The Will
Author:Kristen Ashley

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.

 

I noted this thinking that there were many women in the world with strong or delicate enough features to be able to wear that hairstyle at any age.

 

She just wasn’t one of them.

 

This thought wasn’t kind. However, it was true and I caught myself wishing I could explain this to her as well as share that she may wish to use a less heavy hand with makeup and perhaps buy a suit that didn’t scream power! but instead implied femininity, which, if done right, was much more powerful.

 

Then I didn’t think anything at all except wishing she’d release my hand for when she took it, she squeezed it so hard my hand was forced to curl unnaturally into itself and this caused pain.

 

Fortunately, she released my hand only an instant after she grasped it in that absurdly firm grip.

 

She kept talking and what she said confused me.

 

“Mr. Spear is late, which isn’t a surprise. But I’ll show you to my office and we’ll have someone get you a coffee.”

 

She then turned and walked away without giving me a chance to utter a word.

 

I had no choice but to follow her.

 

As I did, I asked her back, “Where is Mr. Weaver?”

 

Arnold Weaver was my grandmother’s attorney. I knew him. He was a nice man. His wife was a nice woman. On the occasion I was there for Christmas, we always went to their Christmas party. This meant I’d been to a goodly number of Weaver Christmas parties and therefore I knew Arnie and Eliza Weaver were nice people, my grandmother liked them a great deal and I thought they were lovely.

 

“Oh, sorry,” she threw over her shoulder as she turned into an open door and I followed her. “Arnie is on a leave of absence,” she stated, stopped and turned to me. “His wife is ill. Cancer. It’s not looking good.”

 

I let the shock of learning the sweet, kind Elizabeth Weaver had cancer and it was “not looking good” score through me, the feeling intensely unpleasant, but Ms. Baginski didn’t notice.

 

She waved a hand to a chair in front of a colossal desk that was part of an arrangement of furniture that was far too big and too grand for the smallish office. She also kept speaking.

 

“I’ll send someone in to get you some coffee. But as Mr. Spear is late, and I’m quite busy, if you don’t’ mind, I’ll take this opportunity to speak to a few colleagues about some important issues that need to be discussed.”

 

I did mind.

 

Our meeting was at eight thirty. I’d arrived at eight twenty-five. She’d come to meet me in reception at eight thirty-nine. She was already late and that had nothing to do with the unknown Mr. Spear. Now she was leaving me alone and I had not one thing to do for the unknown period of time she’d be gone.

 

And last, I still did not know who Mr. Spear was.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m confused,” I shared as she was walking to the door. She stopped, looked at me and lifted her brows, unsuccessfully attempting to hide her impatience. “Who is Mr. Spear?”

 

Her head cocked to the side sharply and she replied, “He’s the other person mentioned in your grandmother’s will.”

 

I stared at her, knowing I was showing I was nonplussed mostly because I made no attempt to hide it.

 

“I’ll be back,” she said to me, giving me no information to clear my confusion, and she disappeared out the door.

 

Therefore, I stood there staring at the door.