Trinity Island – Chapter 4

December 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm (Trinity Island)

Claire was sitting in the living room going over the several pages of lists she’d already made when she heard a car drive up and stop near the front door. From the living room window she saw Mac get down from his truck and look at the vehicle parked in front of his. Claire raced to the front door and swung it open. She broke into a run, leaping down the front steps. Mac waited for her, his arms open wide. Claire leaped into them, laughing as he caught her up in a bear hug and swung her around.

“Aye, but it’s been too long since I’ve seen you,” Mac said. He cupped her face and kissed her forehead. “Are you back for good this time then?”

“Aye, Mac, ’tis the truth, I am,” she said in her best Scottish accent. Even to her ears it sounded terrible.

Mac winced and shook his head. “You’ve been gone too long, you have, if that’s the best you can do. Come on back inside and tell me everything you’ve been up to.”

They settled in the kitchen with Mac automatically putting on a pot of coffee. Claire told him about the end of her engagement. She didn’t withhold anything, knowing he’d badger her until he had all of the details anyway. He offered up a few choice words for her ex and then told her she was right to come home.

“What are you planning now?” he asked, gesturing to her lists.

“I’m going to build a retreat, similar to the adolescent retreat I built in California. And I’m going to build it right here at Wallis House.”

Mac looked out the kitchen window at the stables and the barns. He thought about the work Claire had done with CARR, though he’d never gone down to see it. “We’ll have us a crowd of wee ones running about the place, will we?”

Claire smiled and nodded. “Once I get the place overhauled and up to code for my intended purposes, yes.”

Mac mimed pushing up his sleeves in preparation of hard work. “Where do we start?”

“Well, I think the first order of business is hiring a contractor to come in and start assessing the land and the buildings. Do you know of anyone local who can do the job?”

Mac winced, but tried to cover it with a fake cough. Claire wasn’t buying it though and demanded that he just spill it.

“Well, we do have one contractor on  the island, but I’m thinking you’ll want to be looking to the mainland for another.”

“Why?” Claire asked.

“He’s been keeping time with your mother.”

“She’s back?”

Mac nodded.

Claire’s shoulders slumped. She hadn’t seen her mother often over the years. The woman only called when she needed money, which was always, but Claire had stopped answering the phone. If the only contractor on the island was sleeping with her mother, then Claire didn’t want anything to do with the guy. As it was, she knew it was going to be difficult to limit her involvement with her mother. The island was too small to avoid her forever.

“I’d best rip the bandage off entirely,” Mac said.

Claire didn’t want to hear the rest of it. Had her mother tried to move into Wallis House? Mac wouldn’t let her, but Jillian Wallis was sneaky. Perhaps that’s why the guesthouses had padlocks on them. Claire took a deep breath and waited for him to finish.

“Your dad’s back, too.”

Claire’s brows rose. She couldn’t think of any good reason for her father to return to the island. And she didn’t want to think about him right now. Or ever. the house had turned over to her on her eighteenth birthday, so neither of her parents had any claim on it. Her father wouldn’t care, because he had enough money to buy whatever he wanted. And she didn’t think he’d ever really cared much for Wallis House.

“Alright, I’ll expect to hear from my mother wanting money and I don’t expect to hear from my father at all. I appreciate you letting me know so I’ll be prepared if I run into them in town.”

“You don’t worry about them. You know who your family is.”

Claire smiled, leaning over to wrap her arm around Mac’s shoulder. She took a sip of coffee and thought again about all of the work that needed to be done to the house. She knew exactly what she wanted, but had less than no idea how much work it would be or if it was even possible. She’d need a very experienced builder on the project.

“Do you know of anyone who can do the job?” Mac asked.

She started to say no, until she realized that she did know someone who was more than capable of doing the job, and beautifully. There was only one problem with the guy.

“I do know someone,” she said.

Mac squinted at her. “Spill it,” he said, tossing her words back at her.

Claire cringed. “He’s my best friend’s ex-boyfriend. And I’m being nice if I say the split was less than amicable.” In truth, Reggie had wanted to strap Kent Grey to a table and flay the flesh from his body.

“Can he do the job though?” Mac asked.

Claire stared at him, hard. He couldn’t understand the loyalty she felt to Reggie, so wouldn’t know that Kent Grey was not going to get the job even if he was the only choice left on earth.

 

“You should hire Kent,” Reggie said

Claire just about dropped the phone. That was the last thing she’d expected to hear from Reggie.

“I know, he’s a jackass and I would still like to castrate him, but he’d be great for that project and I can’t begrudge you the best. It sort of galls me to admit it, but he’s damn good at his job.”

“Wow, I don’t know what to say.”

Reggie had dated Kent all through grade eleven and twelve, and then, out of the blue, he’d dumped her for Priscilla Duffy, a girl in their graduating class. Dumped her just a week before prom. It had been too late for Reggie to get another date, so she’d gone alone. Kent had shown up with Priscilla on his arm and proceeded to French kiss her the whole night, in front of Reggie. The day after they’d graduated, Reggie took off for Paris to do a spread in Vogue. Most of the shots were of her half naked and looking like sex walking. Claire had made sure to send a copy of the magazine to Kent, with the pages tagged.

Reggie had dated a string of assholes before giving up on men entirely to focus on her design career. She’d gone to Central St. Martins in London and studied for four long years before she’d felt confident enough in her talent to approach a small house with her ideas. Claire knew that the event in question was high school, though Kent was several years older and should have been a little more mature by then. But it resonated, still. She’d hated him for the pain she’d seen on Reggie’s face. For the aching tears she’d cried over his sorry ass. She knew the makeup artists had done amazing work to cover her red, puffy eyes in that photo shoot. Mostly she’d hated him because their breakup had driven her friend away.

The hate had tempered over the years to a vague sense of disappointment in the man. However, she also couldn’t fault his talent as an architect. His company had created some unique spaces and Claire was a little excited about what he might be able to create for her.

“Just call him and see if he’s available to take on the job,” Reggie said.

Claire agreed to think about it. Reggie told her not to waste too much time, in case he was too busy to help and she had to find the next best person for the job. Claire knew she was right, but she’d spent so long disliking the man, out of loyalty, that it seemed wrong to turn on a dime and hire him. Though thirteen years had passed, Claire didn’t think Reggie had truly gotten over it.

She would probably end up calling him, but not today. Today, Claire just wanted to enjoy her homecoming and she wanted to spend some time getting to know Mac again.

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