The House on Tradd Street

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Book: The House on Tradd Street by Karen White Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen White
the suitcase and was in the process of sitting on it while trying to latch it closed when the doorbell of my condo rang. I wouldn’t have heard it except for the fact that the tracks on my CD were in the middle of changing from “Waterloo” to “SOS,” so there was a lull in the music.
    I peered through the eyehole in the door and stepped back quickly, hoping Jack hadn’t seen me.
    “I heard you, Mellie. You’re going to have to let me in now.”
    “You’re too late,” I said. “And stop calling me Mellie. My name is Melanie.”
    “I’m not late. You said to come over this evening to help you move some of your stuff over to the house. So here I am.”
    “Well, you’re too late. It’s my bedtime and I’m already in my pajamas. Evening to most people means before nine o’clock. It’s officially night now and no longer evening.”
    “But it’s only nine o’clock now.”
    “That’s right. And that’s almost my bedtime.”
    I heard a slight thunk on the other side of the door, and I pictured him hitting his forehead against the doorframe. “I did some research today that I think you’d be interested in hearing about.”
    I paused, considering.
    “We can go get dessert somewhere, and I can tell you all about it.”
    “Dessert?” I pretended to weigh my options for a moment. “Oh, all right.” I quickly scrubbed off my moisturizing mask with the sleeve of my pink terry cloth bathrobe and opened the door. “And on the way back, we can drop off my suitcases.”
    Jack took in my robe and fluffy bedroom slippers with a mock look of horror. “You didn’t need to dress up just for me, you know.”
    “It’s my bedtime, remember?”
    He raised his eyebrows. “Oh. Well, in that case, we could just stay in.”
    I put my hand on my hip. “Can’t you have a conversation with a woman that doesn’t contain sexual overtones or innuendos? It’s comments like that which will prevent you from ever having a serious relationship with a woman, you know.”
    His smile remained on his face but the light in his eyes dimmed for a moment. “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, thank you very much. Have no interest in a repeat performance.”
    So that’s how it is, I thought to myself. Damaged goods . As if I needed yet another reason to stay far away from Jack Trenholm.
    He looked toward one of the Bose speakers I had mounted in the corner of the living room and narrowed his eyes. “What’s that noise?”
    “It’s ABBA.”
    “ABBA?”
    “Sold more albums than the Beatles. But maybe you haven’t heard of them, either.”
    Jack scratched his chin. “I’m familiar with both. It’s just that I don’t think I’ve heard an ABBA song since I was sitting in the backseat of my mother’s car while she listened to her eight-tracks.”
    I walked over to the stereo and flipped it off. “No need wasting good music on unappreciative ears, then.” I headed toward my bedroom. “Let me go change. I’ll just be a minute.”
    “Don’t change too much,” he called after me. “I kinda like you the way you are.”
    I didn’t turn around until I’d reached my room so he couldn’t see me smile.
    When I returned he’d made himself comfortable on my black leather sofa and had his feet up on the glass coffee table while he thumbed through a recent issue of Psychology Today . I dropped my suitcases, then slapped my hand against his shoes. “Off.”
    “Yes, ma’am,” he said, sliding his feet to the floor before standing up. He held up the magazine. “Pretty heavy stuff.”
    I took the magazine from him and placed it back on the coffee table, aligning its edges with the other three already there. “Sophie bought me a subscription for some reason. I just use them for coffee table decoration.”
    He shoved his hands into the front pockets of his jeans and looked up at the ceiling as if he were trying to recall something. “Oh, that’s right. What did she say about you yesterday? Something like ‘your

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