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Garage sale

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Garage sale

Garage sale

by laurel

Part of the foursome universe: A Christmas wish, a new love, that's what friends are for, Popsicle toes, twister, tangled up in blue, the list, the jazz singer, debut, meet the neighbors, war games, the art of seduction, summer's end, what are you doing New year's eve?, ruminations, in dreams, one martini, two martini, three martini, floor; the dinner party, fleeting moments.

Spoilers: Fleeting moments

Archive: Okay to WWOMB, DitB, Full house slash, anyone else just ask.

It was early morning, late summer, last night's rain still fresh on the grass not singed yet by the fierce sun. Cobwebs spun and suspended from the tangled vines of the wax plant to a potted palm hung by a thin bridge that was nearly invisible. Alex studied the intricate pattern and the fat yellow spider in its center. He didn't disturb it, but the spider had to go before he brought the plants inside in the fall.

It was a perfect day for a garage sale, sunny, not too hot yet, the road full of cars on their way to the market or malls and finding the time to stop at their sale.

People would buy just about anything, especially at a garage sale. The newest trend of dollar stores certainly proved that. There were some waterlogged books with pages that were stuck together but with careful patience could be peeled apart; an old toaster they no longer needed which worked just fine; a box full of old tools, screws and cupboard handles; an assortment of doll parts that Fox had brought out (they'd all given him a weird look at that and he refused to explain what he'd used them for); some stuffed animals that Will had forsaken for new and fluffier ones; some old albums they never listened to; a couple of old shirts they no longer wore; an atrocious lamp with a clock in the center that had been given to Walter by an old relative; a few odd cups and saucers that didn't have mates; some computer equipment that was no longer needed.

People pawed through the table and boxes, finding the small treasures they wanted or needed. People haggled for even the smallest decrease in price, deals were made and money changed hands. The table was soon cleared, even of the ugly lamp and clock combination.

Most of the browsers were in their mid-thirties or older, with a few curious toddlers swarming at their ankles and bored older kids that rolled their eyes and sighed loudly, showing flashes of pierced tongue jewelry.

There were also a few white haired ladies, probably on their way from church and on their way to brunch. They were dressed similarly, in modest dresses, knee highs, sensible shoes and clutching wide purses with big ungainly clasps. And every single one of them had tissues sprouting from the sleeves of their sweaters. They were mostly interested in the tea cups and doilies.

After they packed up the folding table and took down the signs advertising the sale, they had a late lunch of mixed greens with leftover grilled chicken and mandarin orange slices, a bottle of wine and fresh herb bread. The money from the sale was tucked into the cookie jars that never held cookies for long, especially when Alex was lurking in the kitchen, but usually held a few dollars and the change they gathered.

Fox helped Alex clear the table and do the dishes. He put on the Joss Stone CD that John had picked up at the used record store.

After the dishes were left still steamy hot to dry, Fox gathered Alex into his arms and they danced to the sensuous bluesy music. Alex sighed into his neck so that the whisper of breath tickled his lover.

Alex closed his eyes and sang softly along to the lyrics. He circled Fox's waist with his arms and tucked his hand into one pocket of the well worn jeans.

There were a few things they couldn't part with no matter how worn they were, like Fox's beloved Knicks jerseys, Luke's ball caps, a baby sized quilt that Alex's grandmother had sewn, Walter's old boxing gloves, things full of nostalgia and memory that if they'd been shaken, more than dust or cotton bits would fall out. They held years of comfort, both past and future.

They slow danced their way into the living room where Walter and John sat, perusing their files. The picture of a smiling Natalie was paper clipped to the top of the sheaf of papers.

Alex sighed again and broke apart from Fox. They each climbed into the comfort of the sofa on either side of their lovers and they divided up the file among them. It couldn't hurt to have two more clever brains on the case.

Somewhere, in an immaculately kept house, an elderly woman served steaming amber tea to her friends in a newly bought cup. They each wore a sweater though it wasn't yet fall. They dabbed at their crinkled mouths with tissues they pulled from their hand-knit sweaters and the Kleenex came away spotted with coral lipstick.

Elsewhere a woman peeled apart the pages of a romance novel to start a new adventure apart from frantic children and settled into a deck chair in the warm sun to read.

A police lab was busy dissecting evidence carefully separated from a young woman's body. The crime scene investigators used all the tools at their disposal to answer the quintessential questions that journalists asked, the who, why, what, when and how.

On a bright sunny Sunday, a girl was buried after a tearful service. Everyone present was asking only why.

In the back yard, a spider sat in wait for prey. It was patient and still. The beautiful pattern of its web was an art form.

And inside the house, four men sat and read the police documents and knew even if they couldn't find the answer to the question why they'd find the man responsible.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to laurel