Jamie took a sip of coffee and nearly choked. Grenville couldn't boil water, he thought.
"You're not getting it back. First time I've ever been warm in the morning. You want me to fix breakfast?"
"Well, maybe the day after Christmas is still a sort of holiday," Grenville said. "I just rose a short while ago myself. Let's go have breakfast in Hawkes Harbor."
They ordered ham and eggs and waffles and more coffee at the Coffee Shoppe. Jamie was mildly hungover, but not too hungover to notice some stares they were getting.
Everyone connected them—Jamie was fully aware that anytime his name was mentioned—Jamie Sommers—"who works for Grenville Hawkes" was added onto it.
He didn't mind. There were worse things they could have added, he thought, had things gone the way they were going before he met Grenville....
They were rarely seen in public together though, and Jamie was getting a kick out of the hushed whispers going around the cafe. Grenville was a Hawkes, a well-known business tycoon, with ties to the government, a big man around Hawkes Harbor. It was like being with a celebrity.
And no matter how well it was known that Jamie worked for Grenville, it would occur to few that Grenville actually talked to him.
"So, you got anything for me to do today? I was going to wrap the pipes. There's a cold front comin' in." Jamie had awakened thinking about insulation. He didn't want to deal with busted pipes, especially since being in the basement still gave him the creeps.
"Would you drive me into D.C.? I have an afternoon appointment and frankly don't feel up to the drive."
"Too much Christmas cheer?" Jamie grinned, liking the way he'd been asked instead of ordered, although of course, it was an order. A pleasant one, too. A long drive in the black Mercedes was hardly a chore. Jamie loved driving the Mercedes. He kept it immaculate. His own car was full of odds and ends of lumber, tools, fast-food wrappers.
The D.C. traffic made him a little nervous, but he'd deal with that when he got there.
Grenville scowled slightly.
"I believe I am much more seasoned than you are."
"Yeah, and not many people are," Jamie said. "Sure, I'll drive ya."
Tomorrow would be a better day to wrap pipe, anyway. The cleaning crew was coming, Jamie'd have to be at home to supervise. The basement wasn't so bad if there were people in the house. And surely Davis would show up with that overdue firewood....
It was a comfortable drive, though silent. Grenville looked over stock reports, shuffled through spreadsheets, rarely glancing at the snow piled high off the sides of the highway. The snow was days old, deep and heavy, but the plows had cleared the roads long ago.
Jamie had driven this route many times; he let his mind wander. He kept thinking about the goose-down quilt, it was funny that Grenville would realize he needed it.
He was still determined to get Grenville a Christmas present. A book would be good. God knew Grenville couldn't seem to get enough of them. He should have thought to ask Louisa... hell, he could pick one out himself.
"Drop me off at the office building on the corner."
Jamie wove through the downtown traffic. It was a little heavier than the usual Tuesday traffic—people shopping sales, returning Christmas gifts. Grenville took a tablet from the glove compartment and began writing.
"Could you meet me on the twenty-second floor around five o'clock? I should be through by then. We can go somewhere decent for dinner."
They had agreed to skip lunch, since breakfast was so late.
"Okay," Jamie said. Grenville handed him the sheet of paper before he got out—it contained the time and place of their meeting.
Jamie's short-term memory was vastly improved, but they had both learned to use this backup.
Jamie found a space in a parking garage and wrote down its address before leaving.
The Christmas decorations were still up in the stores, Christmas carols still blaring. Jamie strolled the streets, looking for a bookstore.
He paused in front of the two-story storefront, sighing at the lines of people waiting to return or exchange their presents. But this would be his only chance.
The history section was easy to find, but Jamie looked hopelessly at all the titles. Then he saw one he knew. He pulled it off the shelf.
A DAY IN LIFE: HAWKES HARBOR 1770 by Louisa Kahne, Ph.D.
There was a photo of Louisa on the back flap, her large silver-gray eyes set off by her salt-and-pepper curls. Funny, Jamie rarely noticed what a good-looking woman she was in real life. Jamie turned to the dedication page.
"To my dear friend G. H. with affection and gratitude."
Yeah, she should have affection and gratitude for Grenville, Jamie thought. He'd practically written the book for her.
"We have a few copies of that book autographed by the author. She's a professor at Harvard."
"Yeah." Jamie glanced at the sales clerk.
"I know, I gotta autographed copy."
Jamie, who changed history—love, Louisa. That was what she'd written.
Jamie didn't enjoy reading, and even if he had, after all these years with Grenville, 1770 bored the hell out of him. But his copy of A Day in Life was one of his most treasured possessions.
"What would you recommend for somebody who liked this book?" he asked.
The clerk pulled out three others, and Jamie looked through them. He liked books with a lot of pictures. One had pictures of boats, the old sailing rigs, frigates, whalers, battleships, passenger schooners. Jamie sighed. He would love to sail a schooner....
"I'll take this one," he said. He looked at the lines and sighed again. "You guys do gift wrap?"
While he was waiting in line, he pulled out his ballpoint pen and wrote on the inside of the cover: Merry Christmas Grenville Thanks for the quilt. Jamie.
Drawing Room, The Manor Hawkes Harbor, Delaware January 2, 1979
Lydia Hawkes looked up from addressing the thank-you notes.
"Who was that at the door, Richard?"
"Some sort of delivery man, wanting to know where Grenville lived."
Richard poured himself a brandy.
"You know, Lydia, it gave me absolute nightmares, thinking he'd ask for a plot in the family cemetery."
He savored the brandy, as he always did the first taste of the day, as he usually did the twelfth.
"Though how very odd of Grenville, to choose that old graveyard on the island."
Washington, D.C. December 26, 1978
"I'm sure Mr. Hawkes will be out soon," the young secretary told him. The twenty-second floor was a big office. Glass and carpet and wood and plants. "Please take a seat."
"Okay," Jamie said. He hung his overcoat on the coat rack next to Grenville's. He sank into a sofa and picked up a Forbes magazine but couldn't keep from watching the window, where a cold gray day was going into a darker twilight.
"Looks like we might get some more snow." The secretary noticed his nervous glances.
"Yeah," Jamie said.
r /> Sundown was still the worst part of the day for him. The coming of night always made him uneasy. If he were home, back at Hawkes Hall, he'd have something planned to do about now—a tricky piece of carpentry, a huge jigsaw puzzle, a complicated recipe; lately he'd been putting together a ham radio.
Sometimes Grenville would ask him for a game of chess, and by a strange coincidence, it was always that time of the evening. (Viewing the game as a moving puzzle, Jamie had become surprisingly good—he had never beaten Grenville but often gave him a challenging game.)
Anything that would require his full concentration, keeping his mind off the twilight.
But here, there was nothing much to do besides watch it get darker. He noticed the magazine shaking in his hands. He put it down and got up to pace quietly in front of the window. A couple of hours into the night, he'd be okay again. Once he was through the twilight, he could make it through the night.
He never reached for the tranquilizers anymore. And when his shoulder ached, like it was sure to do tonight, after a long day of driving, he took a couple of aspirins.
Jamie thought it ironic, that after spending most of his life with easy access to drugs, that it took doctors and hospitals to turn him into an addict....
Getting off the pills was hard, at first—hell actually—but Jamie was amazed at how much clearer he could think, once his mind was released from the fog. Sometimes he almost felt whole again, sort of like he'd been before the shooting.
He'd never be the same completely. He still had the occasional nightmare that made him (and sometimes Grenville) wake from his screams; he would always startle easy. He cried much easier than he should have—kindness, and paradoxically, deliberate unkindness especially could cause unexpected tears. He had to be careful of what movies he went to, what headlines he glanced at.
He had flashbacks as vivid as time travel.
And even though he knew he could probably burn down the house before Grenville would fire him, he worried too much about losing his job.
Before the shooting ... he'd been smarter then, but he was wiser now. He wasn't unhappy with the trade.