Home > The Will (Magdalene #1)(15)

The Will (Magdalene #1)(15)
Author: Kristen Ashley

It was also something I forgot I was wearing and doing it without closing my robe, which was something I immediately rectified, my hands going to the edges of my robe and wrapping it around me.

“The uppity shit you got goin’ on,” he continued, explaining what was “cute.” “What isn’t cute is you hiding behind that shit in order to shield yourself from living your life.”

I felt my eyes get big as my heart started shriveling.

“You don’t know me. You can’t say something like that,” I whispered.

And he didn’t.

Except for what Gran had told him about me.

Was that was Gran thought about me?

“Babe, I don’t have to know you to know your f**ked up gig. But, just sayin’, I do know you. It’s you who’s totally clueless about you.”

And on that, he turned toward the door, prowled to it and used it.

I lost sight of him and within moments heard the front door slam.

I stared at where I last saw him for some time before my feet moved.

And they moved to the family room where I could find them on the mantel over the fireplace.

Dozens of frames of all different sizes.

My eyes scanned them and I saw what I already knew was there.

Photos of my father and uncle when they were babies and young boys, nothing later than when they were nine years of age because, as Gran explained, “That’s when they turned, buttercup, and I don’t need a reminder of that.”

Photos of me from growing up to grown up.

Photos of my great-grandparents and my Aunt Julia who’d died in town, hit by a car when she was eleven.

I moved out of the family room and into the formal living room at the front of the house.

Two long, thin tables behind the two facing couches. More frames on both, all silver. Most of the photos black and white and old. My grandmother. Aunt Julia. My great-grandparents. Their siblings and children. And even older photos of long since gone family who’d lived in Lavender House.

And me.

The largest photo of them all, taken by Henry at a Dolce and Gabbana show years earlier. I was sitting beside the runway, my elbows to my knees, my chin held in my palms, my eyes turned up, my expression rapt. It was in profile.

I loved that picture. Henry had given it to Gran the Christmas after it was taken. And Gran had put it there and never moved it so when you walked into the house, if you turned your head left, that was what you’d see.


My heart was beating faster as I moved out of the living room, into the foyer then deeper into the house. What was there tried to force itself on my consciousness but I fought it back, my feet dragging but taking me there anyway.

The den.

Gran had had her bedroom set up there when it became difficult for her to negotiate stairs.

I hadn’t been in that room since I’d been home

I didn’t want to go there now.

But I went there, opening the door and feeling her loss burn through me just like it was fresh when I saw all that was her all around, smelled her perfume.

I swallowed and moved to the bed.

It was unmade. The nurse who came in and made sure she was up, bathed, dressed and fed had found her there. They’d taken her from there.


No one had made the bed since.

She’d died in that bed, in those sheets, that was the last place she’d been breathing.

Then she’d slipped away.

I turned my eyes from the bed to the nightstand.

Another silver framed photo. Me and Gran. Taken that summer when I left my life behind and came to her. We were outside the house amongst the lavender. It was in color. She was sitting in one of her wicker chairs and I was bent to her, arms around her, my cheek to her cheek, both of us looking in the camera one of her friends held. Both of us smiling.

I closed my eyes and turned away, taking in a deep breath, feeling it fill my lungs.

I opened my eyes and looked to the other nightstand.

There it was.

Slowly, I moved there, wrapped my hand around the side of the big frame and lifted the picture up to take a closer look.

Jake Spear surrounded by his kids, all of them surrounded by lavender, and, behind them, the sea.

It had been taken outside the house.

His daughter was at his side, her front pressed into it, her arms around his middle, her cheek to his chest, her eyes to the camera, her lips smiling.

His eldest son was at his other side, Jake’s arm was around his shoulders too, and I could tell the young man had an arm around his father’s waist as they were standing tucked close. The young man was also smiling.

And standing in front of the girl was Jake’s youngest son. He was leaning back against her body.

He, too, was smiling at the camera.

As was Jake.

I turned and sat on the bed, staring at the photo.

They were all younger. Not by much, years maybe, but with children, much changes as years pass.

And she had them close. By her bed.

Yet she never told me about them. I’d even been in this room more than once in the last seven years and had not seen this picture.

But it was there and she kept them close.

Close until the day she died.

They all had keys to her home.

She’d given them large sums of money.

She’d given me to that man.

“Why didn’t you tell me about him, Gran?” I whispered to the photo then looked up.

I aimed my eyes across the room to the window seeing lavender grown high and beyond that, sea.

“What did you tell him about me?” I asked the window.

The sun glinted on the sea and the lavender swayed gently in the breeze.

I shook my head.

“What did you want him to do with me?”

The lavender, the sea, the room, all of them had no answers for me.

Chapter Four

Only There

I parked in the curving lane at the front of Lavender House, opened the door and got out, slamming the door behind me and moving to the trunk where I’d stowed the groceries.

I wouldn’t be in Magdalene for very long but I would be there for a while. I also had a life where I ate most of my meals in restaurants or at parties and rarely had the chance to cook.

After Jake Spear left and I got no answers to questions that were hounding me, I decided that since I was there, I’d take advantage of being there.

Meaning I would give myself a treat and cook.

Thus, I prepared for the day and went to the market in town.

I had filled brown paper bags in each arm when the SUV drove up the lane.

I looked through my shades to the shiny black Escalade and primarily the man who sat behind the wheel.

I’d never seen him before.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology