* * * *

The next morning as I was finishing changing, I heard the sound of a helicopter. Surprised, I ran outside to the back lawn to see it touch down. Once the blades stopped, the door opened and out stepped. . .my mother? 'Mum!' I ran over and gave her a hug. She was followed out by my sisters Nora, Theresa, Katie, and my bother Michael. 'What are you all doing here?

'We got a call that you needed us and we came.'

'I didn't call.'

'I know. It was his Grace. He let us use his private jet and . . .'


Steven sauntered out onto the lawn. 'You made good time. Hello, Mrs. Adamson. I hope the trip was pleasant.'

'Yes, thank you, your Grace. But why did you insist on the urgency? Nick looks to be in good health.'

'I think he was just going through a trying time. I hope you didn't think he was too seriously injured.'

'We thought he was in trouble, not lounging in some island paradise,' remarked Nora.

Belatedly, I introduced them all to Steven. 'C'mon,' I said, taking Katie's hand, 'I'm sure we can get you something for breakfast.'

Hearing the commotion, the others had gathered on the terrace. Sophie recognized them. 'Mrs. Adamson, what a surprise! Please, make yourselves comfortable.'

'Sophie, dear, how lovely you look. I didn't expect to see you here.'

'These last few days have been full of surprises, what with someone trying to kill Nick--'

'What?' Mum turned and looked at me. 'Are you all right?'

'Yes, Mum, I'm fine. Honestly.'

'This is so beautiful,' said Eleanor as she wiped a tear from her eye. She's actually human! I looked at Paul and saw that he was standing quite close to Anne. If Eleanor's walls were crumbling, maybe they stood a good chance.

'This place is fantastic!' remarked Michael.

At that moment, Mike came around with his delivery cart. I don't know what it was, but something about him reminded me of my father. Maybe it was that Dad would have been about his age, I'm not sure. I also felt a little sorry for him because he and Josiah had been friends, yet he was left nothing in the will. 'Mike, I was thinking. When we all leave, this place is going to need some looking after. How would you like the job?' He hesitated. 'You get to be on your own, make your own hours, and still run your ferry service,' I added.

'Sounds perfect. Thanks.' We shook hands.

My eyes searched for Helen and found her standing near the door. I smiled and waved her forward to meet my family.

It seemed a happy ending all around. Even though I now knew that Sophie was lost to me for good, I had an island and a new girlfriend. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Steven heading for the helicopter. 'Where do you think you're going?'

'You're out of danger now and I feel like an interloper at a family reunion. Keep in touch. You know where to find me.'

'One thing,' I said as he climbed into the helicopter, 'how did you know where my family lived?'

'Sophie told me,' he answered with a smile. 'Take care.'

I stood there and watched as the helicopter rose in the air. That man certainly had an air about him. I'm glad I was able to call him friend. I went back and joined the others on the terrace.