51. Two Mistakes

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I woke up the next morning in a beautiful sleigh bed, safely tucked beneath a handmade quilt with a purple and yellow horseshoe motif

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I woke up the next morning in a beautiful sleigh bed, safely tucked beneath a handmade quilt with a purple and yellow horseshoe motif. A pair of bright yellow ducks (last seen on the Harris' kitchen island) stared down at me from their perch on the windowsill, the morning sunlight reflecting off their cheery ceramic surface.

A fresh wave of tears welled in my already-bloated eyes when I thought of the trouble the Harris' had gone through to make me feel at home on such a short notice. Basically, they'd corralled anything girly-colored or themed from around the house and arranged them in their guest room, which was now, my bedroom.

I loved it. And I loved them.

Using the corner of the quilt, I dried my tears. There'd been enough last night.

The cancer was back, and this time, it would take her.

The doctors had given Faith six months, and Daniel had thought I should know before I agreed to move in. He'd said he'd hoped I wouldn't change my mind, because Faith would love to have me. They'd never been blessed with children, and it had always been her dream to have a daughter.

And no, they didn't want their privacy. Yes, he was absolutely certain. No, no, I wouldn't be a burden at all. 

He'd smiled sadly and patted my cheek when I'd told him that I would love to live with them. "You're a good girl," he'd said. 

All the lights at the Harris' modest two story had been blazing in welcome when we'd pulled up the road. Faith had been pacing by the front door and when she saw me sitting in the passenger seat, she'd brought her hand to her mouth.

And when I'd opened the door, she'd said one word: "Layla." And in it, I could taste her relief. She'd gathered me up into her wide open arms and held me through her tears, as if I were a divine providence, an answer to all her prayers.

Don't worry Faith, you won't be leaving him all alone anymore. I'll take care of him for you after you go.   

Because that was their love. Him, wanting for her, her, needing for him. And me, an unexpected answer to both, a grace from God. It's funny how things had a way of working out.

We'd cried together that night, but followed it up with prayers of gratitude and made a pact that there would be no more tears or sadness, only joy and laughter for the time we had left, as a new little family.

Our time together would be short, but the Harris' would teach me so much about the importance of family, love, and well, faith.

***

The curve balls kept coming.

A more confused than usual Alice was waiting for me by the goat pens with Mr. Duval, Carson Beaudry's private secretary. I say private secretary because that's what everybody calls him, but really, his appearance was a little too menacing for him to be called a secretary, private or otherwise.

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