As the men neared the mansion, the graceful old beauty loomed taller, still standing with her chin up like a fortress that had survived being shelled in a siege. She’d once been like a belle dressed for a ball, but now there were no crinolines, ruffles, bows, or lace left. Her dress was ripped as if she’d fended off a rakish rogue with dishonorable intentions.
By the time the men reached the raised foundation, now standing too high from the scoured sand, they were all struggling for composure. Wyeth face was grim and pale, and he kept looking where the studios and gallery had been, as if he’d catch them springing back into existence. Noticing some of the familiar boards slung against the foundation of the house, he went to touch them, almost reverently. They’d once been part of the historic old stables his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather used when there were horses on the island.
The others watched Wyeth turn from the loose stable boards to reach out to the exposed piling that protruded up from bedrock to support the house. He slid his hand lovingly up to the foundation and squeezed his eyes tight as if speaking to it and comforting it. Nearly choking on his own emotions, Phillip strode up to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “We’ll rebuild it, Wyeth. Together. Remember—best friends always, blood brothers—”
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