Margret Ashford sat back in her seat and let the pull of rushing gravity take her. Her eyes closed and though she was smiling, her knuckles were white. She forced herself to relax and reminded herself that this descent was not the worst thing that had ever happened to her. Not even close. Her life had exploded, rather messily some months back. In a series of almost comedic mishaps everything had fallen apart. It had begun when she’d met her boyfriend Seth at one of their favorite restaurant on their second anniversary with a certainty that they were going to take it to the next level. Only not only had he forgot that it was their anniversary, but he’d broken up with her. It had been messy, noisy and far too public for her tastes and in her distress (distress that was perhaps fueled by a little too much alcohol) she’d crashed her car on the way home. When she woke in the hospital she was mostly fine, just a minor concussion and some abdominal bruising. She had been so grateful that was all that had happened until the nurse had patted her hand and told her that she could always have another. Margret would never forget the look on the nurse’s face when she’d replied flippantly “Well there are always other men.” The horror and disbelief in that woman’s expression begged for explanation. It seemed she’d been pregnant. No longer. As if those losses were not enough, she’d been unable to hold her shit together at work and her manager had told her to take a sabbatical or take a hike. In more polite terms for certainty, but there had been iron in the commands. So Margret had left, packed up her things and gone home where she hadn’t left the house or answered the phone for weeks. The mail came and it was her only contact from the outside world and that seemed to be nothing but junk and bills. A fitting thing all in all. But then one day a letter came. She wasn’t certain but she may have thrown out similar envelopes without opening them. For whatever reason that day she opened the cream colored envelope and laughed. Who the hell inherited mysterious Romanian Manor houses? What was next, Nigerian Princes? She threw that one out. But another came and then another and the idea began to grow on her. Hadn’t her Nona been Romanian? The woman was many years’ dead but she recalled a thin-haired woman with an iron tipped cane and an almost lascivious dedication to Soap Operas. So she sent the letter to Becky, a friend of hers that was a Lawyer. It was a whirlwind after that. Through some labyrinthine twists of inheritance laws (Nona had an Uncle it seemed, whose heir hadn’t left any heirs) backed by some strange Romanian government incentive she was the proud owner of an estate in Romania. It was hers, provided she could see to its upkeep. That was the trick, it was a working farm with tenant farmers and livestock and though she knew nothing about it seemed like too much of a coincidence to let slip through her fingers. She spoke with the Romanian Law-firm who had sent the letters and in a matter of months things were arranged. Papers were signed, help was hired, it was all set. She would go. A complete change of scenery seemed in order, something to get her mind off of all the things that were wrong and maybe, just maybe in the beautiful backdrop of rustic Romania she’d write that book she’d been dreaming of since she was an undergrad. She didn’t open her eyes until they were touching down on the runway. It took another moment for her cramped fingers to let go of the armrest and even longer for the plane to dock and the tired, stiff passengers to shuffle out. Bucharest, what a strange and exotic name for a city. It hadn’t ever been on her list of places to go in that someday list that most people held dear. Regardless she was delighted to be there. Bucharest and Romania, the location of her peace of mind, the home of her dreams. She was certain of it. It was a new start and she was eager to get going. That was if she could find the man the Law firm had hired to be her translator, guide and the manager of her estate. What was his name? She stood in the middle of the airport, a lone American standing out like a sore thumb in subtle ways that were apparent to the locals but lost on her. Her well-tailored dark blue suit was wrinkled but still flattered her slim curves and if there were black circles under her equally dark blue eyes they could be forgiven in the light of her long flight. Her hair was equally mussed but the tendrils of black hair that had slipped out of her chignon flattered her lean face and slightly too long nose. She pulled a piece of paper out of her coat pocket and looked it over, her mouth moving in an adorable habit she hadn’t been able to break as she tried to sound out the foreign sounding name of the man who was supposed to meet her.