Chapter 38 - I Love You For Sentimental Reasons

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June 1946

James climbed in the car after unlocking the gate, and Jonathon leaned forward in the back seat. "Park the car by the front of the house."

"Aye, sir."

Jonathon grinned as they drove down the winding drive, the nearly overhead sun blocked by the trees that enveloped them. He couldn't wait to see Helen's reaction when he saw her.

Inside the house, he noticed the silence as he removed his fedora and put it on the table with the telephone. Douglas must not be playing nearby or he surely would have heard the door.

"Oh. Hello, Mr. Blackwell," Annie said, stepping out of the library with a dusting rag in her hand. "I didn't realize you'd be home early today."

"Where's Helen?"

"She took Douglas to the pond to play.  Did you need something?" she asked, stopping him before he could turn to the door.

"No, I..." He smiled as an idea came to him. "I'm going to take them into town for lunch."

"What a treat," Annie said, returning his smile. "They'll like that."

"I think they will," he said, and headed outside.

Walking behind the garage, he was glad he was able to leave work on the spur of the moment. Now that he had Norm Kennedy to rely on, he'd taken the occasional day off during the week, and had even stopped working on the weekends.  But leaving on a moment's notice without having to worry about what was happening at the business was a relief.

Norm was a good man; steady, reliable, and smart as a whip. Many times when he'd discovered a problem, by the time Jonathon had arrived on the scene, he'd already come up with a solution. In many ways, Norm had stepped into the role Jonathon had always imagined Billy would have, as his right-hand man. But then, Billy had been the one to suggest him.

Before he'd gone to New York six months ago, Billy had left a letter for Jonathon to find on his desk, but Jonathon had been so angry, he'd torn it in pieces without reading it and thrown it in his waste basket.

One month later, another letter appeared on his desk.

~\~

"Mrs. Gibson!" Jonathon shouted when he recognized Billy's handwriting.

"Yes, Mr. Blackwell?" she said, appearing in the doorway.

"Where did this come from?" he demanded, holding up the letter.

She took a deep breath, as if she was steeling herself. "Your brother gave it to me before he went away. He said if you hadn't read the one he left, to wait a month before giving this one to you."

Jonathon dropped the letter while he slumped. Of course Billy would think to do that. He'd always been stubborn in his own way.

He was about to dismiss Mrs. Gibson, when he noticed the worried look in her eyes. There was something she wasn't telling him. "How many more of these do you have?" he asked.

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