Read Wildflower Online

Authors: Prudence MacLeod

Tags: #love, #gay, #house, #dog, #lesbian, #desire, #hotel, #photography, #blonde, #runner, #wildflower

Wildflower (6 page)

BOOK: Wildflower
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“Yes ma’am they surely are. I hate to admit
it, but they are long and the snows can be quite deep. The roads
get very icy, and out here, you can easily go a day or two waiting
for a plow to come by.”

“I see, so what do the local folk do when
this happens?”

“Well, those who still live out here year
round always make sure the larder is full, if you know what I mean.
They are accustomed to it and are prepared to go a few days if they
have to. The worst thing though is when you have a power failure.
Sometimes you can lose the electricity for quite a while, then all
your pipes can freeze up and that is a real problem. I have shut
off the water to the house and drained the hot water tank so that
couldn’t happen while the place was empty.”

“But they can be turned back on can’t

“Oh yes, of course. The closest neighbor is a
retired school teacher and quite a handyman as well. Keith has been
watching the place for me. He can easily get you back up and
running in no time.”

“That is good to know. If I decide to move
out here I will certainly need the services of a good

“This place is called Pike’s Cove,” he said
as they passed along a long row of white houses dotting the
landscape on either side of the road. “This is the nearest
convenience store and it is also the Postal outlet. You go in here
and they set you up with a mail box. It’s not so bad really, these
folks rarely close so you can access your mail any day of the

Abby nodded her head thoughtfully and gazed
out the window again. The road rose up over a barren hill and
descended into a wooded area that swept back toward the sea. Ahead
she could see a small collection of white houses. “Jamaica Point,”
said Mark Pardy dramatically.

“Wow, what a view,” breathed Abby as she
continued to gaze out the window. She tore her eyes away from the
view and checked her watch. They were just forty five minutes from
the city limits. “Not so bad as all that,” she smiled to

Mark drove slowly along the road, allowing
Abby to soak up the view a bit. It seemed to her that almost half
the houses she saw were empty, but those that were occupied were in
a fine state of repair. Some of the older abandoned ones were all
boarded up and several had Mark Pardy’s for sale sign on them.
“Which one is it?” she asked softly.

“Just around the bend here,” he said as the
road rose up gently. As the car topped the hill, he stopped and
pointed to several houses down a small cove with a long gravelly
beach. “That’s her right there,” he said pointing. “She is the
third from the end and the last two are abandoned.”

Abby gave a small gasp of delight as she saw
the place for the first time. The house was old but well kept up,
or at least she had been until recently. It seemed to Abby that the
poor old girl had fallen on hard times of late. Tall and well
built, the old house stood in the middle of a gently sloping meadow
with her back to the road, and facing the sea. She had been built
in a time when the only highway had been the waterway.

Her paint had been pristine white at one
time, but no longer. Now it was faded to a dirty grey, and
beginning to peel in several places. The black trim looked like
three day old mascara rimming the tired aching eyes of the windows.
The smaller out buildings seemed like two small dogs, faithfully
tagging along behind a well beloved master. Tall grass was busy
trying to reclaim the poorly graveled driveway, and the land that
had been kept from it for so long.

Up by the road there was a signpost that
stood stark and lonely, one skeletal arm pointing to the house as
it gravely proclaimed the residence. Number thirteen, Gully Bank
Road, The Murphys.

Number thirteen Gully Bank Road gazed out
over a gently lapping cove. The two arms of the big gully reached
out protectively into the cold North Atlantic and took the brunt of
the ocean’s fury. A long sweep of gravelly beach reached from one
arm all the way round to the other like a forced smile that had
been stretched a bit too wide.

The field of wildflowers swayed to and fro in
the warm gentle breeze that teased them into movement. A line of
wash hung on the neighbor’s clothesline flowed gently through a
stately dance as though to attest to the welcoming nature of the
folk who lived in this remote part of the world. There was
something so appealing about the whole scene as the old house sat
alone in the sun, waiting patiently for the next owner to nurture
and protect, waiting patiently for the next coat of paint to return
to her the bloom of a youth long since past.

“I think this old girl might need me as badly
as I need her,” Abby thought to herself.

“You go poke around inside Miss MacKai,”
suggested Mark as he unlocked the door. “I have a few things to do
out here first then I’ll join you.”

Abby nodded then gently pushed open the door
and stepped inside. She was in a small porch and two strides took
her into the kitchen. Surprisingly, the kitchen was quite modern
with all fairly new appliances as well as a huge old wood stove.
The room was quite large and the table and chairs were neatly
placed, almost waiting for the folk to come home to dinner.

A quick peek inside showed the refrigerator
to be empty, but Mark had said it was working. The cupboards still
contained all the dishes as well as some spices and other things
that should have been discarded long ago. There was a distinct odor
of decay in one of them. A small pantry was off the kitchen and a
place for fire wood storage just inside it. Abby smiled warmly at
this, no need to be cold in case of a power failure.

Just off the kitchen was a more formal dining
room complete with table, chairs, and two fully loaded china
cabinets. From the dining room she made her way to the living room
which was also fully furnished with some very old but elegant
pieces that had obviously been refurbished not so very long ago.
The drapes were still in place, the TV and stereo were still in the
entertainment center, and the pictures were still hanging on the
walls. The stairs went up and down to the basement as well. Abby
decided to go up.

There had been some rather nice renovations
done up there as well. There were two rather large bedrooms and a
well appointed bathroom between them. There was also what had been
another bedroom, but it was small and had been converted to
storage. It was piled high with plastic containers full of yarns.
The second bedroom was also full of extra furniture and most of
that was crammed full of old clothes, dishes, nick knacks, stacks
of hand made doilies and other needle work, boxes full of old
jewelry, purses, etc. Puzzled, Abby made a mental note to ask Mark
the whole story on this place.

She reached the main floor and found the
entrance to the basement. Flicking on the light, but finding none,
Abby made her way down the stairs anyway as there was plenty of
daylight. The stairs seemed new and most of the basement had been
finished. She found the laundry machines and a full sized deep
freezer as well as tons of boxes filled with more clothes,
curtains, baubles and beads as well as other hobby and craft
supplies, and still more furniture. Shaking her head in bemusement
Abby returned to the main floor. Again she poked through the living
room, noting the large variety of books contained in the three
large bookcases. She also noted the deep layers of dust over
everything as well as the distinct odor of dampness everywhere.

Abby poked through the closets and then
returned to the kitchen where she found Mark sitting at the table
waiting for her. “Mark, can you tell me a bit of the story about
this house?” she asked as she took a seat across the table from

“Well Miss MacKai, as you can guess by the
way she faces the sea that she was originally built long before the
road came through. Many years ago it came into the hands of Terry
and Bride Murphy. They lived and raised a family here, and although
Terry often had to work away, Bride never left. Once the family was
grown and gone, Terry put every cent he could find into the house
to make it easier for Bride as she got older. He insulated and
upgraded the wiring as well as put on a new roof about ten years
ago. They did a lot of work inside as well, but you can see that.
They even put a solid concrete foundation under her.”

“What about all the extra furniture and all
the boxes of stuff?”

“The two sheds out there are full of it too,”
he smiled ruefully. “Terry died about five years ago and shortly
after that his older sister from Trinity died as well. Bride
inherited the works of it and she tried to store all of it in the
house, planning to sort through it all sooner or later but she
never did. A few months after it was all brought here, she had a
stroke and wasn’t able to do a lot from there. Two years ago she
had another stroke and they put her in the home where she died a
few months later.

“The place has been empty ever since and the
heirs want to be rid of it. The way things are now it is costing
them for upkeep and taxes. They really want it sold and as soon as
possible. You can probably name your own price and they won’t even

“I’ve got the water all hooked up again, but
it will take a day or two to get the power back on. Once that
happens you can test the appliances if you want to.”

“Thanks Mark, but I’ll take your word that
they all work,” smiled Abby as she rose gracefully to her feet. “I
want to walk around outside a bit now.”

With a glimmer of hope in his heart he
followed her outside. She used the front door, the one that opened
toward the sea and the one originally designed to welcome guests.
It even had stained glass in the window, but a steel storm door had
been mounted on the outside to keep the winter winds at bay.

Abby descended the stairs and walked toward
the beach for a bit before turning to look at the house from there.
From this view she seemed much more welcoming; not nearly as sad as
she had from the road. It was almost as though the spirit of the
old house was calling to Abby. “Come to me,” she seemed to sigh. “I
will hold you gently in my arms and you can heal here. We will both
heal together.”

“Perhaps we will at that,” thought Abby
softly. “How much land goes with it?” she asked, turning to address
Mark who had followed her outside.

“From the road to the shore,” he replied as
he pointed, “and from the far edge of the driveway to the tall post
over there. Beyond that is Keith’s place. Out the back here is
where Bride kept her garden until she got so she could no longer
tend it. Too late to set out anything this year, but next year
could be good. The soil here is actually quite deep in places and
not too rocky at all.”

“Twenty thousand,” said Abby softly.

“Excuse me?” he asked, turning back toward
her, startled by the suddenness of her remark.

“Offer twenty thousand,” repeated Abby. “This
house needs a lot of work; she’s been neglected too long. The
entire outside needs paint for instance, and it will take forever
to get the smell of mustiness out of the inside.”

“All right Miss MacKai,” he sighed with
slumping shoulders. “We accept.”

“We accept?” she asked arching an eyebrow at

“Yes, I’m one of the heirs. I though of
trying to do something with the old girl myself, but the others
just want out, and I can’t afford to buy them out while I have
three kids in college. You’ve got a deal.”

“Very good sir,” she smiled softly as she
turned back to look at the old house once more. “You make up the
paper work and I’ll write a cheque.”

“Shall we go back inside?” he asked,
motioning her forward with a sweeping gesture of his arm. She
nodded and preceded him back into the kitchen. “It’ll take about
ten days to get all the paperwork settled out, but you can move in
immediately if you wish.”

“I have some other things to attend to,”
replied Abby as she removed her cheque book from her purse. “Would
you be so kind as to ask your friend to continue keeping an eye on
the place until I can get moved in? I’ll pay whatever he requires
once I am settled.”

“I’m sure that won’t be a problem. Now I need
you to sign here, and here, and I’ll get you a receipt for the
cheque. Here we go and here’s the key to the castle Miss MacKai. As
I said, move in whenever you wish.”

“I’ll wait until the papers are all
registered,” she smiled as she accepted the keys from his hand. “I
want everything to be on the up and up with this.”

“I assure you that everything will be done
properly Miss MacKai,” he smiled. “The last thing I want is to have
to take it back, and I don’t want to be sued. I have a certain
reputation to uphold.”

“And a very good reputation it is Mr. Pardy,”
smiled Abby, passing the cheque across the table.

“You checked me out?”

“Right after we spoke on the phone,” she
smiled. “I don’t get in a car with just anybody sir. Had I felt
unsure of you at all I would have brought someone else with

“You take no chances, do you?” he asked
softly, getting lost in those crystal blue eyes.

“I take no chances,” she smiled in return as
she rose to her feet, “and I am vengeful when I am crossed. Enough
of this; take me home sir. I want you to stop somewhere along the
way and I will buy you lunch.”

“Oh Miss MacKai, there’s no need...”

“Your gas, my sandwiches,” she laughed,
taking his arm and steering him toward the car. “Come on.”

As they exited the house a tall grey haired
man was approaching. It was the handyman and Mark introduced Abby
as the new owner. “Well, it will be a treat to see lights in her
windows again,” he smiled as he shook Abby’s hand warmly. Abby
liked this tall athletic man instantly.

“It may be a while before I am ready to move
in Mr. Pike.”

BOOK: Wildflower
12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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