Fox Maison could hardly bring herself to listen to the priestly drone that bade her mother, Baroness Monique Therese Yolanda DuMaison farewell. Father Finnerty had known her mother better than many people. They’d been friends and, to call a spade a spade, passionate star-crossed lovers, since childhood.
But it didn’t feel real.
Her mother didn’t feel dead. In the pit of her heart where Fox kept all her feelings her mother seemed so very much alive. And not just because they had failed to recover her pert, sun-kissed body.
White roses and Tiger Lilies littered the graveside. An alleyway of Jo Malone votive candles led the procession of mourners to a grave. They had nothing to bury, but Carlow Von Cleef, Fox’s father and the hottest music producer in all eight continents, even the secret ones that only the upper echelons of the pleasure classes knew about had insisted on a grave. “For Closure.”
Father Finnerty was openly sobbing now, calling her his Mary Magdalene. His beautiful sin. Carlow VanCleef didn’t know where to look. His wife’s indiscretions had never felt so sadly indiscreet. The team of handsome masons he’d hired stalwartly continued to fill in the grave, pecs rippling subtly through black cashmere. Within lay a single photograph, her on their first wedding anniversary, a little Fox in her arms, gazing up at him and smiling widely. This was the shining woman he remembered. This was his precious bride. He wished he’d made her happy. He really wished he’d asked another priest to give the mass.
Fox put her delicate hand on the priest’s black-clad shoulder. He was taller than her by far and yet her steely expression confirmed that it was she who held the upper hand. Father Finnerty had been the Baroness playmate as a child, sure, but he’d been the housekeeper’s son. He’d risen through the clergy to become the parish priest of a range of exotic locations. He was a powerful man, a man of God. But she was to the manor born. And they shed their tears in private.
“Father, pull yourself together” her tone was kind but it was unmistakably a command. The Irishman wiped the tears from his ruddy face, and rolled up his sleeves like the peasant he was. The grave was filled. They served h’ors d’oeuvres. A tasteful statue of her mother aloft in the centre of the room, a champagne fountain beneath her. Nothing tacky. What she would have wanted. A send-off befitting a baroness.