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Authors: Kate Hewitt

Before the Dawn

BOOK: Before the Dawn
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Before the Dawn
Kate Hewitt
(2012)

Infidelity, infertility, the loss of a loved one... life can be full of pain and yet also of hope. Enjoy six stories written by USAToday bestselling author Kate Hewitt that celebrate endurance in hardship and triumph over tragedy--and show that the darkest hour always comes before the dawn.

Stories in this anthology include The Locket, Triangles, Memory and Desire, Blueberries for Breakfast, A Piece of Cake, Comfort

 

 

Before The Dawn

Stories of Hope in Hard Times

Copyright ©2012 Katharine Swartz

Kindle Edition

 

 

All rights reserved

 

Cover by
www.authorsoundrelations.com

 

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please delete it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at
[email protected]
.

 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

 

Before The Dawn

Stories of Hope in Hard Times

Table of Contents:

 

The Locket

 

Trian
g
les

 

Memory And Desire

 

Now That You’re Here

 

Da
d
d
y’s Girl

Blueberri
e
s For Breakfast

 

A Piece of Cake

 

Comfort

THE LOCKET

 

It was tarnished silver, with a rusty hinge and a broken clasp, and yet it must have been his most treasured position, clearly worn where his hands had lovingly caressed it. It was hard to believe, Molly thought, that such a small object could hold so much love... and pain.

Of course, she hadn’t known about the locket when she’d received the package that morning. She'd assumed the bulky envelope postmarked Cornwall was the holiday brochure from the cottage she and Dan had been planning to go to this summer.  Hardly relevant now, she thought, and slipped it into her handbag, unopened. Her mind was focused on the meeting ahead with her husband Dan. Almost ex-husband. A few arrangements to make, a few details to sort, and their divorce would be final.

It was a cold, grey, drizzly day, in perfect keeping with her mood. Molly drove through the unrelenting gloom, trying to keep her mind clear, her nerves calm. It was important that Dan not get the better of her.

"Hello, Molly." 

They'd agreed to a breakfast meeting in the local coffee shop, neutral territory. He looked the same, Molly thought with a pang. They hadn't seen each other in two months, but he still had that same crooked smile, the same whimsical look in his grey eyes. The shoulders of his coat were dark with rain, and his hair was wet. He raked it off his forehead with a tired smile.

"Can I get you a coffee? I've already ordered one, but we can make it two."

"Yes, please." She declined any food, as did Dan. Tucking into eggs and bacon didn't seem appropriate, somehow.

"How are you?" Dan asked as he sipped his coffee. 

"Fine." Molly kept her voice cool. He didn't have to sound so good natured, so breezy. They were about to agree to divorce, for heaven's sake. But then, Dan had never been one to share his sorrows. Even at the lowest point of their marriage, he'd been determinedly optimistic, gratingly so.

Molly sneaked another look at him as she drank her coffee.  Were the faint crows' feet by his eyes more marked? And there, above his ears, his hair was starting to look positively gray.  Could two months age a person, Molly wondered, and then recalling her own experience of the last few weeks, decided it definitely could.

"What have you been doing lately?"

Molly raised her eyebrows. "Oh, nothing much. Cleaning out the family home I'd hoped to raise my children in, wondering if I'm going to lose my job as well as my marriage, you know... this and that."

Dan winced. "Haven't lost your sarcastic touch, I see."

"No, I haven't." Molly set down her coffee cup. "Any reason why I should?" Stop this, she berated herself. She'd meant to conduct this meeting calmly, professionally, with a detached interest. She should've realized that was impossible.

"I suppose not." Dan was quiet. "I know I've hurt you, Molly, and I'm sorry for that. But I wasn't the one who wanted to divorce."

Molly's eyes narrowed. "Oh yes, you were, Dan.  When I walked in on you and Wendy Harris getting cozy at the Christmas party, you were telling me very clearly you wanted a divorce."

"We've been through this before, Molly. It was one kiss--"

"You think that's an excuse?"

"No, it's an apology."

They'd had this conversation so many times, it felt as if their lines were rehearsed. Molly shook her head.

"Why keep saying the same things? Neither of us will change our minds."

"I can't help but keep trying," Dan said in a low voice. He raked a hand through his damp hair. "I love you, Molly..."

"If you loved me," Molly hissed, "you wouldn't have been making out with your work colleague!" The pain, the betrayal of that moment, had left a permanent scar, still unhealed.

"I was not making out," Dan retorted, teeth clenched. "I was drunk, she kissed me--"

"I didn't see you pushing her away."

There was a taut silence as they glared at each other. "God help you, Molly, if you slip up once," Dan finally said, his voice weary. "Because the amount of slack you've cut me..."

"I'm not planning on kissing anyone in the cloak room," Molly snapped. "Now, can we please talk about the divorce?"

Half an hour later, Molly left the restaurant shaken but steady. She clung to her self-righteous anger because sometimes it felt like the only thing holding her together.

I can't forgive Dan, she thought, because if I do I'll completely fall apart.

And that thought scared her... scared her even more than life without Dan.

It wasn't until she returned home from work that afternoon, exhausted and wet, that she remembered the bulky envelope in her handbag. She took it out with a faint, morbid curiosity, wondering whether she should bin it or torture herself by looking through the brochure of holidays she and Dan would now never go on.

Except it wasn't a packet of holiday brochures.

The locket slipped out into Molly's hand, gleaming dully. There was a single slip of paper with it.

Dear Mrs. Franklin,

We regret to inform you of the death of Edward Longton. He passed away on January 3, and it was in his will that this locket be sent to you. I apologize for the delay, as it took some time to locate you. If you have any questions, please contact me at the above number.  Sincerely, William Dreyfuss, Solicitor.

"Edward Longton?" Molly muttered in confusion. She'd never heard of the man, and she didn't know anyone in Cornwall. Why would a stranger send her a locket?

She prised it open, and her breath caught in her throat. The photograph in the locket was a simple black and white of a woman who was laughing at something in the distance, her arms clasped around her knees.

The woman was her mother.

Molly stared at the photograph for a long moment while her coat dripped water onto the floor. Then she grabbed the piece of paper with the solicitor's number and hurried to the phone.

"Is this William Dreyfuss?" she asked when a man's voice came on the line.

"Yes, may I help you?"

"My name is Molly Franklin. I just received a locket from a client of yours, Edward Longton..."

"Ah, yes. He was most particular that the locket be sent to you. Unfortunately, there was no current address in his papers, so it took some doing."

"Yes. The thing is..." Molly hesitated. "I don't know him. I've never heard of him before. Except..." her hand clenched involuntarily around the locket, the edge cutting into her palm. "There's a photo of my mother inside."

There was a pause on the other end, as if William Dreyfuss was deciding what to say. After a moment, he replied, "I'm afraid I don't know the particulars of Mr. Longton's desire to give you the locket, Mrs. Franklin."

"You knew him, though?" Molly pressed. "You must remember something he said about it."

Another pause, and when he spoke William Dreyfuss sounded uncomfortable. "I know he was interested in your whereabouts, and he very much wanted the locket to pass into your possession."

"But why would he have a photograph of my mother?" Molly demanded, a desperate thread in her voice. "And why would he care about me?"

"Perhaps you could ask your mother--"

"I can't. She died three years ago."

"Your father?"

Molly sighed heavily. "Do you really think, Mr. Dreyfuss, that this is something I want to concern my father with?"

"That would be entirely up to you. I'm sorry I can't be of more help."

Molly hung up the phone, a heavy feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach. The only reason a strange man would have kept a photograph of her mother was if he cared about her.

And the only reason that man would send the locket to her was...

"No," Molly said aloud. "No." She was jumping to conclusions. Maybe this man knew her mother was dead, and so decided to send the locket to her. Maybe he'd never even known her mother, perhaps he was some random psycho...

The thought hardly made her feel better. That weekend she decided to visit her father.

He lived in a retired community an hour from her house, so after ringing him Molly set out.

"This is an unexpected surprise," her father said when she pulled outside his building.

"I was thinking I don't visit you often enough," Molly said, and her father smiled.

"We all do what we can. But I thought there was another reason."

"What do you mean?" Molly heard the sharpness in her voice as she followed her father into his flat.

"Just that you might be feeling a little raw," her father said gently. "I know the divorce goes through around now."

Molly's shoulders sagged. In her worry and confusion about the locket and its meaning, she'd almost forgotten about Dan. Almost, but not quite. He was always there, or the loss of him was, like an ache.

"Dan and I talked it out a few days ago," she admitted. "We can file the papers anytime now."

BOOK: Before the Dawn
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ads

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