Chapter 8: Clearing The Air
Cynthia had asked if she could pick where they’d eat, and much to everyone’s surprise she had selected the exact same restaurant that Fiona had taken Adam to the first day he was in Paris. Fiona was very excited as she took a seat at their table, and Cynthia was probably onto her.
“She took you here too?” Cynthia asked.
“Every time I was in town!” Fiona said, literally gushing about it. Rather than feel threatened someone else was spending time with her granny, Fiona felt excited to have someone else she could connect with and share memories that wasn’t her brother or mother. Hanging out with them and trying to talk about anything that didn’t involve money or the business was a total bore. She hated them and the feelings were quite mutual.
“I only came here a few times,” Cynthia confessed, “But I knew this place was her favorite.”
“It really was,” Fiona said, thinking about her. “This will be one of many places I can turn to when I want to reconnect with her.”
“That’s nice to hear,” Adam said, but his mind was still on what happened earlier that day. “Are you guys alright?”
“I’m alright,” Cynthia said, looking back at the young couple. “George knows better than the challenge us or the will. Fiona and I own a majority stake, so we could just fire his ass anytime we wanted to. I prefer to mend bridges, but he better not give us much attitude or Adam can kick him out of the building my mother built.”
“As much as might enjoy that,” Adam confessed, “I believe it might be wiser to look for a compromise that makes everyone happy.”
“He’s right,” Fiona said, almost disappointed. “We need to negotiate with George first rather than just gang up on him. I mean if him and mother had done that to me, I wouldn’t find it much fun. We can’t be like that.”
“That’s up to George,” Cynthia said, not budging an inch. “I’m open to compromise as long as he is too. Respect is a two way street, I’ll give it as long as I get some in return.”
“That’s a fair stance to take,” Adam said, “But I think George’s response has more to do with surprise than actually disapproval. People don’t like to be hit with the unknown, especially when they’re grieving. It can be difficult to handle secrets from someone after the fact. Give him time, and hopefully good judgement will get the best of him and he’ll apologize.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” Fiona countered, “I’m not.”
“Fair enough,” Adam said, as he surrendered. It was her brother so she obviously knew more about him than Adam ever could.
They three of them change the subject and discussed other things, and Adam backed off and let the two ladies trade amazing stories about the dearly departed. Many of them were positive tales of a great person who was good to them. The memories they shared was more valuable than anything they had inherited that day, and the fact that they had each other to reminisce with was also quite priceless. Adam could tell that the two women were bonding and this might be a friendship that was going to last for a very long time. They had discovered one another and were to kindred spirits that were going to be near inseparable from here out. Adam got so distracted thinking about it that he never heard them speak to him.
“Adam,” Fiona asked, “Are you still here?”
“Sorry,” Adam replied, “I was deep in thought. It happens sometimes.”
“That is so cute,” Cynthia said, laughing.
“I know, right?” Fiona agreed.
Adam was beginning to realize they just happened to be talking about him when while he had spaced out. It was a tad embarrassing.
“I apologize,” Adam continued, “I didn’t mean to lose focus.”
“It’s alright,” Fiona said, as she took his hand in hers. “It wasn’t anything earth shattering.”
“Just about your house burning down.” Cynthia said, before laughing. Fiona also couldn’t help but giggle as well.
“Oh that’s where we’re at?” Adam said, grinning back at them. “I’m so happy that my misfortune managed to help take your minds of more serious matters. No one asks to have their crib torched. I’ve enjoyed my time here cause I really don’t relish the idea of moving back in with my Dad. He’s conflicted about it as well. We don’t always get along, but he’s also happy I’m single again as he wasn’t fond of, well... her.”
“Got it,” Fiona said, “No one liked her.”
“Not even the family dog,” Adam added, “I should have heeded that red flag.”
“You should have,” Cynthia agreed, “Well, I’m going to take off. It’s been a long morning, and I need to rest. Let me get this...”
“No, no,” Fiona said, stopping her from pulling out her wallet. “I got this. You get it next time, because there will be a next time. I promise.”
Cynthia smiled at the thought. “Alright, I’ll get it next time. Thank you.”
After she had taken off, Fiona and Adam went for another walk, strolling by the dams and taking in the sites again. He was really enjoying himself, but Adam really didn’t want to move things too quickly. When they sat down on a bench near the river, he felt it was time to have a serious talk.
“I want to let you know this week has been amazing,” he told her, “But I don’t want to rush things. We’ve had a great time, but I don’t want to be that guy to took advantage of someone at a funeral. You’re a great person Fiona, but I don’t want to jinx us by moving too fast too soon.
Fiona didn’t respond but instead sat down beside him and took his hand again.
“I get it,” she said, smiling back at him. “You’re coming out of a bad situation too. You just got dumped for doing what your dad asked. I don’t want to be a rebound anymore than you want to pick up someone at a funeral. We’re better than that and I get what you’re putting down.”
“It almost feels like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?” Adam asked.
“Yes, but we can’t fall for the trap.” Fiona said, “Real relationships require time, trust and commitment. We can’t figure that out in less than a week. Trying something that serious now would be like rolling the dice, and I’ve seen far too many people get snake eyes. I like you too much to be that risky.”
“Exactly,” Adam confessed, “I feel the same way.”
“Then take the day,” Fiona suggested, “Let’s think about it and meet again tomorrow for lunch. Regardless of what happens, I will enjoy meeting you this week as you were a savior when I needed a good laugh in these dark days.”
“Happy to help,” Adam said, taking a slight boy.
They held hands as they walked back to the hotel, but when they strolled into the lobby, she let go and went to the elevator alone. Adam checked the front desk for messages, but there were none. He turned away from the desk and started to walk t the elevator himself but was interrupted. Someone had swung a fist as him, clocking Adam in the head and knocking him off his feet. His nose was bleeding, and Adam took a moment to look at it before he glanced up to see his attacker. Standing above him with his jacket take off and sleeves rolled up was George, Fiona’s brother.
“This is all your fault,” George said, through grit teeth. “Get back on your feet so I can give you another helping of what you deserve!”