Between You and Me
Finn removed the large gift box he’d hidden in Emanuela’s closet and set it on the bed in front of her. He sat at its edge, his obvious anticipation of her opening it almost as great as hers. “Happy Christmas Eve, Emmi.”
She smiled and, at his nod, lifted the lid. “Whoa.”
She reached in, carefully lifting the model house from the box. It was alabaster in color, and the detailing was incredible. She recognized the floor-to-ceiling windows at the south end and gasped, turning it to admire the familiar wrap-around deck. There were grooves indicating the planks of wood the deck was made from, and exterior lighting just like the ones on the house Finn rented in Penn Cove. She fingered the tiny fibers that made up the rigid parts of the house.
Her eyes narrowed. “You printed this?”
He nodded again. She giggled at his body language. He was as still as a log, his ears perky, eyes bright–If he’d had a tail, it would have wagged.
“Take the roof off. Have a look inside.”
She lifted the ends of the roof and it came completely off. Inside was a perfect replica of the interior, each room complete with removable furnishings and detail equally as stunning as the outside—like the natural granite of the free-standing fireplace in the living space and the logged walls of the bedrooms. Perfect—except there seemed to be extra space.
She frowned. “I don’t remember that being there.”
He grinned, crinkles appearing at the corners of his eyes. “That’s because it isn’t there yet. Turn it again, but this time go slow.”
Her head jerked to the side, but she did as instructed, turning the model until the front of the house faced her again. There, just out front, was a tiny signpost that read “Sold.”
She yelped. “Oh my God! When? I thought he wasn’t selling?” Her voice grew higher and squeakier with each question.
He shrugged. “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
“Finn!” She smacked him impatiently.
He laughed, lifting his shoulder against her assault. “My offer was more than fair—well above market value. I could tell he wanted to keep it, but after I told him it held sentimental value for me—and that he could buy a house almost anywhere with what I was offering—I convinced him to sell.”
She could have cried. She loved that house, but was resigned to living somewhere else, convincing herself that anywhere with Finn would be home. Maybe it was selfish, but she’d been heartbroken at the prospect of someone else living there, getting to watch the sunrise--their sunrise—every morning.
She pointed to the extra space again, her voice barely above a whisper. “And this?”
“A bigger office, a den, a pool—whatever you want, Emmi.”
She slid the model to the side, enough to clear the space between them, and beckoned him to her with her finger. “I’m so happy,” she whispered against his lips.
“That’s all I want.”