â€œMy friends thought I had mourned long enough and said ‘go for it.’ They thought it’d be nice for me to get away.”
    â€œAnd they were right,” he said, thinking he should send her friends thank you gifts for allowing Annie a break. “You’ve already had some Dutch lessons and now painting lessons.”
    The maid brought in small Cornish hens that had been cooked

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