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Chapter 9

The day of the open house was one of those madcap days when Ginny wished that she could disappear behind closed doors and spend an hour meditating, but it was not to be. The frantic pace began at work. Ron and Mike had meetings with clients all morning, and then a presentation at four. She and Laura spent the morning proof reading the script for the presentation—a copy would go to the client for future reference—checking the figures in the spread sheets, reviewing the power point presentation, and making sure the equipment was in working order.

At eleven thirty, Ron called her on the intercom to let her know that one of his meetings ended early. “Why don’t I finish up whatever you’re working on. I’ve been through an open house, so I’m guessing that you have a million things to do at the house.”

“Thanks for your concern, Ron. The house is as ready as its going to get.” That was an exaggeration, but it was her problem, not his. “Did you see my text about the calls that you need to return? I starred the callers who need immediate attention. It might be a good idea to put Brooks Talton to the top of the list. He was hot under the collar about something.”

It was two thirty before she was able to leave the office. Her stomach was growling and she had a headache. There was a Dunkin’ Donuts between the office and home, so even though it probably wasn’t a good idea to get revved up on caffeine, she ordered a tall coffee and apple fritter. Something in her stomach was better than nothing. Right!

She debated not going back to her house to check Brian’s room, but what he considered ready for inspection, didn’t necessarily mean that it was. Later, she would pat herself on the back for making a good call. His room and the playroom weren’t a disaster, but both rooms needed attention. When everything was back in place and sprayed with a spicy room freshener, she swallowed a couple of Aspirin, checked her messages and scooted out the door. It was two thirty when she picked up Molly from Carol’s. She apologized profusely for being late.

“Calm down, girlfriend. What’s the hurry? You don’t have to be at the hospital the minute visiting hours begin.”

“It’s not that. Visiting hours don’t begin until seven, but we were supposed to meet Nick for an early dinner, and then go by a florist to pick up flowers for Abigail.”

“Improvise. Text Nick and tell him to pick up pizza. You can always eat in the car, If Abigail sees you harried and out of sorts, she’ll think that you can’t handle your job and take care of Molly. You don’t want her blood pressure to spike.”

Nick was accommodating. “No problem. I’ll leave work early and get carryout. If we’re still hungry after our visit, we can get a snack.”

Abigail looked frailer than Ginny remembered, but the health scare hadn’t dampened her spirits or feistiness. She didn’t like the food, thought one of the nurses was snooty, and complained about being used as a pin cushion. “Don’t you worry about me. I’m fit as a fiddle. The only reason the doctor hasn’t cleared me to go home is because he’s convinced that anyone over seventy is incompetent. I’m not nearly as fragile as he thinks I am, and I’m about as incompetent as a well-oiled machine.”

Ginny and Nick looked at each other and chuckled.

When Abigail’s eyes began to droop, Ginny suggested that it was time to go. That’s when the trouble began. Molly plopped into a chair and wouldn’t budge. Ginny tried to reason with her. Nick took action. Without a word of censure or a frown, he picked her up and carried her to Ginny’s car. Fortunately, Abigail was nodding and didn’t witness Molly’s behavior. Molly was being a typical kid who wanted her way, but Abigail might not see it that way.

Molly remained sullen and silent during the drive back to Archdale. She was asleep when Ginny pulled into the circle drive in front of her house. Ginny was relieved. The time would come when she wouldn't overlook rude behavior, but that talk could wait for another day.

After she tucked Molly in bed, clothes still on, she found Brian at the bar in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal.

“I thought you and Cal were going to eat at the Barbecue Shack tonight.”

“We did, but that was three hours ago. I'm a growing boy, Mom."

She laughed. “You know what? I think I’ll join you.” She poured Cheerios in a bowl and took a stool across from him? "I never have understood why breakfast food tastes better at night. Maybe it should be added to my list of comfort foods."

"Didn't the visit with Abigail go well?"

“It did, but it was an emotional day for Molly and me. More so for her.” She took another bite before continuing. “Molly pouted most of the way back to Archdale. It gave me time to think about her situation. Julie and Abigail are the only family she’s ever known. Julie’s gone, Abigail is ill, she’s living with people she doesn’t completely trust. Tomorrow she will meet a great grandma for the first time. She's convinced that Ruth won't like her. She’s scared, Brian.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. My future doesn't depend on the decisions a table of strangers make. I dread the dinner. I can only imagine how she must be feeling. How is Abigail?”

“Molly lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw Abigail. Abigail wouldn't admit it, but there were tears in her eyes. She claims that she's fit as a fiddle, but I think she looks frail. One of the nurses told me that she's a pain. She was kidding, but I think there was a grain of truth in her comment.

"I'm fairly certain Ruth Northrop isn’t going to be naming a guardian for Molly anytime soon. I think Molly should remain with us instead returning to Abigail’s. Abigail needs time to convalesce. Do you have a problem with that?”

“If we don’t have to battle with Ruth Northrop, I’m okay with it. Have you had a text from Denise? I’ve been sitting here wondering how many people showed up for the open house.”

“Oh, darn. I turned off my phone while we were at the hospital and forgot to turn it back on.” She retrieved her phone from her purse and turned it on. Seconds later she grinned. “It’s good news. She had one offer, a little lower than she would have liked, and another couple who showed interest.”

“About time. Does that mean that you will think about making an offer on the Harrison’s house?”

“My banker gave me a go ahead yesterday. So . . .” she responded in a teasing manner. “Ta da . . . Before I left work today, I sent them an offer. I’ll let you know when I hear from them.”

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