Chapter One

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A cab was waiting when the boat arrived at the dock. He held the door open for her, ushering her inside the vehicle with his hand on the small of her back. He'd found many ways to touch her throughout the day. A light brush of his hand. A gentle tap on the shoulder. Finally, the soft embrace they shared when their difficult mission was done. It had been a long, emotional day. A long week for that matter. But somehow they found the strength to fulfill a touching last wish...one that had her questioning the last two decades of her life.

The ride to the seaside cafe was short with very little conversation en route. Once inside, she excused herself for a few moments alone in the Ladies Room. Standing in front of the mirror, she noted how little the restaurant had changed since her last visit. The same chipped tile vanity. The same faded oil painting hanging on the wall. The same woven basket of hand towels beside the sink. It was as though not a day had passed. But upon close inspection of herself, the passage of time was clear. Her hair was shorter now - not much, but a little. Her face, more pale and thin. Days spent inside a lecture hall had brought little color to her skin. The young twenty-something newlywed that once smiled at her reflection in the very same mirror was now replaced with a fifty-something year old woman. A woman beginning to doubt every twist and turn her life had taken since.

Just what the hell are you doing?

Surely you don't believe history can be rewritten with a few kind words and the perfect sunset, do you?

This is your ex-husband we're talking about.

The man who swore he could never trust you again.

He's in mourning. You're mistaking his kindness for something else. It's been an emotional couple of weeks and you're both off-kilter.

The fact that you're having a silent conversation with yourself in a bathroom mirror proves you've lost your mind.

She ran her fingers through her windblown hair and gave her lips a quick swipe of clear gloss. Nolan sat waiting at a table overlooking the water with a bottle of wine breathing between two glasses. He immediately smiled and stood upon her return. She took a deep breath and smiled back.

"This place hasn't changed a bit." He looked around.

"Bathrooms haven't been updated."

"Mediterranean rustic?" He pushed her chair in.

"Chipped tile and all."

"May I?" He reached for her glass, filling it halfway. "I ordered for us. I hope that's okay."

"Fine." She answered with a polite smile, her eyes pulled out to sea.

She kept her gaze focused on the waves until the waiter arrived with their dinner. Neither had said a word to this point and it seemed they both lacked any real appetite. Mary Grace picked at her salad while he did nothing more than push his food around his plate. Was it the pain and finality of their completed task that weighed down on them...or something else? There was definitely something there. Things. Words. So much that needed to be said. But who would dare to begin? Were his thoughts centered solely on Dale? Or was he, like her, letting his mind wander into dangerous, long deserted places?

"Would you care for some dessert this evening?" The waiter returned.

"Interested?" He scanned her eyes.

"I don't think so. I'm really not very hungry."

"I think we'll pass. Just the check please, Amigo."

Amigo. She hadn't heard him address anyone that way in so long. It made her heart flutter a little, the way he addressed others. Never rude or condescending. Always confident. And always with a smile. It was one of the things that initially drew her to him.

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