With all of the stories now completed for The Little Book Publishing Company ahead of time, Molly and Will decided to return home early. There was still another month left to the agreed contract and Tom offered for them to stay on in Wellington at the house if they wished. But with nothing more for them to contribute to the book just now, the two of them were keen to be home again. Molly booked a flight back giving them plenty of time to say good bye to the team and to let Anna know that they were returning home very soon.
Molly rang Anna with the news. “Oh my god Molly, I have sooo much to share with you! But it can wait until you get home. Let me know what time your flight is so that I can meet you at the airport. Can’t wait for you to come home. I’ll let the others know, that is, if they don’t already, considering the Spirit network they are a part of.”
Tom wanted to have a Thank You Dinner, a get together for everyone involved. Moana was not leaving the country for another 2 weeks and she was more ready to be amongst people now. They could have it as a farewell for her also. She had offered to work part-time whilst they found a replacement, enabling her to take care of packing up her belongings and putting them into storage in a friends garage. Amongst these were things Koro had left for her. One of which was a photo album of pictures of her mum and to her surprise, there was a photo of her dad. Why had Koro not given this to her before? Now she had a tangible link to her father! It was taken on the beach at Oponake in the summer of 1997. Her mum was standing arm in arm with a tall well-built man, shoulder length blonde curly hair, tanned skin and bright blue eyes, a surf board by his side. Here was her father!
Dinner was awash with a waves of emotions, with the news of Tom and Kelly’s baby, Moana going to Hawaii, the completion of the stories, photographs and portraits for ‘In The Company of Friends’, and Delilah’s surprise announcement. She and Louise had decided to adopt a child. So much had happened for all of them in such a short period of time. Molly and Will planned to return to see them all for the dinner party at the end of the year, on their way to the South Island, when they were to begin a road trip that would guide them to places where they could collect stories for Molly’s next book – Lost Souls and Forgotten Stories.
The next day Molly and Will had a farewell brunch at Tom and Kelly’s home, giving them a chance to say good-bye to their furry friends, before Tom drove them to Wellington Airport for their flight home. With everything packed, Molly took a moment to sit quietly in the room she had used as her office. What an amazing time she had had here. She felt a little sad at leaving. Would she see Grace Simpson again? Staring out the window over the tops of the trees in the reserve below, she felt the light touch of a hand on her shoulder and a voice that was no longer mysterious. It was Grace Simpson. “Farewell dear Molly. It has been a pleasure meeting you and getting to know you, and watching you remember as your own story unfolds. I am so grateful to be a part of this, your story. Some day you will write about us all.” Molly looked up at her, sadness and tears welling up in her eyes. Grace smiled lovingly, “Oh Sweetie, it is not good bye! Far from it! This is just the beginning, you wait and see,” and Grace leaned over and kissed the top of Molly’s head. It was real, Molly could feel the physical sensation. She closed her eyes and drunk in the moment, savouring the intoxication of when someone reaches through from the Spirit World. The sensation was energising and uplifted her soul. But now the time had come for her and Will to return to Lockyer, Molly could hear the muffled sound of Tom’s voice downstairs. “Until next time,” she whispered to Grace, and walked downstairs to catchup with the boys.
With mixed emotions, Tom left them at the airport. Their flight got in at just after 4pm, giving them enough time to drive home with Annabelle before it got dark. They were both eager to see the house and gardens, and of course Anna. With great excitement Anna was there to greet them, the three of them hugging like they had not seen each other for years. Again the same airport staff member passed comment at Will and his women, as the three of them walked out to the carpark with arms wrapped around each other.
Will decided to drive home leaving the girls to catch up in the back seat. Anna told them both about the unusual events that had been unfolding and how her friendship with Grace, Lucy and Patrick had grown. She also shared with them her desire to do a little travelling before Molly and Will left for the South Island. She wanted to visit Northland and Cape Reinga, returning in time to share Christmas with them. Having them come home early was perfect, enabling her more time to go up north. She had decided to hire a small camper van. Molly was a little concerned about her travelling on her own, but Anna put her mind to rest announcing that she had a travelling companion lined up. She was very secretive about it, not giving any information about whom it may be. Initially Molly thought it must have been someone she had met locally, and respected her privacy by not asking the hundreds of questions running around in her head.
Time passed quickly as they chatted the whole drive home and before long Will was turning down the driveway to their house. He paused at the entrance to the drive, the play of the evening light made the house and gardens appear to be glowing. “Oh!” Molly gasped, “Anna you have been busy, the place looks amazing!” Will smiled, pleased with what he saw and relaxed into knowing that Anna was more than capable of looking after the house again for them. He had been a little hesitant in Anna’s ability to take care of the house and gardens, as she did have a tendency to be a bit vague and ditsy, but he had never let on. Despite this, he loved her like a sister. Affectionately he would refer to her as a Bottle Blonde, meaning that she was light headed and whimsical, at times ‘off with the pixies’. Anna loved their playful banter.
After a light dinner which Anna had prepared before the drive, Molly and Will collapsed exhausted into their own bed. “Aaah, it felt so good to be home!” Molly said quietly. She was excited about visiting Grace in The Attic, but it would have to wait until the next day. Her head resting on Will’s shoulder she was asleep without another thought.
Her dreams were restless, glimpses of all The Grace’s woven into visions of days passed, of the mystical way they magically entwined, Molly still unsure how this was all happening. Tossing and turning, she was concerned about waking Will, and decided to go upstairs to visit Grace. As Molly felt her way up the stairs to The Attic in the darkness, she experienced that familiar tingle. Excited she opened the door to find a lit candle sitting on top of the writing bureau. On the opened desk top was a note written in Grace’s handwriting. It read:
Welcome home Molly, now Go To Sleep! I shall see you in the morning!
Love Grace xoxo.
Molly chuckled quietly and said to the seemingly empty room, “Good night Grace and thank you for looking after Anna and the house for us. I don’t know if she could have done it on her own.” Molly picked up the candle and used it to find her way back down the dark stairs to their bedroom. She stopped at the side of the bed to take in the peaceful scene of Will snoring gently. Molly placed the candle on her bedside table, climbed into bed, snuffed out the candle and snuggled up next to Will’s warm body under the duvet. Yes, it was good to be home.