"What if the doll is me?" Jackson asked on the short drive home. "What then?"
"You're a lucky man," Woodrow told him. "You'll know you're marrying the right woman, the one who'll make you happy for the rest of your life." His eyes rested on Lily, and she knew what he was thinking. What would happen if they had a doll?
"What if I'm not ready yet?" Jackson complained.
Woodrow tossed an impatient glance his way. "All you've done is moaned and groaned about wanting Caroline. And you're telling me that even if you knew she was your soul mate, you'd fuss that you finally got to be with her?"
Jackson's eyes went wide in surprise. "It sounds sort of stupid when you put it like that."
"Go figure." Woodrow pulled to the curb in front of Lily's house. "We've made more work for you. I'm sorry."
"It's going to be fun." She climbed out of the van. "I'm going to be interested in who'd be the perfect man for Caroline."
"And you don't think it will be me?" Jackson sounded hurt.
"I don't know. Between the two of you, I'm confused."
"Can't blame you." Woodrow tossed another look at his friend.
Jackson threw his hands in the air. "Okay, I'll leave my future to fate. Whatever Lily's doll says is the way things will go."
Lily gave him a wave. "It takes a while. Don't get in too big of a rush."
"I carve gnomes and gargoyles. I understand."
Once inside the house, Lily went directly to the doll displays. She opened storage drawers and peeked inside. She climbed a ladder and looked at the backs of storage unit shelves. No rag doll of her soul mate was stashed anywhere she looked.
She made a circle of the downstairs, peeking and peering. No luck. Finally, she climbed the steps to their apartment. She looked in kitchen cupboards, in their tiny attic, anywhere with storage of any kind. Nothing. Once she searched everywhere else, she stood at her mother's bedroom door. How awful would it be to rifle through her mother's things? She and Isabelle had always respected each other's privacy, but what if a rag doll of Woodrow was bundled somewhere in that room? Then Lily would know. She'd know that Woodrow was the man for her.
A horrible thought flitted through her mind. What if she found the doll and it was someone else? Someone she hadn't met yet? She squared her shoulders. Impossible. But what if it was? Then she'd know that too. And she'd have to decide. Would she rather have Woodrow now and miss out on her soul mate, like Jenny had with her first husband, a man who obviously made her very happy? She couldn't think about that. She couldn't imagine life without Woodrow. He had to be the soul mate doll. He just had to be. She was gathering up her courage to do the unthinkable when her cell phone rang.
Woodrow's voice was deep and authoritative. "Quit looking for the doll and get some sleep. You've had a big day."
"How did you know?"
She could picture him shaking his head. "I know you," he told her. "And I've seen the Tiger Lily doll. Your mother wouldn't have made that and not seen your soul mate. It has to be some place."
"What if it's not you?" Lily didn't recognize her own voice, it sounded so strained.
"We'll deal with that when it happens, but it's too late to worry about it tonight. Go to bed." The phone went dead.
Just like Woodrow! He talked, and she was supposed to listen. Lily stifled a yawn. It had been a big day. She flipped off the lights in her mother's bedroom and padded to her own. Everything could wait. She needed some sleep.
A light shone from Woodrow's room and she went to the curtains and parted them. He was framed behind his window, looking at her. He gave her a quick wave and pointed toward her bed. "Good night," he mouthed.
She touched her fingers to her lips and blew him a kiss.
His lips curved in a surprised smile before he crossed the room to turn out his light.