Between the Lines

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Chapter 17

One of the things Keeley loved most about Ashton was being able to walk almost anywhere she needed to go. The only times she had used her car since moving there was when she went into the city to visit Kira, or when she wanted to buy groceries at the bigger supermarkets, which were less expensive than the market on the square. She shopped regularly at the market, because they really did have good produce, and she wanted to support her neighboring merchants, several of whom supported her by coming to yoga class. Today, however, she had needed to stock up on a number of household items, and had decided to patronize a big box store to save some money. She still worried that her fledgling business might take longer to show a profit than she was anticipating. When she pulled onto the driveway behind her house after her shopping trip, she was surprised to see John Banks standing on her porch.

“Hello, Mr. Banks. Can I help you with something?” she said coolly.

He smiled what she had come to think of as his car salesman smile. “Call me John. I was in the neighborhood, and decided to stop by and see what you’ve done with the place. Here, let me help you with those bags. The renovations look great. You’ve done a good job.”

“I can manage, but thank you. Daniel Freemont is my contractor. He did the work. Do you know him?”

A very slight, almost unnoticeable expression of distaste crossed Bank’s face. He nodded. “Yes, I know Freemont.”

Keeley remembered belatedly that Daniel and Ashley Banks had dated in high school. Apparently John Banks had not approved of his daughter's onetime boyfriend. Although he had to be a much better choice than the man she’d ended up marrying. But that was just her own opinion, Keeley reminded herself, and she shouldn’t be judging Dennis Olson. She didn’t even know the man, although her initial impression had not been positive.

John went on to say that he thought perhaps Keeley had misunderstood him the night when he’d mentioned the market study. He explained that as an experienced business man, he knew how important it was to do your due diligence to ensure you gave your business every chance of success. He wanted Keeley to succeed in her venture, and his daughter had told him that there was a need for a new yoga studio in town, so he was sure she was on the right track. All this she interpreted to mean that he realized he’d offended her, and was doing damage control in the hopes she would vote for him in the mayoralty race. Even though she still felt like he was patronizing her, Keeley recognized the importance of getting along well with her fellow business owners, so she decided she would wait and see what happened at future interactions. It’s possible I misjudged him, she thought doubtfully.

“Would you like to see the studio?” She showed him around. He complimented her on the decor and the downstairs renovations, although she wasn’t totally convinced of his sincerity, as he barely glanced around, and seemed to be . She did not offer to show him the upstairs, where Daniel was currently working. Ingrained good manners forced her to offer John a cup of coffee at the end of the tour, but she was relieved when he declined, saying he had to get to a business meeting.

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