He convinced the grudging attic door open with his shoulder. The narrow wooden stair groaned under his weight, causing him to wince.
Paint and perfume triggered memory. “Stella,” he whispered.
Winter light cast long shadows over the studio. Possessions of hers snagged weary eyes. He held his breath. A screen rattled to arrhythmic gusts.
He wended toward the disturbance, avoiding her canvasses and easels. His fingertips brushed the seat of the stool. He clenched his shaking jaw closed.
Heels and tealights from the long-ago party rested on the windowsill.
Stella’d give every effort to forget inconveniences, embarrassments. Especially her father.
Photo is copyright by Brittanie Loren Pendleton.