Ruth's trial was held on the mainland. Flora's body was too decomposed to run any sort of tests to determine the cause of her death, and so her former manager could only be tried for attempting to murder Meg and Dani resulting in a two-day affair whose conclusion the district attorney had accurately described as foregone. Nearly all of the year-round residents of Decatur Island traveled across temperamental waters to attend, a few like Marshal Sellars and Grant Chandler to testify, and the rest to show their support or satiate their curiosity. Most of their faces were unfamiliar, and Meg wondered whether she would have the opportunity to know them once she returned to the island in the spring or if the trial and all that had lead up to it would result in them shunning her permanently.
A few, single women or couples who always arrived early and sat staunchly behind the table where Ruth and her attorney were situated, never looked in Meg's direction. Some couples, like Larry and Vera, came into the courtroom together but sat on opposite sides, torn in their loyalty but unwilling to write Meg and the Candlewick's future off entirely. Many more than she expected supported her completely. Meg would always suspect that this had much more to do with respect for Flora's memory and a conscious campaign by Joey and - apparently - Wanda rather than anything she had done on her own, but she appreciated it all the same. It made the prospect of returning to the inn much less intimidating.
Dani and Meg sat behind the prosecutor's table, each girl stepping forward at the appropriate time to offer her testimony, and the people Meg still considered her parents were right beside them. Having spent a long weekend talking about her adoption and biological mother had not mended the rift completely. Meg still had many questions, but it was an undeniable relief to be able to walk into the kitchen and ask questions whenever they occurred to her. For their part, her parents were forthcoming, if not, at times, awkward and defensive. The family knew the revelation of the truth would not break them in the end, and looked towards a future time where the truth no longer felt so foreign.
Outside of the courtroom, a dreary gray sky stretched across the city and over the water. Decatur was too far away from the mainland shore to be seen, but had anyone been approaching the island they would have been greeted by a sight most unusual given the time of year. A break in the clouds, almost perfectly round as if someone had purposefully scooped out a cottony section with a cosmic-sized kitchen utensil, allowed shafts of sunlight to stream down over the deep green mass rising out of the water.
Though temporarily abandoned by their owners and occupants, the buildings that lined the main street of town grew brighter, revealing that their paint was not drab but rather dulled at times by a deceptive mist. What boats remained in the harbor bobbed gently, hardly disturbed by the tide. And above it all, on the south eastern end of the island, through glistening green evergreens the windows of the Candlewick sparkled, as if to offer the promise of welcome.