Lilly loved waking up to her own bed in Savannah. It was more comfortable than the one she had at the dormitory. She knew she should have invested in a better mattress, being there for six years, but she saved as much money as she possible could. She hated asking her parents for money, however they were demanded that she not get a part-time job and instead pull as many shifts as she could. It was because of that that she was able to graduate ahead of schedule.
Lilly could smell the bacon frying downstairs. She loved coming home. Too bad Ricky was there yesterday. She wasn’t mentally prepared for his visit. He acted like nothing was wrong. She could never forgive him for how he treated her. Lilly had loved him at one time, but that love was gone.
Lilly knew that once she was alone with her mother, there would be a barrage of questions. She owed them the truth, but she didn’t really want to talk about it. It was embarrassing to her. She let her guard down, and he took advantage of it.
Lilly shook her hair and decided it was time to get out of bed and face the ‘real world’. She brushed her hair and teeth, and padded down the stairs still in her PJs and bare feet.
“Morning, Mom. It smells good,” Lilly said while pouring herself a cup of coffee.
“How did you sleep, honey?” Jackie asked. She was worried about her daughter, but knew better than to push.
“Like I was on a cloud. I forgot how much I love that bed.”
“You know, when you move, you can take it with you,” Jackie offered.
“Really! Oh, Mom, that would be fantastic,” Lilly said in earnest. Now she really felt that she needed to be honest with her mother.
“Mom, can we talk about last night?” Lilly asked.
“Lilly, you don’t owe us an explanation. If you and Ricky are no longer together, it’s not our place to interfere. We just want you happy,” Jackie said while walking around the large island in the kitchen and coming up to her daughter. “I don’t know what Ricky has done, but I know you loved him. So if he’s not a part of your life anymore, you can keep the why to yourself, unless you need to talk.”
“Honestly, Mom, I don’t know what I need. I was shocked to see him, and then for him to act as if we were still dating really made me mad, but I figured I could handle one dinner - but then when he said that he was looking at Houston, well, I got mad. I don’t want to be near him. I don’t trust him anymore and I don’t love him anymore,” Lilly said with sadness in her voice.
“Have you spoken to Lauren?” Jackie asked, not knowing the reason for Lilly’s break-up involved Lauren.
“No, and I don’t plan on it either. Let’s just say that in one day, I lost my best friend and my boyfriend, and I’m not wanting to rekindle either relationship,” Lilly stated firmly.
“Oh my...Lilly, honey, I’m so sorry. If we had known we wouldn’t have invited him.” Jackie was truly sorry that they put Lilly in such a situation.
“Mom, it’s not you that needs to apologize. Ricky should have declined the offer. Period!” Lilly argued.
“Well, we won’t make that mistake again,” Jackie promised, and then asked her daughter, “Are you ok?”
Lilly just laughed. She didn’t know how to answer that. She knew that things would never be the same with Ricky and Lauren, but they were the two most influential people in her life. She hadn’t been close to her sister or brother-in-law, and her parents were loving and supportive, but not the same as having a confidant.
“I will be. I’ve had time to look at it objectively, and I really am hoping that being in Houston will help Sara and me to be closer. I need a sister right now.” Lilly stated while thinking back to the last time she had spoken with Sara. She said that she had been trying to get pregnant, but nothing was working.
“Speaking of Sara, any news on the baby front?” Lilly asked her mother.
“Oh, poor Sara. She’s tried everything. The hormone injections drove her crazy. She was a basket case for a while there, to the point that Cole even called us. He was concerned that she was getting too worked up over having a baby. He suggested they adopt, but she wouldn’t hear of it. When we visit you both in fall, I hope we can talk to her. She’s killing her body with all those drugs,” Jackie expressed.
“Wow, I had no idea. I knew she was trying, but I figured it was Cole’s crazy work schedule that prevented her from getting pregnant. I’m shocked Cole called.” Lilly was genuinely surprised. She didn’t have a lot of respect for her brother-in-law, and she couldn’t hide that from her mother in her comment and tone.
“He’s really a sweet guy, Lilly. He is very patient with Sara. She wants a baby so badly that he’s done just about everything he can think of. He doesn’t know what to do to help her, and I think it worries him that she’s so desperate.”
“I guess you would know better. I’ve only seen him a couple of times since they got married. He’s, what, ten years older than me, so it’s not like we had a lot in common when he was dating Sara.”
“I know, and I regret that. The age difference between you girls really became noticeable when she was dating Cole, who is just three years older than Sara, but you were what ten or eleven when they got married?”
“Honestly, Mom, all I remember about their wedding was the cake.” Lilly laughed. “I didn’t see what the big deal was. I thought Sara was nuts anyway.” She laughed again.
“She was a little Bridezilla, but that’s Sara. She’s got to have everything just right and on schedule. I think not getting pregnant has been emotionally hard on her because she has this picture in her head of what their family would look like and how many kids she should have by now, and it’s not working out and it’s making her a little desperate,” Jackie said remorsefully.
“I’m sorry. I should have kept in better contact with her. We just have never been close. I promise to work on it while I’m in Houston.”
Jackie smiled and kissed her daughter on the forehead and said, “I think that would be good for both of you.”
Jackie fried Lilly two eggs, and put them on the plate with her bacon and southern grits. Lilly loved coming home. She would have to wear stretch pants for two weeks, but she would love every minute of it.
“So what’s on the agenda today?” Jackie inquired of Lilly’s plans.
“I think I want to just to bum around today. Maybe later this week we can go shopping. I will need some new clothes. Mine are so dated.” Lilly commented on the fact that she hadn’t bought new clothes in nearly four years.
“Really? Why not?” Jackie asked. She knew that they gave her an allowance each month, which would cover any items she needed. Lilly was so different than Sara. Lilly was content with the simple things, while Sara was always wanting the finer things. Jackie believed that it was Sara’s drive for material things that kept Cole so busy. He loved his private practice, but multiple locations were really going to pull on his time and cause him to be away from Sara more often. Although, Jackie would never admit that her daughter was causing her own unhappiness.
“You know me, Mom. I don’t buy things unless I really need them. I’ve been able to save a lot of money, so now I can buy everything I need for the next chapter of my life.” Lilly was excited about this next chapter. She was looking forward to working with the cattle and horses. She knew this was a chance of the lifetime.
“So do you have to contact them with your decision, or are they still making the decision?” Jackie asked changing the subject to her job offer.
“It’s my job, if I want it. I have to give them an answer but I need to get some additional information, like relocation, salary, benefits. You know that boring stuff,” Lilly laughed.
“It does sound like fun, but I have to tell you that I am a little nervous about you working with the large animals,” Jackie said with sincerity.
“I know, Mom, but I promise you that I will do everything I can to be safe. I don’t want you or Dad to worry.” Lilly was concerned because her parents were getting older, and she didn’t want them to worry over her. She was eager and would take the necessary precautions. She wouldn’t be any help if she was injured.
Lilly finished her breakfast and refilled her coffee mug.
“I think I’m going to check emails and maybe just stay in my PJs for the day. Is that bad?” Lilly asked cheekily.
“No, honey, you have been working very hard. Take a few days and relax. Check your emails, do your research, and then call the Rodeo people. You know your father and I are very proud of you, and we are truly happy that you were selected for this unique position.” Jackie said as she hugged her daughter.
“Thanks, Mom. That means a lot,” Lilly said as she kissed her mother on the cheek and walked back up the stairs with her steaming hot coffee.
Jackie took in what little bit of information that Lilly revealed, but it was enough to piece together a pretty ugly puzzle. Ricky cheated on her daughter with Lauren. This made Jackie even madder than she was last night. Lilly was right: Ricky should have never accepted their offer. Was he expecting her to act like nothing had happened? Well, Lilly didn’t let that happen, and Jackie was proud to see her daughter stand up for herself. Thinking about how proud she was of Lilly made her worry again about her eldest daughter.
Jackie picked up the phone and called Sara. She wanted to give her the news that Lilly was coming to Houston.
No one answered. Perhaps she was working with Cole.
Jackie knew that they were an hour ahead, so it would still be early in Houston.
She called Cole’s cell and he quickly picked up. “Hey, Jackie, how’s everyone in Georgia?” he said with his cheerful, kind voice. “Good. Lilly graduated and came home yesterday. She will be
relocating to Houston in a few weeks.”
“Really! That’s great news. I feel like I’ve not seen her in years.
Well, I guess it has been years,” Cole corrected his own words. “She’s pretty excited about it. It’s with the Livestock Show and Rodeo. Apparently they only hire one graduate a year, and she was selected. She still has to work out all the details, but she’s confident that she will take it,” Jackie said with pride in her voice. “So how’s Sara? I tried her cell phone but no one answered. I was
hoping that she would be there with you.”
“No. I left early to start working on the Galveston location. It’s
pretty far from our home in Pearland. When I left, she was still asleep. She took more injections yesterday and they were making her sick. Jackie, I’m really worried about her. I wish you were here to help her reason this out.”
“She won’t talk to me about it. When I call, she says that everything is fine. Honesty, Cole, I wouldn’t have even known there was a problem if you hadn’t called me,” Jackie said sadly, but then recovered. “Let’s hope Lilly can reach her. They were never close, but they are family.”
“I hope so. Please give Lilly my cell phone number and tell her I expect to hear from her before she arrives so we can pick her up at the airport. I think having her here will be good for Sara. She’s been so depressed and despondent. I honestly don’t know what to do.” Cole sounded just as despondent when he spoke of his wife.
“I will, sweetie, and please watch over my daughters. Sara is hurting and will need your attention, and I think Lilly needs a friend. Please watch over them for us,” Jackie asked her only son- in-law.
“I will do my very best. It will be weird getting to Lilly. She was just a child the last time I saw her,” Cole reminisced.
“She’s all grown up now. You wouldn’t even recognize her.”
“I bet. Well, give her my number. Sometimes it’s hard to reach
Sara, but I can always be reached. Give my love to Jake, and hope to see you guys soon.”
Cole really liked his in-laws. He felt like he had won the lottery to have such great in-laws. They were genuinely concerned with their daughter’s wellbeing, as was he, but also they were good people. He had a lot of respect for them.
“We hope to bring Lilly down to Houston, but it’s really her call and it depends on the election.”
“That’s right. How’s it going? Do I need to start calling him Mayor Williams?” Cole teased.
“Not just yet. The elections aren’t until November, but there’s so much to do. He’s the party’s nominee choice, but that doesn’t mean he’s the people’s. So he’s out doing a lot of campaigning. He hopes to drag Lilly around for a few town-hall meetings.”
“Oh, I’m sure she will enjoy that.” Cole laughed, thinking of his young sister-in-law with braces getting the nerve up to speak before the hall.
“Who knows. I’m sure she had to do a lot of public speaking when she ran for class president, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she was up to it.” Jackie smiled back in response to Cole’s thought.
“I guess there’s a lot about Dr. Williams that I don’t know.” Cole smiled through the phone. “I can’t wait to get to know her better, and I hope she and Sara can resume their friendship.”
“Me too, Cole. More than you can even imagine. Take care, and tell my daughter to call me. Love you both.”
Jackie hung up the phone, sad that she once again missed Sara. Even though she enjoyed talking to Cole, it wasn’t the same.