TITLE: The Wild Bird's Wings
GENRE: commercial fiction
They gathered at Jodie's parents' house after Grandpa Frank's funeral for a celebration of his life, but it turned into a celebration of his death. The people who actually liked him, his drinking buddies, weren't welcome and went on a pub crawl in his memory instead. The others, mostly bitter, cold women, offered their condolences to Grandmother Hester for the too many years she'd wasted on the wrong man. Hester was in her glory, the star of the show. She'd outlasted Frank, inherited his fortune and had the last laugh. A couple neighbours popped by as well, along with a handful of distant relatives Jodie had never heard of. Of course, perfect Aunt Anne was also there, along with perfect Uncle Barry and their three perfect children. Only Graham, Jodie's brother, was missing.
"How could he miss his own grandfather's funeral?" Hester asked repeatedly. "Honestly, Louise. What will people think?"
Louise had rehashed those same questions with both Jodie and Graham over the past few days. "He couldn't leave town, Mother. He had a work emergency." The pitch of her voice edged into dangerous territory. "And he was never close to Dad."
"Anne's children made it all the way from Washington." Hester's tone implied that Washington was at the end of the earth, rather than a quick hop across the border. Her gaze fell on Jodie. "And they are all helping. Even Douglas."
"Why aren't you circulating, Jodie?" Louise snapped. "For heaven's sake, do something."