Jack followed Angeline into the kitchen, where she offered him a seat at the small table. She retrieved a second mug from the cabinet above the stove and filled it with hot water. She set it on the table in front of him and motioned to the small box on the table.
“Pick a tea, any tea.” She said with a smile. She noticed he was looking around her kitchen, probably cataloging anything that seemed out of place. Anything that would label her as potentially unhinged.
“Thank you.” He said, dipping a bag of spiced tea into his mug of water. “I think my grandmother had one of those.”
Angeline looked where he was pointing and she smiled at the Felix clock she’d inherited from her own grandmother. “I’m pretty sure everyone’s grandma had that clock. He use to frighten me, the way his eyes moved and that shit-eating grin. I think she left it for me because she knew how it made me feel.”
Jack chuckled. “How long have you lived here?”
“A year and seven months. I inherited the house from my grandma as well.” She sipped her tea carefully and followed his eyes around the kitchen. “This is the first time anything like this has happened.” Angeline felt nervous, as if her every move – every word in fact – was being monitored.
He chuckled again. “There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.”
“Do you want some coffeecake? My aunt came to visit yesterday and brought it. She runs a bakery. Keeps me stocked up with fresh goods.”
She stood up without waiting for an answer and brought the plastic wrap-covered platter to the table. She cut a square and placed it on a napkin in front of him. Jack looked up and smiled.
“Thank you.” He pushed his half-empty mug away from him and sat back in his chair. Angeline was too anxious to sit. “You know, I’ve lived by this lake my entire life. Grew up on the north shore, went away for college, and then moved here after I graduated. I guess that’s why I’m so intrigued by your story. But you can relax with me. I’m not going to have you committed.”
Angeline sat down and leaned over the table, looking Jack in the eye. “Then you can tell me. Did you parents ever tell you any ghost stories about the lake? Urban myths passed down through generations?”
Jack crossed his arms over his chest and looked to the ceiling, deep in thought. When the lightbulb went off in his eyes, Angeline knew he’d thought of a good one.
“Tell me.” She said.
His eyes wide, Jack began to tell her the story of the jilted bride of Lake Richmond.