“Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz…” Harley’s phone vibrated violently on her wooden desk, she glanced down and felt her stomach hit her throat.
She smiled awkwardly and gestured to her co-worker to finish up with the clients as she politely excused herself.
She swiftly walked out of her office and into a deserted hallway that smelled of cleaning supplies and air freshener.
Harley stared at her phone in disbelief.
The messages read:
“Missed Call from Jillian”
Ice slithered through her veins as she leaned against the cool wall to stop her knees from buckling.
Flashes of her past flooded her mind. Waves of memories washed over her as if she were a shoreline.
Sweat began to puddle on her brow as she listened to the voicemail:
“Bonjour darling, it’s Aunty Jillie! But, you already know that, don’t you?
Oh, it’s been such a long time, my dear I know.
You must come home darling, Uncle has passed and I...I am just so distraught.
Darling, the twins and Blake will be here and we are expecting you this Saturday for the funeral.
Don’t forget to RSVP, now!
Aunty Jillie will see you soon darling! Kiss kiss!”
The message hit differently than expected. Harley was never close to her Uncle Fredrick.
He was a traditional businessman who always wore a suit and smelled of cigars.
His stern expression was unwelcoming and hard. Uncle was hardly around, but when he was, no one dared to step out of line.
Uncle was the only father figure Harley ever knew, and as harsh as it seemed from an outsider’s perspective, Harley wasn’t saddened by the sudden news of his death.
She only felt a sinking dread at the thought of seeing White Cove Manner again. She clenched her jaw and stared at the ground.
She began planning her next move like a master chess player plotting her strategy.
She cringed at the sound of that woman’s voice, and debated deleting the message all together and pretending it never even happened at all.
But Fay, her partner, would read her instantly and know something wasn’t right.
Fay knew Harley had a past but Harley never went into details about her early life.
The only part Fay knew was that she wasn’t close to her family and didn’t like to talk about it.
Fay accepted Harley’s mystery for the most part and didn’t force an explanation.
However, Harley would have to come clean about the voicemail. It wouldn’t be easily forgotten.
Harley decided to take the rest of the afternoon off to clear her head.