A month passed. The property at the lake cleared and cleaned and the boat nearly restored.
It was near noon when Charles walked from his quarters to the main house. Mrs. Bradford invited him into the den.
“Have a seat, Charles,” Mrs. Bradford gestured to a leather chair and she sat behind a desk.
“I’m being fired,” Charles said after sitting.
“Let’s call it a leave of absence,” Mrs. Bradford said.
“Permanent,” Charles said.
“No, Charles,” Mrs. Bradford said. “You will always have a place here.”
“I appreciate that, Mrs. Bradford,” Steve said.
“The envelope on the edge of the desk is yours,” Mrs. Bradford said, “open it.”
Charles reached forward, grabbed the envelope, and opened it.
“A plane ticket to Atlanta,” Mrs. Bradford said, “and the address of your home.”
“I can’t just show up on the doorstep,” Charles said.
“On the back of the address is a phone number,” Mrs. Bradford said. “It is your home phone.”
“312 9782,” Charles said without looking. “I remember it.”
Mrs. Bradford smiled. “It’s coming to you, Charles. Now you must go to it. I have taken the liberty of calling a cab. It’ll be here in an hour. Can you be ready?”
“If you mean can I be packed, yes,” Charles said. “But I can’t say that I’m ready.”
Mrs. Bradford stood and extended her hand. Charles gently shook it.
“Have a safe trip Mr. Arnold,” Mrs. Bradford said, “and keep in touch; don’t become a stranger.”
In an hour Charles was in the cab as it drove away from the Bradford Mansion. Mrs. Bradford waved from the front porch. Charles waved through the back window.
“It’s tough leaving your mom isn’t it?” the cab driver said.
“It sure is,” Charles said.