Heired Lines - Magan Vernon

Chapter One

Natalie

The usual suspects were already in full swing, haggling for people’s discarded treasures at the Carolina Days flea market.

Some antique dealers, older couples, then me—the recent college grad with a master’s in history and nothing to show for it. Well, I guessed I did have a pile of Mom’s hospital bills, another pile of “while your resume was promising” letters, and a lot of packing tape and boxes to mail out the array of old Pepsi signs, that being the main things that sold on my eBay site.

Plopping down at a table near a row of food trucks, I set down my bag of the day’s finds and hooked my phone up to the free Wi-Fi from the barbecue cart.

“Hopefully, some of this stuff is worth something,” I muttered and dug into the bag I made out of an old high school band T-shirt.

The first thing I pulled out was a Georgian vase I’d been able to persuade a man to sell me for five dollars. The only thing that could potentially have some real historic value if it really was from England and as old as the hand-painted style seemed to indicate.

I took a few photos of the vase from different angles and made sure to get a nice picture of the stamp on the bottom.

Webley, England.

Never heard of it, and I studied English history.

Weird.

I typed Webley, England in my search bar, surprised to get only the bare minimum results of a small town in the English countryside. But the photos that accompanied the sites were like something straight out of a fairy tale with fields of golden flowers and a charming town set in the shadows of a stone castle.

If nothing else, adding the description of the town in the ad could help entice a buyer with wanderlust.

Pulling up my site, I added the photos then typed up a description.

Georgian-style porcelain vase with hand-painted vibrant flowers, reminiscent of the Webley, England, countryside from where this vase originated. Believed to date to the 1800s, it’s in good vintage condition with minuscule chips on the handles and some crazing with age.

As soon as I hit send on that wording, it was time for the next item. The more I could use the free Wi-Fi from the food truck, the less I’d have to worry about going out to the library or somewhere else later to use the internet. One of the first things to go when we had to choose between lights or the Web. Lights won out from my mom and sister’s perspective, at least.

Well, maybe a few sales and we could have both.

Before I could finish taking photographs of a handful of brass knobs that I had found, my email pinged with a message from my site.

An inquiry about the vase already?

My heart fluttered as I pulled up the email but then sank defiantly in my chest as soon as I read the words in front of me.

Subject: Item 3045629 1800s English vase

Pardon my frankness, but do you believe your description is accurate on this item? Have you been to Webley and that’s where you procured this vase?

Gavin

I rolled my eyes. Seriously?

I guessed it was better than someone just trying to lowball me on an item, but I’d never received anything like this. And by the haughty tone, I may have offended an English local who had nothing better to do than troll me.

Subject: Re: Item 3045629 1800s English vase

Thank you for your inquiry. As you can see from the description, this item was obtained in North Carolina, where the family gifted it to a woman who was