This scene gives a bit about the house and also of one of the problems in the story
The Victorian house I’d lived in since my dead husband and I had settled in this
village had been converted into two apartments. I chose the second floor with
its view of the river and rented the first. A week after my return from Hudson
Valley , I’d acquired
Jenna and her friend as tenants. The young women were students at the local
college, Jenna in Nursing and Louise in Business. Santa Fe
I paused at the foot of the steps. “Why don’t you call your grandmother? I’m sure she’d be glad to see you and as proud of your accomplishments as I am.”
She shook her head. “And bring my problems with my uncle on her head? He hated my mother. After my dad died, Mom asked him for help and he refused.” Tears glittered in her eyes. “You should have heard the things he accused me of after my cousin’s death. I’m better off staying away from family.”
I touched her hand. “The accident was five years ago. Surely he’s over the loss by now.”
She combed her fingers through her short honey blonde hair. “He never forgives or forgets.” She handed me the basket. “Have to change for work. See you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow,” I echoed and followed her inside. Robespierre trailed me upstairs. There, I spilled a little food in his dish. He thinks he should be fed every time he returns from outside. I always indulge him by adding a few dry tidbits I put the kettle on. I hurt for Jenna. She’d seen more tragedy in twenty-three years than anyone should bear. Her father’s death, her mother’s alcoholism and series of abusive relationships. Orphaned at fourteen, she’d gone to live with her grandmother. Three years later, there’d been the accident and her cousin had died. For some reason I hadn’t learned until recently, Jenna had become a runaway.
This scene gives a bit more about what's happening in the story.
Before I had a chance to see who had arrived, the cat slipped through his door. When I saw him on the landing with my young friend Robby, I called a greeting.
“Mrs. Miller, can I visit?” Robby asked. “I need to ask you something really important.”
“Over milk and cookies?”
He nodded. “Mom said I can have three.”
“How does peanut butter with chocolate chips sound?” His grin provided my answer.
“Oh, yes.” He bent and scratched Robespierre’s head. The large cat rumbled like the sound of distant thunder.
Once the ritual greeting ended, three cookies and a glass of milk waited on the table. Robby pulled a stool to the sink and washed his hands. “See. I ‘membered.”
“So you did.” While he ate the first cookie, I filled a mug and sat across the table from him. “Do you want to tell me what’s bothering you?”
He propped his elbows on the table. “How can a boy be happy his grandma died? If I had one, I would be sad.”
I sipped the tea. “That’s a hard question. Want to tell me how you learned the boy was happy about her death?”
He leaned forward. “He’s in my class. Always saying bad things ‘bout her. Said she was rich and mean ‘cause she wouldn’t buy him all the toys he wanted.”
“Sounds like he’s greedy.”
Robby’s head bobbed. “He sure is. Always saying how his things are better than mine ‘cause they cost more.”
“So why was he happy she died?”
“’Cause his mom and dad don’t fight with his grandma ‘bout her money. They got it all.”
I cradled the mug. “Is he happy now?”
“Guess so. He says so but he’s still mean.” Robby reached for a second cookie. “He got a new bike and lots of video games. He’s gonna live in a big new house. They can ‘ford a new one ‘cause no more money goes to that place.”