Sweet Thyme Baby – 14

 

Copyright © 2012 by Drusilla Campbell. All Rights Reserved.

14

(Start at the Beginning of Sweet Thyme Baby)

(Click here to read Section 13 first)

 

“Slow down, Lady. Give a guy a break, will you?”

 

“I’ve got a day’s work to do, Mr. Green. I’ve already wasted too much time.”

 

“Hold it right there.” He put his hand up like a stop sign. “Let’s get one thing straight. I’m from Texas and only my enemies call me Mister.” He pointed to his chest. “Sam. One friendly syllable, easy to say. Sam. Think you can manage that?”

 

Dee imagined that the good old boy routine had served Sam Green well. The drawl. The ingratiating grin. Big, dumb, friendly and innocent. Only not dumb and no one was innocent.

 

“The garden isn’t a pie waiting to be sliced up.”

 

“You’re the one who’s talking about cutting it up. I like the way it is right now. It’s a fucking miracle.” He grinned. “Sorry. I cuss when I’m enthusiastic.”

 

She wished he would disappear.

 

“And by the way, when I told you to call me Sam that was your cue to say I should call you Dee.”

 

What was wrong with this guy that made him persist?

 

“What’s Dee short for? Deanna?”

 

“Delight.”  She wanted to take her name back but what could she say that wouldn’t call attention to it?

 

“I like that. Delight Larue. It’s got a ring to it.”

 

“Take your choice. Call me Dee or Miss Larue or nothing at all.”

 

He let out his breath all at once.

 

They walked along the bluffs, skirting the spring house ruins overgrown with blue morning glory vine. She must ask Pinkus and George to clear it out before the herbs were smothered. In silence they passed the little cemetery.  They were almost to the house when Sam spoke again.

 

“I’d like to come back, take photos. Spend a day here.”

 

“I have some land, I operate a nursery that was left to me by some people I cared about. It was entrusted to me. I don’t want –.”

 

“Just listen up a minute. This garden is a unique ecosystem – it’s many ecosystems. It’s unlike any other place in Southern California and, I’m pretty sure, in the whole country. Maybe the world.”

 

His voice told her he was irritated and that was good, better than the unflappable cowboy good humor.

 

“What you’ve got here is a one-of-a-kind biological community made up of anomalous microclimates.”

 

“You said you weren’t a biologist.”

 

“And I’m not. But I know enough to say this place should be studied. All I’m asking is for you to let me look around.”

 

Dee’s back hurt from walking and standing lodge-pole rigid. As soon as this man left, she’d go upstairs, take aspirin and lie down for an hour. George and Pinkus could handle the nursery traffic and the seedlings could wait until tomorrow.

 

“I’d stay out of your way, Delight.”

 

“My name is Dee.”

 

He raised his hands. “I give up.”

 

Finally.

 

Dislike me. Despise me. Just go away.

 

She walked to the porch stairs.

 

“But what I said about the garden still goes. How ‘bout a couple of days from now?”

 

“The nursery’s always busy on –.”

 

“What is it with you?”

 

“I’m a busy person.”

 

“No, you’re not.”

 

“Then maybe I’m just not very friendly.”

 

“That,” he said with a small satirical bow, “has been duly noted.”

 

From where she stood on the top stair she looked down on Sam Green and she saw that his sandy hair was thin at the crown. He was just a man and no one for her to be afraid of. She felt foolish, suddenly, and ridiculously paranoid.

 

“Come back in a couple of days.” She added, “In the afternoon. But just you. I’m not opening the garden to anyone else.”

 

He held up three fingers like a Boy Scout.

 

Dee watched him walk away.

 

He must think I’m an idiot. Shit, I am an idiot.

 

He was just a man with a bald spot. A bug scientist with a bald spot. A tall lanky bug scientist from Texas. With a bald spot.

 

She had to laugh.

 

He stopped, turned and pointed a finger at her, grinning. “Now that,” he said, “is a very pretty sound.”

 

Maggie met her at the door.

 

“What was that all about?”

 

“He’s coming back. In a few days.”

 

“I knew it!” Maggie smacked her lips together. “I told Pinkus that man liked you.”

 

“He’s coming to study the garden, not me. I’ve got the mother of all backaches, Maggie. I’m going to take an aspirin and lie down for an hour. Unless a disaster –. What’s the matter?”

 

The Maggie’s soft cheeks sagged.

 

“Come into the kitchen, honey. Something’s happened.”

 

Copyright © 2012 by Drusilla Campbell. All Rights Reserved.

 
Click here to read Part 15 of Sweet Thyme Baby

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