The next morning, Jessie woke early, as usual. She dressed and was ready to go to the hospital. She thought of sending John a telegram, at least to let him know she arrived and was able to see Aunt Betsy. But no, he had no right to know anything else about her.
As she entered the hospital, she headed directly to Aunt Betsy’s room.
“Excuse me! Miss! . . . Miss!”
“I’m sorry, was I to check in or something?”
“No, it’s not that,” the woman hesitated. “I remember you from yesterday, Betsy’s niece right?”
“I’m sorry to tell you . . . she didn’t make it through the night. I checked her files and there were no family members listed, I didn’t know how to get in touch with you again.”
“She didn’t make it?”
Jessie’s eyes poured with tears, she held her hand over her mouth and sobbed. Until now, she had not actually considered that Aunt Betsy would die.
She went back to her room at the Inn. There was a letter attached to her door. Her first instinct was to think it was a telegram from John. As she ripped it open to read, she discovered it was from Mr. Whitney.
“Dear Jessie, the Hospital contacted me late last night. I’m sorry to tell you your Aunt has passed away. She already discussed her wishes for her funeral with me, so it’s all taken care of. She knew the time was coming. The funeral will be held tomorrow, and the auction is later that afternoon. Please stop by my office if there’s anything else I can do.”
How stupid to think it would have been from John! Jessie threw herself on the bed and cried. She had lost her Aunt and John at the same time. Her life was once again a complete mess.
After another endless night of tossing and turning, Jessie awoke and dressed for the funeral. It was very simple. There were many guests, especially men. A few of the “girls,” were there. Jessie made small talk with them as best as she could. She really had nothing to say to them. Once again, she just didn’t fit in.
As she walked around, she couldn’t help but think how out of place she felt. None of these people were her friends. How could she have grown up here and not miss one single person? She felt like a stranger at her own Aunt’s funeral. And although she didn’t spend nearly as much time with John, she felt that was her real home with real friends, and she missed all of it already.
Even now that Aunt Betsy was gone, she still had control over everything, even her own funeral! There were no arrangements for Jessie to make at all. Jessie thought of the auction coming up. She decided to go. The walls were beginning to close around her back at the room.
“Jessie, I’m about ready to head over to the Hotel to supervise the auction. Will you be in your room after so that I can reach you?”
“No, actually I’ve decided to join you, if you don’t mind. I thought we could go to your office afterwards. I really need to know where I stand financially now. I may be staying longer than I originally thought.”
“Well, that’s fine, but remember, even if we receive a fair bid, there won’t be much left.”
“Yes, I know, but it will be better to find out now.”
She was worried about at least having money to pay back John.
The auction did not take very long at all. Jessie had no idea whether the offer was fair or not but trusted Mr. Whitney’s opinion.
As she sat with him in his office, he frantically wrote notes and figures down. Jessie waited impatiently.
“Well, I’m afraid it’s not good Jessie. Even though the offer for the Hotel was more than fair, it’s just not enough. I know your Aunt was concerned about sending this John fellow money, in fact, she assumed it would be a lot of money, but there’s just none to send.
“Well, his money comes first Mr. Whitney, don’t worry about me.”
“Dear, there’s been so many bills accumulated by the doctors and hospitals, that there won’t be enough to even cover all of those charges, which means there won’t be any for you either.
“I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do, but remember what I said, you may stay at the Inn for as long as you need to”
“Thank-you Mr. Whitney.”
Jessie left the office devastated. She assumed there would at least be enough money for John. Now what? How could she pay John and take care of herself completely? With nothing to even start with. For the first time she realized being an adult was going to be very difficult.
She returned to the Inn, showered and changed into her nightgown as she lie in bed, she considered contacting John. She would have to tell him there was no money coming to him from Aunt Betsy, but that she intended on paying him somehow.
No, she decided she’d wait awhile longer to contact him, until she could figure out exactly how she would manage things. She did not want John to think she was lost without him. She needed to prove she was capable of taking care of herself without him or Aunt Betsy to make arrangements for her.