To Puck, my officemate,
who purred through all the chapters
AFTER HE AWOKE, HE THOUGHT FOR A LONG TIME.
There was no hope. And when there was no hope, there were two choices: despair or revenge.
The cowardly and powerless despaired. He would revenge. Revenge ‐ the word itself gave him strength. But he must be careful, clever. There were things he didnʹt know, things he couldnʹt remember. He remembered the words, but not where they came from ‐ some old book, It didnʹt matter; he made the words his own: ʺVengeance is mine.ʺ If he hadnʹt lost his heart, the words would have been inscribed on it:
Vengeance is mine.
Vengeance is mine.
Vengeance is mine.
ʹLISTEN. ITʹS SO EERIE.ʺ
The night mist, smelling as salty as the ocean, swirled around Ivy and her best friend, Beth. The old‐fashioned yard swing on which they sat creaked to a halt.
ʺListen,ʺ Dhanya said again. ʺIt’s moaning.ʺ ʺGet a grip, Dhanya,ʺ Kelsey replied.
She was sprawled on a white Adirondack chair between the swing and the cottage doorstep, where Dhanya sat. ʺHavenʹt you ever heard a foghorn?ʺ
ʺOf course I have. But tonight it sounds so sad, like itʹs—ʺ
ʺMoaning. . mourning. . soughing. . sighing, wailing, waiting for her lover who will never return from the sea,ʺ Beth said, then reached in her pocket and pulled out a small notepad and pen to scribble down the foghornʹs contribution to her next romantic epic.
Kelsey threw back her head and hooted. ʺYou havenʹt changed, Beth. Even carrying around that old clicking pen. Why donʹt you type on your iPhone?ʺ
ʺHere?ʺ Beth replied. ʺWhere famous writers have scribbled on paper by the light of hurricane lamps burning whale oil, as rain mercilessly lashed their shingled shacks, and not far from their door the wild surf—ʺ
ʺAll right, all right,ʺ Kelsey said, waving an impatient leg at her cousin. ʺI get it.ʺ
Ivy laughed. Beth glanced sideways and laughed with her.
Since their arrival on Cape Cod four days ago, it seemed to Ivy that Beth and Will, Ivyʹs boyfriend, were continually checking to see how she responded to things. Ivy suspected that she wasnʹt the only one thinking about Tristanʹs anniversary at the end of June. Ivy had loved Tristan more than anyone or anything in the world. Her joy with him was like nothing she had ever experienced. His love for her felt like a miracle. But June 25 marked one year from the start of last summerʹs nightmare, one year from the night that Ivyʹs stepbrother, Gregory, had tried to murder her and killed Tristan instead.
ʺFog is so creepy,ʺ Dhanya went on, ʺthe way it slowly invades a place, the way it hides things.ʺ
It had been foggy the autumn afternoon that Gregory had died, plunging to his death from a railroad bridge. At the end, his desire to destroy Ivy had been so intense, heʹd overlooked his own danger.
Now a menacing rumble caused Beth to glance over her shoulder. ʺWas that thunder?ʺ Kelsey sighed. ʺI wish it would storm and get it over with;ʺ ʺWhereʹs Will?ʺ Beth asked Ivy, sounding worried.
ʺPainting,ʺ she replied, glancing in the direction of the barn, where Will was staying.
The renovated barn — part of Seabright Inn was only fifty yards from the girlsʹ cottage. Tonight, with Will as its only occupant and his window facing away from the cottage, the building appeared dark. Across the garden, the lit windows of the main house were yellow smudges in the fog.
ʺI hate this weather,ʺ Kelsey said, pulling on her long auburn hair as if she could straighten it. She tossed it behind her shoulders. ʺIʹm getting a bad case of frizz. So are you, Ivy.ʺ Ivy smiled and shrugged. Her hair was always a yellow tangle.
ʺI canʹt believe Aunt Cindy didnʹt put cable in the cottage,ʺ Kelsey continued her complaint. ʺIʹm not going to watch TV in the ʹcommon roomʹ with her hooked rugs and old china and flowers! She canʹt blame me if I go into Chatham and party.ʺ
ʺItʹs almost midnight, and you wonʹt be able to see the road in front of your Jeep — not in this fog,ʺ Dhanya told her best friend. ʺWill has cable in the barn,ʺ she added. ʺIf heʹs painting, we should leave him alone,ʺ said Beth.
Pink flashes of lightning lit the western sky. The thunder sounded louder, closer. Kelsey grimaced. ʺThis kind of night isnʹt good for any thing but a sports bar or a séance.ʺ
ʺA séance, thatʹs a great idea!ʺ Dhanya replied. ʺIʹll get out my Ouija board.ʺ
Ivy felt Beth shift uncomfortably in the swing. ʺThink Iʹll pass,ʺ Beth told them.
ʺMe, too,ʺ Ivy said, seeing her friendʹs uneasiness. She guessed that for Kelsey and Dhanya, communicating with spirits was a party game, but it wasnʹt for Beth, who was psychic and last year had often sensed the danger Ivy was in.
ʺPass? Why?ʺ Kelsey challenged them. ʺAre séance too middle school for you Connecticut girls?ʺ
ʺNo. Too real,ʺ Beth replied. Kelsey raised an eyebrow but didnʹt say anything. Dhanya rose to her feet. She was pretty and petite, with long, silky hair and exotic eyes that were nearly black. ʺIʹm good at séances and other psychic kinds of stuff. People at school are always asking me to do Tarot readings.ʺ
ʺYeah,ʺ Kelsey said, swinging her long, athletic legs down from the aim of the lawn chair. ʺDhanya was the star of my sleepovers.ʺ Kelsey walked over to the swing and pulled Ivy to her feet. ʺCome on. You, too, Beth. Donʹt be a party pooper,ʺ she told her cousin.
When Kelsey and Dhanya had entered the cottage. Ivy turned to Beth. ʺItʹll be okay,ʺ she said quietly. “I havenʹt told them about last summer, about Tristan or Gregory — or anything else.ʹ
Ivy nodded. She could imagine Kelseyʹs astonishment if they told her that Tristan had come back as an angel to protect her from Gregory and that Beth had been the first to communicate with him.
Ivy and Beth would never hear the end of it. ʺTheyʹre just fooling around.ʺ
It doesnʹt bother you?ʺ Beth searched Ivyʹs face, her forehead creased with concern.
When they first met two winters earlier, Ivy had thought Beth looked like a sweet‐faced owl. Bethʹs face was thinner now, and her layers of leathery light brown hair had grown out and been styled in a sleek dun‐length cut but her blue eyes were still as large and round as an owlʹs, especially when she worried.
Several months back. Ivy had seen through her friendʹs sales pitch for spending the summer on Cape Cod. Beth and Kelseyʹs aunt recently divorced, can her inn on a tight budget In exchange for their work. Aunt Cindy, as they all were asked to call her, offered them a modest salary and a place 10 five just minutes from the ocean, a bay, salt marshes, bike trails. . According to Beth, It was the perfect way to spend their last summer together before college. But it was a summer away from Connecticut that Beth had most wanted for Ivy, Will, and herselfIvy knew that. Her best friend was determined to get them away from the dark memories of last summer.
ʺAre you coming or not?ʺ Kelsey called back to them.
ʺThe more we say no, the more theyʹll insist,ʺ Ivy whispered to Beth. ʺJust play along.ʺ ʺComing,ʺ Beth replied to her cousin. They entered the shingled cottage, which had two rooms on the first floor, a living room and, directly behind it, a kitchen with a large hearth, where Kelsey was waiting for them. Ivy and Beth cleared the kitchen table, while Dhanya retrieved the Ouija board from under her bed upstairs. Kelsey searched the cupboards and drawers for candles.
ʺAha!ʺ She held up a package of six dark red tea lights that smelled like cranberry. “We should use white candles,” Beth advised.
“White attracts good spirits. I’ll get some from the inn.ʺ ʺNo, these will do,ʺ
Kelsey said stubbornly. Dhanya set the board and planchette on the table. ʺSit down,ʺ Kelsey commanded, while she arranged the candles in a circle around the board. Ivy gazed across the table at Beth and smiled, hoping to ease the tension she saw in her friendʹs rigid shoulders. Beth shook her head, then frowned at the board between them.
The three rows of the alphabet, the row of numbers, and at the bottom, the words GOOD BYE were turned so that Dhanya could most easily read them.
The word YES was blazoned on the corner close to Ivy, NO on the comer by Beth. ʺTry not to set yourselves on fire, girls,ʺ Kelsey said, closing the cottageʹs back door to cut the draft. She lit the votives, then extinguished the lights in the living room and kitchen, and sat down across from Dhanya. ʺSo who are we calling back?ʺ she asked. ʺWho died recently — someone famous, someone wicked — any good ideas?ʺ
ʺHow about that girl from Providence who was murdered a few months back?ʺ
Which girl?ʺ Kelsey asked. ʺYou remember — the one strangled by her old boyfriend. Caitlin? Karen?ʺ
ʺCorinne, I think.ʺ Kelsey nodded her approval of the suggestion. ʺLove, jealousy, and murder— you canʹt beat that.ʺ ʺYou should know the person you are contacting,ʺ Beth advised. ʺYou should be certain of the name and, most important, be sure that your contact is a benevolent spirit.ʺ
Kelsey rolled her eyes. ʺEveryoneʹs an expert.ʺ Beth pressed on: ʺWith a Ouija board, youʹre doing more than just chatting with a spirit; youʹre opening a portal for that spirit to enter our world.ʺ
Dhanya flicked away the idea with a toss of her hand. ʺIn my experience, you are more successful when you open communication with whatever spirit is available and willing. Please join hands,ʺ she instructed, ʺleft on top of right.ʺ
Beth reluctantly followed instructions, then Dhanya rolled back her head and chanted, ʺWandering spirit, grace us with your presence. You have seen what we cannot see, have heard what we cannot hear. We humbly ask of you—ʺ
ʺThis sounds like church,ʺ Kelsey interrupted. ʺWeʹre going to end up with the Virgin Mary.ʺ ʺActually,ʺ Beth said, ʺbefore starting, we should all say a prayer for our protection.ʺ ʺA prayer to who, Beth?ʺ Kelsey replied. ʺThat angel statue between your and Ivyʹs bed?ʺ
ʺI donʹt pray to statues,ʺ Beth responded sharply, then added in a gentler voice, ʺto whichever angel or guardian you want.ʺ
ʺIf s not necessary,ʺ Dhanya insisted. ʺWeʹre sitting in a circle — that will protect us.ʺ Beth pursed her lips and shook her head. When she closed her eyes as if praying, Ivy silently said her own prayer. Ivy told herself that Kelsey7 s obvious disbelief would prohibit anything beyond the five senses from occurring, but she was starting to have misgivings.
ʺPlace your middle and index fingers on the planchette,ʺ Dhanya told them.
ʺSpirit, we are inviting you to join us tonight. We have many questions for you and welcome your insights. Please let us know you are present.ʺ To the others she said, ʺWe will wait quietly.ʺ They waited. And waited. Ivy could hear Kelsey tapping her foot under the table.
ʺAll right,ʺ Dhanya said. ʺWe will move the planchette in a slow circle around the board. That helps the spirit gather the energy needed to communicate.ʺ They moved the triangular piece in a clockwise motion, skirting the alphabet and numbers. ʺNot too fast, Kelsey,ʺ Dhanya said. Around and around they went, with circles as smooth and steady as the foghornʹs moan. Suddenly the planchette stopped. It felt as if it had caught on something. Ivy glanced up at the same time as Beth, Dhanya, and Kelsey did. Their eyes met above the board.
ʺNo pushing,ʺ Dhanya advised softly. ʺLet the spirit take over. Let the spirit guide.ʺ The planchette started to move again. It felt strong, as if it were pulling Ivyʹs fingers with it. Ivy studied Kelseyʹs and Dhanyaʹs hands, searching for a flexed tendon, or tensed finger — some tiny sign that one of them was moving the planchette. It was making a circle again; it was circling backward, she realized.
Ivyʹs eyes rose to the faces around her. Kelseyʹs hazel eyes sparkled, more with surprise than mischief, it seemed. Dhanyaʹs eyes were lowered; she was biting her lip. In the flickering candlelight, Beth looked pale.
The planchette made another counterclockwise circle. And another. Ivy counted the circles — six. ʺWe have to end this,ʺ Beth said, leaning forward.
The planchette moved faster. ʺEnd it,ʺ Beth said, her voice rising sharply.
Outside it was growing windy — Ivy could hear it in the chimney. ʺEnd it nowʺ
Beth shouted. ʺMove it to ʹGood Bye’!ʺ
ʺMove the planchette to ʹGood Byeʹ!ʺ But it felt as if some strong, inexorable will wouldnʹt allow them to. The planchette moved faster, still circling counterclockwise, as if the force would bore a hole through the board. Dhanyaʹs eyes grew wide with fear. Kelsey swore. The tips of Ivyʹs fingers, where she touched the planchette, felt like they were on fire.
ʺIf s making a portal. We have to—ʺ
Bethʹs words were interrupted by a clap of thunder and flash of light. The front door banged open and closed. Glass shattered.
Bethʹs mouth stretched open in a silent scream. Kelsey rose halfway to her feet, her hands still on the planchette. Dhanya pulled back, cringing in her chair. Ivy saw the three girls frozen in a second flash of blue light.
ʺAngels! Angels, protect us,ʺ she prayed, hoping the prayer was not too late.
KELSEY RUSHED FOR THE WALL SWITCH. THE moment after she flicked on the light, they were plunged into darkness again. Rain beat against the windows.
A downdraft through the fireplace brought in a burning smell.
Hand trembling, Dhanya tried to reignite the blown‐out tea lights. Kelsey grabbed the lighter from Dhanya and finished the candles. ʺAnybody home?ʺ a male voice called. Ivy breathed a sigh of relief. ʺWill, weʹre in here. Our powerʹs out. What happened?ʺ she asked as he entered the kitchen. ʺWhat was that crash?ʺ
ʺThe cat, I think. I was headed here when the storm broke. Just as I reached the cottage, the front door blew open. I rushed in, and Dusty came flying in with me.ʺ
The girls picked up the candles and carried them into the living room. The large orange cat cowered in the corner.
ʺYou big wuss!ʺ Kelsey said to Dusty. ʺLook at the mess you made.ʺ
A lamp, several dirty glasses, and a pile of seashells lay on the floor next to the sofaʹs end table. Kelsey lifted up the lamp and tried to straighten its shade. Will picked up the largest shards of the shattered glass.
“Iʹll get a broom,ʺ Beth said, speaking for the first time since she had shouted at them to end the séance.
“Careful,ʺ Ivy warned Will when he tried to pick up the smaller fragments.
He turned to look at her for a moment, his dark hair tousled by the storm, his brown eyes shining softly in the candlelight Dhanya sat on the sofa, her hands clenched in her lap. Ivy was tempted to put an arm around her but didnʹt know if she would welcome it ʺThe stormʹs already letting up,ʺ Ivy said reassuringly.
Dhanya nodded. Ivy fetched the cat and carried him back to the sofa. He was more than twenty pounds of feline, a Maine coon, with creamy tufts of fur tipping his ears. Ivy scratched Dustyʹs chin, then buried her fingertips in the lion-like ruff around his neck. Dhanya glanced at the cat, but didnʹt seem inclined to pet him.
Beth returned with a broom and dustpan, a grocery bag tucked beneath her arm. Will positioned the dustpan and she swept the glass into it. Ivy couldnʹt see Bethʹs face, but she saw Will look up and study her for a moment, then reach to where her left hand gripped the broom handle, putting his hand over hers. ʺAre you okay?ʺ
The expression on Bethʹs face must not have been convincing, for Will kept his hand on hers. ʺYouʹre sure?ʺ
ʺIʹm sure,ʺ Beth said, pulling her hand higher on the broom shaft and continuing to sweep.
Ivy frowned, annoyed at herself for agreeing to the séance. After months of people watching over her, she had interpreted Bethʹs concern as another example of her friend being overly protective. She should have realized that Beth, too, needed protection from last summerʹs memories and fears.
They had just finished cleaning up when Aunt Cindy arrived in a yellow rain slicker. ʺNeither rain, nor snow, nor the gloom of night stops Aunt Cindyʺ was how Beth had once described her favorite aunt. She was in her late thirties, petite but strong, with a mane of shoulder‐length hair the same fading red as Dustyʹs.
ʺI meant to give you these the other day,ʺ Aunt Cindy said, opening a carton with three battery‐operated camp lanterns. She handed one of them to Will, then eyed the cat. ʺWhatʹs wrong with you, Dusty?ʺ
The storm spooked him,ʺ Ivy answered.
Youʹve never been afraid of storms before,ʺ Aunt Cindy chided her cat. ʺI think youʹre faking it. Youʹve discovered a good thing, with four girls here to feed and cuddle you.ʺ She turned to Will. ʺDonʹt get any ideas. Youʹve got your own place.ʺ
Will laughed good‐naturedly. ʺAnd thatʹs where Iʹm headed.ʺ ʺOkay, does anyone need anything else?ʺ Aunt Cindy asked. ʺNope,ʺ Kelsey replied.
ʺThen Iʹll see you all at six thirty tomorrow in the kitchen. Youʹve done a great job this week, but tomorrow, when the weekenders come, youʹll get your first experience of having a full inn. Get some sleep/ʹ
Will sent Ivy a look that was a sweet, long‐distance kiss, then flicked his eyes to Beth, as if checking on her one more time, and followed Aunt Cindy into the rain.
ʺKELSEY TOLD AUNT CINDY WHAT?ʺ IVY EXCLAIMED the following evening, as she, Beth, and Will nabbed a table at Oliviaʹs, an ice‐cream shop in the village of Orleans.
ʺThat she and Dhanya were meeting us here. I told her, if questions were asked, I wasnʹt covering for them/7
ʺThese guys from Chatham/ʹ Will said, ʺhow does Kelsey know them?ʺ
ʺShe doesnʹt,ʺ Beth replied. ʺThatʹs Kelsey for you. Believe me, thereʹs no stopping her — I learned that the hard way during our summers together in middle school.ʺ
ʺWell, she had better come ready to work tomorrow,ʺ Will said as they scraped their chairs back on the plank floor. ʺIʹm not picking up the It had been a long day for them, cleaning up from the storm and keeping pace with the constant stream of incoming guests and their assortment of requests. Kelsey had claimed she wasnʹt feeling well and had returned to the cottage early, miraculously recovering in time for dinner. Both Beth and Dhanya had headaches, but got through on aspirin and tea.
Ivy had skipped tea for some of Aunt Cindyʹs very potent coffee — the pot kept in the kitchen, not the more guest‐friendly brew served to visitors. She couldnʹt remember the dreams that had kept her tossing and turning the night before, except that Tristan was in them.
Once seated at the ice‐cream shop, Will opened a spiral pad and began to sketch.
ʹYour friendʹs late.”
ʺNo, weʹre early,ʺ Ivy reassured Beth, who had suddenly gotten nervous about her date and asked Will and Ivy to come along. ʺYou look so pretty.” Beth smoothed her hair self‐consciously. Liking print fabrics of all kinds, Beth sometimes looked as though she was dressed in mismatched wallpaper. But tonight, under the guidance of Dhanya, Beth had kept it simple. Her amethyst pendant, which Ivy and Will had given to her last birthday, accented the violet hue of her blue eyes.
“So when was the last time you saw this guy?” “Middle school. His family has a vacation house here. I didn’t recognize him Tuesday, when Mom stopped for gas on the way here, I don’t think he recognized me either — just Mom — she always looks the same.
ʺI donʹt know how he got so tall,ʺ Beth went on, ʺor so gorgeous. It’s like one of my characters came to life!ʺ
ʺSo what does he look like?ʺ Ivy asked, scanning the crowd. ʺHe has dark curly hair — lots of it. A strong jaw. Did I mention heʹs gorgeous?ʺ ʺSeveral times in the last three days,ʺ answered Will.
ʺSomehow he grew shoulders. I mean, a real chest and shoulders,ʺ Beth said, gesturing with her hands. Ivy smiled. ʺSounds as if he could be on the cover of a romance novel.ʺ
ʺAlong with the shoulders and chest, does he have a brain?ʺ Will asked.
ʺYes. Heʹs going to Tufts University.ʺ ʺSo I donʹt see why you need us here.ʺ Will sounded grumpy.
ʺWell, itʹs just that I might not be able to think of anything to say.ʺ
Will raised his pencil from the paper and stared at her. ʺBeth, youʹve been writing romantic dialogue for years!ʺ
ʺSo what does that have to do with talking to a real guy?ʺ she asked.
ʺYou talk to me all the time. Arenʹt I a real guy?ʺ
Ivy laughed. ʺIgnore him, Beth. He doesnʹt get it.ʺ Will glanced from Ivy to Beth, then laughed along with Ivy. ʺI guess I donʹt,ʺ he admitted, and flipped to the back of his sketch pad, where he and Beth tried out new ideas. They were creating a graphic novel — Beth writing the story, Will illustrating it — about Ella the Cat Angel and her sidekick, Lacey Lovett, a human angel, battling forces of evil. Ivyʹs ten‐year‐old brother, Philip, had requested it.
ʺSo, about this new villain,ʺ Will said. ʺIf s a serpent,ʺ Beth told him. ʺA serpent.ʺ Will nodded. ʺThatʹs good — kind of biblical.ʺ
ʺA serpent with feet,ʺ Beth added. ʺExcellent,ʺ he said, sketching quickly. ʺThat gives us mobility. Iʹm exaggerating the head so I have room to draw in a lot of expressions.ʺ
Beth and Ivy leaned forward, watching the creature emerge from Will’s deft strokes. ʺNo, the headʹs big, but not like that,ʺ Beth said suddenly. ʺHe has a human face. He has eyes with lids and a human mouth, though it can stretch horribly like a snakeʹs.ʺ She slid her amethyst up and down its chain. ʺAnd tiny ears,ʺ she added. ʺHe hears vibrations through his belly. He can hear emotions as well as words — thatʹs what makes him so dangerous.ʺ
Will glanced up from his sketch at the same time as Ivy. It sounded as if Beth was seeing something and describing it, rather than make up a description.
ʺHis eyes are gray,ʺ Beth continued, pulling on her pendant ʺI was thinking yellow or amber,ʺ Will said, ʺa color like fire.ʺ
ʺTheyʹre gray,ʺ she insisted. ʺIʹm sure of it.ʺ ʺElizabeth!ʺ Ivy and Will turned quickly toward a guy with dark curly hair and gray eyes. Although his tone demanded attention, Beth didnʹt reply until Ivy nudged her. ʺHi, Chase,” she said, pushing her hair behind her ear.
ʺYouʹve brought friends,ʺ Chase observed. ʺNice.ʺ
Will stood up and offered his hand. ʺWill OʹLeary.ʺ
ʺAnd Iʹm Ivy.ʺ
ʺMy two best friends,ʺ Beth said to Chase. ʺNice,ʺ he repeated. Ivy studied Chase, trying to interpret ʺnice.ʺ Was he stating his approval of Bethʹs friends, or was he annoyed because she had brought them along? She suspected the latter.
The four of them sat down and a minute of uncomfortable silence followed. Will returned to his sketching, apparently unwilling to contribute any‐thing to Bethʹs romantic dialogue.
ʺBeth told us your family has a vacation house here,ʺ Ivy began. ʺHow lucky!ʺ
ʺHere, and the Keys and Jackson Hole,ʺ he said. ʺWater or snow, it doesnʹt much matter, as long as Iʹm skiing.ʺ
ʺYeah, thatʹs how I used to be,ʺ Will said.
Ivy blinked with surprise. Will hated snow, and his dream destinations were the Big Apple and Paris.
“Really,” said Chase, but he didnʹt sound too interested.
ʺBut that was before I had my three surgeries.” Ivy knew that the only thing Will had on his medical record was childhood immunizations. Part of her wanted to kick him under the table, remind him to be polite; the other part of her wanted to laugh.
ʺOh,ʺ Chase responded unenthusiastically.
ʺThe doctors told me I could continue to ski, but if I fell, I might never walk again.ʺ
Beth stared at Will. Chase looked as if he didnʹt know whether to believe him or not.
Ivy shook her head. Will glanced at Ivy, smiling mischievously, and resumed sketching.
ʺSo what beaches and trails do you like best on the Cape?ʺ Ivy asked Chase. ʺIf you come here every summer, you must know them all.ʺ
ʺI love Billingsgate Island. Iʹm taking Elizabeth there tomorrow.ʺ
ʺYou are?ʺ Beth replied with surprise. ʺWhereʹs that?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺIn the bay, about six miles from Rock Harbor. It used to be occupied — had a lighthouse, homes, a school, and a factory — but it washed away years ago. Now the island surfaces only at low tide.ʺ He turned to Beth. ʺWeʹll kayak there and have a picnic.ʺ
ʺIt sounds awesome,ʺ she said quietly, ʺbut I have to work.ʺ ʺOn a Saturday?ʺ
She nodded. ʺWeekends are the busiest time at an inn.ʺ
ʺCanʹt someone cover for you?ʺ He looked at Ivy, as if she might volunteer.
ʺAunt Cindy needs all of us,ʺ Ivy told him.
Will glanced up from his sketch. ʺSo what kind of summer job do you have, Chase?ʺ
He didn’t seem to hear Will. “I was hoping you would surprise me with a fantastic lunch, Elizabeth — something you packed just for us.”
Perhaps it was the way he said “Elizabeth” that made Ivy leery, like a guy who thought that by speaking a girl’s name he could cast a spell over her.
“You would love the island,” he went on. “And there’s a sunken boat nearby, At low tide, its old ribs rise out of the water. Very mysterious looking. It will inspire one of your stories.”
“I’m really sorry, Chase. How about later in the week?”
“I’m busy,” he told her.
“What a shame,” Will muttered.
Beth’s face revealed her disappointment, but she smiled and nodded. “Oh well.
Thanks for asking.”
A waitress approached them and broke into a smile. “Hey, Chase, long time no see. Back for the summer?”
Chase stretched and let one hand fall to rest on Beth’s chair. “Back until the wind blows me another way.”
Will pursed his lips as if to make a whistling sound, but the ʺwindʺ never blew, because Ivy gave him a swift kick. ʺDouble dip, strawberry and chocolate,ʺ she said to the waitress. ʺHow about you, Beth?ʺ
The order came quickly, but it turned out to be the longest ice‐cream date Ivy had ever endured. One of the things that she loved about Will was that — not counting tonight — he had always been inclusive with her friends and family.
When he and Ivy were with others, he enjoyed the people Ivy enjoyed. But Chase was the opposite, the kind of guy who isolated a girl with his attention.
Even so, Beth seemed taken with him, and Ivy did her best to keep Will from expressing his opinion after they left the ice‐cream parlor. As soon as Beth climbed in the backseat of Ivyʹs car, Ivy turned to him. ʺNo comments,ʺ she told him quietly. ʺYouʹre not the one who wants to date him.ʺ ʺDam right!ʺ he said, and they both laughed. When they arrived back at the innʹs lot. Ivy and Beth were surprised to see Kelseyʹs red Jeep. They found Dhanya in the kitchen, munching on saltines. ʺI asked Kelsey to bring me home,ʺ Dhanya explained.
ʺShe went back out with the guys.”
Beth sat down at the table and pulled three crackers out of the plastic sleeve. ʺIs your headache making your stomach queasy?ʺ
Dhanya nodded and chewed slowly.
ʺThatʹs how I felt earlier,ʺ Beth said. ʺKind of dizzy, too.ʺ
ʺYou want me to get Aunt Cindy?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺShe might have something in her medicine cupboard to help you.ʺ
ʺNo, sheʹll want to know where Kelsey is.ʺ
Ivy followed Beth and Dhanya up the steep Stairs from the kitchen, carrying a tray of crackers and mugs with decaf tea, placing the snacks by their beds. The cottageʹs second floor was one long room, with the steps rising next to the massive brick chimney in the center of the space. A small bathroom had been built across from the chimney.
The four beds were tucked in the four corners of the cottage, beneath the sloping roof. Bethʹs and Ivyʹs beds were to the left of the steps, Kelseyʹs and Dhanyaʹs to the right.
ʺFeels like home,ʺ Dhanya said as she pulled her iPod and earbuds out of her purse and climbed into bed. ʺThanks, Ivy.ʺ Just before Dhanya slipped in the buds, Ivy caught a snatch of the song from Aladdin, and smiled to herself, wondering if Disney was Dhanyaʹs form of retro comfort.
Beth snuggled in her own bed, pulling up a light blanket. June nights were cool on the Cape. Turning on her side, Beth reached toward the chest between her and Ivy, letting her fingers rest on the angel statue. She caught Ivy watching her and smiled a little before closing her eyes.
Ivy lay on her stomach, gazing out the low window between her bed and Bethʹs.
Last night there was a new moon, and tonight the thinnest scrape of silver hung in the sky. The scent of the Cape Cod night — salt and pine — was stronger than the pale shapes surrounding her, making the everyday objects seem less real. The love she had shared with Tristan was like that, stronger than any emotion she experienced in her everyday life, even her feelings for Will. She still ached from its intensity.
While Ivy couldnʹt admit it to anyone, she doubted sheʹd ever fully heal. For reasons she didnʹt understand, her life had been spared last summer; but she had not been spared the longing she felt for Tristan. The way Tristan had made her laugh, the way he had drawn her into his life, the way he had delighted in her music — how would she ever stop yearning for him?
Ivy wiped her wet cheek against her pillow, |then turned on her side and reached out to touch the carved stone angel. A long time after, she fell asleep.
THE NEXT MORNING, WHILE IVY, BETH, AND DHANYA dressed for work, Kelsey slept, the sheet pulled over her head, the soles of her feet poking out the other end. The girls agreed that if they didnʹt get her up, this was going to be a long summer of them working and Kelsey partying. She was dragged out of bed and made it to the innʹs kitchen at 6:33.
The girls and Will served breakfast, then cleaned rooms and laundered towels and sheets. By Sunday noon, the weekend guests had checked out and Beth and her aunt had slipped away to church in Chatham. Beth came back looking pleased with herself. ʺI found you a piano to practice on, Ivy! A baby grand!ʺ
ʺFather John said you are welcome to use the one in the church,ʺ Aunt Cindy explained. ʺJust call ahead to make sure someone can unlock the door.ʺ Will smiled at Ivy. ʺWe have a whole summer of Sunday picnics ahead of us,ʺ he said, guessing how eager she was to be playing again. ʺWe can change our afternoon plans to an evening hike by Chathamʹs lighthouse and meet at the church.ʺ
Ivy gave him a grateful hug. They finished work and, after an early supper, she rushed off with her music books.
It was already sunset inside the timbered and white interior of St. Peterʹs, with the sun glowing through the stained‐glass windows that ran along each side of the small church, coloring the walls crimson and gold. A window above the altar, pieced together in deep blues and greens, showed a boat tossed in a storm, with Jesus holding out his hand, inviting Peter to cross the waves.
Ivyʹs mother chose churches according to the minister rather than the core beliefs, so Ivy had attended a variety of them. She couldnʹt help but feel at home in this church, with angels roosting in its small side windows and an angel guarding a fisherman in the round window above the entrance. She warmed up on the piano, playing scales, centering herself with each progression, enjoying the rising and falling tide of notes. Hoping she would find a piano, she had asked her teacher for music to work on over the summer. She began with Chopin, loving the feel of the smooth keys beneath her fingers, happily focused in her effort to learn the first movement of the piano concerto.
An hour later, she stretched and stood up. Walking around the small church, she worked her shoulders. The angle of the sun had changed, and the red and gold in the windows burned like dying embers in the growing dusk of the church. Ivy sat down again and played a medley of Philipʹs favorite songs. It had been really hard to leave her little brother for the summer. She began to play a song that had become special to her and Philip, ʹTo Where You Are.ʺ Philip was sure that it had been written about Tristan. The first time Ivy had heard Philipʹs young voice singing over Josh Grobanʹs, she had cried.
Was Tristan, as the song said, just ʺa breath awayʺ? Was he still, somehow, watching over her?
Ivy had always prayed to angels, but those angels were not people whom she had actually known and loved. She glanced around at the stained‐glass windows. Catholics prayed to saints as well as angels, and saints had been everyday people. When she called out for Tristan in her dreams, was she praying to him? Or was she simply missing him?
Last summer, when Tristan returned as an angel, he had heard Ivy. And Ivy, once she began to believe again, had heard him whenever he slipped inside her mind. But once she was safe from Gregory, Tristan had left. He had told her he would love her forever, but he could not stay with her. From that time on, she couldnʹt see his glow or hear his voice in her head. Could he still hear her? Was he even aware of her existence?
ʺIf you can hear me, Tristan, this is for you.ʺ She began to play Beethovenʹs ʺMoonlight Sonata,ʺ the movement she had played for him when they were first together. At the end, she sat still for several minutes, tears running down her face.
ʺIʹm here, Ivy.ʺ She turned. ʺWill!ʺ
He was sitting in the last pew of the church. She hadnʹt heard him come in. In the deep twilight of the building, she couldnʹt see his face. He stood up slowly and walked toward her. She quickly wiped away her tears.
When he reached her, he gazed down at her with such sadness in his eyes, she had to look away. He brushed her cheek gently with his hand. ʺThat was the song you played at the arts festival,ʺ he said quietly. ʺIt was Tristanʹs song.ʺ
ʺIʹm sorry that youʹre still hurting.ʺ
She nodded silently, afraid that if she spoke, her voice would shake.
ʺWhat would you like me to do?ʺ he asked, his voice breaking with emotion.
ʺLeave? Stay? I can wait outside the church until you are ready, if that would help.ʺ
ʺStay. Stay, Will. Iʹm ready to go. Come with me while I return the key to the rectory, then letʹs take our walkʺ Will stayed close to her, walking by her side to the car, but didnʹt take her hand the way he usually did, didnʹt touch her at all.
He drove silently to the parking lot at Chatham Light.
Itʹs just the anniversary, she wanted to tell him. Ifʹs just the time of year stirring up these memories. Everything will be all right. But she couldnʹt say that, because she wasnʹt sure it was true.
The sky over the ocean was dark blue, the first stars emerging in the east. In the western sky, the last splash of orange was fading fast, leaving the long spit of beach that ran south from the lighthouse painted in mauve. They walked the beach close to the water, carrying their sandals.
ʺWe got an e‐mail from Philip,ʺ Will said at last. ʺYou, Beth, and me. He wants us to look up his blog.ʺ
ʺHis blog!ʺ Ivy replied. ʺHey! Some respect, please! I read it — itʹs an insightful commentary on summer camp. I just hope the counselor he calls ʺTarantula Armsʺ doesnʹt hear about it.ʺ
Ivy laughed. ʺI guess the counselorʹs kind of hairy.ʺ
ʺAnd very mean, at least to a ten‐year‐old. He assigned the boys their buddies.
Philipʹs buddy threw up on him.ʺ ʺOh!ʺ ʺThat was after the other kids bet the buddy that he couldnʹt eat four hot dogs in four minutes.ʺ
ʺI see. I guess summer camp is where boys train to be frat brothers.ʺ
Will grinned at her, and she slipped her hand in his. ʺPhilipʹs group is called the Badgers. Heʹs the best pitcher and hitter of the Badgers.ʺ
ʺOf course heʹs the best. Heʹs my brother.ʺ Will laughed. ʺHe likes rowing. I canʹt wait till he comes for vacation — I want to take him kayaking on Pleasant Bay.ʺ
Ivy turned to look at Will. His dark hair whipped in the breeze. He had the longest lashes, which softened his intense brown eyes. ʺIf I remember right,ʺ she said, ʺyou promised him that you two would dress up as pirates.ʺ
ʺRight, well, maybe heʹll forget about that part.ʺ Ivy shook her head, grinning.
ʺPhilip doesnʹt forget that kind of promise. I hope you two donʹt terrorize girls sunbathing on the beach.ʺ Will laughed and put his arm around her shoulder.
They walked on, talking about Philip, then shifting their conversation to some of the week‐end’s quirky guests. ʺThe people in the starfish room,ʺ Will said, re-ferring to the suite decorated in a scallop and starfish motif. ʺWas that woman his wife or mother?ʺ
ʺThe only thing Iʹm sure about is that she wasnʹt his younger lover.ʺ
ʺMaybe he is her younger lover,ʺ Will suggested. Ivy laughed out loud. ʺBernʹs going to be filling up her notebooks with characters.ʺ
They found the easy rhythm they had known for nearly eight months, walking and talking together.
Strolling back to Willʹs car, Ivy gazed up at the lighthouse, its double beacon turning against the starlit sky. ʺIf s beautiful,ʺ she said. ʺSo are you,ʺ Will replied softly, pulling her toward him.
Her arms slipped around him. He lowered his head. She would have known Willʹs kiss blindfolded — gentle, loving, asking, giving. She knew the curve of his upper lip, the place between his neck and shoulder where she often rested her head, the space between his knuckles that she liked to trace, and the way her hand fit into his. Ivy knew and loved these things, as much as she loved Willʹs kiss.
But she could not stop thinking of Tristan.
AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER, IVY STOOD ON THE cottage doorstep, watching Will as he whistled his way back to his; room in the renovated barn, where he hoped to get in some painting. Needing time and space to think, Ivy walked around to the ocean side of the inn. With just two couples staying on until Monday, the Adirondack chairs on the porch and lawn were empty. Shrubs edged the lawn, then gave way to scrub trees and brush that covered the steep side of the bluff down to sea level. At the end of the yard a vine‐covered arbor led to wooden steps, fifty‐two of them — Ivy had counted — running down to a narrow boardwalk that connected to a path through grassy dunes.
Halfway down the steps was a landing, a small platform with facing benches built into it. Ivy sat down, facing north. During the day, the view was spectacular, the ocean sweeping in behind a sandy point, making a sparkling inlet where lobs term en and pleasure boaters moored. On a moonless night like tonight, the boundaries of land, water, and sky were nearly indistinguishable; the dunes and beach were so deep, Ivy couldnʹt hear the waves break. But the ocean was present in the salty tang and damp breeze. It was like that when Ivy thought of Tristan — she couldnʹt see or hear him, but still, she sensed his closeness.
Ivy swallowed hard. What was wrong with her? She had dated Will much longer than she had known Tristan, so why couldnʹt she stop thinking of Tristan?
She remembered what Tristanʹs mother had once said to her: ʺWhen you love someone, itʹs never over. You move on because you have to, but you bring him with you in your heart.ʺ
Ivy had thought sheʹd succeeded in moving on. What pained her even more was that Will thought so too.
Ivy loved Will. But did she love him enough if she didnʹt love him the way she loved Tristan?
Maybe her idea of love was too lofty; maybe she expected too much of herself and Will.
Ivy descended to the sand, then walked to the edge of the water, finding release in the ceaseless rush and draw of the sea.
She had no idea how much time had elapsed, but when she finally returned to the cottage, she saw Beth standing on the front step, cell phone in hand. ʺIvy!
Thank God youʹre back!ʺ ʺIs something wrong?ʺ
ʺWeʹve got to get to Kelsey before she does something stupid. Stupider,ʺ Beth corrected herself, grimacing. ʺGet your car keys. Iʹve got the address, sort of.ʺ
ʺWith Kelsey. And only a little more sober than she is.ʺ
ʺWhereʹs Aunt Cindy?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺOut still.ʺ
Bethʹs cell phone rang. ʺHere we go again.ʺ After a moment of listening, she said, ʺDhanya, I told you before. Take the keys away from her. Throw them in the ocean if you have to. No, no! If s not a good idea for you to drive!ʺ
ʺBack in a sec,ʺ Ivy said. ʺShould I get Will?ʺ Beth called after her.
ʺNo, heʹs painting, and itʹll take too long for him to clean up.ʺ
Ivy returned with her keys and wallet, and they sprinted to the car. ʺWhere are we going?ʺ Ivy asked, starting the engine. ʺTo a road somewhere off Route Twenty‐eight.ʺ
ʺBeth, three‐quarters of Cape Cod is off Twenty‐eight!ʺ
ʺShe said Marsala Road. But Iʹve never heard of it.ʺ Ivy entered it into the GPS, with Orleans as the town, then Brewster, then Harwich. ʺNothingʹs coming up.ʺ
ʺShe said they passed a lighthouse. Try Eastham and Chatham — they have lighthouses. Chatham first My cousin always goes where the money is.ʺ
ʺMarsala Road, come on, Marsala Road,ʺ Ivy said
ʺMorris Island Road!ʺ Beth exclaimed suddenly. ʺI bet that was it. She was slurring her words. I think thereʹs a place in Chatham named Morris Island.ʺ
Ivy typed it in.
ʺI have an idea for a new app,ʺ Beth added, ʺone that interprets directions from drunken party girls.ʺ She pointed to the highlighted route on the screen. ʺThere it is, south of the lighthouse.ʺ
Ivy pulled out of the crushed stone driveway and onto Cockle Shell Road. ʺI know the way as far as the lighthouse. Will and I walked that beach tonight.ʺ
Ivy wound her way through the community. Once they got to Route 28, she pushed the speed limit, glad it was 11:50 p.m. and the weekend crowd had departed.
ʺI could strangle Kelsey,ʺ Beth said. ʺI could just strangle her.ʺ
ʺTry to get her on her cell.ʺ
ʺI did — I couldnʹt.ʺ
ʺThen try Dhanya again. We need an address.ʺ
As Ivy drove, she thought about Will. Heʹd be upset with them for not asking for his help. But Ivy couldnʹt ask one more favor, knowing all that he had already done for her, knowing that while she was kissing him, all she could think ofʺSheʹs not picking up,ʺ Beth said. ʺKeep trying.ʺ They drove through the commercial edge of Chatham and passed the lighthouse. Beach houses lined both sides of the road, most of their windows dark. ʺStage Harbor should be coming up on the right,ʺ Beth said, looking at the GPS screen. ʺThere it is. The road weʹre on goes directly to Morris Island. ʺ
A minute later they entered the islandʹs wooded community. Ivyʹs headlights showed a narrow, winding road and stripes of trees. ʺWant me to keep going?
Itʹs not that big of a place, just a few streets,ʺ she said, glancing at the map.
ʺMaybe we can go slowly and listen for the party.ʺ
They rolled down their windows. Ivy slowed to a crawl whenever they saw lights through the trees, and listened intently. The road ended with a pair of driveways. As Ivy turned the car around, Beth tried to call Dhanya again.
“I’ve got her! Dhanya, listen to me. Weʹre close. Whatʹs the address?.. Well, ask somebody! Who the heck is giving the party — they must know where they live!ʺ
Beth turned to Ivy. ʺUnbelievable! Sheʹs trying to find the person whose booze theyʹve been drinking.ʺ Ivy shook her head, and drove slowly down the road they had just scouted. It wasnʹt going to be a fun ride back to the inn, she thought.
ʺIvy, look out!ʺ
Headlights came out of nowhere. The person was driving crazily, as if no one else was on the road. Ivy stepped on the brake, then saw that stopping wouldnʹt help. She had to evade, but the road was too narrow. She accelerated, trying to get to a driveway and pull in.
ʺOh my God!ʺ Beth screamed. Ivy yanked the wheel hard to the right. One moment she could feel the road under her car, the next, it was gone. Two wheels rose in the air as the car rolled, the world of night and trees turning around her and Beth.
ʺBeth? Beth?ʺ Dhanyaʹs voice sounded small and far away as the cell phone bounced around the car.
The driverʹs side slammed into something solid. Steel crumpled inward. Before she could cry out, Ivyʹs world collapsed into a black hole.
FOR A MOMENT, IVY WAS AWARE OF NOTHING BUT darkness. It felt as if all of the nightʹs weight bore down on her, then, unexpectedly, the pressure eased.
ʺBeth? Beth, are you okay?ʺ Her friendʹs eyes fluttered open. ʺBeth. Thank God,ʺ
Ivy said with relief. ʺWeʹve got to get out of this car. My side is smashed in. Weʹll have to use yours, okay?ʺ Beth gazed at her wordlessly. ʺYou with me?ʺ Ivy asked, uncertainly. Beth continued to stare at Ivy. ʺIʹll help you,ʺ Ivy said, trying to pull herself up, but she couldnʹt move. ʺOn second thought, you may need to help me. Iʹm caught somehow.ʺ
Beth looked at Ivy as if she couldnʹt comprehend what she was seeing. ʺWhat is it?ʺ Ivy asked. Beth began to shake. ʺBern? Answer me.ʺ
But it was as if her friend couldnʹt hear or understand what she was saying.
ʺAnswer me! Beth, please!ʺ
Beth opened her mouth. She screamed and screamed.
ʺIf s okay, itʹs okay,ʺ Ivy told her, trying to calm her. But Beth started to sob.
ʺWeʹre going to be okay. Oh, angels, help. Tristan, help. Tristan, we need you,ʺ
Ivy called out.
At last she was free of the thing that restrained her. ʺAll right, now.ʺ She touched Beth, then pulled back, surprised. She couldnʹt feel Bethʹs shoulder. She reached out again and gazed in disbelief as her own hand passed through her friendʹs.
Then Ivy began to understand why Beth had screamed, why she was sobbing.
Free of her body, Ivy was light, as weightless as a moonbeam and floating steadily upward. Looking down, she saw her body in the mangled car, the airbag deployed, and the metal frame of the windshield bent inward. She saw her head against the crushed frame, blood darkening it.
The only pain Ivy felt was an intense yearning for those she loved. Below her, a night mist enveloped Beth and the twisted car. Along the narrow strip of road, another car raced away. The land and sea merged in darkness.
The longing to say good‐bye was all that tethered Ivy to the night below. She spoke the names of those she loved, asking the angels to watch over them: ʺPhilip, Mom, Andrew, Beth, Will, Suzanne..
Ivy held still, suspended within a cathedral of starlight. The old world that turned beneath her grew still, as if time had stopped.
ʺTristan!ʺ Ivy closed her eyes, so that his voice would become stronger in her.
ʺCan I really hear you? Is it possible? Oh, Tristan, even in death, I want you near me.ʺ
ʺEven in death, my love.ʺ
ʺAlways, Ivy.ʺ A gold shimmer enveloped her. ʺYou told me I had to move on,ʺ
Ivy said, half crying for the loss of him, half laughing with the joy of finding him.
ʺYou said I was meant to love someone else, but I couldnʹt.ʺ ʺNor could I.ʺ
ʺEvery day, every hour, I have held you close in my heart.ʺ
ʺAs I held you,ʺ he said. ʺDonʹt leave me, Tristan,ʺ she begged. ʺPlease donʹt leave again.ʺ She felt his warmth wrap around her. ʺI need you.ʺ
ʺIʹll always be with you, Ivy.ʺ
She felt his kiss on her lips. ʺDonʹt let go!ʺ
ʺI promise you, Ivy, Iʹll always be with you,ʺ he said again. His love reached into every part of her, his pure heat burning within her. Suddenly, she felt her heart beating — beating wildly, like a caged bird, against her ribs.
ʺWHAT ELSE DO YOU REMEMBER?ʺ THE WOMAN police officer asked.
Ivy gazed out the window of the hospital room at the pale yellow clouds of early morning. ʺThatʹs it. The car — the vehicle,ʺ she corrected herself, since that was what they were calling it, ʺcame from the other direction straight at us. Braking wouldnʹt help. He was going too fast. I had to avoid him.ʺ
ʺOr her. Or them. Head‐on like that, and in the dark, all I could see was the headlights.ʺ She remembered looking down on a vehicle and assuming it was a car — but the perspective of someone floating above her car and the road on which the accident occurred wouldnʹt make sense to the police. It barely made sense to Ivy — she knew rather than understood what had happened.
The moment Ivy had become conscious again, her spirit had felt extraordinarily light, while her body had seemed a heavy and clumsy thing to her. She had clung to the memory of being with Tristan, afraid it would slip through the grasp of her earthbound fingers.
ʺDo you remember anything about the sound of the vehicle?ʺ the police officer asked.
Jolted out of her thoughts, Ivy stared at the woman blankly until she repeated her question.
ʺNo,ʺ Ivy said. ʺBeth was screaming, telling me to watch out. Thatʹs all I remember hearing.ʺ
They had already gone over why she and Beth were driving on that road. Ivy knew that both of them had been given toxicology tests.
At that point, the nurse entered her room. Andyʹs genial face was the first Ivy remembered seeing after arriving at Cape Cod Hospital six hours ago. She couldnʹt recall anything about the ER, but had been told that Beth, Will, and Aunt Cindy had taken turns staying with her and sleeping on the waiting room sofas, and that her mother was on the way.
ʺIvyʹs had a tough night,ʺ he began. ʺIʹm done,ʺ the policewoman said, standing up. ʺIf more questions arise, Iʹll be in touch. Stay safe.ʺ Andy checked the record of Ivyʹs vitals signs on the roomʹs computer, and shook his head. ʺOur own miracle girl! I like starting the work week with a miracle.ʺ The nurse was tanned, sandy‐haired, in his early forties, Ivy guessed. The lines around his eyes crinkled when he smiled. ʺYour numbers are good. How are you feeling?ʺ ʺGreat.ʺ
ʺYou wouldnʹt fake it now, would you?ʺ ʺNo. Well. . maybe a little,ʺ she admitted. ʺIs this all I get for breakfast?ʺ
He lifted the lid and saw that the plate, like the tray, was empty. ʺI guess youʹre not faking it. You know, if word gets around, weʹre going to have religious pilgrim types flocking here, wanting to touch your head. I have no idea how that head wound stopped itself from bleeding, or how, given the EMS description of the amount of blood in your car, your hematocrit could be normal. But it is. The doctor said heʹs seen a case like yours before, but between you and meʺ—Andy lowered his voice—ʺthe guyʹs full of it.
He just doesnʹt like to admit that there are some things he and medicine havenʹt figured out.ʺ Like angels, Ivy thought. Had Tristan healed her? Had he saved her?
ʺYou have visitors. Mom and little brother first?ʺ the nurse asked.
Andy headed toward the door, then turned back to open a drawer next to Ivyʹs bed. He set an extra box of tissue on the table top. ʺYou might need this.ʺ
ʺOh, baby!ʺ her mother said, rushing in with Philip behind her.
Andy was right. A handful of tissues later, Ivy said, ʺIʹm glad you didnʹt wear your eyeliner, Mom.ʺ
ʺOr lipstick,ʺ Philip added. His eyes, green like Ivyʹs, were now rimmed with red. ʺOr her cheek stuff. She left it all home.ʺ
Maggie and her makeup kit were rarely parted. ʺIʹm sorry I upset you, Mom.ʺ
ʺShe even forgot her comb,ʺ Philip said. ʺThat’ s why her hair looks like that.ʺ
Maggie patted her head self‐consciously. ʺMy mind was all on you, baby. But donʹt worry, I did think to bring you something to wear while youʹre here.ʺ
Uh‐oh, thought Ivy.
ʺFortunately, the nightgown and robe I gave you last Christmas looked barely worn.ʺ
Mostly because they hadnʹt been. Ivyʹs friend Suzanne, who was in Europe for the summer, had suggested that Ivy wear the gown and robe combo to the senior prom — or a Halloween party. Of course, it was nothing compared to the bridesmaid dress that Ivyʹs mother had chosen for her when Maggie and Andrew were married. Scarlett OʹHara dropped in a bucket of glitter was what Ivy thought every time she looked at the wedding photos. But it made her smile, because among several informal photos stuffed in the back of the wedding album was a picture of Tristan, in waiterʹs garb, launching a tray of fresh vegetables over the bridal party.
ʺIvy, are you listening?ʺ her mother asked. ʺDo you want me to help you get this on?ʺ
ʺIʹll wear just the robe,ʺ Ivy replied. Like the gown, it was filmy pink and trimmed with lots of feathery stuff. ʺSee now? It puts color in your lace,ʺ her mother said.
Philip played with the feathers for a moment, then unzipped his backpack. ʺI brought you two things.ʺ
ʺA Yankees cap! Thanks.ʺ Ivy put it on. ʺThis is going to make me real popular with the doctors and nurses here among the Red Sox nation.ʺ
He held up his second gift, a coin, then dropped it in the palm of her hand. The gold piece, an inch in diameter, had an image of an angel with wings spread, stamped on each side. ʺIt came in the mail.ʺ
ʺPart of a solicitation for a religious charity,ʺ her mother explained.
ʺItʹs beautiful. Thank you, Philip. Iʹll keep it right by my bed.ʺ
ʺI forgot — Dad told me to give you a hug. Heʹs in Washington at a conference,ʺ
Philip added, amusing Ivy by giving her a light hug, the way Andrew would have. Only a few months before, Philip had started calling Andrew ʺDad.ʺ Her brother was young enough to make that adjustment, especially since he couldnʹt remember the man who was their father.
ʺAnd how is Tarantula Arms?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺIsnʹt he going to miss you at camp today?ʹ
ʺTomorrow, too,” Philip said happily. ʺWeʹre staying overnight.ʺ
ʺMom, really, thereʹs no need. Iʹm fine. Look at me — Iʹm fine!ʺ
ʺWell, Iʹm not,ʺ Maggie replied. ʺAnd Philip and I have already taken a room at the Seabright.ʺ
ʺWillʹs taking me kayaking,ʺ Philip announced. ʺIs he?ʺ
ʺAnd heʹs getting us fishing rods.ʺ
ʺAnd he said he saw an awesome kite shop on Route Twenty‐eight.ʺ
Ivy smiled and swallowed hard. Philip loved Will, as he had loved Tristan. If she and Will broke up… Ivy didnʹt want to think about it.
ʺWe should let Will visit you now,ʺ her mother said. ʺHeʹs been very upset. Ivy.
He saw your car before they towed it. In some ways, I think this was more frightening for him than for you.ʺ
ʺYes, I can see how it might be,ʺ she said. ʺWould you ask him and Beth to come in?ʺ
ʺTogether?ʺ her mother asked, sounding a little surprised.
As soon as Maggie and Philip left, Beth rushed into the room and threw her arms around Ivy. Then she pulled back. ʺAm I hurting you?ʺ Ivy hugged her. ʺThereʹs nothing to hurt.ʺ Will came in quietly behind Beth. Glancing past Beth, Ivy smiled at him.
“I canʹt believe youʹre okay,” Beth said, gently touching Ivy just above her temple, In the car, when I looked over at you. She shuddered. ʺI wish I could get that picture out of my head. I–I donʹt see how I could have imagined it.ʺ
Ivy looked into Bethʹs eyes, wanting to know what Beth had seen and longing to tell her what she had experienced. Had Beth, who was psychic, sensed something? Ivy wanted Beth to confirm that Tristanʹs embrace had been more than a dream, but Bethʹs eyes were clouded with confusion and worry.
ʺBeth, you look worse than I do,ʺ Ivy observed. ʺAre you okay?ʺ ʺYeah, sure.ʺ
ʺI donʹt remember anything from the ER. They checked you over, didnʹt they?ʺ
Beth nodded. ʺItʹs just a minor concussion.ʺ
ʺBut a major headache,ʺ Will said, speaking at last. ʺIʹm trying to get her to take it easy.ʺ
He was standing behind Beth, looking at Ivy over Bethʹs shoulder. Could he see it in her eyes? Did he guess that, more than ever, she was thinking of Tristan?
Maybe not, Ivy thought, and reached for Willʹs hand. He reached back, cradling her hand in both of his. Ivy knew Willʹs hands by heart, long‐fingered and strong, almost always flecked with paint. She loved his hands.
ʺYou scared the heck out of me/ʹ Will said, his voice shaking.
ʺOh, Will, Iʹm so sorry.ʺ
He moved forward and slipped his arms around her, holding her ever so carefully.
ʺHey, Iʹm not breakable. I think Iʹve proven mat,ʺ she said, holding him tight.
She started to cry, not knowing all of the reasons why. Will wiped away her tears lovingly, as he always had.
ʺIʹll always be with you/ʹ Tristan had said. He had meant it — she felt his promise as if it were inscribed on her heart. But had Tristan healed her only to send her with his blessing back to Will? Ivy reached for the tissue box. ʺNurse Andy thinks of everything. Help yourselves.ʺ
ʺDonʹt mind if I do,ʺ Beth replied, wiping her cheeks. She and Ivy blew their noses and honked at the same time, which made all three laugh out loud. ʺI guess your mother brought the robe.ʺ They laughed again.
A crisp knock was followed by Andy poking his head through the partially closed door of the hospital room.
ʺOkay, wonder girl/ʹ he said, pushing a wheelchair into the room. ʺIʹm sending home your fans. Youʹre wanted in CT world.ʺ He patted the chair.
Ivy hugged Beth and Will once more. ʺGet some sleep, okay?ʺ
ʺIʹll be back this after—ʺ
ʺIʹll probably be asleep,ʺ Ivy interrupted Will. ʺAfter youʹve had some rest, if you want to do me a big favor, entertain Philip.ʺ
ʺIf thatʹs what you want,ʺ Will replied, looking a little hurt.
ʺThank you. Will.ʺ
When they had left, Ivy turned to Andy, who was pointing to the wheelchair. ʺI prefer to walk.ʹ ʺSorry, itʹs against the rules.ʺ ʺBut I feel great!ʺ she insisted. ʺI could walk and bike for miles.ʺ
“Then if no one is looking, Iʹll let you do wheelies.ʺ
Ivy laughed. ʺYeah, yeah. Letʹs roll.ʺ
I WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU, IVY… ALWAYS WITH you…I will alwaysʺBe with you in a minute,ʺ Ivy heard a nurse calling to a patient. She quickly opened her eyes, read the time on the hospital clock—4:12 p.m. — then dropped her head in her hands. It was happening again: For months after Tristan had died, each time Ivy awoke from a happy dream of him, she ached as if she was losing him for the first time.
Just now, she had been dreaming. Ivy knew that. But not last night, she thought.
Last night had been different — it had felt real. ʺHey, Wonder Girl!ʺ The door of Ivyʹs room banged back. ʺThatʹs what theyʹre calling you,ʺ Kelsey said, entering the room, followed by Dhanya, who was carrying a shopping bag.
ʺHi, Ivy.ʺ Dhanyaʹs voice was soft and worried sounding.
ʺOhmygod!ʺ Kelsey exclaimed when she saw Ivyʹs pink robe flung across the wheelchair next to her bed. ʺIt was a gift from my mother,ʹ Ivy replied.
Kelsey held it up and Dhanyaʹs look of concern melted into a suppressed giggle.
Ivy grinned. ʺThereʹs a matching gown in the closet/ʹ she said, swinging her feet over the side of the bed.
ʺIʹll get ft,ʺ Dhanya offered quickly.
ʺIt feels good to walk,ʺ Ivy told her.
ʺOh, Ivy, Iʹm so sorry! I should never have called Beth for a ride. Iʹm responsible for what happened to you. I feel so bad. You could have been killed. If s my fault.
If I hadnʹt—ʺ ʺWait a minute, listen to me,ʺ Ivy interrupted Dhanya. ʺYou were right to call Beth. You and Kelseyʺ—she paused, forcing Kelsey to meet her eyes and acknowledge she had a major part in this —ʺare responsible for drinking and getting drunk. But not the accident. You didnʹt cause the accident. Okay?ʺ
Dhanya nodded, a large tear rolling down her cheek.
ʺDhanya, I wish youʹd save that for tonight,” Kelsey said. ʺAunt Cindy put Dhanya and me on probation,ʺ Kelsey explained to Ivy, ʺand scheduled a parent conference on Skype.ʺ
She opened the closet, then whistled.” Dhanya, this outdoes your Disney Princess gowns.ʺ Dhanya blushed.
ʺYouʹve seen the Disney bridal gowns, havenʹt you. Ivy ^Kelsey asked. ʺDhanya doesnʹt have a boyfriend, but she keeps trying to decide which dress sheʹs going to wear when she gets married.ʺ ʺBack off, Kelsey,ʺ Dhanya said quietly. Kelsey pulled the gown off its hanger and held it up. ʺWant to try this on?ʺ she teased her friend.
ʺNo,ʺ Dhanya replied crisply. ʺWhy donʹt you?ʺ Kelsey pulled off her T‐shirt and dropped her shorts — she was wearing her bikini underneath— then slipped the nightgown over her head. Built like Serena Williams, she looked both awesome and funny.
Let’s go to the solarium,ʺ Kelsey said. ʺPut on the robe and we can pretend weʹre twins.ʺ Or wear this one,ʺ Dhanya said, opening her shopping bag and pulling out Ivyʹs light green robe. ʺThank you,” Ivy replied gratefully, slipping her arms through its sleeves. Kelsey dug in the pocket of the shorts she had just taken off and retrieved her cell phone. “I’m ready.ʺ
Ivy sat in the chair as Dhanya pushed and Kelsey walked beside it wearing her bikini and the filmy gown, waving to people in their rooms, then waving at the staff gathered around the nursesʹ station as if she was the queen of a homecoming parade. Ivy couldnʹt help but laugh.
The solarium, past double doors at the end of the hall, was a quiet oasis away from hospital chatter and beeping machinery. Filled with sunlight rather than the cold fluorescence of the medical areas, its wicker chairs, ferns, and pots of red geraniums made Ivy feel as if she was sitting on someoneʹs porch.
Weʹve got the place to ourselves,ʺ Dhanya said. ʺBy the window?ʺ ʺPerfectʺ
Dhanya parked the wheelchair then pulled a small white rocker closer, arranging herself as prettily as a cat. Kelsey stretched out on a curvy wicker lounge and checked her phone.
ʺSo let me fill you in on the guys weʹve met/ʹ Kelsey said to Ivy after a moment of thumb flexing. ʺThink gorgeous and rich.ʺ ʺOkay.ʺ m.
ʺMore rich than gorgeous,ʺ Dhanya corrected. Kelsey shrugged. ʺTheir cars are gorgeous. Their boats are.ʺ
ʺIf they really have those cars and boats, and werenʹt telling a few lies, like you were,ʺ Dhanya replied.
Kelsey shrugged. ʺSo, I exaggerated a little.ʺ ʺThe party was at a fabulous house,ʺ Dhanya told Ivy. ʺSo somebody had money.ʺ She turned to Kelsey. ʺBut who knows who was who.ʺ
Kelsey blew through her lips with disgust. ʺ/ can tell by talking to them. But you wouldnʹt talk. Youʹre such a snob, Dhanya! You want money, looks, and class.
Youʹve been hanging around with your parents too much.ʺ Ivy tried to remember what Beth had told her about Dhanya’s parents. Her mother was from a very wealthy Indian family, had come to the U.S. as a graduate student, and fell in love with an American. Her father was… a lawyer?
ʺSo I have high standards/ʹ Dhanya shot back. ʺIf I can have what I want, why should I settle for less?ʺ
She appealed her question to Ivy; Ivy smiled, remaining discreetly quiet, but mentally awarding Dhanya the ʺpoint.ʺ
ʺAnywayʺ Kelsey said, dragging out the word, her eyes shifting from Ivy to the entrance of the solarium, ʺI know where they all beach now.ʺ
ʺIvyʹs not in the market for a boyfriend,ʺ Dhanya reminded Kelsey, then turned to see what had distracted her friend.
ʺI know, but a girl can always look,ʺ Kelsey replied, leaning closer to Ivy, hinting not too subtly that Ivy should turn around. ʺWhat if I donʹt want to?ʺ Ivy baited her. ʺIvy, cʹmon! Youʹre not married yet!ʺ Kelsey sat back in the chaise lounge and raised one knee, providing a nice view of her curvy leg. Ivy wondered who this provocative show was for, but still didnʹt turn around.
ʺHey! Donʹt be shy/ʹ Kelsey called out to the person who had entered the room.
ʺCome on over.ʺ
ʺI was just leaving.ʺ The person who held Kelseyʹs and Dhanyaʹs attention had a deep voice. ʺBut you just arrived,ʺ Kelsey replied, smiling. Poor guy, Ivy thought, probably looking for some peace and quiet.
ʺDonʹt let my outfit (care you off/ʹ Kelsey persisted. ʺIt belongs to my roommate.ʺ She pointed to Ivy. ʺIf you think this is hot, you ought to see her beach wear!ʺ
ʺKelsey!ʺ Ivy spun her chair around, ready to defend herself. But when she looked at the guy, all words slipped away. His intense blue eyes seemed to burn through flirtatious remarks and silly explanations. His gaze was both haunted and disdainful, as if he had experienced and knew something terrible mat Ivy and her friends would never understand.
As long as he looked at her, Ivy couldnʹt look away. His face, shadowed with several days of stubble, was striking rather than handsome. Clean shaven and lit with a smile, it was a face that could break a girlʹs heart, Ivy thought.
Without saying a word more, he turned his wheelchair and left. Ivy heard Andyʹs voice in the hall outside the door: ʺEnough already? Okay, pal.ʺ
ʺI bet thatʹs him,ʺ Dhanya half whispered to Kelsey. ʺThe guy they were talking about when we stopped to ask directions to Ivyʹs room.ʺ
ʺYou mean the one they pulled out of the ocean in Chatham?ʺ Kelsey replied.
Dhanya frowned. ʺI thought he was found unconscious on the sand, close to the water.ʺ
ʺWhatever. Must have been some party, probably wilder than ours,ʺ Kelsey observed, and turned to Ivy. ʺHe wonʹt tell them what happened or how he got there. He wonʹt even tell them who he is.ʺ
ʺIt’ s not that he wonʹt, he canʹt,ʺ Dhanya corrected Kelsey. ʺHe canʹt remember anything.ʺ
ʺSo he says,ʺ Kelsey noted.
ʺWhat’ s wrong with him?ʺ Ivy asked.
ʺNothing, as far as Iʹm concerned,ʺ Kelsey said. ʺHeʹs rude, but I can forgive that — what a face!ʺ Ivy tried again. ʺI meant why was he hospitalized? Was it for any reason other than amnesia?ʺ
Kelsey looked to Dhanya for the answer. Dhanya shrugged.
ʺIn any case,ʺ Kelsey said, ʺitʹs obvious that Chatham is the place to be,”
ʺWe have our own beach at the inn,ʺ Ivy pointed out.
ʺIvy, you need to stop thinking about yourself and consider Beth.ʺ
ʺWhat?ʺ Ivy asked, taken aback. ʺYou know my cousin — she will come to Chatham only if you and Will come. She needs to find a boyfriend of her own.
Sheʹs way too attached to you.”
Ivy frowned, wondering if there was some truth to mat.
Kelsey checked her phone again. ʺFat chance!ʺ she said in response to someoneʹs message. ʺDelete. Delete. Delete…. Ready, Dhanya?ʺ
Dhanya stood up and grasped the handles on Ivyʹs chair. ʺI can get myself back,ʺ Ivy told her. ʺIʹm going to stay here in the sun for a while.ʺ
Dhanya dug in her purse and pulled out a small tube of cocoa butter, handing it to Ivy. ʺPut it on, close your eyes, and pretend youʹre at the beach,ʺ she said.
Ivy lifted the cap and sniffed. ʺMmm. Much better than hospital disinfectant.
Thanks.ʺ Kelsey stood up. ʺIʹve got to get my shirt and shorts, so Iʹll drop this gorgeous gown on your bed.ʺ She pirouetted and danced out the door. ʺThanks for coming,ʺ Ivy called after her. Dhanya hugged Ivy lightly. ʺCome home soon,ʺ she said, and followed Kelsey out of the solarium.
Ivy rolled her chair to another window, one sheltered by an island of plants. She sat there for a long time, looking out at the trees and buildings surrounding the hospital, thinking about distance. How could she feel as if sheʹd been kissed by someone who was another world away — and as if she was losing touch with someone close enough to kiss? Memories are a curse, Ivy thought. If she had no memory of Tristan, she would be able to love Will the way he deserved to be loved.
After a while, she wheeled back from the window to return to her room. That was when she saw him: the guy with no memory. He had come back to the solarium and was sitting quietly in the far corner. Turning his head, he met her gaze. The way his glance darted away from her, then back again, and the searching look in his eyes told Ivy that he wasnʹt faking it. He was haunted by what he couldnʹt recall.
Ivy paused, her chair about ten feet from his. ʺRemembering can be as painful as not remembering,ʺ she said.
His face darkened. ʺCan it? How would you know?ʺ In some ways he was right; she couldnʹt know his pain any more than he could know hers. And there was no point in sharing — he clearly didnʹt want to.
ʺHave it your way,ʺ she said, and left.
TUESDAY MORNING, IVY WAS RELEASED FROM THE hospital.
ʺAs soon as I get home, Iʹm mailing you the rest of your summer clothes/ʹ her mother said, while they waited for Andy to bring the discharge papers.
ʺThe thing is. Mom, we donʹt have much bureau or closet space in the cottage.
The only thing I really need is a new pair of sneakers.ʺ
The ones she had been wearing were blood soaked, as were the clothes she had worn to the hospital. The ER staff had put them in a bag for Ivy, and before discarding them she had looked at them with astonishment. She believed more than ever that Tristan had helped her. How else could she have made it through such injuries?
ʺEverything you brought to Cape Cod looks the same, sweetie,ʺ her mother argued. ʺIʹll take some of those clothes home to free up space for pretty things.ʺ
They spent the next ten minutes discussing clothes, going in circles as endless as her motherʹs love for ruffles. Finally, Ivyʹs brother rescued her.
ʺPhilip, where have you been?ʺ Maggie asked when he entered the hospital room.
ʺYou told me to wait outside the door while Ivy changed. You never told me to come back in.ʺ Ivy laughed. Philip picked up the Yankees cap he had given Ivy and placed it on her head. ʺI gave away the angel coin I brought for you. Is that okay?ʺ
ʺOf course,ʺ she said. ʺLots of people in the hospital could use an angel.ʺ
ʺI told him he could pray to Tristan.ʺ Ivy bit her lip. Philip had never stopped talking about Tristan, believing in him as an angel long before Ivy did; now, his faith in Tristan hit Ivy just as hard as the first time Philip had spoken of him. If she told Philip that she had been with Tristan again, that she had felt Tristan holding her, would PhilipBut no, she didnʹt want to confuse her little brother. Andy came in with the discharge papers. ʺWell, young lady,” he said, eyes twinkling, ʺsince you are wearing that cap, I have no choice but to politely ask you to leave.ʺ
Ivy laughed and thanked him for his help. It was noon by the time she arrived back at the inn. With just a few guests, the work for the day was done, and Kelsey and Dhanya were wearing their bikinis. Dhanya threw her towel on the swing and rubbed sunscreen on her legs. Beth, in shorts and a halter top, sat on the cottage steps.
ʺWeʹre going to Chatham,ʺ Kelsey said, shaking her keys.
ʺLighthouse Beach?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺEven better,ʺ Kelsey replied, ʺa private beach, I was personally invited, and Iʹm allowing Dhanya to freeload on my hard work at Sunday nightʹs party. You can come too, if you hurry.ʺ
ʺMaybe another time. I have a hot date with my shopaholic mother.ʺ
ʺWell, if Mom supplies the credit card, thatʹs not such a bad date,ʺ Kelsey observed.
When she and Dhanya had departed, Beth turned to Ivy. ʺYouʹre not going with Will?ʺ
ʺHeʹs kayaking with Philip.ʺ ʺThatʹs what I meant. I thought you were going Too.”
ʺNo.ʺ Ivy felt defensive about her choice. ʺMomʹs leaving tomorrow. I want to spend some time with her.ʺ Ivy sat on the yard swing and beckoned for her friend to do the same. ʺBeth, thereʹs something I need to ask you. After the accident, when you looked at me, did you think I was dead?”
Bethʹs eyes locked on to Ivyʹs. For a moment she didn’t answer. ʺWhy are you asking that?ʺ ʺDid you?ʺ Ivy persisted. ʺYes, but I was wrong,ʺ Beth said.
ʺObviously.ʺ ʺI remember telling you we had to get out of the car. You acted as if you couldnʹt hear me, and when I tried to reach for you, my hand passed through yours.ʺ
Beth didnʹt take her eyes from Ivyʹs. ʺThen I felt myself floating upward. I remember looking down on you and me, and seeing my body crumpled against the carʹs frame.ʺ
ʺAn out‐of‐body experience,ʺ Beth said, her eyes wide with interest. ʺPeople who flatline and are resuscitated sometimes report having them.ʺ
Ivy leaned toward her friend. ʺDid you see anyone resuscitate me?ʺ Beth shut her eyes for a moment, then rubbed her forehead. ʺI‐I didnʹt see anyone. I think I blacked out for a few minutes. I remember opening my eyes and seeing a flashing light, and someone leaning over me. I tried to tell them about you, but they told me to stay still. I was being put in an ambulance. I didnʹt know where you were. They must have been resuscitating you then.ʺ
ʺNo …no.ʺ Ivy laid her hand on her heart, remembering the moment she felt its wild beating. She couldnʹt keep her voice from trembling. ʺIt was Tristan.ʺ
ʺWhat?!ʺ Beth exclaimed. ʺI think Tristan saved me.ʺ Beth frowned. ʺYou mean because you called to him, he sent the paramedics—ʺ
ʺNo, I mean Tristan saved me. I heard him. I felt his arms wrap around me. He kissed me.ʺ
ʺOh, Ivy,ʺ Beth said, resting her hands on Ivyʹs. ʺHe couldnʹt have. He fulfilled his mission and left you after you were safe from Gregory. The night Suzanne and I spent with you, just before dawn, he said good‐bye. You told me that/ʹ
ʺIʹm telling you now he was there for me.ʺ Beth shook her head. ʺIf s how your mind has interpreted the experience. Or perhaps you were given a dream of Tristan to comfort you. ʺIt was him/ʹ Ivy insisted. ʺIvy, donʹt make it harder for yourself! Tristan is dead and gone.ʺ
Ivy pulled her hands away. ʺI‐I think itʹs just the anniversary that’ s affecting you like this,ʺ Beth said, in a quieter voice. ʺIt will be easier once it has passed.
But right now, be careful what you say to Will. He told me that— well, just donʹt hurt him, Ivy. This anniversary and the way it is making you think of Tristan is very hard on Will.ʺ Unexpected anger flared up in Ivy. She didnʹt need Beth to remind her about Willʹs feelings. As if she didnʹt already feel like a traitor!
Ivy turned away, feeling the way she did the weeks following Tristanʹs death, when people were giving her advice about how to get over him, none of them understanding how painful it was to remember — and how painful it was not to.
ʺIvy,ʺ her mother called from the back steps of the inn. ʺYou ready? Beth, come with us — girlsʹ day out! Iʹd love to buy you something pretty.”
ʺThank you, no,ʺ Beth called back. ʺMy headacheʹs back,ʺ she said to Ivy without meeting her eyes, then gave a small shrug and retreated to the cottage.
WHEN IVY RETURNED FROM THE SHOPPING TRIP, during which she had successfully distracted her mother from clothes with a search for vintage Sandwich glass, a familiar ringtone sounded on her phone. ʺHi, Will.ʺ
ʺAhoy!ʺ It was Philipʹs voice. ʺWhy, shiver me timbers!ʺ Ivy replied. ʺWhere are you, Bluebeard?ʺ ʺUh…ʺ
There was a discussion at the other end with some squawking seagulls in the background, then Will got on the phone and gave Ivy directions to the beach on Pleasant Bay where he and Philip were boating. ʺCan you come?ʺ ʺJust have to change into my suit,ʺ Ivy replied. Arriving at the beach with towels, a bag of cookies, and a thermos, Ivy spotted Will and Philip next to the long green kayak that Aunt Cindy had lent them. They were building a castle, both of them wearing red pirate bandanas on their heads and strings of bright Mardi Gras beads around their necks. Intent on their digging and piling of sand, neither of them saw her‐—or the camp of girls who were admiring Will.
Tan, his muscles glistening with sweat as he worked, Willʹs artist hands quickly shaped ramparts and towers. He looked up suddenly, his deep brown eyes shining with pleasure.
ʺWhy, hereʹs a lass!ʺ he said. ʺAvast ye, Bluebeard.ʺ
Bluebeard looked up. ʺSheʹs a scallywag.ʺ ʺBe nice, you scurvy dog,ʺ Ivy said to Philip, ʺor I wonʹt share my chocolate chip booty.ʺ
ʺChocolate chips? Ahoy, me hearty!ʺ Will responded. ʺLet me spread that towel for you.ʺ He took her bundles from her, and standing close, bent his head, resting his forehead against hers. ʺIf s good to see you,ʺ he said softly. Ivy took off her sunglasses and looked into his eyes. ʺPirates donʹt do mushy stuff,ʺ Philip said.
ʺShore leave,ʺ Will replied, then kissed Ivy. They spread the towels next to the castle and shared the cookies. Opening a ziplock bag, Will took out a sketch pad and flipped through to a blank page. Pencil in hand, he worked quickly, easily, his eyes moving from paper to Ivy, paper to Ivy.
ʺI donʹt really have to look,ʺ he said, smiling. ʺIʹve got you memorized.ʺ
In five minutes he had a sketch of two pirates with a treasure chest between them, a short Bluebeard lifting up a jeweled goblet, a girl pirate lifting up a robe with a feathery hem and collar. Ivy laughed.
ʺDo you think Lacey and Ella could meet pirates on one of their angel adventures?ʺ Philip asked.
ʺIʹll have to talk to the author, but I think we can arrange that.ʺ
Will moved to a fresh page and started drawing more slowly a cluster of trees to their right, working the pattern of their branches against the deep sweep and curve of the bay. He hummed as he drew. His happiness, his joy in that moment, made Ivy ache.
ʺPhilip, want to take a walk?ʺ she asked. Her little brother jumped to his feet.
ʺWeigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!ʺ he cried. ʺWhoa! Where did you get that line?ʺ ʺWill.ʺ Will looked up and smiled. ʺDonʹt get lost, matey.ʺ
Philip looked left and right, then said to Ivy. ʺThat way!ʺ She was glad that he pointed left, toward the spit of sand that pushed out into the bay, creating behind its trees a secluded cove. She walked silently, while Philip, still young enough to talk out his fantasies, strutted and gave orders to his pirate crew. He found rubies and doubloons at the edge of the water. From time to time, he raised his spyglass and saw danger on the horizon.
When they had rounded the point, they came upon a deposit of sea stones, shiny‐wet and glittering in the late afternoon sun. They knelt down to pick through them. ʺPhilip,ʺ Ivy said, trying to sound casual, ʺyou told someone in the hospital to pray to Tristan. Do you still pray to him?ʺ
ʺAnd does he answer?ʺ
ʺYou mean, do I hear him?ʺ
ʺNot anymore. I stopped hearing him after Gregory died.ʺ Ivy nodded and continued sorting through the stones, telling herself she shouldnʹt have expected anything else, and it was silly to be disappointed.
Philip rolled a pebble between his fingers, then discarded it. ʺI hear Lacey.ʺ
Ivy glanced up. ʺYou do? You never mentioned that before/ʹ
ʺYou never asked.ʺ Ivy sat back on her heels, thinking. She hadnʹt sensed Laceyʹs presence in the house — hadnʹt seen the telltale purple shimmer that indicated the angel was mere — so she had assumed that when Tristan said good-bye, Lacey had left too.
Of course, Lacey hadnʹt liked her; Ivy knew that. Lacey had helped her because Lacey cared about Tristan — was in love with him, Ivy suspected.
ʺYo ho ho and a bottle of rum,ʺ Philip sang, stirring the wet pebbles and sand with his finger. ʺThe doctors told Mom itʹs a miracle you didnʹt die.ʺ
ʺYes, it seems like a miracle. I prayed toʺ—she hesitated—ʺan angel.ʺ Philip looked up at her, as if he suddenly understood. ʺDid Lacey help you?ʺ
ʺI think some angel did,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺLetʹs ask her,ʺ Philip said. ʺLacey!ʺ He stood and raised his hands to the sky. ʺHey, Lacey, Lacey, Lacey. Cʹmon, Lacey, you scallywag!ʺ
There was no response. Philip shrugged, then knelt to continue sorting through the stones. ʺI guess sheʹs busy.ʺ
ʺWell, blow me down, if it isnʹt the old buccaneer and his scurvy sister!ʺ a husky voice said. ʺLacey!ʺ Philip replied happily. ʺHi, Lacey,ʺ Ivy greeted her, trying not to let the hope seep into her voice. If Lacey was still here— ʺLong time no see,ʺ Lacey replied to Ivy, ʺwhich works for me.ʺ Her purple shimmer came close to them, as if she were crouching on the sand. ʺThis oneʹs perfect.ʺ A smooth round stone appeared to hop into Philipʹs hand.
ʺWhatʹs up, Philip? I canʹt stay long this time‐got a new gig — an apprentice that doesnʹt have a due what heʹs doing.ʺ
Philip nodded. ʺJust a question: Did you save Ivyʹs life on Sunday night?ʺ
ʺExcuse me?ʺ She moved away from where Philip and Ivy were kneeling and appeared to dance along the edge of the water. Her shimmer was as delicate as a sea mist, the deep purple of a mollusk shell. ʺSave Ivy?ʺ
ʺBeth and I were in a car accident,ʺ Ivy explained.
Lacey came closer, circling Ivy, as if studying her. Ivy felt the gentle pressure of fingers against her temple and knew that Lacey was materializing just the tips of them; by the time Tristan had left, he had been able to do that too.
ʺIʹve seen paper cuts bigger than that,ʺ Lacey said. ʺI know,ʺ Ivy replied with surging confidence.
ʺTristan healed me.ʺ
ʺTristan?ʺ Philip asked, sounding surprised as Lacey.
ʺNot possible,ʹ the angel said adamantly. ʺLast time I was with Tristan, he was headed to the Light. He had fulfilled his mission — thanks to me,ʺ she added.
ʺBy now, he’s far beyond all of us, hanging out with Number One Director, I’m sure.”
“But I felt his arms around me,” Ivy insisted and recounted the details of the accident. When she described looking down at her body in the crushed car, then rising the starry night, Lacey’s purple mist held perfectly still. For a full thirty seconds after Ivy finished, Lacey was uncharacteristically silent.
Ivy thought she might have stopped listening halfway through until Lacey spat out, ʺUnbelievable. Unbelievable!ʺ
Small stones, one after another, were lifted by an invisible hand and hurled into the water. ʺHey!ʺ Philip cried, ʺthat was my best one!ʺ ʺSony.ʺ The shower of stones stopped. ʺI just hope you were hallucinating,ʺ Lacey said to Ivy, ʺbecause if what youʹre describing really happened, thereʹs going to be serious fallout.ʺ Ivy frowned. ʺWhat do you mean9ʺ ʺAngels canʹt go around giving the kiss of life.ʺ
The kiss of life, Ivy repeated to herself, recalling how, when Tristan kissed her, she was suddenly aware of her heart beating. ʺIf s against the rules.ʺ ʺHow do you know?ʺ Ivy asked Lacey. ʺHow do I know? Look at me. What dʹya see?ʺ
ʺFog with an attitude,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺOh, yeah, I forgot. Give me a second..
Lacey materialized herself, then strutted up and down the shore in her ripped leggings and long tank top.
ʺLike my new hair?ʺ she asked, shaking her head. It was tinged purple, long and straight, with blunt‐cut bangs. ʺI picked up a few more skills since we last had the pleasure of working together.ʺ
ʺWow!ʺ Philip exclaimed, reaching out to touch the angel. ʺThe whole you!
Youʹre awesome, Lacey!ʺ
ʺThanks, kid.ʺ She turned to Ivy. ʺFor three years Iʹve successfully put off my mission by breaking the rules. If Iʹm not the expert on forbidden acts, who is? Iʹm telling you — Number One Director does not like his cast members changing the script. There will be repercussions ʺ
ʺBecause Tristan saved me?ʺ Ivy argued. ʺI guess you werenʹt listening in Sunday school. Donʹt you remember the fallen angels story? They wanted to be like God, just like God. If s Godʹs privilege, not ours, to give and take life.”
Ivy didn’t reply. Would Tristan do something forbidden for her sake?
Lacey’s mouth curved in disgust. “Only you could get a guy killed, and one year later, put his soul in jeopardy!ʺ
Ivy and Philip watched as the angelʹs body faded into sand, ocean, and sky.
Philip laid his hand on Ivyʹs arm. ʺMaybe you just dreamed it.ʺ
ʺMaybe,ʺ she replied, but the words rang hollow, even to her.
ON THE WALK BACK FROM THE COVE, IVY ASKED Philip not to mention to anyone that Tristan had helped her.
ʺNot even Will?ʺ
It had upset Will just to hear her playing Tristanʹs song. No, Iʹll tell him myself in a little while. It’ s best not to mention Lacey either,ʺ she added Ivy was relieved when Philip and her mother left on Wednesday morning. Taking off the fitted silk blouse her mother had picked out for her, she pulled on a tie‐dyed T‐shirt, an X‐Large that was leftover from a school fund‐raiser.
For the first time in her life, Ivy was uneasy around Will. Every time he looked at her, she feared he could read her thoughts — and see Tristan there. She trod carefully around Beth and sensed that Beth was being careful around her too.
Kelsey and Dhanya, wrapped up in the guys from Chatham, spent most of their time there, which was fine with Ivy. Her most comfortable companion was Dusty the cat.
On Friday, Will drove Ivy to Hyannis to pick up a rental car, which she would use until the insurance for her totaled car was processed. ʺYouʹre so quiet?ʹ he said when they stopped at a traffic light. ʺAre you worried about something?ʺ
ʺNo.ʺ Her response sounded short and stiff, but Ivy couldnʹt think of a single word to add to it. ʺNo,ʺ she repeated.
Will turned in his seat to study her. (ʹLightʹs green,ʺ she told him. He nodded and drove on. ʺYou know, Ivy, itʹs natural to be a little nervous about driving again.ʺ
ʺIʹm not nervous.ʺ She saw the tightening in his jaw and realized Will felt as if his thoughtfulness had been rebuffed. ʺBecause. . itʹs daytime,ʺ she added lamely. ʺSo, I guess it doesnʹt bother me— the way it might if it were dark, as it was when the accident happened.ʺ
They were silent the rest of the way. Standing together in the hot parking lot, waiting for the rental car, Will rattled his car keys and said, ʺIʹll go with you to your appointment at the hospital, and then maybe we can stop for—ʺ
ʺThanks, thatʹs not necessary.ʹ He squinted at her. ʺYou havenʹt driven since the accident. Suppose a car coming from the opposite direction gets too close to the center line. You donʹt know how youʹre going to react.ʺ
ʺIʹll be okay, Will.ʺ
ʺWhat if I follow you as far as the hospital, but not all the way home,ʺ he suggested.
Ivy shielded her eyes from the sun and the metallic glare of the cars. ʺI can handle it.ʺ
ʺIvy, you were in a really serious accident. Thereʹs a reason the specialist wants to check you one more time, and I would like to be there. Okay?ʺ He placed his hands on her shoulders. Ivy pulled back, then saw the surprise in Willʹs eyes.
Since the night they had come together to fight Gregory, she had never pulled away from his touch. ʺIʹm fine,ʺ she insisted.
He shook his head. ʺYou havenʹt been yourself since the accident. Beth has noticed it too.ʺ Ivy prickled. ʺWhat do you and Beth do, spend your time talking about me?ʺ Excuse us for caring!ʺ
ʺI need some space, Will!ʹʹ His face paled beneath his suntan. ʺSpace. . from me?ʺ She hesitated. ʺFrom everyone. Weʹre living in awfully close quarters.ʺ She could almost convince herself that this was the problem.
ʺFine.ʺ He took two steps back from her and held out his arms, as if giving her spacer ʺFine.ʺ Then he turned and strode to his car. He turned to her one last time, but Ivy didnʹt call him back as he may have expected, and he drove off quickly.
ʺReady, Ms. Lyons?ʺ the rental agent asked, arriving with a key. ʺGot you a new Beetle.ʺ She picked up the shopping bag that she had filled with homemade bread, jam, and cookies— gifts for Andy — then followed the agent across the lot.
An hour later, the doctor told Ivy she would send the test results when they came back, but that everything was looking good. ʺThe folks from EMS are still shaking their heads in amazement,ʺ the doctor said. ʺItʹs nice to give someone such good news.ʺ
Afterward, Ivy took the elevator up to the sixth floor and waited for Andy at the nursesʹ station. He emerged from the room next to the one she had occupied, looking perplexed. ʺHas anyone seen Guy? That boy sure keeps me on my toes.ʺ
ʺNot for a half hour or so,” a dark‐haired nurse answered. ʺHey, look who it is!ʺ
Andyʹs face broke into a smile. ʺBack for a follow‐up?ʺ
ʺAnd to give you this thank‐you,ʺ Ivy said. Andy peeked into the shopping bag, then pulled out the bread. Even in its wrapping, they could smell the tangy sweetness of the apple‐cranberry loaf. Then he took out the tin of cookies and lifted the lid. ʺYum.ʺ
ʺIf s all homemade. Aunt Cindy does her own cooking for the Seabright.ʺ
ʺYouʹre going to share, arenʹt you?ʺ the dark‐haired nurse asked Andy.
ʺMaybe,ʺ he replied with a grin. He and Ivy talked for a few minutes, then she walked to the elevator, contemplating the afternoon ahead of her. She wanted to drive for miles, perhaps to the tip of Cape Cod, and get out on the beach and run.
She pressed the elevatorʹs down button three times, then spotted an exit sign and headed for the stairway door. Raring down the steps. Ivy enjoyed the loud smack of her feet against the concrete surface. Holding on to the metal railing, she swung around the corners of each landing, as Philip would have. She didnʹt see the person crouched on the steps, not until she slammed into him. She tumbled forward and he flung out his arms.
ʺWhoa!ʺ he exclaimed, pulling her back toward him. It was the guy who had been so unfriendly in the solarium.
Ivy regained her balance, but the guy held on, his eyes as powerful as his hands.
ʺLet go,ʹ she said.
They stood side by side on the step, and after a moment, she took a step higher to even out their height.
ʺFeeling better, I see,ʺ he said dryly. ʺAnd you,ʺ she answered lightly, ʺfeeling as antisocial as ever.ʺ
His eyes traveled down her, and she became acutely aware of her tight jeans and oversize shirt Determined not to appear self‐conscious, she gazed back at him steadily. He was clean shaven today and wore a pair of tattered jeans, old shoes, and a terry‐cloth robe that was about ft foot and a half too short for him, ʺNice seeing you — and not talking — again,ʺ Ivy said, starting down the steps.
“Do you have a car?”
She turned around, surprised by the question. ʺYes. Why?ʺ
ʺI need a ride.”
“A ride now? Where?ʺ
“Not far,” he replied casually. “The next town over.” Ivy cocked her head.
ʺProvidence,ʺ he said. ʺProvidence is the next state over,” Ivy told him.
ʺWherever,ʺ he replied gruffly. ʺJust get me out of here.ʺ In the fluorescent light, his bruised skin looked grayish green. ʺSony,ʺ Ivy said. ʺI donʹt know what kind of medical problems you have — other than amnesia and—ʺ
“Iʹve never been better.” He started down the steps toward her.
ʺAndyʹs looking for you.ʺ To hell with Andy. To hell with all of them!ʺ he exploded. Ivy stayed calm but moved quickly down the stairs, trying to stay ahead of him without triggering a chase that she was sure to lose. ʺTheyʹll let you out when you are well.ʺ
ʺI canʹt wait that long!ʺ She reached the door marked Level 2 and pushed against it. It didnʹt budge. She pushed again.
He smirked. ʺAlready tried that. Iʹve tried them all.ʺ He walked steadily down the steps toward her. ʺThe only one mat opens onto a floor is Level G.ʺ
Ivy hurried down the steps, hesitating at the door to Level 1, men continuing past it. The guy quickly closed the gap between them, catching her from behind, turning her toward him and backing her against the wall. ʺGet out your keys.ʺ
ʺWhy do you want to leave?ʺ she asked.
ʺHand them over,ʺ he demanded.
ʺYou donʹt even know why/ʹ she guessed. ʺYou have no idea what youʹre doing or where youʹre going!ʺ Releasing her, he took a step back. This was her chance to get away, but something sheʹd glimpsed in his eyes held her there.
He sat down slowly on the concrete steps, then dropped his head in his hands.
ʺWhatʹs going on?ʺ Ivy asked in a gentler voice. He shook his head. ʺI donʹt know. I just know I have to get away. Somebodyʹs after me, and Iʹve got to get away.ʺ
Ivy moved several steps below him and sat down. She saw that his forearms were badly bruised, as was the side of his head, close to his left ear. A long cut scored his neck, just beneath his jaw. There was more to his story than being found unconscious on a beach or saved from drowning; heʹd been beaten upbadly.
If he was in serious trouble, sheʹd be crazy to get involved. For all she knew, he remembered what had happened to him but didnʹt want to admit it because he was to blame.
Ivy began to rise, men stopped. What if he did have to get away — what if someone was hunting him down? All he was asking was for a way to leave the hospital. Ivyʹs instinct was to help. Then again, when first dealing with Gregory, she had trusted her instincts, and sheʹd been dead wrong.
ʺWhat have they told you about your condition?ʺ she asked. He shrugged her off. ʺIt doesnʹt matter.ʺ
ʺAnswer my question.ʺ Sighing, he complied. ʺThere was water in my lungs.
Obviously Iʹve been beaten up. I have a head injury. The brain scans indicate that the memory loss isnʹt physical.ʺ He glanced away. ʺThey had me talk with a psychiatrist — if itʹs not physical, it must be mental, right?ʺ
ʺPossibly,ʺ Ivy said, feeling for him, remembering how she blocked out Tristanʹs death and how the ʺaccidentʺ had come back to her bit by bit in horrifying nightmares. His eyes met hers. ʺIf s happened to you. That’ s what you meant the other day, when you said mat remembering was as painful as not.ʺ
She nodded, wishing she could assure him that things would get better, but her situation was different from his. Sheʹd had Will, Beth, her mom, and Philipʹs care, and the enduring love of Tristan to get her through. What did he have?
ʺWhatʹs your name?ʺ she asked. ʺMy memory problem must be contagious/ʹ he replied. ʺHow would I know?ʺ
ʺYou said you didnʹt remember how you ended up hurt. You didnʹt tell me what you do remember.ʺ His smile was more of a smirk. ʺThe hospital staff calls me ʹGuy.ʹ ʹGuy Unknownʹ is what theyʹve entered in the computer, which, I guess, is one step better than John Doe.ʺ
ʺWhat should I call you?ʺ
ʺWhat would you normally call someone who pushes you against the wall and demands your keys? Something stronger than jerk, I think.ʺ Then he stood up and descended the steps, stopping one step lower than hers, as if he had remembered that she had wanted to look him straight in the eye. ʺI have to get out of here. If s the one thing I know, the only thing Iʹm sure of.ʺ
His dark blue eyes pleaded with her, and Ivy had to pull her eyes away to think clearly. ʺYouʹre going to have a hard time getting past a security guard in that bathrobe.ʺ
He tugged at the hem. ʺAndy lent it to me so I wouldnʹt walk the halls and moon people.ʺ Ivy laughed. ʺOkay,ʺ she said, making up her mind. ʺTake it off.ʺ
ʺTake off the robe,ʺ she told him, then tried not to stare at the power in his upper body or the bruises that colored it. ʺNow turn around. Face away from me.ʺ
ʺWeʹre trading.ʺ When he had turned, she removed her oversize shirt and draped it over his shoulder. ʺReady,ʺ she said, after putting on the robe.
He turned back, wearing her shirt, grinning at her. She had been right: lit with a smile, his face was the kind to break a girlʹs heart.
ʺIt’ll do,ʺ she said. The words Stonehill High stretched across his chest and the shoulder seams were pulled tight, but he was less conspicuous in that than in the short robe.
ʺIf thereʹs no security guard, weʹll just walk across the lobby like weʹre doing nothing wrong,ʺ Ivy instructed him. ʺIf we get stopped, Iʹm the patient and youʹre the person who has come to pick me up. We tell them that we got tired of waiting for Transportation to bring us a wheelchair — they make you leave in one.ʺ ʺRight.ʺ
Ivy reached in her purse for the rental key. She wondered what Beth and Will would say if she told them about this. Then she wondered if her auto insurance covered carjacking.
ʺSo if someone asks, am I your boyfriend?ʺ
ʺBrother,ʺ Ivy answered quickly. Guy smiled, as if amused by her answer, then started down the steps. He pushed open the door on the ground level and strode confidently into the lobby. He seemed so at ease. Ivy wondered how much experience heʹd had at faking it.
They were halfway across the lobby when someone stopped them.
ʺMiss, do you need assistance?ʺ As friendly as the voice had sounded, when Ivy turned around, she saw that the security guard was carefully assessing her and Guy. ʺNo, not at all.ʺ "Are you a patient?ʺ ʺI was.ʺ Ivy answered truthfully. ʺDo you have discharge papers?ʺ ʺOf course.ʺ She opened her purse and pulled them out, glad that she had written the hospital directions and her appointment time on her discharge papers. She hoped the guard wouldnʹt notice the date.
Recognizing the forms, the guard waved aside the papers. To Guy he said, ʺShe should have a wheelchair, and you need to bring the car to the curb to pick her up. Hospital policy.ʺ
ʺOkay,ʺ Guy replied. ʺStay here, Isabel.ʺ Isabel? She tried not to laugh. He fetched a wheelchair that had been left by the elevator. As Ivy sat down, the guard received a call on his radio. ʺWhatʹs the patientʹs description?ʺ the guard asked. ʺTall, sandy‐colored hair—“
ʺHang on, Izzy!ʺ
Guy pushed the chair toward the front door so fast Ivy thought they were going to crash into the plate glass. ʺWhoa!ʺ she cried as the glass slid back just in time and they shot through the opening. They flew past another occupied chair, across the concrete plaza, and onto the asphalt. ʺWait, wait!ʺ Ivy cried.
ʺCanʹt wait. Which way?ʺ Guy shouted back. She pointed. He ran and pushed like a madman, dodging between two pars, then hanging a left, making her shut her eyes and cling to the chair arms.
ʺSlow down, you crazy thing!ʺ But she was laughing now and he was, too, as they flew past a long row of cars to the end of the lot.
ʺThe white cap she yelled. ʺBrake! Brake!ʺ He did — and nearly dumped her onto the trunk of the VW. Breathless, leaping from the chair. Ivy unlocked the car with two clicks. Slipping into the driverʹs seat, she tossed her release papers and purse in the back. Guy left the wheelchair on a patch of grass and hopped into the car.
They drove away, laughing, the windows down and the wind in their hair.
ʺISABEL?ʺ IVY SAID WHEN THEY HAD STOPPED FOR A traffic light. ʺIs that what I look like to you?ʺ
Guy peeked sideways at her. ʺIt seemed like a good name for a sister.ʺ
Ivy drove on. Common sense would dictate that she take Route 28, a road with lots of beach traffic and people around, in case he wasnʹt trustworthy. Instead, succumbing to instinct — or insanity — she chose Route 6, a highway that ran the spine of Cape Cod and would quickly put distance between them and the hospital.
ʺSo, whatʹs your name?ʺ he asked. ʺIvy.ʺ
ʺIvy. Izzy — I wasnʹt too far off. But Ivy is better for a girlfriend.ʺ
She didnʹt reply, telling herself that he wasnʹt flirting, and more important, that she didnʹt want him to. ʺWhere are we going. Ivy?ʺ ʺI havenʹt decided. It looks as if Andy cleaned you up pretty well.ʺ
ʺAre you saying I looked raunchy?ʺ he replied, then his demeanor softened. ʺI donʹt know what I would have done without Andy.ʺ Ivy sighed. ʺI feel so guilty!
“I hope we donʹt get him in trouble.”
There was a long silence. ʺWell, nothing we can do about it now,ʺ she said, glancing toward Guy. ʺThose Nikes have seen better days.ʺ
He lifted one foot and pulled back the shoe’s rubber sole, grinning at her.
ʺIʹm taking the Dennis exit. Weʹre getting you new shoes and a shirt.ʺ
ʺWe are? Are you any good at shoplifting?ʺ he asked. ʺIʹm buying,ʺ she replied.
ʺNo,ʺ he said quickly. ʺYes,ʺ she insisted. ʺIvy, no. I donʹt want you to do anything more for me.ʺ Was this some kind of pride thing? she wondered. ʺWhat are you going to do about it?ʺ she asked aloud. ʺOpen the car door and get out? Iʹm going sixty.ʺ
ʺSeventy,ʺ he corrected. She glanced at the speedometer and slowed down.
Another long silence followed. She knew what he needed — his family, friends, and memories — but all she had to offer were things that money could buy.
ʺDo you remember anything?ʺ she asked. ʺLike whether you live on Cape Cod or were just visiting?ʺ
ʺI live here.ʺ His initial moment of hesitation tipped her off. ʺI see. That’ s why you thought Providence was the next town over, rather than the capital of Rhode Island.”
Guy took a deep breath and let it out, as if she were trying his patience. ʺItʹs like this. Some things — names, a person, an object, even a smell— seem familiar, but I donʹt know how or why. As soon as I try to focus on what seems familiar, it slips away.ʺ ʺThatʹs hard.ʺ She heard Guy turn in his seat and was aware of him studying her; she kept her eyes on the road. ʺWas it like that for you?ʺ he asked.
ʺYes — and no. I couldnʹt recall the crash, but I knew who I was when I woke up.
And I knew what I had lost.ʺ
ʺWhich was?ʺ he asked. She didnʹt answer. ʺHereʹs our exit.” Ivy drove a half mile along a two‐lane road bordered by a mix of deciduous trees and scrub pine, then turned into a lot serving a small strip of stores, where she and her mother had stopped a few days before. Between the shops of Wicker & Wood and Everything Cranberry was a store that sold sportswear. Ivy parked at the sandy edge of the lot, where the trees provided shade. Pulling the keys out of the ignition, she turned to Guy. ʺWhat do you think youʹll need to get by for a while?ʺ
ʺI donʹt need anything from anyone.ʺ ʺA shirt, sweatshirt, and shorts,ʺ she went on, ʺsocks, shoes, underwear… a towel. What else?ʺ He stared straight ahead, his fists in his lap. Ivy reached for her purse in the back of the car. ʺListen, I know this doesnʹt solve any of the larger challenges youʹre facing, but itʹs a start.”
Guy exploded. ʺMy larger challenges? You talk like a freaking psychiatrist!ʺ
ʺWould you prefer that I call them unsolvable problems?ʺ
ʺWouldnʹt that be more honest?ʹʹ
ʺOnly if you think theyʹre unsolvable,ʺ she said. ʺNext youʹll be lecturing me on the twelve‐step program. Step one: admit you have a problem.ʺ
ʺThatʹs a good beginning,ʺ she replied. He grimaced. ʺNot just the admitting part. It tells us that somehow you know about substance abuse programs. If s a clue.ʺ
ʺA clue telling me what?ʺ he asked incredulously. ʺThat my father was an alcoholic? That my brother — or was it my friends, or was it my mother — did drugs? Maybe I did! Or maybe this clue tells me simply that AA made a presentation at my school and I happened to be listening that day. It tells me nothing!ʺ
Ivy struggled to remain patient. ʺObviously, one puzzle piece has no significance in itself. But once you start putting it together with other pieces, it will make a picture. Pay attention when you suddenly come up with a puzzle piece — donʹt push it off the table in a rage.ʺ She dropped her keys in her purse.
ʺAre you coming?ʺ
ʺDonʹt make such a big deal out of it — you can pay me back later. In the meantime, you canʹt go without a shirt and decent shoes.ʺ She waited thirty seconds longer, then got out of the car.
He poked his head out the window. ʺNice outfit,ʺ he called to her. Ivy glanced down — the bathrobe! She started to laugh. ʺHey, itʹs my beach wrap.ʺ
Using Willʹs sizes as a guide, Ivy flipped through the brightly colored T‐shirts and cotton shorts. Guy was scared, she thought; anyone whoʹd leave the hospital — a roof, a bed, and food — when he had no other place to go was very afraid of something.
His bouts of anger came from his fear and his hurt pride. If Will were in this situation, would he act this way? She wasnʹt sure, but Tristan had had that kind of pride.
Ivy added to her list of purchases a large backpack, a pair of cargo pants, sunglasses, and a second towel. At the checkout counter she used her debit card, asking for cash back. Then she stuffed the money, the receipt, and other items in the pack.
Emerging from the store, she walked slowly toward the car, mulling over the situation. When she looked up, she couldnʹt believe it — Guy was gone. She looked around quickly, as if he might have gotten out of the car to stretch his legs, but he had disappeared. She gazed into the green shade of the woods that bordered the parking lot. His escape route — to where? Guy himself probably had no idea.
He had left her T‐shirt on the car seat. Ridiculous, stupid pride! Taking a pen from her purse, she wrote the name ʺGuyʺ on the backpack, then picked up the pack, and with all her strength, flung it toward the trees. Afterward, she drove to Nauset Light Beach, where she ran through the pounding surf until she was exhausted, wishing her jumbled emotions could drain into the sea.
“YOU COULD HAVE CALLED,” WILL SAID TWO HOURS later. ʺYou shouldʹve had your phone on. You had us worried.ʺ
He was working next to the large garden between the cottage and inn, sanding an old bookcase heʹd found among Aunt Cindyʹs stash of furniture. Beth sat nearby in an Adirondack chair, a book opened facedown on the chairʹs flat arm.
ʺI told you I was fine,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺYour appointment was hours ago. I thought something was wrong?”
Ivy removed her shoes and shook the sand out of them. ʺI went to the beach.ʺ
Willʹs mouth held a straight line and the muscles in his forearms shone with sweat as he sanded furiously. Beth looked from him to Ivy, then back to him.
ʺWhy would you assume that something was wrong?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺGiven your track record. Ivy, why would I assume things were okay?ʺ
She didnʹt reply. ʺIf Beth, who wasnʹt even hospitalized, had gone for a follow-up appointment and arrived home three hours after you expected, wouldnʹt you have worried?ʺ
ʺOkay, fine, you win,ʺ Ivy said, hoping to end the discussion. Will looked up from his work, his anger gone, but his deep brown eyes troubled. ʺIʹm not trying to win. Iʹm just trying to understand whatʹs going on.”
ʺMe too,ʺ Ivy replied honestly, and headed into the cottage.
ʺBUT YOU LIKED TO KAYAK ON THE RIVER AT HOME,ʺ Ivy said to Beth at noon on Sunday. With only a few guests staying past the weekend, they had finished work and were returning to the cottage, following the stone path through the garden. ʺBillingsgate Island sounds so mysterious, rising out of the water at low tide — and that sunken ship!ʺ For the past week, Beth had been complaining of writerʹs block. ʺTheyʹll inspire you,ʺ Ivy added encouragingly.
ʺI guess,ʺ Beth replied without enthusiasm.
ʺMaybe itʹs not the kayaking,ʺ Ivy said, after a moment of thought, ʺbut the person youʹre doing it with. Has something happened since the ice‐cream date with Chase? You seemed to really like him then.ʺ
Beth shrugged. ʺHe texts me a lot.ʺ
ʺMeaning too much,ʺ Ivy concluded. ʺAnd youʹre too nice to tell him to back off.ʺ Beth turned to Ivy.
ʺYou know youʹre too kindhearted,ʺ Ivy said, smiling at her friend. ʺYou donʹt even swat at flies.ʺ
ʺI might swat this one,ʺ Beth said as she entered the cottage. Ivy retrieved a paperback mystery, one of the many left behind by visitors to the Seabright, and carried it around to the innʹs porch.
Oceanside, running the length of the inn and wrapping one comer, the porch had its own special light. In the early morning it was an airy room adrift in the marmalade and yellow of the sunrise, but gradually it became as cool and blue as the distant streak of sea. When no guests were around, Ivy liked sitting there.
Tilting back in a wooden rocker, her feet up on the porch railing, she gazed past the green edge of Aunt Cindyʹs yard to the ocean and cloudless sky, her mind drifting.
Itʹs such a great feeling, Ivy. Do you know what itʹs like to float on a lake, a circle of trees around you, a big blue bowl of sky above you? Youʹre lying on top of the water, sun sparkling at the tips of your fingers and toes.
She had pictured it so many times, floating with Tristan at the center of a sun-spangled lake, that the dream had become as tangible as the real memories she carried of Tristan.
Why had she thought that escaping to Cape Cod would put distance between her and her memories? There was water everywhere, and everywhere that there was water, she thought of Tristan.
Ivy sighed, opened her book, and stared at the words without reading them. A week ago she had awakened in the hospital certain that she had been kissed by Tristan.
That had been no comforting dream as Beth had suggested; rather, it had made her long all the more for Tristan! And it made painfully clear the difference between what sheʹd had with Tristan and what she felt for Will. The weekend visitors and full work schedule had helped her and Will get through the last few days, but now that they had time to be together, she had been relieved when he said he was headed into Chatham to shop for art supplies.
ʺHey, girl, get off your sweet bum and come running with me,ʺ Kelsey called to Ivy, shaking her out of her thoughts.
Kelsey had trotted around the side of the inn and jogged in place for a moment.
Her auburn hair was pulled high on her head in a bouncy ponytail.
Ivy smiled at the invitation, which she suspected wasnʹt real, and shook her head no. ʺHow far do you run?ʺ
ʺToday Iʹm doing five miles on the beach, which is like ten on the road, then twenty minutes of hard swimming and an hour of biking. Iʹm thinking of doing a triathlon in September.ʺ ʺYouʹre amazing,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺYou donʹt have to tell her that,ʺ Dhanya said, stepping onto the porch, carrying a bowl of frosty‐looking blueberries leftover from the innʹs breakfast. ʺKelsey already thinks it way too often.ʺ
ʺKnows it,ʺ Kelsey corrected, then adjusted her iPod and took off for the stairway to the beach. Dhanya sat down. ʺBerries?ʺ she asked Ivy, holding out the bowl. ʺThanks.ʺ Setting the bowl on a small table between them, Dhanya rocked back and forth for a moment, then put her feet up on the railing, studying them.
ʺLavender polish looks good on you,ʺ Ivy said.
Dhanya wrinkled her nose. ʺIʹll never have pretty feet. Dancers donʹt — we abuse our toes.ʺ
ʺDo you do ballet?ʺ
ʺAnd modern, and jazz, even tap. I used to do Indian, but my teacher was old and strict — she had this thing about attitude. Discipline, Dhanya, discipline.ʺ
Dhanya imitated a British‐sounding accent, and grimaced. ʺWant to come with Kelsey and me to Chatham today? Max is having a group of friends over from college.”
ʺThanks, but Iʹm headed out to Provincetown with Beth and Will this afternoon.ʺ
Dhanya sighed. ʺYouʹre so lucky — Willʹs greatʺ ʺMmm,ʺ Ivy replied, and changed the subject. ʺTell me about Max.ʺ Dhanya rolled her eyes. ʺKelsey said you liked him,ʺ Ivy added. ʺKelsey would like me to like him. Somehow she thinks heʹs perfect for me, which is kind of insulting. She keeps telling me Iʹm a snob. Do you think so?ʺ
Ivy was surprised by the blunt question. ʺI think most of us are snobs in one way or another. We just donʹt see our own prejudices.ʺ
ʺYes, but some people really are nose‐in‐the‐air types,ʺ Dhanya asserted. ʺI hate that. Especially when they do it to me.ʺ
ʺSo, whatʹs Max like?ʺ Ivy asked.
ʺRich.ʺ Dhanya pointed her toes, then relaxed her ankles. ʺI need to stop digging my feet in the sand. Theyʹre paler than my legs. . Max is rich and tacky, into stuff like cigarette boats and gaudy sports cars. He may have lots of money, but he acts so… blue collar.ʺ
Ivy bit her lip to keep from laughing. Before her mother married Andrew, they had lived in blue‐collar Norwalk.
ʺHis father owns a chain of discount clothing stores,ʺ Dhanya added.
Ivy cocked her head. ʺSo?ʺ
ʺMax looks like he buys his clothes from his father. I want someone as rich as Max and as classy as Will.ʺ
ʺMaybe that guy will show up at Maxʹs beach party,ʺ Ivy replied, trying to hide her irritation— she didnʹt need anyone to remind her that Will was a great guy.
ʺDid you date someone you really liked in high school?ʺ
ʺNo, but I have a Facebook boyfriend,ʺ Dhanya said. ʺOf course, itʹs hard to take a guy from Australia to the senior prom.
After a long silence, Dhanya added, ʺThanks for not saying, ʹGet real, Dhanya/
Kelsey says I live in la‐la land. She says Iʹm afraid of real guys.ʺ
For a moment, Ivy felt bad for Dhanya. ʺKelsey has a lot to say about you.
Maybe she should focus on herself, and leave you alone for a while.ʺ
Dhanya smiled a little, “Yeah. Maybe she should. More berries?ʺ
Dhanya scooped up the last handful, then picked up the bowl and headed back to the cottage.
Opening her mystery. Ivy read the first chapter — read it twice before she had absorbed enough to go on. But eventually the sea, salty air, and sunny porch faded, and Ivy was creeping with the hero down a dark backstreet of London.
About a half hour later, she felt a hand resting on her shoulder.
ʺHey, Will,ʺ she said. ʺGet everything you wanted?ʺ
ʺWhoʹs Will?ʺ At the sound of Guyʹs voice, Ivy spun around, not sure if she felt annoyed or glad about his reappearance. ʺHow did you know where to find me?ʺ
ʺYour hospital papers. How did you know Iʹd come back to the parking lot?ʺ
He was wearing the sweatshirt and cargos she had bought him — and his old shoes; the new ones were tied to the backpack.
ʺI didnʹt. I was just too mad to go back in the store and return the stuff.ʺ
One side of Guyʹs mouth lifted in a smile. He dropped his backpack on the porch. Seeing a new bedroll attached to it. Ivy hoped he had used her cash rather than shoplifting it.
ʺHave a seat,ʺ she invited. He shook his head and leaned against the railing facing her. Iʹm kind of muddy.ʺ ʺWhere have you been staying?ʺ He shrugged.
ʺAround.ʺ Ivy closed her book. ʺAround here?ʺ ʺHere and there,ʺ he replied elusively. ʺHave you eaten anything in the last four days?ʺ
ʺYeah,ʺ said Guy, ʺbut you donʹt want to know what.ʺ
ʺSure I do.ʺ He laughed. Was it the unshaven cheeks, the tousled hair, or the mischief in his eyes? What made his laughter sexy? ʺLeftovers,ʺ he said. ʺAn assortment of leftovers.ʺ
ʺYum. Why didnʹt you come here right away?ʺ
ʺBecause you had already done enough.ʺ
ʺThen why are you here now?ʺ Guyʹs face grew serious. There was something mesmerizing about his eyes and the way they seemed to peer into her soul. She had no power to look away.
ʺBecause Iʹm hungry enough.ʺ He turned away from her and gazed out at the water. ʺNice view.ʺ
ʺSo what will it be,ʺ she asked, ʺbreakfast, lunch, or dinner?ʺ
ʺWhatever you have.ʺ She stood up and held open the door for him. ʺCome on.ʺ
ʺIʹll stay outside.ʺ
ʺNo oneʹs here,ʺ she said. ʺCome on in.ʺ ʺWhat if Witt comes home?ʺ Ivy thought she caught a gleam in Guyʹs eye. ʺThen Iʹll introduce you/ʹ she said. ʺI feel better out here.ʺ
Ivy shook her head. ʺAll right, but if I make you a meal, and come back and find youʹre gone, Iʹll be really teed off.ʺ
ʺIf s almost worth hiding in the bushes, just to see you lose it,ʺ he replied, grinning. Sitting on the floor of the porch, he rested his back against the wood railing.
Ivy retreated to the kitchen, and after a momentʹs thought made him a cheese omelet, figuring it would have plenty of protein, then cut a huge slab of Aunt Cindyʹs homemade bread. She added to the tray an assortment of fruit and a cup of tea, and carried the tray through the parlor, pausing to look at Guy through the screen door. His eyes were closed and his shoulders sagged against the porch balusters. Ivyʹs heart went out to him — he was exhausted.
ʺI smell food/ʹ he said, opening his eyes. She pushed open the screen door, debated for a moment where to set the tray, then put it on the floor next to him.
ʺThank you,ʺ he mumbled, and started eating. Pushing aside her chair, Ivy sat on the porch floor a few feet away, studying him. He had removed his shoes and pushed up one sleeve to eat. She saw that his feet and ankles were bruised badly, as was his forearm. The fight heʹd been in must have been brutal.
ʺSo where are you staying?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺWe already went over that,ʺ he replied.
She nodded. ʺI thought maybe this time youʹd answer.ʺ
ʺAround.ʺ Ivy drummed her fingers against the porch floor and asked herself where she would go if she wanted to sleep outside inconspicuously yet be around enough people to acquire ʺleftovers.ʺ Since he didnʹt have a car, some place not too far away. ʺNickerson State Park,ʺ she said aloud.
His face remained a cipher. Having set down his fork, he picked up the mug of tea, holding it with both hands, as if he were warming them. It wasnʹt warmth Guy needed. Ivy thought, but com* fort, kindness. She didnʹt know how to help him; last time, her comfort and kindness had set him running.
ʺHave you remembered anything about who you are?ʺ He took a sip of tea.
ʺAre there still things that seem vaguely familiar?ʺ Guy frowned and gazed down at his tea. She wondered if he was choosing his words, deciding what to tell her and what to hold back.
ʺIf anything, itʹs gotten worse. Now too many things seem familiar to make a pattern that I can understand. And sometimes things are contradictory. One day a smell, like a wood fire, gives me a good feeling; and the next day, that same smell makes me want to run.ʺ
ʺWhen you went to the park, did you see a sign and follow it, or do you think you may have already known it was there?ʺ
He hesitated. You can trust me, Ivy wanted to say. Sometimes the hardest thing to do was wait until another person decided to trust you.
ʺI saw it on a map. I remember general things— such as motels having free maps in their lobbies. When I saw the size of the park on the map, I knew I could survive there and could hide if they came after me.ʺ Ivy leaned forward. ʺWhoʹs they?ʺ
ʺI donʹt know.ʺ
ʺBut itʹs more than one person?ʺ
ʺI donʹt know!ʺ His eyes became a stormy blue. ʺHow am I supposed to know?ʺ
Ivy bit her lip, realizing she had pressed too hard. His eyes, looking more gray than blue now, told her that he had withdrawn into his own thoughts and fears.
He ran his finger over the long cut under his jaw. Ivy felt afraid for him, but she knew that telling him that would make him even more skittish of her.
ʺHereʹs what I can offer you,ʺ she said. ʺA razor and a shower.ʺ
ʺI donʹt need either,ʺ Guy answered quickly.
ʺYouʹll probably feel better. If you let me wash and dry your clothes, youʹll be good for a few more days.ʺ He grimaced. ʺTrying to make me respectable?ʺ
ʺYeah, if thatʹs possible.ʺ Guy raised an eyebrow and she laughed. ʺYou have a lot of research to do,ʺ she said.
ʺYou want people to feel comfortable talking to you.ʺ
ʹʹYou got a point,ʺ he said, smiling. “I’ll be quick.ʺ A few minutes later, in exchange for the clothes Guy had been wearing and the dirty clothes in his backpack, Ivy handed a washcloth and towel through the cottageʹs bathroom door. She had considered raiding Willʹs room for shaving supplies and deodorant, but something held her back, and she offered Guy her own instead.
ʺOh, Iʹm going to smell good!ʺ he remarked.
ʺThe laundry room is in the inn, back by the kitchen/ʹ she told him, then headed off with her bundle. While the washer was filling, Ivy searched Guyʹs pockets to make sure they were empty. She found a sheet taken from her release papers, listing the innʹs address and her familyʹs contact information, folded into a tiny square. Ivy wrote her cell phone number on it, then refolded the paper and set it in a bowl on top of the dryer. The other pocket had money in it, which she dug out and placed in the same bowl. When a glint of gold caught her eye, she poured the money back in her hand. Her breath caught in her throat.
A shiny coin stamped with an angel lay in her palm, like a sign from heaven.
PHILIP HAD REACHED OUT TO GUY AT THE HOSPITAL, IVY thought on her way back to the cottage, just as she had. Her instincts were right; both she and Philip were meant to find and help Guy. Ivy smiled to herself; maybe they were Guyʹs ʺangels.”
“I need some clothes,” Guy called to Ivy from the second floor of the cottage.
Ivy walked as far as the kitchen. ʺThey take longer to wash than you do,ʺ she called from the base of the steps. ʺThatʹs what the beach towelʹs for. When you come down, help yourself to anything you want to eat.ʺ
She returned to the living room to work on a large puzzle, one of the many Aunt Cindy kept for rainy days at the inn. After clearing the coffee table, she sat on the sofa and studied the box top, which showed a painting of an idyllic New England town and bridge. Sorting through the jigsaw box, she pulled out green pieces with straight edges.
Guy came in a few minutes later, munching an apple. His hair was still wet, darker than its usual streaky gold. Ivyʹs beach towel hung on him like a low-waisted skirt, leaving little to the imagination about his upper body strength — or his injuries. It took all of her self‐discipline not to stare at him.
ʺWhere should I sit?ʺ he asked.
ʺWherever you want.ʺ He glanced down at the puzzle box, then sat in an armchair that faced the coffee table, making an L with the sofa. Ivy, having extracted a small pile of green puzzle pieces, handed him the box, hoping the puzzle would take his mind off things. As Guy sorted through the contents, pulling out straight‐edged pieces of blue sky, he started to hum off‐key, which made Ivy smile.
ʺAre you laughing at me?ʺ he asked. She met his bright eyes. ʺI wouldnʹt dare..
What is that song?ʺ
ʺYou canʹt tell?ʺ He grinned at her. ʺNeither can I.ʺ She tried humming what she had just heard, adjusting the flat notes, then said suddenly, ʺʹIf I Loved You.ʺ
Guy looked up at her, startled.
ʺIf s the title,ʺ she explained, and sang the first three lines for him. He laughed.
ʺOh, yeah, now I recognize it.ʺ
ʺItʹs from—ʺ Ivyʹs hand went up to her mouth as she remembered.
ʺCarouselʺ she answered softly. Last year, when attempting to communicate with her as an angel, Tristan had played on her piano the first few notes of a song from Carousel.
ʺDo you like musicals?ʺ she asked Guy, pulling herself back to the present.
ʺI guess I do.ʺ
They continued working on the puzzle. Ivy musing over the strange connection between events. ʺHereʹs one of yours,ʺ Guy said, suddenly leaning close to her, placing the green piece he had found next to those she had gathered.
Ivy was caught off guard — she couldnʹt explain it, the feeling that swept through her at that moment. She became acutely aware of Guy, felt his nearness like a kind of heat inside her. Astonished, she sat back quickly. She thought about getting up, putting distance between them. But confusion and pride kept her cemented in place. She touched her cheeks, afraid they had turned a warm pink.
ʺGot another.ʺ He leaned across her. An overwhelming sense of him passed through her like a wave, making her light‐headed. This was crazy! Ivy snapped together two pieces, then added a third.
ʺI think you forced that last one,ʺ Guy observed.
She pulled off the wiggly piece. ʺI know that!ʺ Perhaps the crispness of her response made him raise his head to study her. His face was three inches from hers. She tried to pull her eyes away, but couldnʹt. He lowered his eyes. She felt him staring at her mouth. If it were possible for a gaze to be a kissʺHey, Iʹm back!ʺ Ivy knocked over the box full of puzzle pieces. About one thousand four hundred little pieces scattered on the floor. ʺOh! Hey, Will,ʺ she replied, scooping up pieces as he came through the screen door.
Guy leaned over to pick up the box that had fallen between him and Ivy. Will stopped in his tracks. Glancing down. Ivy realized what Will saw from his perspective: a bare back and broad, muscular shoulders. ʺWho are you?ʺ Will asked.
Guy straightened up, rose to his feet, then quickly hiked up his towel. Will continued to stare at him, his eyes noting the injuries. Guy gazed back.
ʺI said, who are you?ʺ
ʺGuy is the name I go by.ʺ
ʺGuy has just gotten out of the hospital,ʺ Ivy explained. ʺHe was on the same floor as me.ʺ
ʺWas he?ʺ Will replied tersely. To Guy he said, ʺI assume you left the hospital wearing something other than Ivyʹs towel.ʺ Guy grinned. ʺYeah, I left wearing her shirt.ʺ Will didnʹt seem to find that amusing. ʺIt’s a long story,ʺ Ivy said.
ʺIʹve got time.ʺ
ʺGuy doesnʹt have a place to live right now,ʺ Ivy explained to Will. ʺHeʹs been dealing with a lot. I told him he could take a shower here. His clothes are in the wash. It’s the least we could do for him.ʺ
ʺYeah, I can see heʹs dealing with a lot/ʹ Will remarked sarcastically, then set down his packages. Ivy felt bad, knowing he had dropped by the cottage first, excited about what he had bought at the art supply store and wanting to show her.
ʺThe problem is, I canʹt remember what happened to me,ʺ Guy said. The way Will tilted back his head made it clear he didnʹt believe Guy. ʺWill, he canʹt remember who he is or where he lives,ʺ Ivy added, pleading for understanding.
“Thatʹs convenient,ʺ Will remarked.
ʺNot when it rains,ʺ Guy replied.
ʺI heard about you,ʺ Will said, ʺfrom Kelsey and Dhanya. Funny thing, Ivy didnʹt mention you at all.ʺ Guy looked from Will to Ivy, then back again. ʺAnd nobody seems to be missing you,ʺ Will went on. ʺI wonder why a nice guy like you hasnʹt been reported missing by friends or family.ʺ
Guy nodded calmly. ʺIt would make you think theyʹre glad to be rid of me.ʺ
ʺIt hasnʹt been that long,ʺ Ivy said quickly. ʺJust since Sunday — a week. Maybe your friends and family think youʹre away on a trip and they havenʹt been expecting to see or hear from you.ʺ
Will turned to Ivy with a look that said, Youʹre crazy to buy this story.
Guy gave her a sardonic smile. ʺHow did you get to the hospital?ʺ Will asked Guy. ʺSome people walking a dog found me unconscious and called an ambulance.ʺ
ʺFound you where?ʺ
ʺLighthouse Beach,ʺ Guy replied.
ʺIn Chatham? Last Sunday, in Chatham?ʺ
ʺMonday, really,ʺ Guy corrected him. ʺJust after midnight.
ʺMust have been one helluva busy night for the EMS!ʺ
Guy frowned. ʺWhat do you mean?ʺ
ʺI sure hope you didnʹt meet up with another car on Morris Island/ʹ
ʺWill!ʺ Ivy said, recognizing the accusation behind his statement. ʺThatʹs ridiculous! They never found the car that hit us.ʺ
ʺAnd they never found out who this guy is,ʺ Will responded, ʺor why he canʹt remember anything, and why he was lying unconscious a short distance from where your car was totaled.ʺ Will paced the room, then stopped and turned toward Guy. ʺIʹm sure you have a good reason for leaving the hospital wearing Ivyʹs shirt. I’d think it would be a little small for you.ʺ
ʺIt was,ʺ Guy said. Ivy recounted the situation seeing that with each detail she gave. Will was growing angrier. ʺLet me get this straight,ʺ Will said incredulously. ʺYou helped him sneak out of the hospital before he was released by his doctor — probably still needing medical attention, and before, of course, he paid any bills.ʺ
ʺI followed my instinct,ʺ Ivy replied, feeling defensive. ʺI took a chance on another person. Maybe you should try it sometime!ʺ She saw the hurt on Willʹs face. Guy leaned forward slightly, catching her attention. ʺYou said the laundry room was off the kitchen?ʺ
ʺYes.ʺ He nodded and headed out the door. ʺWill — Will, Iʹm sorry,ʺ Ivy said. ʺI see how upset you are. I just… felt so bad for him.ʺ Will swallowed hard.
ʺYou remember how terrible it was for me last summer, when I couldnʹt remember things — when everyone else thought Iʹd tried to kill myself, when I couldnʹt explain how Iʹd gotten to the train station. You were so good to me. You believed in me when nobody else did. You took care of me. Guy has no one to believe in or care for him.ʺ
ʺThe difference is,ʺ Will said quietly, ʺI already knew you. I knew the kind of person you were.ʺ Ivy nodded. ʺYes, yes, youʹve got a point. I admit… I acted irrationally.ʺ She didnʹt add that, given the chance, sheʹd do it again.
Will walked over and sat on the sofa next to Ivy. He put his arms around her, pulling her close to him. ʺSometimes, Ivy, you scare the hell out of me.ʺ
ʺDO YOU THINK GUY WILL COME BACK?ʺ BETH ASKED, a half hour later as she and Ivy walked through the fruit trees along the path to the innʹs parking lot.
ʺI donʹt know.ʺ Ivy looked over her shoulder at the cottage swing, where she had left Guyʹs backpack. After exchanging apologies with Will, she had checked the laundry room. Guy, his money, the angel coin, and all his wet clothes had disappeared. The red towel had been left on the washer, and the backpack in the cottage.
ʺHeʹs staying at Nickerson State Park, which is a long walk from here,ʺ Ivy told Beth.
ʺWe could take his pack and bedroll to the visitorsʹ center. Maybe they have a lost and found.ʺ
Ivy shook her head. ʺGuyʹs not the kind to check it out He pretty much stays out of sight.ʺ Bern looked at Ivy sharply. ʺWhy?ʺ
ʺJust does.ʺ Beth frowned, but she didnʹt say anything more. Ivy was sure that Will had told Beth about his meeting with Guy. Beth had relayed to Ivy Willʹs excuse for not joining them in Provincetown, claiming he was anxious to work with his new watercolor paper. But Ivy knew how much Will had wanted to see the town, an artistsʹ haven. Despite the apologies, he was still upset.
The hour‐long ride to the end of the Cape was uncomfortably quiet. Ivy changed CDs several times, as if she could find the right music to regain the easy connection she usually felt with Beth, and was glad when they finally pulled into a parking space.
Provincetown was as colorful and quirky as advertised. Ivy and Beth strolled in and out of the small shops and galleries that crowded its narrow streets. On the surface it seemed as if things were returning to normal between them, as they pointed out to each other the paintings they liked, the odd pieces of sculpture, and handcrafted jewelry made of mystical sea glass. At about five thirty Ivy and Beth bought two raspberry iced teas and carried them to the breakwater at the end of town. Its black boulders, flat on top, stretched a mile across Provincetown Harbor, making a rocky footpath to Long Point beach on the curling fingertip of Cape Cod. Just beyond halfway, the point at which most walkers turned back, they sat down on a smooth rock. Behind them were the crescent of Provincetownʹs low buildings and the tall needle of Pilgrim Monument. Ahead were the lighthouses of Wood End and Long Point.
Ivy played with her straw, then dove into the conversation she felt they couldnʹt avoid any longer. ʺI guess Will told you about the fight.ʺ Beth glanced sideways at her. ʺYeah.ʺ
ʺI was surprised at Will, the way he acted toward Guy.ʺ
ʺHow did you expect him to act?ʺ Beth asked. Ivy heard the prickliness in her friendʹs voice. ʺUnderstanding. Guyʹs in a really bad situation.ʺ Beth didnʹt reply.
ʺHe doesnʹt know who he is or where he belongs. He tries not to show it but heʹs scared. You can understand that, canʹt you?ʺ After a moment, Beth nodded.
ʺGuy has no idea what happened to him. Beth, I need a favor. Would you use your psychic gift like you did last year for me, and touch the clothes Guy was wearing when he was found, to see if you could access clues about what happened? Would you help him?ʺ
ʺHelp him?ʺ She sounded angry — disdainful— not like Beth. ʺYes, him. Beth, you canʹt automatically adopt Willʹs view of others.ʺ
ʺ1 donʹt,ʺ she snapped.
ʺIʹm sorry,ʺ Ivy replied, ʺbut in this case, you are blindly accepting what Will says. How can you judge Guy? You havenʹt even met him.ʺ
ʺHow can you trust Guy?ʺ Beth countered. ʺYou donʹt even know his name.ʺ
ʺBut I know his. . heart,ʺ Ivy said. ʺIʹm not psychic like you, but I can sense the goodness in him.ʺ
ʺWill told me that you helped Guy sneak out of the hospital — skip out without paying bills, and worse, leave without understanding why he was there. Ivy, he was in a violent fight — Will saw his bruises and the cut along his throat.ʺ Ivy looked away.
ʺFor all you know,ʺ Beth continued, ʺGuy could have killed somebody.ʺ
ʺIvy, this isnʹt like you,ʺ Beth said, ʺto turn your back on Will—ʺ
ʺIʹm not turning my back on him!ʺ
ʺ—and take up with some guy who is obviously using you. I don’t know what is going on, but you havenʹt been yourself since the accidentʺ
Ivy turned to her friend. ʺI could say the same thing about you.” Beth ran her hand along her gold chain with the amethyst and fingered the stone. Letting out a long breath, Ivy gazed at the sea lapping against the breakwater.
ʺIvy, listen to me,ʺ Beth said, her voice pleading rather than angry now.
ʺSomething is very wrong. I canʹt shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen.ʺ ʺLike what?ʺ
ʺI donʹt know.ʺ Bethʹs voice quivered. ʺBut you must be careful. This is no time to trust strangers.ʺ Ivy laid her hands gently on her friendʹs. ʺI know what Iʹm doing. If s time for you to trust me.”
WHEN THEY ARRIVED HOME, IVY SAW THAT GUYʹS backpack and bedroll were gone. Beth regarded the empty swing with a look of apprehension and peered through the screen door before entering the cottage, as if Guy might be waiting inside.
Following her in, Ivy was surprised to find Will there, sitting on the sofa, working — the puzzle. ʺHey, Will.ʺ
ʺHey. Have a good time?ʺ he asked. ʺYeah! The art is awesome,ʺ Ivy replied, hoping to sound upbeat and easy with him. ʺYouʹd love it there.ʺ
Will studied her, as if trying to tell whether things were ʺrightʺ between them, then said, ʺThereʹs no way you can see it all in one trip, so maybe youʹll want to go a second time with me. How about it?ʺ
ʺOf course!ʺ Ivy sat in a chair facing the coffee table. ʺAnd this time, with plenty of cash. I saw about ten sets of earrings and an armful of bracelets I liked. I could do all my Christmas shopping there.ʺ She leaned forward and pushed a puzzle piece into place.
ʺBeth, come sit down,ʺ Will invited. ʺI have an idea I wanted to talk over with both of you.”
Beth had reached the kitchen and turned back reluctantly. ʺIʹve been thinking about next Sunday,ʺ Will said as Beth perched on the edge of the sofa.
ʺTristan’s anniversary and how to honor him. They allow bonfires at the National Seashore. And thereʹs a beach called Race Point, which seems right for him. What do you think?”
Ivy knowing how hard Will was trying, felt tears rising in her. ʺItʹs a great idea.”
“I was thinking of picking up the permit Tuesday afternoon at the visitorsʹ center.ʺ Will looked hopefully at Ivy. ʺHow about that and dinner in Provincetown?ʺ
She smiled at him. ʺPerfect.ʺ Beth rose silently and returned to the kitchen. Will turned and gazed after her. ʺBeth, are you okay?ʺ
ʺFine,ʺ she called back. Ivy leaned close to Will. ʺSomethingʹs really bothering her.ʺ ʺI think itʹs the anniversary,” Will said, reaching for Ivyʹs hand. ʺShe went through a lot with us. You canʹt just erase memories like that. Things will be easier for all of us after the twenty‐fifth.ʺ
Ivy looked down at her hand resting in Willʹs and nodded silently, wishing she could believe that the way he did.
LATE MONDAY MORNING, SPLASHING THROUGH A puddle in the innʹs lot, wondering whether Guy had found shelter during a late‐night storm. Ivy threw a bag with a beach towel and music books into the backseat of the Beetle. ʺHey, just in time!ʺ
Ivy jumped at the sound of Guyʹs voice. ʺYou sure are easy to sneak up on,ʺ
Guy observed, emerging from the shrubs surrounding the innʹs parking lot.
ʺWhat were you thinking about?ʺ
ʺMusic,ʺ she lied — no point in feeding his ego. ʺIʹm headed to practice.ʺ
ʺWhat direction is that?ʺ Guy asked. His clothes were damp and wrinkled, his backpack slung over his shoulder. ʺChatham. I use the piano at a village church.ʺ
ʺCan I get a ride that far?ʺ
She double clicked her key. ʺDoorʹs open. Whereʹre you going?ʺ she asked, as he stowed his backpack in the rear seat.
ʺHave you remembered something?ʺ
ʺNo,ʺ he replied. ʺI was hoping I might if I saw the place.ʺ Ivy thought about offering to go with him, but she had come to think of Guy as a cat, a creature who comes to others only when heʹs ready. Guy was wearing his old shoes again.
As Ivy pulled out of thr lot, she glanced through her rearview mirror at the new shoes, still tied to his pack. ʺDid I get the wrong size?ʺ
He followed her eyes. ʺYup. But they make a nice souvenir.ʺ
ʺWe can exchange them for a pair that fit,ʺ she said. ʺWe could, but thatʹs a lot of trouble. And if youʹd like to have them back,ʺ he added with a sly smile,ʺ I have a hunch theyʹll fit Will.ʺ
ʺIf youʹd come into the store with me,ʺ she replied brusquely, ʺI wouldnʹt have had to guess your size.ʺ They didnʹt speak again till she reached Route 28.
ʺSo… if you practice music during the summer, you must be pretty serious about it,ʺ he said. 1 am.
He twisted himself around in his seat to reach the books. His arm brushed hers, his body hovering close in the small car. For a moment Ivy felt dizzy, overwhelmed by a powerful sense of his presence.
He grabbed a music book and turned forward again in his seat. She was glad he was thumbing through it and didnʹt see her biting her lip, trying to focus on the road.
ʺSo, what kind of music do you like?ʺ she asked. ʺI mean, other than an off‐key version of ʹIf I Loved You.ʺ He laughed. ʺI donʹt remember, but my favorite band is Providence. No, wait — thatʹs the next town over from the hospital.ʺ
She laughed with him. ʺWill you play for me?ʺ he asked. The request surprised her. ʺI play mostly classical.ʺ
ʺDonʹt worry,ʺ he said with a wry smile. ʺI canʹt remember what I like.ʺ
A few minutes later she parked the car in the church lot ʺI need to get the key from the rectory.ʺ Guy followed her to a small, shingled building that was attached by a covered passageway to the church. Its windows were open and Ivy could hear the doorbell ringing inside. Then Father Johnʹs voice called from behind another building. ʺIn the back!ʺ
Guy, who was wearing jeans, quickly pulled the cuffs of his sweatshirt down to his wrists. They found the priest in the garden, wearing denim overalls, his hands caked with sandy dirt, his high cheekbones shining with sweat and sun.
Ivy introduced him to Guy. Father John held up both hands apologetically and gave a slight bow. ʺMy day off,ʺ he explained. ʺYouʹre working awfully hard for that,ʺ Ivy observed. He smiled. ʺA labor of love.ʺ
Inside a white picket fence was a large vegetable garden. A trench, partially dug along the outside of the fence, had bags of peat and humus piled next to it.
ʺIʹm putting in roses,ʺ he said, gesturing. ʺOf course, we have the Rugosabeach roses — here on the Cape. Itʹs very foolish of me to be digging holes in the sand and bringing in black soil to grow tea roses.ʺ He shrugged and smiled. Ivy saw Guy relax a little. ʺYouʹre here to play,ʺ the priest guessed, reaching for the set of keys that hung on his belt. ʺWould you bring these back as soon as youʹve opened up?ʺ
Guy went with Ivy as far as the church door, then offered to return the keys.
Fifteen minutes later, when he hadnʹt come back to the church. Ivy sighedsudden departures seemed to be Guyʹs favorite way of saying good‐bye. Having finished her exercises, she pushed Guy out of her mind and focused on the new music assigned by her teacher. She worked hard, and her tentative fingering became more certain. Ivy never got over the wonder of feeling a song grow under her hands.
An hour later, gathering up her music, she heard the church door open. Guy walked toward her, looking pleased with himself. ʺIʹve got a job.ʺ ʺYou do?ʺ
His face gleamed with perspiration and there was a smear of dirt down the front of his sweat‐shirt He pointed in the direction of the garden, his hand coated with sandy soil. ʺI was helping him out — just for something to do. And he asked if I liked that kind of work. Heʹs going to set me up with one of his parishioners whoʹs looking for summer help.ʺ
ʺGreat! He didnʹt care if you had references?ʺ
ʺI made up a name and cell phone number/ʹ Guy replied.
ʺWith a little luck, the man wonʹt bother to check.ʺ
ʺIt’s just that—ʺ Ivy didnʹt finish her statement. The bruise on Guyʹs face had faded beneath his tan and was barely noticeable. It was a breezy morning, and it may not have seemed odd to the priest that Guy hadnʹt removed his sweatshirt or rolled up his sleeves to work.
ʺYou donʹt trust me/ʹ he said. ʺWill has been filling your head with doubts—ʺ
Ivy felt defensive of Will. ʺDonʹt blame him. Iʹm quite capable of doubting on my own.ʺ Guyʹs eyes met hers, then he threw back his head and laughed. ʺYouʹre so honest!ʺ He sat down in a pew, draping his arms across the back of the bench.
ʺPlay something for me. I have a strong feeling Iʹm not a classy guy and will be easy to impress.ʺ
ʺThe song you were humming was from a musical. 1 have a pile of Broadway songs home in Connecticut.ʺ She flipped through the books she had brought, looking for something light and melodic. ʺA guy I loved once liked musicals.ʺ
ʺYou donʹt love him anymore?ʺ Ivy met Guyʹs eyes. ʺNo, I still do. I always will.ʺ
ʺHe dumped you,ʺ Guy guessed. ʺHe died.ʺ Guy dropped his arms from the back of the church bench. ʺIʹm sorry — I didnʹt realize. . How?ʺ he asked gently.
ʺHe was murdered.ʺ Guy rose to his feet. ʺJesus Christ!ʺ Ivy took a deep breath.
ʺIs that a prayer? Youʹre in the right place.ʺ Guy continued to stare at her, and she made herself busy looking for music. ʺThisʹll work— Brahms.ʺ She began to play.
Guy circled the piano, still staring at her, his hands in his pockets, then he strolled down the side aisle. He stopped at each stained glass window and seemed to study it.
Was he reading the images or peering through them. Ivy wondered; was he seeing the present or catching glimpses of the past? More than ever, her past with Tristan seemed to intrude into her everyday life.
Focus on the present, she told herself, and glanced toward Guy. Focus on someone who needs your help now. Maybe the music would relax his mind and allow him to recall bits of what he was repressing.
She finished Brahms, and continued with music she knew by heart: the first movement of Beethovenʹs Piano Sonata, Number 14. By the final measures Guy was standing behind her.
ʺYouʹre playing from memory,ʺ he said as the last note faded. Ivy nodded.
ʺI canʹt remember my own name,ʺ he observed, ʺbut you can play an entire song from memory.ʺ
Ivy swallowed hard. Better to have the pain in her heart forever than to lose her memory of Tristan — Guy had taught her that much. ʺIt’ s a song you love, or maybe one he loved.” Guy guessed.
Ivy closed the piano and gathered up her pieces of music. ʺYes.ʺ
ʹʺMoonlight Sonata.ʺ Guy said. ʺThe first part of Beethovenʹs Sonata Fourteen.ʺ
Ivyʹs turned to him, surprised. Guy took a step back. “Whoa! Howʹd I know that?ʺ
They gazed at each other, mirroring amazement, then Ivy smiled. ʺAnd you thought you werenʹt a classy guy!ʺ
IVY AND GUY STOOD AT THE TOP OF THE STEPS BY Chatham Light, the same place Ivy and Will had stood eight days earlier. In the afternoon sun, the wide stretch of sand, more than a quarter mile deep, burned hot and white. The ocean swept past, curving to the south as far as the eye could see, its color like the blue sea glass that Ivy loved.
They had picked up sandwiches and soda at a cafe near the church, and Ivy had given Guy the beach towel she had brought along. ʺWould you like me to come back in an hour? It’s a long walk to Nickerson,ʺ she added, ʺand Iʹll be driving home in that direction.ʺ
Guy kept his eyes on the beach, and after a moment asked, ʺWould you come with me?ʺ She was careful not to gush Of course — I was hoping — whatever I can do to help. ʺSure. I like the beach,ʺ she replied, and started down the steps.
Reaching the sand, she stepped aside to let Guy lead the way, not wanting to do anything that might extinguish a spark of memory. She followed him across the beach, removing her shoes as he did when they reached the damp sand, then walking next to him, heading south. Toddlers played at the seaʹs frothy edge, running back and forth with plastic pails. A father played Frisbee with his kids.
A middle‐aged woman with wet, spiky hair smiled to herself as she carried her raft from the waves. Beneath a striped umbrella a younger boy played checkers with an older one and let out a shout of victory. Thinking about the way Philip had loved to play the game with Tristan, Ivy turned for another look and saw that Guy had stopped to watch the pair. ʺYou were frowning,ʺ Ivy said when they moved on. ʺI thought — for a moment I thought I knew that kid, the little one.ʺ
They strolled on in silence and passed a sign that prohibited swimming from mat point south. ʺThe officer who interviewed me said that they found me about fifty yards beyond the no‐swimming sign.ʺ
They walked that distance and Guy stopped to survey the area. ʺNot very smart of me,ʺ he remarked dryly, “to swim at midnight in an area with dangerous currents.ʺ
ʺAre you sure you were swimming?ʺ she asked. ʺThe doctors said there was enough seawater in me to drown an army.ʺ
ʺOkay, but itʹs obvious from your injuries you were in some kind of fight.
Maybe you were knocked unconscious at the edge of the ocean and the tide came in. Do you know how to swim?ʺ she asked.
He was standing back from the water as if he didnʹt like the feel of it washing over his feet.
ʺDoesnʹt everybody?ʺ he replied. ʺNo, not everybody.ʺ He dropped his eyes.
ʺThe water… it bothers me. I donʹt want to get in. It scares me.” he admitted, climbing the bank to the dryer sand.
ʺAfter what happened to you, it should,ʺ Ivy replied, following him, laying the beach towel where he dropped his backpack, about twenty feet beyond the tidal line. ʺIt’s okay to be afraid, Guy. Anyone who had nearly drowned would be.ʺ
He pulled off his sweatshirt and T‐shirt. It took Ivyʹs breath away, the strength and the vulnerability she saw in him. His back and shoulders were broad and muscular, but his skin a pale, grayish green with fading bruises.
ʺNone of this looks familiar,ʺ he said, surveying the distant houses spread beyond the dunes.
He sat on the towel close to Ivy. The desire to put her arms around him, to shield him from the confusion and fear that haunted him, was so strong that she had to look away. Water Angel, help him, she prayed, then asked, ʺDo you believe in angels?ʺ
ʺNo. Do you?ʺ ʺYes,ʺ she said firmly. Peeking sideways, she saw the corners of Guyʹs mouth curling upward. Tristan had once worn the same amused expression.
ʺI believe there are people who act like angels,ʺ Guy added, ʺshowing up unexpectedly at the moment you need them. Like the little boy who gave me this.ʺ He inched in his pocket, pulling out a gold coin stamped with an angel.
“He came to my hospital room and started jawing with me like he had known me all his life. There was something about that kid, the way he looked at me — it was as if he could see through me and understood something I didnʹt.ʺ
Ivy took the coin from him. ʺThat kid — heʹs my brother.ʺ
ʺYour brother.ʺ Guyʹs eyes narrowed, as if he was trying hard to remember something. Ivyʹs cell phone went off and they both turned toward her bag. After a minute, the familiar ring‐tone stopped, men it began all over again.
ʺArenʹt you going to answer it?ʺ Guy asked. Ivy handed the coin back to him.
ʺLater. I, uh, want to get my feet wet,ʺ she said, and headed toward the waves.
She felt as if she couldnʹt fight it anymore than she could fight the sea, this deep connection she felt with Guy. It was a relief to stand in the surf, the ocean rushing against her legs, making her skin cold and tingly. Tristan had taught her to swim, and after Gregory had died, Ivy had taken lessons, becoming an even stronger swimmer.
Still, her feet fought the undertow and her arms prickled with the oceanʹs spray.
She was both afraid of and seduced by the sea. She stood there for a long time, then moved closer to the shore, crouching to look at a sparkling crescent of shells and pebbles. When she glanced up, Guy was standing ten feet away, watching her so closely she became self‐conscious. She stood up, and at the same time, he moved toward her, smiling.
ʺYour hair!ʺ he said
Feeling the wind tossing it this way and that, she reached back and caught her hair, holding it still. ʺWhat about it?ʺ
ʺYou should see it. Itʹs… wild.ʺ She imagined it looked like kinky gold seaweed blowing in the wind. ʺHey, do you see me laughing at yours?ʺ Not that there is any reason to, she thought. His streaky blond hair had a curl to it— like hair an Italian sculptor might give a hero.
Guy laughed, then glanced over his shoulder. Her cell was ringing again. They caught a snatch of it before the breeze carried off the sound. ʺSame ringtone,ʺ he observed. ʺFor some reason, it sounds to me like Will.ʺ
ʺI made him nervous yesterday.ʺ When Ivy didnʹt comment, Guy went on. ʺI thought about telling him that he had nothing to worry about. . Does he have anything to worry about?ʺ
He smiled. ʺWell, when I was making the great escape from the hospital, I asked if I should say that I was your boyfriend. You quickly corrected me — brother, you said.ʺ
Ivy gazed downward and turned over a shell with her toe, as if fascinated by how it might look on the opposite side.
ʺA girl who quickly informs you that you cannot be her boyfriend is one of two things: very committed to her boyfriend, or feeling guilty because sheʹs not.ʺ
Ivy crouched to pick up the shell. ʺWhich was it?ʺ he asked. She didnʹt reply.
Rising to her feet, she attempted to distract him from the question by holding out the shell to him. But instead of looking at it, he caught a piece of her hair.
The light tug of his hand, the way he opened his palm and looked down at the lock of her hair, made her heart pound. His gaze was hidden beneath golden lashes. Then he raised his eyes and caught her mass of hair in both hands, lifting it away from her face. His hands slid to the back of her neck with the gentleness of someone cupping a flower. Gazing at her mouth, he bent his head, moving his face slowly closer to hers. A rush of cold water pushed them apart. ʺSorry, I — it startled me. The water.” he said, looking embarrassed.
ʺMe too.ʹ After a moment of uncomfortable silence, she added, ʺIʹm starved.
Why donʹt we have our lunch now?ʺ He nodded and they returned to the beach towel, where they ate in silence. As Ivy took the last bite of her sandwich, her cell phone went off again. Guy hummed along with the familiar ring, and grinned at Ivy. She dug into her bag.
ʺI knew youʹd give in sooner or later.ʺ
ʺDid you?ʺ she replied. Leaving the phone in the bag, she pulled out a paperback and sunglasses, and began to read. Guy laughed, then spread his sweatshirt behind her and his T‐shirt behind him. In five minutes he was asleep — Ivy knew it by his slow and even breaths.
She reached in her bag for her phone. Three calls and three texts from Will. One call, no message, from Beth. Ivy looked at Willʹs first text: WHERE R U?
Canʹt I go anywhere without telling you? she thought, then felt guilty. She clicked on the second message. It was an apology for whatever Will had said in his voicemails. Ivy moved on to the third, deciding not to listen to the voicemailsthings between them were strained enough.
R U OK? Will wrote. B SAYS SOMETHING IS WRONG. 1 OF THOSE FEELINGS
SHE GETS. MAKING ME CRAZY. Ivy sighed. She couldnʹt blame Will for worry-ing when Beth went on like that, but this time Beth was wrong. @ BEACH.
HOME 4 DINNER, Ivy typed to Will and Beth, then turned off her phone and dropped it in her bag.
Gazing down at Guy, Ivy reached, and with light fingers, touched his hair. She lay down close to him, wanting, for the first time in a year, to live in no other time but the present.
IT WAS NEARLY SIX OʹCLOCK WHEN IVY DROPPED GUY off at Nickerson.
Arriving at the Seabrightʹs lot, she noticed a bright yellow sports car parked next to Kelseyʹs Jeep and Dhanyaʹs Audi.
Hearing voices in the direction of the cottage. Ivy checked her messages before following the path from the lot to the cottage. Will had written that Dhanyaʹs and Kelseyʹs new friends were coming over for a cookout: Y DONʹT U STOP BY
SOMETIME? he had added. His concern had changed to sarcasm, and in a way, that was easier for her to handle.
Emerging from the path, she saw that the barbecue had begun. An old banquet table had been dragged out from Aunt Cindyʹs shed and covered with a checkered cloth. Extra chairs had been borrowed from the innʹs porch. Will was poking at coals in the grill and glanced up at her as she approached. ʺNice of you to show,ʺ he remarked, and went back to work.
Beth set large bowls of pretzels and chips on the long table and turned back to the cottage as if she didnʹt see Ivy. ʺHey,ʺ Ivy greeted her.
Beth looked over her shoulder, then glanced toward Will, which annoyed Ivy. It was as if all that mattered was how Will felt.
ʺHey, girl. Where ya been?ʺ Kelsey sang out. She and a dark‐haired guy were setting up a badminton net. ʺAround,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺLooks like I got here just in time.ʺ
ʺYou did, and now youʹve got clean‐up duty?ʺ Ivy laughed. For once she was glad to be around a party girl with a big voice. It sure beat Bethʹs and Willʹs icy welcome.
ʺCans are in the cooler. Nothing good,ʺ Kelsey said with a flick of her head toward the inn. Ivy assumed she meant nothing alcoholic, not around Aunt Cindy.
ʺBack in a minute,ʺ Ivy replied, and went inside. Dhanya was in the kitchen, whipping together a dip, her arm jingling with gold, silver, and copper bracelets.
A guy relaxed in a kitchen chair, watching her. It had to be Max, Ivy thought, noticing the shirt. It was Hawaiian silk, and its bright aqua and lime green floral stood in contrast to his monochrome coloring: tan skin, faded‐brown hair, and when he turned to look at Ivy, light brown — almost amber — eyes.
He smiled, his row of perfect white teeth gleaming against his beige coloring.
ʺMax Moyer,ʺ he said, holding out his hand. ʺIvy Lyons,ʺ she replied, walking over to him, amused that he had offered to shake hands but remained in his chair, his foot casually propped on his knee.
Glancing down, Ivy recognized his brand of boat shoe — Gregory had worn the same ones. ʺIʹve heard lots about you,ʺ Max said. ʺHow much do you think is true?ʺ Ivy asked. Her quick reply seemed to catch him off guard. She smiled, and after a moment Max matched her smile.
ʺAll of it. Dhanya wouldnʹt lie to me.ʺ Dhanya glanced over her shoulder, but said nothing. ʺStill,ʺ Ivy said, ʺyou should only believe the good stuff.ʺ She turned to Dhanya. ʺHey. What’re you making?ʺ
ʺCream cheese and dill. Tell me what you think,” Dhanya said, dipping a clean spoon in her mix and holding it out to Ivy. ʺMmm. I think Iʹm sitting wherever you put this bowl.”
ʺCan I taste?ʺ Max dipped a cracker. ʺAwesome!ʺ he exclaimed, and then dipped his half‐eaten cracker into the communal bowl. Dhanya glanced at Ivy, shook her head, and fastidiously scraped out the section where he had just scooped.
Trying not to laugh — at Dhanya or Max — Ivy headed upstairs to change into a clean top and shorts. When she joined the others outside, Max was standing next to Will, watching him slide burgers onto the grill.
ʺYouʹre not planning to join a frat?ʺ he said to Will, his light eyes round with surprise. ʺWhat are you going to do all day? You’ll die of boredom.ʺ
ʺIʹll think of something. Studying for instance.ʺ
ʺBut how are you going to meet people?ʺ Max persisted. ʺFacebookʹs good, but fraternities, theyʹre the melting pot of America.ʺ Will laughed. ʺNever thought of them that way.ʺ Beth sat a few feet away from them, listening. It wasnʹt unusual for Beth to be silently observant at social events — taking mental notes, happily gathering dialogue and details for her stories.
But the ʺhappilyʺ part was missing, Ivy thought studying her friend’s face. It looked more like Beth was cramming for a test, ʺDoesnʹt anyone want to play with us?ʺ Kelsey called from the badminton game.
ʺYouʹre going at it way too seriously for me,ʺ Ivy replied, carrying a soda over to the swing. Dusty followed her, and she lifted her hands so the cat could jump in her lap.
ʺAnd for me,ʺ Max said. ʺWith Bryan, I play only electronic games.ʺ Kelsey’s competitor, who was medium height but powerfully built, pointed to his friend, lifted his elbows, and squawked like a chicken. Max shrugged it off.
ʺSo let’s quit Iʹm thirsty anyway,ʺ Bryan said to Kelsey, then strode toward the ice chest and foraged through the frozen chips. ʺNo Red Bull?ʺ ʺJust Mountain Dew and Coke.” Dhanya answered.
Max toasted Dhanya with his can, then said to Bryan, ʺThis is a classy affair.ʺ
ʺThen we should at least have wine Bryan mumbled, grabbing a Coke. He sat on the swing next to Ivy, which made the cat jump off.
ʺI like you, too, kitty,ʺ Bryan said to Dusty, then turned to Ivy. ʺAnd you are?ʺ
Kelsey blew threw her lips. “You know who she is.ʺ
ʺIvy,ʺ Max told his friend. ʺWillʹs one and only,ʺ Kelsey added. ʺWell, thatʹs very limiting,ʺ Bryan responded.
Ivy fought the urge to roll her eyes “Nice to meet you.ʺ Both his build and his movement indicated that Bryan was a good athlete. He wore a T‐shirt with BOSTON UNIVERSITY printed across his massive chest and shorts that bore the collegeʹs insignia. His thick dark hair and green eyes were striking. His Irish complexion gave him a ruddier tan than Maxʹs.
ʺWe were telling Bryan and Max about your accident,ʺ Kelsey said to Ivy, dragging a lawn chair over to the swing, ʺhow your car was totaled and all.ʺ
ʺI would never have known it, looking at you and Beth now. How are you feeling?ʺ Bryan asked. ʺFine. The same as before.ʺ
Max leaned forward. ʺWhat kind of car ran you off the road?ʺ
ʺProbably a Ferrari Four Fifty‐eight,” Bryan quipped. ʺThatʹs what Maxie owns.
People with Ferraris always drive like they own the road.ʺ
ʺAll I could see were the headlights,” Ivy explained, ʺso I have nil idea what it was.ʺ
ʺWere the headlights low to the road?ʺ Max asked, spooning the bowl of dip with his half‐eaten pretzel. Ivy glanced toward Beth, then said, ʺNeither of us was thinking like witnesses to an accident. We didnʹt notice those kinds of details;ʺ
Bryan nodded and laid his hand on her arm. ʺMust have been a pretty scary scene.ʺ Kelsey, facing Ivy and Bryan, put her feet on the swing between them. ʺI wonder whatever happened to that guy who was in the hospital when you were.
Ivy — you know, our friendly local amnesiac.ʺ Out of the corner of her eye. Ivy saw Will stiffen.
ʺOur friendly local amnesiac?ʺ Max repeated. ʺYeah, some guy they fished out of the ocean in Chatham, the same night as Ivyʹs and Bethʹs accidentʺ
ʺReally?!ʺ Bryan said with surprise. Then he turned to Max: ʺDo you think he went to your party?”
ʺNo,ʺ Kelsey said. ʺI would have remembered him. He was gorgeous — even beat‐up. He has these incredible, seductive eyes.ʺ It lasted no more than a half second, the flash in Bryanʹs eyes, but Ivy had seen it.
Kelsey had succeeded in pushing the little green button in him— and in Will.
But Bryan was better at covering up his jealous moment; Will continued to scowl.
ʺI donʹt know about thatʺ Dhanya replied. ʺI thought the guy was kind of scary.ʺ
ʺAmnesia,ʺ Bryan said thoughtfully. ʺWhy didnʹt I think of that? I donʹt know.
Officer, none of this looks familiar. . I have no idea, Mom… Really, babe? I canʹt remember anything. What a great excuse! Will snickered.
Ivy changed the subject. ʺDo you play a sport for BU?ʺ
ʺYeah?ʺ Will replied, interested. ʺTheyʹve got a great team.ʺ
ʺHow long have you been playing?ʺ Ivy asked. JʹI canʹt even remember the first time I stood on a pair of skates and held a stick. I think I was six months old Kelsey laughed. ʺ
ʺA child prodigy. He could walk at six months!ʺ Bryan grinned at her. ʺNo, but I could skate.ʺ ʺYour dad was into hockey?ʺ Ivy guessed. ʺMy mom. She was from a hockey family — all brothers. I work for my uncle, who owns the rink in Harwich. Every year I come to the Cape to help him with summer hockey camps.
And I work out, keeping in shape for the season.ʺ
ʺSix a.m., heʹs at the freakinʹ rink at six a.m. every morning,ʺ Max told them, ʺeven if he has to drive there from a party.ʺ
ʺMax exaggerates,ʺ Bryan said, turning back to Ivy, flashing a bad‐boy smile, ʺI always leave parties by four thirty, so I can get in an hour of sleep before I hit the ice.ʺ
Ivy simply raised an eyebrow and Bryan laughed good‐naturedly. ʺSo how about coming around for some lessons? Private lessons,ʺ he added, raising an eyebrow back at her. ʺIʹm a good teacher.ʺ Uh‐oh, Ivy thought.
ʺWeʹre out of salsa,ʺ Kelsey said. ʺYour turn to fetch. Ivy.ʺ
ʺGlad to,ʺ she replied, vacating her place on the swing, figuring Kelsey would be sitting there when she returned. Little green buttons everywhere.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF WORK AUNT CINDY HAD MADE it clear that, at an inn, where your job was to be cheerfully helpful to guests, arguing or turning a cold shoulder to another employee was prohibited. ʺGet over it or fake it,” she had said.
Tuesday morning, Ivy and Will were assigned to the breakfast room; they faked it. But when a toddler threw his jelly toast on the floor, and the two of them bent over at the same time and knocked heads, Ivy began to giggle.
ʺIʹve got it,ʺ Will told her, reaching for the goopy toast. Before Ivy could straighten up, the toddler poured milk over the side of his booster chair. Ivy felt a splash on her head, followed by liquid dribbling down her back. Will stared at her sopping hair and Ivy laughed at his expression. Grabbing a table linen, he started blotting her head, which made them both laugh.
By the time the tables were cleared and the dishes in the dishwasher, most of yesterdayʹs tension had disappeared.
ʺWe should leave here about two forty‐five,” Will told Ivy as they left the inn together. ʺAfter we get the bonfire permit, we can check out Race Point, then find a place for dinner in Provincetown.ʺ
ʺSounds good,ʺ Ivy replied. At the cottage, she picked up her music and headed to church. She was determined to make her practices regular and focused as it had been in Connecticut.
But as Ivy warmed up at the keyboard, her mind continually played back moments from yesterday — Guy standing behind her as she played the sonata, Guy lowering his head close to hers as they stood at the edge of the sea.
At last she got back her concentration and worked hard for more than an hour.
When she finished, she played songs she knew by heart—ʺTo Where You Are,ʺ then ʺMoonlight Sonata.ʺ Several measures into Beethoven, she stopped. She was thinking about Guy, about the way he had wandered about the church while she played, and how he had known the name of the piece. She was thinking about Guy when playing Tristanʹs song!
She dropped her hands in her lap. ʺWhy did you stop?ʺ Ivyʹs head jerked up. ʺI didnʹt hear you come in.ʺ
ʺI know.ʺ Guy was sitting on the end of a pew, halfway down the aisle of the small church. ʺAbout ten minutes ago you were playing like a crazy woman, like you were performing at Lincoln Center.ʺ
Lincoln Center? He knew what the concert hall was — another clue about his life, slight as it might be. “How was work?ʺ she asked. ʺYou didnʹt tell me why you stopped,ʺ he replied.
Ivy turned all the way around on the piano bench. ʺI donʹt tell you everything.ʺ
He smiled and let her off the hook. ʺWork was terrific. It felt good to be doing something physical and thinking about nothing but what I was doing. The guy, Kip McFarland, is in his twenties and has a small landscaping business. The payʹs low, but itʹs a start, and thereʹs a fringe benefit.ʺ
ʺI get to sleep with the lawnmowers in an old barn. It has one window that isnʹt covered, a toilet, and an outside shower. It also has a pile of useless stuff Iʹm supposed to clean out. Want to come see it?ʺ
ʺA pile of useless stuff? How could I resist?ʺ a few minutes later, with Guy supplying directions, Ivy drove to Willow Pond, which was off Route 6A, close to the bay side of the cape.
A crushed stone drive led them through woods to an old clapboard house with gables and a wraparound porch. With a lot of hard work — and gallons of paintthe house, its weeping trees, and the round pond reflecting them would look like a scene on one of Aunt Cindyʹs jigsaw puzzles.
ʺKip and his wife bought the house last fall and are restoring it,ʺ Guy said.
ʺThey want to run a B and B some day, but they need money, so he does carpentry and landscaping, while she teaches, and in the summer helps him with the business.ʺ
Guy led Ivy past the right side of the house to the barn. The gray wood structure leaned noticeably toward the surrounding woods, like a building seeking shade. ʺHome sweet home,ʺ he said. ʺIf you tilt your head, it looks straight.ʺ Ivy grinned. ʺI canʹt wait to see inside.ʺ
Moving from the bright June day into the buildingʹs darkness. Ivy couldnʹt see anything at first, but she could smell. ʺI know,” Guy said, hearing her sniff. ʺYou get used to it.ʺ
ʺMulch. And fertilizer. Some.. very rich fertilizer.ʺ
As her eyes grew accustomed to the dim lighting she saw the mountain of stuff that needed to be cleared out — furniture, books, lamps, lobster pots, and fishing gear that looked old enough to have been used by the pilgrims.
ʺIs there a light in here?” He pointed. ʺOver the rider mower. Everything on that side is equipment for the landscaping business.ʺ He picked up an old lantern. ʺKipʹs wife is lending me this.ʺ When he lit it, the lanternʹs heavy, ringed glass glowed warmly. ʺOh, I like it!ʺ
ʺI thought you might. Hey, here comes my new roommate, Fleabag.ʺ
A skinny black‐and‐white cat had slipped through the open door and was sauntering toward them. ʺYouʹre kidding, right?ʺ
ʺAbout the fleas or us being roomies?ʺ
Guy set down the lantern. ʺWell, I was here for twenty minutes when Kip was showing me the place, and Flea‐bag scratched himself for about ten of those minutes, then flopped down on my backpack.ʺ
ʺIʹll get him some flea medicine.ʺ
ʺYouʹll be more successful getting it for me. Kip said it took forever to trap him and get him to a vet. Heʹs too feral to adopt, but he enjoys showing up now and then and hanging out. You can see why weʹre meant for each other,ʺ Guy added dryly.
ʺYes.ʺ Ivy surveyed the mess around them. ʺSo where exactly are you going to sleep? You could try that rafter, if you donʹt mind hanging upside down by your feet.ʺ
ʺI donʹt mind, but Iʹm guessing itʹs already taken by the bats. Thanks to you, however, I have my bedroll. Iʹll just have to clear a space.ʺ ʺLetʹs get started,ʺ she said. ʺNow?ʺ
ʹʹWith two of us, it will be easier to move the big things,ʺ Ivy told him. She eyed the cat. ʺAnd I donʹt think your roomy is going to lift a paw.ʺ ʺHe will when we disturb a nest of mice.ʺ
ʺTill then,” Ivy replied, picking up a chair with a missing leg and heading toward the door. She carried it out to the portable Dumpster that she had seen between the house and barn.
Guy followed with a bent floor lamp and old radio. ʺIf we can get the two sofas out of there,ʺ he said, ʺweʹll have some elbow room to work.ʺ
A short sofa with exposed springs was fairly easy to move, but the other one, a sleeper that kept unfolding, was twice as heavy. Ivy and Guy tugged and pulled and dragged.
ʺHow are you doing?ʺ Guy asked when they were almost to the door. Sweat dripped in her eyes and made tiny rivulets between her ears and cheeks. ʺOkay.
Hey! Look how clean your floor is where weʹve scraped it.ʺ
ʺThatʹs where my bedroll will go,ʺ he said. Why donʹt we leave this here for now? Iʹll ask Kip about using his trailer. If we drag the sofa across the lawn, weʹre going to take the grass with us, roots and all.ʺ ʺAgreed.ʺ
They found brooms among Kipʹs lawn equipment and swept the concrete floor, beginning to make a space for Guy, then set to work on the pile of stuff. It was a kind of treasure hunt, and they began calling out ʺLoot!ʺ when one of them found something of interest — a lamp base shaped like a rearing horse, magazines from the sixties, a turntable with a scratched record still on it—ʺChad and Jeremy,ʺ Ivy read from the label, then shrugged and carried it outside.
They settled into a comfortable rhythm, examining, sharing, walking back and forth to the Dumpster.
At one point Ivy saw Guy walk into the shed with an armful of National Geographics. ʺExcuse me, I just put those out,ʺ she said.
ʺI know, but they looked interesting.ʺ He placed them next to his bedroll, with the magazines from the sixties. After rolling out a rusty push mower, he returned with a stack of old science books. This time Ivy didnʹt comment; after all, it was his place.
Between the two of them, they carried out a heavy sink. ʺLook at this!ʺ he said, holding up several sports books filled with pictures and large print, apparently written for children. He tucked them under his arm and carried them back to the shed.
When, two hours and many books and magazines later, he added to his stacks the cookbooks that Ivy had just carried to the Dumpster, she could keep silent no longer. ʺDid you happen to notice you donʹt have a kitchen?ʺ
ʺI might someday.ʺ Ivy laughed.
ʺTime for a break. Let’s sit in the living room,ʺ he said, gesturing to the bedroll.
ʺSomething to drink?ʺ He opened his backpack and drew out two bottles of water. Ivy took a long drink, then wiped her sweaty face on her sleeve. ʺNice shade of dirt youʹre wearing,ʺ he remarked. She touched her cheek.
ʺOther side,” he said, then reached and softly wiped that cheek. For a moment.
Ivy couldnʹt breathe, couldnʹt speak. She was under a spell from the touch of his fingers. Then something brushed past them— Fleabag. Ivy quickly turned away from Guy, acting as if her attention had been caught by the cat.
ʺNow you show up,ʺ Guy grumbled to Fleabag, then rested against his backpack. ʺIt’s shaping up. I like it,ʺ he said, surveying the piles of books and magazines encircling them. ʺItʹs homey.ʺ
Homey, thought Ivy. That was how she would describe the house where Tristan had lived with his parents. She remembered the first time she saw it, when Tristan adopted her cat, Ella. Their living room was buried under books and magazines. ʺYouʹre smiling,ʺ Guy said. She shifted back to the present. ʺIf s comfortable, but not my dream home.ʺ
ʺWhat is your dream home?ʺ he asked curiously. ʺA small house on the water.
Living room, kitchen, and bedroom, a porch facing east, another facing west, and two fireplaces. How about yours?ʺ
ʺIʹd live inland, in a fancy tree house.ʺ Ivy laughed. ʺIt would have several levels — and be built between two trees,” Guy continued. ʺI know a place like that.ʺ
ʺIt would have a rope ladder, of course. And a swing.ʺ Ivy loved the swing that hung under Philipʹs tree house, which was near the edge of her familyʹs property. High on the ridge above the river and train tracks, the view was spectacular.
ʺAnd it would be high on a ridge, so I could see over the countryside.ʺ Ivy looked at Guy with surprise. ʺWhat is it?ʺ he asked.
ʺThatʹs exactly like my brotherʹs.ʺ Her mind slipped back to the day that Philip had almost fallen from the tree houseʹs walkway. Gregory had never admitted to loosening the board, and Ivy, who had lost her faith in angels, had not seen the golden shimmer that Philip had. But she believed now, as Philip did, that Tristan was there for him. Was Tristan here still?
Iʹll always be with you, Ivy. She heard the words now as clearly as she had the night of the accident when Tristan kissed her. Ivy knew the old saying — the eyes were the windows of the soul — and sometimes when she looked in Guyʹs eyes, it was as if Tristan…
No, she was imagining it. ʺIvy, youʹre trembling.ʺ He touched her hands lightly and she tried to make them still in her lap. ʺTell me,” he said.
Ivy shook her head no. Guy was confused enough about his identity, without her telling him that he made her feel as if Tristan was present.
ʺSometimes you look so sad,ʺ Guy said. ʺI donʹt know how to help you.ʺ
Ivy touched his face gently. ʺI know how you feel — sometimes you look so lost.ʺ
IT WAS A SERIES OF COINCIDENCES, IVY TOLD HER‐self as she turned onto Cockle Shell Road. She had left Guy in his ʺhomeyʺ place with a new ice chest and leftovers from the early dinner they had purchased in town.
Guy had asked her to stay longer, but she needed time to think. She couldnʹt keep her mind from running through the odd moments that linked Guy with Tristan. If she dared to tell Will and Beth what she was starting to believe, she knew what they would say: She was imagining it — it was just the anniversary.
The anniversary! Oh, no! She had completely forgotten about going with Will to get the fire permit. When she and Guy had driven to the takeout place, she hadnʹt bothered to check her cell phone and had totally forgotten about dinner in Province‐town.
Willʹs car was gone from the Seabrightʹs lot Ivy walked slowly down the path to the cottage. She was thinking about how she would explain when she heard his Toyota pull in. She stopped and waited nervously. When Will approached the house, he walked fast, his head down. ʺWill,” she said softly.
He looked up sharply and she could read in his face all the emotions he was feeling: relief, disbelief, and anger.
ʺWill, Iʹm so sorry!ʺ She lifted her hand to reach toward him, then quickly dropped it to her side; something — she didnʹt know what — stopped her from touching him. ʺIʹm so sorry,ʺ she repeated. A long silence followed. ʺThatʹs it?ʺ he asked. ʺIʹve let you down.ʺ He swore under his breath.
ʺIʹm really sorry, Will. I just… forgot.ʺ ʺDo you have amnesia too?ʺ he replied sarcastically. ʺIs it contagious?ʺ His eyes bored through her. ʺThatʹs where youʹve been, isnʹt it? With him, with Guy.ʺ ʺYes.ʺ
ʺI canʹt believe it! Why do girls do stuff like this — run after guys who seem mysterious and exciting, but have nothing to offer.ʺ
ʺIʹm not running after—ʺ He cut her off. ʺI love you, Ivy, but this is killing me.ʺ
She swallowed hard. ʺWhy are you doing this to me?ʺ he shouted at her.
ʺI donʹt know!ʺ she shouted back. She saw him struggle to control his anger; in some ways, she wished heʹd keep shouting.
ʺYouʹre acting like you did after Tristanʹs death, when Gregory seduced you—ʺ
ʺAnd you kept standing up for him,ʺ Will continued, ʺwhen you kept trusting Gregory even though there were a million signs that you shouldnʹt.ʺ
ʺLike you werenʹt Gregoryʹs friend, too?ʺ Ivy challenged him. ʺI recognized him for what he was and stayed friends long enough to help you and Tristan.ʺ
Will sucked in his breath. ʺTristan. It always comes back to him, doesnʹt it? God, what an idiot I am!ʺ Ivy lowered her head. The night you were in the accident, when I got to the hospital, the paramedic asked me if I was Tristan.ʺ
Ivy winced. ʺHe said you had been calling for him in the ambulance.”
Ivy turned away. ʺThen the doctor, elated with your progress, came to me and said, ʹIʹve got good news for you, Tristan.”
Ivy shut her eyes with the pain. Will had kept this to himself, even though it must have hurt him deeply. ʺHereʹs what I think,ʺ Will said, his voice husky with emotion. ʺI donʹt think youʹre really falling for Guy. I think you feel bad for him and find him a nice distraction.ʺ
Ivy turned back toward Will. He went on quickly. ʺWith Guy, you can feel for somebody, help somebody, and still be in love with Tristan.ʺ
ʺWill, I am so sorry—ʺ
ʺThis fling with Guy, it helps you to separate from me,ʺ Will continued; ʺThe best thing I can do for you and for me is make the final break that you clearly want so much.ʹʹ His voice grew angrier. ʺH would have been a lot easier on both of us, Ivy, if youʹd had the guts to tell me when you knew it was over!ʺ
ʺBut I didnʹt know—ʺ He slammed his fist into his palm. ʺGive me a break!ʺ
ʺI knew something was wrong,ʺ Ivy explained. ʺI was trying to think things through.ʺ He nodded. ʺAnd why end it when it may turn out that you need me after all?ʺ
ʺNo! Thatʹs unfair! I wouldnʹt have used you like that.ʺ
ʺNext time youʹre thinking things through, try thinking about how it is for someone other than yourself.ʺ He turned on his heel and headed back to the parking lot. ʺWhere are you going, Will?ʺ
ʺI donʹt know. I donʹt care, as long as if s somewhere away from you.ʺ
THE TEARS THAT HAD BEEN FILLING IVY’S EYES DURING the argument did not fall until five minutes after Will had driven away. Ivy walked back to the lot and stood motionless by her car, watching the road as if Will might come back.
ʺItʹs over. Over,” she repeated to herself with disbelief. She noticed an envelope on her carʹs front seat Opening it, she found the permit for the bonfire. She climbed inside her car, closed the door, and cried.
Ivy drove for an hour and a half — Route 6 first, needing to drive fast, and when she had stopped crying, the winding, dual‐lane 6A. She was tempted to call her mother — but her mother loved Will. Philip loved Will. Beth loved Will. So did she, but maybe not enough.
By the time she returned to the inn, it was nearly dark. Willʹs car was back; Kelseyʹs was gone and no one was in the cottage. Ivy sat in the living room, trying to work on the puzzle, riffling through the box, pulling out one piece, then another, then putting them back. Restless, she walked outside, glanced at the swing, then strode over to the innʹs back steps, where she felt less likely to be cornered by whoever came home first. If Will hadnʹt told the others about their break up, she would have to share the news before work tomorrow.
Behind her, the kitchen door opened, spreading the roomʹs yellow light on a swath of grass. ʺDonʹt get up,” Aunt Cindy said, then came out and sat on the steps next to Ivy. ʺHow are you doing?ʺ
ʺPretty tough, huh?ʺ Ivy nodded. ʺYeah. Who told you?ʺ
ʺBeth. Listen, Ivy, I can make sure that you and Will arenʹt on the same work team for a week or so, but youʹll still be living and working in close quarters. I canʹt have you quarreling in front of guests, and I canʹt have the others taking sides.ʺ Ivy nodded.
ʺIf you feel like you canʹt deal with the situation, youʹve got to let me know.ʺ
ʺOkay.ʺ Aunt Cindy rested her hand lightly on Ivyʹs back. ʺI know it seems as if the pain is so bad that it will never get better. But it will, Ivy. It really will,ʺ she said, then went inside.
Ivy rose and walked slowly across the garden. After all the grime and sweat of the day, sheʹd feel better if she took a shower before facing the others. Then she saw Beth coming around the corner of the renovated barn — from Willʹs roomIvy guessed. Ivy took a deep breath and waited. ʺHowʹs Will?ʺ
ʺHow are you?ʺ Beth asked, as she approached Ivy. The gentleness in her friendʹs voice released an‐other than expected flood of tears.
ʺCome on. Let’s talk,” Beth said, giving Ivy a light push toward the swing.
Beth remained quiet while Ivy cried, ʺI feel so bad about hurting him/ʹ Ivy said, wiping her eyes.
ʺI feel bad for both of you,ʺ Beth replied, then added softly, ʺIt’s hard for Willand for me — to understand. I mean, after all youʹve been through together, how can you not love him?ʺ
ʺI do love him,ʺ Ivy insisted. ʺBut maybe not the way he wants to be loved.ʺ
Beth leaned forward, looking into Ivyʹs eyes. ʺThe way anyone wants to be loved!ʺ
ʺYes, yes, youʹre right,” Ivy admitted. ʺBut, Beth, you canʹt always choose how you love a person. Love isnʹt logical or fair. It just happens.ʺ
In the faint starlight, Ivy saw the silver trace of a tear running down Bethʹs face.
ʺDid you tell him that I saw Tristan the night of the accident?ʺ Ivy asked.
ʺThat you thought you saw Tristan — no. No, heʹs already convinced heʹs competing with a dead guy. Iʹm not going to make it any harder for him. Ivy, did you really forget your date tonight?ʺ Ivy nodded. ʺI was with Guy, helping him.ʺ
ʺYes, cleaning out a barn, so heʹd have a decent place to live, and—ʺ
ʺIvy, you have to be careful,ʺ Beth warned. ʺYou have no idea who Guy is.ʺ
ʺWhat I know about him is more important than the name heʹs forgotten.
Thereʹs a special connection between Guy and me, something Iʹve felt only once before — with Tristan.ʺ Ivy ignored the disapproval that lined her friendʹs face.
ʺBeth, Guy was telling me about his dream house, and it was exactly like Philipʹs tree house. Guy couldnʹt remember what music he liked, but suddenly recognized ʹMoonlight Sonata,’ Tristanʹs song. And without even knowing what melody it was, he hummed a song from Carousel. Donʹt you remember — Tristan tried to communicate with me by playing on my piano notes from Carousel.ʺ
Beth shook her head with disbelief, but Ivy continued. ʺI think Tristan has come back to me.ʺ ʺOh, Ivy, no! That couldnʹt be.ʺ ʺWhy not?ʺ Ivy asked, grasping the edge of the swing. ʺHe spoke through Will and you last year. Why couldnʹt he now be speaking through Guy, giving me these signs that he is still with me? The night of the accident, Tristan promised—ʺ
ʺDoes Guy claim to hear another personʹs voice?ʺ Beth asked. ʺNo, but—ʺ
Beth leaned forward, placing a hand on Ivyʹs wrist. ʺWhen Tristan was here as an angel, we heard him. When he slipped into our minds, we knew who he was.
And we never forgot our own identities.ʺ
Ivy pulled away from her friend. They sat for a moment in silence. Ivy fighting her anger with Beth for not believing as she did. When Ivy looked back, Beth was pulling on her amethyst necklace. Her lips moved silently, then she said aloud, ʺSomething evil is walking among us.ʺ ʺWhat?ʺ
ʺEver since the séance I have felt a presence,ʺ Beth said, her voice shaking. “It’s him. Itʹs Gregory. I havenʹt felt this way since he was alive.ʺ
Ivy stared at her friend, trying to understand what she was saying. ʺBeth, I know you were spooked by the séance. We all were. But why would you think that Gregory is haunting us? Has something else happened to scare you?ʺ
Her friend didnʹt reply. ʺTell me,ʺ Ivy said. ʺA dream.ʺ Beth rubbed one hand with the other, digging her fist into her palm. ʺIʹve had it twice.ʺ
ʺTell me,ʺ Ivy insisted. ʺWeʹre in the cottage, you, me, Dhanya, Kelsey. If s Aunt Cindyʹs cottage, but it has lots of windows, windows everywhere. Someone is circling the house, shooting at the windows. The bullets pierce the glass but donʹt go all the way through. Weʹre running from room to room, and the shooter runs around the outside of the cottage, targeting the windows of whichever room weʹre in.
He keeps circling, but you tell us everythingʹs all right. Weʹre safe, you say, the shooter canʹt break through the windows. Then he quietly opens the door and walks in.ʺ
Ivy sat back in the swing, rubbing her arms, her skin prickling. ʺDonʹt you get it?ʺ Beth said, sounding suddenly angry. ʺYou were careless and let the shooter in, just like you let in Guy!ʺ
ʺBeth, hot every dream you have is clairvoyant. Sometimes you dream about things that people tell you. Will doesnʹt like Guy. Heʹs planted these fears in you.ʺ
Bethʹs eyes flashed. ʺIt makes no difference what Will says. I see what I see!ʺ
ʺSo do I,ʺ Ivy replied, then rose from the swing. ʺIvy!ʺ
She turned back reluctantly. Bethʹs hand clutched her amethyst. ʺIf itʹs Gregory, you will need all the power of heaven to protect you.ʺ
ʺYOU KNOW, 1 THOUGHT YOU WERE, LIKE, MISS Perfect,ʺ Kelsey said to Ivy the next evening. ʺAnd when you were hanging with Will, you were, like, Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. Couple of the year.ʺ
ʺSony to disappoint you.ʺ
ʺSo what exactly did he say to you?ʺ Kelsey asked. They were standing outside the cottage, Kelsey bouncing a badminton birdie up and down on a racket.
Plunk, plunk, plunk.
ʺThe kind of thing people usually say when theyʹre breaking up,ʺ Ivy replied.
ʺSnide comments and sweeping accusations,ʺ Kelsey guessed. ʺIʹve done it myself a few times.ʺ
ʺThen I donʹt need to fill you in.ʺ
ʺHeʹll get over it,ʺ Kelsey said, and flicked her head toward the barn. ʺHe has plenty of sympathy ʺ
Beth had canceled her date with Chase, and Dhanya had decided that she really missed watching TV. Ivy pictured Will on his daybed, with Beth and Dhanya on either side of him, holding him up by the elbows like supportive angels.
ʺWant to play?ʺ Kelsey asked, extending a badminton racket toward Ivy.
ʺOkay.ʺ They took warm‐up swings, batting the birdie back and forth across the net. ʺSo, are you dating that gorgeous mystery guy?ʺ Kelsey asked.
ʺBeth told us thatʹs where you were when you forgot about your date with Will.ʺ Ivy caught up with the sinking birdie and flicked it off the rim of her racket. ʺI was helping Guy clear out a place to live.ʺ
ʺBeth doesnʹt trust him.ʺ Ivy didnʹt respond
ʺWhy doesnʹt she?ʺ Kelsey asked. ʺI donʹt know,ʺ Ivy said, and dove for the birdie. Kelsey appeared to change her strategy, placing her shots in easy reach of Ivy, perhaps thinking that would encourage her to talk more.
ʹʺWhat do you think of Chase?ʺ
ʺDonʹt really know him/ʹ Ivy replied, reluctant to share her opinion with someone likely to pass it on. Kelsey rolled her eyes. ʺWell, five minutes gave me enough time. Heʹs creepy.ʺ
ʺCreepy?ʺ Ivy repeated with an easy swing. ʺHeʹs a control freak,ʺ Kelsey said.
ʺThereʹs nothing I hate more than a guy who tries to control a girl.ʺ
Ivy doubted that any guy had been successful at controlling Kelsey. ʺBeth told us about Tristan.ʺ Ivy returned the serve without comment ʺI had no idea! Iʹve never known anyone whose boyfriend was murdered!ʺ
Ivy swatted the birdie hard. ʺI wish I could have met Tristan and Gregory,ʺ
Kelsey continued. ʺLast summer must have been awesome!ʺ
Ivy stood flat‐footed — didnʹt even swing. What did Kelsey think last summer was, a reality survival show? ʺKeep your eye on the birdie,ʺ Kelsey advised.
“Beth said that Will was totally there for you when Tristan died.ʺ
ʺHe was. No one could have been kinder.ʺ ʺBut kindness isnʹt passion,ʺ Kelsey replied. ʺAnd we like passion.ʺ
Ivy returned the serve with a passionate stroke. ʺKelsey, donʹt assume anything about my and Willʹs relationship.ʺ
ʺI wouldnʹt have to assume if you filled me in.ʺ In spite of herself, Ivy laughed.
ʺBeth said youʹre having a memorial bonfire for Tristan at Race Point. Can Dhanya and I come?ʺ ʺMʹm not sure itʹs still on.ʺ ʺIt is,ʺ Kelsey informed her.
ʺThatʹs another thing I donʹt like: guys who act loyal and thoughtful, no matter what you do. I mean, what are they trying to prove?ʺ
Ivy dropped the head of her racket. ʺIʹve had enough.ʺ
ʺBut we havenʹt started to keep score,ʺ Kelsey protested. Ivy nodded. ʺA perfect time for me to quit.ʺ Fifteen minutes later. Ivy slipped out the back door of the cottage and drove to the beach on Pleasant Bay where she. Will, and Philip had spent an afternoon a week ago. Sitting on the beach in the deepening twilight, not far from the cluster of trees that Will had sketched, she sifted through memories, trying to understand why it had taken her so long to realize she couldnʹt give Will her heart.
Rising to her feet, she followed the same route she and Philip had taken around a sandy point to a cove. With no moon, the calm water was bathed in starlight.
Ivy remembered the cathedral of stars where Tristan had kissed her. She whispered his name and could almost hear him answer, ʺMy love.ʺ Almost||
The voice she heard in her head was a memory — she knew that. What she had heard then was actually happening.
The difference between now and then made the moment after the accident all the more real to her. To Ivy, the embrace was more real than the most tangible and ordinary moments of her life.
But what if it had been Tristan, and Lacey was right about the consequences?
ʺSerious falloutʺ—what did that mean? And what evil presence did Beth sense?
Could Gregory return?
ʺLacey. Lacey Lovett. I need to talk to you,ʺ Ivy called. She sat by the waterʹs edge, watching, waiting. Minutes ticked by. Across the bay, the yellow edge of the moon peeked over a narrow strip of beach.
ʺYou have the lousiest timing!ʺ Seeing the purple shimmer. Ivy stood up. ʺHey, Lacey.ʺ
ʺSo what is it this time — another beatific vision? Ivy dancing with the stars?ʺ
Ivy watched the angel twirl, her purple mist dancing in front of the low moon, then said, ʺBeth is having dreams.ʺ
ʺBeth — the radio?ʺ ʺRadioʺ was Laceyʹs term for a person who was open to ʺthe other side,ʺ a natural medium. ʺYes,ʺ Ivy said, and recounted the dream.
ʺWhen was the first time she had it?ʺ
ʺIʹm not sure. Two Sundays ago, when we had a séance—ʺ
ʺA séance!ʺ Lacey exclaimed. ʺThe radio should know better!ʺ Ivy described the event, including the strange way the planchette had moved in counterclockwise circles, and how it had seemed impossible for them to slow it down. ʺAnd this happened before your accident?ʺ Ivy thought back to it. ʺA few days before.ʺ
ʺUnbelievable. Unbelievable! Do you have a brain? Does the radio have even a shred of common sense, opening up a portal like that to the other side? Are you so narcissistic that you think that only good angels hang around you?ʺ
ʺI — no — I never thought about — meaning we could have let in—ʺ
ʺInvitedʺ Lacey corrected. ʺFlagged down, hailed a taxi for—ʺ
ʺSomething evil,ʺ Lacey confirmed. Ivy crouched and traced a counterclockwise circle in the sand, then another, and another. A hand with purple‐painted nails caught her arm. ʺStop that!ʺ
ʺIs it possible for Gregory to come back as a demon?ʺ Ivy asked. ʹʹObviously, you missed a lot of Sunday school. Anything is possible with Number One Director.ʺ Ivy rose and walked along the coveʹs waterline. ʺBut why would Gregory return?ʺ she mused to herself. ʺRevenge, murder, mayhem. .,ʺ Lacey suggested.
It was what Beth had been thinking: If itʹs Gregory, you will need all the power of heaven to protect you. ʺRevenge against me,ʺ Ivy said. ʺBut how would he do that?ʺ Lacey responded with a loud, theatrical sigh. ʺThink it through, chick. Iʹm sure youʹre not as naive as you seem. How did Tristan come back?ʺ
ʺHe worked through peopleʹs minds. He matched thoughts with us and slipped inside. We could hear him like a voice in our heads — Beth, Will, Philip, and finally, me.ʺ
ʺLater, Eric and Gregory, although I advised him against entering their twisted minds.ʺ Ivy felt as if an icy hand had touched her own. ʺGregory could get inside people?ʺ
ʺLadies and gentlemen,ʺ Lacey said to her imaginary audience, ʺthe chick is catching on.ʺ ʺHe could get into someoneʹs mind and talk?ʺ ʺPersuade,ʺ Lacey said quietly. ʺTempt.ʺ Ivy shivered.
ʺAs you may remember,ʺ Lacey added, ʺGregory could torture and tempt even when he was alive.ʺ
ʺCould he force someone to do something?ʺ
“Who needs force, when people are so gullible, so easy to trick and convince?
Not mentioning any names, of course.ʺ
ʺHow can we fight him?ʹ
ʺWe?ʺ Laceyʹs purple mist began to move away from Ivy. ʺIn my movie days, I did some horror flicks, but Iʹm not starring in this one. Youʹre on your own.ʺ
ʺHow do my friends and I fight him?ʺ
ʺIʹm sure you can come up with something. Or maybe the radio can. I have one piece of advice: Be careful who you trust.ʺ
Ivy bit her lip.
ʺLook, chick, Iʹm sorry about this mess youʹre in, but Iʹve got my hands full right now. I think Iʹve found my one true gig, and Iʹm short on time. Iʹve got to cut out these cameo appearances.ʺ The angelʹs violet shimmer was fading. ʺSay hello to Philip.ʺ Lacey had almost disappeared when Ivy said, ʺBut what if Tristan has come back to protect me from Gregory? Her words had the desired effect: ʺWhat?!ʺ exclaimed Lacey. ʺIʹve seen the signs. Tristan is with me, as he promised he would be.ʺ Ivy felt a strong hand anchoring her at the bayʹs edge.
ʺThatʹs a ridiculous idea! If Tristan was here I would see him.ʺ Lacey had a point. Why wasnʹt she aware of him? Was Tristan hiding inside Guy? Hiding from whom?
ʺIvy, if Tristan did give you the kiss of life/ʹ Lacey said, ʺheʹs in deep trouble.
Donʹt try to contact him. Donʹt tempt him further. Youʹve already gotten him killed. Donʹt damn him forever.ʺ
LACEY HAD ALWAYS BEEN MELODRAMATIC IVY TOLD herself, as she sat alone in the cottage Thursday evening. Beth, Dhanya, and Will had left for a seven‐thirty movie.
Spurned by Dhanya, Max had roared off with Kelsey and Bryan to a party in Harwich. As soon as they were gone. Ivy took out her phone, playing a message sheʹd received an hour before, wanting to hear Guyʹs voice again: “ltʹs me. Kip got me a cell. Want to come over tonight?ʺ
Pushing aside the warnings of Lacey and Beth, Ivy drove to Willow Pond.
When she arrived, she saw a pickup parked in front of the house. A dark‐haired woman in her late twenties stood next to it, holding open the door for a golden Lab, which lumbered into the passenger seat. The woman called hello to Ivy and introduced herself as Julie, Kipʹs wife.
ʺI hope you didnʹt have special plans tonight,ʺ Julie said. ʺGuy is on the back porch sound asleep. He and Kip started hacking away at tree stumps at six a.m.ʺ
Ivy smiled. ʺJust hanging out.ʺ Ivy walked around the house and found Guy asleep on the porch that faced the pond, lying on a canvas drop cloth, his shirt off, his body turned so that he was on his side, his head resting on his arm. In the evening light, his tanned skin and fair hair looked golden, reminding Ivy of a painting she had seen once of a sleeping angel.
Then she remembered the subject of the painting: a fallen angel, after his battle with heaven. She turned and walked toward the pond.
Fleabag was snoozing in the long grass. Ivy sat on the bank not far from the cat, gazing out at the water, enjoying the pondʹs reflection of the fiery sky and dark green trees.
The evening was the first really warm one theyʹd had on the cape, balmy and sweet‐scented, the way summer nights were inland. She waded into the pond.
After the brine of the ocean, the freshwater felt soothing to her skin. Her shorts and halter top were as light as a bathing suit She swam and swam, loving the solitude and peace of the place. When she was tired, she flipped on her back to float.
Itʹs such a great feeling, Ivy. Do you know what itʹs like to float on a lake, a circle of trees around you, a big blue bowl of sky above you?
Tristan, she called to him silently. I do know — I know now, Tristan. ʺHey, are you asleep out there?ʺ Guy shouted to her. Ivy raised her head, then pulled her feet under her and stood up. ʺAsleep!ʺ she hollered back. ʺYouʹre the one who was snoring.ʺ
ʺNo way!ʺ He looked around, then pointed. ʺI think you must have heard Fleabag.ʺ
ʺCats canʹt purr that loud,ʺ she teased, and waded toward shore. When she was a few feet from Guy, he said, ʺYou looked so happy out there.ʺ
ʺI was. It’s such a great feeling, floating on a pond, a circle of trees around you, the sun sparkling at the tips of your fingers and toes.ʺ
Perhaps it was a reflection off the water. For a moment Guyʹs eyes seemed brilliant, the color of Tristanʹs ʺbig blue bowl of sky.ʺ ʺCome on in,ʺ Ivy coaxed.
Guy looked down at the water that lapped his ankles and swallowed hard. ʺI donʹt think I know how to swim.ʺ
Ivy tried to hide her disappointment. If Tristan was in Guy, Guy wouldnʹt fear water as calm as a swimming poolʹs.
Live in the present moment, Ivy told herself. Help him, as Tristan helped you.
Tristan had eased her beyond her fear by suggesting they take ʺa walkʺ in the school swimming pool. She reached for Guyʹs hand. ʺCome on. Let’s go for a walk in the pond.ʺ
After a moment of hesitation, Guy took her hand. They walked slowly and quietly together, moving through the liquid gold of the pond. When the water was waist‐deep on Guy, Ivy stopped, and ran her ringers across the waterʹs still surface, sending out plum‐colored ripples.
She faced Guy, then scooped up water, pouring handfuls over his shoulders and chest. Reaching higher, she bathed his cheeks and forehead, remembering how Tristan had done that for her. ʺYou okay?ʺ Guy nodded, then smiled sheepishly.
ʺWe wonʹt walk any farther. Can you crouch?ʺ she asked. Bending her legs, she lowered herself until the water reached her chin. Guy did the same, moving slowly and steadily, but when the water touched his neck, he instinctively pulled up.
ʺEasy does it.ʺ She reached for his other hand, holding them both securely in hers. He lowered himself again, until their faces were inches apart.
ʺNext time Iʹll bring a float and give you a real lesson. Today, weʹll just splash around so you can get used to it. Can you put your face in the water?ʺ
He tried, then jerked his head back, straightening up quickly. ʺThis is humiliating. I‐I couldnʹt breathe. My throat closed up and—ʺ
ʺSymptoms of panic,ʺ Ivy said calmly, ʺwhich is a rational response after what youʹve been through. Here.ʺ She laid her hands palms up on the surface of the water. ʺHold your breath and rest your face in my hands for a moment,ʺ ʺI feel stupid.ʺ ʺNo oneʹs watching.ʺ
Guy grimaced but did as she said, laying his face in her wet hands. He did it repeatedly. Ivy lowering her hands a bit each time until his face was immersed.
ʹʹOkay,” Guy said. ʺIʹve got that down. This time Iʹll do it without you…. You donʹt think Iʹm acting too macho, do you?ʺ he added, laughing at himself.
She grinned back at him. ʺWhen your face is in the water, blow out through your nose.ʺ He did the drill several times, then said, ʺI bet youʹve never had a student progress this fast. Whatʹs next?ʺ
ʺGoing all the way under.ʺ Ivy saw the hesitation and the goose bumps on his arms. ʺBut let’s just hang out and do that next time.ʺ
ʺIʹll do it now,ʺ he insisted.
ʺYou have nothing to prove, Guy.ʺ
ʺIʹm going all the way under,ʺ he said.
ʺWhen youʹre ready—ʺ
ʺI can handle this!ʺ he told her, and Ivy took a step back. His voice lightened.
ʺCount for me, okay? See how long I can stay under.ʺ He quickly dropped below the pondʹs surface.
Ivy counted aloud, ʺOne thousand one, one thousand two,ʺ then saw his back convulse and yanked him upward with all her strength. He had swallowed water and was choking — panicking again.
ʺYouʹre okay, youʹre okay,ʺ she told him. He leaned over, holding his stomach.
He couldnʹt stop shaking. ʺYouʹre okay, Guy.ʺ He turned away from her, as if ashamed. She put her arms around him from behind and wouldnʹt let go until he stopped trembling.
ʺIt’s. . the darkness,ʺ he said. “Being in the darkness.ʺ
ʺI should have thought about that,ʺ she replied. ʺWhen Tristan taught me to swim, we were in a clear, well‐lit pool.ʺ Guy turned toward her. ʺTristan, the guy who died — taught you to swim?ʺ ʺYes. He loved water.ʺ ʺAnd you were afraid of it,ʺ Guy said. ʺTerrified.ʺ Guy reached for Ivy, pulling her to him, holding her roughly, awkwardly in his arms. She could feel his heart pounding against her.
He buried his face in her hair. ʺI will never forget you. Ivy,” he whispered. ʺIf ever I forget you, there will be nothing but darkness left for me.ʺ
BETH AND DHANYA ARRIVED HOME THAT NIGHT before Ivy. She found Dhanya reading, curled in a living room chair, and Beth on the sofa, hunched over the puzzle. ʺHi,ʺ Ivy said. ʺHow was the movie?ʺ
ʺGood,ʺ Dhanya replied. Beth didnʹt respond, and both girls, looking up, eyed Ivyʹs damp clothes and hair, not missing a detail. ʺYou were with him, werenʹt you,ʺ Beth said, making it sound like an accusation rather than a question.
ʺI was with Guy. Please use his name.ʺ
ʺBut thatʹs not his name,ʺ Beth pointed out. ʺIt’s his name for now!ʺ Ivy replied, and continued on to the kitchen, where she grabbed a handful of cookies and headed upstairs.
That night, Ivy tossed and turned. Well after the others were asleep, she kicked away her sheets and sat up. Her alarm clock read 2:43 a.m.
She and Beth had tied up the curtain on the window between their beds, but there wasnʹt a breeze on this unusually warm night. The moon, nearly full, made a bright patch across Bethʹs bed. Her sheets were on the floor, her face bathed in perspiration, but she slept soundly.
There is nothing harder than being around others and feeling isolated, Ivy thought. She dropped her feet over the side of the bed, debating whether to grab a beach towel and sit outside. Cht! Cht!
Ivyʹs head jerked to the left. Something had struck the window — the glass above the screen.
She held still, staring at the window glass. Then, remembering Bethʹs dream, Ivy turned to her. Bethʹs eyes moved beneath her lids and her breath was quickshe was dreaming now.
Ivy moved closer to the window. She saw no one among the trees at their end of the house, but the bright moon threw sharp shadows; it would be easy for a person to hide there.
The cottage doors were rarely locked. Feeling slightly uneasy, Ivy pulled on her shorts and headed for the stairway.
She spun around. At the same time Beth sat up. ʺIvy?ʺ
ʺIvy?ʺ Beth cried out again, sounding frightened. Ivy hurried back to her. |Iʹm here.ʺ
ʺIt’s him. Heʹs shooting at the window!ʺ Ivy laid a hand on Bethʹs shoulder, ʺNo, no, itʹs not.ʺ She sat on the bed. ʺIt was probably something from the trees, seeds or whatever.ʺ
ʺIt’s him!ʺ Beth insisted, then saw that Ivy was wearing her shorts and shoes.
ʺDonʹt go outside.ʹʺ
ʺEverythingʹs okay. I was just going downstairs to check things.ʺ
ʺDonʹt! It’s him!ʺ Bethʹs eyes were wide with fear. Ivy put her arm around her friend. ʺYouʹve been dreaming, Beth.ʺ ʺAre the doors locked?ʺ
ʺIʹm going to check them now,ʺ Ivy replied, standing up. ʺNo, Ivy! Heʹll do anything to get you!ʺ
ʺBeth, listen to me. Youʹre getting this mixed up with your dream.ʺ
They both turned to the window. ʹʹWhatʹs that?ʺ Dhanya asked, sitting up in bed.
She climbed out and tiptoed across the room to them.
ʺDonʹt go near the window,ʺ Beth told her. ʺHeʹll see you.ʺ
ʺWho will?ʺ Dhanya asked.
ʺDhanya!ʺ a male voice called. ʺMax!ʺ Dhanya and Ivy said at the same time.
ʺDid you hear? It’s just Max.” Ivy told Beth, feeling both relieved and annoyed.
Dhanya frowned. ʺWhy is he here? I donʹt want to talk to him.ʺ
ʺDhanya!ʺ Ivy went to the window, shoved up the screen, and leaned out. ʺGo home. Max.ʺ He emerged from the shadows. ʺIvy! How are ya?ʺ He sounded pleased to see her — and drunk. ʺIt’s late. Go home.ʺ
ʺI wanna talk to Dhanya,ʺ he said.
ʺShe doesnʹt want to talk to you. Not in the middle of the night.ʺ
ʺShhh!ʺ Ivy pulled back inside the window. ʺHeʹs going to wake the guests,ʺ she told Dhanya.
ʺTell that coyote to stop yelping/ʹ Kelsey called from her bed. ʺI need my beauty sleep!ʺ
ʺI wonʹt speak to him,ʺ Dhanya said to Ivy. ʺI havenʹt yet decided if I like him.ʺ
She started back to bed. ʺIʹm sorry.” Ivy said, ʺbut if Max wakes the guests or Aunt Cindy, weʹre all in trouble. Youʹre coming outside with me. Youʹre talking to him and sending him off.ʺ
ʺYou go, girl!ʺ Kelsey cried, then flopped back on her bed.
Beth shook her head, holding her pillow to her chest, as if it were protection.
Dhanya reluctantly put on a robe and shoes, then followed Ivy downstairs.
When Max saw them marching toward him, he stood up, and just as quickly, sank back against a tree. Ivy sighed. The last thing she wanted to do was drive to Morris Island in the middle of the night, but she couldnʹt let him drive himself if he wasnʹt sober.
ʺDhanya! Youʹre breakinʹ my heart!ʺ Dhanya rolled her eyes. ʺHowʹd you get here?ʺ Ivy asked him. He pointed unsteadily toward the innʹs lot. ʺBryne.ʺ
Ivy struggled to understand. ʺBryan? Heʹs here? Whereʹs your keys?ʺ
ʺBryne,ʺ Max said again. Ivy turned to Dhanya. ʺTalk to him and keep your voices low. Iʹll check the lot.ʺ The yellow Ferrari sat in the middle of the lot, Bryan in its driverʹs seat, plugged into his iPod. His eyes were shut.
Ivy called his name several times, then shook him lightly. Startled out of his sleep, he swung his whole body toward her, fist raised. ʺHey! Hey, itʹs me.ʺ
ʺIvy!ʺ he said, surprised, and dropped his arm. ʺHave you been drinking?ʺ He pulled out his cell phone to check the time. ʺNot for two hours.ʺ He sounded clearheaded.
ʺWould you mind getting out of the car?ʺ she asked. He laughed. ʺWant me to walk a line, officer?ʺ
He complied, grinning.
ʺListen,ʺ Ivy said, ʺyour buddy isnʹt scoring any points with Dhanya. Take Max home… quietly.”
Bryan nodded. ʺUnderstood. I apologize.ʺ He retrieved Max, who, after pimply talking with Dhanya, seemed to be a happier camper.
Ivy and Dhanya wearily entered the cottage, and after a momentʹs thought, Ivy locked both the front and back door. When she climbed into bed, Beth was lying with her eyes closed, the sheet pulled up to her chin. Resting on the pillow, close to her face, the amethyst glittered in the moonlight. j§. I ʺGood night,ʺ Ivy said softly. ʺEverythingʹs okay now.ʺ
ʺDonʹt be fooled,ʺ Beth replied. ʺHeʹs making plans. He wants revenge.ʺ
FRIDAY MORNING, BETH AND IVY WERE ASSIGNED TO the garden to weed and deadhead. While Ivy pried at stubborn roots, Beth silently worked her way down the rows of faded blossoms — snip, snip, snip. She had spoken little since the morning alarm went off, bringing each conversation Ivy had begun to a quick close with a one‐word answer.
ʺSo you donʹt remember Max coming around, yelling for Dhanya?ʺ
ʺDo you remember dreaming?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺNo.ʺ I
ʺBeth, are you mad at me?ʺ Beth snipped off a flower head that was still blooming. ʺNo.ʺ Ivy gave up.
At three p.m., Aunt Cindy thanked everyone for a solid dayʹs work and shooed them off. Beth, Dhanya, and Will sunned in the garden, the girls falling asleep, and Will finishing up some sketches for The Angel and the Alley Cat. Kelsey, deciding she had been much too available to Bryan, headed to Nauset Beach, targeting an area on the long strip of oceanfront that was known to attract surfers.
Ivy returned to Pleasant Bay and handwrote a rambling letter to her motherMaggie disliked e‐mail. Describing Provincetown and recounting funny moments with the innʹs guests, Ivy omitted everything of real importance.
That finished, she debated whether to send a text message to her friend Suzanne. She knew that Suzanneʹs trip to Europe was her way of putting distance between last summer and now.
When Suzanne told Ivy and Beth that they wouldnʹt be hearing from her for a while. Ivy had understood. Suzanne had been totally in love with Gregory, and he had milked that passion as much as he could. Drawing Ivy into his web, he continually strove to make Suzanne jealous. In the end Suzanne, like Ivy, lost someone she truly loved.
Taking out her iPhone, Ivy typed in: MISS U. DONʹT HAFTO REPLY. JUST
THINKING OF U. LUV IVY. Then she left a voicemail on Guyʹs phone: ʺHi. Hope youʹre having a good day chopping at tree stumps. Say hello to Fleabag.ʺ Finally, she lay back and fell asleep.
Arriving home just before six. Ivy found Dhanya standing in front of the long mirror that was attached to the bathroom door, turning this way and that, studying herself in a short, flirty skirt.
ʺI think Iʹd better wear my bikini bottom under this.” she said, leaning over, looking at herself upside down in the mirror.
ʺWell, if youʹre planning to do a lot of that, yeah,ʺ Ivy replied, smiling.
Beth emerged from the bathroom combing through her wet hair. She smelled of herbal shampoo.
ʺChase called,” Dhanya told her. Beth frowned. ʺHeʹs been calling my cell all day.ʺ
ʺWell, now heʹs calling mine. Did you give him my number?ʺ
ʺNo. Itʹs on my phone and I lent it to him to make a call, but…ʺ Bethʹs voice trailed off.
ʺAnyway,” Dhanya said, ʺI told him youʹd phone when you finished your shower.ʺ ʺYou shouldnʹt have.ʺ
ʺBut I thought youʹd want to bring him tonight,” Dhanya said, and turned to Ivy. ʺBryanʹs uncle gave him passes to his indoor rink, and weʹre all invited.
Want to come?ʺ
ʺIce‐skating?ʺ It would be awkward with Will, but sooner or later they would have to get used to being around each other. ʺOkay.ʺ
ʺAwesome!” Dhanya said, and turned to Beth. ʺThe more people we have, the more fun it will be.ʺ
ʺMaybe,ʺ Beth said, retreating to the bathroom to dry her hair. A few minutes later, Kelsey blew in from surfer land, showered, then tugged on thin, skintight biking shorts and a workout top that was more demi‐bra than athletic wear.
Chase had earned an invitation on his second call to Dhanya, and Bethʹs mood shifted from obvious irritation to quiet resignation. As they gathered in front of the cottage, she hung close to Will. Bryan, friendly as always, noticed Kelsey in her sexy outfit, but didnʹt ignore the other girls. Cracking jokes, he herded everyone toward their cars like a boisterous camp counselor.
Twenty minutes later, they discovered Bryanʹs Uncle Pat, the rinkʹs owner, had the same outgo* ing manner.
ʺGot the date‐night music on,ʺ he told them as they stood at the counter for skate rentals. ʺDonʹt worry, ladies, I didnʹt pick it out. And Bryan didnʹt either.ʺ
Everyone except Bryan and Max rented skates. Max had ditched his Hawaiian prints for a preppy‐looking shirt with jeans; Ivy wondered if word had gotten back to him that Dhanya found him ʺtacky.ʺ Perhaps after driving him home last night, Bryan had given him a little advice.
ʺI didnʹt know you were into skating,ʺ Kelsey said to Max as he laced up skates that looked expensive and new.
ʺHeʹs not,ʺ Bryan replied for his friend. ʺMaxie keeps a complete set of toys at each of his residences.ʺ
Chase, walking around on his rentals, felt compelled to explain that he had left three kinds of skates at his home in Jackson Hole. Then he turned to Beth and said, ʺLet me help you with those laces, Elizabeth.ʺ
ʺIʹve got them,” Beth answered, but when she was done, she allowed him to take her hand and lead her to the ice. Bryan and Kelsey followed, then quickly passed them and all the other skaters with their long, athletic strokes.
Max, Dhanya, Ivy, and Will stood awkwardly on the rubber matting. Then Will reached for Dhanyaʹs hand, which left Max and Ivy to feel like the last ones chosen for playground dodge ball. ʺDo you want a partner?ʺ Max asked. ʺIʹd like to skate with you later on,ʺ Ivy answered politely, ʺbut Iʹd prefer to go alone at first.ʺ
She skated several circles of the rink, getting lapped by Kelsey and Bryan, but staying behind the couples, enjoying the feel of the smooth ice beneath her feet, and thinking that, if not Bryanʹs uncle, it must have been her own mother who had picked out the date night music. Oh, well, anything with a beat.
When Chase stopped to adjust his laces. Ivy skated up to Beth and linked arms.
ʺIʹm snatching your partner, Chase.ʺ Last winter, Beth and Ivy had skated together every weekend, both of them enjoying the exercise. Skating as a pair, matching each otherʹs stride and settling into a comfortable pace, was usually easy for them, but not tonight. Beth skated stiffly.
ʺI got a text from Philip,ʺ Ivy said, hoping Bethʹs affection for him would serve as abridge between them.
ʺSo did I.”
ʺI think he misses both of his ʹbig sisters.ʹʺ Beth nodded. ʺHeʹs really looking forward to the newest adventure of The Angel and the Alley Catʺ ʺWillʹs sending it Monday,ʺ Beth said. ʺHowʹs Will doing?ʺ Ivy asked, then felt the jerk in Bethʹs arm. ʺDonʹt pull away from me, Beth. I love him as much as I love you, you know that. Please donʹt pull away from me.ʺ
They skated the curve of the rink, Beth looking straight ahead. ʺHeʹs okay,ʺ Beth said at last. ʺAnd how are you doing?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺOkay.ʺ
Ivy felt completely shut out. Striving for patience, she took a deep breath and let it out slowly, watching Max ease back to join Will and Dhanya. There was a moment of conversation, then Max skated off with Dhanya.
Kelsey and Bryan came up from behind and blew past everyone. ʺI guess you call that power skating,ʺ Ivy remarked.
ʺIʹd call it competition,ʺ Beth replied. ʺThey compete as a way of seducing each other.ʺ
ʺCompete how?ʺ Ivy asked, glad they had finally gotten a conversation going.
ʺHow much they drink, how long they party, how fast they drive…ʺ
ʺReally! Who told you that?ʺ
ʺDhanya. At the beach, they compete to see who can be the most outrageous flirt — with other people, I mean.ʺ
ʺSuzanne and Gregoryʹs old game,ʺ Ivy remarked. Beth met her eyes, then glanced away. It had been Suzanne and Gregoryʹs favorite sport, and they had played the game like Olympians, an endless competition to see who could flirt and frustrate the other to the point of explosion.
Beth and Ivy skated another lap before Chase caught up, slipping in between them. “You know, Elizabeth, playing hard to get doesnʹt always make a guy want you.ʺ
ʺI wasnʹt playing hard to get or trying to make you want me/ Beth replied.
Chase laughed, as if she had meant to be humorous. ʺI think itʹs strange — girls dancing with girls, girls skating with girls, waiting for guys to notice them.ʺ
ʺSometimes,ʺ Ivy said, ʺtheyʹre just skating and dancing.” He turned to her, his gray eyes glittering.
ʺRarely.ʺ He reached for Bethʹs hand and Ivy watched them skate off, Beth keeping her head turned slightly away. While outwardly compliant; Beth wasnʹt connecting — not with Chase or me. Ivy thought. The difference was, Chase was so egotistical, he didnʹt realize it.
She exited the ice, wishing she had brought her own car and could drive home.
The rink had a concession area with wooden tables and chairs painted in bright orange and blue. Photos of hockey teams lined the walls. Sitting down, Ivy reached for her phone to see if Guy had called. ʺTired?ʺ Dhanya asked.
Disappointed that there was no message, Ivy glanced up at Dhanya and Max, who had followed her off the ice. ʺJust taking a break.ʺ
ʺHow about an ice cream?ʺ Max suggested. ʺMy treat.ʺ Ivy didnʹt want any, but she acquiesced, willing to let him score whatever points he could with Dhanya as a ʺthoughtfulʺ guy.
While they were ordering, Chase, Beth, and Will joined them, so they pushed together two tables and arranged chairs around them. Bryan and Kelsey were the last to leave the ice, staging a rather dramatic conversation — perhaps an argument — in the middle of the rink, which left both of them with flushed cheeks and bright eyes.
Like Suzanne and Gregory, Ivy thought, as they approached the concession stand. She told herself that it was simply the way some guys and girls played the romance game, but sometimes she felt as if she would never escape the memories of last summer.
The eight of them had just sat down with their ice cream cones when Ivyʹs phone rang. Will turned to Ivy as if surprised. Of course, he knew the ring tones of her friends, her mother, Andrew, and Philip, just as she knew the ringtones of his friends and his father. It was one more example of how intertwined their lives had become, that he knew this ring was different. Still, she prickled at the way he looked at her, as if no one should be calling her except the people that he had pre‐approved.
Walking a short distance away from the others, she put the phone to her ear.
ʺHello?ʺ ʺHey. Itʹs me.ʺ ʺHey.ʺ
ʺWhoever that is,ʺ Guy added quickly. Ivy laughed and sat down on a chair at another table. ʺHow was work?ʺ
ʺHard. And fun. Guess what, Iʹve got wheels!ʺ ʺYou do?ʺ Ivy chased a dribble from her ice cream cone, catching it with her tongue. ʺKip has loaned me an old motorbike. So whatʹre you doing?ʺ Guy asked. ʺThat doesnʹt sound like classical music in the background.ʺ
ʺNo. If s disco — good to skate to, I guess.ʺ Ivy told him about the rink and free passes. ʺWant to come over?ʺ There was a moment of silence. ʺWhoʹs with you?ʺ he asked.
ʺSome people you havenʹt met.ʺ Ivy crunched on her cone. ʺBeth, Max, Bryan, and Chase. And Kelsey and Dhanya, who you might remember from the hospital solarium. And Will. Iʹd love to see you, Guy.ʺ
ʺI donʹt think Will would love to.ʺ Ivy glanced over her shoulder. Will and Beth were watching her, and Ivy assumed they had guessed who was calling her. She could ignore their stares and hostility, but it wasnʹt fair to subject Guy to it.
ʺTomorrow then,ʺ she said. They talked a minute more before she returned to the table.
ʺI can guess who that was,ʺ Kelsey teased. Ivy popped the tip of her cone in her mouth. ʺThe gorgeous amnesiac.ʺ
ʺThe guy they fished out of the ocean?ʺ Bryan asked, his interest piqued.
ʺIn Chatham, right?ʺ Max added. ʺWhat was his name?ʺ
ʺHe still doesnʹt remember,ʺ Ivy said. ʺHe calls himself Guy.ʺ
ʺHow original,ʺ Chase remarked. ʺI just donʹt see how anybody can remain un-known for so long,ʺ Bryan said. ʺDid you Google him?ʺ Chase leaned forward, ʺUsing what search word?ʺ
ʺI tried Missing Persons in Massachusetts and Rhode Island,ʺ Will told them.
Ivy looked at him with surprise. ʺAnd I assume the police and hospital did the same. I checked again yesterday, but there are still no matches.ʺ
ʺWhy didnʹt you try the FBIʹs Most Wanted List!ʺ Ivy exclaimed. ʺI did. Of course, you have to be already convicted for mat.ʺ Ivy turned away. ʺI checked with a friend of my fatherʹs in New York, a criminal defense attorney.ʺ
Ivy swung back. “l canʹt believe you did that!ʺ Will continued calmly: ʺHe said that there are major turf battles and little communication between law enforcement officials from one town to the next and across state borders. Unless a person is running a major drug ring or part of a terrorist group, he could be on the lam or a suspect in a crime, and someone just ten miles away wouldnʹt be the wiser.ʺ
It took all of Ivyʹs effort not to blow up at him in front of the others. ʺThank you for such a thorough investigation, Will.ʺ She crumpled the coneʹs tissue wrapper, and rising, tossed it in a trash can before heading back to the ice.
She had skated half a lap when Bryan caught up with her.
ʺContrary to popular opinion, you have a temper,ʺ he said, grinning at her.
ʺEveryone has a point at which they lose their cool,ʺ Ivy replied.
ʺAbsolutely,ʺ he agreed. ʺItʹs one of the interesting things you learn when getting to know a person, the point at which they break. You donʹt break easily,” he added. Ivy kept skating. ʺIs that because you have extreme self‐control or because you naively believe that people arenʹt sticking it to you?ʺ
ʺAre those the only two reasons you see for not losing your temper?ʺ
He skated in front of her, turning to face her, skating backward. ʺYou know another one?ʺ ʺYes. You donʹt want to hurt the other person/ʹ ʺOh, that..ʺ He smiled at her. ʺDance with me, Ivy!ʺ
He slipped around behind her and skated close, his movements precisely matching hers. He faced her again, then turned her so that she skated backward.
Like a good dancer, Bryan had both the strength and skill to know how to lean and turn his partner, making it seem easy. Skating with him was fun and Ivy smiled.
Tiring of their dance, Bryan played a pretend game of hockey, rushing ahead, stopping on a dime, spinning back and circling Ivy as close as another skater could without actually touching. He skated backward, then charged her, as if he had a hockey puck, feinting to the left and the right. Ivy grinned and figured she was supposed to keep on skating — that he counted on her to hold a straight and steady line as he weaved and dodged about her. But once he faked so well she couldnʹt help it: She veered suddenly and they collided.
ʺWhoa!ʺ He grabbed her to keep her from falling and they spun around, Bryan laughing and holding her tightly. When they stopped spinning, he didnʹt let go, not right away. Ivy extracted herself from his arms and saw Kelsey watching them.
ʺLet’s just skate,ʺ Ivy said quietly to Bryan. ʺI think youʹve won this round with Kelsey.ʺ Bryan pulled her hand through the crook of his arm and skated in an easy rhythm with her. ʺAnd do you think that is all that I was trying to do — get to Kelsey?ʺ
ʺOkay, Iʹll play along with you on that. I can pretend that I am madly in love with Kelsey and see no other girl but Kelsey, not even a girl with incredible hair and green eyes that a guy would never forget.ʺ When Ivy didnʹt respond, he turned to her. ʺI fake pretty well, you know.ʺ ʺI know.ʺ
ʺYou saw how well I could feint to the left and right. I can do that in more than hockey.”
ʺYes, and you saw what happens when you fake too convincingly. Not all collisions end well.ʺ
Bryanʹs eyes gleamed, and he threw back his head and laughed. ʺYou have no idea,ʺ he said, then skated off.
YOUR BUTLER SHOWED ME IN,ʺ IVY SAID TO GUY ON Saturday afternoon, after Fleabag led her along the path that skirted the house to the pond.
Guy smiled and spread a towel beneath the dappled shade of an old apple tree.
They sat, resting back on their elbows, and talked about work: the eccentric artist whose lawn full of sculptures Guy had trimmed that morning, and the hermit crab Ivy had found hidden under a childʹs pillow. Guyʹs laughter came so much easier now. Ivy savored the sound of it.
ʺDo you want a swimming lesson today?ʺ she asked. ʺI was hoping you had brought your suit.ʺ
She nodded. ʺAnd a float. Iʹll be right back.ʺ Ivy changed her clothes in Guyʹs shed, then cut across the long grass to the pond. A hundred feet from the water she stopped. Guy was nowhere in sight. The cat stood at the pondʹs sandy edge, staring at the water. Guyʹs T‐shirt lay next to him.
ʺOh my God!ʺ Ivy dropped the float and flew down the bank. ʺGuy!ʺ she shouted. Ten feet into the pond she saw his dark shape at the bottom. ʺGuy!ʺ
She reached down to pull him up. At the same time he rose to his feet, knocking Ivy backward into the water. Caught by surprise, she came up coughing and sneezing. ʺWhat the heck were you doing?ʺ
ʺWhat were you doing?ʺ he asked back, then, realizing the answer, started grinning. ʺOh, you were saving me!ʺ Feeling foolish. Ivy didnʹt smile.
ʺIʹve been practicing staying under water,ʺ Guy explained. ʺI have to be able to face this fear without my lifeguard hovering over me. Donʹt be mad, Ivy.ʺ I She couldnʹt be. It was the same thing she had told Tristan the day she had arrived at the pool before him and tested her courage by diving for a penny.
ʺLook what I found,ʺ Guy said, opening his palm. Ivyʹs breath caught at the sight of the shiny penny.
ʺI saw it flashing under the water, like a piece of sun,ʺ he told her. ʺItʹs a sign.ʺ
She looked up quickly. ʺA sign… of what?ʺ Tristan, are you there? she asked silently. Guy hesitated. ʺHope. Or maybe itʹs just a penny.ʺ
ʺNo, itʹs a sign,ʺ she told him. He studied the penny. ʺThink Iʹll put this on the blanket. I donʹt want to lose my piece of hope.ʺ Ivy watched Guy walk to shore, head down, seeming deep in thought as he examined the penny. Should she tell him about that day at the pool when they first kissed? But if Tristan was hiding in Guy and if Lacey was right…. ʺReady for a swimming lesson?ʺ she asked when he returned, carrying the float.
ʺAs ready as ever.ʺ
ʺOkay. Kicking, breathing, and floating, those are todayʹs objectives,ʺ she told him, trying to sound teacher‐like and disguise the fact that she felt his eyes wherever they lit on her skin.
She coached him on the flutter kick, then instructed him to use the float and kick his way back and forth across the pond. Their lesson moved on to breathing: ʺPretend the waterʹs a pillow for your head,ʺ she told him, as Tristan had once told her.
ʺYouʹre a natural!ʺ she announced ten minutes later. ʺYou tell that to all your students.ʺ ʺLet’s try the back float.” she said, and demonstrated it.
Guy studied her for a long minute, then cocked his head in a flirty way. ʺCan I just watch?ʺ
ʺNo.ʺ Grinning, he dropped back in the water, seat first, and sank straight down. When he came up sputtering, Ivy laughed, and he splashed her.
ʹT did the same thing when I was learning. You have to arch your spine and drop your head back far enough so that the water is lapping your forehead.ʺ 1
She showed him again. She remembered how Tristan had placed a hand under her back to support her, then let her go. Iʹm floating, she had whispered to him.
Youʹre floating, Tristan had replied, gazing down at her.
Floating… Floating. . Guy was standing over her now and Ivy read it off his lips. She felt Guy touch the tips of her hair that had spread out in the water behind her.
He leaned over her, the sun behind his head making a halo of gold, his face lit by the reflections off the water. His arms surrounded her and lifted her up. It felt as if her body was awakening from a long sleep.
ʺIvy.ʺ His mouth formed her name against her throat, then he sought her mouth and kissed her with unbearable sweetness.
The kiss was Tristanʹs. Ivy knew it, even if Guy did not. She longed to hold and be held by him. She reveled in the way he brushed her wet hair from her face.
When he kissed her ears and the tip of her nose, she laughed at his playfulness, sure that she felt Tristanʹs joy in Guyʹs touch.
Tristan, I love you, she thought. Iʹll love you always.
IVY JOINED BETH AND AUNT CINDY AT CHURCH ON Sunday. With a shorthanded staff, Will told them he would stay at the inn. Through Beth, he had sent a message saying that he was gathering what they needed for the bonfire that evening.
Ever loyal and always thoughtful Will — was he proving it to her? Ivy chided herself for that thought. He had been through so much with her; he, too, needed this closure.
Maggie and Andrew waited till late afternoon to call, knowing that Ivy would be working most of the day. Now, with all but two couples checked out of the inn, she had the long front porch to herself and sat alone, gazing at the blue horizon, talking to them on the phone. About ten minutes later, Philip called her from his tree house.
ʺLacey visited me this morning,ʺ he said. ʺShe did?ʺ
ʺIn church.ʺ Philip giggled. ʺShe started tickling me.ʺ
ʺThat sounds like Lacey.ʺ ʺIt was in the middle of Reverend Heapʹs sermon.ʺ
ʺThat really sounds like Lacey.ʺ
ʺHe gave me a look,” Philip went on, ʺthen one of the old ladies who takes care of the flowers started pointing at me and saying ʹan angel, an an‐gel!ʹʺ
Ivy laughed. ʺShe could see Laceyʹs shimmer.ʺ
ʺThen sheʹs a believer,ʺ Ivy said. ʺBut other people, like Reverend Heap, could only see me. Mom turned really red.ʺ
ʺHow about Andrew — Dad?ʺ Ivy added, shifting to the name that Philip used.
ʺHe thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, Lacey said she was just checking in because we both missed Tristan. I still miss Tristan.ʺ Ivy got a lump in her throat.
ʺMom, Dad, and I looked at pictures of him when we got home.ʺ
ʺGood idea,ʺ Ivy said, wiping away a tear. ʺI think Iʹll do the same.” After Philip signed off, Ivy stared at her cell phone for a long time, debating whether to call Guy. Today of all days, she wanted to hear his voice.
On the wicker table next to Ivy sat a jug filled with bright pink roses, freshly cut from Aunt Cindyʹs garden. The scent of them carried Ivy back to the last night she and Tristan had together. He had brought her a bouquet of lavender roses.
To Ivy, their unusual color symbolized a once‐in‐a‐lifetime love. And they reminded her of water— water at dawn, water at sunset, the water that gave earthbound Tristan his wings. Tristan, are you with me?
It was crazy, she told herself, believing Tristan had come back to her. It was unfair to Guy, seeing someone else in him. And yet, the feeling was so strong.
Tristan, are you there? The phone rang. Ivy listened to the ringtone for a full minute before answering. ʺHi.ʺ
ʺHey, itʹs me,ʺ Guy said. ʺI was afraid you werenʹt going to pick up.ʺ
ʺI was. . thinking about things,ʺ she said. ʺWhat’re you doing?ʺ
ʺHacking at tree stumps. And you? Besides all that thinking, I mean.”
ʺWhen the weekenders leave we have a lot of cleanup. I did that and went to church, and talked to my family.ʺ
ʺWhat do you mean?ʺ
ʺYour voice,” Guy said. ʺThereʹs something wrong.ʺ Ivy fought back her tears.
ʺIvy? Ivy; are you there?ʺ he asked, in response to her long silence. ʺHold on.ʺ
She dug into her pockets for tissue. ʺAre you okay? Ivy, talk to me!ʺ
ʺIʹm okay.ʺ She wiped her eyes and blew her nose. ʺAll right. You donʹt have to say anything,ʺ he told her. ʺJust donʹt hang up on me.ʺ
ʺI wonʹt.ʺ Finally regaining her composure. Ivy said, ʺIʹm here.ʺ
ʺWhatʹs going on?ʺ Guy asked. ʺToday… today is June twenty‐fifth.ʺ
ʺWhich is a special day,ʺ he replied. Did he know that or was he just guessing?
ʺYes, Tristanʹs anniversary,ʺ Ivy said aloud. ʺHe died one year ago today.”
Guy didnʹt respond right away. ʺI’m sorry. What can I do to help? Do you want me to come over? Do you want to come here? Would you rather be alone?ʺ
ʺWill, Beth, and I are going to have a bonfire at Race Point. Tristan was a terrific swimmer, a racer.ʺ
ʺThen I think he would be happy to be remembered that way.ʺ
ʺWould you come?ʺ she asked suddenly. ʺPlease?ʺ Guy hesitated. ʺUm… Sure,ʺ he said. ʺI’ll meet you there. What time?ʺ ʺAround eight.ʺ After their conversation, Ivy went for a long walk.
A little after six, she returned to the cottage to change into jeans and found Dhanya sitting on the swing. ʺHowʹs it going?ʺ Dhanya asked. ʺOkay. Thanks.ʺ
ʺWill told Kelsey and me about the bonfire. He invited us.ʺ Ivy was taken aback.
ʺIt’s not a party.ʺ ʺIt’s a wake,ʺ Kelsey said, emerging from the cottage carrying a long slice of pizza that flopped over the edge of her paper plate. ʺAnd wakes are parties for the dead, the best way to honor the dearly departed.ʺ
ʺHis name is Tristan,ʺ Ivy replied, and headed inside. She was angry. Why would Will think sheʹd like to have Dhanya and Kelsey along? But then, she had invited Guy, and Will would be just as unhappy about her invitation. Be fair, she told herself.
A half hour later, after Will piled firewood, shovels, and a cooler in the trunk of his car. Ivy climbed in the backseat and Beth in the front. Kelsey and Dhanya followed Will in Kelsey’ s Jeep.
During the thirty‐mile trip. Ivy kept waiting for the right moment to tell them that Guy was coming, but couldnʹt find an opening. Both Beth and Will were quiet.
It occurred to Ivy that Will had invited the other girls as a buffer, to keep things from getting too intense. When the two cars arrived at the parking lot, Kelsey offered to drag the wheeled cooler across the dunes. Will carried the logs and Ivy the kindling. Beth picked up the beach towels and an armful of purple salvia that she had cut from Aunt Cindyʹs garden. Ivy entrusted Dhanya with the photo album she had brought.
Large dunes separated the lot from the beach and they walked in slow procession along the main path between the dunes. Ivy liked the effort of walking in the deep sand; the ocean breeze was cool, but the sand felt warm beneath her feet.
Ivy and Will dug the fire pit. Beth sat on a beach blanket holding the album that Dhanya had set down. Kelsey immediately plundered the ice chest, only to discover that no alcohol had been packed.
She and Dhanya played in the shallow foam of the ocean, laughing and splashing each other. When the pit was dug. Will placed the logs and arranged the kindling. Ivy gazed out at the indigo water. Race Point Beach lay along the northern edge of the National Seashore, where the Capeʹs long finger curled back toward the mainland. The bend in the beach, like the bend in the horizon, made Ivy feel as if she was standing on a ledge between two worlds. The world she had always known was glowing in the west, gold and rose‐colored.
But another world of mauve and starlight like the one on the night Tristan had kissed her, hung in the east She felt caught between. When the fire was roaring, Kelsey and Dhanya joined the others around it.
ʺAre we going to sing songs?ʺ Kelsey asked as everyone sat down. ʺWeʹre sharing memories of Tristan,ʺ Will answered quietly, ʺtalking about the kind of person he was and the things he did.ʺ
ʺThatʹs kind of depressing, isnʹt it?ʺ Kelsey said, then her face brightened as she looked toward the dunes ʺOh, hello!ʺ Everyone turned to follow her gaze. Guy was walking toward them.
ʺI got here as soon as I could,ʺ he said when he was close. ʺWho invited you?ʺ
Will demanded. ʺI did.” Ivy replied. Guy kept his eyes on her. ʺI brought you some flowers.ʺ
He held a bouquet wrapped in florist paper behind him, as if uncertain about offering it. Ivy smiled and stood up, holding out her hands. ʺOh!ʹ She looked from the roses to Guy, tears stinging her eyes. ʺTheyʹre lavender.ʺ
ʺI did the wrong thing,ʺ Guy said, quickly pulling them away. Ivy reached for the flowers, her hands catching and holding his.
ʺNo! No, theyʹre perfect.ʺ She looked into his eyes. ʺHow did you know thatthat I love lavender roses?ʺ He shrugged. ʺThey just seemed right for you.ʺ
ʺTheyʹre beautiful. Thank you,ʺ Ivy said, cradling the flowers in her arms.
ʺMy parents gave me lavender roses for my sixteenth birthday,ʺ Dhanya interjected. ʺI get a different color each year. And always the number of years I am.ʺ
ʺBefore Princess Dhanya tells us the details of each of her very special birthday celebrations,ʺ Kelsey said, ʺgrab a soda, Guy. Let’s get this wake going.ʺ
Ivy made room on her blanket. Guy sat next to her, across from Will and Beth.
Will spoke about Tristan as a top‐rated swimmer and Ivy recalled the day Suzanne and Beth had dragged her to her first school meet to watch him compete. ʺCan I look at the pictures you brought?ʺ Dhanya asked.
Beth passed the album, and Dhanya started turning pages. ʺHey, whoʹs this gorgeous guy?ʺ She carried the book over to Ivy, placing it on her lap and squeezing onto the blanket next to her. ʺGregory.ʺ
Ivy heard Beth draw in her breath. Will dropped his head and stared at the fire.
ʺThe murderer? Let me see,ʺ Kelsey said, scooting sideways and leaning over them. ʺHe doesnʹt look like a murderer.ʺ
ʺWhat does a murderer look like?ʺ Beth replied sharply. ʺHow can anyone tell?ʺ
ʺFor one thing,ʺ Kelsey said, ʺthere should be cruelty in either his eyes or his mouth. I canʹt see them in these little pictures.ʺ
ʺIvy, thatʹs you — in that cheesy dress!ʺ Dhanya exclaimed. ʺTell me you didnʹt choose it.ʺ
ʺI didnʹt. This is Tristan,ʺ Ivy said, pointing to a photo of a table of wedding guests, which Tristan happened to be passing. Guy leaned closer to study the picture, but she saw no flicker of recognition on his face. ʺThe Tristan?ʺ Dhanya asked. “But heʹs just a waiter!ʺ
Ivy laughed and told them about her motherʹs wedding and Tristanʹs short-lived catering career. ʺI think it was love at first sight for my little brother, if not for me.ʺ
Guy pointed to her brother in another photo. ʺPhilip. I recognize him.ʺ Ivyʹs heart skipped a beat. Then she remembered they had met at the hospital.
ʺHeʹs a cute kid.” Kelsey said, returning to her own blanket and flopping back to stare up at the darkening sky. Dhanya turned the page. ʺBeth, your hairʹs different. I like it better now.ʺ
Dhanya was looking at the picture of Beth, Tristan, and Ella. ʺI gave Ella to Tristan,ʺ Ivy explained to Guy. ʺI had to give her up and Tristan answered my ad. He knew nothing about cats, but he assured me heʹd take good care of hersaid heʹd ʹwashʹ and feed her.ʺ Guy smiled. ʺThat was just a ploy to see you.ʺ
ʺYes. But he soon got attached to her,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺWhereʹs Ella now?ʺ Guy asked. ʺGregory hanged her,ʺ Beth said.
Dhanya gasped. Kelsey let out a low whistle. Will threw a stick in the fire.
ʺAny which way he could get you/ʹ Guy remarked.
ʺYes, if it hadnʹt been for Will, Gregory would have succeeded. Will risked his life for me. He saved me.ʺ Will stared into the flames. Rising to her feet, Ivy went to him. Kneeling close, she put her arms around him. For a minute, he rested back against her, laying his hand over hers.
When Ivy looked up, Guy had shut the album and was watching them from across the bonfire. Dhanya sniffled loudly.
Kelsey sat up. ʺDhanya, youʹre crying for a cat and a guy you donʹt even know.ʺ
ʺI know Ivy and Will,ʺ Dhanya replied.
ʺIf somebody doesnʹt get cheerful around here,ʺ Kelsey said, ʺIʹm leaving.ʺ No one said anything cheerful. ʺAll right, boys and girls, Iʹm out of here. You coming, Dhanya?ʺ
Dhanya shook her head no. “I’ll go with you,” Beth said, standing up. Will and Ivy looked at her surprised. ʺIt’s over. Tristan is gone.” Beth told them, tossing her bouquet of salvia into the fire.
It flared, flames leaping skyward: far a moment, then dropped back. A shower off sparks, darkening to cinders, made Ivy think of falling stars.
“Rest in peace, Tristan,” Will said softly.
WILL AND IVY BURIED THE FIRE AN HOUR LATER. IVY wished she could ride home on the back of Guyʹs motorbike, but she could see that Will was still hurting and would feel betrayed if she didnʹt return with him and Dhanya.
All of them went to bed early, and Ivy slept solidly until three a.m., when she was jolted awake. Opening her eyes, she became instantly alert, as if someone had called to her.
She sat up, listening intently. Beth, Dhanya, and Kelsey remained asleep. Ivy knelt by the window, pressing her face against the screen, but she neither saw nor heard anyone outside.
Rising to her feet, she slipped on her T‐shirt and jeans, then picked up her shoes and wallet, and tiptoed down the steps. Outside the cottage the full moon was high, silvering the garden. Ivy paused only a moment to take in the quiet night, then walked to her car with purpose, as if she had planned hours ago to return to Race Point.
She coasted in neutral with her headlights off until she reached the paved road, then flicked them on and drove. There was a part of Ivy that stood outside herself, wondering at her own actions.
This feeling of being called — had it come from a dream? All she knew was that whatever had awakened her, it was something beyond herself.
Ivy left her car in an empty lot at Race Point and walked toward the sea. The rich colors of sunset and bonfire had burned away. The landscape of dune and ocean, bathed in the light of the moon, seemed otherworldly. ʺI knew youʹd come.ʺ
At the sound of Guyʹs voice. Ivyʹs heart stopped. Guy had followed her from the path through the dunes. In the moonlight his fair hair was tarnished silver.
ʹʹDid you? How?ʺ
ʺI couldnʹt sleep, and I kept thinking. Sheʹs going back. I have to be there.ʺ He stopped six inches from her. ʺWhat made you return?ʺ he asked.
ʺI donʹt know. I felt like I was being called.ʺ They walked together to the fire pit.
Ivy had left a single lavender rose on top of the buried fire. Picking it up, she touched its velvet petals with one finger. ʺHe brought you lavender roses,” Guy said. ʺYou knew that?ʺ
ʺWhen I saw the expression on your face, I knew.ʺ Ivy dropped her eyes. ʺI was trying to help,” Guy told her. ʺIʹm sorry if I made you hurt more.ʺ
ʺYou didnʹt. It felt like — a kind of miracle — getting those roses. It felt like… a message from Tristan.ʺ
Guy reached for her hand. ʺCome here. I found a good place to sit.ʺ He led her to a sheltered spot between sandy knolls that rustled with beach grass. Sitting on the sand, they rested their backs against a bleached log.
ʺWhen you and Will were talking about Tristan,ʺ Guy said, ʺI felt like I knew him.ʺ Ivy gazed into Guyʹs eyes hopefully. ʺHow did Tristan die?ʺ he asked.
ʺGregory cut his carʹs brake line,ʺ Ivy replied. ʺWe were driving on a winding road, and there was a deer, and another car. We couldnʹt stop. I lived. Tristan didnʹt.ʺ She searched Guyʹs face for a flicker of recognition, but he looked away before she could read his eyes. ʺWas Gregory jealous of Tristan?ʺ he asked.
“Was Gregory in love with you?ʺ ʺNo, I was the target. I had run into Gregory the night he killed his mother and—ʺ
ʺ—he thought that I knew he had done it.ʺ ʺEven so,ʺ Guy said, ʺwas Gregory in love with you?”
ʺFor a while he pretended to care. I would wake up from terrible dreams, and he would be there. He was so gentle with me. He would hold me until I went back to sleep.ʺ ʺSo, maybe—ʺ
ʺNo. At the end it was clear — Gregory hated me.”
ʺLove can fuel hate,ʺ Guy observed He drew a triangle in the sand and traced it twice, frowning. ʺWhat is it?ʺ Ivy asked. He shook his head. ʺI donʹt know.
Sometimes something seems familiar, and then I lose the thread again.”
Ivy reached and smoothed his cheek with the backs of her fingers. ʺIʹm haunted by a past I canʹt forget, and youʹre haunted by a past you canʹt remember.ʺ
Guy encircled her with his arms. ʺSo. let’s live in the present. Every moment I have with you feels like a gift.ʺ
They leaned against the log, gazing up at the stars. His tender kiss became a passionate one. After a while, Guy took off his shirt and spread it on the sand, then lay back on the edge of it, leaving most of the soft fabric for Ivy. She lay down and rested against his chest.
ʺSleep, now.” he said, holding her securely in his arms. ʺWeʹre together now.
IVY AWOKE TO A SKY STREAKED WITH PEACH AND pink in the east. Guyʹs arms were still around her, his eyes closed. She slid onto her side and propped herself up on one elbow, studying his face, the golden lashes and rough beard.
With one finger she traced the shape of his lips. His eyes opened. ʺGood morning,” he said softly. ʺHowʹd you sleep?ʺ
ʺGreat. I found a good pillow. How about you?ʺ
He raised himself far enough to kiss her shoulder. *I found a sleep mate who doesnʹt have fleas.ʺ She shoved him down, laughing. ʺWhat time do you have to be at work?ʺ he asked. ʺWork!ʺ Ivy sat up and fumbled for her cell phone. It was dead. ʺDo you know what time it is?ʺ
Guy pulled his phone from his pocket. ʺA little after five.ʺ
ʺThe innʹs almost an hour away, and I start work at six thirty!ʺ
ʺBack to reality,ʺ Guy said, rising to his feet, then extending a hand to her. She picked up his shirt and shook it clean.
Guy, who had parked his motorbike by the visitorsʹ center, caught up with Ivy and followed her down Route 6. By the time they arrived at the Seabright’s lot, the sun was shooting yellow rays through gaps in the dark scrub pine. Climbing off his bike, Guy checked his phone again. ʺFive fifty‐eight,” he told her.
Ivy leaned against her car, reluctant to say good‐bye. ʺYou know, Beth has always said that cars are like clothes — details that develop a storyʹs character.”
ʺWhat kind of car would you like to drive?ʺ she asked. ʺSomething with a lot of horsepower that looks good with dents.ʺ Ivy grinned. Hand in hand, they walked the path toward the cottage. “What do you think you did drive?ʺ
ʺProbably somebody elseʹs old car. Like my parentsʹ or — I donʹt even know—ʺ
His voice cracked. ʺI donʹt even know if I have parents.ʺ
ʺWhat kind of parents would you want to have? How about a mother whoʹs a doctor?ʺ Ivy felt Guy pull back. ʺThatʹs dangerous. Ivy.ʺ ʺWhat is?ʺ she asked defensively. ʹImagining things about me. I donʹt want to get confused. I donʹt want to mix up what really happened with the things that I wantʺ—he hesitated
—ʺthat I want so badly to be true.ʺ
What do you want to be true? Ivy was about to ask, then she saw him turn his head toward the cottage.
Beth sat on the swing. Will on the doorstep, both of them with arms folded.
ʺWhere have you been?ʺ Beth asked, her voice hard.
ʺRace Point,ʺ Ivy replied.
ʺWhy did you go back? Why did he?ʺ Ivy bit back anger at Bethʹs reference to Guy in the third person. ʺWe wanted to.ʺ
Will stood up abruptly and strode away without a word. Beth rose from the swing. At the same time Kelsey appeared at the cottageʹs door, still wearing her satin nightie.
ʺWell, well, well,” she said, holding open the screen door. ʺIvy, the good girl, whoʹd never sneak off on a midnight adventure, returns at dawn.” Kelsey winked at Guy. ʺLooks to me like Ivy had a lot better night than we did.ʺ
Beth pushed her way past Kelsey, entering the cottage. Kelsey glanced over her shoulder, then said, ʺYou owe me, Ivy, for not letting Beth run to Aunt Cindy, getting you in a heap of trouble. And you owe me and Dhanya for a lost hour of sleep Beth was hysterical.”
Ivy turned to Guy. ʺYou had better go,ʺ she said softly. ʺTalk to you later, okay?ʺ He squeezed her hand and silently headed back to the lot. A half hour later, Ivy was the last one to arrive at the innʹs kitchen, dressed for work.
It must have been obvious from Willʹs grim expression, Bethʹs stiffness, the gleam in Kelseyʹs eye, and the furtive glances from Dhanya that something had occurred overnight. Aunt Cindy quickly assessed them, and instead of assigning jobs said, ʺToday Iʹll need one of you in the garden, one with me for breakfast, one cleaning the room that was vacated late, and two to wash down the porch.
Figure it out.ʺ Then she left them to make her usual pot of high‐powered coffee.
Ivy, wanting to be away from the others, chose the least favorite job, cleaning the room. With work light that morning, all of them finished up early. Ivy headed for the beach below the inn. She walked halfway down the fifty‐two wood steps that descended the bluff and sat for a few minutes on the landing with the benches.
She wanted to think about Guy, to remember each sweet moment with him, to run through every sign mat Tristan had come back to her. After a while, she descended the remainder of the steps and walked by the water.
Darker thoughts began to creep into her mind. What if Lacey was right, Ivy wondered, and Tristan had done something forbidden when he saved her? If he was hiding inside of Guy, could her loving Guy damn Tristanʹs soul forever?
At last she returned to the inn and climbed the steps, deep in thought.
Lifting her head, she saw Beth and Will standing on the landing. Grim‐faced, shoulder to shoulder, they made Ivy think of sword‐bearing angels forbidding Adam and Eveʹs return to Eden.
ʺExcuse me,ʺ Ivy said, trying to get past them. They blocked her way. ʺWe need to talk,ʺ Will said. ʺThings have gone too far.ʺ Ivy blinked. ʺWhat is this, an intervention?ʺ ʺCall it whatever you want,ʺ he replied. ʺWeʹre doing it because we care. Ivy, youʹre not making good decisions.ʺ
ʺYouʹre taking huge risks/ʹ Beth said. ʺIʹm taking the same risk as anyone who has ever loved a person.ʺ Beth shook her head. ʺBut you donʹt know who Guy is.ʺ
ʺActually, I believe I know Guy better than he knows himself.ʺ
ʺWhich,ʺ Will reminded her, ʺis just what you said about Gregory when his mother was found dead. You felt sorry for him and made excuses for his reckless ways. You said that living with him, you understood him. Now youʹre making excuses for Guy.ʺ
ʺYouʹre making excuses for a person who canʹt remember why he was in a fight brutal enough to kill him,ʺ Beth added. ʺFor all you know,” Will said, ʺGuy could have killed someone and been beaten up in the process.ʺ
ʺThatʹs crazy!ʺ Ivy exclaimed. ʺAs crazy as thinking Guy was the driver who ran Beth and me off the road!ʺ
ʺIvy, heʹs pretending he canʹt remember. Why are you so gullible?ʺ Will cried.
ʺAnd why are you so ready to think the worst of someone?ʺ she countered.
ʺI got an e‐mail from Suzanne/ʹ Beth said quietly.
ʺYou did?ʺ Ivy leaned against the railing, feeling suddenly worn down by the arguing. ʺSheʹs been dreaming about Gregory.ʺ Ivy thought for a moment.
ʺThatʹs not surprising.ʺ
ʺSheʹs been dreaming about him for the last two weeks.ʺ
ʺBeth, all of us have been thinking about Gregory and Tristan for the last two weeks,ʺ Ivy pointed out. ʺI read the e‐mails,ʺ Will said. ʺSuzanne canʹt remember the dreams — she just knows sheʹs talking to Gregory.ʺ
ʺIn the dreams, you mean,ʺ Ivy responded. ʺSheʹs reliving past scenes.ʺ
Will clenched his fists with impatience. ʺI said she canʹt remember the dreams.
But she feels like he is haunting her.ʺ
Ivy looked from one to the other. Willʹs forehead was beaded with perspiration.
Bethʹs fingers pinched her amethyst so hard, their tips had turned bloodless white.
ʺIt was bound to happen,ʺ Ivy reasoned. ʺWhen Gregory died and the truth came out, Suzanne handled it ʹbeautifullyʹ as everyone said. But thereʹs no way a person can handle that kind of situation ʹbeautifully.ʹ It’s a nightmare and it will produce nightmares, and it will not go away until it has. There is no shortcut to healing from it. Suzanne is finally doing that now.ʺ
ʺNo. Gregory is back,ʺ Beth insisted, taking two steps down to Ivy. She laid a cold hand on her arm. ʺIvy, you almost lost your life two weeks ago — in a car accident, just like the one Gregory caused last year. What will it take for you to believe me?ʺ
Ivy pulled her arm free and slipped through the gap between her friends. ʺYour imaginationʹs running away with you, Beth. You and Will have made up your minds, and youʹre not even trying to listen to me.ʺ
ʺIʹm listening,ʺ Beth called over her shoulder. “And I hear things that you cannot.”
IT FELT STRANGE, BEING AT ODDS WITH HER TWO best friends. Ivy was worried about Beth, but there was no point in discussing her concerns with Will, not now, when he was convinced that Ivy was the one going off the deep end.
Late that afternoon, having made plans to go with Guy to a summer carnival, Ivy went upstairs to look for something special to wear. She found Beth pacing the bedroom, her cell phone pressed to her ear.
ʺNo, Iʹm busy,” Beth said to the caller. ʺIʹve already made plans for tonight.ʺ
Listening for a moment, Beth frowned. ʺI never said that, Chase. . No, you canʹt come with me.ʺ
Seeing Ivy, Beth turned her back and hunched over the phone.
Ivy watched her for a moment in the mirror, then continued toward her bureau.
ʺSorry, I have to go,ʺ Beth said, and clicked off the phone.
Ivy glanced over her shoulder. A week ago, she would have sat on the bed, patted the place next to her, and asked her friend, Howʹs everything? Now she gazed silently at Beth, who frowned at her image in the mirror, wriggling her shoulders as if she had touched something distasteful, and headed downstairs.
ʺSTRAWBERRY DAYS!ʺ IVY SAID SEVERAL HOURS LATER, happily slipping her hand in Guyʹs and gazing up at a banner that stretched between two antique fire trucks. The annual week‐long carnival, which raised money for the Capeʹs fire departments, was a colorful jumble of booths and rides spread beneath strings of lights.
ʺWhere do you want to start?ʺ she asked.
ʺGames,ʺ said Guy, smiling down at her. ʺI feel lucky tonight. How about darts?
The booth, tended by a woman wearing a fire hat, had rows of red, white, and blue balloons. Guy plunked down two dollars.
ʺHereʹs your dahts,ʺ the woman said with a strong Massachusetts accent. ʺGood luck.ʺ Guy picked up a dart and turned it in his hands, examining it. ʺI canʹt remember. . which way does it go?ʺ he asked Ivy, then laughed at her reaction.
ʺIʹm kidding.ʺ Raising his arm, he aimed and threw. Pop!
ʺOne!ʺ said the woman. He missed with the next dart. ʺOne for two.ʺ Guy set his jaw and threw — Pop! — and threw again. Pop! ʺThree for four,ʺ the woman announced. Guy threw the final dart. Pop! ʺFour for five! Pick a prize, any row, sir!ʺ
Guy turned to Ivy. ʺWhat would you like?ʺ
ʺYou choose,ʺ Ivy told him, curious to see what he would select. Guy studied the rainbow of stuffed animals. ʺTop row, third from the left.ʺ The woman handed him a plush white horse with wings. ʺIf s either an angel horse or Pegasus,ʺ Guy told Ivy as he laid the stuffed toy in her hands.
ʺPegasus,ʺ she repeated. ʺYou know your mythology.ʺ
Guy gave her a crooked smile. ʺMore proof that Iʹm a classy guy.ʺ
ʺI always knew it! Thank you,” Ivy said, tucking the toy under her arm. ʺPeg is very sweet.ʺ
They moved on to another booth and took turns tossing hoops over bottles, then caught a ride on the Ferris wheel, rising and falling through the twinkling lights of the carnival.
ʺWant another ride or dinner?ʺ Guy asked her when they got off.
ʺDessert for me,ʺ Ivy said. ʺAnd then another ride. And then another dessert.ʺ
He laughed and they walked with arms around each other, following the signs to the food concessions. On the way. Ivy was flagged down by Max.
ʺIvy, over here!ʺ he called. He and Beth were sitting on a bench near the bumper cars. ʺWhoʹs that?ʺ Guy asked. ʺMax. And Beth.ʺ
ʺIs Will here tonight?ʺ Guyʹs voice held a tinge of uneasiness. ʺI think they all came together/ʹ she replied, and saw the guarded way Guy glanced around.
ʺWhy donʹt you get in line at the burger stand while I say hello,” Ivy suggested.
She joined Max and Beth, squeezing onto the bench. ʺHey, where are the others?ʺ Max pointed. ʺIn the Dodgʹems. Beth didnʹt want to drive one.
And I know how Bryan and Kelsey get into slamming cars, so I didnʹt want to either.ʺ Ivy smiled, then stood for a moment to watch. The bumper cars were the old‐fashioned kind, with tall black poles ending in snakelike tongues that licked and sparked across a metal ceiling. Will and Dhanya drove smoothly around the polished floor; Bryan, Kelsey, and someone else, spun their cars like lunatics, causing multiple crashes.
ʺIs that Chase?ʺ Ivy asked, surprised. ʺYes,ʺ Max replied, when Beth didnʹt.
ʺThe smell,ʺ Beth murmured. ʺIvy, that terrible smell.ʺ
ʺKind of like burnt hair?ʺ Max asked. ʺBumper cars always smell that way.ʺ
Ivy sat down. ʺI didnʹt think Chase was coming tonight.ʺ
ʺNeither did we,ʺ Max replied. ʺHe was waiting in the parking lot and followed us in.ʺ
Be careful/ʹ Beth said. ʺIf s dangerous/ʹ Ivy frowned. Was it Chase who was scaring Beth?
ʺIt’s electric, but it’s safe,ʺ Max assured her. Beth shook her head, twisting the chain of her pendant. They were carrying on two different conversations. Ivy realized, neither seeming aware that the other didnʹt understand.
The cars stopped, and Kelsey, Bryan, and Chase kept up their boisterous shoving and laughing as they came down the exit ramp. Will and Dhanya followed quietly.
ʺHey, Ivy! You should have been out there with us, you and Guy,ʺ Kelsey said, then stopped to look around. ʺWhere is Mystery Man?ʺ Ivy pointed over her shoulder toward the burger stand. ʺGetting something to eat.ʺ
ʺMystery Man,ʺ Bryan said. ʺYou mean our friendly local amnesiac?ʺ
ʺWhere?ʺ Chase asked, his gray eyes shining with curiosity. ʺThe gorgeous guy, third in line,ʺ Kelsey told them.
They craned their necks to see. When Ivy saw Willʹs eyes narrow, she turned to look as well. Guy was talking to a dark‐haired girl, shaking his head and gesturing forcefully, as if making a point.
He walked away from the girl, but a moment later, after she said something to his back, he turned toward her again and continued the conversation, more heatedly than before. ʺExcuse me,ʺ Ivy said as she moved toward them.
ʺCatfight!ʺ Kelsey announced hopefully. Before Ivy reached Guy, the girl walked away. She was digging in her purse and Ivy caught a snatch of the ringtone from the girlʹs phone.
The girl pressed the phone to her ear, then gazed back one more time at Guy.
Ivy barely caught the sound of her light voice as the girl hurried away. ʺDid she say ʹBye, Lukeʹ?ʺ Ivy asked. Guy spun around. ʺWhat?ʺ
ʺI thought she called you ʹLuke,” Ivy said. ʺShe didnʹt,ʺ he replied, but he wouldnʹt meet Ivyʹs eyes. ʺDo you know her, Guy?ʺ
ʺIʹve never seen her in my life. She was asking directions.ʺ He had gotten awfully riled up over a set of directions. ʺTo where?ʺ His eyes sparked. ʺIs this an interrogation?ʺ Tilting her head to one side, Ivy studied him.
ʺSorry,ʺ Guy apologized, his voice softening. ʺI shouldnʹt have snapped.ʺ
After a moment. Ivy nodded. ʺAnd I shouldnʹt have pressed you.ʺ
Guy looked past her, glancing around anxiously. ʺIʹm really tired, Ivy. Do you mind taking me home?ʺ
ʺDonʹt you want to eat something?ʺ
ʺI have stuff in my cooler.ʺ She gave in with a sigh. Perhaps Luke was the name of the person who called the girl on her phone, Ivy thought, as they walked silently to her car. Even so, she knew that something had upset Guy and he was covering it up.
When they arrived back at Willow Pond, Guy didnʹt want her to stay. ʺIʹm going straight to bed,ʺ he said, climbing quickly out of the Beetle.
Ivy opened her door and met him halfway around the car. ʺWhat if I just sit by the pond and check on you in a little while to make sure youʹre okay?ʺ
ʺNo.ʺ The swiftness of his response made her blink. ʺI need some sleep, Ivy. I need… some time to myself — some space.ʺ
The same thing that she had asked of Will. Ivyʹs throat tightened. ʺIʹll be better tomorrow. Donʹt forget to feed Pegasus,ʺ he added with a forced smile.
ʺCall me,ʺ she said.
Without replying, Guy brushed her cheek with the backs of his fingers and walked away.
IVY PACED THE FIRST FLOOR OF THE COTTAGE, mentally replaying the scene between Guy and the girl at the carnival, trying to interpret it. Guyʹs gestures suggested strong emotions, but whether she had seen anger, frustration, or disbelief, Ivy couldnʹt say.
If the girl had claimed she knew Guy, why hadnʹt he told Ivy, so they could pursue whatever clues he now had? Maybe he wanted to check things out without her looking over his shoulder. Maybe he didnʹt like what he had heard about himself; maybe it was something terrible.
No, Ivy told herself. Your mind has been poisoned by Beth and Will.
Still, once suspicion had taken root, she couldnʹt get rid of it. Each time she passed through the kitchen, she saw Bethʹs laptop lying open on the table. Was it a desire to help or a failure to trust that tempted her?
She wasnʹt sure, but at eleven fifteen, with the others still out, she sat down to Google the name ʺLuke.ʺ
ʺLukeʺ and what? Ivy drummed her fingers. ʺLukeʺ and ʺmissing person,ʺ she typed, then laughed at herself. Only 51,800 results. She tried ʺLukeʺ and ʺmissing personʺ and ʺMassachusetts.ʺ 8,310 results. As she scanned them she found entries for hospitals named St Luke and people named Luke who were not from Massachusetts but had a relative there or had passed through there.
She could eliminate ʺSt.ʺ and ʺhospitalʺ from the search, but did it really make sense to restrict her search to Massachusetts? Why not Rhode Island or any other state, she thought; Cape Cod was crawling with tourists — the girl at the carnival could have been one.
Perhaps if she searched by date. But when did Guy go missing? The day he was left for dead on the beach, or could it have been some time before? The articles and postings always mentioned age, but she didnʹt know exactly how old he was.
Ivy continued scanning, clicking on entries, reading description after description of people who had disappeared into thin air. Sheʹd had no idea there were so many.
Had something terrible happened to them, she wondered, or had they ʺescapedʺ and lied to start new lives? Engrossed in what she was reading, she didnʹt hear the footsteps. She wasnʹt aware of Will until he leaned on the back of her chair.
ʺIvy, what are you doing?ʺ She slammed down the computer lid and whirled around. ʺWill! You scared me,ʺ she said, knowing that was a flimsy excuse for her overreaction. Will remained unruffled. ʺWhoʹs Luke?ʺ When he reached as if he was going to open the laptop, she laid her hand on it. ʺI donʹt know.ʺ
ʺIs that Guyʹs real name?ʺ
ʺIf it is,ʺ she replied, ʺIʹm sure you would have discovered that by now with your thorough investigation.ʺ Will grimaced. ʺIʹm not your enemy. Ivy.ʺ
ʺAnd you think that Guy is?ʺ He folded his arms. ʺI think you canʹt tell the difference between a guy caring about you and a guy using you.ʺ
Ivy felt the heat rise in her cheeks. ʺGet out of here! Get out now!ʺ
Before Will could slam the door behind him. Ivy closed down her search and turned off the computer. If only she could turn off the growing fear in her mind.
FROM THE MOMENT SHE AWOKE TUESDAY MORNING, Ivy checked her cell phone, but Guy didnʹt call. It was hard not to phone him, but heʹd said he wanted space, so she forced herself to be patient.
Late in the afternoon, finding the phoneʹs silence unbearable, she drove to St.
Peterʹs to practice piano, hoping to fill her head with Chopin, Schubert, and Beethoven. At six thirty, she picked up a sandwich at a cafe near the church, then returned to practice.
What if something has happened to Guy? she thought, and almost used that as an excuse to call him. But she knew that Kip had her phone number ʺin case of emergencyʺ and would have contacted her if there had been a problem. At eight twenty, she drove home, setting her phone on the car seat so she could quickly pick it up.
Arriving at the Seabright, Ivy saw that both Kelseyʹs and Willʹs cars were gone.
The cottageʹs windows were dark, and inside it was silent. Ivy walked quietly, reluctant to disturb the buildingʹs twilight In the kitchen only the night‐light burned, shining on a note from Aunt Cindy that said she would be out for the evening.
Hoping to take her mind off Guy, Ivy headed upstairs to fetch her paperback mystery. Halfway up the steps she stopped. Candlelight flickered against the bedroomʹs low ceiling. She tiptoed to the top of the stairs and stared with amazement at Beth, who was sitting on the floor by Dhanyaʹs bed, focusing on the Ouija board.
Above the circle of tea lights, Bethʹs profile was ghostly white, a streak of crimson staining her cheek. She gave no sign of knowing that Ivy was moving toward her.
With her fingers resting on the planchette, Beth closed her eyes and chanted softly. Ivy leaned forward, trying to hear the words. ʺAnswer, answer, give me your answerʺ Beth murmured.
Seconds ticked by. Bethʹs hands, shoulders, and head were still. The only movement was that of her eyes beneath pale, closed lids. She was like a person dreaming, her eyes darting behind the lids, seeing things that Ivy could not.
ʺ Answer, answer, give me your answer.ʺ
The planchette started to move, its motion erratic at first.
ʺ Answer, answer!ʺ Beth chanted, her voice more insistent. The triangular piece moved in a slow circle around the board — counterclockwise.
Ivy counted six circles. Then six more, and six more again.
ʺ Answer, answer, give me your answer, Is it you?ʺ
The planchette moved to the letter G.
Ivy held her breath. Guy or Gregory?
The plastic slid sideways and down to the letter R.
Ivy watched, nerves tingling.
ʺGregory,ʺ Ivy mouthed.
ʺIs,ʺ she said softly, but Beth, deep in a trance, didnʹt hear.
ʺStop it!ʺ Ivy cried out.
ʺStop it, Beth!ʺ
ʺStop it now!ʹʹ
Before the planchette touched the final E, Ivy leaned down and swept it toward GOOD BYE, then off the board.
Bethʹs head jerked back as if Ivy had slapped her. ʺBeth, what are you doing?ʺ
Ivy demanded. ʺI canʹt believe youʹd try to—ʺ
ʺHeʹs hereʺ Beth said in a faraway voice. ʹThereʹs no stopping him now.ʺ
A loud knock made Ivy jump. She glanced toward the stairway — someone was at the cottage door. Beth leaned forward and calmly blew out each candle. Before she reached the last Ivy ran down the steps. Taking a deep breath, she opened the front door.
ʺOh, thank God!ʺ she said. ʺIvy, are you okay?ʺ Guy asked and quickly stepped inside. ʺYouʹre trembling. Whatʹs wrong?ʺ
ʺIʹm just — just spooked.ʺ It was too dark to see his eyes, but Ivy could feel Guy studying her. ʺSpooked by me?ʺ he asked. She laughed shakily. ʺNo. Beth—ʺ
How could she explain? ʺItʹs a long story.ʺ
ʺSo letʹs take a long walk,ʺ he said.
ʺTHE THING I LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING ON A BEACH IS that one half of the world is the sky,ʺ Ivy told Guy as they stood at the top of the steps that led down the bluff.
ʺOne half of the world is the stars,ʺ he replied. Ivy turned to him. Tristan, she thought do you remember? Do you remember kissing me in a cathedral of stars?
Guy gazed upward, his head back, taking in the stars. ʺTheyʹre so bright when youʹre away from town lights. They look closer.ʺ
ʺClose enough to touch,ʺ Ivy said. ʺThereʹs Orion, the hunter.” Guy pointed. ʺI recognize his sword.ʺ They walked down the steps together, removed their shoes, and followed the path through the dunes. ʺWant to walk by the waterʹs edge?ʺ Guy asked. ʺNow that I know how to float,” he added with a smile, ʺIʹm not afraid of drowning in an inch of ocean.ʺ
Ivy reached for Guyʹs hand and they walked toward the water. The tide was receding, leaving behind a cache of silver pebbles and shells. After they had walked a distance, Ivy turned to look at their footprints, his close to hers, matching strides. Guy turned too, then smiled and put his arm around her as they continued to walk.
ʺSo tell me what spooked you,ʺ. Guy said, ʺSomething about Beth?ʺ Ivy nodded.
ʺBeth is psychic.ʺ Guy slowed midstride. ʺShe is?ʺ
ʺYes, she truly has the gift. But itʹs a curse, too. What Beth sees, what she senses, often frightens her.ʺ
ʺYou said she helped you last year. Did she figure out that Gregory was the killer?ʺ
ʺShe figured out an important part of it.ʺ ʺWhat did Beth see tonight?ʺ he asked.
Ivy shrugged off his question. ʺIt doesnʹt matter. I overreacted. Sometimes I think that Beth mixes up what she sees and what she imagines. Sheʹs got a very fertile imagination.ʺ
With one hand, Guy turned Ivyʹs face toward him and gazed at her steadily. ʺI think it does matter, because it upset you. But youʹll tell me when youʹre ready.ʺ
Then he dropped his arm from her shoulder, and said, ʺWatch this!ʺ
He dashed into the water, up to his thighs, then turned to grin at her, letting a wave race past him. ʺAre you impressed?ʺ he asked. ʺTell me youʹre impressed.ʺ
She ran toward him, kicking up the frothy surf. They held hands facing each other, as wave after wave rushed at them. Each time a wave receded, she felt him gripping her hand harder. ʺYou donʹt like the undertow.ʺ
ʺIt scares me more than a breaking wave,ʺ he admitted. ʺIt feels like the ocean wants to pull me back into the darkness.ʺ
ʺI wonʹt let the ocean have you,ʺ she said. ʺNothing can make me let go.ʺ
ʺHow did I ever get this lucky? I must have done something really good in my life.ʺ ʺYou did many good things.ʺ He laughed. ʺNo, I know it!ʺ she insisted.
Laughing still, he lifted her left hand and kissed her on the knuckle.
ʺAnd I believe in something much more than luck,ʺ she said.
ʺYour angels,ʺ he guessed. ʺYouʹve nearly made a believer out of me… Nearly.ʺ
They waded back to shore and followed their own footprints, returning to the path through the dimes. Halfway up the wooden steps, at the landing with the facing benches, Guy reached up and caught Ivy by the elbow. ʺCan we stop? I want to take a look,ʺ he said.
Together they gazed out at the sea and sky, a black and silver eternity.
ʺI feel like weʹre floating in midair,ʺ he said. ʺHalfway between heaven and earth,ʺ Ivy replied.
Guy turned to her. Holding her face with both hands, he tilted it up to him, then bent down to kiss her low, in the tender notch of her collarbone. His mouth moved up to her throat, softly pressing against it. ʺI love you. Ivy.ʺ
She rested against him. ʺAnd I love you.ʺ Always have, she said silently.
ʺI thought Iʹd lost all that a person can,ʺ Guy said. ʺBut I told myself that things couldnʹt get worse — without an identity, there was nothing left to lose. I was wrong. Iʹm terrified now that I will lose you. If I lose you, Ivy—ʺ
ʺHush!ʺ She stroked his cheek with her hand. ʺIf I lose you, it would have been better to drown.ʺ
ʺYouʹre not going to lose me.ʺ He shook his head. ʺBut if something should come between us—ʺ
ʺNothing can,ʺ she said. ʺI promise you, nothing in heaven or earth can come between us.ʺ They turned to climb the rest of the steps and walked slowly around the inn, his arm around her waist, her arm around his. There was no need to speak, no desire to.
Ivy didnʹt want to think about what had occurred in the past or what lay in the future. Tristan had come back to her. To live in the present forever was all that she wanted. All that she had ever wanted was here and now. ʺLuke McKenna?ʺ
Startled by the deep voice, Ivy looked up and was surprised to see two police officers. Guyʹs head jerked around and his arm let go of her.
ʺYouʹre under arrest,” the man said. ʺYou have the right to remain—ʺ
Guy took off, racing for the trees. The officers spun around, flashlights on, but he slipped between the pines and melted into the darkness. The younger officer, a woman, set off in pursuit. The heavyset man stayed with Ivy, arms folded, studying her.
Her mind was reeling. Luke, she thought. His name is Luke. And he had known it — she had felt him react when the officer spoke his name. How long had he known it — since the carnival? Before?
The police officer turned to glance over his shoulder, and Ivy followed his eyes.
Will stood halfway between the cottage and barn.
ʺAre you aware of how much danger you were in?ʺ the man asked Ivy. ʺDo you realize what Luke McKenna has done?ʺ
She stared at the officer and said nothing. A cool breeze blew off the ocean, chilling her. ʺLucky for you,ʺ the officer continued, ʺthat your friend alerted us.ʺ
Ivy glanced toward Will, then fixed her eyes on the officerʹs face. “What is Guy — Luke — being charged with?ʺ
The manʹs heavy chin and jowls rested against his uniform collar. He was sizing her up, as if he thought she might be faking ignorance. ʺYou have no idea?ʺ
ʺNo,ʺ she said, looking him straight in the eye. ʺMurder.ʺ
IVY DOUBLED OVER AS IF SHE HAD TAKEN A FIST IN the gut. She could barely walk to the cottage door, and finally reaching it, sank down on the step.
A few minutes later, the female officer returned, winded. I couldnʹt catch him,ʺ she reported between gasps. ʺHeʹs in good shape and knows the area better than me. Of course, I could have used some back‐up.ʺ
The older officer replied, ʺI didnʹt hear his bike take off. And we know where heʹs living. Weʹll get him.ʺ
Then he nodded toward Ivy. ʺI want you to take her in and get a statement. She doesnʹt seem to know anything.ʺ
ʺHow old are you?ʺ the woman asked.
ʺEighteen,ʺ Ivy said, assuming that would keep them from contacting her mother. ʺWeʹre not charging you with anything, we just want to ask some questions. Even so, you have a right to have a lawyer present.ʺ
I donʹt need a lawyer.”
ʺWant to bring your friend along?ʺ the woman suggested, gesturing toward Will, who was approaching them. Will to the rescue, Ivy thought, Will to the rescue one more time. ʺThanks. I prefer to go alone.ʺ Will stopped in his tracks.
ʺOkay, my carʹs in the lot.ʺ
The older officer stayed behind, waiting for assistance in picking up the motorbike. Ivy followed the police car in her Beetle. At the small station she was led to a room that reeked of burnt coffee and the artificial butter of microwave popcorn.
ʺCan I get you anything — water, coffee, tea?ʺ the police woman asked, pouring herself some muddy coffee, then mixing in dry lumps of creamer.
Ivy shook her head.
ʺMy nameʹs Donovan,ʺ the officer said, sitting down at a table across from Ivy.
ʺRosemary Donovan.ʺ She handed Ivy a card with her name, badge number, and phone number, then opened a folder. ʺIʹve got some questions.ʺ
Slowly, painfully. Ivy answered all of them — how and when she met Luke, how he left the hospital, and what he had told her about his past — nothing. The final question was the most difficult for her: What had she observed about him when she was with him?
Ivy stared at the coffee rings on the table between them. What could she saythat she had observed his kindness toward a stray cat?
That when Guy— Luke — kissed her, she nearly wept at his tenderness?
How could someone who had seemed so loving be a murderer? How could he have acted so convincingly? Gregory is here. Remembering the message from the Ouija board, Ivy went cold all over.
Gregory had come back, just as Beth said. And Lacey was right: Slipping inside Guyʹs mind, Gregory could easily persuade, tempt. After a long silence, Donovan asked, ʺAre you in love with Luke?ʺ
Ivy felt sick. How could she have fallen in love with a heart haunted by Gregory? She dropped her head in her hands. ʺIs there something you want to tell me?ʺ the officer asked quietly.
ʺMaybe you want to ask some questions,ʺ the woman suggested. Ivy looked up.
ʺWho was killed? Why do you think thatʺ—she hesitated, then made a determined effort to use his real name—ʺthat Luke did it?
How did Will know Luke was wanted for murder?ʺ
ʺWill OʹLeary?ʺ Donovan checked the file. ʺHe contacted the hospital in Hyannis, telling them about a patient who had skipped out on them. OʹLeary supplied the patientʹs first name, and the hospital contacted the local police, who contacted other municipalities.
A match was made and we realized we were investigating a person who had more than unpaid medical bills on his record. ʺAs for the victim—ʺ She handed a photograph across the table. Ivy gazed down at a girl with dark hair and dark eyes, eyes with a spark of mischief in them. ʺHer name is Corinne Santori.ʺ ʺHow old?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺNineteen. She was a former girl friend of Lukeʹs. One friend said they were secretly engaged. She broke it off and he was furious.ʺ
ʺHow did he… do it?ʺ
Ivy shut her eyes, remembering, halfway between heaven and earth, the tenderness with which he had kissed her throat. ʺYou okay?ʺ the woman asked.
ʺYeah.ʺ Ivy took a deep breath, then described the girl she had seen him talking to at the carnival. She did not hide the fact that he had lied, denying that the girl had called him Luke.
Lying, denying, and pretending to care, Ivy thought. Why didnʹt I see Gregoryʹs presence in Guy? When they were done, the officer offered to follow Ivy back to the cottage. ʺIʹm okay,ʺ Ivy insisted.
ʺThen Iʹll tell my partner to expect you.ʺ Ivy nodded.
ʺBe careful. Ivy. Be really careful. We donʹt want to find another dead girl.”
WHEN IVY ARRIVED BACK AT THE INN, SHE SAW A truck loaded with Lukeʹs motorbike exiting the lot and the older police officer following in his car.
Aunt Cindy was still out, but Ivy knew a guest might have spotted the police car and would ask her what had happened. Retrieving a pen and paper from the kitchen, Ivy carried them out to the swing to write a note of explanation.
She put down the basic facts: She had learned Guyʹs name was Luke McKenna and he was wanted by the police; when theyʹd tried to arrest him, he had fled.
The police had questioned her, but she knew nothing about Lukeʹs previous life.
Ivy felt eerily calm as she wrote.
It was as if her heart and mind had shut down before they could fully grasp the horror of Lukeʹs actions. She was signing the note when she heard the cottageʹs screen door open. Beth stood in the doorway, looking out at Ivy. ʺHow are you doing?ʺ
Bethʹs voice had its usual sweetness, and the high coloring in her cheeks had disappeared; if Ivy hadnʹt witnessed the Ouija session earlier in the evening, she wouldnʹt have guessed it had happened.
ʺOkay,” she replied, figuring that Will had told Beth all the ugly details.
ʺDo you want to be left alone?ʺ ʺNo. Iʹm glad youʹre here, Beth.ʺ When Ivy showed her the note, Beth rested her hand on Ivyʹs. ʺIʹm sorry. Iʹm really sorry.ʺ
They were such simple words. Ivy sobbed. The pain was so bad she felt as if she couldnʹt breathe. Beth laid her hand gently on Ivyʹs back.
ʺHow could I have been so blind?ʺ Ivy said, choking with tears. ʺYou were right, Beth. Youʹve been right all along. How could I have imagined that Guy was Tristan?ʺ
ʺI can understand how,ʺ Beth replied. ʺYou still miss Tristan. Youʹre still healing. Your heart wanted so much for it to be him, you convinced yourself.ʺ
ʺBut you and Will warned me. And I refused to listen. Iʹm so sorry.ʺ
Beth remained silent. ʺLately Iʹve been thinking to myself, Whatʹs wrong with Beth? But I was the one acting strangely. And you, you could see me making the same mistakes I made before, trusting the wrong person.” Ivy took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
ʺIt was the night of the séance, wasnʹt it, when we let Gregory come back into our world?ʺ Beth nodded, her light hair tumbling forward, shielding her face.
ʺLast year,ʺ Ivy said, ʺwhen Tristan came back, it was easy for him to get inside Willʹs mind.
Will wasnʹt psychic like you, or a believer like Philip, but Tristan got access because he and Will thought alike. In the same way,ʺ she reasoned, ʺit would be easy for Gregory to get inside a murdererʹs mind:ʺ
ʺEspecially someone his age like Luke,ʺ Beth replied. Ivy shuddered. ʺWhen you were consulting the Ouija board, the planchette spelled out Gregory is here.ʺ
ʺI thought if I could contact him—ʺ Beth began. ʺAnd when I went down and opened the door,ʺ Ivy continued, ʺthere he was.”
ʺHeʹll be back,ʺ Beth said. ʺAt some point, Luke will come back.ʺ She grasped Ivyʹs hand.
ʺDonʹt pull away from me, Ivy. Not now. We need to take care of each other.
Please donʹt pull away.ʺ Ivy put her arms around Beth. ʺNever! Not ever again.ʺ
IVY LEFT AUNT CINDYʹS NOTE IN HER IN‐BOX. ON HER way back to the cottage she glanced toward the barn. She was still feeling too raw to approach Will and start mending the breach between them.
If there was one thing she had learned in the last few weeks, it was that she did not love Will the way she had loved Tristan — with her whole heart and soul — the way she had begun to love Luke.
She could not erase that knowledge and pretend that she did. When Ivy emerged from the shower, Beth was already in bed. ʺYou okay?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺYes, are you?ʺ
“I’m going to be,ʺ Ivy replied with determination. ʺAs long as we stay together,”
Beth said, ʺeverything is going to be okay.”
Ivy lay awake for a long time, staring up at the cottage ceiling. Beth fell asleep quickly, and Dhanya and Kelsey arrived home an hour later. Ivy remained still until she was certain that everyone was asleep, then rose and tiptoed down the steps. When she turned on the lamp next to the living room sofa, she was greeted with a soft meow.
ʺDusty! Youʹre supposed to be out protecting the garden from voles.ʺ
The cat rolled on his back for a tummy rub, then leaped off the sofa and strolled to the door. Letting him out, Ivy glanced down at the screen doorʹs broken latch.
In a place where the doors were usually kept unlocked, there had been no reason to fix it.
For a moment, Ivy considered closing the main door and bolting it, but she retreated to the sofa, leaving it open. Luke was a fugitive from the law and would know better than to show up in a place where others had learned his identity. As for Gregory, bolted doors wouldnʹt stop him.
Ivy worked on the puzzle, almost finishing it before the urge to sleep caught up with her. She turned off the light. Lying on the sofa, she stared out the screen door to the garden, watching the patterns of moonlight and darkness. Then she rolled over, face to the cushions, and fell asleep.
Sometime later she awoke with a start. Staring at the sofaʹs striped fabric, Ivy didnʹt know where she was at first and didnʹt know what had awakened hei^The room was dark, the house still. Suddenly, a hand clamped over her mouth. Luke, she thought, and tried to pull the hand away, kicking backward with her legs, but the attacker was strong, his physical power obvious in the little effort it took to control her.
ʺIvy, shhh! Shhh!ʺ Luke said. She fought hard, moving her head from side to side, trying to bite his hand to make him pull it away. Tristan, help me! Tristan, please! she prayed.
Luke held her spine tightly against his chest but let go of her mouth. Before Ivy could scream, he held in front of her a shiny penny. ʺIvy, I remember,ʺ he said quietly. ʺRemember! Remember what? Killing Corinne?ʺ
He laid the penny in her palm. ʺThe first time we kissed, you were diving for a penny. I saw you lying at the bottom of the swimming pool and I thought you had drowned. I jumped in after you.ʺ
For a moment, Ivy couldnʹt speak, couldnʹt breathe. He laid his palm on top of hers, then twined his fingers around her hand.
ʺThey call me Luke, but my name… is Tristan.ʺ
Her heart pounded the way it had the night of the accident. She turned in his arms, letting the penny slip to the floor. He traced her face lightly with a finger, his own face alight with wonder as he gazed at her. He kissed her, then rested his face against hers.
She could feel his warm tears running down her cheeks. ʺTristan, I thought it was you, but then I stopped believing.ʺ
ʺDonʹt! If you stop believing, there will be nothing but darkness left for me.ʺ
She held him tightly. ʺI love you, Tristan. I will love you always.ʺ
ʺAlways, Ivy,ʺ he whispered, as he had that night.
ʺI canʹt bear to let you go again,” she said, and felt the deep breath he took.
ʺIvy, something is wrong. I donʹt know what happened between the time I said good‐bye to you as Tristan and the moment I gained consciousness as Guy — as Luke,ʺ he corrected himself, ʺbut something terrible is going on. I feel it in the deepest part of me.ʺ
ʺIn your soul?ʺ Ivy asked. ʺWhat are you, angel or human? Is it like before, when you spoke through Will and Beth?ʺ
ʺNo.ʺ He took a half step back from her and held out his hands. ʺLukeʹs face is my face now, his hands are my hands — and only mine. I donʹt know where Lukeʹs spirit is. His mind and soul arenʹt in this body, and I have no knowledge of his life beyond what others tell me. The bits and pieces Iʹve been gradually remembering are from my life as Tristan.ʺ
ʺDo you remember Gregory?ʺ she asked. ʺI mean, more than we talked about the other night?ʺ
ʺI remember how it was to come face‐to‐face with him. I remember his gray eyes. Sometimes they were cool and distant other times, when I caught him off guard, they burned with anger.ʺ ʺGregoryʹs back.ʺ
ʺBack?ʺ Tristan repeated. ʺIvy, if thatʹs true, youʹre in danger.ʺ
ʺEarlier tonight, Beth was trying to reach him through a Ouija board. The planchette spelled out Gregory is here.
And when I went downstairs—ʺ Ivy stopped, a chill going up her spine.
ʺYou opened the door and saw me. Later you found out that I was accused of murder, and you believed Gregory was in me.” Ivy nodded.
ʺWho else was in the house then?ʺ he asked. She didnʹt answer. ʺIvy, who else?ʺ
She looked over her shoulder, then turned toward the screen door, hearing voices outside. Beams of flashlights swept the garden.
ʺThe police are back,ʺ Ivy said, grasping Tristanʹs arm. ʺThey guessed that you would return. Theyʹre looking for you.ʺ
Aunt Cindyʹs voice rose above the others. ʺThis is an inn. I have guests who are sleeping. You cannot come onto private property like this—ʺ
Tristan wrapped his arms around Ivy. ʺI canʹt leave you with—ʺ
ʺThey know you only as Luke,ʺ she said. ʺThey think youʹre a murderer. You must go.ʺ
ʺWho else besides Beth was here?ʺ Tristan demanded. ʺCome on,” Ivy begged, dragging him toward the kitchen door. ʺGo, Tristan. Please go!ʺ
ʺYouʹre in too much danger, Ivy.ʺ
ʺYou canʹt help me from jail. Go!ʺ He pulled her face toward him, kissing her one last time, then slipped out the door. Ivy knew that if the police found her downstairs, they would guess that he had been there.
She hurried up the steps. ʺAngels, protect him. Angels, protect me,ʺ she prayed.
Then she looked at the bed across from her own. Beth lay sleeping, her face still and pale, her light brown hair feathered out on the pillow.
Swallowing hard, Ivy admitted to herself what she had been unable to say aloud to Tristan: the only other person in the house when the Ouija board had spelled out its frightening message was Beth — her best friend, the person she loved like a sister.
Ivy had attributed Bethʹs headaches to the accident, but thinking back, she realized they had started immediately after the stance. A natural medium, Beth had been the easiest person for Tristan to enter when trying to reach Ivy last summer.
Ivy shivered. Perhaps, the night of the stance, Gregory had discovered in her friendʹs mind the same open portal. Since then, Bethʹs behavior had grown increasingly strange. Ivy knew what that meant: With each passing moment, Gregory was gaining strength inside Beth.
ʺIvy Lyons!ʺ the policed called out, pounding on the cottage door.
Ivy almost laughed out loud. Their law and their guns were useless weapons against a demon who wanted only one thing: to destroy Ivy.
THANKS TO MY HUSBAND, BOB, WHO ALWAYS LISTENS and makes me laugh; to my sister, Liz, who explored with me her home turf, beautiful Cape Cod; to Karen, who made me so comfortable at The Village Inn; and to Josh Bank, Lanie Davis, and Emilia Rhodes for all their editorial work.