A short story featuring characters from The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries. In this story, Bennett inherits a garden gnome.
“You’ve got to get this gnome off my property,” Bennett said, arms folded, standing on the threshold of his garage as Belinda got out of her car in his driveway. It was his day off and Belinda had swung by to drop off cupcake leftovers from the weekend. Between the tourists and her own lack of self-control, she only had four.
“What gnome?” she said innocently, batting her eyelashes, holding the pastry box like a tray in one hand.
“The one you put between those bushes when I was at work.” He pointed at the small figure standing at attention with a red pointy hat near the front stoop.
She swiped over the gnome like she’d never laid eyes on it before. “I don’t know why you would think that was me.”
“You know of someone else who would leave a gnome in my yard when I wasn’t around?”
“Maybe you have gnome fairies in the neighborhood.”
“Yeah. And their names are Belinda and Victoria.”
Belinda set the pastry box on the roof of his car. The hood was propped up. “I think it’s cute. Plus, it adds a little finishing touch to the yard.” Bennett’s landscaping was clean and minimal, like him, but it did look a little bare to her sometimes. She had convinced him to plant some flowers around the mailbox, which helped.
“Then take it to your house.”
“I already have a gnome.”
“Well, give him a friend then.” Bennett wiped oil off his hands with a red cloth. “What’s with the gnome donation, anyway? And please tell me you didn’t buy it on purpose.”
Belinda strolled toward him. “I didn’t buy it. With the baby coming, Dan is having some sort of safety meltdown and wants to get rid of everything they own.”
“He thinks the gnomes will hurt the baby?” Bennett glanced at the one in his yard, arching his eyebrows. “What kind of gnomes has Victoria been buying?”
“Baby killing gnomes, of course. At least, in Dan’s universe. But we all know his universe is full of weird and unexplained mysteries.”
“Besides,” Belinda added, “it’s probably more like a gnome loan than a donation. Vix really doesn’t want to get rid of them, she’s just doing this to appease Dan for now. I have a feeling, once he’s moved on, this guy will disappear anyway.”
Bennett finished wiping off his hands, staring thoughtfully at the gnome. “You know, these guys could be useful for hidden security.”
Belinda smiled to herself. Leave it to Bennett to find a functional angle for a garden gnome. “You’re welcome to experiment with mine.”
“I may have to.”
Deep in his gray eyes, she could see him turning over the possibilities. Before the end of the week, she’d bet Bennett would have a prototype to try out. “Not so annoying now, is it?” she said.
Bennett eyed her, his lips curling up. “Hand over the cupcakes, Kittridge, and I’ll let it slide.”
Belinda raised the pastry box in a salute and headed inside to the kitchen. If nothing else, she could always count on the Cake Diva to woo him back to a good mood. And not that that was a license to be naughty, but, well…at least she could count on it.
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See more of Belinda and Bennett in The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries.