Here’s the seventh episode in the saga of Jordy MacHugh, a Canadian music teacher who inherits a derelict Scottish estate by the sea and decides to build an opera house.
So far, Jordy has acquired twin baby girls of unknown parentage and a housemate, Jenny from Kansas. She arrived in the Highlands as a tourist and has stayed to help Jordy look after the girls. She’s in deep waters now, even if she did reject Jordy’s chivalrous offer of marriage. Then, a mysterious woman appears on Jordy and Jenny’s doorstep. She claims to be the girls’ mother, but she has no documentation except a blurry old photograph. I was hoping Kay might tell us more about her, but instead she asked Who Is Alanis McLeish?
Today Jilly attempts to answer that question.
In keeping with the Friday writing sprint challenge, this installment includes a character who gets caught in a lie, and the words flowers, fumbling, sweet, dazzling, bribery, charming, mirror, calculation, truth, forgiven, identity, growl, nightmare, freckled, alarm and preserve.
The story so far…
“Those girls are mine, I tell you.” The young woman’s face crumpled. “I know what you must think. I meant to—but I can’t look myself in the mirror anymore. I can’t face what I did. Or forgive myself.”
The twins are mine. Jordy bit back the words. The woman—Alanis—seemed distressed, and desperate. She was almost certainly in need of professional help, but there was no calculation in her manner. She didn’t strike him as a liar.
He examined the crumpled, blurred, black-and-white photograph she’d given him. Flimsy, freckled with mildew, worn from frequent handling. The image was oddly familiar. He’d seen it before, or something very like it. Where?
He knew that rocking chair. Hell, he’d sat in it, wondering if it was sturdy enough to take his weight. It was, like everything in the Pointing Dog, charming but built to last.
“Don’t go anywhere.” He handed the photograph back to Alanis.
“Hold the fort, love,” he said to Jenny. “I have to make a phone call.”
He ducked into the cottage and closed the door behind him. Grabbed the phone and dialed the Pointing Dog. “Maeve?” He didn’t waste any time on social niceties. “Do you know anything about a woman called Alanis McLeish?”
The sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line told him he was on to something.
“Tell me what you know. The truth, please, however difficult or improbable.” Continue reading