on the line with him until the collapse. She heard it all.” “Jesus,” Griff said, remembering the images that had played over and over on that awful day when ash fell from the sky like snow. “After about a year she decided to move back to Connecticut to be with her family. She was breaking up the house and going through Bill’s wine collection with his cousin. He was telling her which bottles to keep, which to give away, which ones he could sell for her. That’s when they came across that,” the shorter man said, nodding to the now half-empty bottle. The men all stared at the bottle as the sad carol played in the background. Then the tall man said, his voice still low, “He had a note taped to the bottle with specific instructions that if anything happened to him before the wine blossomed that Diane was to give the bottle to James here. He was to keep it until the wine was ready, and then we were to come home the following Christmas. That’s how we found out the wine was never an investment. It was a Christmas present for us. The last one.” The taller man picked up his glass and swirled the amber. “Pour yourself a glass,” the shorter man, James, said to the bartender. The only sounds in the restaurant were the wine being poured and Mary’s lament sung a cappella.
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