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He worked from home, filling his time with gardening and tidying the house. His wife was a full time doctor, and left every morning before the sun was up. He'd make coffee while she was in the shower and finding her scrubs on the floor from the the night before. He's kiss her goodbye on the front step regardless of the weather. On warmer days, he would sit out there and finish his coffee. Almost like clockwork, Miss Jones from across the street would open her curtains, see him and wave hello. She was new to the neighborhood, and had only made friends with him and the women who insisted on walking her dog at noon. He would wave back, finish his coffee, and go inside to read the paper.
Miss Jones had been making it a point to stop by the last few days, either while he was working or passing the time out in the garden. Today, he was weeding the small patch of flowers that swept around from the back of the house. There was a hedge between the flowers and the path leading up to the house. He was humming the tune to a commercial he had heard earlier that day and didn't hear her come up.
"Oh I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you like that," Miss Jones added and laughed.
"Don't worry about it. I was distracted," with a pause and a slight eyebrow raise he attached the words "So, what brings you around today?"
"Just came to say hello. But if you're busy I can come back later..." her voice drifted off and she grabbed her shoulder.
"No no, this is fine. If you want you can help me," he wiped his forehead and blocked the sun out of his eyes.
"Oh. Sure," as she knelt, the place on her shoulder she had grabbed earlier went from white to red as her hands fell to the moist ground to support her. They weeded for several minutes without saying anything of much importance. They discussed flower beds for almost ten minutes.
"Lilies are my favorite flower. Have been since I was a boy."
"Those are my favorite too! I used to ask my mom to buy seeds, but we never had much space for a garden. And she liked Poppies more."
"Poppies are nice."
"I know this is kind of sudden, but it feels right," Miss Jones paused for a moment, took a big breath and pulled out a stuck weed "how would you like to go out to dinner or a movie sometime? I know it's fast, but... I don't know," she looked up from her weeding and waited for a response.
"You can call me Phoebe."
"Phoebe... I'm married." There was a silence and she began to stand up. He got up with her. "Look. I'm sorry if I didn't make it obvious, but I thought you knew. I mean, haven't you ever seen me and my wife?" She was brushing off her knees and hands and not looking at him. She stepped around to the other side of the hedge.
"No. No I haven't. I just assumed... I just assumed cause you're always here by yourself."
"She's a doctor. She leaves pretty early. I'm sorry again if I came off as flirtatious at all. I wasn't meaning to. My wife, I love her so much. Without her-" She cut him off as she turned to walk away.
"Yeah. That's great. She's really lucky then. I'll see you around." He brushed off his hands and went to catch her before she made it too far down the path. He ran in front of her, and stuck out his hand.
"It was nice to see you, neighbor," he waited for her to say something, or at least take his dirty hand.
"See you around, neighbor," she shook his hand, and smiled " oh and by the way, Lilies aren't my favorite flowers. I like violets."