He wasn’t hiding. He wasn’t the type to do so, but he was the kind to slip away to think. He needed to think.
Milo, his four-legged shadow followed him, nestling close by, gazing back at the house as if he too was weighing his options. Blake scratched behind Milo’s warm fuzzy ears earning himself a grateful dog-grin.
“What do you think, buddy? What should we do?” As usual, Milo had no answer. He only licked his chops, gave a contend yawn, before bedding down deeper into the grass.
Blake smiled. Maybe that was Milo’s answer. He was happy right where he was. Truth be told, so was Blake. They’d, Blake his wife Paisley and Milo, had happily moved out to the quiet country nearly five years ago.
Happy may have been an overstatement. They not so simply needed a change of pace, a change in their reality.
Past decisions had caught up with Blake leaving an unrelenting stain on Paisley’s career. Her employers had said as much, she was guilty by association. She needed to distance herself from the blight that was darkening the glow of her pristine name.
In other words, she needed to leave her husband or leave the company. Pressure from the top demanded it.
Praise God, Paisley loved Blake more. She’d made a sacrifice for him, one that he would never forget. The woman truly loved him…and he loved her.
Having that knowledge was what kept Blake on his feet. His past, the stain he’d made was nearly a decade old when it had finally come to light. He’d been a changed man since then, but his grandfather…he just couldn’t let up. He wouldn’t forgive. He cursed Blake with ugly words and a cutting dismissal that left room for no misinterpretation.
If it were at all possible, the old man had fired him from the family. It only burned his Grandfather’s hide to find out that Paisley wasn’t the ambitious woman he’d thought she was. The old man loved her as if she were his own flesh and blood.
Leaning on their fledgling, but solid faith, they took what they had and moved upwind of the city stench, leaving Grandpa and the mistakes of yesterday behind.
They bought a farm.
Life had been sweet and silent for the last few years. Mom and Dad visited regularly and Paisley and Blake’s roots grew deeper. Now it seemed it was all for not because Grandpa had bought the farm as well, just not the kind with acreage. His lot accommodated a pine box and a hole in a stone wall fitted with a plaque that would make him out to be a trophy.
The old man had gone to the grave, had settled his accounts, and although Blake had forgiven him the man had not seen fit to do the same for Blake. Worse, he hadn’t seen fit to change his will either.
Those oversights tend to happen when you swear off a person’s name.
Now the city beckoned again with shiny lights, smoggy air and nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in shares and a seat on Grandpa’s company board. Blake was now one of the majority owner’s. The money and future earnings would be his no matter what he decided.
Leaning his head back against the tin siding, still staring at the house. He knew what he should do, he knew what Milo wanted and with Paisley’s sudden habit to keep her swollen feet in fresh grass slippers, he knew what she wanted. They weren’t going anywhere.
Grandpa had bought his farm, but Blake had one of his own to tend to.
Revised from April 21, 2016