It’s been two years since Claudia became caretaker of warehouse 14. I wasn’t sure how she did it but she not only kept the warehouse from moving, she got our jobs back too. I will say, I believe she likes scaring us more than Mrs. Frederic did.
Walking into Artie’s office, I was met with Pete tormenting Steve again with music. Steve liked jazz and classical music while Pete was more pop. “Okay. Okay! One more shot. Just listen to this.” Pete scrolled through his phone.
“Myka, please save me.” Steve groaned.
“Not a chance.” Chuckling at Pete’s enthusiasm, I went to file paperwork.
“Okay. Here we go.” Pete pressed play and waited. “She’s got a jazzy type feel to her.” As the piano started to play, I stiffened. I knew the song quite well. “Hello” by Adele. Since the first time I heard it on the radio I couldn’t help but think of Helena.
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing….There’s such a difference between us and a million miles….It’s no secret that the both of us are running out of time…I’m sorry for breaking your heart. But it don’t matter. Clearly it doesn’t tear you apart anymore….
I started to shake as the song continued. Flashes of Helena came back. All the pain she caused but the fact that I still loved her. If she would apologize I would probably take her back in an instant. I loved her more than I ever could dream of loving Sam. “Turn it off.” My voice cracked.
“Pete, turn it off!”
“Okay. Okay.” Finally the music stopped. “Mykes, what’s wrong?”
“I can’t.” I have to get out of here before I break down again. It’s been months since the last time I’ve cried over H.G. This is ridiculous! I’ve not seen her in over a year! Pete called after me but I just kept going. It wasn’t until I reached my car that I acknowledged him. “I can’t…”
“Mykes…” His voice trailed off. He must have gotten a vibe. “It’s her, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. I can’t hear that song and not think about her. It’s crazy, I know. I’ve not seen her since Boone. I’ve not emailed her in over a year. I thought I had moved on but…”
Pete wrapped me in a hug before I broke down. I wept into his shoulder; again. “I’m sorry Mykes.”
Finally, I was able to compose myself. Pete got that look again before my phone rang. Looking at the screen, my brow creased. “It’s a New York number.” Curious, I answered. “Hello?”
“Is this Miss. Myka Bering?” It was a man’s voice. He sounded very professional.
“Yes. This is?” Pete made that face he got when a vibe hit him.
“Miss. Bering, I am calling to inform you that Miss. Emily Lake has died. In her paperwork you are the executor of her estate. We need you to fly to New York for the reading of her will.”
I knew the blood had drained from my face. My stomach churned and I was going to vomit. The thought of her dead killed me. “S-she’s…”
“Yes. I’m sorry for your loss.” The man gave me more information on what would happen once I arrived. Before ending the call, Robert gave me the address to his office where Helena’s will would be read.
“Mykes, what’s wrong?” Leaning over, I puked. “Mykes!” Once I was finished, Pete gave me a handkerchief to wipe my mouth. “What happened?”
“She’s dead Pete.” Tears started streaming down my face again. “Helena’s dead.”
“That was Emily Lake’s lawyer telling me that I’m the executor of her estate. I need to go to New York.” She can’t be dead. She can’t be. Every muscle was trembling. “Pete, she’s gone.” Standing, I cried into his shoulder.
“Let me drive you home.” I agreed and got in Pete’s car. We drove in silence the whole way to the B&B. Abigail greeted us at the door but I went straight to my room. After a few hours of being curled in a ball, I finally made flight and hotel arrangements.
As I stood outside Robert’s office building, I couldn’t will myself to open the door. If I go in it’ll all be real. I can’t tell myself it was just a horrible dream. I know this is insane. I’ve not talked to Helena in over a year but why am I the executor of her estate? Isn’t she with that dancer? Taking a deep breath, I opened the door and walked towards the service desk. “Robert Newman is expecting me.” The young blonde gave me his office number and let me go. Knocking lightly on door 107, I waited.
An older gentleman opened the door with a somber look. “You must be Miss. Bering.”
“Please, call me Myka.”I tried to keep my voice from cracking.
“Myka, please come in and take a seat.” I followed and sat in one of the leather guest chairs. “I know this is a hard time for you.”
“Why am I the executor? I’ve not spoken to He-Emily in over a year. If I’m not mistaken, she was dating a woman named Jezebel.”
“That is correct but you are still the executor. If you want Miss. Carver to take over the rights, I can file the paperwork.”
“N-no. I’ll do it.”
Robert told me I needed to settle her affairs. Contact the credit card companies and pay any bills she may have had. He gave me governmental numbers I needed to contact as well. “Myka, I’ve read the will and Miss. Lake wants you to have everything she owned before her and Miss. Carver met. Here’s the address to their condo.”
Helena and Jezebel lived on Park Avenue. Entering the apartment building, I rode the elevator to the fifth floor. I head a soft voice coming from the apartment. Tapping, I waited. A blonde woman, probably in her thirties, answered. “You must be Myka. Please, come in.” There was a hint of tension in her voice.
“Yes, that’s correct. And you’re Jezebel.”
The blonde gave a simple nod. “Can I get you something to drink before we talk about Emily’s things? I just made coffee.”
“Coffee would be lovely.” The apartment was huge; very open and modern but not Helena at all. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the oak bookshelf that was full of books. “Emily did always love literature.”
“She did. She’d drive me insane staying up until all hours of the night reading before she’d finally go to sleep. I’m sorry you had to fly all the way up here. I know the two of you haven’t talked in awhile.”
“No problem.” I let my fingers glide across the leather spines of each book. “How did she-,”
“A heart attack.” Jezebel’s brow furrowed. “It was out of the blue. She was healthy as a horse.” A soft chuckle escaped the blonde’s lips. “Emily drove me nuts being totally healthy. There was one weakness when it came to junk food. She loved Twizzlers.” Jezebel gave me a large mug of steamy liquid.
I laughed inwardly remembering when I introduced H.G. to her first Twizzler. It was movie night at the B&B and everyone was eating popcorn except me. Helena reached over and snatched one out of my hand before I could bite into it. She hated the texture but they finally grew on her. “I have to admit, that was my fault. She stole a few from my bag and liked them since then.”
The dancer studied me. “How close were you and Emily? She said you were an old friend but the look in your eyes says otherwise.”
“We were just really close. She helped me realize I wasn’t alone in the world. I’m a huge literature nerd and I live in a house full of people who don’t appreciate it as much as I do.”
Jezebel and I continued to talk about Emily and started packing her things. There wasn’t much besides books, jewelry, and clothes. When I saw Helena’s locket, my chest tightened. “Did you know Christina?”
“No. She died before Emily and I met.” My heart ached remembering H.G. telling me the story about her daughter.
“I think that’s everything. Emily didn’t have any bills in her name. And only my name is on the lease. I think all you need to do is contact the credit card companies and social services.”
“Yeah. I put in a request for the death certificate this morning when I met with her lawyer. She’s being buried next to Christina in London. Are you going to come?”
“Yes. Let me know when and where. I’ll call in and take some vacation time at my father’s company.” Jezebel paused a moment. “Oh, her computer.” The blonde disappeared into the bedroom a moment. “Here’s Emily’s laptop. I don’t know the password but it’s hers.”
“Thank you.” Taking the laptop, I placed it in with a stack of books. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
Over the next few days, I took care of H.G.’s affairs and set up her funeral. Like Christina, Helena would be buried in the Golders Green Crematorium in London. I shipped all of H.G.’s stuff back to the B&B. When I went over her bank records there was an ‘other’ category. Jezebel had no clue what it was for. Before leaving for London, I met with Robert.
“I’m glad you stopped by.” The older gentleman sat behind his desk. “There was a video I haven’t played for you. Emily said that no matter what, you needed to see it.” He slid in the tape and we waited.
A lump started to form in my throat as Helena’s face came on the screen. “Hello Myka, I know we’ve not spoken in awhile. That’s my fault. But since you are the one who is settling my affairs, you’ve seen an ‘other’ category in my records. This is for a small one bedroom house in South Dakota. I want you to live there. I know you’re working with the warehouse again therefore you are currently at the B&B. I always kept an eye on you. Ever since Irene sent me away, I always kept track of you. Right now you’re about to leave for London to bury my ashes that were done before you arrived in New York. Thank you for respecting my wishes and letting me rest next to my daughter. I want you to have all of my things that you have most likely already packed up.” A soft smile graced the author’s lips. “I’m sure my locket is around your neck by now.”
“Unbelievable.” My stomach dropped. She’s right. Tears started to sting my eyes as I continued watching.
“Don’t cry Myka. The next few days will be absurd. I just hope you can forgive me.” The tape ended and I was left with questions.
Robert gave me a much needed box of tissues. “I’m sorry, Myka. Would you like the tape as well?” All I could do was nod. I’ve never truly sobbed in my life until now. I had cried over H.G. before but not like this. It’s real. She’s really gone. My Helena is gone.
The funeral was hard. Artie, Vanessa, Pete, Jinks, and even Claudia came. Any pings could wait. After the ashes were sealed away, I had to take a walk. I found a nearby bench and took a seat. Memories of Dickenson’s funeral came back and I hopped, somehow, H.G. could reappear. I know she won’t but I wish she could. I was so stupid! I never told her how I really felt. But I’m sure she knew. That’s probably why we lost touch. She couldn’t let Nate and Jezebel know someone else was in love with her.
“Mykes,” Pete’s voice was soft. I didn’t answer but I acknowledge him. “Something’s not right. I’ve been vibing out since we arrived.”
“Pete, it’s probably because Jezebel is here. She’s the jealous type and knows H.G. and I were close. I don’t want to hear it right now.”
“Okay.” Pete wrapped an arm around my shoulders to pull me close. “Your boxes came. I put them in your room.”
“Thanks Pete. She kept an eye on me.” A sad smile tugged at my lips.
“That’s not surprising. I mean, you were her Myka.” My brow creased and I turned to look at the man. “You didn’t know? If anyone glanced your way she’d get territorial. Do you have any idea how scary she can be when she’s mad?”
It felt good to smile again. “No. I didn’t know that.” Somehow that makes me feel better. I’m not sure why.