At this time of year much of their work was basic garden maintenance. They did everything from pest control to pruning, tree planting to staking.
Roxy chatted as she worked, as she always did. The subject matter varied. The weather, the state of the world, bands she’d listened to, books she’d read and Mia. Always Mia.
James was doing repairs on an irrigation system that refused to behave. He couldn’t find the problem. Probably because Roxy was standing so close to him his brain had fused.
So far neither of them had mentioned what had happened the day before, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about it.
The thought of her struggling made his insides ache. He knew how much it mattered to her to be independent. And he understood her reasons. She was so damn stubborn. So fierce. So strong and yet so vulnerable.
“Matt’s asked me to put together a design for that roof terrace in Midtown that we’re starting in the spring.” She thrust her hands into the pockets of her coat. “Just some ideas.”
He found the leaking valve. “Sounds good.” He approved of the way Matt had handled Roxy, giving her more and more responsibility as her confidence grew.
“You could take a look.” She pulled several sheets of crumpled paper out of her pocket. “Tell me what you think.”
“I’m trying to find out what’s wrong with this damn pipe.”
“I can tell you what’s wrong with that. It’s busted.” She grinned and James wiped his hands and straightened.
“Thanks. I was having trouble figuring that out.”
“What would you do without me?”
“I’d probably have a peaceful life.”
“Well any time you need help, I’m your woman.”
If she was his woman, he might not have such trouble sleeping at night. He glanced at her drawings rather than her mouth. “The planting isn’t my expertise. I’m the hard landscaping guy.”
“You’re also the gutter guy, the blocked pipe guy and the leaking sprinkler guy.”
“What can I say? I get all the glamorous work.”
“True, but you’ve worked on enough of these roof terraces.” She slapped the papers down on the low wall. “The site is overlooked, so we need to create privacy without blocking the view because hey, if you can see the Empire State Building from your lounger, you’re going to want to look at it, right? I thought bamboo, living walls, evergreen—and here’s the seating area. They can have their friends over, parties, yada yada—whatever it is rich New Yorkers do. Are you impressed yet?”
He was, but their usual interaction was banter so he stayed with that. “How about flowers?”
“I’m getting to that!” She stabbed her finger on the drawing. “For early spring color we could use Galanthus nivalis and Narcissus bulbocodium.”
“What’s that in English?”
She studied his face “You don’t know?”
“If I knew, would I be asking?”
“But you know everything.”
“Apparently not.” He wiped his forehead with his palm. “You going to answer me?”
“You really don’t know? Snowdrops and petticoat daffodils.” She nudged him. “Never thought I’d know something you didn’t. Are you impressed yet?”
“I’m getting there.”
“It’s taking you a while. Are you always this slow?”
His gaze dropped to her mouth. “Some things are worth taking slow.”
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