The New Leaf
Old Lewis Mills stayed in the inn with the women and children those next few days, and before his departure, he returned to Jane with a final touch of news.
“I hope you can forgive me for actin’ without askin’ you first, but I’ve procured some property for you here. A plot with a contract to build a home upon it. They can have it ready by the beginning of spring. You’ll have plenty of your father’s money staying around as well.”
Jane hesitantly visited the clearing at the edge of town, far enough from neighbors, but close enough to the village streets to walk, even with snow. “It’s perfect, Lewis. Thank you for arranging this.”
“It’s a shame that William didn’t choose something like this for ya’ll.” Bryna said, sorrowfully. “No, I must apologize for such words.”
Jane shook her head as well. “If it weren’t for the accident, the life he wanted would have been perfect for us, out there. I would have learned, him teaching me. The children following in his footsteps. Growing big and strong and independent. We got to meet you both, even.”
Lewis crossed his arms. “You know I’m out here often enough, we can always visit you and the children.”
“Of course, and you are always welcome.”
Jane went to the plot several times that winter, watching with the children as the walls went up, the windows put in, and long boards of the roof being hoisted up. With the meager house completed and the property in her name, Jane bought some small pieces of furniture from the village and moved in.
Little James continued to ask about his father, but Jane could not find the strength to tell the boy the truth. Marie took to walking and talking in the new home, following in the footsteps of her brother. Jane wondered if the little girl would even remember her father either.
It wasn’t until the spring broke and the snows melted and the roads dried up that Jane made the decision to finally look the direction of Manchester, thinking of finally allowing her children to experience the truth.
“We’re off to the city for a visit. The one where Grandpa Flint is. We’ll… see your father, as well. Finally.”
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