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Chapter 12

The hands of the clock were creeping slowly toward mid-night, and Ginny couldn’t sleep. She brewed a cup of Chamomile tea, took out her daily planner and studied her schedule for the next few days. Where had the time gone? Christmas was right around the corner, and her calendar was surprisingly bare.

Most of the notations were under: PREPARE TO MOVE: Sign documents, get packing boxes, pack, turn off utilities in old house, turn on utilities in new house, move boxes to new house.

Baking Christmas cookies wasn't on her calendar and neither was shopping for gifts. There weren't any notations about decorations, invitations to holiday parties weren’t noted and their annual trip to her parents house hadn’t been planned. She usually loved the holidays, but this year wouldn't be the same. If she didn't have Brian and Molly, she’d skip the rest of November and all of December.

Sam had been like a big kid when the holidays rolled around. He was passionate about everything Thanksgiving and Christmas. He loved holiday food, decorations, the smell of evergreens and the shimmer or lights.

Traditionally, by the middle of November, she had planned two holiday parties, one for the employees at Roark & Erikkson and one for neighbors and friends. If Carol hadn’t insisted that she and the kids come to their house for Thanksgiving, she would have ordered take out. Most of her kitchen utensils were packed and ready for delivery to the new house.

Abigail and Nick were on Carol's Thanksgiving dinner guest list, so at the very least, Molly and Brian would enjoy their day. She had been trying for their sake to generate some holiday spirit, but so far, had not been successful.

There was one date on the calendar that she couldn’t ignore. December the 5th was Molly’s birthday. She wasn't sure whether to plan a party or just have a special family dinner. She made a note to ask Brian for input. He could worm information out of Molly that she wouldn’t share with anyone else. Truth was he listened to her long conversations with Mac.

Saturday was cold and blustery. Molly had a playdate with a friend from her school, a first since she’d been living with Ginny and Brian. Brian was working. He had recently accepted a Saturday job at an electronics shop.

Ginny had put off giving away that last of Sam’s possession, and it couldn't be put off any longer. It was a chore that she didn’t relish doing. Every stitch of clothing and every personal possession brought back memories. Her heart and mind were so caught up in what she was doing that the sound of her cell caught her off guard. She didn’t recognize the name.

A frantic voice on the line asked, “Am I speaking to Ginny Roark.”

“Yes, this is Ginny.”

“My name is Nancy Peterson. I’m a friend of Ruth Northrop’s. Ruth has been hurt. She had an appointment at her hair salon this morning. I agreed to take her because Grace was spending the morning with her daughter. When I rang the doorbell, no one came to the door.

"I was worried, so I used my emergency key to let myself in. I found her at the foot of the stairs unconscious. I called 997 for an ambulance. She’s on her way to the hospital as we speak. As soon as the ambulance pulled away, I called Charles Cantrell. He and Nell are also on the way to the hospital. Since her great granddaughter is living with you, he felt that you should know about the accident.”

“Did she regain consciousness at any time before the ambulance arrived?”

“No, she didn’t. Her arm was bent at an unnatural angle, and she has a head wound. There was a lot of blood.”

“It sounds like she sustained serious injuries. Thank you for calling Nancy. I’m sorry that you had to find her. Accidents can be terrifying. Have Christine and Roger been notified?”

She seemed a little calmer. “Charles said that he would call them. I don’t understand how this happened. Ruth uses the elevator. She had it put in when she began losing her sight. She was especially careful when she was in the house alone.”

“No matter how careful we are, accidents happen. Is there anything I can do?”

“There’s nothing anyone can do except wait. Do you have Charles’ number?”

“I do.”

“He and Nell won’t leave the hospital until they’ve talked to the doctor. He should be able to keep you posted. I’m going to leave Grace a note so she doesn’t panic when she finds the house empty. I’ll call Ruth’s pastor. He will want to know, and I'm sure that he will put her on the church's prayer list.”

“I’m going to wait to tell Molly until I know what Ruth’s condition is. I don’t want to frighten her.”

“Good decision. That poor child has had more than her fair share of trauma.”

Ginny took a quick shower, changed from her sweats into a comfortable pair of warm slacks and cable knit sweater, made a quick call to Carol—she agreed to pick up Molly from her friend’s house—and left a note for Brian. She was on the highway thirty-five minutes after Nancy’s call. She wasn’t sure how Roger and Christine would feel about her being at the hospital, but she owed it to Molly to be there.

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