Pleased to have surprised her, Will grinned.
It was a mistake.
Joy immediately moved closer, so close he could smell her perfume – a strong, spicy scent, so unlike the delicate floral fragrance which surrounded Cleo. He almost choked.
‘Would you really? I’d like that.’
She was standing so close Will could feel her breath on his cheek. He backed off, trying to laugh. ‘Right. I’ll meet you there.’
As soon as he was in the van and driving to Owen’s workshop, Will knew he’d made a huge mistake. Now Joy would be under the impression he wanted to help her, and he was bringing Owen into this mess.
Owen’s ankle was almost healed, but he still needed Will to drive him to and from work each day – much to his disgust. But at least it meant he could continue to work, and it got him out of the house. Owen couldn’t wait to be able to drive again, but Will was enjoying seeing his son on a daily basis. It was almost as good as having him home again.
‘Hey, Dad. Give me a few minutes,’ Owen greeted Will when he walked into the workshop with its now familiar pungent odours of resin and wax mixed with the salty scent of the ocean blowing in through the open door. Owen was proud of what his son had established here.
‘What…?’ Owen’s eyes widened and he gave Will an odd look.
Will heard footsteps behind him and Joy breezed into the workshop, linking arms with him before he could dodge out of her way. He carefully removed her arm from his and cleared his throat. ‘Owen, this lady is Joy Taylor. She’s taken a few of my classes and feels ready for a board of her own. She’s asked for my advice.’
Owen gave him another odd look.
Did he recognise the name? If he and his housemates knew about him and Cleo, did they know about Joy Taylor, too?
But his son merely shrugged. ‘You’ve come to the right place. Best boards on the coast, best in Australia,’ he boasted.
Will swelled with pride, almost forgetting who Owen was talking to. Almost, but not quite.
Owen hobbled over to where the finished boards were leaning against the wall. He pointed to one of them. ‘This one might suit. What do you think, Dad?’ Owen turned towards Will, trying to hide his amusement.
‘Do you think so, Will?’ Joy asked in the little girl voice that made his teeth itch.Why couldn’t she act her age?
But Owen managed to ignore her tone and went straight into salesman-mode, extolling the advantages of the board and explaining how he’d designed and shaped it before giving it its current finish. ‘Or, I can produce one custom designed to your requirements,’ he said with a grin. He stroked the board as if it was an old and trusted companion. It was an intimate gesture.
Will knew how attached Owen was to all of his creations. He regretted bringing Joy here. It had been an attempt to placate her but may have been the wrong move.
Joy was still looking at Will for his reaction.
‘It’s a good board,’ he said. ‘You’d be happy with it.’ He gazed down at his feet. This was Owen’s business, not his.
‘Thanks, Dad.’ Owen pushed his hair out of his eyes and grinned at Will.
Both men waited for Joy to speak.
She looked from Will to Owen, them back again. ‘If you think so, Will,’ she said. ‘Can I pick it up tomorrow?’ she asked Owen.
Will knew Owen didn’t normally work on Sundays, but a sale was a sale. He sighed, realising he’d have to drive him over, meaning he’d have to face Joy again.
Seeing the expression on his dad’s face, Owen said, ‘I can get Nate to drive me over, Dad. I know Sunday is always a busy day for you.’
Will gave a sigh of relief, only to hear Joy say, ‘Great, then you can give me a lesson on my new board, Will – to test it out.’
Will nodded, reluctant to agree but knowing a refusal could result in a tantrum from this unstable woman and might lose Owen the sale. Owen gave him a sympathetic look.