Drake Prins made a promise to his dying buddy to take care of his pregnant wife. Trouble is, Beth, doesn't want taking care of. Here's a snippet from the book:
“Jim was always a good storyteller,” Beth said, skirting the truth with a non sequitur.
“He sure was. When things were difficult and the fighting got close, I used to get him to tell me stories of the ranch and you. How you met, what you were like. He always obliged. And I know it sounds corny, but knowing you were here, waiting for him, made it a bit easier for me as well.” Drake released a short laugh, as if embarrassed of his revelation.
She wouldn’t see him anymore, Beth thought. What would it hurt if she gave him just a little bit of what he expected? He just delivered a message from his buddy. It wasn’t his fault Jim was not the buddy Drake presumed he was.
“Jim was a great guy,” she said. “He took care of me and…I loved him.” At one time, anyway, so it was partly true. “I know I’ll miss him a lot.” She felt as if she should say a bit more. He had come all this way, had taken time away from his own family who, she was sure missed him as well, to deliver a message she didn’t want to hear, but he had made the effort to come. That must have been difficult if, indeed, he and Jim were as close as Drake indicated.
Beth fidgeted a bit more as a heavy silence rose between them. A silence holding words that could not be given form. Words that would change too much between people whose only connection was the memory of a man whom they both saw so differently.
She looked into his eyes and saw curiosity behind the vague concern. But she also saw a man who kept a promise by coming here. “Thanks for shovelling my walk,” she said, shifting her briefcase under her arm to hold out her hand.
He tipped her a crooked smile. Their eyes held a fraction of a moment longer and to Beth’s surprise she felt a remnant of a long-forgotten emotion.
She shook the moment away then shoved the paper in her purse. “I’ll see you around,” was all she could manage.”
He held her gaze for an extra beat, as if he wanted to say something more.
She lifted her hand in a wave, then ambled off. But all the way to her car she felt his gaze on her. It unnerved her and as she got into her car, she felt a spasm in her abdomen.
She pressed her hand against her stomach, arching her back against a surprising jolt of pain. These Braxton Hicks contractions weren’t supposed to hurt.
“Easy now,” she murmured to her unborn child. “Just bide your time. Everything is going to be okay. He’ll be gone by this afternoon.”
And with him, hopefully, another reminder of Jim.
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