Under Currents by Roberts Nora

Under Currents by Roberts Nora

Author:Roberts, Nora
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 2019-07-08T16:00:00+00:00


PART THREE

FROM ROOTS TO BLOOMING

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the flowers,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

—HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

The earth remains jagged and broken

only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.

—WALT WHITMAN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

The following evening, though she discouraged it, Zane came to her place to partner up in the battle of the wallpaper.

“You have no idea what you’re getting into.”

“You think I can’t handle it. I have my own scraper.” He held it up.

“Oh, it’s all shiny and new. Not for long. All right, come on up. I’ll show you the battlefield. And I’m letting you know right now, if you decide to back out at any time, I won’t hold it against you.”

“Obviously you doubt not only my skills, my endurance, but my … Holy shit.” He gaped at her bedroom walls. “What is it?”

“It is the beast. It’s what slouched toward Bethlehem to be born.”

“It’s…” Cautiously, he ran a hand down it, felt the weird texture. “It’s somewhere between abandoned bordello and fresh hell. How do you sleep in here?”

“With my eyes closed.”

“Even then. Maybe we need reinforcements. Or napalm.”

“I figured we’d start with the bathroom. It’s smaller.”

He followed her across the hall, stared at the fish. “It’s sort of oddly amusing.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you’re in the shower and they’re all staring at you.”

“Bad, but not as bad. No, we go for the gold—and red and black. We take on the beast. Show me what to do.”

Thirty minutes in, Zane looked at his partially stripped wall—and the screaming blue paint uncovered. He glanced over to check Darby’s progress. Slightly better than his, but she’d had practice.

“Reinforcements,” he announced. “I’ll draft Micah.”

“Zane, I can’t ask him to—”

“You’re not. I am. You got beer, wine, snacks?”

“Yes.”

He pulled out his phone, so Darby swallowed objections. Especially when she looked at the walls, the room, and estimated hours before they’d eradicate her bedroom nightmare.

“He’s in. Cassie’s coming, too. She’s actually done this before.” He pocketed the phone. “She still has the tools.”

She liked Cassie, who taught yoga, made pottery, and added a kind of bouncy, New Agey touch to Micah’s laid-back geek.

“That’s beyond nice of them. I’m just a little worried.”

“What? They know you bought the house this way.”

“Not that. It’s … What if, in these close quarters, Micah’s distracted by my hotness and hurts himself?”

“Funny.” Zane grabbed her, pulled her in.



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