The Will (The Magdalene Series) (Volume 1)(4)

I just wished Gran was right there, sitting with me.

“I get done with this, I’ll fly out there,” Henry said into my silence.

“You get done with that shoot, Henry, you need to be in Rome.”

“I need to be with you.”

I closed my eyes, blocking out the sunset, having wished so many times in my twenty-three years as personal assistant to Henry Gagnon, renowned fashion photographer, video director and handsome, dashing, reckless, adventurous, audacious, daring international lady’s man, that he meant it in a different way when he said words like those to me.

Not that he valued me as his personal assistant.

Not that he liked me just because he did.

Not because we had over two decades of history and no one knew him better than me and the same was true for him with me (though, he didn’t know me quite as much but that was part of me being me).


For other reasons.

Now it was too late.

Not that there even was a time when that would be a possibility. He had models and actresses on his arm (and in his bed). And I’d lost count how many times I’d seen him smile his lazy smile at unbelievably gorgeous waitresses, tourists or the like and fifteen minutes later, I’d be finishing my coffee alone or heading to a park with a free few hours because Henry was away to our hotel to enjoy those hours a different way.

There was no way Henry Gagnon would turn his beautiful eyes to me.

Not then.

Definitely not now, with me forty-five, way past my prime. Even if Henry was forty-nine.

Then again, Henry’s last two lovers had been thirty-nine and forty-two respectively.

In fact, thinking on this, it occurred to me his lovers had aged as he had. He hadn’t had a twenty-something since, well…he was twenty-something (or, at latest, he was early thirty-something).


I blinked myself out of my reverie and came back to the conversation.

“I’ll meet you in Rome. Or in Paris,” I told him. “I just have to go to the reading of the will tomorrow and see to things here once I know what’s what. It shouldn’t take long.”

Why I said this, I had no idea except it was my job to make Henry’s life aggravation-free and I’d lived and breathed that for so long, I didn’t know how to do anything else.

The truth of the matter was Gran had a home and it was packed to the gills. I had no idea what I was going to do with it all.

However, I could easily hire an estate agency to deal with an auction and I didn’t need to be present for that. Nor did I need to be present for a sale of the property.

I felt acute pain in my midsection at these thoughts so I put them aside and returned to Henry.

“A week, at most two,” I said.

“If it’s over a week, I’m there,” he replied.


“Josephine, no. Not sure you could miss the fact that you’ve been taking care of me for twenty-three years. I figure this once, once in twenty-three years, I can do whatever I need to do to look after you.”

“That’s very kind,” I said softly.

There was a brief pause before he returned, just as softly, “That’s me looking after my Josephine.”

This was one of the reasons I stood by Henry all these years.

And it was one of many.

First, it wasn’t that difficult to do my job. Henry was not a male diva, even if his talent meant he could be. He was pretty no-nonsense. I wasn’t rushing around picking up dry cleaning (well, not all the time) and trying to find a coffee shop that made lattes with unpasteurized milk.

Second, he paid me well. Very well. Actually extremely well. Not to mention he gave bonuses. And presents (one of these being the Manolos I wore to the funeral, another being the diamond tennis bracelet I had on my wrist at that moment).

Third, we traveled widely and he didn’t make me sit in coach when he was up in first class. No, I sat next to him. Always. Further, it wasn’t hard being the places we’d go. It was true I didn’t exactly enjoy that time in Venezuela (nor the one Cambodia, the one in Haiti or the other one in Kosovo) but only because he wasn’t doing a fashion spread but instead taking other kinds of pictures and thus we weren’t exactly staying at the Ritz.

Henry liked adventure. Me, that was a different story. But I was always at Henry’s side.


Except now.

And last, and maybe most important, he could be very sweet and he was this way often.

“I want you calling every day,” he demanded. “Check in. Let me know you’re okay.”

“You’re too busy for me to call you every day,” I told him something I should know, since, even though Tisimo magazine had given him a young man named Daniel to take my place temporarily, I still knew his schedule like the back of my hand.

“How about you let me decide what I’m too busy for, sweetheart. But I would hope you know by now, one of those things is not and never will be you.”

Oh my.


So very sweet.

“Henry—” I started on a whisper.

“Now, do something good. Like go out, buy a great bottle of wine, and drink it watching some ridiculous TV show you would normally hate so you can tell me all the reasons you hate it. Do not sit around, drinking your tea and doing something worthy. Like emailing Daniel to make certain he’s on his game or trying to read War and Peace for the seven millionth time.”

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