The kitchen door to Marilyn’s house banged open. “I’m sorry,” the man who stepped out said. “I didn’t mean to spy. But you are on my property, and I was curious as to why.”
He was tall, angular, with gray eyes and dark brown, close-cropped hair. “Hello, dog,” he said. Precious relaxed her posture, just a little, but her hackles and growl did not turn themselves off, not yet. Something about his smell, though, rang a very small bell of recognition.
“Your property?” Franny said. “This house belongs to our friends. Belonged, anyway.” Scenarios flashed through her mind. Had Marilyn sold the house before she died? Had Douglas sold it afterward? Maybe Marilyn didn’t have time to change her will, and the house went to some stranger? But Marilyn had been on top of all of that. She hadn’t waited until the wedding to do anything. Her affairs were in order before Douglas and she exchanged their vows.
“Yes. My family’s property.” The man smiled in a way that rang a very small bell of recognition in Franny’s mind, too.
“We’re sorry, man.” Leo extended his hand. “I’m Leo, this is Franny. We’re good friends of the lady who died here. If Marilyn was your family, we’re sorry for your loss. She was a very good woman.”
The tall man did not take Leo’s offered hand. Instead, he focused his gray eyes on Franny. “You’re Franny? Well, it is nice to meet you, finally. I’m David.” Now he reached his right hand out, shook Franny’s hand, held it a moment longer than absolutely necessary, then shook Leo’s hand, dropping it a moment sooner than absolutely necessary.
“Finally?” Franny asked. She narrowed her gaze, trying to turn the little bell of recognition into a full note of understanding. But she could not recall ever hearing of this man before today.
“Well, we’ll let you have your space back. Again, very sorry for your loss.” Leo gathered Franny’s arm and Precious’s leash. “Sorry for intruding.”
As Leo steered them out of the garden and back to the sidewalk, David called after them. “I’m sure we’ll see one another again soon,” he said.
Now it was Franny’s turn to wonder why she suddenly had hackles.
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