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Authors: Harrison Young

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BOOK: Nantucket
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George just smiled at her.

“As to you and Cathy, Cynthia Jane, congratulations on your courage. It makes you both beautiful in your summer dresses.” She paused. “
More
beautiful, that is.” Another pause.

“Which leaves Andrew and Janis. We haven't talked all weekend, Janis. I won't make a long speech now. I suspect you two are quite compatible – which is not as common among couples as one might suppose. So I recommend you just go upstairs and slip into bed.”

Andrew thought he ought to say something, but Janis reached over and put her hand across his mouth, so he didn't. “May we be excused?” she said.

“I'll do the dishes,” said Cathy.

And did they all live happily ever after? It's too soon to say, but the signs are good. Divorces that need to happen are in process. Weddings are being planned. The “small” deal has closed and the bigger one looks increasingly feasible. Joe has turned over a lot of rocks and hasn't found as many centipedes in Shiva's empire as he expected. Shiva lets him deal with what he finds.

Judy got to see several tigers, made friends with Shiva's adolescent children, charmed his mother, terrified his half-brothers, made her husband-to-be get plenty of sleep, sent Janis lots of postcards. Shiva has bought a historic house on Beacon Hill, on the theory that when Judy has mastered the “real world,” she will teach at Harvard Law School. He hasn't told Harvard that yet, but presumably her father will, at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. George has explained to Shiva that the right time to endow a chair of Hindu Studies is
after
Judy gets appointed. Meanwhile, she has taken a job at a proper Boston firm, in order to apprehend
that
version of reality. Her
employers are astonished by her erudition. Shiva is astonished by her capacity for work. She continues to be astonished by sex.

Cynthia helped Cathy with the dishes and wore one of her tee shirts to bed. They moved into Cathy and Andrew's New York apartment for a while, but decided they wanted something that was unequivocally “theirs” – in Greenwich Village rather than Greenwich, Connecticut. They do sometimes take out their fear and anger on each other, but they always make up before they fall asleep. Cynthia hasn't cut her hair, and they've kept their relationship out of the magazines, but her off-duty wardrobe has evolved a bit and they talk about Cynthia having “that conversation” with the network. With her partner's advice and encouragement, Cathy has found a less aggressive way of being herself.

Eleanor has told her mother she quite likes Cynthia. Cathy can't decide whether that's true, but she appreciates it. Richard has persuaded Florence to say nothing. The June wedding is on track – and
everyone
has been invited.

There seem to be several university architecture departments in the Bay Area that are willing to take Florence. Andrew worries about their marrying so young, and at a stage of Richard's career where he will rarely be home for dinner. Eleanor pointed out that he and Cathy had done approximately the same thing. “Not much of a recommendation,” he told his older daughter – but after that he shut up about it.

Joe and Sally live in London. She has “repackaged herself” – Joe's words – as a fashionable hostess. Andrew hasn't asked what that entails. Joe continues to find the British absurd. Figuring out how to integrate his own and Shiva's business interests requires Joe to work long hours and travel a lot. Sally disciplines him if he doesn't get home when he promised. Joe
continues to find that inexplicably satisfying.

Shiva and the Governor have essentially become best friends. The local newspaper published a picture of the two of them at a black-tie charity function under the headline, “Boston Brahmins,” which was inevitable. Rosemary had the clipping framed and hung it in her library. “My two boys,” she explains when visitors notice it.

“They share the disability,” she says, “or maybe it's a gift, of a massive sense of entitlement – which Shiva regards as his patrimony and George as a form of patriotism.” She isn't bitter, just perceptive. “I'm no better,” she adds. “I've gotten whatever men I wanted my whole life. I just haven't wanted the right one until now.”

Rosemary continues to live in New York. Shiva let her have the apartment with the chef and the maid and the butler. She goes to Boston some weekends, and sometimes they meet in Nantucket. “I am not a nice person,” she likes to say, “but I'm not stupid either.” She realised that so long as the Governor never entirely possessed her, he would never lose interest – and she doesn't want him to do so. George has let it be known that she has declined his repeated proposals of marriage. Voters find that romantic.

It has not been necessary to tell them who Judy is. Judy says that simplifies things for now

Joe pointed out to Andrew that thinking up deals could be done anywhere. Andrew said he'd probably be more creative if he
wasn't
near Wall Street. He and Janis intend to settle in Boston. Judy and Janis continue to be best friends.

Janis never went back to the Governor's office, nor did she look for another job. She and Andrew stayed in Nantucket through the summer, honouring the invitations he had
outstanding, and then into the fall because they could. They haven't “retired,” but agreed they had “other priorities” – like getting acquainted. Judy explained the concept to Janis in an early postcard from India: “Marriage is school. You have to do the homework.”

You would have to say they've been diligent. They found the right blend of tenderness and honesty from the start. When they got upstairs, they went instinctively to the bunkroom. Its narrow beds were the only ones with neither occupants nor associations. “Do you want…?” he said.

“Of course,” she said.

“I mean, this isn't St. Elizabeth's, even if it looks like a dormitory. We're not required to do what Rosemary says. We're both on the rebound from…unusual relationships,” he said. “I'm not sure we can trust our emotions.”

“Then we'll have to trust our bodies,” she said. “And no more talking.”

The house had a lot of left-over angst in it, so he didn't take her downstairs the next morning to watch the dawn. “Plenty of time for that,” he said.

“Kissing?” she said.

“Of course.”

Janis tackled Cathy right after breakfast. Andrew wouldn't have been able to. She contrived to have the conversation in a place where Andrew could overhear them, though. “I assume you will want to stay in your apartment in New York,” she said.

“I suppose we will,” said Cathy.

“Do you mind if I stay here?”

“I don't see how I can object.”

“Do you mind if Andrew and I make changes – that is, if he wants to? Personally, I think the way you've decorated the
house is perfect, but there might be things Andrew wanted to do.”

“To mark his territory?”

“To recover his balance.”

“He has gone a bit wobbly, hasn't he?”

Janis didn't answer that.

“Florence won't like it if it isn't the house she remembers,” said Cathy.

Janis took a deep breath. Andrew put down the newspaper he was pretending to read, ready to intervene. “If you don't mind my saying so,” said Janis, “and to be honest, even if you do, this family has a talent for getting into stuck.”

“We aren't going to be friends, are we?” said Cathy.

“No,” said Janis.

“But you're right,” said Cathy. “So, fine.”

In the event, Andrew didn't need to make any changes. Knowing he could turned out to be sufficient.

The cleaners Joe hired arrived at midday. They came in an SUV full of vacuum cleaners and garbage bags. “He said he was going to do that,” Andrew said with a laugh.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Cathy, Cynthia and Rosemary took the afternoon ferry back and hired a taxi to drive them to New York. “I think we're rich now,” said Cynthia. “We can afford it.” All three of them giggled.

Rosemary declined Cathy's offer of a guest room and checked into the Four Seasons for a week. “I need to go into my cave for a while,” she explained. George called her the second night, and joined her on Friday. Nothing dramatic happened in Massachusetts that weekend, which disappointed the Lieutenant Governor.

Andrew drove George to the airport for the afternoon flight
to Boston. The Governor said he couldn't hang about waiting for Lydia's movers to finish. And though he didn't mention it, he didn't have any staff anymore. What if he has to issue a statement? Andrew said to himself. George at least had known better than to ask Janis if she was coming.

“I didn't steal Rosemary,” said the Governor after they got in the car. “I hope you recognise that.”

“I do,” said Andrew.

“Good.”

That seemed to be the end of it, but a few minutes down the road he spoke again: “You think you'll get along with Janis?”

“Yes.”

“That's good too,” said the Governor.

The thought came to Andrew that the next time he saw George they would both pretend the weekend had never happened, and their friendship would continue as before – provided of course that it didn't trouble Janis. “It's like being friends with a lion,” he told her later. “It's an honour. But you do what the lion wants.”

“Believe me,” she said, “I understand that.”

“So, can he be our friend?” said Andrew, surprised to discover that he cared.

“Give it a couple of months,” she said. He didn't like that answer, and she could see that he didn't. “It's nothing to do with us,” she said. “I just need the bruises to heal.”

“You think there's going to be an ‘us?'”

“I do,” she said.

Andrew had stopped at the store on the way back and bought a cooked chicken, a box of dinner rolls and fresh salad makings. Janis had said they needed “new food.” Alone in the house for nearly an hour, she'd thrown out everything in the
refrigerator. Then she just sat in the living room and waited for Andrew to come back.

“I
insist
on there being an ‘us,'” she continued. “I didn't like your not being here. And by the way, there was a lot of creaking.”

“Wood contracts when the temperature goes down,” said Andrew.

“Ghosts came out of the walls,” said Janis.

“Monsters?”

“A few,” she said. “But there are always monsters to contend with. We can deal with them. And there have been happy times here too. Those ghosts look forward to Florence's wedding. We'll have to get them new sheets.”

“Richard and Florence?”

“No, silly, the happy ghosts.”

Andrew laughed at that. They were sitting on the sofa where two days earlier he'd watched Shiva interview Janis about Judy while Cynthia hid upstairs contemplating mayhem and everyone else made dinner. That seemed like the distant past. Andrew had his arms around Janis now. He'd wanted to do that then but hadn't let himself acknowledge it. “This feels right,” he said. “You feel right.”

“My body is exactly where it wants to be,” she said.

“How did this happen?” said Andrew.

“It's a magical island, remember?”

“I must write a thank-you note to Shiva for releasing the magic,” said Andrew. “Have you spoken to Judy? I mean, it's all right if you do.”

“I have.”

“And?”

“She'll be in London by now.”

“I mean about us.”

“She says it was obvious.”

“What did you say?”

“I said it sort of crept up on me. Crept in a good way, you understand. You were so easy to talk to. I liked the sound of your voice.”

“I felt the same way,” said Andrew.

“Let's have dinner,” she said. “I'm starving.”

They went into the kitchen. “I'll be in charge of the chicken,” he said, “if you'll be in charge of the salad.”

“And afterwards,” she said, “we'll put our bodies in charge.”

“Wine?” said Andrew. “Just a glass to relax us.”

“No,” said Janis. “I want to feel everything.”

“Brave,” said Andrew.

“Brave together,” said Janis.

They set about making dinner. Andrew's brain was suddenly awash in imagined music, full of minor chords and hesitations, which seemed to be approaching a conclusion. He thought about the choices and accidents that had brought them together in a house that had known so much hope and sadness over the years.

“What would you have done if Rosemary hadn't decided to change partners last night?” he asked. Probably not a smart question to ask, he realised.

Janis had her back to him and she didn't answer right away. She turned around slowly. “Murdered her,” she said.

Andrew attempted not to cry. “It's just, I've been quite lonely.”

“Me too,” said Janis, putting her arms around him.

The invisible musicians put down their instruments.

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