Nick and Roger left after breakfast to see for themselves how the town was doing and to check on the store. Mollie and Renee showed Carrie all their treasures since school was closed for the duration of the rioting. The local news reported that the sheriff was confident that the town would be back to normal within just a day or so.
Naomi declared a “girls day” with happy squeals from Mollie and Renee. At Carrie’s confused look, Mollie and Renee proceeded to explain to her what a “girls day” was.
“Ok a girls day is when the girls get to make all the plans and decisions. We basically get to do whatever we want.” Mollie began.
“As long as it’s legal” piped up Renee.
“Right. Sometimes we spend the day pampering ourselves with facials and manicures and just all those kinds of girly things. Sometimes we get to take our ‘Mad Money’ and go shopping for silly things.” Continued Molly.
“But sometimes we decide to do really cool stuff, like go 4 wheeling or hiking.” Added Renee.
Naomi cut in with “since Carrie is our guest, why don’t we let her decide what we will do today. We may be hampered because of all the foolishness going on out there; but there are plenty of things to do right here.”
“I don’t have any idea at all. You guys will have to decide. I’ll just go with the flow.”
So the rest of the day was spent doing a myriad of “girlie things” and Carrie had the time of her life.
Later that night, Carrie grabbed a moment to herself and pulled out her Gramma’s letters.
13 March 2002
Don’t worry about your old Gramma, I’m doing fine. I got a clean bill of health from the doctor yesterday which is why I’m sending you this letter. My heart will still be going strong for years yet.
Your prayers were heard, dear. And thank you for them. Always remember that God will hear prayers that are sincere and come from a pure heart. It’s all about the heart-a-tude. We may mess up, but He will forgive us if our heart is right by Him. And it’s always good to pray for others. Don’t forget we have to work in harmony with our prayers also. It doesn’t do much good if we pray for help and then don’t help ourselves as much as we can. He fills those gaps that we can’t.
I’ve got lots of plants started for the garden; the green house is pretty near to over flowing. I think I’m going to have to give some away or make the garden bigger.
I had to kill a coyote last night; he was trying to get to the rabbits. I couldn’t let him. No one should let an innocent one get hurt if they can stop it. We have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
Mrs. Henders sent over some of her famous strawberry jam for you. It’s in the cupboard waiting for your next visit. And you better sit down for this; she even sealed the recipe in an envelope and made me promise to not open it. She is passing it on to you dear. I know, I’m shocked too. Aren’t you glad you are sitting down?
Ok dear. I’m going to get this in the mail. And no I still don’t have that ‘internet thingy’ and no email. Those things are for you young ones. Besides you would have to show me how all that works.
Much love and hugs,
Carrie went back out to the kitchen where everyone had gathered since Roger and Nick had finally gotten back. There was a stack of boxes in the den from the store. They were talking about it looked like someone had tried to break in to the store sometime that previous night but despite the effort, the store was still secure. They had gone and tried to talk to the sheriff but no one knew just where he was since he had been roving the town attempting to restore order. And it seems like once he brought out his shotgun and put two men in the hospital; order seemed to slowly begin to come into focus for the town. The national news also seemed to be talking about how well the new NSA was in quashing the riots and how martial law was expected to be lifted by the end of the week.
Naomi brought up the subject of what Carrie was going to do. She, in her ever so loving yet demanding way; ‘suggested’ that Carrie stay with them until martial law was lifted and order restored so that she would at least have a better chance of having less trouble on her way.
Roger volunteered to drive her to her Gramma’s and Carrie turned white at the suggestion, knowing she really did not need to be alone with Roger anymore! So she politely turned Roger down on his offer but did accept the offer to stay until the end of the week, which was three days; but made no commitment to stay any longer no matter if the martial law was lifted or not. But she also insisted that she carry her weight.
The next three days flew by as Carrie learned a lot that week and while she attempted to steer clear of Roger, it seemed like his oblivious family was just as intent to throw them together. She ended up helping him cut and stack firewood, reopen the store, and since the girls were still not able to go to school; Roger ended up homeschooling them and Carrie.
Carrie got her time in with the girls and taught them some of the things she had learned online about self defense. And while her ways were not perfect, they were effective. Mollie and Renee took it upon themselves to practice on Roger who became paranoid with his sisters stalking him all the time. They became fans of Carrie's knife holder and between the three of them fashioned holders for Mollie and Renee.
Carrie was definitely developing feelings for Roger but kept them to herself since she knew she would be leaving again really soon. She was ruthless with herself and squashed them down. Roger however, was not cooperating.
Friday evening, after dinner; Carrie slipped outside for some fresh air. While she was very comfortable around the family (with the exception of Roger and only then due to raging hormones); sometimes she still felt the need for some alone time.
She had taken to going to back corner of the back yard and looking off into the surrounding hills and watching the stars come out. She had been there for only about 15 minutes when she heard someone coming, thinking it was Mollie since Mollie had come out there to watch the stars with her for the last two nights, she didn’t turn around. But she was surprised when she felt an arm slid across her shoulders in a sideways hug and when she opened her mouth to protest, Roger slipped a Linden’s truffle into her mouth.
Thoroughly bribed by the chocolate, Carrie allowed herself to feel the warmth of Roger’s arm and they both stood there and watched the stars come out. Carrie savored the creamy chocolate slowly and tried to concentrate on that instead of the increasing of her pulse.
After the last bit of chocolate had melted, Carrie turned to Roger and started to say “Thank….” But was cut off by him once again kissing her. But this kiss was no soft and gentle kiss. This was a kiss of a man who was staking his claim on his woman. Now Carrie felt like she was the chocolate truffle that was slowly melting.
Finally Roger allowed Carrie to come up for a breath of air; but before he could kiss her again. She managed to get out “this really is not a good idea…..I mean….you kiss good, but we should not be kissing…. I’m going to be gone soon and I really don’t have time for …….oh my God…you do make me feel so good…………..but, really…..” Roger shut her up again.
Who knows what may have happened if Naomi hadn’t taken that moment to call outside from the door “Roger? Did you find Carrie? Roger!”
Carrie blushed in the starlight and pulled herself away from Roger. She was so thankful that the shed hid them from the sight of Naomi.
“Yeah mom” Roger hollered back “we are coming right now.” Roger than said to Carrie “you go ahead, I’ll be in….in a moment or two.” Carrie fled to the house. Her mind was made up, it was time to go!
She was in the girls’ bedroom when Roger came in and was confronted by his mom. “Just what do you think you are doing?” she demanded in a hushed but serious tone.
Roger straightened up and said “I’m going to marry her someday Mom. No doubt about it.”
“That may or may not be; but you’ve no right to her right now! She’s only 14 years old and you are 18. The age difference won’t be a problem when you are older but it IS a problem right now and I won’t have you messing with that girls feelings.”
Roger did have the grace to looked somewhat abashed but he insisted “I will not do anything to harm her. I really have fallen for her. But I’ll keep my distance, for now.”
Later that night as Carrie and Mollie were talking in bed, Carrie told Mollie that she was leaving in the morning. They talked about many things and promised each other to stay in touch. Since Carrie didn’t know what her address would be, Mollie wrote down her address and phone number. Carrie slid into her packed and ready bag. All she would have to do in the morning was change real quick and put her sleeping clothes in her backpack, slip on her shoes, and go. She even had her tooth brush ready so she could also just slip that into her bag after she was done brushing her teeth. Her water bottles were full and she had enough food to last at least a week and if she was careful, two. She especially loved the beef jerky that Roger had insisted she pack.
“Mollie I want you to know that I feel so blessed to have gotten to know you and your family. I think of you as the sister I never had.” Both girls cried over the loss they knew was coming but each encouraged the other to do what they knew was the right thing to do.
“I’m going to miss you so much! But I know you have to go find your Gramma! Gramma’s are special. And I promise to do my best to keep practicing the things you taught me until I can flip Roger before he knows I’m there!”
Both girls giggled at the picture that came to their minds. Renee slept through it all.
The next morning, Carrie slid a folded piece of paper on the counter in front of the coffee maker since she knew that is the first place anyone in that house went to because the rule was -first one up makes the coffee; and then slipped out of the house. The eastern horizon was just barely beginning to lighten up.
She had just slipped around the corner of the garage towards the road when someone stepped out of the shadows and grabbed her right arm.