Shadow of a Spout

Shadow of a Spout by Amanda Cooper Read Free Book Online

Book: Shadow of a Spout by Amanda Cooper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Amanda Cooper
together. Laverne was her best friend in the world, after all.
    She just hoped they actually
enjoy the convention, starting the next day. She grunted a little as she bent down to touch her toes one more time.
    “Careful, there, roomie,” Laverne said. “Don’t you bust anything.”
    “I’ve done this every single evening for fifty years. I think I’ll be okay.”
    Someone hammered on the door and Laverne yelled, “Come on in!”
    Thelma shoved open the door, clumped in and slumped into a chair. She looked around the spacious room, nineteenth-century elegance expressed in high ceilings, tall windows, and furnishings that were a compromise between Victorian style and modern utility. For the Stone and Scone Inn, that meant there were wing chairs and dressing tables, as well as a flat-screen TV and decent mattresses.
    “Figures you’d get a better room than me and
that girl
,” she said, referring to SuLinn Miller, her roommate for financial purposes only.
    Poor SuLinn
, Rose thought. “This is thirty dollars a night more than yours, which is the only reason I have it and you don’t. I offered it to you, but you said no.”
    Laverne suppressed a snicker as she continued her moisturizing routine; face, neck, elbows, knees and hands.
    “Some people don’t mind throwing money around like they’ve got a million bucks stashed in their mattress,” Thelma retorted. After a pause she went on with her grumbling. “
That girl
is in the bathroom again! Doesn’t she know that an old lady needs access to the toilet at all times? Can’t she do some of that fussing somewhere else?”
    “Fussing? You mean like she could shower in the hallway? Bathe in the elevator?” Laverne eyed Thelma, eyebrows raised.
    Thelma sniffed. “
try rooming with a thirty-year-old and see how you like it, Laverne Hodge.”
    “Your other choice would have been Josh Sinclair,” Rose said, and exchanged a glance with Laverne while they both tried not to laugh.
    Thelma gave her a squinty, purse-mouthed look.
    “Since you decided to invade our room I feel free to ask,” Rose said, “what in heaven’s name were you talking about so intently with all the other teapot collector groups this afternoon at the tea?”
    The woman shuffled her feet together and examined her nails, frowning in intense concentration. “Nothing much,” she said. “Just, uh . . . you know, collecting teapots and such.”
    Laverne stared at her through narrowed eyes. “It’s funny that when I went down to the desk to get some postcards to send to my nieces and nephews, Jemima Littlefield came up to me and asked if I was nervous, rooming with Rose.”
    “You didn’t tell me that!” Rose exclaimed.
    “Didn’t want to worry you, but since Sally Sunshine is here I’ve thought better of it.”
    Thelma shrugged, the movement shuddering over her from her tightly permed silvery curls to the tips of her sad-looking shoes. As usual, she wore a flowered muumuu, this one a pattern of poppies in an eye-catching red, white and black. Her ankles were swollen, and the sides of her orthopedic shoes were broken down, Thelma being too cheap to buy shoes more than once every three years or so. “She just thought you were a little forceful with that Pettigrew woman, you know, when she told you your pot was fake.”
    “Really? Jemima seemed to be cheering me on when she spoke to me personally, before she joined your little clique.” Rose sat down on the end of her bed and watched her old nemesis carefully. A rumble of thunder added an ominous sound track to her comments.
    “You know how folks are. Strange, all of them.” Thelma licked her lips and tried on a smile. “Anyhoo, isn’t that Bertie Handler an odd duck? Kind of a weirdo, I say.”
    “He’s perfectly nice,” Rose said, a little cross that Thelma was clearly avoiding something. But what? She dreaded to think on it, but she had a feeling she’d find out the next morning when she went down to join the others

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