One…Two…Three…Four…Five…Mega Ball…Megaplier — OH MY GOD this cannot be real. Checking again, I had all five numbers as well as the two bonus numbers for this week’s lottery. Not a bad return for my money…$13 million in the pot, with $9.5 million after the feds get their cut. This is my little secret. Thankfully, lottery winners are no longer called out and a crazed media circus of their winning made public as it was in the beginning. No one would know until I had everything in line, every detail completed and all my affairs taken care of regarding the next move in life. My long-held secret dream was about to come true. Not tomorrow or the next day, but within the year as everything fell into place.
“Good morning Mac!”, I said smiling at my wonderful partner and house manager. She had my favorite breakfast laid out in the dining room and our first guests of the month were due downstairs any minute. Angus had made his divine 5-grain bread for toast as well as his to die for scones. There was fresh cream, butter and eggs cooked to order from my very own cows and chickens. My hens had been very generous lately, laying more than we could use and the neighbors were reaping the rewards of farm fresh eggs. Wonderful Scottish sausages, a variety of jellies, jams and compotes with a selection of fresh fruits rounded out the meal. Something for everyone. Mac had tea brewing and I was about to make the coffee. She never really got the hang of coffee-making, since our guests were mostly from the US they would be needing their morning fix, as would I.
I had been the proud owner of Carberry Manor for six months and we were the favorite B&B in the area. Our bookings were consistently full and people were on a waiting list to visit the beautiful Scottish countryside. That lottery money made my long-held dream a reality and I was loving every minute of being Lady Anne Carberry as I was known in these parts. I took my mother’s maiden name because it was familiar to the area and the Scottish people were comfortable with a Yank who appeared to fit in so well. The Manor is a working farm and came fully furnished from tea cups to Manor staff and animals. All I had to do was unpack my suitcase, ask the staff what needed to be done and they immediately were my newly adopted family.
Standing in the middle of the dining room surveying breakfast service, I hear a voice, a very familiar voice, HIS voice. “Well, good morning, Kid.” My heart stopped, my stomach dropped all the way to the stone floor, and my tongue was welded to the roof of my mouth. It was NOT possible, no way in the world, it could not be him, but that voice was ingrained in my brain from many conversations, planning meetings and editing sessions. A voice I had not heard in years, but one I knew better than my own…that delightful blend of fine whiskey and good cigars that held just a hint of raspiness. Slowly, I turned, our eyes met and held for the very first time. No more words were needed — ever again.
As always, I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you LOVE.
As Ever, Annie
First published 2/9/2013