The Will (The Magdalene Series) (Volume 1)(3)

I told myself it made them feel better to say the words, make the eye contact, think their sentiments in some small way made me feel better. And Gran would want me to give them that.

So I did.

I managed to negotiate this obstacle course to my car only having to endure two hugs and I didn’t trip or even falter. Not once. Henry would be proud. Gran would be disappointed.

Gran thought my frequent stumbles were hilarious but whenever she threw her chuckle my way after she’d witnessed one, I knew she was laughing with me, not at me. She’d long since tried to teach me that we should embrace who we were, even, or maybe especially, what she called the “special things, buttercup, the things no one else has, but you.”

For me, this was being awkward. There were times when I could forget, but if there was something to trip over or something to set crashing to the ground, I would find it.

Gran thought it was cute.

When I did these things, I’d more than once seen Henry’s lips twitch too.

Try as I might to take Gran’s advice, I found it annoying.

However, I didn’t manage this journey without the heels of my Manolos sinking into the turf, which I found irritating.

Finally, I made it to my rental car. The lanes winding through the cemetery were packed with cars, many of them now purring, cars doors slamming, wheels pulling out.

Amongst this, I heard a girl’s annoyed, whiny, “Dad!” piercing the solemn air of the graveyard.

This tone was so inappropriate I stopped in the open door of my car and looked down the road.

Some three or four cars up on the opposite side from where my vehicle was parked, there was a big burgundy truck. It seemed relatively new. It was one of those that had four doors in the cab making it a tall, long sedan with flatbed. It wasn’t flashy but somehow it was. Maybe because it sparkled in the sun like it had just been washed and waxed.

All the doors were open and climbing in them was the man who’d been watching me earlier and his three offspring. His eldest son was pulling himself into the front passenger seat of the truck. His youngest was already in the back. And the man was standing in the open driver’s side door facing his girl, who was standing in the street, hands on her hips.

No wife.


I heard an indistinct rumble then the girl leaned slightly forward, her face screwing up in an unattractive way and she yelled, “I don’t care!”

This was also surprising because, considering the place we were in and what had just happened in it, it was beyond rude.

I glanced around and saw some of the other attendees were obviously, but studiously, avoiding this exchange.

Since the man had his back to me and the girl had her attention on her father, I didn’t bother avoiding it. They were in the throes of a squabble. They wouldn’t notice me.

I heard another rumble then the girl shouted, “I said, I don’t care!”

To this, there was no rumble.

There was a roar.

“Jesus Christ! Get in the goddamned truck, Amber!”

Her face twisted and I saw her body do a physical humph! She then moved and climbed into the backseat of the truck.

The man slammed her door and turned to his.

I instantly moved to get in mine thinking anyone who had the means and good taste to own a Hugo Boss suit should not be so ill-mannered as to shout obscenities at his daughter in a cemetery after a funeral service for a ninety-three year old dead woman.

However, in saying that, Gran would probably laugh herself sick at what just happened. That and wander over to the quarrel and wade right in.

As with my awkwardness, she found the foibles of others amusing and got away with this because she had the uncanny ability of pointing them out to people and guiding them into finding themselves amusing. Gran didn’t take anything too seriously and she was quite adept at helping others see the world her way.

She’d had enough serious to last a lifetime with the man she married and the sons he gave her, and when she got out of that, she put it behind her.

The only serious she let leak in was me. How I was raised. What it did to me. What it made me become.

And Gran let me be me. The only one to do that, except Henry.

By the time I’d started the car, got it in gear and checked my mirrors, the big burgundy truck was driving by. I didn’t get the chance to look into the cab. I also didn’t think much of the fact that the man, nor his kids, approached me to tell me they were sorry for my loss.

That was probably good, seeing as I knew the kind of man he was and if his and his daughter’s behavior was anything to go by, I never wanted to meet them.

And with them gone, I found myself strangely relieved that I knew I likely never would.

* * * * *

“I should have come with you,” Henry muttered in my ear through the phone and I drew in a deep breath as I stared out the window at the sea.

“I’m all right, Henry,” I assured him.

“There’s no way you should be there alone.”

“I’m all right, Henry,” I repeated. “You have to be there. You do this shoot for Tisimo every year.”

“Yeah, which means I need a f*cking break from it.”

I sighed, sat in the window seat and kept my eyes out to sea.

The sun setting had washed the sky in peachy pink with slashes of butter yellow and tufts of lavender.

I missed those sunsets over the sea.

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