“Thanks for the offer, but Hazel gave me the key to Uncle Tobias’s truck. I’ll make sure to take it easy down the mountain road.” Part of Maggie wanted Finn to come pick her up, but she knew it was important to start doing things for herself. She didn’t want to take the easy way out. The thought of driving down the mountain road was a bit scary, but she was determined to face it head-on.
“Well then, I’ll meet you in front of Keepsakes tomorrow morning. And welcome to Love.” He opened the door and disappeared into the frosty Alaskan night.
“’Night,” Maggie called out after him. She shut the door behind Finn and leaned against it. She felt completely exhausted after her long journey, the news about Agnes and her awkward discussion with Finn about Oliver. She let out a ragged breath.
“Why don’t you want Finn to watch me?” She turned toward the sound of her son’s voice. He was sitting at the bottom of the steps staring at her with big eyes.
“Oliver, what have I told you about eavesdropping on adult conversations?”
“I wasn’t. At least not on purpose.” There was a sheepish expression etched on Oliver’s face. “I was thirsty, so I came back downstairs.”
Maggie walked over to the staircase and reached for her son’s hand. “Let’s go get some water.”
Once they were in the kitchen, Maggie went over to the cupboard and pulled out a mug. She turned the faucet on and filled it halfway. Oliver sat down at the kitchen table and Maggie handed him the water.
“Why don’t you like Finn?” he asked before taking a generous sip of water.
Maggie gasped. “I do like Finn. We were friends when we were kids. And he’s a really great pilot. But that doesn’t mean I want him to be—”
“My manny?” Oliver asked.
Maggie couldn’t help but giggle. “Manny? Where in the world did you hear that expression, Oliver?”
“Back home one of the kids in my class had one. Manny is a male nanny,” he explained in a matter-of-fact tone.
“I know, Oliver. But I had no idea you would know.”
“I know a lot of things. More than you think I know.” Oliver’s sad expression tugged at her heartstrings. Maggie wasn’t sure she wanted to know what Oliver was talking about. Did he know more about Sam’s death than she’d ever realized? She prayed it wasn’t true. It was such a horrible thing for a little boy to wrap his head around.
“You’re getting to be such a big boy,” Maggie said, wishing she could turn back time to when Oliver was a little toddler in diapers. He was growing by leaps and bounds.
“I like Finn. A lot. It would be super cool if he could watch me while you’re setting up our new store.” Oliver was now pleading with her.
“It makes sense that you like him. But I need to have faith in the person who watches you. That doesn’t come easily.”
“He flew us all the way here in his seaplane. You trusted him to do that.”
Sometimes Oliver’s maturity shocked Maggie. He was wise beyond his years. There was nothing she could say to refute his statement. It was the truth.
“I appreciate your opinion, but this is something Mommy has to decide on her own. It’s grown folks’ business,” Maggie said in a gentle voice.
Oliver rolled his eyes and groaned. “I hate when you say that.”
Maggie chuckled at the look etched on her son’s face. A feeling of immense love for Oliver hummed inside her heart.
As Maggie prepared for bed a little while later, thoughts of Finn’s proposition continued to float through her mind. Was it really so out of the question? What had she really known about Agnes before she’d offered her the position? Surely she knew way more about Finn. After all, they’d been childhood playmates. More than that, she realized. They’d been besties.
Best friends forever. Hadn’t they promised each other they would always be friends? And even though two decades had passed, she still felt as if she knew Finn. He seemed different, but deep down she sensed he was still the same comical, lovable boy. Would it be such a grand leap of faith to trust him to care for Oliver?
Oliver’s pleas ran through her mind as she began to drift off to a peaceful sleep. Had she made a huge mistake in dismissing Finn’s offer to watch Oliver?
Bright and early the next morning, Maggie woke up to greet the first day of her new life in Alaska. While Oliver was eating a bowl of cereal, she went out on the back porch and took in the breathtaking vista stretched out before her. White-capped mountains loomed in the distance. Although the December air was frigid, it was clean and crisp. She let out a gasp as she spotted a majestic eagle soaring in the air. She couldn’t look away from the bird’s graceful moves. It made her feel centered and peaceful.
She shoved her hands in the pockets of her heavy winter coat. It was pretty cold out here, but she felt helpless to tear her gaze away from the view staring back at her. In all her life she had never seen such pristine land.
“I did it,” she said in a triumphant voice. Despite all of her fears, Maggie had gathered up her courage and traveled all the way to this quaint fishing village. She was transforming her life. And she was now officially a business owner. Keepsakes might need some sprucing up, but from her childhood recollections, it had been a wonderful shop specializing in heartwarming treasures. It had always enjoyed a loyal, solid clientele.