Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chapter 18 - The Table

It was late Monday evening. It had been 4 days since Owen had seen Nola. It would be another 8 days before he saw her again. 8 days! He was having withdrawal symptoms. He felt like he couldn't think straight. What had that witch done to him? 8 days! Thank goodness that the Full Moon was on the 22nd or she would have probably made him wait the 14 days until Thursday. He was pacing in the front yard because that was what he did when he was waiting for Nola. Bellaria nudged Settrano. Then it came to him. The next time he saw her would be their 2nd full moon. He had 8 days to get the round table from the antique shop and fix it up. He'd surprise her with a new beautiful round table for their altar. He could get rid of that wooden spool. Settrano smiled as Owen admitted to himself that Nola was right, he really was "such a Taurus."

Tuesday Owen got up and took care of checking on all his job sites before the antique shop opened at 10AM. He was waiting outside with 2 coffees when his friend, the owner, walked up a bit bleary eyed. "Owen, what in the world are you doing here at this ungodly hour? I haven't seen you in ages." He eyed the coffees in Owen's hand as he unlocked the door to the shop. "If that coffee is for me then I have the feeling that you must want something. You know I'm weak."
Owen smiled and pushed the door open and then handed his friend a coffee.
"Come in sit down, tell me what you want and what is up with you."
"I am fine, Robert. Business is good. I'm having fun. How are things with you?"
"I am doing surprisingly well. Folks are replacing lost items and buying their Katrinkets. Business has actually been pretty good. Thanks for the coffee." And he settled into a French antique chair and motioned Owen to the matching and larger settee.
"Your welcome and you're right I do want something."
"I knew it, you rogue. What is it?"
"Remember that low round walnut table that was ruined when the roof leaked?"
Robert looked like he didn't remember, so Owen continued. "It's upstairs on the 3rd floor in the back right of the room, right underneath the leak I fixed for you... ?" And Owen left the question mark hanging in the air while Robert took another sip of coffee came alive and remembered.
"Oh, yes. That was a beautiful table. You have a good eye for a carpenter." he chided knowing full well of Owen's credentials. "You want that? While it is structurally sound it isn't worth what it was before the damage and it will need significant work to refinish it." Then he raised his eyebrows realizing Owen expected to get it for a significant discount.
Owen had leaned back in the chair and taken another sip of coffee before he said, "And Robert you know I am just the man for the refinishing job. I'll take good care of it. I hoping you can give it to me for a good price."
"Owen, you are a rogue."
"Before we settle on price and as part of the payment, you will have to get it down the stairs and haul it away yourself."
"I figured as much which is why my truck is parked in the garage next door." And Owen winked at Robert. "Finish your coffee while I get the table."

The table hadn't been moved in the little more than 2 years since the roof repairs and Owen found it easily. He looked it over ensuring that it was really structurally sound and that only the finish had been affected. When he was satisfied, he lifted the table and made his way down the stairs. Robert just watched thinking that it was practically worth it just to get the thing down the stairs. It was the largest piece on the 3rd floor which way probably why it caught Owen's eye and normally would have taken 2 men to get down.

After they settled on price, Robert asked, "So what makes you come back for the table now? Is it for a client?"
"No, it's for my house."
"Really, you've been thinking about this that long?"
"Well no, I only recently thought about the table again. I'll let you in on a secret. It's actually for a woman."
"You have a woman living in your house? Oh Owen, my hopes are dashed!"
"No, Robert I don't have a woman living in my house, but your hopes need to stay dashed."
"You're buying a table that you are going to have to slave over to repair for a woman who doesn't live in your house?"
"I see that twinkle in your eye, must be some woman."
"You have no idea Robert. You have no idea."

Owen drove immediately from the antique shop to the strip shop. He and Robert had looked it over and confirmed that there was no glue used in the construction and that it could be lightly and only lightly dipped to remove the finish. Owen's construction contacts were coming in handy. Owen often used the strip shop to remove the many layers of paint from old detailed often cypress molding he then reused in the homes he repaired. His friend Paul, owner of the strip shop, was standing outside of the shop as Owen drove up."

"Paul, am I glad you're here."
"You know I'm here when the stuff goes into the vats and to make sure it comes out on time."
"I hoped I could time this right. I have a favor to ask. I was hoping to get this table" and he waved his hand to the bed of the truck, "dipped by you personally, today."
Paul raised his eyebrows and asked "You want to jump ahead of the other jobs?" then sighed and smiled and said, "Well since most of the jobs are yours, I guess I can make an exception." Then he saw the table and whistled. "Owen this table is antique walnut and must be worth $5,000! I don't think I want to touch it much less dip it. Are you crazy?"
"No Paul, I'm not crazy. I've confirmed the construction can take a light dip. But I want your hands in charge of the dipping and wiping. I'll pay extra."
"You bet you will. Ok man, if you're sure? Wait I know you. You're sure."
"And Paul, I'd like it back tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?! You want I rush the job? I was going to take today to calm my nerves over having to do it."
"Of course I don't want you to rush the job. But I have a lot of work to do after you dip it and I need to finish it for the 22nd. It's a light dip so it won't take long. How about if I pick it up tomorrow but late in the evening?
"Ok man but I'm going to have to charge you 10% of the value."
"$500, no problem. Thanks Paul. I'll be back for it you tomorrow. Let me take you to lunch as a thank you for pushing it ahead of the other jobs."

As Owen drove home after lunch he went over the cost in his head. The table had probably been worth $8,000 before the roof leak. He had stolen it for $1000 from Robert, plus $500 for the dipping and less than $100 for the supplies for the hand rubbed finish he was planning on putting on it. He didn't count the work he would do. It would keep him occupied while Nola was out of town. By the time he was finished with the table it would be worth close to $5000. He'd definitely come out ahead.

Between working on the table and checking on his job sites and practicing as Nola had suggested the night she left, he managed not to go crazy waiting for Nola to come home. By Wednesday night the table had a high end hand rubbed sheen. He had done some slight rearranging of the furniture to place the table to its best advantage and to ensure that they didn't have to move the furniture too much to do ritual. He had New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and San Pellegrino in the fridge. He has also gotten a case of Brunello and he smiled remembering Nola's response to it the first time. Now all he had to do was make it to T

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