Unbreakable 2, The Mystery of Lilly (Cypress Grove Series), page 9
"Yeah, me too," Jacob says, "How long is Miss Finnegan gone for?" She had left this morning for Virginia. Her sister is sick and she went there to help take care of her.
"She wasn't sure, at least a month." I frown. "We are on our own for dinner tonight." I tell him as we make our way out of the library.
"Did Lucy not tell you? We are going on a double date tonight with some old friends of hers. She wants me to meet them," Jacob says hopping on one of the stools at the kitchen island.
"That will be fun. You guys deserve a night out. I've barely seen Lucy, she's been so busy getting everything up and running." I grab a Diet Coke from the fridge holding it up to Jacob to see if he wants one. He shakes his head that he doesn't.
"We're leaving in about an hour or so. When is Luke getting home?" Jacob asks.
Popping the top on my can of soda, I shrug and take a drink, "Don't know, I assume anytime now."
"Good, I hope he gets home before we leave."
"Jacob, I'll be fine if he's not." I glance at him, and I see he is trying not to look worried but is failing. "I can be alone, the security is set up. Besides, I have them." I point to my two furry companions that never leave my side.
"I know you can be alone, I just don't want you alone. Not yet," he says drumming his fingers on the counter top.
"Well it doesn't matter, because you're not standing up your girl. You better go get ready. Stop by the office and pry her away from that keyboard, please. Poor girl needs a break." I wave my hand in a scoot motion so he will. "Now go on, get." I smile sweetly as he leaves the kitchen rolling his eyes at me.
"We'll tell you before we leave!" He yells back at me as he disappears toward the office.
My phone vibrates on the counter. Looking down there's instant warmth when I see Luke on the screen. "Hey baby," I answer.
"Flower, how's your day going?" He sounds exhausted on the other end of the line.
"Good, just been doing some research, how about you? You sound tired. Your dad is working you hard, huh?"
"Yea, I really wish the stubborn ass would just sell this house." He breathes into the phone.
"I offered to buy them a new one, but he's too proud, baby."
"I know, yet I'm the one stuck here doing all this manual labor. He won't even hire anybody."
"I'll have a talk with him. Maybe if I tell him I need you around here he will have no choice but to hire someone," I suggest.
"We'll see. I called to tell you that I am going to be home late," he says.
"Awe, why? I miss you baby." I whine into the phone. He's been gone since early this morning.
"I know, flower, I miss you too, sweetheart," he says sweetly. "Sarah called. She wants to meet with me, says she has something she wants to talk about. So we are meeting for a drink."
"Is everything okay? You guys could meet here," I recommend.
"I suggested that, too, she wants to meet with me alone." He sounds worried. I have to say that I am a little too.
"What do you think it's about?"
"I honestly don't know, baby," he sighs heavily into the phone. "I just know I need to do it. She was adamant. I'll be home as soon as I can. I can't wait to soak in the tub with you."
"I can't wait for that either. Love you."
"Love you, too, baby," he says before hanging up.
I don't tell him Jacob will be gone because then he'll worry. With him worried about what his sister has to tell him, I don't want him getting all anxious knowing I'll be home alone.
Jacob and Lucy looked so cute when they left for their double date. Lucy was so excited to be going out and to show off her new handsome boyfriend to her friends. I told Jacob a little white lie, telling him Luke was going to be home any minute. The truth was I had no idea when Luke was getting home, so it could have been any minute.
There was no way I was going to let them worry about me, not that there was anything to worry about. I wanted them to have fun. Lord knows they deserved it and a whole lot more. I threw Jacob the keys to the Aston Martin before they headed into the garage. The giddy look on his face was all I needed to fill my heart with warmth.
I called Emma and filled her in on the key we found. She was in a bad mood. Her mother had decided to sell their house. She and her father were going to retire and move somewhere else. For the time being no one was going to know where that was.
"They know I want to buy this house, but they need the cash to buy a new one. Now I'm going to have to start all over," Emma scoffs. Something I've never mentioned is that Emma is a brilliant artist. Not only does she paint, but she is the queen of restoration. Her studio is set up in her parents' house, taking up the entire second floor. She has put a lot of work into making it perfect for lighting. There are a few pieces there she is restoring for the Louisiana State Museum.
"I'm sorry, Em, maybe it will take a while for it to sell."
"Not my luck, Jimmy and I might have to see if you will rent one of your houses to us.
"You know anything you need is yours," I tell her.
"Yeah, I know. It's just that the lighting is so perfect here." Her voice trails off as if she is looking around her studio right now.
Then she tells me Maria, their house keeper, is already looking for another job. Emma had been working on her for information since the first day at Bon Dieu's. Maria wasn't talking though. She got even more defensive the more we dug. She warned Emma even, almost threatened her to drop it. Leave the past in the past.
Maria had been working for the William's since before Emma was born. Obviously Maria knows about whatever has scared Elliott out of the state. No one is talking, which makes Emma even more determined. I tell Emma I want to go back to Bon Dieu's with the soul book that had the key. I need it translated so we can maybe figure out what the key is to. She's in and she also tells me that she wants to search the graveyard. I can't imagine finding any clues out there, but it's not like we're having any luck in the library.
After I hang up with Emma, I make myself a sandwich and settle in the living room on the sectional couch. Gus and Oscar lie on the floor next to me. I have my laptop and the soul book to do more research. It's after 9:00 at night and I still have not heard anything from Luke, so I work on translating any words I can. The book is so old the pages are brittle. I have to be very careful. Some of the pages are ripped making it hard to read some of the words, but I'm able to make out a couple of words. Nanm keeps showing up, which translates to soul. I am also able to translate rne which means rebirth, and reziste which means resurrect. I write down a few sentences that I can't translate. After a couple of hours of pouring through the book, I feel my eyes getting heavy. I lay my head back and must doze off.
The next thing I know, I'm being lifted into strong arms. I wrap my arms around Luke's neck nuzzling close inhaling his wonderful scent.
"I wish you would have told me you were going to be alone." Luke's words are harsh. He commands the dogs to stay. They seem to know that when Luke is around they are off duty. I glance up at his eyes, they are tired and worried.
"Is everything okay?" I whisper as he carries me up the steps to our room.
"No, Jacob called me an hour ago making sure I was home. I don't want you being alone, not yet," he says, now setting me gently on the bed.
"I meant with Sarah," I say as he tries to cover me up.
"We'll talk about it later, get some sleep flower," he says kissing my forehead before he goes into the bathroom, shutting the door. I hear the water running, not a shower it sounds like the sunken tub. I get out of bed a few minutes later. I strip naked and walk into the bathroom. Luke is in the tub with his head back, eyes closed.
"Do you want some company?" I offer sheepishly. Luke's head raises, he looks at my naked body. Not saying a word he sits up offering me his hand. I grab it and he has a firm grip on me before I step down the two steps that lead into the sunken tub. Straddling his lap, I face him.
"You never have to ask th
"Do you want to talk about it?" I whisper, rubbing my hands down his hard pecs and then back up to the nape of his neck. His hands are on my thighs moving up to my hips. He pulls me into him, pressing his erection against me.
"Not really, not right now. Is that okay?" He murmurs pulling me closer to bury his face in my neck.
"Yes," is all l say. We are silent, except for some heavy breathing and moaning as we slowly make love. The water sloshes up over the edge of the tub. Luke is passionate, it seems as if he is burying all of his frustrations into me with his frantic kisses and his hands all over.
"I love you, God, I love you so much," he says over and over as we come to a climax together. "You are all I will ever need." He's breathless as I collapse onto his chest, his arms engulfing me. He is holding on to me tightly, as if I'm going to float away.
"I love you, too, Luke." I sigh into his neck, he has me worried. Something about the way he is just has me unsettled. "Just tell me you are all right. Just tell me we are all right," I whisper.
"I am all right, and we are definitely all right, baby." He urges me up to take my face in his hands. "It's just been a long day. Are you ready to go snuggle in our bed?" He gives me a smile, a true Luke smile, and I nod yes. With me still straddling him, he lifts us up out of the tub. I wrap my legs around his waist since he seems to have no intention of putting me down. He grabs one of the big fluffy towels with one hand, his arm holding me to him with the other. Wrapping it around us I help dry us off. It's kind of hard when our bodies are still pressed firmly together. I can't help but to start laughing, which Luke joins me as we get into our bed still somewhat wet, but we don't care. Luke crawls on top of me, brushing some hair from my face and kissing my nose then my bottom lip.
We make love slow and sweet again, our bodies as one, and then fall asleep in each other's arms. The way I plan to spend every night for the rest of my life.
"Did you guys have fun last night?" I ask Lucy, walking into the office the next morning, cup of coffee in my hand.
"Oh, we had a great time." Lucy beams at me as I sit across the desk from her. "Until Jacob found out you were home alone, he was a little on edge. He relaxed when Luke texted him saying he was home though," she says rolling her eyes.
"I'm sorry," is all I can say. If I were her I would have been upset, but she just takes it as it is.
"No worries, Lil, I know that you are like a little sister to him. He just worries. It turned out okay, and my friends loved him." She's glowing as she says it.
"What's not to love, did you have any doubt?"
"Not really. He is great, isn't he?" She gushes, her cheeks turning flush.
Luke was up before me, him and Jacob going for their run. So it is just the two of us in the house.
"I need you do to something for me this morning," I tell Lucy handing her a piece of paper. She studies it for a moment and nods her head.
"Consider it done," she answers, not questioning it at all. "Also, wanted to let you know that I'm still running a search for January James. I am checking state by state. Nothing yet, but hopefully soon we can find out where she disappeared to."
"Thanks, Lucy, I know you are doing a lot." We make small talk about her and Jacob's night. Then we talk about the key we found.
Emma doesn't come over that day or the next. Luke spends the next few days at his dad's. By the time he gets home he is tired and still not in the mood to talk about what happened between him and Sarah. I give him the space he needs and don't ask questions. He'll tell me when he's ready.
I contacted Carley about my offer to hire a construction team. Like I suspected, she knew nothing about it. I had given Jeffrey time off for his project. I had also decided to make the other half of the upstairs like a little apartment for Jacob and Lucy so I needed Luke here for the overseeing of that. Carley said she would talk to him, which meant it's as good as done. I had set up a very handsome retirement plan for Jeffrey and told him that he could retire whenever he wanted to. He wasn't ready, which was fine.
Cypress Grove had a lot of ground that needed up keep and I needed him here. He was going to hire a team and oversee it, but hadn't done this yet and I needed him to get to it. There was still a lot of overgrown ground that hadn't even been touched. I wanted it done so I could see what else was on the very large property. For obvious reasons, Jeffrey had only focused on the space close to the house wanting to get it ready to live in. The team he hired was very fast and efficient, which was apparent, seeing in little under a month I was living in a shiny new home. I hoped that Carley would talk to him soon so that the rest of the grounds would look good as new too.
For the next couple of weeks the house is buzzing with the construction of the J & L wing. Jimmy came up with that one. I spend most of my time scouring the books in the library. I am almost becoming fluent in magic terms and Haitian.
Finally, after begging for her to come over, Emma showed up. I wanted her help in the graveyard. Carley had talked Jeffrey into letting me fund the construction so he could get back to work. Luke was ecstatic at not being the laborer anymore. Now he only had to oversee the construction at his parents' house and for the J & L wing.
"Guess what?" Emma shouts as she storms into the house. She sits on one of the stools at the kitchen island. I am trying to make lasagna for supper, but one thing is for sure, I am not a good cook. Everyone is very excited for Miss Finnegan to return.
"Hi Emma," I say as I layer noodles and cheese in a casserole dish.
"The house is sold. Some idiot bought it paying full price in cash. We have a week to be out. They got escrow to go through that fast." Her face is red with anger. "How the hell am I to get all my very sensitive paintings out and set up in another safe location in a week? You know some of those paintings are over 500 years old!" She says, slamming her hands down on the counter. I have been waiting for her to come over so I could tell her this in person. I can't help but laugh.
"I don't think it's funny at all, this is some messed up shit! I'm so mad I could spit!" She yells at me.
"Emma, who do you know that could pay cash for a house? Who has enough buying power to push escrow through that fast?" I look up at her wiping sauce from my hands with a dish towel. "Happy birthday," I say as the light bulb goes off in her head realizing what I am talking about.
"You bought the house?" Her sullen pissed off mood does a 180 into happy as hell.
"I did, and I am giving it to you. It is an early birthday present." I beam at her. The happiness on her face is all the thanks I need. She jumps off the stool, rushing over to me.
"Oh, my God! Thank you, thank you!" She squeals hugging me and making me drop a lasagna noodle on the floor. "You are the best, Lil."
"Did you really think I would let you be homeless?" I ask picking up the slippery noodle and tossing it into the trash.
"No, but I didn't expect you to buy me a house either. This is perfect! I don't have to start all over. Do you know how long it took me to get my studio safe for all that fragile art?" She pops a piece of mozzarella in her mouth. She is smiling even through the chewing. "I've been so worried about this that I haven't been able to eat. I am suddenly starving," she says hugging me again.
She dips a spoon in my meat sauce to taste it and her lips go up. Glancing at me I can tell she doesn't like it.
"I know it's bad, I don't know what I am doing wrong." I take the whole pan of lasagna and dump it into the trash.
"I'm sorry, but I think that is the worst thing I have ever tasted." She laughs and I join her. I've spent years watching Miss Finnegan cook. She never measures anything, just a dash of this and a pinch of that. It always tastes fabulous.
"I say in celebration of my new house, we all go out to eat tonight," Emma says dumping the meat sauce down the garbage disposal. "The mo
"Thanks." I laugh with her.
"What is that horrible smell?" Lucy enters the kitchen with her nose scrunched up which makes both of us laugh even harder.
"Text the boys and let them know they are taking us out for dinner," Emma says wiping a tear from her eye still laughing. "Oh, we can go to that new seafood place in New Orleans."
"With a little detour to Bon Dieu's," I add throwing a lasagna noodle at Emma.
"Yeah, it's a date. You guys can pick us up on the way. Jimmy and I will be at my house," Emma says grabbing her purse to head out.
"You're leaving already? I thought we were going to search the cemetery." I state, shocked at her abrupt departure.
"Tomorrow, I promise. Right now I've got to go and get ready. Plus I want to tell my mother the good news. She's been feeling really guilty about the house thing." Her voice trails off as she leaves the house.
A few hours later we are in the SUV on the way to pick up Emma and Jimmy with a quick stop at the bank first. Jacob is driving, Luke is in the passenger seat, and Lucy and I are in the back.
"What do you need at the bank? I have plenty of cash, babe," Luke says after I tell Jacob to stop there.
"You'll see. I'll just be a minute," I tell them before I hop out. I'm in and out in five minutes then we are off.
Walking with my hand in Luke's, we stroll down the French Quarter. The restaurant we are going to eat at is on Bourbon Street. It's not a long walk from Bon Dieu's.
"I can't believe we are going here again," Jacob says behind us, his arm draped over Lucy's shoulders.
"I'm excited, I've heard so much about it. Now I get to see it in person," Lucy interjects making Jacob groan.
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