The Short Drop



"Ms. Dauplaise has a son from a former marriage. He lives in Florida. Doesn't visit often. She also has two living sisters. One lives in San Francisco. Another is a dean at the University of Pittsburgh medical school. Her youngest sister passed during childbirth: her niece's mother. Calista adopted Catherine. Then there are about a hundred cousins of one kind or another that I can't keep up with."

"Ah. Why have I invited you to my home, you mean? Because, regardless of my feelings about Benjamin, Suzanne remains very dear to me. I am her godmother. I was at her christening. I helped raise her. She was an angelic baby. Truly. One of those who never cried. She was a treasure and a wonderful young lady. As you well know. She had the appetite for life that my family has frittered away. She was brilliant, or would have grown to be. What happened to her is a tragedy."

"It was built by my great-great-great-grandfather Alexandre Dauplaise when his wife passed away. He was buried alongside her twelve years later when he followed her. The entire family is interred there, apart from my uncle Daniel, who is buried under a white cross in Normandy. In time, I will join them, and on that date, my family's connection to this city will span three centuries. But before I do join them, I intend to see my family begin to restore its traditions of greatness and service to this country."

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