Pebbles of Destiny


A David Blaine Story

By Atonia Walpole

Chapter 9

Martin Weems, Sir Brennan’s Chief of Staff, entered Blaine’s room. It was his 5th day in hospital. “Mr. Blaine, I’m Martin Weems. Sir Brennan bids me to check with you and to make sure that you have everything you need and are receiving the best of care.”

“Tell him I am satisfied.”

“He will be back in house tomorrow and would like to talk with you at that time. Sir Brennan has had occasion to be in London this week.”

“Has he?  Well…”

“I will report to him that all is well here, shall I?”

“Yes, please. I am anxious to leave as soon as possible.”

“I will pass that onto him.” Martin Weems dipped his head, backed up a few paces and retreated from the room.

“Odd gent,” Trevor said. “I guess you know why he’s in London.”

“I have been catching the news on the TV. Billy brings me papers. A scandal.”

“Oh, yeah, nothing the press likes better than a scandal. I had a call from Margret Langston this morning before I left the house. She’s coming by sometime today.”

Blaine leaned his head back into his pillows. “I must let her down again. I did have such plans to restore Belton Place and to join her in her garden works again. I am afraid any plans I had are off the table now.”

“Don’t say that. They are just postponed for awhile.”

“You can say that, Uncle Trevor.  You do not know what I am capable and incapable of doing. I am trying to resign myself to what is to be. It is not easy, you know.”

“Lyssa wants you to call her. You can at least use a phone. Oh, and by the way, I’ve got a piece of mail for you. I wouldn’t bother except it looks rather official.”

“What mail?” Blaine turned and took the outsized envelope from him. “I do not know these solicitors. Has my passport arrived?”

“Uh, not that I’ve noticed. It usually takes a few weeks for that to come through. Go ahead and open that piece of mail.” Trevor watched him closely as he opened and read through the letter that accompanied the deed.

“What…what has she done? I cannot accept this…that woman…Uncle, do you see?” He held out the letter to Trevor and then took it back before he had a chance to read it. “She has gifted me Belton Place. I cannot accept it. I cannot.”

“Why? What’s the problem?  I thought you wanted the place.”

“Well, I did, but I intended to purchase it from her…not…this I will not sign. I cannot even purchase it from her now. I am not able to do any work there. It was a dream, Uncle Trevor, one I had for awhile. I am more suited to a small cottage somewhere with…with handicapped access.”

“Plan to be handicapped, do you?”

“Wha…I made no such plans but here I am.” Blaine laid his arm across his eyes. “I can do nothing.”

“A man wants to do something, he finds a way to do it. At least that’s the way I’ve always known you to be.  Or…you can flail around in the bed like a drama queen, crying about his infirmities and doing nothing to help himself. Why did you run off the therapist this morning?”

“I cannot do the things he wants me to do. In time but not yet. I have lived with this back for more than five years. I know how and when to push it.”

Trevor sat on the side of his bed. “You’ve got an opportunity here.” He punched the papers lying on Blaine’s chest. “There’s plenty of room in that place for you to live with your family. Think about Christine and the baby that’s coming. Focus on something besides yourself. I’m not trying to belittle your present condition, David. Being able to operate a spade is not a prerequisite for owning a property like this. Hire a gardener and tell him where to dig. Don’t throw it back at Margret.  You’ll hurt her feelings.”

Blaine began struggling to sit up. Trevor moved and asked him what he was doing.

“Bring the chair over. I am going to pee. They removed the catheter this morning so I must get up when I have to go.”

Trevor suppressed a smile and moved the wheelchair over to the side of the bed. He didn’t offer to help him, though he could see it was a struggle and he was a bit wobbly. Blaine was stubborn and he reckoned the nurses here had already figured him out. “Need any help in there?”

“No.” Blaine managed to hold himself upright over the toilet by way of the support bars and take care of his pressing need.


Billy and Christine had returned to the farm for a night. They both wanted to be with the children. Willy wasn’t used to being separated from Billy and Christine was going to try and explain to Lyssa what had happened to her father. Trevor came to spend the day and the night with Blaine. He really didn’t need to be left alone.

He heard the toilet flush and opened the door to the bathroom. “You all right?”

“Yes, we must put these bars on the toilet at home.”

Trevor didn’t ask what home he was talking about. “Yeah, good idea. Billy probably knows where to find all these things.”

Blaine was back in his chair and wheeled himself out. “Did you know Billy has offered to quit his job and come and live with us?”’

“Um, I had heard something about it from Christine. How’s that going to work for you?”

“I need him, Uncle Trevor.”

“I know he’s good with you.  He’s a good therapist. I told Christine he could stay in the cottage, him and Willy.”

“For now, for awhile.”

“What I’m trying not to say here is that you don’t want to set up another situation like you had with Mandy. I don’t think Christine would enjoy a threesome.”

 Blaine looked shocked. “What a thing for you to say. Of course she would not and I would not ever suggest such a thing to her.”

“When you marry, you’re going to want some privacy for awhile.”

Blaine had wheeled over to the window and he didn’t answer.


“I cannot make love to Christine. I cannot move, Uncle Trevor. Do you understand what I am saying?”

“Not exactly. What are you saying?”

“I would be no husband for her. She will not want me like this.”

The door to Blaine’s room opened and two orderlies came in. “Mr. Blaine, the man who was brought in with you has gone missing. Have you seen him today?”

Blaine looked at Trevor. “I have not seen him.”

“Have you checked the grounds?” Trevor asked.

“We’ve only just discovered he’s not on the floor. Sorry to have bothered you.”

Blaine turned his chair around. “Well, he has done it.”

“I hope he makes it. I’d hate to think he’d be caught with your passport.”

“How would anybody know it was mine? I think he waited for the weather to clear. He’ll go through the back gate and onto the service road. From there make his way out. It is quite a walk.”

“You’ve done it.”

“Yes, when Abby was here, I helped him out.” Blaine looked down at his hands for a minute and then back up at his uncle. “It is all right. I have let him go…and his father. I have let Renee go, though that was hard. The first time I ever saw him was here, right here in this window alcove. He was smoking and had the window open. Well, memories never leave you. I had to forgive myself, you know. I had to do that before I could let them all go.

“I sat in Apollo’s temple alone in the night. I tried to meditate and make sense of my life. I experienced a period of intense clarity and I could see way back and see the truth of my relationship with Ali.  It became a disease and I am well rid of it now. I can see how he manipulated me…me, who hungered for love. So, when I left the temple, it was really a ruin but still a spiritual place. I felt cleansed. I was clean, Uncle Trevor.”

“And then you faked your death.”

“Yes, but had I succeeded, had I really drowned, it would have been all right with me.”

“It wouldn’t have been all right with me.  I like what you did, though.  You made peace with yourself and that’s the difference I see in you now. You’ve stopped looking backwards. David, you’ve got to keep that forward-looking attitude. Don’t let this temporary injury put you back there. Keep going forward, keep in mind the people who love you and depend on you to love them back and to be there for them.”

Blaine turned back to the window. “I know what you are trying to do and, believe me, I am listening. It is not my intention to let anyone down. Right now, Uncle Trevor, I have a setback.  Yes, I will get through it…somehow I will. I have no choice but to go on. It is…brutal for this to happen now…” He buried his face in his hands, let out a shaky breath and then gave in to the tears that he’d banked up.

Trevor put a hand on his shoulder for a moment and then left the room. Let him have some time alone with his misery. Out in the hallway he recognized a couple of security people going around asking questions. He assumed it had to do with Shane’s disappearance. Before he could make the elevator he was accosted.

“Mr. Blaine, is it?”

“Yes, what do you want?”

“Are you the patient who arrived with Matt Shane?”

“No, I’m not a patient. My nephew is the Blaine in hospital.”

“Which room is his?”

“You’re not going to bother him right now.  He’s resting. What is it you want?”

“We’d like to know if your nephew made contact with Mr. Shane whilst he was in hospital.”
“I have not seen Shane in David’s room. It’s not my responsibility nor David’s to keep up with the patients on this floor. You might question the medical staff.”

“We are proceeding with questions in that direction, Mr. Blaine.”

“Fine,” Trevor said and pushed the button for the elevator. “What do you want him for?”

“The police are looking for him in regards to events in London.”

The doors opened and Trevor stepped in. So that’s how it was going down…blame Shane. He was glad the man had disappeared and hoped he kept going. Down in the lobby of the hospital wing he ran into Margret Langston. He offered to buy her a cup of tea before she went up to see Blaine.




As soon as Margret opened his door and saw him, she was fighting tears.  To see him sitting in a wheelchair again after all he’d been through tore at her heart. She blinked and made a swipe at her cheeks. “David.”

“Margret, come in. I am glad to see you but as you can see, I am afraid I will not be able to work for some time.”

“Work, work is always there. It can wait. What can I do?  Is there anything I can do for you?”

He smiled slightly and reached for the papers on his bedside table. “You may explain this.”

She pursed her lips a moment. “Why must I explain?  Did you not read it?”

“I read it and I do not understand how you can do this. You said to me that the price, which was ridiculous in itself, was your retirement.”

“That’s not exactly the way I put it. As for my retirement, I’ve enough put away to take care of my needs. The more I thought about the Belton Place, the more I knew this was the right thing to do. I have no family left, David. You are my beneficiary upon my death and why should I sell something that had I intended to…no, we will not discuss it anymore. Have you signed the paper? No?” She reached in her large bag and pulled out a pen, handing it to him. “Please, make this old woman happy.”

He hesitated, giving her a look and then he signed it. “This does not feel right to me.”

She took a breath and smiled. “It feels right to me. There, it is done. You have a home to go to, one that is yours, one that your family can grow into and enough property to keep you out of trouble for many years.”

He laughed lightly. “Out of trouble?  It tends to find me wherever I go. Thank you.” He reached for her hand and kissed it.

“There now, when will you be released?”

“I do not know. They have not given me a date and Sir Brennan comes tomorrow. I intend to have an answer from him for if he is keeping me here for some reason I will know it.”

“Do you intend to walk out of here?” Trevor had told her he was feeling rather low and his expectations were lacking.

“I wish I could but I can barely stand right now.”

She gave his wheelchair a tug and pulled him closer to her. “You will walk again.  Do you hear me, David? You will because you must. There will come a day when walking is the most important thing you can do and you will do it. Is Billy going to be with you?”

“Yes, I have asked him to help me.”

“Then I shan’t worry about you. He will have you on your feet. The weather has been horrid in Kent and so I gave it up for a lost cause and decided to wait a week or two until things dry out. So, I am on my way home after a week away.”

“Home…Gravesend was my home. I went to see it and it was like going to a family member’s gravesite.”

“Dead and buried but you have your memories of how it was. You will build new ones at Belton and I must tell you something of the man who owned the house. He would have liked you. He was something of a misfit himself. He was a young man but an avid gardener. Whatever gardens remain are what he designed. Now, near to the house has been professionally landscaped but you are to feel free to do anything you wish. It is yours now.”

“I must think about it. Belton Place has yet to sink into me…but I am sure it will.”

“I’ll go ahead and have it cleaned from top to bottom. I have no great expectations for its cleanliness as it has sat nearly empty for some time now. It will be ready for you when you are ready for it.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek.

He took hold of her arm. “I love you, Margret.”

“I know,” she said. “I want more than anything for you to be well. Do that for me, will you?”

“I will do my best.”



Chapter 10

Lyssa kept picking at the edge of her sweater. Christine told her about Blaine. She didn’t tell her that someone had tried to kill him, only that he’d fallen on some bricks. The little girl’s face was obscured by a curtain of hair. At last she looked up and her eyes went to Billy, who was leaning on her closet door at the farm.

“You can make him better, Uncle Billy.”

Billy went down on his knees by her bed. She was sitting cross-legged in the middle of it with Christine on the edge. “I’m going to try, Princess.”

“I know you will. He’s going to be in that chair again isn’t he?”

“For a while, darling, but your daddy will walk again when his back heals,” Christine said.

Billy sat back on the rug, pulled out his phone and called Blaine. So far Blaine had not talked to Lyssa and it was time.

“Yes?” Blaine answered.

“I’ve got your daughter here. Christine told her about the accident, about you falling on the bricks and hurting your back. I think it would help if you told her how you are.”

“Of course.  Please put her on.”

Billy handed the phone to Lyssa and he and Christine went out in the hall.

“I hope I did right, Billy. I could not bring myself to tell her what really happened.”

“You did good, Christine. Lyssa is a smart little girl. She doesn’t need any more food for nightmares. She’s seen him busted up before, though he’s always tried to hide things like that from her.”

They looked back in the room, interested in her change of tone. She looked up with a smile. “We are going to live in the big house.”

Christine smiled back. “That is good news. Does he say when?”

“When he gets out of hospital and he will know tomorrow.”

“So, he has agreed to accept Margret’s gift,” Christine said. “I was afraid he would not.”

“He’s more open to letting someone help him now. Maybe it’s not going to be so bad…his recovery. He always tries, you know. As long as he keeps a good attitude toward what he has to do to get where he wants to be, it won’t take long.” Willy came to him in the hall with something sticky in his hands. “What have you got there, Willy?” He frowned. “Fish and her sticky buns.”

Toomes took Willy from Billy to wash his hands and face. “Mr. Wright, Fish and I were talking about the move.”

“Already? The ink’s hardly dry on the deed. So, what’s to talk about?”

“Well, sir,” she took a swipe at Willy’s face. “It’s about Mrs. Broadus.  You’ll remember her from Gravesend. Well, it seems she and her husband are not finding retirement to be what they thought it would be and since Himself will be needing some help out at the new place…do you think it worth a call?”

Billy thought a moment. “You’re in contact with her?”

“Fish is.”

“Yeah, sure, tell Fish to give her a call and we’ll get them on board. What does her husband do?”

“He was a railroad man but turns a good hand at most anything. He likes to grow veg, you see.”

“Right. I thought they had a little bungalow or something in Coventry.”

“Well, as to that, wasn’t ever theirs, was it? It was let, Mr. Wright.”

“Ah, all right.” He took a cleaned-up Willy up in his arms. Things appeared to be falling into place. He went to tell Christine, who was still with Lyssa. Lyssa perked up immediately.

“Oh, does she still have Freckles?” She couldn’t bring her dog to Sir Brennan’s estate and Mrs. Broadus had taken him home with her.

“I didn’t ask. I’m sure Fish can find out for you.” Billy stepped aside as Lyssa ran to find Fish.

“So?” Billy tilted his head.

“All we need now is David.” Christine came off the bed and hugged him. “And we will have him soon. Tomorrow we will know.”


Sir Brennan arrived late the night before and was an early visitor to Blaine’s room. Blaine had just finished his breakfast and was again in the wheelchair.

“I am awfully sorry to see you in a wheelchair, Blaine. I have spoken to your doctors and the prognosis is good. They tell me you will walk again. How are you feeling?  Is there much pain?” He took a chair and Blaine wheeled near him.

“The pain is bearable with medications. I am told it will get better in time.” With not much else to occupy his time he’d been keeping up with the news and now pointed his remote toward the TV. “You have been in London.”

“Yes, yes, I have. Sorry business and there it is plastered all over the world for everyone to see. I’ve been informed of Shane’s escape. What can you tell me about that?”

“Why would you suppose I have anything to tell? From what I gather, he is a suspect in the death of Lord Brompton. Ridiculous.”

“Yes, it is. Of course he had nothing to do with Lord Brompton’s death but they must have someone to point their fingers at, someone to take the blame, someone who’ll wash their dirty hands of a dastardly situation. At this point they are grasping at straws and one of those straws is a man working under suspicious circumstances. His name came up and it seems he is a non-person. They’ve obviously been paying him under the table.

“I asked you the question because he came in with you. He tried to kill you from what I understand so naturally I think there must be some connection.”

“I have no idea what he was hired to do with MI5. I do know he was sent to kill me.  It would seem that my existence causes a problem for some people. I will tell you this, Sir Brennan, the man is not a killer…though I know nothing of his previous deeds.  He could not kill me and not because I am invincible. He did not want to do it.  He had no personal reason to do it, and he is not an assassin. My opinion is that he is a smart man and saw what was coming and therefore he disappeared.”

“Alone and without help.”

Blaine looked steadily at him. “What do you want me to say, that I somehow got him out of the hospital? I have not left this room but I intend to leave it soon.”

Sir Brennan sighed. “Well, he’ll be caught eventually and he is not my problem. You are my problem.”

“I am not your problem, Sir. I, too, will disappear into the country. I do not expect to see your car coming down my drive either unless it is to admire my roses. This, sir, is the end for us. You may tell your friends in London to back off me. I have nothing for them. I am not a threat to anyone.”

“I have already done so and if my so-called friends are to be believed, you will not be harassed again.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“When I say you are my problem it is because I have created the problem for you and I sincerely regret it.”

“I do not see it so. I have created my own problems. I know now how I was used, and, yes, you did occasionally use me for your ends, but it was I who went along. You see, it was all personal for me. I never went out as this Shane did with a gun in my hand to kill someone I did not know. I was purpose driven for my loved ones. All I want now is to live the rest of my life with them and in hopes that I will eventually walk with my children again.”

“You will have the best of care. Anything you need will be provided.  I can at least do that for you. “


“I owe you one, Bates, but don’t come to collect it anytime soon.”

“You don’t owe me anything. You sure this is a good idea?”

“Who knows? I know I need a place to lay up for a few days to get my strength back. I appreciate your coming for me. I didn’t know who else to call and I hope I can trust you. If I can’t I’ll know soon enough.”

Bates shrugged. “I never saw you, man.”


“Good luck, Shane.” Bates went back down the walk to his cab. He turned once to see the woman open the door and then he drove off. He could report him, or not. With things all up in the air at the shop, nothing to be gained for himself. And as for Shane, it would not go well for him so…fuck it, he never saw the man.

His radio buzzed and he pushed a button. “Bates.” He was told where to go and who to pick up. The job was easy.  It paid well and most of the time he kept his nose and his hands clean.


“I never expected to see you again. What’s happened to you, Matt?”

“Like I told you, I ran into some trouble. I’m okay. I just need a place to rest up for a few days. I just got out of hospital and I’m not as strong as I thought I was. I won’t be here long, Jessica, just until I can travel without passing out.”

“You’re welcome to stay as long as you need to. Tea, coffee?”

“Coffee would be nice,” Shane said. He couldn’t think of anyone else who might help him. He’d gotten a ride into London and there passed out on the street near his apartment. He realized when he came to with a bottle of water pressed to his lips and a young couple squatting over him, that he’d better get off the street. He asked one of them to call a cab for him and gave them Bates’ number. Once in the cab he found Jessica Brownwell-Haven’s number. She’d been his first assignment when he arrived in England.

“Here we are.” She set a steaming cup before him. “You said you were in hospital?”

“Yeah, got stabbed in the stomach. Not so bad but I bled a lot, lost a lot of blood. It was all replenished but left me feeling weak as a kitten.”

“You shouldn’t be out and about. What about your flat?”

“Can’t go there. Don’t ask me any questions and I’ll tell you no lies. I’m going to need a ride to Manchester, to the airport. I’d take the train but…I’d rather not.”

“This all sounds rather intriguing. Are you on the run?”

Shane smiled. “I’m always on the run.”

“Have you eaten anything?  Are you hungry?”

“If you’ve got something ready, don’t go to any trouble for me.” He’d had very little to eat since leaving the hospital and walking for miles. A window glazer stopped and picked him up.

“I have something I can warm for you. Lie down there on the sofa.” He was pale and shaky and did as she asked. 

Jessica returned a few minutes later and he was asleep. She walked over to the sofa and looked at him. It had been a long time, over a year since she’d seen him. He looked much the same but with a heavier beard. She was a port in a storm and with a deep breath she accepted that and was glad to receive his damaged boat again.


Instead of going straight to the hospital, Billy and Christine drove to Oxford and to Belton Place. They both wanted to see what might be needed for Blaine’s access. Billy found a ramp near the back entrance. It could be brought around to the front door. “We’ll have to make another one.”

“Well, it was a hotel and I am sure they had to provide for guests.” The key was in the coach house beneath a wooden bucket where they’d left it when they first came out with Blaine to have a look.

Inside of the house smelled of neglect. Margret Langston’s cleaning crew had yet to arrive and perform their magic. Christine inspected the kitchen while Billy went up the elevator to make sure it was working properly and then on to look in the bedrooms.

The kitchen still held its old world look despite a big commercial range and deep freezers. There was a large pantry, empty, opening to the kitchen and a wall of sinks and dishwashers, but in the midst of all this modern equipment was the old fireplace. It held a wood burning stove nearly lost in the massive surround. This would be Fish’s territory. Christine regretted that in a way. She loved to cook. A short hall led to the back and a flagged porch. A morning room lay across the great hall.  It was all in blues, blue painted paneling, blue velvet chairs. In time she would do something about the furnishings. This room should be comfortable for a family, for children who would be lounging about on the sofas and there should be a TV. From the morning room to the right right was an exit and a half bath. The hallway ended in the great hall that had been used as a dining room and sitting out area. To the right was the drawing room. It was richly paneled and lit with an elaborate chandelier, a formal room. To the left of the hall was a study. It needed some attention. Billy joined her there.

“What’s this?”

“It is supposed to be a study but there doesn’t appear to be much to study in here.”

“Blaine will make it a library and retreat for himself. He had one at Gravesend.”

“Oh, Billy, I think this house needs a lot of attention.” She ran a hand over a dusty table.

“Ah, just a clean up, bit of polish. It’s not bad, Christine.  It just hasn’t been lived in for awhile. Old Mrs. Acton hadn’t been here since her husband died according to Margret.”

“How are the bedrooms?”

“Surprisingly clean and neat. Probably need a change of linen and a dusting.  I think we can put some bars in the bathrooms for Blaine.”

“Bars?” Christine frowned.

“So he can steady himself and pull up.”

“Oh, all right. These things need to be done as soon as possible.”

“I know. I think I’ll pop in to see him then come back here and see what I can accomplish. You stay with him until he’s able to come home and if all goes well, this is the home he’ll come to.”


“I have been here for a week but they will not let me go. They want to do some scans and make sure everything is healing properly. So, a few more days I think.”

Billy stood up. “I’m going back to Belton Place. It’ll be ready when you are. Christine talked to Margret and the cleaning crew will be there tomorrow. I thought I might bring Fish and Toomes out and let them figure out where they want to set up. There’s the servant’s quarters and the gardener's cottage. The Broaduses might want that since it’s got more room.”

Blaine looked up at him. “And where will you be, Billy?”

Billy took a breath. “I’m not sure yet. Margret said there’s a dower house on the property. We haven’t seen that yet but I’ll take a look at it.”

“Not in the big house? There is room.”

“I know that but no matter how big it is, it will be crowded, Blaine. You know what I mean.”

Blaine looked down at his hands and quit fiddling with the tie on his robe. “Yes, I do know. I am sorry.”

“Don’t be.  We tried it once. We need the space between us…I need it.”

Blaine reached out for him and Billy leaned down and kissed him. “I’ll get on back now. Christine’s probably wondering what happened to me. I left her in the dining room.”

“You know I love you. You are a part of me and always will be. It is not fair and I know this but it is what it is, Billy. Still, we are family, you and I. I cannot let you go.”

“I’m not going anywhere. I love you too.”


The next few days Billy was busy orchestrating the move to Belton Place. With Trevor’s help he installed lifting bars in two bathrooms, dodged the cleaning crew, and brought Fish and Toomes to the house. Trevor said he might move in too since it was too far to drive to eat dinner.

The servant’s hall was really quite nice since it had been a holiday let. There were several bedrooms and a central hall with comfortable seating, a small kitchenette and two bathrooms. It was quiet and private. Mr. and Mrs. Broadus arrived, followed by a removal van with their household goods without any idea where they would be living, but the gardener’s cottage suited them fine. After touring the house she said she would require a housemaid. Fish wanted help in the kitchen and so the two other rooms in Fish’s servant’s quarters would soon be filled.

“That’s everybody accounted for but you,” Trevor said.

Billy nodded slowly. “There’s another house, a dower house attached to the property. Margret was here yesterday and took me up there but, Trevor, it’s half the size of this place. I don’t need all that room.”

“Room enough for a guest?”

“You could fit this household in there three times. Well, maybe not three times.” He turned to Trevor. “Are you thinking of guesting?”

Trevor grinned. “I am thinking of it. I thought for a few days or a week or so after David comes home. Just to see him settled. I’ve gotten used to folks being around and that farm can get awfully lonely at times. If you don’t mind, Billy, I’d like to stake out a room in your dower.”

“I don’t mind at all, Trevor, but why not stay here with Blaine?”

“He needs to be on his own for awhile with Christine and Lyssa.”

Billy looked away and ran his hand over the newly polished paneling.

“I’m not talking about you.”

“I know what you’re saying.”

“No, no, you don’t. You’re David’s right arm and you know it as well as I do. I just meant that to really get the feel of his new home, he needs some time there without the whole family crowding him.”

“He’s going to be in the middle of his family from now on. If he needs some time alone he’s got a room to go to. You forget, Trevor, I lived with him and I know him. He doesn’t mind the chaos and the noise. It makes him feel a part of something bigger than himself. He used to go into a kind of funk, depression if you will, and then he’d take off for France. Now Christine is here with him so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue anymore.”

Trevor put a hand on his shoulder. “You’re right, you do know him. Sorry if I offended you.”

“You didn’t, brother. I know who and what I am and I know my place in the world. I love him and he knows it.”

Trevor clapped him on the back. “I love him too. So, let’s go have a look at this dower house you’ve inherited.”