She sat on the train home, watching the “countryside” pass her by. There were villages and towns dotting what should’ve been expanses of grassy purity. It always surprised her how little of that was left; how much of the modern life of her city had encroached onto the serenity of nature.
As she crept in the front door of the house, she doubtfully hoped that John might’ve put the kids to bed. Yet, as the door’s latch snapped shut there was a call of “is that you Amy?” followed by a stampede of “Mommy!”
“There was a gift bag of some sort delivered for you today,” John told her as she hugged the two boys. She had to smile at how vague he could be sometimes. Then she spotted it, on the kitchen countertop. It was beautiful.
Her attention was pulled away by the kids pulling at her jacket.
“Come on, Mommy will put you to bed.” All she wanted was to return to the bag to see what treasure awaited her inside.
Entering the kitchen again she saw the bag. Carefully she opened it, peering inside. She lifted out what looked like a jewellery box, a floret pendant gathering the soft ribbon which encircled it. She marvelled at it, but her curiosity soon got the better of her as she opened the box in a swift movement.
The lid held a patterned, glistening card printed with ‘Le guide de fête’. French?
The box itself held a card, encased in a similar ribbon and pendant as the box itself had been.
Her hands trembling, she held it softly; opening it slowly. It was an invitation. Julia had finished the villa. Collapsing into the chair behind her, weary from excitement she thought, Beziers. I am going to France. She closed her eyes and envisioned the countryside. She couldn’t wait to see Julia’s masterpiece.

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