“Come in, Alden,” Gran called from the table. “That man could smell Cioppino from the next county.” The door opened and “that man,” a tall, ridiculously thin, broodingly handsome forty-two year old man ducked in the low door and stood dripping on the flagstone floor. “Get yourself a bowl and sit down,” Gran said. “Thanks, but I can’t stay. I just came to say Happy Birthday.” Gran gave him a look which Meri didn’t understand and Alden chose to ignore. He walked over to Meri and before she could even stand, he dropped a flat giftwrapped package on the table. “Happy Birthday.” “Thanks. Can’t you stay? I haven’t seen you forever.” “I know, but I have a bunch of work to get finished and I’m way behind. You staying for the weekend?” “Just till tomorrow.” “Then I’ll see you before you leave.” “At least wait until I open your present.” She pulled at the string that was tied around the package; the bow released and with it the paper. “I couldn’t find the tape,” he said. “Why am I not surprised?” She lifted out a piece of cardboard, where a pen and ink drawing had been mounted. It was a girl, her hair curling down her back, sitting on the rocks gazing out to sea. The rocks of the breakwater on the beach between the two houses. It looked like her. “It’s beautiful, Alden. Thank you. Is it Ondine?” she asked, teasing him. Taciturn and reclusive, he was best known for his illustrations of children’s books. “Good God, no.” “Oh,” she said, surprised at his reaction. “Who then?” “Just someone sitting on the rocks.” “Ah. Well I love it. Thank you. I’m going to have it framed and put it on my living room wall in Newport.” “I’d better be going, your dinner is getting cold.” “You’re sure you don’t want—” “Can’t,” Alden said. “But happy birthday. Dan. Gran.” Gran shook her finger at him. But he was gone.