When Adrienne came out of the train station, Margaret was waiting in the snow with her station wagon, a frown drawing deep wrinkles into her face. Just as when she’d called on Monday, there were no tears of joy to see her alive again. Not even a hug. Only a complaint about the traffic and that Adrienne’s train had arrived at rush hour.
All the way home, Margaret talked about the hassle and expense of arranging her funeral. Adrienne figured she was mostly irritated because she’d gone to all that trouble for a person whose death gained her nothing.
As they pulled up to her house, she saw Margaret look at the place with a touch of disgust in her eyes. Adrienne had seen the muddy, uprooted For Sale sign in the back of the wagon when she got in. Margaret’s mood was probably tainted by the fact that she wouldn’t get to move into Adrienne’s house now that she was miraculously alive. She’d always eyed the place with envy when Adrienne’s father was alive and had pressed Adrienne to sell it to her after he died. She’d probably put her own place up for sale and started planning her housewarming party before she’d begun the funeral arrangements.
Fortunately, Adrienne had never bowed to her aunt’s pressure. She’d kept it and had a place to come back to. It was the only home she’d ever known. Her tiny apartment in New York hadn’t qualified. The penthouse with Will had never felt right to her. Only this place, with her childhood memories of her parents, could put her at ease.
Once she stepped out of the wagon and into her own driveway, she was no longer in need of her aunt’s assistance. After Margaret drove away, she went inside and immediately started getting her life back. First were the necessary calls to “reverse” her death, and with a little quibbling and a lot of paperwork, her checking accounts and credit cards were reactivated and her utilities were turned back on. Then she cleaned the house from top to bottom to rid it of three years’ worth of dust.
After that was done, Adrienne was left with the daunting task of starting her new life back in Milwaukee.
She supposed she should look for a job, but her heart just wasn’t in it. She’d gone to school and worked hard to be a fashion designer. She could easily pick up seasonal work with Thanksgiving days away and Christmas quick on its heels, but selling clothes at the mall for minimum wage seemed like a waste. Adrienne wasn’t broke now that she could access her money. A month’s worth of living expenses in Manhattan could keep her for three or four in Wisconsin, where her house was paid off and her car was almost too old to insure.
Looking at what she had, she decided to put off the inevitable for two months to let herself get acclimated and work through the crippling emotions that slowed most of her activities to a crawl. She would lose any job she got if she stopped folding clothes and started to randomly cry in the middle of the store. And there was still the risk of that. At first, she thought she’d shed every tear she could for Will Taylor in the private roomette headed for home. But every now and then her mind would stray and the pain in her chest would grow so acute that the only thing to relieve the pressure was more tears.
To combat it, she kept herself busy. If she couldn’t think of Will, she couldn’t wallow in the grief of everything she lost. The boxes she’d shipped from Manhattan before her flight were sitting in the living room, untouched. Inside were all the unsold clothes she’d designed for her boutique. She carried each piece upstairs to her mother’s old sewing room and hung them on the large aluminum clothing rack.
This, she decided, would be her new workroom. It already had most of the supplies she needed from the days she’d spent working on things in high school and during breaks from college. Using her mother’s old sewing machine had always seemed to bring her luck and motivation.
Really, just sitting in the room where her mother worked was inspirational to her. The collection she began at the apartment with Will came to an end as quickly as their relationship. She knew she needed to do something different. Adrienne needed an outlet for all her emotional energy, and the new pieces she envisioned in her mind would be it. Her work was often the best therapy. It had gotten her through her father’s fatal heart attack several years back, and it could get her through this.
Gathering up her papers and pencils, she sat down at the worn dining room table and started designing a new collection. One that would remind her of the happy times she spent with Will before everything went wrong.
The color palate was easy to determine. There were a couple blouses and skirts in the warm fall colors of their walk through Central Park. A burgundy leather jacket with dark brown palazzo pants that reminded her of the décor of the Italian restaurant where they had their first date. To accent the collection, a short, sassy sweater-dress in the shade of the pale pink roses he brought her. Then, as a finale piece, a full-length gown in the same soft, blue-gray color as Will’s eyes.