Six weeks into Lily and I still don’t know what the central conflict is. I know some of Lily’s troubles, but trouble is not conflict.
That’s okay, this isn’t a book.
What I do have in front of me is those two trying-to-control Lily scenes, the first with Seb and the second with Fin. I did discovery drafts on both, both awful, but that’s okay, discovery draft, and then it was time to pull things together. So the first thing I did was a beat analysis for a rewrite. Like this:
Aha, escalating conflict! Always a good idea.
so Lily is fighting for control of her own life in her career (Seb) and her love life (Fin) and that somehow connects to being reincarnated and killed by Vikings. Vikings were macho control freaks, so it’s not that far a reach, but it’s also terrifically vague. I do like the parallel of the Viking ax and Cheryl’s cleaver, I just have no idea what to do with it or what either has to do with the central theme. Which I also don’t know.
The other thing is that while I like the idea of Fin and Lily negotiating their relationship, I’m not crazy about it as a conflict. They’re not idiots. They both know the other person is good people. So their romance plot is really going to be a negotiation, and the complications aren’t going to be Big Misunderstandings, they’re going to be all the garbage in the rest of their lives that keeps them from negotiating more quickly. The problem, of course, is that I still don’t know what the main conflict is, but since this isn’t a book, it’s not a big problem.
So below is the Sep scene rewritten and the Fin scene echo, followed by a negotiating-the-relationship scene, or the apology scene after the Fin-Lily fight, and a couple of miscellaneous things, too. They all need more rewrites, because, as you may remember from Nita, writing is rewriting. Lots and lots of rewriting. But this is where we are now.
Out in the parking lot, Pangur became a new cat, lord of all he surveyed: a lot of blacktop with a border of weeds and a centerpiece of dumpster. Still, turf was turf. He bounded across the blacktop and into the weeds near the diner steps, keen to stalk anything mouse-shaped, which meant the chipmunks had better watch their asses.
Lily followed him to make sure he wasn’t going after anything he couldn’t handle.
At the steps, Pangur lifted his head to the breeze, a lot more breeze than Lily wanted, full of early April chill, and then he froze, hearing something that she didn’t. There’s my life now, she thought. Everybody knows something I don’t and it’s all out of control . . .
That was whiny. Be like Pangur, she thought, watching his heavy, tense ginger body stare at his prey as he began to stalk. Focus, that was the ticket.
Somewhere in the weeds under the three metal diner steps, a mouse was about to meet his maker. Poor thing, she thought, it was just standing there, innocently freezing to death in that bitch of a wind while danger approached—
“Lily!” Sebastian said from behind her, and she turned to see her ex, smiling his standard charming smile as he came toward her, private and intimate and clueless because she was never going to be private and intimate with him again.
“Go away,” she said, and took a step back as Seb took a step forward.
“Honey, I’ve missed you.” Seb came closer and did the old loom-over-her-to-look-macho bit that she’d fallen for once. There’d been a time she’d thought he was the handsomest man she’d ever seen, but there was a decided weasel cast to the handsome now, and that formerly sexy five o’clock shadow now just looked like a dirty chin.
Lily scowled at him and took another step back. “I’m just grateful you missed me with the ax.”
“Oh, come on,” he said, the voice of reason. “You know the ax fell off the table.”
“You knocked it off the table while you were lunging for me and then you fired me.” Lily took another step back. “I hate you.”
“I didn’t fire you,” Seb said, his smile fixed now. “We just put you on leave. We all miss you. Dorothy was just asking about you. And Jessica–”
“Jessica replaced me, and now she’s screwing up my project. And I didn’t want to go on leave,” although truth be told, going back to work for Seb and his idiot Uncle Lewis wasn’t the dream job it had once been because it meant working for Seb, whom she now knew to be a rat, and his idiot Uncle Lewis. “I loved working at the museum. I was good at it. And I was nailing that project, it was going to be wonderful. I don’t like you, and your uncle is a horrible person, but the museum was a good place to work until you hit me with an ax.”
“I didn’t–” Seb smiled again, but she could hear him breathing faster, see the anger in his eyes. “We just need to talk this out. Come have dinner with me.”
“I have to go to work,” Lily said. “In a diner. Where I will have dinner. Also I’m never going anywhere with you again. Go away. Go far away.”
“Fine. I’ll pick you up after work.”
“No, you will not.”
He rolled his eyes at her, and she tried to calm down, be logical, because killing him wasn’t an option, she had no weapons. She had to start carrying a weapon. God, she really was losing it. “I don’t get off work until midnight, and you hate late hours. You’re a crack-of-dawn guy, which should have been a big tip-off that you’re psycho. Also I’m never going anywhere—”
“Fine. Have breakfast with me at the crack of dawn.” He smiled again. “We used to do breakfast a lot, remember?”
‘We used to do a lot of things a lot that we’re never going to do again,” Lily said, backing up onto the first diner step. “You know the one I hated the most? The crack-of-dawn breakfast. I’m not a fan of the dawn, Seb, which you evidently never noticed in the entire three months we dated. I hate mornings. And now I hate you. Come anywhere near me again and I’m filing a restraining order.”
He stopped smiling then. “That’s not funny.”
“Do I look like I’m joking?”
“I just need to talk to you,” Seb said, and for once he looked serious. Honest even.
“You should have thought of that before you hit me with the ax.”
“I did not hit you with an ax!” His voice rose, sharp, and he caught himself and smiled again. “Lily, be fair. You tripped back against the table and slipped and knocked the ax off as you fell. I wasn’t anywhere near you.”
That was such a blatant lie that she gaped at him. “You’re gaslighting me? Fat fucking chance, you moron, you lunged for me when I reached for that box, and you looked like screaming murder, and okay, I fell trying to get away from you, but you were the one who knocked the ax on me, and while I have no idea if that was accident or on purpose, it was definitely you, you lying weasel, so don’t even try–”
“There’s no reason to get emotional,” Seb said, the voice of male sanity. “Calm down. How’s therapy going?”
“How’s therapy going? How’s therapy going?” If I had an ax right now . . .
“Because we just got a report that you’ve left another therapist. Uncle Louis was concerned–”
“Your uncle Louis doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me,” Lily said. “He’s up to something and so are you, and you hit me with an ax to stop me from finding out . . . something. Also, who’s talking to you about my therapy? Isn’t that illegal? I can report that–”
“Damn it, Lily—” Seb caught her arm as she backed up and hit the second diner step.
“That,” Lily said, trying to wrench her arm away, “That is what I’m talking about. That angry lunge you do to grab me. Let go of my arm or I will scream like a banshee.”
“You’re acting crazy–”
“I’m acting crazy? You hit me with an ax. And you’re not even a Viking.”
“I didn’t . . . “ He stopped. “What the fuck is wrong with your cat?”
Lily looked around to see Pangur, now on the top step, his back arched, his green eyes narrowed, looking at Seb as if he were a very large mouse.
“Go away or my cat attacks,” Lily said and went up the final step.
The door behind her opened, and Cheryl stood there with a meat cleaver, her frizzy blonde hair standing out around her pale face like an out-of-control halo. “Is there a problem out here, Lily?” she said, her voice all light and sunny.
“Seb was just leaving,” Lily said, and wrenched her arm away.
“No,” Seb said, and Lily moved to one side and Cheryl came down onto the first step.
“You remember my cousin Cheryl,” Lily said. “The one you kept saying was nuts.”
“I’m nuts?” Cheryl said to Seb. “I never hit anybody with an ax.”
“Stop saying that,” Seb said, but he took a step back.
“An ax seems like overkill,” Cheryl said. “Really hard to carry around. Impossible to conceal. So I’ve got this cleaver. It’ll be self-defense, of course. I came out when my cousin screamed.”
“She didn’t scream,” Seb said.
Lily opened her mouth and took a deep breath, and Seb said, “All right.” He backed away, almost to the street. “You’re both nuts.”
“Fuck you and your uncle, too. Who, by the way, was lousy in bed.” Cheryl opened the door. “Come on in, honey, the dinner rush will be any minute now.”
Pangur padded into the diner, heading for the kitchen door, evidently feeling that Cheryl and her cleaver had things in hand, and Lily followed him in, stopping inside as Cheryl closed the street door behind them.
“That was very kind of you,” Lily said, knowing she should take the cleaver, but Seb was still out there, so she let Cheryl keep it. “You slept with Uncle Louis?”
“It was a long time ago. He was very good-looking. Terrible in bed, though. Selfish. Plus his name was Louis Lewis. His mother must have been demented. How was Seb in bed?”
“Thank you for rescuing me,” Lily said, heading her off from comparing notes about the sex lives of the Lewises.
Cheryl put her arm around Lily and tilted her head to look up at her. “Well, you know, honey, I’ve always thought of you as my daughter.”
“Had a good time in junior high, did you?” Lily said. “You’re not that much older than me, Cheryl. But you are definitely my favorite cousin. Especially now I know that you come with a cleaver.”
“Of course, sweetie.” Cheryl patted her shoulder. “Where’s your cap?”
“I am not a French maid.”
“You’ve been eating meat, haven’t you?” Cheryl said, and went back to work.
“What?” Lily said, confused again, and then two customers came in through the door at the other end of the diner.
Big guys. Nordic looking.
Vikings, she thought, and then turned back to look through the glass door she’d just come through.
Seb was out there, watching her.
The Vikings sat down at the far end of the counter.
Pangur stood in the kitchen doorway, snarling like subtle gravel.
Vikings to the left of me, she thought, dickhead to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with my insane cat and my cousin who has a cleaver.
Possibly she wasn’t the only one who was losing it. Possibly the whole world was nuts.
That really wasn’t a comfort, so she shook her head and followed Pangur into the kitchen.
***************. [This is at least two days later.]
Outside, Lily stopped on the bottom step, making Fin stop on the sidewalk.
“If you want privacy,” he said, “we’re better off back in the parking lot–”
“I want you to stop,” Lily said. “I have had enough of this master of the universe crap, first from Seb and now from you. Do not order me around, do not demand my troubles, do not try to fix me. I am not broken.”
Fin frowned at her. “I never said you were–”
“Then why are you trying to save me?” The wind picked up, and Lily folded her arms in front of her and shivered. “I don’t need you to protect me, I don’t need you to rescue me, I don’t need you to watch over me, and I sure as hell don’t need you ordering me to leave work so you can explain why I’m helpless without you.”
“If we were in a relationship, this would be borderline abusive,” Lily said and he shut up. “Since we’re just acquaintances, it’s just weird as hell. It probably played well in the fifties, and god knows in the 800s, but this is a new century, women are fully capable of running their own lives, so just get over this save-the-little-woman thing you’ve got going. I have enough weirdness in my life without you going macho on me, especially since our entire relationship up until now has been me giving you pie and you eating it.”
“I am not macho,” Fin said, sounding as if he were grasping for a positive.
“You were born macho,” Lily said. “You’re bigger than everybody else and you’re the oldest and you’ve been rescuing your family since birth. You’re always calm because if you got upset, you wouldn’t be a real man.”
“So you go around rescuing people so you don’t have to get close, which would be wimpy.”
“Believe it or not,” Fin said, scowling at her, annoyed now, “I would like to get close to you.”
“No,” Lily said. “You want to fix my problems, you want control over my life, but you have no intentions of getting close. That is not the Viking way.”
“Fixing your problems is getting close.” He shook his head, looking more like an angry bull than a Viking now. “And I am not a damn Viking.” He looked down. “Be careful, your cat is behind you. Don’t step on him.”
Lily looked down confused, and saw Pangur there, calmly washing a paw. You are not a great help, cat, she thought, and went back to making her point. “Fixing my problems is keeping a distance by assuming you’re superior to me. You’re bigger, you’re stronger, you’re tougher–”
“What part of that is wrong?” Fin snapped.
“What part of that makes you superior?” Lily snapped back. “Fucking Viking.”
“Oh, for the love of god,” Fin began, “do you know how insane you sound?” and then the door behind Lily opened, and he snapped, “Look out for the cat, Cheryl,”as Pangur scrambled out from under Cheryl’s feet.
“The cat can take of itself,” Cheryl said, hefting the cleaver, “I’m here to take care of you.”
“No, no, it’s okay.” Lily stepped in front of Fin to protect him. “I was just yelling at him to go away.”
“Then why is he still here?” Cheryl said.
“Because he thinks he has to fix my problems,” Lily said, “although I’m sure he’s reconsidering now. He’s not cleaver-worthy, Cheryl, he’s just bossy and . . . male.”
Cheryl looked at him. “Stop being bossy and male.”
“Not a problem.” Fin looked at Lily and shook his head, calm as ever if you didn’t see that stiff upper lip and his eyes full of anger and . . .
He looks hurt, she thought, he was just trying to help, and he really had to stop doing that, but she didn’t want him hurt . . .
“Oh, just hell,” she said. “Wait, Fin–” but he turned and walked off down the street.
“Is that what you wanted?” Cheryl said, watching him go. “Because he’s gainfully employed, he tips well, and I think he could be trained.”
“It’s what I want right now,” Lily said, but as she watched him go, she wasn’t sure. That master of the universe crap had to go, but he really was just trying to help. She wanted him at a safe distance, not completely gone.
“He didn’t pay for dinner,” Cheryl said.
“Bjorn’ll cover it,” Lily said. “Or I will. Or he’ll stop by tomorrow morning for breakfast and pay then. He’s not a dine-and-dash kind of guy. He’s just mad.”
“Probably a first for him,” Cheryl said. “Not an emotional kind of guy.”
“Are you kidding?” Lily turned to go up the steps. “He’s probably been angry all his life. Happy people do not bully perfectly fine people in order to control the world.”
“That’s Vikings, right?” Cheryl said.
“You know,” Cheryl said, watching Fin disappear in the distance. “Vikings are really very attractive.”
“Give me the cleaver, Cheryl,” Lily said, disarmed her cousin, shooed her cat through the door, and went inside, Viking-free.
Which was exactly what she wanted. Really.
When Fin had gone six blocks past his apartment, he turned and went back. He hadn’t paid for dinner. Not that he ever wanted to see Lily or Cheryl or the damn cleaver again.
He saw Bjorn heading toward him, so he stopped outside the lobby to their apartments and waited.
“I paid for dinner,” Bjorn said. Fin reached for his wallet and Bjorn said, “Let me pay for dinner. Let me do something for you.”
“Okay,” Fin said. “Thank you.”
“Are you and Lily okay?”
Fin opened the door to the lobby. “There is no me and Lily.”
Bjorn snorted and followed him in.
A slight brunette stood up to meet them, and it took Fin a minute to recognize her: Violet, Bjorn’s old girlfriend.
And former fellow addict.
At least Bjorn was a former addict. Violet was a flower child in every sense of the word: bright, pretty, fragile, and probably not going to last the autumn given the shadows under her eyes and the tremble in her lips.
“Vi?” Bjorn said, and moved past him, looking serious for once.
“I just missed you,” Violet said, and burst into tears, flinging her arms around him.
I am not a fixer, Fin thought. I have no interest in fixing Violet.
“Come on upstairs,” Bjorn said, patting her back, his voice kind and firm and . . .
Crap, he’s going to save her, Fin thought, and followed them.
Fin got to the diner early the next night. He’d finished the ink he’d been working on, and since he was supposed to meet Bjorn in half an hour anyway, there was no point in going on to the color . . .
You want to see Lily, he told himself. That was no way to end that conversation last night, just walking off, and he needed to apologize for being rude . . .
He shook his head at his own ineptitude.
Ten minutes later, he was sitting at the counter watching her come towards him, smiling at him as if she were glad to see him.
Maybe she wasn’t mad any more. Maybe she was glad to see him.
Get a grip, Thorfin.
“Welcome, Anderson,” Lily said. “I’m really glad you’re back. Where’s your other half?”
“I’m early. He’ll be along.” He hesitated. “About that thing we were talking about yesterday . . .”
“Don’t worry,” Lily said. “I was having a bad day–”
“I’m sorry,” Fin said. “I had no right to boss you around or . . . take care of you. It won’t happen again.”
Lily nodded. “So while you’re waiting for Bjorn, you want to try the pumpkin pie. Vanessa is experimenting and she had this brilliant idea.” She turned to the pie case behind her.
“Not a fan of pumpkin,” Fin said.
“You want to try this pumpkin,” Lily said and put a piece in front of him.
The pumpkin looked lighter than he was used to, and this piece had meringue on it, the color of coffee with cream.
Except he really did not like pumpkin. Or coffee.
Lily nodded at him, encouraging him. “Try it. If you don’t like it, I will swap it out for whatever you want, no extra charge, but you need to at least try it.”
Fin picked up his fork and sliced off the pointed end and put it in his mouth.
Creamy. Extremely creamy, with ginger and nutmeg, of course, but something else, and the meringue was light with a slightly crunchy top and it tasted like . . . “Mocha?”
“That’s the meringue,” Lily said. “The pumpkin custard is made with dulce de leche.” When he looked confused, she said, “Caramel. It’s basically a pumpkin latte in pie form, except much, much better. I think she’s going to try it in a puff pastry next, like a turnover.”
Fin tried another bite.
Lily peered at him, looking a little anxious.
The urge to lean over the counter and kiss her was remarkably strong.
“You want something different?” she said.
He got a grip, shook his head, and cut into the pie again. “No, I’m good.”
“Always trust me. I will always take care of you.” She stopped. “I mean, I will never steer you wrong.” She stopped again, flushing now. “I’m a really good waitress,” she said, and went down the counter to fill some other guy’s coffee cup.
Fin watched her smile at the other guy, and thought, Yeah, but you’re coming back to me.
Then he realized what he was doing.
He closed his eyes. You’re thinking she likes you as more than somebody to feed pie to. That’s you about her, not her about you, you dumbass. He was being a fucking Viking, thinking he could just move in and kiss her across a counter . . .
He took a deep breath and tried to be calm and logical, but it was Lily and he hadn’t been calm since the first time she’d come down that counter smiling. He hadn’t even known her then, that was just physical, this was not serious, she was just really . . .
. . . really . . .
He put his head in his hands.
Oh, god, I’m completely screwed here.
After a minute he pulled himself together.
He was fine.
After all, it wasn’t exactly news that he was crazy about Lily, she’d hit him pretty hard from the beginning, and then when she’d shoved him away, he’d been a lot more upset than he should have been, which he did not need, but this was just infatuation, he did not have time for this, so this was not happening. He had commissions to fill and Bjorn to look after. And now she had him eating pumpkin pie with coffee meringue–
Bjorn came in and sat down. “Hey, you’re early. Vi called . . .” His voice trailed off as he saw Fin’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m in love with Lily,” Fin said, watching as she laughed at something the other guy said. She had a great laugh.
“And . . .?” Bjorn said.
Fin looked back at him. “What do you mean, ‘and’? This is the last thing I need. This is not . . . good.”
Bjorn frowned at him. “You mean you didn’t know?”
“Of course, I didn’t know.” He looked back at her. She had such a great smile. “I mean, I knew I was interested, and I knew I didn’t want you hitting on her, and I wanted to keep her safe, and I think she’s terrific, but I can’t get mixed up in a serious relationship right now, I don’t need any other responsibilities–”
Bjorn made an exasperated sound, and Fin turned to look at him again. “What?”
“Maybe she’s not a responsibility,” Bjorn said. “Maybe she’s just a good time.”
“No. She’s in trouble. And she’s a lot more than a good time.”
Bjorn clapped his brother on the back. “Great, go for it. She can have my place on your list of people to protect and save. Really, take me off that list. Please.”
“You’re fine,” Fin lied and turned back to Lily, who was talking to Van through the kitchen pass-through.
She looked back and caught him staring at her and came down the counter to him, and he smiled in spite of himself.
“What?” she said. “What do you need?”
“Pie. Bjorn needs a piece of this pie.”
“I was thinking of starting with a burger,” Bjorn said.
“Outside the box, Anderson,” Lily said to him. “Start with the pie. And then I’m going to feed you something besides a damn burger, excellent though they are here. We’re going to expand your palate. This new pumpkin pie is beyond good.”
“Fin’s eating pumpkin?” Bjorn said.
Lily patted his hand. “I’m going to take care of you, don’t you worry.”
Bjorn looked at Fin. “You were meant for each other.”
“What?” Lily said.
“Expand his palate,” Fin said. Expand me while you’re at it.
She got Bjorn his pie and went back to work, and Bjorn dug in.
“Wow, this is good.” He cut off another bite. “I can’t believe you’re eating it, but it is really good.”
“Yes, it is,” Fin said, deliberately keeping his eyes to himself this time.
“So what’s your Lily plan?” Bjorn said, without stopping his pie inhalation.
“I don’t know.” Fin looked down at his plate where his pie was half gone in spite of the fact that he did not like pumpkin. I like this pumpkin. “I’m still reeling here. I just realized it when I ate pumpkin and liked it because she told me to. That has to be love.”
“And you were the last to know.” Bjorn cut into the pie again. “This is really good. I’m going to have this for dessert.”
Fin felt a flare of panic. “What do you mean, last to know? Does she know?”
“Nah. She’s all distracted by the reincarnation and ax thing. You’ll have to tell her.”
“Tell her what?”
“That you’re soulmates.” Bjorn scraped the last of the pumpkin from the plate. “You’ll be an in-law to Cheryl, too. Good times. The cat likes you. You’ll be fine.”
“Let’s move a little slower here.” Fin picked up a menu.
“‘A little slower here,’ he says as he falls over the cliff.” Bjorn pushed his empty plate away and picked up his menu. “Do they have chicken nuggets?”
Fin looked back at Lily. “I’m okay with the cliff as long as she’s coming with me.”
“I think you have to ask for that,” Bjorn said, as Lily came back down the counter.
“You guys ready for me to tell you what to order?” she said.
Bjorn grinned at her. “Do you have chicken nuggets?”
“No.” Lily frowned at him. “What we do have is basil-brined chicken in lemon sauce with garlic, ginger, scallions, mushrooms, snow peas, wild rice, and just a kiss of sesame wine and tamari.”
Bjorn frowned back. “What’s tamari?”
“Something you’ll like.”
“That’s what we’ll have,” Fin said, and Bjorn sighed.
“It comes with brioche rolls,” Lily told Bjorn. “I’ll bring extra butter.”
“Okay,” Bjorn said, but when she was gone into the kitchen, he said, “I would prefer to order for myself, especially when the food has stuff in it I don’t know.”
“Tamari’s like soy sauce only better.”
“Oh.” Bjorn nodded. “So it’s probably okay then.”
“She will never steer us wrong,” Fin said, watching Lily through the kitchen window.
“Oh, sweet Jesus.” Bjorn scowled at him. “I can give up drugs, or I can put up with you while you get mushy, but I cannot do both. I can’t watch you melting into a puddle of lust without some form of pharmaceutical.”
“Fine,” Fin said. “We’ll never come here again.”
Bjorn blinked at him. “You’d do that, wouldn’t you? You’d give up the woman you love to save me.”
“I think that’s overstating it.”
“You’re an idiot,” Bjorn said. “I know you think you’re being noble, but you are a fucking idiot.”
“That’s no way to talk to your brother,” Cheryl said, and they looked across the counter to see her standing there with somebody’s burger on a tray.
“He’s going to give up Lily to save me,” Bjorn said.
“Wait a minute,” Fin said.
“You’re a fucking idiot,” Cheryl told him.
Vanessa came out of the kitchen and said, “Hi, boys,” and then looked at Cheryl. “Where is my cleaver, Frey? I have told you and told you–”
“Lily took it after I threatened the Viking with it yesterday.” Cheryl nodded her head toward Fin. “He was being master-of-the-universe-y. You know how she gets about that.”
Van pointed a finger at Fin. “Stop annoying Lily.” She pointed her finger at Cheryl. “Do not touch my cleaver again.”
“It’s really my cleaver,” Cheryl said. “I own everything here.”
“Not my knives.” Van looked at Bjorn and Fin. “Did you eat the pie?”
“Loved it,” Bjorn said.
“It was very good,” Fin said.
“It was brilliant,” Van said.
“Fin must have thought so,” Bjorn said. “He’s eating it and he doesn’t like pumpkin. Ate too much one Thanksgiving and threw it up all over the family. Hasn’t been able to stomach it since.”
“I was nine,” Fin said. Please go away now, all of you.
Lily came back down the counter.
“Fin hates pumpkin because he threw it up when he was nine,” Cheryl told her.
Lily looked at him. “You said you liked it.”
“I did, I do,” Fin began and stopped because there was no way he was going to get a win in that conversation. “Really looking forward to the lemon chicken.”
“It’s fabulous,” Van said, and looked at Lily. “Where’s my cleaver?”
“Shelf over the stove where Cheryl can’t reach it,” Lily said.
“No short jokes,” Cheryl said and moved on down the counter to give somebody his meal, and Lily followed her, apologizing for the cleaver and filling coffee cups as she went.
“Now that I think about it,” Bjorn said, “that chicken stuff sounds really good.”
“Better than good,” Van said. “Brilliant. And coming right up. Lily said you wanted extra butter with the rolls? That’ll kill your heart.”
“My heart has been dead for years,” Bjorn said cheerfully.
“My food will jump start it,” Van said, “you will want to live just to experience more of it.” She looked at Fin. “Eat your pie.” Then she went back to the kitchen.
Fin looked down the counter at Lily.
If he talked her into marrying him, he’d be surrounded by these loons forever.
Worth it, he thought, and finished his pie.