Paisley and Rob love each other, but neither is willing to correct what needs to be fixed in their relationship, so Paisley relocates out of state. When she discovers a secret that may repair Rob’s view of his past, she reaches out.
Rob is still bitter over Paisley’s inability to commit and her habit of running, but he believes she sincerely cares for him, so he investigates her claim to have found his unknown heritage. After the emotional turmoil of meeting a family he knew nothing about, Rob’s love for Paisley convinces him to reconcile their differences. His world is incomplete without Paisley. However, she is reluctant to move forward, and has an opportunity to flee again.
Will Rob help convince Paisley the answer is not to move again, but lies with the Lord, or will Rob lose Paisley forever?
You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.—Isaiah 62:2
“Love stories come…” Dust motes drifted in a shaft of bright autumn sunshine. Paisley jotted a price on a tangerine-hued tag and attached it to the beautiful cover of a Christian romance, then replaced it on the bookshelf. Prior to her e-reader days, she would have bought the book to read for herself.
She blew dust off the top of the next book. Once she caught a quick glance of the front, she tossed the tattered, risqué-covered paperback in the discard pile.
“And love stories go.” She hesitated before grabbing the next book. Had she tossed her love for Rob in the trash without giving it a chance to bloom?
Preparation for a tag sale was a whole new prospect for her. Who would have guessed she’d be in this nice frame house in northeast Nebraska? But she was always up for something new.
The home still smelled stale. Maybe the Waverly family should have made arrangements for it to be cleaned first. But thanks to the open windows, the odor’s vigor waned.
The first thing Paisley had done upon arriving at the empty house in Norfolk was get rid of musty unwashed clothing and bedding. So far, she’d run across no kidney-shaped paisley design in the place. That’s what Rob had called their names: kidney-shaped. She liked to think pear-shaped sounded prettier, as in a ripe fruit with a curlicue at the end. There were a multitude of examples of the beautiful paisley design on fabrics in gorgeous colors. Some shapes appeared slimmer, like happy, fat teardrops.
Robin Paisley and Paisley Robbins.
The idea of their names, and God’s sense of humor, still tickled her.
It was their names that had brought Rob into her life in the first place. Their transposed names often got mixed up in the mail in southern California.
She flipped hair over her shoulder and continued tagging the books on the top row of shelving. She’d first visited Nebraska for a short time as a girl when she met her aunt, Rainbow Reinforth. Paisley looked on the timing as a God-thing when Aunt Rainbow called out of the blue and asked for Paisley’s help.
Aunt Rainbow’s end of the conversation wove through Paisley’s mind. “I can’t back out on my Alaskan cruise. The money, the bucket list. When I get home, I’m facing bunion surgery. I committed to tagging the whole house as soon as he passed. The man died sooner than we thought. It had to be the Lord who brought you to mind.”
“What exactly does tag a house mean?” Paisley had asked.
“It involves marking the things inside the house, and it’s the way I’ve been earning spending money lately. You know how I’ve always lived for a deal. Estate sales, garage sales, you name it. But I’ve run out of room at my place. So I finally figured out how to have fun with other people’s belongings without taking them home with me. I tag items and others get the thrill of a bargain.”
Paisley had been around her share of used goods, having lived most of her life moving from place to place. In the early days prior to her illness, her mother called their moves perfect timing. She just knew God was involved in their relocation every six months. They traveled light and found what they needed by barter or at second-hand stores.
Seeds of Paisley’s latest move had come to fruition in her mind while she listened to her aunt’s plea. The timing of Aunt Rainbow’s call came within days of Paisley learning she was out of a house-sitting position. Good thing she’d been used to the habit of moving at the drop of a hat. She’d been tempted to linger at a friend’s residence on the tree lined cul-de-sac because she enjoyed caring for bushes and blooming flowers.
But, especially because loving Rob hadn’t worked out, she’d jumped at the chance to come to Nebraska. She grabbed another book. “Ah…ah…choo!”
“Bless you.” A woman’s voice echoed.
Paisley jerked, grabbed a shelf, and regained her balance. She turned to see the visitor pass through the kitchen door.
“I’m so sorry to startle you. I’m Nora Waverly and you must be Paisley Robbins.”
“Wow, you gave me a start. Just before I sneezed I was asking myself if I should keep pricing or if I should suck all this grime into a vacuum.”
“I know just the person to get the grime ahead of you. Oren and I offered to clean before he died, but Mark insisted things were fine and we didn’t want to rile him up. I think our babysitter is looking to make more money for college. I also apologize for not making an effort to meet you earlier. Rainbow assured us you are trustworthy. I just stopped by on my way home.”
Paisley stepped off the ladder. “I’d offer a hand, but as you can see, I’m covered in dust.”
Nora looked professional in a flowing gray sweater over a purple blouse and dressy dark jeans.
“I’m surprised school is out already. But I’ve gone through a lot, one long bookshelf here in the front room since clearing Mr. Waverly’s bedroom yesterday.”
“You must have barely unpacked. There’s so much here.” Nora waved an arm. “Rainbow probably told you Oren is a bank exec and I teach. We don’t have time to go through the house, and when we hired Rainbow, we still believed Dad Mark’s death was in the future.”
Paisley liked Nora’s energetic personality and highlighted swingy bob that swayed when the woman moved.
“Oren and I just want to get the place emptied. He’s at the bank long hours and I need to concentrate on teaching first graders. In case Rainbow didn’t say it, you have carte blanche—permission to touch anything and everything as you go through every nook and cranny. Toss it. Put it aside for us to decide on later if it appears personal. Or mark it for sale.”
“That’s pretty much how Aunt Rainbow advised me to sort through things, Nora,” Paisley said. “The organization comes easy to me, but the pricing is all new.”
“I hope your pretty yellow blouse doesn’t get ruined here on the job.”
“Thanks. I can get another blouse if I need it.”
“All right, then. I wanted to meet you and see how it’s going. A giant thanks to both you and Rainbow. Oren considered going through the house, but dealing with his dad’s papers resurrected too many memories of his mom. It was all he could deal with. It was too hard on him to clean out the rest of his father’s belongings. This is the only home my husband knew and memories continue to crowd him each time he crosses the threshold. But don’t be surprised if Oren stops in to meet you as well, Paisley.”
The house seemed empty and quiet once Nora left, taking some of Paisley’s energy with her.
She blew a gust of pent-up air, relishing the silence. Her music had ended sometime during Nora’s visit. She scanned the room, contemplating what to do next. She had started sorting and tagging collectibles and books on the shelves flanking the fireplace on the right. Bookcases and the fireplace covered the length of one wall. It was obvious the room had once been two, both dining and living. The front and corner of the home now had a wraparound porch that provided two entrances.
Paisley entered the kitchen to wash her hands. Then she drained a water bottle and put the empty plastic back in her tote to recycle. For the first time, she realized the quaint glass-fronted cabinet matched the one in the front room. No wonder the wall was so thick. She decided to start in the drawers from the front-room side and would continue with the bookcases once the room had been dusted.
She couldn’t prevent memories of Rob from intruding.
Lord, could I have done anything to lift that chip on his shoulder?
Where could that woman have gone off to? In his zone, Robin Paisley’s hand quivered. He’d worked for most of thirty-six hours straight on an antique child’s rocking chair, only stuffing whatever was handy into his mouth as he passed through the kitchen from the bathroom. Paisley had never understood when he started on a project he saw it through to the completed restoration. Once he had all the tools lined up, he went at the task with methodical intent. He reached for a smaller grain block of sandpaper, catching sight of the toy scooter. That was next.
Paisley. Lovely, full of life, creative, giving, flighty Paisley. According to her, she couldn’t abide what she referred to as the dark side of his personality. It never had been his nature to smile or laugh a lot.
And why was he having such a hard time getting over her absence?
They’d been good together.
They’d declared their love.
They’d talked about forever.
She’d accepted his ring. And tossed it back.
He wanted to pick up the kid’s rocking chair and throw it against the wall.
Her voice in his head halted the impulse. “You’re just so down and sad all the time. The glass is half-full, Rob, not half-empty. Don’t you think God wants you to enjoy sunshine and a light heart?”
She didn’t get it.
He’d never been a happy, dance-y, smiley, light-hearted type of guy.
Maybe it was a hard way to live.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Instead of comforting his restless soul, the verse made him frown.