Signing his name with a flourish, Jason fought the surge of happiness threatening to overwhelm him. After six months of negotiations, he finally had his hands on what could be the biggest venture of his life.
"Here are the keys to the doors and to the gate." The real estate agent's tight smile spoke of relief more than happiness over the huge commission she'd just made.
"Thanks. I appreciate all the work you did to help me get this." Jason took the keys and shook the lady's hand.
"Well, you were very determined, and the building's just been standing empty since the sixties." She shrugged. "To be honest, I never thought I'd find a buyer."
"Why?" He turned to study the large stone building standing rather forlornly behind the wrought iron gate. "It's gorgeous and absolutely perfect for what I'm planning."
"The problem isn't how the place looks. I think it has more to do with what it was used for, the tragedy that took place here and all the rumours surrounding it."
Frowning, he shot a glance over at her. "Rumours? About what?"
She waved her hand dismissively. "All the usual ones about it being haunted by the nuns who were murdered. Strange screams being heard when there's no one around. I'm not sure anyone has actually spent any time on the property, except for the man you sent over to appraise it."
Jason doubted any of the reports were true. Abandoned buildings, especially ones with twisted pasts, tended to get a creepy reputation after a while. He didn't believe in spirits or ghosts. Hell, he didn't want to think about hanging around this world after he died.
His real estate agent seemed to shake off her melancholy thoughts. "You never did say what you were going to use the property for."
The woman must not have done her homework. The Bentley Corporation, of which Jason was CEO and founder, was the premier builder of gay resorts, but this venture was all about sex. He planned on creating the world's foremost gay erotic resort.
"I'm going to open a resort. The original building is big enough to offer a bunch of rooms, plus I plan on building smaller, more private bungalows around the grounds. I love the English garden, and I'll bring in landscapers to work on getting it back into shape."
"Oh good." She checked her watch. "Well, I need to be going if I'm to get these forms filed with the county clerk's office in time."
Jason hid his smile. He could get carried away with his visions, and not everyone saw them as clearly as he did.
"Thank you again. I'll keep your office in mind if I'm looking to pick up more land in the area."
He watched her drive away, barely managing to contain his excitement and eagerness to tour the property on his own. He waited until her car disappeared from sight before strolling up to the huge iron gate. He studied it for a second, tracing the scroll work with his gaze. 'St. Xavier' was spelt out in iron as well in the arch over the moving part of the gate. He would keep that, though the rust needed to be removed and the scroll work repainted. He liked the old-fashioned feeling it gave to the grounds.
Inserting the key into the lock, he paused and it was like the entire world froze with him. Almost like every living creature held its breath, hesitating while he thought about opening the lock. The strangest sensation washed over him and his hands trembled. Owning the monastery and stepping onto the grounds at this moment seemed like the most important thing he'd ever done. His life was going to change, Jason could feel that, but he didn't know if it would be a good change or bad.