Thirty-One and a Half Regrets Page 2

I nodded. When he said it, it made sense.

Jonah shifted in his wingback chair and reached for his mug of tea. “Have our talks helped?” He took a sip. “Do you feel like you’re moving forward?”

“Yeah. I think I’m seeing things more clearly now. And I am moving forward. It’s been five weeks since Joe broke up with me and although I still miss him, I’ve accepted that he’s gone. I want to be happy again, and I think maybe that can really happen.”

“That’s good.”

“But something’s still not right.”

“Well, it has only been a month, so you’re still grieving. Still, I suspect the problem might be something non-Joe related. Something you seem to avoid every time I bring it up.”

I lifted my gaze. “What are you talking about?”

“Your birth mother.”

Closing my eyes, I pushed myself deeper into the cushions. “I didn’t even know she existed until about six months ago. Why should talking about her make a difference?”

“Her inheritance enabled you to start your business with Violet. Her existence and her death shaped your life in ways that had a profound effect on you. In a way, I’m facing a similar situation with my own mother. I can’t ignore how her actions have impacted my life, and neither can you when it comes to your birth mother. Of course it makes a difference.”

I pressed my mouth closed.

“Have you ever been to your farm?”

“Her farm.”

“No, Rose. Your farm. You own it. Aren’t you curious?”

I lifted my shoulder into a half-shrug as I turned back to the window. “Maybe a little.” But the truth was, I’d given a lot of thought to my birth mother over the last few weeks. Jonah asked about her almost every time we met and had done so even before our talks became official. The bottom line was that I was angry with Dora Middleton, the woman who’d given birth to me. I knew it was an irrational feeling, but there it was. If she hadn’t died in a car accident when I was less than two months old, my life would have been different.

I didn’t want to tell Jonah any of that. What kind of person would he think I was if I told him I was angry with a woman who’d died through no fault of her own, and might, in fact, have been murdered?

“I’m thinking of selling it. I put all my available money into the nursery and I can’t withdraw anything from my trust for several more years. We’re doing so well, we’re considering expanding, and I could use the cash for that.”

“Don’t make a hasty decision. The farm might be your only tangible tie to your birth mother. At least consider seeing it before you decide.”

I stared out the window at the dreary day. The thought of visiting the farm terrified me, I just wasn’t sure why.

“Rose?”

I lifted my mouth into a tight smile. “I’m just tired. Bruce Wayne has been nursing a cold, and I’ve been doin’ both our jobs the last two work days.”

“It could be our sessions too. You’re digging through a lot of emotions in a very short period of time and it’s exhausting. Perhaps we should cut back.”

My eyes flew up and I leaned forward, gripping the arms of the chair. “No. I don’t want to cut back.”

“Okay, we’ll keep meeting twice a week for now.” He set his mug on the coffee table and rubbed his left arm. “And now I need to get to my own therapy session.”

“At least you’re not wearing the sling any more. That’s a good sign, isn’t it?” Jonah had been going to physical therapy since his mother had shot him a month ago.

“Yes, but mine is progressing much more slowly than yours, I’m sorry to say.”

I stood and picked up his mug, sparing a glance at his kitchen chair—the very one his mother had tied me to the night she almost killed me. I shuddered then moved to the sink. “Are you still having nightmares?” I asked, rinsing out the cup.

“Not as often. They’re getting better.” He stood and chuckled. “And I thought I was the one asking questions.”

“Our session is done, which means we’re back to being friends.” I turned around and picked up my sweater. “And I’m allowed to worry about you.”

“I’m healing, inside and out, so no need to worry.”

“It looked like there were more people in attendance at church yesterday.”

That mega-watt smile spread across his face again. “My TV viewership is higher than ever. Everyone loves a good scandal.” He winked at me, but I knew him well enough to see behind his shiny façade. There was pain in his eyes.

I grabbed my purse and threw an arm around his neck, pulling him into a hug. “It’s gonna be okay. For both of us.”

“Be kind to yourself, Rose,” Jonah said.

“Take your own advice, Jonah,” I teased.

“Fair enough.”

I drove back to the nursery, dreading a confrontation with Violet. We had been too busy over the weekend to do much talking, but I couldn’t expect my luck to hold out. We’d had a lot of last minute pumpkin shoppers along with some return customers whose kids loved the hay bale maze we’d set up on the empty lot next door. But tomorrow was Halloween and business was bound to slow down. Despite Violet’s character flaws, she had a good head for business and had already started preparing for a Holiday Open House with live trees, ornaments, and decorations.

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