A story by Mickey Minner
Nicole Brantley was comfortably tucked into the corner of the cinnamon-colored leather couch enjoying the latest issue of a travel magazine. Her legs were pulled up underneath her as she sipped from a cup of peach tea and envisioned herself in the exotic locations pictured on the magazine’s pages. It was early afternoon and she had snuck out of work early for no good reason except she needed some quiet time for herself. An hour sitting on the comfortable leather couch had already done her a world of good and she was hoping to end the day by talking her roommate, and best friend, into going to the movies— the adventure film both had been looking forward to seeing was playing at the neighborhood theatre.
Nicole’s peaceful afternoon was shattered when she heard the front door open. “Oh, boy, she thought when Sandra Carter stormed into the apartment. After hearing, first, a brief case then a set of keys slam down onto the maple console table in the apartment’s entry, she stood flipping the magazine onto the coffee table and headed directly for the kitchen.
“It’s so much brownie poo,” Sandra grumbled entering the kitchen and grabbing the chilled bottle of beer out of Nicole’s hand before she had time to pull it completely out of the fridge. “You’d think I was the only person down at that station capable of covering a gobbly goo story,” she muttered after twisting the cap off and gulping down half of the bottle’s contents. She reached into the fridge and pulled out another beer then left the kitchen carrying both bottles and muttering under her breath. “Brownie poo, that’s what it is.”
Nicole grinned. One of the things she found endearing about her long time friend was her inability to curse no matter how upset she might be. She reached into the fridge and pulled a beer for herself then followed Sandra to the living room. “Okay, what has the mean ol’ station manager done now?” she asked reclaiming her spot on the couch after lifting Sandra’s feet out of her way and dropping them to the floor.
Sandra raised her feet, placing them on Nicole’s lap. “Another freak-a-deek ghost story, that’s what,” she complained while scooting into a more comfortable position.
“Oh, crap… Not another Halloween story?” Nicole asked. Sandra was a reporter for the local television station and the station manager seemed to take great pleasure assigning her the spook stories every year.
“Yes, another Halloween story. You’d think I could go one gobbly goo year without having to smile through a story about a haunted building,” Sandra groused. “I mean, there are five other reporters. Why can’t Chad assign these brownie poo stories to them?”
Nicole chuckled and took a swallow of beer before answering. “Because, dear friend, he knows you are the biggest skeptic in the world and it gives him great pleasure to watch you squirm through the interviews.”
“Humpft,” Sandra huffed.
Nicole loosened the laces on Sandra’s running shoes then pulled them off her feet. “What say I cheer you up?” she asked as she began a gentle massage.
“Can you?” Sandra asked doubtfully.
Nicole pinched a sensitive toe and laughed when the toe’s owner yelped in surprise. “Come on, Sandy, you know darn well that if it’s Halloween, Chad is going to give you a ghost story to investigate. So why do you make such a fuss about it when it happens?”
“Cuz I keep thinking it won’t happen.”
Nicole shook her head. “Tch, tch, tch, silly, girl.” She laughed when Sandy stuck her tongue out at her. “Okay, enough of Little Miss Grumpy Reporter. The new Indiana Jones movie opened today and you are taking me to the movies.”
“Are, too. And, if you were a really nice roommate, you’d offer to take me out to dinner, too.”
“Brownie poo to you, too. Now get up and go get changed.”
Sandy reluctantly pushed herself up from the couch. “All right, I’ll go. But, I’m not going to enjoy a single minute of it.”
Nicole grinned. “Yes, you will.” She stood up and collected the beer bottles on her way to the kitchen and their row of recycling bins. Then she walked through the living room to stand in the doorway of Sandy’s bedroom. “So, where is Chad sending you this year?”
Sandy was in the bathroom brushing her teeth. “Huntley,” she said around a mouth of foam then bent over to rinse it out.
“As in The Huntley? The hotel by the old train depot?”
“The one and the same,” Sandy said walking out of the bathroom.
“What?” Sandy asked rummaging about in her closet.
“I’ve heard about that place.” Nicole moved into the room to sit on the bed. “It really is haunted. Someone even wrote a book about it.”
Sandy carried a pair of jeans from the closet and sat beside Nicole. “Brownie poo,” she grunted pulling the jeans over her sock covered feet.
Sandy turned to face Nicole. “Stop! It’s bad enough I have to go down there tomorrow night and interview the bartender. Can we drop it? I really don’t want to discuss it any more. Okay?”
“Yeah, okay. Sowwy,” Nicole said as she playfully bumped Sandy’s shoulder.
Sandy smiled and bumped her back.
“The best. Let me get my shoes on and we can go.”
“Sounds good, I’m starving. Where are you taking me?”
Sandy finished lacing up her shoes then straightened up. “I’m buying?”
“Then how does McD sound?”
“Like a joke. I was thinking more along the lines of the Frontier. I want steak.”
“You can get steak at McD.”
“I want my steak straight from the cow, not ground into patties.”
Sandy drove the television station’s SUV into an empty parking spot. She turned off the engine and crossed her arms over the top of the steering wheel.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Calvin Johnson asked as he too tilted his head to look at the building in front of them through the bug-spotted windshield. “Even as run down as it is today, it’s still impressive.”
“I s’pose,” Sandy said, her body leaned forward and her head bent at an awkward angle so she could look up the face of the Huntley. “In May 1934,” she began reciting her introduction for her imminent interview, “the Western Pacific put the finishing touches on its newest depot and passenger trains began arriving three times a day. Two months later, the Huntley Hotel opened for business and many of those passengers left the depot, crossed Front Street and entered through the Huntley’s carved oak doors to enjoy a meal in its four star restaurant or a few days in one of its luxurious guest rooms. Little is known about the travelers who enjoyed the hospitality of the Huntley as most stayed for only a night or two before re-crossing Front Street to continue their journeys. But the question I’ve come to ask, Theo Wilson, the Huntley’s bartender for the past twenty-six years, is if any have remained guests of the Huntley.”
“Nice intro,” Calvin said.
Sandy pushed the door open. “Come on, let’s get this over with,” she grumbled stepping out onto the cobblestone surface of Front Street. She slammed the door shut then moved to the back of the SUV to help Calvin retrieve his camera and gear. “Make sure all of this is in working order before we go inside,” she told Calvin when he joined her and opened the rear door.
“Already checked it at the station. And I made sure everything had new batteries.”
“Keep an eye on your display this time. I don’t want to have to come back here tomorrow and do it all over again if somehow you get off focus again.”
“Sheesh, Sandy, I told you that was a fluke. Equipment failure does happen, you know.”
“Not tonight, it doesn’t,” Sandy said looking across the street at the train depot. “Let’s film the intro over there. Start with me standing in front of the depot then you can pan across Front to capture the Huntley.”
“Sounds good. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll catch a ghostly figure looking out of one of the windows. Hey, people claim to see them,” he added when Sandy glared at him.
“Give it a rest, would you,” Sandy muttered before striding toward the depot. After some consideration, she chose to stand near the end of the brick building where Calvin would be able to capture the full length of the depot without the boarded up windows being too noticeable.
After wrapping up filming her intro, Sandy stayed behind while Calvin carried his equipment back across the street. She took a few moments to examine the seven story sandstone and granite building. Once it had been one of the most impressive structures this side of the Mississippi River. But now, though still a grand old lady, it was showing its age; and not for the better. Sections of its carved cornices and corbels were missing and several of its windows had broken panes.
Sandy walked across Front Street and climbed the four granite steps to the entry of the old hotel. The massive oaks doors were propped open and she walked through them into the lobby. She had to admit the lobby was still quite impressive with its high ceiling that reached up two stories. Directly opposite from the front doors was the now unused guest registration area. On either side of the long mahogany counter, a grand stairway led to the upper floors now rented out as offices and private apartments. To the left of the lobby was the restaurant, operated only during the evenings. She turned to the right where the bar was located, its dirt covered windows overlooking the train depot.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy this early,” Calvin said as Sandy walked into the bar. He was standing to the side of the entry looking for a good place to set up his camera.
Sandy looked around the room, most of the tables and booths were already occupied. “I suppose most people wait in here for the dining room to open. I’ll go see if that’s Theo and ask where we should set up.” She weaved her way around the tables to the end of the bar then waited for the busy bartender to come to her.
“You the reporter?” Theo asked as he deposited an empty wine bottle in a plastic trash bin marked with the recycling symbol.
Sandy held out her hand. “Sandra Carter.”
He wiped his hands on his jeans before grasping it lightly. “Theo.”
“It’s a bit busier in here than we expected.”
Theo looked around at the occupied tables. “Bit busier than I expected, too. My night bartender isn’t due for another hour.”
“Where would you like us to set up our camera?”
“Hey, Theo, you planning to fill my order any time soon?”
“Give me a sec,” Theo said then turned and hurried down to the far end of the bar where a harried waitress impatiently stood.
Sandy watched as he said something inaudible to the waitress. After she responded, he placed three glasses on an empty tray then filled them from the appropriate bottles behind the bar. He again said something to the waitress who nodded then picked up the tray and turned away to carry it to her waiting customers.
“You want to know about the history of this place, right?” Theo asked when he returned. He continued before Sandy could answer. “Look, as you can see, I’m a little busy right now. But…” He bent down and opened a small fridge under the bar and retrieved a glass pitcher. Straightening, he grabbed a tall glass and filled it. Then he held the glass out to Sandy. “Take this over to Miss Agnes. She’s over there.” Still holding the pitcher, he pointed to the far corner of the room. “She’s been coming in for as long as anyone can remember. If anyone can answer your questions, she can.”
“Come on, Theo, I’ve got people waiting.”
“Go on, take it,” Theo shoved the glass at Sandy. As soon as she took it, he spun around and hurried back down the length of the bar, setting the pitcher down on it as he went.
Holding the glass, Sandy looked toward the booth Theo had indicated. That corner of the bar was poorly lit but she could see a woman sitting with her head turned toward the window. “Well, at least, there aren’t too many people around her,” she said before motioning to Calvin and pointing at the booth. Then she made her way between the bar’s patrons, being careful not to spill any of the liquid contents of the glass. When she reached the booth, the woman turned her head and smiled at her. It was only then that she realized how old the woman was and how frail she appeared. She smiled in return. “Theo asked me to bring this to you, Miss Agnes,” she said placing the glass on the table.
“Thank you, dear. He’s just a dear young man,” Agnes said as she lifted the glass to her lips and took a sip. “It’s so nice of him to keep a pitcher of cold tea for me, don’t you think?”
Surprised by the comment, Sandy stammered, “Um, yes, I suppose it is.” Calvin nudged her arm and raised his shoulders in an unspoken question. “What? Oh, yes,” she said to the cameraman then turned her attention back to Agnes. “Theo said you might be willing to talk to me.”
“About what, dear?”
“The Huntley? Why on earth would you want to talk about it?”
“May I sit down?”
Sandy nodded to Calvin who immediately started setting up his camera. She slid into the booth opposite Agnes. “I’m interested in the history of the Huntley. The people who have stayed here. And…” She glanced at the camera, seeing the red light that indicated it was recording, she continued. “And about it being haunted.”
“Goodness, me. I don’t know about that.”
“Theo said you’ve been a regular here for many years.” Agnes nodded. “You’ve never seen or heard anything… unworldly?”
“I’m afraid not.”
Sandy leaned back and relaxed. Maybe this interview won’t be so bad, after all, she thought. “What about the history? And the people? Would you be willing to talk about that?”
Agnes took another sip of tea. “Of course.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Agnes, but you’re… um, you’re a lady of… I mean, if you’ve been coming here as long as Theo said, you must be…”
“I’m ninety years old,” Agnes said proudly.
“Have you told them about Edith?” Theo asked as he placed a fresh glass of tea on the table. “Now that’s a story you should hear,” he told Sandy before he abruptly turned away from the table to return to the bar.
“Edith?” Sandy asked Agnes after Theo left.
“Who was she?”
“A young girl forced by unfortunate circumstances to seek work when she was just fourteen years old.”
“And she found it at the Huntley? At fourteen?”
“Times were much different back then. If you were willing to work, you could. Edith had little choice if she were to survive. Her mother had died the year before and her father, unable to accept the loss, followed soon after.”
“What did she do here?”
“At first, she worked in the kitchen, spending her nights washing the pots and pans so the cooks could start fresh in the morning. Then, when Mrs. Hampshire saw she wasn’t adverse to hard work, she was trained as a chamber maid. She worked in the fancy rooms, the ones on the seventh floor. The hotel manager said she was too young for such responsibility. But Mrs. Hampshire said Agnes could be trusted not to steal from the wealthy ladies and gentlemen that stayed in those rooms. And that was more important than her age.”
“She was in charge of all the help. Ordered them about like a general at battle, she did. But Edith didn’t mind. She was making money and saving it to make her dreams come true.”
“She wanted to go to California. She thought if she could start a new life there. One where no one knew Edith-- the poor orphan who cleaned pots and pans, and changed bed sheets. She thought she would find love in California.”
“Did she make it?”
“No. She died here.”
“Then she never found love? How sad,” Sandy said seriously.
“Don’t be sad. Edith found all the love she had ever wanted. And she found it right here.”
“She did?” Sandy asked surprised. “With who? Another worker? A traveler?”
Agnes sipped some tea from her glass. “It was a crisp spring morning when Mr. Thomas Carlson walked into the lobby and arranged for the fanciest room the Huntley had to offer for himself and his new bride. Their room was on the seventh floor and Edith was assigned to them as their chamber maid.”
“So Edith fell in love with a married man?” Same old story, Sandy thought as she slumped back against the side of the booth.
“No. She fell in love with his bride.”
Sandy bolted upright placing her arms on top of the table she leaned forward. “She fell in love with another woman?”
“Yes,” Agnes whispered. “And she, in turn, fell for Edith.”
“What happened? Did they run off together?”
“Mrs. Carlson refused to leave her husband? I suppose he held the purse strings and without him, she’d have nothing,” Sandy said, resigned to the way of the world in that time.
“Yes, that is true, about her husband controlling the money. But that didn’t stop them from making plans.”
“So? What happened?”
“Mrs. Carlson spoke with her husband and told him that she would like to hire Edith as her personal maid.”
“Smart move,” Calvin murmured.
Sandy shot him a glare before asking Agnes, “Did he agree?”
“Yes. And quite readily. It was common for the wife of a gentleman like Mr. Carlson to have, at the very least, a servant to help her.”
Sandy groaned. “So, I suppose the story ends with ‘he hired Edith and they went back to wherever to live happily ever after’?”
“I wish it had been so simple.”
“No. The day they were scheduled to leave the Huntley and return east, Mr. Carlson returned from a walk to find Edith and his wife in a loving embrace.”
“Oh, pooters. What did he do?”
“He grabbed Edith and slapped her. He was a large man and the blow knocked her into the wardrobe. Stunned, she collapsed to the floor. Unconcerned if he had caused her any injury, he ordered his wife to pack their belongings while he went downstairs to pay their bill and arrange for tickets on the afternoon train. He said they would be leaving, without Edith, as soon as he returned.”
Sandy scowled. “Typical.”
“Seems to me he had good reason,” Theo interjected when returned to the table.
“Hush,” Sandy told the bartender who grinned.
“Your taxi is here, Miss Agnes.”
Agnes slipped out of the booth. “Thank you, Theo.”
“Would you like me to walk you out?”
“No, no. You stay right here and finish the story for these young people.”
“But you tell it so much better than me.”
“Tisch. You know how much I dislike the ending. Good night.”
“See you tomorrow, Miss Agnes.”
“Shouldn’t you walk her outside?” Sandy asked Theo as she watched the frail woman walk away.
“Every night, I ask and, every night, she says no.”
“You could do it anyway.”
“I tried that once,” Theo said as he slipped into the space Agnes had vacated. “She wasn’t a happy camper. Let’s just say she likes her independence.”
“Was Edith hurt?” Sandy asked.
“A cut on her forehead, but her real pain was the thought of never seeing the love of her life again. Mrs. Carlson was just as distraught. And as she tending to the cut, they tried to come up with a solution to their problem.”
“Sort of. They realized there was one way for them to always be together.”
“They left the room and ran to the linen room. That’s where the maids used a dumbwaiter to send the dirty linen to the basement laundry and to retrieve clean linen. The shaft was unprotected whenever the dumbwaiter was in use on another floor. So, Edith pushed the button to send the empty car to the basement. Then she grabbed a sheet and ripped it into strips which she tied to the rod that held the cable pulleys. Each of them tied a strip around their necks and with a final kiss, they jumped into the shaft. Legend has it that they were found by Mr. Carlson who left them hanging in the shaft while he calmly walked downstairs, through the lobby, and across the street to the depot. When asked by the station master about his wife, he responded that she was no longer his concern.”
“Bastard,” Calvin hissed.
“To say the least. Anyway, it’s said that Edith and Mrs. Carlson still roam the seventh floor.”
“Have you seen them?” Sandy asked.
Theo laughed. “Never been on the seventh floor. But I can tell you this— the building’s owners gave up a long time ago trying to rent out any of the rooms at that end of the floor. People kept reporting seeing a pair of women walking in and out of room 717 and hearing sounds coming from the room. That’s supposedly the room the Carlsons stayed in.”
“So, what’s so unusual about women walking in and out of the room?”
“The owners sealed it off years ago. The door was removed and the space boarded up and painted to look like part of the hallway wall. The women walk through the wall.”
“What about the sounds?”
“People hear voices, like two women talking and laughing and…”
Theo leaned forward and motioned for Sandy to do the same. “They say they can hear them making love,” he said in a low voice.
A burst of laughter exploded out of Sandy. “You’re making that up.”
“No, I’m not. I think Edith found what she was looking for. And she didn’t have to go to California to find it.”
“You seriously think Edith and Mrs. Carlson are still here, living and loving on the seventh floor of the Huntley.”
“Yes, I do.”
Sandy shrugged. “To each his own, she said then turned to look directly into the camera. “And there you have it. Is the Huntley Hotel haunted? I suppose the only way to truly know is to spend some time on the seventh floor. This is Sandra Carter reporting for Channel 7 with the stories you want to hear.” She slid out from the table. “Thanks for your help,” she said extending hand to the bartender. “Where can I find Miss Agnes if I have any follow-up questions?”
“You mean when she isn’t here?”
“Yes. Where does she live?”
“Somewhere up on the north side.”
“What’s her last name?”
Theo rubbed his chin. “Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever asked.”
“Well, I guess I’ll hope I don’t have any questions then.” Sandy waited until Calvin hefted his camera in one hand and his bag of gear in his other then turned to follow him outside. “Thanks, again.”
“You look beat.” Nicole asked. She had heard Sandy climbing the steps to their apartment and decided to greet her at the door.
“I need a beer.”
Nicole chuckled and held up a chilled bottle. “Want to talk about it?”
“No. Right now, I just want to sit down and not think… About anything.”
“Okay. Go sit. I ordered pizza for dinner, should be here in about five minutes.” Nicole reached up and cupped Sandy’s cheek. “I’ll leave you alone until then.”
Sandy felt her body relax and the tension of the past few hours dissolve away. “Thanks. You’re good for me.”
Nicole smiled. “I know. Go on. Go!” she said as she pushed Sandy toward the living room.
Sandy kicked off her shoes then dropped onto the couch stretching her legs out on the coffee table. She leaned her head back against the leather and closed her eyes. But no matter how hard she tried not to think about the interview, she simply could not force it from her thoughts. The sound of the doorbell followed by the unmistakable aroma of freshly baked pizza was a welcome diversion. She sat up when Nicole joined her on the couch with the box of pizza, a pile of napkins and more beer.
“Good or bad?”
“What?” Sandy asked lifting a piece of pizza from the box.
“You sound surprised.”
“So, the bartender had some good stories.”
Sandy finished off the piece before responding. “He was too busy to talk to me so he suggested I talk to one of the regulars.”
“You interviewed one of the bar patrons? Hopefully, he was sober.”
Sandy laughed and lifted another piece of pizza from the box. “Actually, it was a ninety year old woman who has been going to the bar for a glass of tea for longer than Theo has been tending bar.”
“Really?” What’s her connection to the Huntley?” Nicole waved her hand in front of Sandy’s face when she didn’t receive an answer. “Hello. Earth to Sandy.”
“Sorry. I was just trying to remember… You know, I don’t think I ever asked her that.”
“She’s been going to the Huntley for a glass of tea for ninety years and you never asked why?”
“I doubt she’s been going for ninety years. But, no, I never thought to ask. She started telling us about a young girl that worked for the Huntley when it first opened. Then she left.”
“She started telling you?”
“You said she started telling you. Didn’t she finish the story?”
“No. She left before she could. She told Theo to finish it because she never liked the ending.”
“So, what was the story?”
“It was about this young girl, Edith, who went to work for the hotel when she was fourteen. She worked there for six years, saving her money for a train ticket to California.”
“Damn, how much did train tickets cost back then?”
“Do you want to hear the story or not?”
“Of course, I do.” Nicole smiled sweetly. “Please continue.”
“Anyway, Edith worked her way up from scrubbing pots and pans at night to being the trusted chamber maid to the hotel’s rich and famous guests.” Sandy went on to repeat the story she had been told by Miss Agnes and Theo.
“So, Edith and her lover are some of the ghosts that haunt the Huntley?”
“According to Theo they are.”
A loud buzzing interrupted them. Sandy reached into her pocket to retrieve her cell phone. “Hello? Oh, Hi, Calvin. What’s up?... What? Wait. I’m going to put you on speaker so Nic can hear this. Okay. Tell me that again.”
“I’m telling you the equipment was working perfectly. And I was watching the display screen the whole time so I know you were both in frame. But when I played it at the station- nothing.”
“What do you mean nothing?” Sandy asked.
“I can see you. I can see cars moving on the street out the window. I can hear people moving about and talking behind the camera. I can hear you asking questions. But I can’t see or hear Miss Agnes. I even had Chad look at it. Nothing. She’s not there.”
“She has to be. We both saw her and talked to her.”
“I know. But, for whatever reason, she’s not on the tape. Look, I’ve got to go. Chad wants to see us in his office first thing. Said something about going back tomorrow and trying again.”
Sandy closed the cell phone and tapped it against her chin. “How can she not be on the tape?”
“Hang on,” Nicole said as she placed the pizza box on the coffee table. Then she stood and moved to a row of bookcases along the side of the room.
“What are you looking for?”
“That story… I’m sure I’ve heard it…” Nicole pulled a book off a shelf. “Or read it before. Nope, not this one,” she said as she returned the book to its place. “This one… I think.” She opened the book and flipped through several pages. “Yes, here it is. Listen to this. It is said that one of the most active ghosts in the Huntley is Edith Warington. She arrived on the hotel’s doorsteps at the tender age of fourteen and died within its walls a mere six years later. Controversy surrounds Edith’s death,” Nicole continued reading as she returned to the couch. “Some say she killed herself while others say she was killed by the jealous husband of her lover. What is known is that while serving as chambermaid for the guests of the seventh floor, Edith met a young woman traveling with her husband. A few days later, Edith was found hanging over a dumbwaiter shaft. Beside her hung the young woman who had captured her heart. It is unknown if Edith hung her lover because she could not have her then hung herself. Or if the woman’s husband, after discovering their illicit affair, hung both of them.”
“According to Theo, they hung themselves.”
“Just a minute,” Nicole said as she scanned down the book’s page. “What was the name of the woman Edith fell in love with?”
“Listen to this. Unclaimed by relatives, Edith Warington and Agnes Carlson were buried side-by-side in Northside Cemetary where their bodies rest to this day. As for their spirits…” Nicole looked at Sandy when she heard her gasp. “What’s wrong?”
“I asked Theo where Agnes lived.”
“And, he said somewhere on the north side. You don’t think…?”
“Hey, you’re the skeptic here,” Nicole said.
“I don’t know… Something about Miss Agnes. She said she was ninety. That would mean that in 1934 she would have been…”
“And Edith would have been…”
“Pooters! I don’t suppose there’s a picture of Agnes in that book.”
“Unfortunately, no.” Nicole closed the book and set it on the coffee table. Then she settled back on the couch and leaned against Sandy. “Has tonight changed your mind?”
“I don’t know. My sensible, logical self says ghosts can’t exist.”
“But, there was something about Agnes and the way she told the story.”
The women fell silent, content in their own thoughts.
“What are you thinking?” Sandy finally asked.
“How fantastic it was for Edith and Agnes to have found each other.”
“Even though it ultimately led to their deaths?”
“Yes. Think of how wonderful those few days together must have been for them. They knew they were in love. And it was a love so deep that even death could not separate them.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“You know you can.”
“Do you think you’ll ever find anyone to feel about the way Edith and Agnes felt for each other?”
Sandy took her time to consider the question and her answer. Then she turned her head to gaze into Nicole’s eyes. “Somehow, I think I already have but I’ve been too blind to see it.” Nicole smiled. “How long have you loved me?”
“How long have we known each other?”
“You never said.”
“I didn’t want to scare you away.”
Sandy chuckled. “If meeting Agnes doesn’t scare me, I doubt you have much to worry about.”
“I love you.”