The story of the Spinster house: The House, The Couple, Another meeting and The Shop.
Chapter 4: Anna's last year (Part I)
When Anna got back to the house, she was ready for a little alone time. Spending time with Zoe was fantastic, but being reminded of her Aunt Hope was weighing on her. Anna still felt guilty for not coming to help when Hope called. She knew Hope had understood, but her illness and subsequent death followed so quickly afterward that Anna could not help but feel responsible.
Anna was greeted at the door by a wiggly Trouble clutching a ragged stuffed monkey in his mouth. His entire body shook with joy at having Anna back again as though he had been without her for years rather than mere hours. He turned his head away from her as she reached for his toy. Trouble never wanted her to play with the monkey, he just wanted to show it to her so she knew she was accepted with his prized possessions.
Soon Trouble was wiggling for another reason. Putting her purse down, she walked through the house to the back door where she would let him into the yard. He set his monkey down gingerly by the step and raced outside as though experiencing freedom for the first time. Trouble was a blur of black fur as he ran from corner to corner of the yard barking at squirrels and letting his presence be known.
Anna smiled and turned back to the kitchen. She started the kettle for tea and went back to the entry way to retrieve her purse. On the way, she looked about the house which was half unpacked and still a mess of opened boxes. Though she was starting to feel more settled here - in The Spinster House, she thought wryly - she was instantly reminded of the reason she came back.
2 months prior
The box weighed her down despite having very little in it but for an African violet, a silver framed picture of herself and her sisters, and her ceramic coffee cup in the shape of a dog. Gravity pulled the box further into her arms as she walked slowly down the hallway that seemed to stretch endlessly before her.
Coworkers watched in silence as security walked just behind her as policy dictated. They glanced away quickly as Anna met their eyes, her head held high despite the overwhelming feelings swirling around her mind. Disbelief warred with panic and shame for top contender as she left the office of her dreams for the last time.
Anna had known getting involved with her boss was a bad idea. He was too handsome, too suave, and too influential on her career. However, he was relentless and soon she agreed to have dinner with him. She was pleasantly surprised by their easy conversation and the smooth transition into a real relationship. Six months in, Anna was head over heels and assumed Richard was as well.
He had certainly acted the part. Gifts, flowers, fancy suppers, and late night phone calls. She had even met his parents on more than one occasion. Any worry she had of problems at the office was gently deflected by elegant words and assurances. Anna may have been his legal assistant, but Richard was a professional and an up-and-coming lawyer in line for partnership, he wouldn't do anything to jeopardize either of their careers.
When Aunt Hope had called and requested Anna come back to run the shop, Anna was happily in love and at the top of her career. She was respected, adored, and working 60 hour weeks. Anna thought she had made the right decision until the week that blew everything apart.
Who knew one legal document misplaced would ruin a career, a relationship, and a future proposal?
Next: The Disastrous Betrayal