Heiress | Chapter 30 of 31

Author: Susan May Warren | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1914 Views | Add a Review

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Epilogue

“Jinx, it’s too cold for you to be standing out here like this.”

She expected his admonitions, of course, but didn’t move as Bennett came up behind her andput his hands on her shoulders.

“You can’t see every ship off. You don’t even know if Jack’s on it.”

She refused to let his words sting. He didn’t mean them to be cruel, but—

“What if he is? What if he’s one of those doughboys climbing the gangplank, looking back to see if there’s a familiar face in the crowd, loving him, praying for him as he goes into battle? I need to be here, Ben, just in case.”

His hands tightened on her shoulders. “You’re shivering.”

“I’m fine. They’re nearly finished anyway, the last have already boarded.” She’d gotten as close as she could to Pier 88 and the four-stack troop ship as the three thousand-plus soldiers filed on. She hadn’t really expected to see their son. But perhaps he’d see her.

Know that she missed him so desperately she could hardly breathe with the sorrow.

The November wind had long ago slipped under her mink coat, turned her legs to ice. Still, the baby in her womb kept her warm, flopping around even at five months so that he had the ability to turn her seasick.

“I’m sorry I didn’t find him.” Bennett said it every time, so often that she knew misery burned through him also. He’d never helped his son grow up.

Maybe never would.

Jinx squeezed his hand, unable to find the words.

So much they’d lost that day. Jack. Mother.

So much she’d also gained. Bennett. Esme and Lilly.

Freedom.

She hadn’t even cared about the scandal, her plummet from society’s register. She let her seat at the opera go, put her home up for sale. She and Rosie and Bennett moved into an apartment at 927 Fifth Ave, at the new Warren and Wetmore building.

Bennett managed to maneuver Foster’s stocks into Jinx’s name, despite the suspicion surrounding his death.

Flora St. John headlined at the Follies all summer long.

And Oliver and Esme finally married in a ceremony that Jinx attended as the matron of honor. She waited at the altar of Trinity Episcopal Church and smiled at her sister as she wheeled their father up the aisle.

He’d looked up twice during the service, and once, even smiled.

The gangplank began to draw in, the soldiers standing at the rail. Jinx scanned their too-young faces, most of them too far away for her to make out.

“Did you see him?” Esme joined her at the rail, her hands gloved, her long hair cut short now. “I’m sorry I’m late—we had a problem with one of the presses.”

“Did you get the paper out?”

“On time.” She pressed her hand upon Jinx’s. “I hope you don’t mind. Lilly and Rosie wanted to come.”

Jinx nodded, turned and watched as the girls exited Oliver’s Studebaker. Rosie had cut her hair even shorter since Jack’s disappearance. Lilly, however, still wore hers long, in two dark brown braids, the Crow in her. Still, they looked like sisters, in their sable coats down past their knees, their cloche hats. Behind them, the New York skyline caught the morning sun in the windows. A thousand shiny eyes watching their boys leave for war.

Oliver exited behind them, his face grim as he watched them walk toward the rail. “Oliver should forgive himself for Mother’s death,” Jinx said. “It wasn’t his fault.”

Esme tightened her hold on Jinx’s hand. “He has a servant’s heart. He can’t get past the fact that his father spent his life taking care of us and yet he failed.”

“He’s a good man, Esme.”

Lilly and Rosie joined them. Rosie stood beside Jinx, not looking at her. Someday, perhaps, Rosie would forgive her mother.

Maybe when Jinx forgave herself. Maybe it was enough, for now, knowing that God had forgiven her. In fact, only that held her together, convinced her that someday, yes, she’d see Jack again.

No one spoke as the lines were cast off, the departure horn sounding, a sad wail reverberating through the harbor, right down to her bones. Her eyes filled. “It’s the not knowing that’s the hardest.” She leaned back against Bennett’s chest. “All I do is pray that the war will end, that he’ll come home.”

“‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him,’ ” Esme said.

Jinx drew in her words, relished them, allowed them to nurture her. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.

She watched as the troop ship slipped away from the pier. “Come back to me, Jack. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be waiting right here for you.”

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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