“I could get used to that. The only problem is, I need a job. I can’t keep living off Auntie.”
“You do software, right?”
“Start your own consultation business. With my family connections, we can get you set up with contacts all over the place. Work from home, so Miss E. and I have constant access.”
“Brilliant!” Enid remarked happily.
“Do you really think so? That’s what I wanted to do all along, but Dad encouraged me to start with a company because of benefits.”
“Well, let’s see. You’ll have free medical, cause Dad’s a doctor,” Jasper began.
“And at least one of the brood has to be a lawyer,” Enid added. “And your cousin is a dentist.”
“And my aunt’s a nurse mid-wife—”
Hana giggled, clapping her hands. “All right. You talked me into it!”
“Not to mention, you’ve got the added bonus of unlimited access to me,” Jasper mumbled.
“Not to mention.”
“Where are the bungalows located?” Enid asked rather loudly. “I believe that we’d like to see one.”
“I’ll get the keys from Mom, and the Land Rover. Can’t have Miss E. bouncing around in the Jeep. I’ll be right back.” He gave Hana a quick kiss and ran out the door.
“I do believe that boy’s excited to have us move here,” Enid said with a grin.
“Ya think?” Hana giggled. “I am too. Did you have this in mind the entire time?”
“I didn’t know about the bungalows, but I had a move in mind. It’s what Ed wanted. We’d have done it together, if he hadn’t left me so soon.”
The women made a quick bathroom visit before Jasper came back. He roared up in the Land Rover moments later. Hopping out, he carried Enid to the front seat. Once she was in place, he deposited her chair in the trunk and helped Hana in, giving her a lingering kiss.
They drove to the far side of the compound where several low, sturdy houses stood. They looked new and the landscaping was minimal, but already Hana loved them. One in particular caught her eye. It was painted white and had wine red shutters with roses cut in them. Three trellises lined the front with small rose bushes trying to climb up.
“Who lives here?” she asked, her eyes glittering as Jasper got Enid out of the car.
“You and Miss E., I reckon,” Jasper replied. “Cause I knew when we built this, it was for someone special. I’m next door.” He pointed at the one to the right. It was painted pale olive with dark brown shutters. The cutout areas on his were horseshoes.
“Welcome to Rose Cottage,” he announced. “And mine’s called Horseshoe Cottage.”
“They’re gorgeous!” Hana exclaimed, running up to the door of Rose Cottage.
Jasper followed with Aunt Enid in her chair. Hana hadn’t noticed until then that there was a ramp up to the door.
“You knew! When you built this, you knew!”
“We guessed. Miss E. had been making noises about wanting to set up a retirement home out here and we took that seriously. We were making other parts of the compound more wheelchair friendly, so it seemed logical. Come see your new home.”
He unlocked the door, opening it with a flourish. The carpet was a dark, rich pink, the walls a delicate, lighter shade of the same color. Hana realized her furniture would compliment this room well. Quite by accident, she’d chosen colors that coordinated perfectly.
“We’re going to have more furniture than we know what to do with,” she told them.
“I’m planning to keep my place back home, at least for now. Your things can furnish this place. If we need more, we’ll buy it. We’ll take it,” Enid told Jasper.
“I knew you would the second we pulled up. Let’s see the rest for Hana’s sake.”
They walked into the cool interior, walking through the small house. It was three bedrooms with two bathrooms. A cozy kitchen and living and dining room combination separated the two sides. The master suite took up the left side while the two smaller rooms occupied the right. They were connected by an adjoining bathroom.
“You can take the two small rooms,” Enid suggested. “That gives you a room and an office. I’ll stay over on my side and we won’t have to see each other unless we want to.”
“Of course we’ll see one another.”
“You and Jasper will need your privacy.”
“We can pop next door for that, Miss E.” Jasper winked. “And I’ll rig an intercom so you can holler if you need us.”
Hana’s mind was full of thoughts and ideas. Somewhat overwhelmed by the idea of her and Jasper spending time together, making love, getting married—she staggered slightly. He caught her elbow, concern on his face.
“You okay, Hana?”
“So much to digest,” she said with a happy sigh. “I’ve never been this far from home before.”
“At least you won’t be on your own,” he said, putting his arms around her. “You’ll have Enid and me—Marnie and the rest to lean on. We’re here for you, Hana.”
His warm lips descended to her neck, teasing and nibbling as she snuggled against him. “I love you, Hana. I want you close.”
©2022 Dellani Oakes