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Chapter 1

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Love is a funny thing, right?

And when it involves a parent figure you cherish more than anything in this world, it's even funnier.

After a long day at work, the message my dear grandma sent me canceling our vacation plans caught me off guard. She has always lived a simple life, so now that I have the means, I want to give her everything she deserves.

But does it mean she will let me do it easily? Of course not.

She has talked about her soon-to-be seventieth birthday for months now. About how excited she was to celebrate it with me. How excited she was about this new phase of her life (Yeah, I know, right?). How she couldn't wait to visit the Caribbean islands and enjoy the tropical weather.

We were all good to go.

But then, as soon as I stepped foot inside my place after work today, she sent me a message saying she decided to throw herself a birthday party instead.

Rereading her message, I take my shoes off and sit down on the couch, already feeling the beginning of a headache forming in the back of my skull.

"What do you mean you're throwing yourself a birthday party?" I ask her, my head shaking when she lets out a chuckle on the other side of the line.

"It means I'm not getting any younger, and that I deserve to have my beloved ones with me to celebrate my seventieth birthday," she says.

"But we were going on a cruise, remember? You've always wanted to go on a cruiser," I try, even though I know she won't give in. She's the best grandmother in the world, but also the most stubborn person I know.

"We can always go another time," she says as if things were that simple.

It was a miracle I could get this ten-day vacation time without having to mess with my clients' schedules. Being an interior designer has been my dream for so long that I'd hate to let anyone down. I want my clients to tell others I'm great, not that I can't finish things on time.

"I never ask for anything." She sighs, making me chuckle.

"You asked me to buy you a motorbike last week. A motorbike. That's what you asked for your birthday, Gran."

"Right! But how cool would it be? Those old ladies from church would have a heart attack if they saw me on the back of a Harley." She laughs, and it's like I can see the mischief in her eyes.

Lola is a crazy old lady and the best person I know. And because she knows I have a hard time saying no to her, she uses it to her advantage from time to time. Like right now, for example.

The last thing I want is to come home.

I've been avoiding it for ten years. I was hoping I could keep it like that for another ten.

"Let's try to keep them alive," I say, my heartwarming at how sassy she is.

"So, it's all set, then. You'll travel next week and help me with everything. We'll have a wonderful time together. I miss you so much," she says, and my heart squeezes tightly in my chest. She's been asking me to go home for a visit pretty much since the day I left ten years ago.

"I miss you too, Gran," I whisper.

"You sound tired. Are you eating well?" She goes from sassy to worried in a heartbeat, and I can't help but miss her even more.

"My fridge is stocked with healthy food."

"I mean actual food. Not that rabbit food you've become so keen on," she says, making me chuckle.

"Things are good, really. I got a big client today. I'm thinking about moving into a new condo soon. Life is... good."

"Yeah..." I just think you work too hard. Weekends are for us to relax and unwind, but I'm sure you spent the whole day at the office today." She sighs, making me smile. We've been having this talk for years now.

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