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Home > Soaring (Magdalene #2)(4)

Soaring (Magdalene #2)(4)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I didn’t see any of that.

I walked by the huge mirror over the basins and into one of the closets where there were wardrobe boxes and suitcases.

Something in me drove me straight to a box. I ripped off the tape and the front panel fell away.

I reached in and pulled out the clothes randomly. Strewing them over the tops of other boxes, I pulled out more and did the same. Some of them landed on the boxes. Some on the floor. All haphazard. Messy.

It was wrong to do. They were designer. They were expensive. Many women would want their whole life just to own one piece of what I had many, but they’d never be able to afford it.

And they were all—every garment—something my mother would wear.

It had happened. I knew it in the heart of me. I hadn’t fought it. Not even a little bit. And I knew it before the movers had packed those boxes.

Every stitch should have been left behind. Sold. Discarded.

So I could start anew.

I walked out of the closet and to the basins. There were several boxes on the floor with labels on them that said “vanity.” I bent to them, ripped them open and pulled things out. Putting some on the floor, some on the countertop. I did this until, in box two, I found it.

My perfume.

“Every woman should have a signature scent,” my mother had told me.

Mine was Chanel No 5. I loved it. It was everything a woman should be.

But I had this niggling feeling it wasn’t all that was me.

I had this feeling because sometimes I felt more flowery.

And sometimes I felt more musky.

Then there were times I felt more summery.

I’d been taught that was wrong. You were what you were, only what you were, and you stuck with that.

As for me, I was the daughter of J.P. and Felicia Hathaway, which meant I was a Hathaway. Upper class. Moneyed. Well-educated. Appropriately dressed. Conservative. Mannered. Superior. Aloof. Privileged. Elite.

That was what I was and I was given no choice to be anything else.

So that was what I became.

And thus I buried the fact that sometimes I wanted just to go with the Amelia of the Day, whoever she might be, and grab whatever scent that defined her that day.

Then the next, I could be something different.

Whatever I wanted to be.

Not what she wanted me to be. Not what they demanded I be.

I glanced in the mirror but immediately looked away and walked out, through the bedroom, down the hall, the steps. I turned right into the large, open kitchen that looked down to the sunken living room, across to the cozy landing, all with views to the frothy sea. Calmly, I tore open boxes until I found them.

My dishes. Stoneware that was very pretty but cost forty dollars a plate.

My mother had picked it. She did it in a way that seemed she was encouraging me to pick it. But in reality, she picked it.

Suddenly, I had the nearly overwhelming urge to scoot the entire box out to the deck and, piece by piece, throw it into the sea.

I didn’t.

That would be a waste and those dishes could be put to good use.

I was starting anew. I didn’t need to do it being wasteful.

I was going to do something else with those plates.

I was going to do something else with all my stuff.

I was going to make it worth something. Something real.

Because that was what I was going to be. I was going to stop being what I was, the Felicia Hathaway mini-me all grown up.

I was going to be me.

I had absolutely no idea what that me would turn out to be.

I just knew whoever she was, for the first time in her life, she’d be real.

Chapter One

They’d See

By that weekend, the weekend the kids would normally fly out to California to spend a day and a half with me, they were instead coming to their new home.

I’d been in Magdalene for three days.

In that time, thankfully, I had not seen Mickey.

In that time, I’d also been through every box, mostly repacking things and lugging them to walls, stacking them up.

I had a plan.

But first, I had to start reparation work with my children.

I could say that due to my activities since Conrad and I separated—when joint custody turned to every other weekend, which then turned to the judge awarding Conrad custody of the children as he moved across the country, allowing me one weekend a month—along the way the visitations with my kids had deteriorated.

In the beginning I had cause. It was just. My neurosurgeon husband had cheated on me with a nurse at his hospital, a woman fifteen years younger than me. He then left our family in order to divorce me so they could be married.

Conrad and I signed our divorce papers on a Wednesday.

Conrad and Martine had a massive beach wedding that next Saturday, where my son was his father’s best man and my daughter was a junior bridesmaid.

Then, as the months passed into years, the extremity of my antics increasing, my cause was no longer just.

No, and not only because the extremity of my antics was extreme, but because I’d done what no mother should do.

I’d dragged my children right along with me.

I didn’t involve them, oh no. Never that.

But I didn’t hide it from them.

Therefore, that first Friday in Magdalene with the kids imminently arriving, I was a nervous wreck.

Auden, my sixteen-year-old son, drove. A month after his sixteenth birthday, his father and stepmother bought him a car. It was used. It was okay, not great. Through stilted reports from my boy, I learned what it was and knew that it ran (which was all he needed) and was relatively trendy (which was all he wanted).

I would have bought him his heart’s desire, even if that were a Porsche or a Mercedes.

Conrad would have attempted to educate me about the fact that if we gave everything to our children, they would become spoiled and wouldn’t know how to work for things themselves.

Conrad would have been right.

I still would have bought Auden the car he wanted, brand new with all the bells and whistles. And if Conrad and I had still been married, I’d have done it without thought, without discussion, giving it to Auden so Conrad would have had two choices: be the bad guy and take it away or give in and let him have it.

Now that I didn’t have that say in my son’s life, at three thirty on that Friday, that car drove up and parked in my drive.

A red Honda Civic.

I stood in my open front door and watched my children alight from it.

They didn’t look at the house. They didn’t look at me.

Auden and Olympia Moss just grabbed small bags from the trunk of the car and trudged up to the house like they were walking into a classroom at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning to take their SATs.

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