Chapter Eleven

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The celebration of Gloria Glass's life lasted for close to two hours. From government officials to big names in the entertainment industry, many offered words of thanks and comfort...few of which reached Tessa's ears. Seated two rows behind him, she could not focus her thoughts on anything other than her former husband. She stared at the back of his now grey head with a sick feeling gnawing at her insides. Something was wrong with him, she had no doubt. And she had every intention of finding out exactly what had turned this once larger than life man into a shadow of himself.

They rode separately to the burial where Gloria's body was placed in the ground beside her husband, Denis Blackwood Glass. The priest that presided over the funeral and mass shared a poem that Gloria herself had penned about love and forgiveness and the importance of giving more than one might take. Again Tessa fought to keep her attentions in check. Every few moments, she couldn't help herself and she turned her eyes in Kelly's direction.

The priest offered a final prayer before the cloud of mourners, all cloaked in black, quietly made their way toward Kelly and Lily, sharing hugs and goodbyes. She stood with a group solemn faced individuals, several of whom she recognized from her past life, and waited to extend her love to the family. It took several minutes but the crowd eventually thinned and Tessa embraced Lily once more.

"Your grandmother loved you so very much," she whispered in the young woman's ear. "You were by far the most beautiful flower in her garden."

"I know she did." Lily held her tight, smiling through her tears.

With their arms linked together, the two women walked toward the waiting caravan of limousines.

"Lily! Tessa!" Kelly called out.

She stopped short and turned around at the sound of her name. He walked quickly in their direction, wearing a look of both exhaustion and relief.

"Is it all settled?" Kelly asked, looking into his ex-wife's eyes.

"I'm sorry..." Tessa shook her head in confusion.

"I haven't asked her yet but since you're here, I'll let you do the honors." Lily gave her father a wink as she and Maks continued on.

"Ask me what?" Tessa inquired.

"Dinner. Tonight. With us."

"Oh, Kelly, surely you don't feel like going out for--" She began.

"Not out. In. At my place. Just a quiet evening. Nothing fancy. Unless Maks specializes in fancy because he's volunteered to be chef."

She hesitated. "It's been such a long day and--"

"It would really mean a lot to me if you joined us."

"Are you sure?" She questioned him once more, arms folded across her chest.

"We'll make an early night of it, I promise." He smiled warmly.

#

She arrived at promptly at eight, still not quite sure why she agreed to come. She'd waited nervously for a cab inside the hotel lobby, running across a number of possibilities that might explain his unexpected dinner invitation. Was she about to be blindsided with their painful past or would the night simply be a casual evening of reminiscing? She hoped, of course, that it would be the latter even though she had an agenda of her own.

Lily and Maks created culinary magic and the party of four dined amid November breezes and city lights on his eleventh floor terrace. It didn't take long for their collective laughter to relax her, and by the time Kelly refilled her wine glass, she'd forgotten the apprehensions that plagued her during the ride to his luxury waterfront apartment. Kelly touched them with stories of his childhood and the woman he was privileged to call mother. Tessa couldn't deny it. Her former husband had a gift of captivating his audience. Some of the stories she'd heard before, only now he delivered them with a completely different flavor. His words were softer. More meaningful. And at one point, as he narrated a favorite memory, he locked eyes with Tessa and she felt something for Kelly Glass that she hadn't felt for a long time. Love. Not a romantic love but the love of two souls who had shared a unique journey.

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