The box sat heavily on Maggie’s lap. She stared blankly at the cardboard, trying not to think about why she and the box were sitting in the hall, waiting. She couldn’t manage it; memories kept creeping in around the edges. She’d loved her mother, and this box had belonged to her. It contained something clearly important. Anna Cassavetti, however, had not shared it with her daughter. Instead, Maggie had stumbled upon it while doggedly sorting and clearing her mother’s home.
The Bible itself was impressive—two huge leatherbound volumes with stiff, yellowed pages, but the implications of the pendant were mind-blowing. Her mother had worn the necklace often before she’d given it to Maggie at graduation nearly a decade ago. The jewel came down through the female line, mother to daughter. She’d heard the stories from the time she was small. Her grandmother would tell the story of meeting Nonno when he’d admired the stone at her first college dance. Both her mother and her grandmother raised her with the story of Antoinetta, the first to receive it. Supposedly, Antoinetta’s lover had given it to her to signify his love—a love that could never be recognized because of his position.