“Excellent. Well, I’m calling because I have some good news for you. Amazing news, actually. Mr. Drake has dropped his dispute over Alice’s will.”
Lucy slumped down into a nearby chair as her knees gave out from under her. Surely she hadn’t heard him correctly. “What?”
“It’s all yours now, Lucy. The money, the apartment, the art, all of it. Congratulations.”
She knew she should say something, but she didn’t have any words. This was not the call she was expecting to get. She’d prepared herself for the consoling discussion about how the judge felt Alice’s state of mind may have been compromised at her age and given the change was so close to her death… Instead, she found she really truly had the winning lotto ticket in her hand.
An initial wave of relief washed over her. Not excitement, but relief. She’d been twisting her stomach into knots the last few days trying to figure out how she was going to support the twins on her own. Now, that question was answered and it didn’t require her to go crawling to the twins’ father. Although it did raise a curious question.
“Did Mr. Drake say why he dropped the protest?”
“He didn’t. Honestly, I wish I knew what changed his mind, as well. Listen, I’m going to work on getting everything transitioned over to you and I’ll be in touch in a week or two. There’s some paperwork and hoops still to jump through, a huge chunk of estate taxes to pull out, but you can finally celebrate, Lucy.”
Lucy hung up the phone and found herself still too stunned to move from her seat. She was more surprised by Oliver changing his mind than anything else. There had always been the possibility that the judge would rule in her favor, but she never thought he would back down, even when they’d gotten so close. That seemed too much like mixing business and pleasure where he was concerned.
What had changed?
Oliver had been so angry with her that night. He told her he didn’t even want anything to do with his child and now, he was just handing over his aunt’s estate after weeks of fighting over it? Was this his roundabout way of providing child support without paying a dime of his own money? She didn’t dare to dream that it was an olive branch or first step on their way to reconciliation. Two miracles wouldn’t happen in one day.
Lucy wasn’t quite sure what to do. She felt like she should tell someone, and yet she was hesitant to even now. It didn’t feel real. It never had. Just like looking at that sonogram.
An hour before, she’d been wondering if she could fit a bed and two cribs in the one-bedroom apartment near campus and now she could buy a house and a car, hire a full-time nanny and not have to work. Her life was undergoing a major upheaval every couple of days and she wasn’t sure how many more big changes she could take.
She knew she should be excited. She was an instant millionaire hundreds of times over. Rich beyond her wildest dreams. Her children would never want for anything the way she had. Their college was paid for. Her college was paid for. Life should be easier, at least on that front. While she felt a bit of the pressure lifting from her shoulders, she still wouldn’t call herself excited.
How could she be excited or happy with the way things ended with Oliver? It was impossible. All the money in the world wouldn’t bring the man she loved and the father of her children back into her life. Honestly, she’d trade every penny in a heartbeat if he would knock on the door right now and tell her that he was sorry—that he loved her and their babies more than anything else. But that wouldn’t happen. Not after all the horrible things he’d said. Oliver wouldn’t change his mind and Lucy couldn’t forget it.
The doorbell rang the moment after the thought crossed her mind, startling her from the sad path her thoughts had taken. She stood up from her seat, the phone still clutched in her hand from Phillip’s call. Could it be?
Her heart started pounding in her chest, even as she tried to convince herself that it was probably the cleaning lady or Harper checking on her. Lucy stood at the door a moment, willing herself not to be disappointed if she opened it and found someone else.
Taking a deep breath, she opened it. And there, against all odds, was Oliver.
He was standing in the marble-tiled foyer looking like a tall glass of water to a woman lost in the desert. He was wearing her favorite gray suit with a blue shirt that made his eyes an even brighter shade than usual. His lips were pressed together anxiously, even as he clutched a bouquet of bright pink roses and blue delphinium in his hands.
“Hi,” he said after a few long seconds of staring silently at one another.