Most days Rory Stone opened his apartment mailbox to find the usual pedestrian pile of paper: bills and junk mail, with the occasional card or note from friends or family or maybe a package containing something he'd ordered online. Not much in the way of fan mail, not here. While Breaker Street had been playing the clubs, those fans who were inclined toward gifts or handwritten letters of praise usually just dropped them off wherever their next gig was scheduled, or brought them in person. Now arrangements were underway to have the band's mail received and screened by a discreet PA at Serptichore Records, though likely that person wouldn't have too much to do at first. So the typical daily accumulation of mail for an up-and-coming rocker was pretty boring, all told. Most days.
Today, however, he'd pulled a package out of his box, one with colorful Italian stamps and a postmark that read VENEZIA. He'd known who it was from before he spotted Pippa's name on the return address.
Once back in his apartment, he sat down at the dining room table and set the rest of the mail aside to turn the package over and over in his fingers. Any communication from his ex-lover carried with it the promise of pain, even if it was only the stinging memory of loss. After long minutes he popped open the tape and unwrapped the small box. Inside lay a men's bracelet in silver and black
, tasteful and stylish, clearly the sort of thing Pippa would choose. Under the gift rested a handwritten letter
. He read it through twice, taking in Pippa's words of encouragement, pride and best wishes, for Breaker Street and especially for him. After the second read-through, he stared at her closing salutation and wondered if he should ask Junie to translate the Italian.You were supposed to be here.
He sighed and fastened the bracelet around his left wrist, catching bits of his reflection in the polished silver rectangles adorning the piece. She would have been here were it not for the bastard who'd tortured her very nearly to death. Rory and his family had saved Pippa's life and healed her body, but they'd been unable to reclaim their relationship from the emotional wreckage, the trauma they'd both suffered.
He could write her a return letter, keep everything safe and non-confrontational. No more bruises that way. And yet ... he had said he'd call her sometime, and what better reason was he likely to get?
Staring at his eyes reflected in the silver, Rory pulled out his cell phone and called up his contact list.