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Justin was staring at the woman that he was loving more than life itself while she was talking on the phone. She had just come out of the shower wearing only her bathrobe, but she was simply marvelous. He lay down on the bed waiting for the end of the conversation that Ashley was having with Marianne. That evening they had to show up at his mother's villa because she was marrying Michael and wanted to introduce him officially to everybody as her son. It was still very strange to think of Marianne as ‘his mother’, but in the days that followed the terrible weekend at Cape Cod, they talked a lot and had the chance to sort out every little thing. Seeing Marianne so close to Ashley, Justin realized that him hating her had no sense whatsoever, that she had no fault in what had happened to him since Marianne gave birth to him. Now he had two families in his life and, above all, Justin had also a phenomenal woman by his side.
He closed his eyes and a smile appeared on his lips, thinking of the conversation he had with Norah a few days ago. Justin found her in her parlor, sitting in her favorite chair, looking and caressing the photo of Hugh Amberville, her dead husband. Justin knew their love story by heart, he knew how much his Granny had loved him. Only now, after having Ash in his life, after he found real love next to her, Justin was able to understand everything that Norah had told him over the years about falling in love. Norah's love for his grandfather had been magical, one-of-a-kind, as his love for Ashley was.
After watching Norah for a few seconds, Justin walked over to her and kissed her on the cheek. Norah startled and looked up at her grandson. It had been a week since the Cape Cod tragedy and not a day went by without Norah thanking Hugh, their guardian angel, for saving once again the lives of their beloved grandson and Ashley. She smiled at Justin and invited him to sit in front of her. They stayed awhile in Norah's parlor, a room full of photos and memories. Norah seemed very tired.
"All right, Granny, are you ready for tonight?" he asked Norah, breaking the deafening silence and kissing her hand covered with her usual lace glove.
“Oh, my sweet boy, to be honest with you, I feel a bit under the weather. Maybe because of all that has happened lately. I think I'll go to the party with you and Ash, but I'll only stay for an hour or so, then I'll ask your uncle Eric to take me back home,” she replied putting Hugh's photo on the coffee table next to the other family photos. She caressed it once again and she smiled softly.
“Please, Granny, forgive me again for what I’ve put you and the others through! I know you were quite worried about me, especially after the way I left Marianne’s office and your house, but now I'm here, safe and sound. Thanks to Ashley, Celeste wasn’t even near to putting my life in danger. The Valium she gave me didn’t cause damage to my heart.”
“That crazy woman...” Norah exclaimed in a nervous tone. “Please, do not mention her name again in this house! When I think of everything that she put you and Ash through...”
"She's dead, Granny, she can't hurt anyone anymore," Justin reassured her as he approached his grandmother and hugged her. “Both of us are fine. Ashley has already started doing her physiotherapy session. You have seen it with your own eyes how she’s doing. And in record time, she managed to fix the last details of tonight's party and the clinic opening which will happen tomorrow. I know that David and Emily also helped her a lot, especially with the oncology pediatric ward.”
“All the Hayes have been a godsend for our family during these last days. While we were waiting to hear news about you and Ash, I’ve talked a lot with David and Emily and I’ve started to know them very well. Emily told me many things about Ashley, especially what happened after the car crash in which Brandon and the other two friends died. She told me how much Ashley suffered after the death of all three, especially after losing Brandon, the pain she had to deal with, her panic attacks. But Emily told me also about her determination, her desire to get out of all her despair and really live her life. Our Ashley is a fantastic woman, don't you think so?” Norah asked him staring into his eyes.
Justin sat back in the armchair and nodded. His Ash was more than fantastic. She had brought the light back into his life, she had also helped his Granny. Even Sammy and Nessa, who had just met her, had told him that there isn't and there would never be another woman so right for him. Not to mention that she had won his uncle Eric too. All his family was under her wonderful spell.
“You know, kiddo, once, a long time ago, I asked you why you had never thought of getting married, of settling down. You replied that you hadn’t found yet the woman able of getting you high on emotions, of making your heart skipping a beat like your grandfather, Hugh, did with me. Do you still remember what you told me you would do once you found this woman?”
"That I would have taken her to church and I would have married her that same day, in front of all of you," Justin answered, quite surprised by Norah's words. That conversation happened months and months ago when he was still a ‘bad boy’.