The Chesapeake Diaries #6
February 2013 (01-29-13)
ISBN-10: 0345538412
ISBN-13: 978-0345538413

THE LONG WAY HOME

Chapter Two
Eventually, Ellie told herself, she was going to have to get out of the car.

“Why delay the pain any longer...”

She opened the car door and walked across the crushed shells to a path that wound its way leisurely from the driveway to the front steps. Her fingers traced the shape of the key inside the envelope Jesse had given her as she approached the porch. She ripped open the envelope, took out the key, and stuck the paper into her pocket.

“Here goes.”

She fitted the key into the lock and turned it, pushed open the door, and stepped into a square foyer. The house was dark due as much to the approaching dusk as to the fact that all the shades were pulled down to the window sills. In spite of the chill outside, the house was warm — Thank you, Jesse — and very still, as if it had been holding its breath, waiting for her.

Ellie stood for a very long moment in the hushed foyer, her eyes adjusting to the dim light. The stairs to the second floor stood directly in front of her. Straight ahead to the left of the stairs was a long hall that led clear through to the back door, which also had a shade tightly pulled. There was a room to her right and another to her left. The furniture in both was covered with white sheets, giving what she could see of the downstairs the appearance of a ghostly landscape.

“Well.” She spoke aloud to break the silence. What to do first, now that she was here?

After some deliberation, she walked into the room to her left and lifted the shades from the four windows — two facing front, one on either side of a fireplace. Paintings on the walls were draped with fabric and it took Ellie a moment to realize that the only things in the room that weren’t covered were the carpets and the andirons on the hearth. She backed out of the room as if afraid of disturbing it, and went across the hall where she found more of the same. There was no way to disguise that this was the dining room. A crystal chandelier, its ovid drops covered with dust, hung over a long flat surface that lay beneath the expected white sheet. Against one wall, furniture lay hidden beneath more sheeting and a peek under the draping on two smaller shapes revealed a server and a tea cart. Peeling back the thin quilt from the side of the tallest piece of furniture, she found an empty china cupboard, the contents having left round marks in the dust on the shelves. The placement of the windows and the fireplace directly echoed the room across the hall. The architect, she thought, clearly appreciated symmetry.

A feeling of déjà vu swept over her, and was promptly dismissed. Her mother must have described it all to her, she reasoned, and somehow she’d retained the images.

A door on the back wall swung open with a push and led to a butler’s pantry that had glass-doored cabinets on one wall, and an expanse of counter with a small soapstone sink on the other. The cabinets were crammed with dishes, plates and bowls and cups and saucers, all stacked haphazardly upon each other.

The kitchen, a large square room, lay behind the pantry. Ellie pulled up the shades and looked for a switch for the clumsy overhead light fixture. Near the back door, there were the controls for a security system that obviously wasn’t on, and the black push-button switch that served to turn on the light.

She wasn’t sure the room hadn’t looked better in the dark.

Chipped Formica in a truly terrible shade of yellow covered the counters. On the floor, there was dark linoleum of indeterminable age and a dreadful mustardy color. Wooden cabinets were built in along one long wall.

“I’ll bet there isn’t a thing in this room that isn’t older than I am.” She paused to consider the refrigerator, which looked much newer than everything else. “Well, maybe that. But not much else.”

She walked to the stove. It, too, appeared newer than she’d expected. Not brand new, but not 1950s, either. Curious, she thought.

A table with four chairs stood against the side wall under the windows. When she raised the shade, the last bit of afternoon sun spilled across the floor, highlighting the cracks in the old linoleum and the faded paper and paint on the walls.

Ellie stood in the center of the room, her hands on her hips, feeling more than a little bewildered, and stared at the wallpaper, blue and white patterned teacups on a background that was probably once white but was now yellowed with age. She’d seen that same paper — those same teacups — somewhere, but couldn’t remember where.

She went to the back door and unlocked the deadbolt, which looked relatively new compared to just about everything else she’d seen so far, then stepped outside onto a small porch where she found nothing but a stack of wood. Like the shutters and the downstairs rooms, the porch needed a fresh coat of paint.

The yard was much deeper and wider than it looked from the house. Remnants of garden beds ran along the porch, the right side of the property, and the outbuilding — carriage house? garage? — that faced the driveway. A large shed with a door flanked by a window on each side stood in the back corner. She’d leave investigating that for another day. And there were those trees, huge things with long bare branches.

Bare branches where there’d been leaves not too long ago — but where were the leaves? She stepped off the porch and walked the length of the yard. She thought of the lawns she’d passed on her way into town, where the fallen leaves had carpeted the ground. Not here, though. She looked up at the trees and wondered if they were dead. She reached up to break a twig from the closest maple, and found it supple, not dry as one might expect from a dead tree. So where were the leaves?

A trip around the yard revealed a thick layer covering the flower beds.

Bird seed on the ground under the feeders that hung from the branches of several dogwoods meant that someone had filled it.

Raked leaves. Filled bird feeders. Wood stacked near the back door.

She glanced at the house nervously. Could someone be inside, hiding, perhaps, on the second floor? A squatter, maybe, someone who knew the house was empty, had been empty for years?

There was an outside entrance to the basement, double wooden doors that were God knows how old. Maybe...

Ellie took a deep breath and walked to the doors and gave one a good yank — but it didn’t budge.

“Okay, locked is good.”

She went back up the steps and stared at the pile of wood. Must have been Jesse, she decided. Of course. Hadn’t he said they’d been looking out for the place? She hadn’t thought that would mean raking the leaves into the flower beds and keeping the bird feeders filled, but those were nice touches. She exhaled and went back inside, making certain she re-locked the door.

She walked softly on leather-soled flats back to the foyer. At the bottom of the steps she stood, as if listening, waiting to see if there was any sound from the second floor. Convinced there were no squatters — surely Jesse would have noticed — she climbed the steps slowly, almost on tip-toe. At the top of the stairs was a landing and a hall that, much like the one below, led to the back of the house. She counted the doors — there were five, all closed. Her hand paused at the one closest to her before grasping and turning it. She pushed it open and peered inside.

“More sheets. Where,” she wondered, “did they find so many sheets?”

The wallpaper was peeling from one corner, the flowers fading to the palest of yellows. She picked up a strip that had flaked off and fallen to the floor. The flowers, like the teacups on the paper in the kitchen, seemed to ring a very distant bell in her memory. She slipped the paper into her pocket and left the room.

One by one she opened the other doors, took a long studied look inside before closing them again. There were four good-sized bedrooms and one large bath accessed from the hall. Two of the bedrooms had their own baths, were fully furnished, and all had closets. Ellie resisted the temptation to open those doors, not sure of what she’d find hanging there.

She stood on the landing, looking at the doors she’d moments earlier opened then closed. She had to pick one to sleep in, and she needed to do that now, so she could find sheets — no problem there — and hopefully, blankets. All of the bed linens would have to be washed, of course. Did this house have a washer and a dryer? She hadn’t seen one on the first floor. Perhaps in the basement.

The basement where the squatters were hiding.

“You’re being ridiculous. You’ve got the imagination of a ten-year old,” Ellie chastised herself as she returned to the first bedroom on the left, opened the door and turned on the light switch. She pulled the sheet off the double bed and was happy to see there were pillows with pillow cases already on them. She removed the cases, punched the pillows a few times. A couple of feathers fluttered out, but no discernable dust.

“Real feather pillows,” she noted.

She stripped the pale pink fitted sheet from the mattress and rolled it up with the top sheet and the pillow cases. On her way out of the room, she pulled up the shades and leaned on the sill to look out the window.

At the end of the street, a stone’s throw from the house, was a dune, where tall grasses swayed in the light breeze, and beyond the dune, the Bay rolled onto a narrow stretch of beach in easy waves. Ellie dropped the bedding onto the mattress and forced open a window. When she raised the sash, the scent of the Bay flowed in as gently as the water nudged the shore. It was salt and pine and something she couldn’t put her finger on, but the combination was pleasing and she smiled. Her mother had once mentioned how the Chesapeake smelled, and now here Ellie was, filling her lungs and experiencing the Bay much as Lynley had.

“You were right, Mom. It’s delicious. At least, tonight it is.” After a few minutes, the room grew cold, and she closed the window and locked it. “Not sure how it smells on a hot muggy day in August, but since I will be long gone by then, it won’t be my problem.”

She gathered up the bedding and turned off the light and made her way back downstairs. She dropped her bundle on the floor, then went into the living room.

“Time for the big reveal,” she announced. “Let’s see what we’ve got hiding under all these covers.”

She found a vintage dark green mohair sofa with wooden arms under one sheet, three club chairs — one green, two maroon — under others. She ran her hand over the upholstery and traced her fingers over the plush fabric. It was soft and velvety and comforting. She sat for a moment, her head resting back against the cushions, and closed her eyes, feeling strangely at home.

She got up with a start and turned on the lamps — grateful to find they all still had bulbs — and removed all the protective coverings.

“Not bad, actually.” She nodded when she was finished. “Not my taste, but I do know that there’s a solid market for 1950s and 60s furnishings, so I should do all right here.”

The paintings on the wall were an odd mix: a few landscapes, a few portraits, and several paintings of the Bay. The tops of the wooden tables were bare, but the bookshelves that ran along one wall were filled to overflowing. Ellie figured she’d have plenty of time to peruse the family library, since there was no TV. She could watch on her phone, but really, with everything that had to be done in the house, who would have time for television?

She added the sheets from the living room to the items she’d brought downstairs and carried it all to the basement door. She found it locked, the sliding bolt opened easily. There was a switch at the top of the steps, but when she turned it on, the light bulb downstairs popped.

“Crap. No way am I going down there in total darkness.” She closed the door and relocked it. “Uh-uh.” She paused to think. It hadn’t occurred to her to bring laundry soap with her, so she’d have to find a laundromat anyway. Had she passed one in her travels today? She didn’t recall seeing one.

Her grumbling stomach reminded her that she had to find dinner as well. She didn’t know the lay of the land well enough to simply charge out the front door, so she consulted her phone. She discovered there was a laundromat out on the highway and several restaurants and a food market nearby. Perfect. She could coordinate the washing/drying with grabbing some dinner and stocking up on some staples to take back to the house.

She followed the directions she got from her phone — so grateful for modern technology — and arrived at the laundromat right before the sun set. She found the place empty except for an attendant who appeared to be in her late teens. Apparently Tuesday was not a big wash day in St. Dennis.

The young attendant extracted herself from the book she was reading long enough to make change so that Ellie could purchase a small packet of detergent. She loaded the nearest washer with the sheets and the required amount of cash and turned on the machine.

“Excuse me.” She approached the attendant again. “How long do the wash loads usually run?”

The girl shrugged and took a sip from an almost-empty bottle of Diet Pepsi. “I dunno.”

“I need to do some food shopping at the market across the road. That’s why I’m asking. I need to know how much time I have.”

“Maybe twenty minutes?” The girl shrugged again. “I don’t usually pay attention. But we’re not busy. If you want to leave money for the dryer, I’ll put the stuff in for you when the washer’s done.”

“That would be so nice of you.” Ellie smiled gratefully. “Thanks so much. That would really be helpful.”

The girl shrugged.

“I noticed there are several restaurants right along the strip here.” Ellie paused near the door. “If I wanted to grab a quick dinner, which one would you recommend?”

The girl raised her head and appeared to think over the question.

“Real dinner or just like, you know, a sandwich or something?” she asked.

“I think real dinner.”

“The Blue Claw at the end of the shopping center has pretty good stuff. Not as good as what you get in town, like at Captain Walt’s or Lola’s, but okay, I guess.”

“Thanks. I’ll give it a try.”

Her itinerary set — market then pick up dinner then back to the laundromat — Ellie drove across the road to the market. She hadn’t made a list, and hadn’t really thought too much about what she needed. Now that she was here and behind a cart, she felt overwhelmed.

Food staples first, she decided. Milk, eggs, bread, cereal, butter. Peanut butter. Maybe a can or two of tuna. Mayonnaise. She hadn’t seen a coffee pot in the kitchen and doubted she’d find one, and she could not abide instant coffee. Which meant that she’d be driving into Cuppachino in the morning for a large take-out coffee until she could purchase a coffee maker. In the meantime, she tossed a box of tea bags into her cart.

Purchasing food turned out to be much easier than selecting cleaning supplies, something she hadn’t ever done before. There’d always been a housekeeper to dust and vacuum and clean the bathrooms and the kitchen — even when she was camped out at her friend’s Boston townhouse this past year. Scanning the seemingly endless rows of cleansers and plastic bottles threatened to give Ellie a headache until she decided to take the product that professed to be “all-purpose” at its word.

She hadn’t cleaned bathrooms since that summer camp she’d gone to when she was thirteen. The counselor in charge of their cabin took her duties very seriously, and required all of the girls to not only clean the cabin but the communal bathrooms as well. At the time they’d lamented their bad luck in having drawn Judy Wilson’s cabin, but in retrospect, at least Ellie had learned some lessons she’d never forgotten.

She picked up a second bottle. Who knew when the house had last been cleaned? She grabbed a jumbo pack of paper towels, cleanser, a large package of sponges, a sponge mop and a plastic bucket.

That should pretty much cover everything.

She checked out, loaded up her car, drove back to the shopping center and pulled in front of The Crab Claw, which seemed to be doing little more business than the laundromat. She entered through a red door that had a giant crab painted on it. Inside the lighting was dim and the square wooden tables set almost exclusively for four people. There were but a few parties scattered throughout the room and music played in the background. A plump waitress with short curly strawberry blond hair and an overabundance of eye liner approached with a menu.

“You gonna be meeting someone, hon?” the waitress asked.

“Ah, no. Actually, I was hoping for take-out,” Ellie replied.

“Anything on the menu can be made for take-out.” She handed Ellie the menu, a large slick number with a shiny picture of the same crab that graced the door.

“Thanks.” Ellie opened the menu and began to scan it.

“The burgers are really good here,” the waitress told her softly.

“I was hoping for more than a sandwich,” Ellie said without looking up.

“A baked potato can be substituted for French fries, you could get a side salad.” The waitress leaned a hand on a nearby chair and repeated pointedly. “Like I said, the burgers are real good.”

Ellie got the message.

“Thank you. I’ll have the burger, baked potato, side salad.”

“Good choice. Dressing for the salad?”

“Vinaigrette?”

“I guess you could call it that.” The waitress smiled and wrote down the order. “Can I get you a cup of coffee or tea, or something while you wait?”

“I would love a good cup of coffee,” Ellie admitted.

“We’re not Starbucks but I’ll make a fresh pot.”

“Thank you.” Ellie took a seat at the closest table and checked out the décor. Crab traps hung from the ceiling and nets covered the walls.

A second waitress emerged from the kitchen with a tray that she served to a party of six — two tables pushed together, Ellie noted — and a few moments later, Ellie’s waitress returned with the promised cup of coffee.

“Thank you,” Ellie said.

“So, you just passing through?” The waitress leaned on the back of the chair opposite Ellie.

“How can you tell?”

“If you were local, I’d know you.”

“Well, I guess I’m almost local. I inher...bought a place in St. Dennis and just arrived here today.”

“Oh, which house did you buy? There weren’t that many on the market, last I heard.”

“It’s on Bay View. An older place, needs a lot of work.”

The waitress nodded. “A fixer upper, estate sale most likely. Best way to buy, if you’re handy. St. Dennis is still a pretty hot ticket, draws a lot of visitors. ‘Course, you probably already know that or you wouldn’t have bought here, right? Prices aren’t down here the way they are in other places. You should see this place in the summer.” She shook her head. “You can barely get a table. Some weekends, there’s a line out the door.”

The door opened and three women entered.

“I hope you got a good deal on it,” she told Ellie before she turned to greet the newcomers.

“I did.”

“Good for you, hon.” She patted Ellie on the shoulder as she walked past. “I wish you all the best luck with it.”

“Thank you.” Ellie whispered, suddenly a little choked up but she couldn’t have put into words why. Maybe it was the kind words from this stranger, or the nice offer from the girl at the laundromat, but after almost a year of feeling as if she’d been batted around by just about everyone she’d ever known, the unexpected good will she’d met with today made her feel like crying. It had been quite a while since she’d felt this emotional.

Not that she’d cry in a public place, but still.

The waitress brought out a bag with her take-out, and Ellie followed her to the cash register.

“Anything else, hon?”

“No, I think I’m good,” Ellie told her. “Wait, yes. I’d like a diet Pepsi.”

“I only have fountain. That okay?”

“That’s fine.”

The waitress got the drink, added it to the bill, and Ellie handed over what she owed plus a tip.

“Oh, wait. You forgot to add the coffee,” Ellie told her.

“It’s on the house. Come back again when the rockfish are running. The cook does a real nice job with the fresh fish. Off season, the frozen...not so much. But the burgers are always top-notch.” She winked at Ellie and headed for the kitchen.

“Thanks...” Ellie called after her, but the waitress had already disappeared through the door.

She carried the drink and the bag of food to the car, left the food and took the drink into the laundromat.

“Your stuff’s done.” The girl glanced up only long enough to see that it was Ellie.

“Thank you. I appreciate your help.” Ellie placed the tall container of soda on the girl’s small desk.

“What’s this?” the girl asked.

“I noticed your drink was getting low.” Ellie made her way to the block of dryers. “Which machine?”

“Oh. The third one from this end.” Clearly surprised, the girl was still staring at the drink Ellie’d brought her.

Ellie opened the dryer, folded the sheets, and closed the dryer door again. She waved to the girl as she was going to the door.

“Wait, I didn’t pay you for the soda,” the girl called after her.

“No charge.”

“Hey, thanks. This was...nice. Really. You didn’t have to,” the girl told her.

“You didn’t have to do put my stuff in the dryer.” Ellie opened the door. “See you.”

“Hey, come back anytime.”

Bet on that, Ellie thought as she loaded the clean laundry into the back of the car.

She drove back to the house and sat in the driveway for a few moments to watch the sun as it faded on the water.

Nice.

She remembered the burger that was getting colder by the minute, and took the food into the house. She sat at the kitchen table and ate with the plastic fork the waitress had tucked into the bag, used the plastic knife to put a touch of butter onto the potato, poured dressing from a small plastic cup on the salad, and used the bag as a placemat. Who knew when the table was last cleaned, and what might have crawled over it since?

The thought made her shudder.

The burger was, as promised, delicious, and the baked potato and salad just right. It was hardly the fare she’d been used to all her life, but she sensed that this was not a home where gourmet dinners had been prepared by master chefs. This was a place where comfort food had been prepared by loving hands, she felt certain.

Tonight she’d take the first steps to get the house cleaned up. She debated the merits of starting in the kitchen as opposed to starting in the bathroom. Before too long, she felt overwhelmed, so she finished eating and went back to the car to bring in her laundry and her purchases. At least she had clean sheets to sleep on, and she had enough food for the next few days.

She dug through the bags for one of the containers of cleaning product and a sponge. She was just about to head upstairs when her phone rang.

“Hi, sweetie. How’s it going? How’s the new home?” Of course, Carly Summit, Ellie’s best friend — her only friend — the friend who had opened her home to Ellie, loaned her a car and money and stood by her when everyone else in her life vanished — would call to make sure everything was okay.

“It’s...different. Different from what I expected, but in a good way. I mean, it isn’t terrible.” Ellie walked into the living room, turned on two of the lamps and sat in one of the club chairs that faced the Bay. “Actually, it’s quite charming in a shabby chic sort of way.”

“You sound upbeat. That’s good.”

“I am upbeat. I think with some elbow grease and some paint, this place will clean up quite nicely.” Ellie paused. “I’m talking a full crap-load of elbow grease and buckets of paint, but still, the end result should be fine.”

“Shades of Counselor Wilson at Camp Bedlam.” Their shared name for Camp Bedlingham.

“That’s exactly what I was thinking earlier. Though now I’m grateful for all those hours I spent scrubbing porcelain.”

“So do you have a game plan?”

“Of course. Tonight I’m going to clean the bathroom I’m using on the second floor then put sheets on the bed after which I will fall face first into it. That’s all I’ve got so far. I’m exhausted.”

“Long drive?”

“Not so bad.”

“Look, Ellie, you know that if you need anything — I mean anything — all you have to do is call.”

“I know that, and I appreciate it. But you’ve already done so much for me. I’ll never be able to repay you for everything, Carly.” Once again, that pesky lump tightened Ellie’s throat.

“Pshaw, as my great-grandmother used to say. Have I done anything for you that you wouldn’t do for me, if the tables were turned?”

“Of course not.”

“Well, then, there you are. Who knows, someday when things are super for you again, maybe I’ll be down on my luck and you can give me a hand.”

“Carly, you’ll never be down on your luck.”

“You never know. We’d have said the same about you two years ago.”

“True enough but...” Ellie paused. “Carly, is everything okay there?”

“Perfect, as always. I was just trying to make the point that friends do what they can. Right now, you’re in a situation and I’m in a position to help out.”

“But you’d tell me, right?”

“Of course. Who else would I tell?”

They chatted a little longer, Carly exclaiming, “Ohhhh! Waterfront! Fabulous!” when Ellie told her that the house faced the Bay. “I may have to buzz on down there first chance I get.”

“Any time. Really. Please. I miss you,” Ellie told her.

“I miss you, too, El. I’ll fit in a trip when I get back to the East Coast. In the meantime, you can scrub up one of those bathrooms for me.”

“Will do.”

“Now, tell me all about your new house and that little town...”

After Ellie had told all and the call disconnected, she sat in the silent room, the phone still in her hand. Hearing Carly’s voice reminded her that regardless of how it felt sometime, she wasn’t totally alone. Everyone else may have written her off, denied their friendship and forgotten that she’d existed, but there was always Carly, and while Carly wasn’t physically with her, talking to her had cheered Ellie.

Ellie locked the front door and carried what she needed upstairs, where she turned on the light in the room she’d claimed as her bedroom and went into the bathroom. She turned on the faucet, and jumped back when a stream of rusty water coughed out.

“Seriously?” She watched it run down the drain in rusty swirls. After a while, the color began to lighten, and a few minutes later, the water ran clear.

“That’s more like it.” With cleanser and a sponge and the “all purpose” cleaner, she managed to get the bathroom in respectable order in a little less than an hour.

“Not bad.” She stood back to admire her work. “Not bad at all. Counselor Wilson, you’d be proud of me.”

She changed the sheets on the bed, then realized she hadn’t looked for blankets. She found a pile of old quilts in a chest in one of the other bedrooms, and brought two of them into her room. One went onto the bed, the other she folded at the bottom. They smelled slightly of moth balls, but she decided it wasn’t so bad that she’d risk freezing. She turned off the lights on the first floor and lowered the thermostat, got ready for bed, and crawled under the covers.

Flat on her back and looking up toward a ceiling she couldn’t see, Ellie relived the day, from leaving Carly’s townhouse to driving straight through to St. Dennis, to meeting Jesse Enright. Stepping for the first time into the house she now owned, navigating her way to find the things she needed. She thought about the waitress at The Crab Claw who’d given her coffee and steered her away from the fish that might not have been so good, and the young girl at the laundromat who’d offered to put Ellie’s things in the dryer so that she could do her shopping and buy dinner.

“I told you, it’s a friendly little town,” Jesse had told her. And later, “I hope you do give the folks around here a chance. Everyone isn’t out to hurt you.”

If everyone in St. Dennis were like the people she’d met that day, she’d concede that he was right. Of course, how kind everyone would be if they knew she was Clifford Chapman’s daughter — well, that would be the test, wouldn’t it?

Not a test anyone would be subjected to. When she’d told Jesse she wasn’t there to make friends, she wasn’t kidding. Friendship required honesty, trust, and Ellie knew she wasn’t going to go there.

She’d trusted Jesse because she had to, but she wouldn’t be hanging around St. Dennis long enough to find out who else she could trust. After having been burned so badly by the two people who should have most loved her — her father and her fiancé — trust was hard to come by these days.

Ellie still couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that her father — the same father who’d been her champion all her life and had always seemed to have put her, his only child, above everything else — was worse than a common thief because he didn’t steal out of necessity but out of a greed that was so out of control there apparently had been no end to it. If he hadn’t been caught, she was certain he’d still be stealing the life savings and pensions of people who trusted him.

Ellie had trusted him.

When the charges were first announced, she’d been blindsided. The moment when her father had looked her in the eyes and admitted that he — aided by Henry — was in fact guilty, that he had in fact done everything the FBI and the SEC said he’d done, Ellie had felt her entire world crack and shatter. That both her father and Henry — she’d planned on marrying that man! — had orchestrated the tangled web in which thousands of people lost everything they had, devastated Ellie. Carly had been in Paris but had flown home the second she heard the news, had stood by Ellie while she was grilled six ways to Sunday by one investigator after another. When the interrogations were over and Ellie had been cleared of any involvement, Carly had taken her home, where Ellie fought off the pain and shame for the next three months.

The entire past year had been totally surreal, had turned Ellie’s world inside out and made her question everything she knew about herself, her life. What her father and Henry had done went beyond betrayal.

No, best to bury Ellis Chapman, so that Ellie Ryder could get on with her life.


Excerpted from The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart. Copyright © 2013 by Mariah Stewart. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.



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