Until Harry - L.A. Casey Page 0,1

to be before I moved away.

That glitch aside, I figured if I had to ring someone to check on my uncle, it would be my nanny. She was stubborn as hell, but she was the only member of my family that could be reasoned with. Scarcely.

I didn’t have Internet in my apartment – which was shocking considering I was a freelance editor – because the signal strength in my area was very poor. I availed myself of the free Wi-Fi at the local Starbucks whenever I needed it. I got dressed that Wednesday morning, with the intention of heading to Starbucks for the use of said free Wi-Fi to contact my nanny.

I met my postman on the bottom floor of my apartment complex on my way out, and he handed me a single letter. There were urgent stickers all over it, as well as stickers for next-day delivery. It had been sent the day before. The return address was from my brother, so I immediately ripped it open.

Reading that godforsaken letter was the second time in my life that my heart broke into a million pieces. The devastation that dwelt within me was a familiar emotion, but this time it was due to a completely different person, in relation to an entirely different situation. Once more I was overtaken by the kind of sadness that seeps into your bones rather than explodes in a cascade of tears. The misery that I felt filled me from head to toe, and I couldn’t escape from it.

I tried, though. I tried to think about something else as I booked a flight to London. I tried to think of something else as I landed in Heathrow Airport and took the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station. I tried to think of anything but my Uncle Harry’s face, and I did well until I got a taxi from Paddington Station to King’s Cross Station and got on the final train in my journey to York. After I stepped foot in Coach B – it was the quiet carriage – my Uncle Harry’s voice broke through every single thought I fabricated to cover him up. His voice stuck with me, and I found both comfort and sorrow in that.

I was pulled from my thoughts when the train came to a sudden stop. I blinked my eyes a couple of times and looked out the window. I was no longer looking at the countryside; I was staring at the busy platform of my final stop. York.

Welcome home, Lane.

After exhaling a deep breath, I nervously got to my feet and shoved my phone back into my coat pocket before grabbing my small suitcase from the storage compartment above my head. I was walking along the platform a few minutes later, pulling my suitcase behind me. I got a taxi from the station to the Holiday Inn, a small hotel roughly ten minutes away from my parents’ house, and checked into the hotel, settling into my small but cosy room. I was freshening up when my phone pinged. At the sight of my brother’s name, I groaned.

Lochlan was looking for confirmation that I was coming home for my uncle’s funeral. I didn’t blame him for checking in – I’d never replied to his letter. I just read it and acted by booking the next flight out of New York.

I’m here, I thumbed out. Where is he laid out?

I swallowed the bile that rose up my throat as I impatiently waited for his reply. I had so many questions, but I didn’t want any answers. I wanted to know why my uncle was dead when he had been perfectly healthy. I wanted to know why he had been living Monday night and was dead Tuesday morning. But if I got the answers my mind sought, then it would be like I was accepting that my uncle was gone, and I just wasn’t ready to do that yet.

I jumped when my phone pinged with a new email.

Mum and Dad’s house. We’re all here.

A lump formed in my throat. It made sense that my uncle would be at my parents’ house; my uncle adored my mother, and she cherished him in return. She was his little sister, his partner in crime and his twin.

I rubbed my eyes when they began to sting.

I’ll be there in 20 minutes.

I grabbed a pair of black fitted jeans, black ankle boots, a black long-sleeve T-shirt and a grey blazer. When I was dressed, I turned to