I rushed to unlock my door to answer the ringing phone. “Hello?”
“May I speak with Miss Bryanna Campbell? This is the office of Mr. Edward Grey.” A woman’s voice asked.
“This is she,” I replied.
“Miss Campbell, Mr. Grey was the lawyer and the executor of Bill Preston’s estate. Bill left you an inheritance, and there is some paperwork you need to sign. When would you like to come down to our office?” Her voice was polite, but all business, lacking any real sympathy.
“Ummm…” I was taken by surprise. An inheritance hadn’t really occurred to me. Sure, I knew Bill had money, but I also knew that he had a sister and she had a few kids. I guess I just assumed that it would all go to them. “I can come in tomorrow, if that would work for you. At about two?”
“Tomorrow at two would be wonderful. We are on the south east corner of Thompson and 21st, do you know where that is?”
“Yes, I can find it. I’ll see you at two.”
“See you then, Miss Campbell.” The phone clicked as she hung up.
I sat down heavily on my sofa. It had only been a week since Bill’s funeral. My train ride home today had given me too much time to think. I had stayed at mom’s helping her clean the house after the funeral for a few days, but had been anxious to return home and go back to work. I needed something to do with my time, needed to avoid the emptiness swirling in my head and heart.
Bill and I had always been close. And I admit I had a bit of a crush on him when I was a teenager, but he never said anything. I used to fantasize about the frequent nights when he would stay at my parent’s house, pretending that he slipped into my room and my bed to lay next to me and stroke the hot spot between my legs. He was the first one I talked to about boys and sex. When mom and I had the conversation later, it was all about birth control and protection, nothing about the realities. Mom was very ‘don’t do it till you’re married’ while Bill understood that it was going to happen before then and wanted my happiness.
“Don’t let whatever boy it is, make it all about him. And don’t let him push you into it; you make sure you’re ready. And I won’t tell you it has to be with someone older, but if whoever it is has some experience, it will make it better for you in the long run.” He smiled down at me then, and I wondered if by someone older, he meant himself, but never asked.
I stared over at the picture of the handsome man on my wall. Bill stood, grinning, showing off his new tattoo, me next to him, lifting my shirt, with my back to the camera, showing the butterfly on my back. My eighteenth birthday, Bill took me to get my first tattoo and his fifth. He held my hand when they started, and then sat in front of me to get his arm done. I stared into his eyes the whole time. Mom had been pissed, but dad was secretly pleased.