The Night's Legacy

The Night's Legacy by P.T. Dilloway

Book: The Night's Legacy by P.T. Dilloway Read Free Book Online
Authors: P.T. Dilloway
register.  “Melanie was showing me how the register works.”
    “Really?  Well, the next person who comes in here you can ring up.”
    They had to wait five minutes for a customer to show up.  Lois prayed it wouldn’t be Mom or Dr. Johnson.  Her prayers were answered; an old woman toddled up to the counter with an armload of T-shirts.  Lois could feel Tony’s eyes on her back as the old woman approached.
    “Hello, ma’am.  Did you find everything you were looking for?”
    “Oh yes,” the old woman said.
    “Is this your first time at the Thorne Museum?”
    “Oh my, no.  I first came here back in 1945 with my husband and my son.  He was just three at the time—”
    Lois forced herself to keep smiling while the old woman prattled on.  The old woman didn’t seem to notice as Lois took the shirts, ringing them up and then passing them to Melanie, who slipped them into a bag.  From what the old woman said, her son had been about as well-behaved as Lois when she was a toddler.  He had even tried to climb Jeff, but hadn’t thought in advance enough to create a distraction, so that security apprehended him before he could even get up to the trunk.
    “Are you going to be in the area long?” Lois managed to get in, hoping to turn the tide of the conversation.
    “Just another day or two.  Then my daughter and I are going up to Quebec—”
    The old woman continued talking for twenty minutes; Lois wondered when was the last time anyone had listened to the old woman’s stories.  As two other customers came up behind her, the old woman said, “Well, I best be getting on.”
    “Do you need any help with those?” Lois asked as she handed the bags over the counter.
    “I’ll be all right, dear.  But thank you for asking.  You’re such a nice young woman.  You don’t often see that these days.”
    “Thank you and come back again the next time you’re in the area.”
    “I most certainly will.”
    The other two customers went much quicker, apparently not as starved for conversation.  Once the last one had left, Melanie squealed and said, “She’s a natural!”
    “She sure is,” Tony said.  He gave her a covert pat on the rear as if she were a baseball player.  “Tomorrow you’ll get your very own drawer.”
    “Well, I’m moving up in the world,” Lois teased and then went back to work.
    * * *
    It came as no surprise to find Mom still working at her desk, even though most of the museum staff had gone home.  Not even Lorna was still around when Lois opened the door to her mother’s office.  Mom nodded to her and then motioned to a chair.  Without looking up, she asked, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
    “Most of it.”  Lois sank down on the chair and stared down at the floor, waiting for Mom to lecture her.  “I’m sorry I made such a mess of it.”
    “No, it’s my fault.  You had a right to be concerned.  And I should have asked Lorna to make the appointment like I promised.”
    “But I still shouldn’t have done it, right?”
    “You’ve always been brash.”
    “Not like you.”
    Mom put down her pen and stared at Lois.  Not with the sternness of a Glare, at least not yet.  “No, you aren’t like me.  You’re your own person.  You always have been.”
    “That’s not what everyone else thinks.  Or wants.”
    “Is that why you ran away?  Because of what other people wanted from you?”
    “No,” Lois said, though her voice was as tiny as if she were a child again.  “Maybe it had something to do with it.”
    “You could have talked to me about it.  We could have found a way—”
    “What could you have done?  Not even the director of the almighty Thorne Museum can change people’s expectations.”
    Now Lois got the Glare.  She could feel it even while still looking down at her feet.  “I’ve never wanted you to be anyone else.  You’re my daughter.”
    “That’s the problem.”
    Mom sighed.  “I know.  It wasn’t always easy

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