The Will (The Magdalene Series) (Volume 1)(5)

“I’m going to finish that book someday,” I vowed on a mutter.

“Let’s not make today that day,” he replied and I smiled.

“All right. Reality TV and a good bottle of wine it is,” I murmured.

“Good girl,” he murmured back and I could hear the smile in his voice. “Tomorrow, I want to know all the ways the housewives of wherever get on your nerves.”

I smiled again before I asked, “Would you like me to take notes?”

“Seeing as they’ll probably get on your nerves in so many ways even you’ll forget a lot of them, yeah.”

“Then consider it done.”

“Right.” I could still hear the smile in his voice. “Now go. Wine. TV. And while you’re at it, buy something good to eat. And I don’t mean an excellent wedge of brie. I mean something like a bucket of chicken.”

I made a face that he hopefully could not hear in my voice when I lied, “Consider that done too.”

“Liar,” he muttered and I smiled again.

Then I said, “I should let you go.”

“For now, sweetheart. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow, Henry.”

“Be bad,” he said quietly.

“I’ll try,” I replied and both of us knew that was a lie too.

There was another pause before he whispered, “Chin up, Josephine. Always.”

“It’s up, Henry. Always.”

“Okay, sweetheart. Talk to you tomorrow.”

“’Bye, Henry.”

“Later, honey.”

I disconnected and threw my phone on the cushion in front of me.

Then I looked out to the sea.

There was no buttery yellow in the sky, the peachy pink was fading and the lavender was taking over.

It was stunning and it made me wish that Henry was, indeed, here with me. He’d take a fabulous picture of it.

I was in the light room at Lavender House, the house Gran inherited from her mom and dad when they died which was thankfully after she’d divorced her husband.

The house that had this room, five stories up a spiral staircase. A circular room that was curved windows all around so you could see everything. The sea. The outcroppings of rock and beaches along Magdalene Cove. The centuries old, tiny town of Magdalene. And the landscape beyond.

This room with the window seats all around. The big desk in the middle where I knew Gran always wrote her letters to me. Where she sometimes took and made her phone calls to me. Where she paid bills. Where she wrote out recipes. Where she opened my letters to her and she probably read them right here too.

The room that had the half-circle couch she found and bought because it was, “just too perfect to pass up, buttercup.”

And it was. That couch was perfect. It had taken seven men, a pulley and who knew how much money to get it up there through a window. But Gran had seen it done.

She loved it up here.

I loved it up here.

And I sat in this very spot years ago after I became well enough to move around a bit after she saved me from my father. I also sat in this very spot after I called her and told her I had to get away, I just had to get away, and she flew me here.

Here. Home.

Here was where I put my father behind me.

Here was where I put my world behind me.

Here was where I got the call from a girlfriend who had moved to New York to do something in the fashion world (anything, she didn’t care, and she succeeded and was then working as a minion for flash-in-the-pan diva designer who thought he was everything who had recently been fired from his job designing clothes for discount department stores).

A girlfriend who told me Henry Gagnon was looking for an assistant and she knew I loved clothes, I was an admirer of his photos and she could talk to someone who could talk to someone who could maybe get me a meeting with him.

And here was where I took the next call when I learned she got me a meeting with him.

Here was where my life ended…twice, even as it started again…twice.

It still smelled like Gran here even though it had been years since she could get up to this room.

She was everywhere in Lavender House.

But mostly she was here.

And now she was gone.

And on that thought, it happened.

I knew it would happen. I was just glad it didn’t happen at her graveside, in front of people.

It happened there, the safest place I could be, the safest place I ever had, with Gran all around me.

The first time in over two decades when I let emotion overwhelm me and I wept loud, abhorrent tears that wracked my body and caused deep, abiding pain to every inch of me rather than releasing any.

I didn’t go out and buy a bottle of wine.

I certainly didn’t get a bucket of chicken (not that I was going to anyway).

And I didn’t watch the real housewives of anywhere on TV.

I fell asleep on that window seat with tears still wet on my face and with Gran all around me.

The safest place I could be.

Chapter Two

My Most Precious Possession

“Ah, Josephine Malone. I’m Terry Baginski.”

I stood from my chair in the waiting room and took Terry Baginski’s outstretched hand, noting her hair was pulled severely back from her face and secured in the back in a girlish ponytail.

Kristen Ashley's Books