The Wedding Tree

Free The Wedding Tree by Robin Wells

Book: The Wedding Tree by Robin Wells Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robin Wells
chicken.
“I stand corrected.” I carried the plate of brownies to the table, then filled the teakettle and put it on the stove. I had just gathered up a couple of napkins and dessert plates when the doorbell rang.
    â€œSit tight,” I told Gran. “I’ll get it.”
    A couple who looked to be their early sixties stood on the porch. The man was tall and broad-shouldered, and reminded me of Ronald Reagan. His arm was looped around the waist of a round-faced blonde with lively blue eyes and pale, dewy skin that looked like it had never seen the sun. She held a large covered bowl. “I’m Peggy Armand, and this is my husband, Griff. We live across the street.” She shifted the bowl to her left arm and held out her other hand. “We brought over a salad. Figured you’d need something green to balance out all the casseroles.”
    â€œHow nice!” I introduced myself and shook their hands. The screen door creaked as I opened it wider. “Come on in. Gran’s in the kitchen.”
    Peggy stepped inside. “How is she?”
    â€œBetter, thanks.”
    â€œWe visited her in the hospital, but I don’t think she knew us.”
    â€œShe still has those moments,” I warned them. I didn’t want to say too much, for fear of Gran overhearing.
    â€œWell, that’s perfectly understandable.” Peggy peered into the dining room. “So you’re the artist who painted that beautiful mural.”
    I nodded. Gran had been repainting the interior of her home the summer before my junior year in high school. She’d intended towallpaper the dining room, but she couldn’t find any paper she liked. “I know!” Gran had exclaimed. “You can paint a mural!”
    â€œOf what?” I’d asked.
    â€œWhat about the backyard?”
    So I had. I’d covered the wall with an acrylic painting of the lawn and garden, complete with the shed and a couple of trees that had since blown down in Hurricane Katrina. Using one of Gran’s photos, I’d created an early springtime scene much like the view out the kitchen window now, complete with azaleas and a bed of tulips.
    Working on that mural had been one of my all-time favorite projects. Every time I’d lifted my paintbrush, I’d gone into a state of flow—instinctively mixing colors and riffing on my sketch, losing myself in the joy of creating.
    â€œI’ve always admired that so much,” Peggy said, stepping into the dining room and gazing at it. “Do you still do murals?”
    â€œThat’s the only one I’ve ever attempted.”
    â€œLook at this, Griff.” Peggy edged around a stack of boxes to step closer to the wall. “It’s almost like looking out a window.”
    â€œFine work.” He nodded. “Mighty fine.”
    Peggy touched the trunk of a painted tree. “It’s absolutely exquisite.” She turned and followed me into the kitchen, where she spotted Gran trying to push out of her chair. “No, no, Miss Addie—don’t you dare get up on our account!” Setting the salad on the counter, she hurried over to the table, leaned down, and kissed Gran’s cheek.
    â€œSo nice to see you,” Gran said. I wondered if she had a clue who these people were.
    Griff went over and kissed her cheek, too.
    â€œOh, my, you smell so good,” Gran said. “I love a man who wears shaving lotion!”
    â€œSo does Peggy,” he said. “She keeps me around as air freshener.”
    â€œPeggy.” From the way Gran repeated the name, I could tell she’d just placed the woman. “I take it you’ve met my granddaughter, Hope?”
    â€œWe just met. But I’m afraid Sophie made her acquaintance a few days ago.”
    Gran looked puzzled.
    â€œThe little girl next door,” I explained. “She crawled through Snowball’s doggie door.”
    Gran’s face lit up. “Oh yes! I

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