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Chapter 14

After ten days of temperatures in the mid-thirties, the residents in and around Archdale were praying for the stationary cold front to move out. Typically, there were a few cold and blustery days in November, but in the past, the cold days were interspersed with balmy days. To Ginny’s delight, the weatherman was predicting clear and sunny weather for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving morning, Brian found his mom bundled up on the screened porch sipping her morning coffee. “Mom. What are doing out here in the cold?”

“Mornin’ sweetie. After the weather we’ve been having, it feels like spring. I was beginning to wonder if the sun was still up there in the sky. I came out here to welcome it back. It was a beautiful sunrise.”

“It has been kind of gloomy hasn’t it? As long as it was cold, I was kind of hoping we’d get some snow.”

“You and Molly. She started talking about building a snowman on Wednesday when we had twenty minutes of snow flurries.

“Now that you’re up, I’ll get breakfast started. I was thinking pancakes. We need something filling because we won’t eat until three.”

“Sounds good. Before you go in, Mom, I need to ask you something.”

“Anything, Brian. You know that.”

“It’s kind of personal. Are you interested in Nick?”

Ginny was disturbed by his question, but she didn't want him to know. “Are you asking because Carol asked him to share Thanksgiving with us?”

“That’s one of the reasons.”

“You can rest easy. My relationship with Nick is strictly business. He seems like a nice enough guy, but it’s too soon after your dad’s death to think about another man. Carol invited Abigail, and she said that she and Nick were eating out. Since he wasn’t going to be with family, he invited Abigail to eat Thanksgiving dinner at an upscale restaurant. They decided they’d rather join us.”

“Molly’s excited about seeing Abigail.”

“Abigail is more like a grandmother than a caregiver. She’ll always have a place in Molly’s heart. And she’s crazy about Nick.”

“One of the reasons I asked about Nick is because I’ve been thinking about next fall. When I’m off to college, you are going to be lonely. I want you to know that I won’t object if you decide to date. Dad would not want you to be lonely.”

Ginny brushed away a tear. “Don’t worry about me, Brian. I’ll be fine. I like being part of a team, so there might come a time when I’ll be open to a relationship. Not anytime soon. I promise you this, when I decide to date, I’ll let you know.

“By the way, I need to run a quick errand after breakfast. Molly wants to watch the Christmas parade, so I don’t want to take her with me. Do you mind keeping an eye on her while I’m gone? I won’t be gone long.”

“No problem. She’ll be glued to the TV.”

After dinner was over, the guys were in the den watching football, the girls and Abigail were in the playroom putting a puzzle together and Ginny and Carol were in the kitchen putting the food away. “Thanks for inviting Nick and Abigail, Carol. It means a lot to Molly to have them here.”

“My pleasure. You know me. Nothing makes me happier than to see friends and family around a dinner table. The guys are thrilled to have another male to watch football with them, and my girls have fallen in love with Abigail. I can’t believe how chipper she is. She has made an amazing recovery. Maybe Ruth will bounce back the way Abigail has.”

“I hope so, Carol. The longer she’s in a coma, the slimmer her chances are of waking up.”

“Had she made a decision about Molly before the accident happened?”

“Not as far as I know.”

“If Ruth doesn’t wake up, maybe Molly’s biological dad or Christine will decide to raise her.”

“I suppose it’s possible that her dad would reconsider if there’s no one else, but not Christine. I’d fight tooth and nail to keep Molly out of her clutches, and so would Nick and Abigail.”

“Is she really that bad?”

“There’s something off about the woman, Carol. Her husband is a caring person, but he has his hands full with Christine.”

“What about Julie’s step-sister?”

“Gwen is twenty.”

“What about her biological dad’s parents?”

“I’m not sure where they fit into the picture.”

“If all else fails, would you consider fostering or adopting?”

“Not fostering. It’s painful just thinking about giving her up, and she’s only been with us for a short time. Frankly, I’m not up for a fight, Carol, I’m not sure that her family would even consider me for permanent placement. Julie wanted her daughter to be placed with a family.”

“You and Brian are a family, Ginny.”

“A recovering family. This morning after breakfast, I drove over to the cemetery to talk to Sam about the situation. I ache with missing him, Carol. No matter how complicated our issues were, he could always find something positive about the situation. I’m not nearly so clear-eyed. I’ve already had to make too many decisions about life changing issues, and I’m not convinced that all of my decisions have been good ones.”

“You aren’t sorry that you sold your house, are you?”

“No. I loved the house when Sam was alive, but with him gone, it was too empty. Our beautiful yard was too much for me to keep up. Brian helped, but landscaping isn’t his thing. The house didn’t seem quite so empty with Molly there, but she was a guest. I was dreading being there alone when Brian goes away to college. As far as I’m concerned, large houses are for large families.”

Brian entered the kitchen carrying her cell phone. He handed it to her. “Your phone was ringing, so I answered it. You might want to take the call. It’s from Charles Cantrell.”

Ginny grabbed the phone. “Charles is something wrong.”


“Does she remember falling?”

“That’s too bad.”

“Does she want me to bring Molly?”

“I’m working at the food pantry at our church tomorrow morning. I don’t want to give you an exact time, but if all goes well, I should be there around three or three-thirty. Do I need to bring anything?”

“I know you are relieved, Charles. I am too. I’ll relay the news to Nick. Thanks for calling, and happy Thanksgiving.”

As soon as she put her cell phone down, Brian asked, “She’s out of the coma?”

Yes, she woke up at one. Her doctor called Charles. He and Nell left guests at the dinner table and drove over to the hospital.”

Carol said, “That’s what I call friendship. From your end of the conversation, I assume that she doesn’t remember falling.”

“The last thing she remembers is going to bed the night before the accident.”

Brian asked, “Should I send Nick in here?”

Ginny nodded. “Nick and Abigail. They’ll both want to know.”

“What about Molly?”

“I’ll tell her when I know more about Ruth's condition.”

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