“Well, welcome to the neighborhood!” said Della. “If you ever feel like trading some tips for your new garden, let me know!”

“It’s true,” laughed Thom. “My Della will show you how to grow a wife if you let her babble on.”

“Th-thanks,” said Leo. “Good to meet you both.” He politely excused himself, shut the door, and deposited the neighborhood welcome wagon basket on his kitchen counter. Then he pulled the trick book from his living room bookcase and descended the stairs into the basement.

There, under the best greenhouse lamps money could buy, Podia rested amid her leaves, her lovely smooth green skin unblemished.

“Soon, my dear,” whispered Leo, stroking her stem. “Soon.”

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