Rhett was happy for the work he got. He hadn’t really expanded his business to construction workers here in Evergreen; most of his business still lay in Indianapolis, but there was no reason he couldn’t lay a few bricks here. Business would come. If you build it and all. So when word made it to him that a woman in one of the suburbs wanted to add on a master bathroom, Rhett had emphatically agreed, and made his way over. Monroe was left in daycare, a place she had emphatically told him over dinner last night was the ”Best place ever!” so there was, fortunately, no guilt associated with leaving his only child in the hands of total strangers. Oh, he’d had them all vetted, and met with them himself, more or less interrogating them with a gruff tone and insistence that his child was everything to him, and they better take good care of her.
Leaving Indianapolis, uprooting Monroe, had been one of the most nerve-wracking decisions he’d ever to make. Monroe had been happy in the city. Extremely so. And this? This was changing everything the girl had ever known, outside of her home in Iowa, and that was plagued with wrought iron skillets and a black and blue Daddy all the time. Not exactly the kind of world that Rhett wanted for his daughter. He had no regrets coming to Evergreen. Really. None. But what he did have was a watchful eye on his child, to make sure that everything was copacetic with her.
Today was just a consultation and an estimate, so he only brought the tools on his tool belt, and met the doorbell with a press of his finger.
When the door opened, Rhett wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But he wasn’t expecting this. Brown hair, doe eyes, and sex on legs. And all in the span of she has no fucking idea how beautiful she is. Unfortunately, Rhett’s type. Professionalism, however, was a trait he honored deeply, so he maintained it with an outstretched hand. ”You must be Devin. I’m Rhett Kennedy, here to check out the master bathroom.” After an invitation inside, he glanced around, taking in the exterior. It was nice. It was also clear that children lived here, as the place was veritably invaded by the tell-tale signs of little hands playing with little toys, little drawings up on the walls. His heart could have melted then.
”I can prob’ly find it on my own, but you wanna point me in the right direction so I don’t wind up seeing something I shouldn’t?” An unfortunate side effect of the job sometimes. He knew about more skeletons in closets than actual clothing. Still, he made his way to the bathroom and started simple: measuring. And Rhett was decidedly all business. He had to be, his attention squarely on the task at hand, so he wasn’t tempted to glance over at Devin’s legs, or her eyes, or imagine running fingers through her hair. No way in hell was he going to fuck himself over like that on the first day. He remained stoic, instead, measuring, taking notes, eyes settled anywhere but on her.
This time there were no tears. There was no months spent on the couch. Devin called his number only to receive a pre-recorded message that the number had been disconnected. She went to where he had been staying and peeked in the window to find an emptily abandoned place. Bits of paper littered here or there, but everything else was gone. For all his words and reassurances, her now ex-husband turned out to be the bad guy he always thought he was. This time she picked herself up and got on with life. Devin Moran wasn’t going to be a victim… not any more. It had been eight months, half of it in a lawyer’s office to figure out the legality of her marital situation, and gaining sole custody of Connor and Caitie. He hadn’t even showed up to the court hearings. A little bit of Devin held hope he would just so she could tell him to go to hell. Part of her felt guilty for the thought but most of her felt justified. Just like that she was on a path of transformation.
The house had been repainted and once spring began she redid the landscaping in the yard (with a little help from her friends). Rooms were redecorated and items that she had been holding onto were finally donated or given away. All that was left was one box marked for Caitie and Connor for when they were old enough to have questions. It was put into a storage unit outside of town that housed the baby things and the old dining room table… really the only good thing Shane had left in his legacy besides their children. Devin had even gotten another job as an English teacher at the school. At least now she wouldn’t have to worry about any budget cuts ending in a pink slip for her. With the increase in her salary and the shop actually making some money, Devin had squirreled a little away to finally do something to the little blue house she had wanted the first time she stepped on one of Connor’s bath time toys... a master bath.
Yes, her queendom, the kitchen was in serious need of updating and expansion. It was next on her list once she had enough money. Right now she had enough to deal with. Two inquisitive toddlers running around was enough to keep one person busy. Don’t even get her started on her romantic life. A few blind dates here, an internet app there (thanks to younger brother Josh), and Devin was ready to put that area of her life on ice.
For now she was going to focus on herself and her kids. Of course life has other ideas by throwing things in the way. This obstacle came in the form of a tall, sandy-blonde, with a low gravelly voice. Rhett was not at all the slightly overweight, balding, middle-aged man Devin imagined would be coming to her home.
When she saw him walk by the big front window she went into a little bit of panic mode trying to straighten up the house a little bit. Haphazardly she threw toys in bins and shoes on the rack by the door as she made her way. Then she slightly chastised herself knowing she shouldn’t care what a perfectly good looking stranger thought of her house. But just in case she made sure there was nothing stuck in her teeth in the mirror.
Opening the door, Rhett Kenned,y of the internet flier she had found on google and numerous review sites, extended his hand and introduced himself. Devin gave a smile and a nod of her head being polite as usually. “Devin Moran… but you probably already guess that. Come in… sorry about the mess,” she motioned to the living room that wasn’t really a mess, only just a bit untidy. Stepping out of his way and closing the door once he made it in, Devin straightened one of the numerous pictures of her kids that was on the small credenza.
“The master is over this way,” she motioned down the hall leading him past the one and only bathroom in the house, and the two other bedrooms that housed the two most important things in her life. Caitie’s bedroom door was open showing off the soft lavender walls and the princess doll house in the corner, along with a mountain of stuffed animals from godfathers and godmothers and other relatives. Connor’s was now gray with blue and yellow accents and glow stars on the ceiling. He had recently decided he wanted to be an astronaut… or a Buzz Lightyear as he called them. Opening the door to her bedroom, Devin felt a little on show having a stranger in the one spot of the house that was solely hers. Any trace that she had been married had completely vanished except for the tan line on her ring finger. But even it was slowly starting to disappear. “The closet here,” she motioned to the wall closet that wasn’t very big, “I thought could be taken out to make the bedroom bigger. Maybe a little sitting area to read.” Hands fumbled in front of her as she talked about the ideas she had wondering if he was going to say they were stupid. Yes, she watched her fair share of HGTV but that didn’t mean she knew anything about actual home renovation “And then I thought maybe just adding on to that back wall the bathroom and a walk-in closet.”