An Ever Fixéd Mark
he
shook his head, with a knowing grin. She suspected his questions
had more to do with her availability in the Cambridge area than
Coldbrook or New Hampshire. She could easily be back by the
evening… except she hoped someone else might be at the funeral. He
did like Sara for all those years. If he was a decent guy, Ben
would demonstrate his sympathy for his former crush. Lizzie knew it
was awful that she was excited to go to a funeral because she
wanted to see him. And yet… it was a chance to see him and prove if
he had a shred of decency.
    She took a bite of her sandwich and met his
knowing grin. He was so attractive. She appreciated his runner’s
frame even more when he was wearing scrubs. She liked the fact he
was letting his black hair grow out from its weekly cropping. His
dark skin was so smooth and so lovely… why did she want to hesitate
an invitation with Eric just on the off chance she would see… and
it wasn’t even appropriate to think something would come from an
encounter at a funeral.
    “Well, it is supposed to be cold this
weekend. But if you are up for a run…”
    “Hello, Eric,” Dr. Chiang came behind
Lizzie. “Have you had a chance to review for this afternoon?”
    “Yes, Dr. Chiang,” Eric shifted his eyes and
softened his confidence in deference to his superior. Lizzie saw
his awe with her beauty and felt slightly jealous.
    “Hello Lizzie,” the doctor greeted,
prompting Lizzie to turn around. “Richard tells me that Gerard
Fulton is attending.”
    “Yes,” Lizzie nodded quietly.
    “Well, whatever charm you possess to lure
him here, we shall have to use to get him to fund my new center,”
Dr. Chiang grinned.
    “I’ll do what I can,” she looked back at her
sandwich, aware of Eric’s observation.
    “Eric, stop by my office after lunch,” Dr.
Chiang touched Lizzie’s shoulder briefly. “Lizzie.”
    “Who’s Gerard Fulton?” Eric asked after
Lizzie ate some of her sandwich.
    “He’s a man with a lot of money,” Lizzie
pulled the bread off the second half and debated if she wanted that
much turkey.
    “You know him?”
    “Hardly,” Lizzie shook her head. “I just
work at a museum about his family.”
    “Why is there a museum about his
family?”
    “Because they have a lot of money. And
they’ve had a lot of money for centuries,” Lizzie didn’t bother to
explain the politics or the artistic accomplishments of the
Fultons. She doubted that Eric really cared about such things.
    “Do you think he’ll give us money?”
    “Who knows?”
    “Then maybe Chiang will hire me
permanently,” Eric grinned and looked at his watch. “So, Lizzie, if
you want to go out for a run on Sunday, you know how to find
me.”
    “I do,” she bit her lip and watched him head
towards Dr. Chiang’s office. She hoped there would be a reason she
wouldn’t have to make that call.
     

Chapter Five
     
    Lizzie sat in a pew with her cousin. It was
a long time since she sat inside St. Mary’s. Probably not since
another funeral… or wedding. She was once a devout Catholic… but
not since she left Coldbrook and went to college. She scanned the
crowd for Ben before the mass started, but was able to push him out
of her mind when she resolved he wouldn’t be there. That the
important part of the morning was to support Sara and her
family.
    “Hey, so how was Christmas?” Jack whispered
as the crowd moved slowly towards the back of the church to share
condolences with Sara’s family.
    “It was…” Lizzie looked up and saw Ben
further down the line. “It was fun. It would have been more fun if
you and Jen were there. How was Jen’s family?”
    “Less rowdy.”
    “I bet you missed us,” Lizzie tried not to
make her observation of Ben obvious.
    “Of course I did. I missed the food. What
did you make this year?”
    “Something healthy. I missed the guitar
playing at the end of the night,” Lizzie laughed. “Hey – when is
the next gig, Jack?”
    “We have some shows coming up in

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