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Morgan offered to meet with her and Gerard, and although it sounded comforting, Becca declined. Meeting him again was something she felt she had to do alone. To face her fear, so to speak. In reality, she still wasn’t sure who to trust and she didn’t want a two against one scenario.

Becca took control of all aspects of the meeting. She pulled into the parking space in front of The New Age Bookstore. She could see Gerard sitting on a bench outside the door. He had a book in hand and his briefcase next to him.

He stood to greet her. “Becca,” he held out his hand, “How are you?”

“Good,” she responded and shook his hand quickly. “Why didn’t you tell me about all of Aunt Jo’s things?”

“Oh,” he had a shocked look on his face and took a step back while adjusting his glasses. Becca wasn’t one to hold back. Even when she tried to be polite and kind, she tended to speak out.

“I would be happy to sit down with you and explain everything,” Gerard said.

“Let’s do that,” Becca said. She stared at his little beady eyes. She didn’t realize she was so angry at him.

She began walking away from the bookstore and toward the bistro that was a few stores down. Gerard followed behind. Each step brought thoughts to her head. She had contemplated over and over every reasoning behind every person in her life’s steps towards how they had acted during this event. In Gerard’s case, she could not find one valid reason for him to have withheld any of the information. She also could not understand why he would have simply handed over the deed to the house as he did.

Becca did not order anything. She walked into the small dining area and sat at one of the tables, making sure her exit strategy aligned with her position. Something she never had to do previously. In fact, she thought the idea of having an exit strategy was quite ridiculous until recent.

Gerard looked up at her and sat quietly. The expression of his beady little eyes, melted into one of warmth as he smiled his gentle smile. This was the man who had poisoned her earlier yet she felt nothing but kindness from him. The feelings swimming in her body brought nothing but confusion and she fell apart right in that moment.

Gerard saw the tears well up in her eyes. He reached to the next table to grab a stack of napkins and passed them over to her. Then he sat patiently while Becca wiped furiously at her face and breathed, in and out, her little huffs of air.

Finally, she stood and walked off to the bathroom. She was pissed at herself for allowing the emotions to bubble up into daylight hours. Normally, she could keep everything under control, but her heart was reminding her brain of all of the things gone wrong in her life and it chose the middle of the day in a very public place.

She looked into the mirror and saw a face, red and puffy, that she didn’t recognize. She was a waitress when she was supposed to be a lawyer, she was a single woman when she was supposed to be with the man she loved, she was a simple girl dabbling with things that were out of human control, and she felt the need to run. You can’t run from yourself.

She took a few deep breaths. “You need to get it together,” she spoke to the reflection in the glass. She ran the water until it was freezing cold and then splashed it onto her face.

She wasn’t sure how long she was in that bathroom, but when she returned, Gerard still sat in the same location, sipping a cup of tea. When Becca sat down, the barista presented a cup in front of her.

“I asked her to wait until your arrival,” Gerard said knowing that she would not trust anything he gave her.

Becca sat silently for a moment and stared at the blackness. “Please tell me what is going on?” she finally squeaked out of her mouth.

“Of course,” Gerard began. “Your aunt became sick about 5 years ago and that was when she came to me. We met at a park, upon her insistence and normally I would have refused, but to be completely honest, the money she was willing to pay for my time allowed her to buy me pretty easily.”

Becca’s look of confusion was exactly what Gerard was expecting. “I was a different person then. I had spent my whole life chasing money, as many attorneys do. I lost my family in the process and any amount of happiness I thought that the money I attained could buy. That is why I do things for Jo that I might not do for others. Because while I still have a little of that money hungry man living inside of me, I was shown a joy in this world that money cannot buy. A gift she gave me and something I could never fully repay to her.”

“She taught me,” he went on after taking another sip of his tea and adjusting himself in his seat. “She taught me how to love life. She taught me magic. I cannot be more grateful to her. Near the end, I made a promise.”

He sat forward and reached out for Becca’s hands. She paused. The move was unexpected, but she accepted the gesture and placed hers into his. “She talked of you often. More than anyone else. She saw something in you of a caliber greater than her own. She desperately wanted to reach out to you but was banned from doing so.”

By my parents.

Gerard nodded as if he could hear the thoughts in her head. “I am following her guidance to this day.”

“To this day?” Becca asked. “How could she have predicted everything that has happened?”

“She didn’t,” he said. “But the realm of the dead is not as far away as people think.”


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