Will You Dance,

If I Ask You to Dance?




Trixie looked up nervously as Maddie entered the room.  Her fingers worried the satin edge of the thermal blanket where it lay folded across her waist.  Maddie approached the bed cautiously, as if trying not to spook a skittish horse.  She sat on the side of the bed and faced her delicate new charge.

“Are you mad at me?” Maddie asked.

The beleaguered young woman glanced up in surprise.  “Why would I be mad at you?”

Maddie smiled softly.  “Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe for not asking you how you felt before making any decisions.”

“Why would that matter?” Trixie asked cynically.

“Darling, this entire thing is all about how you feel,” Maddie said kindly.

Trixie got a mournful look on her face.  “Lost.”

Maddie sighed sympathetically and moved to sit beside the little blonde, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders.  “In need of a trail of breadcrumbs, huh?”

Trixie nodded and leaned her head against the older woman’s shoulder.

Maddie reached up and brushed a golden curl back off Trixie’s face.  “If you were Bobby’s age, your mother had had a stroke, and we offered to take care of you until she was better, would that make sense to you?”

So quietly she could barely be heard, Trixie answered, “Yes.  But I’m not Bobby’s age.  And Moms didn’t have a stroke.”

“I know, sweetheart.”  Maddie leaned her honeyed head on the soft mass of curls and rubbed Trixie’s shoulder.  “Your mother’s sickness may be a little hard to define, but she’s still ill.  And you may be older than Bobby, but you still need someone to take care of you right now.  You need someone to listen to you, watch out for you, and help you find what’s best for you.”

“You’ll do that?” Trixie asked tremulously.

“Absolutely,” Maddie vowed.  “Whatever you need.”

“What I need…” Trixie breathed, a shaky sound, struggling not to break down into another bout of tears.  She swallowed hard and tried again.  “I just need… for it to all go away.”

Maddie gave her a squeeze.  “That’s not something that can happen instantaneously.  But I promise to help you find a way.”

“Thank you.”  It was a whispered sigh, and with it came a release of control.  It was as if Trixie finally felt safe enough to let go of some of the things she’d been holding in.

Feeling thankful that she seemed to be getting somewhere, Maddie turned the topic to more practical matters.  “I suppose we need to go over a couple of details.  First off, this room is now yours.  You’re free to move things around, redecorate, whatever.  Let me know if you need anything.”

Trixie responded to the change in tone by sitting up and looking at her caretaker.  The concentration on less emotional matters helped her to regain her composure.

Maddie continued.  “Second, there is a clothing issue.  Your parents packed you a suitcase, which we brought with us.  However, I’m willing to bet nothing fits you.  We’re going shopping Monday afternoon.”

She bit back a smile as Trixie groaned good-naturedly.  “Third, and most importantly, we have several appointments on Monday.  The first is with Dr. Ferris.  The second will be with a counselor, which Dr. Ferris is arranging.  And the third is with Mr. Stratton.  Once we’ve gotten through those, we’ll have a more definite idea of schedules and things.  After that, we’ll talk more about what will change and what will stay the same for you.  Okay?”

Trixie looked into Maddie’s eyes, while Maddie anxiously awaited her reaction to the last part.  Trixie was confused and overwhelmed, but she felt like she had finally found a lifeline.  She decided to hold on and allow herself to be pulled to safety.  “Thank you, Mére.”

Releasing the tension of the last few hours, Maddie pulled Trixie into a big hug.  “Everything’s going to be okay, darling.  I promise.”

Trixie answered in a trembling voice, “I know it will, because I trust you.”

Maddie had no idea how she’d achieved this victory, but she was thrilled.  They had a long way to go, but it was a good start.






Once Trixie had dressed, Maddie had insisted she needed something to eat.  Most of the teenagers had finished eating and had moved from the dining room to the library, but Honey had stayed behind to make sure everyone was well and truly done.  She was just about to join the others when Maddie and Trixie entered the room.  Honey stopped, suddenly unsure of what to do or how to treat the troubled girl before her.

Trixie approached Honey timidly.  “Hon, are you okay with this?  Do you mind my staying here?”

Honey’s jaw dropped.  Once she got over her initial shock, it dawned on her that this was vintage Trixie.  She was a mess, she needed help, but her primary concern was for her friends.  It was good to know that, despite everything, the real Trixie was still there.  Honey smiled and wrapped her arms around her best friend.

“Of course, I’m okay with this.  It’ll be like a never-ending slumber party.”

Honey took charge, fixing a plate for Trixie and keeping her company while she ate.  For her part, Trixie clung to the ordinary routine of eating a simple meal with her closest girlfriend, grilling her about Ria and Chelsea, and debating the merits of the available movie options for the evening.  Maddie observed them for a few moments while fixing herself a small plate, then took her meal to the kitchen to give the girls some privacy.

Some time later, Di came searching for Honey.  When she found the two girls, she joined them, and a silly discussion of Honey and Di’s shopping adventures earlier in the day ensued.  The three friends were able to feel reassured that, no matter what changed in their lives, they would always be able to laugh together.






“So, Honey’s plan is for all of us to camp out in the rec room, right?” Mart asked.

“That’s what she said,” Dan replied.  “Of course, then she got all worried that Trixie might not feel up to it…”

“Trixie will prefer it,” Brian sagely observed.  “After how much sleep she got this afternoon, she won’t be tired soon.  Combine that with the nightmares… she’s not gonna want to go back to sleep.  She’d rather stay downstairs, with all of us together.”

The boys were in the library, ensconced around a roaring fire.  Brian and Mart shared the sofa with Ria, who was curled up against Brian’s side.  He kept his arm firmly around her, his fingers gently caressing the length of her arm.  She shivered in delight and snuggled closer.  A small, secret smile played at the corners of Brian’s mouth as he dropped a kiss on her forehead.

Dan observed this from his position by the fire.  He alternated between leaning his forearm against the mantle while staring into the fire and agitatedly pacing the length of the hearth.  The only other occupant of the room, currently, was Chelsea.  She was sitting in a comfortable chair, head back and eyes closed, ostensibly dozing.

After another round of pacing, Dan stopped and rubbed his hands over his face.  “God, I’m tired!”

“Join the club,” Mart drawled.

“Brian’s right,” Dan said.  “Trixie’s not gonna sleep tonight.”

“And how would that make tonight unique?” Mart asked.

Dan ignored him and asked a question of his own.  “So who’s going to stay awake and keep her company?”


The others all turned in surprise toward the unexpected voice.  Chelsea hadn’t moved from her position at all.  The group might have thought they had imagined the sound if they hadn’t seen each other’s reactions.

“I thought you were sleeping,” Ria accused.

Chelsea opened one eye and shrugged.  “Dozing on and off.  I’m tired, but I’m afraid of missing something.”  She grinned.  “I’m a nosy sort.”

Dan groaned.  “No wonder he likes her.”  His comment was met with muffled chuckles from the direction of the couch.

Opening her eyes, Chelsea sat up and stretched, stifling a yawn in the process.  “Look, Jim slept a lot in the car.  He’s probably more rested than any of you.  It looks like he’s going to be the last one to see her.  And, from what I understand, they have unresolved issues from their fight last night.”

“As if those are their only unresolved issues,” Mart muttered.  Brian quickly jabbed him in the ribs to shut him up.

Chelsea continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted, despite hearing Mart’s comment clearly.  “It just seems to me that the still of the night, after the rest of us have dropped off to sleep, will be the perfect time for them to talk.  A late night refrigerator raid and some quiet conversation, maybe.”

“Boy, have you got those two pegged,” Dan laughed, shaking his head.

“Maybe we should see if Cook’s got any chocolate cake hidden out there,” Mart said with a knowing smirk.

Chelsea returned the smirk with a wicked grin.  “Not unless we get some first!”






As the girls chatted, Trixie relaxed and enjoyed the sense of normalcy.  Every so often it would wane, however, as one or the other of her best girlfriends directed pointed stares at the amount of food remaining on her plate.  The enforced rest had done Trixie some good, and she felt better than she had in days.  And she was hungry.  But she was also cautious.  The ever-present nausea that had plagued her of late was mild this evening, but it lingered beneath the surface.  Taking small amounts of food, slowly, seemed far preferable to throwing up yet again.

Trixie knew her friends were just worrying about her, and she also knew they had a valid point.  Because she appreciated their love and concern, she forced herself to keep eating.

When Honey and Di were finally satisfied that Trixie had eaten enough, they let her off the hook by suggesting that they take their plates to the kitchen.  Diana silently reflected that Mart certainly wouldn’t have been satisfied by the amount Trixie had eaten.  Of course, that was also why Di had ordered him to wait in the library.  The food issue was not the area to let Mart observe; after all, Mart’s perceptions of a proper meal were a little warped.

The girls had started gathering the dishes to take to the kitchen when Celia arrived and shooed them off, so they proceeded to the library to join the others.  As they marched down the hall arm-in-arm, Trixie laughingly asked, “Hey, does this mean I get out of doing dishes while I stay here?”

Giggling together, they made their grand entrance to the library.  Dan immediately stopped pacing and looked anxiously at Trixie.  She took one look at his face and knew he’d been frantic with worry all day, no matter how calm he’d appeared.  She made a beeline for him, and he engulfed her in a fierce hug.  When Dan finally relaxed his grip, he placed a knuckle under her chin and gently forced her to meet his gaze.

“Promise me something, Trix.”  His soft, steady voice belied the fear and pleading in his dark eyes.

“Like what, Danny?”  She felt so badly for worrying her friends that she might have agreed to anything just then.

“The next time you feel the need to run away, you come find me.”  Dan’s voice trembled.  “I’ll take you anywhere you want to go, as long as I know you’re safe.”

Trixie’s face softened, and there was a slight twinkle in her eyes.  “And if I wanted to go to the deepest, darkest jungle in Africa?”

Dan smiled slightly.  Anywhere, darlin’, as long as I know you’re safe.”

Blinking rapidly to keep the tears out of her eyes again, Trixie rested her head on Dan’s shoulder.  “I promise.”

While Trixie remained in the comfort of Dan’s arms, Diana took a seat on Mart’s lap.  Seeing how intently he was watching his sister, Di whispered in his ear, “It’s Dan, silly, not Chris or Tad.”

Mart was startled out of his observation.  He flashed her a rueful grin and decided to concentrate instead on the silken feel of Diana’s hair as he ran his fingers through it.

Trixie took a deep breath, trying to change gears.  She stepped away from Dan and turned to her oldest brother.  “I haven’t met your friends yet, Brian.”

Brian smiled and stood to make the introductions.  “Sis, this is my girlfriend, Ria.”

Ria had risen with Brian and now reached forward to shake Trixie’s hand.  “I’ve heard a lot about you.  Your brother loves to talk about you.”

Trixie’s eyebrows shot up; then she flashed a bright, mischievous grin.  “Not nearly as much as he likes to talk about you.  I’ve been dying to meet you.”

Ria blushed, and the other Bob-Whites exchanged disgruntled looks.  They’d never heard of Ria before this morning, but Trixie seemed to know all about her.

Chelsea, meanwhile, was awestruck.  When Trixie had smiled, the whole room had brightened.  The girl was pale and thin, her faced lined with exhaustion and stress, yet a simple smile at a relative stranger managed to brighten the room.  Chelsea was trying hard not to imagine what kind of effect a healthy, happy Trixie could have on an unsuspecting male.  Or worse, one who fully realized he would eagerly do anything to earn that smile.

When Brian turned to introduce Chelsea, he was surprised to find her frowning at Trixie.  He lifted an inquiring brow, and Chelsea flushed.  She cleared her throat and stepped forward, thrusting her hand out in front of her.  “Chelsea Coleman.  I’m Ria’s roommate.”

Trixie smiled knowingly.  “And Jim’s date.”

Chelsea felt like she’d been issued a challenge.  She narrowed her eyes slightly.  What was this girl after, anyway?  She lifted her chin and unconsciously squared her shoulders.  “Yes.  Jim’s date.”

Satisfied with Chelsea’s response, Trixie nodded.  “Good.  Do me a favor?  Keep Amber away from him.  He doesn’t need the kind of trouble her kind creates.”

Effectively closing the subject, Trixie moved away and sat down on the couch.  Chelsea was left standing with her jaw agape.  At least she didn’t look any worse than anyone else in the room.

Ria saw Brian’s amused look and the dumbfounded stares of the others.  She noticed that Trixie had seated herself right beside Mart.  She took up so little room that Ria and Brian could easily resume their previous positions, leaving Trixie neatly tucked between her two big brothers.  Deciding that was exactly Trixie’s intent, Ria decided to let her have her way.  Ria walked over to Chelsea and gently pushed up on her chin, closing her mouth.  Then she resumed her seat, pulling Brian down beside her.

Trixie grabbed Brian’s other hand and smiled conspiratorially at Ria.  The older girl winked at her, and Trixie winked back.  Brian squeezed both girls’ hands and relaxed, pleased to have witnessed the beginnings of a true friendship between his two favorite girls.

Honey observed the exchange from an armchair across the room and sighed.  Brian’s first serious girlfriend, and she and Trixie were thick as thieves already.  Once again, Honey felt Trixie expanding her horizons and leaving her old friend far behind.






After Matt’s last story about Winthrop Frayne, the redheads had lapsed into a comfortable silence.  Jim got up and looked through the window at the storm still raging outside.  His thoughts turned from the long ago memories of his father to the present turmoil of Trixie.  He shoved his hands in his pockets and turned, leaning against the windowsill, and studied Matt carefully.

“Dad, can I ask you a question?”

Matt had been lost in time, and Jim’s voice dragged him back to the present.  He looked up at his son.  “Of course, Jim.  Anything.”

“Your wealth and position give you so much power.  You’re used to being in charge.  Is it hard to deal with situations you can’t control?”

Matt was taken aback by the question.  He crossed the room and stood before Jim, staring into the depths of his son’s green eyes, trying to read the young man’s mind through those windows into his soul.  Matt instinctively knew a lot was riding on how he answered this question.

“Even with all the power I have, there are many situations I can’t control.  Trixie talking the Bob-Whites into crazy stuff, for example.“

Pleased to see that Jim had the good grace to look abashed, Matt went on.  “One of the hardest lessons in life is to learn to accept the things you can’t control.  But many situations are more about influence than control.  Sometimes people, in a position like mine, manipulate situations by buying people.  I don’t.  I won’t.  I’ll wine, dine, befriend, and try to influence people, yes.  But I don’t buy people.

“Although I learned long ago to accept that I don’t always have control, Jim, I’ll still try to influence people and situations to go the way I would prefer.”

Matt held his breath, watching Jim process his response.  Jim chewed his lip for a minute.  “So controlling people is bad, but influencing them is okay?” he asked uncertainly.

Pacing a little, Matt crossed his arms and stroked his chin while he considered how best to explain.  He stopped and faced Jim again.  “It’s like voting.  To pay someone to vote the way you want is illegal and immoral.  But to talk to them, explaining your position on the issues with the sole intent of convincing them to see things your way – that’s the heart of the democratic process.  The goal in both cases is getting the person to vote your way, but the method makes all the difference.”

Jim nodded thoughtfully; while he could see Matt’s point, he was still worried about his friends.  “So taking Trixie away from the Beldens is your attempt to influence this situation?”

The hint of accusation in Jim’s tone made Matt flinch.  He sighed, crossed the room, and sat heavily in his desk chair.  The stress of the day was catching up with him, and he flung an accusation back.  “And you’ve never tried to influence Trixie?”

Jim instantly got defensive.  “That’s different!”

Matt’s infamous redheaded temper flared.  “Why?” he yelled, pounding on his desk and glaring angrily across the room at Jim.  “Because you were trying to save her life?  Jim, she was literally praying to die.  She asked me to just leave her out there, lying face down in a mud puddle in the middle of a hurricane!  I’m trying to save her life!  Only this time, there are no bad guys you can just send away to jail.  The enemy here is in her mind.  You’re damn right I’m trying to influence her!”

His anger spent, Matt’s shoulders slumped, and he rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands.  “I’m sorry…”

“Don’t,” Jim cut him off, his voice gruff.  “Don’t you ever apologize for trying to save her.”

Jim was visibly shaken, Matt could see.  His face reflected his desperate need to know Trixie would be okay.  But there was something else Matt couldn’t quite define… was that guilt?  He got up and walked over to stand beside his son.


“I just feel like this is all my fault!”  Jim ran a hand roughly through his hair.  “I went away and left her!”

Matt placed a comforting hand on Jim’s shoulder.  “Now who thinks he can control everything?  None of this is because you went away.”

“The sensible part of my brain knows that.  But that’s not how I feel.”

“I know.  It’s hard to watch people you care about go through painful times.”

Jim stared off into the distance.  His voice cracked as he spoke.  “I’ve watched a lot of that.”

Matt felt a sudden constriction in his throat.  He wished he could just erase all the layers of pain he heard in his son’s voice, all the memories of his parents’ illnesses and deaths.  But he couldn’t.  All he could do was nod with sympathy.  “I know, son.”

“I’m tired of watching people I love suffer without being able to do anything about it,” Jim said bitterly, his body rigid with pent-up pain and frustration.

Then don’t ever go into the delivery room with your wife, Matt thought.  He refrained from uttering the thought aloud, however, simply because he believed it wouldn’t take Jim’s mind off of the image of Trixie in pain.

Regarding his son thoughtfully, Matt offered an opinion based purely on gut instinct.  “Maybe that’s why this is happening now.”

Jim looked at him like he was speaking a foreign language.  Matt hastened to explain.  “Look, many people who have been the victims of criminal activity have suffered stress and nightmares because of it.  One robbery or kidnapping can scar people for life.  Trixie’s been through this over and over again.  We all thought she was too tough to be bothered by it.  Instead, it seems she was just building up to an overload.  But, maybe, Trixie held off this long just so you wouldn’t be here to watch her meltdown.  Maybe you were meant to be spared that.”

Contemplating his father’s theory, Jim shivered and turned back toward the window.  “I can just see her doing something like that.”

“That’s not what I meant!”  Matt’s exasperation shone.  “I meant like God was trying to spare you.  Do you actually think Trixie would see this coming and time it to protect you?”

Jim glanced toward the older man, one eyebrow raised, challenging him to say that Trixie would never do such a thing.  Wanting to tell Jim he was wrong, Matt struggled for a minute to think of an appropriate response.  He finally sighed and turned away.  “Never mind.  Forget I said that.”

With a groan of frustration, Jim pushed off the wall and started pacing.  “Dad, it’s not that I think she planned this.  I know this hit her from left field.  She’s always believed she was kind of invincible.  That’s why this is so hard for her… she thinks she’s too tough to be messed up like this.  She can’t accept the problem, so she can’t accept help.”

Matt nodded.  “That’s why the Bob-Whites aren’t enough to help her through this.  She feels like she loses her place as the strong one in the group if she lets you see how badly off she is.  If she loses that, she loses her entire identity.  No, this help has to come from outside the Bob-Whites… which is where Maddie and I come in.”

Jim stopped and faced Matt, trying to come to terms with stepping back and letting his father take charge of something he felt should be a Bob-White matter.  Matt watched his inner struggle for a moment.

“Jim, trust us,” he pleaded.  “We would never let her down… if only because we know how much she means to you and Honey.”

An indefinable emotion flashed in Jim’s eyes before he turned away.  In a harsh whisper he said, “You can’t even begin to understand.”

Walking up behind the young man, Matt spoke quietly.  “She means the world to Honey.  She sees Trixie as the catalyst for everything good in her life.  Part of her believes that, if Trixie weren’t around, her life would go back to being miserable.  I can’t let that happen to my little girl.

“As for you… I know that Trixie means every bit as much to you as Maddie means to me.”  He paused, letting his meaning sink in.  Jim looked away, not willing to acknowledge his father’s implications, but certainly not able to deny them.

“I won’t let you down,” Matt promised.  After a moment he turned and walked out of the room, leaving Jim alone with his thoughts.






Matt headed for the kitchen in search of a glass of iced tea, trying to resist the urge to march to the well-stocked bar and pour a nice, tall scotch.  He was surprised to find Maddie pulling a pitcher of juice from the fridge. 

“What are you doing, love?” he asked.

“Trying to resist the urge for a schnapps-on-the-rocks,” she responded.

Chuckling, Matt said, “Great minds think alike.”  He reached into the cupboard for two glasses.  “Get me the iced tea, would you?”

They filled their glasses and sat together at the kitchen table.  Matt asked, “How did your talk with Trixie go?”

The muted glow of the kitchen lights streaked her honeyed hair with strands of gold while myriad emotions illuminated the flecks of green in her hazel eyes.  Matt reflected, for probably the millionth time, that he could be content to sit and watch his wife for hours on end.

“Surprisingly well, all things considered,” she answered.

“Good.”  He rubbed his eyes, and Maddie noted the sheer exhaustion in his face, knowing it matched her own.  Yet, despite how tired he looked, he still exuded strength and determination.  Maddie was a lucky woman to have such a rock and fortress in her life, and she remembered once again to say a prayer of thanks for her wonderful husband.

Matt looked up at her, “I still need to talk with Trixie myself, but I don’t think I have the energy tonight.”

Maddie searched the depths of his green eyes.  “I take it your talk with Jim didn’t go very well.”

He shrugged.  “Yes and no.”  He was silent for so long Maddie wondered if he would say anything else.  Finally, he explained, “We talked about Win for a long time.  That went really well.  It felt good, for both of us.”

She reached his hand and held it lightly.  “So what was the problem?”

“The conversation turned to Trixie,” he said with a grimace.

“He’s not taking this well.”  Maddie didn’t bother with a question.

He squeezed her hand, then allowed his fingers to dance light caresses over her wrist while he stared absent-mindedly at the rainbow of light reflections in the diamonds of her wedding bands.  “She’s the center of his world.  He seems to think that, if she falls apart, his whole world falls apart, too.”

Maddie sighed.  “A strong foundation is made of more than one brick.  And a house with a strong foundation can stand up to many a mighty storm.  But he doesn’t see that.”

“We’ve only had him two years, Maddie.  He’s got many more years than that, full of pain and disillusionment, to get over.”  He took a long swallow of his drink.  “He’s had a pretty easy life since he came to us.  Maybe it’s time for him to see that he’s in a more stable world now.”

Stifling a yawn, Maddie leaned her cheek on her hand.  “We should probably get some rest.  Tomorrow’s going to be just as long… you need to talk to Trixie, I need to talk to Jim, and we both need to talk to Honey.”

Matt groaned.  “Why do I have the feeling that’s going to be harder than it should be?”

“I think she’s feeling neglected, lost in the shuffle.”

Regarding the confused look on his elegant wife’s face, Matt speculated, “Can you imagine how much time and effort Peter and Helen must put into balancing the needs and emotions of all those kids?”

Dismayed at the thought, Maddie shuddered.  “Boys are so much more closed-mouthed about their feelings, too.  I have no idea how they manage to keep them all relatively happy.  I’ve had a horrible time learning to manage two, and I’d have never gotten anywhere without Marge.  I think Helen is long overdue for a nervous breakdown.”

A wave of sorrow crossed Matt’s face.  “Did you see the look on Peter’s face when he signed those papers?”

Maddie grabbed his hand and rubbed it against her cheek.  “He entrusted you with his most precious possession, his baby girl.  I do believe that proves how much of a friend he considers you.”

Matt rose and pulled Maddie along with him.  “If I’m going to be worthy of that trust and friendship, I’m going to need some sleep.  Come on, darling.  Let’s call it a night.”

They left the room arm-in-arm, lost in thought as they climbed the elegant stairway, each hoping desperately that they would be able to get at least a small amount of sleep that night.






Sherry Lynch gently stroked the golden curls of the boy cradled in her lap.  Bobby had originally been thrilled to spend the entire day playing with his best friends.  But, as night drew near and he was told he’d be spending the night again, he had sensed that something was wrong at Crabapple Farm.  He’d pitched a fit and demanded to go home.  Then he had asked where Diana was.  When he’d learned she was spending the night at Manor House with Honey and Trixie, Bobby had demanded to be taken to Manor House.  Then he had started begging plaintively for a simple phone call.  All he wanted to do was talk to Trixie, he had said.

When his temper and his tears had failed to get him what he wanted, Bobby had curled up in a ball and sobbed, calling his sister’s name over and over again.  Sherry had finally gathered him into her arms, rocking him gently until he had cried himself to sleep.

The entire scene had broken Sherry’s heart.  She’d been tempted so many times during the several-hour-long argument to cave in and take him over to Manor House.  A hug from Trixie would have solved her problems with the little boy.  But Sherry had heard enough about Trixie’s day to know that the girl was in no shape to care for her little brother right now, not even for a few minutes.  And seeing Trixie in her current condition would have only upset Bobby further.  As hard as it had been, standing firm had been the best thing for Bobby.

Tomorrow his parents and brothers would have the difficult job of explaining the situation to him.  He, of course, would be unable to understand the turmoil in the Belden household.  He would probably react just as Mart had:

Tears filled Mart’s eyes, and he croaked out in a hoarse voice, “But you’re taking her away from me.”

Poor Bobby had had a difficult day.  He would have a difficult tomorrow.  For tonight, Sherry could only hope he would have pleasant dreams.


Author's Notes



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