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Chapter 1

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Sometimes it only takes something as banal as a text message to change the course of your life.

You think you know what you're doing and that life couldn't be better.

But then...

Then, your past comes knocking on your door, daring you to reevaluate your life and confront the feelings you've buried deep inside a long time ago.

GRAN: Change of plans. We're not going on a cruiser anymore. I decided to throw myself a party to celebrate my 70th birthday 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. I've just got home from a long day at work where everything seemed to go wrong. I was hoping I could relax after a day of bulshit. The last thing I want is to make plans to go back to Rose Town.

Sighing, I have no option but to call my dear grandmother and see what the heck she's up to now.

"Hello, sweetheart," she answers after the first ring.

"What do you mean you're throwing yourself a birthday party?" I ask, 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 cruiser, 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 client's 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.

She knows that coming home, even if for a quick visit, is not in my plans.

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 those ladies alive," I say, smiling 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 to a new condo soon. Life is... good," I say, skipping the part where said client tested all my limits today.

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