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        “You're being ridiculous,” Nick said. “Things change.”

         “No they don't,” Anne said. “Not here.”

        After thirteen years together, she thought he knew her better than that. They'd made plans, and Anne wanted Nick to remember those plans the way she liked to: contented Nick and Anne sitting on the sofa in her mountain cabin, watching their grandchildren open Christmas presents in front of the fireplace.

        Except there were no kids and Nick wanted to move.

        Anne paced the room, stopping at the front window. Shafts of midmorning sunlight filtered through the blinds. The day gleamed. She studied her oak, the one with four trunks, the one where her grandfather had hung a chain-link swing.

        Nick hugged her from behind, kissed the top of her head. Anne turned toward him, pressing her cheek against the cool fabric of the shirt. “You can follow me or not,” he whispered.

        “What?” She jerked away. “What do you mean?”

        “I mean, you've got to quit with this staying-put shit.” He shuffled nervously from foot to foot. “I mean, I've had enough.”

        “I thought you'd have seen reason by now, that this would blow over.” Anne felt her lips tighten.

         Nick looked at her, his gray eyes flinty.

        “We've got to seize the moment,” he said. “Arizona might save us.”

        Anne sat on the sofa, hands clasped in her lap. “We need saving?”

        “Ah hell.” He looked at his feet and, speaking softly, almost to himself, he said, “Maybe it's not worth it.”

         “What's not?”

         “Fighting with you.” Then he walked out the door. She heard the creak of his weight on the front porch swing.

        She turned to rest her chin on the windowsill, traced a circle on the glass. “I used to think we were in sync,” she whispered.


        Anne rarely saw what she didn't want to see. What she saw were the Manzanita and chaparral bushes that had grown up with her over the years, her grandparents' weekend cabin nestled beneath ageless pines and California oaks—the gates to Eden—the only place she ever felt was home. What she chose not to see, were the hills beyond the property line, cluttered with bulldozed trees and road scars. And Nick'd recently noticed a large sign announcing a new subdivision: COMING SOON.