“This is happening way too fast,” Molly said, peering through the passenger window at the row of condominiums.
Glen, at the wheel of his Audi, asked, “What do you mean?”
“This. Two days ago, I’m thinking that I might want to move back to Michigan. And now, I’m here, with the keys to a new condo, getting ready to actually do it. This is too sudden for me, and my head is spinning. So I apologize if I’m irritable, but I feel like I’m way out of my personal safe-zone.”
“That’s okay,” he said. “I’ll keep you from getting too off-balance.”
“There it is, 30573,” she said, pointing. “Damn. Do you know that ten years ago, there was nothing out here except the mall? The city of Novi is growing like a rash.”
Glen nodded as he pulled into the driveway. “The developers are having a field day. So what’s the story with the condo? You said Dobie found it?”
“Sort of. Dobie invested in it. Turns out he’d just bought several properties in this area. I guess that’s part of the reason he was hanging around for so long after Christmas. Or maybe that’s just what he does when he gets bored. By the way, I have no intention of letting you live down not showing up for Lexi’s Orphans’ Christmas, you know.”
“We really wanted you there, and you bailed. There was wailing.”
“I know,” he replied, patiently.
“That was my official needling for the week. Look abashed.”
Glen smiled, then put on a Dickensian face. “How’s this?”
“That’s good, it warms my heart.”
“Your heart will need it, with this weather.” He shut the engine off and opened the door to a twenty-degree February day.
Molly paused for a moment, a light wind ruffling her scarf. “I wonder if this is a good idea,” she said to herself.
“Don’t like it?”
“No, it’s beautiful. And the price is right, of course. Do you know I had to stop Dobie from just giving it to me?”
“You turned down a free condominium?”
“Glen, I couldn’t live with myself.”
“It’s not like the guy can’t afford it.”
She shook her head. “That’s no reason to take advantage. I couldn’t have done it.”
He pulled her into a spontaneous, one-armed hug. “You are a woman of integrity. I am impressed.”
She frowned and smiled at the same time, enjoying the contact. “Let’s go inside.”
The interior didn’t make her feel any less apprehensive about the whole thing. It also convinced her to take the deal Dobie had offered. Molly quickly took in the vaulted ceilings, fireplace and plush carpet, and her mind was made up.
“Nice,” Glen said behind her.
Molly took her shoes off and walked farther into the condo, taking it all in. It was smaller, but the place actually felt like a significant step up from her upper-middle house in Boston. “Glen, the kitchen has marble counters, and an island with an auxiliary sink. I think I’ve gone to heaven.”
“It’s nice,” he said again.
“So, are you going to help me move?”
“Of course. When do you want to start?”
She laughed, giving his arm a playful shove. “I was kidding.”
“I wasn’t,” he said, returning the smile. “I can have an army of eager Road Associates at your door with a truck at a moment’s notice.”
“I’m sure you can but I wouldn’t trouble you that way.”
“It’s no trouble. Boston’s not that far.”
“You sould like Lex,” she said, rolling her eyes. “If it’s in the continental U.S., it’s ‘not far.'”
“I draw my line at the Mississippi,” Glen said. “Anyway, the offer stands. I’m sure your friends will be there to help, too.”
Molly nodded. “Dobie also offered to hire professionals for me.”
“He did. I suspect I’ll leave the hard work up to them. But assistance with the inevitable unpacking would be welcome.” Maybe just you and me, she thought, indulging in a sudden daydream of unpacking by candlelight.