The Greatest Gift (A Darcy Sweet Mystery) (12 page)

BOOK: The Greatest Gift (A Darcy Sweet Mystery)
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She had looked at Darcy in a very straightforward way, the smile on her face sad.  "My Dominic always pinched a penny until it screamed.  Even so, there is no money.  Those two fools are going to get themselves sent to jail for nothing.  He left me what little he had.  The money got spent up a long time ago.  The only real treasure he left me is the one I showed you. 
The memory of him."

Then she had smiled
at Darcy as she turned away.  "You're wrong, though.  He is here.  He's watching over me."

Darcy hadn't had the heart to argue with her.

Now, more than a week later, Belinda had called her at the break of dawn.  Darcy had grabbed the phone off the bedside table before it could wake up the entire household, careful not to disturb the snoring Jon Tinker lying in bed next to her.  When Darcy mumbled a sleepy hello, Belinda answered with just six words.

"I want to show you something."

So, tired and wishing the world could just stop for one day, Darcy had put on the first pair of jeans she came to and a long-sleeved t-shirt and her sneakers, and borrowed Jon's car keys.  She left a note that didn't say much.  She had no idea what Belinda could want to show her, or how long it would take.

Traffic had been almost nonexistent and it had only taken Darcy a few minutes to get to Belinda'
s house.  She was waiting at the front door when Darcy arrived.  "Come on in, dear.  I knew you'd want to see this."

Darcy followed her to the secret door, the two of them not saying anything at all.  She couldn't help but notice that the television stand had a fine layer of dust on it, and that some of the photographs on the wall
s were just a bit crooked.  No need for Belinda to clean up night after night anymore, with no one breaking into her house to mess it up.

Belinda worked the complicated lock, and the secret door opened.

Down in the basement, Darcy was struck again at how amazing Dominic Franco's life must have been.  All of these articles and playbills and newspaper photos to commemorate what he loved doing best.  An amazing tribute to an amazing life.  No wonder Belinda called these her treasures.

"Here," she said to Darcy, standing with her hands clasped together, her eyes riveted to one picture in
particular.  She might have been a statue standing there in a long white dress, except for the way her lip twitched in a smile and a tear rolled down her cheek.

Darcy followed Belinda's gaze.  It brought her to the
one picture that wasn't from Dominic's storied Broadway career.  The photograph of him dancing with Belinda in their younger days.  Even in black and white, their expressions radiated love and happiness.

The picture was moving.

She blinked her eyes several times to be sure she actually was seeing what she was seeing.  Inside the confines of the rectangular photograph Belinda and Dominic moved in time to silent music, around and around the dance floor, her dress flowing, his one arm wrapped around her waist.  It was like a window back on time.

"How is that…?" she started to ask.  That's when she felt it.  A presence.  A warm, comforting
feeling, like having an old friend coming to visit.  Before this moment, whenever Darcy had tried to reach out with her sixth sense to look for a ghost in Belinda's house, there wasn't any to be found.

There was one now.

"Dominic," Belinda whispered, putting a name to the spirit in the room with them.  "My Dominic."

lowly, so slowly that Darcy didn't notice it at first, the framed picture began pushing out from the wall.  She reached out for it just as it fell, catching it, saving it from crashing to the carpet below.  Belinda took it gently from Darcy's hands, staring at the old photograph even though it had stopped moving again.  It had become just a snapshot of a memory once more.  Maybe in Belinda's mind she could still see that dance from so long ago, when she had been with the love of her life and they'd had all the time in the world.

Behind where the picture had hung a moment before, the paint on the wall bubbled.  A long, oval b
lister formed with a sound like a whispered sigh.  Then it split and cracked and crumbled into pieces so small they might as well have been dust.

The fractured paint misted down to the
floor at their feet.  Behind was a square panel of the wall that was different than the rest.  Plain wood instead of sheetrock.  Maybe ten inches square.  At the top of the panel was a hole no bigger around than a finger.

Whether it was Dominic guiding her or her own intuition, Darcy suddenly understood
.  The hole was a handle.  Using her index finger she pulled the piece of wood away.  It gave slowly.  It had been sealed in place for years, most likely.  Once removed, it revealed a cubby hole.

And in that, was
exactly what Darcy had expected to find.

Dominic had
indeed been saving his pennies.  A lot of them, by the looks of it.  He'd saved it all for Belinda in the form of twenty dollar bills.  A small fortune sat before them.  A fortune that Dominic had hidden away here until the time was right.  Apparently, he'd run out of days in his life before he'd found the right moment to show Belinda what he'd done.

he was showing her now.

Darcy brought out a stack of twenties still in their bank wrapper.  She handed it to Belinda, who took the time to kiss the photo in her hands before accepting
her husband's parting gift.

"Thank you, Dominic," she said, her voice shaky with emotion and tears.  "I love you, too."



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About the Author



Strongly influenced by authors like James Patterson, Dick Francis, and Nora Roberts, Kathrine
Emrick is an up and coming talent in the writing world. She is a new Kindle author/publisher and brings a variety of experiences and observations to her writing.


Based in Australia, Kathrine has wanted to be an author for the majority of her life and can always be found jotting down daily notes in a journal. Like many authors, she loves to be surrounded by books and is a voracious reader.


In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering at the local library.


Her goal is to become a bestselling author, regularly producing noteworthy content and engaging in a community of readers and writers.


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BOOK: The Greatest Gift (A Darcy Sweet Mystery)
4.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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