The Resident (part eight)
“I’m roundabout,” Aura was saying, “but the Crew College is where the staff trains, at Maple Hill. For Maple Hill, I guess… They have hospitality courses open to the public. Acervillas is a huge resort firm. Two point nine billion funding.”
“I don’t know what it means, ask Bridge…he wants to work for them. That’s his mantra, two point nine billion.”
“And Maple Hill is what?” said Desander. He laid fingers on Tenconieshe’s forearm. Wissary was plunged in, but after scooping all he could without licking his bowl, said aside, “You and your little preserves-on-melba-toast idea of dessert. I hope you won’t be a disappointment to these beautiful people.”
“Do not take my pie,” Desander answered, and to Teconieshe: “Sir, I apologize. Claudine, you were saying? And you were telling a story earlier, about John and his house?”
A long pause followed a “Hmm,” and under his companion’s eye, Desander—out of choices—dug in. He concentrated on a picture of eyes alight with pleasure, and tried his best to produce them.
“I’d of let the house go. We never knew if Rancilton was there or not.”
“Seems like he is!” Stu put in. “I was having that same talk with Bridge.”
“Let it be, but my son-in-law over there said sell it, pay your debts. Sorry to say, I got em. Claudine died… When did she die?”
“Two thousand twelve,” Aura said. The table sighed. “None of us knew, did we?”
Murmurs rose, and the talk, it struck Desander, was not of John’s loss, but some other malaise.
“Maple Hill, Des, is the fancy golf club you’d see if you went up the road, opposite your way home. Our acreage is mostly this side…across is the little patch with your house, and ten more acres, that Acervillas wants to buy. They want an airport there, for their clients to pop in on private jets.”
Bridge gave a noise, a pffft, and Debra said: “It. Will. Not. Happen.”
Like the topic of bogs, this one lit the room, and soon Desander and Wissary were exchanging sad glances. Desander finished his pie.
(2022, Stephanie Foster)