The Perfectly Imperfect Match (Suttonville Sentinels)(3)

By: Kendra C. Highley


The tiny girl nodded toward her friend. “How about something for her?”

The cheerleader girl shot her friend an affectionate, if annoyed, glance. “Speaking of tutus, how much is the pink one, with the ballet shoes on it.”

“Eighty.”

“My little sis will love it.” She forked over a credit card, too. Lucy grinned. Mom would freak when she heard that Lucy had sold two pieces before noon. She did a steady trade, especially through an online specialty shop, but selling two big pieces at the store was unheard of. She charged the girls’ cards, then wrapped their buys. “You two come back sometime.”

“You have talent,” the cheerleader said in admiration. “I’ve never seen embroidery like this before. Where did you learn to do it?”

“My grandma was big into needlepoint. She taught me when I was little, mostly to keep me busy and out of trouble. I added my own spin later.” Lucy shrugged, hiding the pride fluttering in her chest. “It’s a fun hobby.”

The tiny girl shook her head. “Not hobby. Art.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that.” Lucy waved as they left the shop, then danced around behind the counter for a full minute. It had taken a year to convince her mom to show some of her pieces in the store. “It’s for older ladies who like to quilt, hon. Your work is…a little too avant-garde for my regulars.” Now, though, people who never would’ve come by stopped in to look at the crazy needlepoint designs. Most of them even bought something.

Lucy went to the workroom in the back of the shop and settled into her chair. The bright lamp she used when doing detail work shown hot onto the satin jacket as she picked up her needle and continued to stitch the “d” in “Good Night”. The diamond patterns had turned out great, and if she could finish the lettering by today, she could move onto the clockwork storks on the baby blanket commission she’d received yesterday, along with the other three projects still waiting.

This was going to be a busy summer.

The bell above the front door dinged, and her mom’s voice floated back to the workroom. “I know it starts Monday. I didn’t forget. It’s just that I have that quilting seminar starting. Let’s ask Lucy. I’m sure she can drive you.”

“But she always gets lost!” Otis protested. “Always. She got lost taking me home from school, and she went there!”

“Hey!” Lucy called. “I haven’t been at Bluebonnet for six years. Cut me some slack.”

Her nine-year-old brother stepped into the doorway, scowling. “It’s two blocks from home.”

“I missed one turn, doofus.” Lucy laughed. “But what are y’all talking about?”

Mom stopped by Lucy’s worktable, nodding appreciatively at the jacket. “That’s turning out nice. Not sure why a grown woman wants a cartoon baseball bat on a two-hundred-dollar jacket, but you’ve done well with it.”

Lucy flushed. Mom’s praise was a rare thing—it had to be earned. “Thanks. But where am I taking Otis?”

“Oh! He starts that half-day baseball camp at the high school on Monday. I have a new quilting class at the exact same time for the next two weeks, so I need you to drive him.”

Otis let his forehead fall against the wall. “We’ll get loosssst.”

Lucy rolled her eyes. “I know where Suttonville High is. I’ve gone there for three years, remember? We won’t get lost.”

“Of course you won’t,” Mom said, trying not to laugh. “And Lucy has GPS on her phone if you’re that worried.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Otis sounded so despondent that Lucy laughed.

“You are one dramatic nine-year-old.” She went back to stitching the jacket. She could totally drive to school, and the athletic fields had to be behind the main campus somewhere. “It’ll be fine. I promise.”

“Okay.” He clomped by on his way to the tiny room Mom had set up as a playroom when Lucy was little and she’d had to bring her to work. When Otis inherited it, he’d taken out the dolls and installed a PlayStation. “We have to be there at eight-thirty to register, and the camp starts at nine. The Sentinels won state, and their best pitcher will be my coach, so we can’t be late.”

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