|Название||Friendship On Fire|
|Автор произведения||Joss Wood|
|Серия||Love in Boston|
God, no, she hadn’t birthed them all. Levi and the twins—Jules and Darby—were hers. The Lockwood brothers—Noah, Eli and Ben—were the sons of her heart. Biologically, they belonged to her best friend and neighbor, Bethann Lockwood, who had passed away ten years ago. Dylan-Jane, well, DJ was another child of her heart.
The life Callie had lived back then, as the pampered wife of the stupendously wealthy, successful and most powerful venture capitalist in Boston, was over. Her beloved Ray was gone, too. She’d been a widow for three years now.
Callie was, gulp, alone. At fifty-four, it was time to reinvent herself.
So damn scary...
Who was she if she wasn’t her kids’ mom and her exuberant, forceful husband’s wife?
At the moment, she was someone she didn’t recognize. She needed to get to know herself again.
Callie blinked and looked into Jules’s brilliant eyes. As always, she caught her breath. Jules had Ray’s eyes, that incredible shade of silver blue, incandescently luminous. Callie waited for the familiar wave of grief, and it washed over her as more of a swell than a tsunami.
Damn, Callie missed that man. His bawdy laugh, his strong arms, the sex. Yeah, God, she really missed the sex.
“Mom? Are you okay?” Jules asked, perceptive as always.
Callie waved her words away. She considered herself a modern mom but telling her very adult daughter that she was horny was not something that she’d ever do. So Callie shrugged and smiled. “I’m good.”
Jules frowned. “I don’t believe you.”
Callie looked around and wished Noah—and Eli and Ben—were here. Eli and Ben had excused themselves from Sunday lunch; both were working overtime to restore a catamaran. And Noah was in Italy? Or was it Greece? Cannes? The boy used jet travel like normal people used cars.
Would Noah ever come back home to Boston? The eldest Lockwood boy wasn’t one to wear his heart on his sleeve but his stepdad’s actions after Bethann’s death had scarred him. He had far too much pride to show how wounded he was, to admit he was lost and lonely and hurt. Like Bethann, he saw emotion and communicating his fears as a failure and a weakness.
Noah’s independence frustrated Callie but she’d never stopped loving the boy...the man. Noah was in his midthirties now.
Her own son, Levi, sat down on the bigger of the two leather couches and placed his glass of whiskey on the coffee table. “Right, Mom, what’s the big news?”
Callie took her seat with Jules next to her, on the arm of the chair. Darby and the twins’ best friend, DJ, bookended Levi.
Jules rubbed her hand up and down Callie’s back. “What is it, Mom?”
Well, here goes. “Last Tuesday was three years since your dad died.”
“We know, Mom,” Darby murmured, her elegant fingers holding the stem of her wineglass.
“I’ve decided to make some changes.”
Jules lifted her eyebrows, looking skeptical. Jules, thanks to Noah’s desertion and Ray’s sudden death, wasn’t a fan of impetuous decisions or change. “Okay. Like...?”
Callie looked out the picture windows to the lake and the golf course beyond. “Before you were all born, Bethann’s father decided to turn Lockwood Estate into an exclusive gated community, complete with a golf course and country club. Your dad was one of the first people to buy and build on this estate and this house is still, apart from Lockwood itself, one of the biggest in the community.”
Her kids’ faces all reflected some measure of frustration at the history lesson. They’d lived here all their lives; they’d heard it all before. “It’s definitely too big for me. The tenants renting the three-bedroom we own on the other side of the estate have handed in their notice. I’m going to move into that house.”
Callie could see the horror on their faces, saw that they didn’t like the idea of losing their family home. She’d reassure them. “When I die, this house will come to you, Levi, but I think you should take possession of it now. I’ve heard each of you talk of buying your own places. It doesn’t make sense to buy when you have this one, Levi. The twins can move in here while they look for a property that suits them. This house has four bedrooms, lots of communal space. It’s central, convenient, and you’d just have to pay for the utilities.”
“Move in with Levi? Yuck,” Darby said, as Callie expected her to. But Callie caught the long look her daughter exchanged with her twin sister, Jules, and smiled at their excitement.
Callie knew what was coming next...
“DJ could move into the apartment over the garage,” Jules suggested, excitement in her eyes.
She loved this house; they all did. And why wouldn’t they? It was spacious, with high ceilings and wooden floors, an outdoor entertainment area and a big backyard. It was close to Lockwood Country Club’s private gym, which they all still used. The Tavern, the pub and Italian restaurant attached to the country club, was one of her kids’ favorite places to meet, have a drink. The boys played golf within the walls of the pretty, green estate where they were raised, as often as their busy schedules allowed.
It was home.
“I don’t want to live with my sisters, Mom. It was bad enough sharing a childhood with them,” Levi said.
He was lying, Callie could tell. Levi adored his sisters and this way, he could vet who they dated without stalking them on social media. Levi’s protective streak ran a mile long.
“It’s a good solution. This way, you don’t have to rent while you’re looking to buy and, Levi, since I know you and Noah sank most of your cash into that new marina, it’ll be a while before your bank account recovers.”
Callie wrinkled her nose. Levi probably still had a few million at his fingertips. They were one of Boston’s wealthiest families.
Levi shook his head. “Mom, we appreciate the offer, but you do know that we are all successful and you don’t need to worry about us anymore?”
She was Mom, Callie wanted to tell him. She’d always be Mom. One day they’d understand. She’d always worry about them.
“Are you sure you want to move into the house on Ennis Street?” Jules asked.
Absolutely. There were too many ghosts in this house, too many memories. “I need something new, something different. Dad is gone but I’m still standing and I’ve made the decision to reinvent my life. I have a bucket list and so many things I want to do by the time I turn fifty-five.”
“That’s in ten months,” Darby pointed out.
Callie was so aware, thank you very much.
“What’s on the bucket list, Mom?” Jules asked, amused.
Callie smiled. “Oh, the usual. A road trip through France, take an art class, learn how to paint.”
Jules sent her an indulgent smile. God. Jules would probably fall off her chair if Callie told her that a one-night stand, phone sex, seeing a tiger in the wild, bungee jumping and sleeping naked in the sun were also on her to-do list. Oh, and she definitely wouldn’t tell them that her highest priority was to help them all settle down...
She wasn’t hung up on them getting married. No, sometimes marriage, like her best friend’s, wasn’t worth the paper the license was written on.
Callie wanted her children to find their soft place to fall, the person who would make their lives complete.
But, right now, Callie wanted Noah home, back in Boston, where he belonged.