A Trade for Good

| April 29, 2014


A Trade for Good

“I can’t find my husband. I have no idea where he is. If you asked me to look for him, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

Book 1 of 3 ~ Sera’s husband took off without a word or even a forwarding address. Peter leaving was no loss, but he left Sera with four kids, a mortgage, and a lot of debt.

Jeff owns Mason Landscaping, a small landscaping and stonescaping business that is just barely making a profit, and Sera now owes him for a job she didn’t even know her husband had contracted.

Sparks fly when Jeff calls Sera to demand payment, and after a lot of discussion, Sera, as Peter’s wife, agrees that she’s at least partially responsible for what is owed:

“Tell you what, I’ll pay you for the labor, and my husband can pay you for all of the material.”

Jeff smiled at that; she obviously didn’t know how the business worked. “Just for your information Mrs. Sinclair, labor is more costly than the actual materials”.

“I gathered that Mr. Mason,” she said smugly, “and since the labor won’t be done – because I’m cancelling the job – I have no problem with you billing my husband for the materials. Even that top of the line sprinkler system you mentioned earlier, so I guess that pretty much settles my part of the debt.”

“Sorry, I don’t know what this is all about, but when we write up a contract, we do the job; the job means both the materials and the labor.”

Jeff was starting to worry about tomorrow’s delivery and the bill for specific materials he’d ordered that he wasn’t ready to be stuck with, and probably couldn’t even return. “Did you change your mind on what you want done? You two – uh… you and your husband – not agree on the layout? Are you moving, or did you find another landscaper?”

Then with much hesitation, he said “I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but I need to know what’s going on if you want me to work with you on this.”

The silence on the other end was followed by a strung out sigh that sounded like the air emptying out of a tire.

“No, Mr. Mason it’s none of the above. The job itself isn’t the problem. I’m not moving or shopping around for another landscaper, and I don’t even know what layout my husband and you agreed on.” She paused, completely deflated, and added in a whisper, “I can’t find my husband. I have no idea where he is. If you asked me to look for him, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

Well that was unexpected. Then again, some problems followed him like magnets.

“Fine,” he heard a voice say from very deep within him, “I’ll cancel tomorrow’s truck and all other deliveries.” Then, running his fingers through his dark hair that had just a little bit of gray in it, he paused, and as if to himself, he said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of the materials, but I’ll say one thing for your husband, he has good taste. He had me order only the best. Everything is top of the line”.

“Yes, that sounds like him…” her voice trailed off. Then, “You sound like a nice guy.”

Jeff was getting tired of hearing that, and one way or another he knew he had to get paid.

“I’ll tell you what,” she continued softly, “If you feel bad about charging my husband for materials that won’t be used, as soon as I find out where he lives, I’ll give you his address so you can dump every ounce of cement and rocks he ordered right on his doorstep. I’m hoping he’ll be standing there when you do.”

Sera hung up knowing that somehow, she’d have to pay the money Peter owed, and this guy seemed really nice. But how on earth was she going to pay for landscaping when she could be losing the house any day soon?

Six months from now, she might pay closer attention to that sexy voice on the phone, but after Peter left her and the kids, she had no time for any man unless he did dishes, took out the trash, or paid off all of her debts.

Then a thought occurred to her: what if she provided a service to him to work off the money she owed?

He sounded nice enough…



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