Finn continued down the snow-
covered streets, taking a left as he turned off toward the mountain road. It was bit more difficult to navigate than the main streets in town. Finn had learned to drive on these roads so he knew it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. But he worried about Maggie living out here and driving into town. He made a mental note to remind her about taking safety precautions and outfitting her vehicle properly with all-wheel drive and studded tires. Although she hadn’t mentioned it, he assumed Maggie had also inherited Tobias’s truck.
The sound of Oliver’s chatter filled the silence once Finn ran out of things to say. He didn’t know how to explain it, but there was something about Maggie that made him feel tongue-tied. That fact would probably make his brother laugh out loud since as a kid he’d always complained about Finn never shutting up.
Once he spotted the mailbox announcing they had reached Twelve Mountain Court, Finn turned down the long driveway and drove past tall snowcapped pine and spruce trees until he reached the house. The log cabin was a modest size. Perfect for a small family. In Maggie and Oliver’s case it would be more than enough. He parked the car right in front, then jumped out of the car to grab the baggage.
“Can I help?” Oliver’s little voice sounded just behind him.
He turned around and handed Oliver the smallest piece of luggage he could find. “Thanks for helping out.” Finn walked behind Oliver. The corners of his mouth twitched as he watched the child using all his strength to carry the bag. This kid sure had pluck.
Maggie led the way to the front door, pulling out a set of keys and opening up the house for them. As they stepped over the threshold, the smell of cinnamon floated in the air. Finn placed their belongings down by the staircase.
On the hallway side table sat a bowl of pinecones emanating a wonderful scent. A big fruit basket sat next to it. A bowl full of candy canes sat nearby. Maggie walked over and reached for the card placed on the table. She began to read it out loud. “‘Enjoy your new home. Blessings! Your new friends in Love.’” A small sound escaped her lips. To Finn’s ears it sounded a little bit like a sob. Maggie wasn’t facing him, but he could see her wiping at her eyes.
“Mommy, why are you crying?” Oliver asked. “I don’t like to see you cry.”
“Maggie, are you all right?” Finn asked as a strange tightening sensation spread across his chest. The thought of Maggie awash in tears deeply bothered him.
She turned around to face them, sniffing back tears. “I’m fine. I’m just a bit overwhelmed at their generosity. Everyone in Love has been so kind to us, including you, Finn.” Gratitude shimmered in her eyes. “I’m very thankful.”
“You’re quite welcome,” Finn said. “It’s one of the things I love best about this town. The people here sure do know how to roll out the red carpet. I’m just glad those are happy tears.”
Oliver looked up at Finn. “She cried a lot when my dad died.”
An awkward silence settled over them. Finn didn’t know how to respond to Oliver’s innocent statement. Clearly, Maggie didn’t either.
He knew from personal experience how devastating it felt to lose a parent at such a tender age. His heart ached for Oliver...and Maggie.
“Oliver, why don’t you head upstairs and check out your new bedroom?” Maggie suggested, steering the conversation away from the uncomfortable topic. Oliver took off and began racing up the stairs, the sound of his footsteps echoing in the silence.
“You two must be exhausted.” Finn could see the slight shadows under Maggie’s eyes. He needed to get out of her hair so she could explore her new digs and enjoy some downtime. A sigh slipped past Maggie’s lips. “This day has been truly a blessing, but I am tired. It’s a long way from Massachusetts to Alaska.”
There wasn’t any point in dragging his feet any longer. He’d been waiting for a moment alone with Maggie so he could broach the subject of Tobias’s will. He needed to tell her about the stipulation whereby he would be assisting her with her new store.
“Maggie, I need to tell you something.”
The serious tone of his voice caused a wrinkle to appear on her forehead.
“Okay. What is it?” she asked, her voice sounding tense.
“Tobias left me a sum of money in his will,” he explained.
Maggie’s features relaxed. She gifted him with a sweet smile. “That’s wonderful, Finn. He was always crazy about you back when we were kids.”
“Tobias believed in me. He made me feel I could do anything I put my mind to if I tried hard enough. Over the years he became an honorary grandfather to me.” He shifted from one foot to another, then shoved his hands in his front pants pockets. “He loved you very much, Maggie. He talked about you all the time. I think that must be why he put a special stipulation in the will. In order to get the inheritance, I need to help you get the store up and running. Specifically, for a period no less than four weeks.”
Maggie let out a surprised sound. She knit her brows together. “What? Why would Uncle Tobias have placed such a condition on his bequest?”
Finn ran his hand over his face. “I think he was worried about it being too much for you. He knew you’d been through a lot, having lost your husband last year and being a single mother. I believe he thought he would be making things better for you by giving you someone to help out with everything.” Finn let out a ragged sigh. “And I know he was trying to help me. It’s pretty humbling. Frankly, this couldn’t have materialized at a better time for me. He knew that I needed an infusion of cash to buy into my brother’s aviation business.”
“That was Uncle Tobias’s way, wasn’t it? Even as a kid I remember all the times he tried to help Mama.” She twisted her mouth. “She went from relationship to relationship, marriage to marriage—dragging me with her all across the country. Bless him. Uncle Tobias tried his best to turn things around for us, but it didn’t work.”
“He was a good man. And an even better friend.” Finn missed Tobias more than mere words could convey. There hadn’t been many people in his life who’d believed in him without reservation. It was because of his encouragement that Finn had approached Declan about becoming a partner in O’Rourke Charters. And now, thanks to Tobias’s generosity, his long-held dream was within reach.
“I appreciate all of Uncle Tobias’s efforts on our behalf,” Maggie said. “To be perfectly honest, I’m going to need all the help I can get so Keepsakes can open as soon as possible.” She made a tutting sound. “Leave it to Uncle Tobias to realize I couldn’t do it all on my own.”
“He believed in you. I know that for a fact,” Finn said. “He said it all the time.”