Buried Deeds — Part 13 ( A Meghan Bode Mystery)

On the way home, Meghan fumbles for the hands-free system in her car and answers the phone.

“Hey, Megs, Deb called your office, but you didn’t answer. Isn’t it great?”

“Isn’t what great?” she asks Rick.

“You didn’t check voice mail?”

“I got fed up with reporters calling all day. What’s up?”

“There’s an offer on the house.”

Meghan’s foot nearly slips off the brake at the stoplight. “What?”

“The folks who saw it this morning are offering full price, and their financing’s in place. We close in sixty days. Deb’s bringing the papers over tonight for us to sign.”

“Two months? We’ve hardly looked at anything. How can we be ready to move in two months?”

“We’ll have the movers store our stuff and stay in a hotel if we need to. But we’ll find something, don’t worry. Gotta go, a client’s calling. See you at home.”

The honk from the car behind her forces Meghan’s attention back to the road. But she’s soon thinking life has become far too busy this winter. This is supposed to be the slow season for home sales. But hers has sold on just its second day on the market. Then there’s the mystery of Josiah Kent in the Walker cellar. And she still needs to visit the National Archives in DC for research on another project.

And now I have to start packing up my life? John can’t do homework in a hotel room. What have we gotten ourselves into?

***

The evening is a blur as she and Rick sign and initial the contract forms. Deb Cooper promises to find them the right house, which might be easier if they up their top dollar by another fifty thousand. Meghan hears Rick tells Deb that’s no problem and nods mutely in agreement.

When Deb leaves, Meghan makes a cup of hot chocolate and surveys the kitchen and family room while she drinks.

“Are you okay?” Rick asks.

“Yeah, it’s just so sudden. This was our first house, and we’ve been here nearly eleven years. I was pregnant with John when we moved in, remember?”

“I remember,” Rick says, slipping his arms around her from behind. “Six months along, and the doctor didn’t want you doing any lifting. Your brothers were sure you planned the move that way.”

“So many of our memories are here, and now there’s no time to prepare for leaving them. We have to pack and find a new place—”

“We’re not leaving the memories, Megs, they’re coming with us. And we’ll make new ones in the next house. We’ll be settled again inside of three months. We’ll even have time to plant that garden you’ve always wanted.”

Meghan sets down her drink and turns to rest her head on Rick’s chest. “You’re right. I’m being silly.”

“No, you’re not,” Rick says, kissing the top of her head. “We’ve had some great times here. Remember John’s first Christmas and we couldn’t fit everyone in the family room because there were so many presents for him around the tree?”

“And scrambling to buy child-proofing supplies when he started walking earlier than our moms said he would?”

“You were sure he’d fall down the stairs that day if we didn’t,” Ricks says with a laugh. “I ended up doing it before he did. Damn lucky I didn’t break my neck.”

“That’s what you get for being lazy and trying to climb over the gate instead of opening it.”

“So I learn my lessons the hard way. You knew that when you married me.”

Meghan reaches up to kiss him. “You’re right. The memories are in us, not the house. And John will love having a yard he and his friends can play in.”

“With a dog?”

“Yes, with a dog. But not until we’re settled. And you two are doing all the work.”

“It’s a deal,” Rick says, pulling her close. “Now, let’s kick back and relax. We don’t have to start packing tonight.”

As they head to the family room, Meghan’s phone rings, showing a call from Wyndham Thicket Farm. “I’ll be there in a minute. I should take this.”

“Dr. Bode? It’s Jackson Carter. Can you come out to the farm tomorrow morning without your crew? Something’s happened that you need to see.”

I hope you’ll stay tuned for Part 14 next Tuesday.

New to the Meghan Bode Mysteries? You can catch up with her first complete story and the previous installments of Buried Deeds with this link.

54 thoughts on “Buried Deeds — Part 13 ( A Meghan Bode Mystery)

  1. Her house sold in 2 days? Bitch. It’s funny how people feel about moving, as if the memories will cease to be if you move from the place where the memories were made. I do that too. And yay for upcoming dog! But BOOOO for teasing us with Jackson Carter’s phone call. Pffft.

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    • Years ago, our first house sold in two days to the first viewers. 😉 Today? It won’t happen most places, but northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs close to DC can still pull it off. Psychics and ghosthunters, especially, love the idea that events and memories stay in a place. And I think there’s something to that. But for the living, the memories are with us, too, even if we leave a place.

      Yeah, Meghan caved on the dog. But pffft to closing with a tease? By now you know that’s her thing!

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    • Meghan loves teasers. 😉 And while it may seem “old-fashioned” for many of today’s writers, I’m sticking with her having a good marriage and home life. It really does happen.

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    • Meghan LOVES cliffhangers. 😀 I think Rick’s a good guy. Like Meghan, he’s fleshing out more in my mind as I write these stories. I think he’s both “a guy’s guy” and a good husband. Great combo if we gals can find them!

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    • Now, if I can just write a novel where I “pour it on” enough for the modern market. 😉 (I know, I keep saying this, but it means there’s an underlying doubt about the “punch” of my longer works.) Meghan may only have one son, but I bet she could empathize with your male-dominated home life. 😉

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      • You might be surprised. What you’re thinking is not the right fit for a modern market may be just the piece of ‘different’ that agents are looking for.

        And yes, I don’t believe there’s been an evening in the last couple weeks where there hasn’t been boisterous wrestling occurring in my home. Must be pent up energy waiting for spring.

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    • I think our homes can absorb some of our feelings and emotions, but we still carry them with us, even when we move. Of course, I’m someone who has done quite a bit of moving, so maybe I’m more likely to think this way. Someone who spends his life in one town might feel differently. It didn’t get too many words in today’s episode, but I really could picture that Christmas tree overflowing with presents for what was the first child/grandson/nephew…. 😉

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  2. Nice scene between Meghan and Rick, and I cringed at the idea of having to move a house in 2 months. I can’t imagine doing that, a full-time job, raising a kid, solving a mystery — ack! I’m starting to get hives just thinking about it. 🙂

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    • We did the house move with full-time jobs. Luckily, it wasn’t a cross-country move, and there were no mysteries to solve or kids on top of it! I’m sure there were some work headaches at the time, but nothing like an unexpected skeleton in a cellar. 😉

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  3. jM I really liked this glimpse into Meghan’s life. I think this adds even more interest to your novel and makes the reader like her even more! Great dialogue! I love writing dialogue and it looks as if you do too. 🙂

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    • I really do enjoy dialogue, too. It’s an area where I see significant improvement from my earlier writing to the present. I just hope I don’t let the characters talk too much. That balance between dialogue, action, and description is tough! 🙂

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    • Maybe it’s not what people expect in fiction today, but I like main characters who have good relationships with their spouses/significant others. I wonder how many relationships fail these days because of the unrealistic portrayals we see around us in books and films and on TV?

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  4. Nicely done. Happiness…and then a foreboding cliff hanger. If this was a book, I’d have to ignore laundry and dig into the next chapter.

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    • Thank you for reading! I’m still learning some hard lessons about writing, but maybe one day, in the not too distant future, I’ll have a novel worthy of publication.

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  5. Oh, wicked cliffhanger ending…you know I’ll be back. Sweet scene between Rick and Megs. I totally understand that bitter sweetness at leaving a home with so many good memories. Rick’s a good support, remembering with her.

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    • As I write this story, Meghan and her family are becoming more “three-dimensional” for me. Some readers might want a triangle with Sandberg or other difficulties to form in future stories, but that won’t happen. Some people really have good family lives, and Meghan and Rick are among them.

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  6. Yikes! Everything’s crashing together of a sudden! Yet…I love reading about it! Mostly, I enjoy reading Meghan’s strength, both in her job as well as in her family. It’s just such a lovely thing to see/read. The sort-of-flashback scene is touching, but I like how it doesn’t turn saccharine. There’s simply no time to do so! 😀

    Your dialogue has such fluidity, here, JM. You capture the voices of Meghan and Rick so well. There was only the one development of the house selling in this episode, but the character bits around that simple event create a fuller picture of who these people are and where their lives have been and are going.

    Looking forward to the next installment!

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    • Thanks, Mayumi. 🙂 Given the phone call at the end, I think Meghan’s (and the reader’s) break from the action has ended. We’ve gone on longer with the story than I thought we would, and I’ve told Meghan we need to keep moving to closure. 😉 But that’s okay. It may mean there’s less I need to do with this story if I go forward with a three-story compilation for her.

      Since I started writing in 2009, my dialogues have probably improved more than any other aspect of the craft. I’d like to see my plotting and story-moving skills in the novels show the same growth!

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  7. I was happy to read your reply in the comments:” Maybe it’s not what people expect in fiction today, but I like main characters who have good relationships with their spouses/significant others.”
    I agree! One of the biggest probs with popular wriiting today is dysfunction being portrayed as the new “normal.” There’s an entire population of people living moral, decent lives but we rarely see a story’s protagonist with those qualities! Bravo to you for writing about this underrepresented group!

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    • It’s on TV and in movies, too. And when you do see a normal couple or family, they’re usually portrayed as “uncool” or “old-fashioned.” I’m not so naive as to think everyone has a happy, healthy relationship with their families, but if you only had TV and fiction to go by, you’d think no one does. Maybe I can be one voice saying it’s okay to love your spouse and children. 🙂

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  8. I was just wondering about the sale, imagining how a busy woman with a child and a partner who’s unlikely to be much help is going to juggle her on site work and university hours and the packing (you can see what’s preoccupying me right now!). This was a nice interlude.

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    • I think evenings will include an hour or two of packing now before anyone gets to play or watch TV. 😉 But I’d guess Meghan isn’t going to sleep all that well until they find a new place of their own and get settled in.

      I hope your move will go smoothly and that we’ll hear of your new adventures back in Australia as well as more about your time in Sri Lanka.

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