She took out a small plate and put the chocolate chip cookies out she'd bought as a small indulgence for herself. Like the lawyer, she could stand to lose a few pounds too. Might as well share the calories and it would help Levi feel small when she signed over the house.
The scene took shape in her mind as the wounded veteran realized what a truly unselfish person she was. Of course, he’d apologize for his uncharitable thoughts toward her. Maybe even, shed a tear or two. A glance at his stony face made her consider the shedding of grateful tears as going a bit too far. Her heart objected strongly to her current course of action. By now, it should be used to never really having a home.
She carried the tray to the table as the coffee made its final gurgle. Taking the cups, she placed one in front of each man and another for herself. Levi spoke in a sense of wonder as she retrieved the pot.
“Good Lord, I never expected to see these dishes again. Don’t know how many times I sat at this table with Uncle Roy drinking coffee out of these cups. Sometimes, he’d apologize for serving a kid coffee. Even as a confirmed bachelor, the man never took much to cooking. We’d usually have coffee and cold cereal every morning. Sometimes, on the weekend, he’d compliment the morning meal with a side of donut holes.”
There was real affection in his voice. Melody kept her back turned to fight the tears forming in her eyes. He’d really loved his uncle. It didn’t explain why he hadn’t come around when Roy fell sick, but it made him a little less of a jerk that she originally thought he was.
Knuckling both eyes dry, she inhaled deeply. It wouldn’t help if she started bawling. The sound of children’s voices drew her gaze to the window. A parade of children ran across the lawn heading for the lake. She’d miss that. At first, she thought it was how normal people lived. Now, she wondered if it was how extraordinary people live, surrounded by love and nature.
Coffee pot in hand, she filled each cup as she steeled herself to do what she must. Setting the pot back on the warmer, she slid into her seat. The men were sampling their coffee as she cleared her throat.
“Well, ah, I’d like to just get it over with. I am willing to sign the house over to Levi seeing as he’s the last relative and, uhm, he needs it. I only hope you might consider taking Charmer since most apartments do not allow dogs.”
Okay, she’d done it. Made her noble little speech, but she wasn't feeling very noble. Angry, resentful, sad, rather like the first time she’d been put out of a foster home after her beautiful mother flitted in to see her and was gone just as fast.
Levi put his coffee cup down suddenly, sloshing the contents over the side. He wiped his damp hand on his pants. “I am amenable to your suggestion, but don’t go being a martyr about it. I can arrange to buy out your share.”
Her back went stiff at the word martyr. His lips remained in a firm line, not exactly the reception she expected. A little more joy would be nice. Didn’t he realize she was giving him everything that meant anything to her?
“Not so fast.” Oliver Douglas made sure to knock on the table to get their attention before continuing. He tapped the paper in front of him. “It appears neither one of you listen very well. According to the will, there will be no buying or selling until you both reside in the house together for one full year. I already told you,” he made sure to glance at Levi, “that the will cannot be broken.”