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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 21 of 92


Chapter 72 (Word Prompts: aroma, socks, jacket, orange, frost, crow, fence post, flew)



The barn door was still closed but it was frigid in the darkness and a strong draft came from the rear door that was still open. Madison was grateful for the jacket she was wearing but noticed an old orange plaid horse blanket in a pile on a chest to the right of the door. She grabbed it and draped it around her shoulders as she hurried through the barn to close the exit. She realized she had never walked all the way to the back of the barn. She thought of that first time when she had watched Craig disappear this way. She had been able to watch him but didn’t go all the way to the door fearing he would turn around and see her.


The sun was now up and all the frost was gone, but the field beyond the barn was scattered with black spots that she assumed were the crows recently occupying the fence post. They were busy searching for insects or seeds on the ground and didn’t notice they had an audience. She watched as a few flew to other locations that they hoped would be more lucrative and others took their place. It was a peaceful sight but a sudden gust of wind reminded her of the task at hand and she closed the door and hurried back to the stall where the kittens had been.


The corner where the blankets were piled seemed deserted and she thought they must have found another nest, but then she spotted some movement from behind the pile and one adventurous little soul peeped out. Madison stared into the green eyes in the little dappled gray face and knew she was being judged. She must have passed inspection because the kitten came out and was followed by another, and then another. It was mama cat that was missing.


Madison was about to go and reopen the door, thinking she had locked the cat out when there was a sudden hissing sound coming from a few feet away. Mama must have been searching for rodents in the barn and returned to find her babies in danger. She was not happy about the intrusion. Madison stood her ground and tried to talk with the cat in a similar voice she had earlier used with Socks. It wasn’t entirely successful, but at least she was not attacked. Mama jumped to the ground and tried to herd her family back to the safety of the blankets.


It was going to take some time to make friends with this family. Madison headed back to the house and a can of tuna. She thought it would be very hard for a nursing mama to resist the aroma of the open can. She wondered if there would be time to go to the store for cat food,


On her way back to the barn she was surprised to see that Socks was heading back and this time she had company. Two pups, just slightly smaller than their mom was heading across the yard in her direction. It seemed more dog food was necessary too.


(to be continued)


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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 22 of 92


Chapter 71 (Word Prompts: aroma, socks, jacket, orange, frost, crow, fence post, flew)



The dog stopped about 6 feet from the door. No matter how much Madison tried to coax him closer he stood his ground. Daisy and Tedi had both gone inside but Daisy returned when Madison didn’t follow. She went out to their new friend and seemed to be coaxing the dog closer, but she was not successful either.


Now that Madison had a better look she could see the dog was not completely black. There was a white spot on his chest and his two front feet were white which made it appear he was wearing socks. She decided that would make a good name until something better came along. She called the name and thought the ears perked up a bit but the dog came no closer until one of the crows decided to give an extra incentive when it flew toward them and actually gave a nudge to the dog’s rump. With that he got almost 2 feet closer.


Madison could now see that the dog was wearing a bright orange band around his neck. She hoped that if she could get close enough it would hold some contact information. However as soon as she tried to close the distance between them he backed away the same amount.


By this time Madison had been standing in the shade for quite a while and was becoming thoroughly chilled. She hated to leave the dog outside but badly needed that jacket. She hustled Daisy and Tedi back inside with her, leaving the doggie door open, hoping the other dog would follow, but was disappointed when no black head appeared.


After picking up her jacket she closed the doggie door to keep her two inside and returned to the yard with a bowl of dry dog food. She had seen that he looked very thin and thought he must be hungry. It took a while, but after several minutes of the sight of food and hearing Madison’s comforting words, he finally took a taste. When he finished he seemed to know that this person meant him no harm and allowed Madison to approach and she felt rewarded when she was allowed to touch the dog.


The first thing she noticed as she got closer was the aroma of garbage and it was evident that he had spent some time in that environment. She thought of a dumpster, but this was puzzling because she could think of nothing in the area where that would be found. When she was allowed to touch the fur it seemed damp and she knew the fellow had spent the night in the elements, and she remembered the frost that had been on the ground and hoped he had found a warmer place to sleep.


Madison looked down at Socks. “I don’t know how you feel about baths but that’s the first thing you are getting.”


Socks watched her and she wondered how much he understood. At least he didn’t run away at the mention of the word, which Tedi tended to do. She went back inside and took the leash from the closet, made a big loop and managed to get it around the neck of the dog. With this he came inside willingly and even up to the bathroom and into the tub. She thought her own two dogs could take a lesson in proper bath behavior.


Once in the tub, Madison made two discoveries. First there was no contact information on the collar, and second, Socks was definitely not a “him”. True to girl fashion, Socks seemed to enjoy the bath and even tried to drink some of the water from the shower. She was probably thirsty and needed to be shown the water bowls.


Her short coat dried quickly with a bit of help from the hair dryer, which was a good thing. Tedi and Daisy were waiting right outside the door and were becoming impatient. Back in the kitchen they were all rewarded with a treat and Madison was impressed at the dog’s manners. She had obviously belonged to someone.


She was trying to decide on her next move. Perhaps Craig knew of someone in the area who might be missing a dog. Besides she needed to tell him about the kittens, which she hadn’t mentioned the night before. That made her remember that she needed to check on them but decided to call Craig first.


He had no knowledge of a dog fitting Socks’ description but said he would check to see if any notices were posted and would ask at the diner, where he planned to take the children for a late breakfast. He agreed that the kittens should be kept as a surprise for the children if the mother cat hadn’t found a new hiding place for them. He promised to call before heading over.


Socks was scratching at the closed doggie door but Madison wanted to leave it blocked while she checked on kittens. She wasn’t fast enough to stop the escaping dog as soon as she opened the door and watched her flee in the direction of the fence post where she had first been spotted. Madison thought perhaps she was heading home. At least she could hope as she headed for the barn.




(to be continued)


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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 23 of 92


Chapter 70 (Word Prompts: aroma, socks, jacket, orange, frost, crow, fence post, flew)



The house was quiet when Madison awoke on Saturday morning. Rebecca must have been very quiet while dressing and she felt like a very bad hostess that she had slept through the activity. She wondered if Daisy and Tedi, who were now asleep on the foot of her bed, had been more attentive than their mistress.


Grabbing her robe from the chair and slipping her feet into the slippers she headed down stairs with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee showing her the way. A bright orange post-it was pinned to the refrigerator next to the coffee pot. Madison took it to the table with her along with the steaming cup.


You were sleeping so soundly I didn’t want to wake you. I hope you


enjoy the coffee. I certainly did. It was a bit cooler this morning that


I thought it would be. I found a jacket and some socks in the closet


and borrowed them. I hope that was OK. I also fed Daisy and Tedi so


don’t let them con you into feeding them twice. I should be back


around 6:00. You can text me if you need me before then.


Madison was about to make some toast when she heard frantic barking sounds coming from outside. Her first thought was about the kittens in the barn. She had closed the door, but not locked it. The dogs had never pushed it open before, but there was a first time for everything. As soon as she opened the door she understood why Rebecca had needed a jacket and was grateful for the long robe she was wearing. Even though the sun was up there was still evidence of frost in the shady spot beside the back door and she was relieved to see that the door to the barn was still closed and, hopefully, the kittens were safe.


Her eyes followed the sound of the barking dogs and was surprised to see not only the two she expected to see, but also a shiny black lab. All three were frantically barking at a large black bird perched on one of the fence posts. From this distance she was unable to hear the sounds coming from the crow, but from the flapping of the wings she was pretty certain that he was holding his own against the dogs. She had a good chuckle when reinforcements flew in to join in the chorus and the dogs decided it was a good time to back up.


Tedi and Daisy appeared to notice they had an audience and, hoping for a treat, ran toward her. The black lab watched his new friends leave. Madison might have imagined the sadness she saw in his face as he watched. On impulse she called to him, even though she had no idea of his name. He seemed to understand and cautiously came forward.



(To be continued)



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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 24 of 92


Chapter 69 (Word Prompts: thunder, moss, orange, damp, spice, whisper, guilt, wood smoke)


It was comfortable on the couch as Madison and Rebecca sipped the orange spice tea which blended well with the aroma of wood smoke from the fire. The combination made Rebecca think of that jacket worn by Stan at dinner and she wanted to learn more about him. She knew her friend had so much going on in her life that she felt she should be listening much more closely than she was. Perhaps it was the therapist in her but she had to admit to a bit of guilt that her mind was on her own life right now.


The sound of thunder, now closer than before, made her realize she had totally lost track of what Madison was saying. There was a little voice in her head that seemed to be whispering “Stan”. She didn’t even know his last name.


 Tedi and Daisy came running into the room and Rebecca reached out to give the nearest one a pat on the head, having no treats which was the desired offering. The fur felt more like damp moss and she knew the rain must have begun. She hoped this would not hamper the plans for the cookout and sleepover as she was much more excited about the prospect than she would have ever expected.


 She noticed Madison had become silent and there was an inquisitive expression that needed no words. They had been friends for a long time and there was little point in hiding what was on her mind.


“His name is Stan Duncan. He seems to be both heterosexual and available. From what I’ve learned he’s lived here all his life and knows everyone in town. He hasn’t mentioned his education since high school but is obviously intelligent. That’s about all the information I have so you’ll have to learn the rest of it by yourself.”


 Rebecca had a good laugh. “You really can read my mind, can’t you?”


 “It wasn’t difficult”, said Madison with a smile of her own. “I could hardly miss the interest you both had during dinner. It’s too bad you will be tied up tomorrow with boring meetings.”


 Rebecca became serious. “Actually I’m looking forward to those meetings and to getting to know

some of the other people who will be attending. I’m looking at making a change.”


 Madison was interested but said nothing.


 “I think I want to begin to see children exclusively and that might entail a change in location too.”


 Madison was surprised by that last thought. “I know you’ve mentioned your satisfaction in your young clients, but why would you want to move? You’ve built up such a good name where you are.”


 “That’s a part of the problem. Sometimes when you want to start over it’s good to have to make a new reputation, which isn’t really possible where you’re already known. That’s one reason I think it’s so interesting that you have come here. It really is like starting over for you too. I guess I’m looking at you as a kind of case study.”


 Rebecca didn’t mention that the lease would be up in her present location in about a month so that her decision would be made very soon.


 “Well, I never thought of myself as a study”, said Madison, “but I’ll have to admit that the past weeks have definitely been interesting, so go ahead and study away.”


 (to be continued)


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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 25 of 92


Chapter 68 (Word Prompts: thunder, moss, orange, damp, spice, whisper, guilt, wood smoke)



Rebecca turned around just in time to see the two little girls being swept up in the arms of this new customer. His smile showed the joy he felt at the greeting and caused her to notice more than she might otherwise. She couldn’t deny that this might be considered as “her type” which had always been a bit of the nerd. Yet the twinkle behind the lenses of his glasses did not seem all that nerdy, nor were the clothes he was wearing. In fact, even though she had just come from a conference and dressed appropriately, this newcomer was dressed even more professionally than she was.


His suit brought to mind her spice cabinet. She tried to think which one and then decided it didn’t matter about the time he reached their table and deposited the girls back into the booth and seemed to notice Madison for the first time.



“It seems to be a bit crowded over here”, he said looking at Madison. “Do you mind if I join you?”



Madison slid over and introduced Rebecca. “Stan owns the men’s store that we passed on the way here”, she explained.



Rebecca thought that explained the clothes but she couldn’t deny she was impressed by the way he wore them and thought he was probably very successful. She now saw that the suit was actually a subdued brown plaid with just a whisper of orange and moss green. The pale beige shirt collar was open but she wondered what tie he would have chosen to go with the ensemble.


Madison was explaining to Stan about Rebecca’s conference and he seemed interested as he began to ask questions about the subject matter. Rebecca was about to explain to him that one of the things they were discussing was the lack of availability of resources in the more rural areas when Craig mentioned the cook-out for the next night.



She was tempted to mention the kittens, knowing that this would give the children something to look forward to, but then decided this should be kept as a surprise. It was with a pang of guilt that she recognized she was feeling left out of the conversation and that was a way to be included even though it might not be good for the children to have this news right now as they would want to see them instead of waiting until later.



Stan seemed to sense there was something going on with this new person as Craig and Madison went over plans for the menu. He began to ask questions about her practice at home and before she knew it she was telling him about her thoughts of making a change.


Josie appeared accompanied by another waitress and together they provided an overflowing plate in front of each person, along with a basket of rolls at each table. The meal was relaxed and Rebecca was impressed at the ease of the conversation, both between the two tables and also with the other occupants of the restaurant. Josie made it a point to introduce Madison and Rebecca to two women who took the table nearest them, both of which were elementary school teachers and shared a lot of interests. One of them taught Johnny’s class, but the conversation stayed off the children.



It was Craig who finally broke up the party telling the children it was bed time. Madison asked for the check but Josie said it was all taken care of. Rebecca looked at Craig, who didn’t seem to notice anything, nor did Stan. She and Madison both gave a thank you to all concerned and left a large tip on the table.



They were surprised when they got out on the street and found everything was a bit damp. There were beads of water on the cars. In the distance there was a flash of lightening and the faint rumble of thunder, but the most pleasant thing was the faint aroma of wood smoke in the air. Rebecca was fully aware that the children’s mother was missing but she found it hard to believe that anything really bad could happen in such a peaceful place as this.



(To be continued)



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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 26 of 92

Chapter 67 (Word Prompts: faded, peaceful, dappled, meandering, forever, rhythm, approaching)


“It looks like you will be meeting the gang tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow”, said Madison as she watched Ruby and Pearl run toward her.


She made the introductions to Rebecca and they took the empty booth next to Craig and the children. Madison had to face that the thought of a peaceful meal with a lot of girl talk would not be possible. Craig was attempting to get Pearl and Ruby back at the table with Johnny so they could decide what to order. Josie was already approaching with menus for the new occupants and Craig took the opportunity to make introductions.


Josie brightened up considerably when she learned this was the woman she had already heard mentioned by some of her best customers. She had been curious, to say the least. She suspected there was something special in Craig’s voice as he spoke her name. She was even more certain of this now that she saw his face as she walked toward the table. This was good news indeed, as Josie always had a special interest in the well-being of her customers and she had known Craig for a long time.


Her good mood faded as she thought of another long time customer who had been very scarce lately. She thought of the times Jason and Craig, sometimes joined by Stan or Dusty, had enjoyed her pie with their morning coffee. Lately there had even been some slices of pie left at the end of the day. Of course it never went to waste.


Rebecca was enjoying the rhythm of the busy diner. She thought this was just as she would have imagined it. She watched Josie as she meandered from one table to another, passing out a menu here, taking an order there, greeting a new arrival and an occasional instruction to the busy waitresses. She seemed to know each person and was certain that she and Madison would soon be well known to her. Perhaps Madison already was, even though this was their first meeting. She could only wonder the stories this woman had to tell but she imagined she was as trustworthy as any other professional.


Josie stayed a bit longer when she returned to take their orders and seemed very interested in Rebecca. Of course, Rebecca thought, this was understandable since she was the unknown factor here. Rebecca told her of the conference she was attending and that she would only be here for the weekend, but that did not dampen the woman’s interest at all. Rebecca felt a bit sad of that for she was enjoying this place and this woman with the dappled gray hair and the sparkling eyes that seemed so full of joy. As a therapist she tended to meet people when they were having a hard time and joy seemed to be a scarce commodity. There was a comfort in this place, not just the diner, but the part of the town that she had seen. She could understand how Madison seemed drawn to it, not to mention the fact that Craig had a nice smile and the children were enchanting, even though they must be having a hard time right now. Children sometimes seemed to be able to find a bit of happiness even in the worst of times. This was not the first time that she had thought of changing her practice to children instead of adults. Sometimes it was discouraging to feel that so much damage had already been done before she was able to help. The thought crossed her mind that this could be the kind of place where she could stay forever.


Her musings were interrupted by the girls running toward the door again, squealing with joy and Josie called out, seemingly without looking up. “Welcome, Stan. Come on back and join the party. Do you need a menu?”


(To be continued)


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Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 27 of 92

Chapter 66 (Word Prompts: approaching, faded, peaceful, dappled, meandering, forever, rhythm)


Madison ran a few errands and it was later than planned when she got back from the grocery store. She parked and was unloading the bags when she was surprised by a car approaching and then realized it was actually Rebecca, more than two hours early.


After a brief greeting Rebecca took some of the bags and together they put things away. Daisy and Tedi greeted their old friend and then pawed at the doggie door asking to go outside. Madison and Rebecca meandered around the yard while Rebecca explained that the conference was cut shorter than planned since the last speaker had been delayed by an emergency and most of them were tired after their trip and anxious to get settled for the night.


“I’m glad you’re here early and that means we can have a longer visit tonight”, said Madison. “The only problem was that I planned to have a bit more accomplished before you arrived.”



“What did you mean to do?”


“For one thing I was going to start dinner and I hoped to do a bit of straightening. I’ve had very little time around here to do anything. I don’t even know where you want to sleep tonight. Truth be told, I’m not really ready for guests.” Then she realized what she was saying because it seemed she’d had constant guests since her arrival here. Rebecca seemed to realize that too and they both had a good laugh about it. Madison thought that was the nice thing about friends who seemed to have been in each other’s lives for a long time, they could fall into a special rhythm even when apart by time and distance.


“Speaking of dinner”, said Rebecca. “I was wondering if there’s a place to eat in town. I would sort of like to look over the place and it might be my only chance. Tomorrow I’ll probably be held up all day and then there’s the cook out tomorrow night. I like looking over these little places. Some of them have a special charm.”


“There’s a diner in town that I’ve heard is very good. To be honest I haven’t seen a lot of the town myself. I seem to be always heading in the other direction so I guess we can explore together.”

They were just arriving at the entrance to the barn. Tedi and Daisy were doing their usual inspection of the perimeter. This time they were paying special attention to the pile of faded blankets at the back of one of the stalls. Madison decided it was time to investigate and arrived just in time to hear the unmistakable sound of the hiss of a cat and the yelp of a dog. It was

Daisy who jumped backward and Madison caught a glimpse of a dappled gray cat who she imagined had a litter of kittens in the nest of blankets.


“Looks like you have the start of that animal rescue that you always talked about”, laughed Rebecca as Madison closed the gate on that stall, although she thought Mama Cat seemed more than capable of protecting her family from what she had seen.


“Come on, let’s get the dogs in the house and go check out the diner. It seems forever since I had breakfast and I don’t think I ever got around to lunch.”


It was only a drive of about fifteen minutes to get to the main part of town. Madison pointed out Crystal’s Closet where she had bought her outfit for the party. Had that just been a week ago? Nearby she spotted a men’s store and wondered if that was Stan’s. Would there be two of them in the small town?


She saw the street where she had picked up the children but didn’t turn down. There were several more streets with houses and she realized she had no idea which one was Craig’s or Stan’s. It seemed she should know more about these people than she did. In fact being with Rebecca, who she knew so well, she was beginning to wonder if she knew these other people at all. And yet she had felt so comfortable with them. She couldn’t forget how they had seemed a family the night before.


The downtown area, if that’s what you could call it, was a peaceful place. She had no problem finding the diner and could instantly see why it was mentioned by the men so often. From the front door she could see the City Hall where Dusty would have his office. She noticed a sign with Jason’s name nearby and wondered if they had talked to him again. She had a hard time thinking of that friendly man being associated with the disappearance of a young mother, but then she thought about the expression on his wife’s face at the party and had no trouble suspecting her of anything.


That thought was cut short by Josie’s greeting as they entered the diner and coming face to face with Craig and three little faces calling to her.




(To be continued)



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Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 28 of 92

Chapter 65 (Word Prompts: baseball, hammock, swimming, shade, away, lemonade, snake, fair, flip flops)


Craig had a difficult time getting the children off to school. They were so excited about the upcoming outing that they were thinking of as going to camp. It was the first time Johnny had been showing excitement about anything and Craig hated to put a damper on it when he had to explain they would not be able to go over after school but needed to wait until Saturday morning. It was then he got another idea and suggested they begin the weekend staying at his house instead. Somehow that only seemed fair.


Johnny wasn’t quite as thrilled with that but the girls were. He had to laugh when Ruby asked if there were snakes at his house too. He assured her they were absolutely snake-free and there would be a real bed instead of a hammock. Then he realized beds weren’t a treat at all so he suggested they camp out with blankets in front of the fire place and they could toast marshmallows. That got more approval so by the time they reached school everyone was in a good mood, planning what to take with them for their adventures.


Craig was thinking it would be good to have them away from their own house for a day or two. He had begun to wonder about the way they all seemed to watch the front door . At first he thought they were watching for their mother but then he seemed to sense something more akin to fear when there was a sound at the door. Not that there had been many people come by. Stan had been there three times and the woman down the street had brought some cookies for the children. Of course now it was common knowledge that he was the baby sitter.


It made him question more and more the life the children were living when both their parents were home and if Joanie had actually left of her own accord. Somehow he still couldn’t reconcile the woman he knew leaving her children in the car on the side of the road. At the same time, from what he had seen of Sean, living with him could not have been a picnic. He really didn’t want to think of that, knowing there was nothing he could do other than make their life as pleasant as possible while he was in charge.







He returned to his own house. It seemed a long time since he had been there. In fact he had been driving by to pick up the mail and make certain everything was in order, but he had spent no more than a few minutes each day. He opened the shades to let some light in and then opened the door to the deck to get some fresh air.


He planned to get together the things that would be carried over from his studio, but then he noticed his old baseball and bat in the closet. Those would be the first things on the list. He found he was very much looking forward to a ball game with the kids. Perhaps Madison and her friend would join in too. From there he pictured himself and Madison doing other things with the three young ones. He had already promised them next summer he would give swimming lessons. He only hoped that would be a promise he could keep. Reality was he had no idea if he would still be in their lives past this weekend. Come to that, he didn’t know if Madison would still be in his life either. As far as he knew she had still made no decision as to what she was doing with the house. He felt she wouldn’t have told him he could transfer some things there if she planned to sell it soon, but one never knew.


Craig reminded himself there were things to do other than muse about the future. There was a weekend to enjoy and that was the most important thing for right now. He went in and checked the frig and found it mainly empty. He found some popcorn in the cabinet and some lemonade mix left over from the summer. That would do for snacks for their sleepover. Dinner would be at the diner tonight. That would give them all a good solid meal which they needed after all the pizza, hamburgers and sandwiches of the past week. If this continued he might have to learn to cook.


He realized he had not really pictured the children here in his home. There had been a time when he and Stephanie had talked about what it would be like to have children here, but then, well, he didn’t want to think about that either. He sat on the sofa and tried to picture toys around the fireplace, a bicycle in the drive way, a doll in the chair, crayons on the table. His entire world would make a flip flop but somehow it seemed really nice.


(To be continued)

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Re: The Inheritance Revisited

Message 29 of 92

Chapter 64 (Word Prompts: baseball, hammock, swimming, shade, away, lemonade, snake, fair, flip flops)


Considering she had been so emotional during the evening, Madison slept well and awoke with an abundance of energy. Her dream seemed to have been a visit to the summer camp where she had stayed when she was about twelve. Those were her tomboy days when she had played baseball with the boys, won the swimming and diving competitions and had no fear of the snake that someone found in their tent. That had been a great summer before heading to high school when everything seemed to change in an instant.


These were the thoughts she carried with her on the way to the kitchen and the coffee pot. It occurred to her that change was not really a bad thing. To be fair, most of the changes had been for the good once she was through the transition. She had to laugh at herself as she thought of Rebecca’s accusation of her tendency to flip-flop. Here she was doing it again, only this time she was not going to get all emotional. There was a good weekend coming up and a lot to do to get ready for it.


The list was still there where she had left it. She wondered what she should add after lemonade. Stan had mentioned bringing food but she never asked for specifics. In the end, it didn’t matter. She would get the things she wanted if there were duplicates nothing would go to waste. After hamburger, hot dogs and buns, she added potatoes in case she felt like making some salad. Pork and beans would be good too, and some cookies. Hopefully there would be time to make some cookies this afternoon. With the list made she decided to begin the day with shopping and then the things around the house could be taken care of.


Craig had suggested that he and the children stay away tonight and then come over on Saturday with the first load for his studio. Madison agreed this would be a good plan and would give her the evening alone with Rebecca for some girl time.


Before heading to the store she decided to check out the barn and see if anything else for her list came to mind. It was darker than she remembered it. Daisy and Tedi were doing their usual inspection but it was very difficult to see in the shaded area away from the doors. Then she

remembered there had been lights in here and located the switch.


A total of six stalls were revealed and on the wall of each one was a series of hooks, obviously intended for hanging something. She had no idea how they had been used in the past but she could picture a series of hammocks hanging from them now. In the back of one of the stalls was a large pile of blankets. She wondered if they were useful but decided to leave an inspection for a later date.


After calling the dogs inside and closing the doggie door she headed to the store.


(To be continued)


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Chapter 63 (Word prompts: baseball, hammock, swimming, shade, away, lemonade, snake, fair, flip flops)


The house seemed very empty when everyone went away. It was already past the children’s bedtime and Madison knew they needed to get some sleep. At the same time the tears were once again swimming in her eyes and threatening to overflow. She was glad she still had the call to make and let Rebecca know about the plan for the weekend. She hoped her friend wouldn’t think it necessary to make other arrangements. If ever she felt in need of a friend, or a therapist for that matter, it was now. She felt entirely out of her depth with the emotions she had experienced tonight. She was almost tempted to withhold the information, but knew that would not be a fair thing to do to a friend.


Rebecca answered immediately. “Well, how was it the first night back?”


Madison was not expecting that question quite so soon. “Well, it was interesting. The children were here along with Craig and Stan. They brought the sheriff with them and we had a pizza party.”






Rebecca’s voice sounded a trifle shaded as she continued, “That sounds like fun. Why are you not sounding all that happy?”


Madison began to explain about the plans for the weekend, the hammocks in the barn in case of snakes and baseball games in the field.


“Well that sounds like a lot of fun and things are all taken care of. Why are you flip-flopping all over the place. And don’t deny it. I can hear it in your voice. Are you asking me not to come? Do you think it will be too much with another guest. All you have to do is tell me.”


Madison’s eyes were getting wet again. “No. It’s the opposite. I really want you to come. I’m afraid you won’t come. I need someone else here. I don’t understand what is happening to me and I sound like an idiot. I promise I’ll be in better shape by the time you arrive. I’m probably just tired.”


Rebecca was quiet for a few seconds. “If things go according to schedule the workshop is supposed to run from 10 to 6 tomorrow. I looked at a map and it looks as though I will be about 25 miles away so I should be there before 7:00. Is that OK?”


Madison took a deep breath. She was so relieved. “That will be fine, just great, in fact. I will be doing some shopping tomorrow. I think I forgot to mention that there’s a cook-out planned for Saturday night. Is there anything you can think of that I should get for you?”


Rebecca said as long as there was coffee she would be fine and the call ended. Madison returned to the kitchen table where she had begun the shopping list. So far the only item was lemonade and the tears threatened to fall once again. The list could wait until morning coffee.


(To be continued) 

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