"I do know. I hear some freaky shit sometimes. But you get used to it. What's your place like?"

"You can see for yourself if you want. It's quiet. Dead, almost. There's Jacob, but he's a quiet boy at the best of times. And there's Lucy, the live-in housekeeper. I don't think she likes me very much, she seems to just stay out of the picture as much as possible."

"You have a live-in housekeeper? Damn."

"Yes, it's a big house and it requires a lot of attention, but I never really need to do anything. I don't even need to be there for Jacob though we are in the habit of spending time together. We've got used to and come to depend on each other a bit."

"So you are his legal guardian?"

"I am. Frank was right about that at least. I remember him telling me I should stay with Jacob, that we were the only two good things he'd ever done. It was probably the nicest thing he ever said to me. So I take care of all the formal aspects of his upbringing, his education, any medical issues and such. I offer him what emotional support I can but Jacob isn't exactly what you'd call a needy child. He's very independent."

"What happened to his mother?"

"She died in childbirth apparently. I've seen pictures and heard stories about her. I think she was probably a lot like me. Even she was much younger than Frank, if she were still alive she'd be only 36 now, I think of her often. I love Jacob but it's all just a bit of a mess."

"Oh come on, Lily. Cheer up. At least you aren't living in Syria."

"True. Fuck, wouldn't that be a bitch."

"I like it when you swear." Alex got up and walked towards the balcony door. "I'm going out for a smoke. Coming?" Lily pulled her coat from the end of the sofa, shrugged it on and followed Alex.

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