Often

Amy Sheridan was an avid collector of kitsch items for her shop, Little Treasures. Certainly, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea (no pun intended) but she’d found a market and her business had steadily grown until it had become self-sustaining. As a sideline, she offered freshly brewed coffee with homemade scones appealing to the early morning crowd off to work.

Amy first noticed the slender dark-haired man with a navy baseball cap dressed in jeans and tee, because he’d walked past her shop window several times. Finally, he’d walked back to her door and entered. He certainly didn’t seem the type to hold an interest in her wares and she waited a moment before rising from behind her desk to walk toward the counter where he now stood.

She smiled, taking in his rich brown eyes, dark hair and handsome face, “Hi. You seem lost.”

He laughed. “You’d think, right?” His rich baritone voice reverberated gently.

“What can I help you with?”

“First let me say, I don’t have the first clue about this kind of thing,” he waved his arm expansively to include the items in her shop, “but my mother has a birthday coming up, and she digs it.”

Grinning from ear to ear Amy remarked, “And being the good son you are, you braved the elements, walked ten miles and showed up at my little shop, hoping to obtain something she’d enjoy.”

He laughed outright at her witticism, “Yeah, something like that.”

“Does your mother have a particular interest like salt and pepper shakers, or does she have a menagerie of items?” she couldn’t suppress the giggle that followed noting the look of near horror on his face.

“She has the menagerie of dust collectors, thankfully, they’re safely ensconced in curio cabinets so we’re not tripping all over them and walking on proverbial eggshells.”

“I take it you braved the lion’s den because she has a special occasion coming up?”

“Yeah, it’s her birthday. Since I couldn’t think of anything else she might want or need, I opted for the obvious.”

“So, have you examined her collection so as not to duplicate?”

“God, yes, it took me hours because I was trying to secret the information without her knowledge and with my mother, that’s nearly impossible.”

“Well, as you can see, I have a wide variety and I can offer you coffee and a scone while you sit and ponder the unlimited possibilities.”

“Sounds good.” He took a seat in front of the counter and watched the lovely woman pour his coffee and arrange a scone on a pretty little plate. She had a quiet beauty that didn’t strike you at first, hers was subtle, delicate, warm. Gamine eyes, blond hair, slender figure about five five, she seemed secure in herself, and she gave off a welcoming warmth that had him hooked.

Turning, she placed the coffee in front of him and indicated cream and sugar. Taking a sip he remarked, “Damn, that’s great coffee. The scones looked delectable,” and after taking his first bite remarked, “and are as delicious as promised. Where do you order them from?”

“I don’t, I make them, every day.” Surprise showed in his eyes. Did women bake anymore? The ones he knew didn’t, in fact, they probably hadn’t touched a stove – ever – and he often wondered if baking was a dying art.

He sipped his coffee again and asked, “What got you into the business? It seems – well – unique to say the least.”

Pulling a chair up to the counter to sit across from him, she replied, “I’m not sure. My grandmother had a few items, and every time we went to visit, I would sit and stare at them. Of course I didn’t know there was any real value in them, so I constantly played with several. Now I cringe because they are quite valuable and yet she didn’t mind, never said a word. Just wanted us to enjoy them.”

“Your grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman.”

“She was, and I miss her every day.” He noticed the nostalgia in her glance took in the entire room and its contents, settling lovingly on certain items.

Coffee finished, he stood and asked, “Well, it seems I’m in the right location, with an expert on hand, so what would you recommend?”

Amy directed him to a set set of cow salt and pepper shakers, a vintage Betty Poop and a Pillsbury Dough Boy. “If she hasn’t collected any of these, they could be a good start.

He shook his head and laughed, “Your right, she’d enjoy all three, particularly Betty Boop and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I’ll take both.”

“Would you like them gift wrapped?”

“I certainly would, that would be perfect, thank you.”

“Your welcome to another coffee while I get the deed done.” She laughed at his relief.

He watched as she deftly wrapped each item. When she’d finished, he rose and asked, “How much do I owe you?”

She named a sum, took his cash and placed the items in a cute paper bag with her logo on the front. Shaking it up and down he commented, “Nice.”

You know my name…” he left the sentence hanging.

“Amy Sheridan.”

“Well, Amy Sheridan, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance and your shops a little piece of heaven for collectors.”

“Thank you, I enjoy it myself.”

“How about dinner tomorrow night?” he asked with a welcome smile upon his face.

“Actually, that sounds wonderful. I know a place,” she offered.

He laughed outright, “I’ll bet you do. Since I’m new to the area, I’ll take you up on your suggestion.” Secretly hoping she’d be more comfortable that way. “Where do you suggest?”

“Frank’s Bar and Grill does a to-die-for steak and it’s centrally located for easy access.”

“Would you rather meet there?”

“Yes, if I’m running late, which happens occasionally, I can still get there without holding you up.”

He wrote down his cell phone information and said, “I’m looking forward to it.” In return, she handed him her business card upon which she’d written her private cell number.

“I am to.”

When he left, she admitted she was a little nervous. She wasn’t given to dating complete strangers, and she’d selected Frank’s because they knew her well, and would look out for her if there were a problem. They’d been close all through school and she considered Frank and Justine, best friends. She’d give them a call later and give them heads up so they could be prepared. Placing his number in her pocket, she smiled, yes this could be good.

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